Your unknown friends – FX in your mix

Posted in Recording on Januar 15th, 2011 by EO-Manager

These days nearly every single week new music gadgets, fx and VST instruments are published. The amount of synths, drums, compressors, eqs, limiters, choruses etc has become gigantic. The specific music and instrument press, of course, as one of the main information channels for distribution hardly ever puts down any of these.

Everything newly released seems bigger, better, brighter, easier, quicker. Is that really true? I don’t think so. In fact I have my own theory about this. And it has to do with our – the users – attitude. Very often we expect the “new” gear to do wonders and as we quickly flip through the presets, we at least mark it as plus or minus on our personal usefulness list. The point is, we often don’t use it intensively in a musical context and therefore very often remain on the surface of the potential of these instruments and fx. When was the last time you actually programmed (!) your own sound? When was the last time you actually twiddled around with your multiband compressor for longer than 10 minutes? See. It’s not that you have to, don’t get me wrong, and there is no real necessity, because the presets usually meet about at least 80% of what we want anyway. But back to point: it is only 80% and we often are mistaken, that a new gadget will do the last 20%, too. Wrong. Let me put it like this: a compressor is a compressor is a compressor, meaning there is nothing new in operation technique since compressors have become available for the masses. But we, the musicians, mixers, producers in one, should understand the darn thing first, before we ought to buy another one. And another one. And another one. Because they might sound a little different here and there, but still we need to understand the function and operation first.

What I sometimes do when feeling the urge to become musically active, but not in the mood for writing music, I take ONE of my fx and twiddle around, try to understand what happens when or rebuild step by step descriptions of magazines like “Computer Music”, “Recording Mag” or similar. Yes, sometimes it is boring, but mostly you get something out of it and get to know your peripherals and their reactions (and even sound) much better.

A good starting point is the project studio website that deals with all kinds of tips and tricks not only about fx, but all aspects of recording in your projectstudio.

Tags: ,