Bright Idea or Playing With Fire? – Airborne Studio Diaries

As the lone audio engineer for my piano album Airborne, at this point, I’ve done way too much solo piano editing.  Am I that bad a pianist?  No, but I’m a perfectionist, so I strive to meet impossible standards—especially since I have such a strong idea of how my own compositions should sound.

Even so, editing is much more than finding flawless takes and putting in crossfades to piece them together—it’s about maximizing musicality through artistic and technical choices.  While I don’t purport that putting together twenty different segments into one track is as good as playing a perfect take straight through, I will go so far as to say that, when edited well, the difference between a composited track and a one-take track can be minute.  However, with any kind of solo instrument recording, making edits is playing with fire if you don’t know what you’re doing.  And with piano recordings, their many inherent challenges only pour on gasoline.  Even so, by following some simple rules, I’ve found one can safely edit a piano recording: Continue reading “Bright Idea or Playing With Fire? – Airborne Studio Diaries”

Studio Diaries – “MHB” – Part 4: Answering the Production Question

Remember in english class how you were told to keep your essays on-topic?  They said to come up with a thesis, and everything in the essay had to somehow support or build up to it.  You weren’t supposed to put in lots of “padding” or go off on a tangent.  Well, believe it or not, the same concept applies to music production.

Like a strong essay, your song should grab people from the beginning and make them want to stick with it until the end to see how you resolve the “question.”  The intensity of the song has to be constantly increasing through contrast and changes in instrumentation, tone, and dynamics.

Continue reading “Studio Diaries – “MHB” – Part 4: Answering the Production Question”

Studio Diaries – “MHB,” Part 3: Sleeplessness and Logic’s Super Tool

It was 1:00 AM.  Like a typical teenage musician, I didn’t feel the least bit tired.  The rest of my family had already gone to bed, so I couldn’t play or really mix.  What did I decide to do?  Why, I added some key commands in Logic, of course!

I hit option-K and opened up the long list of assignable shortcuts.  I’d already made key commands for most of the tasks that I did routinely, but I wanted to add more to save even more time.

One thing that has continued to irk me about Logic has been the lack of the Super Tool (aka, the Smart Tool) that ProTools has.  After working in ProTools at GRAMMY Camp this summer, I took the SuperTool for granted.  I could clean and edit audio tracks so fast with it.  When I came back home and discovered that I had to assign a key command to switch to the fade tool in Logic to clean tracks, I was pretty frustrated. Continue reading “Studio Diaries – “MHB,” Part 3: Sleeplessness and Logic’s Super Tool”