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Abandon normal instruments: How to start making music from NOTHING – Today

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There’s a recurring theme on this site:

It ain’t what you use, its the way that you use it.

Watch the video above, and then tell me you don’t agree – I dare you.

We spend so much of our time lusting after bits of gear, the next new “must-have” plugin, a new guitar or a better amp… and it’s all nonsense.

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There are no “stair steps” in digital audio ! What The Matrix can teach us about “resolution”

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Remember this sequence from the Matrix ? “There is no spoon”.

Well recently I’m hearing people talk more and more about “resolution” in digital audio, and I’m here to tell you -

There is no resolution.

It’s a red herring – an idea-virus left over from the earliest days of digital audio, perpetuated by gear manufacturers to try and sell us more kit we don’t need. Here’s why.

It all starts with the myth:

“Digital can never sound as good as analogue”

This statement simply isn’t true, but it doesn’t stop people repeating it like some kind of mantra. The reasons they give usually hang on the fact that digital audio samples the audio – “freezing” it at regular moments in time – and claiming that it can therefore never sound as smooth and continuous as the original analogue signal.

You can see it for yourself, they say. Zoom in far enough on a digital waveform and eventually you can see the blocky, grainy, digital “stair-steps” – so it stands to reason that you can hear them, if your hearing and equipment is good enough, right ?

Wrong.

There are no stair-steps.

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The Daily Adventures Of Mixerman – the Audiobook Dramatisation

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You’ve probably heard of Mixerman.

If not, now is the time to find out !

I first came across him way back in the early days of the Mastering Engineer’s Webboard(*) where he sparked a minor controversy by refusing to give his real name and credentials – in fact I remember things got pretty heated when he got into an argument about whether it was possible to get “big” sounding mixes using a DAW called Alsihad. (Never heard of Alsihad ? You need to find out about Mixerman – read on !)

(*) I was about to type ‘RIP’ because last time I checked the Webboard was offline, but it seems that it’s back ! That’s great news, there’s masses of information there, check it out.

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Ded Leppard ? They don’t make ‘em like that any more etc…

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It’s a tired old cliche that “they don’t make ‘em that any more” in audio – but the retro fetish for vinyl, old consoles and mics gets stronger every day.

It’s not often you get to make a direct comparison like this one. I didn’t make the video above, but it’s an interesting listen !

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Stop worrying and love the prog

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You’ve probably guessed by now, but I love prog.

Did I say that out loud ?

Well, it’s true – there doesn’t seem to be much point in denying it any more – after all, Radiohead are one of the biggest bands in the world, and they’re prog, right ?

So while it may not be exactly hip, I don’t think that enjoying progressive rock can be considered quite the crime against music that it once was.

And, being me, one thing I’ve always enjoyed about “progressive” music is that it almost always sounds superb.

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Ian Shepherd


BBC Radio 4 Interview

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Ian Shepherd from Production Advice discusses the Loudness Wars

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