Brad Ormand - Waveform of Good Kick

10.10.2014 – Analog Filters, Skrillex & Philosophy

Ahhh, yeah.. Detour yesterday. I forgot that I had ordered some (like 3 of them) Analog filter design books last week – used, for like 1/10th of the price, each (Goodwill listed one that I had been looking for for a long-ass time that went for over $130, but I got it for 8 bucks.  It’s totally readable – I mean it’s just like the books I got used from the University bookstore – totally all good for learning the information contained inside, even if there *is* writing in it). Totally exciting.

Well, I got one in yesterday, and I dove in. Totally informative. I had held off on getting them before because they were all well over $100 each. Anyway, I had been wanting to clarify and solidify my knowledge of signal filter circuits – for audio frequencies, especially. I’m not going to redesign my Audio Tool, but for my next projects (specifically the synth), I want to be very precise with my values.
There are 2 things that I want express about this whole experience:

#1)  The purpose of diving in to learning this topic is precisely so that I can deeply understand the theory and coordination between the components in each configuration so that I can commit to memory the operation of each configuration.. So that when the time comes to design a certain idea that I have for a device, I can just pull out the myriad of design angles from my mind at that point in time and get right to designing it without going to books or the internet first. It’s like having tools in my toolbox that have been tempered with experience and focus, ready to be used in the real world, instantly.  That’s what I’m going for, in the end.  That’s probably how Edison and Einstein and Michelangelo and Leonardo did it, I think…  Like, being able to produce on the fly with existing knowledge – not always having to detour out, saying, “Now, what was the way that went again?”,  “How do I do that again?”, “Better ask Google”.
#2) The reason for getting 3 books on the same subject is for reinforcement. I take this approach for pretty much every topic I learn – I get multiple sources. One author teaches from his/her experience, another from thiers. Also, it’s parity towards authors who may not be so experienced, or are motivated to write the book to impress their peers or for publishers to make money.  I’m not cynical about this, just aware that this exists and that it’s human nature and it’s “ok” to do so, but it is noise over my endgame. Never can know.

I’m also looking for real love of the subject by the author. There are just a lot of books to choose from, and establishing habits at the beginning of learning something is very influential later on and hard to break, thus..  the 3+ sources.  The important thing to me is the actual understanding (leading to real-world capability) of the subject to use in daily life.  So, by having a few sources of learning for a subject, they act as patches over each other – where one book was weak, another may “fill in the gaps”. So, that’s a sentiment that I have been wanting to write down for a while. 🙂

Anyway, back to the topic at hand…

So, like 6 hours were dumped into 100 pages of analog circuit design yesterday – following schematics, more theory, etc…  I sat outside in the breeze. However, I did manage to mix out some songs: “Kitchen” and “Looking for” for kick and sub frequencies. Better, both of them.. But, still needs more work. The kick on “Looking For” is nearly perfect for what I can do, and I’m stopping right there, but needs some sub help on the chorus. Ahh – so tricky…

“Kitchen” is gonna have to have it’s kick replaced, I think (again) – can’t get this kick I recorded to work (it’s an 18×22 kick I have in my studio), tuned low with its fundamental at about 47hz. It just doesn’t have the tight characteristics I’m looking for for this particular mix. Plus the bass guitar is high and tight, too. Ahhh, on second thought.. I’m just going to re-mix the bass and kick altogether. There should be enough 80 to 200hz frequency info in the beater-side track.. I’ll version it out. I’m somehow gonna get it right and tight, but keep that 50hz resonance, slightly. I’ll try that.


And, the version of “Dive” that I did Sunday rocks so hard. I really love it’s sub & kick frequency combo. Also, I think “Fine” is working out nicely as well. I mean, I do hear some inconsistencies between mine and commercial tracks. I know I am not “matching up” to the best of the best, yet, but I really do think this is my best mixing ever – It’s a far cry from what I was producing 5 years ago, and in another 5 years, I think I ‘ll have come in to my own personal resonance 🙂

Speaking of Far Cry (I mentioned it…)..  haha I am looking forward to Far Cry 4, for real.  Love the series, played them all to the bone.  Big environment, great textures, immersive world, story – all of it…  Highly influential to me…  Plus, they had Skrillex’s track (Make It Bun Dem) in a prominent scene in the main story in FC3.  Oh god..  Just love to hate that track because it’s so good.  Lightens my life.  Love this guy. All of his stuff is gold as far as I’m concerned.  Dat boy good…  Plus, I’m loving, right now, the Reggae philosophy of peace, love and happiness and harmony, mon.  For real.  Irie! So, I took a liking to it.  The kick audibly clips, but sounds so good, actually. (I’m not a traditionalist 18db-of-headroom kinda guy 🙂 ) I had to study it, since my focus is on kick & bass mixing right now.  It’s got this certain knock/punch, but also has the sub to match – all together balanced.  One of the best I have heard for impact – louder than most.  Here’s a waveform capture.