Saturday, July 29, 2006

How does a limiter work and who am I?


You are a MUSICIAN, and a recording one at that. So, you have a limiter and you want to know how it works.

First, what is a limiter? A limiter limits; it essentially reduces the amount of gain, or level coming into the device, and keeps that sound at a determined level set by the user of the device.

To put it simply it limits audio peaks that would otherwise cause distortion in the audio chain.

A limiter is also the same thing as a compressor, except that in the compression mode, the limiter is used to squash the overall signal, not just catch and reduce peaks.

The result is that you hear sounds that you wouldn't have before and it brings down loud offensive levels, smoothing out the track or live sound and giving it a more "polished" sound.

A basic limiter consists of input control, a threshold control, and a gain reduction control. The threshold is set by the engineer, and determines the point at which the limiter/compressor does its gain reduction.

The gain reduction control is typically expressed in terms of a ratio. For example, a 3:1 setting would mean that for every 3 db of level over the threshold, the limiter will only output 1 db.

Musical Tidbits

In other news, Sting, formerly known as Sting, published his memoir, Broken Music, in Estonia this last week. On Friday at 2pm, he will meet fans & sign copies of the book before his concert at the Saku Arena - featuring a new energetic and stripped down rock show from the Broken Music Tour.

The concert will feature music spanning the course of his career. The opening act for the evening and the special guest of the show is Sting's son Joe Sumner with his band Fiction Plane.

"I am delighted by the recent publication of "Broken Music". It has been 5 years since I've played Estonia and I look forward to meeting fans and performing there again," says Sting.

In the words of concert producer Peeter Rebane this is the first time in his 11 years and 400 show experience when a top world artist meets people in person and gives autographs signing books.

So there you have it, limiters, Sting, gear and fab-u-loso advice. Use it wisely.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I ain't gonna sing the blues . . .


Naw, I ain't complainin' or anything like that. It's a song I wrote a while back and it is reminiscent of the old big blues band style of sound.

Another song I wrote is called Finding' Thrills over the Hill, which really echoes sentiments on the aging process, which of course isn't happening to me . . . ;-)

Why the blues references? Well, even though my band Majical is primarily a "Latino cumbia" band, my past influences are blues, rock and roll, hard rock and psychedelic rock. Of course I grew up with motown, stax and soul too.

My heritage is Nicaraguan so I grew up with all the Latino styles as well so when you mix all that up, I end up writing songs that are a congruence of those styles.

My real influences as a songwriter are who I consider the masters of pop music, the Beatles. They lead that list because of the way they structured and executed their songs. The delivery of their music cannot be topped by anyone, anywhere.

Then going down the list of songwriters are people like Carol King, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Sting, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.

But then there are the blues masters that influenced me as I began to delve deeper into the blues. People like Robert Johnson, the Wolf and the more modern bluesists like Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop and even my friend, Osee Anderson.

Here are some blues terminology that might be of interest;

  1. Biscuit Blues-N'k. . .a flaky biscuit dripping with honey and butter. Hmm, what does that mean I wonder? A young, sexy nubile woman . . . well you get the picture. SEX-SEX-SEX
  2. Black Cat Bone- A voodo, hoodoo style of thought claims that if you know how, you can bring back an old lover or make a new possible become your lover, or even bring fame!! Whatever. . . who wants that old lover back anyway? Well, it could also mean... ah, forget it.
  3. Mojo- A hoodoo, voodoo charm. A bag filled with toe nail clippings, frogs legs, twigs, eye of newt. I guess in the hands of a skilled voodoo chile (pronounced chi-el not chi-lee silly), you could conjure and trap a spirit or ghost. Hopefully not the ghost of Patrick Swayze and just the old rotten toenails would make anyone do your bidding.
  4. Stomp-Stompin the ground I guess. Don't all musicians do that?
  5. Jump- You mean like David Lee Roth while he grabs his balls to get those high notes? Or was that Eddie hittin' em with his guitar as he jumped? God he sucks!!

The blues is filled with all kinds of interesting anecdotes, charms and history and I am proud of the fact that it is indelibly American music. The Rhythms may have come from Africa but when mixed with that Irish, English, Hillbilly stuff it turned into the blues and became specific to our southern region and a true form of American music.

This is all debatable of course but I thought I would voice that opinion and see who sends me death threats just for kicks. HA! I scoff at thee. . .

Jorge is Bandleader-Songwriter-Guitarist Frontman of the Majical Band and you can hear and see them in and around the Redding, California area. Visit his GIGS page to see exactly where. He's decided to approach life in a more comedic way than ever before, although he's always been that way.