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Microphone Month 4

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

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, however, you'll find that the signal going through the reverb comes out sounding... Read more »

How Do I Know If My Studio Needs Acoustic Treatment?

There are a few simple answers to this question: 1. If it's a room, then it needs acoustic treatment. Not to be flippant, but unless it's already treated, you can assume that pretty much any room being used as a studio can be improved by adding acoustic treatment. 2. If it sounds bad. 3. If the... Read more »

Don’t Skimp On Interface Quality

It's fun to spend most of your budget on "sexy" pieces of gear — guitars, synths, amps, pedals, and so on; basically, the items that you can use directly to make sound and look awesome doing it! But don't forget the "behind the scenes" gear — the required boxes and hardware that... Read more »

Native Instruments Updates MASCHINE and TRAKTOR

Native Instruments have released MASCHINE 2.5.5 and TRAKTOR 2.11 with Ableton Link support. Connecting two or more systems via Ableton Link gives users the ability to synchronize all systems to a common timeline and change the tempo globally from each of the connected systems. This offers... Read more »

FabFilter Plug-in Updates

FabFilter has released updates for their entire plug-in line. The updates fix the following issues: Fixed issues with macOS Sierra on the new MacBook Pro (Late 2016) with Touch Bar, which could cause the host to become unresponsive or to crash after exiting Full Screen mode or closing a plug-in... Read more »

Native Instruments Updates Reaktor with Ableton Link Support

Native Instruments has released Reaktor 6.1, which includes Ableton Link support. This offers hassle-free timing sync across multiple devices and apps, including MASCHINE, TRAKTOR, iOS apps, and Ableton Live. The update also fixes two bugs: Core Cell visible on Panel View fixedNow possible to... Read more »

Cakewalk Releases SONAR 2016.12 Update

Cakewalk ends 2016 with a final update to SONAR Platinum, SONAR Professional, and SONAR Artist. In addition to numerous bug fixes and tweaks, the SONAR 2016.12 update features the following enhancements: The Notes tab in the Browser now has a Copyright field. This was previously available in... Read more »

Plugin Alliance All Bundle now macOS Sierra 10.12 compatible

Plugin Alliance has released version 4.4.1 of the All Bundle, which updates all 73 plugins for full macOS Sierra compatibility, supporting Mac OS versions 10.8 through 10.12. In addition to macOS Sierra support, there are numerous bug fixes and enhancements for both Mac and Windows. The update... Read more »

PreSonus Releases Notion 6.1

PreSonus has updated Notion, their notation software application, to version 6.1. In addition to dozens of bug fixes, the new update includes: New keyboard workflowsEnter notes and chords with QWERTY keyboard in Step timeCreate and extend range selections with keyboard shortcutsNavigate around... Read more »

Two Notes Engineering Updates Firmware for Torpedo Studio

Two Notes Engineering has updated the firmware for the Torpedo Studio to v4. The new firmware includes the following additions: Arcade mode, allowing faster edition of the audio parameters.Low-cut and 5-band graphic EQ replaced by a 6-band Parametric EQ.Reverb effect with eight predefined rooms... Read more »

What Is An “Aggressive” Guitar Sound?

"Aggressive" is not in itself a word that describes tone or sonics. The term "aggressive" as applied to guitars and basses has been used to describe everything from completely fuzzed out to clean and jangly. Does the term mean anything at all? Much of the perceived "aggression" in guitar tone... Read more »

How to Automate EQ to Enhance Presence in a Mix

Here's a mixing tip that can not only help you keep a track "in the pocket," but that can have subtle and interesting textural effects as well. Procede with your mix, as you normally would. First, get the level of a part sitting basically where you want it in your mix. Then, use your DAW's... 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, inverted signal that has equal resistance to ground as the initial signal. This... Read more »

Kush Plug-ins Updated

Kush has released bugfix updates for Pusher, Clariphonic DSP mkII, and Electra DSP. In all of them, an issue that could cause authorization errors and prevent the plug-in from running under subscription licenses has been fixed as well as an issue that caused Pro Tools to ignore the "consolidate... Read more »

Bitwig Studio Update Features MASCHINE JAM Integration

Bitwig has updated Bitwig Studio to version 1.3.15. The flagship new feature of this update is support for the Native Instruments MASCHINE JAM hardware controller. The update also includes numerous enhancements to Bitwig Studio's support of controllers in general, in addition to bug fixes. The... Read more »

Can I Run a Distortion Pedal into a Raging Guitar Amp?

Sure. Some of the most famous sounds in rock have been using a BOSS Super Overdrive, Ibanez TubeScreamer, or MXR Distortion+ into a distorted amp. You just need to keep the concept of gain staging in mind. If you've already turned up the gain on your amp, it's not just sounding gritty and... 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 that connects the edge of the cone to the speaker basket, and the spider (which... Read more »

Native Instruments Updates KONTAKT to 5.6.5

Native Instruments has released a new update to KONTAKT 5, bringing it to version 5.6.5. The main addition in this update is a new user interface tool for KONTAKT instrument builders — a fully customizable XY Pad feature. It also re-introduces the Global Purge controls as part of the File... Read more »

Is It Better to Use an FRFR Speaker or a Guitar Amp with a Modeler?

In the early days of guitar amp modeling, most modelers did not let you separate out the preamp and power amp emulation from the speaker cabinet emulation. This meant that if you played with your modeler through a guitar amp, it would sound small and compressed since the tone itself would... 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 reliable, but things happen particularly in the heat of battle on a live stage... Read more »