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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.

Live Sound Tech Tips

Re-balance Your Mix After Adding Effects

It's usually obvious when you add or remove an effect such as distortion or compression — an effect that affects a track's or channel's volume — you'll also need to adjust the track's or channel's volume... Read more »

What Is Speaker Sensitivity?

Nearly every specification chart for a speaker you'll find will list that speaker's sensitivity in decibels. For the most part, sensitivity tells you how much sound pressure level (SPL) a speaker can produce from a... Read more »

How Many Channels Does A Rehearsal PA System Need?

Q: I'm starting a new band, and we're going to need a PA for rehearsals. But how do I know how big of a PA I need? A: Few things are as exciting as getting a band together, finding a rehearsal space, and beginning... Read more »

Allen & Heath Updates Qu Series Firmware to v1.9

Allen & Heath has released a major firmware update for its Qu series of iOS app-controllable mixers. The update include the following new features: Pro Factory Mic Presets co-developed with leading microphone... Read more »

What Can I Use For Vocal Effects Live?

Q: I'm the vocalist in a band, and we're doing shows where we're playing the songs off of our album. We want to have the same sound, effects, and processing on my voice as we used in the studio. How can we do it? A:... Read more »

Blend Clean and Distorted Bass for Better Tone

Distorted bass sounds awesome — greasy, gritty, garage-y, and punchy. But if you're not careful, distorted bass can get lost in the mix. This is because using distortion can increase compression (reducing the... Read more »

Surgical EQ vs. Tone Shaping EQ

Sometimes a precision, "surgical" EQ cut or boost is exactly what a track or channel needs to accentuate or remove a trouble frequency or to control feedback or resonances. But other times, a wider bandwidth EQ... Read more »

How to Add Depth to Delay with Reverb

Here's a method for adding depth to and mellowing out the character of a delay effect: Insert a reverb plug-in after a delay plug-in on a channel strip or aux channel in your DAW. Keep the reverb decay short, and... Read more »

Cut the Mud

In most popular music, electric bass generates much of the punch and bottom end, working in conjunction with the kick drum. Because of this, it stands to reason that you want to have as much low end in your bass... Read more »

Thicken Up Reverb Returns with Compression

Using an aux in your DAW as an input for a reverb is a tried-and-true mixing technique. It helps you separate the verb from the source material and lets you dial in exactly how much reverb you want. Sometimes... Read more »

Can I Use Unbalanced Cables with Balanced Equipment?

You can — with some caveats. The advantage of using balanced cables to connect between balanced outputs and balanced inputs is that balanced connections have better noise rejection, thanks to a second... Read more »

How Do I “Break In” a Speaker?

When you're dealing with any mechanical device that has moving parts, those parts will naturally move more freely when they have been loosened up by use. In speakers, both the surround (the ring of rubber or foam... Read more »

Gotta Gig? Bring Backups!

Yes, backing up your computer data is vital. But this article is about another kind of backup: redundant gear, so that if something goes wrong, you're not out of commission. Today's gear is undeniably solid and... Read more »

Why Do Live Sound Engineers Use DI for Bass?

When playing larger venues, sound engineers usually mic the guitar cabinets, but ask for a DI signal for the bass, even if there's a bass cabinet on stage. Why not mic the bass cab too? There are several reasons... Read more »

How to Prepare for an Outdoor Gig

You already know that an outdoor gig has no walls or ceiling. The main effect that walls have is that they contain the soundwaves you project. Without walls, you may find that your amps don't project nearly as far... Read more »

Waves Announces Sierra Compatibility

Waves has announced that all their plug-ins (version 9.6 and higher) and software applications are now fully compatible with macOS X 10.12.1 (Sierra). If you are using a VST-compatible DAW, Waves instructs that you... Read more »

What is the Difference Between Speaker and Guitar Cables?

There's a reason you shouldn't use guitar cables to connect an amplifier to a speaker cabinet, or speaker cables to connect a guitar to an amp. Speaker and guitar cables are not the same. Guitar cables are meant to... Read more »

What is a Split-band De-Esser?

The simplest type of de-esser is basically a compressor with an equalizer in the sidechain; the EQ makes the compressor more "sensitive" to high frequencies, so that it attenuates the high end of your audio signal... Read more »

Mackie Releases Master Fader 4.5

Mackie has released Mackie Master Fader 4.5, their iOS controller app for wireless control over the Mackie AXIS Digital Mixing System comprised of the DL32R, DL1608, and DL806 mixers. This update to the Mackie... Read more »

Avid Releases Venue 5.3 Software for S6L

Avid has updated the software for its Venue S6L live sound console. New in this version: Record and play back up to 128 Pro Tools tracks over Ethernet AVB. Create and recall up to 24 user-definable fader layouts... Read more »

Yamaha Updates TF-Series Mixer Firmware to 3.00

Yamaha has released new firmware for their TF-series professional mixers. The new version 3.00 firmware features: Full fader views on touch screenAdministrator, guest, and selectable user accessQuickPro presets for... Read more »

How Many Watts of Bass Amp Do I Need?

Bass amplifiers, even more than guitar amps, have crazy variations in wattage. Just a quick search of Sweetwater.com turns up 20W bass amps, 2,000W bass amps, and everything in between! But do you really need a... Read more »

Got the Backline Blues?

Some performers don't mind playing gigs in which all the acts are expected to share the same backline. Others get twitchy if they can't use their own beloved, trusted gear, and are forced to rely on supplied... Read more »

Creative Recording: Mic Your Headphones!

Sometimes, getting that narrow-band, old-transistor-radio type tone is just what a song needs. Many EQ and filter plug-ins offer some kind of "telephone" setting, but if you want to have some fun getting that effect... Read more »