Tech Tip: Sample Rate and Bit Depth—An Introduction to Sampling

By Dennis Kambury

If you've ever pondered the specs for digital audio and weren't quite sure what numbers like 16-bit/44.1kHz really mean, this tutorial will give you the information you need to understand the basics of digital audio.

Studio Monitors Buying Guide

How to choose the right monitor speakers to match your music and budget

Hands-On Review: A Designs HM2EQ Hammer Equalizer—The Path to Higher EQ

By Barry Rivman
Musician’s Friend Senior Staff Writer

In the jargon of producers and recording engineers, equalizers fall into two general categories: "surgical" and "character." The surgical EQ is used correctively, e.g. when you wish to focus on a problem frequency without affecting the neighboring frequencies. Much like a surgeon, you want to go into a narrow band with a very precise cutting tool–an appropriate simile since we primarily "cut" or reduce problem frequencies. Examples would be taming harsh frequencies on cymbals; sibilance or plosives in vocals; fizz or wool on distorted guitars; or overly woofy bass.

Recording Gear Buying Guide

How to choose the right audio recording equipment to match your skills, music, and budget

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.

History of the Channel Strip

Find out how channel strips evolved from the clunky mixing desks of the '50s and 60s and what Abbey Road and Dark Side of the Moon have in common.

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.

The Touchscreen Control Surface Revolution

Whether for mixing or synth programming, touchscreens are having a major impact 

by Craig Anderton 

Mixers used to be so predictable: Sheet metal top, faders, knobs, switches, and often, a pretty hefty price tag. Sure, DAWs started including virtual mixers, but unless you wanted to mix with a mouse (you don’t), then you needed a control surface with . . . a sheet metal top, faders, knobs, switches, and a slightly less hefty price tag. 

Crucial M500 120GB mSATA SSD

Want to speed up the feel of your DAW computer? This will do it

By Phil O'Keefe

I recently rebuilt my main DAW PC. It was actually long overdue - I last did so in 2006. While I could have built something even more powerful, the new configuration is no slouch in that regard, with a quad core 3.5 GHz i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. Most DAW users know how important a fast CPU and lots of RAM are to overall system performance. The faster and more powerful your CPU is, the more plugins and processing it can run simultaneously. Having plenty of RAM is important for plugins, audio caching and virtual instruments, and adding more RAM to your system is often one of the best upgrades you can make to it. Without enough RAM to hold everything in memory, your system is forced to shuttle data back and forth from one of your hard drives, which are considerably slower than RAM memory is.

Hands-On Review: Blue Spark Studio Microphone

Great sound plus Focus Control in a budget-priced condenser

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