The last couple of months have been crazy busy and I’ve not had the time I want to devote to this blog and my music generally, but I couldn’t let a landmark pass without sharing. Odd how we attach significance to arbitrary numbers, but I tipped over the 1,000 subscribers to my YouTube channel sometime in March, and then a whole bunch more added themselves. As I post this today, I’m actually at 1,050 subscribers. So if you’re a subscriber, thanks for the support and encouragement. If you’re not, please subscribe, but either way, if there is a topic or theme you would like me to cover in a video or videos, please let me know.
Arguably, EQ is the most powerful tool at your disposal when it comes to mixing, but there are times when you just can’t quite match what you’re hearing to what you want to hear. The Curve EQ plugin from Voxengo has the ability to compare your mix with a reference track and then to generate the EQ curve required to match them up. Whilst you could do this with an individual sound in your mix, it’s probably more useful when you’re mastering a set of songs. In this video, I look at how to match the EQ between reference material from Deep Purple, Taylor Swift and Toto against a mix of my own, using Curve EQ.
If you’re like me, you’ll have old bits of kit gathering dust in the attic that have seen better days and a drum machine is likely to feature somewhere in that collection. Maybe you have a song or two that were written using that particular machine and nothing else quite seems to fit or sounds quite right. Recording the sounds is simple, (and for most older machines, there was no multi-sampling at different velocity layers), or you can download pre-recorded samples for some machines from the web, but what do you do with the individual sounds once you have them? In this video, I look at incorporating some drum machine samples within Cubase’s Media Bay and using them to recreate my old Roland TR505 as a preset in Groove Agent.
Having looked in the last video at the general principle of how to batch export stems from a DAW, in this video I look at the specific options available in Cubase. Whilst you can export mono sources as mono stems, or split stereo files into their left and right channel elements, I would argue that whether it’s worth doing or not is really determined by the use that is going to be made of those stems.
No man is an island, and neither are musicians, although the revolution in music technology we are enjoying has made the project home studio affordable in a way it’s never been before. However, there are times when you want to collaborate or you need to share what’s on your computer with someone else, be it for them to mix, edit or whatever. Sometimes, just sending them an MP3 to use as a guide will work – it’s certainly the best way of working with any virtual session musicians you might use – but when it comes to mixing or more in-depth collaboration, it isn’t enough. Unless you’re both using the same DAW with the same virtual instruments and plugins, something won’t translate, so the best thing to do is to export your project as audio files, (“stems”). Even so, there are steps you can take to make the export as successful as possible and, in this video, I talk about what they are and show you how to export a project from Cubase 7.0
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, as I’ve been distracted by real life and other projects, but I’m hoping to catch up with myself this month. The big thing, (for me, at least), is that the YouTube channel continues to thrive, with the number of views having gone through 100,000 during February and, as I post this, I now have over 900 subscribers. Compared with some, this is definitely small beer, but I’m happy that it continues to grow and that I am getting positive feedback on what I do.
One of the things that’s kept me busy has been climbing the learning curve from Cubase 7 to Cubase 8. I’ve upgraded and am currently working through the process to drag the standard installation back from the “dark side” to my preferred colour scheme. I’m almost there and, once I am satisfied it’s up and running and that everything is going well, then there’ll be a few videos to chronicle the process for those who take even longer than me to upgrade to the latest version.
The visual nature of computer-based DAW software has given rise to the axiom that you should mix with your ears, not your eyes, a temptation that’s easy to understand as we buy ever bigger monitor screens to view our mixes in glorious Technicolor – why else would plug-in manufacturers go to such lengths to make the front panels of their products so visually distinct and appealing? However, when you’re actually recording into your DAW, there’s a way in we can turn our tendency to sometimes trust our eyes over our ears into an advantage.