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Welcome to Johnny's Blog page. Here I will post my advice, thoughts and sometimes nonsense on a regular basis. Also enjoy blogs from some of my friends in the business like David Vignola and Ferenc Toth. Thanx to everyone for the support.

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The "Mixing In Mono" Debate and Why I Do Not....

Posted by Johnny Geib on April 27, 2017 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (1)

    While I agree that all mixes should be checked, from time to time, in mono, during the mixing process, to suggest that mixing in mono 85% of the time I can not agree with. To support my opinion, count how many ears you have. Sound like a silly argument? Maybe. But consider how much different things would sound with only ONE ear. Frequencies merging and canceling at random times (this is where checking a mix in mono from time to time makes sense) position and overall dynamics of a mix are hindered during a mono mix, then moving to a stereo mix for only the other 15%, will make you change about 49% of the mix you did in mono because of the change in overall dynamics "Per Channel".


    One thing that is missed by most people starting out in the Mixing Adventure is, in my opinion, learning what I call "Channel Dynamics". Sound placement and position, in a natural dynamic mix, is one of the great losses in modern mixing and the dreaded "Loudness Wars" which I believe can be due to over mixing in MONO. For example, in the Loudness Wars, over compression and Limiter use, to gain a constant 0db level, creates a wave form with little to no movement. This can cause a loudness factor that can wear out the ears very quickly and drive the listener away from the music even faster.


    Mixing in Mono does a similar dis-service to the Engineer doing the mixing if over utilized because of the sheer damage to the overall dynamics when forcing all of the audio into a single channel. This is why stereo was such a relief to so many really serious music listeners (otherwise known as"Audiophiles") back in the early 60's. The sheer relief from the "Center Channel" allows the brain to process while at the same time entertaining the listener. For the engineer doing the mixing, 2 channel stereo has the same relaxing effect but also allows more breathing room for a mix that contains many instruments and allows for a better Dynamic feel over all.


    So in closing I am not saying "Do Not Mix In Mono". I am actually saying "Use Mono To Check and Evaluate a Mix" but never use it to solidify one. Mix in mono 15% of your mix instead of 85% because your listeners are not engineers and they all have 2 ears, not one.

Panning - Where Sounds Should Go

Posted by Johnny Geib on April 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Johnny's blog for April 2017 - Panning

So for today's blog I want to talk about the art of panning instruments left or right. There has been some discussion on whether to use an LCR method or whether to simply pan instruments at a point that sounds best. For those that do not know, LCR is a theory of panning that everything should be either hard left, hard right or center and nothing in between. I myself have always been of the concept of panning to a desired position rather then a hard left and right and center position, to allow your ears to hear things in their natural positions rather than forcing a location during a mix.


I have created several charts over the years showing what I feel are the best panning positions for different instruments. Of course these are only thoughts and ideas of my own so please take from them whatever you feel comfortable with but know that everything that I show here is a suggestion and is to be added to your arsenal of knowledge.


So let's begin with the drums. I feel that the drums are probably the most important in this panning issue. For basic mixing keeping the kick and the snare in the center with a Hi Hat slightly off to the left or right depending on what perspective you're going for. The toms should be panned in the motion of play. For example, hi Tom on the left mid tom in the center and low time all the way to the right, so that you feel the motion of the drum roll across the toms.


Things like guitars should be panned to their general position and impact on the song. For example, putting two rhythm guitars left and right of a solo guitar that would be in the center. This gives you the impression of watching three guitarists on stage, two doing the rhythm left and right and one solo in the center, which will be the focal point in a song at some point.


Things like strings and piano can go into any position you choose more freely because there is not always a band with a piano player or a violin player (or even a string section for that matter) so you have some creative freedom.


So one of the last things that a lot of people think of is percussion. Percussion has probably more freedom than any of the other instruments. You can use an arbitrary panning method with things like tambourine and shakers, hard left and hard right, congas and bongos also hard left and hard right, and lastly things like a second set of drums which some bands actually use, you can pan the whole kit to one side if you wish to keep things full sounding.


So my best advice that I can give, when mixing, keep things in a natural position. A position that you feel sounds natural and that can have the biggest impact on a mix. The LCR method is a great way to make a mix more interesting then it would have been say on a life stage. Be creative and pan to taste so that you can make your mixes pop and keep your audience interested.

Objective Mixing

Posted by Johnny Geib on April 9, 2017 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (1)

Objective Mixing

There are times when I mix that are very difficult to get through. When my ears do not agree with my brain and I find myself remixing the same part over and over it gets very difficult to stay focused and to complete a mix that makes me happy. I believe that some of the strongest points of completing a mix have to be the ability to except certain things that you cannot change and understand that there will be times when a mix will never sound finished.


So one thing that you can do is to start to build your mix by its basic parts and try to complete the mix before you add any reverbs or delays or other plug-ins and try to get settled in your mind when the mix is near completion. At this stage you need to except that some parts are not going to fit until you add some sort of compression or some sort of panning position or whatever else you feel might finish the mix.


So my advice would be to start a mix like this. The first thing you do is you take care of all of your gain staging and make sure that all of your tracks are at a proper volume with all of the faders at the zero position. The next thing to do is to evaluate the parts that you have in their dry form, no effects, and see if you can come up with a balanced mix before you even start panning tracks to a certain side. Run the mix as though it is live and try to understand the room you're in. What do you want to hear from a live performance? Does the guitar need to be raised during the solo? Do other parts need to drop during the solo? All these questions should be asked before you really begin to mix.


The most important thing that I keep in mind, unlike many engineers, is to build the mix based on what's there rather than to immediately start adding plug-ins to try to get the sound you want. I have come to learn that it is better to mix a song based on its parts rather then what you think you hear in your head.


So before you actually mix, learn to mix what's there, see what the limitations of the tracks you have are and build the mix based on the spatial qualities the tracks create on their own. Only then should you start adding plug-ins and effects to build a finish mix.


Johnny Geib

What has happened to music....

Posted by Johnny Geib on February 13, 2017 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (3)

The Grammys. What a wonderful waste of time. I never even heard of most of the winners. Not only that, the outfits and the lack of real talent is disgraceful. Now, there was some good music, don't get me wrong. But the overall collection of lacking talent was quite a surprise. You can call me old, stuck in the past or closed minded but my opinion comes from the musician side of who I am. The songwriter I used to be and the Singer I never was. But attitudes and egos are way to prevalent. I already miss people like John Lennon, George Micheal, Micheal Jackson, Freddie Mercury and others. Real talent and what the industry thinks good is in fact gone.

The Presonus Faderport 8 - Feel and Hear What You Mix

Posted by Johnny Geib on December 8, 2016 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (10)

The Faderport 8 has been a dream of mine since I bought the original faderport nearly 8 years ago. There have been all sorts of Photo-Shopped wishes created by myself and others, never really thinking Presonus was actually listening. One thing I have learned over the years is that development of devices like these is not an easy process and coming up with features "Everyone" will like is even harder.

 

When the announcement of the Faderport 8 was made I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to see what was coming. I was fortunate enough to borrow a unit to do a series of videos that are now available here at HST. http://www.homestudiotrainer.com/apps/videos/channels/show/4249676-faderport-8 Please feel free to check them out and decide for yourself if this is something that can help you with your workflow using Studio One.

 

8 touch sensitive faders, the ability to adjust effect settings with the faders themselves, a Fader-Flip option that brings all the Pan settings to the faders, a beautiful LCD for each track that can show everything from VU levels to Gate and Compression response and soft touch jell buttons for super quiet operation during tracking. Knowing Presonus there is more coming but for now, it is about as complete as I need for how I work in my Studio.

 

I hope to purchase my own after the holidays but am glad for the opportunity to work with one and share what I have discovered in this awesome machine as I feel it will lend the touch of the "Old Days" when you used to be able to feel and hear what you are mixing.

Saved!!

Posted by Johnny Geib on July 26, 2016 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (1)

The HST WEB SITE HAS BEEN SAVED....... Yahoo!!! In a HUGE effort with my hosting company, who was so understanding of my situation, I have moved everything, with little effort, to a much more affordable plan that will allow me to keep things running. Sadly I lost the nice look of the old site but I have it looking the best I can now, with what I have.

I hope everyone can handle the new look cause that's all I get and I actually like it myself. So I hope everyone is as happy as I am so let the new members in!!! www.homestudiotrainer.com

The coming of Studio One 3 - A short review

Posted by Johnny Geib on May 25, 2015 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (4)


Well what can I say. I have been a Studio One user since version 1 and with each update I got more and more precise with every mix. With every update came additions to the work flow that just made my life easier and I actually started to feel I was mixing in half the time, with nearly every mix I completed. For me, no feature was too complicated nor were they difficult to figure out if it was something new to me and on top of that, I always learned something new about this DAW almost every time I mixed.

 

So now, V3 has not only added features other DAWs don't have but the new instruments and overall content, make it worth much then just another DAW. It's a song writing tool, a content manager, a drummer that plays to click (lol) and learning tool for anyone just getting started. In the coming weeks, I will be releasing video after video on not only the new features and toys Studio One V3 has to offer but I will be sharing how I use it in my home studio and how you too can get back to making music and not wonder why your DAW costs $50 a month just to have!

 


My opinions on 3rd party plugins and track cloning

Posted by Johnny Geib on January 5, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (3)


I received an email today asking my thoughts on this. He apologized for a long winded email and I responded with an even longer email (not purposly mind you) and I came to think my response was worthy of a Blog entry.

The question was: "So I guess the short form of my question/confusion is this. Shouldn't the eq and compression tools inside Studio One provide enough flexibility to craft [the same] beautiful sound?"

My response:

Well, this is a question that can be based on several things and is so completely open to opinion that everyone you ask may have a different answer.

 

The short answer is Yes. Everything you hear in the bigger plugins should be, at least, mostly attainable in the native plugins in any DAW. SHOULD BE!! Now, the reality is presets and algorithms can contain so many different settings that to match the sound of one preset in a Slate Digital plugin, you may need 4 or 5 Native plugins in Studio One to even come close to that exact sound. Not to mention the fact you may never find it at all. That's what makes the question so hard to really answer solidly.

 

Now for the longer answer. This, for me, is one reason I don't use 3rd party plugins very much, even when they look as awesome as Slate Digital's do. When I bought Studio One back in 2009, I loved the simplicity and the fact that there were few options to have to learn. I wanted to really learn what each plugin did and learn it well. Since it had all the basics that I had in my analog rack, that was all I needed at that point. I just wanted to learn to do in it. what I already did with my outboard gear. Once I did that, I began exploring features I found interesting or simply stumbled upon during my learning process and went from there.

 

Now here's a point I want to make based on a comment you made.

 

You said: couldn't one just do the same thing with Parallel compression on a duplicate of the track in question, with a low filter and some eq?

 

Never duplicate (or clone) a track like that. Since all plugins in Studio One have a "Mix' adjustment, you can adjust the level of the original track against the effect. Duplicating (or cloning) a track will, most times, cause "Phasing" and make your tracks cancel each other out because they are identical. So a good rule of thumb to follow is to never copy tracks unless you are going to de-tune them or severely edit them. 2 Identical tracks playing at the same time increases volume, not fatness.

There are techniques for track cloning that can make for a "Fat" but that would be another long email....lol


The Cost of things.......

Posted by Johnny Geib on December 27, 2014 at 2:55 AM Comments comments (10)


Well, I have learned a lot during the last few months as I attempted to launch a "Videos For Sale" site to generate some revenue for upgrades to my video equipment for better quality videos. What I discovered is that once you offer so much for free it becomes expected and very difficult to get people to pay for what they have been receiving for free for so long.


Patreon and Pivotshare were HUGE failures for me and even when I posted a Youtube video explaining my motives and desires to do this all full time, the accusations of being a sell-out and money hungry were quite surprising. No matter where I put these 4 new videos or how much I advertised them, no supporters to Patreon and no sales on Pivotshare. Needless to say I was disappointed as well as surprised and can only assume that I lack a certain quality in what I do to make a living at it. Even those that were positive and supportive about my endeavor did not purchase or sign up as a supporter and that, to me, was very telling.


So I pulled everything down and the videos I tried to sell are now getting dozens of views and positive comments on Youtube. Go figure. So my backup plan is to at least monetize these videos through Youtube and try to put that small amount towards improvements.


And the part of me that wants to continue helping where I can and offering assistance to those that need it, is only disappointed because I can still only do this part time and not assist more people that really want help.

 


Upward compression with Studio One by Ferenc Toth

Posted by Johnny Geib on June 14, 2013 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (6)

Upward compression with Studio One


This may be one of Studio One’s best kept secrets, but did you know that it is possible to upward compress with stock plugins in Studio One? The regular compressor plugin which comes with Studio One can only compress downwards; however, the multiband compressor which comes with Studio One Professional can also compress upwards (sorry Artist and Producer users!). A multiband compressor allows specific frequency ranges to be compressed individually, but when I need to apply upward compression to the entire spectrum, I can set this plugin to act as a regular broadband compressor. Let me show you how.


What is upward compression?


The compression we are all most familiar with is called downward compression. Simply put, this type of compression makes loud sounds quieter. Imagine a little man sitting inside your DAW riding the volume fader--he turns the volume down whenever the audio signal gets too loud. With upward compression he turns the volume up whenever the signal gets too quiet. Therefore, with upward compression the quiet signals get boosted and the loud signals stay the same. Both types of compression reduce the dynamics of the signal (that is, the difference between the quiet and the loud parts) but go about different ways of achieving it.


Click here to read or download the entire blog. Thanx again to Ferenc Toth for a killer blog!!! https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14142004/Upward%20Compression%20with%20Studio%20One%20by%20Ferenc%20Toth.pdf 



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