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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.

Drums Tech Tips

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 »

Adding “groove” to your quantized drums.

Q: "I normally use drum loops in my songs. Now I have a plug-in drum sampler and I need to "compose" my drum parts in MIDI. But when I quantize the drum track, it's not only out of sync with the other parts, but... Read more »

Determining the tempo of an audio clip in Cakewalk Home Studio

(NOTE: this technique may also work with other audio/MIDI sequencers, but the source of sample rate and total number of samples information will be different). When inserting audio clips in Cakewalk Home Studio, you... Read more »

What to look for when purchasing a pro keyboard!

The Keybed: Pro keyboards come in a number of sizes with various numbers of keys. It's common to kind keyboards with 88, 76, 61, 49, 36, and even 25 keys. You will also hear the words 'hammer action'... Read more »

Just a few tips for playing out live!

If you're currently playing clubs or you're thinking about touring, one question that keeps coming up is "How do I reduce or eliminate the TSSS factor in clubs?" Another question that usually accompanies the first... Read more »

Making your kick drum and bass line sit nicely together in the mix

Q: "How do I keep the kick from burying the bass (or bass burying the kick) in my mix?" A: The most prevalent sonic signature of popular music is the blending of kick drum and bass. Since much of the power in a mix... Read more »

Click Track and bleed – what to do?

Q: "I've recently begun recording background vocals/horn sections/string players in my project studio. Instantly, I started having problems with the click track. Even though everyone is wearing circumaural... Read more »

Tips for better monitoring when gigging in tight spaces.

Q: "Do you have any advice on how I can hear better when my band is in a Club or Smaller environments? Currently we use stage wedges." A: Not everyone is performing music before 50,000 screaming people (yet). So... Read more »

Getting your bass guitar and kick drum to lock using phase!

If you have trouble getting your bass guitar and bass drum to lock together sonically in the mix you might try reversing the polarity of one of them. If the kick drum and bass guitar are backwards from each other in... Read more »

Finding just the right SLICE function in your Motif ES!

Q: "I can't get my Motif's SLICE function to work with sampled cymbals; do you have any advice?" A: There are a few things that might help you. First, make sure that you're using the appropriate SLICE TYPE. The... Read more »

Using compression on a stereo mix for vocals vs. drums.

Q: "How can I use compression on my final stereo mix that will affect the vocals and not the drums?" Compression on your final mix is an art that many mastering engineers have been able to hang their hat on. In... Read more »

Strip Silence in Logic explained.

Q: "What is the Strip Silence function in Logic used for?" A: Strip Silence literally strips silence from an audio clip which divides an audio region into smaller pieces and replaces the original region by these new... Read more »

Stage volume, main PA volume and how to improve your overall sound at live gigs.

Here's an interesting tip for live sound engineers, particularly those who find themselves working in small to medium-sized venues with a full PA and bands with quite a bit of stage volume. Have you ever noticed how... Read more »

Microphone Mysteries Revealed, by Ted Hunter, Sweetwater Sales Engineer.

Microphone Mysteries Revealed, by Ted Hunter, Sweetwater Sales Engineer. Q: "I understand the technical differences between a dynamic and condenser microphone, what are the sonic differences?" A: In general (and I... Read more »

Phase as it applies to microphone preamps!

Q: "Here is a question to consider for Question of the Day. I've never really understood the concept of "phase" and how it applies to mic preamps. My high end mic preamps all have an "invert phase" switch or a... Read more »

Roland D-Beam sensitivity

"I'm having a problem with the D-Beam on my (Roland) HandSonic (HPD-15). It seems like the sensitivity changes when I play it in different places. What causes this?"It is very possible that the sensitivity of the... Read more »

Roland V-Drum tips

The following are some helpful hints for all you Roland V-Drum owners out there (and we know there are a lot!).Q. What's the best way to keep my V-Drums Clean?A. Put a little Armor All on your PD-9s and PD-7s. This... Read more »