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New Single: Everything Goes

Everything Goes single cover

A new single by The Jerrys, “Everything Goes,” is now available as a free download. Give it a listen!

 

Everything Goes

Nothing ever the same
that’s how things go
You’re not even who you
were a picosecond ago
You can’t step in the same
river twice and all that
No past, no future,
now is where it’s at
Everything goes
Everything goes

In the blink of an eye
the morning is noon
One minute it’s March
and next thing
it’s already June
Time and tide wait for no man
and all that biz
No then, no later,
now is all there is and
Everything goes
Everything goes

At the end of the day
time doesn’t know
Who’s still hanging around:
it stays and the people go
Time flies and life’s too short
and all that stuff
Don’t waste your time cause
life is short enough
Everything goes
Everything goes
And everyone knows
Everything goes

Words and music ©2018 by Jerry Schwartz
All instruments and vocals by Jerry Schwartz

Mastering Mastering

I recently finished mastering my upcoming single, “I’m a Reader.” I’d never mastered anything on a laptop, so there was a bit of trial and error involved. My first try was too loud. It’s called hypercompression, and here’s what that looks like.

Hypercompression

I loved it loud. The problem, though–at least as I understand it–is that this loudness will make the music sound worse when streaming services use loudness normalization to make everything play at the same volume. I removed the maximizer from the equation, but the song became too quiet (below).

Too Quiet

I had clearly overcompensated (despite this, the waveform clipped twice, as the two red lines indicate). While the song sounded nice at a high volume, it now had too much headroom. I decided to give one of my preset combinators a try, and here’s what happened:

Preset Combinator

Clearly, things were improving, but I still missed some of the oomph that the original hypercompressed master had. Using the same preset combinator I’d just used, I ditched the preset controls and tweaked away. I liked the sound, and the waveform looked more like what I’d had in mind.

Preset Removed

It was a keeper. I have a lot to learn before I can ever master mastering, but I’m light years ahead of where I was a few weeks ago. The thing is, you do your best and keep learning. I’ve got a lot more music to put out. Look for “I’m a Reader” to be available shortly.

Books I Read in 2014

Here are the books I read or reread in 2014:

  • Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Mike Senior)
  • The Subterraneans (Jack Kerouac)
  • Journey to Mindfulness (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)
  • Get More Fans (Jesse Cannon and Todd Thomas)
  • Who I Am (Pete Townsend)
  • Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (Charles Cross)
  • The Dhammapada
  • The Recording Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition (Bobby Owsinski)

Pixels of Young Mueller: Kindle Audio Sample

pixels-on-kindle

Here is an unenhanced audio sample from my novel, Pixels of Young Mueller, as read by the Kindle’s default male voice at normal speed (you can read along). As you can hear, the feature needs improving, but it would suffice if I preferred listening to books over reading them.

 

10 Things To Do Before Mixing a Recording

10 Things Before Mixing

After reading Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio earlier this month, I created a checklist of ten things to do to prepare a recorded song for mixing. My process has always been a bit too haphazard, so I plan to use this checklist to ensure that I never miss an opportunity to make my music sound better.

  • Organize tracks
  • Divide timeline
  • Listen to tracks
  • Identify gems
  • Edit out silences
  • Do multing as needed
  • Adjust timing and tuning
  • Camouflage edits
  • Comp vocals, lead tracks
  • Arrange

As these can be tedious, time-consuming tasks, many top-tier engineers give them to assistants to perform, but that’s not an option for those of us in home studios. If you’re a home studio user, feel free to use this checklist to better prepare your recordings for mixing. For more, be sure to check out Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio.

Akai M-10 Reel-to-Reel Recorder

Akai Reel-to-Reel

My first multitrack recording machine was a used 1969 Akai M-10 reel-to-reel recorder that featured a built-in amplifier and auto-reverse capability. This machine was the only in Akai’s M-series (ca. 1960-1973) to have three motors, and it operated at tape speeds of 1-7/8, 3-¾, and 7-½ inches per second. Before the M-10, I had been using portable General Electric tape recorders to bounce tracks around, so this machine was a nice step up for me.

My Home Recording Setup

Home Recording Setup

Nearly a decade ago, I began using a digital audio workstation of the studio-in-a-box variety to produce the music of The Jerrys. Switching from magnetic tape recording to digital recording transformed the way I made music. In terms of editing alone, digital changed everything.

Fast forward to now. Over the past several months I replaced my workstation with a computer-based home studio. I’ve recorded a few tracks already, and there’s a bit of a learning curve as might be expected. It’s all good, though, as I love learning new things (I’m making progress on a near-daily basis). Without further wait, here are the components that make up my new laptop studio:

HP ENVY dv6-7215nr Notebook PC
For audio recording using a lot of tracks, I needed not only a laptop dedicated to audio recording, but one with some muscle. With a quad-core processor, 8 GB memory, and a 750 GB 7200RPM hard drive, this notebook delivers.

Propellerhead Reason 7
Released in late April, Reason 7 is the latest and the greatest software from Propellerhead. I based my decision to go with Reason solely on the fact that Todd Rundgren used previous versions of Reason to create his last few albums. I needed something that would record guitars well, and if it’s good enough for Todd, it’s good enough for me.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
This basic audio interface does an awesome job of getting sounds into and out of my laptop, and as actual sound recording (guitars, vocals, tambourine, etc) is a big part of my music, that’s essential. I especially like the ring LEDs around the knobs that change from green to amber to red to indicate signal and clipping.

microKORG Synthesizer/Vocoder
While I used to think of my microKORG as only an audio device and not a studio component (ie, as only an instrument), it will now also function as a MIDI controller. I’ve never used MIDI in my music, but there’s a lot I can do with it in Reason, and I’m more than open to the possibilities.

Alesis M1Active 320 USB Monitor Speakers
It doesn’t take a George Martin-type to know how good these little speakers sound. You can spend a lot of money on monitor speakers, but I didn’t, and I’m glad, as these work great.

As mentioned, I’ve been recording using the new setup, and so far I love the way everything sounds. I look forward to releasing music that was made with the new studio.