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Mike Russell: Hi, I'm Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative. Welcome to the Adobe Audition Podcast were I'm interviewing power users of Adobe Audition. We'll reminisce back to Cool Edit Pro and take you right up to date with Adobe Audition CC. If you'd like to learn about audio production – everything from vocal effects to radio imaging, commercial production to music mixing – join my next audio production course at mrc dot fm slash learn. That's mrc dot fm slash l e a r n, learn.
Mike Russell: My guest today is Karam A Karem. He's a sound and audio engineer and he's got a lot of experience working in the media production industry. He's also got other hobbies such as photography, video of course audio engineering, film composing, acoustics engineering. This guy knows about sound and obviously Adobe Audition. He's also very strong educationally in the area with a Bachelor of Engineering that focuses in electrical electronics and communications engineering. Is based currently in Kuwait does fantastic work at Barzeh International who cover all kinds of different specialties such as acoustic treatment post-production sound design sound installation recording mixing mastering you name it and I believe Karam is in charge of audio for seven different TV channels. Karam, as-salāmu ʿalaykum. And welcome.
Karam Abdulkarem: Waʿalaykumu as-salām, thank you thank you for such an introduction Mike.
Karam Abdulkarem: My pleasure. Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Karam Abdulkarem: Well as you said I'm a sound and audio engineer. I work in Barzeh International and I'm an audio and sound manager in there and I work with seven TV channels in mixing mastering and the audio work.
Mike Russell: So can you name some of the channels and some of the stuff you do for them.
Karam Abdulkarem: We work with Kuwait TV channel and we work with Spacetoon. It's for kids TV channel and we work with Dubai multiple KSA channels and Abu Dhabi and Oman and much more.
Mike Russell: Amazing so how do you use Adobe Audition for this work?
Karam Abdulkarem: Actually there's a different kind of production but basically for recording and mixing and mastering for example for the voiceover I rely on Adobe Audition.
Mike Russell: You use it for voiceovers for what kind of stuff? TVv trailers or for actual creation of shows?
Karam Abdulkarem: Everything. Actually I use it in everything. It's my first program that I choose to work on and I'm learning a lot each day with the new updates and I just want to say something, Mike. If Adobe can hear me please add the MIDI on it. Please add the MIDI future. Because I would like to create my music in it.
Mike Russell: You're definitely not the only person voicing that opinion. It would be wonderful. So I assume you're musically trained as well and you would love to be able to create all kinds of musical compositions in Audition, right?
Karam Abdulkarem: Yes exactly. I would love to create my music on Audition, actually. I'm using different like programs that accept MIDI. But I would love to create it. It would make my life easier.
Mike Russell: That makes sense. So what's the best audio production advice you've ever received in Karam?
Karam Abdulkarem: It was you know one of my best teachers ever. His name is… and he is a famous singer for intros, cartoon intros, and he once said to me that I have to record like clear sound to make my life easier not to like digitalize the audio itself like the best quality you can have. It's the best recording you will get.
Mike Russell: I understand that to mean that he was a fan of recording in analog rather than digital?
Karam Abdulkarem: Yes he was yeah he was because he was very very old guy.
Mike Russell: That is really that's a good piece of advice and I still have a good set of gear in my set up that is analog. Like for instance this microphone that I'm using right now that goes through an analog mic preamp and processor because I just feel that it gives you a better sound than trying to do it digitally. I don't know. I might be wrong but I just I love it. I've even got a mixing desk as well in here that I use to mix audio.
Karam Abdulkarem: Well actually actually in the digital world we have to use like the iZotope filters or plugins like to give that sense of the analog. You know what I mean. Yeah, because everything is digital like it's not normal. So we have to make it as normal as we can.
Mike Russell: So what's the most challenging project you've worked on as a producer?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well there's a lot of like each project is a challenge a new challenge for me. I try to think like to make. I want to make like new sounds in each program that I take each episode that I do but the most challenging one was my song actually. I did a single lately and for a sound and audio engineer like everyone is watching and want to hear the quality that you will upload on YouTube. Right? So my song like I did a lot of premixes for it. Then after I did it and finished it I'm very satisfied with it. Actually there was a lot of challenge. Like I told each project is a challenge for me but this one like I wanted to make it like the best quality that I can do and it's on YouTube you can hear it. It's by the name Sa'alatni.
Mike Russell: Yeah I'd love to play a little piece now.
Mike Russell: So what an awesome project. That's amazing. Thank you Karam. So tell me a little bit more about the one cool thing that you would like to work on that you have not told anyone about yet?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well I have a new documentary and it's like 30 episodes and it's about animals and I'm doing everything in it everything related to the audio, the sound effect, the music and even the voice over. It's in Arabic. So, and we are distributing for 7 TV channels.
Mike Russell: So what kind of sound mixing or skill is required to create this?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well, I use Audition as you know and for this I have to use like the noise gate a lot light just to reduce or to make my life easy when you use the. How can I say it. You know the voice when you speak and there's air between when you take your breath. I use the noise gate just to reduce this amount of air that I record. And for me Audition like gives me the best compression ever with the multi-track compression and this one I use a lot. Actually I think it's from iZotope right?
Mike Russell: It is originally yes yeah absolutely. The multiband compressor. That's yeah that has a full on compressor isn't it?
Karam Abdulkarem: This is one of the most important thing that I use in my mixing.
Mike Russell: That's a beefy compressor. I love that. I love the multiband. So you know everybody I'm pretty sure who's in audio and works in audio for a passion. They can go back. They can trace it back to somewhere in their childhood where they felt Yeah this is the moment you know audio something about audio just makes you feel good and makes you want to follow that dream. When you think back to your childhood Karam what is the one memory around audio in particular that makes you smile?
Mike Russell: Back to the interview in a moment but if you want to in my perfect audio creator setup head over to MRC dot fm slash win.
Karam Abdulkarem: Well I've always dreamt like I want to be that audio guy I want to know how to create my own audio to express myself with sound. And every time I do a new song or I do a new episode or like do a new project with sound. It came back to me and I smile actually because I dreamt of being that good once and now yes I am that engineer and it makes me smile.
Mike Russell: So always as as a kid you were thinking about audio and just wanting to create sounds essentially.
Karam Abdulkarem: I was like watching on TV these arudio guys like with the mixers and what are those buttons for, like. I was curious for it then this curiosity. Here I am I'm that engineer.
Mike Russell: Awesome! Yeah for me it was jingles it was listening to jingles on radio stations and I was like How did they make the voiceover sound like that. And then a program called Cool Edit Pro that eventually became Adobe Audition came out and I was like I can make these sounds.
Karam Abdulkarem: Yeah. I used to work with Cool Edit before then it changed to Audition. That's why I keep following Audition.
Mike Russell: There you go. So tell me. Obviously you're a huge power user of Adobe Audition. You've been using it for a long time even back to the days when it was owned by Syntrillium and it was Cool Edit Pro. This is really interesting this always interests me to find this out from other audio people who are working inside Audition. What Karam for you would you say if you had to choose just one thing. I know there are lots of good things. What's your one favorite feature in Adobe Audition?
Karam Abdulkarem: For sure it's the dynamics effect like they are simple yet they are powerful plugins that offers a compressor, expander, limiters and the noise gate. It's one easy to use tool you know.
Mike Russell: Yeah the dynamics effect. You did mention the the multiband compressor earlier on and also the noise gate and the expander of course if we were to go back for a moment to the multiband compressor which as you rightly mention was designed initially by iZotope. Is there a particular preset you use on that you are particularly in favor of?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well the broadcast for sure.
Mike Russell: Yeah that's a hard one. That's a real hard one the broadcast one.
Karam Abdulkarem: Yeah it's very powerful.
Mike Russell: Do you think it can also be dangerous do you think you can damage makes is if you use something like a multiband compressor incorrectly?
Karam Abdulkarem: Actually yes especially when you use it on mastering like when you when you mix like a heavy mix then you use this compressor on mustering. Yeah you don't want to use that.
Mike Russell: And when's the best time in your opinion to use a multiband compressor. Would you use it multiple times along the journey or would you use it. Is this something you'd put on at the end?
Karam Abdulkarem: I use it only the first time after I normalized the audio.
Mike Russell: Cool and would you use it on a full mix or you use it on individual channels like dialogue or music. How would you tend to use it in that sense?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well, for sure. For each track like requires its own unique filters that are plugins and for that I use multiband channels and also multiband compressor. And yeah that's it.
Mike Russell: How about amazing work flows or timesaving shortcuts for Adobe Audition. I'm sure you're doing tasks that require you doing a certain set of workflows anything in particular you can talk about that would help us to maybe speed up our experience with Adobe Audition?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well each project have or has its like unique filters or unique plugins you have to use. But for me first thing I use the side chain for like the voice over as like the first thing I try to do but not all the recording like use this side chain and I use the noise gate. As I previously said, the compressor, then equalization just to pump up some hertz frequencies that I like.
Mike Russell: And what are your go to resources when you're creating audio?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well actually I use the Focusrite audio interface. I have 2i4 and the 18i20 and for mics I have the Shure microphone, Neumann and for headphones I have M-Audio because they are good and cheap actually and I have the Focusrite headphones just for like to hear another to hear my mix in other monitors. And what do I have. Well I have a very good computer. Yes. Very powerful. Yeah it's very expensive. I build it myself with SSD cards. You know because you want to make your life easy you don't want to go with audio and you say oh it's taking time oh why it's hanging here. No you want everything as fast as you can do to make yourself creative. Right?
Mike Russell: That's right. So what kind of processor and how much RAM have you got in your setup?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well I have the 64 bit for the RAM and it's an Intel Core I7.
Mike Russell: Wow that is really cool and just going back to the mics that you mentioned there so you mentioned having a Focusrite 2i4 audio interface, Focusrite headphones. What did you say you use the M-Audio for what M-Audio kit do you have?
Karam Abdulkarem: I have the M-Audio BX6 for monitors and I have the BX5 and I have also the headphones HD something I forgot the name.
Mike Russell: HD something that's OK. And for the Shure and the Neumann mics. Is it the Shure SM50…?
Karam Abdulkarem: For the Shure? It's SM58.
Mike Russell: So what would you tell a young aspiring audio producer who wants to get into the industry?
Karam Abdulkarem: Keep learning. Because every day there's a new product every every day there's a new thing new method. Keep learning. That's the first and last advice that I can say.
Mike Russell: Because when you when you think you know the basics of how to EQ, how to compress how to make audio generally sound good. There's always a new technique. There's always a new way to do things a new style of sound that's coming along. Particularly when it comes to producing music I guess and jingles and all of that. There's always more you can be learning and there are so many different places that you can learn from online. I'm really curious actually. You were telling me just before we started recording that you do something online to help people learn audio production in the Arabic language. Is that correct?
Karam Abdulkarem: Exactly. Indeed you were my inspiration actually when I saw your channel on YouTube and you were like very generous and information and you are using Audition. And I said to myself like we have a very little tiny resources in Arabic on YouTube. Should I do this. Should I do that then. Yeah I said to myself yeah I should do this. Then I created The Audio Show in Arabic it's called aleard alsawtiu and yeah. And then I'm teaching people how to create a very cool audio with Audition.
Mike Russell: Well we'll have to make sure to get the link to that channel and definitely post it up in the show notes so that people can go and check out your channel because that's super relevant so amazing. Karam, this has been a wonderful chat. It's been great to learn about your work flow and what you're doing and how you're using Adobe Audition. And just finally if someone wanted to find you online and connect with us the best place to go?
Karam Abdulkarem: Well for my Instagram it's audio dot show and for you the YouTube channel that I mentioned before.
Mike Russell: Karam, thank you so much for joining me on this Adobe edition podcast.
Karam Abdulkarem: It's a pleasure. Thank you thank you for having me Mike.
Mike Russell: That concludes this episode would you like an extra chance to win the awesome audio gear giveaway? Hit subscribe and review this podcast. Then email the details to podcast at MRC dot fm for an extra entry into the awesome audio giveaway. Good luck.
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