Mackie 2404-VLZ3 Mixer Review

Review of the Mackie 2404-VLZ3 mixing console which is a 24-channel mixer.

Mackie 2404-VLZ3 mixing console
Mackie 2404-VLZ3 Mixer

One of the very most important pieces of equipment that will affect the sound of your live band is your mixing console. I recently upgraded to the Mackie 2404-VLZ3 24-channel mixer. This mixer features 24 channels with 20 of those channels being XDR2 microphone channels and 4 channels being grouped on two faders as stereo channels. The mixer also features two built-in effects units that feature 24 separate effect presets. The mixer also features 8 separate compressors.

One feature that really sold me on this mixer was the built-in compression. There are four compressors located on channels 17-20 which is great for adding compression to individual instruments like the kick drum or bass guitar. There are four more compressors located on the four sub-group channels. Having the compressors located on the four sub-group channels is great for adding overall compression to the instruments or vocals. I route my vocal mix to sub-groups 1 and 2 and then add compression on those faders. I do the same with my instrument mix on sub-groups 3 and 4. I love the compression feature of this mixer!   Continue reading “Mackie 2404-VLZ3 Mixer Review”

Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones Review

The Shure SE215 sound isolating earphones sound great but they just don’t fit as well as the SE115 did.

Shure SE-215 Earphones
Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Headphones

I have been using the Shure SE115 sound isolating earphones in my live band and at the gym for about 3 years now. They have been great headphones and I’ve really loved them. I finally wore through the cord where it passes over my ears and it’s impossible to only replace the cord in that area on the SE115’s. So I decided to purchase the new Shure SE215 sound isolating earphones which have replaced the SE115 product. I was so happy with the SE115’s that I felt confident that the SE215’s could easily replace them.

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Behringer Xenyx X2442USB Mixer Review

The Behringer Xenyx X2442USB Mixer is a 16-channel mixing console with built in compression, digital effects and a computer USB interface.

Behringer Xenyx X2442USB Mixer
Behringer Xenyx X2442USB Mixer

   If you’re looking for an extremely versatile mixer and you have a limited budget then look no further than the Behringer Xenyx X2442USB Mixing Console. This mixer is ideal for use with your live band or even in your home studio. If you have a band with four or five members then this is the ideal mixing solution for you simply because of the excellent selection of input and routing options.

   The Xenyx X2442USB is the upgrade to the Behringer Eurorack UB2442FX Pro mixer. The mixers are very similar in capability and channel availability and I suggest you read the Behringer Euorack UB2442FX Pro Review to get more of an idea of these mixer’s capabilities. The Xenyx X2442USB has two very important upgrades. First, it has built in compression! This is a major advantage for mixing live vocals as well as live drums. It saves you from having to hook up an outboard compression unit to the mixer. The downside is, it’s only available on channel’s 1-8. Still, that’s generally enough channels for your vocal mics and basic drum mics.     Continue reading “Behringer Xenyx X2442USB Mixer Review”

Turn Your iPhone, iPod Or iPad Into A Guitar Amplifier

You can easily turn your iPad, iPod or iPhone into a guitar amplifier using the iRig interface from IK Multimedia and the Amplitube App.

iRig for iPhone, iPod and iPad
iRig for iPhone, iPod and iPad

   I’m always looking out for tools to help me practice or to help me out in my live band.  One of the coolest things I’ve seen lately is the new Amplitube offering from IK Multimedia for the Apple iPhone, iPod and iPad. In a nutshell it will give you the ablility to plug your guitar into your iPhone, iPod or iPad and use it as a guitar amplifier. You’ll be able to make your guitar sound like a multitude of famous guitar amplifiers.

   If you’re unfamiliar with Amplitube it’s basically a software based guitar amplifier simulation that takes your guitar signal and processes it to sound like one of many different famous guitar amplifiers. Your guitar will sound like it’s being played through a Fender blackface amplifier and with the press of a button your guitar can sound like it’s being played through a full Marshall stack. You’ll get bluesy tones, metal tones, country tones and jazz tones using Amplitube’s guitar processing.    Continue reading “Turn Your iPhone, iPod Or iPad Into A Guitar Amplifier”

Cakewalk UM-2G 2×2 USB MIDI Interface For Mac And PC

The Cakewalk UM-2G MIDI interface allows you to plug your MIDI devices into your Mac or PC computer.

Cakewalk UM-2G 2X2 Midi Interface
Cakewalk UM-2G 2X2 Midi Interface

   When I’m not out playing in my live band I’m usually working on writing and recording music in my home studio. I use a lot of MIDI equipment and several computers so I’m always looking out for convenient MIDI interfaces. Today I’m going to tell you about the Cakewalk UM-2G 2×2 USB MIDI interface for the Mac and PC computer.   Continue reading “Cakewalk UM-2G 2×2 USB MIDI Interface For Mac And PC”

Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones Review

The Shure SE115 sound isolating earphone is the perfect solution for excellent sound while excercising.

Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones
Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones

   I like to protect my ears from excessive noise when I’m listening to my personal music for pleasure. Having an excellent pair of sound isolating earphones is essential to protecting my hearing which I’m sorry to say isn’t so good after all my years playing in a live band. Still, I’m extremely picky about how my music sounds and I like to hear it warm and clear when I’m listening for pleasure. Sound isolating earphones are important for me because I can keep the volume at a reasonable level and still hear every detail of the music.

   I own a high end pair of Shure SE530 sound isolating earphones that I use for personal monitors with my live band. I also use them when I travel or simply want to listen to music when my Sennheiser headphones aren’t around. The thing is, they’re so expensive that I’m extremely careful with them and I don’t like to go running, biking or hiking with them. I love to be active and I’m a very serious runner so I wanted a really good pair of headphones that had high end sound but that didn’t cost $300.   Continue reading “Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones Review”

Line 6 POD Studio KB37 USB Audio Interface Review Update

Line 6 POD Studio KB37
Line 6 POD Studio KB37

   A while ago I wrote a review on the Line 6 Toneport KB37 Audio Interface and MIDI Controller. I really love this little audio interface and it’s been an invaluable tool for my music recordings. I have a larger setup in my main studio but the KB37 goes with me when I need to work on my recordings while on the road. That being said, I have to admit that I use the KB37 in my big studio a lot of the time because it’s so simple to use.

   When I got my KB37 it was called a Toneport and came with basic Line 6 amp simulation software. I had to purchase Reason 4.o and Sony Acid separately to get my portable recording setup running with the KB37. That added up to quite a few dollars to get a decent mobile audio workstation going.   Continue reading “Line 6 POD Studio KB37 USB Audio Interface Review Update”

Get An External Phantom Power Supply For Your Studio Microphone

Using an external phantom power supply is an affordable and easy way to power your studio microphones.

Audio-Technica CP8506 4ch Phantom Power Supply
Audio-Technica CP8506 4ch Phantom Power Supply

  If you play in a live band then chances are you most likely have a modest home studio setup as well. Every musician needs a way to capture creative ideas and having a home studio setup is the best way to do that. Most musicians have at least a basic mixing console but a lot of these consoles don’t come equipped with Phantom Power. Why do you need Phantom Power? To power your large diaphragm studio microphone such as the Audio-Technica AT2050 microphone.    Continue reading “Get An External Phantom Power Supply For Your Studio Microphone”

The Cheapest Way To Get Into A Pro Tools Recording Setup

An extremely affordable way to set up a home recording studio based around the powerful Digidesign Pro Tools 8 LE.

Digidesign Mbox-2 Mini Recording Bundle
Digidesign Mbox-2 Mini Recording Bundle

    Not only do I play professionally in a live band but I’ve also been a home recording enthusiast for many years. My first piece of recording equipment was my good old Tascam Portastudio 4-track which came with microphone, mic cord and a box of good cassettes. I made a lot of great recordings on that old Tascam and eventually wore the recording heads out. After the Tascam died I moved to a Fostex hard disk based recording setup that I built up to create a 24-track studio. But to get in line with the rest of the recording industry I had to build a Digidesign Pro Tools based recording studio.

   I now have a Digi 003 rack system running Pro Tools LE in my home studio. It has been a great system to work with and I’ve become really good with computer based audio editing. It would be really difficult to go back to editing tracks without the ease of being able to edit audio on the computer. Pro Tools is a very powerful program that is fairly easy to learn but can be a challenge to master. If you’re going to get into home recording, I recommend starting with an entry level Pro Tools LE system.    Continue reading “The Cheapest Way To Get Into A Pro Tools Recording Setup”

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones Review

The Sennheiser HD380 Pro Headphones are excellent in the studio or for casual listening as well.

Sennheiser HD380 Pro Headphones
Sennheiser HD380 Pro Headphones

   I’m not only a live performing musician but a studio musician and producer as well. I have tried dozens of different headphones over the years and almost invariably breathed a sigh of relief when an old pair died just so I would have an excuse to buy another pair. It seemed like finding the perfect pair of headphones was like searching for the holy grail. To be honest,  I still haven’t found that perfect pair of headphones but I have found a couple headphone solutions that have kept me satisfied for a while now.

Continue reading “Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones Review”

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