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Secrets of the Pros/ The Basics of Modern Recording & Mi

Discussion in 'Recording' started by gambit, Aug 3, 2004.

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  1. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    NB: I appreciate their could be some editorial conflict here - so I won't be offended if this thread dissapears!

    Has anyone got this DVD? (as advertised on the front page of RO)

    If so - what do they think of it? The contents look intriguing and cover a broad range of recording aspects but I always worry when they highlight one feature (in this case "The BIG Secret") and have very soundbitty reviews (lots of what they don't say!)

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    We are under the constraints of real world business at RO and when ad dollars come our way, we usually take them. When we accepted the ad we hadn't previewed the DVD.

    RO is now hooked up with the Google search syndication and some ads are appearing on RO that we are not booking ... so don't assume just because an ad appears on RO that it is in any way, an endorsement for the product from the Review Editor of RO.

    RO has no oppinion on the DVD The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing".

    I was asked by Ken Walden to review it. When I viewed it I was disappointed on a few levels.

    It is very Pro Tools-centric. I thought it was more suited as a quick start tutorial for PT, than anything else. If you work on any other type of DAW recording software, IMO, it may not be as useful as it is for a PT user..

    I thought the audio was a bit problomatic, with very audible edit points where drop ins / outs were performed. Something in the CR where many of the scenes were shot, causes a very obvious comb filtering problem that bugged me .. on a tutorial on audio production, you would think they would get the audio right.

    "The Big Secret", is a chapter on acoustics. It advocates a method that uses a lot of space for sometimes, less than optimal results. IMO it's value to the home studio recordist is questionable. I suppose it could act as a spark to get someone who might not have even considered it thinking about acoustics.

    I usually go out of my way not to publish negative reviews. This is not a review, it is my comments in reply to a post on this bbs. Is RO endorsing this DVD? No. RO has no oppinion on the DVD.

    It's just my take and I am in no way the last word on anything at RO but for me, I thought the DVD was as remarkable for what it didn't contain, as for what it does contain ...

    I want to point out that there are good things in The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing". It is well shot and if you are using PT, you might learn a trick or two ... I am sure the intentions were good .. I have exchanged several emails with the producer Ken Walden, offering my critique and he was very gracious discussing it. He is a very nice gentleman. It is a bit lengthy but in all fairness I feel I should include Mr. Waldens comments regarding my critiques ...

    Hi Kurt,

    For starters...thank you so much for taking the time to go through the DVD and give me such detailed feedback...I really appreciate it. I did want to counter some of what you said though not in any kind of nasty way (tone is very hard to communcate on e-mail), but to reach a deeper understanding of your criticism...good, friendly feedback is always a way to grow ones skills.

    "Secrets of the Pros" is very Pro Tools oriented ...
    I would disagree with this because no matter what you use (analog or DAW) the steps I went through are how you record in a very general sense. First, route your input, put the track into record ready, check level, route output, begin recording.... I've used everything from a 1980's Tapco to SSL, Neve, PT (obviously), Otari Series 54, Sound Workshop Series C (on and on), MOTU (8 years on the sequencer), Cubase (sequencer only-around 4 years)...I made my living as an engineer in all levels of studios for years and what I wanted to illustrate is the concepts (as listed above). Plus, I did state several times that this is about concepts and not particulars. If I were to ask someone to show me how their software worked I would say "show me how to route signal, set level, punch in/out, solo, mute, etc...", these are the basics. Plus, according to a friend of mine who did mainstage demos of Nuendo for a couple years and is a PT user Nuendo is like "PT 2" at this point. They did get into the digital audio game far later than Digi and it takes time to develop features, track and fix bugs, etc.... Digi has a 10-11 year jump on the DAW front.

    ..... Every console I've seen (and software for that matter) has input/output routing, inserts, sends, solos, mutes, faders, level meters (the big cubase meters are very cool - I've been bugging the Digi developers for years to do bigger meters with tick marks...that drives me nuts about PT), and the other basics. There hasn't been anything new in this regard except the ability to move the GUI around a bit. Funtionality wise...nothing new since SSL 4000 for the most part. DAW automation sure kicks ass over console automation though...especially being able to draw a line!!! I dreamed about that while dealing with Neve Flying Faders in 91'. When I saw it in PT I threw my hands in the air...JOY! I have to ask if you have used Pro Tools? I’ve used, and seen demos over the past 7 years of all the other apps…PT is very well thought out…lots of features right out of Neve and SSL. Many of which I had a lot of influence over since I drove those beasts for years.

    ....(I might) market this version as a PT based release and maybe do one that is more Cubase / Nuendo based as well but there are 'Cubase' products out there already .... PT is the standard because it works and is the most reliable application on the market. Nuendo users should be happy though as Steiberg finally resolved a long-standing problem of the app not stopping and posting an error when it can't handle playing all the files on the edit window. Before it use to play through and drop audio similar to Fairlight ...this was on their website in the last year. Also, quite frankly, they have made deceptive and false claims about the ability of their workstations for years. 200 tracks with surround paners was one ad…puhlease, not even close. Sorry but the bus speed of computers at the time of this ad weren’t even close to that level of data throughput. I did demos for Digi for over 7 years and would get confirmation about the ability of host systems from users all the time. Yes, it's cool for 20-30 tracks with limited plug-ins use but for heavy use additional processing is needed. Every major facitlity uses it and pays more for the cards because PT does the job reliably. Trust me...these guys (like the Digital audio department at Skywalker, Disney, Warner, Fox, etc...) are always looking at their options.

    Yes, there are a lot of home recordists using other applications but I will stand by PT because of the quality, reliability, great support department (as opposed to MOTU who have next to 0 support, ease of use (ever try using Logic?), and the ability to get a great product. If I didn't believe this I would not have commented on this issue and Digi doesn't pay me anymore so I have no ties there. I've converted hundreds of people and I've never had someone come back angry about the switch...most of the time they came back to learn more and thank me. If company X came out with a better system tomorrow that was cheaper people would flock to it. PT is not expensive either...Mbox has 2 Focusrite 'Green/Silver' series pre's that would cost around $800 if sold in a rack; 002 have 4 'grace level' pres that sound fantastic and excellent converters that are of the HD lineage. Yes, there is less expensive if you want to sit around and tech all day. Or put out a bad sounding product….

    (Regarding your comment) "There are wide variances in the quality of (the) voice-overs ... The shots in (the) CR sounding much different than the VO narratives when there are lists and diagrams on the screen ... I also can hear very plainly when you drop in to replace some of the VO ... overall the audio is very inconsistent. I also hear a lot of comb filtering in the CR shots ... all in all not what one would expect in a profession audio tutorial. I found it disconcerting and distracting. "

    I'll admit there is one piece of ADR that sounded a little funky, and on a few shots when I turn from the mic there is a high freq roll off but over-all the dialog has received compliments. I ran it by my good friend, Steve Boeddeker from Skywalker who just finished sound design on 'The Village' and worked (Sound Design and Mixing) on Tomb Raider II, X-Men, HellBoy, Daredevil, Seven, Fight Club...he sits next to Gary Summer (arguably the best dialog mixer on the planet) often and Steve said it sounded fine. Plus the guy who did a lot of editing for me worked on the last 5-6 Metallica records and said it sounded great. Would I do it different next time...yes, a bit, but overall the sound is far better than other training videos I saw and even better than some film work (location sound is a horrible thing...studios are nice). If you were hearing comb filtering it might have been from your playback combing stereo to mono?? I am suprised to hear this because I did get really good feedback so far on the sound of the dialog...I did intentionally let the sound be different from VO to 'on-camera' shots to break up the sound of the voice a bit. Multiple voices are good on these things just to make it more interesting...something I might do on the next DVD.

    In regards to chapter 14, "The Big Secret" ....

    I am pretty sure Manny mentioned the Owens 701 thing at the end as an option but I assure you pink fiberglass works just fine. We (Manny and I...well, mainly Manny) measured the room several times and there is no diffusion in that room. I have the freq. response graphs from the mix position (where I spoke from) in the DVD so you might want to take a look back at that section. For the DVD I had the back wall covered in insulation which made it like a very dead VO booth…good for vocals and VO.

    Plus, ridged fiberglass will not get down in the frequency range of room modes/standing waves unless you pile it very deep. As for bass traps I do mention using bass traps (panel membrane absorbers) and have a slide talking about it… ‘real’ bass traps (depending on who made them) are generally a better, but far more expensive approach. The reason I show the 'hang thick fiberglass from the ceiling' trick is because it is very cheap and works really well if you have the space. I would refer back to the DVD...also all of this section was signed off on by Manny and (not to toot his horn to loud but...) he is one of the best out there in the field of acoustics. The rooms he designed at the Plant Studios (only to name one…his most major projects though) cost $700k for Studio A (for the room only…no gear), $625k for ‘The Garden’, and around $300k for the Mastering room. They brought in people from all over the world as consultants but Manny’s designs won the day…and they sound fantastic. If you know of someone else I would love to know because I did quite a bit of reading on the topic before putting this DVD out. He is on the same page as Dave Moulton and Dr. Toole of Harman. Read some of his white papers and let me know what you think...they taught me LOT about sound and how we build coherent (sp?) images of sound...great info. Check out sawonline.com...Manny is a frickin' genius…especially when you hear the ‘acoustic lens’ you hear why.

    “Kurt, to your comment, "The overall layout of the production and the look is fantastic. I would have liked to see more on micing techniques, bass cabs and guitar cabs as well as vocals and drums”

    The reason I didn’t get more into techniques, though the ones I showed are very standard and great starting points, is because the trick with micing is to put it up and LISTEN…this is the trick! If you have good/accurate monitoring in a well-designed control room you can hear what is there and if you don’t like it you should move the mic. That is it…I heard this from every major guy I have talked to about it over the years. There are a million sonic/acoustic/electronic reasons why something might sound good or crappy. Bottom line…if it sounds good it is good. If it’s bad…fix it. I repeated this a lot throughout the DVD and I stand by it. I also wanted to point people towards trusting their opinion. This is how new sounds are discovered and new art is born. Most people have very inaccurate monitoring though…that is why I spent some much time on that section. If you don’t have accurate monitoring and never had someone ‘shoot’ your room and your mixes sound different outside of your studio then you are wasting a lot of time.

    Kurt you mentioned, “... there is virtually nothing about the use of compressors and limiters ..which to me is a lot of what pop recording is about. There should be more about mics and mic pres types and what they add or don't add as well ... "

    About compressors…yeah part of me thinks I should have hit on this a bit more but I emphasized twisting the knob and listening…this is the most important part. I also wish people wouldn’t fall back on compression so much these days…it is to make up for bad playing but that’s what happens when you cut school funding!

    As for mics and pres… I’ll have to argue here…I show almost every major pre on the market and talk about the 3 main types of pre amps. Plus, point the viewer towards 3D Audio Inc that has a CD allowing a listener to hear the difference of these pres. Again, in this regard I want people going with what they think is cool…I want to help them find ‘their’ sound. I gave good starting points for what types of pres are good for what type of music but the rest is subjective (except in the case of Neve…Neve pres rule and everyone should have one…that is my opinion though I stated it in much lighter terms on the DVD ; ) ). As for mics, I gave a very complete overview of what are used in the big studios…plus I showed Mic Modeler which is a fantastic tool for flipping through a big bunch of cool mics. I love that thing…it really is an incredible tool.

    Again Kurt…I really appreciate your feedback and would love to hear what you thought of my comments. Sound like you have a good background and I always love a good chat about audio toys!

    Best wishes,
    Ken Walden

    I don't think the producers of "The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing" were trying to pull one over the publics eyes. Perhaps the only mistake they made was not getting enough feedback from industry pros before releasing the product. With some amendments and added content, this could be a great tutorial. I feel it is an excellent first effort by Ken Walden. At $40, it's a bit hard to really get hurt by purchasing it ....
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi, Siskel and Ebert here lol! What Kurt said exactly. We're selling audio related ads. Like Sebatron tube preamps... If we endorse something you will know. :wink:

    I would like to add... IMO it's more of an introductory level, it could be better but if we look at everything like that who would ever try anything.
    I found it to be okay and for new DAW users, I think it's useful.
    I've only watched the first part so I can't give a full response to it. A different title would be better for sure. That being said... From a PT / and new DAW user's POV, you will benifit from seeing it.
  4. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    Cedar - Firstly thank you for your honesty. I appreciate that running a web business is hard. I have been building ecommerce sites for the past 4 years, and can appreciate how much harder a site such as this is to keep going in a commercially viable manner.

    Secondly, I did not mean to imply that RO was endorsing the product. I just wanted to put an "opt-out" clause in case there were advertising budgets to consider!

    As for the DVD - it seems my scepticism was justified to a point. I may consider it for when I have more time, but for the moment I'll stick with Cubase SX and put the hours in to gain experience.

    Thanks again.

  5. Hello all,

    I have to jump in here as I feel most of the review on my product is completely unjustified. Understand that I don't want my tone here to be interpreted as 'shouting' as that is not my intent...just to make my point...onward!

    "It is very Pro Tools-centric. I thought it was more suited as a quick start tutorial for PT, than anything else. If you work on any other type of recording system, IMO, it will be essentially worthless. "

    Ken writes:
    Worthless is a very strong statement...if you think it is worthless to see how Santana, Metallica, John Lee Hooker, Booker T Jones, Mike Clink (producer, Guns, Puff, , Randy Staub (Metallica, Motely, etc...), etc...(I could go on for a long time) work, especially as a new recordist, then I wonder what is your basis for this opinion. Please site your experiences and how they differ from what I've communicated on the DVDs.

    As I state in the intro of the DVD...just about everything on the 2 DVDs are techniques I saw used by the best of the best. I was lucky (and I worked like a dog for next to nothing : ) ) to work with lots of world-class musicians, engineers, and producers and this is what I learned from them. Digi allowed me to travel all over and meet even more top notch audio folks and confirm what I saw.
    Sorry Kurt...to call this worthless unless you are using Pro Tools really is not at all fair or accurate.

    The bay area doesn't have a huge audio community but we have a few jems (Skywalker, The Plant, Fantasy, Studio D, The Site). Plus through Digi I spent time in LA, New York, and Vancouver...all of what I put on the DVD were very common techniques. And more so...I would share notes with all the other Digi Product Specialists about what they saw in Nashville, London, etc...

    As for Pro Tools...yes, I use Pro Tools to illustrate points such as input/output routing, busing, etc... are very common on every system (DAW and analog). Plus, I have no problems recommending the application because is is what you will find most pros using. Call every high-end studio and post house and see for yourself. Back to the techniques illustrated...there is a bit of difference in the way different applications set up their windows but these concepts are exactly the same...Pro Tools or not. Understand that I have attended AES, NAMM, and almost every NAB show for the last 7 years and at each show I would watch demos from all the main DAW manufactures. They all work in very similar ways...when I worked at Digi they were my competition so understanding the other DAWs was very important.

    Plus, MOST of the DVD is about setting up your studio and acoustics (2 sections: over 1 hour of material), recording drums, bass, guitar, vocals, MIDI/Keyboards (48 minutes with showing some plug-ins that are available on several systems), and though the mixing section uses PT to illustrate points they all transfer over to other DAWs and analog mixers. Even the section on looping shows concepts of cutting, time compression/expansion, etc...that I first learned on an Ensoniq Mirage and Akai S1000.
    To say that this info is 'worthless' in it's application to other system is incorrect. The tools in most of these applications are very similar and usually imitations of what you find in Pro Tools (which, also, were borrowed from concepts like 'using a razor blade', slipping and edit, Dyaxis, New England Digital, etc...). None of this is new my friends.

    "I thought the audio was a bit problematic, with very audible edit points where drop ins / outs were performed. The acoustics in the CR where many of the scenes were shot, exhibits a very obvious comb filtering problem that bugged the crap out of me .. for a tutorial on audio production, you would think they would at least get the audio right. Sheesh!"

    Ken Writes:
    I had a Skywalker Mixer/Sound Designer (listed above) and a guy who has worked on 5-6 Metallica albums (just to name a few) who checked it out. Not only that Mike Clink (Guns, Puff, Motley, etc...) said he thought the audio sounded very pro and endorses the DVD (check my website for the quote). If the VO isn't the best VO you've ever heard I would agree and, frankly, really don't care...it is good and very intelligible... maybe there are a clicks and bumps here and there...it is totally unimportant. This is not a motion picture, it is a tutorial. The dialog is understandable and gets the point across. Occasionally you hear noise reduction artifacts but again...who cares! This is decades of how pros record...go read "Behind the Glass" and compare the techniques with what I show. Can we PLEASE drop this issue as it is totally unimportant in regards to recording techniques. It's like commenting on George Bush's shoes....

    "The Big Secret", is a chapter on acoustics. I suspect if Wes or Rod or Ethan or Eric or Knightfly were to watch this chapter, they would have a lot to say regarding it's content... "

    Ken writes:
    Have them watch it. The rooms Manny Lacarrubba (my guest speaker and technical adviser for this section) designed and built at the Plant are aurguably the best on the planet...even the mastering lab. The theories in psychoacoustics that he, Dave Moulton, and Dr. Toole of Harmon (all on the same page in regards to acoustics) have pioneered are leading the field. I did my homework on this and Kurt, you haven't quoted a single person in the field of acoustics of psychoacoutics that counter the theories put forth in my DVD. I have had the luck and privaledge of befriending a world-class acoustician (and engineer for that matter) who helped me build a very inexpensive room that delivers accurate mixes from my studio out into the field. For most novice or mid-level engineers this is a huge problem. I've posted my frequency response graphs in the DVD to show my room vs. what people hope to acheive by spending a whole lot more. What I acheived in this section is to share with the viewer a simplified, and very good intro into how your speakers and room interact to create what you hear. This is widely misunderstood and most people don't know at all how inaccurate their monitoring is. This section clearly illuminates that issue.

    I think it is of utmost importance to give new users the best info out there so they don't have to go through years of work and spend all their money trying to learn techniques that have been common for decades. That is exactly what is on the DVD.

    "...for me, I thought the DVD was as remarkable for what it didn't contain, as for what it does contain ... "

    Ken writes:
    I'd love to hear any comments for ideas for future products. My content was based on what I was constantly asked after 9 years of talking with those interested in recording 5 days a week. Also, from going through the process of learning myself and seeing many friends go through the process. For those who are interested here are the chapters I covered:

    Sec. 1 - Intro
    Sec. 2 – General Studio Layout
    Sec. 3 – Pre Amps
    Sec. 4 – Signal Routing
    Sec. 5 – Click
    Sec. 6 – Loops (editing concepts)
    Sec. 7 – Recording Set-up (general info on recording)
    Sec. 8 – Recording Drums
    Sec. 9 – Recording Bass
    Sec. 10 – Recording Guitar
    Sec. 11 – Keyboards and MIDI
    Sec. 12 – Recording Vocals
    Sec. 13 – Mixing
    Sec. 14 – The Big Secret (acoustics and setting up a studio)

    Again...I don't intend this to sound harsh, or at least not nearly as harsh as the unsubstantiated criticism of my DVD, but I felt it necessary to put forth the points of why the DVD is, not only valid, but extremely helpful for new recordists. Please refer to my references on my website and put them against any critics you may find. My goal was to put out a product that will accelorate a new recordist through years, if not decades of trial and error. Every other review I've had of the product has reflected this.

    Ken Walden
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi, well... after listening to the whole DVD I'm going to put my two cents in here and say I think this is excellent and deserves a better mark than what Kurt says.
    I think Ken put together something that wouldn't be easy in the first place. I see it as face value.
    This could very easily be broken into many volumes and I suspect that might happen some time down the road. IMO this DVD is right on. I'm not critiquing this as a "world class" mastered A/V DVD, what for I say, that would make it too expensive or difficult to pay for. I see this as a good introductory to modern recording.

    I'm going to say that with my 18 years of solid digital experience in mixing, sequencing, editing and performing ( over 20,000 hours) Ken was exactly on the same page as me. I do everything basically the same way lol. He started out in the Commodore 64 era and so did I. Actually I go a bit further back eeek so we do things similar.

    So there you have it! Funny how things can vary from one person to the next.

    I recommend this for anyone that wants to get a good idea on how to record. There is a bit on preamps, eq's, compressors, plugins, mixing, HD noise issues, standing waves, room treatments etc.
    I think this is especially useful for DAW users and people that record in project studios.

    The conclusion says it all and I especially liked his message.

    I would actually like to sell this DVD on RO and think this or something like it... should be included with every DAW purchase made. Damn I say, I have been hoping to make something like this and Ken beat me to it. Kurt, let's do one up (smile) Now.... hit me with a hammer, I'm going back to work!

    For $39.95 it's a bargain. Here's the link to it: http://www.recording.org/banners.php?op=click&bid=10

    Well done Ken!

    Cheers! :cool:
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I did not intend to create any anomosisty It's fair to mention that I sent Ken an email and asked him to look at the thread and perhaps respond.

    From: Kurt Foster
    Organization: Kurt Foster Recording Services
    Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 17:09:21 -0700
    To: ken@secretsofthepros.com
    Subject: Re: RO review / banners

    Re: RO review / banners Hi Ken,
    In response to your ad on RO a member posted a question. I usually don't write negative reviews but because the post implied that RO might be endorsing "Secrets of The Pros" I felt a response was in order.

    In an attempt to be fair to you, I placed some of your comments from the communications you and I had in response to my critiques in my reply to the post .. but it occurs to me you might have something more to add. Here is the location of the thread.


    I welcome your input ... Kurt

    Hi Kurt,

    I really appreciate you contacting me regarding the posts and though we differ on the approach of the DVD I think you have maintained a very pro discourse on all of this.

    I’ll make a post on the site...

    Best wishes,

    Ken Walden

    e: ken@secretsofthepros.com
    web: http://www.secretsofthepros.com

    The RO poll on what DAWs we are using is indicating that PT is not the most used platform and is leaning more towards Cubase / Nuendo ... More users at RO use other programs than PT and most of us use PCs too! According to the latest results, RO members who have responded to the poll are using:

    PT on a Mac 14%
    PT on a PC 11%
    Nuendo / Cubase on Mac 0%
    Nuendo / Cubase on PC 37%
    Cool Edit (please specify your platform) 0%
    Reason (please specify your platform) 0%
    Other (please specify your platform) 37%

    It is plain to see that PT users are in the minority here at 25%. It is only fair to point out that 3 out of 4 of our members who responded to the poll will not get as much from "Secrets of the Pros" as users of PT will.

    There was no information on compressor types and their applications or any real discussion of mic types, applications and techniques other than a cursory mentions in the guitar and drums chapters

    The part on recording guitar was comprised of 30 seconds with a mic on a Jazz Chorus, 30 seconds on mic chioces. The next five minutes is spent plugging a guitar direct into a Focusrite Pre DI to PT and pulling up plugs for eq, distortion and compression. Little on micing cabs, mic selections and placment hints.. no room mic placments or re-amping tips.

    The information in the acoustics section is for the most part inapplicable in most home studios. Ken advocates the use of loose pink fiberglass hung with an air space behind it and covered with a curtian is an effective treatment in lieu of bass trapping and absorption. There is no mention diffusion.

    Again, as I said, The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing" is excellent as a quick start course on the use of PT. Users of Pro Tools will get more from it than others. The video quality was very good in my opinion. The production design was top notch. But the audio is sub standard for a DVD (especially one on recording). In this context, I expect the better..

    " The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing" is not a comprehensive tutorial on audio recording. I would recommend Eddie Kramers video, "Adventures in Recording" over The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing" and it's ten years old. There's still much more information in it despite it's age.
  8. Hi Kurt,

    Most of what you just wrote was technically inaccurate and not at all a matter of opinion.

    I will list the specifics:

    Kurt wrote:
    "I watched the whole thing and there was nothing that I, a user of Cubase could use."

    >>>So you don't mic drums, record bass or guitar or vocals, never use midi. Maybe you understand what a pre-amp is and why it is so important but a lot of people don't. And as for setting up a studio, you don't think learning inexpensive ways to improve a room using inexpensive techniques from a guy who built some of the best control rooms, studios, and arguably the best mastering suite around is of use.... Most people out there have no room treatment and always wonder why their mixes sound different in the outside world than in there studios. Also most of what was presented in the acoustics section is basic info laid out in the 1960's. I will bet all of whom you listed (acousticians) would agree...send them your copy and have them post here. If they want a copy for themselves tell them to send an e-mail.

    Kurt wrote:
    "Ken seems to be saying we should all just throw away what we use and get PT."

    >>> I never said that...in fact I stated the oposite several times throughout the DVD. I intentionally added (constantly) that the tools I use are very common in pro recording situation but what is important are the concepts. This statement is everywhere because I am well aware that professional productions can be made with a variety of products...the DVD is about concepts. The specific gear I use are definitely industry standards but again, unimportant in light of learning recording concepts.

    Kurt wrote;
    "There was no information on compressor types and their applications or any real discussion of mic types, applications and techniques other than a cursory mention. This cannot be questioned."

    Correct on the compressor types...I would have liked to added more on compressors. As for the mic comment...I don't think you watched the DVD. I gave common mic positions, showed them up close and then said over and over that if it sounds bad move the mic. This is how mic useage is addressed by all the people I worked with. When we spent 2 days getting tones for Carlos we would listen, then move the mic, listen the try something else. Same with a long list of top producers. Yes there are a zillion theories as to mic placement and I've had discussions in studios with (you know the list - check the website for my references) a bunch of top notch guys. When Mike Clink and I put an SM57 on a cab for Sammy Hagar he moved it a bit and it sounded fantastic. I asked him how he did it and he said move the mic until it sounds right. Also I gave a list of alternate mics or 'very popular choices' for every section where I talked about mic useage or. As for mic types...often the theory of how a mic is constructed isn't important...it is if it sounds good. That is why some producers will mic a vocal with a 57 over a U47. I was shocked to see GGGGarth Richardson (he did Rage Against the Machine's first record...oh my does that record sound fantastic) do this with a lead vocal. This was also used on a Van Morrison record.

    Kurt wrote:
    "The part on recording guitar was comprised of plugging a guitar direct into PT and pulling up a plug for distortion. No micing cabs, mic selections and placment hints.. no room mic placments or re-amping tips. Is that what you want from a Recording Tutorial? "

    >>> I miced up a Roland JC 120 cabinet, did a close up on the mic, and said the basic technique here is the same if you are using a Marshal, Fender, Soldano, Mesa, etc.... Then I put up a list of alternate mics. Kurt this is so inaccurate I really wonder if you watched the DVD!

    Kurt wrote:
    "The information in the acoustics section does not concure with any of the things we have all learned from Rod, Wes, Knightfly, Jeff S. (lovecow) of Auralex, Ethan or Eric"

    I'd be happy to have any of them review it. You should try reading F Alton Everest, Dave Moulton or Dr. Floyd Toole. Plus this is definitely inacurrate on several fronts. Auralex recommend side wall and ceiling absorbtion as does Ethan. Anyone who doesn't absorb on the ceiling is...well, alone. This is very common as are using bass traps and I say in the DVD...bass traps or panel membrane absorbers are ideal.

    Kurt wrote:
    "Ken says that loose pink fiberglass hung with an air space behind it and covered with a curtian is an effective treatment in lieu of bass trapping and absorption."

    >>>This will work as a bass trap. I confirmed this with Manny (the guy who built the Plant rooms) and he has tried this and measured it with MLLSA analysis software...to say this doesn't work is wrong. As for the last part of your statement (in lieu of bass trapping..) I said the exact opposite on the DVD. The quote is along the lines that though insulation will work, bass traps are idea and recommended panel membrane absorbers which work like typanic absorbers...same, same.

    Kurt wrote:
    " Ken says we don't need to use ridged fiberglass like 701, 705 ..that pink glass is better, especially in the deep bass!"

    >>> As I wrote you before I mentioned that Manny talked about 701 and 705...very brief mention but he did. Also I never said "we don't need to use ridged fibreglass". There are other ways to do this (Auralex, pink insulation, etc...) but I never said that. Ridged fiberglass is a great way to absorb down to around 500Hz (I think...there are rating for all this and I don't know this one off the top of my head).

    Kurt wrote:
    "I have never seen a professionally produced video before that was that bad in regards to the audio quality / consistency"

    >>>It's you against a Skywalker Sound Designer/Mixer and a guy who edited and engineered 5 Metallica records to name a few. I'll go with the Skywalker/Metallica guys. Do you have any record credits of mention by the way? Also, are you commenting on the audio examples like the tones of the recordings?

    Please note that I worked for a manufacturer for years and had several clients spend a lot of money based on the accuracy of my statements. If they caught me in a lie or an inaccuracy it would cost both parties and credibility would be sacrificied. I respect opinion but don't respect inaccuracies and Kurt, most of what you wrote was inaccurate. This DVD is meant for those new to recording and I would understand if you were to say I didn't get anything out of it because I know this info...but instead you go on about the Pro Tools part which is used to illustrate common recording concepts. Also, less than 25% of the content is the PT screen. Your comments also seemed very focused on the VO quality...who cares?! If you want high quality VO go see Lord of the Rings or watch a Toyota ad. My VO gets information across as it was intended to do.

    As for my music tones...well they were (say it like Cartman, now) sweeeeet.

    Ken Walden
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Thanks for the reply ... With all respect, I hope you will remember that it was you that contacted me to do the review. I'm sorry you didn't get the response you were hoping for but I gotta call them as I see them. You remark that my observations are "technically inaccurate and not at all a matter of opinion" which in some of the fine points you are right. I have gone back through my previous comments and corrected them. I apologise for the innaccuracies and misspoken thoughts.

    Readers ...
    These are my critiques of The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing". This is my opinion.

    PT centric ...

    Not enough info on mics, techniques, placements. Nothing new that everyone here doesn't already know.

    Poor audio quality on some of the VOs and comb filter effects on the audio with the "on camera" parts.

    For the most part, inapplicable acoustics tips.

    Video quality is excellent.

    Production design is excellent.

    Great start up for new PT users. A great promo for Digidesign.

    Nice musicianship .. both Ken and the drummer he hired.

    I did watch The Basics of Modern Recording & Mixing", more than once incidentally. I would not make such strong comments about it if I hadn't. Ken asked of me, "Do you have any record credits of mention by the way?'

    OK, ... I do have real record credits ... all you need to do is conduct a allmusic.com search on my name to see them ...

    Kurt Foster credits @ all music.come

    A search at all music .com for "Ken Walden" showed no results.

    My listed credits are all as a first engineer and in many cases, as with Brownie McGhee, a producer. Sure it's great to be the "fly on the wall" but it's not as good as some one on one instruction or hands on experience. Let's talk about the DVD, not the past.

    The guitar section ... (nice Les Paul btw) After Ken burns (ah ha ha ha ha Ken Burns, get it?) a minute up talking about his experience with a "big time producer" that took 4 days to dial up a guitar tone he spends about 30 seconds on the Jazz Chorus, showing a basic mic placement that almost any one knows about .... He spends another 30 seconds on suitable mics .. he mentions the SM57, SM7, the Sennheiser 409 (out of production, the current version is the 609) and the Sennheiser 421. All that is free information any one can get here at RO or off the web.

    Ken spent five minutes demonstrating amp farm and amplitude and the effects .. again all in PT and he advocates recording the guitar dry and then adding plug ins to dial in the tone later.

    Methodology aside, the whole thing appears to be a demo of how cool PT is and what you can do with it. It is very good if you look at it that way. I would have prefered to see five minutes of micing secrets, approaches, mic types etc. and one minute of how cool PT is.

    It's apparent that having worked for Digidesign, Ken's biased towards Pro Tools. I don't fault him for that but lots of people use other approaches. "SOTP" is a great quick start primer for PT but may no be so great for users of other apps..

    The critique of the audio is only in regards to the VO. Audible comb filtering and differences in VO quality within the same phrases, where it is plain to hear that Ken performed punches. I don't object to the differences in the audio when Ken's "on camara" as opposed to doing a VO but when I hear a change in the middle of a VO I have to say "This type of product should be an example of what to do, not what not to do".

    The tones Ken dialed up are very nice and the song he put together for the demo is very well done ... I was impressd with his bass playing BTW.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    On another note;
    It appears that everyone loves a train wreck! This thread has had 225 views in 2 days!
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    hehe, I like the fact that for all the members out there that thought Kurt and I will always agree... da da!

    I finially disagree hehe with my buddy! (wink)

    I think Kurt may be looking at this from a very professional POV, one that I don't know as much about. I'm more of a player and DAW guy...

    So, from a "less than ideal world" I think this DVD has the basics pretty much covered.

    If you want to know what a preamp is about, how some people setup a mixer, some plugins and standard reverb, echo tap thoughts, a bit on micing, room setups and standing waves, a bit on HD noise etc... then I would say... This is a very good place to start,

    I recommend it.

  12. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    Actually I suppose it depends on your definition of bass........

    But if your definition is anything like mine (picture here frequencies specifically below 250hz) then the real answer is "no it won't work" - at least not from any perspective of "cost efective".

    Again - think about this for a moment....... if you could solve this problem (cheaply) with fluffy insulation and a curtain in front - why would anyone bother to spend the money to build/buy bass traps?

    The reason bass traps are (are you noted above) "ideal" is because they work - and that's the bottom line...........

    You can acheive some help by taking a bag full of fluffy insulation and leaving it in a corner - but just hanging it on a wall with a curtain in front of it is not going to get the job done.

    Sorry I can't buy into this one - but that comment I had to respond to.

    I haven't seen the DVD so I have no other comment relating to it - just this one comment.


  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I have no problem when friends of mine don't agree with everything I think ... or say. I even have some friends that are Republicans! :shock:

    So I hope that Chris and Ken won't hold this against me. Chris your comment,
    I can understand you feeling that way, because you are running PT on a Mac ... just like Ken. Actually I think it only reinforces my argument that the DVD is PT - centric.

    A comment on the loose fiberglass thing in addition to what Rod said ... as absorption it is fine for upper frequencies. As bass trapping is reasonable for room bass modes when used as discribed. It takes a lot of space though But COMB FILTERING (what I hear most in the DVD audio) is not remedied by absorption. Bass trapping helps the problem in some instances but it usually takes diffusion to completely cure the problem. That is why many acousticians advocate 3 elements to treat rooms. Bass trapping, absorption and diffusion (and that's the truth fphhhhhht!).
  14. Hi Rod,
    Thanks for adding in on this.

    I checked this fact with my friend an acoustics guru Manny Lacarruba (check out sawonline.com). We did this in my studio and found, through measurement with MLLSA software, that when you hang thick insulation and form a pocket (mine measure 3' + deep) that it will effectively treat down to at least 100hz. My room measured a dip around 62Hz of roughly 3-4 db which we used an EQ to treat - if it were a steaper dip we would have used more 'trapping'. Also, Manny has tried this in other spaces and measured it and it seems very effective. Bass traps are better, I totally agree, and they take up far less space but can be pricey for many musician's budget. This is why we listed this in the DVD as a inexpensive alternative.

    To my understanding this is how many older studios were designed in regards to controlling low frequency issues like standing waves. This was before companies has 'bass traps' for sale.

    Again...thanks for posting!
  15. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    1st off - forming a pocket and filling it with insulation paints a different picture than "loose pink fiberglass hung with an air space behind it and covered with a curtian" does.....

    2nd....... you don't mention the width of your pocket........ but at 2' wide - if I'm doing new construction - in addition to the cost of your materials..... you need to add in the (roughly) $600 (US) that the real estate you sit this pocket on cost you (That's at $100 US per square foot of cost for construction) ...........

    they will each cost you (at least) that much......... and the cheap bass trap just got more expensive then the best you can buy.........

    (BY the way - the last studio I constructed was more like 130 PSF and that included tech rooms and lobby without any low voltage wiring or gear - and did NOT include the cost of the building it was housed in. If I added that in then the cost was about 240 PSF...... )

    Yup......... pretty expensive bass traps for sure.........

    We're now up to roughly 1440 each....... hhhmmmmmmm...... :? :? :?


  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi, if I recall, Ken does mention bass traps as well as a curtain and states that this is what they did in Ken's studio. Ken also states that you can spend thousand of dollars in accoustic treatment or try what worked pretty good for them.

    READ OUR Disclaimer below this forum: These or any other topic on the forum are only opinions of the writer. Buy the DVD and make your own opinion. :wink:
  17. lovecow

    lovecow Active Member


    1. I have not seen your DVD.
    2. I have gleaned from this thread that the DVD endorses the control room design concepts of David Moulton and Manny Lacarrubba.
    3. You have said thus:
    First, I do not doubt at all the excellence of the rooms you mentioned.
    Second, I have much respect for all the individuals you mentioned. Now that we're clear on that:

    I have read articles and papers by both David Moulton and Manny Lacarrubba. To my recollection, they developed a theory that involves control rooms with "strong lateral reflections" (meaning bare side walls) in a control room environment. Indeed, your references to Everest and Toole lead me to believe you are referring to the psychoacoustical material covered in Chapter 16 of the Master Handbook of Acoustics, 4th ed. (In particular, see Figure 16.4.) For the benefit of people here who might be looking into these theories/techniques, keep in mind that there is a dependence on room size for the "strong lateral reflections" design. Typically, it is not a good way to go for a small, bedroom-type control room. In other words, like any design, it is not universally applicable.

    Also, Moulton's application of, in this case, the effects of the graph mentioned above assume there is a desire for "spaciousness" in the control room. Now, I will refrain from opining on this. However, I'm sure you'd agree that, while the theories and techniques certainly are "pioneering," there are quite a few people that would question them—particularly with regards to their universal applicability when it comes to the increasingly common home studio. A market you are presumably trying to target with your DVD?

    I don't know if this helps or hinders the discussion. But I thought I'd at least throw it out there.
  18. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for chiming in...I agree with everything you wrote and let me explain why Manny and I decided to illustrate some basic room designs tips as we did. Yes, the theories of Dave, Manny, and Dr Toole incorporate lateral reflections to create very cohesive imaging. The reason I only touched on this at the end of the acoustics section is that this application requires speakers that have accurate on-axis and off-axis response. Most manufactures speakers have pretty dreadful and 'colored' off axis response so if that response bounces off a lateral wall, then combines with the on-axis signal a few milliseconds later it damages the integrity of the overall signal...you get diffusion and poor stereo phantom images. Plus the reflected signal will combine with direct sound and change the timber of what you are hearing from your speakers. This is really bad, mkay (ref: Mr Mackey - S. Park).

    In the case of speakers with poor off-axis response it is better to absorb or reflect that signal behind the mix position. Thus the angled side walls that we have seen in so many studio today.

    You are also correct (as I'm sure you're aware) in saying this is not a good suggestion for a smaller room or home studio with space restrictions.

    The Moulton/Manny room with the acoustic lens technology that SAW developed is amazing and allow me to point out my references. At the Plant they have a fantastic mastering room with B&W 801's and this huge Krell amp...sounds great. Similar equipment can be found on Skywalker's scoring stage (Leslie Ann Jones' room). I've heard both room and then was able to go to the Garden at the Plant and hear the Lens technology in a Moulton/Manny room. Forget about it! This was not a slight difference. The speakers completely disapear and one is constantly confused as to where the singer or instruments are as your ears tell you they are there but your eyes don't see them. Before you state an opinion on it you have to hear it...I've gone to a lot of expensive rooms with the best tweakers doing the design and the Garden was far and above the best sounding.

    Now Jeff...here is my main point. The MAIN intention of putting a part on acoustics in my DVD was to make people aware that the interaction between a speaker and a room (especially your common square or rectangular room for home studios) have a dramatic effect in regards to coloring the signal coming out of your source (mixer, cd, etc...).

    Most young recordists are unaware of this. Most mid-level engineers are unaware of this...and lots of 'pros' aren't clear about it but have a better understanding of acoustics in general terms. Thus the 'speakers on the meter bridge' trick. Not that great records haven't been made using these practices...it is just so much easier to get your mixes to 'travel' out of a studio and into the rest of the world if your monitoring is accurate (with a little extra bass for fun - usually around 2-4db at 60db with a Q of 2 to be geeky).

    I think that covered your comment and again...thanks for bringing more light to this topic.
  19. lovecow

    lovecow Active Member

    Not having seen the DVD, this is good to hear from you. And getting people thinking about acoustics will never be discouraged by me! :D

    Thank you for your response.
  20. Back to Rod's post...

    The DVD contains the "loose pink fiberglass hung with an air space behind it and covered with a curtian" example. I don't know where the other example came from....

    Yes, in the case of new construction you would be more than correct about the PSF and smaller bass trapping would be desireable. The target of the DVD (thus the word 'basic' in the title) is more home and small studio people getting into recording. This also assumes they are converting an existing space or renting something inexpensive...not ground up work as you mentioned.

    Plus, I'll add that the end of the acoustics section includes a statement saying that every room has unique characteristics and to guarantee a good design it is best to hire an acoustician to come in and do a custom design...blah, blah, blah. This is, of course, the best route.

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