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Tech Tips

inSync Tech Tips cover over 4,700 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.

Latest Tech Tips

Compression or Automation?

Should you use compression or volume automation when you're mixing? The answer depends; both can be used to control dynamics. However, we think of it this way: Compression is great for taming peaks and unruly dynamics within a track.Automation is great for setting overall levels and "riding"... Read more »

Why Do Some Guitar Amps Have Complex EQ And Others Just a Tone Knob?

First, let's assume the question is about modern guitar amplifiers. With older amps, fewer tonal options were available. But these days, it's mostly a matter of style. Some amps are designed to have a "tone" right out of the box. They're designed for a particular sound, and you don't really... Read more »

Blend Clean and Distorted Bass for Better Tone

Distorted bass sounds awesome — greasy, gritty, garage-y, and punchy. But if you're not careful, distorted bass can get lost in the mix. This is because using distortion can increase compression (reducing the natural dynamics of your bass), cut some of the low end, and juice the midrange... Read more »

Slate Digital Updates VerbSuite Classics

Slate Digital has released version 1.0.7.1 of VerbSuite Classics. In addition to several bug fixes, improvements in this version include: Added the Device Browser Added a Reset Reverb Parameters in the Configuration Menu Removed the scroll wheel for switching between Devices Longer Pre-Delay... Read more »

How To EQ Background Vocals

Few things are as frustrating as having perfect background vocal recordings that don't "sit" well in the mix. If you push the volume up, they start to mask the lead vocals, but if you pull them back, they fade away and don't have the desired impact on the song. This is a case where judicious... Read more »

How Often Should I Clean My Fretboard?

Getting in a basic maintenance habit of wiping down your guitar or bass with a soft cloth after each playing session is a great way to keep finger gunk and oils from building up over time. If you can't remember to do that every time you play, set a time every week for a quick wipedown. That's a... Read more »

Surgical EQ vs. Tone Shaping EQ

Sometimes a precision, "surgical" EQ cut or boost is exactly what a track or channel needs to accentuate or remove a trouble frequency or to control feedback or resonances. But other times, a wider bandwidth EQ boost or cut can be just what's needed to shape the overall frequency response of... Read more »

Apogee Updates Element Control App

Apogee has released a free software update for their Element Control app for Mac and iOS. This app, designed exclusively for the Element Thunderbolt audio interfaces, now features a new talkback features which can use any Mac's built-in microphone, or any Core Audio input device, to communicate... Read more »

How to Add Depth to Delay with Reverb

Here's a method for adding depth to and mellowing out the character of a delay effect: Insert a reverb plug-in after a delay plug-in on a channel strip or aux channel in your DAW. Keep the reverb decay short, and keep the "room size" (or whatever the name of the "bigness" parameter is in your... Read more »

Cut the Mud

In most popular music, electric bass generates much of the punch and bottom end, working in conjunction with the kick drum. Because of this, it stands to reason that you want to have as much low end in your bass sound as possible. But while it might be counter intuitive, often you'll get the... Read more »

Should I Play My Bass with My Fingers or with a Pick?

We recommend having at least some familiarity with playing both ways. Many bassists who use picks also use their fingers, and vice versa, Depending on what the song calls for. Both techniques can be perfect, depending on how you want the bass to fit into a song. In broad terms, when you play... Read more »

East West Updates Play to 5.0.1

East West has released Play 5.0.1, which features the Amp Simulator and Ohmicide multi-band distortion plug-ins included for use with all EastWest collections. In addition, Play 5.0.1 includes the following bug fixes and enhancements: Further improved playback performanceFixed artifacts and cut... Read more »

Make Sure Snare Mic Is In Phase With Overhead Tracks

Sometimes, you just can't seem to get your snare recordings to sound punchy. You do all the right processing in your DAW — compress the snare, EQ it to be snappy, but it still sounds lackluster. What you may be running into is phase issues between the isolated snare track and the... Read more »

Thicken Up Reverb Returns with Compression

Using an aux in your DAW as an input for a reverb is a tried-and-true mixing technique. It helps you separate the verb from the source material and lets you dial in exactly how much reverb you want. Sometimes, however, you'll find that the signal going through the reverb comes out sounding... Read more »

How Do I Know If My Studio Needs Acoustic Treatment?

There are a few simple answers to this question: 1. If it's a room, then it needs acoustic treatment. Not to be flippant, but unless it's already treated, you can assume that pretty much any room being used as a studio can be improved by adding acoustic treatment. 2. If it sounds bad. 3. If the... Read more »

Don’t Skimp On Interface Quality

It's fun to spend most of your budget on "sexy" pieces of gear — guitars, synths, amps, pedals, and so on; basically, the items that you can use directly to make sound and look awesome doing it! But don't forget the "behind the scenes" gear — the required boxes and hardware that... Read more »

Native Instruments Updates MASCHINE and TRAKTOR

Native Instruments have released MASCHINE 2.5.5 and TRAKTOR 2.11 with Ableton Link support. Connecting two or more systems via Ableton Link gives users the ability to synchronize all systems to a common timeline and change the tempo globally from each of the connected systems. This offers... Read more »

FabFilter Plug-in Updates

FabFilter has released updates for their entire plug-in line. The updates fix the following issues: Fixed issues with macOS Sierra on the new MacBook Pro (Late 2016) with Touch Bar, which could cause the host to become unresponsive or to crash after exiting Full Screen mode or closing a plug-in... Read more »

Native Instruments Updates Reaktor with Ableton Link Support

Native Instruments has released Reaktor 6.1, which includes Ableton Link support. This offers hassle-free timing sync across multiple devices and apps, including MASCHINE, TRAKTOR, iOS apps, and Ableton Live. The update also fixes two bugs: Core Cell visible on Panel View fixedNow possible to... Read more »

Cakewalk Releases SONAR 2016.12 Update

Cakewalk ends 2016 with a final update to SONAR Platinum, SONAR Professional, and SONAR Artist. In addition to numerous bug fixes and tweaks, the SONAR 2016.12 update features the following enhancements: The Notes tab in the Browser now has a Copyright field. This was previously available in... Read more »