Adding Remote Music Playback for the Behringer X-Air XR18

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After getting comfortable using my Behringer XR18 wi-fi mixer on a few gigs and many rehearsals, I finally took the plunge and sold my old analog snake cable. This meant I would no longer have to carry or connect that cumbersome 100-foot beast, but it created a new issue for me: without a snake, I could no longer locate the XR18 at the FOH (Front-Of-House) mix position. It could only be positioned at the stage, so all of cables (microphone inputs, line inputs, line outputs, etc.) could connect directly to the XR18 stage box. So now the question became this: how can I control the music playback in between bands/sets and before or after the gig? To answer this question, I came up with a few possible solutions: Continue Reading »

Audio Technica ATM230–a New Standard in Tom Mics?

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If you’re in need of some tom mics, check out the Audio Technica ATM230. These relatively new mics are getting rave reviews, and receive favorable comparisons to many classic tom mics, including the Sennheiser MD421 and e604, Shure SM57, and Audio Technica’s own ATM25 and ATM23HE. One forum post commented that based on the specs, the new ATM230 is “…basically an ATM25 in an ATM23HE housing”. The ATM230 normally sells individually for $139, or can be purchased new in a 3-pack for $349. Zzounds even has a steal of a deal on a warehouse resealed 3-pack for only $220! Each mic includes a zippered storage pouch and a drum rim clamp.

Balanced Line-Level Stereo to Mono Summing Box

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One of my most popular blog posts has been The Stereo to Mono Summing Cable that No One Makes. I get contacted pretty much on a weekly basis from someone who wants to buy or build that cable to connect their iPod, phone, laptop, etc. to their PA system. I decided to take the concept a step further and build a balanced, line-level stereo to mono summing box. Just like the mono-summing cable, it appears that there aren’t any readily-available, off-the-shelf products that do exactly what this box does. There are some mic combiners (e.g., Galaxy Audio’s JIB/C) that are made for connecting two microphones to a single input, but those use much lower-value resistors, making them unsuitable for line-level signals (I even contacted Galaxy about the JIB/C, and that’s what they told me). Continue Reading »

RCF HD12-A: The Best Live Sound Speakers You’ve Never Heard Of

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Last year, I was in the market for some compact, lightweight, loud PA speakers for my own live sound system. I considered the Yamaha DSR112–a favorite in the powered speaker market, and one of the loudest in its class. But I was somewhat put off by the heavier weight and relatively high price compared to other similar speakers. Then I discovered the RCF HD12-A. The HD12-A seemed to fit the bill for what I was looking for. It’s a compact, lightweight, powered speaker that has excellent sound quality and can go really loud–some say on the order of the DSR112. Continue Reading »

Balanced Rewire Mod for Pyle PDMIC78 and PDMIC58 Microphones

I recently posted over at the micmodkits.com site about how to do the balanced rewire mod for the Pyle PDMIC78 & PDMIC58, which are two popular clones of the Shure SM57 and SM58. Check it out, if you haven’t already:

http://micmodkits.com/2018/01/12/balanced-rewire-mod-for-pyle-pdmic78-and-pdmic58/




Sbode Bluetooth Earbuds Review

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In addition to my involvement with pro audio and recording, I also do a fair amount of casual music listening and consuming other media on my phone, tablet, and computer. At the office, I’ve typically used a pair of standard wired earbuds for listening to music on my computer while I work. Apart from being a little bass-heavy, those earbuds (some cheapies I bought from Monoprice) have always sounded fine, but somehow the fabric-covered wires often get twisted, tangled, and knotted-up in such a way that I find myself spending more time than I like just straightening out the cables. At home, I’ve used a pair of regular wired headphones (some budget-priced Sennheisers) for listening to music or watching movies on my phone before going to sleep at night. However, those headphones tend to block out too much background noise (I actually WANT to hear any unexpected “bumps in the night”), and the 6-ft cable on them can also be cumbersome. More than once, I’ve tripped and nearly fallen just getting out of bed while wearing them. To that end, I recently found myself in the market for a wireless listening solution, which led me to the Sbode Bluetooth Earbuds. After testing them out for a few weeks now, they’ve left a very positive impression.
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How to Choose a Drum Set

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A common conversation I have around Christmas time each year goes something like this: “Hey, you play the drums, right? I want to buy a drum set for my child/grandchild/husband/etc., but I don’t know what to buy. What kind of drums should I buy, where should I buy them, and how much should I expect to spend?” I’ve had this same conversation so many times that it inspired me to write this article. So in the future, when people ask me, I can simply send them a link to the article, they can go read it, and (hopefully) find answers to their questions. As you’ll see, this isn’t an easy question with a quick and easy answer. Asking “what kind of drums should I buy?” is similar to asking “what kind of car should I buy?”, so it evokes a necessarily lengthy response. Continue Reading »

Tom Mic Shootout Revisited

A few years ago, I blogged about a tom mic shootout that I conducted between two very popular mics for toms: the Sennheiser e604 and the CAD M179. At that time, I had been using the e604’s for recording my tom tracks and really wasn’t too thrilled with them. Meanwhile, I had been reading many positive reviews about what a great tom mic the CAD M179 made, so I ordered a pair to try them out. Continue Reading »

Finding Your Room’s Sweet Spot for Recording Drums

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An all-important detail that isn’t mentioned in many articles about recording acoustic drums is how important it is to find the “sweet spot” in your room where the drums sound their best. I found this out the hard way. Since building my studio several years back, I’ve always set up the drums roughly centered along one of the longer walls (my room is 24′ x 22′), with the drummer’s back to the wall. This just seemed to be the logical place to set them up. It allowed me plenty of room to work around the kit when setting up the mics, allowed good visual communication between the drummer and the other band members, and it kept the kit somewhat out of the way for when people walk through the live room to the control room (which is on the opposite end of the building from the front door). It also allowed my own band plenty of room to set up a guitar amp on one side of the kit and a bass amp on the other for rehearsals, since that’s how things would normally be set up on stage during a live performance. Continue Reading »

Yamaha CBR12 Passive Speaker Review

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The Yamaha CBR series of loudspeakers are passive versions of Yamaha’s powered DBR series. It uses the same cabinets and (presumably) the same drivers as the DBR, minus the built-in mixer and power amp, and (being passive) include a passive internal crossover network. The DBR12 generally gets very good reviews from owners, so my expectations for the passive CBR12 were high when I purchased 4 of them to use primarily for monitor wedges. I wasn’t disappointed. Continue Reading »