Best Audio Mixer Soundboards

If you’re currently deciding which audio mixer soundboard to buy, your head must be spinning at the different choices available. Getting your first audio mixer soundboard is a good thing, but having to pick one that has all the features you need and the ones you may need tomorrow is a difficult thing to do. Here in this article, we will look at some of the best audio mixer soundboards 2017.

1. Behringer Xenyx 802
The Behringer Xenyx boasts of a 2-bus 8-input audio mixer and an advanced low noise system. The Behringer Xenyx 802 also has a well-engineered analog system and a portable design that benefits many people. Whether you are performing live on occasions or merely making audio mixes, you will enjoy using this one. It has a desirable sound quality and thus creating one of the best to record voice-overs.

2. Mackie ProFX12v2 12
This Mackie series sounds better and offers convenient features at every input, output, knob, and fader. The Mackie ProFX12v2 12 also features low-noise mic preamps that can give life to every input jack, as well as an effects engine offering great sound effects including delays, reverbs, and choruses. For outside traveling, the ProFX12v2 features a robust internal multi-voltage power supply.

3. Pyle PMX7BU Bluetooth Mixer
Pyle soundboards are durable and have versatile designs with many features that are appealing to both everyday music producers and DJs. The Pyle PMX7BU mainly has a top-grade Bluetooth mixer with double RCA microphone input. It also features a long-lasting chassis and a universal headphone jack. The Pyle PMX7BU has a portable design such that you carry it easily. Its components are functional and durable. With this soundboard, you can also connect a speaker, for example, for a louder listening experience.

4. Alto Professional ZMX52
If you’re planning on delving into music, then Alto Professional ZMX52 is one of the best soundboards for you. You can enjoy using it for a wide variety of reasons. It has a space-saving design and is convenient. You carry it quickly and use it anywhere it doesn’t matter whether it’s a bar or a club. It also features a durable design with six audio inputs that work well. Although it is cheap, its functionality is desirable.

5. Yamaha MG10XU
This soundboard offers a surprisingly excellent sound quality, especially if you consider that this machine features only ten inputs. The Yamaha renders USB recording. If you want to achieve top-notch sound quality at live events, then the Yamaha is an affordable option with high customer ratings and a good history of success.

When you look at the different soundboards on sale, the various options may give you a headache. However, once you know the kind of mixers you need, the size, connections and onboard options you need, you can narrow down the choices quite easily.

How to Use Reverb on Vocals

The primary purpose of reverb is to create a scene or effect for the vocal so that it has a magical depth to the sound. It can be used on percussion, vocals, drums, and other elements. Instrumental beats can also benefit greatly with the correct use of reverb. Whether it’s natural or added via analog or digital effect, reverb is an ever-present element in an audio recording. But how can you use reverb to produce more depth and space? The following is a guide to help you out.

While using reverb, the first and foremost thing to do is considering how you’ll want the listener to picture the vocalist all through the playback. Keep in mind that the reverb is used to enhance but not to upstage the vocals.

It is very vital that you understand the fundamentals of “arrival time gap.” Reverb is used to provide what seems an echo on the vocals. If you want percussion to get utmost attention, then you can also use reverb. The time between the sound originally heard by the listener and the resonance that reaches to the listener is known as the “arrival time gap.” You should study sound avidly and learn how it travels to get a more clear picture of how reverb works. It needs to be well-balanced as too much reverb can make the track may sound unappealing while too little can cause the record to seem hollow.

Practice regularly until you get it right. Keep in mind that the track will represent your art. If you produce a mediocre and low-quality track, definitely your fans will notice. Develop an instinct and an ear for finding out exactly how much reverb is required. You can achieve this by getting enough practice and practicing more often.

With upbeat music tracks, you can do well with plate reverb. This is because plate reverb has a wide selection of sounds. Some of the sounds are bright; some are dark, while some decay much longer than others. What the primary benefit of plate reverbs is that they can enhance effects without getting “washy.” Plate reverbs are good to use with acoustic instruments, brass instruments, percussion, and vocals.

If you’re worried about your track or demo and you feel that you need something to make it unique, then you can purchase exclusive beats at many online sites. Just remember to choose the websites well, as many websites are not that reliable.

Music Production Tips for Beginners

There are many shortcomings in the road to music production. Most of these challenges can be avoided if the beginner has a few music production tips to help them out. Once someone that is new to music production knows the basics, their learning process in this field will be at a higher level than someone who jumps straight in without reading and understanding anything. Here are some helpful tips:

Keep it simple
An excellent piece of music is simple, and it’s layered with simple elements, hence creating a robust and cohesive piece of music. Since you are just a beginner, don’t try anything complicated as this can hinder your learning process. Start out simple, and the complexity of your music production will progress gradually as you keep practicing day in day out.

Always back up the files
Before sitting down and mixing, make sure that you have all your arrangement files, and audio files backed up on something other than your computer. Be it an external drive, memory stick DVD/CD, or online. Anything can happen, such as a hard drive meltdown or a virus infection or something else that can make you lose your life’s work.

Mix in a peaceful environment
You can’t do any of the music production or mix if there is noise around you. Using headphones may not be good as it is distracting. This, however, does not mean that you need extreme silence, even though that would be perfect. Never turn speakers up above a comfortable listening level to counter noise that is interfering with your ability to mix effectively.

Before mixing, listen to a track and write any ideas down
Always listen to a song you are about to mix and write ideas down to give you the mixing direction. The inspiration can come from specific words/vocals or just an idea/feeling you thought up at that moment of listening. It’s always good to have a direction or idea of how you would want the track to go. Don’t just start producing music with no specific direction. It is also good to write these thoughts down to make sure that you don’t forget them.

Practice, Research, Read and Interact
There are many resources out there, be it general music forums or music production forums. Ask people for feedback and tips to learn and motivate yourself. You can become a better music producer because of the competition on such discussions and forums as well as the knowledge that you will gain from other music producers.

In conclusion, do not fall into the trap of thinking that your skills, knowledge or equipment are not good enough. Keep practicing on making better music, and you’ll gradually become the music producer you have always wanted to be, it does not happen overnight. Work hard, and work smart.

Advice for Audio Engineering Students


Every song you hear on the radio today is the product of a talented audio engineer. If you’re interested in shaping the music of the future, there are many audio engineering schools for you to choose from at the US.

An audio engineer records and manipulates audio recordings for a wide variety of media, from the music you hear on the radio to the songs you hear on your favorite TV show or in your favorite movie. Advancements in technology mean today’s engineers need to know how to work with computer software for music production, in addition to traditional audio recording equipment.

In addition to your degree work, you’ll want to be certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers. This is an important addition to your résumé and requires passing a test and paying a small fee. Once certification is completed, you’ll be given a certificate, as well as a logo to place on your web pages, business cards, and other marketing materials.

To best manipulate and enhance sound, audio engineers must first know the basics of how sound works. Most audio engineering schools, therefore, will offer classes in audio waves and sound technology. After you’ve learned the basics of music production, you’ll progress to the mechanics of engineering, usually in a studio classroom. Some colleges provide engineering software for you to work on class assignments on your laptop or desktop, allowing you to avoid logging long hours in a classroom studio, where you would have to compete for studio time with other students.

Audio engineers are more than sound editors. A good engineer knows the acoustics of sound, inside and out. While a true ‘engineer’ in that sense, audio engineers also have a creative edge that allows them to work with talented musicians and creative visionaries to put a project together. Whether the music you are creating is a video game or car commercial, you will be putting together sound recordings for directors and producers who already have a preconceived idea of the final product. It will be up to you to bring this vision to life using the trade skills you learned in school, as well as the gift you were given for putting a song together.

Don’t make your decision based on what you find online. Most audio engineering colleges will allow you to tour their facilities before enrolling. Do a school tour and check out the equipment. Will you be able to train on a wide variety of equipment, ranging from traditional analog to the current digital technology? This is necessary to prepare you for your future career, with the experience giving you more jobs to choose from once you’ve received your degree and SBE certification.

A career as an audio engineer in the US also requires mechanical skill, as engineers are often called upon to install and troubleshoot equipment in the recording studio. Technical knowledge of computers and computer software will be helpful, as well, since many studios rely on this technology for sound mixing and basic office administration tasks.


How to Build a Successful Music Studio


Only another artist could understand how much work goes into creating a quality piece of music; the time that’s spent learning the craft and the creative energy that goes into actually coming up with a new and unique piece of music that’s worth recording. If there are other artists involved in a collaborative effort it multiplies everything, there is a whole lot of dedication and commitment involved. So when the time comes to record, the goal is to find the best recording studio for the money.

What is it that you should look for when you begin scouting for a facility to do your recording in? One attribute that should be a priority when looking for the right recording studio is if they have a qualified on-site recording engineer with an established reputation for producing quality products. Having someone that is involved in the process but isn’t willing to make an effort to get along with others will only lead to problems. You may end up feeling rushed to finish your project just to get out of there and this, in turn, can only serve to have an adverse effect on the quality of your final product.

The perfect recording studio will also have a separate well-insulated control room; a control room that’s equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment and features that allow for maximum options and flexibility.

Another thing to look for is overall quality design with an eye towards comfort. A place you can relax in can only help to expedite the creative process.Acoustics is also incredibly important, so look around and ask them what they’ve done to optimize the acoustics.

A nice and roomy full-size recording room is also a big plus to look for. One with at least a few isolation booths where you can set up instruments like drums, so you can better control the type and volume of sound that’s coming out. Soundproofing is also just as important as the acoustics in the recording room, so before you make your final decision, you need to check that out as well to make sure that’s up to your standards. If you have to toss a lot of material from whatever might be in the room already, like particle board etc, you will want to get dumpster from a place like Waste Focus where you can leave it and then fill it as you build. At the end, they come and haul it away. That’s how to do it!

Then if you don’t have the means for transporting your equipment to and from the studio ask them if they have access to a van or truck, and if so perhaps they can be of some assistance in helping you move your equipment.

Lastly, there’s the issue of pricing that has to be taken into consideration and recording time in a top-rated studio is not cheap. It all comes down to amount money you have to spend on your recording project and keep in mind that, just like so many other things in life that you’re going to buy or rent, you get what you pay for. So do some comparison-shopping to become familiar with the general price structure for recording time in a professional grade studio before you make your final decision.

5 Business Tips for Music Studio Start-ups


If you’ve had difficult times setting up your own Music Studio, then I have some good and bad news for you. The good news is that you stand a better chance of setting up your successful music studio than trying to land a job in someone else’s. Working in the music industry shouldn’t revolve around securing a job in other people’s music business. If you’re a go-getter, you’ll recognize others like you, and will soon find that most of the successful people in the music industry have established themselves in their businesses rather than ride on the coattails of others.

The only bad news here is that if you don’t have love and passion for music then this going to be a tough endeavor and a long road. However, if you are determined and headstrong, read on for some secrets to get you started.

1. Make short and long-term plans
The first and most crucial aspect in establishing a business music studio is to make detailed plans in advance. The plan should be made with clear goals and effective means of achieving the set those goals. The objectives should define all the resource that you need including the material, human and economic resources required in to set up your studio.

2. What music products and services will you sell?
Gauging the market trends, you should have a pretty good idea of the kind of music services and products you are going to offer to your future customers. You also need to effectively calculate the expected benefits accrued from your business endeavor before starting up the project this will help your gauge on the economic viability of the whole exercise.

3. Learn the weak and strong points of your competitors
We live in a competitive world, becoming aware of what others are offering in the music industry will help you make some tweaks and changes that will give you an edge, putting you in a different league.

4. Get your finances and paperwork in order
Good bookkeeping is critical to ensure you don’t end up failing in the long run. Determine what kind of business you want to become; either a sole proprietorship or partnership and register legally locally. This important step will prevent future tax hangups as you grow financially.

5. Find effective means to market your studio
Creating websites and social media forums can prove indispensable in this field. Look for good web designers who will help you establish a modern website and will reach people locally as well as nationally. A good web designer will also be able to build a good print marketing and social media campaign. Marketing is everything- don’t be fooled. No successful business happens accidentally. No matter how great your studio is, to sell your services, it’s imperative that you invest a good deal of money in advertising.

Here’s a video on building your studio to get you started.

Software Must Haves for Producing Music


Electronic Music Software can be quite expensive, especially a decent one, which is capable of producing the same sounds and beats that get steady airplay on mainstream radio stations. Whether you are just starting out, or if you are simply on a small budget, and have no desire to spend a fortune on software, finding a well-priced product becomes an important step. This article presents you three programs, which I have considered as good bargains, due to the relatively low price and high value that they deliver.

DUBturbo is probably one of the “cheapest” electronic music software opportunities there is. While it may not be the most appropriate digital audio workstation for more acoustic music styles, its MIDI-oriented layout and the selection of instruments make it ideal for electronic music. Whether you want to produce rap, techno, or hip-hop – DUBturbo contains a variety of loops, effects, and tools that are necessary for those styles.

One of the limitations of this software is that it can only operate a maximum of 16 simultaneous tracks per project. However, you will unlikely need more when sticking to the formerly mentioned electronic music genres. So, if you are looking for a less complicated tool for putting together high-quality beats, then DUBturbo contains an extensive collection of features for a comparatively low price.

FL Studio
FL Studio is another electronic music software that harbors all the applications and instruments needed for electronic music production. While being easier to use than the majority of similar programs, it is still somewhat more complicated than DUBturbo. On the other hand, FL Studio has no limits regarding simultaneous tracks, letting you produce dance music that requires 16 or more simultaneous tracks.

Also, be aware of the fact that FL Studio has several differently priced versions, depending on some additional plugins and attributes included. But the basic version is rather cost-wise and contains all the essential tools. Another positive thing about FL Studio is a large amount of online support available to its users.

Reaper has probably the longest learning curve since the workflow is not as intuitive as in the two previous programs. The second downside of Reaper is that it has no loops or sample libraries to start with so that you will have to find those separately.

However, the program itself is powerful, allowing you to perform all the necessary tasks related to MIDI, samples, and audio. One big advantage of Reaper is its demo version – it has almost no limitations compared to the paid version so that you can get a very accurate idea of what this program is all about. It ‘s hard to find another electronic music software that enables you to use the entire range of its possibilities without paying for it first.

How Do You Become a Sound Engineer 


Sound engineers are half problem solvers and half creative artists. He must ensure sound is captured, controlled, and reproduced without issues, and that the sound is pleasing and moves the audience in the intended fashion.

Mentors / Internship
No matter if you attend school or not, learning first hand from a mentor through an apprenticeship or internship is highly valuable. While school often teaches theory, mentors teach real-life work flow and application.

In sound, one is always learning and trying to improve their craft. Many sound engineers learned through self-study and experience. There are countless books on the subjects of recording, mixing, mastering, and sound for film. Online e-courses, videos, and tutorials are also a great way to learn from others. There are many forums dedicated to different aspects of sound engineers with well-known professionals taking part in the enlightening discussion covering the industry. Many magazines exist with up to date articles covering sound as well. All of these resources are extremely valuable to your audio education.

Develop a good set up
The act of learning on the different aspects of sound and in this case how it travels and how it behaves in a room is a key factor to knowing how sound is entering the microphone. To become a good sound engineer, you have to know how to work on flutter echo and all the acoustic problems where reflections are included. You have to understand on how to create a comfortable environment so that it becomes a catalyst for a better production

Study everything on microphones
When you get to know how the microphone works, you get to another important step of becoming a sound engineer. We have different types of microphones in the market, and each one of them has got its strengths and weaknesses. You have to know how to select the right one for whichever job you have at hand, and this is a basic skill of a sound engineer.

Know how to edit an audio
In many circumstances, many overlook the aspect of editing. This is so because editing is the most tedious and also boring part of being a sound engineer. You have to have good listening skills to edit excellently so that you can get rid of unnecessary noises and also develop realistic fades. When learning on how to become a good sound engineer, do not overlook this aspect at all since You will be required to do it in your future career as a sound engineer

Put the knowledge to practice
In addition to experience, you’ll need to put the knowledge to practice using any gear you can get your hands on and work in a variety of situations. You will make many mistakes, but learning from mistakes is how you make progress. Over time, you will be good enough and have enough experience under your belt to begin charging for your work as a freelancer or looking for a job in sound. You will need to hustle and present your best work to stand out from the crowd of other aspiring engineers.

As always with sound, protect your ears at all costs as they are your most valuable asset and hearing damage is irreversible. With hard work and determination, you can be a sound engineer and work on the subject that interests you.

Piano Tuning Basics

Can you tune your own piano? You can, providing you have a good sense of pitch and are not tone deaf. However, you should never attempt to adjust a piano string without thoroughly understanding what you are about to do. There is a real danger of damaging your valuable piano or even seriously injuring yourself if you don’t do it right. You must have the proper tools and always wear safety glasses. A piano string is a spring steel wire under high tension. If a piano string breaks suddenly, it could whip back and damage or destroy an eye.

Basically, an acoustic piano is considered a percussion instrument because the sounds are produced by a felt hammer striking the strings, causing them to vibrate at a frequency (or pitch) determined by their tension. Piano tuning is fundamentally a matter of carefully adjusting the tension of every string so that it vibrates at the right pitch.

Structurally, a standard piano is a large harp with steel strings stretched across a cast-iron frame. The moving mechanical parts of the piano, including the keys, hammers, and dampers are called the piano “action”. The vibration of the strings is transferred to a wooden sounding board which resonates and amplifies the sound.

There are no fundamental structural differences between an upright (vertical) piano and a grand piano beyond the orientation of the harp. Physically, longer strings produce more tonally accurate and pleasing sound. Grand pianos tend to have longer strings than verticals and therefore better tonal quality. Grand and vertical pianos do require different action mechanisms.

The first necessary step you must take before considering trying to tune your own piano is to have it inspected and serviced by an experienced professional piano technician. Please do not attempt to adjust any piano without having a professional check it out first. It may sound like I’m trying to drum up business for your local tuner, but that is not so. This is a safety issue. The first thing a technician does is to check the instrument to make sure it has no dangerous structural flaws. Few tuners will touch a piano that has a cracked or fractured harp. It happens very rarely, but a piano with structurally compromised cast iron could suffer what metallurgists call “catastrophic failure”, which basically means that the iron breaks very quickly with a release of all of the energy from all of those tightened steel strings. You do not want to be anywhere close to a piano, and especially not with your hands inside it tightening a string, if that were to happen.

Only a few tools are required:

  • Piano tuning wrench
  • Set of felt and rubber dampers
  • Pitch reference (tuning fork or electronic)

You must have a good quality tuning wrench (called a hammer) specifically designed for manipulating piano tuning pins. Never attempt to move a piano tuning pin with any tool other than a piano tuning hammer. The better hammers have interchangeable heads. For personal use, you do not need to invest a large amount in a professional hammer, but be wary of economizing too much.

Only the lowest bass section of the piano has single strings. Normally the high bass, tenor, and treble sections are in groups of two or three strings per note that sound in unison (at the same pitch or tension). Every string has to be adjusted one at a time. The felt or rubber dampers are used to mute (stop from vibrating) the string or strings you are not adjusting.

Finally, you need a pitch reference such as a tuning fork or electronic device that rings at a constant frequency, such as A-440, which means that it sounds at the pitch of A above middle-C, which has a frequency of 440 hertz (cycles per second).

Once you have had your piano checked and you have the right tools, you are ready to learn how to actually tune the piano. You will find that it is a long and painstaking process requiring great patience. The largest misconception beginners have is that “only a few” notes need tuning on their piano. This is rarely true. By the time a few notes are noticeably out, the entire piano will need adjustment. Also, strings may break when you change their tension, no matter how careful and gentle you are.

String breakage can be an individual tendency of certain pianos. Some instruments go 100 years with all of their original strings; others may have two or three breaks with every tuning. I do not recommend that beginners attempt to replace broken piano strings. I had been tuning for two years before I started replacing strings for customers.

The one key skill every piano tuner must master is called “pin setting”. This is the process of turning each steel tuning pin without twisting it. It is a bit hard to explain in a short article, but if you leave a twist or “torque” on the tuning pin (or worse, a bend), it will gradually twist itself back to its original shape and the note will soon go back out of tune. To avoid this, tuners have to develop a skill of “lifting” the pin rather than twisting it. This is critical to all piano tuning, but especially so on newer pianos that have very “tight” pinblocks (the laminated board into which the tuning pins are set).

There is no need to be afraid to try tuning your own piano, but you must read and research the subject before you adjust your first tuning pin. You may find that the effort required is not worth it to you, or you may find the process interesting enough that you decide to put in the time and effort to become a piano technician. That’s what happened to me.