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Microphone Month 3

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.

Guitar Tech Tips

Why 18 Volts?

Q: I've seen some new guitar pedals, such as the Pigtronix Quantum Time Modulator, that require 18-volt power supplies (as opposed to the 9-volt supplies used by most pedals). Why do they use higher voltage than... Read more »

What is Lead-free Solder?

Q: I do some soldering work on my guitars — replacing pickups, pots, switches, etc. — and usually use regular old solder. But I see there is now lead-free solder. What is the difference? A: Most solder... Read more »

Should I Use a Speaker Cabinet If I am Using the Red Box?

Q: I like the idea of using the Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 to feed the output from my amplifier onstage straight into the PA with speaker emulation, so I don't need a mic on the amp. I still want to use a cabinet... Read more »

Help Diagnosing an Ailing Tube Amp

Are there strange sounds coming from your guitar or bass tube amp? Buzzes, crackling, ringing, odd noises? Are fuses blowing? Most of these problems, and more, can be traced to bad vacuum tubes. Our award-winning... Read more »

Can I use the Squier USB Stratocaster Headphone Output without USB?

Q: Can I use the headphone output on the Squier USB Stratocaster without plugging the guitar into USB? A: No, the headphone output on the Squier USB Strat is only active when the guitar is connected to a Mac or PC... Read more »

5881 Versus 6L6 tubes?

Q: I saw the Tech Tip on July 30 on swapping 5881 tubes with 6L6 tubes. What is the sonic difference between these two types of vacuum tube? A: We have to speak in generalities here, because tube types vary widely... Read more »

Wah Before or After Fuzz?

Q: Should I place my wah pedal before or after my fuzz box in my guitar signal chain? A: The answer depends on the result you're after. Placing the fuzz in front of the wah results in a more intense wah effect... Read more »

Can I swap 5881 or KT66 Power Tubes in Place of 6L6 Power Tubes?

Q: I have a guitar amp that uses 6L6 power tubes, and I would like to try KT-66 and 5881 power tubes to hear what difference it makes in tone and volume. Can I do this? A: We do not recommend that you try this sort... Read more »

Doyle Dykes Guitar Tone for Video

Q: Doyle Dykes is getting such a great amplified sound in his Guitars & Gear interview with Mitch Gallagher. The video reveals that he uses an LR Baggs LB6 and a Stage Pro element preamp with his Doyle Dykes... Read more »

Disconnect Power from the Orange VT1000 Valve Tester before Removing Tubes?

Q: I love the Orange VT1000 Valve Tester, and have been using it to check all the tubes in my amps and my box of used tubes. The manual says I should insert a vacuum tube, then connect the power cable. But it... Read more »

Fishman TriplePlay v1.1 Released

Fishman has released version 1.1 software for the TriplePlay wireless guitar controller. The new version includes more than 50 improvements and new features, including 64-bit compatibility for both Mac and Windows... Read more »

Does Marshall Hammer Screws into Their Cabinets?

Q: I watched the video you posted on how Marshall makes the custom-shop amps for Sweetwater. At one point in the video, the workers are shown hammering screws into the cabinet to attach hardware. Why do they do it... Read more »

Line 6 Releases Mobile POD 1.5.0

Line 6 has released version 1.5.0 of their Mobile POD app for iOS. The new version, which comes free of charge with the Sonic Port iOS guitar interface and is a free update for existing users, includes support for... Read more »

Kemper Releases Firmware v2.0 for Profiling Amp

Kemper has released version 2.0 firmware for the Profiling Amps. Version 2 is a major update, adding a collection of new polyphonic pitch shifting effects, including a real-time formant shifter optimized for guitar... Read more »

How To Access “Sound On Sound” Effects with the Fulltone TTE

Q: The manual for my Fulltone Tube Tape Echo (TTE) says that I can get "sound on sound" effects. I want to experiment with this; how do I turn on "sound on sound"? A: Basically, the "sound on sound" function of the... Read more »

Why am I Only Hearing Echo Sound from my Fulltone Tube Tape Echo?

Q: I have a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo, but when I plug in, I only hear the echo sound. I can't hear the "dry" guitar sound. What's going on? A: You probably have the Stereo Mode switch on the upper left of the TTE's... Read more »

Jam Along with iTunes in Line 6 Mobile POD

One of the great things about the new Line 6 Sonic Port guitar interface for iOS is that it comes with a free Mobile POD app, which gives you the power of a POD running in your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. A feature... Read more »

How Close to Mount the Fishman TriplePlay?

Q: How close does the hexaphonic pickup in a Fishman TriplePlay system have to be to the strings of the guitar to work well? A: Fishman recommends getting the pickup to within one millimeter of the strings for best... Read more »

Can I Connect the Fishman TriplePlay by USB?

Q: The Fishman TriplePlay wireless MIDI pickup comes with a USB cable. Can I use this to connect to a computer and not use the wireless part? A: The USB cable included with the TriplePlay is for charging the... Read more »

Do I Need an Adapter to Use the IK Multimedia iRig HD?

Q: I have an iPad with the Lightning connector. Will I need an adapter to use the new IK Multimedia iRig HD? A: No. The iRig HD comes with three cables: one with a 30-pin connector for older iOS devices, one with a... Read more »

Can I Use the Fishman TriplePlay with my iPad?

Q: I love my Fishman TriplePlay and use it with my laptop all the time. I was wondering, can I plug it into my iPad? A: Good news: the TriplePlay wireless MIDI pickup is class compliant, which means that it can plug... Read more »

Should I Top Wrap My Les Paul?

Q: I read that Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top "top wraps" the strings on his Les Paul. What is this, exactly, and should I be doing it?? A: Top wrapping is bringing the guitar strings into the stop tailpiece of the... Read more »

What is the Correct Power Supply for the Fulltone Soul-Bender?

Q: I purchased a Fulltone Soul-Bender fuzz pedal, and it says that it requires a "center-positive" power supply. What is this, and what do I need? A: Many pedals, such as those from Boss, Ibanez, and many others... Read more »

What are the Tone Settings for Sweetwater’s Hot Rod Deluxe III Amp Video?

Q: I recently saw your “Sweetwater Minute - Vol. 61 demo video of the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III amp with the EVH Wolfgang Special guitar on YouTube. That is the best overdrive tone that I’ve ever heard out of a Hot... Read more »