The music landscape has changed drastically over the past two decade. It’s so intertwined with technology that it deserves a new label (pun intended). We refer to it as Record Label 2.0. Virtual mixing and mastering services like CrazyEye Music Services, music distribution through Amazon, iTunes or on flash drives, online recording collaboration and much more can be found in here.
This is a guest post by mix engineer, Unne Lilijeblad over at www.mix-engineer.com. This is the fifth and final article in a five part series about his experience with mixing in this still under utilized medium for listening to music. Last week it was Mixing in Surround. This week he talks about Multi Stereo Surround.
Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer
MSS – Multi Stereo Surround
With all of these issues and potential problems in mind, I developed a new mixing method that can help achieve better results. A good friend of mine came up with a name for it: MSS, for Multi Stereo Surround, since the technique involves creating multiple stereo images between the various surround speakers. Recording in stereo using the previously mentioned techniques gives excellent results, and unlike their surround equivalents, they are not very complicated to setup. Using two microphones for a piano, drum overheads, and acoustic guitars etc, is very common, and most recording engineers are already doing it. Additionally, both plugin and external reverb and delay effects all output their results in stereo.
If you've worked with me or know me personally (or both) you know that I have a pop music sensibility. I really love a song with a great hook. The catchier the better for me. And I've been very lucky lately because I've had the pleasure and privilege of working with some amazing songwriters.
One in particular I call "The Hit Maker". His songs have more hooks than a tackle box! This got me thinking about what makes a catchy song, well, catchy? Some will say it's the melody while others believe it's the lyrics. Personally I think it's both, but there has to be something more, right? To find out I did a some research about the science of music and found the article below. It's written by Tibi Puiu over at ZME Science. If you're as fascinated with music as I am I think you'll find this one to be very interesting.
Written by Tibi Puiu Musicologist Dr. Alison Pawley and psychologist Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen out at the University of London have dabbled into the difficult task of scientifically determining what makes people sing along to certain tunes. Their research has lead them to claim that there are various factors that make a song catchy, and in the process have compiled a list of the UK’s top 10 sing-along songs.
Mullensiefen said, “Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology, from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesisers that can add effects to make a song more catchy.
“We’ve discovered that there’s a science behind the sing-along and a special combination of neuroscience, maths and cognitive psychology can produce the elusive elixir of the perfect sing-along song. We hope that our study will inspire musicians of the future to crack the equation for the textbook tune.”
The researchers conclusion was that there are four traits that make a song catchy:
Longer and detailed musical phrases. The breath a vocalist takes as they sing a line is crucial to creating a sing-along-able tune. The longer a vocal in one breath, the more likely we are to sing along.
Higher number of pitches in the chorus hook. The more sounds there are, the more infectious a song becomes. Combining longer musical phrases and a hook over three different pitches was found to be key to sing-along success
Male vocalists. Singing along to a song may be a subconscious war cry, tapping into an inherent tribal part of our consciousness. Psychologically we look to men to lead us into battle, so it could be in our intuitive nature to follow male-fronted songs.
Higher male voices with noticeable vocal effort. This indicates high energy and purpose, particularly when combined with a smaller vocal range (Freddie Mercury of Queen and Jon Bon Jovi).
"Freddie Mercury possessed all the necessary frontman skills to write and perform a "catchy" song."
Academy Award winning sound editor Richard King (pictured) has installed an Avid System 5 MC integrated digital audio workstation (DAW) controller in his private studio located on the Warner Bros. Burbank lot.
King opted for a 32-fader System 5 MC based on its flexibility, speed, intuitive performance and EuCon control of the new DSP-accelerated Pro Tools|HDX digital audio workstation software—features such as these enable it to keep pace with the ever-growing demands of each new project. Easily expandable from eight to 48 faders the System 5 MC is able to meet the needs of any size project. The MC Pro controller module enables complete surround monitoring, and integrated management of multiple computer systems from a centrally located position.
New options for media consumption on the web as well as mobile and smart devices are continually emerging, and Spotify’s launch in the US is just one of the latest changes to shake things up. With Apple’s iCloud debuting in iOS 5, what do consumers think of storing and streaming their music from the cloud—and the concept of renting vs. owning it?
"Even buying physical copies of CDs or vinyl edged out free online streaming options..."
I mastered Facts on Files upcoming album back in October with Joseph White (vocals, bass). This was a really fun project to work on. Not only because Joseph is one of the nicest artists out there, but also because the material is exactly as described by the author of the article...
"The trio crafts songs that modernize 60s garage rock and 1970s New York punk, putting a spin on pop structure that draws comparisons to Talking Heads, Gang of Four and The Cars, with hints of Suicide and a synth-free Devo."
This record is really going to make some noise when it's released in March 2012 so keep your ears open for it.