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How to Add Dynamics to Your Songs

"Dynamics," as we're using the term here, means the difference in volume between the softest part of your song and the loudest. Dynamics give your song peaks and valleys. The quiet moments make the louder moments... Read more »

Pittsburg Modular Lifeforms Foundation Evo Synthesizer Demo

Perry Willig from Pittsburgh Modular presents the Lifeforms Foundation Evo modular analog synthesizer. With 15 Eurorack modules pre-loaded in a sturdy case, the Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms Foundation Evo is a... Read more »

Focusrite Releases RedNet Control 2

Focusrite has released a major update to their RedNet Control software, RedNet Control 2, which provides remote control over the company's range of RedNet hardware. The new RedNet Control 2 was developed largely in... Read more »

Native Instruments Releases Kontakt 5 Update

Native Instruments has released an update to Kontakt 5. The new version 5.6.6, in addition to bug fixes, offers a return to full key coloring on the virtual keyboard, making switch placements and sound and sample... Read more »

Keeley Dark Side Workstation Analog Multi-effects Pedal Demo

Aaron Pierce from Keeley Electronics presents the Dark Side Workstation analog multi-effects pedal. Combining biting fuzz, multi-head tape-style delay, and vibrant modulation effects, the Keeley Dark Side... Read more »

Softube Updates Console 1 Software with UAD Plug-in Support

Softube has released a Console 1 software update with support for selected UAD Powered Plug-ins from Universal Audio. This update allows users of Console 1 to add to their collection of Console 1 EQ, Compressor... Read more »

Fender American Professional HSS Shawbucker Stratocaster Review

Don Carr presents the Fender American Professional HSS Shawbucker Stratocaster. It's been crafted to give you the best design elements from classic vintage Strats and the most popular modern features in one... Read more »

Steven Slate Interviewed by Sweetwater

Mitch Gallagher is joined by Steven Slate, CEO of Slate Digital. He talks with Mitch about his early days creating drum sample collections, his work as a recording engineer, and what drives him to continue creating... Read more »

Come as You Are

Today is February 20, and Kurt Cobain would be celebrating his 50th birthday. Let that sink in for a second — Kurt Cobain. Fifty. Unfortunately, the events surrounding Kurt's tragic death tend to overshadow the man... Read more »

8 Best Mic Preamps for Recording Vocals

Ask a dozen engineers about their favorite console or mic preamp for vocals, and you'll get a dozen different answers. Everybody hears things differently and we all have different preferences, so the topic of "best"... Read more »

Sonoma Wire Works Updates GuitarTone, FourTrack, and StudioTrack iOS Apps

Sonoma Wire Works has updated all three of their iOS apps. The new updates include the following features and fixes: GuitarTone 2.10.2 Update Fixed issue where GuitarJack Model 2 appears as "not supported"Fixed hang... Read more »

PRS Sonzera Amplifier Demo

Don Carr visits PRS headquarters to try out their line of Sonzera amplifiers. Don is joined by Paul Reed Smith and Doug Sewell to learn more about what make these amps tick. The Sonzera series amps offer two... Read more »

Yoshi Ikegami, President of BOSS, Interviewed by Sweetwater

Join us for a very special interview as Mitch Gallagher is joined by Yoshi Ikegami, President of BOSS, as well as Jeff Slingluff, Product Manager for BOSS. Yoshi Ikegami is taking a four-month tour of the USA to... Read more »

Waves Updates SoundGrid Software and Hardware

Waves has made several updates to the various hardware and software components of the SoundGrid system. These updates and fixes include: SoundGrid Driver — Fixed installation issues on Windows.SoundGrid Driver... Read more »

Antelope Unveils Zen Studio+

Antelope Audio has reinvented their classic portable audio interface with new features and capabilities — the new Zen Studio+ has everything found in the original Zen Studio and much more! Like the Zen Studio... Read more »

How to Record Vocals in a Large Space

If you have access to a large space to record vocals and a couple of mics, you can get some fantastic results. Tony Visconti used a close mic and a distance mic on David Bowie to get the excellent vocal ambiance in... Read more »

Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms SV-1 Blackbox Semi-modular Analog Synthesizer Demo

Perry Willig from Pittsburgh Modular presents the Lifeforms SV-1 Blackbox, a semi-modular Eurorack-format analog synthesizer. It delivers the full power of the Lifeforms SV-1 Synthesizer Eurorack module in a fully... Read more »

Wampler Mini Ego Compressor Pedal

Mitch Gallagher presents the Wampler Mini Ego Compressor pedal. It boasts the same transparent performance that has made its larger brother a gold standard among musicians. This addition to the line does it in a... Read more »

Native Instruments Releases MASCHINE Software Update

Native Instruments has updated MASCHINE software to version 2.6. The new update brings features previously only available for MASCHINE JAM, and vice versa. MASCHINE 2.6 offers JAM's Variation Engine, which features... Read more »

Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Cymbals Review

Nick D'Virgilio presents Zildjian's K Custom Special Dry series of cymbals. The K Custom Series is where the Zildjian Sound Lab went into innovation overdrive. K Customs arm you with a collection of modern K voices... Read more »

Sonoma Wire Works Updates DrumCore to v4.1.0

Sonoma Wire Works has released DrumCore v4.1.0. In addition to numerous bug fixes, the update features seven dedicated stereo auxiliary outputs for busing sub-mix channels within a session. The full drum mix is... Read more »

Happy Birthday, Peter Gabriel

Happy Birthday to a True Frontiersman, Mr. Peter Gabriel   Today is February 13. Of course, we'll have plenty of time to celebrate Valentine's eve, but first, let's lift our chocolate-covered whatevers to... Read more »

His Race Is Won – Jazz Legend Al Jarreau Dies at 76

"I am a distance runner, a marathoner... literally and figuratively." – Al Jarreau   When it came to performing, Al Jarreau was in it for the long run. As a matter of fact, it took a team of doctors to convince... Read more »

Sweetwater Channel Hits 100,000,000 Views

Our YouTube channel has reached one hundred million views — thank you for your viewership! Our goal is to share knowledge and our passion for gear with musicians and audio engineers worldwide. Thank you for your... Read more »

Tech Tip of the Day

02/23/2017
How to Add Dynamics to Your Songs

"Dynamics," as we're using the term here, means the difference in volume between the softest part of your song and the loudest. Dynamics give your song peaks and valleys. The quiet moments make the louder moments pop, which adds excitement to a song. Moreover, a song with no dynamics can cause ear fatigue, as a non-stop barrage of loud sounds eventually exhausts the listener.

If you find that your song has no dynamics, the first thing to check is the mix. If you have a song that should be dynamic but your recorded mix isn't, check that you're not over compressing or limiting tracks or the full mix.

If you're not over compressing/limiting, it may be the arrangement that is causing your song to lack dynamics. It's a common trap to fall into, especially in heavy music where you want to sonically pummel your audience. But even then, dynamics can make your pummeling even heavier.

The most basic and powerful way to create dynamics in an arrangement is to remove instruments from specific sections of the song. You can create dynamics between verse and chorus by using fewer tracks in one than the other. Or by having a few instruments drop out right before going from one to the other. Perhaps you can write a "pre-chorus" or "chorus outro" that is beat-only, to add dynamics.

The opposite works too — if you have a sparse song that doesn't really have parts to remove, you can add parts to add dynamics. You can double guitars or add new keyboard lines to verses or choruses, or a lead solo in the bridge, and so on. However you change your arrangement, arranging for dynamics will help keep the listener engaged and make your song more textured, powerful, and interesting.

More Tech Tips

Word for the Day

02/23/2017
Electromagnetic Interference

Usually abbreviated "EMI," electromagnetic interference is a disturbance in the radio frequency spectrum generated by an external source, which affects an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction. The disturbance may degrade the performance of the circuit or even stop it from functioning. In the case of a data path, these effects can range from an increase in error rate to a total loss of the data.

Both man-made and natural sources generate changing electrical currents and voltages that can cause EMI: automobile ignition systems, mobile phones, thunderstorms, the sun, and the Northern Lights. EMI frequently affects AM radios. It can also affect mobile phones, FM radios, and televisions. Most audio devices and audio gear that isn't properly shielded is susceptible to EMI, and if the interference is strong enough, even shielded gear is vulnerable.

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