Ticks, Tips, & Tricks

January 12, 2014
Dolby A “trick” frequency plots.

Ever curious what the Dolby A “trick” is doing to your audio? This is a frequency plot from -62dBu / 26dBu in 2dB steps.

Dolby A encoder on/off comparison via exaggerated smashed to hell room mics.

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August 28, 2011
Hardware gain staging (with the DAW in mind).

For many when confronted with the terms dBFS, dBu, +4/-10, VU, etc their eyes gloss over. Without understanding a few simple concepts, integrating your DAW with external hardware can be a game of trial & frustration.

To properly drive & take full advantage of hardware in the analog realm, you need to 1st understand what signal level the device is designed to receive. This is when dBu comes into play.

  • dBu – (dB in reference to 1 mW at 600 ohms, equal to 0.775 V) All you really need to know is this is a measurement standard for audio signals.

Most professional audio gear is made/calibrated to function in a +4 dBu = 0VU environment. This means when a +4 dBu signal hits the hardware input, it will read 0 VU on the hardware’s VU meter.

  • VU – Unit of measurement originally developed in 1939 by the combined effort of Bell Labs and broadcasters CBS and NBC for measuring and standardizing the levels of telephone lines.

The question that often comes up is “How do my DAW levels relate to my hardware?”

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August 4, 2011
Pro Tools 3rd Party interface record offset. Explained by Dead Man Johnson…

Ever wonder why the timing of what you record sounds so off? Or why you get phase problems while parallel processing out of the box? Well you might just have horrible timing, or you might need to figure out your I/O offsets.  A/D D/A’s, drivers, & software can all contribute to this problem.

Video Update for Pro Tools 11.

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December 13, 2010
Bring the noise!

For everyone that designs, tests, creates, calibrates, or has an odd preference for what they consider “listening enjoyment”, This is for you.

Having calibrated utility & test files is a must for any audio engineer. The corner-stone being pink noise. When it comes to generating tones/noise ITB I have found most DAW to be severely lacking in this area. After much frustration with the incorrect Pro Tools signal generator “Pink”. I’ve captured Tones/Noise from a calibrated D-Scope & Dolby SDU4. I’ve also included the “industry standard” DMU file that is most commonly used.

Source –

  • Prism dScope III via AES 24bit/96/48/44100
  • Dolby SDU4 via AMS MIOS 24bit/96/48/44100
  • Dolby DMU

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September 27, 2010
Preparing file based video for audio 101. (Mp4,Quicktime,WMV,AVI,ect)

Part One – The basics

#1 Container formats.
.mov .wmv .mp4 .mp4 .avi . mkv, ect

These are not video formats. Think of these as boxes that can contain any combination of video & audio codecs

#2 codec (coder-decoder)
Example – h.264, ProRes, DV, windows media a/v, mpeg 1/2/4,  aac, mp3, (hundreds are available)

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September 16, 2010
Installing/Using Duende software 2.5.9 with Win 7 x64

Update 9-17-10 : Duende-V2.19.0 x64 Hardware Driver.zip I received a signed driver from Sydec/SSL. Great customer service. This is the latest hardware driver for the 2.x series & to be used with the 2.5.9 plugins.

  1. Download theDuende-V2.19.0 x64 Hardware Driver.zip
  2. Download the 2.5.9 Duende plugin package
  3. Uninstall any current Duende Software
  4. Install v2.19 manually via device manager.
  5. Install the 2.5.9 plugins



SSL never released a “microsoft signed” 2.x driver. For those that would like to use the on-board DSP 2.x duende driver on Win 7 x64 systems follow these steps.

  1. Download the 2.5.9 Duende driver
  2. Download the Driver Signature Enforcement Overrider
  3. Uninstall any current Duende Software – (Duende – device driver remove script)
  4. Enable Test Mode with DSEO – Reboot
  5. Install 2.5.9 – (it will fail)
  6. Sign the system file with DSEO (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\Duendea64.sys) – Reboot
  7. Re-Install 2.5.9

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June 27, 2010
DIY Drum Trigger Experiment.

I’ve been using triggers for practice while away from the kit & for electric needs for some time. I built a few DIY triggers sometime ago that have worked out well.

Part List

  • x1 piezo buzzer
  • Female 1/4 jacks
  • Line audio cable
  • Mouse Pad
  • Mount Base (I used wood craft tiles)
  • Glue
  • Screws
  • Anything else you would like to help MOD the thing.

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