'One Minute With Dec' 24 Oct 2010

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“3 Minutes on the Radio With Dec” –

"My Emails Are Written With Good Humour And Should Be Read With A Smile"

[-The views of any contributor to 'One Minute with Dec' are not necessarily the views of Dec Cluskey-]

"It's all in the eyes ... they have to like you” Val Doonican:


The Sound mix on X Factor in the UK? [quite weird?]
The astonishing ancient classical guitars [where do you find them?]
Subscriber's Section [ a better mic. or a pre-amp? ]
The gags: ..... [Attraction? I am allowed to tell Irish Gags … I’m Irish - Rory]

The Sound mix on X Factor in the UK? [quite weird?]

Oh my Goodness…..

I thought it was a glitch in the first week of the series … but no! The vocal sound is so far back in the mix … with an awful lot of effects. I am a Pop producer and love effect … but this is over the top. Check it out.

The vocal sound presented in X Factor here in the UK needs a lot of explaining… I have a few ideas.

1) The tracks are being sold on the Internet, so perhaps the mix is aimed at that market?

2) The mix is aimed at the larger TV home surround sound equipment so much pushed in Curry’s, Dixons, Walmart?

3) They have an overpowering sound mix man/ producer who has convinced everyone within Syco TV that his idea of the mix is best?

4) The level of sound in the studio is so great that it is impossible to have the vocals at the correct level [as we expect from commercial mixes]

5) The audience mics. are picking up too much from the PA and giving a bad representation.

My dear life partner, Sandy, who knows squat about sound, complains bitterly that she simply ‘cannot hear it’

For me, I would say that the level in the studio, coupled with the audience mics being open all the time, is the prime culprit. I would feel that no sound man would allow that mix … only if his hands are tied and he is required to work with that overly loud PA in the studio.

NB: For the record, sound jockeys keep the PA level as low as possible in a ‘live’ situation when recording the production … uncomfortable for the performer but most knowledgeable mega stars know that that level will give the best results when the product is played on radio/TV/CD/DVD.

Likewise it is important to live with the lowest level in the monitors … uncomfortable but worth it … ‘in-ear’ monitoring works a treat in these situations.

“Confession is good for the soul, but bad for your career.”

The astonishing ancient classical guitars [where do you find them?]

Ever wondered where the astonishing ancient classical guitars are sold and where they are available to view?

I have been on the mailing list of GUITARRERIA DE BUENOS AIRES for some years now and I delight in seeing the beautiful creations new and very old which they have for sale ... get on the list at info@guitarreriabsas.com.ar and see the web site at http://www.guitarreriabsas.com.ar

“Sometimes too much to drink isn't enough.”


In support of HELP for HEROES … it’s a million congratulations to one brave and haritable singer…..

Granville's, Stone, Staffs in the UK Today is ... DAY 183 OF 366

5,792 songs sung raising £52,155 ...so far!!!! Averaging £9.00 per song!!

Just 1 Man, 1 Van, 366 shows, 366 pubs, 366 towns, 366 days … Frankie Martin's vocal marathon tour rolls on...

Tel; 07921128717 … www.bndmusic.co.uk … Ian Campbell, BND Music Co., 104 Park Gate, Upper College St, Nottingham, NG1 5AP …. UK

“It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere”.


“By the way, if you Google 'Saint David's Day Anthem' (that's our Saint Patrick!) you'll see who wrote the song! Seven out of ten ain't bad!

I've used all the tips that were in your book and more! (if that's possible)

Thanks again. I will mention you.

Best wishes

Gwenno x”

"A closed mouth gathers no foot.”

Subscriber's Section [ a better mic. 0r a pre-amp? ]


I can rent Neumann mics. and since they are school rentals they're free, so if it sounds crappy I’ll bring it back to the front desk. Anyway, back to the Shure KSMs.

The KSM-27 is $400-500 cheaper than the 44. Is the 44 really worth that much more when I could buy a 27 and then have enough money for a nice pre-amp. what do you think of the Really Nice Pre-Amps (RNP)?

I've read great things about it.. I could afford the KSM-27 and a RNP for the price of the KSM-44. What would you suggest?

Thanks for the help,


My Reply:

Our rules are "one short reply to ONE question on music FOR NON-MEMBERS, Members of 'The Serious Writers Guild' have unlimited personal access to Dec by direct telephone, Fax and Email, apply at https://secure.mistral.co.uk/makehits/swgappsecure.htm ".

[Any advice given here shall not be deemed as financial or legal advice under any existing or future laws of any country]:


Hiring for free? Brilliant. And school stuff [if the USA is the same as the UK] is always well looked after and they have the top equipment.

As regards the Shure ... As I said in my post, high end condenser mics are only necessary for very high quality recording [classical, or Celine Dion type work].

For normal pop orientated work [which is what I do] it would be impossible to tell one mic. from another in the final finished product.

For reference, I have fished out the details of KSM-27 and KSM-44 ... Just go to the specifications and you will see that the only difference is that the 44 has a dual diaphragm and the 27 a single [dual is better for omni-directional, all round, work]. The specs. for each mic. are practically identical.



As regards pre-amps ....

Strangely, I never use one in my studio, preferring to take in the sound [to Pro Tools] flat, straight from the mic. That will be the cleanest sound. I do all the work on the vocal [compression etc.] at mix time. There are two schools of thought:

1) Use a pre amp as a limiter when recording to ensure that there is no overload and hence distortion. This ensures that every take will be 'safe'.

2) Never use a limiter at record time as limiting is permanent and irreversible. A skilled performer will always conform with the producer's instructions ... So there will never be overload [in theory] unless the engineer screws up..

I subscribe to the second way of thinking.

In major studios I have used a variety of pre amps [straight to tape or disc, bypassing the channel inputs]. The best rated are Neve [mega expensive but the top rated] Solid State Logic, Focusrite, Avalon and Presonus [ http://www.presonus.com/ ]. My brother's son was International sales director for Neve/Calrec ..... It was his brother Michael who introduced me to the Shure KSM series while he was in Dubai.

There is a very good article you should read before committing any money to a preamp .... He confirms everything I say and write about preamps http://www.tweakheadz.com/microphone_preamps.htm

It is much more important to create a perfect studio recording environment [see my articles at http://www.makehits.co.uk/artintro.htm ]

It is also important to know the theories of unity gain etc. as regards recording ... And also the pro recording performer's techniques.

Monitors are so important.

You need all this knowledge and methodology before even thinking of mics., preamps etc.


Dec [Cluskey] dec@makehits.com

2 Gold discs in 2008! Decca have relaunched their ‘World Of’ series on the back of those hits. Readers Digest are now promoting a triple album set …. Do you think I can help your music career succeed?

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“3 Minutes on the Radio with Dec” …. Available immediately at http://www.myspace.com/makehits

“When blondes have more fun do they know it?”

The gags: ..... [Attraction? I am allowed to tell Irish Gags … I’m Irish - Rory]

“Paddy is passing by Mick's hay shed one day when through a gap in the door he sees Mick doing a slow and sensual striptease in front of an old red Massey Ferguson.

Buttocks clenched he performs a slow pirouette and gently slides off first the right welly, followed by the left.

He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move lets his braces fall down from his shoulders to dangle by his hips over his corduroy trousers.

Grabbing both sides of his checked shirt he rips it apart to reveal his tea stained vest underneath and with a final flourish he hurls his flat cap on to a pile of hay.

'What on earth are you doing Mick' says Paddy

'Jeez Paddy, ye frightened the livin’ bejasus out of me' says an obviously embarrassed Mick, 'but me and the Missus been having some trouble lately in the bedroom department, and the Therapist suggested I do something sexy to a tractor."


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  • “Hi Dec £170,000 I've made in the past six months ... so many projects I haven't a minute. Number 4 in Music Week chart ... can't wait for next year ... they are predicting huge chart success for my productions. Unbelievable.
    D**** E****”

  • Enjoy video for a song I co-wrote with extraordinary Dutch singer Jenny Lane.
    I have 2 co-written songs on her great new album Monsters.
    Thanks for all the continued support & advice... Mick Lee.

  • In 2010 film, just budgeted in LA, for full theatrical in the US for $8.7mill with Paul Kay attached.
    Two Liverpool 08 commissions. First with 200 choir Second a major CD Brass Band album with Fairey Brass Band ... Phil Lawrence [UK]

  • I had my first Top Ten Hit in Germany as a songwriter, great things are happening ... I'm on tour all over Europe with the band that I'm producing. We're the official support act for 50 Cent. 15 shows in the greatest countries of Europe. Marcell Brell [Germany]

  • We played The Cavern Club in Liverpool
    Patchwork Grace were the best thing they'd ever seen!!
    Ian - Thanks again Dec! [UK]

  • I was asked to play at the Pepsi Music festival in Buenos Aires. The most important festival held on the whole South American continent. it lasts 10 days every major local star, as well as many international acts like Megadeath, The Wailers, Die Toten Hose, etc. Thanks again Dec ... Emiliano Canal [Argentina]

  • Recently I have finished a score for an independent movie called “Treehouse”. I am now composing tracks for various music libraries for licencing and am also discussing publishing the MUNKIE catalogue with various publishers. Jason Clarke. [N. Ireland]

  • This is Yosi & Ofir Nafkar from Israel member of The Serious Writer Guild Membership No NET0778030W. We wrote music for an Australian Movie By Kerry Bowden. She is a great woman who helps children in need. The movie and the music had a great success. Together we gathered 1million$. [Israel]

  • Hi Dec, some good news regarding my girlfriend Erin's songs, 3 are being used on a new American TV show. Anyway thanks again for your invaluable support, knowing your there makes this leap into the publishing world feel a lot safer ... Roger O'Donnell [The Cure]

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