Archive for the ‘Micing Amp’s’ Category


Not just anything happens in the way we want.
I am nobody, however being nobody has made me free in a way, I have always been a mix of technical skills (sort of) and creative power (more imaginative than creative) both assets have been very handy to me over the years; however I can’t say that I have received greater success with one or the other. In truth, it has been the combination of both that has worked for me, with some other ingredients like patience, most of the times. I used to think that the technical knowhow was at the service of the creative process, that inspiration leads the way and technical resources paved it, however time and experience have taught me otherwise, not only this is not the case but it is a brutal misconception. I can extend on this concept in this post on many aspects of life and labour, but to stay in focus with my blog I will stick to the music and musical production, engineering & mixing context hoping this will allow me to restrain from divagating in to the clouds too much.

Producing music is undisputedly an art form, so is engineering and mixing however for different reasons but similar purpose. It is no novelty that a production, recording or a mix can kill a great song, the contrary is hardly possible since there is a requirement for good raw materials (MUSIC) a good song & a good performance can be enhance and polished to the status of great or even master pieces depending on the production and the post production.

Creativity as defined by Ken Robinson “Creativity involves putting your imagination to work in a sense, Creativity is applied imagination. Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value”.

Technical is about the ability to master the gear at your disposal and manage it in the way that makes sense to you and fits the purpose you intend for it.


So when it comes to music production, it is clear, that good material will trigger a creative mind to have plenty of ideas (the question is ¿can they be made useful?). The production is the part of the creative process during the stages prior to recording, getting the songs ready and working with the band and the arrangements for the songs, getting the mood of the songs, the feel of what the band wants to express and help them focus their energy on getting the materials right, suggesting and being a constructive critique. To follow on with the work with the recording engineer and help in the process of capturing to tape or HD of the results of the preproduction stage in the interpretation, bridging and making the process as smooth as possible, helping and promoting every aspect, The responsibility is that of a coach but also a director, you will need to have a clear idea of what needs to be done. It is inevitable that in this process your talent and creativity will flourish and merge in the production. The Mixing and Mastering are the processes of balancing and placing everything in the song, and getting it ready for its final purpose. As a producer you have to pass down to the mixer the feel, mood and theme of each song. This is normally done with a rough or demo mix, or in other cases the producer, recording engineer and mixing engineer are the same person as in my case. The “Rough” as it is called has usually captured most of the mood, sound, the bands spirit or placement. Therefor the mixing is built with a base; as a mixing engineer use your own taste and experience in polishing up the different tracks and parts of each song, using the tools at your disposal.

The result of a musical production is a combination of skill, taste and creativity. But neither one of them are isolated domains. Creativity can help a mixer solve a technical problem, finding alternative ways of doing things, new creative ways to use the same tools to achieve innovative results. On the other hand technology can help the creative process by laying out new ways to see things that widen our imagination to new ways to do things. A new effect can inspire a new approach; the minimal change can move the entire song and trigger a response that may make the difference. Finally no matter how much creativity or technology you use you will need to use your taste to get the right measure and result.


Creativity is a process and as such must have its own milestones and tasks, in producing music creativity is a set of different episodes in the different parts of the production, but it is also a complete independent process. On the other hand technology is directly present at only some stages during the process, but it should always be present in our mind throw-out the entire process. In the creative part you need to focus on the emotional qualities of the music the feel, etc. However one must not limit creativity to these domains and seek applying it also to the sonic aspects witch are usually in the more technical domain. For me the key is the balance between technical experience and creative innovation.

Every song or piece of music has its own unique sound and sonic footprint; it is a hard but comforting job to find and fine-tune these qualities and polish them to they shine. Taste, emotional compromise and motivation will get you there where technology and creativity are mainly the tools of the trade. Exceptions apart if you are too technical all your songs will sound the same, if you are too creative your results will be all over the place. Keeping a balance of both by directing them with taste will bring new and imaginative results every time.

As always Thanks for reading I relay hope you enjoyed it.

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Slice recording Acoustic Guitar

This past weekend we finished recording all acoustic guitars for the STW Slice “The Wall” project, things are coming together very fast on the musical end and we have just over a dozen tracks to record before we finish the recording stage of the project. hopefully in two or three weekends more we will have everything laid down. So far we have 90% of electric guitars, there is 1 guitar track for “Run Like Hell” that still needs to be recorded, it is some loose lick’s and accents, All but one of the bass guitar tracks are done, all acoustics are finished. What is still pending is Pianos for some of the songs, classic guitars, and an harmonic that will be used on the “Outside The Wall” song that closes the album. Next weekend we should be able to finish the classic guitar, the remaining bass and electrical guitar and one or two pianos. leaving the core of pianos and the harmonic to the weekend after next.

imageRecording Agenda

That is how we are on the recording side, on the post edition we have 15 songs edited and mixed 11 to go but for most the basics are already covered. So we should be ready for mastering by mid May. As for outputs, we will be making stems of all individual instrument tracks and a general stem of Slice’s mix on his own and a few final mix downs with the original song from the album as a backing track, with different levels between Slice and the original.

On the Video side of the project we are starting the planning phase, we intend to shoot all the video footage in the last week of June and beginning of July, and start editing in August, with some luck we should have the finals by October or at least before mid November. Just in time to get them all published on You Tube.

Keep tuned for more updates.

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Thanks for reading.

Ian Burt © 2012


The STW project I have been talking about for the last months get’s its name from “The Wall”, an all time master piece album by the Pink Floyd. STW are the initials to Slice “The Wall”: Slice came up with the idea and is the only performing artist. We have been holding back disclosing this for a number of months, waiting to get some go-ahead’s, we have decided to come out into the light, Why? well, why not?


The best way to answer is to explain what the project is about. Rock history knows that Pink Floyd released the album “THE WALL” one 30th of November of 1979, the album released as a concept album, where the motive and story behind main theme is well known. There is plenty of information on the internet and dozens of books, so going into it would be presumptuous on my part, others better versed than I have already provided extended and deeper knowledge, so how could I dare. Also common public awareness is the fact that “The wall” over the years has been represented through different platforms, as a live show, as a movie, etc. This brings us to Slice, During the “Roger Waters The Wall” tour through Europe, Slice and I had a chance to see the live performance in Madrid, both Slice and myself are great fans of Pink Floyd, in such a way that Slice has done a few covers for his YouTube channel in the past, of some of the most memorable songs of the band. After the show Slice came up with the idea of doing a cover of the entire album, all 26 songs. I thought that was a great challenge for him he was only 15 at the time, but at the same time the idea was new and surely rewarding if it was done right.

It took us 2 months to decide how we wanted accomplish the different tasks, the schedule, the method, as many bits and pieces as we could. We ended up with a huge list of thing, not big enough to put us off on our desire to embrace this project with all our strength.

A year before STW concept

Before I go into any more detail there are a few things that I need to clarify to avoid misunderstandings:

  1. The entire project is a non-profit quest, all Slice and I get out of this, is the cover and recreation of a master piece we both worship and admire, with the personal satisfaction that this brings with it.
  2. We will not publish this work to the public without the approval of the legitimate owners of the Copy Rights. (Roger Waters, David Gilmour and EMI Group Limited)
  3. The Cover will be published when permissions granted on YouTube on Slice’s Channel and will not be under the name STW or Slice The Wall these are code names during the project development stage, are not registered and hold no commercial value.

Having that out of the way, for what I am happy. Contact has been established with David Gilmour’s managers office in London and they have no objection to the project as long as the IP is not damaged or mistreated. We have sent the same request to Roger Waters office but haven’t received reply yet (witch is understandable being that he is in middle of a tour right now). We have been unable to contact EMI, there seems to be a logical barrier that we have not been able to overcome yet. We have left a few attempts via their web site but we have no idea if they have gone through.

Slice Recording Bass Session 18 STW

Getting on with the project, Slice is going to record all guitars (Electric, Acoustic, Classic & Slide), Bass for all tracks and Piano on all tracks that have piano (not keyboards). in the 26 songs there are over 90 different parts, and some are going to be dubbed. that means nearly 150 tracks to be recorded. we started in August and have recorded 21 session with 87 tracks finished in total, where in most sessions Slice records between 6 and 8 parts, we have had to repeat some early recordings due to sound issues. Our target is to finish all the recording by April and have the mixing finished by July. There is still a fair way to go but we are more confident after every session.

Rough mix not the final thing. Cover ABTW2 by Ian Burt

After July and once the audio is all finished, mixed and mastered We will start editing recording and editing the core live performance video, All the video will be treated using the Chroma Key technique. There will be tons of footage we are using up to 6 cameras on every instrument part that sums up to 80×6 in the range of 500 video clips, that need to be selected arranged and edited. One of the things we decided early on, was that expecting to engage our potential viewers for an hour and a half on just a performance of slice would not cut it, we wanted to do something more without making a plagiarism of the film or show. keeping the viewers attention has been and still is a challenge that we haven’t quite solved. One thing that we are going to do is record a side story with Slice as the main character, where he tries to go through the different songs with a personal view, this has not yet taken since we are still working on the script and footage that needs to be decided. A great amount of this resource footage that will be recorded outside the studio, there for we are waiting for better weather.

Slice Session 20 STW piano recording

There is also the Graphics, all Chroma video will be scored upon a virtual background that is being designed for all different scenes.

Please review earlier posts to get further details on the STW project.

I will continue to post on the progress of the project as we move down the schedule.

any enquiry or support please contact me at

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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.

Ian Burt © 2012

I am a one of the many loyal follower of the Pensado’s Place internet TV Show, I have included the last episode #54 just a few days before writing this post. one of the best episodes to my opinion.

Pensado’s Place #54 one of the best episodes of all.

Not to long ago, on another one of the episodes, a guest said something that made me change my entire approach to mixing, producing and making music. You all know and I have said before I am an amateur in the engineering and production of music, so I can’t stand for my own achievements in this field “YET”. However the concept behind this guest’s words, put a lot of thing’s into a brand new perspective for me. I can’t quote his exact words one by one, what he came to say is “that if his mother where to give him the recipe to her fantastic apple pie, he would not come close to making anything like his mothers pie”. I have spent tens of hundreds of hours listening to video tutorials, I have seen all 55 of the Pensado’s Place episodes and haver read books or anything that came into my hands on any aspect of music making. So what is it I discovered in theses words? well, the way I understood them, it’s not the recipe that is important, it’s the pie. If the pie is good and everybody like’s it, who cares about the recipe. The way in witch you cook the pie is just part of a process, nothing more than path to the product. This concept hit me hard and I have been giving it large amount of thought over the last few days, so here I am to share these thoughts with you.


Before I go into dissecting the subject, I want to define what to my understanding are some more metaphoric analogies between some elements in this sound cooking fields. The dish or pie is the final results, or I may say the Song or Mix. In any mix or song there are tracks, these would be the ingredients. The way they these ingredients are prepared could be the recording. The way they are used I will say is the massaging of the track, including EQ, compressor, filters, etc. The effects and plugins are the spices and condiments. The mixing is how you blend the ingredients (quantity, when they come in etc.). Mastering the cooking or baking of the dish. The cook can be both producer and the engineer. and last but not least, the presentation is the delivery.

Funny how we can relate to the cooking world so closely to music. ¿NO?

No two cooks will make the same dish when give the same ingredients. They will all treat the dish differently, work the ingredient, spice them, present them and cook them differently. All their results will be different, but I am sure that they will all be interesting and edible. Some will be more of our taste and some won’t but all will be valid dishes. ¿What way is good and witch is wrong? None, they are all legitimate, it will all depend on what we have a crunch for. it is the combination that brings the result’s and produces diversity.

Slice Recording Bass Session 18 STW

To succeed in either one of these crafts, one will need to innovate, experiment, force the boundaries, go to the next level. Making the same pie that your mother made, is not the challenge and brings nothing new to the table, all that it can prove is that you have learnt how to repeat a process. There needs to be a distinctive and innovative signature to the result, something that makes it new and appealing, something that makes it yours.

It is unplayable to learn from the pros, I take very seriously the need to evolve technically, what I have learnt with this is that the important thing is what you learn and how you apply it to your own cooking. one of the fundamental lessons for me is that now I look at what they do in the creative and perceptive aspects of their crafts, rather than the technical. I take in both as a sponge, where the technical is a resource to the creative and creative is the driver to the technical.


The cook and the ingredients are fundamentals parts that contribute to the final dish, in music there is much more to it vs. cooking, the song it’s self as a product of a creative process and the interpretation make these ingredients unique. the uniqueness of these mark the rest of the process, where they can’t be cooked in the same way as other similar though different while also unique ingredient are handled.

I love cooking and I love making music, I am best at the former. Following the interviews on Dave Pensado’s show I have started to see how they correlate. The fundamental breakthrough for me is that technical skills are great to have but you have to put your secret ingredient into every dish you cook or song you mix or produce. This ingredient is love, passion, the ability to take in what you are working on. labour on it as it matures, find from experience, intuition, feel and taste, the essences of the piece at hand. Following recipes wont do it, you need to interpret the dish, and use your creativity, experience and talent to make the wonders of listeners or tasters. It needs to come in through your ears and gut and speak to you.

feel_the_music_by_polelby Polel

It is amazing how diverse al these engineers and producers are at all the different parts of the process, specially in the technical side of things, but also how much in common they have when it comes to putting feeling as the main driver to creativity even though the process of creativity is different to everyone of them. This is what makes their work sell and win the Grammy’s, I can’t speak for myself, but I have a much better understanding after listening to the experts.

To round it up. This new perspective has given me the chance to relax from my technical shortcoming’s and focus on the musical side, listen to the music and try working on my own creative skills and musical taste, see form my less technical end what I can do for it. understanding that to be innovative taking risks is necessary, if I technically fail I can always start all over again. Holding one thing as the guide light in the tunnel The Result is what matters, not the way there. if something works don’t try to find orthodoxy just feel it if it makes emotional senesce then it is right.

I want to thank al the Music lovers out there that are keen on sharing their knowledge with the world. this post is dedicated to you all.

Today I haven’t mentioned Slice, I have to include him as a PS please check out his channel on you tube, drop a comment and rate his videos.

Thanks again and I hope you enjoyed the read.

Ian A. Burt © 2012


In the past weeks, Slice has done great progress with the recording, he has laid down most  the electric guitars and bass tracks for the STW project. The process has not been an easy walk through the woods, we have had to go over and over again with some tracks to get them nailed or as close to perfect as possible, well lets say the best possible performance that we could reach.

In the mean time I have not been idle, my attention has been on mixing all week long, there is a ton of material to put together.


The way we are doing this, is certainly not the standard procedure, for obvious reason it is not the most efficient way to get it done. In our discharge I must say that we do have some very highly imposed constraints, that force us into this manner of proceeding. Usually in the music business the recording of tracks for a record or a song will be done at the beginning before  mixing, and in a short time frame, well at least the main tracks, usually when this is completed everything is ready and the mixing can start. This is the ideal scenario with no doubt, but we are far from this possibility in the STW Project. Slice is only available to record on weekend mornings (due to school, and other youth duties), so only so much can get done with this time limitation. He does have the entire week ahead for him to get all rehearsing of what he is going to record in the weekend, this normally makes recording very smooth, even so, while getting the perfect take and sound are everyday challenges that consume time, time that can not be spared. This leaves us with between 4 and 8 tracks per day and not much more that 10 per weekend on a good one. Just as a reminder the STW is a project where Slice will be doing over 140 separate tracks.


All the track’s are parts of individual instrumental pieces from different songs, we don’t record one song top to bottom in a consecutive session, on one week he will lay down the rhythmic guitar to a given song and the solo will be laid down two or three weeks later, the bass maybe another three or four weeks further back, it can take even longer to add piano or acoustic guitar. We have songs that have may have as few as two tracks or as many as five or eight to be recorded, meaning that wont have them complete for another two months yet. Among the different reasons for doing it like this are, first we need to rearrange the room when we change between instruments, the limited room acoustics need to be setup, and that has to be done with some time and planning, Secondly Slice is borrowing some of the instruments form some friends, This means that he need to schedule all parts with that instrument into a fixed agenda, so he plans the rehearsing and recording with this in mind. The consequence being that the tracks I can start working with are a mixture and only a partial part of the material I need to get a finished result.


Given this situation, ¿how do I work on it? ¿What can I do to to move ahead with the mixing? Well there is one advantage to working on Cover songs with the original recording as a backing track. You can fit in, one part at a time and work on the individual contexts of each instrument and how it merges with the original song. This provides a benefit giving me a chance to, massage each instrument individually and make sure it sits in at the best place with the original while giving it’s best as a cover part. It is like mixing that instrument as the last one, I will eventually pull all the cover tracks up and listen to the full mix, but to start I work on the individual instruments, making space and accommodating them in the picture. When everything is there I star with the full mix I usually do the initial accommodation with all the tracks and the original keeping a fair amount of volume on the original to maintain it’ as a reference for the mix, then when I feel that everything is square, I bring the original volume down to see if the covered instruments sit in well in unison. I trim volumes and all the automations here so that I feel I have as close enough a cover as possible to the original. I usually solo Slice’s tracks to make sure there is no hidden bugs or stuff. If the mix of the covered instruments sounds good It will merge well with the original. and that is my final stage. I pull the original back up and write the automation for the original track I usually bring the original down 3 to 4db while there is a cover part playing but bring it back up to unity if there is no content recorded by Slice, I try to give the mix a uniform volume as much as possible with the limitation that Slice’s covered parts do stick out over the original so that they can be heard and distinguished on the videos.


As a final thought, we are working from the inside out, putting the main parts that Slice will be covering in first. The first to go in is obviously always the original song,  on top of this we start building our music, using the foundation of the master piece as a guide. It does help but it also means that you have to be extra careful, any mistake or difference gets magnified you are put up against the master and there is little room for fiasco, you need to focus and find the details and breath on them, find the energy and transmit it on the cover, feel the music and reflect it as your own as much as possible without damaging the original.

Slice makes covers of music he like, musicians he admires and artists he respects.

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Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed.

Ian A. Burt ©