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1.What are the issues concerning file formats, size and quality when exporting a finished track from Logic/Cubase?
There are several issues to consider when exporting a finished track from a DAW, the major one being the destination of a piece of music. Be it CD, Vinyl or I Tunes they all have their own format issues. To store digital audio the audio voltage is sampled which, on playback, corresponds to a certain levels of signal in an individual channel, with the resolution (sample rate) you chose to use. This data can then be stored uncompressed or compressed to reduce the size, naturally even though a huge 94khz 32 bit file would sound amazing, it would be huge and for stuff like websites or for people to store on their I tunes the size needs to be compressed. DAW’s like Logic or Cubase have options when you export as to which format you want.
For mastering for vinyl there are many issues, let’s start with the basics. The volume of your record is directly linked to the total time of each side. This means if you intend to have it played in clubs by DJs, the most time per side should be around 12-13 minutes for 12” records. When the side length is less than 9 minutes, the loudness will be at the maximum for 33 1/3 rpm cuts. However for every minute over 13 minutes per side, you lose about 1 db in volume on the side in most cases. This is noticeable when a vinyl is pressed with two tracks on each side therefore comprising on volume and you also get the so-called “S” distortion (sibilance). When the master has too much high frequency on vocal “S”, “T”, and “F” sounds, it will end up overloading on playback, causing noticeable distortion. This also happens when hi-hats, cymbals, and any high frequency sounds that are in your mixes are too hot. This can also mean the louder your record is cut, the worse the problem will be. The same applies for bass and if you have a track with heavy sub bass that has been mastered badly the bass can eat up all the headroom in the mix and also heavy bass cuts a bigger groove into the vinyl taking up more space. So you can have all the fun you want for compact disc mixing. But for vinyl mixes, it’s suggested by mastering companies to not add compression or any digital processing, leave the mix for vinyl production as untouched as possible.
For CD the issues are that you need stereo 16 bit 44.1 kHz files (the format for CD audio) they require about 5 MB of disk space per channel per minute. So for example, 2 minutes of CD audio requires 20 MB of disk space. 2 channels times 5 MB times 2 minutes = 20 MB. Using a greater bit rate or sample rate will increase the disk space required, and will also increase demands on the computer’s hard drive and processor. CD mastering engineers recommend they will need a mix that peaks at -3dB. The whole mix should not be compressed, unless by a very experienced engineer using a very good compressor. Too many mixes are submitted to that have been over-compressed using a cheap plug-in. This cannot be removed.
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As far as archiving and storing your completed project safely and properly, first of all back up your project on to external hard drives being sure to collect all the samples and consolidate each time you save. As far as which file format to use there is one major uncompressed audio format, PCM, which is usually stored as a “.wav” on Windows or as “.aiff” on Mac OS. WAV and AIFF are flexible file formats designed to store more or less any combination of sampling rates or bitrates. This makes them suitable file formats for storing and archiving an original recording. By storing your project in this format you can load it up again and export a compressed or mastered version for different destinations.
2.Use an imaginary budget of £3000 for each, put together an equipment list for two possible computer based recording setups: a permanent PC based studio/home setup for an artist/producer working largely alone, and a mobile Mac based setup for recording bands. Evaluate the software and hardware options for each, and the specifications and performance of the desktop/laptop you choose.
Portable – I have gone for the cheapest macbook in the “pro” range as it offers better performance and room to upgrade, (the basic macbook doesn’t even come with firewire!) I chose the Focusrite soundcard as I know there stable from my research and there reasonably priced. For software I chose Logic Pro as it goes hand in hand with the macbook and offers many recording features and easily handles recording multiple channels and can be used to mix a track without the need for a desk. For microphones I have chosen the best for the money and tried to cover all recording needs. I have also selected some good quality budget headphones for the engineer and the band as well as all the necessary leads I could think of and still come under £3000.
1 x 13-inch Macbook Pro: 2.26GHz = £918
Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB Memory 160GB hard drive SD card slot Built-in 7-hour battery NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card.
1 x Focusrite Saphire Pro 24 Firewire Soundcard = £250
Excellent routing flexibility and rock-solid driver stability.
Two award-winning Focusrite pre-amps
JetPLL™ jitter elimination technology
Two additional analogue inputs, six analogue outputs, ADAT inputs (for expanding the interface with, for example, Focusrite’s OctoPre), stereo SPDIF I/O and 2 virtual ‘loopback’ inputs
Front panel 5-LED metering
Zero-latency 18 x 8 DSP Mixer/Router software provided with Saffire PRO 24
Logic Pro = £150
1 x AKG D112 = £115 (The D 112 can handle high sound pressure levels making it perfect for Kick Drum recording)
2 x Shure SM58 = £192 (classic industry standard used for all sorts of situations)
1 x Rhode NTK = £379 (Valve Condenser Microphone for high-end recording applications, great for vocals)
1 x AKG C414 = £525 (quality mic especially used for accurate, beautifully-detailed pickup of any acoustic instrument)
1 x Sennheiser HD 25 Mk2headphones (for the producer/engineer) = £150 “ probably the most popular Pro headphones on the market. The HD25 Mk2 headphones have high quality closed cups help reproduce a superb all round sound. Features detatchable lead and comfortable headband” – decks.co.uk
3 x AKG K99 = £105 (less expensive so there are plenty to go around for band members etc.)
10 x XLR to XLR Microphone Lead. XLR male connector to XLR female connector. Two core screen cable 6mm diameter. Length 6M = £8.12 each
Top of Form
5 x XLR – Jack Mic lead with XLR and 6.35mm jack connections. 10.0m length = £9.45 each
Bottom of Form
Total = £2912.45p
www.dv247.com www.akg.com www.store.apple.com/uk-storehttp://tweakheadz.com/
Permanent PC Based Studio/home setup for an artist/producer working largely alone – For this setup I have focused on the idea that if the artist/producer was largely working alone at home, the best solution would be the sort of deal they offer at “Sonica Labs” one of the biggest retailers of high end custom built PC’s designed to the best specifications (money permitting). If I had £3000 to spend on a setup for home that would sound superb and enable me to do professional quality mixes and tracks I would go for this which is the cheapest option of this model from the Sonica Labs website, I know a lot of big producers use these and coupled with the RME Firewire soundcard, the UAD plugins card and Pro Tools you would have more than enough to keep you going. Although the £3000 didn’t allow for any monitors which if your serious can cost another £3000 so I didn’t even go there which I appreciate might be wrong but I really feel this deal would be the one to go for in the circumstances.
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1 x Sonica Labs 19” Rack Mount HUSH-QXR / XLR8 Workstation (including all the components listed below)
Intel Quad Core / Core i7 920 2.66GHz
6GB DDR3 triple channel (3 x 2gig)
Seagate 500GB, 32MB cache, 7200 RPM, SATA II
2 x Seagate 1000GB, 32MB cache, 7200 RPM, SATA II
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (or 32bit)
Blu-ray disc burner & HD DVD-ROM / DVDRW / CDRW
RME Fireface 400 Firewire Soundcard
Universal Audio UAD-2 Solo plug in card
Protools M-POWERED 8 for M-AUDIO music systems
Total = £3004
3.Research and write an analysis of how networking practices can impact on the process of music production?
The creation of networks has been a massive development in the process of music production. It has meant the use of small networks in studios or offices where computers on a network can all access a server where they can have shared hard drives. This sort of networking is extremely useful in such situations like in an audio for media editing studio where a whole group of people working with a huge library of sounds that would never fit on one computer can all access it with optical leads and run the samples from the networked hard drive.
However, the topic of networks also covers the biggest network in the world, which is the Internet. Since its creation, which was originally an idea by the American military to transfer secret information and later for some universities in America to have a way to share information between separate universities, the Internet has boomed to say the least. It now means that networks our part of all of our day to day lives.
The Internet is a hot topic in the music industry and the idea of everyone with an Internet connection being able to access files and share information with everyone in the world and cover more territories than an old record label or shop could ever of dreamed of has caused the sale of physical mediums like CD and Vinyl to drop, and meant a lot of independent record shops and big chains having to shut down, alongside I tunes announcing in April 2008 that;
“The iTunes® Store (www.itunes.com) surpassed Wal-Mart to become the number one music retailer in the US, based on the latest data from the NPD Group*. With over 50 million customers, iTunes has sold over four billion songs and features the world’s largest music catalog of over six million songs.”
Along with this in 2010 they announced the 10 Billionth download!
It is clear to see that the Internet isn’t going to go away and the thing that scares the record companies when it comes to illegal downloads is that its so hard to police, it is now the case that people will use file sharing networks online to share files that can include illegal content such as musicians albums, singles and even vocal accapellas. It can even be a case of an artist completing an album that has taken years to produce only to have it leaked a month before the official release. It can mean huge problems for artists and they will employ people to search the Internet for these very leaks. I think the future for me and my independent label is bright and that has a lot to do with the internet as we hold the view that if we release our stuff digitally for free then bring out select tracks that people like to mix on vinyl we can focus on getting income from the live shows we get booked for, it is nice to have a physical CD but the idea of digital and using social networking and forums along with our own website to promote and get our music out there is the best way for us.
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