Some recent listener feedback


Welcome back, Bruce!
I missed you every day, and I’m glad to have you here again.
I dabble in audio engineering because of YOUR podcasts. It’s because I found YOU in eyetoons.
Jim Weishorn

Bruce, so great to see this post.
Will subscribe today.
Cheers and welcome back!
Rob Scalise

This is such great news it's back.
Was always one of my favourite pods.
Steve Mayfield

A great listen. Thanks mate. Glad you had your Blues Brothers moment, and put the band back together. Looking forward to the next episode.
Peter Buckley


March 30, 2014

Episode 136 – Loudness

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 09:00

This week, I’ve musing over some things that crossed my radar over the last couple of weeks.
Joel, one of the Broadcast Tech’s at work recently posted about the Orban Omnia 9 on his facebook timeline.
The Omnia 9 is designed to undo the damage done by excessive peak limiting at the mastering stage. Probably not the kind of unit you’re going to buy for your home listening pleasure, but at least it shows that there are people in the industry concerned enough about the damage the Loudness War is doing to our musical listening experience.
Which of course leads to a reminder about the brilliant article that Bob Orban and Frank Foti wrote ages ago concerning excessive peak limiting of music. Definitely worth a read if you’re at all concerned by the Loudness War, and particularly how that plays out in the broadcast space.
Engineers at Duke University have come up with a design that allows for the acoustic cloaking of objects.
There’s a new music-creation piece of software out now called Bitwig Studio. I don’t know much about it, and I’m certainly not about to jump from Reaper (which I love), but I am keen to follow it’s progression. If you end up trying it out, let me know your thoughts. Aspects of it remind me of AudioMulch (whose name I couldn’t remember at the time of recording).
And finally, a great article that I saw on TapeOp about the difference between Conscious Blind ABX testing vs Sub-conscious Blind ABX testing. It may just have changed my mind regarding hardcore “audiophiles”.

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March 16, 2014

Episode 135 – The future of audio

Filed under: !Podcast,Surround sound,Vinyl — Bruce Williams @ 10:30

This week, Rob Bettla opened a huge can of worms regarding the apparently never-ending quest for improved video, while almost no progress seems to be hapeening in the area of improved audio quality.
This led to a discussion of (count ‘em!) 22.2 channel audio reproduction systems,
ultra high def TV,
Occulus Rift,
these strange video pods in Japan (video 1, video 2),
and the image resolution of the eye.
Somewhere in there, we also got onto the subject of the range of human hearing.
In the last 12 months, I’ve also rediscovered the joy of vinyl. Mmmm, vinyl.
The great folks at Izotope have just published this great pdf file (completely free… go grab a copy!) of mixing tips,
and over at the Dolby blog, I found a great (and not too lengthy) article about 7 iconic movie sounds, and how they were created.

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January 26, 2014

Episode 134 – Mid-side processing

Filed under: !Podcast,Mastering,mid-side processing — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

Happy new year, one and all!
This week, an e-mail from Carlos in Venezula, asking about the state of the pro-audio industry in Australia,
more hilarity from Rob Bettla,
and Karel Weis (via Facebook) asked me to discuss mid-side decoding…. what it is, when and why we’d use it, and how to do it.

As my source, I borrowed from a post by Brad Blackwood on his (now defunct) mastering forum at ProSoundWeb many years ago.
Here’s Brad’s instructions:

Take your stereo track and copy it (or mult on an analog console) to the streams beneath it, so you have 2 identical stereo streams (we’ll call them 1&2 and 3&4) of the same track. Make sure you keep them locked in the same position, as sample accuracy is vital.

1] In your mixer, pan the first piece (1&2) as a normal stereo track of music, hard left and right.

2] Next, pan the second track (3&4) dead center for both channels and reduce their level by 3db. This will make the track mono.

3] Now phase reverse both channels of 3&4.

If you kept the tracks sample tight, when you play, you will only hear the stereo information – anything common to both channels (mono) will go away. If you bounce this resulting output to a stereo file, you have the side information isolated for further processing (we’ll call this 5&6). Now, if you mute 1&2 (leaving only 3&4 in mono and phase-reversed) you can bounce this resulting output for your mono information (we’ll call this 7&8).

Now, flip polarity on streams 5&6. Then reduce 7&8 by 3db (and make sure both 7&8 are panned center), they’ll recombine, giving you your normal stereo output.

Now you can strap whatever processing your want across these streams to affect just the mono image or just the stereo information…

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Filesize: 32MB
Duration: 58:41

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December 22, 2013

Episode 133 – Sidechain compression

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

This week, a follow-up e-mail from Rob Bettla,
a quick discussion on televsiion audio levels (plus, here’s a few useful links for those who are interested…)
ITU BS.1770
EBU R128
ATSC A/85
Wikipedia article on LKFS
plus a whole page of useful links.
Then, I discussed the video that made the rounds over the week or two of a drummer playing in different locations. Despite the reservations I described on the podcast, on second viewing, I notice that the rug does in fact change (look at the edges of the rug from each location) between shots.
Your thoughts?
And finally, an introduction to sidechaining.
What is it, how does it work, and when would you use it?

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December 1, 2013

Episode 132 – Outdoor dialogue in the studio

First off, thanks for all the love!
It’s good to be back!
After ep #131, I received an epic e-mail from Rob Bettla, who pointed me toward (amongst other things), this awesome video of balls of red hot nickel being dropped into water. The sound it makes is fascinating!
I came across an article on ProSoundWeb about digital gain staging, which for those requiring a refresher on the importance of signal structure, is well worth a look. One point the author makes (which is worth repeating) is that just because you’re running your DAW session using floating point math doesn’t de facto mean that all your plugins are necessarily doing the same!
I also found a much lengthier article (which I haven’t read YET, but will do so this week) called “A Primer On The Perception Of Sound“. The name alone has piqued my interest. Hopefully, it lives up to my expectations. :)
And finally, my tip of the week:
How to record and process studio-recorded dialogue so that it sounds like it was recorded outdoors.
As I’ve said 100 times before, this is purely subjective, but my three keys to success on this front are:

1. Performance
2. EQ (shelf, not high pass)
3. Reflections

As I mention in the podcast, if you’re unfamiliar with the difference between a high-pass filter and a low-shelf filter (both of which remove low frequency content, despite the confusing naming conventions), check out these images:


High pass filter

A high pass filter allows high frequencies to pass through unaffected, while low frequency content is removed.


Low shelf filter, with a narrow bandwidth (or q) value.

A low shelf filter attenuates (turns down) low frequency content, but doesn’t remove all of it. The shape of the filter is controlled by the bandwidth (sometimes referred to as ‘q’, short for bandwidth quality) control.


Low shelf filter, with a wide bandwidth (or q) value.

Still a low shelf filter, but notice the bandwidth setting. With a 2 octave ‘q’, the slope of the EQ curve is much shallower and more gentle.


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November 20, 2013

No podcast this week

Filed under: blog — Bruce Williams @ 21:51

Cath’s grandfather passed away last weekend, and we’ve had to travel for the funeral this week.
As a result, there won’t be time for recording this week.
Back next week, all things being equal.


November 10, 2013

Episode 131 – Stay on the f***ing bus!

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 16:41

Yeah baby… I’m baaack!
This week, WHY I’m back,
why we should stay on the bus (here’s the link that inspired this episode’s title),
and an invitation for topics.

 

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May 5, 2012

New podcast: Nothing to Fear

Filed under: blog — Bruce Williams @ 17:54

I’m about to launch a new podcast called “Nothing to Fear“.

It will be along the same lines as “Building the Pod” (for those who remember it), except this one will be all about the digital audio workstation known as Reaper.

All things being equal, the first two episodes will go live Sunday 12th May, 2012.

I’m really just posting this here in order to get some inbound links to the site, so the google bots will index it.


July 16, 2010

Sine Language – episode 130

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 20:02

To quote Jim Morrison, “This is the end”.

Size: 4793575 bytes
Duration: 4:20
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May 23, 2010

Sine Language – Episode 129

This week, Jim Addie weighs in on the Loudness War,
including providing us with this link to Audyssey’s room calibration tool for your DAW,
a link for AudioLeak,
and a link to a technical document on the subject of loudness,
Geoff Hankerson points us toward a recent epsiode of the Home Theatre Geeks podcast,
and Ron Eastwood chimed in on how new audio forensic technology might be shedding new light on a 40 year old case.

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Size: 41128786 bytes
Duration: 36:49

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April 25, 2010

Sine Language – episode 128

This week, Kevin Smith chimed in some more on tracking with effects in place,
a brief comment on how the use of reverb has changed over the years,
Ron Eastwood suggested another way of accomplishing the “richer harmonics” that I talked about in episode 127,
and J.R. sent us this link which he says is useful for newbie ProTools users.

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Size: 21920271 bytes
Duration: 18:19

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April 4, 2010

Sine Language – episode 127

Filed under: !Podcast,Analogue,baking,head out,Mastering,restoration,RIAA,tail out,tape — Bruce Williams @ 14:21

This week, Jim Addie replied concerning Dave King’s link to the Vacuumsound RIAA plugin,
my trip to the Sony DADC plant here in Sydney,
baking tapes,
Springsteen’s Nebraska album,
the Mixerman Diaries,
an e-mail from Kevin Smith regarding “tracking with mixing/mastering in mind”.

Size : 40198669 bytes
Duration: 33:22

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March 13, 2010

Sine Language – episode 126

In ep 126, some pros and cons of the Fast Track Ultra 8R soundcard,
Dave King sent me this link for an RIAA EQ Curve Plug-in,
Todd Sadowski asked about USB mics,
Rob Scalise wanted me to cover digital noise reduction some more, so I’m asking for your samples,
plus, in a recent edition of Audio Technology mag, Stav talked about a double-tracked vocal technique using sample rate deviations for harmonic variation.

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February 28, 2010

Sine Language – episode 125

This week, we follow on from last episode, talking more about restoring your vinyl and converting it to digital media.
Firstly, I came across Warren Barnett, a Sydney-based Mastering Engineer with what was, to me at least, an unusual approach to restoring vinyl, so I got him on Skype for a chat.
Then it was on to a couple of fairly lengthy e-mails from Rob Scalise (who mentioned Wendy Carlos’ approach to baking tapes) and Jim (War and Peace) Addie.
Jim also supplied a few links to go along with some of his comments:

Tone arm alignment:
The analog Department
Enjoy the music
Vinyl Engine

RIAA EQ: (good article, accurate, and has graphs of the actual curves and it’s permutations.
There were/are at least 3 slightly different versions!

ART USB Preamp

Diamond Cut Productions

Size: 43323293 bytes
Duration: 37:40

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February 26, 2010

Brief interruption to service

Filed under: Admin — Bruce Williams @ 06:33

I’ve just received an e-mail from my hosting company advising that they are migrating all of my sites to new servers.
The move will take place between 10pm EST February 25th and 8am EST February 26th.
That’s about 6 hours or so from the time of this posting.
Hopefully, you won’t even notice!

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