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Tech Tips

inSync Tech Tips cover over 4,800 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.

Bass Tech Tips

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 »

Strymon MultiSwitch and Firmware Updates

The Strymon MultiSwitch adds a lot of creative power when combined with the company's TimeLine, Mobius, or BigSky pedals. In most cases, connecting a MultiSwitch to your Strymon pedal will be simply "plug and play,"... Read more »

Fresh Tones: Wah at the End of the Pedal Chain

The classic position for a wah pedal is as the first pedal your guitar sees (or second, if you use a vintage fuzz pedal that doesn't deal well with buffers). It's almost considered gospel: the wah becomes part of... Read more »

What’s the Difference Between Resistive and Reactive Loads?

It's not safe to operate a tube guitar amplifier with no speaker connected. The amplifier needs to see a "load" — normally from a speaker — that gives the power it puts out somewhere to go. Without a... Read more »

Cool Tool: Ansmann Work Light

Shed a little light on the subject! There's nothing worse than trying to set up on a dark stage or fiddling around in the dark inside or behind a rack loaded full of equipment. Sure, many smartphones have a... Read more »

Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean my Strings?

We don't recommend it. Rubbing alcohol may dry out the wood of the fingerboard, and may damage certain plastic materials on the guitar, and in some cases, even damage the guitar's finish. We've found that it can... Read more »

Recording Secret: Mute Unplayed Strings

Strings on stringed instruments resonate. That's what they are supposed to do. When you're strumming open chords that may be exactly what you want. But if you're recording a particularly low or downtuned part that... Read more »

What is the 4-cable Method for Connecting an Amp to a Multi-effects?

The "four-cable method" refers to a way to connect a compatible guitar multi-effects pedal to a guitar amplifier. Some digital multi-effects pedals have multiple inputs and outputs, and allow to route different... Read more »

How to Record Direct with a Guitar Amp/Software Speaker Simulator

Have you ever listened to the sound of a guitar amp direct without running it through a speaker cabinet? It sounds terrible — thin, buzzy, and trebly. This is why guitarists always want to use a speaker... Read more »

Specs Only Tell Part of the Story

It's tempting to shop by comparing specifications. After all, better gear always has better specs, right? Specs can be tremendously informative and useful when making gear decisions. But specs aren't everything... Read more »