Category Archives: video tutorial

RECORDING: Free Online Course that is actually GOOD

https://soundfly.com/courses/demo-recording-101

 

From Soundfly…. I recently discovered this course while researching some material for my 9th annual songwriting/recording summercamp at the school I teach at in the Philly ‘burbs, and I think this course is really, really helpful for recording a demo at home and on the cheap…… ALL instruments, too. The entire course is two and a half hours, and well worth your time.

Do check it out, and check out more of what Soundfly.com has to offer… all of their courses are long and useful, not just this one. Really dope site.

 

 

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SONGWRITING/RECORDING: Harmonizers

I like harmonizers (harmonizer pedals), A LOT. I use them as songwriting tools, and for playing my favorite songs, and having them sound as legit as possible (if the harmonies are simple, like most are).

It’s my belief that if a song melody is catchy enough, harmonizing that melody will make it ten times catchier.

It is also my belief that if a melody is well-written, harmonizing said melody works for all of the notes in the phrase, and really pushes it into the stratosphere.

Why some people hate harmonizers

They don’t like that a machine is being used as a tool for a solo singer-songwriter, for extra vocals. Most people assume that everyone should have a backup singer. But what if you don’t have access to a good one? What if you have a major personality clash with someone helping you harmonize? What if they look stupid up there, all alone, holding a tambourine, and simply singing, and doing nothing else? I mean, ultimately… what difference does it make, how the job (the song/performance/recording) gets done, as long as the end result is good?

The main reason I use harmonizers

As many people know, as I’ve been quite “vocal” about it (no pun intended), I’ve had vocal cord/singing problems since summer 2008, when I had a major vocal cord surgery. I was ok after, until early 2011, when some weird flu/swelling of my throat happened, and since then, I lost basically all of my falsetto and higher range, as it’s too damn “breathy”, often. I’ve done warmups, and vocal therapy, dietary changes, lifestyle changes, you name it… ultimately, most days, I can’t sing with my full range. So I use a harmonizer pedal as a tool, in recording situations, and performance situations. I consider my voice issues more a hardship, than a handicap… but whatever it’s called… I think this is an important tool in my arsenal. I never would ever say I’m an amazing singer… at best I’d say I’m competent and I can hold pitch. And often, when I hear people demonstrate these vocal harmonizers on YouTube, they are completely amazing and have high, powerful voices to begin with. It, of course, makes me feel like crap, but I see what they’re doing. Vocal harmony makes everything better and it’s extremely useful when you mainly write and perform completely alone (as I do). It’s nice to have background singers who don’t give me any drama or make me sing a song I’d rather not (or cannot physically attempt). As long as I stay in pitch, my harmony singers (my pedal) are happy.

So don’t fear ’em…. try them out. They’re extremely fun. I own the TC Helicon Voicelive 2, and also the Voicelive Play GTX (with the “Switch 3” pedal) in a small pedalboard setup, for live and songwriting use. Pro tip– common vocal harmony is a 3rd above, so try a preset in the pedal that is exactly that (most harmonizer pedals default to that, as preset 01).

Some of my favorite harmonizer pedal demonstrations:

 

SONGWRITING/RECORDING: RapidComposer (huge update)

Hi guys, I wanted to talk about a program I’ve helped improve over the last six months– RapidComposer by http://www.MusicDevelopments.com (a Hungarian company).  I discovered it about a year and a half ago.

RCscreenshot

I work closely with the developer, in working out bugs, suggesting features and functionality improvements, and music theory consultation (the developer has no music experience, but wanted to create a program that helps users compose MIDI music insanely fast). I also re-wrote the 22-page manual from scratch (with new screenshots, etc). It’s now close to 70 pages.

We (and I use this term respectfully, as I feel like I’ve become a member of MusicDevelopments, because of how closely I’ve worked with the guy who conceived the program) are coming out with a major update to the program, on November 18th. 99% of the bugs/potential crashes have been worked out of the program, and many, many useful, fun features have been added.

I also do video tutorials for the program, and as of this writing (November 6th, 2013), I finished 11 videos. You can check them all out at my YouTube channel. Here’s a direct link to the Tutorial playlist:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt9aB3JimWsgmyBi8w_1ydxiMlp9P6Wu1

There are a few more tutorial videos coming out (more about the Idea Tool, Phrase/Track Variations, RC as a plugin inside your DAW, and Drag-N-Drop functionality).

The developer and I feel that this program is insanely powerful, innovative, groundbreaking, etc. No other program out there works with midi phrases/motifs that conform to chords and harmony, in such a fast way. One program works similarly: “Synfire Pro” by Cognitone (which many have said is incredibly overpriced for what it does). I was one of the first paying customers of Cognitone software (I bought Harmony Navigator 1.0 back in 2007), and I never really found that program as useful or as fun/fast to use as RapidComposer. (And on a personal note, Cognitone has never really been that friendly, regarding questions about or problems with the program.)

So I am proud to be a part of MusicDevelopments and help the tiny company get out there, more. This software deserves to be a a go-to tool for electronic music producers, songwriters, and studio nerds. Additionally, you could use RC without having any keyboard-playing experience at all… in fact, we feel that it can be easily utilized by people who may be physically-restricted due to hand/wrist injuries, aging, or partial paralysis, who may love the very essence of music, composing, MIDI, etc… but never were able to put anything together, until now. In my tutorial videos, I throw together cool music ideas with just one hand- using my mouse, and hitting keystrokes to insert Phrases, never touching a MIDI keyboard at all. So again, not only is this program extremely powerful, but it is unique and can be used by all types of people, regardless of musical experience.

So do me a favor, and check out the major update on November 18th… you can download the demo for free (though the demo does not include the Idea Tool, or the new, awesome Melody Generator).

Thanks for following my blog, and especially, thanks for checking out RapidComposer!

 

 

RECORDING: Poise VST tutorials

Here are four tutorials I made about the Poise VST, which is the best MPC-style sampler out there, hands-down. It’s actually a million times easier to use than an MPC. Along with Native Instruments’ Maschine, Poise + Reaper is how I make a majority of my hip-hop tracks.

Check these videos out, and download the Poise demo. You’ll be extremely impressed.

 

 

RECORDING: Using Maschine as VST within Reaper (written and video tutorial)

I realized I never finished the video for the previous post (when I initially wrote this post in November 2012)…. as of February 2013, I finished a video. Here’s a walkthrough for the setup, as I posted on the Reaper forums months ago:

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=108652

And here is the 17-minute long overview/tutorial…