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JAN/FEB 2014 | EDITION 71 03 04 06 08 11 14 16 18 20 22
EDITORS NOTE & INFO COVER FEATURE - AKG MICROPHONES: D5, D40 & D12 VR DJ TECH ICUBE 90 COMPETITION GEAR FEATURE: AKAI ENDORSEES GEAR NEWS STUDIO REVIEW: MONKEY BANANA GIBBON5 STUDIO REVIEW: SAMSON RESOLV STUDIO MONITORS CREATING DYNAMIC LEAD EFFECTS TUTORIAL: SAMPLING TECHNIQUES EDUCATION: OWN IT THEN KNOW IT
EDITOR’S NOTE here’s a good chance you’ll be reading this magazine just before or around Christmas. I know how keen many of you readers are to get your hands on each edition as it comes out and this one is packed as usual with plenty of tech goodies to ogle over. AKG is an American brand that has been around since 1947, manufacturing microphones, headphones, wireless audio systems and related accessories for professional and consumer markets. They are also the subject of our cover feature in which David Scott from local electro-swing dance band, The Kiffness, got the chance to check out three models; the D5, D12 VR and D40. Now BPM is an electronic music magazine and BPM Tech caters for producers, engineers, DJs and sound professionals and not specifically for musicians. So when we got the D12 VR, which is a damn fine instrument mic as David found out, its primary purpose - as a kick drum mic - was not really within our portfolio to test. As a bunch of samplers and programmers we do, though, like to record-in analogue instruments at times too and the D12 VR proved to be a very versatile mic, for more than just a kick drum. The D5 has been used by The Kiffness for some time now so David speaks with genuine authority as to the quality of it and the D40 proved useful too, as he tested it in studio on his trumpet and other instruments. I have always found AKG headphones to be of the highest quality, personally, so I have no doubt that these mics do the business too.
We also take a look at the South African contingent of Akai Professional endorsees on Pg. 8. Akai have been quite pro-active in supporting local artists and getting the right gear into their hands. I found the remarks by the various artists quite interesting. It seems the APC40 is the weapon of choice for many. Monkey Banana is a new brand of loudspeakers that have recently become available in South Africa through Viva Afrika. Dave Skinz reviews the budget-friendly Gibbon5’s on Pg 14. Sticking with budget-friendly studio monitors Dave also gave the shiny new Resolv series monitors by Samson a test and was well impressed with the results. As usual you will find some real pearls of wisdom from our tutorial contributors on the back pages of our tech section so please read these and absorb the knowledge; it’s the one thing nobody can take away from you... Knowledge! FREEBIES! As our Festive Season gift we have another competition on the go [Pg. 6] and it’s perfect for those summer jams with you and a bunch of friends. Check out the DJ-Tech iCube 90 and Bluedio Bluetooth headset we’ve got up for grabs. I wouldn’t mind one myself. So enter and who knows. You could be jamming your own little iPod parties on the beach in 2014... Lastly, happy 2014 and remember... make it count! Nobody else will do it for you. Dave Mac Editor-in-Chief
By David Scott
AKG D-SERIES MICROPHONES AKG GIVES THE SHURE DOMINATED MARKET A RUN FOR ITS MONEY t's without a doubt that AKG have made some serious headway in the dynamic microphone market in the last couple of years. I'll be reviewing three different mics in the D range: The D5 vocal mic, the D12 kick drum mic and the D40 tom mic. These mics are all more or less in the same price range as their competitors, but how do they fare?
smashed into the ground due to my general disregard for safety on stage. But the last year of touring has proven that my D5 can take care of itself, regardless of how reckless I am. What also makes it great as a vocal mic is the
The classic bulb shaped Shure SM58 has pretty much been the standard in vocal stage mics over the last few decades, but AKG have shown that the D5 is a force to be reckoned with. I know this first hand, having used the D5 myself for some time now. The clarity you get from the D5 is simply in a different ball park in my opinion. I found with other popular vocal mics I always had to cut out a lot of the lows on my EQ to get it sounding decent in a mix. The D5 I find has a good balanced response, and doesn't need much EQ in a live situation. The highs can be a bit harsh if you're playing out of a crisp PA, like the JBL Eons for example. I've often had to cut a couple dBs off the highs, but it's easier to clean up highs than it is cleaning up lows, so the clarity really is good for live situations. In the end it all depends on what you're going to be using the mic for. I think generally some other vocal mics may have a smoother character and may sound better with spoken word i.e. for MCs, rappers. But for singing the AKG D5 does the job perfectly for me. The D5 has an extremely rugged spring-steel wire-mesh cap covering the diaphragm, and a rugged Zinc Alloy Diecast body, which is pretty strong. There's been plenty times where my poor D5 has
super-cardiod polar pattern which basically helps in eliminating feedback issues as well as giving you great clarity when singing directly into the mic.
D12 VR This D12 VR is a large diaphragm mic with an extremely thin diaphragm to ensure the deepest low end. Looking at the frequency response graph, it
gives a pretty accurate and even response up to about 8kHz. There's a switch on the front which gives options for an open kick drum, vintage sound and a closed kick drum. The switch changes colour when you're using different settings which is useful if you're going to be using the mic in dark environments. At Kiffness Studios, we deal mainly with electronic drum programming so unfortunately I didn't have a kick drum lying around. My band mate however is a bassist and doesn't get much chance to use his bass amp because we normally plug his bass straight into my desk. I called him up and we tried out the mic on his bass amp. The result was better than we expected. We found the mic gave the bass much more character and a juicier attack than what we're used to when recording through the desk. When looking at the frequency response, it has a little bump at 5kHz as well as 8kHz which contributes to the attack of the mic. It also had a great warmth, and sounded like a bass from the 70's or 60's. We did have the mic on the 'vintage' setting after all. It's definitely a mic I'd like to add to my collection for more authentic bass recordings. Based on this I'd venture to say that it must be a pretty good kick drum mic too.
5 I own an SM57 and when I AB'd the two against each other on a snare drum and I honestly couldn't hear much difference. They both do a great job. If anything the D40 produced slightly more attack and slightly more sizzle than the 57, while the 57 seemed to have a warmer tone. I also tried it out on my trumpet and got a good result. I like that it's smaller that a SM57 because it makes it easier to place on toms or snares.
D40 The D40 is an all purpose instrument mic. It also comes with a built on clip, so it doesn't require a microphone holder which is handy. It's a dynamic pressure gradient microphone, which means it's great for anything with lots of attack i.e. horns, drums or percussion.
The 'industry standard' is being challenged as far as live microphones go. The problem with some of these ‘industrystandard’ mics is they haven't really changed the way they make them in the last couple of years, and there are newer companies like AKG coming out with new technology that make microphones sound awesome and at the same price point. But it’s not easy shifting people’s perception because of the legacy they have and we can’t argue with that.
What we can argue is that we're living in a new decade, and we have new microphones at the same price. AKG is pretty fresh off the block so it might take time for people to realise that they make great mics and that legacy is generally over-rated when there's alternative and potentially better technology out there. If you want a mic that delivers pristine quality and at a competitive price, then I'd say check out the AKG. Basically I could talk about how great these mics are all I want, but you'll never know how great they are until you test them out. You won't be disappointed.
Price: D40: R 2,195.00 D5: R 2,095.00 D12VR: R 8,695.00 Supplier: Rockit Distribution Tel: (021) 511-1800 Web: www.rockitdistribution.com
LOCAL ARTISTS ROCKING AKG MICROPHONES
Digby & Lullaby chooses: AKG D5
Brendyn "Rusti" Rossouw of Heritage Sound chooses: C12 VR | C451B | C414 | C214 D12 VR | K271 MKII
Goodluck chooses: DMS 700 V2 | IVM 4500 C519 | K181DJ
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SA’S LEADING BEAT-MAKERS USING AKAI PROFESSIONAL GEAR ou’ve seen them onstage performing their wizardry on the 1’s & 2’s. But what are the weapons of choice amongst some of the country’s top producers and Djs? We caught up with the South African Akai Professional endorsees to find out what Akai gear they use and how it has helped to sculpt their work in studio or onstage...
On stage and in the studio, many of South Africa's top producers rely on Akai to keep the soul in their music
37mph 37mph is an award winning music producer and composer. When performing live with his MPC2500, a keyboard and a pair of CDJ’s, he brings a seamless and timeless masterpiece to the stage. “The Akai MPC2500 is the centre piece of my studio and valuable tool for my live performances. I enjoy its crisp sound, ease of use and the ability to make music standalone from the computer.When playing live the MPC2500 allows me to bring to the stage songs I produce in studio with their original sounds and being able to make live remixes. I even use the MPC to trigger backing tracks when music directing live bands.”
Craig de Sousa Craig is synonymous with house music in Cape Town having plied his trade since 1996. He has enjoyed a career that has seen him tour South Africa and enjoy sets in countries all over the world. He also runs his own label called Heads & Tails Music, releasing quality house music. “I use the Akai APC40. I originally purchased it as a controller for my live sets with Magic Carpet Ride but was surprised at how quickly it became a studio production controller. For live performance I’m able to map out an entire set of separates with dedicated channels of each instrument with the ability to record live loops as well as add FX on the fly. In studio it has replaced my mouse with so many time saving functions and has in turn helped with creativity. The APC40 in short is the best value for money hardware that I have ever purchased.”
Audiophile 021 Audiophile021 is an unquantifiable music powerhouse. A Sound engineer by trade, he spends most of his life enveloped in chords and rhythm. A DJ and producer - he perfectly marries solid production steeped in originality. "Whether in the studio, on the road or at a show I cannot do without my APC40. Its fluid integration with Ableton Live and its intuitive design have allowed it to become an extension of my creative process in the studio and an essential tool during my live performance. Next to my Mac it is my most trusted and essential piece of gear. “
Christian Tiger School Based in Cape Town, sourcing beats straight from their own ridiculously ambitious imaginations, Christian Tiger School’s live shows are popular due to just that, it being live. Sprawled across the table are samplers, drum pads, keyboards, and an electric guitar lit up by their laptops. “For our live setup we use Ableton, being controlled by the APC40. Simply, the APC is the only controller that can allow you to trigger loops and move around Ableton easily for live use.We use the MPD 18 for triggering samples live, and the MPK mini for playing some keys every now and again.The 18 and MPK mini are perfect because they are small and can pretty much fit in your back pack, especially when travelling to gigs.”
Crazy White Boy Labelled “The future of dance music in South Africa” - Crazy White Boy felt compelled to try and add a fresh twist to house music and set about writing with an African Kwaito style which they call “Ghetto Tech.” The results are multiple Gold and Platinum-selling albums with a sound that challenges the local and international ear. “We contacted Akai around 4 years ago when we first heard about the APC Series, since then the 40 has been the core of our live show.We use the MPK88 in all of our studio productions because it plays like a real piano, and that’s a tough thing to find in a midi controller. Finally we have added the MAX49 with its light weight and fantastic response it is a perfect addition to our live show.”
Lady M Lady M is based in Cape Town and plays an intelligent and unique electronic sound, continuously earning herself recognition as the country's original and leading lady in the local deep house scene. Her 'Solitude' EP released in January 2013 marked her as the first female electronic artist in South Africa to release a solo record. 'I use the Akai MPK mini and absolutely love it! I was looking for a midi controller I could take with me when travelling and it’s proved to be the perfect size and weight and item that fits easily into my DJ bag with my other gear.The MPK mini is a lightweight 25 key compact controller with pads and knobs that can be used for studio sessions or live performance and has a plug in and go USB connection which makes for an easy and quick set up, running smoothly with Logic and my Macbook Pro. It is definitely the ultimate item for any music producer that’s on the go as it enables you to set up studio wherever you are! My recent material is all written using the MPK mini.”
Goldfish Dance duo, Goldfish, have been blazing a trail of success across the country and indeed across the world since their debut release back in 2005, Caught in the Loop, and have been at the forefront of performing genuinely live onstage, setting the benchmark for others to follow. “We use the APC40 in the studio and the Synth Station 49 live...and we love them.They never let us down.”
DJ Invizable The man behind the mask, Nick Matthews, has been a professional DJ and producer for over the last decade. His experience and ability to crossover musical genres has taken him around the world with projects such as Gazelle, Iridium Project and Coda. Nick has carved a niche for himself where he combines his production and DJing with live performance. “The APC40 is my favourite Akai product as it turns my Ableton Live set into a tactile performance system. It’s the first time this kind of integrated hardware was created for software navigation of a DAW and certainly improves my creativity by minimizing the time it takes me to record clips and automate parameters in the studio or launching scenes and using send and return effects in the live show.Two thumbs up to Akai for making my production and performance so much fun".
Ryan Dent Ryan Dent is one of the most influential DJ’s, producers and songwriters in South Africa. Having been in the scene for 16 years he is the DJ that has taken our local beats to an international level. Since 2006, Ryan has invested most of his time being an instrumental part in his chart-topping dance band – Flash Republic - with singer/songwriter Tamara Dey and Craig Massiv. “I use an Akai APC 40 for live performances with Flash Republic. It has been an integral part of our set up and has been indispensable due to its ease of use and quick toggling between FX parameters.The controller becomes an instrument during performance and allows me to manipulate anything I need without having to operate the mouse or laptop.”
10 GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS
GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS DENON ANNOUNCES THE MC6000 MK2 On 9th December Denon announced the release of the all new MC6000 MK2 DJ Controller. Boasting no less than 37 buttons and knobs on each deck and a 4channel mixing console this highend Serato compliant controller is set to ruffle a few feathers in this hotly contested market. So what’s new you may ask? Mirrored pitch sliders, LN1/2 thru to PC mode, improved USB port, pitch range keys and the jog-wheels come with roll, slip mode and censor. There are also 4 independent Deck Layer Change Keys, Panel/View/Area/List Keys, a Beats parameter knob, TAP button for FX and FX Mode change key and 8 independent FX assign keys (4 on previous model). The MK2 now comes bundled with Serato Intro as opposed to Virtual DJ or
Traktor LE with the previous model, something Denon are quite serious about since the new unit has a Serato logo embedded above the cross-fader. Finally they have also included an independent vinyl button assumedly for quick changing of jogwheel mode.
VIVA AFRIKA SECURES MONKEY BANANA DISTRIBUTION IN SOUTH AFRICA There’s a new kind of ape on the block and it’s called Monkey Banana. The German company has appointed Viva Afrika as the official distributors of their range of studio monitors in South Africa. Launched in 2004, Monkey Banana was formed by a group of engineers who were reportedly fed up with the quality of so-called ‘good’ studio monitors so they decided to develop their own. They proved so popular amongst friends and colleagues that they decided to put them into full production. The result is a range that includes the budget friendly Gibbon5 (reviewed on Pg. 14), the extensive and pro-end Turbo Series and a bunch of accessories namely a wall mount, stand and a base option. They also have a D.I. unit. Reviews have been decidedly favourable on this relatively new brand, not least from us both in this magazine [Pg. 14] and in Muse Magazine where the Turbo Series got glowing feedback too. Viva Afrika is a leading supplier of professional audio, DJ gear, and lighting in South Africa including brands such as Numark, Audiocenter, RAM Audio, dB Technologies, Beyma , Real Sound as well as their proprietary brands: Hybrid and Hybrid +. Viva Afrika: (011) 250-3280 | www.vivaafrika.co.za
Other notable features which it retains from the original MC6000 include 2 Mic inputs, booth output with 2 band EQ and a Mic ducking feature, 45mm channel faders, illuminated buttons, a dedicated and comprehensive FX section, a proper fully functional 4-channel mixer, a theft-locking port and is even rack mountable for fixed installations. So Denon fans and other professional DJs may want to stick around until 2014 (when the MC6000 MK2 will no doubt be available in South Africa) to give this new baby a whirl. It sure seems like Denon have covered all their bases and then some with the new MC6000 MK2. Supplied by: Audiosure (Pty) Ltd www.audiosure.co.za | (011) 790-4600
BLUEDIO 3.0 HIFI STEREO HEADSET The Bluedio B Multimedia Bluetooth Headset is a fundamental part of the Bluedio revolution. After careful design and testing by Bluedio Lab, clear and clean sound is delivered by the 40mm 150Ω neodymium dynamic drivers in each ear-cup, ensuring a balanced sound quality with excellent treble, mid range and bass. Aside from being a Bluetooth headset, Bluedio B also supports Micro-SD card playback and includes FM radio which means you can listen to your favourite radio channel anytime. It also has a channel memory function so you can store your stations of choice. Product Features at a glance: ! Clean and Clear Sound Quality - 40mm 150 neodymium dynamic drivers ! Micro-SD Card Music Playing - Up to 32GB Micro-SD ! FM Radio - Auto searches FM radio channels ! Bluetooth 3.0 - up to 24Mbps 8 times faster than v2.1 ! Ultra Long Standby Time - up to 430 hours standby time and up to 23 hours music playing time ! Convenience - Foldable and stretchable headband so they easily fit in one’s pocket Supplied by Kolok 0800 124 099 www.koloksa.co.za
BEAMZ LIGHTING PRODUCTS NOW AVAILABLE IN SOUTH AFRICA LS-1W Animation Laser RGB DMX - An RGB Animation 1W Laser featuring many play modes. 128 kinds of patterns showing astonishing beams, animated graphics, animation and blanking effects. Comes with high speed scanner with a scan angle of 20°. Perfect for discos, clubs, bars, casinos, all kinds of parties etc... Big Fireball Lamp Multicolour LED - This Fireball LED light creates a stunning light show by fast rotating multicoloured beams. It contains a 3W LED producing a high light intensity. It has a low power consumption and the LED has a
long life time. Suitable for disco, night club, bar, at home and other entertainment places. S1800 Smoke Machine DMX Horizontal/Vertical - Professional 1800W smoke machine with large capacity for fabulous smoke emissions in various premises. Next to the standard horizontal you can also use this smoke machine vertically. This way you can hook it into a truss system or use it in 2 different ways on the ground. The S1800 can be used with the supplied remote control, equipped with a timer control, or via DMX-512. Features a high quality
heating element and a big built-in reservoir for smoke fluid. H2O Pro LED Water effect - A bright 20W LED simulated water flowing effect. Great for mood or background lighting. Equipped with two glass effect wheels, manual focussing lens, two operational modes etc. Designed to project on walls, ceilings and floors with or without fog. Supplied by: TV Audio | (011) 805-9910 www.tvaudio.co.za
LS-1W Animation Laser RGB DMX Triple Flex centre Pro LED DMX Jupiter Blue Laser 450mW DMX Carpo Laser Moving Head Fat Beam Red
H2O Pro LED Water effect
Big Fireball Lamp Multicolour LED
S1800 Smoke Machine DMX
SAMSON'S GRAPHITE M25 AND M32 USB MIDI CONTROLLERS GIVE “MOBILE MUSICIANS” OPTIONS FOR EVERY LEVEL OF PRODUCTION AND PERFORMANCE Whether you’re a producer, performer or DJ, Samson’s Graphite M25 and M32 USB MIDI Controllers give you all the music production control you need for home studio and mobile applications in two unique, ultra-portable designs. The Graphite M25 USB MIDI Controller features a 25-key velocity-sensitive mini keyboard, four velocity-sensitive trigger pads, a full-featured control surface and additional
programmable functions for advanced playability and customization. And with iPad/USB bus power and plug-and-play operation, the Graphite M25 makes it easy to express your most dynamic musical ideas, no matter where creativity strikes. The Graphite M32 USB MIDI Controller features a 32-key velocity-sensitive mini keyboard
with a variety of programmable controls for optimal playability and customization in an ultraportable design. Also with iPad/USB bus power and plug-and-play operation, the Graphite M32 makes home studio and on-the-go music production accessible to everyone. With options for every level of performance and production, Samson’s Graphite M25 and M32 USB MIDI Controllers are constructed to withstand the demands of the “mobile musician” and offer a variety of presets and programmable features that allow for dynamic, easy-to-use integration into your music software. Supplied by Audiosure (Pty) Ltd www.audiosure.co.za (011) 790-4600
GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS
THE WORLD'S FAVOURITE STUDIO MICROPHONE JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT BETTER, SAYS RØDE Redesigned from the ground up, the new RØDE NT1 studio condenser microphone contains a new HF6 capsule with an internal shockmount, new electronics and a new finish. All of these elements combined provide a high-quality sound for anyone doing studio recordings to voice-over work. The NT1 is now even better than ever, with a self noise of 4.5dBA SPL, a new heavy-duty matte black finish and the RØDE 10 year extended warranty. The Capsule The HF6 is the perfect example of RØDE’s state-of-the-art fusion of artistic design approaches and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, with a sound signature reminiscent of the famous microphones of old, while at the same time exhibiting extremely low noise. Internal shockmount Beneath the body of the NT1 you will find the internal capsule suspension, which employs
patented Lyre technology from Rycote®. This internal shock mount isolates the HF6 capsule on the X, Y and Z axes, providing protection against vibration that is superior to conventional capsule suspension techniques. The Electronics RØDE’s meticulous manufacturing process has resulted in our quietest microphone ever - With only 4.5dBA of self-noise the NT1 is the quietest studio condenser microphone in the world! The Finish The aluminium body of the NT1 is first nickel plated for corrosion resistance, before being coated in an extremely durable ceramic firearm coating using advanced electrostatic application
NUMARK MIXTRACK EDGE AVAILABLE IN SA - 2014 The highly anticipated Numark Mixtrack Edge is set to arrive in South Africa in January. The Mixtrack Edge is a USB-powered controller and is just 14 millimetres thin and can go with you anywhere with ease. Its low-profile design features an integrated cover to protect the control surface and a full array of bright backlit controls surrounded by brushed aluminum. It’s small on size but big on features, so you can command your mix with precision. An audio interface is built in for headphone cueing and output to a PA system. Plus, Mixtrack Edge comes with Virtual DJ LE software and a 1/8"-to-RCA audio cable so you can start mixing right away. Mixtrack Edge is class-compliant with both Mac and PC and operates via standard MIDI, so it’s compatible with virtually any DJ software. Browse through your music library, cue the next track, search, scratch, and adjust pitch all without touching your computer or mouse. Mixtrack Edge’s slim metal platters put you in control of it all. And its tight sample, loop, and hot cue controls on both decks give you the power of instant creativity.
techniques to ensure completely even coverage. The coating is then baked onto the surface, before having the graphic components laser etched, resulting in an extremely hard wearing finish that is resistant to scratches or marks. Supplied by Musical Distributors www.musicaldistributors.co.za
NUMARK ELECTROWAVE HEADPHONES GETS EDITORS CHOICE AWARD ON PCMAG.COM Numark’s Electrowave DJ headphones have been receiving some serious accolades for their design and quality having recently been awarded the Editors Choice on leading online site, PCMAG.COM. “…this is a very comfortable, powerful pair of headphones…” -Editor's Choice" PCMag.com Electrowave headphones are high-quality isolating headphones designed for DJs, built to get you in the mix and keep you there. With their remarkably robust headband and premium, isolating ear cups, Electrowave headphones will stay
comfortably in place for hours, so you can keep your head nodding and perform at your best. Electrowave headphones feature 50 mm drivers in each ear cup, providing full bass that will allow you to feel the music as well as hear it. Their accurate frequency response and plush lining mean you'll be able to listen for hours without suffering from "tired ears," a weakness of other, substandard headphone designs. Glow-inthe-dark Numark logos on each side keep you looking good as the lights go low and your mix heats up.
SA Distributor:Viva Afrika Pty Ltd 0112503280 | www.vivaafrika.co.za
72 PIN AUDIO CONNECTORS Jaycor’s 72 Pin Audio Connector terminates up to 24 channels of audio cable in one complete connector, and the silver plated pins are ideal for high-quality audio applications. The rugged IP65 (Weatherproof) hoods and chassis mount housings make them ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications for fixed wiring and high-flex snake cables. Supplied by: Jaycor International | 011-444 1039 - 021-447 4247 | www.jaycor.co.za
A PORTABLE SYSTEM FOR EVERY DJ
MIXTRACK EDGE Featuring the ideal combination of essential capability and compact design, Mixtrack Edge is a controller every DJ should have in their arsenal. USB-powered and just 14 millimeters thin, Mixtrack Edge goes anywhere with ease. Its low-profile design features an integrated cover to protect the control surface and a full array of bright backlit controls surrounded by brushed aluminum. It’s small on size but big on features, so you can command your mix with precision.
Arrives January 2014 14mm Thin At less than 1-inch thin, Mixtrack Edge goes anywhere with ease. Its low-profile design features an integrated cover to protect the control surface and a full array of bright backlit controls surrounded by brushed aluminum: Sync, Hot Cue, Loop, plus EQ controls, and two effects controls on each channel. It’s small on size but big on features, so you can command your mix with precision.
· Built-in Audio Interface · Full Metal Platters · Class A Compliant · USB Powered · Virtual LE DJ Software included
Trade Enquiries or to find your closest retailer call: Tel: 011 250 3280 | email@example.com
14 STUDIO GEAR
By Dave Skinz
MONKEY BANANA GIBBON 5 YOU'VE GOTTA BE BANANAS TO PASS UP ON THESE
Price: R 4,534.00 Supplier: Viva Afrika Tel: (011) 250-3800 Web: www.vivaafrika.co.za www.monkey-banana.de
WHAT IS IT? Monkey Banana is the rather strange brand name for a new range of studio monitors coming out of Germany that are sure to shake things up in an already competitive segment of the audio market. The entire Monkey Banana range is designed and engineered in Germany before being assembled in China and a quick inspection of their Facebook page and dab of Google translate led me to the thinking behind the new brand. Turns out the founders were unhappy with the quality of the monitor they were getting for their money, so they did what most engineers wish they could, they decided to design and build a set of monitors for themselves. This humble starting point provided the platform for them to begin building the same monitors for their friends before getting started on building the Monkey Banana brand in Europe back in 2010. So the apes make their way to Africa; let’s take a look at the starting point in the Monkey Banana range, the Gibbon 5. They come in a choice of a black or striking red rear-ported cab. The Gibbon 5 is a bi-amplified monitor with a 45W amp driving the 5 1/4” polypropylene woofer cone while the 35W HF amp drives a 1” silk dome tweeter unit. The frequency range is 48Hz to 22kHz and the Gibbons are crossedover around the 3kHz mark. All this equates to a peak of 90db on the tops and 95db on the LF.
The entire face is covered by a waveguide with a light-up Monkey Banana logo when they’re switched on. They are also fitted with an automatic switch that will put the monitors into a stand-by mode if they aren't playing anything for 5 minutes. The logos will dim to let you know they are in stand-by mode and it automatically disengages when simply playing something through them. The rear panel of the Gibbon 5s make provision for most analog inputs by offering either RCA (unbalanced) or two balanced inputs in the form of XLR or TRS (1/4” Jack) inputs and there are adjustable EQ's for both HF and LF right below the volume knob. The Gibbons are made from MDF and each monitor tips the scales at 5.9kg. Monkey Banana includes a power cord and a set of small rubber feet to settle your monitors on.
WHO SHOULD OWN ONE? The Gibbon 5s are going to impress a lot of ears both trained and untrained. They would suit all sorts of applications where accuracy is vital so whether you are monitoring in your bedroom, recording in a pro-studio or editing and mixing down in a post-production suite you will be thrilled with the Gibbon 5s. Even compared to monitors that have slightly more wattage or bigger cones, the Gibbon 5 will still put up quite a fight.
THE VERDICT I am well impressed with the Gibbon 5. One is naturally a bit hesitant and maybe even sceptical when confronted with a new product especially when it breaks the mould of all the scientific names pro-audio and studio gear companies normally choose. Maybe some zoology is needed. And that is what was so amazing about the Gibbons, they really exceeded my expectations of what you can get out of a 5” monitor system priced at the budget end of the market. What really stood out for me was the incredible stereo image they presented. Most speakers and some entry level monitors sound like the audio is coming directly out the speaker (which it of course is) but with the Gibbons running in my test position and set a ½ metre apart the stereo image felt right in the centre. It's such an important part of the mixing and mastering process and it’s often overlooked by new producers just because they are at the limits of the gear they are working on. You could really get your head into the mix the Gibbons present you with and this allows one to isolate, EQ and filter with far more accuracy in your own studio space to get a tight and balanced mix before you attempt to master or send it off. Your trust would be well placed with a set of the Monkey Banana Gibbon 5 studio monitors.
CD Cases HardBody 160 PRO R575.00
Molded Duro-Shock xEVA HardBody shell Patented d2 Layered Pockets for disc & cover storage
HardBody 240 Graphite PRO R682.00
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16 STUDIO GEAR
By Dave Skinz
SAMSON RESOLV STUDIO MONITORS SAMSON SOUNDS EXCEPTIONAL What is it? Samson Audio have updated their popular range of studio monitors and the new SE series is a slight redesign that builds on the success and look of the A-series. The hallmark of these new SE models are an improvement in the frequency reproduction and a small rethink of the aesthetic and cabinet while still retaining the affordability and reliability we have come to expect from the guys at Samson. Both the SE6's and the SE8's produce 100W of power from its single amp module with an electronic crossover balancing the tone and splitting the power needs of the monitor between the woofer and tweeter. The woofers in their varying sizes are made of woven carbon fibre and all the models use the same 1.25-inch soft dome tweeter. The entire SE range comes with a 4position HF-lift control so you can adjust the monitor for different positions and environments and the MDF enclosure is magnetically shielded so it can run close to CRT screens or other sensitive gear. The facia of the SE's are pretty modest with a single blue LED light to let you know the monitor is on, fitted in the middle of a grey waveguide which is pleasantly offset by the white carbon fibre cone. There are also rounded front ports to help deal with noise when you push the monitors towards the upper range of their capacity. The smaller model in the range the SE5 pushes 70W and covers a decent frequency range of 50Hz – 27kHz while the 100W SE6 and SE8's cover from 45Hz – 27kHZ and 40Hz – 27kHz respectively. The rear panel has a full complement of inputs for either RCA, jack, or balanced XLR on both the SE6 and SE8's with RCA's and XLRS on the SE5's and all the SE's come with a kettle cord to supply its power needs.
Who should own one? The entire Samson SE range would suit a wide range of audio and video applications from newbies to old hands. So whether you are starting out and looking to set up a home studio or want to get a new set of monitors or reference for recording or post-production studios you would do well with a set of the SE's pointing at the hallowed control seat. The SE range covers 5”, 6.5” and 8” stereo pairs so
whether you have a studio in a bedroom or larger custom space Samson have a set of monitors that'll be a good fit for it.
The Verdict Samson have always managed to deliver the goods when you have to balance between price point and quality. The SE8's I had on review are a great set of monitors for their meagre price tag and a measured improvement on the Resolv 80a's. I know that because I have a set of 80a's in my home studio and I luckily had the chance to run them side by side. In hindsight, probably not the greatest thing for my already haggard Christmas wallet. One of the first things I picked up listening to the SE8's was that the low frequencies sounded tight and controlled while the high ends managed to sound natural without being too vibrant even when they are both driven quite hard. The stereo image was solid and having worked with the Resolv range before it was easy to decode the audio picture the SE's presented in a coherent depiction. Another thing one should always remember when you are investing in Samson kit is that you are getting
something that is built super solid and can run for hours on the trot. All of my own experiences and feedback from engineers has been exemplary for the wide range of pro audio products that Samson deliver. The SE8's are a great set of monitors but one should always consider the space the monitors are going to be positioned in. A big monitor in a small room is going to cause more problems than it solves so most bedroom studios will do quite nicely with a set of the SE5's or SE6's, while the SE8's will service bigger spaces with far more ease.
Prices: SE5: 2,995.00 SE6: R 3,495.00 SE8: R 4,295.00 12A: R 3,995.00 Supplier: Audiosure Tel: (011) 790-4600 Web: www.audiosure.co.za www.samsontech.com
By James Copeland [Broken Toy, Sad Paradise, Super Evil, James Copeland Music]
CREATING DYNAMIC LEAD EFFECTS few years ago I sent in a remix I was working on to the original artists for approval and was told one of the main leads of the track needed to be more “3D.” This description was a bit puzzling at first, but after further queries we established that while the lead patch, pattern and automation were all totally fine, the actual sound in the mix was static and unexciting. Too dry and sitting awkwardly in the mix without blending in or standing out either. Sound familiar? It’s a pretty common hurdle when trying to make the jump from noobie tracks to ultra polished production and over the years I’ve come up with some basic essentials for giving important sounds in your mix that extra layer of polish for a perfect finish.
1. STEREO - Add whatever effects you want and it`ll never sound huge and wide if it ain't stereo. Most high quality synths will have a Unison mode which will let you make multiple copied layers of your sound which you can pan and add slight pitch variations in to achieve a wider sound (NI Massive has a great section for this under the VOICING tab). If the synth you're using doesn't have this option, record it or bounce it twice adding slight changes on the second copy and pan these two copies hard left and right. It’s a tried and tested mix trick going back
through the ages used to great effect mostly on guitars. If you're really in a pinch and already have a mono sound you're committed to, there are stereo processor plugins available to help out and add a bit of space, but not nearly as effective as the two methods above. 2. EXTRA HARMONICS - There are few sounds that don't benefit from a bit of extra harmonic richness. A sound dull in tone or even a sound that is most of the way there can really benefit from varying degrees of distortion. Different tools for different jobs; I use PSP vintage warmer for sounds that just need a touch of richness without the tops getting overly crispy, Ohmicide for outright destruction and Devastator for punchy midrange. All of these have a dry/wet signal that can be backed off to preserve dynamics in your sound so experiment with that. Bitcrushers can also be used to fill in the gap and add interesting high tones in sounds that don't have any frequency content there at all - just EQ out any overboard sizzle factor in the ultra highs above 10kz. Good for pads or even sub basslines. 3. FX - Even the extra harmonics from more distortion or overdrive can still be static, so give it some extra dynamics by adding light flanger, chorus or phaser before the distortion in the chain to give it a varying signal to react to, or after the distortion to
mellow it out a bit if it’s too in your face. Use smaller feedback amounts and dry/wet ratios for subtle quality, and find the perfect rate to suit what it is you're working on. Slower lfo sweeps for longer notes and vice versa. Also note that good FX might have a “Channel offset” function which will add difference to your left and right channels and create more depth - Use this! My search for the perfect effects ended when I discovered the U-HE uhbiks collection. Essential. 4. DYNAMIC MIXING - Make your overall mix come alive by keeping it constantly shifting. Sometimes a particular sound doesn't have to be smothered in delay to create depth - just automate reverb or delay to catch crucial notes at the right time. You'll end up with the same feel , but a much less congested mix. The same applies to panning and filtering on your channel - subtle changes throughout the track or even just on a loop can create a flowing, ever-changing, living sound with just a few small automations. 5. As a final thought on this matter, remember that not every sound in your track needs to be a hero and be as lush sounding and smothered in effects and automations as possible. Know the areas that can stay as the dry foundation in your mix and go to town on the rest. Hopefully you`ll end up with an overall sound where your leads and melodies mesh with the track yet also pop with character and quality.
By Donovan Leon from Oaksfield College
SAMPLING TECHNIQUES PART 1 n this month’s tutorial I’m going to touch on something almost all of us use during our everyday music productions, this something called “Sampling”. Even though we have a vast variety of virtual studio instruments and plugins galore in today’s music production DAW, there are still dependable needs for a software sampler to be used. In fact I can’t even imagine a world without sampling as most of our VSTi sounds come from a sampled instrument. Ever wonder to yourself how they manage to bring a whole orchestra, or how they got some of those vintage sounding synths into your software sampler? To understand how that is done we need to understand what a sampler really is. Simply put a “sampler is a musical instrument similar to a synthesizer but, instead of generating the sounds, it uses recordings (also known as samples) of sounds that are loaded or recorded into it by the user then played back by means of the sampler’s programme itself, a midi keyboard, sequencer or other triggering devices to perform or compose music.” Well believe it or not Sampling has been around for many years (more than 30 years!) from the very first hardware sampler (The CMI Fairlight, which changed music history) to today’s high end DAW samplers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of what a sampler can really do! There is more you ask? Well yes. Besides being recorded and played into your software sampler, we are able to manipulate the sound, whether it be chopping, dicing, pitch-shifting, endless mapping abilities, or even sustaining - almost anything is possible these days, except it can’t make coffee… Bear in mind a sampler can do all of these things I’ve mentioned and more but it can be rather difficult to understand especially if you just started off in music production. Another downfall is that some software samplers can be taxing on your computer’s memory and CPU as well as require a large amount of space on one’s hard drive. By this I mean anything from 10GBs to 30GBs and upwards. You’re probably thinking “geez well that’s a lot of space required for just a simple yet sophisticated software VSTi. Why the need for so much space?” A software sampler is nothing without its Library (data) where the sound is stored. Each of the libraries’ sounds are recorded in different formats and mapped to specific keys on the sampler’s keyboard. The library is what gives the sampler its sound. Let’s see some ways on how we can utilise our very own DAW’S samplers.
Making our own composition by using audio samples only: One has to be very careful while doing this method of production as there are certain copyright laws regarding sampling, so before you go and chop up some audio bits out of your favourite song make sure you understand the rights and wrongs first. I’ll be using some demo loops for this tutorial from well known sample companies which you can actually go and download from their website for free and they are completely royalty free to use and sample. Also please note that these examples are for all types of music, so go crazy and try it out!! Using your stand alone DAW sequencer as a sampler
1. The beat 1) Firstly I’m going to import all 3 of my samples/loops I know I’m going to use making sure I pick out different sounds in them that we can cut up and mess around with. Also it’s good to know the samples/loops BPM as it will make life much quicker and easier to work with. If not, don’t stress, there are ways to work around it as well, as most DAWs have BPM detectors built in them. (Pic1) 2) Now it’s time to cut and experiment with the audio samples we have. As you will see I’ve added 5 audio channels. Kick, snare, hat 1, hat 2, perc and bassline. Generally this is a nice starting point for a song. Out of my 3 samples I have edited and cut out certain segments from each sample. From sample 1, I’ve cut out segments of the bassline, then moved it to my new bass channel and made a completely new rhythm with it. From sample 2, I’ve cut out a snare which also is on top of a kick (I’ve added an EQ on the channel to eliminate the bass of the kick so we are left with just a fat snare), as well as a nice percussion element. Finally the last sample I’ve cut out two different hi hat sounds. 3) Once all my cutting is done its time to sequence the samples in different orders as per pic 3. Notice I have also faded out each sample to stop the unwanted clicking sound caused by the cutting of the audio sample. There you have it; you can now either delete the first 3 sample loops or mute them for later use.
For parts 2 & 3 of this tutorial I deal with in the mix and mastering. Check it out at bpmmag.co.za by selecting the TUTORIALS tab. Happy Producing, Merry Christmas and safe travelling!! Da Don
This tutorial was brought to you by Donovan Leon from Oaksfield College - JHB DONOVAN LEON is a Producer/ Engineer for DCL Studios and Sound/ Music Lecturer at Oaksfield College JHB. He has had the opportunity to worked and collab with many artists/producers such as: Loyiso Bala, Crighton Goodwill (Good Noise Studios), Robin C Khol (Jazzworx), L’loyd Cele (2010 Idol Runner up), Jamali (Popstars), CH2, Denim, Thembi Seete (Boom Shaka), Kwesta, Zubz, Sasha P (Nigeria), Ziyon (Liquid Deep), 37MPH, L-Tido, Maggs, Mandoza and many, many more. Oakfields College: Tel: 010 591-7314 | Cell: 082 42 66 400 | Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org BBM Pin: 28ED7476 | FACEBOOK: DCL. STUDIOS OR DONOVAN DA DON LEON | TWITTER: DCLSTUDIOS
22 EDUCATION By David Maclean
OWN IT THEN KNOW IT I can do it, and I know why I am
WE ARE TOLD THAT HANDS-ON TRAINING IS THE BENCHMARK OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING; BUT SIMPLY TOUCHING SOMETHING OR BEING SHOWN HOW, DOES NOT GUARANTEE US MASTERY OF IT.
e don’t get good at something by accident. We achieve skill and understanding if we choose to, by being deliberate and focused in our effort, generally over a significant period of time. This combination equates to experience, skill and credibility, which are not just a good idea, but also the minimum requirements of a career. We have to facilitate this for ourselves; a stellar curriculum, trainer, working environment
or equipment does not ensure it. We are all students and, if we enjoy learning, we will be for the rest of our lives. Being life-long learners keeps us purposeful and stimulated. People who are informed and receptive to new information, ideas and workflows are more inspiring to be around. It is no secret that these people are consequently more employable, and can command higher incomes. This article is for us, as Students, to own our part in the process of our learning and knowing more, and not to rely solely on our teachers,
lecturers, instructors, and mentors to ‘make us competent’. The essence of this article is highlighted in bold below: ‘Experiential learning exists when a personally responsible participant cognitively, affectively, and behaviourally processes knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes in a learning situation characterized by a high level of active involvement.’ - Hoover and Whitehead (1975)
As with anything we do in life, our attitude to it influences its outcome. If we know why we are doing it, and if we want to do it, we will be more willing to put more effort into learning how to do it correctly. Afterwards, we must ask: how did my attitude influence its outcome? Many students and employees naively believe that, if someone is teaching them, that it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure they become competent. Competence is a personal choice. Yes, a passionate teacher or instructor makes the process enjoyable and inspiring, but you decide largely the quality of the outcome of your knowledge and skill. Too many students enroll in a course or commence employment and believe there is a virtual lid on the top of their head that is opened by a teacher, who fills it with stuff, and then miraculously -- without any input of their own -- they become a genius at this activity or information! Reality has a completely different agenda. You have to get involved to evolve yourself. Another aspect to consider is that, regardless of how comprehensive a curriculum or staff development program is, alone it will never suffice as your sole source of training. You will need to embrace a significant portion of private study in your own time to achieve mastery of anything. The degree to which
we are prepared to embrace private study is ultimately the deciding factor in whether we become leaders or followers in society, business and knowledge. We all have a choice of which category we want to reside in. In his paper What Is Experiential Learning? James W. Gentry states: ‘The instructor is responsible for providing the experiential stimulus’. This is true, but students still have a significant influence to what extent they are stimulated! Most people know what they do for
a living. Far fewer know why. If you do not know why you do something, how can anyone else!!?? The reality is that those who already know their why as clearly as their what go to the front of the job queue, because they start out with purpose, and don’t waste time having to work it out. Each person's life experience is hard to quantify because it is unique to that person and therefore subjective and a challenge to measure objectively; but it is also one of the most valuable aspects of a person's work experience and skill. Life experience and experiential learning are inseparable. Remember that we learn more from an experience when we ask ourselves immediately after it: 'What did I learn from this? How can it help me in future?' If we deliberately desire to remember and apply what we learn from each experience, we will keep getting better at what we do for a living, and in living life generally. It’s quite simple really. In summary, be cautious in believing that because a person, company or training institution offers hands-on training that you are guaranteed to become brilliant at something. The other party doesn’t decide this; you do! If you own it, you’ll know it, and can do it! Until 2014, have fun and be safe. For feedback, suggestions, and interaction, join me on https://twitter.com/TheMacleanBrain
David Maclean | A Brief Biography David Maclean is a mastering engineer, educator and business executive with two decades of experience in the music industry and tertiary education sector. David is the Director of SAE Institute South Africa and is based at their campus in Cape Town. The SAE Group has 54 campuses across the globe. David understands the attitudes and opinions of the industry professionals within the creative media industries and the educators and authorities within Higher Education in South Africa and abroad based on his unusual portfolio of skills in business, education and creative media technologies.
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