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LATEST IN DJ, MUSIC AND PRODUCTION GEAR

FREE MAY/JUN’ 2013

JBL PRX600 S

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We review...

AKAI PRO MPC Renaissance Push + Ableton 9

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 Mixtrack Pro II

Gear News TUTORIALS... Professional Vocal Production Psytrance lead with Sylenth1 The Responsible Artist WWW.WILDANDMARR.CO.ZA


BEATS

CONTENTS

PEOPLE

• MUSIC

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MAY/JUN 2013 | EDITION 67 3 4 6 8 10 14 16 18 22 26

EDITORS NOTE & INFO COVER FEATURE: JBL PRX600 SERIES GEAR REVIEW: AKAI PRO MPC RENAISSANCE GEAR REVIEW: PUSH + ABLETON 9 GEAR NEWS STUDIO: FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 18I20 DJ GEAR: MIXTRACK PRO II TUTORIAL: PSYTRANCE LEAD WITH SYLENTH1 TUTORIAL: PROFESSIONAL VOCAL PRODUCTION EDUCATION: THE RESPONSIBLE ARTIST

EDITOR’S NOTE echnology can certainly be a wonderful thing, especially in the world of music making and performing. The one positive side (and there are not many as nobody likes to see mass unemployment) of the global meltdown a few years back is that most tech companies have understandably focused on introducing less high end targeted gear, i.e. more mid-priced tech, but with many high end features. In Africa this is a good thing as it gives us all the chance to produce quality music and performances of an international standard. JBL‘s new PRX600 series personifies certain aspects of what I am talking about. This new series of portable PA is one of their most versatile to date as discovered by Greg Bester. He had the fun job of spending an afternoon at the Wild and Marr offices as they demonstrated the full series to him. The MPC market has certainly been given new legs too with computer based software and the MPC-type units morphing into controller-only territory. AKAI Pro have seen this future and have come out firing with a beast (or should that be beats) of a machine aptly titled the Renaissance. This is a top of the range piece of tech and they’ve certainly left nothing out of their features list. Ironically they’ve also had a firm hand in the development of Ableton’s PUSH controller, an ‘MPC-type’ unit although this machine is designed specifically for the Ableton software.

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Dave Skinz did some button pushing and also looked at what version 9 of the software offers. Accomplished producer, James Copeland tested Focusrite’s Scarlett 18i20 audio interface. This product affirms my point about more-for-less [money] and offers professional audio [and inputs] at a very competitive price. What’s BPM Tech without at least one DJ controller review in each edition? This time around we’ve looked at the number one selling controller in the world last year - the Mixtrack Pro but in its new guise as the Pro II. An improved feature set and sleeker looks means the Pro II has laid down the challenge to other DJ tech companies. I’m interested to see what else comes our way in 2013 as this is potentially the most competitive market around right now. Our tutorials just get better and better too, with David Maclean from SAE Institute’s wise yet encouraging words on education as well as some proper tips and techniques from Donovan Leon and James Copeland. Enjoy as winter approaches. It’s a good time to get in the studio! Dave Mac Editor-in-Chief


4

DJ GEAR

By Greg Bester

JBL PRX600 SERIES ”… THE PRX600 RANGE OFFERS A POWERFUL LOUDSPEAKER SYSTEM FOR EVERYONE’S BUDGET.”

BL, the preeminent loudspeaker systems manufacturer owned by Harman International since 1969, is a veritable behemoth in the live sound reinforcement world and has been for the better part of the last seventy years. Yup, you read that right. Seventy years. Named after the initials of its founder, James Bullough Lansing, JBL was founded in 1946 after his departure from cinema sound specialists Altec Lansing. The first of JBL’s products at that time was the D10115-inch loudspeaker and the D175 high frequency driver, the latter of which remained in the company catalogue throughout

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the 1970’s. The longevity of the D175 is a true testament to a strong design and the strength of JBL as a brand. Today JBL boasts a massive but categorically defined product line in two divisions: JBL Consumer and JBL Professional; their headquarters located in Northridge, California. Their product market in the professional arena includes cinema, installed, portable, and touring loudspeaker systems, along with studio monitors for recording and broadcast. Of course, we’ll leave the consumer audio products to the gamers. The recently released PRX600 series of powered loudspeakers are the next step forward in powered speaker design and the JBL philosophy of power, ruggedness and versatility.

The PRX600 Range Designed straight from the drawing board, the PRX600 series boasts six speakers in the range: four mid-high and two subwoofer variants - all self-powered. The smallest two, the PRX612M (12”) and the PRX615M (15”) can double as floor monitors while the larger two, the PRX625 (dual 15”, two-way) and the PRX635 (15”, 6.5”, 1.5” three-way) are aimed primarily at being the main mid-high reinforcement system. There are two single-18” subwoofer varieties, the PRX618S and the PRX618S-XLF, the XLF suffix alluding to the fact that the latter has an extended low frequency response.


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All speakers feature a bassreflex design topology and feature Crown Class D amplification technology and dbx crossovers. All of the amplifiers of the mid high speakers share similar controls and i/o to the rest of the PRX range, situated at the rear of the speaker and integrated into the amplifier housing. These include an XLR/1/4” combo jack to accept line or mic signals, a parallel XLR output, two button to toggle EQ (MAIN or MONITOR) and INPUT (MIC or LINE), a LEVEL knob, indicator LEDs for LIMITER and SIGNAL, a POWER switch, AC LINE SELECT (100V ~ 240V), and an IEC “kettle chord” power input. The subwoofer amplifiers, however, have slightly differing features from the above and from each other. For the PRX618S-XLF these include two XLR/1/4” combo inputs for LEFT and RIGHT with their respective parallel outputs and there two buttons to toggle XOVER (IN or OUT at 90Hz) and POLARITY (NORMAL or REVERSE). Besides curiously being of a totally different design aesthetic from the rest of the PRX600 range, the PRX618S amplifier has the additional feature of a ¼” “SPEAKER LEVEL INPUT” for connection of speaker level outputs of external amplifiers. Its XOVER frequency is 120Hz.

PRX615m

the 6” driver - making it a four-way system - the midrange was enhanced albeit not in a ‘honky’ way. It just seemed to make the vocals take a step forward. The top end, of course, was crystal clear and James’ acoustic guitar sounded fantastic. Additionally, the extended low-end response of the XLF sub really gave the low notes authority. Lastly, the PRX625s combined with the PRX618S-XLF subs were demoed via a dance track. Of course, the production style in dance music is a lot different than in the James Taylor song but the dual 15s really made a good marriage with the style. The midrange seemed a little more ‘scooped’ to the PRX635 system and lent itself to the pushed low end and syncopated top end of the hi hats. This system would definitely find itself at home in a dance or live music club. Admittedly, the ceiling shook a bit!

Conclusion

PRX618S

The Demo A visit to the Wild and Marr (the SA distributor of JBL) offices in Kempton Park afforded me a demo of the entire PRX600 range. In person they project a slick, rounded design and a sense of next level sophistication compared to the previous PRX range, finished off nicely by their new dark grey and silver JBL branding tags. This is a refreshing twist on the otherwise typical bright orange tags that they had become previously famous for. The first speaker combination showcased to me was the PRX612M and the PRX618S, which is conceivably the smallest three-way setup one could assemble in the PRX600 range. An acoustic jazz piece was the tune. The sound,

as Neville Rumble of Wild and Marr put it, is “clinical and clear”. The mid frequencies associated with vocals were nice and present and the recording was very well represented. I could hear the spit on the lips of the female vocalist, informing a crisp top end. Of course, the PRX618S filled out the bass nicely. Next up was the PRX615M with the PRX618S once again and the song was a James Taylor piece. The 15” drivers supplied a smoother midrange response and combined with the extended low end the system sounded a lot warmer. This is probably the best ‘bang-forbuck’ system. Switching to a pair of the PRX635s and dual PRX618S-XLF subs, we were now in club system territory. The same James Taylor song was played through this system and because of

All in all, the PRX600 range offers a powerful loudspeaker system for everyone’s budget. Indeed, JBL have come in at a very impressive price to performance ratio in this series and given the fact that any system from the small to the large can be catered for, I’m sure many small to medium clubs or one of the smaller rental companies will find them worthy companions. Overall the sound was smooth and full, with very little artifacts across the spectrum. This, I found, was consistent from speaker to speaker and is something we have come to expect of JBL. Of course, the real world performance of any speaker system can only be judged in the real world so you will have to decide for yourself. If you’ve been a JBL fan in the past and are acquainted with their previous PRX ranges, I suggest you give these a try.

Supplier: Wild and Marr (Pty) Ltd Tel: 011 974-0633 info@wildandmarr.co.za www.wildandmarr.co.za


6

GEAR REVIEW

By David Scott

AKAI PRO MPC

RENAISSANCE

Price: R 16,995.00 Supplier: Musical Distributors www.musicaldistributors.co.za

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WHAT IS IT? It seems that the MPC range has been around forever. Since the launch of the MPC60 in 1988, Akai Pro have created a legacy by producing hands-on hardware beat machines with awesome sequencing and sampling ability. The sad truth is that it's become easier to make beats on your laptop and although MPC owners will tell you that they use their MPCs all the time, they probably don’t. Like it or not, the glory days of hardware beat machines are coming to a close and Akai Pro had to do something to keep the MPC legacy alive. A Renaissance was in order, hence the name. As you may have guessed, the new MPC is a MIDI controller. Yes, you need a computer to make it work. All the purists are undoubtedly pulling their hair out at this point, while I may have gotten some youngsters’ attention. If you fall into the former group, you can't blame Akai for making this move. You don't have to look far to realise how well Native Instruments' Maschine 2 has done on the market as a controller. Perhaps the Renaissance will suck a few hardware nuts into the growing realm of software. But enough talk, let's see if it's any good!

ANATOMY The Renaissance has the look and feel of a solid stand alone hardware workstation and is made to look like the classic MPCs. A lot of controllers these days feel plasticky and cheap, but this thing is solid. It weighs in at just under 5kgs and occupies 50cm x 33cm x 7cm desk space. Akai have opted for 6 MIDI sockets, 2ins and 4outs which could seem a bit overkill for today's use, but it's in keeping with the classic MPC arrangement. I/Os include combo jacks, 1/4", RCA and S/PDIF. There's a powered USB 2.0 hub to connect USB powered keyboards and the like. There are 1/4" and mini jack inputs for headphones on the front, as well as 2 footswitch inputs. Like the classic MPCs, the pads are super responsive and you can adjust the sensitivity. Only these ones have coloured back lights which indicate velocity by default, but also provide useful colour co-ordinated information depending on what mode you're in. Pretty nifty. The 16 encoders are fully assignable to sends, pans and volumes. They're touch sensitive so they can trigger effects by simply touching them. There are countless buttons dedicated to specific functions, including my personal favourite button 'vintage mode', which transforms the controller into an MPC3000, MPC60 and others.

top it off, there's even a luxurious padded wristrest.

IN USE Creating a beat was relatively easy for a MPC rookie like me, but I initially found myself using the computer software more than the controller itself because using the big rotating knob and staring at a retro 360 x 96 pixel resolution blue screen was a bit out of my comfort zone. However the more I played around with it, the more I climbed out my shell. I figured it was easier to do all the programming on the machine itself and soon forgot that my laptop was even there. I felt like Dr. Dre in the 90s, sampling beats and cutting up sounds like a ninja. I have to say, I found great satisfaction from creating beats with my hands rather than clicking a lame mouse.

THE CONTENT The package comes with 9GB of samples and programs including four virtual instruments exclusive to the MPC. These include The Bank,

The Wub, the 809 and The Noise. The stand outs for me are the 809 which is an uncomplicated drum machine with some really decent drum samples. For novelty's sake, I enjoyed The Noise which contains quirky 8bit TV Game sounds. Akai Pro have undoubtedly gone to great efforts

THE VERDICT to maintain the same look and feel as their traditional MPC, but its dependence on the computer marks the end of a legacy rooted in hardware. I have full confidence though that the MPCs integrated software will see it reach new heights as a production tool. As a producer who predominantly makes his beats on a laptop, getting to play with the Renaissance was an enlightening experience and I definitely see it as a worthwhile investment if you can afford the price tag. Although it may seem to appeal primarily to die hard MPC users who want to keep up with the demands of modern technology, anybody looking to make beats on the fly -without clicking a mouse should consider the Renaissance. Footnote: Avid Pro Tools Express is also included in the package.


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MUSIC PRODUCTION GEAR

By Dave Skinz

PUSH AND ABLETON 9 PUSH THE BUTTONS, PUSH YOUR ENVELOPES What is Push? The team at Ableton has made an intuitive step to build on their already solid software base by drawing on the knowledge that most, if not all of their Live users utilize external controllers. So instead of just copying some of the other systems out there Ableton resolved to design their own hardware “instrument” the way they conceived their award winning software. With panache. Once Ableton buckled down the design, they went to one of the leaders in the field of button jamming, Akai Pro, to build and refine that design into reality. The result is the insightfully titled Push. Push is, as the name invites, an ability to now have hands-on control and visual feedback of the most important aspects of the Ableton Live 9 system. 64 RGB backlit buttons with an additional row of 16 smaller ones above it together with a 24 notch LED touch strip,11 infinite rotary controls and 48 buttons give you simultaneous control of your Playing, Sequencing, Piano Roll, Navigation, Effects, Library and Mixing all through a unique workflow integration with 9. When producing, Push not only becomes your controller, it also acts as a visual interface, so you can use Push's buttons and screen to navigate your library and when you select a kit it breaks the grid down into three sections; the 4 x 4 grid at the bottom left maps out 16 parts of the drum kit while the upper 4 x 8 grid now becomes your sequencer section, with the final 4 x 4 grid at the bottom changing into your loop selector. Touching any sample in the drum grid changes the sequencer grid view to show you that sample’s positioning and also opens that sample’s settings on the screen. The timing of the grid can quickly be adjusted from ¼ to 1/32t by using the timing buttons next to the lit pads. When selecting an instrument

however, the grid transforms into a white and blue cascade of colour. This unique look has been styled to let you easily play in any choice of key without any incorrect notes slipping through. Push lets you perform this wonderful feat of wizardry by representing root notes on the grid in blue, while white notes are other harmonic steps in the scale which then change to green when pushed to sometimes show other notes in the grid that are harmonically paired. The system allows for chords and multiple notes to be played at the same time and all the while the screen and rotaries provide you with changeable feedback on the settings and modulations. When recording an instrument the pads change to red when touched and playback to green. While the grid on Push is enticing it’s easy to overlook that Push has dedicated play and record buttons and also controls all of your volumes, pans, sends, tempo, metronome and editing functions while still giving you the option to browse through your Live instrument and drum rack library.

The entire Push runs off USB power but there is a transformer if you want to try and stave the drain if you are working off a laptop battery. There is a solid power switch and two foot pedal inputs as well

What’s New in 9? on the back panel. It’s been four years since 8 was launched and I’m glad to say there are no major changes in 9 but there are some great new features to improve the inherent creativity and workflow even further. One of the first things you pick up when opening 9 is that the browser has been re-worked. All of your instruments, effects, packs, samples and VST's are all grouped together far more coherently, so now searching for a specific sound or instrument is a more efficient process. If your banks are empty there are loads of free and pay-for 3rd party plugins which integrate right into the library through Ableton's website.


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A welcome addition to 9 is that your session view can now record and edit individual clip automations so you can get more movement and feeling from each clip before moving it into the arrangement window. But by far the big biggest step forward for me in 9 is the new audio to MIDI conversion feature with lets you change Drums to MIDI (rhythm), Melody to MIDI (monophonic) and Harmony to MIDI (polyphonic) to let you grab the MIDI info from any selected source. With all these great new features Ableton have also paid attention to MIDI editing allowing for an unprecedented amount of editing and stretching with a single click. Automation has also seen some refinement in that you can add or remove breakpoints as well as create and change curves with far greater ease. All of the beat grids have been “loosened” to allow for easier movement and recording of notes around the grids while still snapping to the grid when close by. Another small addition I particularly enjoyed was a count-in feature for the metronome. The final cherry on the cake is the new Glue Compressor which is an analog-modeled compressor based on a classic 80's console bus compressor and further honing of the most commonlyused effects such as Compressor, Gate, Multi-band Dynamics and EQ Eight.

The Verdict Push is extremely well made although it is surprisingly hefty at just under 3 kg, if you are thinking of carrying it around. Every single encoder and button on Push feels extremely firm especially those on the 64 RGB grid. The orange LCD screen is quite clear and can be viewed from pretty much all angles. Push ships with a copy of Live 9 Intro to get you going quickly but Push can also be used as a conventional MIDI controller in conjunction with other software through its programmable User mode. If you are lucky enough to own or upgrade to a copy of the full suite it now includes the seminal Max for Live system, the package that extends Live with Cycling ’74’s Max audio and video toolkit. Push as a system integrated with 9 is majestic and used in-studio felt fun and intuitive to work on; I didn't even have to sit through stacks of videos to get a sense of Push and its pathways. I got stuck into its workflow quickly and it easily converted all my files from 8. The drum mode is very familiar and quick to engage while the instrument page takes a little softening up to, to get used to the note system. The way Push has been developed with 9 extends to details like only lighting buttons which are relevant to your particular functions so actually using the controller to edit your functions felt instinctive and engaging. In fact there were

many times when I pulled myself away from my computer and just sat in front of the unit. The only real criticism I have is that I would have preferred to have the face angled a little especially when it’s on a desk, (nothing some CD cases can’t fix) and that Push feels like an instrument that's destined for life in a studio space rather than Live on stage. Ableton 9 is not a drastic re-think of the software but rather a comfortable refinement that incorporates far more creative work flow changes into its already winning formula. 9 is also now available in 32 or 64 bit mode. At time of going to print there were some teething issues with 9.0.3 which are being ironed out, but the biggest worry is the worldwide shortage of Push units which I have been told should be sorted out by June.

Price: R 7,599.00 Supplier: Tuerk Music Technology Tel: (011) 792 8272 Web: www.tuerkmusic.co.za / www.ableton.com


10 GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS

BPM Reports

GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS MEDIATECH

With interest expanding globally, Mediatech 2011 attracted 270 foreign visitors from 40 countries – this year local and international 17 - 19 July at the Coca Cola Dome visitors are again invited to rub shoulders with industry heavy weights, attend one of the exciting live demonstrations, sit in on informative Mediatech Africa is Africa’s largest media and entertainment presentations and enjoy some of the engaging workshops that run exhibition showcasing the latest trends in advanced technology. Key throughout the 3 days. players and professionals flock to the biennial trade show to experience an unrivalled scope of products and services as well as This year’s trade show takes place from 17 – 19 July at the Coca Cola take part in interactive workshops, presentations and live demos. Dome in Johannesburg and promises to deliver on visitor experience 2011’s show saw 6395 tech savvy key decision makers walk through and brand expertise. the doors of the Coca Cola Dome to experience the latest trends in For more info go to www.mediatech.co.za advanced technology, broadcasting, pro AV and entertainment. Over 800 brands were represented by 120 exhibitors, giving visitors a dynamic and unique spread of technical products and services.

SAMSON'S NEW GRAPHITE 25 USB MIDI CONTROLLER The baby of the range – the Graphite 25 key– is the perfect workstation companion. That can travel with you anywhere, anytime. The 25 includes a great feature set, some powerful tools and full control over your work. The Graphite 25’s semi-weighted keyboard provides musicians with a responsive and expressive platform that is designed to feel more like an instrument than a controller. The keys are both velocity sensitive and include aftertouch. With the dedicated Transpose and Octave buttons, you can change the key of any given instrument, as well as expand the keyboard to a full 4-octave range, without using any sub menus or shift keys. The controller functions feature a programmable master volume fader, eight encoders and four function buttons, all customizable for the ultimate in hands-on control. Not only are they customizable, they can be programmed on-the-fly without the need for editor software. The Graphite 25’s large LCD screen displays the behaviour of every function in real-time, enabling intuitive mapping with any software you’re using. The Graphite 25 features four large velocity-sensitive trigger pads that can be easily programmed and assigned. Use them to tap out drum beats, cue one-shot samples or start and stop sequences. When combined with the iPad using Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, the Graphite 25 is a great tool for making music on-the-go. Use it with your favourite music and synth iPad apps that support MIDI controllers. Bundled with controller, Native Instrument’s Komplete Elements software offers a comprehensive selection of studioquality sounds, effects and tools for modern music production, composition and sound design. With over 3GB of samples, Komplete provides you with more than 1,000 premium sounds and three mighty player engines. SA Distributor: Audiosure www.audiosure.co.za | (011) 790-4600

MLA-1460 ACTIVE LINE ARRAY 900+560W RMS With technology comes more variety and products that were once only accessible to big budget productions. Not anymore. The MLA-1460 is a medium-size active line array for concert halls, night clubs, houses of worship and other medium to large size venues. Each array comprises an active sub unit and a set of 4 full range active wide dispersion enclosures. The entire system can be tailored to the venue or application via a PC link, editing the internal DSP controller for crossover, filtering and gain characteristics.

! ! ! ! ! ! !

Fully integrated active system High output dual 12" sub unit 3-way, wide dispersion mid-top cabinets High bandwidth ribbon tweeters up to 40kHz Mounting/flying frame with adjustable rigging angles Overload, overheat, DC and output maladjustment protection PC software supplied for management of crossover, equalization, gain and dynamics control

Supplied by:TV AUDIO | www.tvaudio.co.za | (011) 805-9910


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AVID PRO TOOLS 11 SETS NEW STANDARD FOR AUDIO PRODUCTION In April Avid announced Pro Tools 11 a major upgrade of its industryleading digital audio workstation. This latest version enables audio professionals to take on the most demanding productions with new, highpowered audio and video engines, 64-bit architecture, expanded metering and direct HD video workflows. “Pro Tools 11 represents a quantum leap in creative power,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Services at Avid. “The newly designed architecture turbo-charges production with more plug-in processing, the ability to run more virtual instruments—and a host of new features—letting users create ambitiously, without holding anything back.” Notable new design features include;

! Fully redesigned audio engine and 64-bit architecture ! Expanded metering ! Direct HD video workflows

M-AUDIO LAUNCHES NEW M-TRACK INTERFACES In January (at Namm 2013) M-Audio unveiled their new M-Track Series of USB audio/MIDI interfaces. There are three models in the range; the M-Track, the M-Track Plus and the M-Track Quad. The M-Track Series combines a robust feature set with extreme ease of use to create versatile audio/MIDI interfaces for every level of musician. This entry-level model offers two-channel operation. Each channel provides both XLR and 1/4" inputs. Phantom power (48V) and guitarlevel switching are provided. Professional audio converters and discrete preamp design deliver up to 24-bit, 48 kHz digital audio for use with virtually any software. In the more advanced digital studio, the step-up M-Track Plus is built

“In the world of professional mixing, I constantly need more processing power, and the extra power in Pro Tools 11 is exactly what I need,” said Tim Palmer, mixer and engineer for U2, Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, The Cure, and INXS. “I love the new metering and the new sends view is excellent. It is really impressive. Pro Tools 11 is a big leap forward.”

on the M-Track's foundation, with the addition of coaxial S/PDIF digital input and output jacks on the back panel and a robust metal casing. MTrack Plus also comes equipped with Ignite by AIR music creation software plus Avid Pro Tools Express, complete with the iLok USB key. Including the same software pre-packed for the Plus, the Quad offers up to four simultaneous audio inputs. The M-Track Quad features four individual mic inputs with selectable 48V phantom power, 1/4" line inputs with guitar-level switching, and per- channel audio inserts. A second set of outputs operates independent of the monitor level control, providing extra versatility. The four-channel M-Track Quad includes an AC power supply plus three USB outputs, allowing it to function as a powered USB hub. SA Distributor: Midi Music www.midimusic.co.za | (011) 417-3400

NEW FROM AMERICAN AUDIO Sen Series Loudspeakers The SENSERIES by American Audio is a multifunctional, compact and lightweight speaker system for flexible yet ambitious sound applications. The LF cabinet's cabinet design allows for portable and well as fixed installation usage. The passive crossovers are fine-tuned for optimum acoustics and excellent dynamics and have been developed using complex frequency curves and delays. The SENSERIES is flexible enough to meet all your high-end requirements.

! ! ! ! !

The range consists of: Sense 8, Sense 12, Sense 15 and Sense 15B (Sub). Perfect matched components and enclosure details High efficiency First class mechanical manufacture for day-to-day operations Equipped with optimized 18” LF driver

! Large optional accessory range

! Ideal for mobile and install applications

M-Track

M-Track Plus M-Track Quad

ETR 1000B Headphones The American Audio ETR 1000 headphones were designed by DJ champion ETRONIK. These comfortable, sturdy headphones use leather padding and cover the entire ear to cancel nearly all of the outside noise for superior noise isolating music monitoring. The flexible, durable housing allows for double or single ear monitoring. The ETR 1000 are a high powered headphone with 2500 mW of power, a 40mm driver, and a dynamic range for great highs and lows. The ETR 1000's come with a built-in mini jack plus includes a straight 1/4-inch adapter and a headphone bag. The 5 ft/1.5M straight, light weight cable is tangle free and great for the active DJs. SA Distributor: Legacy Brands info@legacybrands.co.za | (021) 551-3296


Mixdeck Quad: 4-Channel Universal DJ System - Complete system with CD, MP3 & USB decks, four-channel mixer, & computer audio & MIDI interface - MIDI integration of decks and the mixer for controlling both computer software & iPad apps - Works seamlessly with Algoriddim’s djay for iPad app, winner of the 2011 Apple Design Award - DJ parties of all sizes with your compatible iPad, iPod or iPhone - Serato DJ Intro software incl. djay LE for Mac software incl. for download - Built-in professional USB audio interface with balanced XLR outputs - Crossplay Technology: mix USB flash drive content from either port on either deck - Four-channel mixer with EQ/rotary kills, replaceable crossfader, and MIDI control

R 12,000.00

NS6: 4-Channel Digital DJ Controller and Mixer

- Integrated four-channel DJ mixer that works with or without the computer - Four line inputs, two turntable inputs and two microphone inputs - Serato ITCH four-deck DJ software included - now with video mixing capability (Requires Serato video plug-in) - Built-in professional 24-bit audio interface with balanced XLR outputs - Touch-sensitive illuminated platters with 3600 ticks of resolution per rotation - High-resolution14-bit MIDI provides ultra-tight control & response R 13,870.00 - Strip Search with track position indicator channel assignable effects controls


CONTROLLER SERIES 2013 FLAGSHIP 4TRAK: 4-Channel Traktor™ Controller - Four decks of software control with included Traktor Numark 4TRAK Edition software - 12-knob FX Kommand Console for complete control over effects & filters - Built-in four-channel DJ mixer that works with or without a computer - Four line inputs, two turntable inputs and two microphone inputs - Touch-sensitive illuminated platters with 3600 ticks of resolution per rotation - Built-in 24-bit audio interface with balanced XLR outputs - Solid metal construction - Maps seamlessly with Traktor Pro 2 including sample triggers

R 10,740.00

NS7 FX II: 4-Channel DJ Performance Controller

Available October

- 7” motorized turntables with 3600 ticks of resolution - 4-channel mixer and 24-bit audio interface built in - 16 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC® pads from Akai Professional - Capacitive touch-sensitive filter, gain, EQ, & effects knobs - High- and low-torque turntable settings, 33rpm or 45rpm - Comprehensive Loop, Sample, Slicer, and Hot Cue controls - Strip Search™ virtual needle-drop technology - Curve-adjustable CP-Pro crossfader - Dedicated iZotope® effects controls - Rugged all-metal construction - Integrated laptop stand R 22,870.00 - Serato DJ software included

Prices are recommended retail incl. 14% VAT Trade Enquiries or to find your closest retailer call: Tel: 011 250 3280 | orders@hybrid.co.za

www.vivaafrika.co.za


14 STUDIO GEAR

By James Copeland

FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 18i20 THE 18i20 IS THE BIGGER BROTHER TO THE 18I6 RELEASED A WHILE BACK AND ADDS A FEW NEW FEATURES AS WELL AS 8 MIC PREAMPS AT A VERY COMPETITIVE PRICE.

Price: R 5,995.00 Supplier: Rockit Distribution Tel: (021) 511-1800 he Scarlett 18i20 is the latest USB2.0 soundcard from UK based company, Focusrite. It’s a little known fact that the company was founded in 1985 by legendary studio tech designer Rupert Neve, whose first project was to design a high end pre-amp / EQ module for Sir George Martin's` studio. Although the company has changed hands since then, it’s great to note that solid award winning preamps are still a calling card for Focusrite and of course the new Scarlett interface continues this tradition. The 18i20 is the bigger brother to the 18i6 released a while back and adds a few new features as well as 8 mic preamps at a very competitive price. As to be expected from a soundcard of today, it can record audio at up to 96kz/ 24bits and has MIDI in and out. It’s connected but not bus powered by USB 2.0 and is compatible with Windows, Mac and interestingly iOS, so you could connect it to your iPad should you wish to. It’s a bit misleading when the unit claims it has 18 inputs as there are only 8 combo XLR/jack mic/line inputs physically on the unit, with 2 SPDIF inputs and another 8 inputs available when linked via ADAT to another mic pre unit such as their Octopre mkII making up the rest of the input count. Still, it’s not much to complain about as 8 serious mic inputs are more than enough for most day to day studio tasks. It’s an impressive looking unit with a

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metallic red anodised chassis and whilst it doesn’t exactly shout Rolls Royce, the overall build quality and the switches and knobs are very decent. On the front panel we have two handy inputs along with switches for mic/line input level, phantom power (selectable for the first 4 inputs or the last 4), a pad switch to drop the input level when recording loud sources, a gain control knob for each of the inputs as well as a mini LED meter bridge to keep an eye on your incoming levels. Then there is a main mix/monitor level knob with handy dim and mute switches should you need them for talkback etc alongside two separate headphone outputs. This is an interesting addition and very handy should you wish to set up different headphone mixes for multiple musicians. The back panel houses the other 6 mic/line combo inputs and 8 physical line outputs (once again expandable via ADAT and SPDIF to 20 outputs), the optical input and output, USB connector, midi in and out, SPDIF in and out, and word clock out. Internal mixing is handled by the Scarlett Mix Control software, which provides an 18x16 DSP mixer to help you set up 7.1 surround, headphone mixes or even use the “loopback” facility for routing audio between different software applications. It’s a slick looking interface and gives you access to all the soundcard’s settings buried under the hood. As with most gear these days, none of this software is included in the box - you

have to register and download drivers online, but hey - less disks cluttering the studio isn’t a bad thing and who doesn’t have a decent internet connection these days? When downloading the drivers, you also have the option to download the Scarlett VST plugin suite (which includes a compressor, gate, EQ and reverb designed by Focusrite), 1GB of samples from the very well respected sound design company Loopmasters and the Novation Bass station VST thrown in too - a nice deal sweetener. So the best thing about the Scarlett 18i20? Its retail price is about R 5,995.00. High quality A-D/D-A conversion, 8 awardwinning low noise, low distortion mic preamps, and decent bundled software make it great bang for your buck and considering Focusrites’ reputation, it’ll be a hard interface to beat in its price range. Key Features:

! Eight award-winning Focusrite mic preamps with switchable phantom power

! Precision 24-bit/96kHz A-D/D-A conversion Compatible with Mac, PC and iPad. Uses the latest USB 2.0 streaming technology

! Expandable to 18 inputs, 20 outputs ! Dual headphone outputs ! Software bundle Including Mix control, Focusrite Scarlett plug-in suite, Novation's Bass Station soft synth and 1GB of Loopmasters samples.


16 TECH REVIEW

By Dave Mac

NUMARK MIXTRACK PRO II DAVE MAC TRIES OUT VERSION 2 OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST SELLING DJ CONTROLLER...

Supplier:Viva Afrika Tel: (011) 250-3280 www.vivaafrika.co.za Expect to pay: + R 3,700.00

hat do you do when you manufacture the world’s No. 1 selling DJ Controller? Well if you’re Numark you certainly don’t sit on your laurels and count the money. You hurry back to the R&D department and start spec’ing out version 2, hopefully creating an even more desirable derivative of the original.

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ANATOMY Simply put, the Mixtrack Pro proved so popular because it is dead simple to install and has a feature set, albeit limited, that ticks enough boxes to DJ 100% without feeling like something is missing. Add to this the excellent jog wheels (the best in the price range) and the dead easy to use Serato Intro software and you have a winning package. The Mixtrack Pro II is a sleeker, slightly more compact version of the original unit. Aesthetically, aside from the obvious addition of the 16 drum pads, the Pro II looks very similar to the original. The transport and mixer sections along with the tempo sliders all remain exactly the same as before, except for different colour coding and minor tweaks. What has changed though are the jogwheels which are slightly smaller now, but thankfully still as tactile and solid as before. They certainly look groovier with the fancy red strip on the platter. Another less noticeable change [at first] is that the headphone and mic jacks, along with mic volume, have been inexplicably moved to the right side of the unit - they were on the front before. One other less obvious addition, but certainly a welcome one, is the rubberised feet under the unit which aims to keep it more stable on a flat, slippery surface. But of course the biggest change are the 16 trigger pads at the top of the unit which effectively replaces the old looping and FX section. And there is a Shift button...

IN USE Installation requires one to download the Serato DJ Intro software (no discs in box), install and away you go. There is no registration or funny driver installations. The basic operation remains the same with the prominent push button BROWSE rotary at the centre to search for tracks and along with back button this can jump to various folders without touching a mouse or the keyboard. There are still no dedicated filter knobs nor gain controls per channel but other than these omissions the mixer and transport sections work as well as they did on version 1, which is excellently. The platters also feel great and really do encourage DJing without the sync button. But the big new feature is the 16 backlit trigger pads. They are a decent size but are quite basic which is understandable for a budget unit. They are neither velocity sensitive nor are the pads able to give you 8 specific controls over one single element of your performance. In reality they do what the knobs and buttons did on version 1; activate and control cue points, loops, samples and FX, but with complete control now. On Pro I only the first FX bank could be controlled with buttons/knobs on the unit as there was no shift key for multifunctions. So for the second and third FX one would need mouse and keyboard.

With the pad/shift key on Pro II this is solved and is this alone is way better. The top four pads control the FX in conjunction with the corresponding silver knobs above them. The pad (the first 3) basically turns on an effect whilst the knob above controls the depth. Using Shift + FX control allows one to toggle to another effect. The fourth pad is to tap in different tempos for the Beat Multiplier and the encoder above increases/decreases the time signature ranging from 1/8 to 8/1. The new shift button is integral to pad operation. Shift + top row of pads activates the auto loops 1, 2, 4 or 16 beats. The bottom row of pads are used for cue points, sample triggering or manual loops and again the shift button is used to differentiate the multiple functions of these.

THE VERDICT The Mixtrack Pro II is a worthy successor to version 1. The new pads certainly make a difference to overall control of the FX and the sleeker build and aesthetics makes for a better unit. Notwithstanding the chance to test some of the other manufacturers’ new entry level models, the Pro II certainly holds its ground as a controller that is a step up from its predecessor and from that we can deduce, still the entry level controller to beat.


18 TUTORIAL

By James Copeland

PITCH MOD LEADS IN

SYLENTH JAMES COPELAND AKA BROKEN TOY, SUPER EVIL AND SAD PARADISE IS ONE OF SA’S LEADING INTERNATIONAL PSYTRANCE PRODUCERS. KNOWN FOR HIS WICKED BASSLINES AND TWISTED LEADS, COPELAND TAKES US THROUGH THE STEPS OF CREATING A ‘HOOVER’ TYPE LEAD CERTAIN TO GET YOUR PRODUCTIONS ROCKING... ne of the standard psytrance or hard dance sounds is the “Lazers VS Chickens” or “Hoover” style pitchmodulated lead. Easy to use as a random chaotic sound, but with a bit of practice and experimentation you can also get it to be more percussive or melodic if you choose.

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OPEN A VST OF SYLENTH AND INITIALISE THE PATCH BY GOING TO MENU > INIT PRESET .

1. Create a looping midi sequence using 16th notes of varying length and random velocities

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2. Set FILTER to Band pass, RESONANCE to 50%, DRIVE to 50% and activate the DISTORTION in the EFFECTS SECTION. Tweak the CUTOFF as you follow the next few steps to add variation to the sound eventually automating it.


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3. Set MOD ENV1 DESTINATION to PITCH AB, adjust MOD AMOUNT, ATTACK and DECAY to taste (Small values work best). No attack is more of a “laser” sound, and adding attack gives more of an “angry chicken” sound. Remember these can be automated for variation too.

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Set MISC 1 SOURCE to VELOCITY, DESTINATION to PITCH AB and adjust AMOUNT to taste (small values work best)

5. In OSC 1 Section, set VOICES to 2 and DETUNE to 100%. Experiment with different wave forms. SINE and SAW are cleaner SQUARE, HPULSE and TRISAW are chunkier. Experiment with lower OCTAVE settings for more scratchy sounds.

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As it’s a very random sound all of the parameter values mentioned here are approximate and subject to the pitch you made your sequence in, so tweak away and enjoy!

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OPTIONAL: For more randomness , set LFO1 destination to PITCH AB and adjust AMOUNT, GAIN and RATE to taste. Set LFO2 destination to LFO1 RATE and adjust AMOUNT, RATE and WAVEFORM to taste.


20 TUTORIAL 5 By Donovan Leon from DCL Studios

PROFESSIONAL VOCAL PRODUCTION PART 1 e are back with yet another interesting tutorial for you to sink your creative teeth into. This time I want to touch on getting the current pure, clean, in-your-face vocal sound that is very popular in top productions right now. In this three part tutorial I’m going to take you through: Microphones, the proximity effect, recording chains, vocal thickening, comping vocals and tracking them, the good and the bad of using effects after and before, stereo space, tuning your vocal, vocal dynamics and even vocal glitching. We will be starting outside of our DAW and then follow the signal along right into our audio interface and into our DAW where our magic happens, but it’s vitally important to get the outside right so that we have less to worry about in the DAW later on. So let’s get started.

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THE VOCALIST The singer has a critical part to play in music and in the delivery of the message behind the actual song, that’s why it’s so important to make sure everything we do or capture with the vocals is done with care. The character of the vocal is what shapes and defines an outstanding song. The ability for a singer to sing really well is what connects and captures the listener and is vitally important as they tell the story. So in a studio environment the singer needs to feel comfortable and come prepared with what they have to sing. Singing from a note pad can cause the singer to focus more on reading than actual singing so it’s best that the singer is well prepared and has all the lyrics memorized so that they are in no way inhibited when they want to do something out of the ordinary. It’s our job as a producer/engineer to capture the best possible vocal recording during a session, so a well prepared and comfortable singer is essential.

MICROPHONES The microphone is at the front end of our vocalist and is designed to capture the audio through vibrations and convert these vibrations into an invisible audio signal which then travels along our cable and into our sound interface. Choosing the right mic is very important since different mics tend to add different colours and tones to a captured sound. Also bear in mind that every singer sings differently and has a different tone to their voice, so choosing the right mic for the vocalist [as well as preamp] is essential. This will require a bit of experimentation to get right. Another look at microphones is their polar patterns. These allow you to pick up audio in different ways around the microphone. These mics generally require 48v phantom power to run, unlike the dynamic mic (stage mic), which most audio interfaces or mixing desks have onboard. The vocal Cardiod microphone’s polar pattern is designed to pick up what’s in front of the mic so this is perfect for vocals and many more instruments as well. Whether the mic is tube or solid state is up to you and your budget; a tube mic (generally preferred in top studios and usually costlier) adds a bit of harmonic distortion to the sound which colours it and makes it sound really pleasant especially at higher frequencies. For an example take a listen to Rhianna’s voice at a higher frequency. You’ll hear it on almost all her songs. A word on USB MICS - A USB microphone captures the vibration and converts it into data via A/D converters. I personally don’t recommend recording a serious take with USB mics as their converters aren’t that great when compared to standard audio interfaces. It might also be a bit limiting when it comes to volume and monitor control. USB mics are great for recording ideas and podcasting though!

BASIC TRACKING (RECORDING PROCESS) Recording your vocalist is not just about hitting the record button and hoping for the best. There is a lot to take into consideration. For example do we want our vocalist to sound heavy on the bass side or thin and tinny? By making the singer stand closer we get a lower frequency tone and vice versa; by having the vocalist stand further away we get a thinner sound - this is known as ‘the proximity effect’. I also recommend recording with a pop filter (windscreen) as this will help eliminate those unwanted gusts of air produced by explosive consonants i.e., “P’s”, “B’s” and also “T’s”. Some engineers will be familiar with a term called ‘riding gain.’ This is used when we have a really hard dynamic vocal to control; look at it as a human compressor where we act as the compressor and turn down or increase volume while in the recording process. Have the singer drink something soothing for their vocal cords to help them before a session as well as to make them feel comfortable. You want the best recording possible out of them. During the tracking process you should also listen for pitching errors and timing mistakes as this can help you save time rather than having to fix it later on. The rule is to always get things right in the recording process rather than trying to fix it later. Another good tip (and another reason why USB mics aren’t that suitable) is to feed a small amount of reverb into the vocalist’s headphone monitoring. Reverb enriches the vocal delivery and if the vocalist sounds good to him/herself, they are more likely to deliver that uninhibited performance you are after. Note though that the actual recording must still be dry, just the headphone monitor should have this reverb.


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Vocal compression, cleaning and space Now that we have recorded our very own clean vocal take we are going to add some compression to tame the vocal dynamics a bit. (Fig. 1)

Pic 1

HOW TO:

1) Insert a compressor on your vocal channel.

1) Insert an EQ onto the channel and get rid of some unwanted low end frequencies. I’m also going to add a bit of low mids as well as highs for some warmth and clarity to my vocal. (Fig. 2) 2) Now it’s time to give our vocal a bit of space; set up an auxiliary channel and route our recorded vocal into it by use of a send and add a decent reverb. By using the send slowly blend the dry vocal signal with the wet one and try to get a good balance. Now add a stereo widener onto the reverb channel. What this will do is widen the actual reverb so that our dry vocal doesn’t get drowned by it and still comes through the centre. (Fig. 3)

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Now that we have a fairly decent dynamic control on the vocal it’s time to add some weight.

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2) Set the ratio setting to about 3:01 and drop the threshold to -22db, now make the gain up to around 12db.

For parts 2 & 3 of this tutorial on recording vocals go to bpmmag.co.za and select the TUTORIALS tab.

This tutorial was brought to you by Donovan Leon from DCL Studios. DONOVAN LEON is a Producer/ Engineer for DCL Studios and has had the opportunity to work and collaborate with many artists/ producers such as: 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), Jae, Ziyon (Liquid Deep), Verona, 37MPH and many, many more. DCL Studios: Tel - (011) 615-8309 | Cell - 082 426-6400 | Email - dclstudioz@gmail.com / Donovan.dclstudios@telkomsa.net BBM Pin: 28ED7476 | FACEBOOK: DCL. STUDIOS OR DONOVAN DA DON LEON | TWITTER: DCLSTUDIOS


24 EDUCATION By David Maclean

THE RESPONSIBLE

ARTIST

et us be the first generation that does not suffer for its art. Talent and skill are only a hobby if you do not earn a living from it. If you love karaoke, or playing Stairway to Heaven in the lounge with your mates, then this article doesn’t pertain to you. If you have a genuine ambition to forge a career in the music industry, then read on. Traditionally when we are hiding out in the vacuum of being cool and hip, the astute professionals around us are working on getting better at what they do. It is fair to say that the skinny jeans and Wayfarers™ of today will be replaced with something else tomorrow. So, be stylish, but focus on what really matters; credibility, profile, skill, and income. If you are saying ‘It’s not about

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the money’ then go back to bed and ignore the rest of this article. Good Friends, if you do not earn a sustainable living from something, it is nothing but a hobby. Playing a set once a week as a DJ will not earn many of us a living. Have you noticed that successful DJs, producers, audio engineers, and musicians are businessmen and woman as well? If they are not, they employ extremely business savvy people to manage their affairs. Why? Because if they do not, they cannot earn a living from their art, and it is then simply a....! The world is too large and full of people for your talent effortlessly to be discovered from your bedroom or studio. Perspective: Apple is one of the most successful brands in the history of the planet. Apple spent $1 billion on advertising in the last fiscal (financial) year. If Apple is investing this amount of time and money in further development of its brand, don’t you

think you should be making an investment in establishing yours? An investment in this context doesn’t have to be money. It can be your time and energy, as we have to have money to spend it, right? Many folk believe that a brand is a company. This is not so. A brand can be an individual too. Richard Branson is a brand, as much as his company, Virgin™, is. Talent and skill alone do not equate to a career, but years of dedication and commitment to something do. Always remember that a reputation (good or bad!) is earned. A career will never be something we can get for free from a mate’s hard drive, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or off the back of a truck. The world decides when it’s ready to trust us. We’ve said it often in these articles: the more people that know about and trust us, the faster we earn a reputation as a professional who produces stellar work.


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Monikers like ‘know-it-all’, ‘scruffy’, and ‘unreliable’, are not attractive descriptions of people, and do not earn money. ‘Can-do’, ‘polite’, ‘diligent’, and ‘well groomed’ give a better impression, and embodying them is a very good place to start. When attending an interview, a meeting, a conference, or any pre-arranged business activity, make an effort. ‘Sloppy’ and ‘cool’ have no place in these meetings. Being ‘well-prepared’, ‘groomed’, and ‘humble’, are how we gain trust and respect from others. Trust and respect is Step number 1 in kick-starting our goal of earning a decent living from our art. Too often we see incredibly talented people around us who are unreliable. Credible professionals will not recommend someone (regardless of how talented they are) if they may show up. We would rather recommend someone who will be on time, prepared and ready to go - even if they have gaps in their current skill-set. Step 2: always ensure you are employed, doing something to fuel your career. Before you headline Ibiza, become Chief Engineer at Abbey Road, or have Usher support you at Wembley, you may well need to tend the bar, wait tables, deliver pizzas, or wash cars first. Just do it! As long as you are working, you are earning an income, meeting people, and

have a purpose - even if it is simply a stepping-stone to your ideal job or career. This author’s greatest opportunities have all come from the most unlikely places. Friends, do not accept being a poor artist. Take control of your destiny by establishing a constant revenue stream. Too many talented artists sleep late and sit on their butts waiting for it to happen, and believe that starving for their art is a right of a passage. Stop it! Get off Facebook and your mobile and arrange meetings with people face-to-face. Get off YouTube and attend a gig. This is called actual interaction, and despite the power of social media, actual interaction with others is still more effective than hanging out in digital nirvana. The power of social media is useful and important, but you need real relationships in the real world to give it any value. Once the establishment of your brand (as an individual) is on track, then a website and Twitter account are most useful, because if people don’t even know you exist, what help will your online presence really be? Keep in mind that a Facebook ‘Like’ is simply a social backscratching affirmation. A ‘Like’ seldom earns us a cent. Let us be the first generation that collectively earns a decent living from

diligently performing our art, charging for our time, and keeping our word. Let us stop believing that if we didn’t do well at maths in school, haven’t got an MBA or B.Com., and love composing, producing and engineering music, that we cannot also have the business skills to gain the world’s respect and earn good money. The Music Industry has few rules and is all about self-expression. These are aspects that make this industry such an attractive proposition for many of us. However, we are still citizens of the world and the rules of business also pertain to us! Let us collectively embark on a sustainable and gratifying journey, instead of showing off, pretending, and chasing airhead dreams and instant gratification that have no substance, and gain zero respect from others. We will deal with further steps in the next issue. You can do this! But you have to mean it. For feedback, suggestions, and interaction, please follow 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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BPM MAG - May/June'13