Friday, October 16, 2009

Drumming with Russ Miller

As promised, here is the episode featuring pro session and touring drummer Russ Miller. It's been a while in the making, but the move to our new studio is complete and we're back on track with projects.

Among many things, Russ stresses the importance of being independent and being able to do more than just one thing. In the music world, gone are the days of just being a musician. We have to be the business owners, web guys, and social media mavens.

Tune in to the Podcast to hear more about Russ and his experience as a seasoned drummer and business owner.

Next week we'll have a report about last week's Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York City.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Selling Yourself

I mentioned last week that we were going to have pro drummer Russ Miller on the show. He will still be on, but not till next week. Instead, I decided to discuss something I find important to anyone in the music industry. This week, I interview Ryan Canestro of the Home Recording Show.

As recording gear and software becomes more readily available to the masses, the lines of distinction between a home studio and a professional studio become blurred.

As is evident when you go to any Guitar Center, anything that pro studios had 10 years ago is available for not thousands, but hundreds of dollars. To this end, many musicians think that because they have some recording gear, they are recording engineers. Sometimes this may be true, but only if that gear is accompanied with knowledge of how to use it.

In todays industry, it is more important than ever to sell yourself as a musician and recording engineer. Anyone can get the same gear you have, but not everyone can have the same attitude and work ethic as you. Really selling yourself is the best way to ensure that potential clients look at the most important piece of the recording chain, YOU.

Another aspect of selling yourself is being able to do many jobs, and wear many different hats not just recording. As Ryan points out, being an engineer is part psychology, part referee, part web master, mixer, host, and numerous other things. Check out the Podcast to hear more.

Next week will be pro session and touring drummer Russ Miller.

Monday, May 25, 2009

AIR User's Blog

This week on the show we talk with Russ Hughes, founder of the Digi AIR User's Blog. The blog is a place for users of the AIR virtual instruments to get tip and techniques, download samples and patches, and keep up with the latest developments.

Not much more to say this week so just check out the Podcast and check out the blog at

Be sure to tune in next week when we'll have pro session and touring drummer Russ Miller on the show.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Live Sound vs. Studio

This weeks Podcast and interview with live sound engineer Trevor Young will take a look at the world of live and touring sound. I don't like typing, so I'm going to get this over with asap. No backspacing or editing. Being mostly a studio guy myself, I wanted to get a professional viewpoint on how live sound issues are different from the studio. One point often brought up by live guys is that they only have a few minutes to get a good mix, whereas in the studio, one can take a week just getting the drums to sound killer. Does this make the live guy better at mixing? Does it make the studio engineer slower? How does the fast pace of the live sound world affect the quality of sound coming from the speakers for the brief moment in time during the concert? To help answer some of these questions, I talked with live sound engineer Trevor Young. He helps dispel some myths and rumors about live sound, as well as emphasizing one of my mantras: "Use Your Ears!"

What do I mean, use your ears. Well, as technology advances and there is more and more gear available to the pro engineer and consumer musician, there seems to be less emphasis on talent and more emphasis on a particular piece of gear or software plugin. We've all seen the ads that basically say, "If you get this equipment, your songs will be better". Right? What people most often forget is that unless they know how to use the equipment and use their ears to tweak it and make it sound like they want, it is useless. many of the best engineers and musicians I know survive with minimal gear. The key is, they know what they want, they know how to use the gear they have, and they are constantly listening.

This rule applies in all aspects of music, including and especially live sound. In a live situation there seems to be less control of each instrument, the audience, the room, hall, venue, arena, etc. In the Podcast, Trevor hits on this point very well. It doesn't matter what the graphic EQ says. It matters what it sounds like. Each band is different, each venue is different, and each engineer has his or her own way of getting the sounds they want.

Stay tuned next week when we'll hear from Russ Hughes of the Digidesign A.I.R. user's blog. Then after that we'll talk with on of the biggest session and touring drummers today, Russ Miller. See ya next week.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ambisonics, B and B+ formats

For the Podcast this week, I thought we'd discuss something that not a lot of people know much about. Ambisonics is not a new audio format, but is making a resurgence in todays new and emerging formats. We interview Miles Fulwider, who is working as production assistant at NYU's Clive Davis Studios. Thanks to him for taking the time to give us an intro to Ambisonics as well as their decoding and encoding processes.

Instead of trying to explain what Ambisonics is, I advise you to listen to the Podcast. Also, I provide this Wiki definition:

"Ambisonics (not to be confused with ambiophonics) is a series of recording and replay techniques using multichannel mixing technology that can be used live or in the studio. By encoding and decoding sound information on a number of channels, a 2-dimensional ("planar", or horizontal-only) or 3-dimensional ("periphonic[1]", or full-sphere) sound field can be presented. Ambisonics was invented by Michael Gerzon of the Mathematical Institute, Oxford, who – with Professor Peter Fellgett[2] of theUniversity of Reading, David Brown, John Wright and John Hayes of the now defunct IMF Electronics, and building on the work of other researchers – developed the theoretical and practical aspects of the system in the early 1970s.

Along with Miles' information in the Podcast, I promised I would provide a few links to Ambisonic related sites. Of course, one can always just Google it and find more info than I can provide in this blog, but I try to make it easy for you. Here's two of the best for newbies to the subject:
At, users can upload and download samples of recordings in various formats, including DTS-CD, which can be played on a conventional 5.1 system.
There are many other links on both of these sites that can lead you deeper into the subject as well.

Next week on the show, we'll have Trevor Young discussing live sound tips and techniques, as well as some funny horror stories. Also coming up in a few weeks will be an interview with Russ Hughes of the Digidesign AIR users blog, and an interview with Russ Miller, one of the top studio and touring drummers today. His album credits include such greats as Cher, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, and a blillion others.
Stay tuned!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Recording Drums, Part 3

This week is part 3 in a three part series of recording drums. Be sure to check out the Podcast that goes along with this weeks blog.

This week focuses on adding additional elements and percussion to a drum mix, and how to make them fit in early on in the mix process. I'll also show you how to use some special efects on a drum mix to make it more lively and have some movement, without being distracting in a mix.

First off, many people add auxiliary percussion to their mixes as a final element to fill in some holes they may have. Being a drummer and percussionist, I like doing it the other way around. Add all the percussion you think you'll need at the beginning. When I record a drum track, I often add some other percussion to go along with it. Even if it may not be used in the final mix, it's there to set a foundation and a starting point for everything else that my come along in the recording process.

Second thing I like to use are some special or weird effects on drum mixes. Of course, there are many purists out there who would never dream of using effects plug-ins on drums, only on electric guitars, but I say if it can be done, why not try it? Then if it doesn't work, move on to something else. I don't want to get too extreme with this first introduction of the process, so we'll just start with a simple reverb plug-in.

Now, though reverbs are common in many types of music, the way it is used can be unique. Here's my unique approach.

1. Take a drum mix, or even just a snare drum track.

2. Duplicate the track.

3. Use a Reverse plug-in to reverse one of the duplicate tracks.

4. Add a Reverb plug-in to the Reversed track. Try setting the reverb time to whatever your quarter note value is. If your tempo is 120, the reverb time would be 500ms. Keep the Reverb 100% wet, because you'll be adding this to your dry signal later.

5. After adding and processing the reverb on that track, Reverse the track again. This will give you a track that has a reverse-reverb on it. Instead of hearing a reverb after a snare hit, you'll hear a reverb coming up to the hit.

6. Add a little of this reverse-reverb track to your dry signal.

For even a little more fun, try alternating the panning on the new track from hard left-right, to center, on each beat. This combined with the reverse-reverb effect gives the impression of the drums spreading out and then imploding to the middle on each beat.

Be sure to download the Podcast so you can hear these processes in action.

Stay tuned next week when we'll hear from Miles Fulwider about Ambisonics and the B and B+ formats.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recording Drums, Part 2

This week is part 2 in a three part series of recording drums. This week focuses on EQ and compression techniques. This blog coincides with the new podcast where you can hear the difference in different EQs, and how they affect they overall sound. You'll hear how eq can affect your drum sound, and how to use compression wisely. You can subscribe to the Podcast here.

Digi EQ 3
Waves Rennaissance EQ
JoeMeek Meequalizer
MDW Hi-Res Parametric EQ
RN Digital Frequalizer
T-Racks EQ

Waves Rennaissance Comp
Digi Compressor/Limiter Dyn 3
Bombfactory BF-3A
Bombfactory BF76
JoeMeek Compressor

Next weeks blog and podcast will focus on more advanced drum mixing techniques, and we'll hear from New York engineer, Miles Fulwider, production assistant at NYU's Clive Davis Studios.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Recording Drums, Part 1

This week is part 1 in a three part series of recording drums. This blog focuses on different microphone techniques. This blog coincides with the new podcast where you can hear the difference in various mic configurations and placements, and how they affect they overall sound. You can subscribe to the Podcast here. The next two blogs and podcasts will focus on mixing techniques including EQ, compression, reverb, and other tricks.

As with any acoustic recording, mic placement is the second most important ingredient to a great sound, second only to having a good source. If you have seen ads for Millenia Media's preamps, then you're familiar with their slogan "Their is no undo on your preamp". I like to go a couple steps before that and say, there is no undo on your mic placement, even more, there is no undo on the sound coming out of the instrument in the first place. This means that basically, what you hear is what you get. Of course, the whole recording studio industry, software, hardware, gadgets and gizmos aplenty, is built around trying to make people believe that they can polish the proverbial turd and make things sound better than the original source, but always remember, it starts at the source and mic placement.

Some of my favorite mics for recording drums, and what you will hear on the podcast, are listed below.

Kick - Audix D6

Snare Top - Shure SM57

Snare Bottom - Shure SM57

High Tom - Audix D2

Low Tom - Audix D4

Overheads - Rode NT5's

HiHats - Nady Starpower SP-9

Now, some of you may not know that the Nady Starpower is basically a $15 radioshack mic, but hey, if it works, why not use it? Most of the other mics are standard studio fare. You can find them in any professional setting. Perhaps soon, Grammy winners will be judged on how many Nady Starpowers were used on their album, instead of how many millions of records were sold to their aging, rich, grandmother.

Back on the topic now. No matter what mic you use, or what kind of mic placement you have, there is one thing that all the best recording engineers have. Good ears! No piece of equipment or gear even comes close to having as much impact and persuasion on a recording than using your ears. It's the one thing you can't buy on eBay, Guitar Center, or any store. So listen to the podcast, and do some experimenting yourself. Use your best equipment that is always with you. Here's to your ears!

Corner House Studio - Corner House Studio Podcasts - Corner House Studio Podcasts

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Online Drummer is Here!

It's finally here. After spending many laborious days and nights, the new MyOnlineDrummer site is now up and running. This is a great resource for musicians, composers, and producers of all kinds to get professional, custom drum tracks for their projects. 
The process is simple, and works like this: 
  1. Record your song, could be just a rough demo or completed song
  2. Upload your song and tell me what kind of drums you want
  3. I record a drum track for your song
  4. Download the finished drums and add them to your song
People have been doing this sort of online collaboration for a few years, but now, the process is simple and streamlined, customizable, and real. That's they key, real drums. A real drummer has that special, elusive sound that even sophisticated drum machines and loops can never achieve. I can't count how many times I've heard the same Garage Band loops on numerous major artists songs, television ads, radio ads, and other media.
So get real! Drums, that is.