How To Record Vocals In Logic Pro X

How To Record Vocals In Logic Pro X

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Hey everybody, In this article I’m going to give you my take on vocal recordings in Logic Pro X. More specifically vocal recording for a typical pop song.
Logic is known for its amazing midi capabilities but it also offers a few cool features when it comes to audio recording and editing. Comping in logic is one of the coolest features. I seriously can’t go back to edit any other way.

Quick video guide, keep reading for more info

So this is how I do it.

1. Creating a great basis for a vocal recording session.
2. Choosing the best takes using comping.
3. Fixing the timing.
4. Pitch correction.
5. Work with B vocals, doubles, and harmonies.
6. Importing all the vocal channels back into the main project.

So let’s start

1. Creating a great basis for a vocal recording session.

First I open a project specifically for the vocal recording session. I usually prefer to have the vocals recorded on a clean project and not on the song’s main project. It gives me a clear view of what I do and it also helps the computer work more flawlessly and glitch free.

Then I create the setup for a full vocal session. It means that I open all the needed tracks with most of the plugins already on them. The tracks are as follows:

A. Lead Vocal
B. Lead Left (Double)
C. Lead right (Double)
D. B Vocal Left
E. B Vocal Right
F. Monitoring channel
G. Playback Channel (Stereo bounce of the playback)

After that, I choose the main basic plugins I want to use for the recording session.
Usually, the plugins are EQ & Compressor. During the recordings, I use the plugins with the shortest delay time because I need them to react to a real-time signal.
>> Best EQ Plugins For Vocals
>> How To Use A Compressor On Vocals

In 90% of the times, I like using Logic’s own EQ & Compressor for that.
The signal is being recorded on the engaged channels but played thru the Monitoring Channel.
This way I can use the same plugins and have the same sound for all the recording session.
When I playback the recordings I hear the recorded signal going thru the plugins that are open on each of the channels. I also add a reverb & delay sends if needed.
>> These are my favorite Delay plugins

That’s it, we have all the takes we need for the lead vocal and a few takes to choose from on each of the other channels. Now we are ready for my favorite part, THE COFFEE!


You must let your ears and brain rest for a while to regain your strength and your ability to concentrate.
Sometimes I even save the post-recording stage for the day after.
Note: after I finish recording, I make a backup of the whole project to another hard drive.
DO IT BEFORE THE COFFEE and thank me later.

2. Choosing the best takes using comping.

In this stage, I start with listening and working only on the lead vocal while all the other channels are muted. The reason for dealing with the lead vocal first is because this channel is our guide for all the other vocal channels. Yeah, this is common sense but I guess I still feel the need to point out the obvious.

When the lead vocal will be ready, all the rest of the channels will sync to it in terms of take selection, timing, and pitch. So that way we can get one strong and accurate vocals wall pushing the front row of the song.
This is a general rule of thumb for a lot of pop genres.

So, I like to divide the song and work on each part separately. I start with the first verse in most cases even if the song starts with a chorus. This gives me a sense of a fresh and new beginning.


I start with listening to the whole verse and then I listen to the first sentence on all of the takes and choose the one that sounds and feels best to me. After that, I listen to the second sentence and then the third and so on.
That’s basically the whole process of choosing the right takes for each part. Before I “Flatten” the whole track I always open a new channel and copy the whole open comp on it and then hide it. You can never know when you’d want to go back to it.

3. Fixing the timing.

This is the part where you want to get rid of all the takes you didn’t use and leave only the chosen once. On logic this option is called “Flatten” and it is located inside the comp’s menu.

Now you are left only with the regions you’ve chosen. This is the right time to start tightening the timing.
I usually turn on the click for this part and listen to each separate region by itself to make sure it is exactly synced to the playback and click. 

I love this part because I have a huge thing with vocals sitting on the beat with perfect timing. On this opportunity of working on the separate regions, I make sure that there are crossfades between them, placed on silent parts only. It is very important not to cut breathing noises and little natural sounds in the human voice.

After I have the whole channel done I consolidate it or how it’s called in Logic, “Bounce in place”.
This will take all the regions and export them to one long file. Before you do that make sure to place a small region part on the exact point where the song begins on the grid. That way after you’ll have the lead vocal file no matter if it moved by mistake, it’s starting point will always be on the grid and in sync with the song.

4. Pitch correction.

Ok, in terms of tuning and having everything right on the money I consider myself a complete FREAK. I like everything to be in perfect pitch but still sounding very natural and human. This is a very demanding task. Of course, I can just throw an Autotune plugin on the channel which I commonly do but this is only for the online tuning part of the vocal. Some of the heavy lifting are done with offline tuning before the signal even goes to the Autotune.

In Logic Pro X there’s a feature called Flex Pitch. This is very similar to Melodyne in nature but is embedded in Logic’s audio engine so it is much more flexible then Melodyne in my opinion. I must add the as for this version, Melodyne’s algorithm still sounds a little bit better than Logic’s Flex Pitch. So you can choose whatever is best for you. I find that if using lightly, Flex Pitch sounds just as good as Melodyne so it’s good enough for me.

Remember, the offline tuning must come before the online tuning in the signal chain.
But I always do the offline tuning while the Autotune is working on the channel in a relatively slow response time and every once in a while I turn of the Autotune to get a sense for what is going on with the signal just with Flex Pitch activated.
This allows me to find the perfect sweet spot between offline and online tuning.

After I finish with the tuning and pitch correction, I bounce the track to a clean channel once more to print all the process I did with Flex Pitch on the offline tuning. This way I can turn off the Flex Pitch option and save my ass from possible glitches in the future.

So what do we have now? We have a PERFECT VOCAL TRACK ready for the mix.

5. Work with B vocals, doubles, and harmonies.

This part is usually like the second born child, this is much less stressful for me. Now all I have to do is to make sure I choose the right takes out of all the doubles and harmonies in relation to the lead vocal.

I do it pretty fast and it always comes out perfect. every once in a while I need to fix the timing for specific parts but it’s not a big deal. On these channels, I only use online tuning. One Autotune plugin for each channel with the right settings and it works like magic.

All the extra vocals are going to one bus channel on the mixer so that way I can control it’s levels and automations in one strip.
Of course, I also do ‘bounce in place” to all the B vocals to have them organized in single files and not have every channel scattered across multiple files. So that way I have one final vocal file for each channel.

6. Importing all the vocal channels back into the main project.

Now that we have all the vocal channels, tunes, timing perfected and organized we can import them back into the production’s main project and continue to mix the song.

We do it by opening the main production project and importing the vocal channels from the vocal recording project. Easy.

THAT’S IT.
Thank you for reading.

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These are the plugins I like the most,  my personal favorites. 
Hey everybody, Avi here. This is one of my favorite subjects to talk about.

I have been a synth collector since childhood. I’ve had synths from Yamaha, Korg, Roland, Nord, Access Virus, and even a custom made 303 style synth which I loved and shouldn’t have sold. 

In the last few years soft synths are getting SO MUCH BETTER. That’s not an easy decision to just sell all the hardware and join the future. I was heartbroken for a while, I’m not going to lie, but just like with love, you are most likely to find a new one eventually. 

In this article I’m not going to get too much into technical details, because you can get them wherever you want on the web. So expect only my own personal take on this subject.

MS20 by Korg

So this is one of my first eye openers and it’s the Korg MS20 Plugin. This guy had me sitting for hours and hours listening to every little knob and patch. It is simple and complicated all together. First, I used it for all kinds of analog parts, and then it was my go to bass synth. I love the rawness of it. I’m also a big fan of design, and the Korg MS20 had always been a great looking beast.

After I realized the power of this synth for bass parts, I could do anything I wanted with this, and I always ended up with a big psychotic smile on my face. I must admit that I never thought it sounded even remotely close to the hardware version, it was pretty small sounding. But I could get it to sound very good and crazy big with EQ, Compression and stereo tricks. One thing this synth did amazingly well is to get me deep in the creating zone. It is very inspirational, and this is one of the most important factors about synths. 

I think not enough people are talking about this. This synth has the ability to get your creative juices flowing, especially if you’re a real synth head like me 🙂 Korg’s analog synth bundle is pretty much amazing. I loved all their stuff back at the time and use them to this day. I think it’s ok to say that these are the real first “vintage soft synths” of our time.

In the meantime, I got my hands dirty with some cool sounding synth plugins like: Vanguard, FabFilter one, Synth1 (NOT Sylenth1), Reason synths, and more,  then I stumbled upon this.

Zebra by u-he

This amazing synth plugin had introduced me to a whole new generation of audio engines. It sounded so good that I could swear it almost sounded better, fuller, and richer then my friend’s virus C at the time. 

At first glance, this modular synth looks very intimidating and complicated. I started only with presets and downloaded a bunch of them. This was enough for couple cool parts in few of my tracks. Then I started learning this synth, and it was amazing. 

The only problem I had with it on my mac was that it wasn’t too stable. It crashed too many times in the middle of projects, and that made me really angry until eventually I dropped it. I must say that this was an original version, not cracked. But anyway, times were changing for me and I needed faster simpler synths that I could just twist two knobs and create magic.

Sylenth1 by LennarDigital

OK,  Everyone knows this guy and I can’t add anything to it. I was in love with this synth. I did almost everything with it. I filled a whole external drive with demos of this synth. So much inspiration, so many sounds, banks, presets… literally endless. 

I once compared it with Virus Snow and the snow killed it 🙂 But it wasn’t enough for me to drop it and get the Snow,  Nope. The Sylenth1 opened me to a new EDM genres. These were the years of Avicii, David Guetta, Zedd, big dance hits, catchy euro drops, and but choruses,  I was hooked. 

Remember I talked about synths that spark creativity? The Sylenth1 was the soft synth that got the most amount ideas for songs out of my head at the time. I still have demos that I’m in love with today. Don’t ask me why it’s not out. Most of the songs I produced were for other people. 

The only song I ever produced for myself with mostly Sylenth1 was this. I was very influenced by Zedd back then 😉 This wasn’t promoted or signed anywhere. I just released it for my own fun.

With the Sylenth1, I started also playing with Massive, which was very special sounding but very weird for me to work with. I couldn’t fall in love with the interface, and you already know how much it’s important for my creative juices. But one thing I have to say about Massive, it is the most natural sounding beast. 

It always sounded like a quality hardware synth to me. I also played a lot with the big Romplers like Nexus & Omnisphere. In between, I had small romances with Rob Papen’s synths which I really like.

Spire by Reveal Sound

Spire is my 3rd synth plugin love. Now, this is a synth that can get my creative juices flowing so easily. 

BEST leads, CRAZY PADS, Amazing BASSES, and all this yummy stuff under a super friendly and beautiful interface?? 
GIVE ME MORE! I spent too many nights with headphones going thru the amazing preset banks I had. My girlfriend, who was sleeping in the other room sometimes asked me to turn my headphones level down!

After some time in this new age EDM of tomorrow land 2016, I felt like it’s getting too boring, too much like everybody else. I stopped trying to create the next mega hit and turned to little productions that I like to do. 

I wasn’t trying to impress anybody. I didn’t have to have the best, sharpest mix in the market, I just wanted to go back to the simple analog minimal, but emotional productions. So I started looking for new emulations of old synths. So I found this:

Diva by u-he

This gave me a few synthesis colors under one beautiful interface. This synth is, without a doubt, the most heavy on the CPU synth. It has few resolution modes so you don’t have to work with the highest one, but while offline exporting a song it is very recommended to put it on the highest quality mode. This is a very impressive sounding synth, and I remember the first time playing with this and comparing it to other synths on my system, it sounded otherworldly.

TAL V2 U-NO-LX

Now, this is a weird one. At first, I didn’t realize how good it sounded until I watched a video that compared it to the real synth that it is modeled after, the Roland Juno 60. It is very minimalistic like the original. It has a small polyphony, so it requires you to be very selective with the part you’re playing. 

I like that, especially in my minimalistic age. If I remember correctly, there’s a controller that works perfect with this synth. Sounds amazing.  It has round analog bases, lush old synth strings, and a lot of very cool and usable sounds to work with.

ImpOscar 2 by Gforce

This beautiful synth is also based on an analog hardware synth that had found itself in almost every production I’ve ever done,  even if it wasn’t electronic by nature. This synth made itself right at home next to electric guitars, bass, and live drums. It was a bit unstable on my specific system, but it was worth every little crash I’ve had with it. This also has very warm and deep pads, beautiful stereo basses, really amazing cutoff filter, and very good effects section. I just wish they did the interface a little bit bigger.

Mini V by Arturia

Ok, I feel like when I speak about this company, I have to bow down like a kung fu student. Since the first Mini Moog emulation, I was fascinated by the sound engine and the designs they were able to create. The hardware, Moog, was a legend I always wanted to own, and I could never really get to buying this expensive synth. This is where Arturia worked their magic on me. Every time I’ve played with this synth and closed my eyes, I could smell its wood and old plastic knobs under my fingers. It’s just beautiful.

Modular V by Arturia


This one has always got me a little scared. No, let me rephrase it, I was SHIT SCARED to even look at it. To me an A modular synth is the most terrifying creature out there, and Arturia made it even scarier. So, I must admit I almost never changed the existing presets. Maybe only a little bit with the filter and that’s it. But this synth has the most beautiful synth bass sound I’ve ever heard! And conveniently, it is the default preset that opens with the first loading of the plugin. It is pure magic. Go try it.

Prophet V by Arturia

I don’t have a lot to say about this synth other than AMAZING. I really love it. A pure classic; beautiful, simple, and inspiring. It sounds magical. I would go there and say that it sounds very close to the original hardware version.

Kick by Sonic Academy & Nicky Romero

This one is a kick synth. After getting to know this weird, hybrid, sample based synth, I stopped wasting my life searching for the right kick sound in my never, ending sample libraries. This is a life saver. I stopped looking for kick sounds. In 95% of my EDM productions and demos, I just use this plugin, change the presets a bit, and BOOM. A great sounding kick that JUST WORKS.

Lounge Lizard EP-4 by A.A.S

Yeah I know this one is not a traditional synth really, but it’s a tool I use in so many of my productions. I love the unique fusion of synth sounds and electric piano. So, this one has really cool sounds and colors that can give you the fullness and emotions of a big and warm chord wall that is not too heavy on the mid and high range section of your production. It is warm, authentic, and natural. So, if I want to create a “Chords Hug” as I call it, I just play the chords on the Lounge Lizard EP-4 and I’m all set.

That’s it for now guys. In the future I will give you more articles with more synth love stories 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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BEST MIDI KEYBOARD FOR BEGINNERS Small

Best Midi Keyboard For Beginners

BEST MIDI KEYBOARD FOR BEGINNERS Large

Best Midi Keyboard For Beginners

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KEYBOARDS! How I love midi keyboards!

Hi everybody, Avi here. On this post, I give you a list of the best midi keyboards for beginners. Every beginner has its own style of music creation so I tried to touch every genre of music and which midi keyboard is best for it. I’m sure you will find a midi keyboard you like on my list.

First, I’ll tell you that the midi keyboard is the king of all instruments for music production. Most music producers are starting with a keyboard and that is a great thing. You can not play drums and strings on your guitar. If you’re a real producer, you need to be very comfortable around the black and white keys next to your computer keyboard and that is a hard fact.

What Is Midi

MIDI – “Musical Instrument Digital Interface” is a language. It is not notes or sounds, it is just data, transmitted by digital instruments and audio systems over to digital instruments and audio systems. The data that is transferred is telling the receiving device what to play and which parameters to change. A midi keyboard sends this data to the computer which sends it to the receiving instrument, whether it’s a virtual synth, any outboard device, plugins or DAW’s. A midi controller or a keyboard usually doesn’t have sounds of its own.

The History Of Midi

Midi was first developed in the 80s, which was a very interesting decade to grow up in for us music producers and electronic musicians. The midi standard was offered to all the major companies and in an act of unification and for the greater good of all of us, they started implementing it in all of their instruments. Midi has changed the music world for ever. With the introduction of Midi technology, a lot of musicians could create new styles of music and complex sequences without the need of actually playing the instrument.

Different Midi Keyboards

Basically, you can use any midi keyboard to make almost any kind of music you want. But there are some keyboards that are more suitable for certain styles of music. For example, if you want to play a piano part, it will be best if you pick a midi keyboard that most resembles the size and feel of a real piano. That’s how you can get the closest result to the original instrument. If you’re an electronic music producer on the road for example, you would want to travel light and maybe go for much smaller instruments. 
On this list you would find the best midi keyboard for your needs.

Best Midi Keyboard For Beginners

Mini Size, Mini Keyboards

Akai MPK Mini mk2

The MPK Mini mk2 is a great little portable controller that you can easily fit into any backpack, along with your laptop and take it with you around the world. It requires only a usb cable to work. It is also a brilliant controller to have on a busy studio desk. Sometimes you just want to record small and simple parts. Or just go over presets and sounds and you just need a little keyboard to trigger them and still have enough space for your coffee cup or other small controllers and instruments. The MPK Mini mk2 also has a beautiful design. I love this mix of red and black colors, hey just look at my logo. A visually good designed instrument helps you feel more creative and have more fun while making music. As for the price, the MKP is a very low-cost solution for music production on the go.

Main features:

 • 25 Mini Keys
 • 8 Backlit Drum Pads
 • 8 Assignable Knobs
 • 4-way Joystick
 • USB Powered Only
 • Software Package Included

Check latest price on Amazon

Arturia Minilab MK2

This sweet little keyboard is special, It is made to be the perfect companion for “Analog Lab”, Arturia’s synth software, but it works with any music software.

The Minilab is a full-featured MIDI controller designed to work with any music software that supports Midi or DAW. It has a brand new pitch and modulation touch strip controls. It takes a little time to get used to it but eventually you get it and it allows you to do things you can’t do with a regular pitch and modulation control. This keyboard has the best feeling mini keys I’ve ever tried on a mini keyboard. You can actually play complex music parts on this keyboard and get a very good feel out of it. The design is pretty special and it reminds me a little bit of Access virus snow which I LOVE. The Minilab mk1 had bigger wooden cheeks that give it a more organic look. On the mk2 version, they made the wooden ends a little smaller but they’re still there along with a few added features and upgrades.

Main features:

 • 25 Mini Keys
• 16 Endless Rotary Assignable Knobs
 • 8 Backlit Drum Pads
 • Touch Pitch & Modulation Control
 • Analog Lab Included
 • USB Powered Only

 

Check latest price on Amazon

Normal Size Keys, Small Keyboards

Alesis v25

Simple, built to last and super affordable. These are the Alesis v25’s main strong points.

This is a straight forward device, the design is very simple and cool. All black with blue lights. I also like the Alesis big logo on the back. First, the v25 is in the standard size keys category. It has two octaves of velocity sensitive 25 keys. It is a little bigger than the mini keys keyboards so it is a little harder to fit into a backpack but it’s definitely possible. The Alesis v25 needs its software in order to fully assign all of its controllers. The 8 backlit drum pads have very good sensitivity and the keyboard is pretty good also. Overall the Alesis v25 it’s just a keyboard you wouldn’t expect for this money.

If you like this keyboard but want more keys, you can check out the 49 and 61 versions of the Alesis V series.

Main features:

 • Compact USB controller for controlling plug-ins and virtual instruments
 • Full-sized, synth-action keys with a square front
 • 8 velocity and pressure sensitive backlit pads
 • 4 illuminated, assignable knobs and 4 buttons
 • PitchBend and Modulation wheels
 • USB bus powered
 • Includes Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition

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Akai Professional MPK225

Now, this is a small keyboard for big boys, it is a complete midi workstation for the working producer, a professional product, it’s literally the model’s name. Although its price tag is aiming for professionals, I think this is a perfect 25 key midi controller to start with if your budget allows you. Ok let’s start with the design, the Akai Professional MPK225 is a beautiful midi controller. Again, Akai’s colors are amazing, and this mix of black and red is so cool in the studio. The keyboard is pretty big and sturdy and the built quality is superb. If I remember correctly, this is the first product in the professional series that has an LCD screen. The MPK225 has a backlit RGB drum pads, which means that they change colors according to the application they’re connected to, and work hand in hand with Ableton Live. The keys are semi-weighted which means that their mechanism is built a little stronger and they feel a little heavier. Akai’s professional series products also come with a NICE software bundle. Overall, the MPK225 is a cutting-edge production tool that will last for years to come and will have very few limitations in the studio. If you like it and you’re interested in more keys and controls, check out it’s bigger brothers, the MPK249 and the MPK261.

Main features:

•LCD Screen
•25 Full Size Semi-Weighted Keys
•After Touch
•8 Backlit RGB Drum Pads
•4 Assignable Knobs
•5 Pin MIDI In&Out
•Pitch & Modulation Wheels
•Foot Switch & Expression Input Jacks.

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Normal Size Keys, Small Keyboards

Novation Launchkey 61 MK2

Novation is a classic name in the music production industry. They are responsible for few of the most classic and famous products out there. The Lunchkey 61 MK2 has a great set of features and controls. It comes in a very cool black body and blue base and 16 backlit RGB pads. The pads support color feedback from Ableton live and they are also velocity sensitive. The Lounchkey is a great companion for your DAW. The Lounchkey has what’s called Synth-weighted Keys which is similar to semi-weighted keys and they’re also slightly narrower than the standard size keys so it may take some time to get used to. The keyboard has very high-quality keys, knobs, and faders. This is a great Midi controller and not only for the relatively low price. If you like it, you should know it also comes in 25 keys and 49 keys versions.

Main features:

•16 Touch sensitive multi-color launch pads with RGB-LEDs
•2 Launchpad control buttons
•8 Rotary knobs
•9 Faders
•LED Display
•Transport control
•Transpose-keys
•Pitch and Modulation wheel
•Backlit mode keys
•8 Mute/ solo keys
•Connections: USB
•Sustain pedal
•Dimensions: 990 x 120 x 320 mm
•Weight: 3.5 kg
•Including: Novation V-Station and Bass station software, Loopmasters Sample-Pack and Ableton Live Lite

Check latest price on Amazon

M-Audio Code 61

I am an avid M-Audio user for a long time in the studio. I always liked their instruments and the Code 61 is no different. It is a great controller for the studio producer and also for the live keyboard player. It is lighter than other big M-Audio midi controllers from the past but still built just as strong. There is something different, special in the design of the Code 61. First, it is a beautiful keyboard. The first visual thing that pops up is the square overall shape of the keyboard. M-Audio used to make rounder designs but I guess they went for a new look, and you know what? It’s very cool and I like it. The drum pads on the Code are backlit RGB pads and they are big and sturdy. The pitch and modulation wheels are located in the upper left corner of the keyboard which is a little weird for me personally because I come from the old world of synths and midi controllers but I guess M-Audio are trying to promote a new approach. In the bottom line, this is a great midi controller for the price.

Main features:

•61-note velocity-sensitive synth-style keyboard
•16 full-color RGB backlit velocity sensitive drum pads
•Eight knobs
•Nine sliders
•Six dedicated transport controls
•Pitch bend and modulation wheels
•Two Octave/Transpose buttons
•7-segment 3-character LED display
•Two Track/MIDI Channel buttons

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88 Keys Midi Keyboards (Piano Style)

M-Audio Keystation 88 II

This 88 keys M-Audio is a semi-weighted piano size keyboard. It is on my list because it is great for beginners, It is simple and very budget friendly. It’s relatively light and easy to take with you to live shows without breaking your back. I like it’s USB single cable operation, which means it gets the power thru the USB and you don’t have to worry about another power cable to carry on with you. The M-audio Keystation MK2 has enough features for every basic need and a little more. Features like pitch and modulation wheels and transport control for controlling your DAW without the need to reach the mouse and keyboard every time you need to play, stop or record yourself.

Back panel includes ON\OFF switch, volume pedal input, sustain pedal input, 5-pin midi output, USB plug and of course DC power input.

•88 semi-weighted keys
•Pitch, modulation and other control sources
•USB power for convenience
•Use with your computer or iPad

Check latest price on Amazon

M-Audio Hammer 88 Weighted Keys

This thing is built like a tank! The Hammer 88 is a full size, fully weighted piano style midi keyboard. With this keyboard, you’ll have a professional product with a friendly price. It is one of the smaller fully weighted midi keyboards out there so it can be great for live shows and in the studio, it won’t take a lot of important space. The interface is pretty simple, only pitch and modulation wheels, 2 buttons for changing the octaves and a volume slider. Some will say you don’t need more than that if you’re a real piano player. Another important thing with piano style keyboards is they need to be quiet and this one definitely is. Very quiet. So if you don’t care about the weight and you need a real piano feel with an affordable price, this is definitely for you. 

Main features:

•88 fully-weighted, hammer-action keys
•USB-MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling music software, and more
•5-Pin MIDI DIN port for triggering external MIDI hardware
•Pitch bend and modulation wheels, volume fader, and +/- controls for expressive performances
•Multiple keyboard zones for layering, splits, and playing 4-note chords with a single key press
•Sustain, Expression, and Soft pedal jacks
•USB-powered; power adapter available separately for stand-alone use
•Class-compliant, no drivers required, plug-and-play connectivity with Mac/PC
•iOS compatibility via Apple Camera Connection Kit (available separately)
•Included Hammer 88 Controller Editor and premium software suite
•Music rest included

Check latest price on Amazon

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Hey everybody, Avi here. FOR YEARS, I was looking for the best drum plugin, not an easy task, let me tell you that. I’m one of those producers who really prefer doing everything by themselves. I play the guitars, bass, keyboards, and yes, DRUMS! This is my favorite part of the whole production process. In this article, I’m going to show you the best drum plugins, in my opinion. These must sound amazing, authentic, and be easy to use. This is, of course, based on my own personal taste and preference. So, keep an open mind and look for what you think is the best sounding plugin out there.

First, I have to tell you that this is not a replacement for a human drummer, maybe only for acoustic drums. For me, personally, it’s way more than enough, and I even prefer it to a real drum recording in a studio. There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing a good drum track, built on a click and a guide track. It feels like going on a new adventure. So, whether you’re a keyboard drummer, as I used to be for years, or a V-Drums fighter, this is for you.

In a chronological order.

Addictive drums – Check out the latest version

This was the first plugin that made me go “mm, maybe I don’t really have to record drums in a studio”. In 2008, I started working on an Israeli, punk rock album by an artist called “Amir Lazarov”. This was a head-first jump to the sampled based drums and drum plugins. This was an 8-song album, in which I played all the drum parts on a Yamaha DD65, electronic drums pad, which is practically a toy. It started with saving money and turned into falling in love with this workflow.

Addictive drums 1.0 was my first option because it was easy to use, it had a great collection of great recorded sets, which I could mix and match between, and I was able to mix everything inside the plugin, which I loved back then.

You know what they say about almost any tool, It is only good until it’s not enough. After this album, I went on a crazy ride looking for drum samples and plugins. It was the start of an everlasting search for the best recorded sets and the best snare and bass drum samples. Back in 2008, my mix abilities weren’t the best, but I absolutely love the production to this day.

Studio Drummer (Kontakt) –  Check out the latest version

I was jumping for joy in my home studio when I first found out about Studio Drummer back in 2011. This was the start of a whole, new era; Non-stop rock productions, demos, and amazing sounds. This one is a Kontakt library, and it offered 3 main kits, recorded at Teldex Studio in Berlin. Out of the three kits, my favorite, and most used, was the Session Kit. I also used the studio kit in one of the Israeli songs I produced.

The Studio Drummer Library also came with a lot of Midi parts, played by a real drummer on an electronic drum set. I’ve never used the recorded midi drum parts included in most of the plugins. I knew how to think like a drummer, and always preferred my drum parts tailor-made for my productions. There were other drum libraries I tried back then, but they were not good enough for what I was looking for. Among them were libraries like Abbey Road, 70’s Drummer, Modern Drummer, and such. This was played on a keyboard with the Stadium Kit. Again, an Israeli song, written in Hebrew. Listen to the dynamics when the drum part is starting to play. It’s beautifully recorded.

EZ Drummer 2.0 – Check out the latest version

Although I’ve heard a lot about EZ Drummer 1.x, and even demoed it a few times, it never felt like a good enough tool for me. But then version 2 came along and changed the whole drums-in-the-box game for me. For months, I was trying every possible setup I used against EZD2, and nothing could beat it. It was the new, undisputed champion of my box. It offered a crazy good collection of toms, cymbals, hi-hats, and bass drums. But most of all, it gave me the best snare samples I’ve ever heard. At this point, I’ve already worked with V-Drums, an old TD9 that felt like everything I need to suit my purposes.

EZD2 also gave me the option to mix inside the plugin’s interface and gave me an amazing output. I actually feel like this plugin’s audio engine is on another level. Much more than Kontakt’s, Addictive Drums, or any other plugin sampler I’ve tried, and trust me, I have tried all of them. The big ones that I don’t mention in this article are the ones I’ve tried and never liked. EZD2 is definitely the Best Drum Plugin I’ve ever used.

And for those who are die-hard believers of recording drums in a big studio with a recording drummer, it is amazing, yes. I’m not taking anything away from it, but I love the choices given to me by the digital option. I can change everything whenever I need, and I never get stuck with one sound and one recording per song. This alone is a good enough reason to love these plugins and the endless possibilities they introduce. Of course, at the end, it is everybody’s own opinion about how it sounds, and whether or not it’s good enough for them. Also, not having to deal with bit detection and aligning those audio recorded channels to the grid is a big deal for me. I promise you that you have heard amazing drum productions on the radio before, that were produced completely in the box with plugins and samples, NO DOUBT.

So, since then, Toontrack brought us EZ Drummer 3, which is a dream for producers like me. I highly recommend that you try it for yourself and let me know what you think 😉

Drum Kit Designer
I can’t close the Best Drum Plugin list without this beast. This is a special one. Every time I wasn’t happy with some of the snares or bass drums on the other Plugins I used, I immediately opened another channel with Drum Kit Designer, and it totally saved my ass. I was using this, mostly, to replace drums in an existing set or add to it as an added layer.

This plugin is my go-to drum sampler for demos. It is very simple, quick, and sounds amazing!
I must add that this one is exclusive to Apple Logic, so you can’t use it on any other DAW, but it is a good enough reason to move over to mac and Logic, my friends 🙂

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MIXING

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MASTERING

What Is Mastering

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Best Drum Plugin

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What Is Mastering

What Is Mastring

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So to master a song means to get it from the mixed stage to the final result that we hear at the end.
In simple words, it is the final process that creates an audio file after it’s been mixed and bounced, whether it’s aimed to be played on the radio or TV or YouTube or any other medium. A good master will sound great in every audio system and at the end, this is what we want.

Hi everybody Avi here, a music producer, mix and mastering engineer. In order to understand and fully grasp the concept of mastering a song we first need to get familiar with the entire process of producing a song. Oh and by the way,  In the picture, is my good friend Maor Applebaum, a well known mastering engineer.

Any song production is made up of three main stages.

1. Recording
2. Mixing
3. Mastering

Recording

In the Recording stage, we do everything that is music production related. We practically design and shape the song as far as it’s stylistic path. This consists of laying down the beat, chords, melodies, lyrics or any other thing that takes part in the production.
Usually mastering engineers come from a rich musical, recording and mixing background. It helps them get a good overview of a lot of things that are taking place in the macro of the music industry.

Mixing

The mixing stage is one of the best moments of any production, it means that you finished banging your head against the wall about what instruments to use, what parts to play and what shape and feel will the song get. Sometimes it’s a wild race that you never know how it’s going to end.
It is so much fun to zoom out on a project in your DAW and take the first look on your finished project in one frame.
This is the time to start playing with the recorded channels and find a good place in the mix for every component.

Mastering

So after you have a finished mix you end up with one stereo file (most of the time).
This file consists of all the channels, music parts, vocals, chords and melodies glued together in one file on which we start the mastering process.
Some engineers like to get the vocals on a separate channel so they can mix the vocals with the playback in the mastering stage.
In the old world mastering was a very technical thing they did to get the song or album on a record.

Back then there were rules for how to print the song or album on a record, physical limitations. Funny things like hard panning the drums. for example, a bass drum on the hard left side, snare on the right. This was a good technique that helped to avoid the jumping of the needle out of its rail.
Today there are no rules what so ever because there are no physical limitations.
Today you can do whatever you want as long as you’re doing it as an artistic choice and you know exactly what you’re doing.

It’s not rare to hear an exaggerated kick and bass section. The effect of a speaker not handling the load is a common thing these days. Especially for Hip-Hop and other urban genres.
So over the years, Mastering has become a technical task full of artistic choices.

Mastering Studios

Usually mastering facilities are very special environments. These studios are built with a very personal approach.
Every mastering engineer like to master in a different room. I’ve seen mastering engineers that work in rooms very similar to an acoustic treated living room. Other engineers, I’ve had the pleasure to work with, feel right at home in an underground dark submarine with weird looking speakers and plenty of knobs on the walls.

Mastering is usually done on very expensive high end, sometimes custom-made outboard gear. Today a lot of the mastering tasks are made in conjunction with high-end plugins. Some of them are made completely in the box and there’s nothing wrong with that. today’s software is on a whole different level then it was 10 years ago. But I have to admit that my own personal preference is to go hybrid and master a song or an album on a bunch of sexy outboard gear with a couple of sexy plugins. When you carefully listen to the end result you understand exactly how important any component is to the final result.
So in the end, it comes down to choosing the right engineer for the genre.

What Is Mastering A Song

Work With A Master.

The most important thing for me is a different opinion, the other angle, the added value that comes with mastering engineers that have a lot of experience in how things should sound. Sometimes a good tip from a mastering engineer can upgrade the mix and production greatly.

Do It Alone vs Working With Pro

OK, this is a tricky one, I’ve had mixes that I had sent out to great mastering engineers and didn’t like their results. I felt like they didn’t get the song and the feel it has to have so I used to master my own productions all the time. I love it, even more than mastering a client’s song. I even remember one song that was mastered by 6 different engineers and everybody preferred my personal version of it so we put my version out.
Some producers are sharp enough to produce the song, mix and master it all together especially in the EDM genre.

Super producers like Martin Garrix are mastering their own songs themselves and not even bouncing the project to a stereo file, no. They do it inside the project on the master channel. It works for them.
But others like Zedd for example, send their songs to serious mastering engineers in big and expensive mastering facilities and it also works, obviously, I personally love Zedd’s sound. It is amazing in my opinion.

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Music Producer Requirements

Music Producer Requirements

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So you wanna be a real music producer ah? Ok this is what I think.
First you need to have the ability to learn stuff online and learn on your own. You must have patience because when you’re developing your production skills things are moving extra slow. You have to be able to objectively critique yourself and always compare your “sound” to other’s and be able to tell if you made any progress. You have to be able to absorb many music genres, even those you don’t naturally like (Trust me). And of course, you must have TALENT. Music production is not a thing you can do without great musical talent. Let’s start.

Hi everybody, Avi here. I’m a music producer and I’m making music for a living for 15 years now. It was a very interesting ride for me so far. A lot of ups and downs as in most things in life.
In this article, I’m going to share with you everything I think about being a music producer, what kind if music producers we have today and what it takes to be one. First let me tell you something, to earn my first dollar from music production took a few years for me. but I started back in the late 90’s so these days are totally different. Today we have more tools we pay less money, we have access to an endless amount of knowledge online and more than enough role models and potential mentors. These days it seams like everybody’s making music which is a good thing in my opinion.

How I Started

I have a whole article about myself and how I started making music. Read here.
This was a different time and it was a different story for me. It’ll make you feel good to know that today it is much much easier to start producing music professionally. If you’re good and fast you can produce amazing stuff within your first two years. Still, the music producer requirements are the same.

Types Of Producers

For me there are 3 main types of producers. The most common one it the “Laptop Producers”.
First I’ll tell you that most famous producers today are Laptop Producers.
They make all of their productions in the box without physical instruments or tools.
There’s nothing wrong with that of course, this is how the EDM genre work for example, you don’t need more then a laptop. And it becomes this way in a lot of other genres.

The second type is the more traditional type of producers, they are living in studios most of the time. They’re working with studio musicians, engineers, and artists. These are the old world producers that still exists today in the more classic genres like Rock, Pop, Country, Jazz, Classical, music for movies and such.

The 3rd type is what I like to call “Hybrid”. These are guys like me who are sitting in their own personal studio, recording real live instruments (Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keyboards etc) mixed with virtual instruments, soft synths and sample based plugins.
Many of them are working with studio musicians that are coming in to record their parts in the production. Few special producers are playing all the instruments by themselves. This is my favourite type, this is me.
It takes years to master an instrument, or at least get to a high enough level of playing that allows you to record professional sounding tracks. Let alone doing it on multiple instruments. In my case, keyboards, guitars, bass and drums.

Laptop Producers

First, you have to decide which out of the three types of producers I’ve mentioned above do you want to be. These days most people are drawn into being laptop producers, and it’s great. it is definitely the easiest to start out of the three types but it is without a doubt the most complicated.

It is not easy to make a good EDM or any electronic production, mostly because of all the options and tools you have at your disposal. There are so many styles and genres and you have to find your own sound inside all of these. Sure you can be a copy cat and sound like many others and also find success but it is much more rewarding to find your own “sound” and let others copy you.

To be a good laptop producer you must get very familiar with your chosen DAW and your synths and samples. You must already have the experience, the talent and enough “air time” on your music spaceship. I can’t tell you exactly when it is going to happen, but you know when you’ll get there.
It is recommended to have a strong enough laptop because music inside the box is very CPU demanding. Get the most capable system you can get.

Also, I recommend you to get the gear that makes you feel like making music. Yes, there is such a thing. For example, I started using Cubase years ago and I was fast as hell on it! I could create a full 3 minutes good piece of music in 30 minutes.
But when I finally started working with Logic my music have gotten a lot better in a matter of weeks.
Also, it sounded much better but this is another subject. You have to love your tools. Whether it is your DAW, your MIDI keyboard, your audio interface, and even your plugins. Remember it all starts with pure love and passion for what we’re doing.

Classic Producer

If you want to be a classic music producer it is important to sharpen your people skills.
Most of the classic producers I’ve known were very skilled in the personal domain.
You have to know how to talk to people, how to express yourself and get people to do what you want them to do without hurting their egos. You also have to learn how to get musicians to play what you need them to play. Most of the practical work of a producer in a studio is to deal with the artist which is not an easy task. A lot of times I found myself making verbal figure eight loops just to get my point thru and make the artist understand my artistic decisions. At the end of the day, you are working with a client and he or she has to understand and live in piece with the idea of working with you.

Play an instrument and learn most of the characteristics of as many instruments as you can.
I always recommend to start with an instrument that can show you every possible option below your fingers, of course it is most likely to be keyboards. Learn to play the keyboards even if your main instrument is guitar or bass or even drums. Always listen to music from a technical point of view.
They say that once you understand what you’re listening to, you can’t avoid the details and sometimes lose your ability to simply enjoy listening to music with an average consumer’s ear. It is true. In my opinion, you don’t lose your ability to enjoy music, you just enjoy the more advanced stuff. it’s very cool 🙂

Hybrid producer

Hybrid producers are in an interesting sweet spot. They don’t have to work with too many people because they are doing most of the artistic heavy lifting themselves. They are considered by the artist to be a complete wizard. Yes, we are the “Gandalfs” of the music production in our own “middle earth” 🙂
To avoid any unwanted artistic clashes the artist must listen to the previous productions you’ve made, and has to love and relate to them.
You also have to sit with the artist before you start working on a basic demo for them and listen to all kinds of references together so it’ll be easier for the both of you to get locked on a specific direction for the song.

It is always a good idea to ask the artists which artists and genres they like and what he or she are listening to these days. This info will give you a few cool hacking cheats into those artists souls.
As a hybrid producer you have to have good instruments. Say you play guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, If you have the money it’s ok, buy great quality instruments. But if you’re just starting and you need to spread your budget across few instruments not including the rest of the studio equipment I recommend not buying the best of the best, you just don’t need it, trust me. Unless you have the money to spend of course.

The only good instruments you should have is your main instrument and the once who are “naked sounding” like acoustic guitars. I found out that you can’t run away or manipulate a bad sounding acoustic instrument into a good sounding one. just buy a good one and get cheap on the other ones.

For years I’ve recorded bass tracks with a cheap bass guitar that cost around 300$. I just went to the store, played on and listen to few guitars in different price ranges and picked to best one of the low range bass guitars. trust me, I couldn’t tell the difference in quality in the store, it was all down to personal taste. The point is that you don’t have to have the best of every instrument to get a good result.
You have to remember in “living” instruments as I call them, You can have two of the same guitar, same company with the same price and the sound is totally different. So sometimes it comes down to a personal preference. I could swear that my 300$ bass guitar sounded better than these other bass guitars that cost three times as much.

I must add that this does not work on electric guitar. You should have a good electric guitar if you want good clean sounds. of course, if your genre is death metal and all you do id heavy distortion you can go with an OK electric guitar. But in most cases, you would want a guitar that will give you a wide range of good sounds so you won’t have to buy 4 different electric guitars.

The rest of your budget you’ll spend on your studio equipment. In general, I recommend that you don’t get too cheap on the microphones you use. Get one good dynamic microphone and one very good condenser microphone. Of course, if you’re going big and planning on recording drums then you need to have a much bigger budget to work with, not just on microphones but on the right rooms and wiring. The right console or preamps box, the right acoustics and more. Personally, I don’t recommend that you record drums on your own and do what most producers are doing. We just go to a big studio with our drummer and a guide track, record everything we need for the song and return back to our studio to continue from there.

Lyrics

If you really want to be a producer I strongly recommend to you find yourself a couple of heroes. We are all looking up to someone and you should too. If you’re going to work with artists that are writing lyrics always consider the lyrics to be the most important part of the song and this is the absolute truth.
If you can work with an artist and make his lyrics better in some way do it! Trust me, you can have the most amazing production under the most weak ass lyric content and it will all go to waste.

Don’t Work With Everybody!

OK, PEOPLE! I can’t stress this enough, if you work with talentless artists just to make money they will delay and even prevent you from succeeding. I mean it. When you work with talentless artists your endless production hours just go to waste. Nobody will like the song, nobody will look for its producer, nobody will remember your name if you put it on low-quality art. SIMPLE AS THAT.
If you can’t afford not working with artists that you know that will not give you anything just find a side job and invest your time, skills and talent in your own creation. In my world, people always remembered the songs I’ve written for myself and for other artists.

Find New People To Work With

Sometimes you need to make sure new people find out about you. This is one of the most important things in this music business. Sometimes we forget that this is a business and treat it like a hobby for years. This is not how you succeed in the music business.
First you need to work with social media, get creative, post cool stuff you did in the past on a continuous basis, Send personal messages to artists, introduce yourself, put links to your productions, Build a good representing website for your online music persona and even build paid campaigns on social media an search engines.
If you don’t know how to do it yourself, pay for someone to do it for you. Also, work on SEO for your website. You must rank high for your preferred keywords in search engines. This is a whole bible by itself but never dismiss it. You’ll regret it trust me.

Constant Learning

Read and learn something every day. Look for new stuff to learn, listen to the latest playlists and radio stations in your chosen genre, search for cool new tools or plugins that you might like. Always stay on top of things and get updated continuously. music production is an ever changing field and if you are not changing and evolving with it you would stay behind.

My Personal Lessons After 15 Years Of Being A Music Producer
Build your assets. I mean always write songs if you also a song writer. I have songs I’ve written a few years ago that still are making me passive income in royalties every year. Try to get your songs and productions to known artists and always be trying to get closer to them and their people.
This is what we call “The right connections”. Always try to help people and maybe one day they will do something for you that will change your life forever.
ALWAYS BE GOOD TO PEOPLE.

Good Luck 🙂

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MIXING

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MASTERING

What Is Mastering

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Best Drum Plugin

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Best Amp Simulator

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Best Programs For Music Production

Best Programs For Music Production

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DAW – Digital Audio Workstation
As a producer, the DAW is your main instrument. This is what you play, this is what you practice on and this is what you get good at. A DAW is a direct extension of your creative mind. Choosing the Best Programs For Music Production for you can be a complicated task and it may take some time and patience in order to be 100% sure in your decision. Let’s find out what are the options, what are the main differences between them and what’s right for you.

Hi everybody, Avi here. I’m a music producer since the late 90’s and I’ve tried almost every program for music production out there and I can help you find the right DAW for you.
These are a few very important questions you have to ask yourself before choosing your best program for music production. Disclaimer, This article is based only on my personal preference and knowledge. Let’s start with the first question.

1. What is my main genre?

2. Do I have to record and edit live instruments?

3. Am I planning to use third party plugins or only use the built-in ones?

4. Am I going to share projects with other musicians?

 

1. What is my main genre?

Every DAW is designed a little different. Some are built for fast creation, and some are built more like a recording tape machine. These days almost all the DAW’s have the same features and same abilities. The only thing that is different is the design orientation for specific genres. If your music is going to be live instruments based it is best for you to choose the ones that are built more like tape machines.

• Protools
• Cubase / Nuendo
• Logic Pro
• Studio One
• Digital Performer

These are the programs I personally used in the past for recording and general creation.
Over the years I’ve learned to like Logic Pro and used it as my main DAW for everything I’ll tell you why later on this article.
There are a lot of famous EDM producers that uses big DAW’s as there main creation tool.
For example
Cubase Users: Zedd, Infected Mushroom and many that I don’t remember right now.
Logic Users: Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Kygo and many more.

If you’re more into electronic music creation that is synth plugins and sample-based, these are the DAW’s that are more suitable for you.

• Ableton Live
• FL Studio
• Reason

It is important to say that every DAW can be used for any genre. From the big ones I really prefer Logic and Cubase over Protools for example. What’s nice about programs like Ableton Live and FL Studio is that everything that is electronic music related can be performed very fast.
Also, it is full of interesting built-in plugins and features that allow you to create all the nice production “shticks” that you hear in today’s electronic productions.
Ableton Live users: Skrillex, Deadmou5, Diplo and more.
FL Studio: Martin Garrix, Avici (RIP), Aerojack and more.

I must say, I have a warm place in my heart for Propellerhead Reason. when it first arrived in the early 2000’s it looked like how I always wanted music programs to look. Just like an amazing equipment rig that every good producer should own. Back then everything was so expensive and the idea of a rack full of cool synths, samplers, and amazing compressors and EQ’s was just jaw-dropping. Nothing was that sexy back then and even today, it is considered to be one of the most impressive music applications out there.

2. Do I have to record and edit live instruments?

The more traditional producers that are recording live instruments like guitars, drums, and vocals use programs like Protools, Cubase and Logic. These are the three big ones.

Protools (PC | MAC)
Of course, it is pointing out the obvious but most big studios in the world use Avid Protools. It is built for studio and for big recordings, it has the largest and most diverse collection of outboard that is built by Avid specifically for it. Protools has a very easy and convenient wiring system, mixer, automation, and general working area.

Cubase (PC | MAC)

You can say the same things about Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo.
Although it comes with less outboard controllers it has the same features as Protools and still has an impressive collection of outboard gear that you can use with it or any other DAW system. Cubase was my main tool for 12 years and I love it! As far as audio recording and editing, no one does it better than the Germans. Everything is very accurate, Almost not bugs and overall stability. In the MIDI department, it is PERFECT as far as I can say. There is nothing you can’t do and the midi automation system is very convenient.
Just listen to the amazing and complicated stuff that Infected Mushroom are doing with it. It is practically limitless. The only thing I left Cubase for is the audio engine. At a certain point, it just didn’t sound good enough for my standards.

Logic Pro (MAC Only)
So after trying to get to “That Sound” I wanted and was always hitting a barrier with Cubase I finally listened to Logic. I first started with version 8 and it was an amazing eye-opener, or should I say “Ear opener”. I could finally hear the 3D depth in my sound. Reverbs sounded deeper, Kicks sounded fuller, lower and well defined. My sound drastically improved literally overnight. I was in love with every demo I made right from the beginning.
I didn’t like Logic coming from Cubase. Logic 8/9 was full of bugs and a lot of weird shit happened in my system. I called it ghosts in my machine. In time Apple released few major updates that made Logic much more stable and easy to work with.
One of the best Logic’s features is the audio comping option. It totally changed the way I used to edit vocals. You can read more about it here. In time Logic became my main tool and it is still my favorite DAW to this day, it is just full of creative energy in my perspective. I strongly recommend you to give Logic more time, it will pay off I promise. Of course Logic is for Apple systems only.

3. Am I planning to use third party plugins or only use the built-in ones?

This is a big one. Third-party plugins and instruments are a very big part of the music production culture. Some even have so many fans around the world that whole genres are based on them. A good example of such a synth plugin would be Sylenth1. A lot of EDM genres are based purely on this one synth and it literally has limitless presets and sounds.
So if you are going to buy all your third-party plugins it does not really matter which DAW to use. You just have to make sure the plugins company make a version of their plugin for your preferable music program.

And if you are not going to buy more then just the DAW, again I strongly suggest you go for Logic. You can basically create a full production in any genre that will sound amazing and up to date. It’s kinda the same with Cubase and Logic.

4. Am I going to share projects with other musicians?

A big factor is sharing projects between friends and other producers. If you are not working alone and want to send a certain project to a friend or another music producer or even to an arranger or mix engineer just do a little check what the most used DAW around you. Although I would not base my decision only on that. Choosing your DAW is still a very personal preference. I used to work with a partner and we always moved projects from my system to his and vice versa. Trust me you don’t want that export party every time you need to work with another musician on another system.

Free DAW’s
I wanted to mention this because not all of us would want to spend the money on an expensive DAW. So exactly for this, we have this sweet list of tools you need to take a look at.

• Reaper
• MU.Lab
• Studio One 3 Prime
• Ardour
• Zynewave Podium Free

You can read and hear more about these programs and more on that website. This is a short showcase video for Reaper

So to wrap this up I want to leave you with a sticky generic message, what’s important at the end is which DAW feels most like home for you and make it easier for you to create your art. It is your sound, your taste, your tools and your workflow that will make you the musician you will become.

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Speakers For Music Production

Speakers For Music Production

Speakers For Music Production

Speakers For Music Production

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Hey, everybody, I’m Avi from AudioStreets and I have been a music producer for the last 15 years. This is my take on speakers for music production. First I have to say that when I’m buying speakers I’m not buying them for mixing as a first goal. For me, the main purpose of a good speaker is that it will be fun to produce music on. That is why I think that any studio, small or big should have a few pairs of monitors but this is all pointing out the obvious of course, let’s get to the good stuff!

In today’s world of music production there is no shortage in good monitors
But it’s important to know that most of all, choosing the right monitor is based on personal taste. YEP.
Because we all hear a little different so it’s only natural that we’d have different preferences.

Every time I go to a music store I go directly to the monitors room to hear their speakers.
And almost every time I listen to speakers the best sounding speakers for me are not the most expensive ones. Before you choose the right speaker for yourself, you have to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What are the dimensions of your room, is it big? medium? or a small room?
2. What is your main reason for buying the speakers?
3. How far do you want to sit from the speakers?
4. what genre of music are you planning to produce?

I assume most of you have small rooms and you’re going to need a near field monitor.
But if it’s not the case, I’ll write a post about bigger setups in the near future.

So I’ll quickly go over the answers:

1. As I said I write this post assuming that you are sitting in a relatively small room, 10fit X 13fit more or less.
in this case, we are talking only on near-field monitors or smaller. any monitor bigger then that will not have the proper space to develop the right sound at the sweet spot.

2. The reason should be based on music producing needs but almost any studio monitor is good enough for mixing & mastering.

3. When we are talking about near field monitors and getting the best out of the speaker in the sweet spot, the sitting distance from the speakers should be approximately 4 to 6 fit away. Any other distance and you will not get the optimal performance out of the speaker.

4. This one is based only on personal opinion, I believe that genre is a very important factor when looking for the right monitor. There are a few studio speaker companies that are known to be preferred by different artists in different genres. This should not be a real factor unless it gives you another good reference point, and it does. When you’re using a monitor that a lot of artists in your genre use, it gets you even closer.

I know that not everybody is going to agree with me on this, and that’s why I said, this is a personal opinion.
Do what’s best for you. Now the list for my favorite Speakers For Music Production.

This list is not taking the budget factor into consideration.

Best Speakers For Music Production

Yamaha HS8

I was never a Yamaha fanboy when it comes to speakers, wasn’t on the NS10 train also… but this monitor is really special, it is just so much fun to work with. It would not be my first or even my 4th choice for mixing and mastering because It sounds so big and crazy fun!
But “FUN” is exactly why it would be my first choice for music production. It is built in a traditional way in an MDF box with simple controls on the back. The best thing about this speaker is the amount of level you can get out of it without distorting the signal. It also feels like it wants you to crank up the levels to a proper working level to really get the best out of it. This monitor is a little bigger then the others, it has an 8″ woofer and a dome tweeter. This woofer size can really make you feel the bass thump in your chest and this is why I chose it over its little brothers. It looks kinda like the NS10 which I like, It is a good look for the studio in my opinion. The HS8 range goes down to 35hz which will rattle all your doors and will open all the screws in your house. The HS8 is significantly cheaper than the others on this list but it is like the underground opponent that came in from nowhere and gained a lot of respect just for being that good.
I must say that I loved on most genres although it sounded a bit too aggressive for acoustic stuff. Just my opinion.
In the end, this is a really great monitor to produce music on or just listen to music. It’s going to be so much fun! YEAHHH!

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Dynaudio BM5 MKIII

I have an Israeli friend who is making trance music. Israel is considered to be one of the biggest exporters of trance music.
Every trance guy I ever knew is working with the Dynaudios and swear by it like it’s the holy grail of all studio monitors.
After a few years of knowing that, I had to test it for myself. I went to the store and got a pair of BM5 MKIII for a week of testing before buying. After one week with this speaker, I’ve come to the conclusion that the hype was true! I absolutely loved it. At first, it sounded a little two dimensional and flat but in time I’ve learned to work with it and couldn’t let go.
It has a great filtering system on the back panel, great sounding tweeter, very punchy bass and clear mid range.
I did not have the need to use my sub with this monitor because it feels like it gets low enough.
I could work for hours without getting that familiar ear fatigue that I was getting with a lot of other speakers.
I didn’t end up buying it but I wouldn’t hesitate the next time I have the opportunity. You can also check out the Dynaudio BM6A on Amazon.

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Adam A7x

This one is a little different. Usually, I don’t go for the flat sounding monitor and I don’t really care for accuracy once I get to know the speaker and my room better. Adam A7x was my main monitor for a few years and I had a weird relationship with it. I didn’t automatically like it, it was a little painful on the high end and weak on the low end. Adam’s tweeters are known to be crazy hard to a degree that a lot of times I used to put a little filter on the tweeter to soften them a bit. Also the bass does not go low enough and it is not that punchy. But boy, did I produce the best sounding mixes ever on them! it is so accurate and clear, I could hear long reverb tails even under a whole pumping mix.
I’m able to hear even the slightest EQ compression changes. The whole midsection from 500hz up to 6K is so on point that I didn’t want to replace it even tho I didn’t really like it. But I have to say that in my electronic music era I really needed a sub along with the A7x cause I wanted to feel that satisfying “thump” in the chest. I just needed more bass to help me feel and enjoy the music while producing it. Bottom line, the Adam A7x is amazing but It would not be my first speaker for music production. It will be my absolute first choice for checking my mixes tho 🙂

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Genelec 8040B

Now, this speaker is amazing, I fell in love with the Genelec company when I first heard them in the store next to all the others. I started with their little model, the 8020A and I swear it sounded “bigger” then the other physically bigger speakers around it. It a was clean, sharp and a beautiful sounding speaker. I was listening to a movie score that I liked. You could hear the orchestra and the huge recording spaces, everything was 3D in the most impressive way possible from a speaker this size. Then I switched to some EDM and although it still sounded amazing for its size, the kicks and basses had almost zero balls. So I switched to it’s bigger brother, The 8030A and WOW! This is without a doubt the most impressive monitor I’ve listened to inside this store that day. So I decided to stretch my budget a little more and got the 8040B. This is a real piece of art in my humble opinion. A proper studio reference monitor. Like it’s little brothers it is made out of aluminium and is designed so well that if you closed your eyes you would never believe it’s that small. It was punchy with a clear midsection and brilliant highs. I can work for days on this beast and never get tired. This is definitely my first choice for music production purposes. Also, it does not fall short in the mix department. If I could pick only one speaker this is the one.

That’s it for now, guys, thanks for reading.

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I get so excited when I find a good guitar amp plugin, it’s so much fun!
Back in the early 2000’s when I started recording guitars, I used real amps, real microphones, real rooms, and made real noise to my real neighbors. It made them real angry… Today’s guitar amp plugins are a dream come true for us producers.
Hi everybody, I’m Avi and these are my personal favorite Guitar Amp plugins:

First off, I highly recommend that you use a good preamp or a good DI box or a quality Instrument input and a quality cable.
I personally assembled my own cable: I ordered a good quality short cable (2 meters max) with quality plugs and made sure that I did a good job welding them together. This made my input sound quality at least 10% better. That’s a lot! Trust me.
Now, this article is not going too deep on the features and functions of the plugins. I’m just giving you my 2 cents as an avid Amp simulators user so here it is!

Waves CLA

This is a full rig simulator developed by Waves, an amazing company located in Israel, which is where I’m from.
This plugin is my automatic go-to amp simulator for everything. When I start working on a song or recording few electric guitar channels I don’t have the time to tweak and look for the perfect preset and sound. This plugin allows me to just plug my guitar, choose one of the presets I’ve built for myself, and just go with it. It’s built very simple. It has 3 main amp modes: Clean | Crunch | Heavy. There’s a switch for Re-Amplify and all the rest are just simple slides to control different parameters. This plugin has the same audio engine as in Waves GTR so you get the same quality only less control. Perfect for starting things without wasting precious creative time on tweaking the presets.

Softube Amp Room

 

Softube Vintage Amp Room
Softube Metal Amp Room
Softube Bass Amp Room

I absolutely love the visual design of this one. It is simple, easy to use, sounds good, and my favorite feature, it looks like the real thing. This plugin is a native one but they also did a UAD version which is cool. The amps on the plugin are not named as the original amps that they are modeled after to avoid being sued by the brands but it’s not hard to tell which is which. What I like the most about this plugin is that in order to change amps, you just drag the amps right or left and you switch between them. The same goes for the microphone setup. You hold the microphone stand with the mouse and just locate it in front of the amp until you get your preferred sound. The main controls of the plugin are also pretty easy and straight forward. They’ve created 3 versions of this plugin, 2 guitar rigs, and one bass rig.
I must say that the bass rig is much more impressive than the guitar ones. This plugin sounds good, but it is not the best one on my list.

Amplitude 4

Now, this one is huge! It has so many options and cool features; it looks good, it sounds good, and IT IS good!
Most of the amp models sounds amazing in my opinion, but naturally only few suit my taste. I usually use Amplitube for cool clean sounds and a little bit of drive. It has tons of options, virtual effect racks, pedals, plenty of amps and cabinets, and of course, the thing that I like the most, the ability to change the microphones placement in front of the cabinet. Those who come from the real world of amp recording will appreciate that.
Check out the new version, they added a lot of cool features.

Guitar Rig

This amp simulator from Native Instruments is very cool for distortion sounds.
Somehow, I find it more realistic than the others and it does not have those painful digital high frequencies in the distortion presets. It is very round and nice sounding, in my opinion. I love the way it’s built. It has a drag and drop system where you can drag modules one on top of the other and build your own cool signal chain. Also, there is a rating system where you can rate your favorite presets with up to 5 stars. My ADHD brain needs it badly. It has a good market where you can purchase more models and effects to add to your rig. I’ve never felt the need to buy them, but it’s nice to have.

ReValver

OK, this one is a beast! I used this plugin in a lot of my productions and demos.
It is FAT, RICH, WARM, and every non-musical term you can possibly find to describe a good sandwich in the middle of the winter in the woods at night (yeah, don’t ask…)
It also has a rack building system of your favorite modules, which is sweet.
I like to practice with this plugin. It sounds amazing by itself, but I personally find it a little harder to mix it inside a song. I, somehow, always choose another plugin for that purpose. But it is probably just because I’m already used to the sound of the next plugin on this list.

Waves GTR3

This one is my go-to Amp Simulator Plugin. I use this on 80% of my productions.
It just sounds amazing inside a mix; it cuts right through when you need it to, and you can also bury it under layers of other elements, and it won’t clash with them. Of course, it is a mix thing, but I find this plugin to be the easiest to mix. It has a great selection of good and usable amps and cabinets. The people who built this plugin knew exactly what producers really need. It is not the newest modeled amp simulator but definitely works in today’s highest standards. I usually like to use my outboard pedals, especially distortions. But the distortions I get only from these amps without using a pedal simulation is just amazing! It also has a great range of clean sounds that I use a lot.
Of all the pedals emulations inside this plugin, I like the small EQ the most. It has an amazing ability to boost the lows in a very aggressive and yet natural way.
I really suggest you give it a try. Listen to the chords part in this video. This is one of the great things about this plugin, you can actually hear every note inside the chords. So this is, in my opinion, the best guitar vst plugin.

There are many more cool and interesting amp simulators out there, but these are the ones I personally use. Thanks for reading.

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Hey everybody, Avi here. I freaking LOVE preamps, don’t you? Back in the early 2000’s, when I’d just started recording music in a professional way, I was using the onboard preamps on my RME Fireface 400 interface. It was nice, until I started using REAL preamps. And this is what we are talking about in this post.

Disclaimer:

I’m not going to get too technical here, just share my own personal experience with these sweet devices. If you need more technical details, look at the links under every preamp section. Enjoy.

What Is A Preamp?

A preamp, in simple words, is an amplifier for a microphone. The microphone output is called “Mic Level”, and it is considered to be a very low level signal. The microphone voltage range is between -60dbv to -40dbv. It is, of course, a very low voltage level, and you have to amplify it in order to get it up to “Line level” (-10dbv). Most audio devices are accepting “Line level” signals. This is the most basic and first reason to use a preamp.

Phantom Power

This is the second reason for using a preamp. When you are using a condenser microphone that needs a phantom power to work, a preamp is the device that sends this power over to the microphone. A phantom power is not needed when connecting a dynamic microphone. In most cases, if you send a phantom power to a dynamic microphone, nothing will happen unless you’re using a ribbon microphone, I don’t recommend that.

Sound Character

Different preamps have different “colors”. Much like microphones, you can choose your preamp according to the signal you’re about to record. For example, certain preamps will sound better on acoustic guitars, while others will be great for vocals.

Which Preamp

Most audio interfaces today have at least one microphone preamp. Are they good enough?

They are good enough, without a doubt. For most purposes, and especially for home recording, when you don’t have to meet the highest industry standard. Also, most people would not be able to tell what kind of preamp you used. Especially under all these different processes.

However, after using this simple onboard, transparent, and characterless preamp, you will start to have dreams about those nicer sounding preamps. This is where you would want to see our list.

Higher Level Preamps

Those are built for much higher demands and possess all kinds of sonic qualities. Preamps are divided by classes and different technologies.

Vacuum Tube Preamp

For these preamps, the amplification is done with Tubes. These will have more emphasis on the low end frequencies, and also tend to have softer highs. These will work great on vocals, electric guitars, amps, basses, and basically every instrument that you want to sound warmer, rounder, and with softer high frequencies.

Discrete Preamp

These are built with different electronic components like transistors, resistors, and capacitors. Transistor based preamps are more fast and punchy sounding. They are very good for recording instruments and vocals, with emphasis on the midrange and higher frequencies.

For example, acoustic guitars, aggressive guitar amps, drums, vocals with more sharp and aggressive characteristics, and practically every source that you would want to have “that” character.

IC Preamp

It is very similar to discrete preamps, but is made with small chips planted on a board. Naturally, it will put out a more clean sound with a low noise floor. A lot of audio interfaces are using this technology, but in most cases, it’s not considered to be high end.

Cables

It doesn’t matter what preamp you’re using. It’s highly recommended to use high quality mic cables for the microphone and from the preamp output signal going to the audio interface. It makes a big difference, trust me.

Our Favorite Preamps:

This is a list of preamps that I liked using in the past and that I’m still using today. Price is not a factor for now, only personal taste. This list includes only products by known companies and which you can get in stores. I’ve used amazing preamps before that were built by private individuals that no one knows and that you can’t get in the store, but this I will leave to another post.

Golden Age Pre 73 MKIII

I first started with the first version of the Pre 73 in 2011. This was the first class A preamp that brought that expensive sound to the home recording producers. It had the Neve 73 style circuit; all discrete components and no IC at all. With 80db of input gain and a great output control knob, I could get all the colors I wanted. Everybody had this preamp, so I had to try it and see If I fall for the hype. I did. It was really amazing for it’s price. It had one significant drawback: high noise floor. It was a noisy preamp, no doubt. After piling some tracks on top of each other, you can definitely hear this noise. It was nice for loud rock productions, but when I needed a cleaner signal, this preamp was not the one to use. After that, came the MKII, and the noise was gone. It was amazing on almost every source. The only thing I didn’t record with it was strumming acoustic guitars. With the MKIII, they made it even better and added more features such as:

  • High pass filter with two positions, to cut the low end. 
  • Air boost EQ’s, two positions.
  • Renewed input gain knob.

This preamp has one of the best instrument input I have ever used. I absolutely love how it sounds on direct bass guitar. I also had a few songs where I didn’t even record an amp, just my clean G&L Custom straight to the instrument input and to logic with a little EQ and compression, and that’s it, sounds amazing. This pre does everything with remarkable results.

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Universal Audio Solo 610

This preamp is so much fun! I love it’s design; it looks like a piece of console taken from a Russian submarine from the 40’s. It is based on the original Putnam 610 console, which had a classic tube sound and was used in a lot of studios by a lot of famous artists. This preamp is equipped with a 12AX7 tube and a 12AT7 tube. Even though it has a very simple design, and very few controls, it is very easy to achieve a wide range of beautiful tones and colors with it. By using a low input gain setting, you can get a clean and almost transparent tone. As you increase the input gain and drive the tube, you add more beautiful and sweet sounding harmonic distortion to your source.

Vocals I’ve recorded with it came out very smooth and creamy, if I’m allowed to use these terms. It sounds relatively soft and very musical. I loved it on male vocals, electric guitars, bass, brasses, and pretty much any source in general. What about acoustic guitars, you ask? It’s pretty much the same as the Pre 73, I like it very much on finger picking acoustic guitar. It has a warm sound; full, and overall, very rich sound. I wish I had a whole console of these pre’s…

I also recommend trying the Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity preamp which has a discrete circuit in addition to the classic tube one, and you can mix between them with a mix knob. It also offers a lot of colors, features, and flexibility.

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API 512c

This beautiful beast came in an API Lunchbox. This preamp is a classic with origins back in the 60’s and 70’s. When I first started using this preamp, I was already using a bunch of other great preamps, so it was kinda hard to sweep me off my feet. But the API 512c brought a new era of sound to my recordings. Vocals sounded more punchy and clear in the midrange section, but still with a lot of low end body and high end precision. The 512c has a tendency to push every single detail to the front of the mix so it is perfect for pop vocals, rock, and any punchy sounding source.

It is great on electric guitars, bass, vocals, of course, and I also really like it on acoustic guitars. They sound clean, bright, and shiny, exactly how I like my acoustic guitars to sound. The 512c brings an old and classic flavor to the table. It is built exactly like the original ones, designed by Soul Walker. It is very musical and flexible. You can hear and see it in big production studios and in home recording studios as well. It is hand-assembled, very reliable, and built for years of hard work in the studio. I only wish it came with an output control and an independent box, but other than that, it is just perfect.

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OK, honestly, I didn’t expect this preamp to surprise me and sound that good, but it does! It is like everything that I ran through just came alive. It has a slightly compressed character; a little boost in the lows and highs, and every source that is going through it comes out a little processed. I usually don’t like a processed sound out of something that should give me a raw output, but in this case it is just magic! This unit sounds very special, and I use it anytime I need something to have a special place in a mix, or to cut through some production layers in a natural way. This one is also a 500 series, which I also liked to have in a half rack unit size. I’m a sucker for independent units, I admit it.

I first heard this preamp back in 2013. The Chandler Little Devil offers a lot of flexibility and tons of character to work with. I really like it on female vocals. It gives the ladies a brilliant shine and great breathy voice that throws me straight to Mariah Carey’s sound from the 90’s, but it might be just my own personal thing.

In the feature section, it is like all the others, but with the Little Devil, they add a little bright switch, which I like very much. It adds that cool boost in the highs, which gives a little air to the overall signal.

There is something very special that happens with the feedback knob, I won’t try to explain it here, because I don’t want to get it wrong, but I strongly recommend to read about it in the company’s website.

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This is a pricy one, but who thinks about money when you’re falling in love! The 737 is a big unit and, usually, I get scared when I work with big machines, after being used to working with small units. This one has a lot of knobs and lights and meters and weird symbols… it’s not for me,  I’m a simple dude! These were my first thoughts about this preamp. But, then I relaxed and gave it a listen. First, I need to say that this is not only a preamp, by definition, because it also has a compressor section and an EQ section. So, practically, it is a whole “Channel Strip”. I have a soft spot for real outboard compressors, so this was the first thing I started with.

The 737’s opto-compressor is really special. It resembles the classic LA2A compressor. It’s not the most aggressive compressor, which I like, and it has a cool behavior while it’s riding the peaks of an acoustic guitar or slap bass. The EQ is also on the sweet side. It’s highs are pretty soft, and it is quite easy to get a great, processed vocal right out of the box. Usually, I don’t recommend recording post process, because then you’re stuck with it. But if you’re experienced enough, and you know exactly what you’re after, it can help you achieve these very high end results. I know not everybody can afford this channel strip, and not everybody needs it, but if you, somehow, find it for a good price in second hand, snatch it, because it sounds beautiful, and you’re gonna love it! For sure.

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