Posts belonging to Category Reviews



Direct Boxes (DI’s) with Stereo to Mono Summing

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In my article, The Stereo to Mono Summing Cable that No One Makes, I described how to build (or buy) a cable that will take a stereo unbalanced signal and sum it to mono for connection to a PA system (mixer, power amp, etc.). You can connect the output end of such a mono-summing cable directly to a regular line 1/4″ line input. If, however, you need a balanced signal for connection to an XLR mic input on a mixer, you’ll need to use a mono-summing cable in conjunction with a DI box. Since writing that article, there have been several DI boxes that have hit the market that do something similar to what the mono-summing-cable-plus-DI-box combo do, so I thought it might be good to provide a quick overview of some of them. I’ve decided to list these in the order of the selling price from least to greatest. (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…)

Sennheiser e609 Silver Electric Guitar Microphone

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In this post, I’m going to discuss a mic that I’ve owned for a number of years: the Sennheiser e609 (also referred to as the “e609S” or “e609 Silver”). Like its sibling and confusingly-similar named Sennheiser e906, this dynamic mic is designed for use primarily as a guitar amp mic, but you could just as easily use it on a snare drum or rack tom of a drum kit. It employs a side-address design (similar to many large-diaphragm condensers) that makes it ideal for hanging it by the mic cable from the top of an amp, with the capsule pointing straight at the speaker. Some people will try this same trick with other dynamic mics (e.g. the Shure SM57), but that generally doesn’t work as well, because the source is off-axis with relation to the capsule. So if you like doing that sort of thing for miking an amp, the e609 may be just the thing for you. Even if you’re not hanging it by its cable and are putting it on a mic stand, it’s side-address design keeps the mic cable and connector pointing up or down instead of out, allowing the mic to sit closer to the amp and more out of the way than an SM57 or other similar mic. (more…)

Behringer iNuke NU4-6000/NX4-6000 4-Channel Power Amplifier Review

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For a number of years, my live sound system was limited to only two monitor mixes shared between 4 stage monitor speakers. So for a typical 4-piece rock band, the drummer & bass player might share a mix, and then the guitar player and singer would share a mix. Each band member had their own monitor speaker, but they did NOT have their own monitor mix. There were two reasons for this. First, my old analog mixer only had two pre-fader aux/monitor sends. Second, the power amp that I used for my monitors was a standard stereo/2-channel amp. However, when my analog mixer bit the dust, I purchased a new Behringer X-Air XR18. The XR18 has 6 Aux Buses, each of which can be assigned as a pre-fader monitor send. This opened up some new possibilities for me: if only I had a 4-channel power amp, I could run 4 separate, independent monitor mixes–one for each speaker. Enter the Behringer iNuke NU4-6000, a 4-channel amp that seemed to be tailor-made for my intended purpose. (more…)

Connection options for the Behringer Powerplay P2 Headphone Personal Monitor Amp

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A couple of years ago, Behringer released the Powerplay P2, a beltpack headphone/personal monitor amp that has opened up the world of In Ear Monitors to even the most budget-conscious musician. What this compact, flexible little gem allows you to do is this: (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…)

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: (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.

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. (more…)

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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