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Yamaha HS-5 Review

In the world of studio monitors, Yamaha carries a bit of a stigma. Their legendary NS-10 monitors were ubiquitous in professional studios during the 1970’s and 80’s. You really couldn’t get away from them. But they were also notorious for a terribly trashy high end that many found fatiguing, as well as muddy lows that lacked definition. But they also exposed issues with mixes for some engineers, who remain avid fans. What does this have to do with the HS5? Nothing. We just wanted to get it … [Read more...]


Producing Bruno Mars with Limited Gear

The ability to make hits in a home studio is the promise of the revolution in recording technology. Just about any home producer has the tools to do this. Of course, having the tools is a long way from producing the hits. In my experience, making great recordings is actually exceptionally difficult, and I’ve had an intense learning curve along the way. While we continue to acquire gear and spend time messing about with our DAWs, we rarely get any closer to making great records. With that … [Read more...]


Presonus Eris 5 Review

The last twenty years of music production technology trickling down to the masses has shown that incredible creativity is possible with modest means. A corresponding movement on the part of manufacturers has put increasingly more powerful tools in the hands of the home producer. Studio monitors from Presonus are an astounding affirmation of affordable, professional technology that can transform your studio. Before we look closely, here are a few specs: the E5 looks like many other monitors, … [Read more...]


Are You In Position? A Guide to Setting Up Studio Monitors

You probably know that monitors can help your productions, but do you know what you’re doing with them? Do you know how to get the best performance out of your shiny new investment? If you can’t answer with a resounding yes, then this guide is for you. It might be hard to believe, but the way your monitors behave in your room is going to have a big impact on how your productions sound to you, and the rest of the world. The consequences of poor setup are pretty disastrous, matched only by the … [Read more...]


Avantone Mix Cube Review

Mixing engineers care more about fidelity and sound than almost any other people on earth, so why would anybody use a sub-par monitor? It sounds counter-intuitive but that's what we're about to do. We're not striking out against the conventional wisdom of the day. The benefits of using a "sub-par monitor" are now widely appreciated in the engineering community. The term "sub-par" is a bit of a red herring. Maybe "sub-optimal" is more accurate. Take the Avantone Mix Cube, a cube shaped … [Read more...]


Gear Guide: Five Inexpensive Home Studio Monitors

Can you hear your music? That sounds like a simple question. You can play your projects on any speaker you have available, even cheap ear buds. But how much are you hearing? In music production, accurately hearing sounds is incredibly important and inadequate monitoring is a definite handicap(although it’s not catastrophic). Would you expect a graphic artist to do their work with a pair of foggy goggles on? They can still see colors and shapes, but not with definition and clarity. The … [Read more...]

Buy this microphone now!

MXL 990 Review

One of the dark secrets of microphone reviews and the world of microphones in general, is that the mic doesn’t matter nearly as much as the person using it. Except for the worst microphones on the planet, you can get a good sound with just about any of them, as long as you know how to use it. While experience can really help you position a mic quickly, anybody can do this. As long as they can hear and they have patience. It could take all day to get the mic position right. But it’s worth … [Read more...]

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Audio Technica 2020 Review

Looking for a cheaper microphone can really test your instincts. Take this mic for example: it bears the name of Audio Technica, one of the most trusted names in microphones, but it goes for a price that is exceedingly affordable for the project studio. How can this be? Take a look at the construction and the mystery deepens. No cheap plastic parts….solid metal grill….feels solid, far too heavy for a cheap microphone. What gives? Nothing, really. You find the same quality construction … [Read more...]

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AKG Perception 120 Review

For a long time, users were wise to steer away from a condenser microphone under $100. But those days are gone. You can now safely consider adding such a microphone to your studio. And if you can only spend less than $100, take a look at what AKG is offering in this category. AKG is a world leader in microphones and have effortlessly transitioned into offering budget mics for the home studio. That alone should put you at ease. Get used to that feeling, because once you plug it in, you’re … [Read more...]

Rode NT1a Amazon listing

Rode NT1a Review

If you’re in the market for a single microphone for your fledgling studio, the Rode NT1 is a strong contender for your money. The NT1 is a large diaphragm condenser, something that audio experts the Internet over, recommend for a home or project studio. Condenser mics use a small electrical signal to electrify their diaphragm and put out a very powerful signal. By contrast, dynamic mics are made to hander much higher signal levels, but they have a weak signal. What this means for you is … [Read more...]


Added Value Music Production?

One of my side hobbies is reviewing music submissions for a college radio station. I get to pick through a pile of music, some well-known, some quite obscure and listen to it all. The majority of it is terrible. Yep. Most of it suffers from some lack of professionalism, vision, or just energy. And it’s not just my taste. I find “good” submissions by artists that I don’t like at all. You can see quality, even if you don’t like the music. And it got me to thinking about the vast sea of … [Read more...]

Shure SM58 and Shure SM57

SM57 Microphone Review

Experienced home producers will certainly look sidelong at a review of an SM57 because it is an absolute winner. Why are we reviewing it? Calling the SM57 “industry standard” has now become industry standard language. Nobody looks or thinks twice about these microphones. You don’t have to. They’re rock solid and continue to perform, despite user abuse. Before we get into the details, let’s look at a little history. A Little Mic Records Some Big Noises The humble 57 first hit the … [Read more...]