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Microphone Month 5

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.

Latest Tech Tips

If I’m Recording My Guitar or Bass Direct, Do I Need an Amplifier?

We hate to give the dreaded "it depends" answer, but in this case it really does depend on what you're doing, what gear you're using, and the results you desire. Recording guitar or bass directly into your computer saves you from having to mic an amplifier, but that's not to say you might not... Read more »

What is the Difference Between Active and Passive Speakers?

The difference is that an active speaker has built-in active (electrically powered, battery or external AC) electronics, such as an active crossover and/or a built-in power amp. A passive speaker, on the other hand, utilizes only passive electronics, such as a passive crossover, which do not... Read more »

What is the Difference between a Balanced and a Ground-compensated Output?

Balanced connections use a 3-pin design consisting of three wires: a positive signal on one pin, negative signal on another pin, and ground on the third pin of the connector. The full signal strength is received by the input by combining the positive signal with an inverted version of negative... Read more »

Slate Digital Issues Virtual Mix Rack Fix

Slate Digital has issued the following statement: "A few of our users reported an issue with installing the Virtual Mix Rack update, where their Virtual Microphone System module was removed. If you experienced this issue, we have corrected the installers within your accounts. If you have not... Read more »

How to Make Choruses Bigger By Mixing Verses Smaller

We all want the choruses of our songs to be memorable — catchy, big, and exciting. But sometimes, if your song's verses are dense and punchy, making the choruses even bigger and punchier can be difficult. This is especially true if you're happy with the arrangement of your verse and don't... Read more »

Use Parallel Compression to Raise Levels While Keeping Dynamics

While the "loudness wars" seem to thankfully be winding down, that doesn't mean you don't want the level of your mixes to be as high as possible while still retaining natural dynamics. One of the "secret weapons" of highly regarded professional mixing engineers such as Michael Brauer and Andrew... Read more »

To Rack or Not to Rack

The '80s may have been the heyday of the "rack of doom"-style guitar rig, with huge, refrigerator-sized equipment racks filled with all sorts of processors. This resulted in something of a backlash against monster rack rigs in the following years. But the rackmount guitar rig isn't dead. There... Read more »

How Do Tape and Console Plug-Ins Work?

Tape and console emulation plug-ins, such as Slate Digital VCC, Avid Reel Tape, and the Waves NLS, u-he Satin Tape Machine and Abbey Road Studios J37, and others, are all the rage. A common refrain is that they help to "glue" tracks together in the same way as an analog console or analog tape... Read more »

MOTU Updates Digital Performer to v9.1

MOTU has released version 9.1 of Digital Performer. In addition to numerous bug fixes, the new update features: Reduced latency for audio I/O and VIs under OS X — host buffer latency under CoreAudio has been cut in half.Enhanced WASAPI driver performance under Windows.MAS engine... Read more »

Isolated versus Non-Isolated Pedal Power Supplies

Non-isolated power supplies for guitar pedals are basically one power source that a number of different pedals can draw from, often in "daisy-chain" fashion. In most cases, this works fine. However, more pedals pulling power from the same source increases the capacitive load on the power... Read more »

Cakewalk Releases SONAR 2016.07 with New Theme Editor

Cakewalk has updated SONAR to version 2016.07. In addition to numerous bug fixes, the main new feature is the Theme Editor. Users can now change colors and customize images across the program using an external image editor such as Adobe Photoshop, Paint.net, or the GNU Image Manipulation... Read more »

Phasiness When Tracking in DAW

Q: I'm having a strange problem. I bought a new audio interface and now when I record enable a track in my DAW, the incoming signal sounds all phasey and hollow. What am I doing wrong? A: Our bet is that when you enable record for a track in the DAW, you're inadvertently monitoring from two... Read more »

What is the Gear for Sweetwater’s Angus Young Video?

Q: I was wondering what guitar rig Mitch Gallagher is using in a video he did on Angus Young's guitar tone? I love the tone in that video! A: Mitch tells us: I'm glad you like that guitar tone! In the video, I'm using a Gibson Custom Angus Young Signature SG guitar, a Marshall 1987X 50-watt... Read more »

Aim for Unity Gain through Most Plug-ins

With today's high track counts and nearly limitless power to add plug-in processing, it can be easy to lose track of gain levels, and ignore the fact that one plug-in or another may be be raising the gain or lowering the gain of an entire track. As a general rule, you want to try to keep... Read more »

How to Connect an Extension Cabinet to a JVM410C

Q: I'm going to buy the Marshall 1960BV and I need to know how to hook it up to my Marshall JVM410C combo so I can also use the internal combo speaker. A: The JVM410C has five speaker outputs, you can use either one cabinet or two cabinets; how you connect them depends on their impedance. It's... Read more »

Korg Releases Electribe V2.0 and Free Patterns

Korg has released a new version 2.0 operating system for their Electribe and Electribe Sampler. The Version 2.0 operating system addresses three big user requests: Single-level undoPattern chainingOn-screen original parameter display Korg has also released more than 400 free bonus patterns... Read more »

When Should I Change My Guitar or Bass Strings?

Some players change their strings on a regular schedule whether they need to or not, just to be sure their strings never go bad. Other people don't really think about their strings, and keep them on their instrument far past their useful life. There are no rules, since the answer depends on how... Read more »

Push/Pull MIDI Drums for Added Feel

It's never been easier to program drum parts. Nearly every DAW will let you draw a part directly on a musical grid or you can use tracks generated by an awesome instrument such as Toontrack EZdrummer 2. Just remember, if you're going after realistic drum tracks, real drummers don't play exactly... Read more »

Should I Record Through Effects?

There's two school of thoughts when it comes to recording effects. One says record the signal dry, and add effects during mixdown. That way, you can tailor the tone and level of your effects to the final mix. If you record with delay, for example, the repeats may end up not being loud enough... Read more »

Crank It Up, Turn Down the Bass Control

When you're playing your guitar parts by yourself at lower volumes, you'll probably want to turn your bass knob on your amp up to give your guitar full-bodied sound. However, when you're playing loud, especially in a band situation, the low end of your signal will be a lot more present. At that... Read more »