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Best Budget Audio Interfaces

How do you record audio into your computer? How do you listen back? If you're a musician looking to record guitar, vocals, or even start producing music in your computer, an audio interface needs to be one of your first purchases. Thankfully, a good audio interface doesn't need to break the bank!

The Audio Interface is a key feature in any professional or home recording studio. In fact, for many artists and sound engineers, the audio interface is singlehandedly the most important piece of hardware for recording because it provides the direct instrument inputs to a PC which will be used for editing and master recordings.

There are many factors that shape a great audio interface unit. And they come in all shapes and sizes. The purpose of this article is to untangle the complexities of this piece of equipment and give you a clearer picture of the best audio interfaces on the market right now so you can buy the perfect audio interface for you.

Note: This article may contain affiliate...

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Best DAW for Beginners Under $100

These days, everyone from novices to Billie Eilish writes and records music inside a Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW. There are a ton of DAW choices out there, but they aren't created equal. And most of them aren't very beginner-friendly!

In this article, I'll show you why Reason 11 Intro is the best DAW for beginners under $100. I'll then show you how to turbo charge your new DAW with a bunch of hand-selected free plugins and free loops. 

By the time you're done with this article, you'll be on the road to a pro-grade studio, on a budget. And one that's actually accessible to beginners!

Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I would receive a commission - at no cost to you - for any products you purchase.

What Makes a DAW Good for Beginners?

A beginner DAW isn't necessarily the same as the best DAW for the pros. First, beginners and pros and have different needs. Second, they have different levels of experience.

You wouldn't want to let a...

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The Best Mastering Plugins the "Pros" Are Using For Incredible Sounding Songs

Do you feel like your songs are lacking that special something you hear in professional recordings? Are you struggling to make your songs loud and punchy? Or do you feel like they're just missing a little extra polish? Then you need to up your mastering game.

Mastering is a key element to any successful recording. Its purpose is to capture the essence of your music. You can create the best song in the world but if it isn’t mastered correctly, it will come out wimpy and underwhelming.

Mastering is the element that separates a track that sounds like it was recorded using an iPhone in a garage from a track that sounds like it was recorded in Abbey Road Studios. In this article, we will explore the best mastering plugins for your tracks so you can capture the full essence and energy of your music.

But before we do, if you want to learn more about mastering, check out this free mastering cheat sheet that will walk you through the most important steps in the mastering...

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How to Mix Piano - Epic Guide to Making Piano Plugins Sound Lifelike and Realistic

Piano is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments around, but it can be one of the most challenging instruments to mix. Mixing piano is tough because it has a large frequency range and dynamic range. To help you make make your piano sound lifelike and huge, I've put together these guide on how to mix piano.  

Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.

Consider The Context

Choosing which piano plugin to use, and how intensively to mix it, depends on the context of your music. The mixing techniques and plugin you're going to use for a solo classical piano performance are much more straightforward than for a modern neo-classical or pop song. 

This guide to mixing piano will teach you the most "extreme" settings. Use your ears and taste to figure out how much you should dial things back. The more instruments there are in the mix, the simpler the piano processing should be.

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Logic Live Loops and Reason 11 - What You Need to Know to Use the Reason Rack in Logic 10.5

Logic Pro X 10.5 added a ton of incredible new features to Logic, including Live Loops, a non linear sequencing tool. And Reason 11 (affiliate link) added the ability to use Reason as a plugin inside of other DAWs. Using Reason in Logic is pretty straightforward, although there are a few quirks that address in this blog - especially regarding how to record midi data from players.

But Logic's Live Loops add a few new wrinkles and twists to using the Reason plugin. The video below will walk you through the main ways of triggering Reason with Logic's Live Loops.

Using Dr. OctoRex with Logic Live Loops

First, you can directly drag Dr. OctoRex loop patterns into live loops and trigger the patterns directly through Logic Live Loops. To copy the Rex pattern data to the Live Loops, simply drag the music note into your desired Live Loop cell.

Then be sure to turn off "Enable Loop Playback" on the Doctor OctoRex, otherwise it will keep playing the loop,...

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How to Record Reason Plugin Player Midi Output in Logic Pro X

Reason 11 and Logic Pro X are a match made in heaven. They offer a very complimentary sound set and tools that really work well together. While getting them to work together is pretty straightforward,  I did encounter one confusing problem: recording midi data from Reason Players.

Thankfully I found an easy solution for you.

Reason Players are powerful midi sequencing tools that let you do thinks like easily create chords and arpeggios. Unfortunately, there's not a native way to record the data into Logic. First, you'll need to download the free plugin MidiFX Freeze.

Then create an instance of the Reason Player in Logic's Midi FX area, followed by an instance of MidiFX Freeze. After you've created your part, you need to open MidiFX Freeze. Then follow these steps:

  1. Hit the record button in the middle of MidiFX Freeze and play your song. When done hit stop and the recording will stop.
  2. You'll now see that a new icon that says Midi and has some musical notes
  3. Drag...
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Best Rhodes VST Plugins for All Budgets

A Rhodes Piano has one of the most distinctive sounds in music. From silky to sultry, soulful to psychedelic, Rhodes have been heard on countless hits. While there are many Rhodes VST plugins available, they aren’t created equal. The purpose of this article is to dive into the best Rhodes VST of all price points so you can decide for yourself which one is best for you!

A Brief History of Rhodes Pianos

The Rhodes piano invented by Harold Rhodes is an iconic electric piano used by many big name artists such as The Beatles, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, The Bee Gees and The Doors. The Fender Rhodes gained popularity in the 1970’s when it was mass produced after its sale to CBS Entertainment Group. Rhodes keyboards were extremely popular particularly in soul, pop and jazz music. However, the keyboard was utilized by artists across all genres.

With the advent of synthesizers, electric pianos became increasingly popular. And soon enough, people began emulating Rhodes pianos. As...

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Amazing New Free Valhalla Reverb Plugin - Supermassive! Quick Supermassive Tutorial and Demos

This amazing new plugin from Valhalla - Supermassive - creates incredible lush sounds somewhere between reverb and delay. It can also be used for chorusing, flanging and more.

This video provides a quick tutorial to create your own patches in Supernova and shows some demos of the Supernova presets. Now go download it for yourself!

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Understanding The Difference Between Samplers and Synths

What's the difference between samplers and synthesizers? If you're looking to make incredible music, you need to pick the right tool for the job. If you grab a synth instead of a sampler, you could be in for a cacophony of ugly sounds. This guide will quickly walk you through the major differences between the two, but if you want to go in-depth, and hear examples of the difference, be sure to watch the video below.

What is a Synthesizer?

At its most basic, a synthesizer generates its own waveform from an oscillator, and manipulates that waveform through filtering, amplitude envelopes, noise, modulation, and a host of other processing.

Sometimes these can be emulations of real analog synths, like D-16's Lush-101. But some synthesizers emulate real instruments. For example some of the best piano VSTs and Rhodes Piano plugins are synthesizers.

Even more exciting, synths allow you to sculpt unique sounds from thin air. Because they’re sound is being generated...

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Best Distortion Plugins & Saturation VSTs of 2020

Let’s face it, every musician wants to turn heads and maximize their creative expression with their sound. How do you achieve this in a way that doesn’t break the bank? Simple.

Distortion and saturation plugins!

Long story short, these plugins add frequencies in a certain way to make a track sound like it was recorded in a multimillion-dollar recording studio. In this article, you will learn about the best distortion and saturation plugins plus a few alternatives so you can take your music to the next level.

Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I would receive a commission - at no cost to you - for any products you purchase.

Best Distortion Plugin – FabFilter Saturn

From warm and clean saturation to chaotic and extreme distortion, FabFilter Saturn delivers on both ends of the spectrum and everything in-between to elevate your music. Saturn has a slew of modulation options. For example, you can choose from over 150 ready-to-go killer presets or...

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How To Make Money as Musician by Pursuing Your Passion

This 5-day mini course will show you exactly how to launch a music licensing side hustle so that you can finally get paid for your music!