inSync Tech Tips cover over 3,800 music and audio topics spanning 15 years of technological development. Look here to find answers to your tech questions, cool tips and tools for making music, and more.
Roland's amazing R-Mix software has been a runaway success here at Sweetwater, but the power of this software can be hard to wrap your head around. If you want to check it all it can do for yourself, there is now a demo version available!
Q: I purchased the Charvel Wild Card #7 from Sweetwater in August. At the top of the fretboard, it has three locking frames covering all six strings [a locking nut], which is intended to control and eliminate tuning slippage when using the tremolo bar. I'd like to know if I take off those three... Read more »
Q: The information on the upcoming TC Electronic Flashback X4 pedal says that it has "analog dry through." What does this mean? A: With many digital effects pedals, the incoming analog signal from the guitar or other instrument is converted to digital, processing is added, then both the dry and... Read more »
Q: I'm studying to be a mixing engineer, and I was wondering if I could ask for your advice. I have a country mix where the lead guitar has a few solos and the client asked if I could create a "Brad Paisley" sound. I'm using plug-ins to get the sounds. A: Brad Paisley goes for a fairly... Read more »
Want your guitar or bass to stay in tune? There are numerous places where a guitar string can get hung up and therefore slip out of tune when you start playing. The solution is Big Bends Nut Sauce, a specially designed lubricant for string trees, bridge pieces, nuts, and other places where... Read more »
Our last tip covered how to use the Option+Command+= and Option+Command+- key commands to zoom a Mac's screen in and out. There is another way to do this, if you have a mouse with scrolling. Just hold the Control modifier key and scroll the mouse to zoom in and out.
Sometimes, you just want to get a little closer look — such as when you are performing a delicate edit on an audio waveform. On the Mac, hit Option+Command+= to zoom the display in, and Option+Command+- to zoom out. You can also turn zoom on and off using Option+Command+8.
We were reminded again today, while shooting a video, that tube amplifiers need to up. We're not just talking about turning the amp on and waiting until the vacuum tubes are hot enough to pass sound. We're talking about the tubes thoroughly heating up, which can take 15 to 30 minutes. In our... Read more »
Many guitar players want to use their Avid Eleven Rack as a versatile "front end" along with a regular guitar amp. Here are two essential tips from Sweetwater Sales Engineer Geoff Allen on how to get the most from an Eleven Rack with a guitar amp: 1. Turn the cabinet simulations off. In this... Read more »
Apple's OS X 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) come configured with a variety of keyboard shortcuts or key commands for common functions. Some of these can conflict with existing shortcuts in Avid Pro Tools. A common one is that the Control + Arrow keys are by default assigned in OS X to... Read more »
Q: The Avid HD Native Thunderbolt interface has a power supply connector, but can it run on bus power? A: Yes, the HD Native Thunderbolt interface will run off of Thunderbolt bus power. If you prefer, you could choose to run it off of an external power supply.
Q: I see a lot of engineers hang vocal microphones upside down in front of the singer. Do they do this because the tone is different? If so, what difference is there? A: It's doubtful that hanging a mic upside down affects its tone. This practice originated when tubes were added to microphones;... Read more »
Q: I see that Apple announced the new iPhone 5. It looks like the connector is different on it. What happens to all my current iOS accessories? Are they obsolete? A: The new iPhone 5 looks great! The iPhone 5 is equipped with an 8-pin Lightning connector instead of the previous 30-pin dock... Read more »
In honor of Guitar Month here at Sweetwater: Many players, when setting up the tone controls on a guitar amplifier, dial in the settings using the bridge pickup. Unfortunately, many times this results in the bridge pickup sounding great, but the neck pickup sounding muddy and dull. Instead, try... Read more »
Q: I just bought a new Macintosh from Sweetwater, but there are no hard drive icons on the desktop. How do I get the hard drives to show up so I can open them? A: New Macs ship from Apple without the hard drive icons visible on the desktop. To make them visible, click on the desktop to go the... Read more »
Q: Since the new Avid Pro Tools HD Native Thunderbolt box has a headphone jack on it, does this mean that it will run standalone, without an HD interface connected? A: No, you'll still need to have an HD interface connected. The idea is to provide field monitoring when doing mobile recordings... Read more »
Q: What does the Notch Tune control do on the Fender Super-Sonic Twin combo amp? A: This control, also found on the Fender Super-Sonic 100 Head, controls the frequency of a movable or sweepable midrange notch filter in the "Burn" channel. This allows you to fine-tune the distortion tone and to... Read more »
The little clip-on Snark SN-1 tuner is one of our favorites — they work great and they're so small and inexpensive you can buy one for every guitar or bass you own and put one in every room where a guitar or bass resides so you're never without a tuner! But did you know there's a... Read more »
Q: My Pigtronix Philosopher's Twin came with an 18-volt power supply. But I want to put it on my pedalboard where everything is powered by a 1-spot power supply that provides 9-volt power. Will it work okay? A: Yes, the Philosopher's Twin will operate just fine on nine volts of power. However... Read more »
Did you know that with the latest Variax software (v1.8 at this writing), you can use the volume and tone controls on the guitar as "expression pedals," controlling up to 50 parameters simultaneously from each knob, allowing you to "morph" between POD HD settings (requires POD HD with Variax... Read more »