Welcome to my audio-blog!
Here I'll post shootouts, some personal audio-research and more. Studio-related stuff mostly.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reaper (DAW)

I've been using Raper for a while now,
and I'm impressed..

Reaper is a DAW (the software of an Digital Audio Workstation) and handles audio and midi in a very good way. It's cheap, and there's a good community-feeling around it.

To me Reaper shows some times of being younger than the established Daws (as Sonar, Cubase and so on), but has some really nice functions in it like:
- Queed Rendering. Line up all tracks/mixes you want to mix down/freeze. Hit "render all", go for a cup of tea, and there it is, finished.
- Routing matrix
- Nested folders
- Deep action menu with customized shortcuts.
- Long list of keyboard-shortcuts, with full customization.
- And a lot small this and that, that just makes life easier :)

The midi editor

So, many DAW's can do somthing similar. Why should I try Reaper? Well, to me it's three main reasons:
  • It's cheap, and has a discount for small business/personal use
  • Cockos, the small company that makes Reaper, seems very nice to me. So, as example, the demo you can download is not crippled in any way. Technically you can use the demo-version for ever.
  • The development of Reaper is in very close contact with their users. So, it's a little less "they and us".
ReaXComp, one of the plugins in Reaper

The only thing I really miss at this moment is full support for making audio time-stretch to advanced tempo-changes. But I believe this is coming soon. And, there is a workaround..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reaper: ReaDynamicEq

I've made a preset/fx-chain for a Dynamic Equalizer in Reaper

What it is:
A Dynamic equalizer are used instead of an ordinary Eq when the chosen frequency needs to be tamed only at certain levels. So, it's sometimes less Eq, sometimes more.

Download here:
ReaDynamicEq -1band
ReaDynamicEq -3band

Download and installation:
  • Download the above files (save link as)
  • Copy to your "FxChains" -folder
    (Example: "C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\Application Data\REAPER\FXChains\Dynamic Eq\")
Now, in Reaper, on desired track:
(This part is explained for the 1Band-version)
  • Right-click fx-button, navigate "add Fx Chain > Dynamic Eq > ... "

This opens the Track fx Window. You'll see two ReaEqs, ignore the first (it operates in slave-modus).

To adjust settings.
On the second ReaEq:
  • Frequenzy/Bandwidth: Adjust as desired
  • Gain: Gain works only in slave-modus here, see below..

Click on Gain, then "Param > Parameter Modulation". This will open the "Parameter Modulation for ReaEq"
  • .. baseline value: Adjust fixed band-gain here
  • Attack/Release: Adjust to taste
  • Min volume: Sets the Threshold (low) for when the gain-reduction should be applied
  • Max volume: Sets the Threshold (high) for when max gain-adjustment is reached
  • Strength: Sets the amount of gain-reduction (20% typically gives 4.4db reduction above Thres-high)

  1. Set Min and Max volume to zero and adjust Strength to get a clear view of how much gain-reduction a certain Strength-setting gives. 
  2. If you're used to tweaking with added gain, do that with ".. baseline value".
  3. Leave Max Volume at 0db for a more normal mode, or adjust downwards to give the compressor a more range-character. Adjust Strength accordingly.
  4. Add bands in the Eq to combine the dynamic band with normal EQ-bands.
  5. If you want to use shelving bands, you'll have to set the corresponding slave eq-band to "high/low-pass"


Saturday, August 7, 2010

A vocoder :)

My favorite audio-instructional-video:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mackie Onyx 800R

I've just got an Mackie Onyx 800R
8 preamps with converters. Feature, specs and photos here.

I've done some testing. Preamps:
  • Mackie Onyx 800R
  • Mackie 802-vlz3
  • Art Mpa
files here.
Se also: Gearsluts - Onyx vs. Art Mpa
And: Gearsluts - Onyx vs. vlz3

I was originally going for a one-channel preamp, the Gap-73, but had an opportunity to buy the Onyx for the same price. A deal I couldn't resist.
I expected the Onyx to be as detailed and transparent as the vlz3, but not having the sterile sound that made me label the vlz3 as useless. But I got some surprises..

My conclusions:
- The Onyx and the vlz3 is quite different in sound
- The Onyx is a little darker, richer in the low mid/bass, than the other two.
- The vlz3 sounded good for the guitar-recording.
- The Mpa felt a little warmer than the Onyx, the Onyx maybe a little clearer.
- The Onyx did not feel hyped in the high-mids as the vlz3.

So, to me, the Onyx seem quite suitable for all sources, but not always better then the other two (I'll have to test the DI for bass-guitar as well, expecting the Onyx to be a good choice).
I did a test with vocal and an SM58, and the Onyx did quite well, turning the SM58 into a usable vocal-mic for me (it wasn't before).

So, the Onyx to me: Very well featured, and allround good sounding, but it didn't make me go running around singing hallelujah :)

31/7-10: I'll just add that  I've tested the preamps with bassguitar and DI, and the onyx was again richer in the bottom than the vlz3, and maybe a little more balanced in the mids. The onyx will be my go-to for Bass and DI.
(I'm not using the mpa much for bass)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Choosing the right audio-interface

There are very many audio-interfaces on the market.
How to choose the right one?
RME Fireface UC, a good USB audio interface with many options

Here are some important considerations:
  • What's your budget?
  • Pci, Pcie, Firewire or USB? Built in or external box?
    Pci and Pcie is Pc only. Mac goes with Firewire. For lowest latency: Pcie, Pci, Firwire, Usb (fastest first). For easy portability: Firewire and Usb
  • How many inputs (converters) do you need?
    • How many will you max need in the future?
      This is how expandable the unit is. Adat? SPDIF?
  • Do you need onboard preamps? How many?
    The quality of the preamps is a main factor. Are you really gonna use them for studio-grade work, then they better be good. However, if you're new or on a tight budget, some ok built in pres does the job well.
  • How many audio out?
    Just 2 out to your speakers/headphones, or do you need more?
    • Flexibility with more headphones/ monitors?
  • Converters: What kind of quality are you aiming for?
    Most interfaces have decent AD and DA converters, but if your aiming at studio-quality, you might go for pro ones like RME, Lynx, Apogee.
  • Midi in/out is typical standard for every interface, but be sure it's included.
  • Do you need to operate on very low latency? (Good for monitoring software- instruments/effects)
  • DSP (fx, eq's and stuff).. nice, but how much do you need it?
    A DSP-mixer is another story, be sure a flexible DSP-mixer is included.
  • Look and feel: Is it gonna be at your desktop? In your rack? Just some breakoutcables from your Pc? Fancy? Solid? Portable?

Saturday, June 12, 2010


After working a lot with tempo-changes over the last years, I've reached some conclusions:
  • In music, tempo-changes are always curves (never straight lines)
Unfortunately it seems to me that DAW's (Digital Audio Workstation) use mostly step-based tempo-changes (This is similar to digital interpretation of audio-waveforms). I can understand this from a technical point of view, because the tempo is the foundation for a song in the DAW, and then needs to be rock steady.

However I would like to see a DAW with:
  • Tempo-envelopes (at least Reaper has this today, but only flat lines)
  • Nodes and curves
  • Vector-based, or mimicing vector-based curves
  • Record tempo-possibility (Example: You can use an expression-pedal or midi-slider to adjust and record the tempo as you play along)
..but, I'm a dreamer :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Some tests

Here are a couple of test I've done

Mackie vlz3 vs. ART MPA

Røde NT 1000 vs. CAD M179

New sound-card: Rme Hdsp 9632

I've got a new sound-card for my audio-production, the Rme Hdsp 9632.
And I'm very pleased with it.

My former was a Terratec EWX 24/96, and I really didn't notice a huge difference regarding the converters (I haven't done a proper test).
But, the Hdsp just give me an opportunity to monitor my recordings down to 32 samples latency, with software plug-ins. And that just like getting a bass-rig and a guitar-rig :)
And the headroom is practically -106db on balanced cables, and that to feels great (I think it was something like -70db on the EWX)
And I have plenty of in/out options,
right now I'm having 4 in (2 balanced, 2 unbalanced)/ 2 out, and that's just what I need. I can expand later if I want.

So, just very pleased.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My new music blog!!

So, here's my new blog for music-stuff.


My ordinary web-page: G-Sun.no