We recently held a live Q&A on Twitter with Oakland-based mixer, producer, and educator Brian Lee White (@brianleewhite). White is the author of several audio courses for lynda.com, most recently two Foundations of Audio courses: Compression and Dynamic Processing, and EQ and Filters. In this edited transcript, he shares his thoughts on NAMM 2012 and music industry trends.
lynda.com (@lyndadotcom): How many times have you been to NAMM? Why do you go?
Brian Lee White (@brianleewhite): I’ve been going since ’95. In the ’90s, I used to go for my dad’s music store. Now I just go to network and see friends.
David Franz (@undergroundsun): What was the coolest piece of gear you saw at NAMM?
Brian: I am really stoked about the UA Apollo. I’m a long-time UAD user and really excited about the Thunderbolt technology.
David: Yeah, that definitely seemed to have the most buzz at the show. Super cool stuff.
Simon Allardice (@allardice): Anything (software, hardware, or company) you were hoping to see appear at NAMM that didn’t show?
Brian: Good question. The lack of noise about the next generation of Logic worries me a little. It’s been a while since a major release.
David: Do you use an iPad in your workflow? If so, which apps do you recommend?
Brian: I do. I use the Neyrinck apps to remotely control my Pro Tools rig, and I have a mic stand mount so I can reach it easily. I also use the GarageBand app on my iPad for song writing. It’s really fun.
David: Seems most iOS i/o devices use the power from the iPad/iPhone connector—possible power problems? Thoughts?
Brian: I’ve yet to see any kind of pass-through connector on the peripherals, but the battery on my iPad is really decent.
David: Yeah, the only ones I’ve seen that have separate power are from IK Multimedia—great gear and apps!
Simon: Any area (compressor? Guitar sim?) where software still has a long way to go before it reaches hardware quality?
Brian: I now mix entirely in the box; for me, we’ve arrived. The speed/efficiency of the workflow makes up for any subtle differences. But don’t get me wrong, hardware still has its uses. I would be hard pressed to work without speakers/mics/pres/etc.
David: What is your deserted-island piece of music gear?
Brian: I have everything in my laptop, a whole studio with instruments and effects…I can produce a song from start to finish.
lynda Audio (@lyndaaudio): There’s a lot of gloom & doom about the music industry. What do you see as a bright spot?
Brian: There are tons of small companies doing cool things with software and iOS. Web distribution lets them reach the right users.
lynda Audio: Who specifically comes to mind?
Brian: Well, little outfits like Cytomic and Valhalla DSP make plug-ins that, for me, are best in class and a great value.
lynda.com: You just released a course on EQ/Filters. Why did you decide to tackle this topic?
Brian: In my course, I try to get away from the formulaic approach and teach people why and when to use EQ, not just how. EQ is one of the basic tools people think they mostly understand, yet often miss the big-picture thought process.
David: Get In the Mix is a new feature of your Foundations of Audio courses. Can you tell me how they work?
Brian: Get In the Mix interactive exercise files (or GITMs) are an entirely new way to learn how to use and “hear” how the tools are working, right inside your DAW. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how they work.
lynda.com: Any advice for those looking to break into the music industry?
Brian: Learn how to—and get used to—wearing many different hats. The old paradigm of getting hired at a studio is gone now.
lynda.com: Yes, we can all take our learning and careers into our own hands these days.
David: What are you working on now, music and mix-wise—if you can talk about it?
Brian: I’m not really at liberty to say right now, but be on the lookout for a major release in the next month or so.
lynda.com: That’s the way—preserve a little of the mystery!
Suggested courses to watch next:
• Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools 9
• Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing [with Get in the Mix exercise files]
• Audio Mixing Bootcamp
• Digital Audio Principles
• Pro Tools 10 Essential Training