BillyRadd Music

Friday, April 1, 2011

My GarageBand Band

The Legacy of the Sound Mix

Somewhere along the line I acquired a skill for sound mixing.  I can't remember the minute it happened or who mentored me on this skill, but I have an idea it happened over a long period with the coaching of many conspirators.

There were the many hours spend recording my brother Bruce and myself singing and screwing around in our bedroom with my Revere T-2000 reel to reel tape recorder, a real classic icon that, unbelievably, still works (if you let it "warm up" for 15 or 20 minutes).  It boasted a very cool, small orange recording lamp that flashed to the sound of our happy music and glowed solidly when we were too loud and over modulated.  It also had a kind of brake that allowed us to stop or begin a recording at a particular spot on a tape giving us a primitive but effective method of editing our efforts at audio recording.

From there, when I went to film school in LA, I and my fellow film geeks learned to edit audio tracks in a film "gang synchronizer" as it was called.  All the separate audio tracks, usually consisting of sync sound, music, sound effects, and even room ambiance, were transferred to rather expensive 16mm or 35mm iron oxide magnetic film, carefully edited to the picture in the editing room, and then mixed at a mixing studio consisting of a large room containing many linked Magnasync players and recorder, a film projector and a mixing console.  Of course, back then, the person who did the actual mixing was a master craftsperson.  My roll as producer, director and/or editor of the material being mixed was to bring a detailed log of the various elements to be mixed and direct the mixer as he/she laid down mixed tracks to the workprint film being projected.

After that phase of my career, I moved more into TV production and editing video.  Since the audio on video tracks was already in sync and recorded on iron oxide video tape, the audio editing evolved into more of a recording studio experience since putting together finished video projects generally happened in a video editing suite.  Much of the technique was the same as film making, but it became more of a kind of linear group effort, with me, an editor, an audio tech and a video tech AND, thus, more expense per hour as well.

After that, the personal computer began to emerge as the next big thing in audio recording as well as desktop everything: publishing, graphics, word processing, 3D animation, and video editing. Telemetry crunching brought to us by NASA had finally trickled down to us working stiffs and the rest is history.  It seems like only yesterday that I got my first Atari 48K computer with its pixilated graphic fonts and got into typefaces, a subject I never thought I would ever know anything about.

Then, out of the rainbow-colored Apple skies tumbled my iMacs that came equipped with Garageband software already installed - almost like free!  I gingerly explored its intuitive backroads and familiar alley ways to happily discover a real production tool that I could use to make my own music.

So, out came the little old Duo Sonic Fender guitar, tambourine, Casio Tone Bank keyboard, and EV 635 mic.

Check out some of my music compositions and jams on the sideboard of this Blog called Music by Billy Radd.  I recorded it all myself in my own GarageBand studio at home.  Cool.  The best part is that I didn't have to call anyone to schedule a recording session.  The only downside is that, besides being the recording engineer, I am also the studio receptionist and janitor.

But, oh well.  Technological advances do have a cost.


  1. Garage Band alone is reason enough to buy a Mac. Had I known I would be back into the music world, I would have bought one in a heartbeat. I learned my lesson! Rock on Bill!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Boberino. I really want to buy their sound recording software called Logic Studio but can't justify the $500 price tag. It's like GarageBand on steroids.

    How the practice coming on that Strat?