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Western Students at Starstruck Studios February 7, 2015

Posted by Damon Sink in : degrees in music, General Announcements, Mixing, Projects , add a comment

Last summer several of our Commercial and Electronic Music students interned at Starstruck in Nashville (Reba McEintire’s studio). They eventually gained the confidence of engineer Chris Ashburn and were allowed to record a few tracks with songwriter Colin Iwanski. Hunter Black on drums, Charlie Diez on guitar, Bud Davis on acoustic, Jacob Crabtree on the organ, and Chris Burke co-engineer. Heres a track from Hunter’s soundcloud:

Audio problems with new iMacs, Thunderbolt to USB December 7, 2013

Posted by Damon Sink in : Apple, Computers, Studio Setup, Troubleshooting , add a comment

Many folks seem to be having issues with USB audio interfaces and the new iMacs, which only come with Thunderbolt. Hopefully they get this solved before shipping new Mac Pros… The new architecture (no PCIe slots) is going to require Mac users to use something like the Magma chassis. Our engineer at Western Carolina just refreshed all of our studio computers with the last gen of mac pros integrated with new Pro Tools hardware. Personally, I’ve been scouting for good deals on gently used mac pros, and now that Digital Performer is on Windows…there is no barrier to completely switching over—I already use two PCs as sample slaves for composing.

To quote Steve Jobs’ favorite songwriter: “The times they are a changing…”

If anyone is working on hardware upgrades and has any wisdom or warnings, please let us know. This will affect a lot of long time Pro Tools setups in smaller studios for sure.

New gigs = new digs: Western Carolina University September 7, 2012

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, degrees in music, sample libraries , 1 comment so far

Hey everyone,

Damon here. I am very pleased to let you know that I have begun a new teaching position at Western Carolina University in their Commercial and Electronic Music program. I am teaching classes in audio editing, sequencing and advanced midi applications as well as directing the Technology Ensemble. Our recording studio, including a digital SSL console and world class microphone closet, is really first rate–you can check it out in an article here— and exists in combination with the broadcast production rooms in the Center for Applied Technology.

Our degree program is a bachelor of music, which includes training in music theory, listening (aural) skills, composition, orchestration and applied music (instrument or voice lessons). The program director is Dr. Bruce Frazier, and we maintain around 55 students in the program at any given time.

Look for more from me and my new students here at The Studio Files in the upcoming weeks. One quick story that I can share is about Brandon Chapman, who graduated from Western Carolina last spring. He is the trumpet playing talent behind the new, very affordable, sample library from Embertone called Chapman Trumpet. It’s been getting a little bit of buzz on VI-Control and is worth checking out.

More soon! Keep making it happen.

The Studio Files

Sontronics – Interview with producer Flood aka Mark Ellis July 26, 2012

Posted by Damon Sink in : Microphone Techniques, Project Studio, Studio Setup , 3comments

Our friends at Sontronics asked us to pass this along. You may remember that Connor reviewed several of their mics a while back and we were all really impressed. Lots going on with our friends across the pond:



The Studio Files Team

Free Plug in from Sound Toys: Little Radiator March 20, 2012

Posted by Damon Sink in : Digital Audio Workstations, plugins (plug-ins), Preamp, social media , add a comment

I really love Sound Toys’ stuff. The Native bundle is hard to beat for creative, warm, inventive and massive sounding effects that are truly inspiring. They offer a 30 day demo on the whole lot, which is truly not enough time to know them deeply, only time enough to know that you have got to have them!

They are giving away a great little plugin called Little Radiator, which is an emulation of an Altec 1566A tube mic preamp. You can use this link to get your unique code and then spread the word however you like:


The Studio FIles

Session at Manifold Studios: Zenph Sound Innovations December 10, 2011

Posted by Damon Sink in : Pro Tools, Studio Profiles, Videos , 1 comment so far

Over the summer, we took a video crew to Manifold Studios outside of Durham, NC to document a unique recording session. Zenph Sound Innovations engineers were there fine-tuning two gorgeous pianos outfitted with state-of-the art playback mechanisms. The project was to record what they call “re-performances” constructed from  “data” taken from (in this case very) old recordings of these pieces played by the composers themselves.

Now, Zenph has already released several re-performed solo piano recordings (Rachmaninoff, Glenn Gould, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, to name a few), but this time the goal was also to recreate collaborative performances with cello and voice. Zuill Bailey (cello) and Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano) were engaged in turn to perform (with the “Ghost” of composer Manuel de Falla at the keyboard!) the Siete Canciónes Populares Españolas. The album is called Spanish Masters and is available for purchase directly from Zenph.

Our role (my company, Dal Segno Media) was just to do video documentation for this one. Manifold Studios, as I am sure some of you know, is a brilliant facility. There has been a great thread on gearslutz in which Michael Tiemann, Manifold’s “creator” has documented the process of design and construction. We also had a chance to sit down with Michael while we aere there and I want to post that interview soon. Thanks for tuning in!

The Studio FIles
Dal Segno Media

Great mic comparison vid from pacificav.com November 4, 2011

Posted by Damon Sink in : Digital home recording studios , add a comment

Obviously you can’t get a detailed idea of the subtleties with compressed youtube audio, but listening to this industry standard panoply of microphones side by side on the same source is really enlightening. Personally, I don’t think that the C414 fares as well as it should, but I know which mic was my fav. Check out the video and share your thoughts. If you comment on YouTube, please make sure to mention where you found the link.

Thanks a heap to our youtube buddy sprayking for the heads up!

Review: Black Lion Audio Sparrow A/D Converter, part 1 September 14, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Digital home recording studios , add a comment

The Black Lion Audio (BLA) Sparrow is a 2 channel A/D converter…

…that every home and project studio should consider during upgrades. (more…)

Mixing in Pro Tools 9 (HD Native) – Part 1 February 23, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Mixing, Pro Tools , 3comments

I’ve been up and running with Pro Tools 9 HD Native for about 3 weeks, and I’m loving it.  I’m currently working through a massive mix (actually a remix of BJSR’s Follow the Leader – original by our very own Ben Rivet, remix by ‘Be Nice’).  I’ve gotten a few emails from people wanting to walk through the mixing process, so here we go – I’ll document the whole process – from getting the files (in a different DAW format), through organization, mixing, and final bouncing. (more…)

Pro Tools 9 (HD Native) Performance Test February 16, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Pro Tools, Studio Setup , 4comments

Let’s keep it going with the Pro Tools 9 theme.

Today I’d like to explore the benchmark performance of Pro Tools 9 (specifically Native HD – although since it’s still all native, it should be a fairly valid test of non-Native HD systems as well).  For me, the performance has been excellent and robust with few exceptions. (more…)

Trashing Pro Tools Preferences and Databases February 16, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Pro Tools, Troubleshooting , 3comments

This is the first line of Pro Tools troubleshooting: how to trash your preferences and databases.

Most of the time, if you are experiencing a “it used to work and all of a sudden it doesn’t!” situation with Pro Tools, this is the fix.  These files are a reference for Pro Tools to see your most recent setup choices and preferences (among other things).  By deleting them, you are forcing Pro Tools to start from scratch on those prefs (basically setting it back to Default). (more…)

Avid Pro Tools 9 CoreAudio Bug Problem! February 15, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Pro Tools, Troubleshooting , 1 comment so far

EDIT: Problem solved – see bottom of the article.

Get the DEET out – we’ve got a bug.

I found this bug yesterday… I haven’t gotten a response back from Avid on a patch to fix it, but I have confirmed that other people are having the same problem.  Luckily, I’ve also figured out a workaround.  I’ve confirmed this bug on Apple Snow Leopard OSX 10.6.6 with Core Audio, but apparently it’s happening across all versions.  I’m not sure on Windows XP or Windows 7 based systems, but I’ll update this post if I get more information. 

So, the bug:


Review: Vintech 473 February 14, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Digital home recording studios, Mixing, Reviews , 3comments

Note:  I wrote this article over a year ago, but never posted it at the time.  I’ve left the original review as is, but added a new section at the bottom, now that I’ve used the unit for a year filled with tracking and mixing.

The Vintech 473 offers 4 channels of Neve 1073-like preamp with shelving EQ in a 2 space rackmount unit.  It uses an external power supply (sold seperately) which can power up to 6 channels of Vintech preamps.

In Use: (more…)

Avid (Digidesign) Pro Tools Compatibility February 11, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Pro Tools, Troubleshooting , 1 comment so far

I thought I’d put this in a post, because it helps diagnose/solve most Pro Tools problems.

Pro Tools Compatibility

Whether you are having problems on Windows XP, Windows 7, Leopard, Snow Leopard… with Pro Tools 7, Pro Tools 8, or Pro Tools 9 – this is where you need to look to find out whether your computer/OS/plug-ins/software are compatible.

Review: Avid Pro Tools HD Native 9 February 11, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Pro Tools, Reviews , 5comments

As a start to my return from hiatus, I thought I’d review Pro Tools HD Native, which I’m currently running with an Avid HD I/O (16×16 analog configuration).

The Review:  Short version – In my experience, Pro Tools HD Native is the perfect stepping stone between high end LE systems and HD TDM systems.  So far in use, it has shown itself to be incredibly powerful and robust – with excellent converters and super low latency to boot.  Highly recommended!

The Review: (more important) Long version – (more…)

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