Download Computer Music - Issue 225 - January 2016 PDF

TitleComputer Music - Issue 225 - January 2016
File Size45.1 MB
Total Pages117
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January 2016 / CM225

Powerful creative VST/AU for PC/Mac *
NORA CM ARPEGGIATOR

900
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NT
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STEREO
SCIENCE

TUTORIAL

CURREN
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IN THE STUDIO

Original pads,
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* Mac version requires OS X 10.8 or above

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REAKTOR 6

Essential tutorials, tricks and tips to inspire you today

THE CREATIVE GUIDE

WARPING WITH SIMPLER NEW FILTERS EXPLORED OPERATOR FX HOW-TO SYNTH PATCH DESIGN

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SPARSE
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25
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SUB DESIGN

LOUD MIXDOWNS
KICK INSIGHTS

+ MORE!

Pro knowledge for
better mixes – Part 1

FM synthesis with
the dirty DnB don

Ableton

Page 58

Any stereo miking technique is fair

game for recording acoustic guitar,

but here’s a new one to consider: The first

mic is positioned much like a typical mono

mic setup, aiming at the point where the

neck joins the body. Ideally, use a decent

cardioid condenser, and start off around

20 to 30cm away.

1
Angle the first mic towards the bass

or treble strings to adjust the tonal

balance. Now, for the second mic, position

a cardioid condenser over and to the

front of the guitarist’s strumming arm

shoulder, aiming down at the guitar’s

bridge and soundboard.

2
Record each mic to a separate track,

and when it comes to mixing, pan

them to opposite sides, adjusting the pan

width to taste. It isn’t a conventional

stereo technique, and you can even do it

without a matched pair of mics, but it’s

surprisingly effective.

3

> Step by step
4. A simple way to record acoustic guitar in stereo

> Piano
Recording piano is always a compromise between

room ambience, direct sound and a balanced stereo

image. For ballad, jazz or classical recording, start

forward of the piano just above and away from the

case, pointing down at the strings using a coincident

miking technique (such as mid/side, shown above). For

pop and rock, which is often the harder to get right,

open the lid up fully or even remove it if possible. The

most predictable method uses a coincident or near-

coincident pair 30cm above the strings and right in the

middle of the keyboard. Move these nearer or further

from the hammers to influence the tone. For upright

piano, you have three options: mic down from the top

with the lid open, mic the soundboard from behind, or

remove the front panel and mic the strings.

> Percussion
Percussion instruments really benefit

from being played in a space, so

stereo recording makes perfect sense.

Nevertheless, mono compatibility is

also vital. Mid/side (shown) and other

coincident techniques work well, and

to retain the best timbre, start at about

one metre distance.

January 2016 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 57

stereo science: part 1 / make music now <

Page 59

Let’s restrict the pad’s panning to the

right side of the stereo field. Load

A1StereoControl (free from a1audio.de)

on the pad channel after PanCake 2, pull

the Stereo Width down to 50%, then set

the Pan dial to around R55. This has

restricted the pad’s auto-panning within a

specific area on the right of the stereo

field, preventing it from clashing with the

guitar while retaining movement.

5
Finally, we can add an extra layer of

slower panning to the pad by

automating A1StereoControl’s Pan

amount. Draw in a ‘back-and-forth’

automation curve to cause this parameter

to slowly drift between values of roughly

R30 and R80, adding more movement

over to the right of the mix while still

leaving the guitar in its own space.

6

> Step by step
5. Auto-panning and pan automation

Let’s use pan automation and auto-

panning plugins to liven up a static,

centred mix. Load the Tutorial Files onto

new audio tracks in a 120bpm project in

any DAW. Our basic track is made up of a

16th-note hi-hat loop, drum loop, pad,

guitar plucks and bass guitar.

1
First, let’s use make our fast hi-hat

loop bounce left and right between

the speakers. While this could be done

with host automation, an ‘auto-panner’

plugin will make it far easier to execute

fast and precise tempo-synced panning.

Load Cableguys’ free PanCake 2 plugin

(available from cableguys.com) on the

hi-hat channel.

2

In its default state, PanCake 2 is being

panned around the stereo field once

every two bars, clocked in sync with our

DAW’s BPM. Change the LFO Rate to 1/8.

Alternate hats in our 16th-note pattern are

now quickly panned left and right in time

with the track. Change the LFO curve to

taste – we’ve selected the preset triangle

curve shape, but you can always draw in

your own custom curve.

3
We’ll liven up the mono pad and add

movement with fast auto-panning.

Load a fresh PanCake 2 on the pad

channel, change the Rate type to Hertz

Synced, then set a speed of around 9.5Hz

to induce a fast-panning ‘warble’ effect.

This sounds good, but the pad is now

encroaching on the guitar pluck in the

mix, which is panned to the left.

4

Panoramic
movement
Static panning is useful for

positioning mix elements in a fixed

stereo location, but sounds we hear

from day-to-day rarely stay

positioned in one place – either we

move, or the sound source does. It

makes sense that we can emulate

this effect, or at least give a stereo

mix panoramic depth and interest,

by altering panning over time.

All DAWs allow you to draw in

and/or record parameter changes

across their timeline, meaning that

pan position can be precisely

nudged or broadly swept at various

points in a song. For instance, try

using automation to sweep a sound

effect’s pan position from hard left

to hard right, causing it to ‘whoosh’

across a mix. Alternatively, a central

sound could be moved out to the

left of the stereo field when a new

mix element enters from the right,

for example, evening out a track’s

left/right symmetry, adding

interest, and giving the new

element space to do its thing.

Automatic panning tools

– known as ‘auto-panners’ – move

the levels of a signal’s left and right

channels via LFO modulation.

Basic designs feature three main

controls: the Amount or Mix

parameter sets the level of

modulation, Shape defines the

modulation waveform (usually

basic shapes such as sine, saw or

square), and Rate determines the

LFO’s modulation speed, either in

milliseconds or synced to your

DAW’s master tempo.

More advanced auto-pan

plugins such as Cableguys’ free

PanCake and Xfer Records’ LFOTool

even allow you to dial in bespoke

modulation curves and tailor your

panning movements. Use auto-

panning to move exciting FX or ‘ear

candy’ elements around the stereo

field in a regimented fashion: try

using a tempo-synced auto-pan

effect to move a repetitive hi-hat or

percussion part left and right in

time with your track. For a more

trippy, unpredictable sound,

dispense with the tempo sync so

that the LFOs run free at a timing of

your choosing, typically specificed

in milliseconds or Hertz.

> make music now / stereo science: part 1

58 / COMPUTER MUSIC / January 2016

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