Friday, November 24, 2006 

FDA #23 - Speech Processing and Field Recording

Direct Link to the mp3.

I. Welcome. Peet Sneakes is back as our co-host.
Compression - sound loud (but not harsh) and soft at the same time
II. News and Notes
A. Amadeus Pro - great inexpensive audio editor on the Mac.
B. Applescript for radio-style programming on the iPod or iTunes
C. Free spectral analysis au and VST pulgins
1. Roger Nichols Inspector (AU)
2. Spectrafier (VST)
III. Field Recording
  • So welcome on metrostation overamstel
  • So lets start with why I started with field recording ... Story about Simon, he's a Camera man for various dutch projects
    • He took me outside and recorded something
    • It sounded immerse.
  • Let's just review what options you have to do some outdoor recording, and why.
  • Recorders:
    • Cheap: memo-recorders (10 dollars)
    • iRiver MP3 recorders 799 series. (around 50-100 dollars)
    • iPod (video 4th and 4th gen with a Universal microphone adapter )
    • Less Cheap and digital: sony MD recorders (100 to 200 dollars) ... especially when you're using Windows
      • Make sure you get a recorder with an amplified microphone jack.
    • Semi professional (around 350 dollars) (I don't have any experience with any of them but the M-Audio):
      • Zoom H4 (Samson Technologies) (quite big, includes a fixed bulky microphone setup, interchangeable batteries, many applications)
      • Edirol R9 (Roland, Edirol)
    • Professional (500 dollars and above):
  • Microphones (applications)
  • Plop screens (reduce sounds)
  • Headphones: closed system
    • I'm a Sennheiser freak, so I use only small Closed Sennheisers, just try them on and check if you can bare to wear them for a while.
  • Post production: filtering of wind noise.
  • Microphone handling (use the headphones).
IV. Rick Pepper on speech processing (part II)
A. Rick Pepper's audio tutorial for speech processing
B. See last week's screen shots for au and vst plugins settings Rick used to process his voice.
He suggests uses them in this order (graphic eq (or hi pass filter, multiband compressor, mda bandisto plugin (exciter), and au dynamics processor (compressor and gate)
c. MDA VST multiband compressor (and otehr au and vst plugins)


Sunday, November 12, 2006 

You too can make the perfect itunes playlist

On last week's MacBreak Weekly, Alex Lindsey mentioned he wanted a way to make a new playlist in iTunes from a random selection of songs in other playlists. So say you have playlists called "Gold" - your favorite songs, "Indie" - independent artists, "Jazz", and "Blues". You want to make a new playlist with song from each of the 4 playlists mentioned above. Furthermore, you want to weight some playlists heavier than others so there are more song from that source playlist, for example "Indie" in the example above might contribute more songs that the other playlists. The script lets you decide how many items to add from each source playlist so you can weight them to your liking. This gives you a great mix of songs between your favorites and other great tunes you love but seldom listen to.

So I whipped up an applescript to do the trick. 3 caveats:
1. Its a bit slow. Randomizing the playlists takes a bit of time
2. It borrows heavily from the randomize script at Doug's Applescript for iTunes site
3. It will randomize the order of tracks in your playlists

Other than that it works great for me but, YMMV. This script has not been heavily tested.

Here is the link to download (do control-click save as or save link as). Save the file to [your home directory]/Library/iTunes/scripts. Then you can run from the script menu in iTunes.

Enjoy! Feel free to modify or embellish the script. I hope to make this an Applescript Studio application someday.

Bug report #1:
If you try to add say 12 songs to your new perfect playlist, and the source playlist has only 10 items, for example. You will get an error (obviously). The script should detect this though and warn you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006 

FDA 22 Lessons Learned

Direct link to the mp3

  • Lessons Learned
    • Notes
      • Special thanks to Peet Sneakes of the podcast for being a guest host of this episode of FDA

      • FDA Now part of the Home Recording Network:

      • Adobe Soundbooth


        • Try Adobe® Soundbooth. Soundbooth is a brand new application built in the spirit of Sound Edit 16 and Cool Edit that provides the tools video editors, designers, and others who do not specialize in audio need to accomplish their everyday work such as: Editing audio quickly, Cleaning up noisy audio, Visually identifying and removing unwanted sounds, Recording and polishing voiceovers. Adding effects and filters, Easily creating customized music‹without musical expertise.

        • Free during beta

      • O'reilly Digital Media article on editing audio - specifically dealing with plosives in your recording. Basically the tip is the run a high - pass filter at about 1100hz to reduce the bite of the plosive. Samples to listen before and after as well as the full article is at

      • Lessons Learned
        • Avoiding and reducing noise in your recording
          • Sit in the room where are you plan to record and listen. Do you hear:
            • Your kids
            • your washing machine
            • Your spouse watching TV
            • your refridgerator?
            • your PC's fan
            • your other PC or Mac?
            • Your external hard drive?
          • What to do?
            • Some are easy - record when everyone else is gone or sleeping
            • PC - my emac is loud. I put it in sleep mode and use the powerbook
            • my story - started with garageband but kept getting a lot of background noise. Started recording in GarageBand but the GB3 upgrade really made my cpu work hard and kicked in the fan all the time. So I started using Audio Hijack Pro to record and that was better but still had some noise. Then I realized my firewire drive is audible in the recordings so I disconnected it and recorded to the internal drive and this was much better. Most of the backround noise was gone
            • If you still have noise - run a noise gate. Record a minute of ambient noise and then run a noise gate. Turn the volume up in your headphones and play with the threshold, attack, release and ratio until you are satisfied
            • Current Workflow -> record AHP, edit Fission, Mix GB3
        • Peet - on the road to the ultimate sound
        • Geoff - minimizing noise in your recording
        • Apple's online podcast seminar
        • Inteview with Rick Pepper on voice processing with a punch
        • Rick's setings for the au graphic eq and the au multiband compressor
    AU Graphic EQ

    AU MulitBand Compressor

    AU Dynamics Processor

    MDA Bandisto (vst plugin)