AES New York 2018

AES New York 2018

AES New York 2018

It was another great AES Show for Audionamix this year in New York City.  The response to our latest update to our most popular software, XTRAX STEMS 2 was unanimous – everyone loved the new algorithm and cleaner stem separations!  Our first real-time, cloudless plug-in, IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner was a huge hit with the post production professionals in attendance.

We had a steady stream of engineers, artists, consumers, and editorial teams from all the pro-audio publications dropping by to check out demos, as well as catching up with old friends and new.  And at 3:00 each day we gave away a piece of software – either XTRAX STEMS 2 or IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner – winner’s choice.

Day 1

On Wednesday, we crossed over frequently with the NAB Show next door.  We were sponsors for the post-show party at Stitch Bar & Lounge put on by our good friends at Post Magazine.  They recorded a live video interview with our Senior Product Specialist, Stephen Oliver, as he talked them through the various applications of audio cleanup using IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner.

We also got to showcase demos of XTRAX STEMS 2 to our good friends at Production ExpertMIXMusic Connection, and TapeOp.

D’Anthony Johnson was the happy winner of the day – he selected XTRAX STEMS 2.

Day 2

Venomisto dropped by to visit the team and share the initial plan and prep work for his upcoming Master Class on XTRAX STEMS 2 at Music Expo San Francisco – stay tuned for details on that!

Resolution came by and was blown away by IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner.  We also met with a number of publications which specialize in the post-production world including postPerspective and ProAVL Asia.

Chris Black was our software winner of the day – another choice of XTRAX STEMS 2.

Day 3

Sound on Sound dropped by first thing in the morning to shoot footage of Audio Engineer Doc Kylian demo-ing XTRAX STEMS 2.  They were extremely impressed by the speed and results of the new, improved algorithm!

We also had a visit from our friends at AES Daily, who had extremely positive feedback on the new software.

Our Day 3 giveaway winner was Peter Fish, who selected….IDC!

We hope to see some of you in San Francisco at Music Expo on November 10th.  After that, we are looking ahead to 2019 NAMM in Anaheim.

Separation Stories: Steve Wilk – How to use XTRAX STEMS in Recording Covers

Separation Stories: Steve Wilk – How to use XTRAX STEMS in Recording Covers

Separation Stories: Steve Wilk – How to use XTRAX STEMS in Recording Covers

Separation Stories Part 2: Covers

In the Field with Steve Wilk – XTRAX STEMS

Producers and audio engineers around the world use Audionamix software every day to separate, remix, and create. Producer and Playback Engineer Steve Wilk writes of his experience using XTRAX STEMS in his creative process:

While working on our initial EP for A-List Records, we were asked to record some covers. Traditionally we would brainstorm some songs, pick one and start working on it. First we would need to learn the song, and then we would put it in the right key for our vocalist, and only then begin to experiment with the idea we had.  Obviously, this all becomes quite time consuming, and definitely slows down the creative process!

When I started working as a beta tester for Audionamix’s vocal extractor software, XTRAX STEMS, I thought it would be a great opportunity to combine this software with the process of recording covers.

What I discovered was how much of a time saver XTRAX STEMS is. I could hear a song, say in a cafe, or on a playlist, in a movie, etc. Once I had an idea, I could come back to my computer, get the original song, drop it into XTRAX STEMS and let the software perform the vocal extraction.  Within minutes I would be importing files into my session and working on the idea.

With the first song I tried out I had a new version with drums, a new loop of harmony material, and the separated vocals were muted. Ironically, the singer I was working with listened to the cover and liked the music so much, she wrote a new song on top of it. She didn’t realize it was a cover at all!

This ability to keep in the creative mind is so important today. So often we get bogged down with other time-consuming tasks, only to realize that the idea we had may not work, which can be heartbreaking. XTRAX STEMS has made the process of trying an idea with a cover song both seamless and efficient, allowing me to find out quickly what will work and what won’t.

Steve Wilk with Hannah & The Engineers

Steve Wilk with Hannah & The Engineers

Using XTRAX STEMS has also led me to some interesting musical discoveries, as it can give you a breakdown of recorded music that you normally would never get just listening to a full mix. You can listen to the drum track alone, separate from the bass, which lets you hear more nuance and production techniques.

Listening to the music stem, minus the drums and vocal, really opens up the song and is a great learning tool either for instruments or for production and mixing techniques.

This is really a great way to analyze and hear what is going on inside your favorite tracks, whether you are a musician, producer, or engineer. It can be quite surprising to discover some of the elements that become obvious when the track is separated. For example, degrees of swing, mixing of sounds, and production techniques that aren’t obviously audible in the full mix.

Every time I split apart a track with XTRAX STEMS, I truly am surprised at what I find, as I discover something new each time.

-Steve Wilk

About Steve

Steve Wilk is a Producer/Engineer. He currently works with artist/actress Kat Graham, with Musical Director Michael “Nomad” Ripoll (Babyface). Other clients include Keyshia Cole, Hannah and the Engineers, and various show programming for tours.

Separation Stories: Steve Wilk – In the field with Audionamix software

Separation Stories: Steve Wilk – In the field with Audionamix software

Separation Stories: Steve Wilk – In the field with Audionamix software

Separation Stories

In the Field with Steve Wilk – Playback with TRAX Pro 3 and XTRAX STEMS

Producers and audio engineers around the world use Audionamix software every day to separate, remix, and create. Producer and Playback Engineer Steve Wilk writes of his experience using Audionamix software in the field:

Working in the playback world can get really hectic. It means long days of rehearsals, and after these rehearsals when most people head off, I am usually still at the studio working on the show, editing, cleaning up and preparing for the next rehearsal. Besides building the show with the stems, we also do sound design, which requires us to have a sound library on hand. Although we usually have the necessary audio materials, every now and then we get some curve balls and impossible tasks.Steve Wilk_Working

I am often tasked with finding acappellaonly files of songs to put into the show, or to figure out how to split a single wav file or mp3 into stems for my session. I was once at rehearsals and received a list of possible songs the MD wanted me to find acappella versions of to use in the show. The list also included multiple tracks for every song…just in case they wanted to go in that direction. Finding these acappellas can be challenging, signing up to weird websites, and always facing the possibility of some malware, not to mention it being so time-consuming only to find at the end somebody’s soundalike instead of the original artist.

So, during one of my late night multiple hour searches after a rehearsal I found TRAX Pro 3, Audionamix’s software solution that allows you to isolate extract vocals from a song.  I tried it out on an mp3 and it worked GREAT! I could split a track into vocal and music only. It was amazing to see the musicians and MD all wondering how the hell I got a hold of these vocal only versions and instrumentals!  How did I unmix a song?!

Steve-Wilk_StudioThe other way TRAX Pro 3 has been useful is when we are deep into rehearsals, and waiting for stems to be sent from producers and engineers. Instead of sitting around waiting, we could rehearse to just the mp3. But because we use multiple outputs for the playback mix, dropping a full track with Vocals and Music into (e.g.) the drum outputs would mess up everyone’s mixes. Or it could cause us to create a entirely new mix just for that one song, which only creates more potential problems. Now, if I break down the track using the new XTRAX STEMS I can get a drum, music, and vox stem that keeps the in-ear mixes as they are, and saves a lot of frustration, time-wasting, and unhappy folks. Later whenever I do get the stems (just before showtime) I can edit them accordingly and drop them in.

TRAX Pro and XTRAX STEMS have been extremely beneficial to me in my work. Thank you to Audionamix for creating such great products!

– Steve Wilk


About Steve

Steve Wilk is a Producer/Engineer. He currently works with artist/actress Kat Graham, with Musical Director Michael “Nomad” Ripoll (Babyface). Other clients include Keyshia Cole, Hannah and the Engineers, and various show programming for tours.

Tips & Tricks: How to Save the Best Takes Using IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner

Tips & Tricks: How to Save the Best Takes Using IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner

Tips & Tricks: How to Save the Best Takes Using IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner

IDC_BoxL_HiResWe in the post-production audio world know that dialogue – and more specifically, performance – is king. The take where the actress nailed the line, getting just the right amount of authority balanced with feminine charm, is the one the director NEEDS to use. It doesn’t matter that there’s a plane, or bus, or gale force wind in the background. It’s our job as audio engineers to make it work. Sometimes we use an alternate take. Sometimes, the actress reproduces her lines perfectly in ADR. But many times we need to find another way.

Dialogue denoising has traditionally been done with tools that learn a selection of background noise by itself, then use this information to remove this noise from the entire file. This works well for constant, unchanging noise, but not for variable noise like those examples listed above. The quality, frequency, and volume of these noises is always changing, so it’s impossible to learn a piece of noise that will match for the entirety of the clip.

IDC_GUI

But what if we attacked the problem from the opposite direction? That is, what if we could somehow identify the speech instead of the noise, and maintain its quality while suppressing the noise in the background, allowing us to perform speech cleanup quickly and easily? Here’s how to do it with IDC: Instant Dialogue Cleaner.

IDC uses a deep neural network (a type of machine learning) based on thousands of speech files, to identify dialogue in a scene in real-time and separate it from the background content. Simply add IDC as an effect on your track (you can also use it as an AudioSuite plug-in in Pro Tools). Hit play and then turn the background knob to the left to lower the volume. You will hear your dialogue stay remarkably intact, even as challenging background noise is removed!

IDC offers up to 24 dB of noise reduction, and the same amount of control over the level of the speech. You can typically turn the background noise down significantly without affecting the quality of the speech. If you’d like to get more noise out, try increasing the strength parameter.

There are many weapons for dialogue editing and speech cleanup. IDC will make a valuable addition to your arsenal, allowing you to be the hero and save that take!

Joachim Garraud FB Live in Paris

Joachim Garraud FB Live in Paris

Joachim Garraud FB Live in Paris

“Audionamix is the only one that impressed me. This technology is amazing” – Joachim Garraud

Here in our Paris office, our French Research and Development team had the chance to welcome the one and only Joachim Garraud. He came for a Facebook Live event, and it was a pure pleasure to meet him. Telma, our Deputy-CEO, began the event by talking about the history of Audionamix. She discussed the projects we did with Hans Zimmer on Inception and our work with Canal+ on the World Cup 2010.

Next, one of our audio engineers showcased how he uses his skills at Audionamix with an amazing demo. Working all day with Pro Tools, Ableton Live and other DAWs is a fantastic way to make a living! Then we featured a little of our core audio source separation technology, and discussed how our researchers use signal processing, machine learning, deep learning and some other dark magic.

The last part of this FB Live featured another one of our engineers, Laurent, and was focused on how we handle product development. Laurent showcased the utility of our brand new software, XTRAX STEMS, with NI Traktor. Laurent performed a live remix, featuring our software.  Also, Laurent gave Joachim a little surprise that you can see by watching the FB Live yourself!

As you will see, it was a fantastic experience for all of us to welcome Joachim Garraud in our office. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Cheers from France!

Love, music and macarons!

 


A little information on the track used during the demo of XTRAX STEMS with Traktor. It was the last track from Fred Rister, a creative genius who unfortunately is suffering from cancer.  Please help support the fight against cancer by purchasing this track. All profits will be donated to the Kidney Cancer Association.