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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.

Recording Tech Tips

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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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 is a bugfix release with the following being the main fixes: Negative Input Values are no longer omitted in the Virtual... 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... 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... Read more »

How to Control CV-based Analog Synths with Your Computer

Analog synthesizers, and analog synth modules such as Eurorack modules, are becoming more popular than ever. These devices are manipulated via electrical control voltages (CV) rather than digital messages carried... Read more »

What is the Difference Between an Active and a Passive DI Box?

The most obvious difference is that passive DI boxes don't need to be powered. Active DI boxes require a power source, usually batteries or phantom power over an XLR jack. But the differences go deeper than that... Read more »

Combining On- and Off-axis Mics on a Guitar Amp

Recording a guitar cabinet with two microphones is a tried-and-true technique. Placement of those microphones is an art. But it's not just the position of the mics in front of the speaker, the distance of the mics... Read more »

Native Instruments Maschine “TruTorials — Season 2” Arrives

Native Instruments has released "Season 2" of their instructive, fast-paced, short "TruTorials" for Maschine. The TruTorials are designed to get you creating fast — each 90-second episode focuses on one... Read more »

Cakewalk Releases SONAR 2016.03 Update

Cakewalk has released version 2016.03 for SONAR Artist, SONAR Professional, and SONAR Platinum. The new Help Module view responds dynamically to users, and includes helpful tips on shortcuts and additional... Read more »

How to EQ for Open, Airy Mixes

You often hear people talking about "open" mixes that sound "airy" rather than mushy. Generally, "air" corresponds to those frequencies over 12kHz or so -┬áthe high, sparkly stuff. Many times when we mix, there tends... Read more »

Cool Tool: Hand-held Recorder

In these days of computers, smartphones, and tablets, it's easier than ever to plug microphones into an audio interface or mixer, and send all the sources to your DAW of choice. But don't underestimate the value of... Read more »

Live Sound: Don’t Forget the Extension Cord

These days, nearly every musician needs power onstage — even vocalists need power for charging their iPads! Most musicians know that they should bring an extra power strip or two to the gig, just in case the... Read more »

What is a “Snake” and Do I Need One?

"Snake" is a generalized term for many cables all permanently bundled together in a tube or other binding. A snake is useful when you need to route a bunch of cables from one location to another — rather than... Read more »