Thursday, May 3, 2012

ICE D - Soldier (The track I got to mix and master)

My homie ICE D ( Artist out of Johannesburg, Africa of Soul Candi Records ) brings this international collabo track "Soldier".  I produced and mixed & mastered this track. He didn't like the engineer he originally had so he asked if I could mix & master it and I did it! He approved of the final mix (what you'll hear below), so its all good!

Be sure to follow him at each his pages here:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What is a VST plugin or VST instrument

What is a VST or VSTI audio plugin ?

VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology and is an interface for integrating audio synths and effects plugins with your digital audio workstation (DAW). In plain English you could simply say its a way to get all those cool hardware effects racks, keyboards and drum machines into your choice of music software such as Cubase, FL Studio or Logic Pro etc.

A very brief history of VST & VSTi

Anyone making digital music prior to 1996 used their DAW to control keyboards and samplers via midi and then routed all their external hardware through a traditional mixing desk. With the release of Cubase 3.02 Steinberg announced the VST interface specification which allowed a new bread of software developers to recreate all those bulky effects units as VST plugins.

A few years later in 1999 they updated things allowing VST plugins to receive midi data. This changed the game even further as it was now possible to recreate keyboards, synths and drum machines too. This upgrade saw the birth of the Virtual Studio Technology Instrument or VSTi for shot.

In more recent years things have moved improved further with VSTs now being able to process audio in 64 bit, allow audio inputs, multiple midi ins & outs and note expression.
How Do you Install A VST plug in Or VSTi

Most VST plugins or instruments are packaged in one of two ways. Smaller plugins come as a single .dll file and are the simplest to install. Most DAWs such as Cubase, FL Studio require you to simply copy and paste the .dll file into a plugins directory within the main folder where you installed your software. Once you have done that you should restart your DAW and then your new plugin will be available to use.

Bigger, more complicated and often more expensive VST plugins and Virtual Instruments are often sold as .exe files that require you to manually install them the same way you would install any other software package. This is more often then not a point and click job though.

Are VST plugins and Instruments as good as the originals ?

There are 1000,s of VST plugins available these days and the quality varies greatly. Some have been made in an afternoon by one guy in his bedroom and given away for free and some developed by large companies and cost an arm and a leg. There are always those people who prefer the original instrument or prefer the hands on approach but in the majority of cases there is no way that many of us could ever get access to such kit. That old Hammond organ with Leslie speakers might be just the sound your after but its never going to fit in your room.

What the VST plugin and instrument developers have tried to do in many cases is to recreate the sound or effects of originals as closely as possible but you'll never get exactly the same experience due to one being real and one being virtual. With that said though VST technology has totally revolutionised the world of music production and it can only get better.

There are also plugins and instruments that could never exist in the physical world and the possibilities are endless.

What do I need in order to use VST plugins or instruments

Pretty much all you need to make use of VST plugins or Virtual Instruments is your choice of DAW. Just about every music production package available these days supports VST technology and many come with their own built in. In order to control things easier a good keyboard or controller is a must. A keyboard with weighted keys will give you more expression and a having controller with plenty of knobs and faders will allow you more control over all your plugins settings. There are plenty of excellent keyboards and controllers around these days to suit every budget so choose something the works for you.

Do I need a powerful computer to use a VST or VSTi

The one thing to take into consideration is that VST plugins and Virtual Instruments are software where their ancestors were all hardware. Your computer and more importantly your sound card is now playing the part of the hardware. Its all down to common sense to make sure you make the most of your current setup. If you try and get a cheap computer with a built in sound card to run too many VSTs it will drag to a halt. Ill write another article about how to improve performance but for now Ill just say uninstall anything you dont need and close any programs you dont need running.

The most important thing you need to get the most our or your VST plugins and Instruments is a decent sound card. Your sound card is going to be doing the bulk of the work so get the best one you can afford. A cheap sound card will result in a delay (latency) between you playing a note on the keyboard and the sound coming our of your VSTi. Make sure you ask for a card with zero latency or adjust the latency settings on your current card for best performance.

Finally I'll just mention again the need for you to balance your use of VST plugins, effects and Virtual Instruments with the power of your system. Too many things running at one time and you'll see your system slow down and your audio glitching.
Any questions or thoughts ?

If you have any questions regarding the use of VST plugins, effects or VST instruments leave a comment bellow. Ill create some more articles when I get a chance on tips and tricks for using VST plugins effectively or to answer any popular questions that crop up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vitiate & Anonamix Collab with KLIVE KRAVEN & Killa T on "Underdogs"

Track 2/12 for the Vitiate & Anonamix collab EP, Youth in Asia. This track features Killa T and Klive Kraven, produced by Teknodrome. Please check the links below and support Vitiate and Anonamix. Buy the Youth In Asia EP at the link below!





How to be a RockStar In Twitter

Let me start this post by saying that I am not personally a Twitter rockstar(not yet!); however, I am friends with a lot of people who are, and I’ve been studying their tweeting style for a long time, and I feel like I have a good idea about how a person can develop into a Twitter  rockstar .

Let me also say that you don’t have to have a ton of followers to be a Twitter  rockstar. Since people typically want to follow the  rockstars, they, by default, usually have a lot of followers, but there are always exceptions. Always!

Usually on this type of post, someone will leave me a comment that says, “There are no rules on Twitter, who are you to give everyone rules?” – Let me address this now. It’s true; there are no rules on Twitter. If there ever was a rule, it would probably be to just be yourself. That is the best rule I can think of. These aren’t rules, this is just me sharing my experiences and what I’ve observed from being on Twitter almost everyday for a year, nothing more. 

7 Tips for Becoming a Twitter Rockstar

Have the Basics Covered
Twitter badasses always have their basics covered, no question about it. That means an avatar with their picture (which they don’t change very often), a nice Twitter background and a strong bio with their real name listed in the name field. You won’t find a true Twitter badass that doesn’t have these things done.

Tweet Consistently
Twitter  rockstars tweet consistently, for sure. We all get busy, on days when you don’t much time, just send a tweet to say hello to your followers or send a quick RT. To be a Twitter  rockstar, you have to be committed to Twitter and your followers.

Tweet Interesting and Relevant Content
If you want to become a Twitter  rockstar, you have to tweet great content. Unless you want to take the time to always find that content on your own, you must start filtering your tweets. This is how you filter Tweets: Install Tweetdeck, Seesmic or any one of several Twitter clients and create a column specifically for those peeps that tweet great content so that you won’t miss their tweets. By doing this, in addition to finding your own content to tweet, you will always have great content that you can RT at your fingertips.

It’s All About The Relationships You Build
Twitter  rockstars all understand that it isn’t about how many people follow you, it’s about how you interact with the ones that do. It’s important to be personal and get to know your followers. If you don’t do this, people will not view you as a real person. For example, @GuyKawasaki has over 200,000 followers, but to me, he is a robot (I mean, is he a real person?). He rarely interacts with anyone, and as a result, a lot of people don’t consider him a real part of the Twitter community.

Show Twitter Acts of Kindness
True Twitter  rockstars understand very well that their power is in their kindness. They go out of their way to perform Twitter random acts of kindness, and everyone loves them for it. They are truly what makes Twitter the warm and fuzzy place that it is for so many of us. If you would like to see a list of common Twitter acts of kindness, click here.

Think for Yourself and Be Confident (in a humble kind of way)
Twitter  rockstars are not pressured by anyone else, they think for themselves and they are humble. They don’t get caught up in negativity, they don’t get talked into RT’ing posts that they don’t want to send out and they always think about the value they are providing to their followers. This all shows in the quality of their tweets. This is veryimportant.

Find a Niche
This is not essential for becoming a Twitter  rockstar, although many Twitter  rockstars do find a niche and work it. For example, @AskAaronLee is known for tweeting the best Twitter articles, @krystynchong is known for the music she tweets, @Minervity tweets geeky and design stuff and @kim is known for her #artwalk tweets. Do you have a niche?

There are a lot of Twitter  rockstars in the Twitterverse. I could not list them all here; however, if you are just starting to filter your tweets, and if you need a place to start with good content, here is a short list of peeps to follow who definitely fit this description: