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This section includes compiled posts from some of Lars Behrenroth's favorite (Deep) House and Tech blogs.
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The Video Production Bundle: Less Than 48 Hours Left!

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Quality and Quantity


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Working a Multi-pattern Mic for Vocals

You work with vocalists of all kinds, whether they are deep resonant baritones or breathy sopranos, but you often find yourself EQing the living daylight out of the vocal track. You read that this mic works better for this voice, while that mic works better for those voices, but man, are all those mics pricey! While it is true that some mics work better for different voices, what if you could have one mic that was at very least acceptable on all sources, if not stellar on a few? For a true Swiss army knife of vocal mics, you need a multi-pattern condenser.

Multi-pattern mics sometimes get a bad rap in the microphone world. Oftentimes they’re an upgraded brother to a strictly cardioid mic, but often accused of sounding inferior to their cardioid-only sibling because of the circuitry changes.

The truth of the matter is that any multi-pattern condenser that was at least moderately well designed will be just as good as the cardioid-only model, and offer more features. Often young engineers will buy these mics because the idea of switching the pickup pattern sounds cool, but they never end up using the multi-pattern feature, and end up buying more mics!

In this tutorial we will go over just how and when to use the different pickup patterns, what they sound like, and how these mics can benefit us both in the mix and in our wallets.

Proximity Effect

Proximity Effect

Proximity Effect

The biggest change you will hear when switching between different pickup patterns is the proximity effect. For those unaware, the proximity effect dictates that when using a directional pickup pattern (cardioid, hyper cardioid, and figure-8) you will get a larger boost in the bass frequencies as the microphone gets closer to the source (our singer).

Knowing how to work the proximity effect is key to achieving a well balanced vocal track before any processing takes place.  But before we get to its uses we first need to learn how it sounds!

Here are some examples of different pickup patterns on the same microphone. Each snippet is part of one continuous track in which the pickup pattern was switched after each example was spoken…

Cardioid Proximity

Download audio file (card_prox.mp3)

Omni Proximity

Download audio file (omni_prox.mp3)

Figure-8 Proximity

Download audio file (fig8_prox.mp3)

Notice how the omni seems to drop off, while the figure-8 gets even more woomph? This is because the omni has no proximity effect, and the figure-8 produces the most proximity effect, since it is the most directional.

So how can we use this to our advantage? If you find yourself mixing a resonant male vocal that constantly takes up too much room in the low end, but needs to sound up-close, switch to omni so you can maintain the up-close sound but reduce the woomph. The reverse happens for a breathy female vocal that constantly needs to be thickened. Switch to a figure-8 or hyper cardioid!

Perception of Space

Public Domain: Taken by NASA

Public Domain: Taken by NASA

Besides proximity effects, multi-pattern mics also play into a vocal tracks sense of space. Aside from drums, vocals are the most important part of any mix to really get the sense of space perfect.

If the vocals need an open sound then you will need to make sure that the microphone captures more space, but if the mix and arrangement are dense and tight then the vocals will probably need to avoid extra space at all costs. The way we control this sense of space is by the rooms we record in, and by the pickup patterns setting.

In these next examples you will hear the front, side, and back of the microphone in each pickup pattern. Pay particular attention to the volume and tonal shifts in the cardioid and figure-8, while omni stays almost perfectly the same…

Cardioid Space


Download audio file (card_front.mp3)


Download audio file (card_side.mp3)


Download audio file (card_back.mp3)

Omni Space


Download audio file (omni_front.mp3)


Download audio file (omni_side.mp3)


Download audio file (omni_back.mp3)

Figure-8 Space


Download audio file (fig8_front.mp3)


Download audio file (fig8_side.mp3)


Download audio file (fig8_back.mp3)

Notice how the more directional pickup patterns produced less sense of space? The advantage we have with this feature is that we can help negate extraneous noises such as windows, computer fans, etc. that might be present in a home studio environment, simply aim away from the noise. The cool feature about hyper cardioid and figure-8 is that they reject the sides extremely well unlike normal carioids back rejection. So if you ever need  mitigate extra noise coming from one particular source then consider these useful patterns. However for more ambient noise, stick to the normal cardioid.

However if we really need that sense of space then switching our mic to omni will produce the desired effect. This approach almost always produces a more natural sound than short reverbs and is highly encouraged for use even for sources that are not vocals.

Keep in mind, however, that your choice of room becomes much more important with the omni pattern; if you use omni in a dead room it will still sound dead like a cardioid.

Engineers often get worried that this or that noise will leak into an omni mic and reek havoc on our mix. But the truth is, unless you hear a dog barking or a ambulance drive by, most noises will get buried in the mix; just use common sense.

Would you rather have a little fan noise and get the right vocal sound or have to butcher the vocal track with processing to get it half right? I know my choice!

Production Tricks

Public Domain: Figure 8 Render by Galak76

Public Domain: Figure 8 Render by Galak76

So what are some ways that we can creatively use these patterns to our advantage? One common approach is when recording two singers that have to sing together, is to have each sing into one side of a figure-8 microphone.

This approach works because their will be minimal bleed to the opposing side of the microphone, resulting in two clear vocals in one track. It works best when you are recording a complete live band in a small space, where bleed is going to be an issue. It minimizes the need for additional microphones and can reject the rest of the band if pointed perpendicular to the rest of the ensemble.

However, this method does have its drawbacks. If the singers do not balance or sing well, then you cannot go back and redo just part of the vocals, you need to do both again. Furthermore, the different sides of a figure-8 pattern tend to have slightly different tonal characteristics, which means you need to be careful when choosing who place on what side. I would only recommend this trick for experienced ensembles who perform well, and thrive off of a live style recording.

The other trick that you can use with more experienced vocalists is to have them adjust their distance from the mic as they sing. Typically the verses of a track are not as busy as the choruses, leaving more room for the vocals in the mix. By having the singer stand closer during the verses and leaning back during the choruses, the singer can musically EQ themselves as they sing.

However, keep in mind that this can be very tricky for inexperienced singers, and should not be done on sessions that have strict time constraints; it can take a while to get used to! If you do decide to attempt this trick, ensure that the vocalist can clearly hear themselves in their headphones, since this will be their reference for when to step closer or further from the mic.


As you can see, the pickup pattern can make a huge difference in a vocal tracks sound. By having a working these patterns we can achieve a variety of tonal characteristics without ever touching the EQ.

A quality multi-pattern mic will give you all of these benefits at the fraction of the cost of buying a cardioid mic, a omni mic, and a figure-8 mic individually. And with a tight economy we all want to save a few bucks without sacrificing quality. Thanks for reading!


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Life After Slots: What the Mac Pro, External Hardware Mean for Production

This array of ports has the power that PCI slots on old Mac towers did. But will it be as practical? That answer may depend on vendors. Photo courtesy Apple.

This array of ports has the power that PCI slots on old Mac towers did. But will it be as practical? That answer may depend on vendors. Photo courtesy Apple.

“Pro” is a funny word. When people say “pros” in contrast to “amateurs,” “producers” rather than “consumers,” they mean something about relative seriousness. And in tech, they usually invoke these words when they’re looking down on tools they feel aren’t up to snuff.

That’s fair. Especially in music making and digital art where money is tight, people invest in tools because they deliver, not just to show off. And they’ve usually been burned by something less-than-pro letting them down.

So, when people see a machine from Apple dubbed the “Mac Pro,” they have certain expectations.

The problem is, the upcoming Apple Mac Pro doesn’t meet those expectations. It looks like a Dyson vacuum cleaner someone lifted from the maintenance closet on the Death Star. The innards seem promising enough: powerful next-generation graphics architecture from AMD meet the latest-and-greatest computational iron from Intel. On closer inspection, the design is functional, too: Apple has cleverly organized the whole beast around the heat intake.

What’s conspicious, then – what really upsets people – is the absence of internal storage bays and expansion slots. Apple’s machines have never been as upgradeable, component by component, as their Windows- and Linux-running brethren, but the most common needs to add storage media, video and audio interfaces, and the like have always been well accommodated by Apple’s pro towers.

The Mac Pro is the final departure from that design. And so, it represents a formal dividing line between expansion via slots and internal bays on one hand, and external gear connected by cables on the other.

This is a day a lot of us saw coming. Nor is it a trend restricted to the Mac. The PC vendors still make towers, but they have become specialist machines for gamers, producers, and server administrators, as sales in laptops (and now tablets, too, or at least Apple’s tablets) have surged.

And back to that word “pro.” “Pros” have trended to buying these other form factors, too. On the Apple side, seeing a MacBook Pro, or a MacBook Air, or an iMac, or a Mac mini is commonplace in studios and workspaces. Even an entry-level Mac mini is capable of handling the needs of most people’s audio productions, even with a lot of channels and effects.

So, the question is: what does the shift to cable mean for expandability down the road – for Mac desktop users, Mac laptop users, and even the PC?

Still Expandable, Just Without Slots

On the back of the Mac Pro is something a lot of people feel is missing from something like the MacBook Air: ports. Lots of them. Thunderbolt and USB3. Apple even has multiple dedicated controllers for those ports, which is a good thing for bandwidth-hungry, performance-dependent audio and video users. And here’s where there’s an edge: that added storage and I/O flexibility can make a big difference in productivity when it comes to media production.

The absence of PCI Express slots is not the absence of PCI Express, the protocol by which your expansion card integrates with your computer’s main architecture. Thunderbolt actually is PCI Express. It’s an extension of that bus over a cable. It’s not quite as fast as the internal speed of the latest PCI Express 3.0 standard, or the upcoming PCI Express 4.0. But it provides more than enough bandwidth for massive configurations of audio inputs and outputs, video streams, and high-speed storage. Most accessories can’t keep up with all it does. Thunderbolt, like PCIe, is Intel technology – here, with input from Apple. It’s a de facto standard, and something you should expect to see adopted on PCs as well as Macs soon, though it’s too early to say in what numbers.

(Slightly confusingly, the Mac Pro uses Thunderbolt 2.0. The only practical difference, owing to a reconfiguration of internal channels of data in the protocol, is the ability to use massive 4K displays. I’ve confirmed with vendors that there’s no implication for audio or video I/O here, only for your really fancy displays.)

The availability of this expansion route is part of why I feel some pundits wrote the “Pro” obituary too soon. For instance, here’s Cringely:
Death of the Mac Pro [I, Cringely]

Predicting the transformation of the Mac Pro at last year’s WWDC, he was half right:

There are no card slots, no extra drive bays, no GPU options on any other Apple products.

Apple has effectively killed its last conventional computer.

But half right is also half wrong:

When the Mac Pro dies for good Apple will replace it in the market with a combination of Thunderbolt-linked Mac Mini computing bricks backed up by rented cloud processing, all driven from an iMac or MacBook workstation.

No, actually, it won’t. Pros are aware of the bits missing from this equation. Cloud processing isn’t fast enough for real-time media work; milliseconds are a long time in media. And the mini, cool as it is, lacks the GPU needed on the graphics side. But that’s not, ultimately, what Apple did. Instead, it made a Mac Pro with the same expansion options, all made external rather than internal.

If you’re passionate about high-end audio cards with lots of high-quality ins and outs, the endurance and ongoing evolution of these sort of interconnects should come as good news. RME, for instance, tells us they’re working on this stuff:

Our Upcoming MADIFace XT now has ePCIe (MXO2), which is already a standard and can be easily converted to Thunderbolt. MXO2 has a much better an more stable connection and is also available for PCIe Desktop cards.

And that’s just Thunderbolt. Then there’s USB3. Again, RME – who argue for USB3 as a good choice if you’re replacing a MADI card you’ve got in an old Mac Pro tower:

Why would you need Thunderbolt when we have the first USB 3.0 interface which can handle all the 396 channel of the MADI XT?

The future face of audio is external gear like this MADIFace XT from RME. And, really, given PCI cards were typically paired with external breakout boxes anyway, isn't that a more convenient solution? One trick you can accomplish with this that you couldn't with the PCI card: unplug it, plug it into your laptop. Done. Photo courtesy RME.

The future face of audio is external gear like this MADIFace XT from RME. And, really, given PCI cards were typically paired with external breakout boxes anyway, isn’t that a more convenient solution? One trick you can accomplish with this that you couldn’t with the PCI card: unplug it, plug it into your laptop. Done. Photo courtesy RME.

So you can choose if you want to have USB 3 or PCIe or Thunderbolt if you need that many channels. Because USB 2 can already handle 64 channels in and out.
More information:
RME 2013 Musikmesse announcement

Oh, yeah, lowly USB 2: the thing is, part of the reason you keep seeing Thunderbolt and USB3 associated with video or ultra-high-end displays is that USB 2 and FireWire already provide enough bandwidth for even fairly sophisticated audio scenarios. They’re good enough.

Universal Audio is also enthusiastically embracing Thunderbolt; we’ve heard them sing its praises before, both for bandwidth and also, crucially, for low-latency performance. I’d like to see native Thunderbolt on their hardware rather than the current adapter-card solution; the coming of the Mac Pro seems a likely push.

Previously (with some commentary about why everyone doesn’t need even Thunderbolt, let alone forthcoming faster PCIe):
The Thunderbolt Age Dawns: UA Ships Thunderbolt on Apollo; More to Come – Where it Makes Sense

Given that Thunderbolt is an Intel technology, can we expect parallel progress on Windows? Universal Audio responds:

We can’t comment on future product development, but Thunderbolt on Windows will definitely become more relevant to our users as more PCs implement it. It’s something we’re looking into.

Technologies like Thunderbolt are, for now, not something you’ll see on tablets and low-power machines. They require the horsepower of conventional computers. The post-PC era is not necessarily an era without PCs – it’s one in which a single PC architecture doesn’t solve every job. But conversely, the PCs in that light suddenly become more valued for their “towing capacity.” (This is the idea behind Steve Jobs’ car and truck metaphor. It’s not so useful in light of American auto buying habits, but it does work in respect to size, weight, power, and power consumption.)

The beauty of this for people who don’t want giant studio machines, though, is that suddenly any computer with USB3 or Thunderbolt can be expandable in a way that once required slots. The Mac Pro’s primary advantage is its dedicated onboard ports and controllers and its heftier CPU and GPU – if Apple is to be believed, it should be a lot faster than your MacBook Air. But then, if you want to take the material you worked out in the studio and bring it on the road with you, you can unplug a Thunderbolt accessory and use it with your laptop. It’s hard not to see that as a very good thing.

And so while slots are really good at keeping everything neat and tidy and affordable in a machine that never moves, they’re pretty terrible for maximizing the investment you make in hardware when you make heavy use of laptops and the like.

The casualties

Laptop owners are happy, then, as are iMac and mini owners. But that brings us to our unhappy group: current Mac Pro users. If any of them dreamt of repurposing hard drives and I/O cards in a new Mac Pro with a faster CPU, they now face potentially-pricey expansion chassis solutions.

And then there’s Pro Tools. Avid’s flagship Pro Tools HD line is heavily dependent on expansion slots. (This is, of course, what users of other DAWs have routinely ribbed Pro Tools users about. Now, that’s all a bit more stinging.)

And there are people who hate cables, fearing a rat’s nest of spaghetti around that menacing (if small) black cylinder.

I don’t think each of these problems is on the same level of seriousness. Form factor and cables look like problems the intrepid Apple accessory market will attack with gusto. The new Mac Pro appears to be deliciously small and portable. It’s impossible to tell whether this form factor will work in practice until we’re testing the machine in person. But it seems likely that users will devise solutions to keep cables organized and mount the Mac Pro in racks and so on.

Cost remains a legitimate concern. External devices do tend to be more expensive than internal devices, whether justified in that cost or not.

And I don’t think there will be very good news for people wanting to move existing hardware. I think it’s more likely that those Mac Pros will be best kept operating as-is – and that’s why you very often see older towers running in studios for years, I think.

The real question is whether the hardware users depend on now will adopt USB and Thunderbolt.

With Pro Tools gear, for instance, I think adopting external connection buses like USB3 or Thunderbolt are part of what Avid must do to survive. In fact, the cash-starved company it seems would benefit from finally having a reason for all its legacy users to upgrade – if they can deliver a more cost-competitive box with external interconnects and sell it to existing studio users, plus the increasingly laptop-based producer and audio engineer market, they could have a second business boom on their hands. There’s an argument to be made that part of what has caught Avid flat-footed is over-dependence on just these towers. It isn’t just that studios are closing: even in studios, you often now see iMacs and MacBooks.

Apple Makes Wedges

I think we’re yet again in an Apple Moment. And in that sense, the Mac Pro isn’t a departure for the company at all. It’s exactly in character. The Mac Pro is a aggressive feat of industrial engineering that embodies a no-compromise approach to what Apple feels is the future – everyone and everything else be damned. We’ve been here before.

Apple is also not your only choice. There really are advantages to traditional towers in cost and flexibility. There are great options for things like sound isolation. Windows 8 is a powerful operating system for music and visual production that supports almost exactly the same suite of tools the Mac users have. Linux, while certainly more niche in its appeal and with a different set of tools, also fits some people’s needs perfectly well.

What it seems the new Mac Pro will do – the very thing that’s annoying many existing Apple customers – is force the transition to more high-speed external hardware for audio and video. The fact that existing Mac Pro users are so dedicated to their expansion slots, the fact that vendors the size of Avid have built whole ecosystems around it, only proves the point. It’s easy to forget that Apple has dragged us, sometimes kicking and screaming, from NuBus to PCI, 68k to PowerPC to Intel x86 (and 64-bit), Mac OS 9 to OS X. They’ve also played a major role in pushing the industry from SCSI and floppies to USB and FireWire. It seems now Thunderbolt and USB3 are next.

When it comes to creative work, it’s often the Mac ecosystem that leads as others follow – it’s an easier testbed for new hardware, and a passionate audience of consumers.

But if we make this leap to flexible external hardware for audio and video successfully, it’s hard to think that’ll be a bad thing.

Now, it’s all a bit too soon — but that’s why Intel was pushing Thunderbolt and PCIe and USB3 at Taiwan’s Computex last week, and Apple doing the same thing (in their own way) at WWDC this week. The audience isn’t us: it’s developers and vendors.

And since they’re the pros that let us be better pros, I hope they’re listening.

For another nice take on this story, from a person who’s a devoted PC user, here’s ISO50 and Scott Hansen (aka artist Tycho):
Thoughts on the New Mac Pro
Actually, the fact that he isn’t a Mac user may make him slightly more objective as a source of reflection on this.


Lest it get lost in my rambling…

What we know: fast memory, fast storage, fast CPU, dual GPUs, dedicated Thunderbolt and USB3 controllers (plural) should allow for easy expansion. And this looks like an atypically portable box for all of this, meaning a desktop you can easily take onstage or between studios, etc.

What we don’t know: a lot of the specs. How much storage? How much memory? How upgradeable will the internal devices be there, if at all? And we don’t know a lot of the practicalities of the design – or how this will stack up to PC options by the end of the year – or the price.

The post Life After Slots: What the Mac Pro, External Hardware Mean for Production appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Weekend is 4 Lovers 40.0


Minxxxy’s Pick(s) of the Week 

Monkey Safari – Hommage


Safeword – Day Turns To Night (Sonar 2013 Promo Mix)


RA. 367 – James Holden: DOWNLOAD HERE


Jams’ Pick of the Week
6th Borough Project: OZ TOUR PROMO MIX May 2013


Mi4L Featured 
The LoveBath 001 – Monsieur M. []



Pan-Pot – Sonar by Day 2013


Stacey Pullen 70 Minute Boiler Room x Movement Mix




stimming live 2013


Deep Tech 

Dance Spirit – Shine


Audiofly – Robot Heart – Into the Wormhole NYC 2013


mybeatFix Podcast 10: Signal Flow ‘Berlin Daydream’


Black Light Smoke Live Set – Robot Heart Into The Wormhole NYC 2013


Up Next Mix Series Vol. 1: Walker & Royce


Mr. Nice Guy Podcast 001: Mixed By Mika Materazzi



Droog @ ANTS Party – Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel (08-06-2013)


Exclusive Mix: Tom Demac


Deep Disco 


CBLS 208 – Compost Black Label Sessions radio – guestmix by Daniel Kyo


Juan Maclean BBC radio 1′s Essential Mix


Huxley 45 min Boiler Room mix



The post Weekend is 4 Lovers 40.0 appeared first on Music is 4 Lovers.

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Ital, Workshop 18

Painting by Dave White


Buy Vinyl

In some way, Ital’s albums and live performances have ended up overshadowing his shorter releases. They aren’t necessarily better, but they’re much brasher. It can be easy to forget the trippier, more surreal Ital of 2011, before he went all information-overload. Luckily for fans of those early releases, Daniel Martin-McCormick’s first release for seminal German imprint Workshop revives that palette.

If there’s anything that ties Ital’s sides together, it’s a lack of polish. Martin-McCormick leaves in clipping, and probably doesn’t spend hours EQing his kick drums either. There is a recklessness to these tracks, but it is countered by eerily tranquil atmospheres. “Ice Drift (Stalker Mix)” lives up to its title, as it is pervaded by a crystalline, synthetic paranoia, which lingers anemically behind stuttering drums. “Pulsed” has a fuller sound and moves at a brisker clip. It is propelled chiefly by galloping drums and wiry lead line, but an odd, gray glow still hangs in the back corners. “Slower Degrees of Separation” is comparatively formless; its rhythm is more of a shudder than an actual beat, and its chords swoop in and out of clarity. All of the tracks here are somewhat formless, though. As is his wont, Martin-McCormick eschews typical dance music structuring, and this especially enhances Workshop 18′s uncanny, slightly sinister aura.

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