A conference for people like me

There’s a lot of radio. And there are lots of radio conferences. But it’s rare for 2 to come along on the same week.

nextradiologo2-300x44If you work in radio as a producer, programmer, presenter, marketeer, or in fact anywhere in a radio station – then you should definitely check out NEXTradio. It’s a one day conference in London with loads of short, sharp presentations – and you will learn loads. I’ve been twice, and have always come away inspired. There are even videos on the site from previous conferences, so you can see what you missed last time.

Logo_TheImagingDays2014_FullBut if you are someone involved in imaging, marketing or station sound, it’s rare for a conference to have more than a session or 2 totally devoted to discussing and celebrating the  deep down and dirty skills required by the modern day audio ninja. That’s understandable – but this September, there is one, and it feels amazing that there hasn’t been one like this before.

The Imaging Days takes place in Amsterdam on September 8th and 9th, and will feature producers from across Europe and the rest of the world – gathered together to talk, listen and share ideas, skills and experience.

img_1892I was asked by the organisers to create a panel session of UK producers to discuss imaging in the UK – and am delighted I’ll be sharing the stage with Dan Mumford, former Head of Station Sound at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and Nathan Freeman, Station sound producer of BBC Radio 6 Music. Together, we’ll be delving into our archive of 40 plus years of radio imaging and production to share some of our favourite pieces, discuss how we came up with the creative concepts, and share some tales form the radio battlefield. We may also be brave and pull out examples of our first forays into radio production, to show that everyone needs to start somewhere..!

I’m really looking forward to hearing stories and strategies from some of the best producers in the business – but also hope to meet loads of new radio people with a passion for creative audio production.

If you love sound, create sound or work with people who do, head over to the website, grab a ticket, and maybe we’ll see you there…

Bass. How low can you go?

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The guys at the Benztownbranding Blog posted a great tip this week about the amount of bass you have in your final mix if you’re an audio producer. Now many of you may not be hands-on audio guys, so maybe skip this post. But for those who are – their blog raised a couple of interesting points. You can read it in full here.

One thing that is definitely key is the amount of bass you have in your final mix. Every piece you add in to a promo or imaging piece will have differing amounts of bass frequency. The more you add, the more is added to your final mix. And of course, the more that happens, the louder it gets and the harder to hear the overall piece clearly.

The key to any piece is using the frequencies to find places for all your elements. Something I was taught by a great producer, Linc Kelly, was how you can easily scoop out a place for your Voiceovers by cleverly scooping out a certain frequency in music to let the VoiceOver cut through more cleanly. Equally, when you come down to the master channel, or maybe the aux that you route each VO into, you need to to ensure that you roll off some of the bass at the lower end (in the frequencies that most normal radio listeners won’t hear). If you find your VO has too little bass, there are plug in such as Waves MaxxBass which add “pseudo bass” without adding much bass to the resulting sound.

One other basic tip (a bit Production 1.01 but relevant nonetheless) is to ensure you are monitoring your final mix through smaller speakers than your huge studio monitors. Either have a smaller pair of monitor speakers that emulate a domestic hifqi, or even , plug in a pair of headphones and listen through them whilst they are lying on your desk turned up – they’ll emulate a small bedside radio. When I first started producing, I’d listen via the monitor speaker on an old Studer Reel to Reel machine – but doubt any studio or radio station even has one of those lying around these days!

I’m no engineer – I’ve picked up my skills through years of doing and reading – but if you’re new to the game, you’ll find loads more tips on the Benztown Branding blog and others beside. Do take a look around – you never know what you might find..