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BASS (47) COMPRESSION (32) DRUMS (41) EFFECTS (47) EQUALIZATION (27) GUITAR (100) HOME RECORDING (81) IMPULSES (21) INTERVIEWS (19) KARAOKE (1) LIVE (10) MASTERING (56) MIDI (18) MIXING (163) REVIEWS (131) SAMPLES (56) SONGWRITING (18) VOCALS (29)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Review: Audio Assault Hellbeast



Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are review the latest guitar amp simulator from Audio Assault: Hellbeast!

Hellbeast is one of the several amp simulators Audio Assault is putting out in the last months, and it's without any doubt the heaviest so far; even if it's not explicitly cited, it's quite clear that this virtual amp is modeled after the Randall Satan, the Ola Englund signature model (it has the same two "Girth" and "Grind" knobs that controls independently the gain of the low and high frequencies).

The sound as similar to the original head as the look is, and this means a suprisingly versatile gain machine, that lets you shape your distorted sound with a depth that is almost impossible to find in other amplifiers, since all the controls (3 eq knobs, depth, presence, girth and grind) allows a very high freedom to dial in your tone.

The tone is clearly aimed to those who needs a very tight distortion, ideal for thrash and death metal, and the nice thing of this amp sim is that it retains at almost all settings a very defined attack and a fast, not muddy low end.

Audio Assault is surprising us with every release with its great quality to price ratio, these bundles are all sold at a very affordable price and there are often discounts, so if you're looking for extreme chugs check out the Hellbeast at the Audio Assault website.

Thumbs up!


Specs taken from the website:


- Dual Cabinet IR Loader with 62 impulses included

- Tube Screamer Simulation

- Noise Gate

- 10 band graphic Eq

- Delay

- Reverb

- Chorus


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Saturday, April 20, 2019

How to record a song part 6/6: Keyboards and extra arrangements!



We are now in the final part of the recording session, and it's the part in which, once the basic elements of a rock band have been recorded, we must focus on all the additional arrangements.
Obviously it's impossible here to cover all the topics, because we are talking about an infinite variety of sounds that can be added, but we can narrow them down in 2 types: the real ones and the Midi ones.

If we are recording a real piano or other acoustic instruments, such a string ensemble, it's all about microphoning: for single instruments it's usually preferrable to do a combination of close miking and room miking, in order to take also the natural reverb of the room and blend the sounds together in the mixing phase.
If we are dealing instead with several acoustic instruments like an orchestra (click here for an article about how to record a string ensemble), we need to plan a bit more strategically: we can record the ensemble with condenser microphones divided left and right or by sections, and one or more room microphones to capture the room reverb and the low end: this way the mix engineer will be able to narrow the low end and open spatially the higher frequencies.

If we are dealing with keyboards/synths with in built sound, we can hook up the stereo outputs of the synth into our interface and record two mono (left and right) audio tracks.

Finally, if we are dealing with Midi controllers, the possibilities are endless: we can use any type of Vst instrument, for example a Virtual Orchestra, and the instruments can be either synths or samplers (click here for an article that explains the difference between them), and once you have done writing the Midi part you can enhance your sound making it more realistic, by adjusting the paramenters as explained Here and Here.

Now that we have also all the extra parts recorded, we should prepare our project for the mixing phase (click here for an article about project preparation): once we have covered all those steps, let's just go through this quick checklist on how to prepare the tracks for mixing, and we are ready to jump in our serie of tutorials about mixing: HOW TO MIX A SONGS WITH FREE PLUGINS!


CLICK HERE FOR PART 1/6: PREPARATION!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2/6: DRUMS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3/6: BASS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 4/6: GUITARS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 5/6: VOCALS!


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Saturday, April 13, 2019

How to record a song part 5/6: vocals!



Now that the instrumental part of our song is ready it's time to lay down the thing that most of the times is the center of our mix: the vocal section.

Let's assume we already have a good vocal arrangement, a nice chorus and some meaningful lyrics, the singer is ready and knows exactly how to interpret the song (which is already a lot), what we need now is to choose the microphone.

The choice of the microphone depends on many factors, and obviously the first one is the budeget: if we have a good budget and we can afford a place without too much room reverb we can use a condenser microphone, which will capture much more details, otherwise we can use a good dynamic one, which are usually directionals, so they will focus on the sound source.
A dynamic microphone is also more suggested if we are recording extreme genres, in which the singer screams very loud, as they are not afraid of high sound pressure and usually are less sensitive in the low frequencies.

Once we have the microphone we can place it in the mic stand and add an antipop filter that will catch the little "saliva projectiles" and prevent the singer to touch the microphone.
The singer needs to find a distance from the microphone in which he will not accidentally touch the mic stand with the feet and mantain it for the whole recording session in order to give continuity to the takes.

If the room is not treated it could also be a good idea to use a vocal microphone shield, a small styrofoam barrier that blocks the room reverbs to come back to the microphone.

The microphone should be plugged into the soundcard or mixer, but if the audio interface is cheap (and we have a better preamp at hand) it's a good idea to bypass the in built preamp and sing through the better one, plugging it into the return of the interface.
If we have some other external gear such a good Compressor or an Eq that could make our track sound better we could also use them, although it's risky: using those, once the processed signal is in the Daw, there's no turning back. I suggest if we are using some outboard to dial a very soft compression, just to shave off a couple of db of gain to reduce a little bit the dynamic range, and in case of an eq, to use it just as a de-esser.

To know more now Click here for an in depth article about how to record vocals!

Once our vocal track is ready we can consider making some overdubs to thicken it up, or creating some vocal harmony. We can even completely double the whole vocal track, if we feel it needs more weight.

Once our vocal session is perfectly recorded, it's time for some editing and autotuning (only if needed!), and we're ready for the next step!


CLICK HERE FOR PART 1/6: PREPARATION!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2/6: DRUMS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3/6: BASS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 4/6: GUITARS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 6/6: KEYBOARDS AND EXTRA ARRANGEMENTS!


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Saturday, April 6, 2019

How to record a song part 4/6: guitars!



Now that we have some solid drum track and a nice bass line it's time to tackle one of the elements that in many genres is considered one of the most important elements of our mix: the guitar.

The guitar recording phase has many points in common with the bass one: before recording we need to take care of our instrument by making sure it's in the best status possible;
we need to clean the fretboard if it's dirty and sticky, change the strings and set the correct intonation for the tuning, tune it perfectly (and re-tune it every few takes) and check whether the pickups are at the perfect height.

Once we have chosen the right pick and have written down clearly the order of our effects it's finally time to lay down our action plan:

- Are we recording an acoustic guitar? Click here for a dedicated article.

- Are we writing a Midi track with a virtual guitar? Click here for a dedicated article.

- Are we recording an electric guitar? Here the choices are the following:

1) by recording the D.I. track directly into the audio interface: this way we will be able to choose our sound afterwards, by using a Vst guitar amp simulator (click here for a dedicated article) or by reamping our track in a real amp.

2) by using an hardware preamp with speaker simulation (like a Pod) directly in the audio interface.

3) by microphoning an amp (click here for a dedicated article). Microphoning an amp is an art that takes long time (and a lot of trial and error) to be mastered, and there are many factors to be kept in consideration: how the mic position affects the transient, the fact that we can use multiple microphones to blend the resulting tone together, and the fact that the interaction between those microphones can generate phase issues.
Finally, when microphoning an amp, is very important to consider the cabinet we are using, and inside the cabinet, the speaker.


How many guitar layers should we record?
It depends on the genre: sometimes one track is enough when the guitar is just a background element (for example in some pop song), usually in rock there are two tracks that gets panned left and right, but there are also genres in which a thicker wall of sound is required, so we can also abund and quad track our guitars.



CLICK HERE FOR PART 1/6: PREPARATION!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2/6: DRUMS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3/6: BASS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 5/6: VOCALS!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 6/6: KEYBOARDS AND EXTRA ARRANGEMENTS!


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