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A-Z Of Music Making Part 3

It’s time for the third and final part of our A-Z Of Music Making. Our aim with this series is to shed light on those terms and references that may have left you scratching your head, or things that you’ve heard people say but have been too nervous to ask about (there’s a great deal of presumed knowledge in this industry!). Basically, this series is here to help, and now it’s complete, we hope you’ll use it as a reference point whenever you get confused in the future. Marc JB runs through O to Z…


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1 Oscillator

This is used in synthesis to generate a waveform to create sounds. Oscillators are responsible for the initial sound that is then fed through a signal path. That basic sound varies, depending on the set shape and size of the waveform (its oscillation) that the sound cycles through.

2 Output

The signal leaving a device.

3 Overdub

Recording additional sounds over an existing recording. If you have one line that needs to be made perfect in an otherwise flawless vocal take, it can be overdubbed after the original performance. Play the track, ‘punch in’ to start the recording and ‘punch out’ to cease recording.

1 Panning

Moving the audio signal between the left and right channels by changing the volume on each side. Panning elements of a mix is very useful for creating space and interest. Make sure all very low frequencies are panned centrally, otherwise this can cause problems when played back in a club context – the needle may even jump off the record on a vinyl pressing. Assign an LFO to the pan to create a rotary effect; this works great on Rhodes piano and organs. Check out some Beatles records from the mid 60s (in particular, their 1967 opus Sgt. Pepper’s…) when stereo recording first arrived. George Martin and his engineers were fearlessly experimental – they would pan drums hard right and vocals hard lef

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About MusicTech

In this issue, we’ve amassed the ultimate collection of professional advice on all things music; whether that's creating, recording, mixing, mastering or everything in between. Compiled from our interviews with such luminaries as John Leckie, Tony Visconti and Gary Numan, we’ve also got tips and alternative approaches from our (both pro and amateur) music-making audience. We hope this feature provides some inspiration for your creative studio endeavours. Also this issue, we chat to Catherine J Marks, a producer with some seriously impressive credits to her name and a nominee for this year’s MPG Producer Of The Year. We also spend some time with The Flashbulb, whose beautiful studio in the natural tranquility of Georgia is a thing to behold. We wrap up our A-Z series with Gear4Music, which is chock full of all the key terms and techniques that you need to know. We’ve also got our usual vast array of reviews and hands-on tutorial content, as well as an extensive guide to creating music on the move with an iPhone or iPad. We hope you enjoy the issue…