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Recent posts: J. Scott G.

9 Vital Reasons to Disconnect from Technology a Little More Often.

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. For the record, I am an electronic musician for a living. My entire income is based on the daily use of cutting edge audio/video technology, as well as the ability to connect to a worldwide audience via the internet in order to share my work (Don’t think that I don’t see the irony in all of this). However, the fundamental reason why I use this technology, is to connect with people emotionally via music, and maybe even more importantly, people themselves on a more personal basis.

9 December 2017 Articles  Summer Channel Read more

10 Extreme Changes That Have Improved My Life, Immeasurably.

Looking back at the last 43 years of my life, I realize that I’ve employed a lot of self-destructive habits in the past which I now distance myself from. Admittedly, I haven’t always been the man I am today. I often reflect on how lucky I am to have survived a barrage of near debilitating life experiences and events over the years (like child abuse & abandonment, drug addiction, etc.) which, thankfully, taught me a lot about the person I don’t want to be.

30 November 2017 Articles  Summer Channel Read more

Ilio Releases Revolve For Omnisphere 2!

ILIO introduces a new patch library for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2™ consisting of inspiring, arpeggiated sounds.

30 July 2017 Announcements  Sample Packs  Summer Channel Read more

Ilio Releases Hardwired For Omnisphere 2!

ILIO introduces an amazing new patch library by Summer Channel & Kris Northern for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.1™ transporting you into the cutting edge vortex of modular synthesis.

24 June 2017 Announcements  Sample Packs  Summer Channel Read more

Ilio Releases Robotica For Omnisphere 2!

ILIO introduces a diverse new patch library for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.1™ that brings the sound of the A.I. future to your DAW, today.

28 March 2017 Announcements  Summer Channel Read more

Now Offering Private Audio Production Lessons

Not everyone can sit through hours and hours of online video tutorials. In fact, it’s been proven that most people learn best through real-world, hands-on experience with teachers who are not only sensitive to the delicate nuances of individual personalities, but can also tailor their approach according to their student’s specific needs and goals.

27 March 2017 Announcements  Tutorials Read more

Learning To Trust Your Instincts

Some people call it intuition. Others call it instinct, or even a “gut” feeling. But no matter what you label it as, everyone one of us has experienced the sensation of “knowing” things before we know them, even if we can’t explain how.

13 July 2016 Articles Read more

20 “Rules” To Help You Live A Better Life

I wrote these “rules” a few years ago, which were inspired by many of my life experiences, failures, successes, and simple things that got me through my days. I hope they inspire you all as well.

1 July 2016 Articles Read more

Ilio Releases Fire Water For Omnisphere 2!

ILIO introduces a diverse new patch library for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.1™ that is sure to bring out your inner synth dragon-master.

24 May 2016 Announcements  Sample Packs Read more

Why Mastering Your Craft Is More Important Than Ever

In today’s crowded and largely underwhelming music industry, it seems like sidestepping the crucial, and often, time consuming steps towards true and enduring proficiency has become the norm. In the quest for overnight success, fledgeling DJs and musicians seem to have forgotten (or never really knew to begin with) what music is truly about. This is why it’s more important than ever to become really good at what you do.

15 December 2015 Articles Read more

Up and Running With Omnisphere 2

Check out “Up and Running With Omnisphere 2” with J. Scott G., on lynda.com.

Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere is a synthesizer of enormous power, with a library of over 12,000 sounds. Its versatility makes it valuable for any kind of music production, including film scoring. In this Omnisphere training course, J. Scott Giaquinta explains what makes this amazing synth work, including the concepts behind headers, multis, parts, and layers, and shows how to find sounds in its extensive libraries. He also demonstrates how to use the Orb, a unique circular controller, and the granular engine to modify sounds, and build your own sounds with features such as the Modulation Matrix and FX modules. In the final chapters, J. Scott G. shows how to create two completely new sounds (a bass sound and pad) from scratch with Omnisphere.

Topics include:

  • Navigating the Omnisphere header and multis
  • Setting up automation
  • Managing presets and patches
  • Using the Orb to manipulate sounds
  • Exploring the Synth and Sample modes
  • Using filters, envelopes, and LFOs
  • Using granular to mangle sounds
  • Understanding the Arpeggiator
  • Using Stack and Live mode
  • Creating sounds from scratch

Up and Running With Omnisphere 2

As creators and curators of forward-thinking sonic weaponry, surrounding ourselves with virtuosity on a daily basis is a must. Truthfully though, we find it even more thrilling to surround ourselves with phenomenal people — brilliant, courageous, funny, driven, compassionate and enlightened minds who are here to make the world a better place and evolve humankind forward.

Also, we sincerely believe that a great (read: pǝʇsᴉʍʇ) sense of humor is paramount to life here on earth. You’ll often find us pulling ridonkulous stunts & practical jokes just to get a laugh. After all, anyone who takes themselves too seriously is missing out on what’s *truly* important.

So, if this sounds like you, then welcome.

P.S. – If you like what we do here, share us with your friends, and/or join the street team! We put a *lot* of work into bringing you our best, so show us your appreciation by being a part of our community!

Turn it up!

25 November 2015 Tutorials Read more

Up and Running with Universal Audio UAD2/Apollo

Check out “Up and Running with Universal Audio UAD2/Apollo” with J. Scott G., on lynda.com.

Learn how to use the powerful UAD-2 and Apollo software/hardware combo from Universal Audio to mix down songs and emulate classic analog sounds. J. Scott Giaquinta shows how to connect the Apollo system to a computer and DAW, navigate around the UAD interface, and work with features such as the UAD Meter, Unison tracking, and wordclocking. Then he digs deep into the core plugins, including the 1176 and LA-2A amplifiers, as well as the compressors, equalizers, delay and modulation effects, special processing units, and reverbs that make Universal Audio’s classic sounds some of the best in today’s digital audio world.

Topics include:

  • Navigating the interface
  • Configuring the Apollo Console
  • Using the wordclock to ensure high-fidelity mixes
  • Exploring the UAD core plugins, compressors, EQs, effects, processing units, and reverbs

2 October 2015 Tutorials Read more

14 Ways To Get Better Mixdowns

Do you struggle with mixdowns? If so, you’re not alone. Many producers and audio engineers, fledgling and seasoned alike, do as well. Of course, mixing music “the right way” is relative, and people have varying opinions on what they think sounds good. But there are a few basic rules that most great mixes adhere to, regardless of what style or genre they originate from.

Many times, the majority of mix problems people encounter are directly correlated to their mixing environment, but there are a few additional tricks that I’ll be discussing here, later on, that will help take your mixes to the next level.

So let’s get started!

  1. Buy a good pair of studio monitors. If you can’t hear music the right way, then you’re always gonna be shooting in the dark. Period. A flat frequency response is a must. Quality monitors have come down in price over the years. If you can afford one, get a matching subwoofer. Headphones are great if you want to hear the minute stereo characteristics of your song, but they’re not something you should mix in 100% of the time.
  2. Set your studio up in the best configuration possible, according to the space you have available. Putting a pair of studio monitors in the corner of your room isn’t gonna cut it. If you want achieve world class mixes, you have to set your room up correctly, or else you’ll constantly be running into phasing/imaging issues.
  3. Buy or build proper acoustic panels for your studio. Fabric, egg crates, or foam won’t help you. If you wanna tackle your sound problems, you have to go the extra mile. Nothing has improved my mixes more than building a professional set of wall and ceiling panels. It’s not as expensive as you might think. For about $600 and a bit of elbow grease, you can get your studio sounding better than you’ve ever heard it before.
  4. Listen to a ton of music so that you can compare it against your own mixes. I used to avoid this like the plague. Mostly because I was disappointed with how my music sounded, compared to tracks I held in high regard. This was a huge mistake. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to A/B every 5 minutes or so, during both the creation and the mixdown process. It’s become second nature at this point, and it’s paid off in spades.
  5. Make sure to constantly mono your mixes. One of the hallmarks of a good mixdown is when the majority of it’s sonic energy “floats” smack dab in the middle of your speakers, like a ghost. If you mono your mix, and most of the sound disappears, that means you’re running into phasing issues. I have a box that my studio monitors connect to (The Big Knob – made by Mackie). It controls the volume of my speakers, but it also has a little button that monos the mix. If you don’t own a device like this, then use a plugin within your DAW on the Master channel (at the end of the plugin chain). Try monoing the tracks you A/B with too. This will give you a better sense of how other people record their music.
  6. Don’t mix loudly. Mixing loudly will not only fatigue your ears, but you’ll be fooling yourself into thinking that your mix rocks. The nominal volume to monitor music at is about the same level you’d watch TV. Once in awhile, you can turn your mix up louder to see how it sounds, but keep it at a normal level for the majority of the time. Also, make sure to take frequent breaks to reset your ears. Nothing ruins a mix faster than tired ears.
  7. Listen to your mixes on as many sound systems as possible. The “car test” is always the defining factor for whether or not I’ve nailed a mix. The reason the car is such a de facto standard for so many people, is that it’s a common denominator. If your music sounds good on the smallest (or worst) system available, then it’s probably a decent mix. Earbuds are a good test too. It’s what most people listen to music on these days.
  8. Start with good source material. We’ve all heard the saying “You can’t polish a turd.” Well, there’s a lot of truth in that statement. If you don’t start with professional grade source material, then there’s not a whole lot that mixing is gonna do for you in the end. It’s always better to start with big sounds that you can subtract from, rather than having thin sounds you try to bulk up later on.
  9. Don’t always reach for a limiter when you want to achieve loudness. One of the biggest mistakes fledgling producers make, is using a limiter on everything to make their tracks louder. I assure you, nothing makes your mix sound more lifeless and/or fatiguing. Sure it might be loud, but so is a jack hammer (and we all know how pleasant that is to listen to.) Learn to use compressors, overdrive and tape saturators correctly. They’ll help with volume and add character to your source material to boot.
  10. Learn to use sidechain compression. Having a problem getting your drums to pop through your mix? Try sidechaining some of the music tracks with your drums. This will create the illusion that all of your sounds are popping through. You can do this with a lot of different material. Can’t get the vocal to cut through the guitars? Try sidechaining the guitars with the vocal. Don’t overuse it though, because it’s not a fix-all solution.
  11. Filter your audio tracks. Having trouble getting your bass to sound tight? Try going through all your audio tracks and using a high pass filter to get rid of any low frequencies that might be competing for head room. You’d be surprised at how much low end rumble there is on tracks you’d never expect would have it. Don’t filter too much low end out though, or you’ll cut into the meat of your sounds. My general rule of thumb is any frequency below 40 hz can be cut completely. Everything above that, you’ll have to experiment with.
  12. Mono everything in your mix below 160 hz. Bass doesn’t work very well in stereo. In order to get tighter mixes, you’ll want to make sure that the lower frequencies of your track are coming straight out of the middle of your speakers. I use Izotope Ozone Imager or Brainworx BX Control to do this. Give either of these a try on your Master channel and see how it instantly changes your mixes for the better.
  13. Group your tracks. Putting your tracks into groups is a must. Not only from an organizational standpoint, but also as a way to control a group of sounds all at once. Sometimes a little bit of compression on a drum group sounds better than trying to compress all your drums separately. Try playing around with this to see if it’ll work for you.
  14. Learn different methods for stereo widening. Once you have the bulk of your song in the middle of the speakers, you’ll want to go back and make some of your sounds a little wider. A lot of people go for stereo widening plugins as a default solution, but this can create unwanted phasing issues. Try panning to start with (auto-panners are great), as well as reverbs or delays that create a wider stereo image. Remember to keep monoing your mix so that you don’t lose any energy. This is a very delicate process, and it takes time to master. Don’t overdo it.

A great book that helped me tremendously with my mixes is “Mixing With Your Mind” by Mike Stav. I can’t recommend this enough.

You can also check out Music Studio Setup and Acoustics as well as Audio Recording Techniques on lynda.com.

“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” – Pablo Picasso

(Written by J. Scott G.)

14 Ways To Get Better Mixdowns

As creators and curators of forward-thinking sonic weaponry, surrounding ourselves with virtuosity on a daily basis is a must. Truthfully though, we find it even more thrilling to surround ourselves with phenomenal people — brilliant, courageous, funny, driven, compassionate and enlightened minds who are here to make the world a better place and evolve humankind forward.

Also, we sincerely believe that a great (read: pǝʇsᴉʍʇ) sense of humor is paramount to life here on earth. You’ll often find us pulling ridonkulous stunts & practical jokes just to get a laugh. After all, anyone who takes themselves too seriously is missing out on what’s *truly* important.

So, if this sounds like you, then welcome.

P.S. – If you like what we do here, share us with your friends, and/or join the street team! We put a *lot* of work into bringing you our best, so show us your appreciation by being a part of our community!

Turn it up!

13 September 2015 Articles Read more

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