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A. Raval (London, England)

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Mixing Secrets for  the Small Studio
Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
by Mike Senior
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my new bible, 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really do love this book. I've only just started to learn how to record and mix myself and had been muddling along looking up the odd YouTube tutorial when I got stuck, but just "having a go" without really having a structured methodology to apply. Hence my early mixes were typical of a small studio producer: too much instrumentation, very muddy, cluttered sounding and just obviously amateur in sound quality.

What I love about Mike's book is that he give you a method to follow. I read the book first cover to cover and his approach really appealed to me because it was saying: here's where you begin, next do this, then do this, etc etc, building on each layer till you get through the whole process and come out the other side with, at the very least, a well balanced mix. He spends the first few chapters giving advice on monitoring and supplementary monitoring so you can really hear what your mix sounds like. He gives you advice on acoustically treating your room etc so once you've passed through the first few chapters and followed his advice at the very least you will be equipped to "hear" your mix properly and therefore make properly informed balancing decisions.

Mike then explains the pro mindset to approaching mixing: editing first and getting everything sounding tight before you move onto balancing and using your various mix tools. He supplements every chapter with quotes from countless interviews with the world's best mix engineers and has really done an excellent job about finding the points of commonality between all these great engineers and how they approach mixes to construct an A, B, C, step by step guide that someone learning the art of mixing can take. Once you're well versed and producing great commercial mixes you can adopt any non-linear method you like if it gets you results. But for someone like me who didn't know where to begin, it was just so great to have a structured method to follow.

The other thing Mike does is augment the book with online resources which I frequently refer back to ask I go through each chapter. He gives you links to freeware plugins to supplement the plugins you might have in your DAW and recommends affordable plugins where he feels necessary. Mike genuinely seems to have a desire to give home studio or small studio producers the right tools to create competitive mixes.

This book has helped me adopt a professional mentality to how I approach recording, editing and then mixing. I can't recommend it highly enough, it's really a fantastic guide for someone keen to learn how to mix to commercial grade in their own studios and this book does a great job of demystifying audio production terminology. It's not an idiot's guide by any stretch of the imagination. You will need to concentrate and get your head around some difficult concepts but if you persevere and work through a mix project with the book, you'll see your skills as a mix engineer improve dramatically.

Not sure how useful it would be to an experienced mix engineer as that's not the perspective I'm writing from. But from discussing some of the ideas I've learnt with friends of mine who are experienced and studied audio production etc, it's been quite rewarding telling them some practices I've adopted that they didn't really do! :-) Good luck!!

Samsung 840 Series Pro 256GB 2.5 inch SATA Solid State Drive
Samsung 840 Series Pro 256GB 2.5 inch SATA Solid State Drive
Price: 125.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Second time lucky! The first one didn't work..., 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So my review is slightly coloured by the fact that the first drive I received didn't really work. To be honest I'm not 100% sure it was the drive itself or whether it was the HDD enclosure and SATA to USB 3 adaptor I bought to house it. I was able to connect the SSD, name it, format it for my mac but then promptly couldn't save a single thing to it. I kept getting and error 36 message. Having spent quite a lot of time googling this error message, there were all sorts of theories that it happens when files are corrupt or locked etc. But I was copying over audio files and knew that there was no issue with them so could only conclude the drive itself was faulty.

The RMA process was really good. Amazon sent me out a replacement drive really promptly. I'm a bit miffed that it cost me over 5 to return the drive and the enclosure and they only refunded me 2 in P&P but hey ho. My new drive arrived a few days ago and having purchased a better HD enclosure (StarTech) I've now successfully copied over my music sample libraries and logic files.

To give you an idea of speeds. I have a 2009 macbook pro with USB 2.0 ports. I was able to copy over 55GB of logic files in about 25 mins. 40GB piano samples took about 20 mins or so. If my maths is right I guess it was averaging a write speed of 37-40 MB/s. This might not be the best way to work out such speeds, but in pure functional terms it seems to me to be a reasonable assessment. I'm obviously not getting anywhere near the 520MB/s but that's not to say you wouldn't if you're using USB 3.0 to USB 3.0 or if you've replaced your boot up HD with this.

I haven't yet tried running my samples from this when recording or using a logic session, but when I do, hopefully I'll come back and update this review. The main reason I bought this drive was because it was the fastest around and I mainly need storage for audio production to get my samples and audio files off my boot up drive to optimise my laptop for music.

I've given this product 3 stars given my first experience at receiving a drive that didn't work. I also wasn't impressed that when amazon delivered the replacement the delivery driver threw the box over my side gate onto the concrete paving the other side. I also was disappointed to open the amazon box to find the drive in it's box at the bottom of the packaging with a scrunched up bit of packing paper sitting on top - hardly secure and protective of a c.200 SSD - seems like the packager was in a rush to get the box sealed and out the door. But the SSD worked fine despite the stupidity of the driver, and the lack of protection offered by the delivery packaging.

From all my research this is still the fastest and one of the most stable drive on the market and in combining this plus an HDD enclosure it was the cheapest way to get a really fast 256GB external SSD drive for my purposes (even though I'm of course not using it's speed owing to my laptops limitations at the moment, but opting to future proof my purchase for a little while at least).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2013 3:09 AM BST

ORICO 2.5 inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Disk HDD External Enclosure / Case for 9.5mm 7mm 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, Tool-free HDD Installation Compatible With Windows 2000/Windows Me/Windows 98/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4 above
ORICO 2.5 inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Disk HDD External Enclosure / Case for 9.5mm 7mm 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, Tool-free HDD Installation Compatible With Windows 2000/Windows Me/Windows 98/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4 above
Offered by SpringRainUK
Price: 21.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly a very poor experience, 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Things didn't start off well with this product when I opened it to find a mark on the enclosure that looked like a pen scribble. I'm pretty anal about a new product actually looking new and untarnished when I take it out of it's packaging, so this was my first disappointment.

However I thought I'll try my best to ignore it and press on with attaching my samsung 840 pro SSD and getting to work. Then I discovered that the USB cable was very loose when sitting in the enclosure's USB port and just the slightest wiggle could knock it out of the socket...this proved to be the case when trying to use my new HD as the connection to my laptop kept dropping and I'd get a "disk unplugged" error message.

The other thing I thought was pretty poor was that the hard drive just hangs on the SATA interface. It isn't supported anywhere else. I personally didn't really like the thought of the hard drive's weight being supported by the SATA connector but perhaps that's just me.

I wouldn't give this product 1 star because I think that might be a little harsh. I didn't want to pay much for an enclosure and I guess I got what I paid for. However the connection being very loose was purely a quality control issue and as such rendered the product useless to me. I've since returned it got my money back and decided to spend a bit more money on a StarTech enclosure. It arrived today and it's really great - solid, well constructed and I can secure my SSD with little screws, so I'm really pleased I paid that bit extra to get a superior product. My advice would be to pay that little bit extra and get something fully metallic for good heat dissipation, and also something that would secure your hard drive in place.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 20, 2013 11:51 PM BST

StarTech 2.5 inch SuperSpeed USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Enclosure - 9.5/12.5mm HDD
StarTech 2.5 inch SuperSpeed USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Enclosure - 9.5/12.5mm HDD
Price: 21.21

4.0 out of 5 stars A good solid product, well put together, 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had previously bought an Orico 2588us3 HDD enclosure and was pretty disappointed with it so I returned it as the USB cable was so loosely connected to the device itself it kept falling out at the slightest touch, breaking the connection with my laptop. So my new criteria was to get an enclosure that had a very solid connection. I wanted an integrated cable but decided to go with this StarTech product based on a lot of positive reviews. I opted to pay a bit extra to hopefully get a better quality product.

I wasn't disappointed. The StarTech HDD enclosure comes well packaged with it's own screws and a screwdriver so you can secure your HDD inside the case so that it's not suspended on the SATA adapter. [Note in cheaper products such as the Orico the HD will be effectively hanging mid air and thus the weight of the HD sits on the SATA connections which in my mind can't be a good thing]. So I was really pleased I could secure my Samsung 840 Pro SSD to the StarTech enclosure so the HD wouldn't flap around or potentially break contact with the SATA interface if knocked about. My second pre-requisite was also met in that the USB 3 cable attached very securely to the enclosure so there's no danger of it being knocked out.

I couldn't attach all of the screws because the holes provided on my Samsung HD didn't all match up with the enclosure. But this was at the end nearest the SATA interface so I wasn't too concerned about this, as the HD did feel secure with the other two screws. I must say that this enclosure isn't the prettiest thing you'll find out there, but in terms of function it's great.

The enclosure feels nice and solid to me and with the screws included I feel like my SSD is well protected. The fact that it's fully metal should ensure decent heat dissipation. I have to say, as someone that will generally try to spend as little as possible as something I don't particularly care much about, I was stung in following this approach with hard drive enclosures. I'm glad I returned my cheaper product and opted to pay a bit more to get something well constructed, solid and functional.

The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004]
The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ James Caviezel|Maia Morgenstern|Monica Bellucci
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 3.40

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Passion of the Christ is a very important piece of filmmaking, 5 Feb 2009
Fundamentally this is an excellent film. It depicts the final hours of Christ's life with amazing realism. I can understand why people have complained about the graphic nature of the violence in the film, but Mel Gibson has stayed true to what actually would have happened at that time, and illustrated the level of suffering Christ endured for us really well. There are a few historical inaccuracies and poetic license has been taken in some parts, but if you're a christian trying to understand what Christ went through for us, you must watch this film. Also, the acting is superb throughout. Jim Caviezel is very credible as Christ and the cinematography is excellent. If you have any kind of faith at all, be prepared to watch this film with a box of will be blubbering like anything. Mel Gibson pulls no punches and I thank him for not sugar coating the last few hours of Christ's life. It's a very powerful piece of film making, but it is very heavy and difficult to watch purely from the standpoint of having to watch one man's suffering. I applaud Gibson's bravery at making this film. I do believe he's tried to make it as truthful as it possibly could be. I also don't mind saying that whenever I think life is tough for me, I'll put this film on to understand what true suffering and selflessness really is.

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