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On The Road with Garbage

Around spring 2011, I had the great pleasure of working with one of the nicest and most talented engineers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, Brad Divens. At the time, Brad was the FOH (Front Of House) Engineer for Bob Seger, and since then he has worked with people such as Cindy Lauper, Janes Addiction, One Republic, and most recently with the band Garbage. This just adds to the already amazing list of credentials Brad brings to ProMedia, including, Motley Crue, HIM, Kid Rock, Linkin Park, just to name a few. The best part of our encounter is that Brad is bringing his experience to ProMedia Training! In his “On the Road” articles, Brad will be focusing on his current tour with the band Garbage and recent grammy winner Butch Vig as well as super engineer Billy Bush. You’ll get an inside look at what it takes to pull off a major world tour and the rigors of preparing and executing such a massive undertaking. If any of you happen to go see Garbage, make sure to stop by say Hi to Brad. You can check out tour dates and album information.

Take it away Brad...


Vocal Effects In Your Mix

It goes without saying that you will want to use effects (fx) in your mix. We all like to hear a little reverb, maybe some delay, or any number of creative fx tools we have available to us in audio land. In fact, many of your favorite songs have an effect that is instantly recognizable such as Peter Frampton’s “Show Me The Way”, or any T-Pain song. It's hard to even imagine what certain songs would sound like without the creative use of fx in the mix. While we have discussed topics such as using reverb and delay in the past, I want to show you some new tools now available in Pro Tools that will really speed up your work flow and help you with complex routing and documentation.


Let’s Make A Record

Where do YOU begin?

recordinginsessionWhere do you start when you want to write and record a new song? Sometimes the hardest part is simply knowing where to begin. Let’s be honest, making a song from scratch can be an overwhelming task, especially since you are using creativity alongside technology, it can feel like you’re always hitting a brick wall. In this series of articles, we will be looking at various ways to approach the song making process and how Pro Tools can help you make your creativity come to life. We will be discussing the various phases of song production and the relevant technology you should be aware of.


Music Production: Working With Elastic Audio

One of the truly innovative feature modern DAW’s like Pro Tools have introduced to the world is the ability to manipulate audio in ways never thought possible. Amongst the myriad of features relating to editing and recording is a very powerful tool known as Elastic Audio. This feature is built into Pro Tools and gives us the ability to treat our audio as if it were a rubber band, hence the name, Elastic Audio.

The musical world around us has changed quite dramatically over the decades, and we now find ourselves in a world of endless possibilities when it comes to making music. In the past, it was always guaranteed you had to have a “band” in order to make music, but now with the help of modern technology musicians without a formal “band” can take the reigns and express their creativity without hinderance. One of the easiest ways to help expand your musicality is by the use of sample libraries. No matter what type of music you make, there is a sample library hopelessly devoted to you, yearning for you to make it sing and dance. Take the scenario of a singer/songwriter who needs backing drums, unless you can hire a drummer & studio, your best bet is to utilize a drum sample library. I guarantee you will find really amazing sounding libraries in every genre of music you can imagine. Check out website such ilio.com and bighfishaudio.com to see the variety available catering to all musical styles.

Now that we have found a suitable drum loop library, we can use the Workspace Browser to search for and audition the loops. Window Menu < Worspace:




Moving Vocals & Tracks Between Sessions

How many of you have had a musical idea that can go in several different directions? I bet most of you have, it common with the creative cycle and it comes up quite a bit in production. Lucky for you, Pro Tools has some great feature that lets you quickly and easily deal with this situation.

Importing your vocals, or any track, from one session to another is a feature that has many different benefits in multiple situations: creative experimentation, music production, mixing, post-production, and re-mixing.


Let’s All Get On The Bus

Using an audio bus for effective routing and mixing

When most of us think of a bus, we usually refer to our local public transportation system, and in reality these busses perform much the same function as an audio bus would in our D.A.W. or mixing console. Think about how a bus works, it has a specific path it follows and at any time someone can get on that bus and ride it to its final destination. Furthermore, there are many different busses each following their own path with their own passengers. This is exactly the same purpose of an audio bus, except instead of people, the passengers are audio signals. Also, if you think about it, a bus is only effective to get people from one point in the city to another. It generally doesn’t take you outside the city. For our purposes, the “city” is our mixing console. This is where the concept of an audio bus came to be. As recording started to get more complex and users were offered more audio tracks to work with, there was a need to be able to easily have control of those tracks. For our purposes, we will be looking at using a bus and return to control a “sub-group” of tracks. In our next article we will look at how to use busses for effect sends.



Building a Guest House Studio Part I and II

Hey there! I just thought I’d share a project I’m working on that comes up a lot as topic in our classes. “How do I renovate, or convert a space into a working and creative audio environment?”

So the project? I’m taking an old guest house in Tampa, and converting it into a working creative music production studio. And to top it off, I’m trying to keep the total cost under $1000 in materials. The rest is labor.

The Starting Point:

A guest house built in the 40’s

The known starting problems:
  • It was built in the 40’s
  • Oh, did I mention, It was built in the 40’s

** I pondered the old school hand cranking windows for a while


Better Living Through Shortcuts: Speeding up your workflow in Pro Tools

searchinfoforarticleThere are many things that can get frustrating during the songwriting process: melody ideas, chord progressions, loops, the list goes on and on. Making this whole process a little more tedious can also be the constant digging through menu’s to find features and functions. It also doesn’t help that you are constantly pointing and clicking with a mouse the entire day. Luckily for you, and me, Pro Tools has many keyboard shortcuts that can easily speed up your workflow and have you spending less time with the mouse. *For the purpose of this article we will be using a full size keyboard with a numeric keypad.


How to create a send to a Reverb

Have you ever run out of processing power trying to get a reverb on each of your tracks? This is a common problem if you put a reverb plug-in directly onto each track. Reverb is probably one of the most DSP hungry plug-ins you can run. The more efficient and professional way to use Reverbs, and other additive types of effects like delays, chorus, flangers, etc,, is to insert the additive effect onto a stereo Aux Input track. Then, create sends from each track that go to said aux track, and bring up the send levels from each individual track, adding as much effect as you like to each! So here is a quick guide how to create an Aux Track, insert a Reverb or other additive effect, and then effectively create sends to the Reverb!