MusicTech Magazine – Issue 122 is on sale now, this month we’re taking a look at monitors, in every shape and form – from buying on a budget to the most expensive and sonically dextrous models around!
This months’ features: The Monitor Issue
Since MusicTech first hit the shelves a little over a decade ago, we have reviewed a decent number of studio monitors – some poor, others life-changingly good. And while many are sadly no longer in production, the best tend to stick around, so we thought it was time for a round up of our favourites. We’re concentrating on near-fields and have divided our choices into five price bands. Everybody has to work to a budget, so we’ll examine what you can expect to get for your money – and what you can’t. We’ll also be sharing some tips to help you make the best of what you have and providing some technical information about drive units, enclosure design and room correction.
DIY Studio Acoustics
We’ve witnessed significant advances in music technology over the past 15 years or so which, combined with ever lowering costs, now mean that many more of us can – and indeed choose to – record at home. However, there are changes that you will need to make to your home environment in order to get the best sonic results. Fortunately it’s not as difficult – nor as costly – as you might think. In this feature we’re going to detail some of the problems you might encounter and, of course, the solutions for a perfect mixing and monitoring environment.
LIVE 9 and PUSH Reviewed!
We’ve finally got our hands on the impressive new Ableton Push and in this issue we’re reviewing both Push and Live 9. Have software and hardware truly united? We put this new combo to the test and find an attractive and feature-packed toolset for today’s composition-focused musician. We’ve also got perspectives from industry insiders including Hotchip’s Felix Martin and Coldplay producer Rik Simpson.
Studio Session: Interview with Mike Patto and Nathan Haines
Re-creating that classic analogue sound is something many of us strive to do in today’s software based studios. From sonic modelling to circuitry emulation, there are plenty of great-sounding plug-ins around which, at the very least, can bring the essence of the tonal characteristics that many classic pieces of hardware became famous for. Well-renowned jazz artist Nathan Haines and long-time studio partner Mike Patto recently decided to take this quest for ‘analogue’ a step further – or perhaps a step back… to the past. Not only did they decide to record two albums fully in the analogue domain, they also recorded the tracks live to 2-track, without overdubs. We catch up with them and they explain to us the virtues and attributes of classic analogue sound.
Our Ten Minute Master this month looks at Optical Compression. Given the relatively straightforward role of the compressor in music production, it’s surprising to note the variety of approaches taken to its design. From vintage variable-mu limiting amplifiers to fast-acting VCA compressors, there’s a tool for every type of flavoured ‘squash’ you can imagine. What’s particularly intriguing, though, is how some of the oldest designs – particularly optical compressors – are still as popular as when the technology was introduced back in the early 60s. Is our love of optical compression, therefore, simply a nostalgic nod to the past or one of the most musical ways to control the level of a signal?
Studio Icons this month looks at the Yamaha REV 7 – Compared to today’s digital technology, the REV 7’s 16-bit A/D quantization and 31.25kHz sampling frequency seems hopelessly outdated, although at the time it was cutting-edge stuff. Many studios advertised the fact that they possessed a REV 7 to bring in business, some of them turfing out lovely old EMT plates in the process! Yamaha eventually replaced the REV series of digital effects processors with the more advanced SPX range, which included the SPX 990 that boasted 20-bit, 44.1kHz technology. However, patched into an analogue mixing console, processing sounds from magnetic tape, the REV 7 was many engineers’ first taste of digital pro audio.
This Months’ Tutorials
Our Cubase tutorial this month explores how to power up your workflow, there are a multitude of improvements in the latest iteration of Cubase and this month we show you the most efficient way to use the workflow.
Our Logic Pro tutorial sheds light on wealth of chorus and flange plug-ins that can add warmth and stereophonic width to a range of sounds.
In the Pro Tools tutorial we show you ways of using mid-side techniques, if your experience of stereo recording goes only as far as coincident pairs, it’s time to extend your repertoire!
Our Reason tutorial looks at sound generation and triggering, Reason has tools that can help you build beats, patterns or entire tracks – and you don’t need to be a keyboard player to do it!