Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Turn Up the Cymbals

I once heard about a producer who would immediately end a mix session as soon as someone uttered the words, "Turn up the cymbals."

The point was, this was a measure of ear fatigue. The upper midrange frequencies (where the cymbals live) are the first to go when your ears get tired from mixing too long. So once someone needed the cymbals turned up, he knew it was time to call it a day.

This leads me to wonder about eye fatigue. Is it time to turn off the computer when you misread “Avid” as “Rabid?”

-Dave Hab

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


In the movie “Moscow On the Hudson,” Robin Williams plays a character who defects from cold war Soviet Union to the United States. The first time he walks into an American supermarket with thousands and thousands of products piled up as far as the eye can see, his head starts spinning, he hyperventilates, and passes out in the middle of the aisle.

This, I think, accurately describes the situation with our music choices today. Production music libraries love to talk about how many tracks of music they have available – we’re all guilty of it. But at what point is “too much” a bad thing?

An experiment on this idea was run not long ago. They put out a display of homemade jam at a gourmet food store. First they only put out two flavors. Then they added a whole bunch of other flavors to the choices. They discovered that many more purchases were made when there were fewer choices. When there are too many choices, it becomes too much work to choose, so people don’t.

In our industry, it would appear that the same principles apply. Options are good, but if there are too many options, there is the danger that you’ll spend too much time trying to make the decisions, and your workflow grinds to a halt.

With this notion firmly in mind, we here at Omnimusic have always focused on quality and usefulness, rather than quantity. Which is better, thousands of tracks to listen through to find the useful ones, or fewer that are more useful?

So the next time you find yourself passed out on the floor and buried in music, wander over to and try it out.

Or stay on the floor. It’s your choice…

-Dave Hab

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time Compression

While we’re on the subject of time, in my audio software I have a tool called ‘Time Compression/Expansion.” Oh, if it only did what the name says. Imagine something that would compress or expand time as you needed. Boring events could fly by, while moments of pleasure could last longer, deadlines would never be missed, and other things could be postponed indefinitely. (Of course, if other people had access to this time-warping tool as well, things could get complicated.)

We discussed deadlines last week, and how we try to speed up our workflow. Essentially we are attempting to compress time. My audio software does this by cutting out little tiny slices of audio throughout the track – so small as to be inaudible. Any one slice has no significant impact on the timing of the track, but put them all together and you can speed up a track significantly before you start to hear bad things happen to it.

In our work, every click and keystroke saved, every quicker way of doing things, every more efficient search adds up into our ability to compress time. The trick is to not go too far so the quality of what we’re doing suffers. It’s a balancing act we’re always trying to achieve here at Omni. Speed things up, but not at the sacrifice of quality.

This is particularly evident in the audio production department. We’re always trying to find ways to release more music, but we refuse to sacrifice quality to do it. We don’t think that serves anyone well in the long run, although it may look good on paper. Speed is only good if it still achieves the desired results in the end.

Bt myb ths blg wld gt dne qckr wtht vwls.

-Dave Hab

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Linear Time

Here’s the shocking revelation of the week: our experience of time is linear. I know that may sound obvious, but it seems to be something frequently forgotten in the video production industry.

I am as guilty as anyone of wanting everything done NOW, but seeing as how events happen sequentially, you can’t always get what you want without altering the fundamental laws of the universe. (Good luck with that.) Accepting this fact, however, is easier said than done. (You know who you are.)

This also means true multi-tasking is a myth, as the human brain can only process events one at a time (and with some people, not even that. You know who they are.)

What we’re left with, then, is speeding up our workflow. Efficient methods and tools to help us get our tasks done quicker (if not simultaneously.)

Here at Omnimusic, we kept this firmly in mind when we rebuilt our web site. Everything is designed to make your workflow smoother and to get you the music you need as quickly as possible. Sure, we could’ve made it flashier, fancier, busier, etc. but we didn’t think that would really help anyone except the web designer.

Best of all, when you’re working on a project where yesterday isn’t soon enough, we’re always here to lend a hand as well.

Until that time machine is finished, of course…

-Dave Hab