How To Get Gigs In a Small Market

Most people refer to big cities like Chicago, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas as the major hubs for DJs and dance music. Some even think you need to move to these cities to begin a successful DJ career. While those cities serve as the tastemakers for the rest of the country, there are hundreds of smaller markets full of venues that are packed with patrons seeking quality music. Cities like Orlando, Buffalo, Scottsdale, or Milwaukee are not completely void of a DJ scene. It is possible to develop a successful DJ career without uprooting yourself and moving to a major city. Navigating the DJ scene of a small market can be tough but it’s not impossible. Below we dive into some tips and advice for taking on a small market.

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Not Just Stuttering: Fraction Plug-in Slices Sound Live on Mac

Fraction by Sinevibes video demo from Sinevibes on Vimeo. Sinevibes has been on a roll lately. The one-man Mac plug-in shop keeps churning out elegant, attractive plug-ins with a consistent color-coded visual interface, variations on a theme that invariably include clever twists. And now, this. Fraction isn’t the first slice repeater plug-in. But it might … Continue →

The post Not Just Stuttering: Fraction Plug-in Slices Sound Live on Mac appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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What’s next for newsgathering gear?

What's next for newsgathering gear?

Jerry Ibbotson reveals how smartphones are becoming an increasingly popular choice for radio news recording, and why manufacturers need to catch up. 

Next time you’re watching the TV news and you see someone being interviewed by the press pack take a good look at the recording equipment being thrust into people’s faces. As well as the ENG mics and windshields bobbing about at the bottom of the screen (much to the annoyance of the cameramen) you’ll see an increasing number of devices that many audio pros will not consider ‘proper’ recording gear – mobile phones.

I realise this is sacrilege to many of those reading this magazine but smartphones are now more and more likely to be part of a radio journalist’s arsenal. From reel-to-reel recorders or Marantz cassette machines, through Minidisc and more lately all-in-ones like the HHB FlashMic or Nagra Ares, we’ve come a long way. But phones?

Actually, if you listen to the radio and to news in particular, you’ll have been hearing actuality captured on a phone for a couple of years now. BBC radio reporters are issued with iPhones as standard kit. An old friend of mine, Nick Garnett at BBC Radio 5 Live, is a pioneer of this and uses his iPhone and a range of apps including Luci Live (reviewed in Audio Media a couple of years ago) and Voddio to record and share all his material.

It’s the ‘s’ word – share – that is important here. As Nick has told me (a relative Luddite in this field) before: it’s no good if you have the best audio in the world if you can’t get it to air. And that’s where phones (and tablets to a certain degree) come in. Having recorded interviews using the surprisingly good microphone on an iPhone, it’s a doddle to then file that material back to base for broadcast. Email will do the job in many circumstances but specialist apps are also available and better for larger files.

The BBC has its own software, PNG, which combines recording and editing with the ability to drop the sound files directly onto the corporation’s own servers. You can conceivably have material on air in minutes without recourse to a big expensive satellite truck or radio car.

I’ve used PNG myself, recording a succession of radio interviews at the scene of a developing story and filing each one back to the studio while I walked to the next. By the time I arrived ‘home’ at the newsroom, each interview had already been edited and put to air. And all of this was done with a piece of hardware with a fruity-sounding name.

It’s not just a flash in the pan. I’ve spoken to a well-known manufacturer of portable recorders that was looking at how to commercially answer the increasing need for ‘capture and forward’ technology – recording and getting on air. The conclusion we came to was that if the software doing the file transfer was kept separate from the recorder (i.e. on a phone) it would be easier to update and modify.

A while later I spotted a machine from Olympus, which does a pretty good range of portable audio machines that take a first step in this direction.

The DM-901 actually sits not in the Olympus Audio Recorder range but among its business hardware. It’s a voice recorder – a 21st century dictating machine. It sits in the palm of your hand and is meant for note-taking, interviewing for non-broadcast and business presentations. Not the usual review fare for Audio Media International but bear with me. 

It can record in .wav format at 48kHz 16-bit or as MP3 and has a decent range of options to choose from, including a Low Cut Filter and a mic ‘zoom’. As well as the built-in capsules it also has a 3.5mm minijack input for a separate microphone – reminiscent of the MiniDiscs of the mid to late 1990s and earlier 2000s. In fact I think I still have a minijack-to-XLR lead rattling around somewhere. I played around with various controls and did some test recordings with the onboard mics and the results were perfectly acceptable; certainly no worse than a lot of smartphones.

But what had drawn my attention to the Olympus was not the hardware but the software. There is a separate Audio Controller app for both iOS and Android phones that hooks up directly to the DM-901 via WiFi. I downloaded it from Google Play to a Motorola Moto G phone and after a bit of jiggery-pockery, synched the phone to the recorder. 

One tip: make sure the WiFi on the Olympus is actually activated before you start cursing and swearing. And make sure your phone is disconnected from your usual WiFi source as well.

What you have in the app is a remote control for the DM-901 that lets you stop and start recording. This could be useful at press conferences, where the controller has to sit at the front of the event while the reporter loiters at the back. You can index recorders and even add images to them if necessary. 

But the real trick up the Audio Controller’s sleeve is its ability to upload recordings from the recorder, via the smartphone to Dropbox. It can only do this with MP3 recordings at 128kbps but the procedure is pretty straightforward.

The downside is that it only works with Dropbox, which is great if that’s your Cloud storage of choice but less so if it isn’t. To me, it’s a case of so close but no cigar. I have to admire Olympus for taking this first step down the transfer road. But when I can download a free voice recorder app for my phone that lets me use Android’s range of Share options, then the bar is set quite high.

Also – why use WiFi? That’s what my phone should be using to upload the audio, but it can’t if it’s hooked up to the recorder. Why not use Bluetooth for the phone/recorder link instead?

Those things aside, at least someone’s actually made the first move. The Olympus Audio app and hardware may be flawed but they have to be saluted for getting the ball rolling.

Jerry Ibbotson has worked in pro audio for more than 20 years, first as a BBC radio journalist and then as a sound designer in the games industry. He’s now a freelance audio producer and writer.

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DPA mics excel at Chicago house of worship

DPA mics excel at Chicago house of worship

The audio team at Chicago’s Christian Church of Clarendon Hills (CCCH) recently turned to DPA Microphones' d:screet Necklace Microphone when looking for a solution that would allow them to more easily mic pastors and performers of all statures.

This marks the first known house of worship application for the company’s latest miniature mic. In addition to its regular services, the 750-strong church lends its auditorium to local schools for concerts and events, so the audio team also keeps a supply of DPA d:fine 66, d:fine 4066 and d:screet 4061 miniatures on hand.

Initially trying the DPA d:screet Necklace mic on recommendation from their local integrator, Robert Locklear, minister of worship and music at CCCH said of the miniature mic: “It has a lot of the same tonal qualities of a regular headset mic with a little lower-end, which was a welcome surprise because of the high-end frequencies boost. We don’t have any of the wispiness that we have with most headset mics that are commonplace in houses of worship. We only have one Necklace mic right now, but it has such a great quality that we’re definitely going to purchase more.”

The size and durability of the mic also appealed to Locklear and his team, who have a limited budget for purchasing new mics: “We do a lot of plays and talent shows, both through our church and for local schools that rent our space, and the biggest problem we were having was trying to mic the children and petite women,” he explained. “For instance, our Pastor’s wife is very petite and when she would wear the d:fine headset mics that we use for the male speakers, we couldn’t mount it to her head properly because we have the longer boom, so the d:screet Necklace is a better fit for this situation.”

It isn’t just the smaller presenters who are benefitting from the d:screet Necklace. “It has been excellent for all of our speaking roles,” continued Locklear. “We had some doubts about it being placed down by the neck and behind the mouth, but those have really been unfounded. What’s more, our Senior Pastor is very comfortable with the mic. It’s especially useful for when he’s done with service as he spends a lot of one-on-one time speaking with people and found that it would often be off-putting for people sharing their life story with someone with a headset mic. With DPA’s d:screet Necklace mic, he just tucks the mic into his collar and sits it right where a tie might be, so no one notices the mic. This setup has given him and his congregation a lot more confidence to have personal conversations.”

Though the d:screet Necklace is proving to be the preferred solution for presenters, the church’s DPA collection began with the original 4066 Headset Microphone, now part of DPA’s d:fine line of headset mics. It was Locklear’s experiences with that mic that led him to purchase the d:fine 66 and d:screet 4061, in addition to the d:screet Necklace.

“We started purchasing the 4066s as we were replacing our competitor-brand headsets because we felt the DPAs were a lot sturdier,” he explained. “We purchased the dual-ear version, which was not available for most brands at the time. That solution has given our speakers a lot more comfortability, confidence and security because the mic doesn’t move around when they are talking. The mics are also great for the students who use them, especially for younger users when we host outside events. The wire is a lot more pliable than most headsets.”

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Marathon challenge for HK Audio Contour Array

Marathon challenge for HK Audio Contour Array

An HK Audio Contour Array system was chosen to provide audio for the 2015 London Marathon, which featured over 37,000 participants this year.

For the past five years, Hertfordshire-based Mr H Productions has supplied sound reinforcement at two points on the 26-mile route – one of which is right at the half way point – and was involved once again.

"Every year seems to get better, we are placed at the half way mark, and entertain the cheering crowds as well as the participating runners,” said Mr H Productions creative founder Andrew J Harvey. "This is very important, as the runners are given that extra encouragement. 

"The main problem that we have faced in the past is throwing the sound way down this part of the route, without having undue noise to local residents. This year we tried out the HK Contour Array system, having 2 CT118 subs aside with 2 CTA208 mid/hi array cabinets, ground stacked on the subs. The system performed effortlessly, with headroom to spare. At one point, when we had the far-off runners approaching doing the YMCA, we knew that the system was throwing well beyond our expectations!"

Karl Bates, pro-audio area sales manager for HK Audio's UK distributor John Hornby SKewes & Co (JHS), added: "Andy was looking for something quick and easy to rig, that could be used in a variety of situations and the Contour Array fitted perfectly. They had playback as well as live music going through the system and it performed without fault, we had comments from the spectators that every vocal was clear and precise. Even with so much noise from the cheering crowds, the system handled it with ease.”

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Waves Audio begins shipping H-Reverb plugin

Waves Audio begins shipping H-Reverb plugin

Waves Audio has begun shipping the Waves H-Reverb plugin, new software based on algorithmic FIR (Finite Impulse Response) reverberation technology designed to deliver 'richer, deeper reverb tails'.  

The FIR engine that powers H-Reverb enables customisation of the reverb decay envelope beyond the standard linear forms, promising 'perfectly gated, real reverse, and dense reverb tails that don’t muddy up the mix'. H-Reverb also incorporates Waves’ analogue modelling along with a drive control. This design also enables input drive.

H-Reverb includes a library of artist presets from the industry’s leading mixing engineers, including Toni Maserati, Brad Divens, Daniel Green, Dave Darlington, Dave Stagl, James Ebdon, Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, Kevin Madigan, Pete Keppler, Ross Hogarth and Yoad Nevo and more.

Impulse-variable resonant filtering is featured for creating unfamiliar and advanced reverb effects, in addition to an EQ and dynamics module for compression, ducking and de-essing. ADA analogue modelling and drive control allows input clipping, while the plugin also features full buildup timing and shaping, pre-delay BPM sync and support for full 5.1-channel surround setups.

Mick Olesh, Waves' EVP of sales and marketing stated: “Waves is extremely excited about releasing the H-Reverb. We went to great lengths to make this the most comprehensive and best-sounding reverb plugin possible, incorporating invaluable input from industry-leading mixing engineers.”

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