Welcome back, | Log Out

electrologue

Music Industry News

  • The Incredible Vickers Brothers

    When you’ve played in as many bands and performed as many different styles of music as California native Robert Vickers has, there’s bound to be some confusion along the way. Somewhere down the line he became ‘Rob’ to some and ‘Bob’ to others. This helped contribute to a musical split-personality which allowed him to be bassist in the late 1980’s for psych-rock outfit Cerebral Corps then by the 90’s morph into his role as drummer for jangly West Coast... read more

  • 4 Essential Things to Consider When Hiring a Music Promotion Company

    This article appeared first on Sonicbids.

    If you’re ready to hire a music promotion company to secure coverage for your upcoming single, EP, or album release, how do you find a publicist who will give you the best bang for your buck? How do you avoid getting ripped off or throwing money down the drain because the company wasn’t the right fit for your band?

    Here are four aspects to help you hone in on the right music PR firm for you.

    1. Genre fit

    When... read more

  • Cayden Wemple Announces Debut Single “Better”
    Cayden Wemple Announces Debut Single “Better”

    The debut single from Cayden Wemple, “Better”, unites a common thread of emotions wavering between apathy, acceptance, and hope. When growing up in a world where it’s downright terrifying to turn on the news, or even log onto social media, 18-year-old Wemple drives his voice through the dark shadow cast in front of the sun, and refuses to give in to the nightmare’s pull. “Better” is off the upcoming EP, Car Crash From an Aerial View, due... read more

  • VanWyck Releases New Indie Folk Single, “Listen to You Breathe”
    VanWyck Releases New Indie Folk Single, “Listen to You Breathe”

    Amsterdam singer songwriter, VanWyck releases the new single, “Listen to You Breathe” off her upcoming album. Captivating and hauntingly atmospheric, the song delves into the dark excitement of creation: Melodious whispers and gentle keys chase that something that is tantalizingly close and yet always out of reach. Combining the sensual with the mystical, VanWyck circles the mysteries of love, life and creation. The album, An Average Woman, is due out January 19 on Maiden Name Records.

    Unflinchingly introspective and personal songs have no right striking such a universally affecting chord. But don’t tell that to the Good Graces. The Good Graces is an indie-folk collective based in Atlanta, GA formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Kim Ware, whose plaintive, utterly appealing drawl of a voice grounds each song with raw honesty and homespun warmth. Ware and the band have performed up and down the East Coast, in California, Canada, Texas and many spots in between; toured... read more

  • I’m With Her debut album out 16 February 2018
    I'm With Her debut album out 16 February 2018 ... read more
  • Mary Gauthier  album ‘Rifles & Rosary Beads’ out 26 January 2018
    Mary Gauthier  album 'Rifles & Rosary Beads' out 26 January 2018 ... read more
  • How to Pitch a Music Blog: Paste Magazine

    Paste Magazine is one of my favorite online music outlets, and possibly one of the most well-known. They cover a wide range of topics such as music, film, and lifestyles. It is a blog that is a combination of pop-culture, and underground. How can you reach Paste to get your music featured? Here are a few tips.

     

    1. Top 10 Best Albums

    Paste has a monthly featured called the Top 10 Best Albums where they review the best releases for a certain... read more

  • Felsen Releases New Single, “Vultures on Your Bones”
    Felsen Releases New Single, “Vultures on Your Bones”

    The new single from indie pop band Felsen, “Vultures on Your Bones” beams a telepathic message through melody and lyrics directly from their late-night West Oakland studio.
    The single is just one piece of the puzzle as Felsen invites listeners to tie together the album’s sounds, images and the words into one purposeful clutter. Through a series of clues and Easter eggs hidden, the lost art of listening to an album as a whole creates an... read more

  • Cayden Wemple

    Cayden Wemple is a singer-songwriter with a worldview that extends far beyond the boundaries of his hometown. Hailing from the relative comfort and quiet of San Luis Obispo, California, his unique brand of millennial folk marries the social commentary of Declan McKenna with the songcraft of Conor Oberst and Gregory Alan Isakov. Armed with his trusty Martin guitar, with an eye constantly on the news, he channels his insecurities directly into his songs.
    This message is there for all to hear on debut EP,... read more

Featured Articles

  • Trident Audio Development announced a 500-series of their revered 80B EQ back in 2013 and now they've started shipping! The Trident 80B-500 module is an exact redesign for the 500-series and will give you the sound that the original EQ produced. What’s more it’s at the bargain price of £359!

    Trident Audio 80B-500 EQ

    For those not familiar with the product, the Trident 80B-500 is the EQ found on the late 70’s and 80s Trident 80B Consoles. It was very successful and graced many recording studios over the world in that were search of a fat sounding and flexible console. It was used on countless classic rock recordings of that era and continues to be very well thought of.

    The four-band EQ on the 80B console is spectacular, a very musical EQ with large overlap between the two mid bands. Each band uses a proportional Q which means that the more the gain is pushed, the narrower the bandwidth becomes.  This is partly the reason why the EQ in the 80B console is so musical. But its success was undoubtedly for the heft it can impart to a sound; a heft often defined as creamy and thick. Trident has now decided to give engineers and producers that big sound in the 500-series.

    The Trident 80B-500 is a single slot, mono four-band EQ module with both LF and HF shelves with switchable frequencies and two sweeping midrange bands with the lower band covering 100Hz to 1500Hz frequencies and the higher one covering 1000Hz to 15kHz. All bands provide 15dB of cut and boost. As mentioned before there is no bandwidth control as this depends on the amount of gain applied. A fixed 50Hz HPF switch is also included. An overload LED indicator turns red when the signal is too hot.

     

    This new recreation of a classic EQ is sure to be extremely popular and at this rather keen price will undoubtedly reassert that legendary sound of the 80B console in modern productions. We are expecting the first UK shipment any time now.

    By Paul Lavigne

    No Comments
  • Everything in a DAW we know can be taken care by mouse and keyboard commands, but are we missing something by not having that tactile fader whilst mixing, or those shuttle wheels when editing, or solo switches when tracking?

    Prolonged DAW users fight the threat of Carpal Tunnel syndrome and whilst not suggesting a controller will solve that totally on it’s own, it does also invite a varied way of working. Whether to a traditionalist who grew up on mixing consoles, to those who have never used a Desk but feel they want more of a hands-on approach to software manipulation, this is a modern dilemma, whether you’re ITB (in-the-box) or using a hybrid system.

    We don’t always think about it, but with mouse and keyboard control we tend to only tweak one thing at a time, whereas with Control Surfaces, complex multi functions can be carried out at the same time. The daily use of smartphones has made us all a little more tactile in our ways..

    So I guess the question is, what will one do for your workflow?

    Control surfaces come in a variety of sizes, and whilst I’m going to focus on a few units in order of price that are dedicated Mix Controllers, it is worth mentioning that many times you can combine an existing keyboard controller, or dedicated programming pad surface to work with a DAW for mixing. These allow you to travel with portable writing rigs, or add another level of manipulation to an existing setup.

    Many products by Akai, M-Audio, Novation ( including their own software AutoMap ) through to Native Instruments Maschine, Ableton’s PUSH controller, Nektar ( with vast knob controllers and motorised fader ) and Softube’s Console-1 all do a variety of DAW / Plugin manipulation. But as they work as MIDI controllers they are more than capable of mix control, if a little time is spent mapping your desired controls correctly for your needs.

    Presonus Faderport

    If portability or space is an issue you can’t get much smaller than the Presonus Faderport. Designed with one fader but with transport control, automation control, Pan, Mute and Solo, this is a USB connected device which runs under HUI or Native mode and works with all the main DAW’s. Great for laptop users who like to travel light but miss the touch of a fader.

    Presonus Faderport | KMR Audio

    Mackie Control Universal Pro

    One of the first small format controllers released in a 1998 partnership with Digidesign ( now Avid ) was the Mackie HUI ( Human User Interface ) to work with Pro Tools 4.1 at that time. This developed a protocol called HUI which has been adopted by most control surface manufactures and DAW’s, enabling multi compatibility between devices.

    Mackie Control Universal Pro Control Surface  | KMR Audio

    HUI is what is behind the current Mackie Control Universal Pro and Mackie Control Extender Pro. This was originally developed in partnership, in a previous version, with Logic but now works with all the main DAW’s with overlays for key commands and V-Pot control.

    They consist of two units, a main base unit with 8 motorised faders, V-pots and transport control, and the expander with 8 faders and V-pots. Both units connect via MIDI over USB and can be expanded to run up to 3 expanders off the Main Unit ( a Midi interface if required if you wish to run more than 3 expanders )

    Avid Artist Series

    When Euphonix became an acquisition of Avid, their popular control surfaces were given a facelift to adopt everything new about the updated Pro Tools Software and the Euphonix EUCON software.

    Avid Artist Series Control Surface | KMR Audio

    Allowing better DAW integration via Ethernet for Logic Pro, Cubase, Nuendo, DP and Final Cut Pro this provides much faster resolution than MIDI, whilst allowing you to control multiple applications and DAW’s allowing switching between them in use from the one controller.

    There are three in the series. Artist Mix, offers 8 touch sensitive faders and 8 rotary encoders, and transport control. Artist Control, which has 4 faders, and unique touchscreen that is programmable for any EUCON enabled device. This touchscreen can issue multiple control commands at a single touch and is totally programmable. And finally Artist Transport, which is a large shuttle wheel and soft keys to trigger shortcuts or key commands within your software of choice. Mix and matching Avid Artist Series units appeals to those who want flexibility and need to switch between a variety of software applications on the same machine.

    Slate Pro Audio Raven MTI

    The idea that a control surface has to be made with physical faders was blown wide open when Slate Pro Audio released their original RAVEN MTX controller ( see below ) This has spawned a smaller sibling in the 27” RAVEN MTI. With the new V2.0 software that has just been released, there’s no better time to get to grips ( literally ) with a 6 touch multi-touch display HD controller that connects via USB 2.0 and DVI.

    Slate Pro Audio Raven MTI Control Surface | KMR Audio

    The MTI allows you to carry out multi functions like you would on a traditional control surface. Where the power lies is within the V2 software, this allows for custom macro commands, and ‘quick-key’s that allow one touch controls to carry out multi functions, saving vast amounts of time. Slate have also invested many man hours in creating macro commands for the Post and the Music industry, so whilst you can create your own, you may never need to. Currently it works with Pro Tools 10 and 11, and Logic Pro X. Development is in place for Cubase, Ableton, Digital Performer etc. The ergonomics and backlit LED have been designed at an angle that is comfortable to work out, and with the future software updates, customisation and flexibility is the key here.

    Solid-State-Logic Nucleus

    SSL designed the Nucleus with some extra features taken from the SSL Matrix for a complete recording solution. Consisting of 16 faders, assignable soft keys and V pots, it also includes two SSL Super Analogue mic preamps connecting to your DAW via Ethernet and a USB audio interface, with the flexibility to switch between 3 connected DAW’s with customisable control and key mapping.

    Solid State Logic Nucleus Control Surface | KMR Audio

    The feel of the Nucleus has been designed for real world usage, with chunky transport controls. jog wheel and high quality motorised faders. It also has a monitoring and headphone output, so a complete package should you require it, or use it as a very well laid out, smooth feeling controller.

    Smart AV Tango

    Smart AV have developed their own ARC Technology and have now released MonARC software which is a scrolling based channel overview to run on their touch screens. Combining a 22inch touchscreen and hardware motorised faders, pots, shuttle wheel, soft keys and OLED displays on all programmable buttons connection is via Ethernet and currently supports nearly all the major DAW’s. A Tango V2 is available shortly which has an appearance upgrade, as well as some functions. For the user that wants the best of both worlds, touchscreen and hardware control.

    Smart AV Tango Control Surface | KMR Audio

    It’s worth mentioning that there are larger format controllers such as the SSL Matrix, which has 40 inputs, fully featured monitoring and 16+1 Faders. The larger 46” Raven MTX with analogue monitoring section, and the larger customisable Avid EUCON driven S6.

    So really whatever your budget, and workflow, getting hands-on has never been easier…go on, try it.

    No Comments
  • Standard Audio and KMR Audio are proud to introduce the Standard Audio Stretch, a brand new and truly unique multi-band dynamics module for the 500-series format.
    Standard Audio Announces Stretch 500-series Multi-Dynamics Module 

    Following on from the success of the Level-Or 500-series compressor (itself a 500 series recreation of the classic Level-Loc), Standard Audio have released the Stretch which takes its inspiration from various noise reduction units from the 1970s and 1980s when in “encode” mode. Stretch allows you to use the 4 separate frequency bands configured in 7 different combinations which are accessible via the Filter/Compression push-button. A Mix Control allows for parallel processing by re-injecting the unprocessed signal back in and varying the levels.

    The Stretch is truly unique and can inject life and depth in an engaging way that EQ and compression alone cannot replicate.

    The Standard Audio Stretch is available to purchase in the UK and Germany from KMR Audio and retails at  £579 inc. VAT (£482.5 ex VAT)
    Standard Audio Stretch 500-series Compressor
    No Comments
  • Prism Sound are going bat crazy this July with great offers on all their audio interfaces and its flagship AD/DA converter the ADA-8XR.

    20% Off Prism Sound Audio Interfaces

    Starting with the Audio Interfaces, Prism Sound are offering 20% off their range of really high-quality audio interfaces including Atlas, Orpheus, Titan and Lyra 1 and 2. Prism Sound’s range of audio interfaces has been worldwide recognised for their incredible preamps and superb AD/DA conversions comparing favourably against by many other competitors.

    In addition Prism Sound has partnered with iZotope to offer some Alloy 2 or the Ozone bundle with selected audio interfaces saving you even more. So in addition to the 20% savings you also get completely FREE software! We’ve also proudly joined the party by offering our own bundles. For example you can get a pair of Sennheiser HD650 with every Lyra 1 or 2 that you buy through us or you can purchase our Titan and Waves Platinum bundle for £2999 saving you over £1500!

    This offer is valid until the 21st of July so, do not delay or you could miss out an incredible opportunity to upgrade your studio at a fraction of the price.

    FREE PTHD and PTHDX card with any ADA-8XR AD/DA Converters

    Until the end of July, Prism Sound is also offering a Free PTHD or PTHDX card when you purchase their flagship ADDA converters, the ADA-8XR.

    The ADA-8XR needs absolutely no introduction having delivered pristine digital audio conversion for over 10 years in the broadcast and recording studios throughout the world.  Pro Tools users now have a great incentive to upgrade their AD/DA converters by including a PTHD card or PTHDX card depending on whether you are using a Pro Tools HD or HDX system saving you over £800. You could use this savings to get more analogue or digital I/O for example.

    Whether you would like to buy a new audio interface or upgrade the quality of your Pro Tools system, Prism Sound has got you covered with these two great offers.  If you would like to know more or benefit from those savings e-mail us on sales@kmraudio.com or call us on 020 8445 2446. Alternatively you are always welcome in our North London Showroom and Richmond Sales office.

     

    No Comments
  • To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ubiquitous series 8000, Genelec are letting you trade your old monitors and save on a brand new pair of Genelec 8000’s series.

    All you need to do is give us your old pair of monitors of any make or model , active or passive, and we’ll give you a significant discount on a brand new pair of Genelec  8010A, 8020C, 8030B, 8040B, or 8050B.

    Here’s the savings for each model:

    Model Typical Street Price Trade-In Price You Save
    8010A £478 £358 £120
    8020C £638 £518 £120
    8030B £938 £738 £200
    8040B £1,538 £1,198 £340
    8050B £2,498 £1,938 £560

    This is a great opportunity to upgrade your setup and get great monitors for music production, broadcast and mixing and an industry standard.

    If you have any questions regarding this promotion or Genelec monitors in general call us on 020 8445 2446 or e-mail sales@kmraudio.com

     

    No Comments
  • Air Music has announced the release of Advance Music Production, an impressive collection of software for music production mixing and mastering.

    Advance is a pretty impressive collection with over 70 software packages encompassing anything from powerful virtual instruments and FX to library packs and tutorials all featured on a 500Gb Hard Drive. These are by no means run of the mill products either, with Air, iZotope Waves, Sonivox, D16, Akai, Fabfilter, FXpansion, Gobbler just to name a few,  all contributed with full versions of some of their most popular products.

    Full list of manufacturers:

    • AIR Music Technology
    • Akai Professional
    • Camel Audio
    • D16
    • FabFilter
    • Fxpansion
    • Gobbler
    • iZotope
    • PSP Audioware
    • Prime Loops
    • Sonic Academy
    • Sonic Charge
    • SONiVOX
    • Waves
    • Way Out Ware
    • Wave Arts

     

    Although designed for the whole music production process, Air Music has put a lot of effort in the virtual instrument section by not only contributing all their most prized instruments including Velvet, Vacuum Pro, Hybrid, Structure, and Transfuser, but also gathering some truly great virtual instruments from Akai (and their MPC Essentials software), FabFilter (contributing two virtual analogue synthesizers), Camel Audio with their Alchemy sample-based synthesizer powerhouse, WayOutWare’s high quality ARP2600 emulation. In addition Sonivox are also included from their EDM Classic synthesizers Wobble 2, Twist 2, Vocalizer Pro, to their impressive range of sample-based virtual instruments covering cinematic drums to orchestral instruments. This impressive collection gives you everything you need to create your music no matter what genre.  Added to that an impressive collection of loops and sample packs from Prime Loops covering all genres from ambient psychedelia to hard hitting rock and EDM!

    If that’s not enough, Advance includes a wide range of effects from delays, choruses and Reverbs to distortion and glitch Effects.  EQs and Compressors are also featured with Waves contributing their highly popular Renaissance Channel (used by some of best mixing engineers throughout the world), PSP Audio offering two classic EQs based on legendary hardware and Wave Arts providing their FinalPlug limiter. FXpansion also includes some of their D.CAM analogue emulation EQs and compressors.

    This could be quite a daunting package for any beginner, so AIR music secured a collection of online tutorials from Sonic Academy covering everything from sound design to mixing and remixing, mastering and more

    Advance also includes one of the most powerful cloud-based collaboration and file-management by Gobbler allowing to save your projects on the cloud but also to collaborate with artists worldwide.

    This is an impressive and complete package to say the least that any producer or electronic musician will want to have in their arsenal. The more surprising perhaps is the price. Indeed the whole package contains $5000 worth of software but Air Music makes it available with a 500Gb hard drive for a mere £479! For the full list of software check out Air Music’s website.

    If you are looking to get a complete and powerful music production suite, you could do a lot worse than getting yourself a copy of AIR Music’s Advance Music Production AIR Music’s Advance Music Productionsoftware as it is well worth the price. For more info please call us on 020 8445 2446 or e-mail sales@kmraudio.com

    By Paul Lavigne

    No Comments
  • RME Summer Deals

    KMR Audio News

    RME are being extremely active at the moment, not only have updated their best-selling audio interface and released the Fireface 802 they are now offering the entire Fireface range including the Babyface at a special price throughout the summer.

    So if you were looking to get a quality audio interface, now may just be the time to invest. From the portable Babyface, Fireface UC and UCX, to the fully-fledged Fireface 802 and UFX, RME has something to suit. Even if your heart was set on the RME Fireface 800 which has been the favourite interface of thousands of people over the past 10 years, you can still get hold of one at a reduced price (whilst stocks last!). This offer also benefits from our UK Exclusive 5-year warranty on all RME products (bought through us)

    This offer is available through KMR Audio while stocks last so don’t delay and make sure you don’t miss out on a great offer by RME. If you have any questions or would like to purchase give us a call, or e-mail sales@kmraudio.com. Alternatively you are more than welcome to our North London shop or Richmond sales office.

    By Paul Lavigne

    No Comments
  • Legendary synth designer Dave Smith has announced a brand new monophonic synthesizer called the Pro 2.

    Those who know the story of the Dave Smith will be pleased by the welcome nod to the past and the legendary Pro One mono synth by Sequential Circuit. Added to that the claim that the Pro 2 is “the most powerful mono synth ever” and one can’t be anything but intrigued.

    Dave Smith Pro 2 Monophonic Synthesizer

    Inside the Belly of the Beast

    So what’s inside the beast? Well the Pro 2 is first of all a hybrid synth with four high-resolution digital oscillators and one digital sub oscillator. That’s right digital oscillators, but fear not, just like in the Prophet 12 those high resolution oscillators provide classic and complex waveforms which can modulate each other using FM (frequency modulation) or AM (amplitude modulation).  In addition the Oscillator section also features Character controls which add LF and HF boost, bit rate reduction, sample rate reduction and a tape saturation emulation to add even further flexibility and character.

    Following the digital section can be found a brand new dual analogue filter section with a 4-pole low pass filter reminiscent of the legendary Prophet 5 and a variable state filter inspired by another legend, the Oberheim SEM which can  be continuously changed from low-pass, notch to high-pass and band-pass mode. What’s more both filters can be either used in series or in parallel and anywhere in between! That’s right; the Pro 2 is clearly focused on flexibility.

    This already impressive configuration is complemented by an impressive modulation section comprising of no less than three digital delays, one digital bucket brigade delay (akin to the legendary Moog Analogue delay), four syncable LFOs, five ADHSR envelopes, an arpeggiator. All these are accessible via the sixteen-slot modulation matrix!  The Pro 2 also features what is probably the most advanced sequencer available on a synth to date. With 16 tracks and up to 32-step per track, the Pro 2’s sequencer is extremely powerful and flexible yet remains easy to use with real-time input, rests,  and variable-length sequences with any control parameter capable of being controlled.  It obviously syncs to MIDI clock but also to external audio input.

    One Synth to Control Them All!

    The Pro 2 also includes CV/Gate and four CV I/Os to control or be controlled by a modular synth or any CV –based synthesizer or drum machines. With control voltages assignable to any parameters via the modulation matrix, it is possible to create some mind bending sound experiment while using the step sequencer to control the tempo of your modular system.  Anything from oscillators, envelopes to sequencer tracks can be sent to a modular system.

    Although being taunted as a monophonic synthesizer, the Pro 2 can actually be used as a four-voice paraphonic synth offering individual controls over each oscillator and its envelope while sharing the same VCF section. The Pro 2 will deliver 4-voice polyphony for playing expressive chords.

    The Pro 2 is clearly a truly powerful synthesizer and Dave Smith’s claim seems at first pretty convincing, but we’ll have to wait and see until they land in the UK. If you have any questions about he Dave Smith Pro 2, why not contact us via e-mail at sales@kmraudio.com by phone on 020 8445 2446 or come to our North London HQ or Richmond sales office for a chat and a coffee?

    By Paul Lavigne

    No Comments
  • Throughout the month of June we are offering the superb Crane Song Falcon and Syren 500-series modules at the incredible price of £799, just over 15% off.

    Save Over 15% on Crane Song Falcon and Syren 500-series Modules

     

    Both Syren and Falcon are valve single-slot modules capable of producing rich coloured sound while keeping Crane Songs clean and detailed signature, and now both are available to add to your “lunchbox”. As always with Crane Song both the Syren compressor and Falcon mic preamp are extremely flexible delivering anything from classic tube sound to rich classy colouration and even grit and overdrive.

    The Syren is Crane Song’s first valve mic preamp and features a truly unique design implementation which is based around the interaction between the dual triode valve stages. By modifying the interaction and adding negative feedback (or not) it is possible to change the sound dramatically from clean with a wide frequency response to warm sounding and overdrive.  This incredible flexibility can work wonders on vocals, guitars, bass and much more. It also features a 24dB/octave high-pass filter at 90Hz, +48V phantom power, polarity switch and a pad offering a choice between -15dB and -25dB.

    Following the same principle the Crane Song Falcon lets you modify the tube circuit to add negative feedback to the compression adding more or less colour. The Falcon does not use traditional valve compression designs and although it exhibits optical compression-like characteristics, the valve is the gain reduction element.  This design allows for a coloured vintage sound or much cleaner sound, while keeping its opto-like behaviour.

    While extremely versatile, the Falcon remains extremely easy to use with simple controls over the Threshold, Gain and Dry/Wet, as well as three position switches for the attack and release controls covering fast, medium and slow, as well as for the compression/limiting knee. It is also linkable with up to 6 units being able to be linked together for 5.1 systems.

    Whether you are looking for an additional mic pre or compressor to add to your arsenal or are simply starting your 500-series journey, you could definitely benefit with the flexibility and wide range of colour options that any of those two modules have to offer.  You could even add both!  To find out more on the Falcon and Syren modules or this offer, contact us by e-mail at sales@kmraudio.com or on the phone on 020 844 2446 or come and see us to our North London store or Richmond sales office.

    By Paul Lavigne

    No Comments
  • The “Realism” vs “Hyperrealism” debate

    joshschuberth.com - Josh Schuberth's Blog
    Picture
    Before I begin I'd like to thank the wonderful Kent Eastwood (kenteastwood.com) for the conversation that inspired me to write this little blog... Kent is a very talented singer-songwriter, pianist, home recording engineer and all round good guy. You should check out his stuff!

    Let me start by giving the title some context. "Realism" and "Hyperrealism" (in the context of this discussion) are two different approaches to recording and producing music. It's the way I like to describe the ethos that different engineers, producers or musicians carry with them into the recording studio. In my experience, engineers, producers and musicians tend to lean fairly firmly towards either one of the two categories. Every so often you'll meet someone who feels equally at home on both sides of the debate, but most of the people I've worked with lean at least a little more toward one of the two sides than the other. It's a topic that has often lead to passionate debate in my experience and says a lot about an individuals fundamental beliefs when it comes to music recording as an art form. Having said this, not all engineers, producers or musicians are aware of the differences between the two approaches. The purpose of this little blog therefore is to get you thinking about Realism and Hyperrealism, and how the two approaches fit into your own recording ethos.

    Realism 

    The basic idea behind Realism (in the context of music production) is similar to its use in visual art; where visual artists seek to capture and reproduce what the eye can see, recording engineers and producers seek to capture and reproduce what the ear can hear under normal circumstances. Those who work within the realm of Realism like their records to sound like the "real" world. It would be common for most of the instrumentation to consist of acoustic instruments, or at least a faithful representation of an electric instrument as it would be heard during performance conditions (micing an electric guitar amp would be an example of this). Realism exponents are often advocates for capturing and retaining a live performance with as little alteration or manipulation as possible. The main point to drive home here is that Realism is all about keeping things as “natural” or “realistic” as possible. Genres that may commonly utilise this approach would be classical, jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass etc.

    Some examples of this approach may include:
    * Favouring distant or room mic placements over close micing in an effort to capture the sound source as if the listener were a witness to the performance;

    * Using spaces other than recording studios to capture the ambience of specific locations;

    * Capturing the natural reverb of the recording environment rather than adding reverb during the mix;

    * Restricting the use of compression in an effort to maintain the natural dynamics of a performance;

    * Using EQ sparingly in an effort to retain the natural frequency balance of a sound source;

    * Recording live ensembles and limiting the use of overdubs;

    * Using the mix to create a “real” world representation of the recorded ensemble.

    These are just a few examples of what I would consider to be the Realism approach. Realism should not be limited to these examples and may not strictly follow all of these at all times, but they at least give us a starting point for the purpose of discussion.

    Hyperrealism

    (A composer by the name of Noah Creshevsky has used the term Hyperrealism to describe his own personal music composition technique, a technique that involves the combining of various audio samples from the world around us to create some fairly unique music. My use of the term Hyperrealism does not refer to his approach.)

    In the context of this discussion, I am using Hyperrealism to describe the “hyped” sounds that can be achieved through various production techniques. By taking a sound that may or may not sound “real” to begin with, then over emphasising or hyping certain aspects of that sound through the use of compression, EQ, distortion etc. we can create a sound that has hyper-real qualities. For example: a vocalist sings into a large diaphragm condenser at close proximity. Compression is used to not only control dynamic range, but to “turn-up” the subtle sounds that are masked by the louder sounds. The sound of the breath, the crackle of saliva around the throat and mouth etc. are all suddenly more audible. EQ may be applied to enhance the perceived “airiness” of the voice with a boost of the top end frequencies etc. What we now end up with is a sound that still resembles a human voice, but is a hyped version of reality. In this example, nothing has been added to the sound that did not already exist, we have simply enhanced existing elements which would have previously gone unheard.

    Many modern genres of music rely heavily on this approach, such as most forms of pop and rock music, electronic music, metal etc.

    Other examples of this approach may include:

    * Favouring close micing over distant micing (particularly with instruments such as drums, guitars and vocals) in an effort to capture finer details;

    * Using controlled studio environments to provide more detailed recording of the source material and to limit the introduction of ambience;

    * Heavily processing and manipulating a sound source with compression, EQ, distortion, modulation and time modifiers (delays, reverbs etc.) to create a sound that may or may not resemble the original sound source;

    * Pitch shifting or time stretching audio to hear smaller details within a recording. This is particularly effective when an audio sample is slowed down (as opposed to being sped up), allowing small details to be heard within the sample that would otherwise be missed due to the speed at which they originally occurred.

    The Hyperrealism approach can also refer to things such as multi-tracking and editing. For example, it would not have been possible for Freddie Mercury and Queen to record Bohemian Rhapsody if they were worried about Realism. The ability to multi-track allowed Queen to realise a sonic vision that would have been impossible to achieve otherwise. Editing is now a part of daily life in most recording studios due to the advent of DAW’s and the editing capabilities they provide. The comping of multiple takes, editing of timing, and pitch correction offered within modern DAW’s means that most of today's music productions result in a Hyperreal aesthetic. The editing, tuning and comping of takes does not involve creating something from scratch, they merely enhance the reality that was originally captured.

    Music Today

    You may have already realised that in most cases, almost everyone uses some form of Hyperrealism in their music production these days. As a working engineer and producer, I wouldn’t be able to do my job without taking such an approach. Many of today’s productions try to blend the two approaches together, which can yield some wonderful results.

    My question to you is: on which side of the fence do you feel most at home?

    Personally, I am well and truly on the side of Hyperrealism. The records that I most love are the ones that make me feel as though I’m inside the sound, almost as if I’m being taken to some kind of alternate universe where anything is possible. To be completely honest, reality bores me. I’ve heard the sound of a drum kit thousands of times (I’m a drummer in case you didn’t already know) and drum kits sound nowhere near as cool to my ears when they’re being played in a garage. When a kick drum is close miced and fed through a monster PA however, I get very excited! There are plenty on the other hand who feel the exact opposite to me and would much rather hear the sound of a drum kit in their garage. I, however, love the possibilities that Hyperrealism offers and I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting sounds.

    There are plenty out there who would disagree with me. In my experience, they’re often the same engineers and musicians that gravitate towards analogue gear… the ones who still enjoy the torture of analogue tape machines and the limitations that it creates. They love the idea of recording live to tape with no edits and very little processing. They talk endlessly about retaining dynamics and how modern records are squashed to death etc. They don’t put things on their records that can’t be reproduced live and so on. These are the Realists, and although I may not be one of them, their opinion is just as valid as mine.

    So, which one are you? A Realist or a Hyperrealist? You don’t have to pick a side, but at least have a think about the differences between the two… It might just help you solidify what it is that makes you tick, but more importantly, what makes your client tick, and that's the first step towards making a great record together. 


    No Comments