Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wake Theory - Mixcraft Featured Artist of the Month

Introducing Mixcraft Artist of the Month, Wake Theory. An Alexandria, Louisiana-based rock/metal band formed in the Spring of 2018. Using Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio, they are currently recording their first full-length album, Dead Awake. 


Listen to Wake Theory's songs on ReverbNation. You will immediately be taken in and captivated by the songwriting and production. Check out Wake Theory's newest release on YouTube, "Forever":

The Interview with guitarist and Mixcraft user Ant Jones:

What's up with the name "Wake Theory"?

In theory we are all awake to the world around us, but are we really awake? Is this reality an illusion that our brain portrays to us, and we are in actual reality, asleep? We are in the process of writing our first ever album titled, Dead Awake. Basically we are all zombies to our cell phones, social media, and things around us, and not what is actually in front of us.

You are all killer musicians, tell us about the band?

Growing up as kids in Louisana, we grew up listening to Zydeco and Jazz. Fronted by singer, Rick Ferrier, Rick's main influences are Staind, Creed, Alterbridge, Godsmack Breaking Benjamin, Sevendust and Alanis Morrisette. Rick draws his inspiration to write from his children and his positive outlook on life.  

The driving force behind Wake Theory comes from guitarist, Ant Jones. Ant's main influences are Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Bury Your Dead, Godsmack, Disturbed, Mudvayne and Alanis Morissette. Ant draws his inspiration to write from his children, and different things that goes on in his day to day life.

Power Bassist Mark Taylor's influences are Rage Against the Machine, Sevendust, Incubus, Limp Bizkit and Alanis Morissette. Mark gets his inspiration to write from Naysayers and his constant battles with depression.


The beats come from the super-talented drummer Joey Cooksey.  Joey's influenced by Mike Portnoy, Steve Gadd, John Blackwell and Taylor Hawkins (Alanis Morissette).


What new features in Mixcraft 8 are you taking advantage of for the production of Dead Awake?

Side-chaining and mixdown to stems are absolutely incredible. The updates to the loop/sample library is amazing. The biggest thing I noticed when opening up a saved track for mixing/mastering is the difference in sound quality. There is a massive improvement from Mixcraft 7's sound to Mixcraft 8 Pro's sound engine. The sound is fuller, bigger and brighter. I love that Mixcraft 8 Pro now has VST 3 compatibility allowing me to use 3rd party plug-ins that I could not use in version 7. The potential is absolutely endless now. I am so glad that I chose Mixcraft as my go-to DAW for all of my music recording needs. Wake Theory is proud to record, mix and master on Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio.  

What's up next for Wake Theory?

We have won several contests on ReverbNation and have landed several Radio play slots, with constant air play and rotation. Wake Theory has been asked to tour as a co-headliner coming up next summer. We are really excited about the album release and are looking forward to touring! 

Editor’s note: Acoustica is grateful that Wake Theory uses Mixcraft! We totally recommend checking out their upcoming album “Dead Awake”.  To hear more from Wake Theory, visit ReverbNation / Facebook / YouTube

To take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mark Rowen - Mixcraft Featured Artist of the Month

Introducing Mixcraft Artist of the Month, Mark Rowen. Formerly of the UK progressive rock band Breathing Space, a talented songwriter and guitarist, Mark's new album, Radiance, fuses progressive rock with today's contemporary sounds. To make the album, Mark recruited former members of Breathing Space Paul Teasdale (Bass) and Barry Cassells (Drums). Along with Leigh Perkins (keyboards) and Lisa Box (vocals), Radiance captures a timeless sound and vibe sure to inspire.


Mark Rowen - The Interview: 


How did the band come together? For example, Lisa Box is a heavy metal singer. How did it occur to you that Lisa could cross over genres to become the perfect voice of Radiance?

I used to be lead guitarist in a UK based band by the name of Breathing Space. This was a band that was formed out of a fairly well established UK progressive rock outfit called Mostly Autumn by their keyboard player (Iain Jennings) and backing vocalist (Olivia Sparnenn). I recorded one album with them, but the band then folded. I had written some new material for the second album, but when Breathing Space split I decided to record a solo album.

I recruited some of my former Breathing Space bandmates, Barry Cassells (drums) and Paul Teasdale (bass), but finding a singer and keyboard player proved rather more difficult. I scoured the classifieds for a keyboard player and could not find one available in my local area. I looked a little further afield and came across an ad by a guy named Leigh Perkins. I sent him a song that needed some keyboards, telling him to record something if and only if the music really appealed to him. He promptly came back with 7 different keyboard parts! 

Finding Lisa was another tall tale. I wanted a female singer, but once again it proved to be difficult. I scoured the ads and did the YouTube hunt. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Lisa appeared like a YouTube epiphany. her voice sounded great, she looked great and was really belting songs out. It was unquestionably heavy rock but there was more in her voice than that, I was sure of it. I purposely sent her an acoustic song, one guitar that needed one voice. She came back with the vocals to a song I composed called On The Blue Horizon. That very vocal is on the CD. I knew it couldn’t be bettered, so it was a keeper.

There is a resurgence and well-deserved attention to progressive music amongst both old and new music enthusiasts. This is fantastic news because it celebrates the talent of musicians who work hard on their craft. Compared to a lot of today’s new music where loops and beats and sequences may be overused and over produced, it is quite refreshing to hear an album like Radiance setting an example for aspiring musicians. Tell us how you used Mixcraft 8 in the recording, editing and mixing process.

When I got the idea to start the album I had no experience with DAWs. I considered purchasing an 8/12/16 track recorder, knowing full well that I would be putting myself at a disadvantage against those who can use DAWs. I spent an afternoon with a musician buddy of mine who used one of your competitors DAWs. He tried his best to teach me how to use it, I could see his mouth moving but all I could hear was white noise! Nothing was going in.

Cut to my day job when I visited a customer of mine who just so happens to manufacture a brand of effects pedal used by the likes of Dave Gilmour, Steve Rothery, Paul Stacey, John Verity etc. I told him of my recent encounter at which point he said ‘have you heard of Mixcraft’? He showed me how easy it was to use so I bought it the next day.

So, very quickly I taught myself how to set up a simple drum track as a guide for our drummer. Using the virtual instrument pianos and synth presets that are included in Mixcraft was the biggest plus for me. Choosing from a myriad of sounds, I would spend hours keying in every note of a keyboard part using either the ‘score’ or the ‘piano’ facility. Hammond sounds, piano sounds, synths, strings. There is one instrumental section of a song entitled Love Is Like A Rock that is rich in orchestral sounds, strings, cellos, piano, a trombone. Boy did I have fun with that, and it ended up sounding fantastic – exactly how I had it in my head.

For the acoustic guitars I used a Babicz Spider with a touch of the Acoustica Pro Studio Reverb plug-in. For the electrics I used Guitar Rig 5 and enhanced the sound by using the Acoustica effects in Mixcraft because I found them more usable, especially the compressors, reverbs and delays.

Production and mixing wise, I had a great deal of help from our bass player Paul Teasdale. Paul had enormous input into the production, engineering and mixing of the album. Songwriting and musicians performances aside, the album really is, for me, a kind of celebration of what Mixcraft is capable of for the amateur and professional musician alike. Hand on heart I can honestly say that this piece of work would not exist without Mixcraft, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Editor’s note: We are grateful that you used Mixcraft! We totally recommend checking out “Radiance”.  To hear and see more from Mark Rowen:

To take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Plug-in of the month - Trophies by Bryan Michael Cox

Trophies ($199-VST/AU) fuses modern beat making tools with old school RnB instruments, layers, sounds and progressions. As StudioLinked CEO and industry veteran Evin Groves explains, Trophies is a collaborative effort between StudioLinked developers building the design and features, and, 9X Grammy award winner Bryan Michael Cox providing the royalty-free content and consultation. 



StudioLinked is offering a 50% discount coupon good thru January 6, 2019.  USE COUPON TROPHIES50 OFFER ENDS JANUARY 6th


I took Trophies for a spin in Mixcraft 8 and can attest to the functional ease-of-use to access pristine-sounding instruments, to creating layers of instruments, and to the quality of the 500 included presets. What sealed the deal for me was access to the “ready-to-go” “drag n’ drop” signature-sound old school RnB musical progressions that Bryan used in the hit records "You got it back", "Be without you", "Walked out of heaven" and Justin Beiber's "Never let you go". These progressions are super-useful for coming up with music beds to use in your song creations.

Here is an overview of Trophies presented by Bryan Michael Cox:


Opening Trophies in Mixcraft 8:


Step 1:  Select Track Virtual Instrument

Step 2:  Left Click on Icon to open
              VST browser

Step 3:  Select VST Instruments
              (left column) 
              Select Trophies
              (right column)

Step 4:  Right click on Icon to open
              Trophies 



Selecting an Instrument and Preset:


                 Step 1:  Scroll thru Category column
                               Click on Instrument to select

                 Step 2:  Scroll thru Preset column
                               Click on Preset to play




Layering Instruments:


Steps 1-4:  
Click on Layers A-D:
Scroll drop down menu to select instrument, then select preset



Using Progressions in Trophies:


Step 1:  Select Instrument and Preset
              (see above)

Step 2:  Click "+/-" to switch to MIDI

Step 3:  Click on Main Chords for
              rhythm progression
              (or lead for solo progression)

Step 4:  Click on Preview to audition
              progression 


Step 5:  Click on "+" and drag to track 




Trophies offers so much more including arpeggiators, filters, cut-offs, delay, chorus and many other FX. Visit Studiolinked.com for more. 50% OFF TROPHIES USE COUPON TROPHIES50.

Editor’s note: If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, visit www.acoustica.com for more or to download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Control Surface Recording - Mixcraft 8 Performance Panel

This week I started to create tracks for product presentations for upcoming fall and winter clinics and product showcase sessions at various trade shows and educator conferences. Over the course of the year, depending on the venue, I will pick and choose from around 20 project files that I create in advance of the shows to use as demo songs at these clinics and trade shows.


To come up with all this content in a short period of time, I rely heavily on Mixcraft 8 Control Surface support, especially through the Performance Panel view, which controls my Launchpad-compatible control surface to simultaneously record and play live loops, loops sets and even virtual instrument tracks.


I will breakdown some of the interesting set-up and recording elements of the performance recording below. For your viewing, here is the video of this performance recording with flash notes for your better understanding.

Syncing a Control Surface to the Performance Panel


Setting up a control surface to interact with Mixcraft 8 is a snap!

Step 1: Select File / Preferences
Step 2: Select Control Surface
Step 3: Add / remove the many supported control services listed in the "Type" drop down column. Set up inputs and outputs.


Load Loops into the Performance Panel


Loading content from the Loop Library onto the Performance Panel is simple drag n' drop stuff! 

Step 1: Click "Performance" opens grid
Step 2: Click "Library" tab to sort, play, select by date, instrument, key, style, tempo or author.
Step 3: Drag n' drop loops to any row / column on the Performance Panel grid.
Step 4: Copy / paste / drag loops between grids and linear audio tracks.


Recording Loops and Loops Sets Live using a Control Surface



Click on "Arm" button to record all performance grid tracks

OR

Click on individual track button to record individual track grids.

Hit Transport Control "Record" in Mixcraft 8 and use Control Surface to capture live turning on / off Loops or Sets of Loops.



Switch Mode on Control Surface to Record Live Instrument Track


Switch Modes on Launchpad-compatible Control Surfaces in real-time to record a virtual instrument track live.

Using new Voltage Modular Virtual Modular Synthesizer by Cherry Audio, sync arpeggiation presets to the tempo of the project.



Editor’s note: If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, please visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Infamous Quick - Mixcraft Featured Artist of the Month


Mixcraft Featured Artist of the Month, Infamous Quick, is as versatile as any band around! This 6-member rock band out of Flint, Michigan is a multi-talented, experienced outfit that can bring it live on stage or in the studio. Recently signed to a digital distribution deal with Sony, Infamous Quick’s debut album “Tequila Rose” is a testament to great songwriting, musical chemistry, dedication and meticulous production. We sat down with bandmember / producer Eric VanLandingham. In this interview, Eric gives us an inside look at the recording and mastering of Tequila Rose:



Eric, having performed and toured in bands for many years, how did it all start for you? 

Myself, yeah I've been in bands and the music industry since I was a kid. I was in a metal power trio called Entice back in the 90's. A Metallica tribute band called Damage Inc. where I was the James figure, we toured for four years all over the country. I was also Dimebag Darrell's bassist for a guitar seminar in Detroit (man could that guy drink!). 

For those who have not heard you play, I can attest that you are an absolutely incredible guitarist. Watch Eric's crazy talent here on this Beat It (Studio cover/Medley) Video
How did you become so equally proficient as a producer?

Thanks Anthony, I appreciate that! I started on drums when I was a kid, went to bass from there and guitar was next. I'm extremely musically alert, meaning I cannot listen to anything without dissecting it and figuring out in my head how it's being done, instrument by instrument. I've always been like that, so it must be built in. 



Please tell our readers about the band's song writing process:

Myself, Tim Beckett (guitar) and Dan Thorp (vocals) are natural writers, we came up with riffs at almost every rehearsal, very easily. Terri (vocal) was new to the band scene when we met, but once acclimated, soon joined in with writing. From there it was a matter of coming up with enough songs. 


What DAW did you use to record "Tequila Rose"? 

The technical end, well it couldn't have went as smoothly as it did without Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio. I know it from top to bottom and it simply works. Workflow is so productive with it because I never have to guess where anything is or keep messing with settings. Just open it and go. 

During pre-production, the drummer and I would trade midi files back and forth over the net as he recorded using his large electronic kit. Once drums were completed and recorded, my bass parts were next which took no time at all since the studio is a whole 30 feet from my front door. Beyond that it was a matter of each member making trips to the studio each week to creatively and carefully record their respective parts.

Eric, for novices like me and some of our readers, can you run thru the basic steps and process you took to master Tequila Rose in Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio?

Starting the project: First I look up and down the track headers to familiarize myself with how it's laid out. Using descriptive titles when naming tracks for easy and fast navigation, I play the project to verify that the sounds on each track match the title. Being comfortable with what you are working on is a big part of the process.


Drum tracks: At this point I listen to the entire project on a loop and start tweaking the more obvious things I want to change. Starting with drums, I create a drum submix track, place the track inside as a child track and put FabFilter Pro-C2, my favorite compressor, on the sub to level out the drums. I also put any other percussive tracks inside this submix.

Bass tracks: I used Studio Devil Virtual Bass Amp for effects, compression with Pro-C2.

Guitar tracks: For distortion I used Shred Amp. I created a submix and put all guitar tracks inside, put an EQ on the sub and take out any low end from about 60hz on down. Guitars don't reproduce that low and if they do, it's probably a pick hitting a pickup or other unwanted noise. Next I removed redundant tracks. If there is the same guitar part recorded several times, I remove all but one and use a stereo spread effect instead. Now comes the Pro-C2 again. Lastly comes reverb and delay where needed.



Vocal tracks: Here's the chain of effects used:
Melodyne - Allows me to easily fix and adjust any flat notes.
Equalizer - Remove anything from 120 on down.
De-esser - To take out harsh SSS and T sounds.
Compression - you guessed it, the Pro-C2.
Stereo spread - PSP Audioware PseudoStereo
Lastly comes reverb and delay where needed.

Mastering tracks: I master with only one tool, the FabFilter Pro-MB, which is a multiband mastering compressor. A few more listening sessions adjusting levels on tracks, effects and mastering compressor, and, the album was mixed and ready to publish!

It should be noted that Fab Filter and PSP Audioware plug-ins do NOT come bundled in Mixcraft 8.


Who are the members of the band and tell us a little about them?

Tim Beckett - Guitar
Tim and I have been friends for a very long time and have always jammed well together. He writes as easily as I do, so we're always coming up with stuff together. If you check the song on the album called "Today, Tomorrow and Always", he wrote that for his two daughters. He also wrote a lot of the lyrics on the album.

Brad Krug - Guitar
Brad was a guitarist for a popular Detroit band called "The Greg Stryker Band" back in the 80's. He's not only a great guitarist but he's probably the best live sound engineer I've ever met. He and I met back in 2000 when the band he was running sound for was playing my bar. I went up to him to complain about some low-end frequency that was humming. He said "I know, I hear it, workin' on it". So I knew he was a keeper if he was as OCD about little things like that as I was ;-).

Dan Thorp - Vocals
Dan is a pastor at a rock church in Michigan. I met him by going to my local rock church and getting to know the people there. He eventually asked me to come play with the church band a couple times and then from there we hit it off. About Dan, he sent in a demo recording to Stone Temple Pilots when they were looking for a new vocalist, and he got a call from the guitarist (Dean DeLeo) who flew Dan to L.A. for a tryout. Dan did not get the job but received another call from Dean after he returned home, to tell him that it was a very difficult decision and that Dan was in the top 3 out of over 5,000 entries! So we're quite proud of him for that.

Terri Tomlinson - Vocals
Terri was new to the band scene when we met. She used to work with Tim and always told him she could sing and if we ever wanted to try her out, she'd be into it. Terri came in one night and sat down with me and an acoustic guitar. After a couple songs, I was convinced and we hired her. She's got a super energetic personality for fronting a band too, she's a natural for sure.

Greg Diegel - Drums
Greg has been with the band for about a year. Terri had seen Greg play and mentioned him a few times to the rest of us. I contacted him and set up a jam session. He came and knew the songs we had asked him to learn, he was a hard hitter and a showman so he fit right in.

What is next up for Infamous Quick?

We have a slate of gigs lined up. We're hoping someone will want to buy a song or two for use in film or television. We'd take the occasional opening gig for nationals too if that comes up. That would depend on Sony though, if sales go well for the next quarter or two, they may hook us up with opening slots for nationals.

Editor’s note: We totally recommend checking out the new debut CD “Tequila Rose” from Infamous Quick. Infamous Quick official website and links:

Infamous Quick / Facebook / Soundcloud / CD Purchase-Streaming

If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, please visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The state of Consumer Electronics Chainstores in the US


In 1995, after several cold call rejections from Suzanne, the Comp USA Buyer, Tom (Beier now at Bose) and I sat in my office at Cakewalk wondering how we could possibly get Comp USA to pick up Cakewalk Home Studio. I said “What if we write a song for Suzanne using Home Studio about how we recorded it and send it to her?” Tom and I stayed up late into the night writing lyrics, recording tracks and mixing the song down to a cassette tape. The next day we went out and bought a cassette player, inserted the tape into the player and sent it to Suzanne along with my business card with a simple message that said “Hi Suzanne, Press play.”.


The next day I received a call from Suzanne asking for samples. A few days later she referred us to Ingram Micro and placed a 5,000 unit order. We had been the first to place a music recording software title in a big box consumer electronics store! That summer, Tom and I went to Retail Vision and met with Best Buy, Media Play, Circuit City, Computer City, Fry’s, Micro Center, Wal-Mart, Staples, Radio Shack, Target, Office Max, Office Depot and others. Thus beginning a 20+ year run of music software sales in the explosively emerging CE channel.

Fast forward 20+ years and the world of Big Box Consumer Electronics looks a lot different now. Only a few chains remain. As VP of Sales at Acoustica, we sold our version of Mixcraft Home Studio to Best Buy a few years back through Navarre Distribution. After many years of solid sales and maintaining a slot in a category where in-store shelf-space had rapidly shrunk to an assortment of 15-20 titles, this winter (only because Navarre went into bankruptcy in September 2017) will perhaps be the last holiday season that Home Studio will be available at a Big Box Consumer Electronics chain. To add salt to the wound, because our attempts to contact Best Buy and Navarre have fallen on deaf ears, coupled with the fact that the inventory is on consignment, we are unable to get sell thru reports or collect monies on over 5,000 units of inventory.

While a few hundred thousand dollars in sales may be chump change to Best Buy and Navarre, it is a lot of money to a music software company that could be used towards product development and marketing of a new version of Mixcraft and other new products. We tried to get the inventory back and even asked them to DIF (destroy-in-field) but these requests went unanswered initially. As a matter of fact, when Navarre did get around to responding to our Sales Rep, they invited us to “buy back” the consigned inventory they never paid for! Can you imagine that? Absolutely appalling!

While companies like Microsoft and Intuit have the financial resources to take on this battle legally, or in some cases agreeing to buy back consigned inventory, smaller companies like Acoustica have to sit back, get bullied and watch our products get marked down and sold at Best Buy for $14.99 without seeing even a penny of the sale. The icing on the cake is that Navarre sold inventory they had in their warehouse to liquidators. Today there are multiple listings of Home Studio on eBay at liquidation prices. Ouch!

I do not want to come across as bitter because over the years salespersons like myself have earned a lot of sales commissions thru the CE channel. However, the way it is ending is bittersweet, unfair, and, plain and simple, a BS way of doing business with long-time partners. If you are reading this blog post and agree, and you are a Consumer (or even MI) Op-Ed person, contributing writer or perhaps just totally feel pissed off like we do, please share this post with someone who you think might be able to help expose these corporate bullying tactics.

In the interim, we have gone ahead and set up Mixcraft 8 Home Studio on Steam, which is a cutting-edge leading software download distributor. Sales are nearly the same as on a Big Box CE retailer shelf, our physical COGS are zero, shipping is electronic and we are seeing rapid sales growth in this emerging digital download marketplace.


Editor's Note:  If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, please visit www.acoustica.com for more details. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sandra Szabo - Mixcraft Featured Artist of the Month


Introducing Mixcraft Featured Artist of the Month, Sandra Szabo, solo artist and lead singer of Sandmarx. A/k/a TheRocketQueen90 on YouTube, Sandra has over 68,000 channel subscribers and has uploaded over 150 songs with over 11 million views! Sandra Szabo on Spotify exceeds 1 million streams. This Guns n’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Halestorm and Foo Fighters inspired Norwegian-Hungarian born singer-songwriter was born in Norway to Hungarian parents, went to school at UC Berkeley, moved to Brighton UK where she attended BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institute) and currently resides in Norway.


Honing her (Mix)craft with bandmate/producer, Marcus Greenway, here is the interview: 

Having browsed through your extensive catalog of videos and songs, you have such a diverse collection of acoustic, electric, solo and band material. While we do not have enough time and space to delve into your all of your musings, let’s focus in on your new single “Ghost Away”, which will be featured on your upcoming album. Ghost Away is rock anthem-ish, vocals and harmonies are passionate, performances are tight, production is clean, dirty and big, but perhaps the most captivating part of the song are your lyrics. Can you tell us how you came up with lyrics for this song and all of your songs?

Sandra: Thank you so much for interviewing us as artist of the month! And thank you for noticing the lyrics, that’s something a songwriter appreciates! Lyrics are such a cool and strange thing, sometimes every word comes to me in 10 minutes while other times I spend a year finishing it. Normally the songs I write are about things I see, feel and experience myself, but I can get inspired by almost anything, and as long as it makes me feel something I get this urge to turn it into a story. Many of my songs have a deeper meaning, which is important to me, but mostly I just want to make my listeners feel good. 

“Ghost Away” tells a story that I’m sure many people relate to. It’s about finally managing to let go of something that’s been haunting and hurting you for a long time… stuck in your mind, just not letting go. How it’s been making you feel angry, lonely, weak, sad, strange, all of these things! I truly believe art and music can help anyone get through a rough time, it’s what I call the magic of music. By turning my own feelings into words and songs, I always feel a lot better, and this is what “Ghost Away” is about, slowly erasing the pain and letting go of those negative thoughts.

Why did you choose Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio as your go-to DAW?

Marcus: Mixcraft is the software I always use when I have to do anything with audio - I've been using it for 10 years, it all started with a trial of Mixcraft 3. Each new version has come with new awesome features and Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio is just a fantastic tool. I think what separates Mixcraft from other DAW's is the combination of how easy it is to just start doing simple stuff like recording and tracking, together with all the possibilities that the bundled instruments and effects bring for more serious engineers/producers who want to dig deeper. Also, I've only had to contact support once, and they were super nice and helped me really quickly. It's super easy to add 3rd party VSTs, and the ones included in Pro Studio are great. Pianissimo virtual piano (a Steinway emulation) sounds amazing. 

We have used Mixcraft for live streaming, for adding effects to the audio and both recording/sending to the streaming software. I'm trying not to sound like a mad fanboy, but I have been a big fan over the years and finally got a way to express some love. Very close to every single one of the 11,615,786 (at the time of this publishing) video views on Sandra's YouTube, 1 million streams on Spotify and all physical sold albums all have audio that came through Mixcraft. So yeah, I'm a fan! (Editors note: Thanks for the shout out! Mixcraft Developers and Support work hard and deserve it!)
   
Does Mixcraft come into play with regard to the songwriting process and pre-production?

Sandra: Absolutely! We always record demos of our songs before the actual recording process starts. It is very useful to test early ideas and effects with Mixcraft.
Marcus: Yes! Almost all songwriting for me happens with Mixcraft - recording ideas, trying different instrument parts together, testing effects and hearing how the stuff in my head sounds. 

The Ghost Away mix sounds ferociously dangerous. What effects did you use on the vocals, instruments and master tracks?

Sandra: We use the Classic Compressor, TB Parametric Equalizer, and Acoustica Pro Studio Reverb a lot. For the main vocal track, we always start with these three effects. The Acoustica Pro Studio Reverb sounds so amazing and is very easy to handle to get the perfect reverb. We also use the automation feature to get that increasing reverb or delay effect to make some places extra interesting. The solo has some of the Acoustica Delay, and for the bass we used the Studio Devil Virtual Bass Amp to get that powerful bass sound.

Marcus: TB Parametric Equalizer and Acoustica Pro Studio Reverb go on so many of the tracks. That Reverb and EQ makes it a breeze to just notch out some frequencies here and there and remove unwanted low end and so forth. TB Gate is also great for drums to isolate the sound we want. And every guitar solo has a touch of the Acoustica Delay. On the master track, we use a free 3rd party plugin called Limiter6, which has RMS compressor, peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, clipper, true peak limiter, and a TB Parametric EQ just for some polishing.



Editor’s note: Sandra Szabo is releasing a new single "Funeral” on August 10th recorded and produced with Mixcraft. We totally recommend checking out “Funeral”. Guaranteed to rock your socks off, look for a new album from Sandra Szabo in the coming months. To hear and see more from Sandra and Marcus:

If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, please visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony’s Home Studio.

Friday, June 8, 2018

"Dices" - Mixcraft Prodigy and featured artist of the month



Listening to “Take a Look” by Dices, this month’s “Mixcraft featured artist”, it is obvious from virtually every perspective that this dude possesses multiple talents. Some are gifted, others are learned. Referred to us on a Mixcraft FB page post by fellow Mixcraft user William Paramore, who appropriately dubbed Dices a “Mixcraft Prodigy’, we couldn’t agree more! Dices does it all. Dices catalog is full of great songs, beats and Mixcraft tutorials that you should check out. We could focus on the producer (music producer, video content provider and beat maker), but as I am hooked on "Take a Look" at the moment, we should totally turn you on to his songwriting style and performances.

Dices creative musings produce thoughtful real lyrics, pulsating synth parts, in-the-pocket bass grooves and phat drum loops. He spits masterful bars, tracks clear concise vocals and haunting RnB harmonies with just a touch of effects, blends organic orchestral strings and acoustic instruments, knocks you on the head with stirring breakdowns and crescendo builds. We can go on and on but we'll let Dices' music do the talking. Here is a sneak peak into how he makes it all happen. Introducing Dices, the “Mixcraft featured artist of the month”:

Editor’s comment:  Parental Advisory. Please note that some of the content, lyrics and subject matter in Dices catalog are adult and explicit.



Dices bio:

Lasayfies Wilson, aka Dices, from Maryland, started making music using Mixcraft in the 6th grade hanging out in his cousin's studio. His cousins introduced him to the world of music creation as he learned quickly how to navigate in Mixcraft to build beats and songs.


Only 19 and strikingly mature beyond his years, Dices was influenced by one of his favorite rappers, Hopsin. Some of his songwriting inspiration comes from looking at certain pictures and words sparking his creative juices and translating what he sees into music and beats. His songwriting process begins with the beat. Once he records the beat, he hits the record button and words start flowing in real-time, or, he starts playing a melody. One track after another, he keeps stacking layers of music and builds arrangements until the song is complete. During the songwriting process he will discover new sounds by experimenting with virtual instruments, loops and effects.   


On his YouTube channel "Iamdices", we encourage you to take an inside look at how he works with Mixcraft by viewing the dozens of Mixcraft tutorials he has produced and published. We can assure you there is so much to learn from this talented dude, telling it to you straight with a great personality. Also on the YouTube channel you will find dozens of his songs to listen to.

Look for an EP from Dices coming out late October. This guy is for real!


To hear and see more from Dices:

SoundCloud  / YouTube / Instagram / Twitter


If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, please visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony's Home Studio.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Evandale's new single recorded with Mixcraft 8

Please allow me to introduce you to this month's Mixcraft featured artist, Evandale, a new band rising out of the Omaha underground rock scene. Watch their new single, Manipulator (over 12,000 views on FB and counting). All I can say is WOW! Great performance, great production, great band!

With an EP coming out soon, the one track we got to listen to has the potential to become a southern hard rock anthem. Evandale has talent and raw explosive energy! Here are Q&A's from an interview we did with Evandale guitarist Chad Riche:




Q: Evandale is a new band, when and how did it start?

A: Evandale basically came together via a FB post. EJ (Petry, lead singer) made a post on FB saying he was burned out on the cover band scene and was looking to write original music. Strangely enough prior to EJ's post, Ryan (Lang, drums) and I were in another band together that was on the verge of throwing in the towel. While discussing the future of our music endeavors I showed Ryan a video of EJ performing. I said "I have no plans of playing in another cover band, but if that guy wanted to do an original project I would be interested". Some time went by, Ryan & I's previous band played our last show, and basically life went on. I found myself writing a ton and really trying to educate myself on recording and the ins and outs of Mixcraft with the hopes of maybe putting out a solo album. One evening Ryan and I randomly and simultaneously logged on FB and saw a post from EJ. (Editor's note; good Karma dudes!) Long story short, we all met up a few days later at a local pub. Completing the line up with Eric Whitney (guitar) and Cody Du (bass), we talked about what we wanted to do and got to work the following week. We have been working on this project for about 9 months.


Q: How did Evandale decide on their music direction?

A:  This entire band is basically a group of "Midwest music scene veterans". Other than EJ, we all spent most of our years in the hard rock/metal scene. For me personally I will always love heavy music but I found myself bored playing it. I was bored with subsonic tuning, "watch me shred" guitars, hardcore screaming vocals, and trying to write to fit that criteria. We really wanted this band to be versatile. We wanted to rock out plugged in cranked to 11, but be equally effective with acoustic performances. We wanted to build our songs with catchy hooks, harmonies, and influences from both modern and classic rock.

Q: Whats next for Evandale? 

A: Currently we are finalizing our first EP. We kept a low profile up until a few months ago. We spent our time writing and tracking while trying to figure out "Evandale's sound". We are looking to have our EP released in August 2018 which will be available at all online music purchasing outlets (hard copy's will be available at shows). We have a really cool video shoot coming up! Mixcraft 8 has MP4 support and we plan on importing the video track to sync it with the audio recordings. Once the song is ready for publishing, we will take advantage of the one-click publishing features and be able to simultaneously publish to all of our video and music sites. We're also booking shows like crazy!!! As far as national touring goes nothing major at the moment, but who knows what the future has in store?

(Editor's note; check out "How to import and publish an MP4 file with Mixcraft 8")


Q: What role does Mixcraft play in Evandale?

A: Mixcraft was the first DAW I ever used. I have been using Mixcraft now for 5 years. I initially bought it for the simple fact that I wanted to be able to develop my ideas while writing and that was it. I needed something simple and efficient because I really had no clue what I was doing. My studio experiences were always just show up, track my parts and pay the bill. What I did learn quickly upon installing Mixcraft (I believe version 5 at the time), was this is addictive! Mixcraft has a very user friendly layout and in no time I found myself spending hours caught up in song writing bliss. I have since wrote over 70 songs with Mixcraft and done every upgrade up to the current Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio. 


With each upgrade the efficiency and work flow just gets better and better. Mixcraft comes with some amazing plugins. I am not sure if Mixcraft developers intended for this to happen, but I credit what small amount of knowledge I have of engineering to the presets and plugins that come with Mixcraft. I would apply them and see how they work, then start using them to further shape the vision I had for the project. It's like having a built-in teacher. With Evandale we weren't 100% sure how we were going to go about putting this album together. Money was a huge factor. We all work 9-5, have family's, mortgages, and other bills, so throwing down big money on studio time wasn't really in the cards. It was at this point we decided to either "track this album ourselves or it's probably not going to happen anytime soon". I thank my band mates for the opportunity. By no stretch of the imagination do I claim to be a producer or engineer, but I'm enjoying the learning experience. I look forward to improving my Mixcraft tracking and editing chops, and, at the end of the day, we hope to have a product we can be proud of and that fans enjoy.



Editor's note:
If the rest of the Evandale EP is anything near the high quality of the songwriting, performance and production as their new single Manipulator, keep on eye on these Mixcraft featured artists. For those of you in the Omaha and Lincoln area, Evandale have a few gigs lined up with many more to come. Be sure to check them out and follow them on the Evandale FB page here.  

If you would like to take a closer look at Mixcraft 8, please visit www.acoustica.com for more details or download a free trial. Thank you for visiting Anthony's Home Studio.