As a result to Merts request on the Cutting Through Experience I reached out to my Adobe based Canadian friend Andy from Astral Radio to help out. I expected a short answer – see what he has been up to! He shares his tricks, shows a ton of screenshots, has his latest demos and even delieverd a second part where he digs into Rock Imaging. Perfect stuff for a relaxed Thanksgiving weekend – enter Andy McBeth.
Name: Andrew McBeth
Other aliases: Shakey
Job: Producer/voice dood for Astral Radio Canada.
Platform: Adobe / Plugs: Waves
Producing/writing: Rock/AC/All Sports
Voicing: Rock/CHR/All Sports
Sex: Yes please
Production words to live by: Will the listener understand this? Is that effect or plugin necessary? Write in sound bites not thoughts. Be humble, and stay open to new possibilities. No matter how good you are… never stop learning. And smile, it’s just radio.
I want to start this blog post with a few tech hits for those of you plugged into Adobe. If you’re your rocking ProTools and using the WAVES plugs the notes that follow also will relate to you. From the tech talk I’m going to holla at the Rock producers out there in radio land with some talk around rock imaging.
The following is what I do… and I could be totally WACKED in my approach. What I’m saying is there are soooooooooo many production do’s and don’ts out there—if there’s something here that grabs ya, use and abuse. If it’s all just crap, that’s cool too!
The plugins: I’m using on the daily are from the Waves family of plugs. I use them for everything from filtering to mastering. Look for the screen shots attached to this blog post for a peak at my favorite settings.
For mastering: I don’t add much, some light compression using the Waves C1, followed by the L1. I run this set up on a track in the Adobe multi-track screen. Honestly I do most of my producing live from the multi-track screen. I need to hear everything I’m doing in the mix! All I’m looking to do is slightly cut the peaks or slight spikes in the audio. ALERT, ALERT, mastering can totally make or break your stuff. Try not to get to funky with this part of your mix. Remember anything you do in the studio passes through more processing as it hits the radio. Too much on the mastering can leave your stuff muddy and lifeless—not cool. I got what I do from good ol Dave Foxx during a teleseminar he did with Dan O’day. I put his wisdom to work immediately and heard a HUGE difference in the sound of my final product.
Voice Chains (comment by benztown – this is for you Mert): Typically I’ll run a C1 followed by the L1. If I want to inject more juice into the vo I’ll go with this: L1/C1/L1. For me, it all depends on what type of filter I’m using. So, the filter determines how far I’ll go with compression. If I’m not using a filter, going for a more natural vo sound, there’s a lot less compression at play . Also try playing around with the location of your limiter (L1). Throw it before the compressor in the chain for even more squashed sound.
FX Plugs: My fav’s would have to be, WAVES Req/Mondo/Meta Flanger/Enigma/Q10 & Q4/Rverb/Ultra pitch & Supertap I’ll use every once and a while. Adobe fx’s, Time pitch stretch/Distortion/FFT filter/Parametric eq/reverb/Dynamic eq/delay/echo. I very seldom if ever go with a straight plugin preset. I’ll tweak it till I think it works in the mix. And for me when it comes to plughttp://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-admin/post.php?post=414&action=edits—less is more!(Check Andy’s Filters and PlugIN settings in the Gallery below.)http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-admin/post.php?post=414&action=edit[gallery include=”419, 420, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425, 426″]
Format specifics: Rock imaging
First and foremost when I’m approaching rock imaging I throw caution to the wind! I don’t like to follow any set list of rules when I produce the rock format. I’ll always have levels, flow, and fit (the imaging as an extension of the music) in mind, but either than I leave it wide open. I’m more concerned with pushing boundaries, creating something, fresh, new, unique, and innovative.
Questions I’m often asking myself and others: Is the imaging world I live in everyday just voices mixed with fx’s, or can it be more than that? As producers why do we use Fx plugs as much as we do, why do we transition music mixes with some type of whoosh, stab, or what ev? Are we doing this stuff because it’s been done, because it’s the norm? And at the end of it all, does the listener understand any of it?????
When I sit down to produce anything the listener is ALWAYS top of mind. Whatever comes out of my studio must be understandable to the listener. If it’s not, then I feel I’ve failed. Hey… honestly, a piece of production could sound totally sick to any of us radio peeps, but if the listener doesn’t get it… really… what’s the point? Keep in mind how close we all are to this thing called radio. Every once and a while think back to your pre-radio days. Remember the stuff you would hear that would get you jacked and excited about listening to the radio.
Ideas for me, most of the time, come on quick. My advice: be tapped into everything. Be watching movies, trailers, reading magazines (especially mags targeting your audience), read books, the paper, take breaks, talk to real people, hang with non-radio folks, be on Twitter and facebook. Read the Benztown blog!!!! (comment benztown: thanks Andy)
Ok, that’s all I’ve got for now. If I can leave you with a couple things, have fun, and TRY NEW THINGS. Umm, let’s see… start with a vo on one track, copy that vo to the track below, filter the copied track, compress the crap out of it, give it a stereo split, then boost the volume higher than you normally would. Most will tell you to down the level of the copied track, but it’s a fantastic way to punch a word or two—really selling it. After all you are selling the words with all that production razzle dazzle right…. Right?
Ps: don’t be afraid to reach out, email@example.com.