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September/October 2020

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AUDIO TOOLS 27 POST SEPT/OCT 2020 Shindig taps vintage tech for Got Milk campaign BY AUSTIN SHUPE CREATIVE DIRECTOR & COMPOSER SHINDIG PLAYA DEL REY, CA HTTP://SHINDIGMUSIC.TV When given the task of reimagining the music of this year's "Got Milk" reboot campaign through the lens of a retro video game, we knew that the only way to authentically recreate that timeless, 8-bit synth sound we all know and love would be to use the same tools as the classics. So, we did. While the production of Chiptune music has evolved over the decades, one of the most common and popular mediums of composing this music has been with computers that use a music tracker software. Instead of having the freedom to play music into a microphone or us- ing a MIDI keyboard, trackers relied entirely on a grid-like structure (looking something like an Excel document), where the user would input each note manually, telling the computer what pitch, volume, envelope, and instrument to use. While this process can be extremely limiting compared to modern music production, it forces the composer to live within the confines of the video game composers of the '70s and '80s. Another tool we knew we needed to include was FM synthesis. Short for 'frequency mod- ulation synthesis', this style of synthesis expanded the capabilities of music computers to be able to create more complex sounds, using simple sound waves to modulate each other in such a way as to help create more complex sounds. FM synthesis revolutionized the world of electronic music, paving the way for the first digital synthesizers from Yamaha. Companies like Konami and Sega adopted these FM sound cards in their video game soundtracks and in their arcade machines, and the world would never think of video games the same again. While cre- ating the synth patches used on Got Milk Gaming, we used the same elemental FM synthesis techniques as many of the timeless arcade games. One aspect of Chiptune music that many overlook is the drums. While most songs you hear have 'live' drums, recorded with microphones, most 8-bit music wasn't afforded that luxury. They needed to create everything using a synthesizer. Creating a kick drum, for example, requires not only matching the pitch of the drum, but the short length at which it is played, the pitch modulation when first struck, the decay of the note, etc. Taking this extra step to essentially create drums from scratch makes for a much more authentic sound. In today's age of instant grat- ification and fast turnarounds, it becomes quite easy to forget the struggles of those who were creating long before technology made our lives so easy. Just as the oven revolutionized the world of cooking, the modern 'in-the-box' tools of music production have completely reinvented the way musicians think about produc- tion. Software such as Pro Tools, software synths and Autotune have all made music production something akin to magic. RX Post Production Suite 5 and announced that Music Production Suite 4 will be coming this fall. RX makes audio repair easier for musicians and post production professionals working on albums, movies and TV shows. Its newest version is a complete toolkit for audio cleanup and restoration needs at any level. RX Advanced now allows audio professionals greater audio fidelity, whether repairing streamed dialogue with new features like Spectral Recovery, or correct- ing pitch modulation with Wow & Flutter. The Batch Processor and Loudness Control have also been re- vamped, saving users time when they are repairing or delivering audio files. New RX 8 Standard features allow musicians to instantly adjust guitar recordings with Guitar De-noise, to rebalance their mix and create or isolate stems with the improved Music Rebalance. They can also prep mu- sic for streaming with the updated Loudness Control. Both the standalone audio editor and the included plug-ins allow users to surgically fix audio problems and music performances. The new RX Elements is a budget-friendly noise reduction and audio repair tool for small home studios that need just the basics. It includes a standalone audio editor with spectral editing, as well as four essential, realtime noise reduction plug-ins to fix clipping, hums, clicks and other unwanted background noise. This includes amp hiss or air conditioner noise. Its Repair Assistant continues to use the digital signal processing in RX Elements to analyze audio and provide solutions to common audio issues. Izotope has also released RX Post Production Suite 5, which features its most powerful tools for post produc- tion, including RX 8 Advanced, Dialogue Match, Neutron 3 Advanced, Nectar 3 (with Melodyne 5 essential), Insight 2, RX Loudness Control, Relay, Symphony 3D and Stratus 3D by Exponential Audio, and Tonal Balance Control 2, plus a one-year, all-access pass to the Groove 3 video training tool. In addition, the company's Music Production Suite 4 will be released this fall. It will include RX 8 Standard, Ozone 9 Advanced, Neutron 3 Advanced, Nectar 3 (with Melodyne 5 essential), Insight 2, Nimbus by Exponential Audio, and Tonal Balance Control 2. Those who have purchased Music Production Suite 3 after September 2nd will receive a free upgrade to Music Production Suite 4. Izotope is offering introductory pricing for RX 8 Elements ($99), RX 8 Standard ($299), RX 8 Advanced ($999) and RX Post Production Suite 5 ($1,499).

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