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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.

Drums Tech Tips

Avoid “Snap-to-Gridlock”!

When working on any music project (remix or original), at some point you're going to want to move your clips around. In almost every project, you need to do things like line up an a cappella vocal track, line up... Read more »

Today’s Tech Tip is brought to you by the number 3.

Today's Tip is going to depart from the usual in that we're going to discuss music theory and composition. Naturally, this is a subject that takes years to cover in its entirely, but we're going to start with a very... Read more »

All Roland Drum Inputs Are Not Alike.

Q: "How come I can't use a stereo cable to attach two mono triggers (like two toms) into one of the dual trigger (stereo) inputs on a Roland TD-8, and make one a tom, and make one a rim (and assign it a tom sound)?... Read more »

Chord Charts Made Easy

"How do you get a guitar player to turn down? Put a sheet of music in front of him." Speaking as a percussionist, this joke was welcome relief from all the bad drummer jokes I had to endure. But if you need to... Read more »

Better Latency Than Never: Latency Tips and Hints:

Electronics seems to be a study in tradeoffs. Take digital recording. It's never been easier to edit and fix in the mix, but in the recording process itself we are presented with new problems. The most significant... Read more »

The Center Channel in Surround Mixing

Surround sound mixing offers new creative options but also can create new problems. One area that possibly causes more debate than any other is the use (or abuse) of the center channel. Its primary function is to... Read more »

The ultimate time-waster for your K2661

Veteran Kurzweil users may already know this but for you more recent K2600 and K2661 owners, here's a bit of holiday relief for those moments when you're sitting at your keyboard and can't think of anything to do... Read more »

Ableton Live For Guitarists: Adding Ryhthm Parts (Part 3)

Last time in our series of guitar tips for Ableton Live (part 2), we transposed, edited, and doubled our bass line in real-time. Now we're ready for some rhythm tracks. To add some rhythm guitar parts to our drum... Read more »

Ableton Live For Guitarists: Bass Line (Part 2)

If you recall from our first session recording guitar with Ableton Live, we imported a drum loop and did a little recording. Now, you’re going to need a bass line, but with Ableton Live, you don’t need a... Read more »

Creative Possibilities For Guitarists Using Ableton Live (Part 1)

The common perception of Ableton Live is that it's only for DJs or electro-techno-computer music. This is simply not the case. For guitarists, Live is an effective tool for composing, practicing and performing music... Read more »

Miking Jazz Drums Part Three – The Wrapup

We've discussed the unique demands of recording a jazz drum kit twice before (see Part 1 and Part 2). First we talked about the role that cymbals play in mainstream jazz and how that affects the balance you need to... Read more »

Roland TD-20 Audio Outputs

Q: "I know the Roland TD-20 module has direct audio outputs but can individual pads or controllers (especially the extra "auxiliary" inputs) be assigned to any output?" A: In short, yes. The TD-20 has a total of 10... Read more »

Keeping the Nuances of Two-handed Snare in the Mix

When working with a track on which the drummer is using both hands on the snare drum, you may notice that many of the subtleties are lost in the mix. This can be overcome by splitting the return to two tracks. Tweak... Read more »

Recording Jazz Drums, Part 2 – The “Single Instrument”

Previously we talked about jazz drums (and we're referring to "swinging," mainstream-style jazz) and the fact that in this style of music, drummers rely upon the ride cymbal to generate the "time," while kick and... Read more »

Jazz Drum Miking – A Different Animal (Part 1)

Q: "I'm trying to record a jazz drum kit and the drummer is complaining that he can't hear enough of the "stick" sound on the cymbals. I'm using overhead mics to capture the cymbals and I'm afraid that, if I bring... Read more »

Level-Matched A-B Comparison (part 3)

If you've been following this series on level-matched A-B comparison, (as a means of learning to create professional sounding mixes) then by now you're ready to get started. To recap, we discussed listening to... Read more »

Setting Front-of-House Delay to Match Backline Sound

In many smaller club settings your main sound system can face competition from the signals generated by the backline - the drums and amplifiers onstage. These project into the audience and can cause timing-related... Read more »

Using Rhythms from the Discrete Drums CD with your Boss BR-1180CD

A number of BR-1180CD owners have been hesitant to use the Discrete Drums CD that was included in the package. This collection of loops, fills and cymbal sounds can really help you add some "snap" to your songs!... Read more »

Using All-Button Mode on a Universal Audio 1176 to get really explosive drum tracks!

Here's an example of how to use the Universal Audio 1176 compressor (either hardware version or software plug-in) in its famous All-Button Mode on drums. A drum kit is great for this because the kit has such a wide... Read more »

Realistic MIDI Orchestration Part III

In the inSync TTOTDs dated 05/24/2004 and 06/02/2004, we covered a number of unconventional approaches to orchestration for adding realism. In this third and final installment, our approach is going to be more... Read more »

Singing ranges explained!

Q: "What are the basic differences in male and female singing ranges?" A: The following Word for the Day definitions help lend some insight into ranges of traditional choral voices. Tune into tomorrow's inSync where... Read more »

Secrets of making realistic orchestral MIDI sequences – Part I

The most prevalent criticism of MIDI sequencing is that the sequenced music sounds too machine-like. The problem is not because of MIDI, but in the way that MIDI sequencing is approached. In essence, the basis of a... Read more »

Adding “groove” to your quantized drums – Part II

This is Part Two of our discussion on quantizing sequenced MIDI drum tracks, which is somewhat of a lost art in the age of drum loops (see TTOTD 05/07/04). But with more software samplers and soft drum synths... Read more »

Compressor vs. Leveler!

Q: "Why Would I Use Compressor Instead Of A Leveler And Vice Versa?" A: There are some famous compressors and levelers out there in the audio world whose names seem to come up all the time when producers and... Read more »