AF’s Weblog

January 26, 2011

Cables: The Most Important Piece of Gear

Filed under: Hardware, Speakers — Tags: , , , , — audiofanzine @ 11:23 am

No matter how much caffeine you’ve consumed today, you’re not as wired as your studio – or your stage rig. But how much do you really think about those little spaghetti-like critters that form the central nervous system of your musical world?

Wire is an actual electronic component, and it can affect your sound – so let’s investigate ways to make your wires work harder for you.

Speaker Cables

With non-powered speakers that are fed from a power amp, the use of proper cables (never use instrument cords!) can make an audible sonic improvement. This is because amplifiers and speakers are very low-impedance devices, so even the slightest resistance between the two makes it more difficult to transfer power efficiently. Because reproducing bass frequencies at high volume require lots of power, cable problems generally manifest themselves as reduced or “thin” bass.

Planet Waves SpeakOn

Fig. 1: SpeakOn connectors lock into place for a firm connection, and minimize arcing if removed under load.

There are plenty of companies that make speaker cables, but in addition to the wire itself, the connectors are important. A corroded connection, or one that doesn’t make good contact, can affect the sound. Locking SpeakOn connectors (Fig. 1) are an industry standard, but banana connectors are inexpensive and reliable; screw terminals are also good if your cables have bare wire ends.

1/4″ phone plugs are also common for speaker wires, but with standard plugs, there are fewer points of contact with the jack compared to SpeakOn or banana connectors. However, there are phone plugs that have additional compression springs to provide better contact (Fig. 2).

As to the wire itself, the smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire-and the thicker the wire, the lower the resistance. 16 gauge wire is used for a lot of systems, but for long cable runs or high power, 12 gauge is a better (albeit more expensive) option.

If you’re arguing with your budget and big-bucks speaker cables are out of the question, there’s a somewhat messy but low-cost workaround: Run several wires designed for high current (e.g., AC “zip” cords) in parallel, with an equal number of cables for the hot and ground connections, to lower the overall resistance. For example, if you run two zip cords in parallel, you’ve cut the resistance in half and four zip cords in parallel cut the resistance by 75%. With the decreased resistance, you may hear a difference (the infamous “tighter bass”) if the cable runs are fairly long, or if you play at loud volume with a lot of bass. Zip cords are available at local hardware stores.

Another option for those on a budget is to buy a coil of cable and the needed connectors, then assemble your own cables. You won’t save huge amounts of money, but it will be enough to make your wallet happy.

Planet Waves Jack


Fig. 2: This Planet Waves 1/4″ phone plug has eight compression springs on the shank, providing increased contact with the jack and also holding it more firmly in place to prevent accidental removal.

Gold-Plated Connectors: Hype or Not?

Monster Cable jacks plaqués or

Fig 3: Cables and connectors are surrounded by hype and questionable  claims, but gold-plating the ends of connectors does make a difference.

You’ve probably seen cables advertised with gold connectors (Fig. 3) and wondered if it was just hype, or really made a difference. Well, gold is indeed one of the best metals for electrical interconnection, because it is relatively malleable. As a result it will “squish” into place and fill in gaps better than other metals. This provides better contact, which improves the sound quality. (Extreme cases of bad contact produce scratchy noises, but even slight corrosion can do anything from add distortion to reduce levels.)

Unfortunately gold isn’t cheap, so you pay a premium for gold-plated connectors. But there is a pretty decent workaround: Contact enhancement chemicals, such as Caig DeoxIT, can restore and improve contact connections with non-gold-plated connectors. I’ve known studio owners who swear their sound improves if they spray their patch bay connectors every 6-12 months with DeoxIT.

Now let’s take a close look…

Multi-Conductor Cables: Caution!

Multiconductor cables can be quite delicate, as I first learned when working with SCSI cables. When you’re trying to fit so many conductors inside a single jacket, each conductor has to be pretty thin, and therefore is fairly weak.

Frequent plugging and unplugging of multiconductor cables shortens their lives much faster than an equivalent amount of stress with audio cables. Bending, twisting, or setting weighty objects on a multiconductor cable can also ruin it in short order, as can letting its weight pull on the part of the cable attached to the connector. For best results, once you wire up a multiconductor cable, make sure it’s well-supported, then leave it there.

Last Word

Well, that’s enough wire talk for now. The whole saying about a chain being only as good as its weakest link also refers to the wires that link your gear together; hopefully the above tips will strengthen some of the weaker links in your setup.

To read the full detailed article see:  All About Wires

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January 25, 2011

Avid Pro Tools 9 Review

It was THE event at the 2010 AES show in San Fran: the launch of Pro Tools 9 took center stage and generated a lot of expectations. Pro Tools 9 is not merely a simple update. It is in fact a small revolution for Avid, given that the famous DAW is now open to the external world — for the first time ever.

Over the last couple of months there were rumors everywhere about the possibility of, one day, being able to use the well-known digital audio platform independently from the dedicated Avid hardware interfaces… All of you who have been patiently waiting for that moment can rejoice: now Avid Pro Tools doesn’t need Avid hardware to work, and still deliver a high performance. Or at least that’s the assertion by the American manufacturer — the leader in the digital pro audio and video markets.

Surely the most skeptical will think that it will only be possible with a “light” version of the software or something. Wrong!  We mean THE Pro Tools 9 — an almost “unique” version that works with all sorts of digital audio interfaces. However, when searching for more information on Avid’s website things get a bit more complicated, considering that there are several possible configurations at very different prices!

In order to make things clear, we will start by giving you an overview of the main software and hardware configurations and then introduce the new features offered by Pro Tools 9.

Set Menu or à la carte

Avid Pro Tools 9

Until now, the options to use Pro Tools were quite simple because they were limited: you could choose between an expensive Pro Tools HD system (including at least one DSP Core card upgradeable with Access cards) or the more affordable Pro Tools LE system with limited functionality (the price depended on the interface you chose)… Today, the configurations are quite different, although there is still some hierarchy when it comes to features (and price).

The first version is still the flagship in Avid’s DAW range: Pro Tools HD 9. Like its predecessor, this update of Pro Tools HD 8 works only with HD Core and Accel PCIe cards (including nine DSPs each) and is sold bundled as before: HD1 system (with one Core card), HD2 system (with one Core card and one Accel card) and HD3 system (with one Core card and two Accel cards). There is no surprise up to now.

The real change comes with the second version called Pro Tools HD Native, which is a piece of software that provides exactly the same features as the “HD” version but without a DSP card. Instead, Pro Tools HD Native is sold with a PCIe card with two Mini-Digilink ports that allow the user to connect any HD interface to it, like the new Avid HD I/O interfaces: 16×16 Analog, 16×16 Digital, HD MADI, and the new HD Omni! In other words, this Pro Tools version is the first “HD version” that can work without a dedicated DSP card… In fact, the compatibility between Pro Tools HD Native and the UAD-2 card system has just been officially announced… Does it start to make sense to you now?

Last but not least, the product range includes another version, simply called Pro Tools 9, which is very similar to the HD version and works on both Mac and PC platforms, regardless of your ASIO or Core Audio digital audio interface. This new hardware-independent version has the clear goal of competing with other native sequencers.

Let see if it can succeed!…

Pro Tools Will Always Stay Pro Tools

It’s true that the Pro Tools concept doesn’t change with this new update. We will probably have to wait some more time before certain features appear in the Avid software. Despite all, the manufacturer wants to listen to what its users have to say through IdeaScale.

 

And let’s make something clear: the fact that Pro Tools is used by the vast majority of professionals is not only due to the brand’s effective marketing. Apart from the proven quality of the ready-to-use hardware/software solutions in the HD range, Pro Tools has always had a great response due to the design of the software itself. Although it lacks some features, the software allows for an easy and fast recording, editing and mixing of audio, in comparison to other tools that make things much more complex because of their sophistication (for example, until version 4, the side chain was incredibly complex in Cubase and Nuendo compared to Pro Tools…).

 

For primary tasks, Avid’s sequencer is not disappointing at all and allows the user to work well and fast. That’s the main reason why it remains the first choice of many professionals and why it can be very appealing to beginners who can easily get scared by the endless menus, tabs and options in some competitor products… If all sequencers offered a demo version, these differences would be obvious, making the user’s decision much more easier.

Conclusion

By ensuring the compatibility of its flagship product with the external world, Avid took a huge step forward, which will certainly delight many professionals and semi-professionals: from now on, you can take the software anywhere, and even if it’s not an HD version it allows you to do some serious work.

After the major update that version 8 represented, we expected more new features and plug-in improvements. And we are still in shock by the price of the Complete Production ToolKit, which addresses professionals mainly. Although the “big” Pro Tools is now affordable to all budgets, it is not the best tool for everyone. And now that it can be really compared with other sequencers it could suffer from the aggressiveness of its competitors. But, since Avid is not a company that rests on its laurels, we are looking forward to seeing how this market will evolve…

Advantages:

  • Pro Tools usable with third-party audio interfaces!
  • Ease of installation/use/configuration of the software
  • Possible configurations
  • Improved I/O setup
  • Easier bus routing
  • Latency compensation (finally)!

Drawbacks:

  • Few new features compared to version 8 in terms of functionality
  • No VST/AU support
  • Complete Production Toolkit for HD version too expensive for non-professionals
  • Not all audio interfaces are 100% supported
  • Bounce only in real time

To read the full detailed article see:  Pro Tools 9 Review

 

January 18, 2011

Best of NAMM 2011: The Top 11

Following tradition, we present to you Audiofanzine’s Top 11 gear picks from NAMM 2011.

The organizers of NAMM 2011 promised us to ‘take it to 11’ this year at Anaheim.  Were they referencing Spinal Tap or giving a nod to the year 2011? Or maybe even Audiofanzine’s traditional Top 11 NAMM list 😉 ?  Either way, this was a very busy and interesting NAMM.  Pre-NAMM rumors came true, the Steinberg website crashed, and Audiofanzine started shooting reel the night before doors opened.  Being jet-lagged from Europe apparently has its advantages.

NAMM 2011 will be remembered as the year of the tech hard gear.  From the deluge of products that were released this year, it was really hard to limit our list to just 11 items.  Hence, we added our Very Honorable Mentions section.  I remind our readers again, that the list is presented in no particular order (the products at the top of the list are not ‘better’ than others), there is no real way to compare products from different classes, and at the end, this is just our opinion.

The Top 11

omg11.  Spectrasonics and Bob Moog Foundation OMG-1

Oh my god!   Designed by Spectrasonics’ Eric Persing, the OMG-1 is the product of a collaboration between Spectrasonics and the Bob Moog Foundation.  The components are a Moog Little Phatty analogue synthesizer, two iPod touches, two Apple iPads, an Akai LPK 25, an Apple Mac mini, Spectrasonics Omnisphere and the new Spectrasonics TR app. These are all integrated into a hand-crafted curly maple cabinet created by American artisan Daniel Auon.

It is a sight to behold – and strictly a one-off that you can’t buy [note: gear that you can’t buy…a strange concept indeed]. However, Eric Persing is donating the OMG-1 to the Bob Moog Foundation, which will be offering it as a prize in a competition that kicks off on 15 March.

2.  Cubase 6

 

cubase 6Wasn’t 5.5 just released?  Well, Cubase 6 and Cubase Artist 6 offer enhanced features within the Project window. The newly introduced Track Edit Groups option is designed to refine the work with multitrack recordings, allowing related events on multiple tracks to be grouped and edited simultaneously, while the new Lane Track offers convenient multitake comping for selecting and consolidating audio parts to form the perfect take. The redesigned transient and automatic tempo detection, phase-accurate audio quantization and drum replacement functions incorporated in Cubase 6 help to smooth out  glitches in live-recorded drum tracks. The Key Editor has further been enhanced with an Inspector panel and the groundbreaking Note Expression feature for creating and editing multiple controller values on a single-note level. Also included is the new Dynamics Lane, which allows real-time listening of dynamic changes while automatically in sync with dynamic notations from the Score Editor.  For all new features you can check out Steinberg’s site, which has since recovered…

3.  Eventide Space

The little reverb box that could! Eventide Reverb in a compact case for Guitar, Stage and Studio. Space features 12 of Eventide’s signature reverb combination effects taken from the H8000FW and Eclipse V4. These effects, previously available only in Eventide rack processors, are now available in a compact package.  It has reverb algorithms combined with delays, pitch shifting, tremolo, modulation, and special effects.  And how does it sound? Wonderfully wicked!

4.  Dave Smith Tempest

tempestDave Smith is tempting us again with his new analog drum machine.  Tempest is a collaboration between Smith and instrument designer Roger Linn.  Tempest is Smith’s first to utilize analog synthesis to generate the sounds. “We’ve designed a very flexible new synth voice for Tempest,” said Smith. Linn added, “The design of Tempest reflects a rethinking of what a drum machine needs to be in the current era. It’s not so much a drum machine as a new musical performance instrument for the creation, manipulation, and arrangement of beat-oriented music, with an intuitive and efficient use of human gestures.”  Tempest’s 16 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads are arranged in an 8 x 2 array to facilitate both real-time and step entry of beats. Two pressure- and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers provide a new method of performance and control.

5.  Korg Kronos

kronos

Korg teased us mercilessly before the show started, but finally Korg introduced the Kronos Music Workstation. Kronos unites nine individual synthesis engines in a single instrument. Together, they represent the legacy of Korg, and the history of the electronic keyboard industry itself, Korg says.  Kronos’ details and features are too numerous to include here so please check out the official press release here.

6.  Kemper Profiling Amplifier

The Kemper Profiling Amplifier is a new concept for guitar amplification in the digital domain. Following the idea that every guitar player should be able to bring his personal sound of the tube amp setup he owns into a reproducible format, The Kemper Profiling Amplifier is designed to “learn” the sonic behavior of a guitar amplifier and offer the tone and feel the player knows from his “real” amp. According to the manufacturer,  “now there will be a profile available of basically any sonic condition the tube amp setup can provide.”  The Kemper Profiling Amplifier comes with profiles of classic tube amps, including the classic speaker cabinets which are a part of the profiling result…

And the list goes on till 11!

Very Honorable Mentions

The following products represent other gear that we simply could not fit on the Top 11 list, but would have certainly made it had the list been longer or NAMM 2011 less hectic!  Congrats to the manufacturers for making this NAMM one to remember.

 

To see the full Top 11 list with video demos please see:  Best of NAMM 2011

 

January 15, 2011

Winter NAMM 2011 Day 2 Highlights

And here are some video demo highlights from Day 2:

To see all news and videos visit: Winter NAMM 2011

January 14, 2011

Winter NAMM 2011 Day 1 Highlights

So without further ado I present to you some video demos that were shot by our team down there in Anaheim:

To see more visit: Winter NAMM 2011 Videos and News

January 13, 2011

Winter NAMM 2011

NAMM 2011 promises us this year to turn up the heat and take it off scale to 11. This year on January 13-16 in Anaheim, CA, Audiofanzine will again be on the trade show floor to bring you the latest NAMM news, gossip and video demos from the vast world of musical instruments and recording/audio gear.

Check out all the latest here:  Audiofanzine Winter NAMM 2011 Coverage

And to start with here is a taste of things to come:

Misa Digital Kitara Video Demo

January 10, 2011

Cakewalk Sonar X1 Review

The new Sonar version has arrived. However, instead of being version 9, it is named Sonar X1. Cakewalk actually decided to completely rebuild the interface of its sequencer. And it changes everything. For good.

Interface

Review Environment
 

We reviewed the software with a release candidate version and two different computers: my studio computer is a Q6600 (quad core) with 4 GB RAM running Win XP, it has two 20″ wide screens and my sound card is an RME Multiface. I also have a Behringer BCF (to control the sound card), a Mackie Control (for the sequencer) and a Novation Remote SL 25 with Automap (2.5) for virtual instruments. The second computer is my notebook. I use it a lot for office and web applications and also a bit for photo editing. Except for some utilities, the only music applications I had used, until this test, with this computer was the Virtual DJ and the Hercule DJ Console last summer. The notebook is a Dell Precision M4400 running Seven 64 bit on a Core 2 Duo T9400 CPU with 4 GB RAM. The sound card is an Echo Indigo IO. The review was done at 24 bits/88.2 kHz with a 256-sample buffer size for 3.3 ms nominal latency and 7.3 ms total latency.


A recurrent reproach about previous Sonar versions was its confusing interface. Experienced users got on with it and liked to have a lot of information in front of their eyes, but new users could get easily lost and even miss interesting functions the software offers.

For this new version, Cakewalk put most of its efforts in redesigning the user interface. It’s almost as if Cakewalk developers asked themselves: if we could create a new software from scratch, how would we do it? The result includes new windows, a new menu and function structure, and loads of work on graphic aspects. The result looks astonishing. Everything is much clearer, much more easily readable, and all functions —especially the most interesting and powerful ones— are now easily accessible.

The new default screen layout recalls the old one… The Global View displays the main elements (see screenshot below).

All these elements can be floating, and the user can move, enlarge or reduce them. The different screen configurations can be saved in ten screen sets, six of which can be directly accessed by clicking on the tool bar. This way you can create different working environments depending on the task and instantaneously switch between them.

The Multidock (on the bottom by default) can host any element: the content of the current track, the mixer, the step sequencer, the matrix, etc. You can also drag the browser, virtual instruments, etc. into it. You can browse among the different elements using tabs. The GUI is very practical and fast. Like all other windows, the Multidock can be moved to a second monitor. That’s probably the ideal working configuration: it allows us to keep a track plus the inspector maximized on one screen while other elements are displayed on the other screen. Awesome!

But, there is a problem: when the Multidock is in fullscreen mode on the second monitor and you are using virtual instruments, it will appear in window mode after you restart the program and the virtual instruments will be on floating windows again. And even more annoying: after dragging the browser into the Multidock on the second screen, Sonar will crash if you try to take it back. We hope this will be quickly fixed.

Moreover, context menus have been added directly to each window, allowing you to access all useful functions and controls. We miss the possibility to open a window directly from a menu in the Multidock. That way you wouldn’t have to look for some of them in the main menu.

However, the Multidock is still a very valuable feature. The same applies to the new track inspector.

It has been updated and improved, and is now twice as wide by default. This means that, for MIDI tracks, you now get the extended view with direct access to many parameters like arpeggiator, groove, etc. For audio tracks, you get two tracks displayed side by side: the current track and the output bus it is assigned to (or the main out if the track is not routed to a bus). You can also display the ProChannel, which we will describe later and add valuable information: properties and effects of the clip or the groove, track properties, audiosnap settings, and a very convenient notepad. Everything is easily accessible, immediate and intuitive. This module is virtually perfect.

Cakewalk Sonar X1

The same applies to the track display. Beside the new GUI that makes everything much more readable, a simple but highly valuable function has been added: each track head includes a menu to select the track’s content display and what you want to edit. This is what Cakewalk calls Track Filter. The days when you risked moving a clip by clicking on the wrong place when you wanted to edit overlayed automation curves are now over. From now on, this menu allows you to display and edit only the desired automation curve. It allows you to edit clips, track or clip automation curves, as well as audio transients (audiosnap). For MIDI tracks, transient editing is replaced by note editing.

And it all turns even more awesome with the SmartTool. Thanks to this intelligent tool, Cakewalk has made the workflow with a mouse much more fluid now. The basic idea is that you don’t need to change tools to manage different tasks. Although the usual tools are still available, you almost don’t need them anymore, because the mouse automatically adapts to what you’re doing and where you’re doing it.

Thus, without changing tools, you can add and edit notes in the piano roll, move clips, manage fades in/out in an audio track, edit an automation curve in the neighbor track (depending on the filter of the selected track). The type of operation/action is defined by the place where you click the object. Very useful. If needed, you still have the possibility to quickly switch between tools via a pop-up window using the “T” keyboard shortcut or clicking with the mouse wheel (which must be preset as “center button”).

To wrap it up, this new interface is really excellent. Experienced Sonar users will quickly find everything they need, considering that everything is based on what already existed. Moreover, they will be able to improve their workflow, which will be faster and more comfortable (and they will not contribute to make their optician rich). As for new users, they will be able to learn the software much easier and faster and will easily access many well-conceived and powerful tools.

There is one thing that will surely disappoint some users: the score display is still the same after all these years. It seems that Cakewalk planned to improve it but they decided to take some time to launch a major evolution… Hopefully.

We would like to mention two new features that appeared in version 8.5, which we hadn’t reviewed.

The first one is the Matrix, a heritage of Project 5, Cakewalk’s electro sequencer. This grid is similar to what you can find in Ableton Live where lines correspond to tracks (audio or virtual instruments) and rows to song parts.

Cakewalk Sonar X1

Cells can contain audio or MIDI loops (or one-shot samples). Clicking on a cell starts the playback, a second click stops it. The same applies to rows: click on them to start all cells in a row. Rows can correspond to sections of a song you can mix together. For example, click on the bass of an other row and this bass line will replace the bass of the current row. Triggering can be instantaneous or synced (to the bar, 1/4 note, 1/8 note, etc.). The cells can be played in loops or only one time. And you can control everything via MIDI, so you can compose or improvise either with the mouse or a master keyboard. The Matrix can work independently from the track data (only the matrix is played) or on top of the project playback. You can also record in a track whatever is being done in the Matrix.

The other new feature is the step sequencer. It uses the principle of vintage sequencers (like Rebirth does). Say hello again to the grid! However, this time lines are notes (or drum elements) while rows correspond to beats. This sequencer is quite powerful and very easy to use. We just miss a glide (or glissando) function to perfectly emulate a vintage sequencer. You can load and save sequences (called patterns) independently from the project.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

In spite of a couple bugs (remember that this is a pre-release version, so hopefully they will be fixed at launch date) this major update is a great success. Sonar keeps all its advantages and gains considerably in readability, ease of use, working comfort, and effectiveness. I realized it when I went back to version 8 and wanted to compare the performance: it felt as if I had gone back several years in time! The virtual instrument and effect package provided is still very good and the added plug-ins sound really nice. What else could you ask for? That it were cheaper? It is! Cakewalk decided to strike a decisive blow offering the “big” Producer version for less than $400.

Advantages:

  • Greatly enhanced design
  • Interface readability
  • Pleasant look
  • Intelligent tools and functions
  • Excellent and comprehensive instrument pack
  • High-quality effects
  • Very competitive price

Drawbacks:

  • Crashes under Win XP
  • Some design details can still be improved
  • Nothing new regarding the score editor
  • Nothing new regarding functionality

To  read the full detailed article see:  Sonar X1 Review

January 5, 2011

Music Composing on the Fast Track

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — audiofanzine @ 3:01 pm

Don’t let technology get in the way of your inspiration—tame that technology, and make it work for you.

Is “writing in the studio” an oxymoron? It seems that writing a song and recording it are two totally different activities, and need to be treated as such. What got me thinking about this was how easily I could write songs when just sitting down at a piano or guitar, yet how difficult that process became when sitting in front of a sequencer. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be this way.

This article covers what I call “fast tracking”—using a sequencer/DAW in a way that’s optimized for writing, not recording or editing. By employing this process, I finally feel I can write on a computer as easily as on an instrument. Of course, different people approach the creative process differently; but I’m probably typical enough that many of you will find the following tips helpful.

Capture that Inspiration Immediately

Inspiration comes and goes fast. The one way to prolong the state of being inspired is to start exploiting the inspiration as soon as it hits. Do everything you can to speed your computer’s start up time, such as periodic defragmentation and if you use Windows, have it rearrange programs for fastest startup.

Next, check out the companion article Customize Your Daw with Templates. There’s nothing like having an “instant environment” that’s optimized for writing—with instruments, patterns, track assignments, and so on ready to go. If you can’t start laying down tracks within 30 seconds of your computer booting, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Start with MIDI, not Audio, Tracks

Sure, a MIDI piano probably won’t sound as good as your 9 ft. Bosendorfer. But when writing, keep a piece of music as malleable as possible. You may need to change key or tempo as the piece takes shape, and while it’s possible to make these kinds of changes with digital audio thanks to time and pitch-stretching, MIDI simplifies the process compared to using digital audio.

Don’t Edit As You Go

Cakewalk Quantize

By using a MIDI FX plug-in, parts can be quantized during play back while songwriting. However, as the original part is not change, quantization can be removed or edited at any time.

The single biggest inspiration-killer when you’re writing on a DAW is editing. Editing is a left brain activity, not a right brain, creative type of activity. Laying down a part, then trying to perfect it, is a sure way to have inspiration take a hike.

For example, consider quantization. When I’m writing in Sonar and want to quantize a part, I just insert the Quantization MIDI FX in the MIDI track, dial up 16th notes with 85% quantization strength, and don’t think about it any more. Because the original data is unchanged, should the part be any good, I can always remove the FX and do more detailed quantization later.

Remember, what makes a great song is not a superb instrument timbre; that just makes a great song sound better. Concentrate on what matters most when you’re writing: The emotional impact on the listener. Remember that no listener ever said they liked a song because the vocals were recorded with a Neumann mic.

The Bottom Line is Attitude

Although we’ve covered some specific tips, the main point is attitude. Once you shift your brain so that it understands the difference between the writing process and the recording process—and I do believe these are indeed different animals —that’s half the battle. The other half is having the discipline not to get sidetracked during the writing process. All I can say is that since figuring this out, my DAW is now as good a songwriting device as an instrument. In fact, in many ways, it’s even better.

To read the full detailed article see:  Music Composing on the Fast Track

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