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Archive for December, 2010

iPad/iPhone Band Performs Christmas Carols

An interesting story on the Macgasm site appeared this week of a band using iPad and iPhone music apps to play Christmas carols in a performance in an auditorium. I sort of have mixed feelings on this. As you may know, I’ve been a big supporter of iOS music apps, and think they have a lot of potential (even though there are lots that are just glorified toys). However, if you watch this video, you might feel as I do, that there’ something a little missing from this performance. Yes, musically, it sounds good, but from a performance standpoint, it’s odd.

Seeing a bunch of people standing on a stage tapping on iPads leaves you wanting. It’s not the same as seeing someone actually playing a piano, strumming a guitar, or bashing a drum kit. Yes, on the video there are closeups of what they’re doing, and that’s fine (and it seems that these closeups were being shown to the audience on big screens, which I’m sure helped a lot), but it feels so much like a novelty act. Then again, watching the guy play “Felice Navidad” on Bebot (around 5:43 into the video) is pretty darn cool. If you’ve ever messed around with Bebot, you’ll know it’s not so easy to play in tune like that. In any case, it’s definitely worth a look and a listen.

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Related Topics: Emusician |

iZotope RX 2′s Amazing Spectral Repair Feature

I’ve been a big fan of iZotope’s RX audio restoration software since it came out a couple of years ago. It’s easy to use, and offers great performance in reducing noise and eliminating sonic artifacts in a variety of situations. Although I’ve used it’s broadband denoiser, declicker, and other features a lot in video and podcast post production situations, lately I’ve been using its Spectral Repair module to clean up some tracks on a music project I’m mixing. Although all the modules in RX are valuable, Spectral Repair is unlike anything I’ve used before. Basically, you can set it to attenuate or replace sections of audio, and it’s able to get out glitches without damaging the surrounding audio. If used correctly, theresults can be pretty mind-boggling.

For instance, one way in which it totally shines is with finger squeaks on acoustic guitar tracks. Select the squeak, use the Attenuate option, hit process, and boom, the sqeaak is eliminated or significantly reduced. I just used it on an acoustic rhythm guitar track that had some very short clicky clips on it. This time I used the Replace option (see screenshots). And, again, it worked perfectly. The glitch was gone.

With the Replace option, RX takes your selection, and, using interpolation, replaces it based on what came before and after it. Here’s a classic example of how to use it: I had an acoustic bass part that was ringing out at the end of a song, and a noise (probably from the player moving a little) got picked up on the mix, which marred the note as it rang out. I used the Replace option, in this case, because it essentially replaced the click with what that section should have sounded like had the click not been there.

It’s an invaluable tool. The regular version of RX 2, which includes the Spectral Repair costs $349. Everything I described in this post can be done with the regular version (and a whole lot more). RX 2 Advanced, which has more features and tweaking options, costs $1199. By the way, EM will have a review of RX 2 Advanced in an upcoming issue.
before.pngafter.png

The image on the left shows that acoustic guitar click I referred to earlier, with Spectral Repair module opened below it. On the right is the same point in time, after I processed it. (You can click on these images to enlarge them.)

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Related Topics: Emusician, Mike Levine |

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The Bus, EM's editorial blog, features posts from all the EM editors on topics related to gear, recording techniques and much more. It's also home to posts from a selected group of guest bloggers.

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