Friday, April 12, 2013

Kurt Vile Live Stream From New York On Pitchfork

So here is it in it's entirety.  Kurt Vile plays a few of his new songs off of his  critically acclaimed  release "Walkn On A Pretty Daze" (Matador Records).

This was shot in Pitchfork's New York offices with camera and direction from the amazing Pitchfork crew.  The Sound Shop Mobile Recording was handling all of the multi-track audio recording and mixing to broadcast, and Gigstream was encoding the live stream as well as archiving.

Many thanks to The Pitchfork crew for all of their work, and to Keen for the sponsorship.

                                                     Kurt Vile Live In It's Entirety


How The World Hears You.
Todd Fitch
Co-Founder / Audio Engineer / Mix Engieer
The Sound Shop Mobile Recording  /  Gigstream
Location Concert Recording  /  Live HD Webcasting
Direct Line: 708-289-2646

Sunday, April 7, 2013

SXSW - Kurt Vile - Live Streaming - Redundant Encoding - Pitchfork - Living In New York

So to be honest this is a copy and paste of the most recent email blast I sent out. if you are interesting in subscribing (I email even less that I blog) you may do so here.

          Redundancy In The Comforts Of New York

              Watch Kurt Vile Stream Live Tues At 3PM Eastern On Pitchfork
                                                               Details Here

It looks as if New York was the right move.  The right move for both The Sound Shop Mobile Recording and for Gigstream.

Within a week of having relocated to New York, The Sound Shop Mobile Recording was in Times Square providing audio support for a live stream with Common and Fergie. 

Let me tell you, driving in Manhattan after having only been in the area for a few days meant I ended up in New Jersey (Of Course).  I get the feeling though that you only make that 24 dollar (Tolls) mistake once or twice before you start to find your way around the tunnels.

The week after I was mixing at The House Of Vans for Band Of Horses live stream of their record release party. Then we joined Pitchfork for their CMJ Music Marathon party as well as a live streaming concert series from their offices in New York. 

The Safe For Work series has been a blast to work on.  This series has so far made a nice dent in Sub Pop's roster including live streams of King Tuff, Metz, and Mac Demarco.  Last week we live streamed Dead Oceans artist Phosphorescent, and this Tues Kurt Vile will be live at 3pm Eastern.

On top of all of that, I just returned home from SXSW where I provided audio support for the first ever official SXSW showcase live stream.  While there we knocked on the door of awesome with artists A Band Of Bitches, Toro Y Moi, and Moltov to name just a couple.  In all, along with the Pro Media crew, we streamed 22 bands in four days.

Needless to say Gigstream and The Sound Shop Mobile Recording have been extremely busy.  Not only with our live streams, but also the constant effort to make these live streams better.

The Gigstream improvements were meant to reign in some of the rental costs that our clients were incurring and offer an even greater sense of reliability while streaming live.

Gigstream's recent upgrades include:

- UNLIMITED HD Line Cut recording to Apple Pro Res 
 We can play back, or hand you a digital file of your show immediately after the curtain comes down.

- Redundant HD Line Cut Recording
 Never miss a single frame.  We have TWO systems recording the line cut in HD Apple Pro Res.  This insures delivery of your show for upload after the fact

-Two Redundant Live Stream Encoders
 Not only are we encoding and streaming to a Primary Server for your live stream.  Gigstream now carries TWO redundant encoding systems in addition to the H.E.R. encoding system.  This allows us to encode live streams not only FROM a second and third system, but also encodes TO secondary servers to ensure that your  stream stays live.

- Real Time Video Switching
 Gigstream now carries an 8 input HD switcher for cutting the video to your live stream. This system of course includes Chroma, keying and lower third integration for live stream branding.

-Video Distribution
 How many different places would you like your line cut to be seen?  Are there extra screens in the venue? Or in  the lobby, or in the green rooms.  Gigstream now carries with us a powered video distribution system to place your video in up to 32 different locations on site with no degradation of the signal. 

A complete list of gear can be found HERE

Well, I apologize or being so long winded, kind of.  Having so much going on is really exciting.  Please, if you have any questions about mobile recording with The Sound Shop Mobile Recording, or live streaming with Gigstream, do not hesitate to call me directly. Both are based in New York.   My cell is 708-289-2646.  I love taking shop (obviously) so I am happy to answer any questions you might have.  

All the best,

How The World Hears You.
Todd Fitch
Co-Founder / Audio Engineer / Mix Engieer
The Sound Shop Mobile Recording  /  Gigstream
Location Concert Recording  /  Live HD Webcasting
Direct Line: 708-289-2646

Saturday, January 19, 2013

No Brown M&Ms In David Lee Roth's Bowl.

I had seen this a few months ago, but Brian Thompson shared it on his DIY Daily Blog  and reminded me that it exists.  Steve Jones had put it up on his blog Brand It like A Rock Star as a marketing tutorial, and I think he has a great point. 

First two things, one of my friends on Facebook is dating a girl that until yesterday had never heard of Oasis, and secondly I heard two younger gentlemen near Time Square last week arguing about whether Nirvana was really a band.  I mention this because, we older (Dear GOD I use that term very loosely)  cannot any more assume that the bands and the history we take for granted has been appropriately passed down.  I don’t think it is for lack of trying, but more likely that their ears are so damaged from using ear buds at ghastly levels that they just didn’t hear us.  

So for our younger readers, you need to know this shit!!

In the eighty’s (1972-1991) Van Halen had a clause in their contract that there could be no Brown M&Ms backstage.  It was rumored that if the band found even one Brown M&M, they would trash backstage resulting in the promoter having to pay out big bucks to the venue to fix and clean it up.

When I was a kid this story was the epitome of decadence.  The biggest band in the world living as ridiculous a lifestyle as possible for the sake of their egos.  Well, as it turns out that is what the cocaine was for.  The M&Ms clause was a well conceived addition to the contract that was included for the safety of the band, their crew, and the audience. 

Here it is in Dave’s words. 

The thing is that, once it got back to the band that the clause was being viewed as an act of decadence instead of it’s intended purpose, they didn’t put out a press release to put the record straight.  No, they saw it for the opportunity that it was and they ran with it.  Roth saw this as an opportunity to further the brand, and it fit. Not only did it fit, it worked perfectly. 

I’m not trying to say every musician needs to run out and make ridiculous demands, or set their guitar on fire in order to get people to pay attention to their art.   That’s not the point.  The point is that you can never know what will present itself, or how it will affect the way people view you or your art, or how far it will travel.   

That video that you worked on yesterday with the edits that you let slide, yeah that could have been the opportunity.  How about that EP you just tracked, but the drums were not quite right.  Fuck it! You can fix it in the mix. Right?? 

We have become such a immediate fulfillment society that we let a lot the little things slide for gratification in the now. The reality is, taking a moment to realize that what you have in your hands could be the opportunity of a lifetime, and treating it as such, will in the end be exponentially more satisfying and fulfilling.  If Roth and Co. had released a correction,  they would have missed the opportunity to perpetuate one of the greatest rumors in the history of Rock and Roll.  Seems like a really small thing right?  It could have been. 

How The World Hears You!
Direct Line 708-289-2646

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Video Tour Our Live Streaming Service In A New York Apartment

I was prepping the gear for our next live stream when I though to myself, "Man, I should really be working on the 2012 taxes right now." So I decided to shoot a few videos that give a decent overview of what we have going on with the Gigstream and Sound Shop Mobile Recording gear.

A lot, and I mean A LOT of people just refuse to believe that we were able to scale down the production as much as we did while providing the HD quality live streams that we have.  I've literally been told that "It's Hooey".  What a great word. 

I shot four of these.  The first is a broad overview of the entire system.  The other three go into more detail about the capability of each component (Audio/Video/ Live Encoding)  individually.     

Please if you have any questions ask. Drop me an email or give me a call.  All of my contact information is below.  I am happy to talk about this all day.  Enjoy!

How The World Hears You!
Direct Line 708-289-2646

Our New Aja Ki Pro That You Are More Than Welcome To Rent

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Secrets To Great Producing or It's Not Rocket Surgery.

Longtime Incubus manager Steve Rennie, of the Renman Blog, sat down with Grammy winning Producer Brendan O'Brien and had a chat about what it takes to make a great producer.

I cannot emphasize this enough.  This is "THE" "IT" thing. The most important aspect of being an artist. From playing live shows, to marketing,  to your image, to your social presence, all of it is NOTHING compared to this.

Write A Great Song!

Steve has TONS of great videos with a plethora of information about the music business on his website.  Do yourself a favor and spend a day watching.

How The World Hears You!
Direct Line 708-289-2646

Friday, January 4, 2013

Microphones I Like To Use For Live Streaming or Shure Sounds Dreamy In Here.

To be clear, or in an attempt to be, I am going to try and make sense of this despite my NyQuil induced haze.  I have been so sick the last couple days that I had problems reading the ingredients in my tea.  I was moments away from putting it back on the shelf via the "If you can't decipher the ingredients, it isn't good for you rule." when I realized I was reading the Spanish version.  Oooops.  NyQuil you make being sick so much better.

Anyway, I last wrote about the microphones that I carry for a great sounding, on location drum recording.  If you missed it you can get a run down here and listen to a clip here.

Today I'd like to round this out by going over some of the instrument microphones that I like to use, and why I don't like using some others.

Usually next in line for my input lists is the Bass Guitar.

On a recent gig I was not the one providing the stage production.  We had a lot of bands playing in a  short period of time, and the company that was providing all of the stage production wanted to keep the change over (switching from one band to the next) as simple and timely as possible. This is uunderstandable.  However it is the only and last time I make the mistake of not putting both a DI and a microphone on the Bass guitar.  ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS put a DI AND a microphone on your bass guitar.

One of the bands came on stage and I was sure his instrument was broken. It was one of the worst sounding instruments of the day.   After I played the recording of the bass guitar with only a DI back to the artist, he has completely changed his bands touring input list to include a microphone on the Bass setup.  I worked with the same artists a couple weeks later.  We added a microphone to the input list and his tone kicked ass.

Without these two elements live, Mic and DI, the bass guitar sounds flat.  It has little to no low end in the frequencies that you want, (40hz, 80-100HZ) and has an extremely honky sounding mid range.

I got off track.  For a live mobile recording setting I like to use the Radial Pro DI.  This is passive DI (No phantom power required) that sounds great, and is built like a tank.  And I do mean tank.  I've run over these with a car before, and it didn't cause a dent. The thing that really gets my ears about this DI is its clarity.  I can't really describe it, it is just really really clear.  This DI puts out an amazingly clear picture of the instrument that is plugged into it.
Radial Pro Di
 Now they will tell you on their website that this DI will pick up 20hz-20Khz.  I do not deny that it does.  However as I stated earlier not all frequencies are equal when it come to the output of this device.  Not to disparage you from using it by any means, but it does need a little bit of help.

Shure SM7b

Therein comes the Shure Sm7b.  These two are perfect together for a Bass Guitar.  With the presence boost enabled on the Sm7 it adds some gentle 3.5K and 5.5k for some string click and some presence while at the same time adding just a touch of body to the lower frequencies.  Here have a listen.

Please listen in headphones.  I did gain each clip up 5db, but will not smash it for the interwebs.  That would defeat the purpose.

Clips by Bel Esprit

Radial Pro DI Only
Shure SM7b Only
DI and SM7b blended

So now our drums are sounding like Mitch Mitchell and we have a nice tight bass tone, next on my input list is usually the Guitars.  There is nothing fancy about my guitar tones.  I live and die by the old standby, the Shure SM57, and I've tried them all.

The Beta 57 is just wrong.  It has an INSANE proximity effect when close micing.  Seriously, like 5-10db boost around 200hz.  It sounds like mud.

The Sennheiser e609 I think would be great if I was the Front Of House mixer.  For live stream recording though, I have found that it is just too bright and it gets in the way of some of the high-mid instruments, vocals, the high end of the toms, the bells of the cymbals ext. Again a great piece of gear, just not in this application.

The Audix i5 has a HUGE cut in the mid range and lacks the balls to be called a guitar mic.

You can see on their frequency response charts the huge difference between the three.

Sennheiser e609

Shure Sm57

Audix i5


and you can hear that "it" thing that just rings true when you have nailed your guitar tone.  The SM 57 has been the microphone of choice on guitars for decades

Here check it:
Rock This Town Tonight: By Watts Meadows. Preformed by Brooks Paul and His Band 

Brooks Paul's EP is available now on iTunes and Amazon Via Deep South Records

So now our drums sound like Mitch Mitchell, we have a nice tight bass tone, and our guitars have the balls of Angus Young.  So what do we put on the vocals to make them cut through all of that tone.

This is an area that I plan on improving this year.  I have up until this point used Shure SM 58's, another old stand-by.  These are great, low flash microphones. They are used by countless of touring and professional musicians.  I think Traffic even made an entire album with nothing but 58's, but don't quote me on that. With just a touch of mid range added and it sits right in the mix, that was until I heard the Shure KSM9.

Never have I heard a more balanced vocal microphone.  Everything about this mic is perfect for vocals.  I see myself add at least two of these to the mic locker this year and using them as the lead vocals and the 58's for backup.  From the top end presence to the bottom end this is hands down the best vocal microphone on the market today.  The KSM9 is the reason I got a credit card for The Sound Shop Mobile Recording. LOL

So there you have it.

A full list of gear, including the entire microphone locker can be seen here.


How The World Hears You!
Direct Line 708-289-2646

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What Microphones Do You Use? A Walk Through The Mic Locker

I have been asked this question several times in the last two weeks so thought it might make sense to give you a what and why, and what are the future plans.

In a live recording setting everything in changing constantly.  Especially at the bigger Bonnaroo sized festivals with 8-12 different bands coming on and off the stage each day.   Even at the smaller one band shows there is often a last minute change in instrumentation.   It is because of the fluid nature of the jobs that I chose the microphones that I did.  Most of them are great on just about anything.

Of course there are limits, but for the most part these microphone are extremely versatile, and all of them can be used in a pinch.

Now I'd like preface this by saying that this is what I carry out on live recordings and live streams. Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, ext.  Trust me when I am in a studio with a full orchestra,  bust out the 67's and 4038's.  For the majority of the location recordings though, Neumann's are a bit of overkill.

I'll lay this out in what I would hand my assistant engineer as an input list, then give some explanations after.

Let's start out with my standard drum kit setup.

Kick Inside (Bass Drum) Shure Beta 91's
Kick Outside (Bass Drum)-Electro Voice 868
Snare Top-Shure Sm 57
Snare Bottom-Shure Sm 57
Hi Hat- Shure Sm 81
Tom 1 (Rack 1)-Sennheiser e604
Tom 2 (Rack 2)-Sennheiser e604
Floor Tom- Sennheiser e604
Over Head Left And Right- Shure KSM 32

When I moved to North Carolina in 2008 I wanted to arrive with the best sounding live drum mic kit in the area, and I completely succeded.  This grouping of microphone lends a perfect balance of punch and harmonic content without taking up the rest of the spectrum, leaving room in the mix for the other instrument on stage.  What I mean by this is you can clearly here each individual element of the kit, but it does not get in the way.

The Shure Beta 91 is pretty standard in the realm of live production. It  gives the kick drum some nice punch from the beater.  Blend that with the extremely mellow 868 and they create a great Kick Drum tone.  The great thing about the 868 is a huge scoop in the lower mid-range.  This leave tons of room for the guitars and some of the Bass guitar  without having to reach for any Eq's.  These two together create a fantastic punch in the top end of the spectrum as well as just the right amount of low end to be there, but not be in the way of the bass guitar.

There is in my opinion not better microphone for the snare drum that the Shure SM 57.  I've tried all of the alternatives, Audex, AKG 451, Beta 56, Beta 98, E905, Beta 58.  There is nothing that I have used that is just "IT".  I throw up a Shure sm 57 that's  is the sound of a snare drum. A little blending of the top and bottom mics dependent on the type of music, (One of them out of phase as well) a touch of compressions, and this is the sound of nearly every snare you have ever heard.

I am not locked into the Shure SM 81 as a High Hat mic.  Don't get me wrong, it is a phenomenal microphone, and I love it on Hat's. The thing is that it has an extremely flat frequency response.  So whatever you put in that microphone is what you get out of it. It has a nice tight pickup pattern as well.

Shure SM81 Frequency Chart

With just a little bit out thought it is really easy to place this microphone so that there is not a lot of the rest of the kit bleeding through.  But I have other things that sound great on a High Hat as well.  AKG 451, Shure SM7b, Sennheiser 4041, the great thing about the SM 81 is that (as I said earlier) it is extremely versatile.   I picked up a couple of them.  High Hat, Rack Toms, Drum Overheads, Violins, Saxaphone, the Shure SM 81 is one of those mics that I can just grab and throw on any instrument and it will sound good.

The Toms are my favorite components of the kit.  They are, in my opinion, what give the drum kit life and excitement   The boom-click monophonic timing of the snare and kick are of course critical elements of the performance and of mix.  The Rack Toms helps widen the kit away fromt he monophonic's of the kick and snare.  The effect that has on the entire mix is some fantastic space and punch.

Sennheiser e604 Frequency Chart
I said earlier that these mics are all live application microphones only.  Well that is not at all true for the Sennheiser e604's.  I love these microphones, I use them live as well as in the studio.  They are the best Rack Tom microphones on the market today.  With a nice little, and I do mean little, bump in the 3k-4k rage, and a descending slop through the lower rage, these mics just fit into the mix.

Aaaand the Overhead's. 95% of the time, I lean on these mics the heaviest.  Before the kick faders, before the snare faders, I push up the overhead faders. This gives you a great idea about the overall sound of the kit and the ambiance surrounding it.

Shure KSM 32 Frequency Chart

With their flat response in the mid range and the bump in the 7K and 10K range, the KSM 32's are perfect for grabbing an honest picture of the overall kit and helping the higher frequencies in the cymbals stick out a bit.  Again a great overall microphone that fits perfectly into my little mic locker.

All of that comes together to look like this>>>>>

and sound something like THIS.
Space By Robbert Warren
Sadly this was the one and only time I got to work with drummer Kevin Brock.  He passed away a couple weeks after this session. It was, and remains, one of the best drums session I have ever had.

Well, I obviously cannot be concise.  I'm at nearly a thousand words here already, and that's just on the drum kit.  LOL.  I'll round out the rest of the mic locker after the holiday.

If you would like to jump ahead, there is a full list of microphones, as well as all of the other gear that I use here

                                                         HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!

Rock And Roll Mistletoe! 


How The World Hears You!
Direct Line 708-289-2646