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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

Quickie Guide to Mixing, Part #15

In the previous tip (Part #14) we discussed equalizing guitars individually. Now we're going to talk about EQ'ing multiple guitars to fit in a mix. Let's say you have three guitars panned left, right, and center... Read more »

Controlling the bass without a compressor

The electric bass is the foundation that a song is built on, but even the best players sometimes struggle with keeping the levels consistent. Erratic levels are normally tamed by inserting a compressor. But due to... Read more »

The quickie guide to mixing, Part 12

In the previous tip, we discussed adding "air" or extreme high-frequency content to vocals and possibly other instruments. Let's move down the frequency spectrum a bit to the high treble (or top) and lower treble... Read more »

Isolating the snare mic

There are a million ways to mic a snare drum. A common method is with a dynamic mic slid ever-so-carefully between the hi-hat and snare. But have you ever soloed the snare track and heard more hi-hat than snare? Due... Read more »

The quickie guide to mixing, Part 8

Now that you've established levels and balances, it's time to add plug-ins. In the past, we've advised creating a sequence template to speed the recording process. For mixing, a template may not be necessary since... Read more »

The quickie guide to mixing, Part 7

Let's say you have your basic rhythm section and vocals in balance, but you have heavy guitars and synth pads that are covering up the vocals in certain places. The problem is, that you like the level of the guitars... Read more »

The quickie guide to mixing, Part 3

If your tracks comprise MIDI performances (audio instruments, soft-synths, samplers) along with audio tracks, first render all virtual tracks as audio tracks, or use your sequencer's "freeze" function. This... Read more »

Ten ways to prepare your band for top TV performance #5

Another in our series of tips on how to best get your band ready to make a television appearance. What to do About Stage Monitors: Don't presume that the sound team will have stage monitors for you. Many shows hire... Read more »

Ten ways to prepare your band for top TV performance #4

Another in our series of tips on how to best get your band ready to make a television appearance. Come prepared with a Drum Submix! As we mentioned in the previous tip, if your band has a drummer with an acoustic... Read more »

Ten ways to prepare your band for top TV performance #2

Another in our series of tips on how to best get your band ready to make a television appearance. 2. Don't assume that the house will provide, or even have everything you need. Also, don't presume that that the... Read more »

Compression and EQ

When applying both EQ and compression to a track, should the compressor go first, or should the equalizer? There are no hard and fast rules for the order of processing -- except to use your ears to decide what... Read more »

The Ins and Outs of Effects Loops

Most modern amps have an effects loop, but guitarists, especially those new to electric guitars, often don't know how it works or what to do with it. When a guitar is plugged into an amp, the signal goes through a... Read more »

Quick Guide to Proper Gain Staging for Live Sound Mixing

A common misconception concerning gain staging in a live situation is that the master and channel faders should be set at unity gain during the sound check. In actuality, the faders should be set about 3dB above... Read more »

Top 10 Ways to fry your PA speakers

1. Frequent occurrences of hard feedback If you say "ouch" after that last feedback squeal, chances are your speakers were hurt too! Using the speakers after they have probably been damaged makes it worse. 2... Read more »

Sidefill Monitors

Q: In live sound reinforcement, what are sidefill monitors used for? A: This is an area that's still widely debated by live sound engineers, but here's our take: It is sometimes thought that sidefill monitors should... Read more »

Processing For Post

The key to longevity in any creative field is versatility. As a music mixer , you may find yourself in a position to do audio post production -- don't say no, it's easier than you think. Since you're already... Read more »

Organizing tracks in Logic Pro for easy viewing

If you have a lot of tracks in your Arrange window, the Track Mixer can become unwieldy, forcing you into a lot of scrolling to find the tracks you want. To make track viewing easier, create an empty Folder in the... Read more »

ToneLab Tone

Q: My VOX ToneLab doesn't sound right... is there a problem? I'm using a Vox ToneLab SE with a Fender Strat running straight into a Yamaha O1V96 mixer and then into the PC via an RME Hammerfall card. A: If your... Read more »

Using reverb and delay to fatten a mix in Reason

While EQ and compression are the main tools for achieving fatter mixes, reverb and echo are used on nearly all music mixes to bring the song to life and add gloss to the sound. A good starting point for any mix in... Read more »

Setting Trigger Finger MIDI Channel

Q: "How do I set a pad on the Trigger Finger to send to a specific channel?" A: It's a simple 5-step process: Press MEMORY RECALL, and tap a pad (such as pad 16) to select an unused preset. Press MEMORY RECALL and... Read more »

Care and Feeding of Microphones, Part 2

The explosion of affordable condenser microphones on the market means many people are acquiring their first condenser. Here are a couple of points you should remember to keep your mic safe. Most condensers operate... Read more »

Fun with SONAR Mutes, Part Two

Previously we discussed track mutes and archiving in SONAR 4. This version of SONAR also includes a feature that allows you to mute (or solo) individual clips, or even portions of a clip. With the Track view open... Read more »

Tapping Mixer Insert Points for Multi-channel Recording

Q: "I'm going to record a live band into a multi-channel sound card from the insert points of a Mackie CFX-16. What kind of cable do I need? I don't want to interrupt the signal to the mains (I'll be recording while... Read more »

Live Digital Mixers and Distortion

As more digital mixers appear in live sound applications, some questions have come in from people accustomed to analog audio. One very common example is: Q: "Why can't I let my meters run a little into the red like... Read more »