Temple Boys Choir Working With Cyclone

June/ July 2016 saw Cyclone’s Nick Sheridan and Graham Semark on location at the historic Temple church in London recording the Temple Boys Choir for a new CD release prior to their Australian tour.

Cyclone provided all of the equipment to set up a temporary studio in one of the churches ante rooms and used various microphone set-ups to capture the unique sound of the choir and the ambience of this fantastic location. Live harp, piano, saxophone and the famous Temple “Interstellar” organ were all on the bill for this amazing project!

Using a combination of AKG, Royer, Neumann, DPA and Audio Technica microphones feeding into an S16 digital snake, we ran the mic feeds back to a temporary ‘control room’ 30m away where an X32 mixing desk and Logic Pro X system took care of the recording for us. Using a pair of Munrosonic Egg 100 monitors gave us an exceptionally accurate and high quality reference to ensure that the producer and musical director were happy with the sound being captured.

Recording in a church, and it’s highly reverberant space, has its challenges (not least the sound of helicopters which are a fixture of the London air space!). Getting microphone placement right is key to capturing the sound of the choir, the instruments and the natural reverb with enough separation so that all options are available for the mix – which will happen later in our post production studio, back at Cyclone headquarters!

A Royer SF24 stereo ribbon mic and 2 AKG 414’s configured as an M and S pair were placed behind/ above the conductor to capture the overall balance of the choir, with a pair of Neumann 149 valve mic’s in the centre to capture a closer sound and give us the ability to ‘spot’ the soloist’s. A pair of AT 4033 microphones were used for both the piano and the organ, with 4 DPA 4006 mic’s making a fantastic job of capturing the harp and overall ambience of the church.

Working with the Munrosonic Egg 100 monitors was fantastic, giving us a lot of confidence in knowing exactly what we were taking to the mixing sessions ahead. They are so smooth and transparent, with incredible detail and stereo imaging.

After three days on location, mixing and editing was completed during 9 sessions at Cyclone’s mastering studio before international release on the Orchid Classics record label.

The CD went on to receive a 4 star review in the Guardian later in the year.FacebookTwitterEmailMore

Do I Need A Separate Master For My Vinyl Release?

More and more people are now regularly asking if they need to get a dedicated master made for a vinyl release in addition to their CD. 

Strictly speaking, this is not necessary as a great master for CD can also be a great master for vinyl too. Interestingly enough, most vinyl masters these days are cut directly from a CD production master – with this being common practice for quite a few years now.

If you are mastering a project for both CD and vinyl release, my best advice would be to send the high resolution files directly to the cutting engineer before you step them down to 16-bit 44.1 kHz for the CD. When I am working in the mastering studio, I prefer to work from 24-bit 96 kHz files (sometimes even higher) making adjustments and applying dynamic processing at this resolution before finally converting the files down to 16-bit 44.1 kHz for the CD release. If I know that the project is going to be released on vinyl too, I tend to make A & B side 24-bit 96 kHz WAV files for the cutting engineer to work from as the lacquer cut is an analogue process and this gives the cutting engineer more ‘information’ to work with.

Having said all of this, you shouldn’t worry if high resolution files are not available – a great sounding CD master will work perfectly well in the cutting room even at 16-bit 44.1 kHz.

It is important to make sure that your vinyl masters are not over cooked or clipped. The optimal level for a vinyl cut depends on the RMS (or VU) level, running time and speed (33 or 45rpm) – whereas with a CD, the only absolute technical restriction is the peak level of the program. However, this doesn’t make it a requirement to have a separate master!

In short, it is not necessary to have a separate mastering session. The best way to get a great-sounding release on vinyl is to simply send your hi-res master files directly to the cutting engineer. He or she will choose the best settings to get a great result from the vinyl format based on the sound of your material. For a well-mastered album, it’s simply a case of choosing the correct level and perhaps a few minor tweaks – nothing more!

Medway’s The Galileo 7 Choose Cyclone For 3rd Album Release

Allan Crockfords ‘The Galileo 7’ have a new album now available on CD and vinyl, with the vinyl package including a free bonus CD and download card. The new LP is one of a collection of vinyl titles being manufactured by Cyclone this month. All of the tracks were mastered by Graham and Allan at Cyclone’s own mastering studio earlier in the year.

‘False Memory Lane’ is the 3rd album by The Galileo 7 and is available on their own False Paradise Records label. It is available on vinyl, CD and download… but we say get the vinyl. It will come with a bonus CD featuring 3 extra tracks and download codes.

As a member of such semi-legends as the Prisoners, The Solarflares, JTQ, Thee Headcoats (amongst a much longer list), Allan Crockford played an important part in establishing the Medway area’s reputation as a hotbed for spirited, uncompromising garage rock with a strong DIY ethic. Playing with such Medway notables as Graham Day, Billy Childish and James Taylor, his reputation was as the reliable sideman for more flamboyant figures. After finally realising that songwriting wasn’t one of the dark arts, he recruited some of Medway’s least annoying musicians and formed The Galileo 7 to play some of the songs he had been storing up for a few years.

The Galileo 7’s sound leans in a more pop-psych direction than some of Allan’s previous rougher-hewn combos. While the sound still has the trademark gritty guitar, saturated organ, drive and energy of those unashamedly garage-rocking outfits, the new album tips the balance further towards crafted songs and harmonies. If you want a convenient (but probably misleading) label, maybe ‘garage-pop’ will suffice. If you demand unhelpful and inaccurate reference points before you listen to new music, think late-period Soft Boys, Dukes of Stratosphear, The Nazz and any number of bands who went a bit psych and wobbly in 67 than got back to making pop songs when the stuff had worn off a bit. Chuck in a bit of late ’70’s new wave and a Children of Nuggets boxset and you’ll be halfway to getting the wrong end of the stick. This new collection covers such subjects as self delusion, hubris, conspiracy theories and getting old – all in the form of the uplifting 3 minute pop song.  

Buy the vinyl – you’re eyes and ears will love you for it.

Allan Crockford

‘False Memory Lane’ is available on Fools Paradise Records – visit: www.thegalileo7.co.uk

CD-TEXT And iTunes

So why do my song titles not show in iTunes, when I know that my CD was encoded with CD-TEXT during mastering?

This is a fairly common issue, as there is quite a lot of confusion regarding how iTunes, Windows Media Player and various other hardware and software based media players source CD track information for displaying song titles etc. This article is designed to help you understand these issues and fix the problem!

CD-TEXT and on-line CD databases

Generally, there are two primary sources of CD track information utilized by both stand alone, and computer based media players: CD-text and online media databases. Many popular computer applications do not support CD-TEXT information! The most notable being iTunes and Windows Media Player – these both use a different method to get the CD track/ title information – online databases.

CD-TEXT is an extension of the Red Book specification standard for audio CDs that was created in the early 1980’s to allow information such as artist name, album title and track names etc to be written into the subcode of an audio CD. Since it’s release in 1996, CD-TEXT has been adopted slowly and support by many CD players, especially CD-ROM drives has been inconsistent. Most modern car players and many multi-disc machines now support CD-TEXT (including domestic DVD players). 

Aside from iTunes and Windows Media Player, many computer-based media players, such as later versions of WinAmp, Realplayer, EAC, Nero and others now support CD-TEXT as long as the CD-ROM drive in the computer also supports CD-TEXT.

On-line databases

Online databases are used to store CD information along with other metadata including album artwork, song titles, lyrics etc and to provide this data to any device that has access via an internet connection. 

The original online database CDDB contained CD profiles that could be stored on your computer or accessed via the internet. Each CD profile was created by a fingerprinting process involving calculations on track start times, track duration and total length information stored in the table of contents of the CD. When a CD is put into a machine using iTunes, it automatically accesses the database to look for the information relevant to that disc. If no record for the CD is found, a new profile can be created and uploaded to the database. Nowadays CDDB is know as Gracenote (as used by iTunes). There are many other databases available as well, most notable being AMG (Macrovision), Muze, freedb and MusicBrainz. Although the CD identification processes used by these databases may differ from the original CDDB process, the concept is the same and it is worth noting that duplicate, erroneous and multiple entries can occur with some systems (especially in systems that report user-submitted data such as Gracenote & freedb).

How to upload your CD information to on-line databases

Assuming that your master has been correctly encoded with CD-TEXT information, the next step is to deal with the online databases. Unfortunately every database has a different submission procedure but below is a list based on the two players in question:

iTunes – insert your CD, click on the first track and select ‘file’, then ‘get info’ and enter the track information. When you have entered all of the track information go to ‘advanced’, ‘submit CD track names’, fill in the requested information and hit [OK].   

Windows Media Player – Send a copy of your CD directly to AMG below:

Product Submissions:

All Media Guide1
168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

AMG takes care of the rest and your information is normally live in approx 4-6 weeks! 

There are many players that reference the freedb database. Visit the website to see a list of supported players you can use to submit CD information (see link below). Popular applications are Exact Audio Copy and Nero.

Useful links:

AMG (now Macrovision)

Mayo Brothers Call On Cyclone Again

SR Records is a small indie label run by Adrian Duffy and his two brothers Chris and Melvin, which over the past 15 years has drifted around various bedrooms, business units and full blown studios in SE England.

“As with most indie’s we have had some pretty wild swings of fortune, taking in performances as varied as Glastonbury, CBGB’s, Ronnie Scotts, Liverpool Philharmonic and getting to work with the likes of Robbie Williams, Jimmy Nail and Mike Scott & The Waterboys, to the lows, wondering is this now a good time it time to jack it all in!

It is so important then, that when it comes to a release, that we get a product out there that doesn’t just sit well with those coming out from the bigger indies but is both better than that or those from the majors.

Of course we only have ourselves to blame if the songs not up to much or we didn’t handle the recording with due care and attention, however it’s only these past 2 years that we’ve at last found in Cyclone Music and Graham Semark a match for our enthusiasm for getting as close to perfection as possible.

Graham’s mastering abilities and subtle touches are brilliant to hear and this guy will go that extra mile to make sure what you physically receive is either exactly what you asked for or beyond your expectation.

All told the past 12 months have been pretty good to us, what with two EP’s released and an award for “Irish Radio Artist of The Month” from IASCA for Everytime The Love Strikes, as well as 7 weeks rotation on RTE Radio 1 and a considerable number of plays on BBC Radio 2, Scotland, Ulster, Wales and many of the BBC English Regions all in no small part to the Cyclone Music midas touch!!

From CD’s hitting radio producers desks to punters buying CD’s at gigs … we know we now have a wow factor!!”

Adrian Duffy

The new EP from Adrian Duffy and the Mayo Brothers ‘Someone Like You’ is due for release on November 17th 2013.

ISRC Codes Explained

What are ISRC codes?

ISRC is the International Standard Recording Code – an identification system used for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each code provides unique and permanent Identification of recordings for copyright protection. Once encoded, the ISRC provides a means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments. 

Should I worry about using ISRC codes?

If you are a music producer then the short answer is YES – when an ISRC is embedded into your product it identifies you as the copyright owner and makes royalty collection and payments to you easier and quicker. 

How does an ISRC code work?

An ISRC contains four parts – typically: GB XXX 13 00001

The first two letters are the country code and in this case would mean that the code was issued in the UK. The next three digits identify the registrant – for example, the individual or the company that the code is issued to. The next two numbers identify the year of reference. This would normally be the same as the year of release. The final part is called the designation code and is a simple five digit number that is assigned to each individual track. 

As an example, if you were using ISRC’s for the first time and your album for instance had 12 tracks on it and was released in 2013, your codes would range from: GB XXX 1300001 to GB XXX 1300012. If you released another album later in the same year with 10 tracks on it, your ISRC’s would continue on as follows: GB XXX 1300013 to GB XXX 1300022.

ISRC’s act as a digital finger print and automatically log radio air plays for royalty payments.

They also provide proof of ownership for rights administration.

How do I get my ISRC codes?

You can apply for your ISRC registrant code quickly and easily from the PPL website. http://www.ppluk.com/

You may also wish to become a member of the PPL – benefits of membership are explained in detail on the website. 

How do I encode my songs with an ISRC code?

This is done at the mastering stage and if you are mastering your album or single yourself, you will need to use a program that is capable of writing ISRC codes. Most modern CD Writing programs allow for ISRC’s to be encoded when creating an audio CD. If required, Cyclone can create your master and take care of ISRC encoding for you, we will also provide a test CD for approval before production. Please call or email to discuss options.

For further information about the ISRC system in the UK, contact:

International ISRC Agency 
IFPI Secretariat
10 Piccadilly
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7900
Fax: +44 (0)20 7878 7950
Email: info@ifpi.org

For a list of ISRC agents in countries outside of the UK, click here