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I’ve tried to write this as if it is something that can be shown to people who are experiencing bullying as a way of encouraging them to conquer the bullies, rather than as if I was a parent or teacher giving advise to another as to how bullying can be stopped - something I have no experience of yet.
I’m not somebody who has studied bullying or was ever somebody with a lot of experience in being bullied but I want to express my opinion on it using whatever experience I have and can remember of any times I felt I might have been what is considered bullied.
A possible solution to help solve the problems of bullying could be to ensure that children are taught from a young age to stand up for themselves (in what they believe in and in a physical manner).
I think the main reasons people are targeted for bullying are:
Because they’re physically inferior (or less developed) when compared to others their age.
Because they’re less strong charactered and less likely to stand up for themselves if they were to be targeted.
Because they’re a stand-out different from the norm, the current fashion or society as a whole.
When I was younger (probably since the first time I complained that I’d had some sort of physical confrontation with another person) my parents always said not to start confrontations but be sure to stand up for yourself if attacked. I completely condone this advice and very much believe in the concept that if somebody is trying to harm you then you have the right and should do whatever you can to stop the assailant in their tracks to the point where you can avoid any more harm coming to you. I will be teaching my future children to never let anybody try and bully them, teach them the basics of self defence and even encourage them to learn a martial art.
In the wrong circumstance in any area of life (such as facing a violent criminal or other opponent you cannot ‘control’ in a greater sense) you’re not given the option as to whether or not the threat should be allowed. It’s a threat, and a threat that only yourself can deal with at the particular time, and maybe the most important thing to keep in your mind at the time, as you should not rely on others to help you. Bullies should be considered threats and are clever in the sense they will pick times they wish to attack you, therefore you should not listen to those who tell you to not retaliate and report bullying (it should be done, but don’t let that stop you defending yourself first).
Now, I’m not being ignorant to the fact that bullying isn’t always physical, it’s often words. What needs to be remembered, as hard as it sounds - is it’s just loose words. Tell them to say it to your face whilst looking you in the eye, and if they do - warn them sincerely that if it continues then you’ll smash them in the mouth; learn a few things to say to people that intimidates them or makes them think twice about attacking you.
There’s two ways of doing this:
First is to actually become combatant. Take up a sport which involves contact such as rugby or boxing so that you’re physically prepared to fight. - More specifically, take up a martial art.
Or - you can develop a side of your personality, an act if you like, who is hard and a borderline bully him/herself. The important thing is to remember is this act is not needed when you’re not under threat, think of them as your war paint that you only put on when you’re under attack. Try to learn some aggressive lines from the bullies themselves so you’re speaking their language or watch a few gangster movies and adopt the expressions (I use gangsters as an example because they’re an example of bullies in every age of modern society and also often a source of [bad] influence for the bully-type, so they’ll see you as something they relate to. They’re also seldom physically fit but still know some dirty fighting tactics.)
From standing up to their insults they’re either going to attack you (which might hurt, but you’re equally capable and entitled to hurt them back which makes the pain a bit more bearable) or carry on talking, of which you can laugh off and walk away from because they don’t have the bottle to follow it up and everybody who’s seen the bullying (it’s usually egotistical and they want people to see) will now see that they’re not willing to back their words up. If it does come to a physical attack hit them to hurt them (there’s usually a ring leader and his cronies, if the cronies get involved go for them too but they’re usually too shocked so you can get away without attacking them), don’t think twice about it and don’t stop until you can get away and then report what happened. If it turns out you’re to blame, at least you’re not getting a beating on your own without doing anything to protect yourself and hopefully taught a bully it’s not wise to bully you.
If you get the better of somebody bullying you in public then hopefully it should make others think twice about trying to bully you in the future. Problem is, there’s always those who want to test your patience and try to draw you into a bad place where you’d be the one to blame. You need to learn how to be a good person with morals and temperament, but somebody who will not hesitate to defend those morals.
The times when I feel I experienced anything close to bullying in my life was when I was purposely doing things out of the norm or fashion of the time (such as dressing in black metal fashion when the fashion of the time was bright pink Lacoste polos and blue tracksuit bottoms). I never changed my beliefs, fashion, hobbies or interests as a result of it not being popular or people finding me weird. What I did was; over time stuck to my guns telling people I liked something because I could and if they had a problem then f**k them. I found a good set of friends who were (and still are) loyal and reliable so that I was rarely on my own and an easy target and I learnt to appreciate and understand things that other people like so that I could relate to and enjoy an array of different interests and friends. You don’t have to be the same as everybody to be socially accepted, what you have to be is willing to do is have an open mind to try to experience what other people enjoy and if it doesn’t work for you, people won’t disrespect you because you proved that you tried enjoying it and it wasn’t for you. If they don’t respect you then they’re people that you shouldn’t be spending any time with and if you can’t avoid them then it should be clear that you don’t appreciate their disrespect and that you will stand up for yourself if they pursue any confrontation. Stay out of their way, or if you can’t and they insist on attacking you in any way, respect yourself, morals and beliefs enough to defend yourself.
You should never feel bad about being a respectful and considerate person, practise this all the time. Even respect a bully enough to walk away from a fight if you get the better of them. Just remember you equally shouldn’t feel bad about defending yourself, in every way.
Disclaimer: If somebody who is being bullied has referenced this in their defence for defending themselves from being bullied and you want to blame me then you’re probably a coward confined to a stupid system which gives you false security and doesn’t protect you, yourself. Are you a teacher? Can you imagine being surrounded by a group of late-teen students who are threatening to attack you physically whilst you’re on your way to your car on your own and nobody is around? Fight or flight response. Do you take the beating and report it later, if you live? Or do you do what you can to defend yourself and get away? Don’t let these systems blind you of the fact you have one life and you have the right to protect it, regardless of what the paper says.
Streamlining Evolution (the concept of evolution occurring based on the adaptation of a species removing assets not necessary for survival in order to make better use of other resources) seems like a dead interesting concept. The only information I can find on it is this though:
“Devolution”, the verb “devolve” and the past participle “devolved” are all common terms in science fiction for changes over time in populations of living things that make them less complex and remove some of their former adaptations. The terminology used herein is nontechnical, but the phenomenon is a real but counter-intuitive one, more accurately known as streamlining evolution. Since the development and maintenance of a feature such as an organ or a metabolite has an opportunity cost, changes in the environment that reduce the utility of an adaptation may mean that a higher evolutionary fitness is achieved by no longer using the adaptation, thus better using resources. This requires a mutation that inactivates one or more genes, perhaps by a change to DNA methylation or a methionine codon. Streamlining evolution allows evolution to remove features no longer of much/any use, like scaffolding on a completed bridge.
However, “devolution” in practice typically refers to changes that occur from a problem no longer existing rather than superior solutions existing. For instance, of the several hundred known species of animal that live their entire lives in total darkness, most have non-functional eyes rather than no eyes. This is due, for instance, to deterioration of the optic nerve. It occurs because mutations that prevent eye formation have low probability. However, several eyeless animal species, such as the Kauai cave wolf spider, who live in total darkness, and whose ancestry mostly had eyes, do exist. Together with gene duplication, streamlining evolution makes evolution surprisingly able to produce radical changes, despite being limited to successive, slight modifications.”
It reminds me of Bruce Lee’s quote: “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
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People who write “…politically correct governments afraid to get involved due to the race card threat…” are seriously ignorant. A government would do ANYTHING to protect their happy little capitalistic system, regardless of how PC it is. What they won’t do is go up in arms on their own soil and cause a civil war when not necessary.
The reason the likes of EDL, BNP, National Front etc get targeted by the police is because they’re all right-wing fascists who believe that the world would be a better place without ANY other race other than their own and if they are given too much lenience are influential enough to cause civil uproar. If Muslims were allowed to be targeted for the sake of their race or religion then how uncomfortable do you think that would make other races/cultures/religions in this country feel? I know for sure if I was another of those races I’d be preparing my security for if the time came when EDL decided they didn’t like my type anymore. That sort of uncomfortableness isn’t really good for a country…
In regards to the “killing our troops” signs… This can be expected when we’re at war… What wars do you know of where everybody agreed on the reasoning behind the war? If everybody thought the same way then surely there wouldn’t be a war in the first place. We’re killing their troops, they’re killing ours… Nothing is done against a banner because it is a peaceful protest, regardless of what the banner says - it’s a banner. Freedom of speech, not assault.
“Sixty-nine years ago brave men and boys ran off landing boats to what they must have known to be certain death. Uncles and grandparents of the same lefties who support Islam.” - I’m sure the 2nd world war was fought against Nazi’s who supported fascism? What sort of contradiction is this?
We’re not a superior race to any other, and we’re certainly not a dominant force to any other. If Britain turn to ideologies that are elitist or other race hating they can crack on, personally I’ll be fucking off the national pride and country quicker than you know!
This is the paradox of images like these… They say “everybody is beautiful” then just put a bunch of chunky bunnies, weirdos and henchies. Why single out ‘standard’ or actual pretty girls like they should be ignored just because they’re not any of the above?
Emotional moment: I miss making tunes. Especially when I feel strong emotions. I used to be able to make tunes when I had strong emotions and now my time is not my own. The only time I can make time to make music when I have strong emotions now is with anger and I don’t really like making tunes when I’m angry because they’re not really me. My aim, goal and direction in life now is to support a life which will allow me to express my emotions through music when I feel them. Targets I set will be towards succeeding to do this.
There’s an element inside me, which seems ever-growing, which knows how much bigger the world is than the office job that I’ve come to cage myself into.
The fear of losing the work is fading and the longing for spending more time outside is blooming.
I need to be creative in more volume again.
I need more time to train.
One of these days.
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I want my own garden. It will start as a derelict, abandoned piece of land & will be my project to achieve wellbeing for my self & a small bit of sustainability for the planet.
I’ll start by spending half hour to an hour every morning before breakfast clearing up the dead & overgrown, I’ll then get cleaned up & if the weather is good I might sit outside on my new bench amongst the rubbish - very wabi sabi.
I can imagine this previous task would take a long time, a number of months, but once accomplished I will change my pre-breakfast workout to turning over soil. This would be a brilliant workout to burn some stores and will compliment my training.
Next I will plant a tree or two & dig myself a pond hosting koi carp & water lillies. The tree could protect the pond from birds etc & I could put my bench under the tree to watch the tranquillity off the pond in the shade.
I want the majority of things planted in my garden to be edible produce.
I want a little path leading down to a concrete shed at the end of the garden, my dojo where I can train in bad weather & do bagwork. Other practice of techniques & kata can be practiced outside, even in bed weather for endurance training.
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I spend so much time trying to strengthen my character only for one measly thing to come along and cause an avalanche, with each decline stripping away strength and exposing weaknesses.
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The magic of art is that you can compensate down to the most minimal of tools if you practice enough.
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As they all are, it’s been a year of lessons based on experiences. The lesson that rings most loudly to me are to avoid toxic people and those that pollute my mind with negative thoughts.
Next lesson is always to have a goal (or set of goals) to focus on & proceed to complete them.
It’s true what they say about experiences making you wise. Unfortunately this year has contained a few to many poor decisions on my behalf, so, although there’s been some bloody good times, it’s been quite stressful on a subconscious level. But on a positive note I’ve also made some good decisions that will hopefully follow me for the rest of my life.
In 2013 I’d like to lose the fear. The fear is of other people being able to ruin my plans out of spite, envy, ego, lack of understanding or plain psychopathy. I want to lose the subconscious stress of having to defend myself from the limitations of other people & proceed to express myself honestly. 2013 will be a year of searching for & facing my inner demons whilst strengthening my character & body. My plan is for this continued focus of bettering myself to lead to confident independence & all the great things that comes with that, and from there enough security in myself to truly devote myself to a lady. - For the sake of my ego (I still haven’t quite conquered getting over the need to stop defining myself), I’m not unconfident in myself or afraid to take risks or challenges, and I appreciate levels of fear will always be there & are good when used as a positive drive. I just want to be sure others do not effect my decisions.
I have my goals for 2013 & won’t be sharing them publicly directly. As the year progresses & the dedication to my goals proves strong you’ll likely see what my goals were. So it is goodbye to the bad stuff in 2012, thank you for the lessons & good times - I will carry those into the new year. Hello to 2013, I hope you don’t mind me bringing a bit of useful luggage from 2012 & I’d like to compliment how green your grass looks.
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I’ve been working on a track tonight, and tonight as is the case many other nights I’ve been working on what I consider a shit tune. You know a tune is shit when it just doesn’t groove properly, the vocals sound cheesy as fuck, the chord progression has too many major chords so it sounds like a kids program theme, you can’t be arsed to mix it and it’s just generally something you’d turn off if somebody else sent you it.
But I carried on making it, and different to previous times when I’m carrying on out of determination to make it better, I carried on for a different purpose tonight. I was enjoying and chuckling to myself over the fact it was so shite. It was good just to have a jam and not worry about the perception of the music itself and focus more on the enjoyment and moment of making it.
In theory it’s all beneficial… Smiling and messy around experimenting (even knowing the track is going nowhere) is still progress. I’m confident that when working in my comfort zone I could have made something much more productive, polished and preferential to my ears but working outside of that comfort zone will be what helps me expand it so that my music doesn’t get too repetitive and samey.
Tonight, as a first I think, I naturally appreciated and embraced making shit music, rather than dwelling on it. It’s the continued ability to learn new things that keeps life and what you do in it exciting and interesting. Although I wish I could be spending more time on music, tonight has helped me realise that as long as I’m inspired to make music and the result is shit, it will still result in better music eventually. I no longer consider ‘the shit music stages’ writers block.
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Using Compression Creatively As An Effect
In the previous section I explained how to use compression in a mixing sense to even dynamics and make things sound more even and crisp. This section basically tells you how to make things sound big and loud using compression in a slightly different way!
As well as evening transients and dynamics, compression can also be used to fatten sounds up or adjust the tonality of a sound, most of this is done with the attack and release settings, but the ratio and gain also play a big role.
In this article I will be going over two different examples of compression which are different from normal compression and focus more on making things perceivably louder than making things dynamically even.
Parallel (or New York) Compression is a type of compression used to ‘beef up’ sounds. In my opinion parallel compression is for those times when you have no need, or limited time, to be technical with your production & give more of a nod to the old school when engineers & producers didn’t have analysers etc. and you just based everything on the sound you’re hearing (as it should be, really ;)).
The concept of parallel compression is having two identical signals, each with a different level of compression on. One signal will be compressed to the balls (i.e. high ratio, fast attack and slow release) with a high level of gain to make up for the compression, and the other will be subtly compressed to not compressed at all. The result will be one signal which is extremely squashed in the transients but full in the sustain, and another signal which is nice and punchy and transient whilst not loud as a whole. The balance of these two signals are then mixed to make up to the level the original signal’s peak level was at, except now the sound will have a more consistent RMS level so will sound a lot more full and essentially louder as a whole.
As an example, you might have a drum signal which is peaking at -6dB (as in all of your drum sounds have been bussed into one channel fader - on Logic this accomplished by changing all of the outputs of your drum sounds to a bus input - and the total peak amplitude on the bus is -6dB). The next step is to split this signal into two duplicate signals so that we can apply parallel compression. On Logic there is two primary ways of doing this, I’m sure most DAW’s will have similar ways:
The first way is to send the signal 100% (or in Logic’s case 0dB) to another bus. The important thing to do here is make sure that your signal is sent pre-fader. This means that the signal is being sent by the percentage you’re sending it regardless of what level the fader is at on the original channel, it separates the send pot from the level fader. When the signal is sent post-fader, if you turn down the amplitude of the channel down, the sent signal will also be turned down, whereas in pre-fader if you turn the amplitude completely down in the original channel, the secondary signal will still be turned up. Sending signals in pre-fader does still include any effects or processing you have on your original fader, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Next we’ll apply the aggressive compression to the duplicate signal. The first thing we’ll adjust is the ratio, we want this excessively high as we really want to squash the shit out of our transients so that we can really raise the overall level of this signal. Experiment a little, but you’re not going to want it far off full. 30:1 is a good starting point. Next you want to pull down your threshold setting until your gain reduction meter tells you there is a substantial amount of compression taking place, I like around -9dB as a personal preference. If you can’t see how much gain reduction is taking place on an analyser, use your ears to decipher when extreme compression is taking place. Next you want to adjust your attack and release settings. As a rule, you’re going to want very fast attack and fairly slow release settings so that the compression really has time to batter down those transients. Finally you’ll want to add up the gain back, the settings you’ll want for this will either be just under the gain reduction amount (so add 8.5dB when 9dB is being reduced) or use the gain to make up to the peak amplitude the signal was at when the compressor was bypassed. You will now have an extremely compressed signal, in fact you essentially just limited it; but more on that later.
Finally we’ll mix this signal with our un-to-minimally-compressed original one until the peak of the combined signals meets -6dB. The idea was to fill in the gaps in between the transients to make the audio sound more full as a whole, so we’ll start by turning down the original signal (whilst our compressed signal is muted) a little to allow for some ‘headroom’ (turn the fader on the original signal down until it’s around -8dB). Next bring up the heavily compressed signal from inaudible to a level where the overall peak of both out[uts is reaching -6dB again. The two different signal levels can then be altered to taste depending on whether you want the final result to be more ‘fat’ or more ‘punchy’.
Another way of achieving parallel compression in Logic is using the mix setting on the standard compressor, this can be found by clicking on the little triangle in the bottom left corner of the compressor.
Using this will wield different results to the previous method. Basically the idea is the same as the previous section, but instead of using dual signals you can use the mix parameter on the compressor to mix between two signals (a dry uncompressed one & one with compression) but from inside the box. I find that the results from using this method for parallel compression is often more subtle than the previous, so I use this method on things that just need a bit more ‘thickness’ (often ‘airy’ synth leads, pianos and sometimes vocals).
As you can see, there are a few other interesting parameters on the drop-down menu of the compressor, but I will maybe cover them in another article.
Sidechain compression is an effect resulting when a compressor is used to reduce one sound when another is played.
Sidechain Compression For Mix Purposes
When using sidechain compression for mix purposes the aim is to ‘duck’ a sound to make room for another in the mix whenever it plays. To be honest it’s very rare that I use this particular technique for this purpose as I find if you’re mixing your elements properly and the track is properly composed then there shouldn’t be a need to duck one thing when another plays, but I understand that many producers/mix engineers do see the benefit and in theory it is a great technique to know.
A frequently used example of where sidechain compression may be necessary is if you have a sub-bass heavy kick drum and a sub-bass sound playing in your track at the same time, so I will use this as an example to talk through how to achieve the effect in Logic. Obviously the way this is achieved will range in the different DAW’s, but hopefully the theory of this tutorial on Logic will easily translate to your DAW. If all else fails, there are specific plug-in’s out there made specifically for sidechain purposes. If you can’t work out how to sidechain on your particular DAW, YouTube will likely have a video for every DAW explaining how to achieve it.
The first thing you’ll want to do is create a BUS in Logic and turn the output off so that there is no output coming from the bus. The reason for this is that the bus will just be acting as a ‘thru’ for your audio signal, so you don’t want to hear it. Next you should go to the sound you want to be controlling the sidechain, which we’ll call the trigger. In this instance we want the bass to duck whenever the kick is audible so the kick is our trigger. On the kick channel, set up a pre-fader send 100% to the bus we just set up with no output. We want this send in pre-fade because when we mix the kick down we still want it to be acting as loud as possible to control the sidechain, a quieter signal would effect our sidechain compression less because there will be less audio to be compressed.
What we need to do next is go to our sub-bass channel and add a Logic compressor onto the signal chain. Depending on the desired sound, choose whether you want the peak or RMS of the bass ducked when the kick plays (in this case RMS will likely be your boy as you don’t want the ducking to sound too blatant, you just want it to prevent levels getting too high when two sounds play or tidy up a little clashing in the frequencies). Next we need to go up to the top right corner of the compressor and change the ‘Side Chain’ parameter to the BUS you previously set up and sent the kick drum to. You should now see that the compression is working as your kick drum is playing.
You’ll now want to go through the other parameters on the compressor until you get the desired amount of ducking you require. It’s best to solo just your kick and bass sounds to begin with so you can hear how they’re working with each other, then readjust if necessary in the whole mix. Start with the threshold, a good starting point I find is around 8:1 to get a nice amount of ducking but not so much as it makes the ducked sound almost inaudible. Now adjust your threshold to duck the sound about 8-16dB. Add some gain back in (2dB-ish) so that a little bit of gain is applied to the sound when it’s not being ducked to bring it out a tad to match your kick sound. Now adjust you attack and release parameters. You won’t want your attack too slow as you’ll want the sound to be ducking quickly as the trigger plays, ‘7 o clock’ might be a good starting point. The release will be totally down to personal preference as this determine when the level of the bassline starts coming back up after the initial transient from the trigger. I find a good starting point is around ‘11 o clock’.
You should now have successfully sidechained your bass to make room for your kick drum.
Sidechain Compression As An Effect
Essentially the same process as sidechaining for mixing, the main differences are that you may want to sidechain the peak level as opposed to the RMS for a more sudden sound. I believe the main difference between sidechain as an effect and for mix purposes is the ‘sucky’ sound achieved when the sidechain is used blatantly. The way to produce this effect is largely to do with the attack and release of the compression sidechaining your sound. The attack should be fast, but not instant so that it sounds like the trigger is slowly pulling the sound down. A good starting point is around ‘9 o clock’ then make it faster or slower to taste, depending on the swing and groove of your track. The release is the same ideas as the attack but in reverse. It determines how quickly your audio springs back up to its original level, again you’ll want to judge this on the swing and groove of your track and how it sounds good. I tend to start at ’11 o clock’ release & adjust from there. You’ll want your ratio nice and high, to at least 11:1 to really get those parts with the trigger pulling right down, you’ll also want the threshold down a lot so that there is a gain reduction of around 16dB or more. Finally bump your gain up to a place in the mix where it is pulling through nicely on the parts that aren’t compressed. You may need to apply some normal compression afterwards to make it sit more nicely in the mix and stop those parts that aren’t compressed jumping right out and spiking your overall peak level.
The final thing I will mention with regards to sidechain as an effect is the fact that you might not always want an audible trigger in place when you want something else to ‘pump’. There’s more than one way of achieving this such as using LFO’s, but sticking with sidechain compression I’ll give you a brief run-through of how it’s achieved. Firstly set up a new audio channel with a fast high transient sound such as a kick drum or hi hat where you want your sound to be ducking, it doesn’t matter what it is - it isn’t going to be audible. Turn the level fader all the way down to 0 and then send the channel to a bus set up the same was as in the previous examples. You can now go about sidechaining the same way as before, it’s as simple as that. It works because you have turned the trigger all the ways down so the sound is inaudible but you’re sending the sound to a bus 100% pre-fade so the level being turned down down not effect the send. Your bus has no output so the sound isn’t audible there either, but the level coming into the bus will still effect any compression you sidechain to this bus!
Limiting is still compressing, but it’s the most aggressive form of compression there is. The ratio is on its highest point and the attack speed is as fast as possible so once the designated threshold is reached the signal will be so reduced that it won’t exceed the threshold what-so-ever.
The primary difference you should notice between a compressor and a limiter is that there is no ratio parameter on a limiter, the ratio is always fixed at the peak amount. The purpose of the limiter is to completely flatten a signal when it reaches a threshold so that it never exceeds that threshold, whereas on a compressor you have more control over how much the signal is reduced when the threshold is met.
Limiting is handy when you want something to not exceed a certain peak level and want to bring up the entire level of the audio to meet the peaking amplitude. For this reason it is often used in modern (and especially digital) mastering. Limiting is the primary cause for what is now being known as ‘the loudness war’, which is a term used to describe the increasing RMS levels of records and the decreasing dynamic range.
When limiting a single sound the first step is to make sure that it’s already the loudest it can possibly be without distorting from the source (i.e. turning it up in the synth or on the sampler), my reason for this is because we’ll be adding gain from the limiter which may bring subtle distortion into the signal even before it reaches the threshold point. Once this is done I will set a threshold of -0.3dB (this is a habit from mastering, as with mastering you should never allow your signal to reach the full 0dB because it can introduce artefact’s into the signal after being burnt to CD). If the signal is currently below the maximum peak level I will bring up the signal to meet its highest peak level before redlining. On the Logic Adlimiter there is a parameter called ‘input scale’ which is the one I use for this task, on other limiters you may need to turn the gain up on something in the signal chain before the limiter. Once the signal is at its highest peak point it can be before redlining I will begin to introduce gain into the signal. In doing this I will be greatly compressing the peak transients of the sound whilst bringing up the troughs to meet the same level. The idea here is to bring up the quieter parts of the sound to meet closer to the highest, whilst not turning up the higher points because they’ve been stopped at a desired threshold.
I now have a sound which is pretty close to the same consistent amplitude throughout! I can now mix down the sound in relation to my other elements of the track knowing that it’s never going to exceed a certain level.
Because a lot of my music is particularly dependant on the dynamics I take great care to try not to limit tracks too hot when using limiters for mastering. To help me with this task I use two particular pieces of software to help graphically analyse my signal. I don’t usually like to cheat and use graphic analysis because it’s not really very accurate (you can’t explain what you hear with your eyes), but these are pretty mathematical figures I wouldn’t be able to know from listening, especially in the environment I produce & mix in - which is not at all designed or transparent/flat enough for mastering. The problem with limiting is that all the time you’re bringing up the gain after the peaks have met the threshold, you are distorting the signal more and more as it flattens the peaks. This is often referred to as a signal being ‘too hot’, so I use these pieces of analysing software to help me determine whether I’ve under or over limited.
The first is s(M)exoscope by SmartElectronix, a live waveform display plug-in, which I use to check that when I am turning the gain up on my limiter, only the exceptionally loud parts of the audio passage are often being squashed. I try to limit only to the point where it’s rare that things are being squashed, only when the peak really sticks out compared to the rest of the track.
You can see in this image above that only the really loud peaks are being ‘squared off’ when they meet the threshold I’ve set on my limiter.
The next is Logic’s own MultiMeter which I use when mastering to check that my overall general RMS is meeting around -10dB, which is the industry standard RMS for a recording.
So after setting my limiter threshold to -0.3dB I watch these two analysers whilst turning up my gain on my limiter to reach what feels and sounds like the best amplitude. The limiter is always the last processor on my signal chain, followed by my analysers. Obviously there are other analysers on the Multimeter, pretty much all of which I use when mastering but the one mentioned is the only one I use particularly for limiting. I may do a complete digital mastering basics article at some point. :)
You may have noticed in the above image that my signal is actually redlining! This is not something I’d ever include in my mix (unless I was making a Lo-Fi track which required distortion on the signal). What’s happened here is I have placed my MultiMeter before my Adlimiter in the signal chain for the use of this example image. In a real mixdown that redline wouldn’t be there regardless of where the MultiMeter was in the signal chain as I’d have already pre-mixed the sound so that it wasn’t exceeding 0dB.
So this concludes the articles that I’m covering on compression. If there are any questions at all, subjects you’d like me to cover next or advice how to better explain things please visit my homepage & click the ‘ask me anything’ button and ask away! :)
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Although phase is often seen as an evil thing when mixing audio, it does have its advantages when you’re aware you’re using it. The important thing is to learn to recognise what phase sounds like and the effect it has on your audio so that you know whether you want it there or not.
Signals - Stereo Vs Mono
With regards to phase, your main warning is that if something is too far out of phase it means that it’s not going to be properly audible when listened to in mono.
Some people might question why that matters in an age where the majority of home systems and headphones are now stereo? Your answer is specifically two ways that people still listen to music in mono: firstly is through mobile phones and mono laptop speakers (obviously these people are evil, but they do exist and if they’re listening to your music out loud through a phone or laptop, you want the mix to sound good!) Secondly is on mono sound systems in clubs and music venues.
When creating music in a digital audio workstation you have one channel of which all of your other channels are linked to, this is called the master channel (also known as Output 1-2 on Logic, the reason being because you can work in surround sound and still link to a master channel which is more than two channels in total).
The master channel is (generally) a stereo channel made up of two separate signals panned hard left and right. Now when you listen to this stereo in mono you have to consider that anything that’s hard panned 100% left or right will not be audible, and even when it’s partly panned it’s going to sound quieter in mono because mono will be playing everything that is 100% centred in the split signal properly then anything panned is essentially turned down in volume by the pan pots.
For this reason I make sure the key parts of my drum sounds i.e. kick and snare are 100% centred, as well as my sub bass. As a rule, anything below 500/600Hz is generally 100% centred and I am a bit less strict with my high mids/highs (above 4000Hz essentially) and let them have a bit more stereo space as they’re the ‘pretty’ parts of my tracks which will be more applicable to home listening.
Many producers and mix engineers recommend that ALL of your sounds are mono before effects as they would be when recorded in the analogue world and then use subtle effects to add stereo space afterwards. This isn’t always ideal now as so many plug-in instruments have stereo sounds, but there are ways you can make sure that your sounds always sound prominent, regardless whether they’re playing on a stereo or mono system, as I will go on to cover.
Phase is a result of two identical or similar sound waves overlapping one-another at a slightly different time interval. The audible effect is that some of the signal will sound louder and others will sound quieter, which happening quickly causes a slight ‘flutter’ in the left and right channels.
When a sound is in-phase it will have two of the exact same sound overlapping and the sound will be doubly as loud audibly.
When a sound is completely out of phase you will hear absolutely nothing as each of the signals will counter each other out.
Phase Invert / Reverse Phase
Unless you’re trying to cancel out noise or something in a sound you don’t want to hear, phase can be very annoying, so this is where phase inverting or reversing comes into play. The purpose of phase reverse or inverting is to swap the direction of one of your signals’ waves around so that it then becomes in phase with the other wave.
There are very powerful plugins out there which will put only certain parts of the wave back into phase so that when you have a signal which is slightly out of phase as opposed to completely, you can effectively make an out of phase stereo signal in-phase so that it will be audible on a mono signal, or just if you want it more prominent in the mix altogether.
Phase As An Effect
Chorus, flanger & (obviously) phase are all effects caused by phasing. They work in different speeds of which the two signals go out of phase and how far they go out of phase, creating dips and rises in audio in each signal which can give sounds a wider feeling across the stereo field.
More info on these effects in later tutorials.
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Elliott Hulse on how being more simplistic will result in more happiness. Strip away the materialism and focus on what your soul is telling you that you want. And the way I’m portraying this personally is this: you can still enjoy the materialistic and tangible things, you don’t have to turn your computer off and read books from a candle if you don’t want to. Just make sure that shit isn’t controlling your life when there’s some sort of itch to be doing something else. Learn how to hear yourself and what you’re telling yourself you need. I look at life as if I’m on a written path and it’s down to my choices whether or not I reach where I’m headed, it’s why I’m with Elliott when he talks about his concepts of being the strongest version of yourself. For me, being the strongest version of myself is insuring I’m guiding my life back to a place of that stripped back happiness, where I can do what the fuck I want to do without any burdens what-so-ever.
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