Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist

Filtering by Tag: Turn Ons

CLASP - merging the new and old

I really believe that this technology is something special. I would LOVE to have one of these. In my own recording, I want to strive to make GREAT sounding records sonically as well as creatively.

One of the cool things about this box is the abilty to track different instruments at different tape speeds. Record guitars at 7.5ips and drums at 15ips… very cool. This has never been allowed before.

If you’re wondering what CLASP is, it’s a processor that allows you to record THROUGH tape directly into Pro Tools with NO LATENCY. You get the color of tape with the convenience of Pro Tools. Pretty nifty.

I’m sold. Now I gotta find a tape machine and some more money :)


Charlie Peacock and the Civil Wars

I mentioned Charlie Peacock in my last post. Tonight I was reading blogs in my blog reader and I became more inspired to create something authentic than I have in a very long time. I truly believe that this post will inspire you in much the same way. I’d love to hear your comments but more than that, please thank Charlie for this wonderful post!

In The Studio With Michael Jackson

I just finished reading In The Studio With Michael Jackson by Bruce Swedien. What a great book! If you’re into recording and/or love the music of Michael Jackson you’ll really get into this book. Bruce is a BRILLIANT recordist and mixer. He has been at the forefront of music recording for decades. In this book you really get a sense for Bruce’s love for music and his love of Michael Jackson. What I enjoyed most was how much insight Bruce gives into technical recording techniques. Not so detailed that it’s overwhelming, but he recalls techniques and tricks he and Quincy Jones used while recording Michael’s great music.

I highly recommend you buy this book. (or download it on you Kindle!!)

For even more stories, tips and tricks from Bruce Swedien, check out Bruce’s many posts on Bruce moderated a forum a few years back. You can still read it here.

Family Force 5

I’ve become a big fan of these guys. Family Force 5 is really unique, blending tons of influences. Their stuff has energy!!!! It’s so entertaining. In the spirit of producing great records, take a look at this article on how they produced their record. There’s a major focus on how they tracked guitars. Hopefully you’ll get a picture into how they made the record. (Pay attention to the comment about using small amps for big sounds… even a cigarette mini amp!)

Happy guitar tracking!

Tips for tracking guitars…. using microphones and don’t forget to use strings!! ;)
(on a serious note, I love SM57’s blended with a Royer 121 or an ADK S7 through API 512 pres into a distressor or LA-3A limiters! Peace out!)

Good Music

OK, this will be a short post. No pictures, no flare, no nothing. I’m not even gonna put links… google it!! ha.

I’m obviously a lover of music, songs, artists, sounds. Here’s a short list of music I really love right now….


Gabe Dixon
Dave Barnes
Matt Wertz


Kings of Leon


John McLaughlin


Electric Light Orchestra
Elton John

Imogen Heap and her crazy mind!!

Hey guys. I have a lot of “favorite” music. In all actuality, I don’t typically single out many favorites because I just love music. It seems like whenever someone mentions an artist I know, I’m like “I love ________ they are one of my favorites!” I do that because I love a LOT of music.

For real, Imogen Heap is one of my favorites. She’s a cut above creatively. I mean, seriously, she writes, produces and engineers her own songs!!!! and it’s fantastic.

If you don’t know of Imogen’s music or you want to get a glimpse of how she creates her masterpieces, then check out her video blogs. They are fantastic.


Programming the Neko

I’ve really been enjoying the Open Labs Neko we just got at Saddleback. I can’t wait to get my own!! Maybe I’ll start collecting dimes until I have enough saved up.

I’m scheduled to play keyboard at FUSE tomorrow night and so I thought that’d be a good chance to break Neko in. I spent today installing all of my sounds and plugins. Since I was installing some 80gigs of samplers into the keyboard it took some time. It went off without a hitch. Already I’m having more fun playing this thing than any other keyboard I’ve ever played. The possibilities are endless for using your favorite patches and FX. Here’s what I’ve got going so far.

Host: Ableton Live 6 (hopefully gonna get the upgrade to v.7 soon. Comes with some cool new sounds)
Instruments: Native Instruments Komplete 4, Reason 4, Atmosphere, tons of VST instruments that I’ve not even explored yet
FX and plugs: Waves Mecury Bundle (yes, I paid for this!!)
Controllers: NI KORE, NI KONTROL

The great thing about having a computer as the host for this keyboard is that I can make this thing sound as good as my studio. Some things I’m doing…

MASTER BUS: I’m using the Waves V-Series compressor on the master bus, warming up the sound and adding just a little bit of compression to the signal. I also have guitar rig running on the master bus. The reason I’ve done this is for FX. I’m using KONTROL as a foot controller for FX. Guitar Rig has several FX that I can kick on at any time. I’ve got a distortion, delay, reverb and flanger. It’s just for a bit of fun when creating crazy sounds.

SENDS: I have Waves R-Verb set up for a general reverb, Super-Tap delay set to a basic analog delay, Super-Tap 6 with a crazy delay, True-Verb setup as a great sounding convolution verb. I can send any instrument to these FX at any time with the touch of one button.

GRAND PIANO: I have NI Akoustic Piano running a nice piano sound. I’m using the SSL Channel to beef up the low end and add some sparkle to the top. I’m also compressing just a touch. I’m using the true-verb send to give some great space to the sound. I LOVE THIS ONE!!

UPRIGHT PIANO: This guy is setup for rock piano. It’s got heavy compression with the SSL Channel and a moderate delay that I can turn on at any time.

RHODES: I’m really proud of this one! I’m using a basic MK2 rhodes patch with a delay patch that I can add in. What I like about this is that this patch is being sent out a separate output and being sent to my VOX AC15 amp!!! Is that crazy or what??!?!?

B3: Using NI B4 I can create any patch I want. The faders also act as drawbars!!!

PADS: I have several pads each with it’s own ambience and delay parameters. I’m using Absynth, Reason and Atmosphere here.

I gotta say. This thing is really amazing. Gonna have a lot of fun with it. More to come!!!

The Beatles

OK. I have an unhealthy obsession with the Beatles. When I was a kid I had a toy record player and I would play my dad’s records (I’m 26 and I DO know what a record player is!). One record I remember was a 45rmp of “Help!” I recall being totally fascinated with that song. I loved that I could sing it (I learned all the words). I loved how energetic it was! I loved everything about it.

My dad was a music minister at our church. We had drums and other fun instruments there. Every now and then my dad would let me bring the drums home and play them. This was always a treat and it rarely happen. I remember one time, I was in 4th grade (right about the time we got our dog, Abby) my dad surprised me and brought home the drums. They were a beat up Tama Royal Star kit… bright red. My dad set them up near the stereo and put on all kinds of records for me to play along to. Among them were The Beach Boys, Elvis, ELO, Elton John and The Starland Vocal Band. The Beatles were played often those few days too.

It’s worth noting that this is one of the few memories (one of 2 actually) I have of my dad sitting down to play the drums! I mean he was no drummer but I recall that he could keep the beat… he’s musical of course. It’s funny thought, I told my dad, “Dad, if I worked at a church where there were drums, I’d never get anything done… but you never play them?” I literally did not understand why he didn’t stop every hour to go play all the fun instruments. But I didn’t understand why my dad listened to talk radio either. ha!

Well, thanks for letting me reminisce about my childhood for a few minutes.

Oh yeah, the reason for the post. Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading books and watching DVDs on the Beatles. It’s been a fun departure from my normal day-to-day arranging and recording. One such book I read was “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording The Beatles” by Geoff Emmerick and Howard Massey. Emmerick was the engineer that recorded much of the Beatles work. It was REALLY great. Tony Guerrero got it for me as a Christmas present (it’s actually an audio book so I actually listened to it.. I didn’t “read” it). If you’re into recording you’ll like it. It’s really interested to hear the way things were done in the 60’s. If you just like the Beatles you’ll love it too just because of the cool stories. Go on. Go get it.


OK people. Listen close. If you don’t own plugins by MASSEY PLUGINS you are missing out! My goodness, this guy is amazing. His compressor is fantastic, his 3 band EQ is easy and colorful, his De:ESSER is genius and transparent, his analog Delay is PERFECT, his LIMITER is the industry standard, his Tape Head modeler glues my mixes together…. the list goes on.

The best part is that every plugin is well under $100!!

The reason I’m posting this blog is because Massey just introduced DTM, a drum to midi drum replacement plugin FOR FREE if you own any of Massey’s other plugins. THIS THING IS HOT! Logic already has something like this and it’s nice to have it within pro tools!

Speaking of Pro Tools. Pro Tools 8 comes out soon and has some AMAZING new features. If you had though about moving to Logic, think again!


I Dig

OK, so I’m starting a new segment called “I dig.” I listen to a ton of music. Some of it inspires me, and some does not. I may mention some laughable songs here and there that I “do not dig” but in general I’ll keep it positive.

It’s been since Jonny Lang’s “Turn Around” record that I’ve listened to an album day in and day out for long periods of time. A few weeks someone played Jason Mraz’s new album for me. I’m hooked! The album is called “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” and it is probably my favorite album this year.

I love the record for a few reasons…

Reason #1 will always be THE SONGS! The songs are fantastic, original, vibey.. very fun.

The #2 reason is for the use of HORNS! I’m a trumpet player and I love horns sections, especially horn sections with bari sax. Lots of bari sax on this record.

My #3 reason for loving this record is the loose production. I say “loose” because there is room for real musicianship and real emotion to come through the record. Everything is tight but not super-duper edited. I also love the use of space. One of my favorite things about recordings is when you can hear the rooms the instruments were recorded in. It’s why I have such a hard time being satisfied with recording in my vocal booth… it’s soooo dead! I want to hear some character in the rooms. I want to hear different rooms! I would love to do a record where I could record each instrument in it’s own unique space, using very little artificial reverbs… letting the rooms shine through.

So go check it out. What recordings are you loving these days? Seriously, I want to know! Reply to this post and let us know what you’re loving and why!!!

Michael H. Brauer - Multi-Bus Compression

Ever wonder how some mixes just sound SOOOOOOO BIIIIIIIGGGG!!!?!?!?!?! Well, one way mixes sound big is by using something called the New York Compression Technique (also called Parallel Compression.) NY Compression involves taking an uncompressed audio source, duplicating it and then compressing the snot out of the duplicated track. THEN take the compressed track and tuck it underneath the uncompressed track. What this does is allow the instrument to have the dynamics of an uncompressed sound with the thickness of a compressed sound. Get it? The results can be incredible.

Michael H. Brauer is a stunning mixer. He’s mixed for all kinds of artists of all styles and genres. I was rummaging through Michael’s site and I noticed a wildly extensive Q&A section. I thought this could be a benefit to you all. Check it out and try grasp the ideas he presents about NY Compression.

Mastering Audio: Bob Katz - A MUST READ!!

About a week before Saddleback’s Worship Conference I stumbled upon a book called “Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science” by Bob Katz. Just recently I’ve been interested in how mastering works. I want to understand mastering so I can mix my records in a way that gets the most out of the mastering process.

Let me just say, “Mastering Audio” has changed the way I look at digital audio. Not only am I gaining an understanding of mastering, but I’m getting a better handle of how my DAW and Digital Converters are processing audio. Bob points out that Digital Recording has to be treated very differently than analog recording (I know this in basic principle, but not to this depth). There are things we must do to preserve audio once inside the computer. There are also things we can do to maximize fidelity and make our recordings sound BIG and VIBRANT!

In case you have not noticed, my opinion is that everyone should read this book! If you are serious about getting the most out of your recordings you owe it to yourself. WARNING: This is a very technical book. It is actually a text book. It is not a hard read but it is deep.