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Live Sound Month!

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.

Bass Tech Tips

How Many Watts of Bass Amp Do I Need?

Bass amplifiers, even more than guitar amps, have crazy variations in wattage. Just a quick search of Sweetwater.com turns up 20W bass amps, 2,000W bass amps, and everything in between! But do you really need a... Read more »

Got the Backline Blues?

Some performers don't mind playing gigs in which all the acts are expected to share the same backline. Others get twitchy if they can't use their own beloved, trusted gear, and are forced to rely on supplied... Read more »

Creative Recording: Mic Your Headphones!

Sometimes, getting that narrow-band, old-transistor-radio type tone is just what a song needs. Many EQ and filter plug-ins offer some kind of "telephone" setting, but if you want to have some fun getting that effect... Read more »

How to Quiet a Noisy Guitar

If you're playing guitar around gear with transformers or other gear that emits an electro-magnetic field (EMF), it can interfere with electric guitar pickups. That interference usually takes the form of the dread... Read more »

How to Get Better Results with a Speaker Emulator

Sometimes when recording, you just can't let your amp blast through a cabinet; you have to record "silently." The mic- and speaker-emulated outputs on some amps can be invaluable in this situation, allowing you to... Read more »

What is True Stereo versus Pseudo-stereo?

In terms of effects and processors, there are a number of terms that can apply to the "stereo-ness" of the signal. Consider these definitions: True Stereo — The stereo signal consists of two related channels... Read more »

Q: Should I Upgrade the Pots and Wiring in My Guitar?

In most cases, the stock electronics in an electric guitar or bass function just fine. When should you consider upgrading? 1. If there's a problem — scratchy pots, loss of high frequencies when turning down... Read more »

If I’m Recording My Guitar or Bass Direct, Do I Need an Amplifier?

We hate to give the dreaded "it depends" answer, but in this case it really does depend on what you're doing, what gear you're using, and the results you desire. Recording guitar or bass directly into your computer... Read more »

To Rack or Not to Rack

The '80s may have been the heyday of the "rack of doom"-style guitar rig, with huge, refrigerator-sized equipment racks filled with all sorts of processors. This resulted in something of a backlash against monster... Read more »

Isolated versus Non-Isolated Pedal Power Supplies

Non-isolated power supplies for guitar pedals are basically one power source that a number of different pedals can draw from, often in "daisy-chain" fashion. In most cases, this works fine. However, more pedals... Read more »

When Should I Change My Guitar or Bass Strings?

Some players change their strings on a regular schedule whether they need to or not, just to be sure their strings never go bad. Other people don't really think about their strings, and keep them on their instrument... Read more »

Crank It Up, Turn Down the Bass Control

When you're playing your guitar parts by yourself at lower volumes, you'll probably want to turn your bass knob on your amp up to give your guitar full-bodied sound. However, when you're playing loud, especially in... Read more »

How Often Should I Replace My Audio Cables?

Cables don't "wear out" in the same way that some components, such as vacuum tubes, do. In most cases, unless it is damaged or suffers wear from being coiled/uncoiled, stepped on, pulled, twisted, bent, or otherwise... Read more »

Avid Releases Sibelius 8.4

Avid has just released Sibelius 8.4. In addition to numerous bug fixes and improvements, this update introduces a new Custom Staff Sizes feature. There are now four staff sizes for you to choose among, defined in... Read more »

How to Use Both Delay and Reverb During Mixdown

Delay and reverb are classic effects that you'll find yourself using in almost every mix, sometimes on different tracks, but often on the same track. There are no hard and fast rules as to how you must use these... Read more »

Does My Guitar Pick Affect the Tone of my Bass or Guitar?

To a certain degree, yes. The material, thickness, and hardness of a pick will have an effect on how percussive the "pluck" of a string will be, which will affect your tone. However, other than that, the specific... Read more »

What is the Difference Between an Active and a Passive DI Box?

The most obvious difference is that passive DI boxes don't need to be powered. Active DI boxes require a power source, usually batteries or phantom power over an XLR jack. But the differences go deeper than that... Read more »

When I Turn On My Tube Amp, Does It Need to be in Standby?

There are several schools of thought on this. One goes like this: Tubes operate on two different types of electrical current, a low-voltage AC current that heats up their filaments, and high-voltage DC current that... Read more »

What’s a “Line Check”?

A "line check" is the process of making sure that all of the microphones, cables, and direct boxes on stage are working before the show or soundcheck starts. You can do this by having an associate with a cable... Read more »

Cool Tool: Hand-held Recorder

In these days of computers, smartphones, and tablets, it's easier than ever to plug microphones into an audio interface or mixer, and send all the sources to your DAW of choice. But don't underestimate the value of... Read more »

Live Sound: Cable Organization

Nothing can ruin your set faster than tripping over cables — not only are cables a safety hazard for the performers, it's all too easy to pull over a piece of gear, break an input or output jack, or otherwise... Read more »

Live Sound: Don’t Forget the Extension Cord

These days, nearly every musician needs power onstage — even vocalists need power for charging their iPads! Most musicians know that they should bring an extra power strip or two to the gig, just in case the... Read more »

Preventing Volume Wars

We admit it, we love to hear a cranked up guitar amp, a thunderous bass, and hammering drums — there's nothing like it! But volume can very easily get out of hand, leading to a volume war onstage. The... Read more »

What is a “Snake” and Do I Need One?

"Snake" is a generalized term for many cables all permanently bundled together in a tube or other binding. A snake is useful when you need to route a bunch of cables from one location to another — rather than... Read more »