Good Night God Bless

Some of you might have seen on my post on Facebook about Bro Bro Hillen’s new mixtape, Good Night God Bless, the night it was released. If not, I also have this awesome website to share things that I’ve worked on. Here is a link to his Soundcloud so you can listen.

Hillen and I got together a few years ago when he contacted JSR Studios and requested to work with me. I don’t think I ever asked why, but that is beside the point. Since then, he has been coming in the studio for sessions on and off until we amassed a decent amount of material, of which the final pieces were just finished up a month or so ago. That being said, there should be more of his mixtapes coming out soon.

Hillen also runs his own website that showcases other artists and their music. You can check it out and here.

If you like what you hear, let me know! Fill out the contact form and tell me your favorite track from the mixtape.

Listen to your sound guy…

he knows best. If he asks you to turn your amp down, please turn your amp down, and be nice about it. Chances are that the sound guy knows what will sound better in the room more so than your local band that may or may not have played that bar/venue before.

Let’s take a second to discuss the dynamics of playing in a bar. The bar needs to make money. The band is there to provide entertainment for the bar patrons and make the bar money. The sound guy is responsible for keeping things at a comfortable volume so the patrons stay and the bar makes more money. Cool? If listening levels get too loud then people start leaving and the bar doesn’t make money. Did I mention that the bar needs to make money? If you don’t turn your amp down after being asked multiple times, and people start leaving because you are TOO LOUD, the bar doesn’t make money. Oh, did I mention the bar needs to make money?

Not only that the bar will have customers walk out because of the volume, the sound guy doesn’t have room to do anything in the mix. So your vocals aren’t coming through the mix and the crowd can’t hear anything you’re saying. Drums? What drums? The sound guy is trying to keep things comfortable, so he is not going to push everything else up to match the amp that’s too loud.

Nobody wins.

So, remember to be nice to your sound guy. If you help him, he will help you. And if you’re a dick, it looks like the suck knob is going to 11.

Chris Jamison Covers “Want To Want Me” By Jason Derulo

I don’t know why I did not post this before now, but I figured you guys could use a reminder to watch this video!

This video was released in late March of 2015 and I had the pleasure of engineering this session! The recording session itself took place in the middle of that month at JSR Studios in Columbus, OH. The band came down to the studio the night before the session to set up and rough in some sounds, that way once the session started we could hit the ground running. The tracking went very well and flew by in a matter of hours (these guys are great musicians and well rehearsed). Once recorded, I had only late nights to get this edited, mixed, and mastered, given mine and the studio’s schedule (sorry Adam for cutting into your time!). The video was shot by Xavier McAllister and Braxton Cleveland, who spent just as many late nights I had working on this, if not more. Thanks to those two, Matthiessen Nisch Quan, Jordan Millisor, Andrew Willard, Will Strickler, and of course, Chris Jamison for this great video and letting me in on this great experience!

Session Organization (look, pictures!)

All engineers have their personal work flows, session organization schemes, and setups specific to their style. Which is fine when taking on a project where you are going to be the only engineer, but when giving DAW sessions to an outside engineer that has no knowledge of what kinds of tracks he is getting can make for a confusing time. Especially if the session is coming from an artist doing his/her recording at home.

Recording at home is a great way of cutting costs (if done correctly and with the right equipment), but come time for mixing and mastering you might want a different set of ears on your project. And that comes with a price tag. In order to keep that price tag to a minimum here are a few things that will help us outside engineers streamline that process and reduce costs for you.

1. Correct Labeling

Please label your tracks, correctly, please.

When creating a new track in your DAW, it probably appears with a generic name. Something like “Audio 1” or “Aux 1”. Please rename this track with whatever is recorded onto it.

Session Organization Ex1

Just using the power of contextual clues, this is probably some kind of percussion track. But what is it? It also breaks another rule that I’ll discuss later (using mono or stereo tracks). Also in this project, there was a song with clips of two different singers in the same audio lane. I guess the male and female voices are getting treated the same? So if you don’t want your mix engineer spending billable time on labeling and moving around tracks, please label your tracks correctly.

2. Use the Correct Track Type

As you can see in the picture blow, there is a difference between mono and stereo tracks. Recording into a stereo track using only either the left or right input, not only clutters up your Edit Window but also creates a useless Audio File that your DAW has to keep track of.

Session Organization Ex2

For all of these tracks, I had to “Split into Mono” and then delete the track with the blank clip in it. That took almost half the time I spent on editing BEFORE I even set up the session to mix. So, remember to trim the fat!

3. Editing

From the picture above, you can see that the client did some editing, and maybe some comping, before giving me the session. Awesome! Doing the editing and compositing the tracks before giving your engineer the session saves them time and you money. It also allows you to get the right “performance” together, making sure the song is the best it can be. However, there were no crossfades between clips, so I had to do some cleaning. Depending on your comfort level, this one may be optional. Make sure you are present when the engineer is comping your performances or have a good enough relationship in which you trust the engineer to make performance decisions (and maybe even give him some producing credits).

There you have it! A few simple tips to help you save money on your next project. If there is anything I missed or anything you have specific questions about, please fill out the form on the Contact page.

Live Sound Bag of Magic

Greetings from 35,000 feet! I’m on my way to the annual Jazz Education Network Conference, this year in San Diego, CA. Again this year, I’ll be running sound on the Vision Stage, mostly middle school and collegiate big bands. So to pass the time during my 4 hour flight to Las Vegas for a connection, I want to talk a little about the gear bag I bring with me to my live sound gigs and why I always have it.

Even if the venue or production company has plenty of mics, stands, cables, I am never without a few essentials. These essentials include a small set of screwdrivers, a flashlight/headlight, a few extra mics and cables, tape (e-tape, console, gaffe) and my iPad. This load out has the ability to get the job done, but I would like to add a real SPL Meter and not have to use the mic built in on my iPad. Though I did test the iPad SPL meter app against my friend’s actual SPL meter and they were within a few dBs of each other.

The screwdrivers are very handy when having to take the connector off of a cable when troubleshooting. And with the extra cables you brought, you were able to get to show going again plus giving yourself time to check the cable connections back at the board.

SM57. Great utility mic. Pardon the cliché, but you can never have too many 57s.

The tape comes in handy for anything and everything. From labeling things to holding the hanging guitar mic in place. The possibilities for use are endless and having it makes you look good when the drummer inevitably asks for some to tame his snare drum.

iPads are cool. Depending on the console, the iPad can be connected and used wherever in the room (hooray for not being stuck mixing in the bass trap at the back of the room). Plus you have access to information on the fly. So if you walk into a gig and the venue has a board or piece of gear you are unfamiliar with, you can look it up instantly. Also, there is an array of audio apps you can utilize while working, I use AudioTools. The SPL meter and RTA a nice things to have while at FOH.

My backpack gets a little heavy sometimes (especially when I was carrying my Beta52), but I’d rather have this extra stuff with me. I could throw a lot of sayings at you like “it’s better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it” or “failing to prepare is preparation for failure”, but you get the idea. The name of the game is speed and efficiency. Having these tools at the ready make you look professional.

Now it’s time to sit back, sip my ginger ale, and eat my airline peanuts (yes, they are handing out peanuts again!). See you in San Diego.

Joey Pasternak: Audio Engineer

Hello all and happy 2015! If you have visited my website before, you will notice that a few things have changed from the original layout. This is due to the fact that in this new year I am actually going to use this damn thing.

My hopes for this year include posting regularly about stuff and things regarding being an audio engineer in Columbus, OH. One thing that I have noticed so far is that I have a lot of downtime between gigs. So instead of sitting on the couch in my Batman pajama pants and white tee shirt, playing video games, and being generally unproductive, I will be filling this blog with my musings and experiences, tips and tricks, maybe some interviews and podcasts, and interesting articles I come across. If anything I post does not make sense, is pure awesome, or just plain wrong, feel free to fill out the contact form on the contact page and tell me to go shove it.

I also want to give up fast food and soda in 2015, we will see which resolution I stick to the longest.