I'll show you mine, if you show me yours!

October 18, 2009 3:47 PM

I would guess that many of you MefiMusicians are much like me - fast PC/Mac, DAW of choice (Pro Tools, Cubase, Sonar, Reaper, etc.), good interface, a couple of nice pre-amps plus a couple of nice mics (and some decent-ish monitors, but never quite getting round to doing the proper studio acoustics thing!) - recording yourself, collaborations and local bands. If so, and you like me are largely self-taught, the good old interwebs is a great resource for advice, reviews, technique, etc. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the online resources that we all use, so here's my "starter for ten". I have listed the forums I use pretty much daily, plus also the websites I have grabbed some fantastic, free, impulse responses from. (If you haven't already tried using a convolution reverb yet I would definitely recommend it, I use the one bundled with Reaper, but there are several free VST convolution plug ins.)

It would be a good idea to share free VST plug-ins as well - I'll add some later!

Forums, etc.

Sound on Sound
- http://www.soundonsound.com - the best UK recording magazine and a good source of reviews and articles as well as having an active forum:

 - reviews - http://www.soundonsound.com/articles/Reviews.php

 - technique - http://www.soundonsound.com/articles/Technique.php

 - forums - http://www.soundonsound.com/forum

Tape Op - http://www.tapeop.com - a fantastic magazine - FREE in the USA and UK (plus bits of Europe) - that has a great forum geared towards home/project studios:

- forums - http://messageboard.tapeop.com/

Gearslutz forums - http://www.gearslutz.com - very busy forums with lots of high profile contributors. Marmite territory - other forums seem to dislike the high brow nature of Gearslutz. They do hav a good "video vault" - http://www.gearslutz.com/board/video-vault/191111-video-vault.html

Pro Sound Web forums - http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/f/47/0/

The Womb forums - http://thewombforums.com/

Studio Tips acoustics forum - http://forum.studiotips.com/

Impulses (and some samples)

Voxengo - http://www.voxengo.com/impulses/ - impulses

Signal to Noize - http://www.rhythminmind.net/presetblog/ -impulses, samples

Pipe Line Audio - http://www.pipelineaudio.net/downloadspage.html - impulses

Morevox.com - http://www.morevox.com/ - impulses, samples

Noisevault.com - http://noisevault.com/nv/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=29 - impulses
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar (20 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite

What a useful post tvhc - many thanks! I'm familiar with one or two of these but that's about it. Couldn't usefully add to your comprehensive list. What I crave however is a really lucid idiot's guide to EQ - you know, how to use the "Q" function properly, bandwidths for guitars etc to help prevent masking - the whole menu from soup to nuts. I also get a bit tangled up with compression/limitation. All in all my approach to processing is a bit hit and miss (usually the latter). It would be nice to actually know what I'm doing with some of this stuff....

I'd also like to know why my demos of ideas generally sound better than the finished article - now that really pisses me off!
posted by MajorDundee at 2:22 AM on October 19, 2009

Thanks for the exhaustive collection of links, tvhc!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 AM on October 19, 2009

MD - I have a couple of really good articles on compression - I will post one later this evening.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 6:00 AM on October 19, 2009

Yeah, these are some super-good links. Acousticas, who I gather make IRs for convolution reverbs, released their IRs of the Bricasti M7 for free:


They're pretty great IRs. I've used some of the longer reverbs on some recent projects, and they sound fantastic.

Looking forward to those articles on comperssion, tvhc. I mostly work on big rock mixes, so much of the compression I use is just to nuke vocal tracks, but I find that compressing other instruments really is just a listen-tweak-listen process. How you use a compressor really depends on the playing, the recording, and the intended place in the mix.

And most of the time, you need a lot less compression than you think. Often none.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:25 AM on October 19, 2009

Yeah - thanks for the impulse links - love that stuff! I've also had fun with these:

Open Impulse Response Library



Also I want to sample the reverb from a church hall I do regular radio sessions - any IR hints and tips for someone who doesn't have a sweepable white noise generator or a starting pistol?
posted by Grangousier at 4:11 PM on October 19, 2009

This is, I guess, tangentially related to this thread. Ever been stuck for a band name? Check this out. Some of the results are priceless...
posted by MajorDundee at 12:04 PM on October 20, 2009


you can find lots of free vsts through their resources


the user review sections are often valuable


lots of bass and guitar stuff, but notable as being the home of computer music and future music magazines, two uk mags that are much better than anything in america

and something a lot more specialized -


i just got a boss gt8, so this is useful - but guitarists who don't have one can learn a few things from some of the postings here
posted by pyramid termite at 9:07 AM on October 22, 2009

Acousticas, who I gather make IRs for convolution reverbs, released their IRs of the Bricasti M7 for free

i just downloaded and fed them into freeverb - and yeah, those are nice - thanks for pointing them out
posted by pyramid termite at 9:33 PM on October 22, 2009

Hometracked is a blog about diy home recording. Plenty of good tips and tricks.

is a great site for VST plugins.

I'll post more as I think of them.
posted by robotot at 1:01 AM on October 23, 2009

Revealing my abject ignorance of all things IT-related, does anyone know if plug-ins like the ones listed above can be used with a DAW (in my case a Yamaha AW2400)?
posted by MajorDundee at 3:49 PM on October 23, 2009

It doesn't look like it - the thing to look for in the manual would be VST (the most common format for plugins - the plugin equivalent of MP3), and I don't see that mentioned in any reviews. The plugin thing is one of the real benefits of working on a computer (maybe forgoing some of the rock-solidness of a digital recorder, though not as much as in the past).
posted by Grangousier at 5:02 PM on October 23, 2009

that Tweakbench link led me to the Mac VST wrapper from VFX software. Most excellent. Thanks.
posted by Grundlebug at 8:01 AM on October 24, 2009

MD - afraid not. I have the AW4416 (the pre-cursor to yours) which I use for location recording and they are pretty much closed boxes - you cannot load plugins (VST or otherwise) into them.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 12:57 PM on October 24, 2009

"the plugin equivalent of MP3"

given that so many VST's use Windows specific API's and the license for VST is incompatible with open source, I would compare them moreso to realaudio or DRM'd WMA.
posted by idiopath at 12:13 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

tvhc - I'd like to get hold of an AW4416 one day. One feature of it, if memory serves, is you can record 16 tracks at 24-bit. The only bummer with the AW2400 is that you can only record 12 tracks at 24-bit. Why Yamaha limited what is, supposedly, their flagship DAW in this way is quite beyond me. There is a noticeable difference in quality at 24-bit - at least to my ears. I'd be looking to slave an AW4416 off the 2400 mainly so I could get 28 tracks at 24-bit.

Kind of wonder too whether there is a dichotomy between those who record on PCs and those who use purpose-built hardware like the Yams - two separate schools, as it were. I admit to being a bit of a flat-earth man in terms of recording - I like to get my hands on the faders - but would be interested to learn from others how easily they made the switch to exclusively PC recording. I find it really difficult to imagine doing it all by pointing and clicking a mouse.....!
posted by MajorDundee at 3:02 PM on October 25, 2009

Any halfway decent recording software can use midi faders. I have a Korg Nanokontrol and a Berhinger BCF2000 and both work great for controlling a mixdown and/or effects parameters.
posted by idiopath at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2009

"the plugin equivalent of MP3"

given that so many VST's use Windows specific API's and the license for VST is incompatible with open source, I would compare them moreso to realaudio or DRM'd WMA.
yes in practice, but...
posted by tmcw at 2:53 PM on October 27, 2009

Yeah, there are submarine patents that effect mp3, but then again, I assure you there are a boatload of submarine patents on the very concept of a plugin. In practice VST is pretty much a windows thing, with a dirth of usable VST's for OSX or Linux. VST, like most other plugin API's that generate a user interface along with doing audio processing, tends to rely on the host API of a particular OS. The hardware devices that can run an arbitrary VST plugin are all running embedded Windows.
posted by idiopath at 7:53 AM on October 28, 2009

It's a niche thing, but the Theatre Sound Mailing List is one of a kind for those who are into the world of theatrical sound design. A good number of luminaries take the time to share their knowledge and the archives are golden.
posted by zachlipton at 6:22 PM on November 9, 2009

My own favourite is The Grid -- the production area of Drum and Bass forum, Dogs on Acid.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:59 AM on November 11, 2009

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