February 28, 2011

Converge 2 at The Auburn, Calgary

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , , — Kristoffer Benoit @ 10:09 pm

I really didn’t know what to expect before the event but when I arrived I was delighted to see the Auburn’s tree decorated with black light sensitive butterflies. The walls were covered in graffiti styled paintings, and there was a mural encoraging public artistry.

I brought out this rig
Mid Sized Rig
for Joanna and the acrobatics, Transit and a few DJ teams. The sound system suited the room perfectly. The bass was just warm enough and the highs just crisp enough. The musicians were all extremely talented and along with our system we really got the crowd moving.

At one point, too my surprise, a dance troop came bursting out from behind a curtain hitting a catwalk with custom designed clothing. When the models reached the end of the runway they broke out into urban dance. It was awesome. This troop had some great moves.

The band slayed the room and had everyone moving. They sounded heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder and featured an extremely talented female vocalist. Each member was truly “a player”.

All in all it was a great night and I am looking forward to the 3rd annual Converge next year.

February 23, 2011

Episode 21 – Compression – Calgary sound rentals – Behind the Scene Podcast

Filed under: Behind The Scene Podcast — Tags: , , , , , , — Kristoffer Benoit @ 2:17 pm

Episode-21 Compression

Here an excerpt from today’s podcast.
This weeks tip is on compression.

A compressor is a tool used to control the dynamics of a sound.

Dynamics, in case you are not sure, are differences of volume over time.

A snare drum when hit with a drum stick is a sound that has an extreme dynamic range. The initial thwack of the stick, will produce a very large change in atmospheric pressure in a room, and the resulting ring out of the drum will be lower in pressure.

The thwack has more volume, and the ring out (or sustain of the drum) will be lower in volume.

A compressor can be used to diminish the volume of the thwack by a specific ratio. One reason to use a compressor is to enable engineers to bring the volume of that instrument up in a mix without clipping their hardware, or in the digital realm their software.

Mixing engineers try to make their mixes sound louder than other peoples tracks so they will often squeeze all of the dynamics out of a performance in an attempt to raise the volume just under clipping. In the biz this is known as volume wars.

This is a big problem in particular genres like rock and hip hop. The problem with over compressing is that it will bleed the life, or feel, out of your track because they will lack dynamics.

Let’s take a look back at that snare. If we set a threshold on our compressor to only effect the thwack of the drum then we are diminishing the thwack at a certain ratio. The problem is that a majority of the quality of the drum is in the initial thwack. If we were to take the attack of a different instrument and place it at the beginning of the drums ring out, you would not be able to tell it was a snare at all. So compressing the thwack changes the quality of the drum itself.

For longer tracks like trumpet melodies or guitar rhythms, you could be compressing out the swells and falls of dynamics which greatly effect the mood of a song.

Some people use compression to change the sound rather than to increase a tracks amplitude. Any time you use a compressor it is going to be changing the quality of the instrument. It can have a positive or negative effect depending on how high your ratio is set etc.

I guess what I am saying is be careful not to over compress your tracks or you will leave them feeling dull and lifeless. There is a fine balance between having a vibrant sounding track and one that is loud, but lifeless.

Thank you for listening.
We’ll be back next week.

February 21, 2011

Oka from Australia Live

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , — Kristoffer Benoit @ 11:04 am

On Saturday February 19th 2011 I had the pleasure of mixing Oka from Australia at Sait’s the Gateway.

What a performance.  They made the journey into the Canadian arctic and have been touring our winter wonderland for some time.
Their professionalism and experience really shone through in the ease of their set up.
Considering that they have; flutes, sax, guitar, a didgeridoo, synthesizers, a full kit and 3 vocals, it was a dream to mix them.
I could tell they were veterans at the game when they handed me two stereo mixes and I only had to mic the drum kit.
Their performance was phenomenal with hints of dub, reggae and roots.  The steady drive of electronic beats allowed their drummer to experiment successfully with syncopated rhythms.
Somehow, even with the electronic components, Oka managed to keep an organic feel throughout their entire set.
Check out Oka online at http://www.okamusic.com/HOME.html

Oka Music

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