Sonoma Wire Works Releases HigginsPack, a New DrummerPack for
DrumCore

–New Orleans funk drum grooves by Terence Higgins of The Dirty Dozen
Brass Band–

Los Altos, CA – August 19, 2010 – Sonoma Wire Works has launched the
HigginsPack DrummerPack for DrumCore. Terence Higgins, drummer for
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, brings DrumCore users unique New Orleans
marching style drum loops, variations, fills and drumkit sounds with
a dash of hip hop, funk, R&B, and soul. Higgins says this DrummerPack
is “guaranteed to add a little grease to your tracks.”

HigginsPack was recorded by the original Submersible Music team, and
was pre-configured by them with metadata for use with the DrumCore
search engine, which will help you find content based on feel
(straight, shuffle, etc.), time signature, tempo and other criteria.
Songwriter-friendly “GrooveSets” group related beats, variations
and fills to serve as a construction kit for song creation. All audio
is 48kHz/24-bit and created in a pro studio using state-of-the-art
digital (ProTools HD3) and analog (Neumann, Neve, etc.) recording
equipment. DrumCore works with all the major audio applications and
supports dragging audio and MIDI directly to tracks in applications
such as ACID® 7, Digital Performer® 6, Live 6 and up, Logic Pro® 8
and up, Pro Tools® 7.4.2 and up, Cubase® 4 and up (32 bit), and
Sonar™ 8 (32 bit).

HigginsPack includes 3.5GB of content including 7 DrumKits (24 pads
each) that match 7 GrooveSets (360 audio loops, 427 audio fills, 97
MIDI loops and 41 MIDI fills).

HigginsPack GrooveSets:

Bourbon Street Strut – A traditional slice of New Orleans march.
Intricate rolled snares with some bouncing toms thrown in for good
measure. 70 – 130 BPM

Dirty Dumpster – A trashy, choppy breakbeat groove with funky snare
work and sloppy hats. Great for Hip Hop. 70 – 120 BPM

Fix The Levee – Funky rhythms played on a poppy kit. Sounds great at
the faster tempos. 70 – 130 BPM

Go Go Grease – Upbeat and swingy, this groove is perfect for multiple
genres including Pop, Hip Hop, and R&B. 70 – 120 BPM

Nolafied – A laid back, funky breakbeat that only “The Big Easy”
could provide. 70 – 130 BPM

Swampburn – Thick and murky Nawlins’ march beats. Snare heavy with
some great tom sections. 70 – 130 BPM

Zigawho – Another funky beat with some great snare variations. Start
and Stop breakdowns and splashy cymbals. 60 – 110 BPM

HigginsPack is priced at $79.99, is available at drumcore.com,
sonomawireworks.com, and will be available via most music software
retailers. Demo tracks and HigginsPack info:
https://drumcore.com/TemplateMain.aspx?contentId=100

Requires DrumCore (2 or above) and 3.5 GB of disc space for
installation.

About Terence Higgins and his Drum Kit:

Born and raised in NOLA, Higgins is well versed in the New Orleans
funk style. He is currently touring with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band,
John Scofield’s Piety Street Band, and Swampgrease. In the past, he
has played with Widespread Panic, Dr. John and Norah Jones to name a
few, appears on dozens of albums, and has just released his solo “In
the Bywater” CD. Terence used the following drum kit to record
HigginsPack: Pearl MRX Masters Series Vintage Sunburst with black
hardware, 22×18 bass drum, 8×8 tom, 10×9 tom, 12×10 tom, 16×14 tom,
14×6.5 snare drum (Steve Ferrone Signature), 13×6.5 snare drum (Joey
Jordison Signature), and a 14×6.5 snare drum (Sensitone).

About DrumCore:

DrumCore gives songwriters and composers access to grooves and
instrument sounds of over a dozen famous drummers and percussionists.
It includes a groove library of both audio loops and MIDI files plus a
VST/AU/RTAS software instrument for Mac and PC. DrumCore is expandable
with add-on DrummerPacks. https://www.drumcore.com

About Sonoma Wire Works:

Incorporated in 2003 and headquartered in Los Altos, California,
Sonoma Wire Works develops products and services that help musicians
enjoy playing, recording and sharing music. Sonoma Wire Works’
flagship product is RiffWorks™ guitar recording software with
InstantDrummer, effects, RiffLink™ online music collaboration, and
the RiffWorld.com online community. These products have received
multiple awards for performance and innovation. FourTrack™ and
InstantDrummer™ iPhone Apps, AudioCopy/AudioPaste technology for
the iPhone, the GuitarJack™ audio input device, and the
StudioTrack™ multitrack for the iPad are also by Sonoma. Drum
products by Sonoma include the DrumCore and KitCore plugins and
DrummerPack library, as well as the Discrete Drums multitrack drum
library. https://www.sonomawireworks.com

Eric Normand, author of “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” and accomplished guitarist, teamed up with “For The Record”, to provide some insight on climbing the ranks as a musician in the Nashville music industry. Eric’s upcoming book, “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” provides a comprehensive reference of what it takes to persevere in the competitive Nashville music community.

You can learn more about Eric and his upcoming release at nashvillemusicianssurvivalmanual.com

Whether you are an obscure musician trying to get your music heard, a first-time author putting forth a new book, or an independent filmmaker introducing your first film, you all share something in common; a desire to introduce your art to a world that has yet to learn of it. How do you create an awareness of your project? These are tough times and the aforementioned endeavors are not easy ones. The list doesn’t stop there either. Photographers, artists, songwriters, and others are in the same boat.

The new global economy and a variety of other factors has created an extremely competitive dog eat dog world when it comes to business, and this means we all might have to take some alternative approaches to getting the word out. Without the proper publicity and promotion, no one will know about your great project, products or services. Traditional advertising is too expensive for most, and not necessarily that effective anymore. There is no right or wrong approach, but many believe that social media combined with Internet marketing are essential to most startup creative businesses at this point in time. If you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s how you can dive in.

  1. Build your social pool: Interact regularly on Facebook to slowly build a group of friends, fans, and followers on the Internet. With hundreds of millions of users, it shouldn’t be hard to find a couple hundred that are interested in you. Over time this can grow into thousands. Twittering can be productive as well.
  2. Start blogging: At this point in time, blogging is a powerful tool and can be used to promote literally any business. Create your own blog and write about your areas of expertise. The information you put forth should not only be directly or indirectly related to your products and services, it should also be useful to your targeted audience.
  3. Build a website: While a .com domain is optimum and will help to give your business a legitimate “face”, not everyone can afford one initially. There’s nothing wrong with starting out with a free WordPress (or similar) site. This will allow you to begin building your brand. Your blog should be built into this site or linked to it. This website/blog will serve as a central hub to all your Internet activity, with links to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  4. Guest Blogging: It can take a while to create heavy traffic on your site. Blogging as a guest on a higher traffic site can help build your readership and drive more traffic to your site.
  5. Online Discussions: Find message boards with themes that relate to your project and interact with group discussions. Offer advice and perspective where pertinent and provide links to articles on your site.

There is a recent article regarding working in the new social media paradigm that offers some useful tip’s that I highly recommend reading – Top Seven Reasons Why Artists Strongly Resist Social Media by Ariel Hyatt.

The online social interaction approach to publicity is no secret, but it is still a new concept to many. Over time, if done correctly, you will build a “readership” that is genuinely interested in what you have to say, so always strive to provide useful information. By building a large group of readers, or “friends”, fans, and followers, you are connecting with an audience that will potentially come to your shows, buy your book, watch your film, and enjoy your art.

Is this easy to accomplish? No. Does this take time and effort? Absolutely, but then again so does any career. Without the proper promotion, nobody will ever hear about your project. If you think you have something good to offer the world, put it out there. Sometimes the best way to learn how to swim is to just dive in to the pool. You might sink and then again you might not, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Are you ready to take the plunge yet?

 

Barry Rudolph has teamed up with For The Record to share his reviews with the latest in recording products. Barry is a recording engineer/producer and contributing editor for MIX Magazine, ‘New Toys’ columnist for L.A.’s Music Connection Magazine, and writer for www.prosoundweb.com. He also is editor/writer of Gear Lust, his online special review section at www.barryrudolph.com

Ohm Force Ohmicide

 

Ohmicide is from the French company Ohm Force’s Melohman family of plug-ins. Ohmicide is a distortion plug-in that is completely malleable in nearly every way possible. It starts by splitting audio into four frequency bands each with six different processing modules. The modules are: M/S matrix, noise gate, dynamics, distortion, make-up gain, pan, and it finishes with an acoustic feedback path. I liked the dynamics processor with its Shape control (a low-level compressor) and Body (basically it acts like an expander or limiter of sorts).

The Distortion processor module has three variants, Standard, Xxx, and Odd of 37 distortion algorithms making a total of 111 Types of distortion. A distortion Type is further adjustable using a Gain control, a DC offset control called Bias that simulates the erratic behavior of broken audio gear, and the Alt knob changes the underlying algorithm of the Type. The main graphic at the top of the plug’s GUI is an audio oscilloscope that shows: input, output, or both together superimposed and a second bar chart below shows where the filters of each frequency band begin and end. Somewhat useful and cool looking, you get an idea of what is going on but, as always, my ears tell me what’s really going on–complete audio mayhem!

My main use for Ohmicide is in mixing where I want to “rough” up certain tracks so they cut better or they take on a particular character and prominence. With a plug-in this deep and rich, I start with a preset to get close to what I’m looking for. For sound designers Ohmicide represents a major new tool for endless experimentation–you’ll never leave your studio!

The factory presets come in folders of twelve called MegaPatches and are selected via a MIDI keyboard or by clicking on the GUI. They are designed, tested and named for specific applications. Cool! They are: BassXxxxx for electric bass; DrumBassXxxxx is for Bass+Drum mixes; DrumXxxxx (my favorite!) is super for drum kits or loops; GuitAmpXxxxx sounds like the worst guitar amps ever made on fire; MiscXxxx are for general purpose grunge; and PercXxxx presets are for singular drum kit pieces like snares and kicks.Ohm Force

Available in RTAS, AU and VST formats for PC and Macs, Ohm Force Ohmicide:Melohman sells for about $125US and is now my “go to” filth box. I have many guitar amp simulators and other garbage makers but none as totally variable at Ohmicide or comes with as many great starting presets. Order up some dirt at: www.ohmforce.com


Eric Normand, author of “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” and accomplished guitarist, teamed up with “For The Record”, to provide some insight on climbing the ranks as a musician in the Nashville music industry. Eric’s upcoming book, “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” provides a comprehensive reference of what it takes to persevere in the competitive Nashville music community.

You can learn more about Eric and his upcoming release at nashvillemusicianssurvivalmanual.com
So you just moved to Nashville, you’re a good solid player with a good attitude and excited to begin working. You don’t care about being a superstar, you just want to play music with others but you are quickly learning that this can be hard to do. You are having a hard time getting off the ground. What do you have to do to get started in this town?

Regardless of your talent level, the truth is simply that talent alone isn’t going to get you work. Nashville, like any major music Metropolis, attracts talented people by the masses. They literally flock to this place in droves. This creates a supply and demand problem that works against the musicians. Knowing and understanding this is crucial. Ultimately, the only way in is by slowly nurturing relationships that will lead to opportunities. The best place to build these relationships is in the nightclubs around town. There is no shortcut to this, it’s going to take some time so be patient.

A newcomer to Nashville recently told me his story. He moved to Nashville about a year ago with the goal of becoming a part of the country music scene here. He has been frequenting the clubs downtown with the intention of sitting in and getting to know some of the players. Even though he’s familiar with most of the standards that are being played, he’s having a hard time getting past the idea of hustling to sit in. He said that he views his reasons for networking as self-serving, and this prevents him from talking to musicians because he feels self-conscious about it – like he’s using them. The end result is that he just walks around watching bands, never talks to anybody, and then goes home.

I, as well as many others, can relate. When I first moved to Nashville I was in a similar situation. How does one introduce them self to all these total strangers and maneuver his or her way into sitting in without coming off to self-serving?

One thing that worked for me was seeking out groups of players and artists that I related to musically. This makes it much easier to form real relationships that can evolve over time. Try to find a group of players, or singer that you really connect with. Maybe you really dig their song list, or are inspired by the performances of one or more of the players in the band. If you can feel a real connection through the music, it should be easy to engage in some genuine conversations – the music is your common ground. Find out when they’re playing again and become a regular. Over time they’ll gradually get to know you and sitting in will be part of a natural progression. Maybe try to cultivate a handful of different situations like this. Also, try to find these kinds of inspiring groups that are playing either earlier shifts and/or at the less popular bars. Those situations will be more laid back and might make it more likely for them to take breaks. And that combined with a smaller crowd in general will make it easier to engage in conversation.

The key to gigging in Nashville is relationships. It’s hard to force friendships and relationships to happen, they need to naturally evolve. You need to regularly put yourself in different kinds of situations where this can happen. It just takes time, persistence, and patience. Most importantly, be a good person. Of course being proficient on your axe will help to.

There is no guarantee that this approach will allow you to achieve the kind of success you envision. But for that matter, there are no guarantees in the music business, or life in general. So just suck it up, be in it for the long haul, and get out there and start pounding the pavement. Be friendly and outgoing and put your best foot forward. Talk to people. Take an interest in their careers and lives. Try to find some common ground and build relationships with players that you relate to. If you have already tried this and haven’t yielded much results, try harder.

That’s what it takes to get started in Nashville.

Songbloom.com is an emerging music collaboration website founded by Amaury Garcia. Every month, anonymous collaborators upload tracks which support the creation of one song, giving artists the opportunity to work with other artists across the globe with whom they may have never worked before. 

Every song supports a given chord progression and drum track; auditions are then opened to guitar, bass, vocals, and lead instruments. The end result is a true collaboration of talent, musical ability and sound engineering from artists all over the world.

Once the winning auditions are chosen, the song is mixed, mastered, and published on songbloom.com. At this point, those winning participants (collaborators) will be revealed.

Here is the real benefit to you: Focusing on only 2 songs each month, allows Song Bloom to properly highlight your song and give you a high level of exposure.  Your song will not be lost within a multitude of files, which is common on social networking or music collaboration sites. If your submission is selected, your winning track will be part of the song that Songbloom, Inc. will exclusively promote. This will give you the recognition you deserve for your artistic creation.

If you are interested in taken part in this exciting opportunity, you can submit your auditions now at songbloom.com

Pier Music Group is an Artist Management Agency with a network of young, energetic, and driven individuals, rooted in the music industry, working together to provide artist management, development & booking.From the artist management side, Pier is involved in planning, coordinating and organizing the careers of its artists. Also from a productions standpoint, Pier can provide every artist with almost everything they need to be successful.

The Record Shop has joined forces with Pier Music Group to offer yet another outlet for emerging talent to develop their projects. You can learn more about all that PMG has to offer by visiting their website at piermusicgroup.com

Be sure to check out Pier Music Group artists Queens Boulevard and Feedback Revival performing on our viral music show Balcony TV Nashville!

Eric Conn of Independent Mastering drops by For The Record to share some insight on preparing for mastering. Eric has mastered records for a variety of artists. From Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, and John Prine, to Skid Row, Hank III, and Young Buck. Here at The Record Shop, Independent Mastering is our first choice to put the final touches on our records.

You can learn more about their work at Independentmastering.com 

1. Sequence Your Album

Preparing an album sequence before mastering is a must. You can play with the order in iTunes or in your DAW, then make a CD and take a listen! How does it flow? Anything jarring? Does the sequence take you on a journey or tell a story?

2. ISRC CODE

Many radio stations track music via an ISRC Code (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Recording_Code), and digital distribution company’s use this code to track purchases.  Check with your digital distribution company—they may assign a code to you, or you can purchase your own code. The ISRC Code can be imbedded in the TOC at mastering, or you can have it done later. The benefit to having it done at the time of mastering is that the code will be on your manufactured discs.

3. CD-TEXT

Do you want CD-TEXT on your disc? CD-TEXT allows your recording to be identified on some (but not all) CD players.  If you do, please type out: Artist, Album Title, and Name of Songs. Better yet, email it to the mastering house so they have it the way you want it before you arrive!

4. MEDIA

Labeling your mix media is a must, especially if your not attending the mastering session. Artist(s), song titles, sample rate and bit depth are a must when using digital media. Analog media needs reference tones and phase clicks, and leader tape in between the cuts. Other details should include: contact information for the artist, producer, and engineer, with both a phone number and email address. A sharpie with the artist’s name scribbled on the DVD does not count as labeling your media. If you want to be considered a professional, label your mixes. Hand a professional mastering engineer a CD/DVD/Tape with nothing written on it and even if he doesn’t say anything about it, he’s thinking “amateur”.

5. DECISIONS!

Do you like your mixes? Have you made decisions regarding alternate versions of the mixes? Vocal up? Vocal down? TV-Tracks? Instrumental-Tracks? Radio Edits? Being satisfied with your mix is the number one key to having a successful day at mastering. Coming in with all the versions you need to have EQ’d will save you time and money.

6. ATTENDANCE

Are you familiar with the mastering room? If not, bring a reference disc! The reference disc can be anything, but it should be something you are familiar with, something you like. Take 5 or 10 minutes to listen to your reference material in the mastering room before you start making critical EQ decisions in a room you might not be familiar with. Trust the mastering engineer. He / she works in the room every day and knows it. If you’re feeling unsure, take the time to make a reference disc of one or two songs that you can listen to in your car (or other system) before you go down the wrong path in a room you don’t know.

7. Getting What You Want

Sometimes you might not get what you want the first time around. Sometimes you will. Make sure you have a realistic attitude towards mastering and know the limitations of the craft by talking about it with the engineer. Miracles can and do happen in mastering! Or, it may be that you need to remix something. Communicate your needs!

8. Compression on the Mix Buss vs. Compression at Mastering

Get what you want out of your mix buss first. If you like it there, you’ll like it after mastering. If you’re pumping up your mix for your client via a digital limiter to make it “louder”, make sure your mastering engineer knows!

9. Your reference media VS. The mastering reference media

What have you been listening to? Did you mix to tape but all your reference versions have been digital copies bounced to disk? If that’s the case, you have no idea what your mix sounds like. Make your reference versions reflective of your mix media. Then bring the mastering house what you’ve been listening to.

10. Don’t be swayed by price.

Cheaper isn’t always better. Joe Blow in the bedroom charging you $50 bucks an hour after he gets home from his day job is a hobbyist at best. Twenty-seven hours later you’ll have spent $1350 and you might not be any closer to getting what you want than you were at the first hour. Use a professional, in a real studio, with real tools. In 3-5 hours you’ll get what you want and have the peace of mind that the master will be right. Good, Cheap, Quick: pick two.

Coming in prepared will save you money, and your project will go much smoother! These are some of the questions I like to ask my clients, and your mastering engineer may have more or less questions! If you take the time to communicate your needs and the desired outcomes you would like to achieve from the session, you will be much happier with your final master. Your mastering engineer will be happier too!

-Eric Conn (Independent Mastering) 

Barry has teamed up with For The Record to share his reviews with the latest in recording products. Barry is a recording engineer/producer and contributing editor for MIX Magazine, ‘New Toys’ columnist for L.A.’s Music Connection Magazine, and writer for www.prosoundweb.com. He also is editor/writer of Gear Lust, his online special review section at www.barryrudolph.com

SoundToys PanMan

PanMan is a rhythmic auto-panner plug-in with a groove control feature. In stereo mixing, changes in the basic nature of a vocal or instrument track are limited to the level or loudness of a track, its equalization/tone, whatever added effects (reverb, chorus, flanging delays etc), and it’s panoramic position–it’s placement across the stereo field as created by left and right placed loudspeakers.

PanMan addresses and allows full access to this important aspect of mixing with tools that offer new panning treatments that go way beyond the abilities of classic hardware analog panners such as PanScan or Spanner. PanMan will control the pan type, reaction time, pan position, and pan width–even beyond the physical position of your stereo speakers.

PanMan has six modes including two rhythm modes complete with a user-programmable rhythm editor and numerous parameters for precisely determining the way any mono or stereo track in your mix can “dance” across the speakers. Some of the panning actions possible are: ping-pong triggered panning and random triggered panning with user-definable trigger divider as found in the PanScan hardware unit; and LFO-style continuous panning with selectable pan shapes and precise dynamics control. After installing PanMan into my Pro Tools HD rig I was panning everything as if I was discovering stereo sound for the first time! I would suggest going through the big collection of presets and modifying one of them that is close to what you’re looking for.

I seemed to gravitate towards the Rhythm Step panning modes where you can designate multiple “hard” pan positions (up to five positions) that change in locked session tempo fashion. Leave it to SoundToys to also provide controls called Feel and Rhythm to further sync the panning action to the feel of the music. Borrowed from SoundToys’ Tremolator and FilterFreak is the Custom Rhythm Editor–actually two editors for two different panning approaches–break point editors for designing complex modulation waveforms. These are brilliant features!

I also liked using the LFO-based panners for more dreamy-sounding treatments. You have complete control over the LFO’s speed or rate and the direction of the pan movement: Left-to-Right, Back-and-Forth, and Right-to-Left. I used one of the wider panners for a reverb return I mixed with another instantiation of the same reverb patch. This animated the reverb “cake” I was cooking up for a big vocal harmony stack. The Tweak button opens a whole LFO dynamics GUI for setting up modulation of the rate, changing the pan offset (shifts the left and right panorama itself anywhere–leaning to the left or right), defining the panning width (Width Mod) and panning rate (Rate Mod) depending on the level. The Threshold, Attack, and Release knobs control the envelope detector that determines dynamics modulation.

I did find the triggered panning very accurate and foolproof for causing a track to reposition itself predicated on it exceeding a certain level as set with the Threshold control. I also like the Width control for setting how far or wide to the left and right a track pans–all the way beyond 180 degrees (hard left and right) to 210 degrees or outside of the speakers.

Auto panning has the potential to be a distraction for the listener and the Smoothing control will set the transition from position to position anywhere from an instant and super hard “snap” to much slower, lazier or liquid movement.

An unexpected feature in PanMan are the different Analog modes where you can change from the clean digital operating mode to any of seven different analog distortion characteristics whose amount is controlled by the Input and Output I/O knobs. Dirty up any panned track using: Clean, Fat, Squash, Dirt, Crunch, Shred, or the ridiculously sounding Pump characteristic models. These sound like they may have been borrowed from SoundToys’ FilterFreak and other SoundToys plug-ins.

As with most of the SoundToys plug-ins, the programming detail and feature sets go on and on and PanMan is no different in that regard. But I’m a beginner and I have had no problems getting beautifully ornate panning treatments very quickly. This is a sound designer’s dream tool that pays off more and more as I learn more about the internal tweak controls. Like Decapitator, PanMan is a big winner for me here at my Tones 4 $ Studios!!

There are demo versions posted at www.soundtoys.com. It sells as a single plug-in for $349 in TDM and $179 Native. The SoundToys TDM Effects Version 4 bundle sells for $1,195 and includes eleven plug-ins. Both Decapitator and PanMan are exclusive to V4 along with a new preset management system, and many new presets. The Version 4 upgrades cost $99 for Native and $199 for TDM. Check: www.soundtoys.com for more information.

The annual summer NAMM show was in Nashville last weekend, so we decided to close up The Record Shop and head downtown to check it out. As you probably know, the city of Nashville has been dealt some pretty rough hands over the past few years. The music retail industry is no exception. Sales have dropped more than 20% over the last year, from $7.1 billion in 2008 to 5.8 billion in 2009. Everything considered, we weren’t sure what to expect as we walked into the downtown convention center. We quickly found that many of the major, “corporate” vendors appeared to be (how to put this politely), lets say, “not that excited about being there.” Luckily we ran into some friends and stuck around long enough to find that there were a number of new companies who still had an optimistic outlook. Companies who weren’t jaded by an economy they can’t control, but excited to talk about how they planned to find their niche in the new market. Here at The Record Shop, we always love hearing about unique products that can help artists reach their full potential. This week, we highlight five companies that have embraced the trends of the modern music industry and developed unique products that are sure to be a hit!

Sonoma Wireworks- Mobile Recording for I Phone

If you’ve ever wished that you could keep a recording studio in your pocket, then you’ll love Guitar Jack! Guitar Jack is an iPhone audio interface developed by Sonoma Wireworks. You never know when inspiration is going to strike. With Guitar Jack you’ll always be prepared to lay it down. Wow, after reading that, I kind of feel like the sham-wow guy! Screw it. I really dig this product. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an artist bring in a noisy, mobile recording of a new song, and struggle to figure out exactly how they were playing it. We’ve all heard somebody say, “man I had this killer tune yesterday, but I just can’t remember how it went.” Guitar Jack makes mobile recording quick and simple. The device just plugs into the bottom of your iPhone and integrates with apps such as Recorder, Taylor EQ, and Sonoma’s Four Track. Guitar Jack features a 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch input, as well as a 1/8 inch headphone output. 

I had the pleasure of chatting with the Sonoma team during NAMM. When asked how Guitar Jack compares to other devices on the market Sonoma says, “GuitarJack features both a 1/4″ mono jack and an 1/8” stereo jack that can be used simultaneously within FourTrack. Adjusting the analog input level before it is digitized and clipped was one of the most requested features, and with GuitarJack, this is possible with 60dB of input gain and a selectable pad for a total of 72dB of input level control. Additionally, the GuitarJack  has selectable hi-z and lo-z impedance on the 1/4″ input allowing for instruments, line level and microphones. Lastly, the GuitarJack is made of hard-anodized aluminum and made in the USA. The quality of craftsmanship and the range of features really make GuitarJack stand out from other interfaces.”

Sonoma also has a comprehensive product line that offers excellent additions to Guitar Jack. Four Track, is a multitrack recording application that allows artists to record on their iPhone. Four Track allows the user to bounce down tracks while building the arrangement. It easily connects to a nearby computer, using its Wi-Fi sync option, to allow users to quickly export their audio. They also offer an eight track version, called Studio Track, that is compatible with the iPad. Users can also utilize their drum loop application, Instant Drummer, to arrange a groove and import into their Four Track session.  Overall, Sonoma provides a unique line of products that allows everyone, from the novice musician to a seasoned pro, to easily record their tunes.

If you are interested in learning more about the wide-variety of Sonoma’s products, you can visit their website at sonomawireworks.com

Vie Drive- Content delivery system

As the music industry continues to shift its focus to online content, countless digital media outlets have been developed to offer new ways for artists to interact in the viral realm. A Nashville based company called Vie Drive has recently launched a unique product that provides a wide variety of promotional options for artists and businesses. 

Vie Drive is a USB device that incorporates a custom interface which provides a wide variety of interactive content. When the drive is plugged into  a computer, the interactive interface immeditley loads, providing fans with instant access to your media. The interface is automatically updated as new content is posted. Some common features include music, video, photos, web links and a calendar. The program also allows the client to sell banner ads to sponsors.

Vie Drive can be used to share any type of media content. From press kits and promotional material, to concert tickets and fan club membership. It is a great way to gain traffic to your sites as well. The device automatically tracks user activity so artists can easily gauge what there fans are most interested in. Another great thing about Vie Drive is its flexibility. Every artist has different needs, so the Vie Drive team works closely with their clients to develop a unique concept that with help them reach their goals.

To hear more about this exciting new product, drop by the website at viedrive.com

Wheat Ware- Eco-friendly accessories

We are all trying to find new ways to be eco-freindly these days. However, when it comes to musicians, going green is easier said than done. We can’t exactly pack the band’s gear in a Prius and hit the road. Fortunately, an eco-friendly company called Wheat Ware has developed a unique way for musicians to do their part in protecting our natural resources. 

Wheat Ware produces wheat based products in an effort to reduce the use of our world’s forests and natural resources. They offer an impressive line of accessories for musicians., including guitar picks, drum sticks, reeds, and maracas. They feel and play just like their wood and plastic counter parts, but they are 100% biodegradable and non-toxic. Unlike some other crop-based products, Wheat Ware does not use any plastic. Their products are 100% wheat-based and bio-degradable.

You can check out all that Wheat Ware has to offer at wheatware.com   

Zip Box- Unique take on digital distribution

The market trends of record sales continues to be a major topic when discussing the state of the modern music industry. Illegal downloads, combined with the growing trend of free content, has left many artists struggling to find an effective way to sell their music. Digital sales are quickly nearing the number of physical sales, as I Tunes continues to lead as the #1 music retailer. In Q1 of 2010, I Tunes sold 28% of all music purchased in the US. Walmart (17%), Best Buy (14%), and Amazon (11%), round out the top 4. With 70% of music sales held by the top four companies, along with rumors of Google launching its own store, it is surprising that anyone else would join the race. However, a Nashville based company called Zip Box Media has recently launched, and they are up for the challenge!

Zip Box is a digital distribution company that has taken a unique approach to digital content distribution.

Initially, there didn’t seem to be much of an advantage when compared to competitors such as Tune Core, CD Baby, and Snocap. A Zip Box membership currently starts at $18/month ( normally $38), and includes an additional 25% commission on sales.  I asked Paul Wright III (Zip Box Media) how their service was worth the cost. He explained, “It’s all in the content and the data.” As opposed to the I Tunes store, where artists are listed within an endless database of media, Zip Box offers their users a unique, personal website that serves as their store. When a potential buyer clicks on a link to an artists store, they are not distracted by other options, but are provided with a variety of content to browse while previewing the artists material. The Zip Box artist site includes customizable templates, a digital catalog, secure shopping, and secure downloads. Zip Box can also be utilized to distribute text files, software file, images, videos, ringtones, ebooks, midi files, and sample libraries. 

In addition to their own unique store, artists are provided with updated data on sales. They can view a detailed breakdown of sales as well a data on specific buyers, demographics, markets, etc. With this information, users can gauge the effectiveness of their promotional strategies and adjust their campaigns accordingly. The site also allows artists to create an automated thank you message that is sent every time someone makes a purchase. This allows artists to maintain relationships with fans, and offer additional content as well. Zip Box’s data feature is a great advantage for independent artists who want to maximize their marketing strategies. 

Further information is available at zipboxmedia.com

Mobinek0- Short Run Vinyl Pressing 

Over the past few years there has been an almost cult-like resurgence of music lovers who prefer listening on vinyl records. This growing demand has led to several major artists offering vinyl versions of their new releases. As a result, vinyl sales have continued to rise steadily, reaching 1.9 million units in 2009, a 33% increase from the previous year. Many independent artists have taken note of this trend, but there are only  a handful of companies that offer affordable, short run vinyl production.  I ran into Richard Dron of Mobineko, who shared how his company was taking a unique, personal approach to an industry based on mass production.

Mobineko is a British owned CD, DVD, and Vinyl manufacturing company with a factory based in Taiwan. Mobineko offers short run vinyl pressing starting at as few as 50 units. They have a great variety of colors and designs to choose from. Mobineko is a tight-knit group, with about 20 employees that oversee the operation. This gives them the opportunity to interact directly with their clients, so when you call their office you’ll actually be talking with a real person who will be available to assist the client throughout the manufacturing process. Imagine that! They also have an extensive quality and price garauntee on their services. This level of dedication to the genuine support of their clients is hard to come by these days, and makes Mobineko an excellent choice for Independent artists who are looking to take their first run at vinyl releases.    

You can learn more at mobineko.com

Have you used any of these products? Have on opinion on how these products will fair in the market?

We would love to hear your questions, comments, and feedback! If we can be of any assistance, feel free to drop us a line!

Giovanni-

therecordshop1 (@) gmail.com

Barry has teamed up with For The Record to share his reviews with the latest in recording products. Barry is a recording engineer/producer and contributing editor for MIX Magazine, ‘New Toys’ columnist for L.A.’s Music Connection Magazine, and writer for www.prosoundweb.com. He also is editor/writer of Gear Lust, his online special review section at www.barryrudolph.com

I installed the 2009 version of Smith Micro’s Stuffit Utility into my G5 MAC and discovered Drop Stuff, the whole compression side of the seemingly lowly free utility we all used called Stuffit Expander. Drop Stuff is better than ever with a new interface and built-in AES 256-bit encryption.

First of all with Drop Stuff, with its patented 24-bit image compression, has TIFF, PNG, GIF, and BMP compressors and you can compress files by to 98% of their original size (depending what they are). Squash and optimize MP3s, PDFs and images to save hard drive space and time when sending them over the Internet. Even JPEG photo files (an already compressed format) can be reduced up to a further 30%. Drop Stuff creates Stuffit, Zip and TAR archives–you just drop your files and folders on the appropriate icon on the super simple GUI. I liked the Stuff & Burn mode where it stuffs and sends the file to the MAC’s CD/DVD burner in one operation. Sweet!Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe 2009

Expander now expands 7-Zip archives and segmented Zip archives along with files using any of 30 different compression formats–even encrypted Zip archives. I like browsing my archive of files without waiting for expansion using the Stuffit Archive Manager. You can preview thumbnails, add, delete and change files and save searches with Stuffit Collections.

Other cool features you get are: upload directly to FTP, MobileMe, iDisk or multiple CDs or DVD-ROMS, and restore files to original locations Stuffit is Finder-aware so you can preview compressed archives inside MAC’s TimeMachine.Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe 2009

Using Stuffit Deluxe 2009 for MACs is like doubling the size of your hard drive for storing pictures and music. You can put off buying another drive and the work transferring files by buying it for $79.99 as a download from: my.smithmicro.com/mac/stuffit/index.html