How I Use Data in Audio Engineering

Data collection is an important tool for business owners and people that want to use that data to analyse trends and develop strategies. With the data collected, decisions and improvements can be made in order to achieve desirable outcomes. The accuracy of the data collection is essential. In today’s blog, I will discuss how I use data as an Audio Engineer.

What data do I collect and how do I use it?
I use a range of data collected from various sources. The data assists me in many ways to improve my website, blogging and social media presence. The following paragraphs detail specifics of the data source and how I use that information.

seo-rankings

Keyword Checker – I use a keyword checker to see how well my website is ranking. This is particularly important when I am making adjustments to the SEO of my website to improve its visibility. A less visible page will rank lower in search engines and if your site isn’t on the first page of results, 91% of people won’t even see it. A lower SEO rank equals fewer clicks resulting in less business, therefore, less income.

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WordPress statistics of my blog

WordPress Stats – With this data, I am able to view a range of user statistics including, how many views, how many unique visitors, the country of origin, the page referrer, and the popularity of each blog post. I used this information when selecting appropriate keywords for posts to appeal to my target audience.

Soundcloud data – Likes, follows, plays and comments are all forms of data that can be used to see the popularity of particular songs.

 

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An example of Facebook’s analytics displaying demographic information

 

Facebook Analytics – Facebook shows very detailed graphs showing various data about the page including view, likes, reach, engagements, video views and page followers. Further tables include specific information about the 5 most recent posts showing the levels of reach and engagement. From this data, I am able to see which posts were the most successful and use this information to tailor future posts.

In this blog, I have discussed the various sources of data that I use and how I use it to my benefit. The insight that I gain from this data is a valuable tool that will aid in the success of my website and social media accounts.

I endeavour to continue using this data to continually improve user engagement on social media. This will result in a more engaging user experience for my target audience and will in more clients for my studio, aiding to the success of my business enterprise.

Personal Experiences With Copyright

Creating something is a rewarding and sometimes challenging process. From my own experience, the music I create comes from very deep within me. I draw upon my past experiences, musical influences and combine that to tell story or evoke an emotion. For someone to use something that I uniquely created in a way that copies or plagiarizes my work (without permission) it would really piss me off. Since commencing my audio degree, I have gained a deeper appreciation for copyright laws and how they protect intellectual property and creators.

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APRA logo

The IRSC

I recently attended an information session about copyright that was presented by APRA AMCOS. The session was very informative and if I am to be an audio engineer and studio owner/manager, then I needed to apply for an International Standard Recording Code (IRSC). The processes were simple, just send an email to the Australian Recording Industry Association and they sent back information on how to apply for the IRSC as a third party. I followed the next step and now Hired Gun Recording Studio is able to allocate IRSC for rights holders. This code identifies songs to APRA AMCOS so that they are able to collect royalties for the rights holders on their behalf.

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hgrs.com.au trademarked logo

Copyright

My logo was created by Freesoul Design Studio, a graphic designer that I have worked with numerous times before. He delivered my logo designs and I sought to have them trademarked to prevent anyone else stealing the logo. Trademarking was done by registering it through the Australian Government IP site using the online application. Shortly after applying for my trademark, I received notification that my application was registered. Within a week, received two letters from two separate companies claiming to be part of a World Trademark organization and they said that they would register my trademark internationally for a large sum of money. I was so very obviously a scam and I just ignored the letters. It makes you wonder how many people simply pay it without even checking.

 

The Begining of a Musical Adventure

Throughout my son Felix’s life, he has been surrounded by music.  Even as a baby only a few months old, his enjoyment of music was evident when I thought he was sleeping in my arms. I quietly turned off the music and he began to cry, so I turned it back on and he stopped! As a toddler, he preferred noisy and musical toys and his favorite was a bright yellow and offensive sounding plastic guitar. From two years old, he used to hang around the control room of my old studio, watching my band rehearse. I asked him what instrument he would like to play and he said drums, so for his third Birthday, I gave him a junior size drum kit purchased from Arties Music in Aspley.

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Felix Watson – 3rd Birthday present

His First Drum Kit
For the first few months, he would give that little kit an absolute flogging, with me trying to play the guitar to accompany his erratic blast beats. It was endearing to watch and I never pushed him, only ever gentle encouragement and heaped on the praise when he did play. These sessions never had any structure, I just let him do what he wanted hitting the drums. I did this because I wanted him to enjoy music the same way I do, something that should be fun and a positive experience. His interest in the small drumkit waned in favor of the Pearl Export 6 piece kit. He couldn’t even reach the kick pedal from the drum stool but that didn’t dampen his enthusiasm. He would patiently wait in the studio for the opportunity to jump onto the Pearl kit when my band was on a rehearsal break.

Hiatus
I had to move out of the house after leaving the Army at the end of 2016, and the studio was out of action for a couple of months. Over this period, Felix seemed to have lost some interest in drumming but not his interest in listening to music.

During car rides, he would demand, “Put some music on Daddy”, showing a preference for Hard Rock. His favorite song is my band’s Simple Child – Pig Mouth, written by Sam Menzies. Almost every time I play music in the car, he requests that song. It isn’t exactly family-friendly due to the strong language in the lyrics but he absolutely loves it, reciting the lyrics in front of my bemused bandmates, swear words and all. He is highly intelligent and knows that swearing is only appropriate when singing at home (never at school), and will correct me every time I curse by saying, “Don’t use those bad words, Daddy!”

Development 
Over the past year, he is drawn to the studio when I am editing or tracking songs, doing nothing more than simply playing quietly with his toys on the control room floor. Almost two weeks ago he celebrated his 5th Birthday. The day after his party, I was driving him to school with some heavy metal playing and he said to me, “Daddy I want to play guitar.” If he is showing a desire to play the guitar, then he is old enough to start learning.

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Jackson JS Series Dinky Minion JSX1

Choosing A Guitar
That evening, we searched for a small scale guitar with a fast neck that would be easy to learn on and fun to play. I am an avid Ibanez fan, having many high-end electric Ibanez guitars, so I tried to find a local Ibanez dealer that sold the GRG Mikro. Arties Music is my nearest authorized Ibanez retailer, so I contacted them. They told me that they couldn’t get it but they might have another option. That other option was the Jackson JS Series Dinky Minion JSX1. On paper. it seemed to be a fair substitute. Rosewood fingerboard, satin-finish neck, nice and playable. So I paid for it and waited for them to get one in for me.

Picking It Up
Felix was excited to be going to a music shop and didn’t know why we were there, but as you will see in the video, he worked it out pretty quickly. He loved it from the outset and he even picked out a guitar strap with a flame on it, a rock star in the making! I had a quick look in the shop and the build quality looked good. Solid scarf joint neck and good sustain. The strings were very thin gauge and a bit old so I swapped them out for 10-52 Elixirs when I got home. After restringing it and giving it a tune, I plugged it into my Kemper to see what the guitar sounded like. The neck pickup sounded good but the bridge pickup sounded very dull. If he keeps playing, I’ll put a set of Bareknuckle humbuckers in there!

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Felix with his first guitar

First Play 
He seemed much more engaged with the guitar than just treating it like a toy. He even seemed to relish in the fact that he now had his own guitar. After I put the new strings on and gave it a quick setup, I plugged it into my Kemper and handed it over to him for his first shred. It was just noisy strumming but he loved it. I then let him loose on the Mesa Dual Rectifier. He played non-stop for about 20 minutes then went back out to his other toys. Even 5 minutes is an eternity to the attention span of a 5-year-old!

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Yousician Interface

Yousician and His First Guitar Lesson
I waited until the next day before I would give him his structured first lesson. There is an app called Yousician that I have used with other young guitar students to great effect. The software has an image of a fretboard, similar to how tablature is laid out. The notes are indicated by a bouncing ball that lands on a number that corresponds to which fret you need to play. The interface is extremely user-friendly and Felix tore through the first 3 lessons and still wanted more.

I was super impressed with his attentiveness and his emerging technique, absolutely stunning for a first timer. So that he didn’t tire of playing prematurely, I ended the lesson after 30 minutes even though he was eager to continue.

Future Rock Star
He is excited by playing the guitar and I really enjoy making him happy. I will never push him to play the guitar, it will remain a fun activity and a fantastic way for us to bond over music.

Maybe years from now, he will be fondly looking back over this post as a successful musician. Who knows where his musical adventure will take him. Maybe a Jackson endorsement? As long as the journey is fun, that is all that matters.

 

My Job Interview Experience and What I Learned From Terrible Bosses

The Interview
In October 1997, I was sitting across from a Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) that was conducting my entry interview to join the Australian Army. I was 20 years old at the time. I remember feeling excited but confident during the interview and the WO2 gave no indication of his impression of me during the interview. I was one of about 50 applicants being interviewed that day and saw a variety of dress from jeans and t-shirts to poorly fitting suits with ugly ties (I wore slacks and a collared shirt). I remember how nervous everyone was and how that bolstered my own confidence.

After the initial interview, an Officer came into the waiting area and called out about half the names and instructed those called to come with him into another area. At this point, I wondered if I was wrong about how successful my interview was. Around fifteen minutes later, the Officer came back into the waiting room and told us that our interviews were successful and we would undergo further psychological and aptitude testing. This meant the others that were lead out were told, “Thanks for coming.”

Reflecting back on the significance of that interview, it was the start of a career in the Australian Army spanning 19 years.

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Me in Iraq in 2006

I realise that interview techniques and processes will have changed since then and individual experiences will vary, but the core of job interviews will be largely the same. An employer requires someone to do a job and it is very important to screen them to assess their suitability for the position.

 

Important Life Lessons
One lesson that my military career taught me is that working for a tyrant or an incompetent boss is very stressful. It doesn’t matter how hard you work for these character types because your hard work will never be appreciated, or worse still, they will take the credit for it. It is for this very reason that I have decided that I prefer to work in a freelance capacity or to work in an equal partnership of any venture that I undertake in the future.

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The 17’s – I’m in front, second from left.

Secondly, I learned that I work very well with others in large or small teams or even by myself, to achieve complex tasks under extreme pressure. I know this is true because I have been truly pushed to my very limits, as most war veterans can attest.

Another lesson that I learned from that interview is that your presentation and self-confidence are as important as the qualifications that you hold. A prospective employer needs assurance that you are the one above all others that they need for the job, and it is up to you to convince them. It seems like common sense but there are a lot of people that just don’t get it.

Everyone I have met in the audio engineering field has a shared passion for what we do. It makes everyone very happy, myself included, to be doing what we love and it’s a completely different environment to the military. So much more fulfilling.

What the Future Holds
I anticipate that a job interview scenario in my immediate future will be when I apply for an intern position for a recording studio, possibly via Skype. There plenty of audio engineers that I admire and most of them are in the USA, so it is likely that I will have to live there for the duration of the internship (or longer). The prospect is extremely exciting and the learning experience to be gained from it is extremely valuable.

 

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Studio A – Sphere Studios – Neve 8048 Console

 

For now, I will limit myself to contacting Sphere Studios LA and Fensesco Camelli. I admire his work on a variety of projects, and Sphere Studios is one of the most respected recording studios in the world. It would be a dream come true that Francesco Camelli and Sphere Studios LA are willing to give me the opportunity to work for them as an intern. I think that the most likely way to get a response will be to contact the studio manager, Megan Milius. I posted a message on Sphere’s Facebook wall, now hopefully if I make enough noise, I will get noticed.

 

The Significance of Social Media in Audio Engineering

As a creative professional, having an active and engaging social media presence is extremely important. It is an outward facing image of you and your brand and is an avenue for fans or future clients to engage with the content you create. If someone wants to find out about a person, they usually turn to google and social media, so having a solid social media game can give you the edge. Luckily, as an audio engineer it matters less with how I look but more important with how I sound and the audio products I create.

 

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Social Media Strategy

 

Social Media Strategy

Generally, I don’t really have a social media strategy. The way I use it is more as a public journal and sharing things that are relevant to my industry. For instance, I recently started recording with my friends Stayplton Street again, so I posted about it. It is a way of engaging with them and getting their band name out there as mutual promotion that costs me only a few minutes to post. With my posts, I try to just be myself. It feels more natural to post like that and people can relate more to the content I create. When I am looking at other professional’s social media, it is nicer to read when it comes from the heart.

 

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Instagram vs Snapchat

 

Don’t Waste Time

If I find that I spend any longer on social media than 30 minutes a day, I stay off for a bit. It really is subjective but I find that my posts aren’t bombarding people and the quality of interaction with my audience increases. Quality > Quantity. Not all social media platforms are created equal and trying to manage my time effectively reduces the amount of accounts that I use. I limit myself to facebook, soundcloud, instagram, linkedin and twitter and I don’t use twitter that much because it is a shitty platform. It is confusing for new users and it really doesn’t have that much long term appeal IMO.

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The Governator approves of this post

 

What I Like About Social Media

Soundcloud is fantastic for sharing my portfolio of audio that I have worked on and it is easy to embed on my website. Facebook has a great way of telling a story and incorporating a range of different media assets. Lastly, Instagram is a quick way to tell a story with pictures, very simply and efficiently.

I anticipate that social media will be a part of my life for a long time to come and an important aspect of any creative professional’s online image.

facebook.com/hiredgunstudio

instagram.com/hiredgunstudio

twitter.com/hiredgunstudio

https://soundcloud.com/hired-gun-studio

How to Make Extra Money From Music

So the title captured your attention? It was designed to do exactly that. If you are a performer or songwriter, then this post is definitely for you. Did you know that you can get royalties paid in addition to performance fees for gigs that you have played? Did you also know that in addition to the money you get from youtube advertising, there are additional royalties just waiting for you? If the answer is no, continue reading.

 

 

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APRA AMCOS logo

 

Music Copyright Collection Societies
There are organisations that collect license fees from music users and pay royalties to artists and composers. There are affiliated music societies all over the globe that do this, and the one in Australia is called The Australian Performing Rights Association APRA AMCOS(APRA has a list of affiliate societies here). Their job is to help music creators get paid for the work that they do and facilitates music consumers a simple way to use and copy music legally. What APRA is and how they do what they do, is shown in the below video.

 

What to do next
Go to the APRA AMCOS website (apraamcos.com.au) and create a profile. Once you have made a profile, it is just a matter of adding the details of your work to the profile. That was easy? Well not quite, there are a few hoops to jump through. When submitting works, you can only submit one at a time until they are reviewed individually. Then the best part: you list live performances that you have done because you can actually get paid royalties for playing your own music on top of the performance fee you are already receiving.

 

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Make more money for your craft

 

What’s the catch?
There is only one caveat, to be eligible to claim royalties, your works MUST be commercially released. This can be done by two avenues: you get signed to a label and they take care of this for you (at high cost), or, you can independently release your recorded music on a distribution platform such as Distrokid, CD Baby, Ditto Music, Record Union, MondoTunes and Reverbnation to name a few. For those of you who intend on distributing independently or finding out more about music distribution, here is a very good blog article: Everything Musicians Need to Know About Music Distribution.

If this blog was helpful to you in any way, please like, share and reblog to spread the word.

How to Maintain Artistic Creativity Whilst Getting an Income

When working with others to a common goal, a shared vision of the project outcome is not always possible. Some people have a very clear direction that they to take, and others know what they want but have difficulty articulating it. My aim as a producer/engineer is not only to provide a refined and robust audio product but also to accommodate the wishes of my clients.

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Negotiating an agreement

Negotiation
In any interaction between two parties, there must be a shared goal and communication is essential in negotiating the vision of a project. The expectations of both parties should be discussed during this phase, to ensure that the outcome is achievable and within the scope of the clients budget.

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“Shut up and take my money!” – Phillip J. Fry

Expectation
In the studio production/engineering industry, people generally know what type of recording they are trying to make and will seek out a suitable engineer. Most recording engineers will have credits on previous audio projects and an online presence in various forms, such as blogs, social media and portfolios, so the clients should have some expectation of what product they will be getting. Some people can be notoriously hard to deal with irrespective of the industry that they are in and if my military career taught me anything, it is that 5% of people will require 95% of extra effort.

Finding balance
Working in a freelance capacity enables me to cherry pick the projects that I like. If I am going to be spending the time listening to the audio over and over, it can’t be a genre that I don’t like. I once did an 18-hour session on a country song, and I am not a fan of country music, so that was well outside of my comfort zone. Comparatively, similar sessions on hard-rock songs, I was still pumped at the end and had to drag myself away from the desk.

Lesson learned
These two scenarios taught me that money was fairly low on my priorities but being enthusiastic about the project rated at the very top. I guess I won’t be the guy who will ever compromise creativity for $$.

New Studio Desk

New gear is enough to get any muso or audio engineer frothing, and I’m no different. Due to increased demand and the fact that my old console no longer meets my requirements, I am upgrading to a Toft ATB 32 channel large format analog mixing console. A few people that I know use the Toft or Trident consoles and I really like the sound of the British EQ, it is within my budget and suits my needs precisely.

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Ultraphonic designed desk

 

To accommodate the Toft, I needed to get a desk that could house it and all of my rack gear. I contacted the guys from Ultraphonic at Stafford and told Alex my needs. After a few different variations, we settled on a design with the angled sides, 7RU at the top and 14RU underneath, giving plenty of room for rack items. After a couple of weeks, Alex told me that the desk was ready, so I went and picked it up.

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Panasonic RAMSA DA7 Digital Mixing Console in the old desk

My old console was a Panasonic RAMSA WR-DA7 digital mixer. The DA7 is my first console and I learned a great deal about audio engineering using it. I even recently repaired a few components and gave it a service and I will reluctantly sell it at some stage. This console is fully functional, however, it no longer suits my needs.

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Repairing and servicing the WR-DA7

Once all the cabling and rack gear was removed from the old desk, I took out the DA7 and assessed what I would do with the desk. The trouble is, I built the studio around the desk so there was no way it was fitting out the door. After deciding that selling it wasn’t worth the hassle, I chose the destructive method of disassembly, using a hammer whilst laughing maniacally.  Once the shattered remains of the desk were stacked in a nice firewood pile outside, I brought in the new desk and started assembly.

 

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Ultraphonic desk

The new desk was a breeze to assemble. There were no hiccups and I am really happy with the design. Now the only thing missing is the Toft console! I have been waiting since early Feb for Toft to send one, but nothing is in Australia and the hold up is at the manufacturing end. I hope to hear back from them within the next few weeks as mixing in the box is ok, but the workflow will be so much faster with the console.

Big shout out to www.ultrafonic.com.au Great desk and those guys are a pleasure to do business with. I highly recommend anyone to check them out!

 

Acoustic Investigation of Hired Gun Studio

Introduction
In this investigation, I will acoustically analyse Hired Gun Recording Studio (HGRS) in order to determine factors that adversely affect sound quality within the room. As an Audio Engineer, it is extremely important that I have a good understanding of the acoustic properties of my audio working space. The properties of a room can drastically absorb and reflect frequencies of the audio that is played within it, changing how sound is perceived. This blog will explore the different aspects that impact audio performance within HGRS.

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Inside HGRS

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Rehearsing in my studio

Room Purpose
The room is used as an audio manipulation environment, performing engineering tasks such as tracking and mixing audio. It is also used as a rehearsal space for my band, and also for teaching guitar. It is a purpose-built recording studio/rehearsal space that is a free-standing box that I constructed within my double lockup garage.

Room Properties
The dimensions of the room are as follows:

L = 484 cm W = 456 cm H = 200 cm

To apply the bolt ratio, we must convert the height to the value 1 and divide the values for length and width by the same denominator.

L : W : H
484 : 456 : 200
(484/200) : (456/200) : (200/200)
= 2.42 : 2.28 : 1

 

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Bolt ratio chart

The ratio for the room does not plot within the dotted line on the chart, therefore, the room does not fit the Bolt Ratio. I overcome this shortfall by artificially changing the width of the room with removable free-standing panels and the position of my sofa.

The floors are polished timber laminate, the walls are covered in stage curtain and eight medium sized semi-rigid fibreglass panels (Auralex Pro-panel kit), the roof is composite wood panels. Under the floor, there is separation from the slab via insulated pads and beams, creating a “floating” floor.

The construction of my studio walls:

The walls are constructed in stud and noggin fashion with acoustic fibreglass insulation batts inside and then each side was covered with thin laminate wood panels. The roof is constructed in the same fashion as the walls.

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Layer of stage curtain, acoustic construction blanket on walls

There is an additional layer of acoustic construction blanket between the stage curtain covering and the interior wall. The side that has the garage door has several large and thick windows and additional acoustic panels, between the garage doors and the studio, to help reduce noise from passing traffic.

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A/C roof vent

The air conditioning is ducted and baffled, with the vents coming through several egresses in the roof. The door is a typical interior door that opens inwards and is sealed around the edges when it closes.

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HGRS floorplan

Room Contents
Objects within the room are as follows:
– one large wooden studio desk and mixing console (2m x 1.2m). Desk contains many rack-mountable items
– 16 channel console
– two sets of studio monitors
– one 3 seater suede couch
– three large guitar speaker cabinets
– two guitar amplifier heads
– guitar rack full of guitars
– 6 piece pearl export drum kit and cymbals
– storage container
– chest of drawers
– two office chairs and one bar stool

I use two pairs of monitors, ADAM Audio A77X and Rokit 5. The monitors have been placed 120 cm apart and 120 cm from my listening position, forming an equilateral triangle. This positioning gives the optimum stereo image width that is ideal for mixing.

 

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Calibrating the REW software

Analysis method

It is my opinion that the room sounds even and balanced (at the listening position) and sounds slightly “woody”.

Software: The room analysis software used was Room EQ Wizard V5.18 and the sine sweep was captured using Pro Tools 12.7.1.

Hardware: A JBL MSC1 measurement microphone and a Digitech QM-1589 SPL Meter were both used to calibrate the software the room, connected via XLR to a PreSonus Studio 192 USB3.0 interface. The room measurements were conducted with two RODE NT2A (set to cardioid pattern, no pad, no filter), fixed to a stereo bar and connected to my interface.

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Visual representation of a log sine sweep

Due to the wide variety of recording that occurs in this studio, and signal level constancy, I decided to use a sine wave sweep. Sine sweeps produce frequencies with a much higher energy than a clap or pink noise, as they dedicate the fully available dynamic to play one frequency at a time. This gives sine sweeps a much better resistance against room ambience and background noise. Sine sweeps are particularly useful to determine resonant frequencies. Specifically, I used 256k logarithmic sweep from 20 Hz to 20 kHz at -12 dB over 5.5 seconds.

Factors that may affect the recording in this studio are; room dimensions, building materials, surface materials, construction techniques and, absorption coefficients of items within the space measured. Other factors can be; local heavy vehicle traffic noise, incorrect calibration of the software, speed and power of the PC, incorrectly earthed audio equipment (ground hum), poor quality power from the supply, poor mic position and the quality of the signal chain used to measure.

Room measurement

Three measurements were taken in the room from locations that would typically be used when mixing or tracking. All measurements were conducted on a timer, allowing me enough time to leave the room so that my body’s absorption coefficient would not affect the reading.

Position 1

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Position 1

Position 1 – Measurement was taken from my seated listening position with the microphones set at ear level.  Sine wave maximum SPL was 98.4 dBA.

 

Listening Position Waterfall
Position 1 frequency waterfall graph

There is an even bass response below 200 Hz, peaks around 300 Hz and 1.2 kHz withtwo significant dips at 1.4 kHz and 5 kHz. It is possible to correct this by applying an EQ directly to the main output studio monitors, boosting and cutting where appropriate, giving the perception of an even frequency response. The MSC-1 Monitor controller I use has room mode correction software that automatically measures frequency response and I use to adjust these errant frequencies. This position could be considered to sound fairly even and balanced.

Position 2

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Position 2

Vocal Tracking Waterfall
Position 2 frequency waterfall graph

Position 2’s waterfall graph indicates a strong dip at around at 65 Hz and from 150-200 Hz, and a large amount of tapering from 7 kHz upwards. This indicates strong absorption of those frequencies due to the measurement being taken in close proximity to a fibreglass absorption panel and the stage curtain on the wall. The sine wave log sweep max SPL was 86.2 dBA at this position. This area could be considered to sound “wooly“.

Position 3

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Position 3
Drum OH Waterfall
Position 3 frequency waterfall graph

The position for this measurement was taken in the drum overhead microphone location. There are four significant dips at 50 Hz, 80 Hz, 150 Hz and 1 kHz. There are two peaks 1.4 kHz and 2.3 kHz. The maximum SPL of the sine wave log sweep was measured as 86.4 dBA. This area of the room could be considered to sound “harsh”

Room Modes
The first two Axial Modes (standing waves) for each dimension:
Length: 35.6 Hz, 71.2 Hz
Width: 37.8 Hz, 75.5 Hz
Height: 86.1 Hz, 172.2 Hz

The room sounds good and this is due largely to the fact that bass response is even and well controlled and gives clarity in the low end.

Background noise

Room noise
MAnalyzer plugin background noise snapshot

There is a small amount of background noise coming from the PC tower’s CPU fan at a level of 35.4 dBA and means it’s time for me to upgrade to a liquid cooled CPU. The hum of the CPU fan is audible to the human ear but is only minor.

 

RT60

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REW RT60 graph

RT60 stands for Reverb Time 60 dB. It means the time decay of an audio signal to drop by 60 dB. The RT60 for this room is:
62 Hz = 0.24 mS
125 Hz = 0.18 mS
500 Hz = 0.17 mS
1 kHz = 0.11 mS
4 kHz = 0.14 mS

Summary
Using subjective terms, I find the room to sound even and balanced with a mild “woodiness”. This investigation has shown me the problem areas and I can use that information to correct the errant frequencies or modify my expectations of certain frequencies within the room. I find that this would not be considered an ideal tracking space, however, armed with the knowledge of how this room responds, I believe that I am able to produce quality recordings and tracking here without any problems.

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes

In 1992 the band Pantera released their album titled “Vulgar Display of Power” and changed metal music forever. Dimebag Darrell’s blistering solos, Phil Anselmo’s aggressive vocals, Vinny Paul’s punishing double-kick and Rex’s tight bass groove, along with well-written songs, thrust the band into the mainstream consumption. They unified fans of other heavy metal subgenres, inventing their own style called “power groove”. They reshaped the sonic landscape of modern heavy music, leaving behind a legacy that will continue long into the future, despite the band’s break up in 2003.

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Pantera after performing at Monsters of Rock in Moscow 1991

The titans of the heavy metal genre; Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and ACDC, are all ageing and it’s likely that in the next two decades, none of them will be performing live. These are the perfect conditions, creating a genre vacuum for a new band to exploit.

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Metallica outside Greg Fieldman’s recording studio

In the absence of a unifying band, it seems that the metal genre will continue to remain fractured, with people having individual preferences for their own bands within different subgenres. Occasionally, there are bands that come close to breaking through to the mainstream, such as Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and Alter Bridge. Early 2016 saw the band Disturbed achieve widespread acceptance and accolades for a cover of the folk classic The Sound of Silence, however, it will remain to be seen if they can capitalise on this success.

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Lamb of God “Wrath Trophy”

Due to my own preference for heavy metal, I remain optimistic that the genre will achieve a renaissance in the near future. Widespread mainstream acceptance of heavy metal is exactly the shake up the music industry needs. Considering that most people in the music industry are barely earning a living, record labels and songwriters are risk adverse. The current state of pop music is stale, uninspiring and bland in its sameness. Any change would be for the benefit of the entire industry and it is only a matter of time until audiences become completely bored of pop homogeneity. If we apply the 20 year rule, or that trends tend to repeat every 20-30 years, we can expect to see heavy metal become mainstream in the very near future.