Posts belonging to Category Tips for Artists & Bands



Magix Samplitude Music Studio Revisited

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If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you know my DAW of choice is Samplitude Pro X Suite. However, when I first started out with computer-based recording, I was using the “consumer” version of Samplitude, which is now known as Samplitude Music Studio. If you’re interested, I wrote a series of articles about the evolution of the consumer version of Samplitude, the first of which you can find by clicking here. (more…)

A Mic Splitter for the Studio

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I’ve recently started jamming with some guys around the studio once in a while just for fun, but I ran into a slight problem: I need to keep my drum mics connected to my mic preamps so they’re always ready for recording drum tracks. However, I also needed to connect my drum mics to my live mixer (a Behringer X-Air XR18) so I can use my in ear monitors and add drums to the mix when jamming. So to put it simply, I needed a way to split the signals from my drum mics and send them to a couple of different sets of inputs. (more…)

My Favorite Kick Drum Mic Stands

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After years of recording and doing live sound, I’ve discovered that buying a mic stand for your kick drum is NOT where you should try and save some money. It’s just not worth it. A cheap stand will be tipping and slipping until you’re ready to pull your hair out. You’ll try all kinds of creative hacks involving duct tape, string, and sandbags to prevent it, only to have it happen again in the middle of a session or live gig. With that being said, I’d like to recommend a couple of specific mic stands that should serve you well in this application. (more…)

Summing Two Mic Signals

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One of my most popular articles has been The Mono Summing Cable that No One Makes. I’ve been contacted by more readers regarding that article than probably any other that I’ve written. That article details why it’s a bad idea to use a regular Y-cable or TRS-to-TS cable to sum two (usually stereo left & right) line-level signals to mono by simply shorting the outputs together. It’s ok to use such a cable for SPLITTING a signal, but not for COMBINING or SUMMING two signals. That being said, it can work ok on some devices, but on others it can cause distortion, weird phasing artifacts, and possibly even damage the outputs of your gear. However, combining the outputs of two dynamic microphones is a different story, and in some applications it’s ok to do so with a regular XLR Y-cable, as we will soon see. (more…)

MXL A-55 Kicker Bass Drum Mic Review

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The MXL A-55 Kicker is a dynamic instrument mic that’s specially designed for use on kick drums and other low frequency instruments such as bass guitar amps. The mic has a tailored frequency response that gives you plenty of low-end punch and beater snap–what you typically want and need in a kick drum mic. I wasn’t necessarily in need of another kick mic, but I picked up an A-55 when I saw a deal on one that was just too good to pass up. (more…)

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.

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

The Stereo-to-Mono Summing Cable That No One Makes

Have you ever used a stereo-to-mono “Y-cable” or TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve)-to-TS(Tip/Sleeve) cable for combining two audio outputs together, or for summing the Left and Right channels from a single stereo output to mono? For example, maybe you wanted to connect the stereo outputs of your computer, CD player, iPod, iPad, Android tablet or phone into a single 1/4″ input channel on an audio mixer. Or maybe you needed to sum a stereo signal to mono for connecting to a single subwoofer. Or maybe you were mixing a song in your home recording studio and needed to check your mixes in mono on a single “grot box”, like the Auratone or one of its clones (Avantone Mix Cube, Behringer Behritone C5A, C50A, etc.). If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably done this, but what you may not know is this: a Y-cable or stereo-to-mono cable used to SPLIT a signal into two outputs is being used properly. A Y-cable used to MIX or COMBINE two signals into one input is being abused, and may even damage your equipment! (more…)

Acoustic Treatment 101

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A while back, I received an e-mail from a friend asking me about acoustic treatment options for a practice room that he is setting up in the basement of his home. He plays the drums and guitar, and he said that the reflections in the room were terrible. Knowing that I had spent a lot of time and money on treating my studio, he was curious about what I had used, and what I would recommend that he do for his room. (more…)