Bruce Swedien Recording Method

Tomorrow marks the start of the 2014 NAMM show in Anaheim, California, lasting until January 26th. What could be more apt than a few words from Quincy Jones in The Bruce Swedien Recording Method? You can also check out Bruce Swedien’s website here.

Bruce Swedien – I call him “Svensk,” which means “Swedish man” – is the best! Nobody can touch what he created with the Acusonic Recording Process, using SMPTE to sync the multitrack recorders together, and using stereo pairs of tracks to build a sound that still can’t be beat. I’ve traveled around the world several times, and everywhere I go they play the music we recorded together. And every time it’s played in the clubs, the dance floor is packed! When you record the music right, with the perfect balance, a solid foundation, and just the right amount of reverb, people can’t reproduce it. They can try, but there’s a musical and emotional component that we were able to create together that was magical.

There is no one who matches Svensk’s innate sense of balance and musicality. He has always been able to find the musical blend that brings a song to life, and his mixes have set the standard for all who have followed. Since the first session we did together in Chicago at Universal Studios with Dinah Washington, Bruce and I have enjoyed making some incredible music. From that first session with Dinah and then another with the Count Basie Orchestra to The Wiz, Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Back on the Block, Q’s Jook Joint, and everything in between, Svensk has been my friend, my engineer, and my musical colleague. When we all started working together on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, we were ready – ready to create something so special that it would make a profound mark on the music industry and world culture. Bruce had grown up listening to some of the best and most well-structured and well-balanced music in one of the best concert halls; I had been studying and honing my craft since I was a young teenager hanging around the Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Dizzy Gillespie Orchestras; Rod Temperton had discovered how to write great music and lyrics that would connect with music fans all over the world; and Michael had grown to be possibly the best and most professional singer I had ever seen. We had all the bases covered and were ready to go. And that’s just what we did!

If you’re going to make great music, you have to be able to maintain focus until the creative flow has found its course. Bruce, Rod, and I worked for days at a time, literally 24 hours a day, finding just the right direction for the music – finding the very best ways to communicate the music’s heart and soul. Many times, during the Thriller album, we worked five straight days and nights, but that’s how it had to be. That’s what it took and we all loved it. They’d be taking the studio assistants out on stretchers, but we were so focused on the fantastic music we were laying down that we hardly noticed the time.

For someone who wants to learn how to record great music, there’s no one better to emulate than Bruce Swedien. Pay attention to how he records music, but just as important, pay attention to why he records music and to the care and love that go into how he works. Making great recordings is about so much more than technical concerns, and Bruce has always known that. I truly believe that his part in the music we did together was irreplaceable.

Bruce, you’re absolutely the best – there’s no one better. You’re my musical soul mate, my close friend, and my brother – min vän och min bror. I love you, man!

The Bruce Swedien Recording Method is an incredibly timely and timeless reference for anyone interested in capturing and mixing the best possible music recordings. From the Michael Jackson albums (Off the WallThrillerBadDangerousInvincible, and HIStory), to many Quincy Jones hits (The DudeBack on the BlockQ’s Jook Joint, and many more), to classic greats from Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Brothers Johnson, and Natalie Cole, Bruce Swedien’s impact on popular music has been undeniable. Engineers at all levels still use Swedien’s recordings as a standard by which they judge the sonic validity of their own work.

In The Bruce Swedien Recording Method, Swedien explains many of the techniques he has used to get award-winning drum, bass, guitar, keyboard, vocal, string, and brass sounds. On the accompanying DVD-ROM, he further reveals what he looks for in a recording and the steps he takes to imprint his characteristic world-class sonic signature on the music he mixes.

Throughout this book, Swedien consistently pinpoints the most important considerations in the recording process, with such insights as: You don’t listen to the equipment, you listen through the equipment… Nobody ever walked out of the studio whistling the console… The sound has to be so good to start with that it gives you goosebumps – the list goes on and on!

Quincy Jones Talks About Michael Jackson [video]

Happy birthday, Quincy Jones!

It’s not every day that we have an author turn 80. It’s certainly not every day that we have two celebrity authors turn 80 on the exact same day. Quincy Jones (Q on Producing) and Michael Caine (Acting in Film) are celebrating their double birthday together today. Best wishes to both!


Below is an excerpt of the DVD that comes with the book Q on Producing where Quincy Jones and Bill Gibson discuss Jones’ work with Michael Jackson.

PLUS: Read a brand new interview with Bill Gibson on Voice Council!

With invaluable advice on subjects such as songwriting, scoring, and the modern music business – to be expanded on in subsequent volumes – Q on Producing provides the foundation for what is sure to be the most anticipated series of tutorials on music production ever created.

What Is Hal Leonard up to at AES This Year?

The Audio Engineering Society conference takes place in San Francisco this year from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29. Stop by the Hal Leonard booth. Buy books, talk to authors, enter our giveaway, and more!

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In the Booth

Hal Leonard’s new, innovative Quick Pro Guides series and newly revamped Power Tools line include tutorials on Ableton, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Reason, Cubase, and Studio One. Hal Leonard’s authors include Bobby Owsinski, Mixerman, Moses Avalon, Bill Gibson, Howard Massey, Alan Parsons, Dave Hampton, Chilitos Valenzuela, Steve Turnidge, and many others.
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Giveaway

Drop your business card in the jar at the Hal Leonard booth for your chance to win a copy of Alan Parsons’ The Art and Science of Sound Recording DVD set. The winner will be contacted by email the week following AES.
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MusicPro Guides YouTube Channel

MusicPro Guides is giving away prizes on our YouTube channel. To enter the drawing, subscribe to youtube.com/musicproguides between October 26 and November 10th. If you are already a subscriber, enter the drawing by commenting on the front page video. We’ll announce the winner on November 27th on our YouTube channel. Prizes include the complete Mixerman book collection; a prize pack of books that include Quick Pro Guides, Desktop Mastering, and Electronic Musician Presents the Recording Secrets Behind 50 Great Albums; and a Skype call with Bruce Swedien.
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Panels, Tutorials, and Workshops with Hal Leonard authors

Presenter: Bobby Owsinski
Session T3
Friday, Oct. 26, 4-6pm
Bobby Owsinski, author of Music 3.0, will give a presentation on social media. Facebook,  Google+, Twitter and YouTube are important elements for developing a fan base or client list, but without the proper strategy they can prove ineffective and take so much time that there’s none left for creating. This presentation shows engineers, producers, audio professionals, and musicians the best techniques and strategy to utilize social media as a promotional tool without it taking 20 hours a day.
 
2. Total Tracking: Get It Right at Source: Choosing and Recording Your Sound Source
Presenter: Bill Gibson
Saturday, Oct. 27 at noon in PSE2 and Sunday, Oct. 28, noon-1pm  in PSE8
The astonishing and ever-improving power and versatility of digital signal processing plug-ins for computer audio workstations has encouraged the widespread belief that everything can be “fixed in the mix”—and in many cases, of course, it can. However, this approach is always extremely time-consuming and the results aren’t always perfect. It is often much faster, and with far more satisfying results, to get the right sound from the outset by careful selection of the source and appropriate microphone selection and positioning. This workshop will explore a wide variety of examples, analysing the requirements and discussing practical techniques of optimising source recordings.
 
Chair: Bill Gibson
Panelists: Dave Hampton, Mixerman, Steve Turnidge, Dot Bustelo
W10
Sunday, Oct. 28, 4pm-6pm
Music Business Panel: Show Me the Money! Finding Success in an Evolving Audio Industry includes a panel discussion about the new music business. The mission of this workshop is to provide insightful tactics and techniques for the modern audio professional—ways to make money in the current business reality. Topics include proven ways to increase profitability, nuts and bolts explanations of setting up your business to receive payments for licensing, sync fees, Internet and other new media delivery systems, and more. Panel consists of noted authors and music business experts, Dot Bustelo (author of The Power in Logic Pro), Dave Hampton (author of The Business of Audio Engineering), Mixerman (author of Zen and the Art of Producing and The Daily Adventures of Mixerman), and Steve Turnidge (author of Desktop Mastering). Bill Gibson (author of The Hal Leonard Recording Method and Q on Producing) will moderate. 
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Hope to see you there!
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Here we were at AES last year:

Drum Conditioning

The following is an excerpt of Instrument & Vocal Recording: The Hal Leonard Recording Method (Book 2), 2nd Edition by Bill Gibson. For more on this subject, follow Bill’s Drum Genie blog and check out his free Drum Genie app for the iPhone and iPad.
To get good drum sounds, it’s necessary to be familiar with drum tuning and dampening techniques. A bad-sounding drum is nearly impossible to get a good recorded sound from. A good-sounding drum can make your recording experience much more enjoyable.
     If the drum heads are dented and stretched out, cancel the rest of your appointments for the day. You’ll be spending a substantial amount of time getting an acceptable drum sound.
     If the drums aren’t high-quality instruments, there’s a good chance that the shells aren’t smooth and level, and there’s a possibility that the drums aren’t even perfectly round. If this is the case, the heads won’t seat evenly on the drum shell and there’ll be a loss of tone, detracting from the drum sound.

Tuning

Often, the primary difference between a good-sounding drum and a bad-sounding drum lies simply in tuning. The standard approach to tuning involves:
• Tuning the top head to the tone you want
• Making sure the pitch is the same all the way around the head by tapping at each lug and adjusting the lugs until they all match
• Duplicating the sound of the top head with the bottom head

Hal Leonard Recording Method – Book 2: Instrument & Vocal Recording – 2nd Edition by Bill Gibson

This edition addresses new equipment and software concerns that affect the way excellent recordings are made. Updated text, illustrations, photos, and video examples add to the power of the previous edition, plus new techniques and considerations are presented as they pertain to additional recording scenarios. You’ll learn what you need to know about capturing the best vocal and instrument tracks possible, no matter what kind of studio you are working in or what kind of equipment is used.

Bill Gibson has spent the last thirty-plus years writing, performing, recording, producing, and teaching music. He has written more than thirty books and produced several videos covering important audio concepts. His style is acclaimed for straightforward and understandable explanations of audio concepts and applications. Gibson, an instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle, is also known for his work helping Quincy Jones author the book Q on Producing. He has developed curriculum and currently teaches online sound courses for Berklee College of Music in Boston. The courses have been very helpful to an amazingly diverse international student body. Gibson lives in Seattle, Washington, and serves as a trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and also on the National Advisory Board for the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

Updates to The Hal Leonard Recording Method

The six-volume Hal Leonard Recording Method, the world’s first and best-selling recording method that takes the aspiring professional from the beginning of the signal path to the final master mix, has been revised and updated with the release of the second editions. The series provides easy-to-understand explanations of the entire recording process, addressing both standard equipment and the latest software and technology; hundreds of photographs and illustrations; and much more.

These new editions feature free downloads of dozens of audio and video examples that amplify the material taught in the books. “This will fast become the norm with all of our products that traditionally come with CD or DVD content, making access to them easy and downloadable directly to your preferred media player,” says Bill Gibson, author and Music Pro Guide series editor for Hal Leonard.

The entire Hal Leonard Recording Method will be available at the Hal Leonard booth (#364) at the Audio Engineering Society Convention to be held Oct. 21-23 at the Javits Center in New York. The updated Book 2 will also be available. Visitors to the Hal Leonard booth will be able to enter a drawing for a chance to win the complete six-book set.  The drawing will take place Sunday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m.

In the update to Book 1, Microphone & Mixers, 2nd Edition ($39.99), Gibson helps readers take their first steps in a truly organized path through the entire recording process.  Topics include:

  •  How professional microphones work, which to choose and why
  • Understanding the signal path from microphones to mixers and how to operate these critical tools to capture critical recordings
  • Explanations of the most up-to-date tools and techniques involved in using dynamics and effects processors.

Book 2, Instrument & Vocal Recording, 2nd Edition ($39.99), addresses new equipment and software concerns that affect the way excellent recordings are made.  Updated text, illustrations, photos, and video examples add to the power of the earlier edition, and new techniques and considerations are presented as they pertain to additional recording scenarios.

Readers will learn what they will need to know about capturing the best vocal and instrumental tracks possible, no matter the studio or equipment in it.

The other books in the Hal Leonard Recording Method also are being updated and revised and will be released in this order over the next six months:  Book 3 Recording Software & Plug-Ins, Book 6 Mixing and Mastering, Book 4 Sequencing Samples & Loops, and Book 5 Engineering and Producing.

Available for purchase here from Hal Leonard Books.