Week 6

Synthesis Modules

Hello, I am Ian Frederick and I am a Colombian-American composer. This week I will be teaching synthesis modules. A synthesizer generates sound and allows us to edit/shape the sound to our own customizations. There are five types of main synthesis modules:

  • Oscillator: Allows us to create a specific sound. It allows us to specify a sine, square, sawtooth, triangle, or noise wave form.
  • LFO: A Low Frequency Oscillator is related to the musical concept of vibrato and tremolo. We cannot hear the LFO.LFOsection.png
    LFOsection“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Filter: Filters modulate the sound coming from the oscillator.  Common types of filters include the low pass filter and high pass filter.EQ parametrique.jpg
    EQ parametrique” by WfplbOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Amplifier: Also known as a Voltage Control Amplifier (VCA). The VCA is related to amplification or attenuation (gain process). Also known as a two-quadrant multiplier as well.
  • Envelope: Known as ADSR which stands for Attack Time, Delay Time, Sustain Time, Release Time. Each musical instrument has different ADSR properties. We would change the envelope if we want to produce a dry and crisp percussive sound, or a long sustained sustain time common ins string instruments.ADSR parameter.svg
    ADSR parameter“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Thank you for reading my lesson. How do you think I could improve my communication to make the learning process easier? Thank you for your time & feedback.

Week 5

Reverbs

Hello, I am Ian Frederick a Colombian-American composer. For this week I will be teaching the two types of reverbs using MOTU’s Digital Performer 8.

There are two types of reverbs used in the mixing process:

  • Algorithmic Reverb: Creates the reverb from a specific formula. It is related to a synthesizer in that both use formulas. The sound can be manipulated easily, but it will sound less real.
  • Convolution Reverb: It is based on a pre-recorded space and it is then merged into the sound space in the DAW. It is related to the concept of a sampled instrument. It has a more realistic sound since it uses an actual recording of a space. However, it cannot be manipulated easily. When using a convolution reverb one must chose one of the recorded spaces (also known as impulse responses) and see if it fits your needs for that specific sound wave.

Whichever reverb type is chosen, it is usally best to apply a small amount of reverb without going over the top and use a trial & error method for choosing a final setting in your mix. Let’s now listen to the two different types of reverb with a musical example.

Listen to the original excerpt here.

Now we will apply an Algorithmic Reverb. Listen.

algorithmic-reverb

Algorithmic Reverb

 

And now we will apply a Convolution Reverb. Listen.

convolution-reverb

Convolution Reverb

 

 

Week 4

Riding the Fader:

 

Hello, my name is Ian Frederick and I am a Colombian-American composer. This week I will be teaching the riding the fader technique which is a type of manual compression and involves a volume fader. It involves looking at the relative volume of the whole audio wave and it’s purpose is to keep a focused sound (a very common technique in vocal recording). For this lesson we will be using MOTU’s Digital Performer 8.

Step 1: Import the audio file by dragging the file into the Tracks window.

step 1

2: Zoom out using the (+) and (-) symbols on the right hand corner and look at the relative volume of the whole audio wave. Make sure the volume control is selected on the left and that it is enabled (a green background will appear once it is enabled).

2.

3: Using the pencil tool, draw a line along the wave form. When the sound signal gets quiet bring the level up, and when the signal get loud bring the level down.

3.

Creating this lesson was a great learning experience. I am sure I will be using this technique in future recordings.

Thank you for reading my lesson. How do you think I could improve my communication to make the learning process easier? Thank you for your time & feedback.

Week 3

Creating a Submix

Hello, my name is Ian Frederick and I am a Colombian-American composer. For this lesson I will be teaching you how to create a submix. A submix is a great way to control insert and volume parameters of various tracks in one location. It is very practical when mixing for orchestra by organizing a submix for each instrument family such as woodwinds, brass, and strings. For this lesson, I will be using MOTU’s Digital Performer 8 and creating a submix for just two tracks. Listen to the original version here.

1. Create a bus. A bus can be created in DP under Studio-Bundles. I have renamed the bus to Bass – Synth Submix. Make sure that the bus is in stereo mode.

step 1

2. The two tracks I want to be routed with the bus are two called Bass (purple color) & Synth (green color).

step 2

3. Add an Aux track under Project-Add Track-Aux Track (the yellow colored track is the Aux track in this example). I have named mine eureka_aux.

step 3

4. Under the Tracks tab, configure the outputs of the tracks to be submixed to the bus created earlier. Then, route the input of the Aux track to the same bus.

step 4

5. I can now control with a reverb insert in my aux track both the Bass & Synth tracks at once, reducing CPU usage. I used a very exaggerated reverb preset so that the change can be noticeable in both tracks. Listen to the new version here.

Creating this lesson was very helpful. I was able learn this important music production technique which I will now be using frequently in future projects.

Thank you for reading my lesson. How do you think I could improve my communication to make the learning process easier? Thank you for your time & feedback.

Week 2

Editing timing in Digital Performer 8

 

Hello, I am Ian Frederick, a Colombian-American composer and am looking forward to teaching you how to edit timings in MOTU’s Digital Performer 8.

 

Here is an audio excerpt using live instruments. Notice that between seconds 8-10 there is a silence I would like to remove so that the music becomes more fluent and organic. To take away the silence in Digital Performer 8, I would have to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Import the audio file. This can be done be dragging the file onto the tracks window. Chose a custom color as you wish (in this case I chose a light shade of green).
Step 1

Step 1

  • Step 2: Zoom in using the plus (+) symbols on the lower right hand corner which control the horizontal and vertical zoom percentage.  As we zoom, we can see the the low level audio signal activity around the middle of the picture which we want to remove.

 

Step 2

Step 2

 

Step 3: Using the I-Beam Tool, highlight the silence we want to remove and hit delete.

 

Step 3

Step 3

Deleted section

Deleted section

 

Step 4: The two waves are now separate. Therefore, drag the second waveform so that it connects with the first one while slightly overlapping each other.

Step 4

Step 4

 

Step 5: We want to make this transition as smooth as possible without any click noises, therefore create a cross fade between the two waves.

 

Step 5

Step 5

 

We have now successfully removed the two-second silence from our original audio. Listen to the improved version here.

 

Creating this lesson was very helpful. I was able to review several topics on audio manipulation and also get used to DP’s keyboard shortcuts.

 

Thank you for reading my lesson. How do you think I could improve my communication to make the learning process easier? Thank you for your time & feedback.

Week 1

 Most Common Cables Types

Hello, I am Ian Frederick, a Colombian-American composer. The lesson I will be teaching for week one is: Most Common Cables Types.

To work in a studio efficiently, it is very important to understand the basic usages of cables. High quality cables are a must for any serious music production enthusiast.

    • 1/4, instrument or TS cable: It has a quarter inch jack with two segments; tip & sleeve. It is a single-conductor cable because the signal is sent along a single conductor while the outer part avoids noise entry protection. However, this cable is vulnerable to noise and therefore a short cable length is preferable. An example usage for this cable would be from a guitar to an amplifier.

TS 0.25inch mono plug.jpg
TS 0.25inch mono plug” by MataresephotosOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    • TRS cable: Features a two-conductor cable with a shield. It has a tip, ring, & sleeve. It is used to connect headphones, acting as two TS cables in one by sending two different signals (stereo cable). However, noise can still penetrate. It can also be used in a balanced form by sending one signal by canceling noise that enters the cable.
Photo-audiojacks.jpg

TRS cable (far right)

Photo-audiojacks“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    • XLR cable: Standard Mic cable with three connectors and a locking device for providing stability. These cables are not used for stereo signals, but for more balanced settings. XLR cables are the preferred method for using long distance cables in studio or live settings since they are able to eliminate noise.

Xlr-connectors.jpg
Xlr-connectors“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    • 1/8 stereo cable: used for headphones mostly. Basically it is a smaller scale TRS cable
Photo-audiojacks.jpg

1/8 cable (second to right)

Photo-audiojacks“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    • RCA cable: Functions the same as a TS cable and is mostly used for video; single conductor with a covering shield. RCA cables are mostly used for home-everyday appliances. While using pro gear, it is important to use +4 line level (since most home appliances use -10 line level). Adapters from RCA cables to TRS cables can also be obtained.

Composite-cables.jpg
Composite-cables” by Evan-AmosOwn work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Many times it is necessary to convert unbalanced cables such as a TS or TRS cable to an XLR cable. For this, a Direct Box is used. A short TRS cable can connect one way, and a long XLR cable can go on the other side. This inexpensive and small device is a must item for any studio or live stage!


Thank you for reading my lesson. How do you think I could improve my communication to make the learning process easier? Thank you for your time & feedback.