Posts belonging to Category Reviews

My Favorite Drum Hardware Pack

Several years ago I purchased a Ludwig Element drum set to use at our church. Included with that Element kit was a Ludwig 400 series hardware pack, which included a bass drum pedal, hi-hat stand, cymbal boom stand, straight cymbal stand, and a snare stand. I’ve been so impressed with this very reasonably-priced hardware that I thought I would write a quick post about it.

In my experience, most budget-priced drum hardware is woefully inadequate. The cymbal stands are so lightweight that you’re afraid they will tip over with even moderately hard playing. The adjustment points on the stands can also feel weak, and they have to be wrenched down with a pair of pliers to keep things from loosening up while you’re playing. The hi-hat stands and kick pedal often suffer from a lack of adjustability that can make them difficult to tweak to your liking.

In my experience, that is NOT the case with the Ludwig 400 series. These stands are light, but not TOO light. The stands have just enough weight to feel sturdy and solid, but without being overly heavy. The adjustment points all work very well, and the wingnuts and wingscrews are large enough for you to easily grip and tighten down without needing those pliers. And the adjustments hold firm–even with moderately hard playing (full disclosure: I’m not a really heavy hitter, particularly at church). The kick pedal and hi-hat stands are imminently usable. They don’t have ALL of the adjustments that you might expect from top-of-the-line gear, but they have the crucial adjustments that are needed most to dial them in.

I’ve been using these stands weekly at church for years (taking them out occasionally for gigs), and have never had a single problem out of them. In fact, I’ve considered trading in some of my heavier, “pro quality” stands from my regular gigging kit for more of these, just to lighten my load. And perhaps the best feature for this hardware pack is the price. For this level of quality, I would expect to pay much more. So if you’re in need of a hardware pack to round out a new drum set that doesn’t include hardware, definitely consider this one.

P.S., if you’re looking for something just a bit better (albeit a bit more weight) for not much more money, also check out the Ludwig Atlas Standard Hardware Pack.

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


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…)

Magix Samplitude Music Studio Revisited


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


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…)

Monoprice Premier Series XLR Microphone Cables


A while back, I was in need of a few more XLR mic cables for use around the studio. After reading some positive reviews of other products from Monoprice, I decided to give their Premier Series XLR Microphone Cables a try. The specs are impressive. They use a thick, rubber-jacketed cable with a braided copper shield, and claim to use 16 AWG conductors (more about that later). The metal XLR connectors have gold-plated pins and are serviceable–as opposed to the molded plastic connectors found on many budget mic cables. Finally, the Monoprice cables sell for considerably less than comparable cables from other brands, and include a lifetime warranty–you certainly won’t get that with any other “budget” mic cables. (more…)

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


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


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

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


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

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…)