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‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍KMG Blog


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Sept 12, 2017

‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍KMG Top Tracks of the Week

‍‍‍KMG Featured Gear | SSL Duality

The SSL Duality is Solid State Logic's large frame analogue console that combines the LE, LG, and LK components blended with those of the C series and AWS consoles. The major, and godlike difference is that this console interfaces directly with a digital audio workstation unlike past consoles creating a hybrid mixing system within the console. The Duality achieves this by adding it's own digital control layer that lets the console control parameters for mixing, recording, editing, and plug-in parameter manipulation within the DAW. It works with all software based DAWs that support HUI and MCU emulation protocols.

The Duality comes in 3 sizes, 48, 72, and 96 channels‍‍‍, and allows for options that include 12 degree wings, a producers desk, and integrated or remote patch bay. The analogue side of it combines the aforementioned SSL series consoles by using the SuperAnalogue capacitor-less, servo-coupled and fully balanced design from the 9000K series consoles and borrows the best of the E and G series such as the Variable Harmonic Drive (VHD) mic-pre section. The digital side takes features from the AWS 900+ and the 480 TFT channel displays of the C series. It also has a built in power supply making it a plug and play style board.

The Duality is a currently a favorite within the industry as it starts to adapt to a digital world and makes it a must for anyone trying to increase productivity through hybrid mixing!

KMG Academy Status | Ableton Certified Training Center (ACTC)

KMG Academy is excited to announce that we have recently been approved as 1 of only 16 Ableton Certified Training Centers in the country and are fully ready to service all the darkest and most creative of your Ableton desires.

As a certified training center and working closely with our Ableton Certified Trainer, Zaak Kerstetter, we are making it our mission to provide top quality education and resources for all things Ableton. We've already been hosting the Boulder Live User Group meet up monthly in the KMG Event Center, and we recently hosted an amazing KMG Ableton Day in the same location filled with presenters and esteemed Ableton community members in the area. There were also workshops to help demonstrate the awesome power of Ableton and the many ways in which it can be incorporated into all acoustically related creative projects. We plan to have many more of these types of events so please keep an eye out for how to RSVP for workshops and other events!

KMG Academy is the only ACTC in Colorado and the next closest regional location is in San Francisco. We are overflowing with excitement as we plan new ways to involve the illustrious Ableton community into workshops and events, and our Ableton Music Production Program, headed up by Zaak Kerstetter, is currently accepting new enrollment applications, so sign up today!

Amazon Shops Organically

Amazon is officially set to acquire organic foods retailer, Whole Foods, to the tune of $13.7 billion dollars. For the last year, the e-commerce giant has been contemplating the acquisition to help achieve business goals aimed at dealing more groceries to consumers. An interesting move that will certainly rock both the retail grocery industry as well as the online community.

The move comes on the heels of a fierce disagreement between Jana Industries (investor) and Whole Foods' outspoken co-founder, John Mackey about the new direction of the company as Jana had continually been trying to override the authority of Mackey by pushing for a buy out. Luckily for Mackey, the deal with Amazon allows him the ability to continue running the organic food retailer while also satisfying investors. Not to mention the obviously huge bump in the board's confidence in him as Commander In Chief. It also gave their stock a nice 27% increase.‍‍‍

It's a basic win-win for the two companies as Amazon acquires a network of stores to apply years of research and development on grocery sales, and Whole Foods' gets to operate as normal with a wide network of business tools as well as Amazon's help with increasing Whole Foods' physical footprint.

KMG Ableton Day

This past Saturday, KMGLife Inc. and Ableton had the pleasure of hosting many enthusiastic Ableton users and professions at KMG Event Center for a day of all things Ableton. With a jam packed schedule of presenters discussing topics such as how to design a performance model using Ableton to creative topics like designing a soundscape within a 3D atmosphere using max for live, this is an event we hope to have regularly here at KMG's home base.

The day started with coffee and snacks at 9:30am and went until 4:30pm. The day included opportunities to win tons of cool Ableton swag as well as gear like speakers and bags...if you could answer some Ableton trivia questions of course. It also had workshops for how to mix in Ableton as well as how to mic drums. We had an "Ableton Push Playground" set up in the VIP area with computers, headphones, and pushes so that attendees could play with some of the framework of Ableton, real live samples and loops, and start to get an idea of how the Push works and it's ability to enhance any performance or production experience!

One of the more riveting presentations of the day was one regarding how to use max for live to program synthesizers and parameters within Pro T‍‍‍ools so that they perform certain functions automatically or for a period of time. Max is a programming language and interface that has existed for quite some time, but Ableton has integrated it into their software so that it can become an amazingly powerful performance and production tool. Jeff Merkel, owner and chief R&D engineer at Merkel Acoustic Research & Design, went over his framework for creating the ability to mix live, in a digitally created 3D environment that is actualized through a circular array of speakers. The framework allows the engineer to mix left to right, floor to ceiling, and forward and backward. This allows you to create a vivid soundscape that you can make evolve over long periods of time using automation within Ableton! If space had sound and didn't exist in a vacuum that makes it impossible for sound to exist...THIS IS WHAT IT WOULD SOUND LIKE!

Be sure to check out our social media to see some clips and photos from the event as well as keep an eye out for the next one. We've already begun preparations for continuing this event in the coming months. Stay tuned!!

Sept 19, 2017

Top Tracks of the Week

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New Releases From Apple!

The new releases from iPhone are finally here!...though it's not quite the normal new release that we've become accustomed to. Like the past release of the iPhone's "C" series, it seems like the iPhone 8 is taking the new place of the C series. However there is good news! The new high tech version of the iPhone is arriving in the form of the iPhone X.

The new iPhone 8 design includes a glass rear, aluminum frame, and water and dust resistant. Similar look to the iPhone 7, with bezels and home button, it also comes comes in silver, space grey and a new gold finish. The display is it's best yet with a 4.7 inch retina display. The new camera includes a 12MP rear-facing camera, 4K video recording, 1080p  slo-mo with 240 frame per second. The 12 mega pixel camera sucks in 83% more light than the iPhone 7. Perhaps the most exciting new feature comes from the new wireless charging ability!

The iPhone X comes in two colors and is slightly smaller than the iPhone plus. It comes with a 5.8 inch screen with a super retina display, and an OLED display which is a first for Apple. One of the biggest changes would be the removal of the home button and the introduction of facial recognition to replace the thumb print. The iPhone X also includes a dual-lens camera that includes 12MP dual-lens camera and a telephoto lens OIS and a wider aperture. It also has a new added "Portrait Mode" enhanced by Portrait Lighting.

Check out the new iPhone, in stores November 3rd!‍‍‍

KMG Featured Gear: SSL AWS 9000

SSL AWS 9000 has very similar components to the Duality reviewed last week, but with a smaller design and with a few less features. The 9000 was originally designed to interface directly with a Pro Tools DAW but it also serves as it's own control surface and makes for a great outboard mix desk. Like the other analogue‍‍‍ desks series, the G and K, which include dynamics processing on every channel, the AWS only has two but they can be assigned at will. The classic G bus compressor is also included. The AWS includes 24 input channels, there are also four stereo effects returns and a pair of main buss direct (cascade) inputs, allowing up to 34 input sources at mixdown. The meters are digitals on the individual channels, and the two main outputs use the classic VU meter.

Each individual channel has 3 inputs: mic, line, and instrument. The mic/line selection can be controlled globally from the console's master section, or overridden locally with a Flip switch. The EQ section is based of the classic K series 4 band, top and bottom bands are shelve types and the two middle bands are fully parametric.

The master section is basically the same as other mastering sections. It is in the middle of the board to keep the engineer from leaving the sweet spot. It's everything you need in a small form analogue console!

KMG Artist Feature: Angelic Desolation

How'd the band get its start; what brought you together?

The band was founded a little over 10 years ago featuring different members than the current roster. The only original members are Chris on bass and Jay doing the lead vocals. The other members are myself (Matt) on guitar, Max on drums and finally his brother Chandler, on the 2nd guitar. Chris, Jay and I met as teenagers. We all had a love for metal growing up and ended up in separate bands out of high school. This led to getting a foot in the scene and eventually writing music together. Max came along 5 years later as a recommendation from a friend; we had been without a permanent drummer for about 2 years and Max needed a band. The synthesis worked pretty well and we finished up our 'Evilgasm' EP within a year. We promoted the EP around town and began building up our reputation again from our 2 year drummer search. Knowing that our newest album was around the corner, we really wanted a second guitar player to complete our sound. As far as I know Max has known Chandler since birth so when we asked him to join, it wasn't a hard sell. That was 2 years ago when Chandler joined and since then we've opened for quite a few national acts along with grabbing an opening slot in Denver on the 2016 Summer Slaughter Tour.

What are your major musical influences and why?

Our influences are quite extensive. We all enjoy a little bit of everything but we're united in our love for metal. I'd say the biggest influence really though is just love for the riff. That's what makes the pioneers of heavy metal and classic rock so memorable. When you hear Black Sabbath's Ironman riff or Led Zeppelin at a barbeque, you instantly know what song it is, you crank the volume and headbang with your friends. It's the epic feeling of a good riff that really drives the writing style. A popular local band from the extreme metal scene bestowed upon us an original name for our sound and we've ran with it. Razorgrind.

Some bands write as a unit and some have a designated writer, what is your process and what is it like bringing it all together?

Due to our influences we really don't have a lot of rules when it comes to songs. We just try to make music that's sounds cool and is harder to play than the previous material. I'll get together with Chris and we'll combine ideas. He has a section of music, I have a section of music and we figure out a way to bridge the ideas into a finished product. From there we'll take it to the rest of the band and jam it over and over until the vocals are in place.

What are your opinions on the genres current state of affairs?

All genres at the extreme end of metal, such as death metal, black, grind, any sub-genre in between, more or less date back to the mid to late eighties. It's a relatively new area of metal that has continued to grow in popularity since it's inception. With that said, even if the biggest bands of the genre had a 3rd of their fan base and income, they still would continue to write amazing music.  That's a big part of what unites metal fans in general. You absolutely can't rule out that money makes decisions. However, in metal it's not so much about changing your sound to make money as it is about just playing music because you love it. Playing to a sold out arena would be amazing don't get me wrong, it just would never be a driving factor.

What do you hope to contribute to the genre and how?

I guess what we'd like to contribute would be great songs and live performances to remember. We appreciate all of the support we get from fans and all you can ask for is that people enjoy what comes from our creative endeavours.

You've begun recording the new record at KMG‍‍‍Life Inc., what are your plans and what's the concept behind the music going onto?

After everything wraps up with the studio we'll be planning a CD release show through Swinging Noose Productions in the spring of 2018. We'll follow that up with a tour and continue to write music for our next album.

Any other exciting news you'd like to share?

We're planning to put KMG on the map for metal production with the help of Matt's brother, Zack Markle as our engineer. Like I said, the album we're recording at KMG entitled 'Rumpus Time Is Over' is slated for a spring 2018 release. If you follow our social media you can keep up to date with our news, shows, tour dates and antics. You can find us on Facebook as @angelicdesolationofficial and on Instagram @angelicdesolation.

What are some of the challenges you face in a DIY music world? How do you plan to reach the next level?

A good amount of bigger bands from the past were discovered as established cover bands and producers would ask to hear originals. The challenge with the DIY approach is that you have to be prepared for the long haul. If you are serious about writing all originals and not being a one hit wonder, you have to be ok with slow and steady growth instead of overnight success. The next level would be a world tour. Getting to that point you just continue grinding and improving your music. It's called music business for a reason so the other part of that equation is the right person hearing you at the right time.

Rolling Stone Magazine Goes Up For Sale

Rolling Stone magazine, a bastion of music and entertainment stories, is put up for sale by publisher and owner Jann Wenner. The company sold 49% of it's controlling interest last year to company called BandLab Technologies. The move comes at the heels of a UVA frat law suit against Rolling Stone after they reported on an alleged gang rape. That ended up in a settlement of roughly $1.65 million and since then the company has taken a slip.

The mother company, Wenner Media, sold another two of their magazines: US Weekly and Men's Journal. It seems as if the company is getting out of the business. Wenner himself has been quoted saying "publishing is a completely different industry than what it was. ‍‍‍The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that." He has also been quoted saying he wants to give the company a chance at survival from some fresh ideas as he and his son plan to stay with the company even though they are selling controlling interest.

Buyer options haven't appeared yet, but the Wenner's are optimistic that they will find someone who can turn things around and take the company into the future!‍‍‍

Welcome to the KMG Life, Cory Goldsmith!

‍‍‍We'd like to give a warm KMG welcome to one of our brand new Ableton instructors, Cory Goldsmith! We were able to catch up with him to ask him a few questions about his background and here's what he had to say!

What first interested you in music?

Man, that's a hard one, but I'd have to say it was my family that got me seriously interested. My mother's side of the family especially were always playing some sort of instrument or singing. Watching them perform was and still is inspiring.

What is your background working with music?

Clarinet was actually my first instrument. I picked it up when I was 10. My mother and grandfather played it, so I felt it was natural. A couple of years later, I made the transition to guitar. I was playing in bands for most of high school and college, playing guitar, bass guitar, and sometimes singing. I ended up playing some really cool shows around the southeast with a couple of them. I also did band and drumline in high school, and for part of college as well. I started getting into music production in college, but more as a hobby. My main aspiration at that point was through the band I was in. However, it was a nice change of pace from writing music with a group, to just composing a song with my laptop, but I was only using Garageband then.

How long have you been engineering/using Ableton?

I made the transition to Live about 6 years ago.

What first drew you to pro-audio?

What drew me to pro-audio was twofold. One, recording with my band at various studios was always very insightful. Using different engineers with different preferences and different equipment was always fascinating to me. In addition, I was studying chemistry and mathematics in college, so the engineering aspect was always appealing to me as well. On another note, as I started getting my tracks signed to labels, I took more of an effort to really perfect my craft.

How is it balancing a musical life with your PH.D. pursuit?

Well, it's not easy. I mostly do it by losing sleep, which is extremely unhealthy. So I'm looking forward to finishing my doctorate and then catching up on sleep and living a healthier lifestyle. I feel that it will come through in my music too. At this point in my life though, I'd rather lose sleep for the time being in order to pursue my passions. I'm pursuing a PhD in chemical physics, simulating the interaction of light and matter on a computer in order to learn new things about how electrons move on the fastest time scales measurable.

How do you plan to bridge the gap between your Doctorate and musical pursuits?

So as I mentioned, I run a lot of physics simulations, and I started to realize I wouldn't be happy in life unless I found a way to tie music into what I was doing. After some brainstorming, I thought that maybe my skills would be of use to Ableton, or a similar music technology company. My path became a little clearer when I was able to do a summer internship in software engineering at Ableton HQ in Berlin. Those were some of the best months of my life, and made me fully realize that I needed to be combining my passions for music, science, and education. So my plan is to continue with my own music career, but teach and develop music software as well. Whether I will be developing for a company or just freelance for a little bit is up in the air at the moment. I really just want to finish my doctorate.

What do you hope to add to the KMG community?

I hope to add insight from both the academic and scientific perspective, but also from my experiences in the music industry. I am not anywhere close to where I want to be in terms of my personal career, but I've come across a lot of barriers and I want to help my students understand how to push through those barriers, and just learn to make great music ‍‍‍despite complications.