[This guest blog post comes to us from EarthMoments.]
To journey into the realm of Middle Eastern music is to unveil a tradition that is inextricably linked to religion—a uniting factor that brought together people of several different countries, languages and cultures.
The prevalence of Islam enabled the Arabic influence to spread across areas including Morocco, Iran, Egypt, Turkey and North Africa from the 7th century onward—a cultural influence that also permeated the region’s musical framework. There are various elements that give Arabic music its distinctly otherworldly quality—the music often features quarter tones between notes, the Arabic scale is based on various maqamat or modes, and complex rhythmic patterns play an essential role in the tradition.
In order to connect producers to this region’s exotic spectrum of instruments and rich sonic diversity, EarthMoments has released a bundle that grants them exclusive access to an otherwise elusive musical tradition.
EarthMoments’ Hamsa Vol. 02 – Arabic Percussion showcases several percussion instruments from the Middle East, North Africa, and Arabic musical traditions.
Forming the mainstay of the percussive practice are a variety of hand drums, instruments like the dumbek—a classic goblet-shaped drum traditionally made of ceramic clay and with a deeply resonant sound; the darbuka – also ‘goblet’ shaped, and said to be a modern variation of the dumbek; and the riq—a frame drum with 5 sets of cymbals, usually skinned with goat or fish skin – all of which are included in the bundle.
These traditions are heavily steeped in rhythmic patterns that perhaps at first listen are unusual to the Western-trained ear—complex time signatures that evoke a sense of the mystical realm from which these sounds emerged. In creating the bundle, the EarthMoments team made it a point to go beyond a surface level depiction of the ‘exotic Orient’—and chose instead to showcase both traditional commonly heard rhythms, as well as less conventional, rare folk rhythms that stray far from the mainstream.
Included are rhythms like the Malfuf—a fast pattern that originates in Egypt and Lebanon and is often played as an intro for classical orchestral compositions, specially created for a belly dancer’s entrance and exit;
the Baladi – an urban folk rhythmic style, a derivative of which is the Maqsoum rhythm (the most common rhythm in Arabic belly dance music);
the Shiftateli – a hypnotic rhythm often used for the sensuous movements of the belly dancer such as undulations of the torso, floor work, or when the dancer moves with snake like arms;
and the Karachi – a fast rhythm that originated in Pakistan but is commonly found in modern Egyptian and North African music.
In unlocking this enigmatic world of sound, new doorways open up for the curious producer looking for unusual creative leads – and herein lies great potential to create truly unique, offbeat compositions.
There are a lot of filter responses: notch, bandpass, peak, allpass, high pass, lowpass, shelf…now let’s add the “table” response to the collection.
Parametric EQs can add peaks and cuts that are broad, narrow, or anywhere in between, but they all have slopes on either side of the filter frequency. The table response described here can boost or cut over a range of frequencies, with a flat response over that range. This avoids having to dedicate several overlapping parametric stages, which still doesn’t achieve quite the same result. The key to this response is combining shelving EQs.
Table Response Boost
To boost a frequency range, set the low- and high-shelf frequencies to the lowest and highest frequencies in the range (Fig. 1). Use the Shelf setting to determine how quickly the boosted section returns to the flat response. I’ve found the 12 and 24 dB settings works well, because the Q control comes into play. This can provide additional modifications to the response, which we’ll cover later. However, for the gentlest effect, 6 dB is valid in many situations as well.
Figure 1: This table response, inserted before a high-distortion amp sim, gives greater sensitivity to midrange notes and also trims the highs and lows for a “tighter” sound.
But we’re not done quite yet. To provide an actual boost, increase the output Gain control for the desired amount of boost. For example, if you want the table response to boost +12 dB, set the high and low shelf Gain settings to -12 dB, and the output Gain control to +12.
Table Response Cut
Similarly to the boost option, set the low- and high-shelf frequencies to the lowest and highest frequencies in the range you want to cut (Fig. 2). Again, use the Shelf setting to determine how quickly the boosted section returns to the flat response; the same general comments about how the shelf slope works with boosting apply here too.
Figure 2: This table response for a drum loop cuts back on the midrange a bit to help emphasize the kick and the snap/sizzle of the share and high-hats; it also reduces any “midrange mud,” and makes space in that frequency range for other instruments.
Cutting requires an equal and opposite approach to what we did for boosting. If you want the table response to cut 4 dB, then boost the shelf controls by +4 dB. Then, set the output gain control to -4 dB. This restores the shelf boosts to flat, and adds the desired amount of cut for the specified frequency range.
When cutting with the low shelf or boosting with the high shelf, increasing resonance by turning up the Q control adds a peak just above the shelf’s corner frequency, and a dip below the corner frequency. When boosting with the low shelf or cutting with the high shelf, increasing Q adds a peak just below the shelf’s corner frequency, and a dip above the corner frequency. This emphasizes the extremes of the chosen frequency range, while also increasing the depth of the cuts near the corner frequency. Try adding resonance to the low shelf when using this technique for vocals, particularly narration (Fig. 3).
Figure 3: The table response adds a bit of a low-frequency boost (with Q) to give the “late night FM DJ sound,” but also cuts lower frequencies to reduce p-popping. Meanwhile, the high-frequency shelf emphasizes the voice’s articulation, while reducing extraneous highs, hiss, and sibilance.
Of course, the table response doesn’t replace a parametric. But sometimes, it might be just the response you need, and you’ll find it faster to dial in the right frequency range by moving the shelf controls than trying to make multiple stages of peak/boost EQ do what you want.
Now through Sunday, February 16, 2020 shop all Notion 6 Add-Ons for 50% off! This offer is available worldwide.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and upgrades and crossgrades of Studio One are 25% off—NOW through Sunday, February 16!
This offer includes upgrades and crossgrades only — ends February 16, 2020. If you own an existing DAW but would like to switch over to the most intuitive recording software on the planet, the Studio One Crossgrade is just for you. All you need to do is provide an image of the UPC code or original purchase receipt* for the other DAW in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Electronic receipts are acceptable.
Click here to learn more about the crossgrade process. Please allow up to 24 hours for the coupon code to be issued Monday through Friday. If requested on a weekend, the request will be handled the following Monday.
Here are the eligible DAWs:
Tracktion T7 or higher
Check out what everyone is saying about Studio One on Twitter!
Derek Jones was a Notion fan, expert user, and PreSonus advocate who formerly managed the Notion Users Facebook Group. If you ever had a run-in with Derek on-line, it was guaranteed to be positive—we can’t even begin to count the number of people in the Notion community who benefitted from his help and patience. If you count yourself among them, please feel welcome and encouraged to say something nice in the comments.
Rest easy, Derek, and thanks for your kind time and attention. You’re already missed.
The Notion team are deeply saddened by Derek’s passing. He was hugely valued here, indeed all of our users benefited from the improvements and feedback he contributed over the years on top of the direct help he gave to users within the Notion user group he created. The hundreds of members that built up over time became a really supportive and kind online community, aided of course by Derek’s patient and positive direction. I remain very grateful for his passion for music making, and for his friendship.
Product Manager, Notion
A physical guitar amp is more than a box with a speaker—it’s a box with a speaker being picked up by a mic in a room. Both the mic and room contribute to the overall sound. To better emulate the sound of a physical guitar amp, Ampire includes a Mic Edit Controls panel that allows making a variety of virtual mic adjustments.
Ampire doesn’t include room emulation, because you can emulate room sound with several of Studio One’s plug-ins—Room Reverb, Open Air Reverb, Mixverb, and Analog Delay. However, it’s best to avoid adding ambiance until most other tracks have been cut, so that the ambiance achieves the right balance. Too much ambiance can clutter the mix, or hog the stereo field.
The mics you choose, their levels with respect to each other, and whether you add delay can make a major difference in your amp’s sound. So, let’s investigate the Mic Edit Controls panel (Fig. 1).
Choosing the Mic Type
Many guitarists record with their amp cranked to really high levels, to get their “sound.” Dynamic mics are ideal because they can handle high levels, and the inexpensive Shure SM57 is the classic guitar cabinet mic—many engineers choose it even when cost is no object. Although dynamic mics may lack brightness compared to condenser mics (as modeled by Mic C), this doesn’t matter much with amp cabinets, which typically don’t have much energy above 5 kHz or so anyway. Mic A in the Mic Edit Controls panel has the SM57’s sonic character, and will likely be your go-to mic.
Mic B produces the sound associated with ribbon mics, which shows one of Ampire’s benefits: older ribbon mics tended to be fragile—but you can’t blow up a virtual mic. Ribbon mics have an inherently warm midrange. Royer’s R-121 mic is popular for miking cabs, and Mic B models its overall sonic character.
Mic C emulates the PreSonus PM-2 matched pair of condenser microphones. Condenser mics are often too sensitive for close-miking loud amps, but when moved a bit back from the cab, they can give a brighter, more “open” response that handles note attacks well. They’re also commonly used as room mics, which is why these two virtual mics are arranged in an X-Y miking configuration to give a stereo image.
Wait a Minute—Did You Say Stereo?
Guitars are mono signal sources, but taking full advantage of Ampire’s mics, as well as room ambiance plug-ins, requires a stereo signal. To convert the mono guitar into a dual mono signal (i.e., stereo, but with the same audio in the left and right channels), record the guitar with the Channel Mode set to Mono (one circle showing to the right of the Record Input selector). Although this means that any plug-ins will be in mono, that’s acceptable when tracking. After recording the track, change the Channel Mode to stereo (i.e., two circles showing to the right of the Record Input selector), select the event, and bounce it to itself (ctrl+B). Now the mono guitar is dual mono.
Mic Control Applications
Each mic has three controls: level, mute button (which makes it easy to evaluate what a particular mic contributes to the overall sound), and phase switch (the Ø button). Also, Mics B and C have Delay controls.
Often when miking a physical amp with more than one mic, you’ll vary their blend to find the right mix. The Mic Mix Link button toward the extreme left simplifies this process. When enabled, altering one mic’s level adjusts the levels of the other mics oppositely. For example, turning up Mic A turns down Mics B and C, or turning up Mic B turns down Mics A and C.
The Phase buttons and Delay controls can make major differences in the overall sound. There’s no right or wrong phase or delay setting; use whatever sounds best to you. Try the following to hear how these controls affect the sound. (Bear in mind that amp sims do a lot of calculations, so moving the controls will sound “choppy.” This is because Ampire has to recalculate constantly to reflect the changing settings.)
Now check out how Mic C creates a stereo spread. With Mic Mix Link off, adjust Mic A and/or Mic B for the desired sound. Bring up Mic C’s Level control slowly, and you’ll hear the stereo image bloom. Again, the Delay control and Phase reverse button make a big difference in the sound.
Clean Sounds, Too
One of my favorite mic applications is with clean guitar sounds (cabinet only, no amp). Mic C is particularly useful, because its brightness gives the cabinet’s tone a useful lift, and creates a stereo image. Finally, note that if you change the Channel Mode from mono to stereo (or the reverse), the sound may mute. Varying one of the Mic level controls restores the sound. Of course, it’s easy enough to call up an Ampire preset, and just start playing… but becoming proficient with the Mic Edit Controls opens up a wealth of possibilities.
This just in from Ralf over at Nektar! This tutorial series shows how Nektar DAW Integration software lets you control Studio One from Panorama T4 and T6 MIDI controllers—everything from setup to mixer mode to instrument mode is covered. Check it out!
Part 1 (Basics and Overview)
Part 2 (Mixer Mode)
Part 3 (Instrument Mode)
Notion 6.6 Maintenance Release
Notion 6.6 is now available. It’s a minor maintenance update that adds compatibility with multi-core Windows machines and fulfils the upcoming security requirements of Apple’s Catalina operating system. Handwriting, MusicXML and MIDI import enhancements that were made for the recent Notion iOS 2.5 update have been inherited too, plus there’s some good news for 5-string banjo players…
This is a free update for Notion 6 owners that can be obtained by clicking “Check for Updates” within Notion.
Operating System Compatibility
Notion iOS 2.5 Major Maintenance Release
Notion iOS 2.5 is here, a major maintenance update for the best-selling notation app on iOS. This is a free update for Notion iOS owners that can be obtained by visiting Notion in the App Store on your device, or checking your available updates.
And while you’re here, please check out our new official Facebook user group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PreSonusNotionUsers
NEW: Document Handling
(iOS11 and later) Notion now directly supports Apple’s built-in document opener. This allows you to create, open and save scores directly in the location of your choice, whether on the device, in Notion’s iCloud folder, or via the linked cloud folders of your choice (such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive for example)
Note – If you are running iOS9 or 10, then there is a document opener built in to Notion that will allow saving to the device, or to Notion’s iCloud folder only.
NEW: Export as MP3
Now you can export your score as an MP3 audio file, alongside the existing options of WAV and AAC formats. Just choose MP3 as the Export file format, and it will save an MP3 in the same location as your Notion document.
NEW: Export for SMP Press
Export as SMP Press File is a simple process that creates a single PDF containing the full score and all the parts in score order. SMP Press, from Sheet Music Plus, is a self-publishing portal for composers. Its free to join, and you earn a commission for every sale.
For more info, click here: https://smppress.sheetmusicplus.com/
NEW: Save as Template
Now you can save a document you are working on as a new template. Go to Export, make sure Notion File is selected, then Save as Template. This will ask you to give it a name—your new template will be available from the New Score dialog next time you create a new document.
Change in Minimum Requirements
iOS Device Improvements
General notation and note entry
[This guest blog post comes to us from EarthMoments.]
Street style: ecstatic South Indian ceremonial drumming, and raw and primal beats from the gullies of South India. This is a wildly unconventional bundle now made accessible to producers worldwide.
EarthMoments’ collection – Indian Street Drummers – Indian Percussion – showcases the heart and soul of the streets of India with the original, largely undocumented sounds of Tapattam street drummers.