This past week it was my duty to go through all of the rack effects in the back of the studio to see which ones work and which ones don’t. I tested 3 different effect units, the T.C. Electronic M2000 Studio Effects Processor, the Lexicon A |ex Digital effects processor, and the DigiTech TSR- 24 True Stereo Reverb/ Multi- Effects Processor. While none of the units worked I learned just how tedious studio equipment can be. With the M2000 for example, the display on the face of the unit is not displaying any text, I checked to see if this is the result of a setting. I didn’t find anything that would help the display issue so I moved onto sound, without anything plugged into the unit, the db meters were going all over the place and it kept showing “overload” as if the signal coming in was so hot it couldn’t handle it. With the lexicon, I wasn’t even able to test it, I searched all around the studio trying to find a power adapter that fit and none of them seemed to fit. I will most likely do some research on my own time to see if one can be ordered, however it would be a shame to order it to find out the device does not even function. Lastly, the TSR-24 was the only device that worked even a little bit. It, along with the DX7, seem to suffer from similar issues. Its display would come on, however the text glitches and I am unable to read it. This is most likely the result of a dead internal battery, what is most likely happening is that the battery keeps the memory from being erased and when it dies the device fails to be able to call up the necessary data to get the unit to function properly.
This week Dr. Pras asked me to spend our scheduled meeting time to help a fellow student with a project she was working on for a competition. She had created a vest that was covered in sensors that interacted with a program she wrote that created various sounds as the sensors were adjusted. She had explained to me that she needed to record the output from her self-created device and wanted to know how to do so. I told her all of the various ways to record what she needed to do. The most obvious method and in my opinion the most effective was to create a direct line in from her laptop to the studio patch bay. I told her using an 8th inch headphone jack to a split quarter inch cable would be the most effective. I then proceeded to show her how to set up logic to record her output. I told her all about signal flow and how to trouble shoot if something were to go wrong, explaining to her to try to record at a max volume of -12 to -6 db to avoid the possibility of peaking and distorting the recording. We then discussed possible real world applications for her device, such as a track jacket with motion sensors that a DJ could wear to switch and navigate between tracks, adjust eq settings, trigger effects or speed up and slow down the song. Overall, this has been one of the more creative weeks of the internship, as it allowed me to share ideas with another student.
This week Dr. Pras has brought to my attention that my speaker placement was negatively effecting her ability to do class hearings. I was instructed to put the speakers back into their original positions and to make markings on the floor using tape to show the two different listening positions. I’m assuming the original placement of the speakers was mean for class listening, and It was up to the student to move the monitors where they were needed. This week I also met up with one of the students to work with them on how to mix songs. I taught him mainly about using an equalizing plugin, and how attenuating frequencies was often more effective than boosting them. I taught him the importance of listening to his tracks in mono, and mixing the majority of the time in mono. I think this was a helpful thing to teach him as its helped me for two reasons. The first reason I think it’s helpful is that it makes all the instruments collapse on each other, it’s the most effective way to show frequency masking among various instruments within the same octave. The second reason being that the stereo field can be very misleading for the mix engineer, it can make instruments sound like they have more room than they actually do. I always mix my songs in mono, it is one of many small tricks I have learned from other engineers that has helped me get to the level I am currently at.