Here are my notes on prepping for movie work for future reference and provided for the edification of anyone who might care.
Tonight, I spent an hour and change staring at little bars in an output window and comparing the bars to my frequency ranges chart and making changes — moving notes up and down octaves, tweaking compression, and adding in a little bit of low-pass and high-pass filter action. I also changed the synth voice so that it has this “flowing desert feel” and had it match the beat of the LFO to 1/2 beat.
The hats are mixed up way too high in the mix, but otherwise it sounds pretty decent now.
My second demo is here: Zebra2 Test #2.
I am starting to work on the sounds to score a movie project, which is now sitting on the top of my project pile. I am fulling intending to use u-he’s utterly magnificent synth Zebra 2.1 for the main melodic trance lead and ambient pads. I don’t actually have Zebra 2.1, but I have the version of Zebra that came with this month’s Computer Music. While it isn’t as good it does make the same general sounds with the same general tools.
I put together a 49 bar demo tonight to show off what Zebra sounds like, which you can listen to here. It is really, really, really impressive. The demo has a few issues — there’s a little blurble at the beginning of the bar and there’s a little bit of frequency muddle at 200Hz. I am also trying to ween myself off EQ entirely and live on low-pass filters, gates, limiters and compression.
Anywho, in case you missed it in the blurble:
Demo: Zebra Test
135 BPM, Key of C
Uses Logic, the ES2 synth, Ultrabeat and ZebraCM.
Okay. This was one of three takes, and happened before leaving the house for Easter. Excuse the truly terrible playing. At least the uke was mostly in tune.
I have a bright yellow Flea ukulele (GCEA tuning) with a K&K Sound Hot Spot pickup. It was plugged into a BOSS ML-2 Metal Core guitar effects pedal and then out through a Soundtech Lightsnake 1/4″ to USB cable. From here it went into Audacity, since Audacity has the easiest recording facilities I’ve found for MacOSX. After that, I applied compression at 2:1 ratio, -12dB threshold and 0.2s attack time.
Also, there were chords involved.
Today’s lesson — there is no sound out there that can’t be made instantly better with the addition of a little compression and more heavy metal distortion pedal.
On Saturday, Eric and I found ourselves uncommonly bereft of baby, as baby was staying at the House of Two Year Old Total Indulgence. Several times, while leaving my parent’s house, we’ve passed a strip mall with a brand new guitar store. By cosmic law, Eric and I cannot pass up music stores, especially perfectly good guitar stores. It’s the law.
On the way toward Columbia Mall, we stopped at Bay Tunes Guitars right outside of Annapolis. With the intention of snooping around and, because like going into a bookstore you have to buy a book, buying something, and that token something was designated to be picks because you can pick up a whole mess of picks for nothing. We walk in, and the store is largely an Ibanez dealer, which I’m iffy on. But there’s a rack of guitars and, best yet, a great big wall of effects pedals simply begging for someone to come play with them. It was my sacred duty to sit down and mess around.
See, usually when you walk into a guitar store, the store is like Guitar Center and staffed by pimply faced kids who only want to show off how l33t they are and give you dirty dirty looks if you are not totally l33t or the pedals are only behind glass. Even Guitar Center usually only has a panel of three (reverb, chorus, overdrive) out for you to play with. Here was the whole line of BOSS pedals begging for someone to come build an effects chain.
The store owner, who looked pretty dubious, came over and gave me the hookup to the effects and the effects to an amp. Digital Reverb — okay, I’ve heard an awful lot of reverb lately. Digital Chorus sounds better on maybe an electric acoustic. Digital Auto-Wah RULES but I did not buy it. No, the pedal I was totally taken by was the heavy distortion METAL ZONE pedal. So being me, I made a bunch of noise and played the Summon Store Owner riff. And, much to my surprise, the store owner not only was not the least bit of a jerk, but actually treated me like I might know a little about guitars and effects chains and dynamic EQ.
In the end, I did not buy the METAL ZONE pedal. I bought the heavier, deeper, ultra-distortion METAL CORE ML-2 pedal instead. Which cost slightly more than the picks I intended to buy.
Laden with a brand new pedal, we went about the rest of our errands doing small things like purchasing an entirely new washer and dryer before getting home to play with it.
Out came the Fender Bullet Reverb amp with the room-expanding reverb knob. A few minutes of digging around in the house for various cables, and I was happy we had neither baby nor immediate next door neighbors. We jacked in the Breedlove electric-acoustic, but it didn’t do so well.
I have a very nice little Flea Uke from Flea Market Music — a little cheap instrument I cannot recommend enough for playability and ability to hold tune. It has a single mic pickup from K&K Sound. I’ve mentioned it before, as it is how I recorded myself playing a little uke. So in with the 1/4″ into the Uke to the death medal pedal, and the 1/4″ from the pedal to the amp and went to freakin’ town on that thing.
It was glorious enough that I tried to record it with my multitrack field recorder, but sadly everything was too hot. It will take work to mike the death metal uke.
What I really need to get working on is getting the theramin out, pumped through some hardware effects, and then straight through to Logic.