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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Parallel Processing

Here is a Pro Tools tip that I use a lot and is really effective. It's called parallel processing. The theory applies to any music software program, I just happen to use Pro Tools. When using a plug-in like reverb for instance, you can access that plug in from multiple tracks. This accomplishes two big things. The first is that you are saving DSP (Digital Signal Processing) because you don't have multiple plug-ins open and draining your processing power. The second is that you are placing your tracks in the same environment (reverb) which is the way I like to mix. You can then alter how much of the effect is applied to the individual track. It sounds like all the tracks are in the same room but some are closer than others.

1. Choose which tracks you want to access the plug in.

2. Open up an Aux (auxiliary track) and in the insert section insert a reverb plug-in.

3. In the send section of the audio tracks that you want to access the reverb send the tracks on a bus. Make it the first available bus and a mono bus as the tracks are mono.

4. Have the input of the Aux track be the same bus used in the send sections of the audio tracks. Here I have used bus 1
and am sending the Gtr 1 track and Audio 2 track to the reverb.

5. By placing the cursor on the send box and pressing Apple or command (Mac) or Control (PC) the little send fader will appear. By moving the fader up you will be allowing more signal from that track to be sent to the reverb.

6. You are splitting the signal hence the name parallel processing. Think of it as 10 people are walking in the forest. 4 go one way and 6 go another way but will end up at the same location at the same time. The 4 that took the alternate route get rained on (reverb wet signal).

7. Make sure all the outputs on all the tracks are going to the Master Fader. Out 1&2.

This is an effective way to have a lot of control of your tracks and by varying the amount of send fader you are sending to the reverb, you are placing the track exactly where you want it. Closer (less reverb). Farther away (more reverb). Then by using the pan control you can place the track horizontally giving you even more control of your mix.

Still mixing the "Sean Bray's Peach Trio" double live recording and it's sounding fantastic. I will let you know when it will be available.

Listening to:

Michael Brecker's "Two Blocks From the Edge"
Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker is the continuation of John Coltrane. Period. He unfortunately died very prematurely from a rare form of leukemia at age 57. This recording features the great Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums (one of my favourite drummers) who plays his ass off, Joey Calderazzo on piano, James Genus on acoustic bass (know more for his electric playing) and Don Alias on percussion. This band just cooks and the interplay is amazing. Add Brecker to the mix and it's a fantastic recording. This recording features three songs by Joey Calderazzo which are great. I saw Joey when he first joined Brecker's band when he was just 22 yrs. old. He has always played with lots of fire and imagination. Out of the McCoy Tyner/Herbie Hancock school of playing. Brecker is missed very much. I met him a few times and he was the most humble and personable guy. You would never know he was one of the most influential saxophonists in the history of jazz by meeting him. Buy this recording!!!

That's all for now.
Check out the new website.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Social media and your music career

This is such a different time for being a professional musician. When I first started my career back in 1984 when I was 18 there wasn't internet and blogs and facebook etc. There was the old fashioned telephone and not cell phone but home phone. Promoting yourself was hard and putting out a recording independently was almost impossible.

We now live in a time where everybody is on some sort of social media site. MySpace was the first big social networking site and was great for musicians because you could have a band site which had a music player and it was super easy to make and update yourself. The DYI web site. Facebook came along and for a while MySpace still offered a great alternative to having to have a web site but it eventually became really hard to update because they were always changing it and it is now basically obsolete. Facebook has band pages which now also have music players and it works well. Reverbnation is the new DYI web site for musicians and is pretty good but it seems more about being popular than being good. Actually that pretty well sums up social media for that matter. How many friends do you have? Really, are they friends?

Having a presence on social media sites I think is very important for a professional musician. Why? Everybody is on it. You get seen and it keeps your name out there. Do I like facebook etc? No. I think it is very superficial for the most part but as a musician I feel I am missing out on the exposure and the social hang if I'm not on it. I have a Sean Bray's Peach Trio facebook page and it's great for updating my "likes" or "followers" or whatever they are called, as to what the band is up to. We'll call them music fans.

I have a new website so please pay a visit. Tracey Dey designed it. I will have information on the soon-to-be released Sean Bray's Peach Trio - Live. This will be a double CD and also available on i-Tunes and the like. Trio is made up of Mark Dunn on bass and Dave MacDougall on drums. The recording turned out really well. I can't wait for everyone to hear it.

I've been listening to:

Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar on Riverside. (1961)
I love this record and Wes plays so beautifully and with such lyricism. Ron Carter is also on the record and plays bass like no one else. Two notes from either Wes or Ron and I instantly know it's them. The great Hank Jones is on piano as well as Lex Humphries on drums and Ray Barretto on congas. Burning version of CottonTail on this record. Great record!!

That's all for now.