Pro Audio Files

VLOG #4: Reverb, Record Deals, Bhad Bhabie, DIY Ambience

Transcript
Hey folks, Matthew Weiss here. Welcome to the Monday show. Today, Mixing With Reverb is out, so in spirit of that, we are going to be doing a little bit of a cool reverb demonstration I’ve got going, but before we get to all of that, first of all, yup. These are real, this is not a fashion statement. I’ve been staring at a computer for too long, so already, when you drop comments in the comments section, please tell me if they make me look smart or pretentious. These are not mutually exclusive, I suppose.

And since we’re going to be discussing music news, I suppose that I am behooven to talk about Bhad Bhabie [attempting to pronounce].

Bhad Bhabie: Same way you would spell. Say it the same way you would spell it regularly.

Matt: Okay, cool, Bhad Bhabie. I got it right the first time. So everybody’s been talking about the fact that Atlantic signed her for upwards of a million dollars in advance from what I understand, actually, from a little inside information is a little over three million, and it’s a multi-project deal, but I don’t know the stipulations of the contract, so it could be a lot of things.

Alright, so people are feeling pretty polarized about this. Before talking about the music itself, her song this is coming off the back of is called, “These Heaux,” and I have to say, just as an aside, I’m really glad to see somebody bringing back the original spelling of “hoes.”

I want to talk about what a record deal is, and why you should or should not care and what it means.

Here’s the thing about a record company. A record company is someone that specializes in the creation and distribution of music. The crux of that is seeing an act that they believe is garnering attention that they can then use to capitalize off of. So in the mind of a record company, that exposure is actually the hard part to get.

The music itself, for them, is easier because they have the musicians there, and ultimately, promotion is actually the, by far, more expensive part of releasing a record.

Understand that the way record companies have been working for decades has always been based on the visibility of an artist, and with social media in play, visibility means a lot of things. So this is not a new thing, this is not the state of music, this is not this, that, or the other, all it is is just a prime example of somebody who has the available face time in front of a wide audience, getting recognized for that.

Okay, so now let’s talk about the music itself. Look, if talent in terms of skill of music was really the thing that was the crux of the record business, then the Kirov Orchestra, Rite of Spring would be like, ten times diamond, and when you turned on the radio, you’d either be hearing death metal or opera.

That’s not the case. So when we’re evaluating how good music is, we have to do it in context. So with all of that being said, let’s play a little snippet of These Heaux.

[music]

Now, I’m going to say, to be honest, I actually like the song. I mean, it’s not like, mind blowing in terms of what it’s doing in the world of Hip Hop, but the production itself? Very cool. I love the sound design, I love the distuned bells, I love that sort of old cartoon sounding organ thing that’s all grindy and stuff in the chorus. I like how they treated Danielle’s voice. I think that it was a lot of really smart choices. Sometimes, as engineers, we need to do things to kind of bring out the essence of a performance that might’ve not been inherently there in the original take, so using that distortion on the adlibs and using that very highly stressed compression on the lead vocal that breaks up a little bit — I think that those were really smart choices, and the layering in the chorus of her vocal with the tucked auto-tune that’s sort of spread out to kind of thicken things up, it gives a lot of body to her voice that might not have been naturally there.

Ultimately, I actually think that this is really well done. But, it’s not all about me, it’s not all about what I think, obviously, you probably have an opinion on it, so I’m going to say, leave a comment in the comment’s section as to whether or not you think that this song is good for what it is, and also don’t just say good or bad, give some context in terms of why you might feel that way, because music is really important to observe in context.

Alright, moving on, now Mixing With Reverb is out today, and I am super excited. I believe that this tutorial is going to be the gold standard for understanding reverb and music production, and in celebration of that, I’m going to be dedicating our techniques segment of the week to reverb, and what I’m going to do now is play a little drum piece for you.

[song]

So this is the Merlot Embargo. If you’ve watched any of my other videos, you know I’m a huge fan of them, I love working with them, and I’ve put a link in the description to their site, where you can get their last album, and I did a lot of work on that.

Anyway, we’re working on some new stuff, and I recorded these drums here at my studio, and this is basically just flat in with maybe a little tiny bit of corrective EQ. You can see here, there’s not much on the inserts, but I recorded a room capture, and I didn’t really feel like it was giving me the energy I wanted. I’m going to play that for you real quick.

[drum room]

That’s just a mic setup in my live room. It sounds good, but eh, this song is more of like, this sort of bar room brawler kind of song, like, it’s a very pub drinking kind of song, so I wanted something that was a little bit bigger, a little bit sloppier, and I decided — well, here, I recorded it here.

Alright folks, Mixing With Reverb is coming out tomorrow, so in celebration of that, I’m going to show you the cheapest and best way to create reverb is completely free as long as you have cable, speaker, and a couple of microphones, and you don’t even need the most expensive microphones in the world. All you need is the space, and some mics, and a speaker.

This is going to be our drum reverb. Alright, let’s go back on inside here. Hi, Luke. Alright, now let’s give this a little quick play.

[drum room 2]

Okay, so there’s some stuff that I like, and there’s some stuff that I don’t like. First of all, I like that it’s got this big, boomy sound to it. It clearly sounds like a parking structure area. It’s got this sort of open sound, but also stone wall sound. It’s giving a lot of vibe. Here’s how it sounds with the drums in the mix.

[mix]

Without it.

[mix, no drum room]

So it’s getting along with the drums really, really well. Now, I think there’s a few things that I want to customize a little bit. The one thing is that the snare, the way that I positioned the microphones, I miscalibrated it, and so my snare is leaning off to one side, but a little bit of timing adjustment can really fix that very easily.

[drum room, adjusting timing]

See, the problem is the microphones were not exactly the same distance from the speaker, and so the one mic, which was on the left, was getting the signal ever so slightly earlier, and I’m talking about ever so slightly. I’ve only adjusted this by one millisecond. So that’s not a huge timing discrepancy, but just by moving the timing around a little bit, we can move the sound to the concentric center, and I think for the purpose of this, that’s going to be a little bit better.

[music]

Now, a few other things that I want to do. There is a bit of extra low end build up, and a lot of top end overall, so I’m going to cut out the low end, and I’m going to ease off some of the top.

[drum room, EQing and filtering]

But when I do that, it sort of overly tightens the sound, so what I’m going to do in response is going to make it a bit more mushy, and do that old rock trick where I kind of slam the heck out of it with a compressor. So before…

[drum room, before and after compression]

Now let’s hear that in the mix.

[mix]

I really like what we’ve got going, and I think what I’m going to do when it comes time to do the actual mix is build the drum sound around that stone wall, slapback-y sort of sound that I captured out there to make this one really glued, kind of crunchy-ish sounding drum sound that’s sort of lower-mid focused, and it’s going to be really, really cool.

And lastly, if I want a bit more width on the sides of it, I can use a mid/side processor to bring up the side information. So here’s before…

[drum room, before and after processing]

Just gives it a little bit more spread.

[song]

So we’re well on our way to a really massive, interesting, textural drum sound that I think the band is really going to dig.

Now, my favorite part of that technique is that I didn’t have to buy any plugins or spend any extra money, I simply used stuff that I had lying around anyway, and I created this really, really cool, interesting reverb sound. So now I’m going to turn it over to you. What’s the most interesting reverb sound that you’ve ever managed to capture? Or, if perhaps you’re using a plugin, what’s the most unique sounding plugin, or the unique sounding way that you’ve used reverb?

Drop that in the comments section below, let me learn something. I’m looking forward to that.

[drums]

Alright folks, that’s the show. As always, if you dig what I do, don’t forget to hit that like button like it was talking trash on your momma, and if you want more great, informative content, you’re going to have to hit that subscribe button so that you can get updates and all of the info coming right to you, and if I haven’t said it enough, Mixing With Reverb is out, you’re going to want to check that out. The link is in the description below.

Trust me, you’re going to learn a lot.

Alright guys, until next time.

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Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is a Grammy nominated and Spellemann Award winning audio engineer from Philadelphia. Matthew has mixed songs for Snoop, Sonny Digital, Gorilla Zoe, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development, 9th Wonder, !llmind & more. Get in touch: Weiss-Sound.com.


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