A Loverly Love Story

The video below was created by me and my girlfriend Liz yesterday on our anniversary :)

It is entitled ‘A Loverly Love Story’ and is a play on the Monkton Toys products. We Have also added the video that contains the bloopers (there’s lots of them) so take a look:

A Loverly Love Story

A Loverly Love Story – Bloopers

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Weird Video 9 (Cadbury Gorilla)

Awesome Advert – Cadbury you have done it again! – Simple advert with not much point other than to make you smile and talk to your friends about but then that is what an advert is for; to get people talking!

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Home Recording (Part 2 – Analogue and Digital)

One aspect which will affect your decision on what equipment and set-up you will purchase for your home studio; is whether you want it digital or analogue (or a mixtures of the two.) I will tell you what analogue is and what digital recording means and then compare the two.

In analog technology, a wave is recorded or used in its original form. So, for example, in an analog tape recorder, a signal is taken straight from the microphone and laid onto tape. The wave from the microphone is an analog wave, and therefore the wave on the tape is analog as well. All playback of this music means that the analog signal from the tape recorder is amplified and the driven to speakers; or can be coverted to a digital signal for placement onto CD’s for example.

In digital technology, the analog wave is sampled at some interval, and then turned into numbers that are stored in the digital device. On a CD, the sampling rate is 44,000 samples per second. So on a CD, there are 44,000 numbers stored per second of music. To hear the music, the numbers are turned into a voltage wave that approximates the original wave.

The two big advantages of digital technology are:

  • The recording does not degrade over time. As long as the numbers can be read, you will always get exactly the same wave.
  • Groups of numbers can often be compressed by finding patterns in them. It is also easy to use special computers called digital signal processors (DSPs) to process and modify streams of numbers.

(parts of this article are copyright to ”How Stuff Works’)

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Home Recording (Part I – Equipment)

When setting up a home studio from scratch you have one heck of a problem right from the word ‘go’. You will start to hang around forums and try and get advice off everyone and everything known on Earth. You will ask questions like how much should I spend? What do I need? Do I need a mac? and then you will realise you don’t need to buy the ‘best of the best’ in order to create home-brew musical magic.

All you really need (in the modern age) is around £200+ and the drive and motivation to learn and get to grips with problems and equipment that comes your way. Oh, and access to an eBay account does help as this allows you to get great products for dirt cheap prices in most cases, which will save you a bundle.

The equipment you should buy is determined by what kind of set-up you are likely going to want you can choose variations of Digital or Analogue systems (this will be featured in a future post.) However most elements are going to remain the same, such as monitors, headphones, mixers, input devices, DI and pre-amps oh and lots and lots of microphones and cables to bring your masterpiece together.

So monitors active or passive? well your decision if your in a smallish room then there’s not point paying out for active as passive will do you just fine (active is power driven). You cannot really advise on this point, as with the headphones you have to do your own digging on forums and through magazines for whats best for you. However for headphones sennheiser is probably the best brand for sound quality but your going to have to pay ‘through the nose’ for it.

Mixers are your first decision into what ‘foray’ of recording you want to get yourself into. The world of digital or the complete world of digital. If digital is your thing, then look for DAW on the product or look at the specifications to see if the mixer will link to USB and what it says about it. If it allows you to record through USB, then you have an analogue mixer you can use for live work, but have a digital interface for recording off. You will typically want around 4+ XLR (mic inputs) on a starter mixer as this will allow for drum work. But the more you have the more you can run at once, allowing for easier and better recordings; but if you like compact easy solo work then you can get away with less inputs.

As well as the mixer, I would invest in a quality PCI or USB/Firewire input device. Which will allow you to run midi for instance from keyboards into the computer for recording. You will also need one of these if you plan to record your project in full analogue glory. You will need to check these and don’t skimp on the quality; you should pay good money for one of these, as it really is a case of bang for your buck.

DI (direct input) is a must if you are using a bass instrument or if the instrument is at a frequency for which it is hard to get a mic to make it sound good. Most bassists will be familiar with the term of DI and should have one on their amps, but you could invest one for your studio, so they don’t have to lug their ‘big-rig’ over when they can get a nice clean sound anyway without all the hassle. But the lack of bass-amp may take some part of your sound away from the final mix, so its upto you, but my advice is that if you are doing metal or anything that needs a ‘high-definition’ bass part always DI. It will make sence to you, when you first try recording.

Pre-amps are a whole different kettle of fish. Their uses are varied and as such have varied responses and ability to change your sound and make certain instruments come ‘alive’. If your voice doesn’t sound great with just a microphone in test recording. The put it through a pre-amp with a warm tube in it, fiddle with the settings until your voice sounds great. It will add an extra ‘sparkle’ to the sound which will be shown at the end product. You could also try pre-amps on acoustic instruments, such as wind, brass, and the string families. They also sound particularly nice, when mixed with a piano playing into them, it instantly brings more emotion to the piece.

Microphones are the last part of the jigsaw and probably the most important. You need good quality condenser microphones and great dynamic microphones. You must consider each aspect of your sound, from vocals to backing vocals. To drums and all manner of acoustic instruments and guitar amps that need mic’ing up. You have to cross check the specs of the mics to the specs on the instrument your going to mic; research, research and more research is going to be needed to find the right application for you. Also checking with music forums will help with your decision on what to buy and what you can do to make certain instruments and amps sound GGGGGGGRRREEEEEAAAAAAATTTTTTT!

Hopefully this post will help you on your way to getting the equipment you will need for a home studio and creating musical magic!

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Home Recording (Introduction)

With the advent of new technologies such as DAW and the availability/accessibility to new, more advanced recording systems, now has never been a better time to ditch the studio and create magic in the comfort of your living room. Home recording has never been as professional nor as widespread than it is now and is a great way to cut demos or to even record proper albums that you will see to the public. Depending on your price-range and knowledge of recording, you can get the cheapest of set-ups and still sound as good as albums recorded in million pound studios; while allowing flexibility on the time frames of recording and being able to take charge with every aspect of the sound (without having to pay for more of the studio operators time.)

Through my blog, I will create a step-by-step guide to home recording systems. Every aspect will be covered from what kind of equipment you might need, the software you might run and even the differences between a majorly digital or analogue system. Each one taking into account different genres that need different set-ups and advice into how to getting a good sound.

From this, you should be able to make a purchase on some equipment and be able to rig it up for your type of music; and create musical magic everytime. With a little bit of practice you may even forget about larger studios, or want to incorporate things such as vocal booths into your home. Or make the sound more natural by recording in rooms of your house to get a different sound; such as your greenhouse for a very ‘reflective’ sound that’s great for vocals.

Hopefully this will give you some idea what is to come in the future and you will gain some confidence in setting up a recording rig at your very own home.

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