A Guide to Combo Amps

BUGERA V22 ComboThis time around we’re going to highlight several very cool, best-in-class combo amps — so before we get down to brass tacks, let’s get some quick background:

The term ‘combo’ in amp-speak simply means the speakers and electronics are ‘combined’ in the same cabinet. This is opposed to a head and separate speaker cabinet ‘stack’. Both have inherent pros and cons: the combo is simple, straightforward and compact. Read more…

Home Recording Shopping Guide

Many people have a limited budget this year to upgrade their home recording systems. Because of that, it’s helpful to prioritize what is the most important element you need or would benefit from upgrading. If you consider your entire home recording system as 100% of your sound, assuming that you already have a digital audio recording system, then as much as 50% of your sound comes from the quality of the microphone you use. When you purchase your first really nice microphone, you’ll be surprised at what a difference in the overall recording quality it makes. Read more…

The Desktop Studio: The Internet as a Resource

The Internet offers a direct link between your desktop studio and the software and hardware vendors who power it.

Manufacturers’ websites offer a wealth of information about upcoming releases, bug fixes, tips, and more. I make it a habit to log on to key sites about once a week. On more than one occasion, I’ve found an update online that hadn’t yet been announced in the press. Read more…

In Search of Vintage Gear

There are some astounding values placed on vintage instruments and recording equipment these days.

A 1958 Stratocaster in excellent condition, for example, may fetch as much as $25,000. Vintage recording devices from bygone years may also be valued at $10,000 or more for the most coveted items, such as rare German tube mics or broadcast limiters. For the vast majority of people, these prices put items like this out of consideration. Read more…

Pro Studio: Laptop Recording 101

studiotogo2Compiling a “studio on the go” has never been so easy or affordable Being able to easily and quickly record your material at a moment’s notice is one of the key advances technology has provided musicians today. But just how easy is it to take that recording capability with you when you travel? Following is an exploration into the basics of setting up a “studio to go,” centered around an affordable laptop computer. With the advice of recording engineer Bob Furlong, we’ll find out just what you need to record anywhere and anytime the spirit moves you. Read more…

Holiday Gear Guide

NightTrainEach year our Pro Studio expert seeks out a range of products which might make for a welcome addition to your music-making or home studio recording in the new year. This year is no exception, as he spoke with a pro audio expert to learn about some great additions to your home recording rig, and also visited a local music store to try out some new music-making toys that deliver outstanding results. Read more…

Gear Watch: jamLink Internet Audio Interface

jamLinkMusicianLink has released the jamLink, an audio interface that uses the internet to allow musicians to play in sync from different locations, no matter how far apart they are. The jamLink works with pretty much any instrument or microphone that has a 1/4” output, so you can plug in and jam with guitarists, singers, or other bassists across the country even if they are hundreds of miles away. Read more…

The $999 Home Studio

A pair of VLA-4 powered monitors makes it easy to mix your project. As the cost of home recording technology has continued to fall, the list of products and their available features continues to grow. So it seems timely to ask the question, “Can you put together a viable home recording set up for less than $1000?” To help answer this question, we turned to pro audio veteran, Richie DeCarlo at Philadelphia’s music superstore, 8th Street Music. Let’s see what gear goes into a prototypical home studio rig and how much bang for the buck can you get with a grand. Read more…

Do You Need a Direct Box for Home Recording?

01_HosaSidekicksmVirtually all of today’s home recording digital audio interfaces allow easy connection of microphones as well as various high impedance sound sources such as an electric guitar, bass or keyboard. But are you really getting the best possible sound quality plugging your instrument directly into these interfaces? This month we’ll do a test recording of bass guitar using a typical digital audio home recording interface, and then add a direct box into the equation to see what difference, if any, such a device makes in the quality of the sound. Read more…

Drum Mic Showdown

p810-fig1-3We took three drum mic packages into the studio for a live showdown.
Although most engineers will tell you they select microphones based on the type of instrument or the tonal quality of a particular instrument, we all have a trusted set of “go to” mics when it comes to recording drums. In the last few years, many microphone manufacturers have grouped sets of drum mics into affordable, easy-to-use packages for both the studio and live performances. This month we put three sets of drum mic packages through their paces to test what kind of performance you can expect. Read more…

Drum Tuning Advice for Recording and Gigs

Step 1: New Heads
There is nothing like a new drum head to give you great tone to work with. I prefer the sound I get from thinner heads such as Remo’s Diplomat, FD and Thin/FD lines. The disadvantage to thinner heads is that they tend to wear out quickly. A general-duty head, such as Remo’s Ambassador line, will last longer and, if new, should sound nearly as good. For recording purposes, avoid heavy-duty heads, such as Remo’s Emperor, PinStripe, PowerStroke, and the Black, Clear or White Dot series. These are all great heads, but they are designed more for live performance and tend to constrict the sound, making it a bit flat sounding instead of bright and exciting. Read more…