Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quandry List

Hmmmm. I've spent dozens if not hundreds of hours reading about and studying about and playing around with Pro Tools. Made some excellent recordings, did a few rough mixes using minimal plug-ins for evaluation purposes. All sounded great. I had my friend and fine engineer Steve Ledet over today to work on getting some drum sounds. The basic PT supplied plugs I had used for the rough mixes gave way to the more characterful and vibey UAD plugins and some of the more latency-heavy plugins from Digi. Once you put the UAD Fairchild or Pultec on something, it's real hard to take it off.

That all sounds great, and it was going along fine...but we could not get a stable mix due to the fact that PT 8 does not automatically account for the latency induced by a plugin, so things quickly get out of line...literally. We tried using the Mellowmuse ATA (Automatic Time Adjuster), but it only worked occasionally. put a few plugs on, it seems OK...add one more and everything freaks out and you can't get back to normal with the undo button.

So, the solution is to take all of the Pro Tools files and import them into Cubase sessions and mix in Cubase 4. Cubase 4 has automatic time adjustment (delay compensation) built-in. There area few plugins I really like that are PT only, including the Massey De-Esser I just bought last week ...but I will have to live without them. I now have to render all of my virtual instruments as well. This takes time.

Oddly enough, Digidesign is having a 50% off sale on PT HD1 systems, which also have ADC. So for a measly $6,000 I can get the pro version of the rig I have now. Hoo boy.

I really like the way Pro Tools records audio and edits audio....but if I can't mix on it, what's the point? Guess I'm gonna have to get a few things together to sell....stay tuned.

UPDATE: Found a used HD1 system with Power Mac G5 for $3500. Hmmmmm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

See Rock City Ad Fallsium

I finally did See Rock City, thanks to my lovely wife who suggested it as a belated anniversary trip. We rented a nice car and drove down to Chattanooga. About that car...we usually get a mid-sized SUV, but they had none. Instead, we opted for a pearl white Cadillac CTS 4. I think they use Beatles music in their ad. One nice thing about getting older is you can rent a Caddy, knowing that in a few more years, you'll be driving one. Unless you find a mint Crown Vic.

Anyways, I did not actually drive the car because I have yet to replace my stolen driver's license, so I could not drive the car without breaking the Avis contract. Which was good, and bad...I guess the car was a blast to drive, and I got a lot of sleep on the way home.

So...Rock City, Ruby Falls, Tennessee Aquarium. We put on our tourist pants and hit all three. "Rock City" was first and it was pretty cool.

Great view from the top of the mountain.

Supposedly you can see seven states from here, but I'll have to say I'll take their word for it. I do know that to get to Chattanooga you have to drive through Georgia for a couple hundred yards, then you're back in Tennessee. So right there, that's two already. One of the other states you're supposed to be able to see is Alabama. I thought I might've caught a glimpse of Jeff Cook's hair a few miles to the West, so maybe you can.

There was a nice little waterfall underneath the lookout point.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is, Not Was

Don Was, Krish Sharma, Elizabeth Cook

My good friend Elizabeth Cook finished up tracking her new album this evening with producer Don Was at the helm and ace engineer Krish Sharma twiddling the knobs. I caught a few overdubs while I was here, including the legendary Rodney Crowell laying some Everly-style harmony on a track and heard a few rough mixes going down.

This is going to be a great record. I've been listening to EC for years, as well as her husband and guitarist Tim Carroll. All of their records have been good, but this is the first one to feature her live band and it definitely shows. Was' hands off approach and penchant for keeping first or early takes adds an organic urgency and vitality to the tracks. With drummer Marco Giovino and bassist Bones Hillman laying down solid and funky grooves, fiddler Matt Combs, steel guitarist Tony Paoletta, and keyboardist Tim Atwood joined Carroll (on electric guitar) in filling out the songs and sounding like a band instead of a collection of session players. All of the above worked on the demos I helped Tim and Elizabeth with during pre-production, and most of them have played live gigs with her as well. Familiarity breeds content, so to speak.

Was has a great "console-side manner" as EC puts it. He seems to go through your musical closet and find the clothes most becoming of you, occasionally bringing in an outside piece for consideration, but mostly relying on the basics - good songs, good groove, good performances. It was a pleasure to meet him and Krish and to hear their work... even in the early stages it sounds fantastic.

Look for it on 31 Tigers records in late March.

Monday, October 12, 2009

North American Pie

So the North American tour has ended, in Buffalo, with a performance by the crew band, "The Trainwrecks". We did a fairly rousing rendition of "Whole Lotta Rosie". It went over pretty well. You can find some cell phone video on YouTube, but I'm holding out for the professionally shot version from the video crew.

I'm the guy playing the first solo, on a red Fender Strat, into a Category 5 amp with a Route 66 overdrive kicked in, courtesy Chris Rodriguez.

Thanks to Keith Urban, all my co-workers, the fans and new friends we met this year for a fun tour.

Friday, October 02, 2009

In Too Heap

Imogne Heap has a newish album called "Ellipse". You should buy it.

She has an earlier album called "Speak For Yourself". You should already have that, but buy it if you don't. You need to hear the track "Hide and Seek". Immediately.

An artist. Period.