Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Technology Doesn't Suck

I was learning more of Logic last night, getting things ready for recording the band. Logic has 64 busses you can use or whatever. I figured out I could use one of them as a monitor level, then route that bus back through outputs 3-4 in the FireWire interface, and plug the headphone amp into that pair. Now the recording mix can be whatever the person wants. I also took a cue from the Brandi Carlile example that ships with Logic, and used another bus for vocal reverb, routing only the vocal tracks into it, thereby reducing the processing power needed for generating reverb to one track instead of multiple tracks.

This morning before I get started with work, I read another section of the manual, Beat Mapping. It's a way to take a recorded performance that is either sloppy or doesn't follow a strict time signature and have Logic find the beats and apply tempo changes accordingly. As a trial, I dragged a recording from the late '70s of our band playing the intro to God of Thunder by Kiss, which turned into a drum solo. I think we did it as filler for our demo tape, since the tape ran out in the middle of my solo. That cracks me up. Anyhoo, after only a few clicks of the mouse, Logic analyzed and mapped itself to our wildly inaccurate tempo changes, starting in the 120s and ending in the high 150s, following all the ups and downs in between. No tedious staring at audio waves to find the transients by eye or anything like that; just a few clicks.

It also dawned on me how affordable it is to record a band these days. Back in high school, we had a tape deck, a mixer, and some mostly crappy mikes. If we wanted anything fancy, we'd turn up the reverb knob on the mixer and hope it wasn't too much. After the high school years, we got fancy and used two tape decks to do multi–tracking and record different parts at different times. Oooooo! Now anybody with a computer can produce an entire album and have it sound almost professional. It still takes a trained ear to do mastering and all that, but at least most of those tools are included with the software, not to mention all the things that would've cost us hundreds of dollars to buy individually back then, like a digital delay, multiple EQs, an actual plate reverb, compressors, etc. Plus lots of stuff that couldn't be done with a simple rack–mounted device, like reverse reverb and all the FM synthesis and filtering stuff.

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