A producer's blog about music, recording, mixing, songwriting and gear! (I don't know everything, but what I know I'll gladly share!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jazz great, Freddie Hubbard passes

Freddie Hubbard was a tremendous jazz musician. Actually, if I'm not mistaken my friend (and boss) Tony Guerrero gave him a trumpet lesson once ;) Right Tony? (It's a funny story... maybe he'll tell it on his blog.)

Anyway, since I'm a trumpet player who marvels at good jazz ('cause I'm not that good at it) I felt the need to mention Freddie's passing on my blog!

Here's a few links for you.



Monday, December 29, 2008

Hearing Loss

Hey guys. I thought I'd post this article I found. I have a great amount of hearing loss in my left ear. The high end is gone and my stereo image is off. It bothers me a great deal because I wish I had been more careful. So, I plead with you... turn down the monitors, get a sound pressure meter for your studio and protect your ears against loud noises.


Also, it's a good idea to invest in a good pair of molded in ear monitors if you are a performer (especially a drummer). 2 companies I recommend...


(I have the UE-7's with the ambient feature)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Keith Everette Smith and Timbaland

Hey guys. I just had a chuckle to myself. I've recently begun working with a company called Open Labs. These guys make fantastic keyboards! Their Meko and Neko series keyboards are actually fully functioning studios based around a powerful PC computer. Anyway, Saddleback used our new custom Neko during our Christmas special for the Fox Network. I was interviewed for their website.

I logged on to openlabs.com and this is what I saw... my face next to Timbaland!!!

Timbaland is writing hit after hit these days with artists like Justin Timberlake, One Republic, Madonna... the list goes on.

I just thought I'd share. Click here to read the entire article. I can't recommend these guys enough!

Monday, December 22, 2008

If I could only have 2 plug-in bundles!

I am a talker… especially when it comes to recording. I could go on for hours about new toys, techniques and music. What I don’t want to do is make you salivate over all the stuff you can’t afford. No one’s spouse likes us spending money we don’t have. BUT if you are mixing your own music there are a few plug-ins that I believe every musician should own. At this point, I literally could not mix a song without these tools. Take a look.

#1 WAVES SSL 4000 Bundle – These plug-ins are modeled after the famed SSL recording consoles. Before the industry got on board with in-the-box mixing, the vast majority of hit singles and platinum albums were mixed on these boards. Still today, tons of engineers won’t mix a record without one. They have a fantastic sound. The EQ is especially aggressive and has a very recognizable quality that it adds to the sound.
Waves’ did a great job of cloning this console. The SSL E-channel plug-in models a single channel of the E Series Console. It has EQ, compression/gating (dynamics) and all the other routing functions of the original E series console. The 4-band equalizer is similar to the EQ on the channel strip except it mimics the sound of the G series console, which sounds slightly different than the E series. The bus compressor is modeled after the master bus compressor of the console. This compressor is most often used on the entire mix, adding “glue” to the sound and giving everything a little aggressive edge.
OK, this bundle is a little expensive but well worth the price in my opinion. I literally think I could sell almost all my other plug-ins and mix exclusively. (Thus, the reason for this blog.) At this point, I wouldn’t think of mixing drums without it.

#2 WAVES MUSICIANS II Bundle – Another great bundle from WAVES. These plug-ins are not models. They are original plug-ins and they sound great. At a price point of a little over $200, this bundle is well worth the price.
R-Compressor – Is a really nice sounding compressor. It can handle standard compression or even venture into optical compression (useful on vocals, bass or anything else you’d want processed with transparency).
R-Vox – Here is a good reason to buy the musicians II bundle. R-Vox is a compressor limiter, expander specifically tailored for vocals. This thing is magic and adds presence and excitement to a vocal.
R-Axx – This is another compressor tailored for guitars. I really don’t know what it does but it does it well! Adds beef and excitement to guitar tracks.
R-EQ – I absolutely love this eq! It’s not particularly colorful but it allows you to easily pinpoint EQ points for adjustment. It treats the high end very nicely and things don’t get overly harsh.
SuperTap Delay – Another reason to buy this bundle. This delay does everything from U2-type delays, simple analog mono delays and lush reverb type complex delays. It’s a “do it all” delay unit.
Doubler – This plug comes in handy when you wanna create a pseudo-doubled vocal effect on the chorus or thicken background vocals to fill up a bit of the mix.

You know, I really didn’t mean for this to be a WAVES advertisement. I really don’t care who makes the plugs I use. I just care about the result. These bundles help me do my job. I use many other plugs but if I had to, I could do everything I need with these guys.

Other plug-ins I use regularly:
Massey CT4 Compressor, Massey TD5 Delay, TL Space, Digi ReVibe, Drawmer Dynamics, Massey L2000 limiter, SoundToys EchoBoy, Digi Echo Farm, Waves MaxxBass, McDSP Filter Bank Bank, BombFactory 1176

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Composers and Inspiration

I played a concert for the Presbyterian Church of the Master Sunday night. It was fun. It was pretty much a classical gig playing trumpet. I really miss classical music. That used to be most of what I did. I played in orchestras, concert bands and many brass ensembles growing up. Though my personality ultimately didn't fit in with this crowd, as a trumpet player, I am probably best at this style. For this reason, it's nice to play this music on occasion.

The conductor's name was John Elg. He was a FANTASTIC conductor and really had the church choir sounding fantastic. What I noticed about John was his inspiring personality. His gestures, smiles, and attitude begged you to play with the emotion that he was portraying. This got me thinking about record production. I consider myself a good producer in part because of the conductors I sat under through the years. I watched these men (and women) turn a bunch of individual musicians into a single unit, making beautiful music together. It was amazing.

One thing I remember is how 2 conductors specifically would use word pictures to describe the emotion for which a part should be performed. It was amazing how an emotion could be imparted on someone else and an emotional musical performance would result. I've tried to use this technique on several occasions in the studio. Correct notes has never been good enough for me. You MUST inspire me with the notes. With vocalists, I may say "Sing beyond the microphone, like you're singing at a rock concert in front of 50,000 people!" Or I might say, "Sing delicately as if you were whispering to a person you love." These things really work. When the mind is focused on the record button or the microphone in front of them, I'd venture to say that you will never received the most powerful performance possible.

All that to say, if you want to produce exciting, emotional music, head to your local college and watch a conductor interact with his ensemble. You'll learn very useful tips for inspiring the musicians you are producing!

About Me

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I'm a producer, mixer, songwriter. I recently moved from Orange County, CA to Nashville,TN I love making music. It is my means for creative expression. I've been married to my wonderful wife Erin for 7 1/2 years and I have a dog named Dexter.