Quarantine Song Challenge-
We have had several submissions for the Quarantine Song Challenge and there has been a ton of talent represented! Due to time availability and the decreasing number of submissions, I believe it's a good time to bring it to a close. So, the final day for entering the QSC will be this Friday, May 22nd. The voting will begin the following Monday on the live stream as we all listen one last time to all the submissions and vote on them together. (There will also be offline voting available for those that missed the stream, but it will all take place on the YouTube Channel. The winner will be announced on the live stream Thursday, May 28th.
EAR TO THE GROUND
First up, in today's ear to the ground we're going to cover the IR packs being released by the guys over at Worship Tutorials.
One common problem you run into when playing an acoustic live as a DI source is the horrible representation of sound that the DI produces. The fact is, even an $11,000 guitar will sound like trash when pitted against the dreadful DI input.
In order to combat this, the team over at the Worship Tutorials channel have come up with some IR (Impulse Response) Packs to help alleviate the woes of the sound guy and allow for an acoustic guitar to really shine on stage again.
Here is a sound example of a Martin D-35 with the IR in action. The first portion is the D-35 mic'd up with an Earthworks S-R25, the second portion is the straight DI source, and the last portion is being ran through the S-R25 IR.
The next portion we're going to listen to is the Holy Grail IR Pack.
This portion of audio is the channel owners beautiful McPherson Camrielle being played through the Line 6 Helix as a Direct Out, and as he's playing he is turning the Holy Grail IR on and off using the on board footswitch.
The first portion of audio we're hearing is with the IR off (dry direct out), the next portion is with the IR enabled, The guitars pickup is an LR BAGSS Anthem SL.
This Acoustic IR pack captures the incredible tone of Brian McPherson® Camrielle.
These IR’s can be used in any hardware or app that accepts .wav IR files and allow you to get the sound of a world class mic’d acoustic guitar direct. Included in your download are multiple acoustic pickup options to accommodate a wide range of acoustic guitars and pickups. These are meant to make your acoustic guitar sound incredible. They are not designed to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic.
1. INTENDED FOR USE WITH ACOUSTIC GUITARS: Our acoustic IR’s are intended to be used with acoustic guitars. They are not meant to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar.
2. CROSS PLATFORM: These .WAV impulse responses can be used in any hardware or application that supports IR’s. This includes products by Line 6 (Helix, HX Stomp, HX Effects, etc), Kemper, Axe-FX, etc.
3. EXPERIMENT: We’ve included multiple options in this IR pack (more details below). The best idea is just to start experimenting with your guitar and find the IR or combinations of IR’s that sound the best. Our recommendation is to first find the pickup type that fits your guitar best (see the pickup options section), and then experiment with different mic options for that pickup type.
3 FREE PLUGS
1- Lagrange by Ursa DSP -
Lagrange is a unique stereo delay system producing other worldly echoes using granular techniques, where each grain is from a different point in the delay buffer:
Use basic settings to create immersive stereo imagery with clean early reflections to give instruments a clear place in the mix.
Use the feedback control to transform your sounds into droning evolving soundscapes.
Shorten the delay time to create unusual metallic chorus effects.
Hysteresis features a delay effect with stutter, lowpass filter and modulation effects thrown into the feedback signal path. The input signal first goes through a delay line on each stereo channel, but instead of sending the output directly back into the delay line, the resulting signal is sent to a stutter processor, then to a lowpass filter and finally to another delay line on the opposite channel which is modulated for creating chorus type effects. The output of the second delay line is then routed back to the first one on the original channel. The stutter effect can be used to generate reverse delays, noisy pitch-shifting or raw granulation. The lowpass filter has an internal LFO to make the cutoff frequency oscillate, and the modulation processor can act as a subtle chorus or noisy modulator depending on the range of the modulation rate.
3 - Metric Halo Thump -
Thump is a unique audio processor that allows you to synthesize low frequency audio to add low end to a track or generate another sound entirely. Thump looks at the pitch and dynamics of its audio input and uses this information to control its oscillators. You can add low end to drums, augment a bass or even create synthetic drones.
Thump is ideal for beefing up a kick drum, add low end to percussive tracks, re-create classic drum synth sounds, and more.
You can use Thump's envelope driven, percussive sub-harmonic synth for the following things (among others):
Build low-octave support for bass drum, tom, snare, and other percussive tracks
Create kettle drum sounds from regular drum tracks
Re-create the sounds of classic drum synths like the TR-808
The Creative's Worst Enemy
As a creative you have infinite potential. You think differently than others, you troubleshoot and find ways around common ordinary problems that leave others seemingly paralyzed. Your stress levels are scientifically proven to be lower than the average person, and let's face it, you're a whole lot cooler than most people you know. Although there are many more positive traits attributed to all you wonderfully creative folk out there, we need to get real for a moment.
There are some elephants in the room that we need to address, and we need to talk about it together, because I need to hear this as much as I need to say this.
Criticism-Lack of Confidence
Look even with all the awesomeness that just oozes from us, there are some things we need to work on. For instance, most of us are very prone to have our feelings hurt easily when someone offers us criticism. This is due in part to the fact that creatives are more emotionally driven than the average person, and even if the vociferous vituperation (also know as hate) is unfounded or blatantly inaccurate, we have a tendency to allow it to ruin the rest of our day. Now, out of all the issues I am addressing today I chose to tackle this one first because it's the hardest one to deal with, and I feel like if you leave this one sided conversation before I'm finished, you at least need to hear this before you go. (BTW please don't leave)
So, if you find yourself in an inner battle between what you believe about yourself versus what your accuser is saying, here are some things that we need to keep in mind.
First off, consider the source. Is this a trusted friend that is trying to genuinely help you by pointing out something that you need to improve upon to become a better version of you? Sometimes, this is in fact the case, and we need to see this as a positive. If someone close to you has stepped out on that limb, knowing your proclivity to be easily offended, that means that they care enough about you to risk offending you to help open your eyes to an oversight on your behalf.
Conversely, if the criticism is coming from a complete stranger, or someone who knowingly doesn't care for you. Then, as hard as it is to do sometimes, simply push it out of your mind and realize that their words do not dictate your worth. You have to have enough confidence to be aware of your strengths, enough humility to know your weaknesses, and enough grit to pull your shoulders back, raise your head up, and calmly move on. Do not let it anger you. The old saying is, he who angers you, controls you. And you can't change a persons point of view who has not taken the time to know you in the first place.
However, supposing that what ever was said rings true and resonates. Then turn that negative moment, and the energy that it produces toward the problem and not the person. You can fix the problem if you own it, but if you allow that negativity to build a nest in your head, it's only going to breed more uncertainty. Yet again, confidence, humility, and grit.
Whew, okay on to less sensitive topic.
The next thing I'd like to discuss is procrastination. I was going to talk about this first, but I figured I'd put it off for a bit. (chuckles to self) Perhaps one of the most widely used excuses made by creatives is a lack of time to be creative. I see it all the time in the various forums and Facebook groups I'm a part of, and believe me I get it. I mean who wouldn't want to have all the time in the world to sing, write, produce, mix, and everything else that makes us feel like we're actually accomplishing something. Most of us, myself included, have full time jobs, families to tend to, and a million other people that always seem to need just a little bit of our time. It's hard to fit in anything remotely creative when so many are pulling us in another direction. I mean, there is nothing creative about washing dishes and folding laundry.
However, when the time arises, and we find ourselves without any other distractions. It is so easy to be lured down the paths of project folder clean ups, free plug ins, the latest gear review, or heaven forbid the cute kitty videos. There is an innate desire within us to use this time wisely, but whether it is fear that keeps us from creating or our lack of direction, somehow more times than most we finds ourselves wandering off the path to check emails or post our new shiny piece of gear we haven't used in a month.
The answer to procrastination isn't a simple one either, but here are some tips to help.
Poor organization can lead to procrastination. Organized people successfully overcome it because they use prioritized To-Do Lists and create effective schedules. These tools help you to organize your tasks by priority and deadline. Even if you're organized, you can still feel overwhelmed by a task. Perhaps you have doubts about your ability and a fear of failing, so you put it off and seek comfort in doing work that you know that you're capable of completing.
The truth is some people fear success as much as failure. They think that success will lead to being swamped with requests to take on more tasks. Surprisingly, perfectionists are often procrastinators. Often, they'd rather avoid doing a task that they don't feel they have the skills to do, rather than do it imperfectly.
Another major cause of procrastination is poor decision-making. If you can't decide what to do, you'll likely put off taking action in case you do the wrong thing.
Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. This means that you probably can't break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you avoid practicing them. So here some strategies to give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding.
Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past - This will help you feel more positive about yourself and reduce the likelihood of procrastination in the future.
Commit to the task - Focus on doing, not avoiding. Write down the tasks that you need to complete, and specify a time for doing them. This will help you to proactively tackle your work.
Promise yourself a reward - If you complete a difficult task on time, reward yourself with a treat, such as a slice of cake or a coffee from your favorite coffee shop. And make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!
Be accountable - Find someone to check in on your progress, or tell a group your a part of about the project you're starting. This will give you incentive to get it done, knowing that others know about it.
Act as you go - Tackle tasks as soon as they arise, rather than letting them build up over another day.
Rephrase your internal dialog - Change the phrases "need to" and "have to," for example, to "I choose to." This implies that you own a project, and can make you feel more in control of your workload.
Minimize distractions - Turn off your email and social media, and avoid sitting anywhere near a television while you work!
Do the Worst, First - Get those tasks that you loathe out of the way early. This will give you the rest of the day to concentrate on work that you find more enjoyable.
Now, for the keen mind that picked up on the underlying theme here. These two problems feed into one another, and both in some way stem from fear. Whether it is fear of failure or fear of the unfulfilled, at the heart of most of our unfinished tasks is an underlying fear that even when the task is completed it won't be good enough. Maybe you feel like I do at times, that when I finally finish the task, I will let myself down with its lack of perfection. Yet, the answer to becoming better at anything in life is to strive for perfection. In other words, do more of what you're not doing now because you're to afraid you'll come up short.
The only way to get better at something is to do it over and over, until you learn what to do and what not to do.
If you were to ask a hundred famous inventors, artists, or creatives (people like Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Leonardo Davinci, etc.) what did you do to get from point "A" to point "B"? Everyone one of them would tell you by making a lot of mistakes and completing (keyword) hours worth of work on something that others told me was frivolous.
The fact is, that sometimes what's holding you back is the thought that something is holding you back, and sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.