Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Difference Between a Producer and Engineer

Many people are unsure of the separate roles a producer and engineer play in the recording process. While a lot of times in modern recordings these roles have been blended together it's still good to know what the different roles do.

An engineer handles the more technical aspects of the recording process such as mic and mic placement, what type of processing (eqs, compressors and reverb/delay) to apply to the sound. The producer is in charge of the big picture and making sure that the sounds the engineer are using work for the production he/she is trying to create.

A good way to describe this in very simple terms is that the producer can say "I'm looking for a U2 "Streets Have No Name" guitar sound" and the engineer figures out the best way to technically achieve that. The producer comes up with the idea of what he/she wants to hear and it's the engineers job to do it.

It's important to note that the producer is in charge of all the pieces of the recording: song arrangement, musicians, and the final sound and mix. The engineer is another piece of this puzzle handling one part of the final product. It's also important to mention that these roles sometimes get blended together; sometimes the producer will jump on the computer and adjust something and sometimes the engineer will offer opinions on the production. In fact the final product is often better because of this intermingling of roles, especially when the producer and engineer work together.

I do both engineering and production on various projects depending on what my client wants. You can check out what I've been up to at the below sites:

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Logic 9 "Cannot Save" error

Ever since I've been using Logic 9 I've been getting "Low Memory Errors" every so often which is pretty typical of Logic 9 so I hear. More disturbing though is Logic sometimes gives me an error message saying something like "The document "x" be saved". Not too cool if you haven't saved in a while! A quick way out of this mess is to get rid of all your melodyne plugins (you can't just bypass them, you have to get rid of them) and save the file as something else. This seems to work well. I have a feeling it's more a logic problem than Melodyne but hopefully they fix this issue.

If you're not using Melodyne and you have that problem just get rid of whatever memory hogging plugins you're using, usually big audio sample instrument plugins like the ones that East/West makes.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

API 512c Preamp Tips

Just a little tip about the API 512c preamp. I've been using one for about 10 years now inside an API Lunchbox. It's my "go to" preamp to record vocals alongside my Neumann u87.

The API 512c has a notorious hot output which makes you have to lower your pre level (there's no output level on this preamp). Unfortunately this means you can't drive the transformer in the pre as hard as you'd like. The work around for this is to get some sort of attenuator. Based on a recommendation I got a Shure A15AS attenuator. The advantage of this one is that it's adjustable in 5db increments (-15db to -25db). You can get a good price on one of these units here:

This thing is always attached to my 512c unless I'm recording a professional voice over or audio book where I want as clean a sound as possible.

It's nice having the extra control and the option of more sounds from the API 512c that this little device allows.
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