Plugin Alliance – Mixing Loud Without Destroying Dynamics

Need to present a mix to a client that is as loud as commercially available mastered tracks in a pinch? Craig Bauer offers us tips on how to get this done.

Source: Plugin Alliance – Mixing Loud Without Destroying Dynamics


This is an Excerpt from a review by SOUND on SOUND of the dbx 160S Compressor/Limiter

Is the dbx 160S pure technology, a work of art, or a little of both? PAUL WHITE puts it to the test.

You can always tell when a valuable product comes in for review — it turns up in a flight case, not a cardboard box! The 160S is dbx’s top-of-the-range analogue compressor/limiter, and it’s pretty clear that the heavy, sculpted front panel and chunky metal knobs have been influenced by Focusrite’s high-end ‘Red’ styling, but the design aim seems to have been to capture the sonic signature of existing dbx classic products, rather than to go all out for sonic neutrality or attempt to create a new compressor characteristic.


Housed in a 2U rack-mounting case, the 160S is a 2-channel compressor/limiter with the addition of dbx’s proprietary PeakStopPlus limiter on the output. Metering is via moving-coil meters rather than the more usual LED ladders, and full side-chain access is available. The heavy aluminium front panel is blue anodized, and all the controls, buttons included, have a heavy, smooth feel that inspires confidence.

Before going further, it’s probably helpful if I explain the presence of the PeakStopPlus limiter in a product that can already function as a limiter in its own right. The most obvious reason for including a separate limiter after a compressor is so that the user can apply gentle compression to the signal using the compressor section, but still have the limiter keeping watch for peaks that might otherwise exceed the safe limit for the next piece of equipment in line. This is particularly important with digital equipment, which doesn’t tolerate any overload. However, even if you were to configure the main compressor as a limiter, by using a high ratio and a very fast attack time, you’d find this setting less than ideal for low-frequency sounds, which are treated more kindly if the compressor attack time is set a little longer. Of course, setting anything other than the fastest attack time allows brief peaks to slip through the system unchecked, which is why a separate, very fast output limiter is so useful.

PeakStopPlus is actually a two-stage limiter designed to arrest excessive peaks with the minimum of side-effects, and it does this by first employing what dbx describe as their Instantaneous Transient Clamp, which controls the level using a soft logarithmic function to avoid harsh-sounding clipping effects. This effectively prevents overshoots of more than around 2dB above the set threshold, but then stage two comes into action, introducing another new dbx term — Intelligent Predictive Limiting. I interpret this as a type of look-ahead system that monitors the input level, providing a very short but still useful warning that a peak is about to hit the limiter. Apparently the top couple of dBs of the limiting process provide soft clipping rather than simple truncation which, again, helps produce a more natural sound. PeakStopPlus is provided as a kind of peak level safety net, so under normal circumstances the compressor output level would be set so that the limiter rarely operates (if ever). If desired, however, the limiter can be provoked into more frequent action, allowing its use as a creative effect.

dbx® 160 Plugin Overview with Eddie Kramer

Watch renowned producer/engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones) present the Waves dbx® 160 Compressor/Limiter, an authentic-sounding plugin version of the vintage dbx® 160 compressor heard on countless hit recordings from the 1970s, 1980s and beyond.

For more on this great product check out this link and learn more!

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

This is a video exploring another side of the music of Mark Allan Wolfe. Noted for Rock, Indie, and New Age music, here is a cinematic piece. The song opens with soft piano, that is haunting and is joined by guitar and cello and culminates in a balancing act of a variety of musical instruments. The swelling of cymbals, orchestral elements, and traditional island percussion. For more music and licensing information please visit
If you are interested in licensing music immediately you can start by visiting the online music licensing store located at Music.html

Sound Design behind “The Hobbit”

In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection sound profile we visit Park Road Post Studios in Wellington, New Zealand to talk with the sound team of Director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Featured interviews include Re-recording and sound design. I have found this to be very helpful and you may too.

As composers, artist and musicians we are to always challenge ourselves creativly, as well as technically. Although a lot of you may not creat score music or sound design I am sure you will gain some insight into your craft by watching and listening to this little video clip.

The Basic’s of Music Publishing

I thought this was very helpful and wanted to re share it

I would suggest that with anything you need to learn and study what you can. If your trying to go at making music a career or make any kind of money of your music you should always do what you can to understand the business. There is SO much to learn and many other folks out there with more info that you have no excuse for not teaching yourself.

THis article is by no means and end all but merely a starting point to educate yourself in the music business. I would also like to share with you a few places to visit at the end of this BLOG posting that you may find some helpful tools and insights along with some encouragement. Follow the links at the bottom be sure to share all things withthose in your world of influence for you never know who is listening. Peace


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Mark Allan Wolfe and Wolfies Music radio interview

Be sure to tune in this evening at 9 pm est for a very informative and fun time!!

Life has ups and downs, highs and lows yet it is the music we follow within our heart that will ultimately define who we are and what we become. Tonight, we present to you, the gifted composer, Mark Allan Wolfe.

Mark Allan Wolfe is a composer and an artist in the truest sense. His film and TV compositions run from thought-provoking, high energy, laced with adrenaline and  atq times sincerity. Combining heart-pounding Rock ‘n Roll with tributaries of Electronics, World, Hip-Hop, Pop and Americana, Mark’s songs draw on his 25 years of striving for professionalism and musical merger of sound and genre.

His fans span the world and the 1500+ compositions verify that diversity on TV, internet, film and commercials. You may have hummed one of Mark’s tunes not even realizing the tunesmith behind the music. Web site: MarkAllanWolfe

Grace Peterson is an author, garden columnist and blogger. Depending on the weather, she can be found either pecking on her laptop or puttering in her garden. She is a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers and the Association For Writing Excellence and her work has been published in several anthologies.

Tonight we will speaking of her first book, Reaching. Is it Demon possession or mental illness. A personal descent into cult extremism and the aftermath,.

Grace lives in western Oregon, sharing a home with her husband and four furry felines while their four grown children come and go. REACHING is her first book. Her gardening memoir is slated for publication later this year. Web-site:

Your There

Your There.

The song starts out some what slow with pads and solo guitar then builds into this emo powerhouse of a metal rock song with a intense lead guitar through out. Filled with a few hooks, prog- metal. The video is somewhat of a visionary experience for more info and license information please visit

More tips on getting music placed

I have been enjoying the feedback and questions from the previous posts I thought I would elaborate a little more and share a few more thoughts with you. Now before I begin I must say that you may not think what I share is perhaps a tip, but these have been things that have and still do help me out. These thoughts and ideas have come from experience and from certain folks I know in the business who are either A&R people, other Music Supervisors, Composers and if I may GATE KEEPERS Muahahaha!

Now some of this MAY hurt your heart and get you angry, but if you are sick you go to the DR to find out whats wrong. If you are trying to get music placed or make some money in the music biz you are reading this humble attempt at a BLOG. I do NOT have all the answers NO ONE does but here we go…

Ok so you have made some music, you are trying to be FAMOUS, you are trying to share with the world your most incredible song that has ever graced the ears of man….now what do you do? How do you go about trying to get it to the right people? Some of you who read this may have years of experience and this will all seem silly or maybe a review of sorts.

To some this will be strange and you have never heard of these things or even contemplated them. Some of the terminology may seem foreign and strange but if you take the time to learn and read up on  these things they will benefit you in years to come.

How do you explain something that has taken a life time to learn and put into practice with in a few senteces? How does one reveal the truth to someone when they do not want to hear it? Wait a minute what? Yes thats right many people do NOT want to hear what I am saying. You want OTHER people to do all the work for you but you want to reap the rewards of THEIR labor? Yes Mr Anderson this is true. I have seen it time and time again. On one hand there are a group of people who will bust their butts and do what ever they can to try to make it in the busness and then there are those who will go half way and expect the same results. Does not happen.

You have to do your homework no matter what you have to study, force yourself to do things you would not neccessriy do as a musucian such as read, educate yourself. I cannot begin to tell you how many people will email me or call and they have NO clue as to how things work and how this business end works, they think that you make the music place it on itunes, or make a youtube video and people will stop in there tracks. Not that there is anything wrong with not knowing for we are all learning. It is the fact that this is all they think needs to be done. That some one beyond the great expanse will hear them and sign them and their music as in the days of old, or the movies.

Ask yourself a few of these questions, and write them down on paper or on your laptop….

Where do you want to be in a year?

Where do you want to be in 5 yrs?

How do you get there?

Who can help you get there?

Why do you want it?

These are your goals, your blue print for what your trying to do.

Where is music used? EVERYWHERE

Who provides them with that music? How can I get my music to them, or that person?

Why do you write your thoughts and ideas down? If you do not have some form of direction YOU WILL NEVER go anywhere. You have to set out a course a plan. You have to put yourself in the right places at the right times. I believe it was Walt Disney who said  “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”

You need to identify and try to start meeting filmmakers and music supervisors. A few things to try to remember when meeting and establishing ANY new relationships with in this business are as follows;

Composing is primarily a relationship-driven business. If you are not one who likes to work with people you may have trouble working in this field. Not impossible just something to work on. Be seen as a solution NOT a problem.
Be someone who’s easy to do business with and approachable. Do not be arrogant be a little humble. Like with in ANY relationship building, remember to consider others time and thoughts not just YOURS.

Respect their time – when you call, get to the point and always listen. Don’t take anything personally. If someone gives you their thoughts or ideas (like this BLOG) do not trip out just realize that it is just their views. RESPECT, relax, do not stop making music because you got rejected EVERYONE gets rejected.Edison the dude who helped discover the light bulb failed like hundreds of times I think even 206 times!
Always inspire confidence in you and your music. Always remember the unique aspects about you and your music.
Do your homework – learn as much as possible about the person & projects.

I will always share when I can to try to help out everyone. I would humbly ask that if you like this posting and have benefited from it that you write us back share your music with us if you want. I am always looking to network with people of like mind and collaborate so feel free to email. I would also like to ask that you share this with anyone you feel would benefit. It is like we are trying to put into practice what I have been writing about these past few articles. Lets build relationships. ROCK ON!

EZ Drummer Drums for your DAW!!

EZDrummer Drums for your DAW!!

This is a product that I highly recommend. I used this and other variations of it in a lot of my productions. I like it so much i thought i would let you know about it thru a friend of mine. If you would like to hear some samples of it visit and sift thru some music samples or click here as well as this  click here

This is a classic and timeless piece of software regarded by many professionals worldwide as a ‘must have’ in the staple diet of any music producer’s plugin menu.

EZDrummer from Toontrack is a fast and ultra reliable way of creating professional sounding drum grooves for your production tracks straight out of the box.  As a drum sampler –  EZDrummer sounds fantastic, the GUI is top notch, looks great and there is nothing complicated about the way EZDrummer works at all.  Getting started, in simple terms, is as easy as loading the plugin into a host channel – choosing a preset kit – selecting a groove from the midi pattern window and pressing play to audition the sounds.

Building a linear drum part for your song using EZDrummer involves:  Auditioning and choosing your grooves, intros, outros, fills e.t.c.  then use a drag & drop method to flesh out the midi files as an extended drum part in your DAW.  You can then edit the midi parts to create variations if need be – mix the kit parts using EZDrummer’s dedicated mixer and you’re done!  EZ!  Of course, there are many more dimensions to explore in EZDrummer especially its custom kit design options and multi-outputs for processing the individual drum sounds through a host DAW mixer, but in essence, that is the workflow in a nutshell.

Kit Pieces:  EZDrummer as a VSTi is reflected through 3 feature user interfaces:  Default Drum kit  window –  Grooves Window, which stores the midi groove/pattern lists – and the plugin’s Mixer.  When first loaded  the default kit consists of 5 drums 4 cymbals with room and overhead mics.  Individual kit pieces are auditioned by clicking in the instrument areas and on the edges of kit pieces to audition rimshots and sound variations where applicable.  Or, by pressing the relevant key on a midi controller to trigger the drum sounds.   EZDrummer allows you to create custom kits  by changing the sounds of individual kit pieces and saving them as user presets.  On the edge of each kit piece in the interface is an arrow which indicates a drop down menu.  Use this menu to choose the different sounds you want on each drum.   For the kick drum, for example,  you could choose a different size of drum using a different type of beater.  The enhanced professional sound quality of EZDrummer is  generated through the several thousand expertly crafted multi-velocity samples of kit pieces taken from leading brand names, like:  Rogers – Tama – Ludwig – Sabian –  Zildjian (and more) – which provide a full and complete dynamic range to this remarkable VSTi instrument.

Grooves: In the Grooves interface of EZDrummer there are a whole bunch of midi pattern libraries representing thousands of captured professional performances translated into midi files.  There are a host of different genres in each midi library, and, depending on the EZX(Expander) packs  you own, the range of genre varies from Pop/Rock – Funk – Ballad – Metal – reaching across into the fields of  Electronic and  Latin percussion.  The detail of the midi patterns comprising the EZDrummer midi library is a producer’s dream.  Each pattern pays close attention to the dynamic in the rhythmic phrase and towards a performance nuance by including ghost notes and live performance hit velocities.  There are a refreshing amount of different time signatures with many different interpretations of the groove, such as: 6/8, 3/4, 7/8 – either played straight, with  swing or with shuffle.  Each EZ midi library is completed with tons of fills to decorate the phrase endings.

EZDrummer also provides 2 sweep dials at the foot of the interface: Humanize & Velocity dials.  The setting of these dials introduces a random element to the number of ghost notes and additional hits included in the rhythmic cycle of a midi pattern while also increasing or decreasing the hit velocity density and amplitude of the hits.  Again, these sweep dials add further detail and production options when working with EZDrummer.  Finally, when you drag and drop the midi patterns from EZDrummer to the DAW channel – all velocity information you program with a midi pattern is fully retained ensuring total replication of the performance.

The Mixer:  EZDrummer has a dedicated mixer interface which provides 9 mixer channels for all kit pieces including seperate channels that adjust the ambience of the room and overhead mics.   Interesting to note that the snare sounds from the default kit in EZDrummer have 2 dedicated channels (top & bottom)  with an adjustable mic bleed control affecting the amount of bleed from the bottom snare sound and from the overheads.  There are a limited number of mixer presets available from a drop down menu to the upper left of the mixer interface that switches the mixer interface into a variety of different panning and mix states.  However,  you can randomly generate mixer states by clicking the ‘randomise’ button –  useful when looking to get a feel for a final mixdown.

The mixer also allows channels to be grouped together by a simple shift & click on the number of channels required to form the group.  Once created, the actions applied to a fader on one channel will affect all faders  within the group.  However, the pan of each channel within a group remains independent and can be adjusted seperately, which is cool.  Finally, the mixer channels can be  assigned to 8 seperate stereo outputs and routed to the mixer of a host DAW where the individual kit sounds can be processed using the host DSPs or third party plugins.  All in all, EZDrummer’s mixer is detailed enough to create a flexible mix environment.

As a drum sampler/VSTi plugin –  EZDrummer, with its ready to go finished drum sounds, provides an incredibly simple creative workflow for drum part tracking.  The immediacy and speed of workflow enhances its qualities as an excellent song writing tool.
Further, all of its samples load into memory so there no clicks or pops on playback and the sound quality will always sit well in any professional mix.   For those in need of more processing power within the plugin itself I would recommend you check out Toontracks big brother of drum sampler/romplers – Toontrack Superior 2.0!  Either way, EZDrummer is a cool piece of kit and coupled with the numerous EZX expansion kits supplemented by Toontrack over recent years it could easily develop as THE ultimate ‘go to’ plugin in your production tool kit.

Whether professional or hobbyist –  since the  launch of the product in 2006 you must have of heard of EZDrummer? – if you haven’t –  welcome to planet Earth!

EZdrummer® Facts & Features
• 7000 sound files at 16-bit / 44.1kHz equivalent to 5Gb of uncompressed wav files.
• Instant access to more than 8000 midi drum patterns with prelistening, quick browsing and drag’n’drop functionality.
• Same extensive layer depth on all drums and cymbals as in EZdrummers big brother Superior Drummer®.
• EZdrummer® ranges from entry level usability to pro handling
• Features multiple microphone control
• TPC II reduces system requirements to a minimum
• Operates in General MIDI
• Internal mixer allows stereo and multitrack routing into the host through one single plug in
• Preset mix modes for quick sound changes
• Interface visualizes the drums loaded and combines auditioning and kit construction
• Drums recorded at Avatar Studios, New York by worldclass drummers and producers
• The humanizer function combines drum hit randomizing and non-cycling
• Velocity sweep allows instant changes to MIDI data, extending groove context relevance
• Possibilities for the user to add their own MIDI files to the library

For more information about EZDrummer go here…

Brought to you courtesy of Soundwrx Digital