FREE SAMPLE PACK: Tubular Bells

Download free from Bandcamp (no email address needed)

This was a fun opportunity. Sampling tubular bells! The sustain on these things was fairly insane! I tapped each bell with roughly the same amount of force (chime hammer).

The 18 bells go from C1 to F2.
They were recorded in Mono using a Shure SM57 with a FETHEAD Pre-amp. Recorded at 24-bit, 48kHz.
A small amount of post-production was done to remove any background or electrical noise.
A short fadeout has been applied.
All recordings were normalised to -3dB without limiting or compression added.

Samples captured by Cask J. Thomson and released free via my website CASK.Zone (https://cask.zone)

Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

You can use these royalty-free for any releases: free or commercial. All I ask is that you don’t sell them or redistribute them without asking first. Crediting me or thanking me in any of your release notes is very much appreciated, but not required. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

FREE: Linn LM-1 Drum Computer Samples (with bonus cassette tape capture)

I plan to release a range of presets, impulse responses, synth, and drum samples as well as field recordings and various other assets for your music making journey.

You can use these royalty-free for any releases: free or commercial. All I ask is that you don’t sell them or redistribute them without asking first. Crediting me or thanking me in any of your release notes is very much appreciated, but not required. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

My first sample pack contains the high-quality digital recordings from the iconic Linn LM-1 drum computer.

The audio was captured by yours truly. These are available as 24-bit 48kHz wav files. Another folder, titled ‘tape’, features the samples as digitised from a cassette tape in which the drum machine was recorded to via the legendary Tascam Portastudio 244. The tape was an unbranded generic, so don’t expect much 😊

There is a tonne of free and paid Linn samples available, but I figured I’d share my own recordings from the unit. This is the unit used and sampled in the debut HELIXIRx album Authenticity.

Here’s what’s included:

  • Bass
  • Cabasa
  • Clap
  • Closed Hat
  • Conga
  • Conga 2
  • Cowbell
  • Cowbell 2
  • Crash
  • Crash 2
  • Open Hat
  • Ride
  • Ride 2
  • Sidestick
  • Snare
  • Snare 2
  • Tambourine
  • Tom 1
  • Tom 2
  • Tom 3
  • Tom 4
  • Tom 5 

TECHNICAL INFORMATION:

Prior to recording, the LM-1 was cleaned with contact cleaner. DeoxIT Contact Cleaner & Rejuvenator ‘paint’ has been applied to the output jacks. The recordings were captured at 24-bit 48000Hz. The original unit samples at around 28kHz with 8-bit resolution. Some of the EPROMs installed on the LM-1 may be non-original components. There are no distinguishable markings or labels on the chips. As it’s a second-hand borrowed machine with little known history, I am unable to confirm what’s what. To me, they all sound good!

The unit used is a 110v model from Japan, so a good quality 240V-100V 50W Isolated Step-Down Transformer with an Australian plug was used.

The cassette tape was digitised using a freshly serviced Yamaha Natural Sound deck. This was captured at 24-bit 48kHz via a portable Zoom H8 recorder. No noise reduction was used or applied after recording. Each sample on the cassette was recorded with a tail of a few seconds (to capture all frequencies and silence I assume).

DOWNLOAD:

Available free (or a kind donation) at the CaskZone Bandcamp (no email address needed)

Introduction to my Organisation & Workflow Series

I’m very OCD about my composing, tracking and mixing sessions. I’ve decided to document my workflow and how I get things done. There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to making music and my ideal environment is likely extreme for others, but I hope some of my ideas will inspire your own methods and maybe you’ll improve mine with your suggestions.

Throughout this series of articles, I’ll detail my track naming, colour schemes, composing and mixing aids and organisation aids such as the search software I use on my computer and the formula and folder structures I use to keep everything neat. I’ll also dive into the hardware I use to help me along the way such as the Elgato Stream Deck and Macro keyboards available on the market.

Stick around. I’ll update this post with a table of contents for each part of the series once they’re written and published 🙂

I Broke the “Don’t Master Your Own Music” Rule

Speak to musicians, producers, recording engineers and especially mastering engineers – – or simply look on the internet – – and you’ll hear pretty much the same unanimous suggestion.

“Don’t master your own music” 

There are plenty of genuine reasons for this. A fresh set of ears are incredibly beneficial. You’ve written and recorded a song and you’ve either mixed it yourself or you’ve sat in on the mixing sessions. Your ears have been somewhat conditioned to the sound and maybe you don’t know it, but you are fatigued with the song. Do you ever listen to another artists song and think about how you would have brought the guitar up a little or expanded the chorus vocals?

I was adamant on Life is a Terminal Illness being my perfect solo album. I wasn’t happy with anything I’d ever released before and I needed this one to be the one I wasn’t ashamed to put my name on. In case you missed it: I’m a perfectionist.

I sent the first big track I’d recorded “See What Tomorrow Brings” to a revered mastering engineer in the U.S. and I explained that the album wasn’t going to be polished and professional as it’s a raw expression of what I recorded in my own studio. Some parts of the record were analog and some digital. I explained how I was opposed to the loudness war and wanted to keep the dynamic range reasonable.

I received the mastered file. It was a little too compressed, so I requested alterations. After a few days of toing and froing I accepted that I wasn’t going to be pleased with the result. I waited a few days and listened again. It was alright, but I still preferred the unmastered version.

I went to another, lesser known, mastering studio and received a better result, although it still didn’t please my ears.

I sat on everything for a few weeks and decided to create a reference master. I’m certainly no expert at audio mastering, but I have been the mastering engineer on several classical releases distributed by my record label and I have mastered friends’ demos to their satisfaction. I realised that what I was looking for was what I had done myself. I’m protective of my music. I don’t sit down and record on all this equipment I’ve worked hard to purchase to then have the result crushed into a loud mess. Why pay someone to ruin your music when you can ruin it yourself?

I realised that with a few simple EQ tweaks and careful use of compression; I’d achieved the sound I wanted. I believe in severe testing. Listen in as many cars as you can, on a high-quality audiophile sound system, then listen on an average consumer hi-fi. I listened through TV speakers, terrible headphones and my mobile phone. I even fed the recordings through a tube headphone amp back to a 24/96 recording interface and used this to reference what would eventually become the final version of the album.

Would I master my own album again? Maybe. But I still firmly believe that the album should be approached by somebody who hasn’t heard it before. Mastering engineers often have an ear that will straight away say “hey that needs to be a little tighter here and sharper sounding over there”. My problem was all down to trust. I trust very few people with my music. Those I have used and had success with are Matt Colton,  Tony “ Jack The Bear” Mantz and fellow composer Alan L. Williamson but at the end of the day, for this particular project, I broke the rules.

The final version of the single edit on YouTube

My Biggest Regret in Music

There are plenty of things I regret in music. I regret not safely backing up the original stems and early project files for some of the music I’ve released. I also should have taken more notes throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s of those recording sessions and even the guitar tabs and musical notations.

But my biggest regret? The first thing I ever released.

Why would I cringe at the thought of the first major worldwide release? One that charted in Mexico on the iTunes charts? One that had backing from a serious record label and studio?

Because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. 

The music was composed, and the lyrics were written by yours truly, but the overall release was tainted by a small number of people – – friends – – who wanted me to be a success. With silly amounts of pitch correction and oversampling, I had sold out before I’d even attempted to hit the mainstream.

The album failed (thankfully) and although there are still some links out there on the internet, the distribution ceased, and it has been deleted from all publishers.

The worst part was whenever I performed the songs live, I replaced the crappy synthesised instruments with my real playing and I used my real voice. People would compliment me and say they appreciated the fact that I’m not some fantastic singer and that I was not afraid to have flaws during my performances. I certainly don’t think I have a good singing voice, but I refuse to try and disguise it as radio-friendly and as slick as some voices are (or at least portray)

I escaped my solo stage name and began Cursed Legacy. Death of a Hero was everything I had ever wanted to release, and it was 100% independent. It was all me, the way I wanted it. I refused to work with others who would sway my production into their own. Lunar Isolation has been a huge challenge and bringing in a whole new band and producer was worth it as I finally had people in my musical life I could trust with the project, so I could step back and work on my own music elsewhere.

Life is a Terminal Illness is the best thing I’ve ever done by myself and I refuse to sell out. The album doesn’t have fancy studio work or shiny production and that’s because it is real. I wrote, performed and recorded it without the influence of those trying to make me something I’m not. I am very protective of my work. The album was mastered by a well-respected engineer in America. The dynamic range was decent, and the album sounded okay, but I opted not to use the master for the final release as I wanted the album to be represented as exactly how I recorded and mixed it. I broke the number one rule for mastering: don’t master yourself, get an independent set of ears to master it.

Don’t be a musician unless you will ensure it will always be YOUR music the way YOU want it.