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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

NI Comparisons

We've had a number of questions from customers wondering about the differences and similarities between various Native Instruments bundles, so we thought we'd pass along handy references from the Native Instruments'... Read more »

Volume Pedal Placement on a Pedalboard

Q: I have a guitar pedalboard question for you guys: I play passive electric guitars and use a Ernie Ball VP JR volume pedal on the front end of my pedalboard as a general volume control pot. Should I go from my... Read more »

Outputs on ELOP

Q: Is there a difference between the 1/4-inch and XLR outputs on the Manley ELOP limiter? A: Yes. The unbalanced 1/4-inch outs are designed to be as pure and transparent as possible, with a pristine signal path. The... Read more »

Cool Tool: No Board Tape Mess

Most audio engineers use a strip of tape to label the channels on a mixing console at some point in their career. The problem is, most types of tape suitable for writing on with a Sharpie leave behind a mess of... Read more »

Avoiding Pops and Thumps

Many users of audio equipment and instrument amplifiers complain of loud thumps and pops when powering up or powering down gear. It is normal for upstream devices to send out transients upon power up or down. This... Read more »

Banjo Mic Split?

Q: I need to mic my banjo for a gig, but we don't have a lot of gear available. Can I use a mic splitter to route the mic's output to the mixing board and also to a guitar amp? I want to use the amp as my monitor... Read more »

PreSonus and Lion

PreSonus is asking users of their products and Macs who have upgraded to Lion to participate in a public beta test of their Universal Control 1.5.2 software. Universal Control 1.5.2 makes all StudioLive-series... Read more »

Pre Versus Post Fader for Monitors

Q: For live sound, should I be running the monitors off of the mixer's pre-fader sends or the post-fader sends? A: Pre-fader sends are normally used for monitors, cue mixes, or headphone mixes. This is so that moves... Read more »

Volume Pedal in Effects Loop

Q: I saw yesterday's Tech Tip about running a delay without an effects loop. But what about an odd use for the effects loop: could I put a volume pedal in an amp's effects loop and control the amp volume after the... Read more »

Power-on and Power-off Sequence

The rule of thumb when turning on any audio rig is to power up the sound-creating device last — in most studios, this will be the power amp that drives the monitors or the monitors themselves, if they're... Read more »

TASCAM TA-1VP Auto-Tune Effects

Q: I have the new TASCAM TA-1VP vocal processor and love all the mic and tube modeling features, as well as the compressor, gate, and EQ. And the Auto-Tune feature works so smoothly that none of my friends who've... Read more »

Musician’s Essential Toolkits, Vol. 4 – Guitar/Bass

Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong — and probably at the least convenient time and place. However, a corollary states that whatever you're prepared for won't go wrong. We don't... Read more »

Musician’s Essential Toolkits, Vol. 3 – Live Sound

Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong — and probably at the most inconvenient time and place. However, a corollary states that whatever you're prepared for won't go wrong. We don't... Read more »

Avid Boom Outs

Q: I enjoyed the Avid Boom tips in last week's inSync (here, here, and here). Is there a way to get individual outs from the channel strips? A: Sorry, Boom doesn't have individual outs for each sound. One workaround... Read more »

Polarity and Phantom Power

Q: Someone was talking about an XLR cable they made with pins 2 and 3 reversed for use with a Pin 3 hot box. It made me wonder if reversing the polarity of an XLR cable or connection would screw up phantom power? A:... Read more »

Roland GR55 MIDI?

Q: I just got a new Roland GR-55, and I love all the great sounds in it. But I want to hook it up to my computer to record the MIDI information, and it doesn't seem to be working. Do I have a defective one? A:... Read more »

Wah First on Pedalboard?

Q: I saw the Tech Tip about running a compressor pedal first in a guitar signal path. But what about when you have a wah-wah pedal? I thought those liked to be first? A: Try it both ways — with the wah first... Read more »

Where to Put a Compressor on a Pedalboard

Q: I'm using an overdrive, a chorus, and a delay with my guitar, and I just bought a new compressor pedal from Sweetwater. Where should I put it in the chain? A: Most players would probably put the compressor first... Read more »

Making the Most Out of Mishaps

At a recent recording session, the upright bass player was also using an amplifier to make his instrument louder. We had a condenser mic on the bass itself and a dynamic mic on the amp. Unfortunately, the bass... Read more »

Live Recording, No Soundcheck, and Inconsistent Levels

Q: A friend recorded my band's live gig for a video that will be broadcast on TV. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for him to do a level check before we started, so during the first song, the levels start out too... Read more »

Which Peak Studio?

Q: I want to buy BIAS Peak Studio, but not sure if I need XT or the new one. Can you help me figure out what the differences are? A: Sure, we're happy to clarify. There are now two versions of BIAS Peak Studio. The... Read more »

Proper MIDI Routing

Here's a handy reference for connecting and trouble-shooting MIDI systems: MIDI outputs always go to MIDI inputs. MIDI thrus always go to MIDI inputs. MIDI outs never go to MIDI outs or thrus. MIDI thrus never go to... Read more »

DIY Balancing an Unbalanced Line

Here's an oldie-but-a-goodie from the inSync Tech Tip of the Day Archives: Let's say you need to run a signal from a keyboard to your mixer. The unbalanced line is quite noisy and you don't have a balancing... Read more »

Power Amp Level Controls

Q: Why do power amps have level controls on them? Everyone I know just turns them all the way up. A: We addressed a similar question a few years back; here's the basic answer. Some of it is just for convenience, but... Read more »