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Albums Organ Music Recordings YouTube Videos

New Album Release

Starting March 1, 2021 my latest album will be available on streaming sites everywhere.

Album cover art

A demo of the album is available on YouTube:

Please leave comments and questions here in the comment section.

I also have 13 other albums available on all digital music streaming sites (Scroll to the bottom for links to all the sites)

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Albums Organ Music Recordings YouTube Videos

New Album – Classical Organ Music

Cover art of the album
Album art work

Classical Music for solo Organ

I’m happy to announce that my 13th album is now available. You can listen to it on YouTube at: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mv5_JJPl9WFBnKCAV-yTDfqFEuzdGECaM You can also purchase it at https://music.apple.com/us/album/classical-music-for-solo-organ/1544011235 or listen on Spotify at: https://open.spotify.com/album/6Qz1uT9cZSc3ZQmdp6I2t5

This album is an all Organ music album. It features the following short works.

Sortie-Franck (2:45)
Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr-Telemann (2:15)
Aus Tiefer Not-JC Bach (1:36)
Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele-Telemann (2:31)
Adagio – Mendelssohn (3:11)
Christ lag in Todesbanden-Telemann 1/2 (3:28)
Christ lag in Todesbanden-Telemann 2/2 (1:21)
Ach, wir armen Sunder-Telemann (3:06)
Grave_Adagio_Mendelssohn (4:41)
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig-Telemann (4:07)
Blessed Jesus At Thy Word-Elert (2:45)
Cantabile-Franck (4:32)
Grave_Bach (2:11)
Vater unser im Himmelreich-Telemann 1/2 (2:08)
Vater unser im Himmelreich-Telemann 2/2 (1:12)
Blessed Jesus At Thy Word-Able (2:48)
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott-Telemann (3:46)
Christus, der uns selig macht-Telemann (3:13)
Andantino Moderato Dubois(4:49)
Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend-Telemann (2:35)
Benedictus-Elert (2:57)
Herzlich tut mich verlangen-Telemann (3:13)
Gregorian March (4:50)-Alexandre Guilmant

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General Reaper Recordings

Mixing in Mono – my recent experiences

Update: Be very careful where you put your metering plugins when mixing. It turns out I had Insight one step before the final mix. As a result, my mono mixes are now about -2 to -2.5db softer than the stereo sounds, not the same as the article below says. This is acceptable, though not ideal. The sections about compression and maximizing are still good things to do in your tracks, particularly if, as in my case, the instruments are overall not loud but do have extremely high peaks from time to time. Any advice on how to get mono and stereo mixes to exactly the same level would be appreciated. Above all, this post is to emphasize the need to make sure your mono mix sounds as good as your stereo mix, even if it isn’t always as loud.

Whether you are new to audio mixing or a veteran you’ve hopefully heard people say that you should always check your mix in mono. How come we need to do this? I discovered that a Zoom meeting I was providing music for was only setup for mono audio and even if the meeting is in stereo, all recordings of Zoom meetings are in mono. There are also many venues that only play music in mono including restaurants and clubs. Expect also that some of your listeners will be hearing their music on phones or tablets that only have one speaker or poor at best stereo playback.

Listening to your mix in mono can also point out weaknesses in your overall mix. In some cases a mono mix will result in instruments getting lost or buried in the mix, sometimes due to phase cancellation. Variations in phase, like when you take two sine waves and shift one 180 degrees so you don’t hear anything, as you go from 0 to 180 you will still hear a tone, but it will get softer and softer. Examination of your master track with various metering plugins (there are many free ones) can show if you are suffering from phase cancellation. Some areas to look for are phase variances between snare mixes above and below the snare; overdubbing of the same part with different settings or effects; stereo wideners and synthesizer type instruments that have a lot of processing applied.

My problem was that the mono version (as I found out from the recording) was 3db to 4db softer than the stereo version and softer than voices on the recording. As some people will point out, it is not unusual at all for the mono to be a bit softer than the stereo, but 3db is noticeable and more importantly the mono mix wasn’t as good as the stereo. The recording I was working on was a one instrument stereo track, a virtual software instrument piano, with various processing on it in the instrument software.

The solution I came up with was to get rid of any processing I didn’t really need in the instrument (like a stereo widener), put a compressor (Native Instrument’s LA-2A emulation) on the track aiming for about 4db in reduction, then a maximizer (I used Ozone 9) to aim for -15LUFS which seems to work best for me in Zoom. Each recording, whether with one instrument or many, will require adjustment to the compressor and maximizer settings as no one setting works for all situations. Right away this made a positive difference.

I frequently “freeze” my midi based tracks to audio so I can work only in audio and also so I’m not tempted to spend forever tweaking the midi parts. Next I found that cutting off some of the really low frequencies (below 60Hz) with a gradual (around 12 db/octave) slope as the first thing in the audio processing helps. Exact frequencies for the HPF and the “Q” will depend on the instrument. Excluding these lower frequencies helps the compressor to focus on musical elements rather than low frequency rumble. Don’t use a HPF at 60HZ on an organ, kick or electric bass, instead aim for below 40 or 50Hz, if at all. As to the compressor I used for one of my recordings, since the NI LA-2A emulation has no attack/release or ratio settings and its own HPF, I used the Peak Reduction to set the compression and didn’t use an EQ HPF prior to the compressor. While I like the LA-2A emulation, I also used the built-in ReaComp compressor in Reaper (my DAW of choice) with a 4:1 ratio and 300ms release with everything else being pretty close to the default. I found that it worked pretty good too, but I do have to say the LA-2A emulation requires less thinking and tweaking.

(See opening paragraph for corrections to this paragraph). For the final check before rendering to the stereo file that will be used for the Zoom meeting I listened to everything in mono and stereo along with an LUFS metering plugin (I think the free Insight plugin from iZotope). Exact LUFS levels happened between stereo and mono in some recordings and those mono mixes that didn’t were only about 0.2db softer than the stereo. I hope this helps or is at least interesting. I would double check everything I said before taking it as gospel. If you have any corrections, suggestions or other methods for making sure mixes are good in both mono and stereo, please comment below.

Categories
Albums Church Music Recordings Website News YouTube Videos

New Album Released

Hymns – Plugged In

I’ve been at it again. A new album is now available. It is title Hymns – Plugged In.

A collection of traditional hymns set in contemporary styles using all electronic instruments.

Available at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083TPXRBP as well as on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and all digital music sources.

Here is a demo of the whole album:

Categories
Arranging Reaper Recordings YouTube Videos

Choir Labs contest

Choir labs contest

From time to time I enter various arranging or mixing contests. Recently Spitfire Audio – a British company that makes very good sound libraries – sponsored a contest. They make available various free libraries, one of which is based on the Eric Whitacre choir. The contest was to compose and record music to fit one of 5 NASA provided videos. They ranged in length from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Here is my effort.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to comment. You can also subscribe to be kept updated on new posts.

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Albums Arranging Reaper Recordings

No Time To Relax (Album Notes)

No Time To Relax

Track 9 from my album Sampler. It can be found wherever digital music is available

A melancholy piece featuring pads, light drums and vocalise melody to start with. Then the track adds in some synth leads and synth bass part. The end echos the feel of the start.

The Gravity sound library is used for the bulk of the vocalise. For the drums I used Drum Lab from Native Instruments. Also used for some rhythm elements was Grid II.

The bulk of the sound in this track comes from the instruments. There is no EQ used on any of the instrument tracks. I did use the REAPER ping-pong delay and Native Instruments RC48 reverb unit with some EQ on the reverb. Only the two vocal tracks have any reverb added to it. Although I have the delay unit on a bus, I just realized nothing is being bussed there. So, just reverb is added to this track.

For mastering purposes, I did not do anything beyond a peak limiter (just to make sure nothing peaked).

To my ears at least, this piece just “worked” with the combination instruments I chose and without having to do anything besides balance levels. That’s something to think about as you compose and record music. Get it as good as you can prior to recording to audio and the mixing and mastering process will be easy.

Please, please, if you like the album or these track notes, drop a note in the comments. Even if you don’t like it, drop me a comment. Now that I think about it, I’ve not had any comments since I moved the blog here. Maybe the comments only work for me? Anyone care to test it out?

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Albums Arranging Reaper Recordings

Is Something Bad Coming (album notes)

Continuing with my series of liner notes for my album Sampler, we get to track number 8. This is a darker sounding track. It consists of 6 instruments and various effects.

You can find all of my albums anywhere digital music is available.

First up is the Bass, the Padaboom patch from the Substance library by Output.

Next is the Arp Harp Loop patch from Output’s Signal Pulse library. I believe the patch may be part of an add-on library.

Next is the After Waves patch from Output’s Exhale program. The patch is probably part of an add-on library.

It looks like most of this piece uses Output’s various libraries. The next track is Tears in Rain patch from Analog strings by Output.

The next patch is a PolyBrass 2 from Kontakt’s RetroMachines Mk2. I believe this is an emulation of a Korg PolySix patch. The PolySix was the first synthesizer I ever owned.

Finally we have Battery 4 using the Sad Flamingo Kit.

For all the instruments, I only used automation on the Battery kit and that was for some volume changes.

I must have been happy with the sounds of the instruments because I used practically no effects on anything. Only the drums (Battery 4) were processed. I sent them (-13db) to a rever bus. The reverb was the Native Instruments/Softube emulation of the RC48 using a Medium Hall preset.

I sent the reverb (0db) to a Gate buss.

On the master bus I cut out frequencies below 30hz and used the Lurseen Mastering Console from IK-Multimedia. I used the Classical (More Glue) preset. If I made any changes, it would have been to the De-esser or compressor in the chain view options (icon at top). This plugin makes a huge difference in the final sound. It isn’t just louder, but better sounding.

Any questions or comments, please let me know.

Categories
Albums Arranging Reaper Recordings

Exciting times (track notes)

Continuing my liner notes for my July 2018 album “Sampler”

Track 7, Exciting Times, was my first experiment on doing something entirely from loops. Not audio loops, but MIDI loops. The entire track was produced from MIDI loops.

I use to subscribe to a magazine that included a download link or a DVD that had various samples and loops on it. My notes don’t show which issue or magazine name, but it was from a magazine. I took loops that came from what I think was a Trance selection. The majority of the magazine content was audio loops or samples, but from time to time they include midi loops.

Here are the instruments/patches I used for this track. My notes don’t show what changes I made to presets and it would take too long to figure out. Whatever they were, they were not dramatic changes.

Battery 4 (Argon Kit) with ReaEQ highpass at 40HZ and Supercharger GT compressor with a modified drum buss preset. Automation on ReaEQ highpass frequency.

Massive with Thelonius preset (modified). ReaComp sidechained from drum track; ReaEQ with a slight boos around 300hz and a low pass cut at 1.1K. Another ReaComp with sidechain. Supercharger GT with modified Synth Bass preset. NI VC 2A compressor, modified Electric Guitar preset. ReaDelay (modified Dehuminator slower preset). Automation on the Wavetable position and cutoff in Massive as well as the Bypass on the ReaDelay.

Reaktor Razor, Centauri preset (modified); ReaComp sidechained from Drum Buss, 0ms attack; 47ms release, 4:1 ratio, 0 to 481Hz input filter; ReaEQ highpass around 60Hz. Another ReaComp sidechained with 30-225Hz input filter. 3ms attack, 100ms release, 4.1 compression. (The two compressor settings basically end up being sidechained by only the bass drum from the drum sidechain input). Automation on two Macros in Razor. Automation on high pass filter in ReaEQ.

Absynth 5, Arcadia patch (probably modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples.
ReaEQ. Automation on Pan and EQ Low pass frequency

Reaktor Monark, Sakwenzer patch (probably modified). ReaComp with sidechain from Drum track 0-745HZ input filter. 0ms attach, 100 release, 4:1 ratio. ReaEQ, low pass at 8.5Khz and high pass at 100Hz. Automation on lowpass eq filter.

Reaktor Kontour, Twin top patch (modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples. ReaEQ, high pass, automated. Another ReaComp sidechained similar to above. Automation on pan.

Kontakt, string ensemble symphony series, string ensemble patch. ReaComp, sidechained similar to above. ReaEQ High pass around 60Hz, automated.

Kontakt, Rise & Hit, Heavy Fuzz patch. Automation on Volume and Rev-Heavyfuzz.

Kontakt, Exhale by Output, Backwards patch.

Four tracks were sent to a ReaDelay buss that had a 4-tap ping pong delay

Four tracks were sent to a Reverb buss with NI Passive EQ in mid/side mode. Some low mid boost in middle and some low boost on the side.

I printed all the midi to audio and produced the final mix from there.  I used an IK Multimedia Quad Compressor and Quad Image to widen out the sound a bit. I used a few sidechained compressors on some of the audio channels.

Please leave a comment or question below. You can also subscribe to this blog to be notified whenever a new article is posted.

Categories
Albums Recordings

Escape Is This Way (Album Track Notes)

Escape Is This Way

This is both the 5th and 11th tracks.

Please leave a comment if you like these liner notes. That way I’ll know that you want me to continue posts for all the tracks on the album.

Track 5 is an “acoustic” version and the 11th is an “electronic” version. The piece is based on a piece from my sheet music catalog “12-tone piece for 4 instruments.”

I used instruments from the Symphony Series String Ensemble from Native Instruments. Basically the 4 parts are comparable to a string quartet. I used minimal EQ. I added some risers, orchestral percussion and Cuban style percussion. The risers from the Rise & Hit library from native instruments. The percussion from the Kontakt factory library all percussion preset. The Cuban style percussion from the Discovery Series: Cuba by native instruments.

The two percussion channels I sent to the stock delay in Reaper with a modified ping-pong, 5-tap delay preset. The riser channel I sent to the RC-48 reverb using the snare roll preset (with modifications).

For the instrument and effect channels I cut out some of the low frequencies (below 50Hz) that can creep into software based instruments. On the master channel I cut low frequencies below 100Hz. I also used the T-RackS Bus compressor from IK Multimedia with a slightly modified Glue preset. The final link in the effects was the Lurssen mastering console with a modified Classical (Warmer) preset.

On the electronic track I kept the same percussion parts but with the Supercharger compressor with a modified Drumbus on the Cuba percussion. I didn’t use any EQ or other compression in the mix. I did use the same compressor on the master track, but did not use the Lurssen console.

I did some panning automation on the Percussion channels. All the sounds were kontakt instruments. In order: 1) Gravity Natural forces pack, Hope eternal patch and Analogue strings from the Retro series Kontakt library; 2) Gravity Natural forces, Mystic Fifths – Amb01 and ChoirInt from Kontakt Retro series; 3) Retro Strings 1 and Gravity Natural forces Stacked Ahh, Eee, Ooo and 4) Matrix Pad 2 from Retro series and Gravity natural forces, Scorched Earth – Amb01

Let me know what you thought of these two tracks.

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Albums Recordings

It Is Different (Album track notes)

It Is Different

The fourth track on our album Sampler

The album and audio samples available wherever digital music can be found.

Please leave a comment if you like these liner notes. If nobody comments, then I will probably not include all the liner notes for all the tracks.

This track is one of the most experimental tracks on the album. I used an old DOS, early Windows piece of software to generate notes based on fractal math. You can probably hear in the somewhat abrupt changes where the different formulas changed.

I used various electronic sounds for the 4 tracks. For the pluck sound I sent to the RC48 lexicon reverb utilizing a modified medium random hall & echoes. On three of the other tracks I sent them to the Reaper default delay, modified 5-tap ping pong. The percussion track also got sent to delay and reverb.

All tracks were fed into a parent folder. On that I had a 3-band splitter. This allowed me to send the lower end to one processing chain, the middle to one and the high to another.
I used Supercharger on the two lower bands and solid bus comp on the higher band.

On the master buss I used the Lurssen mastering console modified a bit from the EDM preset.

I did say that It Is Different.