A $300 home studio? REALLY ?



I didn’t expect my last post to get me in trouble.

But it did.

It seemed simple enough – I was just letting you know that Graham from the Recording Revolution website had been interviewed on Pensado’s Place.

I included a brief intro to Graham, for people who didn’t already know him, and I mentioned that he recently set himself a challenge – to record a song using a home studio setup costing only $300. And that’s where the trouble started.

Because it turns out, some people don’t like that idea !

They don’t believe that you can get great results using affordable gear, and they think Graham is deliberately misleading people by saying so. Telling them what they want to hear, rather than being realistic and honest.

So, what’s my opinion?

It’s a nice idea, sure, and Graham’s mix sounded pretty good – but can you really get good sound in a home studio costing only 300 dollars, especially when you put it under the microscope for mastering ? REALLY ?

I decided to find out. Watch the video above to hear the results for yourself, and let me know what you think in the comments…
 
 

Apple Music – will indie artists get their fair share ?


 
Everybody is talking about Apple Music today.

There are people who are excited, people who are unimpressed and people who are actively critical of yet more “corporate” activity in music.

People who think Apple can save the music business, people who think streaming is already killing what’s left of the music business, and people who think music isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about business at all.

I have sympathies with all these viewpoints, in varying amounts.

Then there are the questions:

  • Will the social features be any good ?
  • Will the “curated” content be worth listening to ?
  • Will people stay subscribed, after the free introductory period ?
  • What will the price be outside the US ?
  • How much of that money will get to the artists ?

…and many more.

I have no idea about the answers to any of these, but that last question is the really important one, from where I sit.

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Stereo width in mastering – how to measure, monitor and modify it



People are always asking me about stereo width, image depth and “three dimensionality” in audio – and whether you can influence them at the mastering stage.

The answer is Yes – although it’s almost always better to get it right in the mix, just as with almost everything else !

That isn’t always possible though, and the truth is you really can get a surprising amount of control over these aspects of a master, even though you’re typically only ever working with a stereo file at the mastering stage. In this video I show you:

  • How to measure the stereo width of your mix, in a simple, affordable way
  • What it sounds like when there is too much (or too little) stereo width in your audio
  • Why you should never use the “polarity flip” trick to try and get more width in your mix
  • Another two much more powerful & sophisticated ways to analyse the stereo image and phase content of your master, using the excellent Nugen Visualizer plugin
  • A simple, effective way to take detailed control of the phase coherence of your audio – and when you shouldn’t use it

Take a look, and let me know what you think in the comments !

Why Spotify’s ‘set the same volume level for all tracks’ option is back, and why it matters

spotify-same-volume-setting-gone
 
Since I originally wrote this post, Spotify have listened to their users, and restored their ‘set the same volume level for all tracks’ option to the Advanced Preferences of their desktop app.

And that’s good news, because:

  1. It means that Spotify users care about loudness
  2. They said so, and
  3. Spotify have listened to them.

All you need to do to take advantage of this improvement is update to the latest version and restart Spotify.

BUT…

We’re not out of the woods yet.

Because Spotify’s implementation of normalisation still sucks, big-time – that’s why getting why this preference option back was so important.

[Read more…]