Harmony Central

Buffered vs True Bypass Switching

By Phil O'Keefe | June 20, 2014

Is One Really Better Than the Other?

If you've been hanging around on guitar forums for any length of time, or reading effects pedal ads online or in magazines, you've no doubt run across the term "true bypass", and maybe even seen references to pedals with "buffers" or "buffered bypass switching." Each switching method has its share of fans out there and the debate over the merits and disadvantages of each can sometimes be intense, and for those unfamiliar with the differences, it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. In this article I'll try to keep it as simple as possible from a technical standpoint while pointing out some of the advantages and disadvantages of true bypass switching, as well as buffers.

When Rehearsal is Not An Option - A Drummer's Prep

By Dendy Jarrett | June 19, 2014


When you're a somewhat active drummer in Nashville, it inevitably happens — "Can you play a writer's showcase this Thursday? And by the way … there's no rehearsal."

Many times, it's all original music and you may get a rough-cut mp3. Typically, these are 20-45 minute sets with eight or so songs.

You don't have to be from Nashville for this to happen. It can be a local pub band or the like. So, what can you do to help avoid a drumming train wreck?

Digital Audio Basics

By Anderton | June 13, 2014

Not quite sure how digital audio works? Here's your refresher course

Digital technology—which brought us home computers, $5 calculators, cars you can't repair yourself, Netflix, and other modern miracles—has fundamentally re-shaped the way we record and listen to music. Yet there's still controversy over whether digital audio represents an improvement over analog audio. Is there some inherent aspect of digital audio that justifies this skepticism?

Orange Dual Dark 100 Tube Amp Head

By Chris Loeffler | May 29, 2014

Dark tones for a bright future!

Orange amplifiers have been in production since 1968 and have earned a reputation as being the "other" English vintage amp for heavier rock tones. Combining the harmonic complexity of a classic Vox with the rude, saturated gain associated with early Marshalls, the hallmark of the Orange sound is a dark, almost fuzzy distortion created in higher gain settings and warm, edgy cleans. The last ten years have seen a significant expansion of the Orange amp line as designers supplement the legacy of the AD30 and Thunderverb with smaller wattage amps like the Tiny Terror and high wattage, multi-channel offerings like the new Dual Dark series amplifiers.

Evans Level 360 Tom Head Review

By Dendy Jarrett | June 13, 2014

Expert Review: Evans Level 360 Tom Heads — Part 1 (Part 3 of the series)

A first look at Evans' diverse tom head offerings

NS Design CR5 Radius 5-String Bass Guitar

By John McVarish | May 29, 2014

A bass that can do it all...or at least come close enough for jazz.

I'm making a list

So what does a demanding bassist require and how much are we (my significant other and I) willing to spend? First off, I'm old school and have never played in a pop band with a 5-string, but I'm ready to take the plunge. I've tried many 5-strings in stores and I want one that articulates well in the lows with a bottom B string that is more than a finger rest. For that, a 35” scale is near the top of my wish list.

Focusrite Saffire Pro 26

By Phil O'Keefe | June 06, 2014

Multi-channel Firewire / Thunderbolt Interface

The Focusrite name has an illustrious history, and the company has made some of the most respected large frame mixing consoles and outboard processors ever released. Their Saffire series of Firewire audio interfaces has long been a hit with users too, and today we'll be taking a look at the latest product in that series, the Saffire Pro 26, which is designed with studio recording and live performance use in mind.

Applications for Amp in a Box Pedals

By Chris Loeffler | June 13, 2014

Going Direct

As an amp purist, I have to admit I’ve often been intrigued by the potential direct amp-in-a-box pedals as an alternative to lugging around heavy gear and having to dial in the sound to every room. Not enough to have fully taken the plunge, until recently, but certainly enough to stay on top of the latest gear advances and demo units occasionally. When I noticed a band I was playing in was suffering from bad practice habits and a lack of knowledge in dialing in the sound right for live performances without the help of an engineer I decided it was time to explore the current state of direct technology for guitar and bass and see if it might be a solution to some of the problems we were facing.

Shure GLXD16 Wireless Guitar System

By Chris Marion | May 29, 2014

Let me start this review with a disclaimer and then a qualification. I am not a guitar player. But, in the last 35 years of my professional experience I have traveled the world playing with some of the best guitar players and I've literally recorded 1000s of songs listening to world-class guitar tone. In my experience with these phenomenal players, there are two things that are extremely important to guitarists, especially road warriors: tone and mobility. The Shure GLXD16 Wireless Guitar System addresses both of these issues with preeminent quality. Let's dig in!

Recording Guitar and Bass: Reduce the Noise

Quiet is good—and these tips will help get you there

by Craig Anderton

Noise comes in many guises: there’s hiss from preamps, clicks and pops from digital clock mismatches, hum from bad shielding, and (unfortunately) a whole lot more. As a result, there’s no one way to get rid of noise—different problems require different solutions. The secret to a quiet recording is to find, then minimize, each noise source.

When you’re chasing down noise, wear headphones to hear more detail in the sound. Then, start from your final output and work backward. Turn up individual faders, enable/bypass EQ, vary the mic preamp gain, etc. to help isolate the main contributors of noise. Following are tips on reducing noise.

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