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“Wow! Look at all those knobs.” As an audio engineer that is probably the most common phrase I hear uttered by an artist the first time they step foot in a studio. In an effort to figure out what all these fancy buttons do ;) , we thought it would be fun to introduce a new series on For The Record called “Behind The Gear.” The Record Shop is home to a unique collection of modern and vintage equipment. Our audio arsenal was carefully selected to offer a wide range of sonic colors and textures. Each week we will offer an inside look at a different piece of equipment we use here at The Record Shop. We will take a look at the history of the piece,  outline the various ways it is utilized during a session and share some unique tricks that we use to shape the tone of a recording.

This week, we’ll start the series off by offering some basic information on each category we will be covering: Microphones, Pre-Amps,  Compressors, Equalizers, and Plug-Ins. For those of you familiar with the basic function of these devices, we invite you to join us next week when we take a look at the Empirical Labs Distressor, a studio legend that reigns as one of the most versitle compressor/limiters on the market. For the rest of you fine folks, read on my friends…….

Microphone

If your reading this, I’m sure you don’t need a proper definition of what these things do, but for the sake of covering our bases, we’ll turn to Wikipedia. “A microphone is an acoustic-to-electric transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal.” Sounds simple enough, but what makes our job so fun is that each microphone does this differently and, in turn produces drastically different results. There are three different categories of microphones that are most commonly used in the recording studio: Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon. A dynamic microphone is work horse device, capable of reproducing loud sound sources as well as those with a powerful attack (such as guitars, kick drum, and snare drum). A condenser microphone is a more delicate device, designed to react sensitively to its sound source, offering a more defined sound on things such as drum overheads, acoustic instruments, and vocals) A ribbon microphone offers a unique tone due to the natural lack of high end frequency response that the ribbon reproduces. Ribbons have become very popular as a method to achieve a “vintage” vibe on modern, digital recordings. For more detailed information visit Wikipedia’s “Microphone” page….

Pre-Amps

A Pre-Amplifier (pre-amp) is a device that takes a low level signal from a microphone, or instrument, and boosts it to a line level signal that can be recorded. As with microphones, every pre-amp offers its own, unique tonal characteristics. There are two types of pre-amps commonly used in the recording environment: Tube and Solid State. As the name suggests, tube pre-amps utilize tube components to amplify the sound, offering a “warm” tone and a subtle distortion that is preferred in many applications. A solid state pre-amp does not make use of tube components and generally offers a cleaner, more transparent tone. Within these two types of pre-amps are countless brands and models that all have their own sonic flavor. For more detailed information, visit Wikioedia’s “Pre-Amplifier” page….

Compressor

A compressor is an audio device that effects the range between the loudest and quietest parts of a sound source (known as dynamic range) A compressor accomplishes this by lowering the volume of the sound source when it passes above the volume threshold that is set by the user. The amount of compression, and the reaction time of the device, is set by the ratio, attack, and release knobs. Just like pre-amps, compressors are also built with either solid state or tube components. Compressors can be used for a variety of applications, from subtly taming dynamics,  to extreme “pumping” that can create intriguing rhythmic effects. For more detailed information, visit Wikipedia’s “Audio Compressor” page…

Equalizer

An equalizer adjusts the balance between frequencies in an audio signal. It allows us the ability to “shape” the frequency range of a sound in order to enhance its qualities, fit it into a mix, etc. There are two main types of EQ’s used in the studio environment: Parametric and Graphic. A Parametric EQ offers a variable frequency selection on multiple frequency “bands” (ranges) and a variable “Q” (range of effected frequency). This allows us the flexibility to hone on the desired frequency and effect it accordingly. Graphic EQ’s have fixed frequency and q selection, often based on frequency “octaves” to offer a natural, musical response. For more detailed information, visit Wikipedia’s “Equalization” page…

Plug-In’s

Plug In’s are used in digital recording to emulate the function of analog equipment. While, it can be argued that software can never take the place audio moving through actual components (and I agree!) software plug-ins have continued to grow in their sonic offering and can be very useful in the modern recording environment in many situations. There are endless options when it comes to plug-ins. The market is flooded with new, innovative tools for manipulating audio. A recent development in plug in technology is what is referred to as “emulation plug-ins” These software devices are built off of algorithms developed through the testing of actual analog gear. Through this process, developers have been able to create plug-ins that embrace the tonal qualities of a specific type of gear. This is a very exciting technology that we have found very useful in Universal Audio’s, UAD Plugs. You can learn more about Plug-ins by visiting this interesting article at Delicious Audio…

Well, now you are ready to venture “Behind The Gear” at The Record Shop. Check back next week for our first installment, highlighting the Emperical Labs’ Distressor. In the meantime, feel free to drop by our Gear Page for more information on our vast array of equipment.

As always, we love to hear feedback on our articles. If this was helpful, or a complete waste of your time, let us know! We love making new friends as well. Feel free to drop by our page on Facebook and sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive valuable resources and updates on the studio. Thanks for dropping by For The Record. Catch you next week!

-Giovanni

Therecordshopnashville.com

Luke James from JustLetMeSing.com

Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) April 11, 2011

Luke James from Bowling Green, OH has been named the winner of JustLetMeSing.com’s worldwide singing contest. To win, Luke beat out over 600 other contestants and made it through nine rounds of elimination singing a variety of cover songs and originals. The contestant search began in July 2010 and garnered entries from 48 U.S. states and 45 countries. Contestants uploaded videos and the public was invited to vote for their favorites at JustLetMeSing.com.

Luke received 154,000 votes to edge out the bluesy runner up, Anna McReynolds from Nashville, TN. The competition also had a parody category which was won by Tim Baggett of Newport News, VA. His finale video was a comical take on Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” called “We Didn’t Read the Label”.

While he was never into music while growing up, Luke finally picked up a guitar at age 18 and hasn’t stopped since. In 2009 and 2010 he made it to the Hollywood round of American Idol. After just missing the top 24 both times Luke decided to pursue a career in music and has been performing shows across the country.

Luke created his own videos, each with its own artistic flair. One of his more popular videos featured him singing Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” with over 30 wardrobe changes during the four minute song. Another is his original “We Fall” which showcases him playing guitar with broken strings in a suit and tennis shoes under a tree in the middle of winter.

As the winner, Luke receives the opportunity to record his own single at The Record Shop in Nashville, TN. He will also be performing on Balcony TV Nashville which is shot at The Hard Rock Café. Luke also receives a Virtual Radio Tour valued at $5,000, which exposes his music to radio stations across the country.

Season two of Just Let Me Sing will feature microsites hosted by local media partners in the U.S. and Canada. The site is integrated into Facebook and Twitter to increase the viral spread of the best videos. Anyone interested in becoming a microsite partner or contacting the artists please see below.

Contact Information:
Company: Just Let Me Sing, LLC
Web: http://www.JustLetMeSing.com

Sponsors:
CMC Promotions: http://www.CMCPromotions.com
The Record Shop: http://therecordshopnashville.com
Balcony TV: http://www.BalconyTV.com

Our friend Randy Brunson drops by to share the news on his new digital download widget available at yourmuzik.net

In 2007, I had just spent 3 years developing a piece of property in Spring Hill , Tennessee. Until then,……..thats what I did. Building and Development. But music was always a passion.  Coincidentally, by developing where I did, all the new friends I made were in the music business. My longtime friend and business partner, Jim Heaton, was involved at the time building a Nashville based spa business, with partners that were/are in the music business as well. His immediate partner is a great singer/songwriter, and her sister was well on her way to becoming a celebrity with Dancing With The Stars, and eventually a recording contract of her own.

Jim and I have always had our own passion for performing, but an equal passion for the creation of something that would outlast us. Our idea at the time was, in the aftermath of the collapse of Napster,   that someone needed to give independent artists a platform to perform and expose their talents at an affordable cost to them, to  build a facebook for musicians, and a digital download widget that would give independent artists, (as well as established) the ability to directly sell their music to the public digitally, but “RETAIN MOST OF THE MONEY”.

So came the birth of the initial concept for Yourmusik.net.   In 2009, we created a venue for independent artists to perform at  my farm in the Spring Hill, Tennessee area. Billed as “Howling at the Moon”, it was an instant success with over 20 acts, and 350 people attending an afternoon event that lasted for several hours into the night. We initially had hoped to launch Yourmusik.net at the second party, given this summer, but unfortunately had too many problems with the programming of the download widget.  We had another great day managing to bring in “Younger than Yesterday, Former Members of the BYRDS” as a headliner.  Three years later, thousands of dollars poorer, and beat up on by every software programmer that could get their hooks into us, we are finally at a crossroads with a piece of programming that actually works, and does just what we set out for, gives over 80% of the  proceeds of the sale of music back directly to the artist.

I say crossroads, because I feel even after all this, we still have a long way to go to establish everything we set out for.  The rest of our concept is to create a website that gives musicians a resource to turn to other musicians for camaraderie and support, and to the site itself for the least expensive resource for recording, equipment, vocal and instrument lessons, videos, and on line practice and recording, to name just a few things.

What I will say, is that we are proud to present the Yourmusik Download Widget to  independent artists of all genres, and are working constantly to improve the
speed and performance of this programming. We have built in all the necessary reporting/accounting details so that each artist can monitor the results of their sales with this widget.  We  are essentially licensing the use of this widget directly to each artist who would like to use it, to copy and paste to whatever site they wish, be it Facebook, Myspace, or independent.

Social networks have become a major element of artist marketing campaigns. Susan A. Friedmann (TheNichePreneur™ Coach) shares her five biggest mistakes made in marketing through social networks. How have you utilized social networking to build your brand? Share your stories for a chance to win a free day of studio time at The Record Shop!

Over half of all Americans between the ages of 15-34 consider themselves active social network users. They regularly visit well-known social networking sites, such as MySpace or Facebook, or log onto specialty social networks, like Ravelry (devoted to the fiber arts) or GroupRecipes (for the foodie set). While industry research tells us that television watching is declining, especially among this age group, social network use is on the rise: average users spend seven to eight hours a week online. read the full article here….

Matthew Lasar of arstechnica.com shares news on Gene Simmons’ recent comments on illegal downloading. How do you feel about the effect of illegal downloads on the industry and what has been done to discourage P2P users? Share your thoughts for a chance to earn a day of studio time at The Record Shop!

Gene Simmons has made headlines after airing his very strong opinions on P2P and music piracy. Earlier this week, Gene was speaking at the MIPCOM convention in Cannes, France, and he advised people to protect their brand and be ready to lawyer up at a moment’s notice. read the full story here…