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Archive for December 3rd, 2012

The Finest Tool in the Shed: How Will Putney Mixed a Number One Record Entirely on Sennheiser Open-Aire Headphones

Underground metal band The Amity Affliction has officially made a name for itself in its native Australia, where the band’s third album, Chasing Ghosts, was released on September 7th of this year and subsequently raced up the charts to capture the number one position. NJ-based producer Will Putney, who was recruited by the band to mix the album in a time crunch, mixed and mastered the entire album on a pair of Sennheiser HD 600 Open-Aire headphones in his bedroom. By the time he was able to listen to the album on a pair of monitors in a traditional studio, the album had already been pressed and was on its way to reaching number one on the Aria Charts in Australia.

Putney, who works out of The Machine Shop studio based in Belleville, NJ, was already mixing another record at an L.A. studio when The Amity Affliction inquired, asking whether he could mix their new record. Putney already had his days fully booked at the studio, but didn’t want to turn down the gig. Thankfully, he had access to a remote mixing rig and a pair of Sennheiser HD 600 headphones, and was enthusiastic about mixing the record over several late nights in the bedroom where he was staying. Putney explains:

How did you come across the Sennheiser HD 600s?
I have been using the HD 600s as a mix reference for a long time. I had been using these headphones more than usual because at the time I was between rooms and finishing construction on my mix room. That said, I’ve always had the sense to check my mixes on real monitors, and as a result have become more acutely aware of what to look out for in how things translate. But for this record, I never even wound up hearing it on speakers until well after the fact.

Did mixing on headphones give you any advantages?
Yes. This album was pretty synth heavy, so I was able to hear all the waveform decays, effects and sonic placements more accurately than I would have if I had been mixing on traditional monitors. Also, if something was too bright inside the headphones, I was able to spot this much earlier and either fix it in the mix or get rid of it entirely.

From an end-user perspective, I think people tend listen to music either on laptop speakers and headphones — even more so headphones. I mean, just sitting on a train going into New York, everyone has an iPod with a pair of headphones on. When I am sending out mixes to bands that are on tour, nine times out of ten they are evaluating their own mixes on a pair of headphones — and it is their own art. So if artists are making their decisions on how things sound on headphones, maybe I should be listening to my mixes on headphones more, too.

How do you choose a pair of headphones for mixing?
I think one of the most important things for me is how the sound translates in different listening environments. One of the reasons Sennheiser is so popular that if it sounds good on these headphones, it probably sounds good just about everywhere else. With many other fashionable headphones, it can be very deceiving as to what you are listening to. Without mentioning brand names, I purchased a pair of non-Sennheiser headphones I thought I would be able to mix on and it just sounded wrong in my car, on a stereo and everywhere else I heard it. I was drawn to Sennheiser’s Open-Aire design because I knew I would be getting a more realistic texture across the board. With my HD 600s, I know I can get a mix that will work everywhere.

How do the HD 600s perform?
The HD 600s have a pretty flat frequency response across the board, with a clear low-mid picture that is not overly exaggerated. It is clear enough that I can hear where my kick drum sits and where the bass is in relation to that. It also has the high end, but it is not painfully high — so I can listen to them for extended periods of time without enduring unnecessary ear fatigue. With other headphones, ear fatigue seems to kick in much faster, perhaps from overly exaggerated frequency response curves and because they are not as comfortable.

Were you surprised when the The Amity Affliction record topped the charts?
Definitely. I knew it was going to be a big record in Australia, but I think a number one was probably a big surprise to a lot of people. It was a big win for the underground! From a working perspective, these guys always knew what they wanted. They are a very hard working band and cared a lot about how the record was going to sound. For me, the Sennheiser HD 600s were a critical tool in getting the job done and I am glad that in the end everyone was ultimately happy with the record.

What other tools did you use besides the HD 600s?
I work on an Apple Intel PowerMac, in kind of a hybrid analog/digital mix set up. I have a floating mix rig in a giant rack, which contains all my compressors and EQs. I mix in the box in Logic Pro, then go out to my rack of analog stuff and then bring it back into Logic. I use MOTU 2408 and 24 I/O interfaces and an Alan Smart CS2 compressor for my mixes. I also have other tools you might expect, such as Empirical Labs Distressors, Universal Audio LA3As and others. In Logic, I use Waves and Sony Oxford plug-ins, well as some of the native software instruments in Logic.

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Onstage Systems Supplies Audio for “Something Wicked” Fest

Houston’s EDM event uses Onstage’s new L-ACOUSTICS K1 stadium sound package

DALLAS — Dallas-based production company Onstage Systems supplied the audio system for the main stage of the Something Wicked Festival on October 27 in Houston. Billed as Texas’ first large-scale Halloween-oriented electronic dance music festival, the event featured international, national and local DJs, including Zedd, Nero and Flux Pavilion.

The festival, produced by EDM promoters Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture, filled up the Sam Houston Race Park. A full stadium sound package was needed, and Onstage provided it for the main stage with a full L-ACOUSTICS K1 stadium system. This included main hangs of 10 K1 per side with 36 SB28 subwoofers and four KUDO compact line source cabinets for front-fills.

The monitor system supplied featured eight L-ACOUSTICS dV-DOSC modular line source cabinets and four dV-SUB subwoofers. There were also 30 LA8 amplified controllers. At Front of House, a Yamaha PM5D provided for digital live mixing with two Lake LM 44 digital audio system processors.

The package provided a perfect sound experience, according to a reporter for The Houston Post, whose review said, “The main stage sound system sounded better than any I’ve ever come across at an outdoor show…”

Eric Thomas, the K1 audio tech with Onstage Systems who worked the show, raved about the company’s new inventory of L-ACOUSTICS equipment.

“We have been using L-ACOUSTICS products since 1999 and have not come across a better range of enclosures,” Thomas said. “Now adding K1 to our inventory has raised the bar once again. This system is incredibly transparent; it is like mixing on hi-fi studio monitors. The axis of coverage is most impressive as well as the throw capability. We look forward to deploying the K1 on more of our large scale festivals.”

Onstage Systems President Hyacinth Belcher said the new purchase of audio gear has been used recently on the TCU Stadium grand opening concert with Blake Shelton in Fort Worth, TX, and the Sun City Music Festival in El Paso. It will be put to good use on upcoming festivals and shows, such as George Strait at the Alamodome and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, she added. Belcher plans to use the new gear on many music festivals next year, and hopes for some concert touring possibilities as well.

Onstage Systems focuses on providing quality customer service and the best equipment as part of its business model, Belcher says. Founded in 1978, the full-service concert and special events company supplies national and local markets with sound, lighting, video and production equipment and services.

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About Onstage Systems:
Onstage Systems, based in Dallas, Texas, is a full-service concert and special events production company serving the national and local markets. We provide systems and equipment for audio, lighting (LED, automated, conventional), video, backline, staging, indoor ground support and outdoor rooftops. Our team specializes in concert touring, special events and corporate shows. Onstage Systems carries a reputation for excellence in customer service and production. Visit

Photo credit: Jordan Lloyd/EyeWax

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Zero-G Urban Definition now available at

Urban Definition – over 3 GB of ultramodern Hip Hop and R&B content

Hollywood, CA (December 3, 2012) – Zero-G and Xfonic, the makers of the best-selling Urban Ammunition, present Urban Definition, another massive, deluxe-quality sample library which fits every urban producer’s requirements.

Urban Definition features an impressive number of urban construction kits, drum loops and hits. With over 3000 samples at your disposal, Urban Definition will always provide the discerning producer with bucket-loads of inspiration. All the samples are recorded in pristine 24bit and mastered to perfection using state of the art production techniques. Inspired composition, cutting edge programming and loads of live instrumentation – this collection is all that you will need to produce your next hit tracks in genres from Hip Hop, R&B and gangsta rap to Modern Pop, Urban Dance and more.

The material includes 48 full construction kits and over 800 loops. There are also 250 drumloops, 1550 single hits as well as over 50 multi-sampled synth instruments specifically created for use in urban tracks. This huge pack offers all you need to produce like the hottest urban producers in the ranks of Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Kanye West and

This fantastic library comes as a dual layer DVD set from Zero-G in the following formats that will suit every music producer. Formats supported include:
• Acid™WAV
• AIFF Apple Loops
• Stylus Compatible Rex2 files
• EXS24 Instruments
• Kontakt Instruments
• Reason NN-XT Instruments


• 3.1Gb of sounds in each format
• 3100 Acidized WAV files
• 3100 AIFF files
• 700 Stylus Compatible Rex2 files
• 150 EXS24 Instruments
• 150 Kontakt Instruments
• 150 NN-XT Instruments
• 48 Full Construction Kits
• 250 additional drumloops
• 1500 additional single drum hits
• Drum Loops
• Bass Loops
• Piano Loops
• String Loops
• Flute Loops
• Guitar loops
• Synths
• FX and more…

Pricing & Availability
Retail Price: US $115.95
For full product info including demo songs visit the Urban Definition webpage on the website at:
Catalog (SKU) number: ZG186

About Sounds Online
Based in Hollywood, USA, (, is a wholly owned division of EastWest, and the #1 online source for professional sounds and virtual instruments. Based in Amsterdam, SoundsOnline-Europe ( distributes EastWest/Quantum Leap products in Europe.

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Earthworks Drum Mic Hits the Film World

Milford, NH, December 3, 2012 – At the end of a boom pole on a film set is probably the last place you’d expect to find a microphone designed for close miking toms and snare. Yet thanks to some ingenuity from Production Sound Mixer Mark LeBlanc, that is exactly where you’ll find the Earthworks DP30/C.

So, how did a drum microphone end up as 25 year industry veteran LeBlanc’s microphone of choice on set? After meeting with an Earthworks representative to discuss the challenges faced on movie sets, LeBlanc zeroed in on the DP30/C. “I selected the DP30/C because it would address a possible need to have a mic that could easily be hidden because of its non-standard shape,” LeBlanc explains. “Until that day I never considered using an Earthworks mic because the literature showed it to be a studio mic.”

While shotgun microphones are a more traditional choice for location recording, LeBlanc found the DP30/C provided a number of benefits that made it a clear choice for location recording despite its non-traditional shape. “The DP30/C rejects sound coming from the rear as good as, if not better than, some shotgun mics specifically designed to reject sound,” explains LeBlanc. “It’s extremely low vertical footprint allows me to use it in scenes that otherwise a microphone would not be able to get in.”

“The very first film I used the DP30/C on was a SyFy original movie called MonsterWolf. I was in a large government office building and was having trouble with some of the other mics I had in my kit at the time. I threw the DP30/C on the pole as a last ditch measure and was blown away by the results. Since then, the DP30/C has made an appearance in every movie I’ve mixed since.”

“All interior scenes for the award winning movie Beasts of the Southern Wild were recorded using the DP30/C. Additionally, the horror movie MaskMaker used the DP30/C for all interior and some exterior scenes. We just wrapped up the movie The Outsider staring Craig Fairbrass and James Caan, which features a scene in a large office building that used the DP30/C on an 18 foot boom pole.”

“It’s one of the most natural sounding mics I’ve ever used,” LeBlanc says. “Very little coloration of the sound as presented to the mic. It gives you a very good feel for the room as it was on the day of shooting. The photograph that the DP30/C makes an appearance in for Beasts of the Southern Wild is a perfect example. We were in a remote location, in a very confined set and when you watch that scene, it really draws you into that moment!”

While on set for Beasts of the Southern Wild, the DP30/C’s 150dB SPL handling came in handy. “Being a drum mic, it can handle high decibels, which young actress Quvenzhané Wallis had a lot of. It was the only mic in my kit that did not get overloaded!”

With budget and timeline restrictions, the DP30/C has a hand in saving time and money on set. “The speed at which we can deploy the DP30 in car rigs is certainly a plus,” says LeBlanc. “My boom operator, Matt Champagne, knows exactly where I like them placed and has become quite adept at hiding cables and such. These days, we can generally rig a car for a scene in under 10 minutes.”

LeBlanc shares his final thoughts on the DP30/C’s presence on his film sets. “As a production sound mixer, we strive to capture the highest quality audio possible on set,” concludes LeBlanc. “A vast majority of ADR needed is due to factors beyond my control, planes, trains and dump trucks lumbering by in the middle of the take. What the DP30/C has given me is a tool that is extremely useful in high reflective areas such as large office building where a normal shotgun mic would struggle with the reflections. The DP30/C simply captures the dialog in a very natural way.”

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Band Plays It ‘Straight’ With NEXO Rig at the Fox Theatre

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Logic Systems Sound & Lighting, Inc. of Valley Park, MO, recently provided a NEXO GEO S12 rig to the historic Fox Theatre in St. Louis for a Straight No Chaser concert. On the road, Straight No Chaser has built a reputation as an unforgettable live act. Now supporting their SNClive Tour, the 10-member a cappella ensemble’s tour will continue into summer 2013.

Logic Systems Audio Department Manager, Brian Bird and Systems Engineer, Pat Murphy outfitted the 5,060-seat Fox with 20 NEXO GEO S1210s, four NEXO GEO S1230s, six NEXO RS18s, eight NEXO PS8s, and eight NEXO 4×4 NXAMPs. The band is also carrying a pair of Yamaha M7CL digital consoles for mixing duties on the tour.

“The Fox Theatre is a difficult space to cover from a single array position,” states Bird. “The large balcony and overhang make it tricky to cover the entire balcony, while still having a direct line of sight to the front of house mix position which is at the rear of the floor level and deep under the balcony. To accomplish the task at hand, a low hang with a 14-degree vertical angle seemed to work best. This angle is hard to achieve with many boxes on the market today, however, we are able to do so with the GEO S12.”

Bird said the layout for the NEXO system they chose modeled extremely well in the NEXO NS-1 software. “In my experience, the software is spot on, if you take the time to build the model properly. For a lower SPL show like this, the clarity of the GEO S12 fit the Straight No Chaser concert perfectly, and was the best choice. We work in this venue regularly and typically use our NEXO GEO T rig, but in this case, the S12 was definitely a better fit.”

For more information on Logic Systems, Inc., visit

For more information on NEXO and Yamaha products, visit


About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

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* Photo: Producer / engineer Ryan Hewitt *

Los Angeles, CA… Be it instrumental or vocal tracking, the recording process starts with the microphone. As the first element in the signal chain, finding the right tool to accurately capture the source is critically important. For the latest musical offering from the Concord, North Carolina-based folk-rock band The Avett Brothers, Engineer/Mixer/Producer Ryan Hewitt made extensive use of both his Mojave Audio MA-300 Multi Pattern Vacuum Tube Condenser Microphones as well as his MA-200 Vacuum Tube Condenser Microphones. more

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