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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.

Guitar Tech Tips

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 »

Tone Tip: Tighter Bottom End at High Volume

For a variety of reasons — some psychoacoustic/perception, some physical — low end can come across very different at different volume levels. For example, when you're playing your guitar by yourself... Read more »

Same Guitar Amp, Different Rooms

When you're recording multiple guitar tracks, most producers recommend capturing different guitar sounds in different takes, in order to give your riffs and songs more texture and depth. But what if you don't have a... 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 »

Can I Mic Both Speakers in My 2×12 Speaker Cabinet?

Sure! You may find you get a bigger sound by combining the tones of two different speakers (even two speakers of the same type will sound slightly different) and two different mics and mic placements. The only thing... 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 »

Use Multiple Mics for More Mix Options

While it's easily possible to capture great sounds using a single microphone or a stereo pair of mics, if you read interviews with audio engineers, you know that they'll very often use multiple microphones to record... 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 »

How to Use Slapback Delay as Tone Thickener

Delay is a popular effect, usually used to create an effect with repeating echoes or to add a sense of space to a track or sound. But short slapback delays can also be used to "thicken up" a sound. Try adding a... 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 »

Zero Fret Versus Nut

Vintage Gretsches, 2015 Gibson Les Pauls, and some other guitars feature a "zero fret" in the location where the nut is normally placed at the headstock end of the fretboard. The zero fret sets the height of the... Read more »

Do I have to Install a Special Pickup to Use Guitar Synthesizers?

Guitarists may have always envied synthesists for the amazing breadth of sounds possible from digital instruments. There have been numerous synthesizers for guitarists, but all have required special pickups or... Read more »

What are the Differences Between Preamp and Power Amp Distortion?

The simple answer is preamp distortion results when you distort/overload a guitar amp's preamp, and power amp distortion results when you distort/overload the power amp section. If you have a master volume amp, when... 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 »

What’s the Difference Between Solid-state and Digital Guitar Amps?

All digital guitar amps are at least partially solid state, but not all solid-state amplifiers are digital. If that sounds confusing, don't worry, it's actually very simple: A solid-state amplifier has a solid-state... Read more »

4 Grab-n-Go Pedalboards

Sometimes, simpler is better. Consider these situations: a small stage, a quick set-up and tear-down, a gig that requires a plane flight, a pick-up gig, a jam or rehearsal, or if you simply don't want to deal with... 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 »

RMS vs. Peak Power When Comparing Speakers

When you're researching the wattage of musical instrument/pro audio speaker drivers, you will often find two values for the power handling rating: RMS (root mean square), and "peak." It's important to know what each... Read more »

Small Amp, Big Tone

Think you need a monstrously huge amp to create a big guitar tone? Not necessarily. These days, there are low-wattage (15W or less) amps that sound like huge stadium beasts both in the room and when recorded. The... Read more »

7 Tips for Guitarists Using In-ears

You're finally happy with the sound coming from your guitar amp, now it's time to mic it up and send it back through your in-ear monitors so you can hear it onstage. Somehow, though, from your amp to your in-ears... Read more »

How to Create a Wall of Sound with Different Guitar Tones

It's standard practice in studios to create a wall of guitar sound using numerous overdubbed guitar tracks. When doing this, you'll get great results using the same guitar into the same amplifier for each track... Read more »