As the public is slowly being educated about the options for downloading music files i HD (High Definition), many mis-understandings, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and downright bit-war snoberies are beginning to surface.

Bigger, faster, higher and more-expensive is “always right” … right? Well, not always. The truth is that there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that call for various choices to work at various samplerates. Let me offer myself up as a sacrificial lamb to highlight some of the reasons why “bigger, faster, more” just might not always be the best choice.
My name is David Miles Huber (www.davidmileshuber.com) … I’m a 3X Grammy-nominated producer/artist in the electronic music genre. I play “a mean computer”, that’s my instrument of choice … and I’ve been doing it for decades. As such, I’ve been sampling hardware instruments, soft-synths, real instruments and adding recorded tracks to my projects for over 20 years. These self-made and commercially-available sounds have been carefully hand-forged into loops that make up my craft … mostly in an era when the 24/96 (or gawd forbid the 24/192) discussion wasn’t even around.

The next part of the discussion revolves around whether to up-sample the current sounds into a “hi-res” (most likely 24/96) project and then record the new material at the higher rates. This is all well and good, except that one of my main live production tools is Ableton Live, running on a laptop. Performing live at 24/96 would most likely introduce added hardship on the hard drive, CPU processing and added signal processing. Thus the performance aspect would probably remain at 24/44. As my European Assistant pointed out to me … these actions of moving back and forth between rates are going to slip me up at some point in time. He said … “It’s about the music, not the science”.

In the end, I had to totally agree with him. When the audio is carefully recorded and crafted using carefully chosen mic techniques, killer converters that sound great, working your butt off using proper recording and production practices … The sound will follow. I’ve know from experience that carefully-crafted 24/44 can easily beat out 24/96 that is less than steller. Add to this, the needs of the production process (with regards to processing power and ease-of-use), and it comes down to these things:

1. Does technology get in the way of the music?
2. How does it sound?
3. Does your chosen bitrate make sense for your production system and style?

If you’re recording live instruments and using your DAW as a tape recorder, then mixing this recording into a final product … fine … recording at a high rate will most often be the best answer. However, if you’re dealing with large number of tracks, live performance constraints, plug-in constraints, electronic production styles and tools … and the answer just might not be so simple. In the end, I would ask you to respect the way in which the artist makes his or her music … judge them on their sound alone and not on the science of the tools that have captured their sound. Quality sound is quality sound … and good music will stand on its own merit, in the end.

I’m a Complicated Guy

I just thought that I’d pass along some of my thoughts of a “Day in Dave’s Life” in Berlin … at least, what goes on in his head!

Long walk

I started out to go on my usual VERY long walk along the Spree River, but it felt like it was going to rain (now, it is) and I went back for my umbrella, so the shorter, more straightforward walk was in order. It was a good time walking along my usual street (I’m becoming a Charlottenburg local) … So I hit the streets with a good stride.

The Times They Are(n’t) A Changin’

I’ve been having strange feelings lately about things, the tides of “something”. I’m actually pretty good at telling when somethings about to change (a gift that I’m told I inherited from my mother). First off, it’s interesting being in Deutschland while the US is contemplating “another” war. We’d better watch our high-horse attitude, cause the world not looking at us kindly (I think most US citizens feel equally as bad about this crap). There are ALWAYS ways to do something without bombing! … but I digress. Next set of thoughts are about Russia and the whole gay thing … Then I got to thinking that this is not a new thing … I think there “may” be hard times ahead. Let me explain! I’ve been reading Nile Rodger’s AWESOME book “Le Freak: An upside down story of family, disco and destiny”. It’s a MUST READ for musicians! He talks about the golden days of disco, that was stopped dead by the “I Hate Disco” movement. This was a movement by straight, football-lovin’ blokes that were afraid of a sexual freedom movement (I’m sure I oversimply). But it had a chilling effect … I can’t help but wonder if the Russia thing is a similar reaction. They’re probably sayin’ … “We have to stop this NOW, Vlad!” … or maybe some big-guys son was caught with his pants down … who knows. I’m just feeling that care a vigilance is the word for the times (whatever that means).

Dreitzen

Next, I came to an old Deutsch bar that is full of locals … Which strikes fear in my heart. WHY? Because there’s no English to fall back on … you sink or swim. Last Spring, I walked by and had to go to the bathroom and so I went in a panic (walking very fast by the locals). They said “auf Deutsch” .. “Hey, arent you going to say HI” … so I said “sorry, I’m an American” (as best I could). They were very sweet to me. So today, I walked in sat down and ordered a beer (those who know me, know that I don’t like beer) … and started to talk. Since my Deutsch is quite a bit better, I started in on a conversation and had a great time for an hour or so with a patron and the barkeep. I had a BLAST and was VERY proud of myself.

Daft Punkness

Walking home, I put the new Daft Punk album on my handy (cell phone) … I have to say that the whole album is a total game changer for electronic music and I SALUTE THOSE GUYS! It’s all about a good song, a great recording (thanks Mick) and MELODY (thank gawd). I’m really sad that I wont be at the Grammys this year to see both them and Mick get a well-deserved Grammy for this landmark. I will be in LA (on our way to Mexico) for the event, but I won’t be in the room (I think … well, we’ll see). Take a good hard listen, then dance your ass off!

CBR Update

My kickstarter is two days old and is doing well … thanks to some kind and awesome people! Thank you!

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I go to hang at nhow Hotel Berlin and do a soundcheck (I did a set in my room today and it ROCKED!) … Those of you in Berlin should stop by Tuesday, 10pm, nhow Hotel – Berlin.

those are the highlights of my day!

Dave Huber

When: Thursday, September 19 at 20:00
Where:

Warschauerstr 70A
10243 – Berlin
+49 30 2935 2426
sales@kmraudio.de
Limited to 30 people … so contact KMR to reserve your place

On September 19th at 20:00, DMH will be doing a free “behind-the-scenes” talk about and mini performance of his Grammy-nominated “chamberland” and “chamberland: the berlin remixes“. This project has gone through numerous technological and performance stages in ways that make it quite unique. We hope you’ll join us, as we journey through the details of a project that has its roots in Berlin, Seattle and LA.

1. The music and its process
… the original composition (sea & sky)
… the instruments
… the initial mixing/mastering
2. the recorded performance and its transfer back to the studio
… transfer to Ableton Live
… the performance and its “capture”
… transfer back into Nuendo
3. The mastering (digital and 1/2″ analog)
… the mastering process
… transfer to 1/2″ stereo analog tape
4. the marketing (kickstarter, performances and downloads)
… Now the hard part has begun

Last night was my “kick-off” performance for Chamberland: The Berlin Remixes at NHOW Berlin. WOW, did we have fun! A lot of friends and new folks from the American and Deutsch side of the pond showed up and had drinks, good talks and a hell of a lot of fun. A very nice music promoter from Sweden asked: Does it bother you that people are talking and having fun while your performing? … To which I said, “not at all … it’s really fun to bring people together, to introduce folks to new people and help them to have fun!” I think when it comes to live performance, that’s my primary goal, to help the crowd have a deep, happy and happening experience.

By the way, here’s the entire performance … enjoy!

I’d also like to thank the entire staff at NHOW for being top-notch and really wonderful people … My first and foremost thanks goes to Dominik Trampf … He’s not only a pro, he a caring, invaluable gem and a real friend!

For those of you who’ll be in Berlin, I’ll be “kicking off” my September Kickstarter campaign for “chamberland: the berlin remixes” at NHOW Hotel Berlin on Tuesday, September 3rd at 10PM in the main lobby. For those of you who don’t know, NHOW is one of the premier music hotels in Berlin (just watch the video below and prepare to be amazed!). Show up for drinks, music and friends in an incredible art setting just off the Spree river. You’ll be glad you did!

who: Grammy nominated electronic music artist David Miles Huber
what: Performing “chamberland: the berin remixes to “kick off” his first Kickstarter campaign
where: nhow Berlin, Stralauer Allee 3, 10245 Berlin in the main lobby
when: Tuesday, Sept 3rd at 10pm

Adding <<< SPACE >>> to my mixes

The process of creating Chamberland has been an amazing one for me. It has taken me from my home studio – to a super-studio in Belgium – to a super-hotel in Berlin … to performances in both stereo and quad in the US and Europe.

Beyond the intricate, lush sounds and immersive production, one of the more interesting aspects of producing this project has been its sense of “space” … a largeness in the mix that comes from several sources:

1. Stereo miking and stereo sound-sources: Those of you who know me, know that I “only” record stereo tracks. That’s right, even when I’m recording vocals or an instrument, I’ll use two mics or a stereo mic. This adds a huge sense of space to the mix right-off-the-bat, giving a depth to an otherwise one-dimensional source.

2. Stereo room mics: Whenever it’s called for, I’ll record an instrument with 2 stereo mic pairs. For example, on “Magenta”, I recorded Ari Joshua in a large gym with two mics on the electric guitar cabinet and two XY mics out in the hall at a 25 foot distance. Not only does this add a huge sense of space to the overall stereo mix, when it comes time to do the surround mix, the room speakers can be placed in the rear, giving a natural “being there” sound.

The following acoustic guitar pic was taken in the same gym with my late buddy Barbara Buckland (R.I.P.).

3. One of the effects that I’ve been having fun with is the Universal Audio Ocean Way Studios acoustic space plug-in for the UAD2 … it adds such a natural and big sense of space to an electronic mix, that’s it’s just too fun to pass up.

Combining Ocean Way with the actual distant mics, combine to create an electronic project that doesn’t sound dry or sterile … Obviously, I’ve been having fun!

NOTE: See all the project notes at the Chamberland page

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Update: Turns out that the latest version of Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo has now fully integrated FLAC into its import/export scheme … as a result, I no longer need the following tools. Just export as a 2.0 or 5.1 file and you’re in biz. Life gets easier!

Two days ago, I knew nothing about making FLAC surround files and was quite intimidated. With the help of a few friends, I found two possible programs to check out. Here’s the process that I went through:

Mac: TwistedWave $79
PC: Foobar2000 and Foobar Encoder Pack Free

What is FLAC?

1. First off, I quickly realized that the key to making multichannel FLAC was to encode your mix as a single multichannel interleaved stream (so that you end up with a single 5.1 soundfile). Without this, nothing happens with any converter that I know of.

2. Now that you have your file, load it into the program. On Foobar (which I’ve finally chosen as my final converter), You right-click on the imported soundfile and choose “convert”. Make the proper settings (compression level 5 gives a 50% lossless data reduction). Then set your file destination and, BANG, you have a surround multichannel FLAC file that’s ready to play.

3. Metadata (tags) can be added to the soundfile using foobar or any preferred program for adding tags and the file’s ready for distribution.

Note: Those of you who have a 5.1 setup that can play FLAC, here’s a sample from Chamberland … enjoy and get back to me with your findings and thoughts.

Click here to download a surround FLAC example (note: must have the required codecs and audio setup)

Dave

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