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Home » Audio Support Jobs » Diary – February 2023

Diary – February 2023

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Below is a description of all the technical support and teaching work carried out by Paul from Audio Support this month.

Went in to the hospital school in South East London to deliver a lesson to my Year 12 Student. Started a new project for the month – helping them record a cover of a 90s metal track. Started by working out the chords and structure for the song and then I showed them how to use Logic Pro X’s drummer track to layout the structure. Learning objectives:

  • Demonstrate creating a drum track with multiple regions in Logic Pro X
  • Demonstrate naming regions in Logic
  • Demonstrate using time signature changes in Logic’s global track to extend certain bars in a song

Connected remotely to a client in West London to help him set up Audio Movers software in Cubase. This would allow my client to connect remotely to another producer he wanted to work with collaboratively.

Went in to the hospital school to deliver another lesson. We looked at setting up guitar recording in Logic Pro X. Learning objectives:

  • Demonstrate running the signal from an electric guitar into Logic Pro X via an audio interface
  • Demonstrate selecting a guitar track preset within Logic
  • Assess the tonal quality of different presets in Logic and find an appropriate one for the song

Visited a client’s home in SE London to help with installation of plugins in Logic Pro X.

Connected remotely with a client in North London who was having problems recording his bass and guitar through some vintage (1990s) Yamaha FX550 effects boxes. Diagnosed some of the issues but noise problems were still remaining. After conversation with the client we decided his setup was in a bit of a mess and an on-site visit was required to sort it properly.

On-site visit in North East London to a singer and multi-instrumentalist to help her make plans for her new studio setup. Discussed acoustic panelling and what would be achievable in terms of noise isolation. Looked at her collection of microphones and we made some demo recordings to show her what might work best with her voice. Made some recommendations for upgrading her equipment in terms of audio interface and mic preamps.

Went in to the hospital school to deliver another lesson. This session we were recording bass guitars and looking at how high and low impedance inputs work on audio interfaces. Learning objectives

  • Demonstrate recording a bass guitar using a high impedance input
  • Demonstrate recording a bass guitar using a low impedance input
  • Assess the tonal differences between the two recordings.

Connected remotely to my client in West London. He had received some files from his producer which I helped him import into Cubase and showed him how to set up a tempo track so he could add his own new material.

Connected with my breathwork teacher client in Spain who I helped with his Instagram Live setup last month. He had bought a new microphone and was having problems integrating it into his setup. I explained how phantom power works and how to balance signals using his Roland Go:Mixer Pro-X. We setup a test stream on Instagram Live and confirmed everything was working as it should.

On-site visit to my client in South East London. Helped him download and install Auto-Tune Pro X which he had bought from Plugin Boutique. We had problems with some of the licenses not being registered to his Plugin Boutique account and with connecting to the Antares servers. I helped my client generate support tickets and write emails explaining the problem to Plugin Boutique and Antares.

Visited Central London to spend the day with my client who was having problems with his Yamaha FX550s. Looked at the routing within his studio and tried to work out why he was getting terrible noise and distortion problems with the signal chain of guitar/bass to FX550 to UA710 preamp to Apogee Duet 3. After experimenting with all the different variables I could think of I eventually found the problem was an 11v power supply being using by the FX550. I discovered that with this particular model of effects box an 11v current will seemingly power the unit on but doesn’t deliver all the current needed around the circuit. The preamp feeding the analogue to digital converters were acting in a strange way and heavily distorting the signal at seemingly random intervals. Once we switched to a power supply with the correct voltage the problem was solved. We spent the remaining time testing the setup with his other guitars and basses and made videos to remind my client of the best settings to use on the equipment in various situations.

Visited a client in North West London who I have been working with for a long time to help him prepare more tracks for his upcoming live show with a new band. We transferred songs created in Logic Pro X as both MIDI and audio stems files into an FA06 keyboard. We edited them on the FA06 to get them ready to be used as backing tracks for an upcoming rehearsal. Had to do a bit of technical thinking during this process as Logic wasn’t exporting the MIDI correctly. Found the solution was to switch to using External MIDI tracks in Logic rather than software instruments and to set the MIDI channel numbers inside the individual data of each MIDI note using Logic’s event list editor.

Connected remotely to a client in Manchester to help with a Cubase setup. Before we were able to get to Cubase the client was having problems with his USB hubs disconnecting. I talked him through the process of testing the hubs in sequence and we identified the particular cable that was at fault. I made a recommendation and he ordered a new cable on Amazon.

Reconnected the next day with my client in Manchester. We put the new cable into the system and were able to launch Cubase and NI Maschine without problems. Looked at how the two work together and how the client would be able to sequence beats in Maschine and record audio in Cubase.

Visited OSR studios in East London to help with noise problems in their podcasting studio. Went though the signal path in depth and found the main culprit for the added noise was the processing features on the RODE RODECASTER Pro 2. Selected the right settings for their microphones and turned off the compression and enhancers (which weren’t needed in their setup) which dramatically reduced the noise. Also found that the unbalanced jack to XLR cables they were using to their monitor speakers were adding noise. Changed to balanced XLR cables and all the noise was gone.

Visited K Town studios in Kentish Town to help my band clients test out their keyboard backing tracks in the rehearsal room. I stood in for the bass player which was an unusual opportunity for me to play music rather than talking about it or facilitating others.

Went into the hospital school in South East London to deliver another lesson. Continuing our project of recording a 90s metal track. In today’s lesson we recorded the lead vocals using a Rode NT1a microphone. Learning objectives:

  • Demonstrate using the Take tracks feature in Logic Pro X to record multiple versions of a vocal line
  • Demonstrate using the Take compiling feature in Logic to assemble a complete vocal track

Connected remotely with my North London client to help him do rough masters of some of his early recordings. Mastering isn’t my specialism but I showed him how we can use the inbuilt EQ, compression and limiter plugins within Logic to improve the quality of his mixdowns and balance the levels of a collection of songs to get them sounding more like a cohesive album.

Connected remotely with a client in Spain who was having trouble integrating an analogue summing mixer into his Logic setup. Soloing tracks was not working and causing all the tracks to be muted. Identified that the problem was the audio track he was using as a return bus from the summing mixer was not being soloed as Logic didn’t recognise the hardware connections as part of the soloing chain between the individual tracks and the stereo out. To solve the problem we used Logic’s Solo Defeat function to ensure the return bus stays active when other tracks are soloed.

Connected remotely to a client who I had previously worked for in West London but is now living in Greece. He had transferred his studio equipment with him and had reassembled most of it. He had some questions about his new Steinberg UR22c interface and how it integrates with Cubase 12. We went through the setup of the UR22c and did some test recordings.

Connected remotely to a client in Norfolk who was having trouble with the sample locations of the content for his Kontakt plugins. Moved the files to the default location expected by the software and that solved the problem. Discussed options for client upgrading his system with extra SSD drives if he adds more large sampler libraries in the future.

Went into the hospital school in South East London to deliver another lesson. We were looking at dynamic microphones in this session and comparing the difference between a Shure SM58 and Shure Beta 58a.

Went to a client’s house in South East London to help him with his large collection of modular synths. I’ve worked with this client for many years but hadn’t seen him for a while. This evening we caught up, solved a few technical problems, had dinner, made a patch and messed around making some music on his equipment.

Went into the hospital school to deliver another lesson. We had now completed recording all the parts for the cover so we looked at mixing techniques. Learning objectives

  • Understand basic mixing techniques using pan controls and level faders
  • Demonstrate routing groups of tracks to Aux tracks using Buses in Logic Pro X
  • Demonstrate using compression and reverb effects on groups of tracks

Visited my client in South East London who was having problems installing his Auto-Tune plugins. Antares and Plugin Boutique had replied to our tickets and we were able to register and install all his new plugins. Spent the rest of the session setting up and testing Antares Vocodist to achieve vocoder effects in Logic.

Connected remotely with my client in North London to help him with more mastering of his old albums.

Connected remotely with a client preparing for an important upcoming gig at the Jazz Cafe in London. Last month I had helped him work out why his MIDI faders were unable to control specific functions in Logic. This time the problem was the pitch bend wheel on his AKAI MPK249 controller wasn’t working. Used the monitor in the Logic environment page to work out that the pitch bend wheel was sending MIDI on a different MIDI channel than the one the keys were using. Read through the manual of the MPK and found that this was a feature of the keyboard. Changed the settings of the MPK and confirmed the correct MIDI channel was being used by the wheel in the environment page.

Visited a school in West London to help the IT department with an installation of Cubase AI Elements 12 in their new music suite. All the typical problems with using Cubase on a school network were in effect with some new issues I hadn’t seen before. Halion Sonic SE and Groove Agent were not able to find their content after using the Steinberg Download Assistant to install the software. After quite a long process of testing and experimenting I found a workaround by removing the content from the Steinberg Library Manager and then navigating to the files within Windows and reinstalling manually. Quite a tricky challenge this one.