The advantages of always learning new tricks
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
One of the big advantages, for me that is, of being on extended furlough during the COVID pandemic was the ability to spend some serious time making a new album and making underscore music for Film and TV and having the time to learn and improve.
I enrolled in another another audio engineering course which was covering small studio mixing and mastering. I had studied basic studio audio engineering years ago with the excellent educator Ronan Chris Murphy (engineer/producer for, among others, Terry Bozzio, King Crimson, Robert Fripp, Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Tony Levin and Joe Satriani) out in California and this year, doing a series of online live instruction webinars with multi-grammy award winner Bobby Owsinski, I took what I had learned and put into practice taking my mixes to the next level, focusing on getting a great mix that would compete with the big studios using different types of Compressors, EQ’s and Limiters and taking this on to the mastering stage (about which I have blogged before).
Common practices the big studios use; like using subtractive EQ, using the right amount of compression to let the song breathe, using parallel compression on the drums and bass to get that ‘BIG’ sound, creative use of reverb, flanging, delay and so on and how to get the groove right. (I get carried away sometimes and am concerned I might be putting off the non-technical reader, so I’ll stop with all that now!).
So, I decided that, with time on my hands, I could put some of Bobby’s techniques to practice on the "Shuffle'n'Swing" album which I originally released for download only on all the main online platforms and I set aside two weeks to do nothing but start from scratch on the remix. I've blogged about this album before, so I won't repeat myself here. But I will say the time spent was worthwhile.
But don’t take my word for it, check out the review in The Rocking Magpie music blog for November 2020 here.
Plus, I added a Christmas duet - me and Lou Minas - of two segued, well-known jolly Yuletide standards which was waiting to be added to an appropriate collection and this is available as an extra track only on the 2020 CD Remix.
The CD is available for sale from this website right now and with its super positive, upbeat and inspirational songs it’ll make the ideal Christmas gift! Of course, you can download the remixed album from the website too without the additional Christmas track, but it would be a bit "Scrooge" now, wouldn't it? Go on, join the increasing number of listeners who prefer a physical product! As Alan says in The Rocking Magpie review (link above), "Buy - Don't Spotify"!
Although I wished I’d learned all these tricks a couple of years ago when I first released Shuffle’n’Swing, I’m glad I took the opportunity to improve and re-release it. And other future productions will benefit from my extended knowledge. Life and the actions of life - including sound engineering - gets better with deeper learning and applied improvement. In fact, I’d say that’s all part of the fun of it, don’t you think?