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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.

Latest Tech Tips

What’s the Difference between Electret and Capacitor Mics?

An electret, or back-electret microphone, is one type of capacitor/condenser microphone. All capacitor microphones work by having an electrical charge applied. As the sound waves strike the diaphragm and make it move relative to the backplate, the electrical value of the capacitor changes. As... Read more »

How to Tighten Up a Recording Without Quantizing

It can be discouraging when you love the feel of a particular performance but it somehow sounds a bit off; things aren't as tight as they could be. A lot of times, that "offness" you're hearing can be alleviated by editing the performance of the looser track(s) against another track that's... Read more »

Rock the Mic — Just Don’t Rock the Mic!

When you're recording, as tempting as it might be to swagger around with the mic stand, you'll get a far better result if you isolate your microphone from any physical movement or shock. Movement or knocking into your mic stand or microphone can introduce an infrasonic thwack or rumbles into... Read more »

How Can a Microphone Have a “Sound”? Shouldn’t It Sound Like What It’s Recording?

It's true that the vast majority of microphones strive to deliver a sonic representation of the source as precisely as possible. But the reality is that the mic's electronic components, construction materials, tolerances, and more, all affect the final sound. This is why most microphones come... Read more »

Record Your Synth Through a Mic Preamp

With so many fantastic software synthesizers out there, one reason some people go with hardware synths is to capture some of that analog mojo. Lots of synthesizers sound great with their outputs plugged directly into the inputs of your audio interface. However, if your instrument doesn't sound... Read more »

Double Parts using Different Tones for Extra Thickness

A classic technique for thickening parts is to "double track" them, meaning to record the same part again on another track. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the subsequent doubled recording should sound identical to the first track. Try varying the sound of the doubled track. One way is... Read more »

Recording Tip: Track Naming Rules

Hopefully you're already naming the tracks in your DAW sessions. What you want to do when naming is to use names that give you as much information as possible, while keeping them as short as possible. Obviously, you can't have track names as long as a full sentence: "Les Paul on bridge pickup... Read more »

Should I Pan from the Perspective of the Drummer or the Audience?

There's no correct answer to this question. Some mix engineers vary their drum panning based on the sonic portrait they're painting with their mix. For example, are you trying to create a virtual garage or stage in which the listener is right in the middle of the band? In that situation, it... Read more »

DAW TIP: Create Aux and Send Effects Templates

If your DAW lets you save channel strips with your favorite effects pre-loaded, be sure to save all your preferred effects as separate auxiliary channel strips, so that you can load them as many times as you want into as many projects as you want. For example, if you have a favorite EQ and a... Read more »

Cakewalk Releases SONAR 2016.04 Update

Cakewalk has updated their flagship DAW with the new SONAR 2016.04 release for SONAR Artist, SONAR Professional, and SONAR Platinum versions. In addition to adding VST3 plug-in support, numerous bug fixes, and performance optimizations, the new update includes the following new features:... Read more »

Digital Mixers: Recalling Presets Changes the Game

If you play a lot of shows and do your own sound, you know how difficult it can be to sound consistent from show to show. Every venue is different: different layout, different acoustics, different sound reinforcement equipment. If you're forced to use the venue's sound equipment, your best bet... Read more »

Does My Guitar Pick Affect the Tone of my Bass or Guitar?

To a certain degree, yes. The material, thickness, and hardness of a pick will have an effect on how percussive the "pluck" of a string will be, which will affect your tone. However, other than that, the specific choice of color, size, and shape has more to do with aesthetics and comfort than... Read more »

How to Combine DI and Miked Tracks in Phase

If you're recording a bass or other instrument using both a DI'd track direct to your DAW and a miked track, no matter how close your mic is to your speaker cabinet, you're very likely going to have a tiny amount of phase shift between the two sources. You'll hear this as a slight hollow... Read more »

How to Use Reverb Depth to Simulate Movement

Automating panning in order to create a sense of side-to-side movement in a mix or track is a tried-and-true stereo trick. But you can also create a sense of front-to-back or back-to-front movement using a reverb. Start by putting a reverb plug-in on a separate auxiliary track. Use settings... Read more »

What is the “Sweet Spot” for Nearfield Monitors?

The "sweet spot" refers to the listening position at which you have the best stereo image from a pair of studio monitors. There's no single spot, the location depends on the room and monitor placement. However, to generalize: vertically, you'll want your monitors to be at the same level as your... Read more »

Should I Use a Mic or DI My Acoustic-electric Guitar?

Q: I'm recording my acoustic guitar, which has a great-sounding pickup system in it. Do I still need to mic it, or can I get by with just running the guitar direct? A: Unless there is some compelling reason not to mic the guitar (such as extensive, uncontrollable bleed from other instruments... Read more »

Slate Digital Releases Virtual Mix Rack v1.3.0.5

Slate Digital has released an update to their Virtual Mix Rack plug-in. Version 1.3.0.5 is a bugfix release with the following being the main fixes: Negative Input Values are no longer omitted in the Virtual DriveVirtual Drive Knob Response is much improved using a trackball mouseVMR Settings... Read more »

Studio One Mixer is Stuck in Mono

Q: I'm using PreSonus Studio One to record and mix my project, but I've got a weird problem: Somehow my master fader is stuck in mono! Everything is panned center and when I move the pan controls on the individual tracks, nothing happens. What am I doing wrong? A: There are a couple of things... Read more »

Arturia Updates BeatStep Pro Firmware

Arturia has released a firmware update to their BeatStep Pro controller and sequencer. Firmware version 1.4.0 offers numerous fixes and features improved stability when following MIDI, DIN, or analog external clocks. There are also no more tempo display fluctuations when using external sync. In... Read more »

Arturia Updates Keylab 88 Firmware

Arturia has released a firmware update for their Keylab 88 USB controller keyboard. Firmware version 1.4.0, which in addition to numerous stability fixes, features the ability to create a 5-point velocity curve, either directly from the Keylab 88 interface or from the MIDI Control Center... Read more »