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Audio & Recording

  • The pre amplifier has been around as long as sound has been recorded. For the past 80 years, thousands of different models have been made and manufacturers have enjoyed successful business from this product.Preamps work by amplifying the signal so it can properly handle further processing. The amplification is done as close to the sensor as possible to decrease any outside noise or interference and how the signal is amplified determines the kind of sound you’ll get. Traditionally, tube preamps add their own color to the signal and solid-state preamps boost the signal while attempting to keep as much transparency as possible. These two lists comprise of the best of both worlds and any preamp discussed here will satisfy any recording situation you may have ahead of you.
    February 03, 2016
  • Multitrack recording is the foundation for nearly all forms of recorded music. But what was once a process that was solely relegated to tape and immersive recording studios has now entered a world that almost exclusively occupies the digital realm, and can be done with a device that can easily sit in a car’s passenger seat. There are many different types of multitrack recorders that exist today that occupy a very wide price range, so all of the items listed here have been selected keeping in mind that individual consumers have varying budgets that they are working with. Nonetheless, here are the best multitrack recorders you can get today, with each one listed here equipped with USB connectivity, making it easy to transfer files and use the recorder with a computer, they can record multiple tracks at once which makes them great for live recordings, and lastly they contain onboard faders or knobs to give you the ability mix your audio live on the spot.
    December 16, 2015
  • The mixing board is the engineer’s map, helping him or her navigate through a session and deliver a hands-on approach to mixing, broadcasting, tracking, and producing audio. There are many different types of mixing boards that exist and they all have different purposes, but the general commonalities that they share are the inputs, outputs, and faders that correspond to either analog or digital audio sources. Mixing boards can also be used to add and send effects, tweak EQs, and more. There are many mixing boards available for those looking for their “map” in both the recording studio and in a live environment, and while many of them have a price tag that easily puts them into a price point of six figures, there are also some that are a bit more attainable to the normal individual. We've chosen these picks as the best mixing boards available today, with each one listed here featuring sends that allow you to route your audio with ease, no fewer than 10 tracks to give you a wide range of control to work with, and pan/EQ settings to give you plenty of options to manipulate sound that runs through the board.
    December 16, 2015
  • Compression and limiting may be one of the more difficult to understand concepts for those who are not as well-versed in the world of audio engineering, but those who do understand their importance recognize that these tools can truly make or break a recording. Compressors reduce a signal’s louder volume peak while boosting the quieter sounds in order to deliver a more balanced result. Limiters are similar to compressors, but perform the same function in a much more extreme way (a greater ratio of compression). While a typical compressor has a ratio of 20:1 (meaning, for instance, that for every 20 decibels that the signal goes over the threshold, the compressor only lets one through) or less, limiters have ratios that can go as high as 100:1. We've chosen these picks as the best compressor/limiters available today, with each one listed here equipped with onboard controls to adjust parameters such as attack and release, they weigh less than 20 lbs for easy transport and compact usability, and they also offers a visual cue (either LED light or VU meter) to help draw some context as to how the control is affecting the signal that runs through it.
    December 16, 2015
  • Consider the patchbay as the traffic controller in the world of audio engineering. When working with multiple outboard gear, it can get a little complicated to connect everything to your console in an orderly fashion and that’s where the patchbay comes into play. These devises route and organize what can be an extremely convoluted setup into something more streamlined and self-contained. If you’ve ever seen a picture from when telephones were first introduced and someone had to sit in a room connecting lines into ports in order to make calls happen, it’s the same concept. So needless to say, the patchbay’s role in a recording studio is of extreme importance. We've selected the best patchbays available today, with each one listed here offering at least 12 connections to link cables through, they're rack mountable for easy integration into studio or live rigs, and they also feature adjustable operating modes or configurations which allow you to calibrate each patchbay to best fit your routing needs.
    December 16, 2015
  • The direct input box (commonly referred to as the DI) plays a crucial role in delivering balanced sound in both contained recording environments as well as in more dynamic live performance settings. By taking a high impedance, unbalanced signal and converting it into a low impedance, balanced sound, the signal can be routed over long cable distance without any frequency loss. Though this may not all sound like the sexiest part of the signal flow process, its function is invaluable, as it allows the audio signal to remain intact even when traveling through long cables. We've chosen the following best DI boxes available today because they each feature a pad to protect against unwanted hot signal from overdriving through the unit, they all weigh less than two pounds making them easy to travel with, and they're also able to handle multiple types of input sources, providing versatility for musicians and engineers who need a tool that can perform several functions.
    December 10, 2015
  • Studio monitors are loudspeakers designed typically for use within professional/home recording studios, radio stations, and television studios. Their main purpose is to give the listener a reference point for which to mix the sound. These speakers aren’t meant to give you the best sound possible but rather the clearest because if there’s something wrong with the mix, the engineer needs to hear it so it can be fixed before it hits consumer systems.  However, once a mix has been perfected, there’s no better place to listen to it than on a good pair of reference monitors.  For more information on choosing a studio monitor right for your audio needs, check out our buyer’s guide below.
    November 23, 2015
  • An audio mixer (also known as a mixing console, mixing board or soundboard) is a device that uses electronic signals to modify and combine sounds together. This is done by routing electronic signals through different components, resulting in changes in volume, spatial positioning, timbre and tone. Mixing boards are found in just about every place that sound has to be produced from professional music studios to radio stations to television studios. A mixing board is a great asset in attaining higher levels of control over the sound of your audio signal. When dealing with multiple audio signals, there is no better way to consolidate and control than with an audio mixer. For an in-depth look at mixing boards, please check out our buyer’s guide below.
    May 14, 2015
  • Over the past 10 years USB Microphones have become increasingly popular and their future looks promising, especially with the rise of podcasts and home recordings. Since they have to plug straight from the microphone into the computer, there are a couple elements that must exist inside these mics. A USB microphone is not only a mic, but also a preamp and an analogue-to-digital converter, two units necessary to get your signal into your digital audio workstation (DAW). Everything else in a signal chain (equalizer, compressor, etc) is to improve the sound.These two lists focus on the current leaders in USB microphones overall as well as those in the budget category.
    January 23, 2015
  • Whether you are operating your own home studio or are a guitarist who has taken studio/live recording into your own hands, having the right microphone to record the guitar is a crucial component to getting a great sound. This tool must be able to handle the loud sounds that amplifiers need to make in order to provide a natural tone, but most also be dynamic enough to capture the full range of sound that the instrument produces. Whichever aforementioned category you find yourself in, budgets can definitely be a concern, especially when there are so many other costs in operating a studio or having a fully functional and superb guitar rig. Luckily, there are several great guitar microphones that exist today that won’t break the bank. We've selected the best budget guitar microphone out there, with each item listed here having a cardioid-based pickup pattern to provide a direct sound while eliminating unwanted background noise. Each has been manufactured with durability and ruggedness in mind, making any of these mics a great option for both live and contained recording environments. Lastly, these microphones easily connect to the rest of your system with commonly-found XLR cables.
    September 30, 2014
  • The wireless microphone revolutionized performance. Allowing speakers and vocalists to go untethered opened up the possibility for range and movement on stage, and even introduced a new level of interactivity between audience and those in the spotlight as it broke down the barrier that was previously limited by the length of a microphone cable. Wireless microphones operate via audio transmitters that send signal sans cable, utilizing radio waves sent from the microphone itself to a receiver. Technology has continued to improve and wireless microphones have gotten better and better, in terms of both their audio quality as well as build and design. These are the best wireless microphones overall, with each one listed offering a working range of at least 98 feet, each comes equipped with both a microphone and a receiver, and they all can operate off of 1-2 AA batteries.
    September 25, 2014
  • As the world “do-it-yourself” home studio production grows, so does the list of high quality condenser microphones. There are so many available you can easily end up spending hours researching which ones are best for a given situation. We've compiled two lists of the best condenser microphones on the market with one list covering condenser mics for people on a budget and the other for individuals with a little more to spend. The high quality microphones mics on this list respond well in most recording studio situations thanks to a high level of flexibility. Besides flexibility, these microphones possess warmth, marvelous sensitivity and some models are specially outfitted to record common instruments you'll find in a studio environment.
    July 17, 2014
  • In the world of an audio engineer’s, dynamic mics are plentiful. Over time there have been hundreds of dynamic microphones manufactured and all we have to tell them apart is recommendations and technical information. These two lists will give you an overview of the best dynamic microphones on the market, some affordable to individuals watching their pennies and others for those who may have a little more to spend.  All the best dynamic microphones  on this list are durable, moisture resistant, boast high SPLs and have good response to sound sources.
    July 17, 2014
  • Musicians and audio-heads shopping on a budget already have plenty of pieces of gear and equipment to concern themselves with before getting to the all-important PA system. Broadly speaking, the system that is going to be responsible for amplifying your sound so that it’s properly audible to the rest of the room (whatever size that may be) is not something that you want a second-rate version of, and therein lies the dilemma for those looking for the best deals on said product. But fret not, budget-conscientious buyers out there, there are actually some great quality, low-priced PA systems available today. These are the best budget PA systems, with our picks being relatively lightweight, each weighing than 30 pounds. These picks also accept multiple input types so you can plug a microphone, instrument cable, and more into them for easy use. lastly, these PA systems each deliver a minimum of 20 watts, giving each the ability to easily provide full sound for smaller rooms and venues.
    July 02, 2014
  • There’s many ways to approach micing up your drum kit with many different mics available to choose to from. When recording drums there’s a few things you need to consider, especially what kind of drum sound you’re going for.  Answering this question is imperative to choosing the right path towards the right drum mic. Do you want an open, airy-sounding Jazz kit, a tight and aggressive Rock kit or a big and smooth RNB kit?  These lists compile the best drum mics out there thanks to their versatility, durability, affordability based upon audio engineering standards and of course their ability to produce a sound you’ll be happy with.Take a few minutes to read through all the specifics for these drum mics as they’re all different, each with their own unique perks. Every new mic you haven’t heard before is another potential path towards tones you couldn't achieve in the past.  Drum mics are one of the many ways audio engineers are able to get creative so take some time and explore these best drum mic lists.
    June 09, 2014