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3 Takeaways on Immersive Music Mixing with Grammy® Winner Darrell Thorp

When a nine-time Grammy®-winning recording engineer, mixer, and producer gets access to all the sonic space that immersive music has to offer, you know you’re in for a treat.

Darrell Thorp has worked with some big names—Paul McCartney, Radiohead, and Beck, just to name a few. In 2017, he engineered and mixed the Foo Fighters album Concrete and Gold. Up to this point in his awarded career, he’s mainly engineered music in stereo, but he got a chance to remix a track in Dolby Atmos®, an immersive format, for this project. Foo Fighters band leader Dave Grohl wanted the video for the second single “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” produced in Dolby Vision™, and Dolby asked Grohl if he would like the audio remixed in Atmos.

Dolby Atmos uses up to 128 channels to transform the audio field into a 3-D space, creating more lifelike, immersive sound experience. Forget about cramming everything into two channels of stereo and carving out space for competing sonic sound elements with compression and EQ. In an immersive music mix, you can position and pan anything anywhere, at any time, and move in any direction, leading to a more dynamic experience and unlimited creative options.

Thorp leapt at the chance to remix his stereo version of “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” immersively. He’d worked on surround mixes at Ocean Way Recording, so immersive music seemed like an intriguing next step.

“I took the project on because it just sounded so interesting to me, and I’d had a fair amount of experience when I worked in my last paid staff position at Ocean Way,” Thorp says. “We had our own dedicated 5.1 setup on a Sony Oxford Console, which could do 9.1 at the time. A lot of the hi-fi guys were doing jazz records and mixing in surround sound, and a couple of indie film things were going on in there. When the opportunity came to go to Dolby in Burbank and mix on the stage, I was like, ‘Heck yeah!’ I really wanted to learn about the whole Atmos situation.”

It’s More than Just Surround Sound

Thorp had to reset his expectations about immersive audio as soon as he came in the door.

“I walked into Dolby Atmos when I thought it was just surround sound on steroids. That was the naive thing,” Thorp says. When he began remixing “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” immersively, it became obvious there was much more room for exploration.

Mixing immersively allows far greater flexibility and precision in positioning sounds in a soundscape. The 128 channels available are made up of a 7.1.2 bed of front left, front right, center, left side, right side, rear left, and rear right channels (7), plus a low-frequency effects channel (.1, LFE), and then the real game-changers—the height channels (.2) and up to 118 objects. This configuration does something neither stereo nor surround sound can: it creates a 3-D audio image. The real power lies with the objects, discrete channels that aren’t tied to a specific speaker. Whether mono or stereo, they can be positioned and moved anywhere in the 3-D space for a truly immersive experience.

Ceri Thomas, the chief engineer over at Dolby, went, ‘Hey dude, I see what you’re doing, but you know you can do this!’ He pushed me to experiment more with the individuality of what Atmos is, where it can be very specific,” Thorp says. “You can say, ‘I want sound out of that freakin’ speaker right there,’ which I thought was amazing. So I started really developing into that.”

The Foo Fighters single is Thorp’s first experience with immersive audio, but it won’t be the last. “I’d love to do a bunch more,” he says. “I’m scheduled to do a project in immersive audio . . . It’s a big, big, big record that I recorded a year ago. I said, rather than having another engineer try and recreate what I did, why don’t I just do it? I’ll just take my stereo and split it out.”

Darrell Thorp in studio

Throw Your Stereo Bus Away

As part of Thorp’s foray into immersive, he had to let go of some of his favorite toys. “The first thing I said to Ceri when I started mixing the Foos was: ‘So what can I use for stereo bus compression?’

“That is a big part of my mixing style, and quite honestly it’s a big part of a lot of engineers’ mixing styles,” he says. “When I get to a certain point or process where I feel the mix is starting to settle in, then I start adding my mix bus chain, which is compression, a little bit of EQ and, in some cases, some sort of tape emulation.”

The channels and objects in Atmos enable a different approach from the typical stereo mixing process, as Thorp explains. “Don’t be afraid to throw away your stereo bus and forget about how you work normally with [it]. When you’re working in immersive audio, you don’t have to think that way anymore,” he says. “As I started mixing, at that point it was mostly level balancing and making panning choices. I knew the song really well—I tracked it and mixed it from the start. There were a few automation rides here and there, but I found out quickly that you don’t need compression or tape emulation to make this work. It’s not the same beast as far as the stereo thing goes. So I really kept my core mix of parallel compression or compression and EQ on vocals, or on the stack for the backing vocals. The strings and stuff I pretty much kept the same. The only thing I changed was my routing for panning purposes in the immersive experience.”

Although the stereo bus processing was a big part of the sound on the original mix, the change wasn’t an issue as the new enhancements of the immersive mix came into play. “I don’t know if Dave really noticed,” Thorp says. “The one thing he did say was, ‘Oh my god, it sounds crazy, it sounds incredible!’ He also said thanks for turning his guitar solo really loud. I made it right over the center and just loud as loud, so it felt even more insane because it sounds like this guitar amp is going to fall on your head at any second.”

Shift into the Immersive Mindset

Mixing in immersive requires more than a shift in technology and workflow. It takes thinking differently too.

“Stereo, to me, is all about having so little sonic space to work with,” Thorp explains. “It’s pretty easy to take a song and make it feel very aggressive because we’re forcing a bunch of information down this narrow bandwidth, so to speak. But when you get to immersive audio, that whole game changes. Trying to carve out this guitar part over here so it doesn’t fight with this keyboard over here—you don’t have to do that when mixing in an immersive format like Dolby Atmos. It’s all about spread and how big can you make it. It’s really cool.”

He had to reconfigure where to position sound in a whole new way. “With Atmos, you can pan not only from center but high or low, all the way across the spectrum,” Thorp says. He used multiple reverbs with increasing predelay times for front-to-back motion with strings panned high, backing vocals panned low, and lead vocals in the center of the vertical axis of the Foo Fighters mix.

Immersive music is already available on streaming services like TIDAL HiFi and Amazon Music Unlimited, and the stage is set as independent labels, artists and engineers are now able to distribute Dolby Atmos music themselves. And thanks to affordable software to create immersive mixes, thousands of songs are being remixed in this cutting-edge format—offering audio professionals an incredible opportunity.

As Thorp says, “It’s so much fun. It’s worth learning and quite honestly, it’s not that difficult of a learning curve.”

 

Grammy is a trademark of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision are registered trademarks or trademarks of Dolby Laboratories.

Mix in Dolby Atmos

Pro Tools | Ultimate offers the most efficient Dolby Atmos® mixing workflows in the industry—with support for Atmos 7.1.2 audio stems, native object panning, advanced automation, ADM BWAV support, and deep Avid control surface integration.




How Recording Engineers Can Transition to a Home Music Production Setup

There’s something to the whole “roll out of bed into your home office” lifestyle, and recording engineers can get in on it. Recording technology has been shifting to meet remote demands, and more people are looking to give up the commute and build out a sustainable recording operation from home.

As a remote recording engineer, your focus may be on tracking clients in your home music production setup, traveling to an artist’s location, collaborating remotely, or all three. You’ll need a flexible studio setup that moves with you, while enabling collaboration between the artists, producers, and mixing and mastering engineers in your production chain.

Ideally, your company may offer some budget for a remote setup, understanding the long-term benefits of having an additional space to book clients. But in reality, some of this may come out of your wallet, so the investments need to count. As the industry trends toward modular, scalable equipment, you can add to your studio one piece at a time as budget and space allows. You may already have some nice gear at home, but now’s the time to consider what will future-proof your setup for years to come.

DAW

Your DAW will have to pick up any slack a remote workflow may introduce, namely around tidy organization and streamlined collaboration. As you’ll likely be working on joint projects remotely, your DAW should offer easy organization and management of tracks, projects, and file exchanges. Online collaboration features can make it a breeze to work with artists and other engineers remotely. You can share your projects in the cloud and invite others to contribute to them from literally anywhere—down the street or across the globe—either adding their own track or simply weighing in with their feedback.

If your current DAW lacks such features, it’s worth talking with your studio owner or production manager about exploring options that can easily coordinate remote sessions. Maybe there’s budget to invest in a second recording program that focuses on remote capabilities. Plenty of engineers use more than one DAW to stay compatible with clients. Plus, with some DAWs working on a subscription basis, you can try some out without having to commit upfront.

Audio Interface

Your audio interface will continue to play a central role as you build out your home music production studio. You’ll need a high-quality, ultra-low latency interface, with plenty of inputs and outputs for recording multiple sources, setting up various monitor routings, and connecting outboard gear. You want an interface with top-notch AD/DA converters so you’re capturing the best quality audio possible, in whatever sample rate is required. This will help you to maintain the same flexibility and recording fidelity you’re used to having at the recording studio.

Some interfaces let you customize I/O options to suit your workflow. Rack mounted units are great for a remote setup as they can easily be transported in a case for mobile recording. Along with your computer, your interface is the most important part of your recording chain, so invest wisely with future needs in mind. It’s better to have too many I/O options than too few.

Session Control

A control surface with faders, pots, and transport controls can speed up your mixing and recording workflow and bring the tactile approach of a studio console to your home studio, but on a much more reasonable budget. Some hardware control units can incorporate a tablet and link multiple units together to scale with your needs (and with your budget), providing hands-on control in small or large configurations. Some DAWs also have apps for wireless mixing control from a tablet or smart phone, which can be great for either on-the-go recording or home music production studio use.

Recording Setup and Workflow

Will you be specializing in tracking guitars, drums, or vocals, or will you be recording whatever comes your way? For drum recordings, for instance, the room is an integral part of the sound, so you’ll need a space with good acoustics. You may need to adapt a room within your existing home, or if that’s not an option, at least have partitions and baffles to help shape the sound. If you have a large recording room, you can experiment with baffle and mic placement and manipulate the tone of recordings once you know how the room interacts with various sound sources.

For guitar or bass recording, you’ll need to think about amps, cabinets, and mic choices. Reamping is an alternative to recording on site and can be offered remotely. Clients can send clean guitar or bass DI recordings for you to reamp through a tube amp, guitar multi-effect processor, or even an amp sim. You can return the printed files to the client, or drop them into an online collaboration session. You could also consider having a drummer or keyboard player perform their parts on MIDI instruments to trigger virtual instruments in your studio, eliminating the need to record in person altogether.

Vocals are a prime candidate for remote recording. Singers can record their own dry parts, then share the tracks with you for further cleanup and manipulation to fit it into the mix.

Your mic choices for vocals or instruments will typically be the same as any studio. But you’ll need to be selective as budget will be a factor, so stick with those that worked well for you in the past. Depending on how many musicians you’re recording, you may need a headphone amp with outputs and closed-back headphones for each musician.

Position your home music production setup in an acoustically treated space, so your monitoring will be accurate. Every room is different, so lean on measurement mics and other calibration software to help you detect frequency issues and treat the room accordingly. When treating a new control room, Sound On Sound suggests taking measurements a few times around the listening position, and ultimately, trusting your ears rather than getting stuck in a vicious recording/measurement cycle.

The Bare Necessities

Whether you’ll be tracking at home or on the road, you’ll need a powerful computer with the capacity to record and store large track counts and record multiple sources simultaneously. Don’t skimp on upgrades. Review your CPU specs and decide whether you need more processing grunt. Memory is another factor; RAM is relatively cheap and easy to upgrade, and 64 GB is recommended. (Virtual instruments in particular will demand a lot of RAM.) Keep your system lean and mean, with only essential audio and communication apps installed to ensure the best performance.

Hybrid hardware/software units with onboard DSP can take some of the processing load off your computer and provide further sound shaping options. This can benefit both you and your clients by increasing the number of tracks you can handle. Plugin emulations of hardware processing units can also add some versatility to your arsenal without breaking the bank. As an added bonus, they can easily be used wherever you need to record.

A reliable, fast internet connection is also a must. You need to receive and transfer digital audio files and projects without delays and communicate via video conferencing if your collaborative partners are scattered across different locations. Go for the highest-speed internet service you can afford if you know you’ll frequently send and receive files, with a high data allowance or unlimited plan.

A power conditioner is also useful for eliminating electrical and noise issues from your home music production studio. Plus, it’ll protect your gear from electrical wiring of unknown quality at other locations. Keep an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to ensure your computer stays powered for a few moments in the event of a power surge or outage.

And don’t overlook basic equipment like an ergonomic chair and desk. An ergonomically designed chair with lower back support and adjustable armrests can keep you in the zone while working. You can also find desks designed specifically for musicians, with built-in rack mounts that keep your interface and hardware rack units in easy reach. Once you have a great home setup, you’ll spend a lot of time there, so make sure it’s comfortable, functional, and has a good vibe.

Building a home music production studio isn’t a one-and-done event, especially with all the modular tools available today. Start by auditing what you already have. Think through the type of work you’ll be doing and who you’ll collaborate with during the production process. With the right prep and equipment, you’ll have a professional and versatile home studio that’s roll-out-of-bed ready.

How would you build your home music studio?

Learn how you can build your own modular, customizable Pro Tools system to produce the same quality music as a high-end facility—no matter where you create it.




Arturia’s New Effects and Instrument Bundles — Avid Marketplace Delivers the Legends

Arturia, one of Avid’s most prized and renowned audio developers, keeps on bringing the very best of plugins to AAX. And now, they have multiplied their offering, introducing the powerhouse FX Collection alongside version 7 of V-Collection to deliver their new, essential bundles of vintage effects and virtual keyboards. Best yet, Avid is partnering with Arturia to offer both bundles at incredible prices for a limited time, exclusively on Avid Marketplace.

 

The FX Collection and V-Collection 7 are backed by 20 years of Arturia expertise in modeling and creative feature development. Their “secret sauce” lies in their unrivaled ability to faithfully revive studio classics while injecting game-changing new features, like look-ahead tracking, sidechaining, envelope followers, and advanced tone-shaping  effects that take the plugins to towering new levels. Some of the plugins represent entirely original designs that combine what we all love most about the vintage effects, and from there, they roll out never before seen creative possibilities. This approach is letting countless musicians and producers ignore the limits of analog hardware gear so they can bring us sounds and expressions that have never been created before. Let’s take a look at these two powerhouse bundles.

Greg Chin, Avid Audio Evangelist and Arturia Power User, shows us Arturia’s Power-packed FX Collection and V-Collection 7

Arturia FX Collection

Billed by Arturia as the “Audio Effects You’ll Actually Use,” the new FX Collection is a carefully chosen package of compressors, delays, reverbs, preamps, and filters that combine legendary outboard effects, console components, and pedals with fresh, contemporary features and capabilities, making it an essential tool for the modern producer.  Its 15 new plugins include:

 

  • Compressors:  Control your dynamics with iconic FET, VCA, and vacuum tube outboard. Comp VCA-65, Comp FET-76, and Comp TUBE-STA.
  • Delays: Get creative with saturated tape, lo-fi BBD, and futuristic digital echo. Delay TAPE-201, Delay MEMORY BRIGADE, and Delay ETERNITY.
  • Reverbs: Create and experiment with smooth plate, vibrant spring, and digital reverbs. Rev PLATE-140, Rev SPRING-636, and Rev INTENSITY.
  • Preamps: The “secret weapon” sound of countless pro studios, now in Pro Tools. 1973-PRE, TridA-Pre, and V76-Pre.
  • Filters: Use the defining tone-shaping control of the greatest synths on any sound source. Mini-Filter, M12-Filter, and SEM-Filter.

The new Arturia FX Collection delivers 15 uncompromised effects you’ll actually use

When our team at Avid had the chance to try out the Arturia FX Collection, it didn’t take long for these plugins to become automatic additions to the music we were making.  In a plugin market full of vintage-style effects, the Arturia FX Collection is proving to be a groundbreaking tool across the Pro Tools population, from creative enthusiasts on Pro Tools|First to professionals working on Pro Tools|HDX.  In a word, this collection is a winner, and you can buy it on Avid Marketplace for an unprecedented low price for a limited time.

 

 

GET FX COLLECTION NOW

Arturia V-Collection 7

 Arturia V Collection 7 has arrived, and it eclipses its worthy predecessors with 24 sonically and visually uncompromised emulations of world-renowned keyboards and tons of innovative new features. Each instrument is upgraded with extensive add-ons like polyphony, arpeggiation, more filters and oscillators, integrated amp and effect models, and the full range of automation and MIDI enhancements included with Avid Pro Tools. Use the included Analog Lab for instant access to more than 8,000 presets created by Arturia and their constellation of sound design experts, or dig into each instrument as deeply as you like.

New instruments in V-Collection 7 include Mellotron V, Synthi V, CZ V, Analog Lab 4, and an updated B-3 V2 organ.  The new Mellotron V features all original tapes, and the ability to play your own samples with authentic tape emulation. The Synthi V is a patch pin modular synth now with added modulations, effects, and an updated sequencer. The CZ V adds a fresh flavor of digital synthesis with its razor-sharp sound and sonic flexibility.  Combining 8000+ of the ‘best of’ sounds from V Collection, Analog Lab 4 now features an even easier to use browsing section and a ‘Stage’ view for live performances. The “Multi” mode allows for two instruments to be layered, and all instruments and presets can be mapped.

 

  • Analog Synths:  Unrivaled analog keyboard sound:  Synthi V, Buchla Easel V, Mini V, Matrix-12 V, Prophet V, CS-80 V, SEM V, Jup-8 V, ARP 2600 V, Modular V
  • Digital Instruments:  Innovation from the pioneering days of digital music creation:  CZ V, DX7 V, Synclavier V, CMI V
  • Celebrated Pianos and Keyboards:  History-making hardware  recreated from the ground up: Piano V, Mellotron V, B-3 V, Stage-73 V, Wurli V, Clavinet V,  Farfisa V, Solina V, Vox Continental V

 

 

GET V-COLLECTION 7 NOW

Arturia is constantly meeting with current and prospective users to ask what vintage instruments they want to see reproduced in V-Collection.  The result, once again, is that Arturia has given the music community the keys to the instruments and effects museum and has challenged us to find the limits of what we can create using a set of tools created with love and passion.   Between these instruments and the effects in FX collection,  Arturia is not only breathing new life and potential into this hardware; they are taking it to new levels beyond what their original creators could have ever imagined.

Want to get your hands on these tools?  Avid and Arturia have collaborated to make the price a non-issue. From now until October 6th, you can get them for 50% off on Avid Marketplace.  Just click on one or both of the buttons below and start getting creative!




Putting the ‘Krotos Twist’ on a Music Production Solution With Concept Soft-Synth Range

Concept is the first music-focused product from Krotos. We are mainly known for powerful sound design plugins for post-production and games (you might be familiar with plugins like Dehumaniser 2, Weaponiser, Igniter or Reformer Pro, which are used in top films and shows like the Avengers, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones and many more). We took the lessons we learnt from user experience, performability and making inspiring sounds, and applied them to a product specifically created for musicians. Soon after release, Concept was awarded ‘Best Plugin of NAMM 2020’ from Sonic State, (back when we could attend shows in person)!

So you may be asking ‘What’s the Concept behind Concept?’ (pun intended and acknowledged!)

Concept takes a new approach to modulation in particular, putting the ‘Krotos twist’ on a familiar musical problem. It simplifies working with modulation, focusing on a clear workflow, using clear colour coding for each modulator, so you never have to deep dive into menus, tabs or matrices to track the signal flow or find a source of modulation. Soft synths can often feel overwhelming, especially as a beginner; vast panels of identical knobs can make music-making intimidating, preventing users keen on developing their own sound or from going beyond the presets. Everything in Concept is always visible, and the Concept workflow is always direct, fast and creative.

We’ve also included some never-seen-before features which can really appeal to electronic musicians wanting to push the envelope.

With the built-in ‘Audio Input’ modulator, you can easily feed in drums, basslines or melodies to modulate any part of the synth sound, tracking incoming pitch or amplitude as a modulation source. This is done easily using the easy 4 side-chain system in the plugin, so you can connect other parts of your mix quickly and easily, opening up some exciting creative avenues. You can also use up to 4 individual audio input modulators in the plugin; a kick could modulate the filter, a snare could affect the oscillators, and cymbals could modulate our high-quality FX (include convolution reverb, supporting IR import).

‘XY capture’ can capture a movement of the mouse or midi input and use it to modulate anything within the plugin, so you can go beyond LFOs or traditional modulation shapes to create something unique. This intuitive way of capturing movement helps you perform without interrupting your flow.

‘Tweak It’ is Concept’s unique customisation system, used to apply variation of any parameter within a range, even per parameter. This goes way beyond traditional ‘randomisation’ since it is much more controlled – e.g. you can choose to vary only the filter, and keep all other aspects of the plugin as they were, or only certain FX by certain distances, allowing you to shake up your patch without totally transforming it or losing the character you may have built up, or chosen from a factory preset. The ‘master amount’ can also be dialled to tame the overall response of the system. This also maximises the presets that come with the plugin; ‘Tweak It’ can produce infinite variation of these presets, taking you down some exciting rabbit holes or throwing in curve balls that never take you too far from what you are trying to achieve creatively.

There are many ‘Concepts’ we could have explore further…one of which was to simplify even further, and make the core synth engine even more accessible. With this in mind, we recently released Simple Concept; this is an interactive and easy to use soft-synth powered by the Concept synth engine, wrapped into a compact interface. The plugin is powered by 3 powerful macro controls that influence a huge number of parameters under the hood, enhanced by Tweak It. This is an ideal introduction to the Concept family, both in terms of price and features, and is a fantastic starting point for non-synth users wanting to get into synthesis.

 

Concept and Simple Concept are available on the Avid Store and at krotosaudio.com

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




Mixing Dolby Atmos® Music and Distributing with AvidPlay

“It’s like going from black and white to color.”

“Can I move into your studio?”

“How am I supposed to listen to regular music now?”

These are just some of the comments that artists and musicians make when they come in to listen to music in Dolby Atmos in our new Atmos mix room at The Record House. Clearly the experience is a special one.

Even though Dolby Atmos has been around for 8 years, I found out that there were still people who didn’t really know what it was. They probably heard movies in Atmos in the theatres but they weren’t necessarily aware of it.

Bringing this technology and medium to music opens up a whole new world of possibilities, both in terms of creation and experience.

From a very young age I loved putting on my headphones and disappearing into the music. Very often I would listen with my eyes closed. Getting rid of the visual senses allowed for a deeper immersion and I would get lost in the record. Now with Dolby Atmos, music engulfs and washes over you like never before. The immersion is no longer something you have to imagine. It’s physically happening in the room.

That’s probably why everyone who hears music in Atmos for the first time is overcome by child-like excitement. It could be an A&R, manager, artist or a civilian, they all get these big eyes and smiles, there is a lot of laughter and ‘Whoa!’s .

I decided to do Atmos remixes for a number of the artists I produced for the launch of AvidPlay’s Dolby Atmos support. During the playback sessions I was sitting back on the couch and they were sitting at the console. I got the same exact reaction from two artists on the same day. Just as the first chorus hit, they turned around with amazement pointing to the goosebumps on their forearm!

Beto Vargas

Buel

Jessica Mar

Camie Llano

Juan Cortes

The introduction of Dolby Atmos support on AvidPlay is incredible because it allows for everyone to create and share music in this format. The platform is intuitive and easy to use. You can do your release in a matter of minutes.

The catalog work that Dolby started with Universal and Warner is great and as I mentioned before the joy of hearing your favorite records in Atmos cannot be understated. However, I believe that creation of brand new content is crucial in the widespread adoption of this format. As more artists create new music in Atmos their audience will be more inclined to get an Atmos-enabled speaker or pay a higher premium for their music service.

Doing these remixes for my artists I also noticed a few interesting things about mixing and production in general.

First of all, the fact that we got our dynamics back is amazing! I was happy with the stereo mixes I did for these tracks but comparing them with the Atmos Binuaral version on headphones, I like the Atmos versions more! There is no question if it folds down well or not. It does an amazing job and since we are not squashing the mix, the choruses pop more and it has more impact. Plus you have an LFE channel, fun!

The second realization was kind of counter-intuitive. Much like everyone else who had a chance to listen to Elton John’s Rocket Man in Atmos, I was blown away. Once the chorus hits and the guitars open up next to you, the background vocals surround you and the electric guitars fly overhead; you shoot off into space! Still, that song is pretty simplistic in terms of instrumentation. There isn’t a whole lot going on but with great and tasteful mixing, it creates one of the quintessential Atmos music experiences. When I started mixing my artists I was thinking, “oh I have way more stuff to play around with and spread in this 3D space, it’s going to be great”. And it was. But I realized while spreading a dense production with a bunch of layers of synths, keys, guitars, percussion, and vocals creates an impressive “Sphere of Sound”, there is something special to having fewer elements and being able to identify every small moment that happens in a song. It’s not because things get lost or buried in the mix, you have a 360 plane to place sounds in, but the human mind can only focus on so many things at once. So perhaps it’s better to have a few cool elements doing a few cool things than a whole bunch of elements doing a whole bunch of cool things. Just food for thought.

If you’re an artist or producer and haven’t heard music in Dolby Atmos, find a studio that has this capability and go listen to some music. You’ll be hooked! And then starting creating some music in Atmos. Have fun with it and share it with the world, easily via AvidPlay.

 

Jessica Mar – New Truth

Beto Vargas – Mistakes

Camie Llano – Visitor

Buel – Advice

Juan Cortes – So I Erased His Face

Distribute music with AvidPlay

Distribute your music on Spotify, Apple Music, Anghami, and dozens of other major streaming services around the world. Plus, keep 100% of your rights and earnings.




Introducing Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 Systems

Pro Tools | HDX is the most powerful audio DSPenabled system, which provides users the complete confidence to record, edit, and mix large and complex sessions without worrying about latency or the lack of processing powerPlug-ins run on dedicated DSP chips on the powerful HDX PCIe cards, connected to high quality DigiLink I/O such as the Avid Pro Tools | HD OMNI, HD MADI, or MTRX, all connected to the industry standard Pro Tools | Ultimate DAW software.  These components make up the bulk of what a typical HDX system looks like.   

 

Bringing the power of HDX to your desktop and rack 

In recent years, as laptops, iMacs, Mac minis, and other non-tower computers have become more powerful, users of external PCIe cards have increasingly turned to external Thunderbolt chassis.  Recognizing this and wanting to deliver a superior experience when using HDX with the most modern machines, we’ve partnered with Sonnet to deliver a custom-built Thunderbolt 3 chassis, optimized for HDX. Available in desktop and rack-mounted varieties, the new chassis bring HDX out of the shadows, where it was previously hidden away in a traditional tower computer, and give it a form factor that is sleek, portable, and exceptionally quiet. Plus, the rackmount chassis can house not only one HDX card but also a Mac mini, enabling users to configure a completely self-contained HDX system in a 1U rack space. 

Everything you need in one easy bundle 

Pro Tools is more than just software—it’s a solutionTo that end, Avid is announcing brand new pre-configured and now Thunderbolt 3-enabled Pro Tools, DSP, and I/O solutions.  These bundles bring the industry’s most powerful DSP- accelerated audio production system straight to your desktop or studio rack and include everything you need for a complete Pro Tools | HDX system in an easily connected, cost-effective package. Let’s take a quick look at the bundles:  

 

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 HD OMNI    

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 chassis combined with HD OMNI delivers the essentials for music or post-production and is ideal for anyone that need top sound quality in a convenient 1U form factor. Track with two pristine mic preamps and mix and monitor from stereo to 7.1 surround. Route audio independently from Pro Tools or even without turning on your computer with the 14-input persistent monitor mixer. Choose the Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 Desktop Chassis if you are using a MacBook Pro, iMac, or other Thunderbolt-equipped Windows PC. Or install a Mac Mini alongside HDX in the rackmount chassis and configure a completely self-contained HDX system.

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 MTRX Studio  

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 chassis with MTRX Studio is the ultimate studio centerpiece for either music or audio postproduction environments. Get flexible routing and the ability to monitor 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos. Interface with the Dante network with 64 channels of audio over IP. Streamline your studio and connect all your gear to a single 1U MTRX Studio.  Choose the Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 Desktop Chassis if you are using a MacBook Pro, iMac, or other Thunderbolt-equipped Windows PC. Or install a Mac Mini alongside HDX in the rackmount chassis and configure a completely self-contained HDX system. 

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 HD OMNI Desktop & Rack-mount Chassis

$7,999 USD MSRP

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 MTRX Studio Desktop & Rack-mount Chassis

$9,999 USD MSRP

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 Desktop Chassis

$499 USD MSRP

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 Rackmount Chassis

$699 USD MSRP

Visit Avid.com to read more about the Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 chassis as well as the pre-configured bundles.

Pro Tools | HDX Thunderbolt 3 Systems

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UVI Releases Drum Replacer — Real-time Intelligent Component Separation and Triggering

UVI release Drum Replacer, a realtime, program-adaptive, drum replacement utility giving users feature-rich component separation and triggering with exceptional ease-of-use. Utilizing machine learning-based analysis with realtime separation, Drum Replacer helps you easily remove bleed from drum recordings, replace drums in a mix with your favorite samples or VSTi, add precisely timed sub-bass, layer existing drum sounds, and much more. Drum Replacer is available now at an introductory price of $59 / 59€ through June 30th (regularly $99 / 99€).

Drum Replacer works uniquely by analyzing incoming audio and creating spectral models of each discrete component it hears (up to 5 + 1), feeding only the desired ones through to a customizable trigger detection circuit. With up to 8 internally-hosted audio samples or VSTi, these triggers can be used to generate anything, from replacement drums using your favorite samples or plugins, to creative mixing applications like reinforcing a hit with sub-bass, extracting specific sounds to side-chain other processors, and more. The internal sounds can be triggered in various ways from all-at-once, to more dynamic modes like sequential, and random, allowing you to easily introduce variety.

Setting up new sounds is a breeze thanks to an integrated browser; quickly locate local files and plugins and tag those commonly-used as favorites, then configure your plugins using their native interfaces. Samples can be quickly shaped with an AHD amplitude envelope, fade-in/out handles, and +/- 48 semitone tune control. One-click gain and pitch matching help you maximize correlation and blending with your source material, while the positive and negative time delay and a layered graphical waveform display help you perfectly time your new sounds to the input (even pre-triggering them!).

A large graphical display helps you fine-tune detection, while comprehensive metering of all internal tracks and triggers are visible in both the mixer and edit tabs. Presets can be saved of individual track configurations, or of all 8 tracks. Meanwhile each track has a custom name field to help you mitigate complexity, and ease the process of working with unfamiliar or older projects.

Focused, smart, and easy-to-master – with huge potential for creative mixing and remixing applications – Drum Replacer is a fast and reliable tool in any production environment and for users of any skill level.

Drum Replacer is compatible with current versions of all major DAWs on both Mac and Windows platforms (VST, AU, and AAX). A single license includes 3 activations that can be used on any combination of individual computer systems or iLok keys. A free 15-day trial is available!

UVI Drum Replacer

Drum Replacer is a realtime, program-adaptive, drum replacement and processing utility, providing effortless audio component separation and triggering with a sophisticated feature set and elegant workflow.




Taking Control of Your Artist Profile

Whether you just distributed your first release with AvidPlay or one of many, you’re probably wondering how to gain control of your artist profile across all of the streaming outlets your music is now live on.

Well sometimes when you check out that release you may find the artist profile it’s linked to is wrong, there was never a profile created, there’s no picture, etc.

This is something that you want to rectify as soon as you can, because it’s possible this may be the first introduction a potential fan will have to you. You should consider your artist profile as the visual identity for your brand. Below we’ve provided some details on how to reach stores to fix any issue that may arise in relation to your artist profile.

Amazon – Reach out via the Amazon Music for Artists app Help option under Settings. Be sure to provide the following information:

  1. Your Artist Name
  2. Your artist detail page link (either from within Amazon Music or the Amazon website)
  3. A list of albums which should be on your profile and/or the list of albums which should NOT be on your profile

Appleartists.apple.com

Spotifyartists.spotify.com

Tidal – Send an email to artistsupport@tidal.com, if you’re updating your profile provide two photos, links to your social media, a short biography, and the URL to your artist profile on Tidal (e.g., tidal.com/artist/5124128).

Pandoraamp.pandora.com

Deezer – Get in touch with Deezer’s team at support@deezer.zendesk.com

  1. Include your artist image if you want to change it: That must be 500×500 pixels minimum and 3MB maximum.
  2. Your artist bio explaining a bit about yourself in 100-200 words.
  3. Links to your social media that you want available on your profile.

Napsterhelp.napster.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

If you’re updating your profile the preferred image dimensions are 1500×1000 pixel.

iHeart – Your artist biography and profile picture are distributed to iHeartRadio via a third party service called AllMusic. AllMusic is powered by Rovi (now TiVo) which is a catalogue of art, reviews and in-depth information (like biographies and art work) on artists, albums, singles and EPs created and curated by their editing staff. You can mail TiVo one copy of the product along with any relevant promotional materials, such as artist bios and press releases, and email a single message containing artist and release images (in JPEG format and at least 300 pixels wide) and other promotional materials using the addresses below. TiVo adds products and other materials to their databases at their discretion. Email: content.music@tivo.com

Anghamidash.anghami.com

Shazam – Sign up with Shazam for Artists and you will be able to update your profile with images, links to YouTube videos, as well as the ability to post status updates with links to new songs and have these displayed to any new fans that “Shazam” your song. Apple devices with Siri use Shazam as well, simply say “hey Siri, what song is this” if you don’t have the Shazam app installed. Sign up at shazam.com/artists

Qobuz – You can change your artist photo by reaching out through the customer service portal https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/help/contact/ask/signin with a link to your artist page. Biographies and album reviews are written in house by the Qobuz team, and sourced from allmusic.com and Last.fm

It’s important that your artist profile is updated consistently as it should always reflect where you are in your artist journey. Since it’s unlikely you’ll stay the same forever, your profile should reflect your evolution.

Distribute music with AvidPlay

Distribute your music on Spotify, Apple Music, Anghami, and dozens of other major streaming services around the world. Plus, keep 100% of your rights and earnings.




Sonnox EDU — Elite Tools for Us All

Sonnox and Avid have been working together since the dawn of Plug-In time; the inaugural Sony Oxford EQ and Dynamics Plug-Ins being direct ports of the acclaimed sections from Sony’s OXFR3 digital console.

After an MBO in 2007 Sonnox was born and more products followed, leading to the 15 we now have. The team has remained small, focused and fanatical about building the very best possible; from recording and mixing staples for controlling tone and dynamic range to Plug-Ins that focus on simplifying universally time-consuming and creativity-sapping problems.

Whatever the application, whether live or recorded, and wherever they’re used, music or post-production, our customers tell us that it’s the hallmark clarity, transparency and precision that sets Sonnox apart.

The Plug-In market is saturated (no pun intended!) with stuff that emulates the qualities of classic analogue gear; warmth, colour, character and distortion. These are fantastic attributes when you need them, but you’ll likely not need them all the time. A wide and varied sonic palette, that we’re told best serves creation of music and sound, provides both clarity and distortion.

We’ve been committed to supporting students and educators from Avid Learning Partners (ALP’s) since the beginning; not only through the offer of a 50% discount across the piece, but also through a multi-seat bundle license called the ALP NFR Programme. This allows ALP’s to install almost all our products throughout their in-house DAW’s for as little as $200 per year. Software updates and access to new products are included in the deal. In addition, students can take advantage of a unique rent to own subscription to our bestselling Native Elite bundle for students.

The Elite bundle is one of the most successful Sonnox bundles. It includes 7 Oxford Plug-Ins suitable for almost any form of audio production (EQ, Dynamics, Inflator, TransMod, Reverb, Limiter and SuprEsser) and inspired the creation of an exclusive ALP training course called Sonnox Elite Certification (SO110).

This course is designed to provide both an introduction to and detailed overview of the Elite products. It not only teaches how to use the Oxford Elite products but also a more general understanding of reverbs, EQs, compressors, etc and where best to apply them in your productions.

The SO110 is the perfect companion to basic Pro Tools courses like the PT101 and the PT110, but is also relevant to more advanced users who might want to explore tips and tricks not mentioned in the product manuals. Instructor certification takes only two days of online training.

Why might the knowledge that the course delivers be useful? Sonnox stuff is widely used and at the highest levels:

We’re honoured that some of the world’s most successful audio professionals are amongst our customers; they’ve helped to make 8 of the top 10 selling records this century and countless of your favourite movies, TV shows, live performances and games. They’ve also won, or have been nominated for, every major international audio award out there. And so have helped to shape their respective industries and enrich all our lives in the process.

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




How to Fix a Muddy, Dull, Thin or Harsh-sounding Song

Whether you’re mixing your first song using Pro Tools | First, or you’ve been working with Pro Tools systems for decades, getting that pure and balanced sound across your frequency spectrum can be a challenge. You can find yourself going round in circles trying to level out the mids of a muddy mix or control the highs of a harsh mix.

Push the mids too far and you lose clarity, but cut them too much and your mix becomes thin. Similarly, if you boost the high-end more than is necessary you’ll get a harsh sound, but if the high-end is weak then the song can sound dull.

Is your audio muddy, thin, harsh, or dull?

Is your audio muddy, thin, harsh, or dull?

We at Mastering The Mix realized that this time-consuming balancing act was holding back producers from realizing their musical visions. To remedy this, we created MIXROOM, an intelligent EQ that guides the user to set the perfect balance of richness and clarity whether they’re working on a vocal, a synth or mastering their music.

 

How To Get a Well Balanced Starting Point When EQing Any Channel In Your Mix.

 

1. Load The AAX Plugin  On An Individual Channel Or Your Stereo Master

You can use MIXROOM to EQ anything in your Pro Tools session. It works great on vocals, instruments, grouped buses, or your master channel.

Get a well-balanced starting point when EQ-ing

Get a well-balanced starting point when EQ-ing

2. Choose A Preset or Create A Target

To get the most value from MIXROOM, start by selecting a preset that best suits the material you’re working on. Or, you can create your own target values to help you get closer to the sound of your favorite tracks. Do this by clicking the target icon in the bottom left corner and importing reference tracks.

Load a preset or create a target in MIXROOM

Load a preset or create a target in MIXROOM

3. Shape Your Sound

Now monitor a full-bodied section of your audio. If you’re using MIXROOM for mastering then monitor the drop or chorus. To create a loop, right-click the play button in Pro Tools and select ‘loop’, then click and drag on the transport above the waveform of your chorus. Once MIXROOM has analyzed your audio, it will show you a green Target EQ Curve on the walls of the user interface.

These intelligent suggestions are based on the audio in your session and the preset you’ve chosen (which is genre-specific). The EQ target curve gives you a solid starting point from which you can tweak the sound to suit your preference. This workflow takes out the guesswork and helps you dial in pro-sounding results in seconds.

The ‘Add Smart Bands’ button will instantly load EQ bands that match the Target EQ Curve to give you a great starting point. MIXROOM’s unique and specifically designed EQ filters give you maximum clarity & transparency when shaping your audio.

 

Shape Your Sound using MIXROOM

Shape Your Sound using MIXROOM

4. Level Match

The EQ adjustments may have changed the perceived loudness of your audio making it difficult to hear whether the changes you’ve made are improving your sound. If the loudness has changed by more than 2dB (decibels) the bypass button will turn orange.

Hover your mouse over the bypass button to open the output gain and level match pointer. Match the gain slider to the level match pointer to match the perceived loudness of your audio before it passed through MIXROOM. This allows you to subjectively hear how the changes have affected your sound.

Always level match to ensure positive progress

Always level match to ensure positive progress

Hear The Difference!

Whether your audio is muddy, dull, thin, harsh, or even almost perfect, MIXROOM helps you elevate your mix to get the perfect balance of richness and clarity.

Hear the difference when listening in your studio

Hear the difference when listening in your studio

Using Mid-Side To Take The Sound To The Next Level

Once you’re happy with the balance of the channels in your mix, you can dive a little deeper into controlling the sound of your audio using mid-side processing.

Mid-side processing means applying changes to specific parts of the stereo spread. The ‘mid’ is all the mono information which is identical in the left and right speaker. The side channel is the opposite, so it contains information that is only heard in either the left or right speaker.

Mid-side processing is highly intuitive using MIXROOM’s unique and immersive 3D interface. Each band has full mid/side capabilities allowing you to shape the balance of your stereo spread.

Often you’ll find that by fine-tuning the mid/side processing of your EQ, you’re able to get a more transparent and natural sound. Why? Let’s say a channel in your Pro Tools session has some harshness coming through in the side channel but sounds well balanced in the mid-channel. If you use a normal stereo EQ, a cut to reduce the harshness of the side channels will also reduce the same frequencies in the mid. In this circumstance, the mid-channel was sounding good before, and with the cut might now sound a bit dull. If you used mid-side processing to only cut the harsh frequencies in the side channel, you would maintain the integrity of the balance in the mid-channel.

How mid-side EQ can give you more control

How mid-side EQ can give you more control

The mid-side processing in MIXROOM is extremely flexible, allowing you either process full mid, full side, or blend the processing between a balance of the two. Hover your mouse over an EQ band’s control panel and click the M for mid, S for side, and the stereo icon for stereo. Click and drag the stereo icon left and right to set a perfect blend of mid/side.

Controlling mid-side in MIXROOM

Controlling mid-side in MIXROOM

The producers that end up dominating the music industry are the ones who never stop learning how to improve. They’re always on the lookout for ways to improve their listener’s experience. With MIXROOM, you can iron out the issues in your mix fast. Then you can sculpt your sound using mid-side precision to get a perfect tonal balance. Download the free trial here for a great new addition to your Pro Tools set-up.