Update on the album production

The album

I’ve done around 30 different mixes, tried like 10 different guitars, mixing the drum kit and making it sounding right has taken an incredible amount of time, I’ve tweaked the tiniest bits of sound to total exhaustion.

Should the grand piano have more mechanical noises… should the timpani have slightly more reverb… should the guitar have a delay or not, should I add the cello on top of the full orchestra, or an oboe? Should I widen the acoustic guitar or leave it as is? Is this chord harmonic enough for the one before? Is the Oberheim too loud? Should I use the Gibson EB0 or the Les Paul bass, finger or pick? Stratocaster or Telecaster? This or that cabinet, or none at all, what amp? Distortion or slight fuzz, tremolo?

The pains of creating an album…

Questions like that are bothering me all the time. And the production is so huge that my DAW crashes at least 3 times a day. Plus, anxiety, doubts… because “is it all worth it? Will they understand it?”. Sleepless nights. Then again: “fuck yeah!”. It all sounds absolutely heavenly, I get goosebumps all the time. And nothing is even mastered at all.

I have half of the album sounding as perfect as it gets, with the needed amount of imperfection to become perfect. I open parts of it again, again and again… stuff that I did a year ago that doesn’t sound right today, and may sound not right next week. You get the idea. šŸ˜‰

No worries, it’s all good. It’s finished very soon. Once it’s done I have nothing to do with it anymore. Then it’s a product with a life of its own, and I will watch it learning to walk.

I will reply to all of your questions in a video that I’ll upload to Facebook and YouTube, very soon.

Free audio plugins from KLANGHELM

I’m going to use this blog to post free stuff and tutorials for producers and engineers from time to time. And I will only talk about stuff I use myself. šŸ˜‰

I used both plugins on my latest album “THE GREAT ESCAPE“. And all productions of the past 1 year, actually.

So, today I want to introduce 2 plugins from KLANGHELM to you. They’re not only free but amazing, and apart from this, all their products (also the paid ones) are excellent, but this is another topic.

IVGI – saturation & distortion

IVGI can deliver very soft and subtle saturation, that feels at home on the master buss. It is equally capable of very dense and dirty distortion effects to spice up single tracks. IVGI’s base sound is comparable to the DESK mode in the big brother SDRR.

Just as SDRR, IVGI reacts dynamically to the input signal. Even the modeled fluctuations react dynamically and also change depending on the drive setting, so that it doesn’t get in the way of the SOUND. Stereo tracks benefit from it’s modeled crosstalk behavior. Just as its big brother SDRR, IVGI features a ā€œControlled Randomnessā€, which determines the internal drift and variance inside the unit. It contributes to the liveliness and realness of IVGI’sĀ saturation character. All internal processes are modulated to some extent to make this possible.

IVGI gives you a sensible amount of controls to manipulate the character of the saturation itself. It offers a unique ASYM MIX knob to alter the symmetry of the signal without affecting the harmonic content much. Usually, asymmetry leads to an increase of even order harmonics. But in IVGI’s case, dialing the asymmetry makes the negative part of the signal ā€œcleanerā€. This way you can preserve the dynamic structure of the source and get a more transparentĀ result. Actually, you can think of ASYM MIX as a transparency control.

IVGI also lets you alter the frequency dependency of the saturation with the RESPONSE control.

IVGI is internally calibrated to 0VU = -18dBFS.

I use IVGI as final plugin behind everything else on my master bus to give the final touch. Since I use it, all of my stuff sounds richer, warmer, more analog, just better.

On the next one I have to say that I use very little compression on audio in general, and when I do, I compress in several stages, because I firmly believe that every frequency range needs a different amount of compression. And this one here is a very good and ultra-simple way to do this. Here’s what the creator has to say:

DC1AĀ –Ā effortless character comp

DC1A is the little brother of the compression monster DC8C. I’ve taken a few of my favorite settings from DC8C and tried to make it work in a two control context. Sound wise it’s comparable to the PUNCH mode in DC8C but offers a few additional features, such as negative ratio and stereo unlink. I’ve always wanted to do a compressor with just an input and output knob, a compressor that just works: gentle, faithful, from almost invisible, smooth leveling to heavy pumping with a nice crunchy saturation and punchy enough to treat drums with.

DC1A looks like a one trick pony. But don’t get fooled by the lack of additional controls. You may be surprised on how many different material this little thing works. DC1A is heavily program dependent, so is the saturation.

DC1A is free! So try it out for yourself.

What I really like about KLANGHELM plugins: they’re light, simple and high quality. All I need for a good workflow and great sounding mixes.