We Record Life

A Roundup Of The Five Best Audio Recording Tools

Whether you’re a hobbyist tinkering with a guitar, an amateur DJ about to perform at a packed club, or a professional recording engineer with a thriving studio practice, you will need recording software of some sorts. Professional-grade recording software doesn’t come cheap with prices usually starting at $350+. Given the high initial investment, you want to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the five best audio recording programs on the market. We’ll consider the cheapest (free) Audacity, and go all the way up to Pro Tools, which is used by most professionals.
If you’re confused about what you can do with recording software, consider taking this Ableton Live crash course to get an introduction to these tools.
1. Audacity
Price: Free
Audacity is sometimes called the “poor man’s audio recorder’ – a description that does a great service to this fine open-source software. Free though it may be, Audacity still packs plenty of features into a surprisingly small and lightweight installation. Granted, you won’t see Timbaland firing it up in his recording studio, but that doesn’t mean it can’t find a place in your home recording mix.
Audacity’s learning curve is as gentle as a rolling hill in the English countryside. You can get started without so much as clicking the ‘help’ button. It’s perfect for all sorts of casual recordings – podcasts, song ideas, etc. With some work, it can even make impressive-sounding amateur mixes. While it comes nowhere near the features offered by the big boys on this list, the fact that it is cheap, easy and surprisingly fast should keep amateurs interested.
Features

Clean, easy to use interface.


Supports dozens of simultaneous tracks.


Can import WAV, AIFF, AU, Flac and Ogg Vorbis files.


Extensive open-source plugin library.


Stable; crashes are as rare as rain in a desert.

Use Audacity If:
You don’t have a few hundred dollars to spare; you want something effective, easy and fast; you want to record audio casually – amateur guitarists and podcasters welcome.
Audacity is more powerful than you think. Learn how to unleash its power in this Audacity crash course.
2. Apple Logic Pro
Price: $199
As an Apple-made software, there are two things you can assume about Logic Pro:

You won’t require a PhD to understand the UI


It will integrate perfectly with OS X

Logic Pro has something of a storied history. It was originally made by the guys who also made the first MIDI sequencer, Notator, in the early 80s. It was eventually acquired by Apple in 2002, meaning the software has been in continuous development for nearly 30 years.
Today, Logic Pro is one of the best-selling DAWs in the world. It’s younger cousin – GarageBand – comes free with iLife and retails for $4.99 on the iTunes store.
Features

Flex Time enables users to ‘stretch’ and modify audio.


Powerful Amp Designer for combining hundreds of cabinets and effect pedals in a custom designed amp.


Create a virtual arrangement of effects pedals with the Pedalboard.


Trademark Apple skeuomorphic design for ease of use.


Create unique reverb effects with the Space Designer.

Use Logic Pro If:
You care about design and ease of use; you work exclusively on Apple products; you want something that is powerful enough to run with the big boys, easy enough for a complete newbie, and cheap enough to not put you in the poorhouse.
3. Ableton Live
Price: $449 for Standard version
The digital music recording industry can be broadly divided into two timeframes: before Ableton Live and after Ableton Live. When it was launched in 2001, the DAW market was dominated by the old guard – Cubase, Nuendo, and Logic Pro. These tools worked in a linear fashion – you recorded first, edited later.
Ableton Live changed all that. The entire software is organized around the session view where you can record, sketch and collect audio in real-time – just as you would perform live. And when you’re done, you can edit, arrange, and modify the audio in the arrangement view, which is reminiscent of the more traditional arrangement window of sequencing programs.
Ableton Live was also the first software to introduce a “warp engine”. This feature enables the user to synchronize different tracks to the same BPM (beats per minute). As you can imagine, DJs found this extremely useful, which is why Live is such a big hit among the remixing crowd.
Features

Support for unlimited audio and MIDI tracks.


Powerful toolkit for building custom synths and effects. It’s like having your own team of audio engineers on command.


Powerful audio slicing for use in the Sampler or Drum Rack.


Best-in-class warp engine for stretching/compressing audio tracks to match a beat.


Huge built-in library of effects, amps and synthesizers.

Use Ableton Live If:
You want a powerful, feature-rich digital audio workstation that works especially well in live settings; you are an amateur or professional DJ; your audio work involves a lot of mixing and you don’t mind a steep learning curve.
4. Propellerhead Reason
Price: $449
Propellerhead Reason has long been a contender to the ‘best recording software’ crown, but it wasn’t until version 5.0, released in 2010, that it made its claim loud and clear. Before version 5.0, Reason was a MIDI-only application. The fifth version added a ton of features now standard in professional DAWs – a drum designer (Kong), powerful sequencing features, and a highly effective mixer. Within two years, Sweden based Propellerhead added a powerful ‘Rack Extension’ feature that allowed users to plug in third-party effects and plugins.
As a result of all these changes, Reason 7 today is a much more comprehensive recording software than its predecessors. Its packed with all the features you’ve come to expect from a professional DAW – unlimited audio tracks, powerful mixing console, hundreds of instruments – and boasts a long (and growing) library of third party plugins. When it comes to choosing a recording software, there are few better decisions you can make than going with Reason.
Features

Gorgeous, easy to use UI that’s only matched by Logic Pro in intuitiveness.


Robust and stable on every platform.


Rack Extensions are very effective – and great to look at.


Version 7.0 finally supports MIDI out.


Comes with 2 built-in samplers and 3 synthesizers.


Large effects library.


SSL-style mixer still the best in its class.

Use Reason If:
You want a no-nonsense, feature-rich recording software; you value ease of use and stability.
5. Avid Pro Tools
Price: $599 for Pro Tools 11 Upgrade
Pro Tools is one of the oldest digital audio workstations on the market. Robust, powerful, and efficient, Pro Tools is the DAW of choice for professional sound engineers. With the much-awaited version 11 finally hitting the stores in June, the software has finally been ported to 64-bit code, further improving its performance and stability.
Pro Tools can be intimidating for newbies. The UI is a world apart from the friendly textures and skeumorphic design of Apple Logic Pro. If you don’t have some experience working with actual recording studio hardware, you’ll find Pro Tools a tough nut to crack. This course on mastering Avid Pro Tools 10 will make the transition considerably smoother.
At the same time, few DAWs can match Pro Tools range of performance oriented features. Although its primary users remain professional engineers, it’s equally capable in a home environment.
Features

Version 11 is now based on 64-bit code. Coupled with an all new Avid Audio Engine, this means more power and efficient processing for your tracks.


Dedicated input buffers ensure you get the lowest possible latency – a must if you intend to record from external acoustic sources.


Built-in Avid Video Engine helps you edit videos within Pro Tools itself.


Improved automation; tracks can be processed as you record them, saving hours in editing/processing time.


Improved UI with more user-friendly design.

Use Avid Pro Tools If:
You value performance and aren’t intimidated by a steep learning curve; you want to work with audio in a professional setting. View high resolution

A Roundup Of The Five Best Audio Recording Tools

Whether you’re a hobbyist tinkering with a guitar, an amateur DJ about to perform at a packed club, or a professional recording engineer with a thriving studio practice, you will need recording software of some sorts. Professional-grade recording software doesn’t come cheap with prices usually starting at $350+. Given the high initial investment, you want to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the five best audio recording programs on the market. We’ll consider the cheapest (free) Audacity, and go all the way up to Pro Tools, which is used by most professionals.

If you’re confused about what you can do with recording software, consider taking this Ableton Live crash course to get an introduction to these tools.

1. Audacity

Price: Free

Audacity is sometimes called the “poor man’s audio recorder’ – a description that does a great service to this fine open-source software. Free though it may be, Audacity still packs plenty of features into a surprisingly small and lightweight installation. Granted, you won’t see Timbaland firing it up in his recording studio, but that doesn’t mean it can’t find a place in your home recording mix.

Audacity’s learning curve is as gentle as a rolling hill in the English countryside. You can get started without so much as clicking the ‘help’ button. It’s perfect for all sorts of casual recordings – podcasts, song ideas, etc. With some work, it can even make impressive-sounding amateur mixes. While it comes nowhere near the features offered by the big boys on this list, the fact that it is cheap, easy and surprisingly fast should keep amateurs interested.

Features

  • Clean, easy to use interface.

  • Supports dozens of simultaneous tracks.

  • Can import WAV, AIFF, AU, Flac and Ogg Vorbis files.

  • Extensive open-source plugin library.

  • Stable; crashes are as rare as rain in a desert.

Use Audacity If:

You don’t have a few hundred dollars to spare; you want something effective, easy and fast; you want to record audio casually – amateur guitarists and podcasters welcome.

Audacity is more powerful than you think. Learn how to unleash its power in this Audacity crash course.

2. Apple Logic Pro

Price: $199

As an Apple-made software, there are two things you can assume about Logic Pro:

  • You won’t require a PhD to understand the UI

  • It will integrate perfectly with OS X

Logic Pro has something of a storied history. It was originally made by the guys who also made the first MIDI sequencer, Notator, in the early 80s. It was eventually acquired by Apple in 2002, meaning the software has been in continuous development for nearly 30 years.

Today, Logic Pro is one of the best-selling DAWs in the world. It’s younger cousin – GarageBand – comes free with iLife and retails for $4.99 on the iTunes store.

Features

  • Flex Time enables users to ‘stretch’ and modify audio.

  • Powerful Amp Designer for combining hundreds of cabinets and effect pedals in a custom designed amp.

  • Create a virtual arrangement of effects pedals with the Pedalboard.

  • Trademark Apple skeuomorphic design for ease of use.

  • Create unique reverb effects with the Space Designer.

Use Logic Pro If:

You care about design and ease of use; you work exclusively on Apple products; you want something that is powerful enough to run with the big boys, easy enough for a complete newbie, and cheap enough to not put you in the poorhouse.

3. Ableton Live

Price: $449 for Standard version

The digital music recording industry can be broadly divided into two timeframes: before Ableton Live and after Ableton Live. When it was launched in 2001, the DAW market was dominated by the old guard – Cubase, Nuendo, and Logic Pro. These tools worked in a linear fashion – you recorded first, edited later.

Ableton Live changed all that. The entire software is organized around the session view where you can record, sketch and collect audio in real-time – just as you would perform live. And when you’re done, you can edit, arrange, and modify the audio in the arrangement view, which is reminiscent of the more traditional arrangement window of sequencing programs.

Ableton Live was also the first software to introduce a “warp engine”. This feature enables the user to synchronize different tracks to the same BPM (beats per minute). As you can imagine, DJs found this extremely useful, which is why Live is such a big hit among the remixing crowd.

Features

  • Support for unlimited audio and MIDI tracks.

  • Powerful toolkit for building custom synths and effects. It’s like having your own team of audio engineers on command.

  • Powerful audio slicing for use in the Sampler or Drum Rack.

  • Best-in-class warp engine for stretching/compressing audio tracks to match a beat.

  • Huge built-in library of effects, amps and synthesizers.

Use Ableton Live If:

You want a powerful, feature-rich digital audio workstation that works especially well in live settings; you are an amateur or professional DJ; your audio work involves a lot of mixing and you don’t mind a steep learning curve.

4. Propellerhead Reason

Price: $449

Propellerhead Reason has long been a contender to the ‘best recording software’ crown, but it wasn’t until version 5.0, released in 2010, that it made its claim loud and clear. Before version 5.0, Reason was a MIDI-only application. The fifth version added a ton of features now standard in professional DAWs – a drum designer (Kong), powerful sequencing features, and a highly effective mixer. Within two years, Sweden based Propellerhead added a powerful ‘Rack Extension’ feature that allowed users to plug in third-party effects and plugins.

As a result of all these changes, Reason 7 today is a much more comprehensive recording software than its predecessors. Its packed with all the features you’ve come to expect from a professional DAW – unlimited audio tracks, powerful mixing console, hundreds of instruments – and boasts a long (and growing) library of third party plugins. When it comes to choosing a recording software, there are few better decisions you can make than going with Reason.

Features

  • Gorgeous, easy to use UI that’s only matched by Logic Pro in intuitiveness.

  • Robust and stable on every platform.

  • Rack Extensions are very effective – and great to look at.

  • Version 7.0 finally supports MIDI out.

  • Comes with 2 built-in samplers and 3 synthesizers.

  • Large effects library.

  • SSL-style mixer still the best in its class.

Use Reason If:

You want a no-nonsense, feature-rich recording software; you value ease of use and stability.

5. Avid Pro Tools

Price: $599 for Pro Tools 11 Upgrade

Pro Tools is one of the oldest digital audio workstations on the market. Robust, powerful, and efficient, Pro Tools is the DAW of choice for professional sound engineers. With the much-awaited version 11 finally hitting the stores in June, the software has finally been ported to 64-bit code, further improving its performance and stability.

Pro Tools can be intimidating for newbies. The UI is a world apart from the friendly textures and skeumorphic design of Apple Logic Pro. If you don’t have some experience working with actual recording studio hardware, you’ll find Pro Tools a tough nut to crack. This course on mastering Avid Pro Tools 10 will make the transition considerably smoother.

At the same time, few DAWs can match Pro Tools range of performance oriented features. Although its primary users remain professional engineers, it’s equally capable in a home environment.

Features

  • Version 11 is now based on 64-bit code. Coupled with an all new Avid Audio Engine, this means more power and efficient processing for your tracks.

  • Dedicated input buffers ensure you get the lowest possible latency – a must if you intend to record from external acoustic sources.

  • Built-in Avid Video Engine helps you edit videos within Pro Tools itself.

  • Improved automation; tracks can be processed as you record them, saving hours in editing/processing time.

  • Improved UI with more user-friendly design.

Use Avid Pro Tools If:

You value performance and aren’t intimidated by a steep learning curve; you want to work with audio in a professional setting.

Audio Technica AT2005 USB Review
How do you navigate all through the many USB microphones on the market today? While it’s a complex task to find the best Mics, the Audio Technica 20 SERIES AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is a reliable brand with awesome features, that’s suitable for podcasting and internet broadcasting. The audio technica at2005usb is designed to help you go from the stage to the studio, and beyond. You can expect two outputs from this rugged handheld microphone. The device will give you USB output which is needed for digital recording, and an XLR output which can connect with the input of a standard microphone for use in live performances.
This Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is designed to plug into your laptop or desktop computer’s system USB port, and will function seamlessly with all your favorite recording software. The Audio-Technica AT2005 comes with excellent quality analog-to-digital converter, designed to give you the best sound output, with much needed level control for monitoring.

The embedded cardioid polar pattern feature, reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the rear and the sides. This USB microphone is perfect for podcasting, live performance, voice-over use, and home studio recording.

Noteworthy Features of the Audio-Technica at2005

It emits good XLR analog output and USB digital output. While this handheld dynamic microphone can connect to your computer through the USB port for best digital recording, and the XLR output can be used for true live performance.

The frequency response from this device is best suited for most recording use, and on stage use.

The included built-in headphone jack, can help you directly monitor from your microphone. You’re also able to adjust the headphone volume with the easy to use control buttons, embedded within the USB microphone.
The embedded High-quality AD converter has 16 Bit, along with 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate.

This 2013 best USB microphone is built to be compatible with Windows and Mac computer systems.

You can depend on the low mass diaphragm that the USB Mic comes with, because it helps provide excellent frequency response.

This device comes with a Tripod desk stand with unique folding legs, which is needed for secure and easy portable tabletop use. You can attach easily the Tripod to a threaded stand clamp or a conventional microphone stand.

The needed USB and XLR cables are also included. As you observe this USB microphone, you’ll notice it has durable metal construction that easily helps enable long lasting best performance all the time.

You’re able to use the embedded On/off switch functions for both analog and USB operation.

The AT2005 USB microphone is the preferred professional audio recorder, but also has features that can help the true beginner going in the right direction. This Audio-Technica AT2005 USB microphone comes with a frequency range of 50Hz to 15kHz, thus helping your voice sound extremely natural.

This best USB Mic has 16-bit resolution rate, and good sampling rate of 48kHz. The included cardioid pickup pattern feature helps keep background noise isolated, thereby making your voice sound truly natural and admirable. You need to be aware that your Ts and Ss are clearly emitted, when using the Audio Technica AT2005 USB Mic.
This best USB Mic does not come with any pop filter, but it’s compatible with most standard filters you can buy for a nominal fee. This device has a plug and play feature, which means your computer will instantly recognize the unique USB microphone without any need to install any additional software.
Audio-Technica has excellent support for this device. On their website, you can find FAQs pages that can easily be navigated. You’re able to initiate support services through email or phone. This USB Mic comes with dimensions of 9.5 x 9.5 x 2.8 inches, and weighs about one lb. The Audio Technica AT2005 USB microphone comes with a one year limited warranty.
For those looking for the best USB microphone that’s designed to help enable your natural voice, you need to get the Audio Technica AT2005 USB. The device is built sturdy, durable, and comes with awesome features that enhances your voice capabilities.
View high resolution

Audio Technica AT2005 USB Review


How do you navigate all through the many USB microphones on the market today? While it’s a complex task to find the best Mics, the Audio Technica 20 SERIES AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is a reliable brand with awesome features, that’s suitable for podcasting and internet broadcasting. The audio technica at2005usb is designed to help you go from the stage to the studio, and beyond. You can expect two outputs from this rugged handheld microphone. The device will give you USB output which is needed for digital recording, and an XLR output which can connect with the input of a standard microphone for use in live performances.

This Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is designed to plug into your laptop or desktop computer’s system USB port, and will function seamlessly with all your favorite recording software. The Audio-Technica AT2005 comes with excellent quality analog-to-digital converter, designed to give you the best sound output, with much needed level control for monitoring.

The embedded cardioid polar pattern feature, reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the rear and the sides. This USB microphone is perfect for podcasting, live performance, voice-over use, and home studio recording.

Noteworthy Features of the Audio-Technica at2005

It emits good XLR analog output and USB digital output. While this handheld dynamic microphone can connect to your computer through the USB port for best digital recording, and the XLR output can be used for true live performance.

The frequency response from this device is best suited for most recording use, and on stage use.

The included built-in headphone jack, can help you directly monitor from your microphone. You’re also able to adjust the headphone volume with the easy to use control buttons, embedded within the USB microphone.

The embedded High-quality AD converter has 16 Bit, along with 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate.

This 2013 best USB microphone is built to be compatible with Windows and Mac computer systems.

You can depend on the low mass diaphragm that the USB Mic comes with, because it helps provide excellent frequency response.

This device comes with a Tripod desk stand with unique folding legs, which is needed for secure and easy portable tabletop use. You can attach easily the Tripod to a threaded stand clamp or a conventional microphone stand.

The needed USB and XLR cables are also included. As you observe this USB microphone, you’ll notice it has durable metal construction that easily helps enable long lasting best performance all the time.

You’re able to use the embedded On/off switch functions for both analog and USB operation.

The AT2005 USB microphone is the preferred professional audio recorder, but also has features that can help the true beginner going in the right direction. This Audio-Technica AT2005 USB microphone comes with a frequency range of 50Hz to 15kHz, thus helping your voice sound extremely natural.

This best USB Mic has 16-bit resolution rate, and good sampling rate of 48kHz. The included cardioid pickup pattern feature helps keep background noise isolated, thereby making your voice sound truly natural and admirable. You need to be aware that your Ts and Ss are clearly emitted, when using the Audio Technica AT2005 USB Mic.

This best USB Mic does not come with any pop filter, but it’s compatible with most standard filters you can buy for a nominal fee. This device has a plug and play feature, which means your computer will instantly recognize the unique USB microphone without any need to install any additional software.

Audio-Technica has excellent support for this device. On their website, you can find FAQs pages that can easily be navigated. You’re able to initiate support services through email or phone. This USB Mic comes with dimensions of 9.5 x 9.5 x 2.8 inches, and weighs about one lb. The Audio Technica AT2005 USB microphone comes with a one year limited warranty.

For those looking for the best USB microphone that’s designed to help enable your natural voice, you need to get the Audio Technica AT2005 USB. The device is built sturdy, durable, and comes with awesome features that enhances your voice capabilities.


All In One Recording Packs

Steinberg, MXL, MOGAMI, and Yamaha have announced the release of two new recording packs that offer musicians, engineers and producers all of the brands in one box: the Cubase Recording Pack and the UR22 Recording Pack. Here’s their press release:The Cubase Recording Pack comes with Cubase 7* and the UR22 audio interface from Steinberg, along with an MXL1022 condenser microphone, MXL-57 shock mount and a Mogami 10’ XLR-XLR cable. The Cubase Recording Pack also includes a pair of Yamaha RH5MA headphones – the final component in this quality instant recording studio solution.
The second bundle, the hardware-oriented UR22 Recording Pack, features the UR22, an MXL1022 condenser microphone, an MXL-57 shock mount and a Mogami 10’ XLR-XLR cable. The UR22 Recording Pack is aimed at first time audio interface users who seek a high quality solution featuring trustworthy brands.
One of the most popular Digital Audio Workstations in the world, Cubase 7 features the new MixConsole, enhanced workflow options and a new Channel Strip that offers epic pro-console sound. The rock-solid UR22 USB 2.0 audio interface includes two D-PRE preamps and 192 kHz support, providing professional-grade sound in a portable package.
The MXL1022 large diaphragm condenser microphone captures vocals and instruments in crisp detail. It features an FET preamp with balanced output and wide frequency response to pick up a broad range of sound, from vocals to a wide variety of instruments. The microphone is internally wired with world-class Mogami cable for precise recordings and, when placed into the MXL-57 shock mount, ensures professional performance.
The 10’ XLR-XLR Cable from Mogami, the largest selling cable brand for major recording facilities, delivers the purest recordings. Each cable is made from Mogami’s 2552 microphone cable with signature Mogami 100 percent spiral coverage for extremely low noise. The cable is finished off with high quality gold-contact XLR connectors.
Yamaha RH5MA headphones, which provide accurate sound reproduction, represent an excellent choice for pro studio monitoring. Featuring a semi-closed design, they come with 1/4” and 1/8” inch jacks along with an eight-foot long cable. Frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz and the impedance is 32 ohms."MXL and MOGAMI are proud to be bundled with products by two well-respected names in music recording – Steinberg and Yamaha," said MXL Director of Sales and Marketing Perry Goldstein. "These bundles are compilations of four excellent brands that will result in a great experience for the end user."Steinberg North America Director Alan Macpherson said that "Having such renowned brands as MXL, Mogami and Yamaha bundled with Steinberg’s most popular products is inspiring. With only the best brands included, there is a clearly defined quality difference for both professional and entry level end users."Pricing and Availability:The Cubase Recording Pack (MSRP: $1,119.99) and the UR22 Recording Pack (MSRP: $439.99) will be available in October exclusively in the United States. View high resolution

All In One Recording Packs

Steinberg, MXL, MOGAMI, and Yamaha have announced the release of two new recording packs that offer musicians, engineers and producers all of the brands in one box: the Cubase Recording Pack and the UR22 Recording Pack. Here’s their press release:


The Cubase Recording Pack comes with Cubase 7* and the UR22 audio interface from Steinberg, along with an MXL1022 condenser microphone, MXL-57 shock mount and a Mogami 10’ XLR-XLR cable. The Cubase Recording Pack also includes a pair of Yamaha RH5MA headphones – the final component in this quality instant recording studio solution.

The second bundle, the hardware-oriented UR22 Recording Pack, features the UR22, an MXL1022 condenser microphone, an MXL-57 shock mount and a Mogami 10’ XLR-XLR cable. The UR22 Recording Pack is aimed at first time audio interface users who seek a high quality solution featuring trustworthy brands.


One of the most popular Digital Audio Workstations in the world, Cubase 7 features the new MixConsole, enhanced workflow options and a new Channel Strip that offers epic pro-console sound. The rock-solid UR22 USB 2.0 audio interface includes two D-PRE preamps and 192 kHz support, providing professional-grade sound in a portable package.


The MXL1022 large diaphragm condenser microphone captures vocals and instruments in crisp detail. It features an FET preamp with balanced output and wide frequency response to pick up a broad range of sound, from vocals to a wide variety of instruments. The microphone is internally wired with world-class Mogami cable for precise recordings and, when placed into the MXL-57 shock mount, ensures professional performance.


The 10’ XLR-XLR Cable from Mogami, the largest selling cable brand for major recording facilities, delivers the purest recordings. Each cable is made from Mogami’s 2552 microphone cable with signature Mogami 100 percent spiral coverage for extremely low noise. The cable is finished off with high quality gold-contact XLR connectors.


Yamaha RH5MA headphones, which provide accurate sound reproduction, represent an excellent choice for pro studio monitoring. Featuring a semi-closed design, they come with 1/4” and 1/8” inch jacks along with an eight-foot long cable. Frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz and the impedance is 32 ohms.


"MXL and MOGAMI are proud to be bundled with products by two well-respected names in music recording – Steinberg and Yamaha," said MXL Director of Sales and Marketing Perry Goldstein. "These bundles are compilations of four excellent brands that will result in a great experience for the end user."

Steinberg North America Director Alan Macpherson said that "Having such renowned brands as MXL, Mogami and Yamaha bundled with Steinberg’s most popular products is inspiring. With only the best brands included, there is a clearly defined quality difference for both professional and entry level end users."

Pricing and Availability:

The Cubase Recording Pack (MSRP: $1,119.99) and the UR22 Recording Pack (MSRP: $439.99) will be available in October exclusively in the United States.

How To Record Audio and MIDI in Steinberg Cubasis

If you ever doubted that developers were taking iOS seriously as a music production platform, Steinberg’s pared-back version of its flagship DAW ought to convince you that, yes, you can actually do it all on your iPad.

Sure, this iOS incarnation could be seen as relatively limited compared to the desktop version, but that would be missing the point. Loaded with a feature list that continues to grow with each regular update, Cubasis is certainly one of the most comprehensive DAWs available for iOS.

It’s an ideal compositional sketchpad that can also serve as a perfect mobile recording studio, and Cubasis users can bring their projects into the latest desktop versions of Cubase to continue their work or finalise the mix. Or not – you could simply finish off a mix right on the iPad.

Here we show you how to get started with recording both MIDI and audio tracks within the app.

Step 1: Here we have a simple drum loop that plays for two bars and a synth track instantiated. Let’s do something with them. We’ve loaded a Micrologue sound and tweaked it to taste, but a factory patch will do fine. Tap the X in its top-right corner to close the synth’s interface. Let’s try recording a bar. First, tap the Loop button up by Cubasis’ Play arrow.

Step 2: You should now see a sort of greyed-out section between the L and R markers in the project’s ruler. This is the section that Cubasis will play looped. Let’s tap, hold and drag the R marker over to the beginning of Bar 3 so that our entire drum loop is included in the looped section.

Step 3: Tap the Play arrow in the main transport area up top. You will hear the drum part looping. Try playing around on the keyboard until you come up with a suitable bass riff to go along with the drums. When you have something you like, stop the playback and tap the back button in the transport to return the cursor to the start.

Step 4: Before you record on a track, you must arm it for recording. Cubasis will do this automatically when you select a track. However, you can arm unselected tracks too. See the little dotted red circle in your MIDI track? It means the track is “armed” for recording; tracks that aren’t will be unaffected when we hit Record.

Step 5: Tap the Metronome button up top. Before you record, tap the Tools button to bring up the Toolbar. Tap the Rec Mode button and then touch Count. This activates your one-bar precount. Hit the transport bar’s Record button (the one with the red dot). After the count-in (precount), you can play in your riff, and when you’re done, hit Record again to end recording.

Step 6: If you make a mistake, you can Undo. MIDI tracks can even be undone when the project has been closed and re-opened. Close the keyboard. If your timing is off, tap the 1/16 button to the right of Quantize in the tool bar. Select an appropriate grid value for your performance (we’ve gone for 1/8) and tap the Quantize button.

Step 7: Now let’s record a bit of audio. Tap the + Audio button in the track area to bring up a new audio track. Use the Audio input section of the track inspector to choose mono or stereo recording and select the input to which you will be connecting an instrument or mic. Remember to use headphones if the latter, otherwise the sound of the speakers will be picked up by the mic too.

Step 8: We’re going to record an electric guitar. To monitor your instrument through Cubasis, you’ll need to tap the speaker button on your audio track (next to the record arm button). This will only work with an interface or headphones. Tap Insert Effects in the Inspector and then tap the topmost slot. Choose Amp Sim from the pop-up.

Step 9: Adjust your effects parameters to taste. Once you’ve got something you like, tap an area outside the effect GUI to exit it and record some audio using the same techniques used for the MIDI recording. Before you do, though, turn off loop recording. Here, we’ve added a bit of rhythm guitar. It’s not too bad, but we’ll need to edit it.

Aphex Releases New USB Microphone

Aphex is now shipping the Microphone X, announced at this year’s NAMM show in January and described as a high-quality cardioid condenser USB microphone that comes complete with integrated analog processing including optical compression and Aphex’s famous Aural Exciter and Big Bottom, and HeadPod 4 technology. A spokesperson told us, "The Microphone X is configured to put all of the key analog processing used for recording the voice before the conversion to digital, thereby ensuring the best possible recording quality. And all of this processing power is controllable, with input trim, headphone output level and individual controls for the Aural Exciter and Big Bottom levels. Each of the processors has its own on/off control. Users record a perfectly optimized signal right into their DAW via USB. No other USB microphone combines this feature set. The Aphex Microphone X puts everything users need to make exceptional sounding spoken-word and vocal music recordings right at their fingertips."  View high resolution

Aphex Releases New USB Microphone


Aphex is now shipping the Microphone X, announced at this year’s NAMM show in January and described as a high-quality cardioid condenser USB microphone that comes complete with integrated analog processing including optical compression and Aphex’s famous Aural Exciter and Big Bottom, and HeadPod 4 technology. 

A spokesperson told us, "The Microphone X is configured to put all of the key analog processing used for recording the voice before the conversion to digital, thereby ensuring the best possible recording quality. And all of this processing power is controllable, with input trim, headphone output level and individual controls for the Aural Exciter and Big Bottom levels. Each of the processors has its own on/off control. Users record a perfectly optimized signal right into their DAW via USB. No other USB microphone combines this feature set. The Aphex Microphone X puts everything users need to make exceptional sounding spoken-word and vocal music recordings right at their fingertips." 

Recording Studio Sweet Spot: Sound Spa Productions – Edison, NJ

New Jersey is the cradle of audio engineering.
Formerly known as Menlo Park, the New Jersey township of Edison, NJ changed its name in 1954 to honor the inventor Thomas A. Edison, who set up his groundbreaking research laboratory there in 1876. By the time of his passing 55 years later, Edison had earned a record 1,093 patents for creations including the phonograph, a stock ticker, the motion-picture camera, the incandescent lightbulb, a mechanical vote counter, the alkaline storage battery including one for an electric car, and the first commercial electric light.
Edison had maximum personal fondness for his phonograph. He was pleasantly surprised in 1877 when his very first attempt at the tin foil phono worked, a moment that led to him eventually founding one of the earliest record labels ever, with the National Phonograph Company. On Edison cylinders and discs, NPC released selections in instrumental, vocal, spoken word, spoken comedy, foreign language and ethnic, religious, opera and concert recordings.
This is where recorded music, as we now know it, comes from.
Acutely tuned to this is Stephen DeAcutis, Founder of the Edison, NJ-based recording facility Sound Spa Productions. A mixing, tracking, and production studio in operation since 1990, it counts John Mayer, Corey Glover (Living Color), Joe Lynn Turner, and even the late great Laura Brannigan as its clients.
No doubt, the Neve 5088 32 channel frame console with Martin Sound Flying Faders 2 is a draw, as are MCI and Studer tape machines, and expressive analog outboard including a Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Cranesong Ibis EQ, and Audio Technologies Tube Link tube compressor. Two live rooms, one sufficiently sizable for cutting drums, add appeal.
But another draw is DeAcutis, whose passion for his craft is tangible at first contact. He’s a true pro who’s proud of his room, but you can tell he’d prefer that his studio do the talking. 
Facility Name: Sound Spa Productions
Website: www.soundspa.net
Location: Edison NJ — Home of The invention of recorded sound
Neighborhood Advantages: Close to malls trains and starbux/Dunkin D’s and  lots of wilderness
Date of Birth: 1990
Facility Focus: Mixing, Production, Tracking
Mission Statement: To capture as honest a representation of the artists vision whether it be from a performance or mixing standpoint.
Clients/Credits: John Mayer, Corey Glover(Living Color) Laura Brannigan, Mike Ciro (Alejandro Sanz},Bobby Bandiero(Bonlovi), Joe Lynn Turner, Demi Lavato, Gad Elbaz, Glen Burtnik, Bebe Buell, Nir Z (drummer for Chris Cornell)
Key Personnel: Stephen DeAcutis — Founder;Nejat Bakin, Lenny Grasso, Steve Sadler — techs
MCI 16-24 2” tape and Studer A-80 half-inch mixdown machines 36 channels I/O of Apogee/Crane Song AD-DA Nuendo and Pro Tools
System Highlights: Neve 5088 32 Channel frame (11 stereo) 58 channels at mixdown, and 41 of Martin Sound Flying Faders 2. View high resolution

Recording Studio Sweet Spot: Sound Spa Productions – Edison, NJ

New Jersey is the cradle of audio engineering.

Formerly known as Menlo Park, the New Jersey township of Edison, NJ changed its name in 1954 to honor the inventor Thomas A. Edison, who set up his groundbreaking research laboratory there in 1876. By the time of his passing 55 years later, Edison had earned a record 1,093 patents for creations including the phonograph, a stock ticker, the motion-picture camera, the incandescent lightbulb, a mechanical vote counter, the alkaline storage battery including one for an electric car, and the first commercial electric light.

Edison had maximum personal fondness for his phonograph. He was pleasantly surprised in 1877 when his very first attempt at the tin foil phono worked, a moment that led to him eventually founding one of the earliest record labels ever, with the National Phonograph Company. On Edison cylinders and discs, NPC released selections in instrumental, vocal, spoken word, spoken comedy, foreign language and ethnic, religious, opera and concert recordings.

This is where recorded music, as we now know it, comes from.

Acutely tuned to this is Stephen DeAcutis, Founder of the Edison, NJ-based recording facility Sound Spa Productions. A mixing, tracking, and production studio in operation since 1990, it counts John Mayer, Corey Glover (Living Color), Joe Lynn Turner, and even the late great Laura Brannigan as its clients.

No doubt, the Neve 5088 32 channel frame console with Martin Sound Flying Faders 2 is a draw, as are MCI and Studer tape machines, and expressive analog outboard including a Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Cranesong Ibis EQ, and Audio Technologies Tube Link tube compressor. Two live rooms, one sufficiently sizable for cutting drums, add appeal.

But another draw is DeAcutis, whose passion for his craft is tangible at first contact. He’s a true pro who’s proud of his room, but you can tell he’d prefer that his studio do the talking. 

Facility Name: Sound Spa Productions

Website: www.soundspa.net

Location: Edison NJ — Home of The invention of recorded sound

Neighborhood Advantages: Close to malls trains and starbux/Dunkin D’s and  lots of wilderness

Date of Birth: 1990

Facility Focus: Mixing, Production, Tracking

Mission Statement: To capture as honest a representation of the artists vision whether it be from a performance or mixing standpoint.

Clients/Credits: John Mayer, Corey Glover(Living Color) Laura Brannigan, Mike Ciro (Alejandro Sanz},Bobby Bandiero(Bonlovi), Joe Lynn Turner, Demi Lavato, Gad Elbaz, Glen Burtnik, Bebe Buell, Nir Z (drummer for Chris Cornell)

Key Personnel: Stephen DeAcutis — Founder;Nejat Bakin, Lenny Grasso, Steve Sadler — techs

MCI 16-24 2” tape and Studer A-80 half-inch mixdown machines 36 channels I/O of Apogee/Crane Song AD-DA Nuendo and Pro Tools

System Highlights: Neve 5088 32 Channel frame (11 stereo) 58 channels at mixdown, and 41 of Martin Sound Flying Faders 2.

Sounds…..in…..(3d)…space…

First there was mono. Then came stereo, three-channel “stereo”, quad, and now, the cinema-inspired five-channel “surround”. Trouble is, none of these systems really address how to recreate a real audio event in a listener’s ear-brain system. Except for one. Or two.The most realistic way to recreate a real acoustic event for a listener is to record it binaurallyusing a dummy-head microphone system, and listen back over headphones. This can produce an eerily realistic, you-are-there experience – incredibly effective for a production like, say, Stephen King’s The Mist. Two ears. Two channels. But what if we want to clearly and unambiguously sense the spatial character of sounds at one listening location, for reproduction over speakers say?Let me introduce you to a system called Ambisonics. Even though it’s been around for over 40 years, it’s not well known. What if I told you there was a system that needed only four channels to fully encode a 3d sound field? What if I said recordings could be played back over four or forty speakers? Maybe the ease of sound manipulation would impress you – being able to rotate, tilt, and zoom a soundscape using simple audio mixing? And what if there were 3d acoustic sensors (a.k.a., microphones) that could capture such full-surround audio? That’s Ambisonics.How Ambisonics represents a 3d sound field using fewer channels than the so-called surround used for movies is as ingenious as it is simple. The four signals are labelled W, X, Y, and Z. Speaking from a microphone/sensor point of view, W is the omnidirectional pickup, receiving sounds from all directions equally well. The X, Y, and Z pickups all have what are known as “figure-8" sensitivity patterns, one for each orthogonal axis. The W sensor produces a positive signal when impinged upon by a positive pressure part of an acoustic wave from any direction. The X, Y, & Z pickups, however, respond positively for pressure from the front, left, and upwards, and negatively to pressure from the rear, right, and downwards.Simple adding and subtracting of various combinations of these four signals can produce a peak response pointing in any direction – not quite phased-array, but in the family.And that’s why the number of speakers doesn’t really matter. My own system uses six speakers arranged in a hexagon. I could just as easily have five, or eight – it’s trivial to create the appropriate WXYZ mix for any speaker position. True, it’s only a 2d array, where the Z signal is ignored. One day, I’ll set up a crazy 3d system.
How are Ambisonic microphone systems constructed? There are a number of options. Check your collection of recordings for ones on the Nimbus label. They use a homemade array of one omni and two figure-8 mics that directly generate WXY, but unfortunately not Z – not that there’d be any current way to distribute 3d recordings. Yes, there is a way to create a stereo-compatible signal that can also be Ambisonically decoded with the proper equipment, but that’s another story.Most Ambisonic microphones take a different approach (keep in mind that we want our individual mic capsules to be as close as possible to each other – we’re trying to approximate a single point). Here, we rig up four mics into a tetrahedron. All mics/capsules have the same spatial pickup response – in the cardioid family – but again, using just simple mixing, the WXYZ group can be created from these mics’ signals.

Sounds…..in…..(3d)…space…

First there was mono. Then came stereo, three-channel “stereo”, quad, and now, the cinema-inspired five-channel “surround”. Trouble is, none of these systems really address how to recreate a real audio event in a listener’s ear-brain system. Except for one. Or two.

The most realistic way to recreate a real acoustic event for a listener is to record it binaurallyusing a dummy-head microphone system, and listen back over headphones. This can produce an eerily realistic, you-are-there experience – incredibly effective for a production like, say, Stephen King’s The Mist. Two ears. Two channels. But what if we want to clearly and unambiguously sense the spatial character of sounds at one listening location, for reproduction over speakers say?

Let me introduce you to a system called Ambisonics. Even though it’s been around for over 40 years, it’s not well known. What if I told you there was a system that needed only four channels to fully encode a 3d sound field? What if I said recordings could be played back over four or forty speakers? Maybe the ease of sound manipulation would impress you – being able to rotate, tilt, and zoom a soundscape using simple audio mixing? And what if there were 3d acoustic sensors (a.k.a., microphones) that could capture such full-surround audio? That’s Ambisonics.

How Ambisonics represents a 3d sound field using fewer channels than the so-called surround used for movies is as ingenious as it is simple. The four signals are labelled W, X, Y, and Z. Speaking from a microphone/sensor point of view, W is the omnidirectional pickup, receiving sounds from all directions equally well. The X, Y, and Z pickups all have what are known as “figure-8" sensitivity patterns, one for each orthogonal axis. The W sensor produces a positive signal when impinged upon by a positive pressure part of an acoustic wave from any direction. The X, Y, & Z pickups, however, respond positively for pressure from the front, left, and upwards, and negatively to pressure from the rear, right, and downwards.

Simple adding and subtracting of various combinations of these four signals can produce a peak response pointing in any direction – not quite phased-array, but in the family.

And that’s why the number of speakers doesn’t really matter. My own system uses six speakers arranged in a hexagon. I could just as easily have five, or eight – it’s trivial to create the appropriate WXYZ mix for any speaker position. True, it’s only a 2d array, where the Z signal is ignored. One day, I’ll set up a crazy 3d system.

How are Ambisonic microphone systems constructed? There are a number of options. Check your collection of recordings for ones on the Nimbus label. They use a homemade array of one omni and two figure-8 mics that directly generate WXY, but unfortunately not Z – not that there’d be any current way to distribute 3d recordings. Yes, there is a way to create a stereo-compatible signal that can also be Ambisonically decoded with the proper equipment, but that’s another story.

Most Ambisonic microphones take a different approach (keep in mind that we want our individual mic capsules to be as close as possible to each other – we’re trying to approximate a single point). Here, we rig up four mics into a tetrahedron. All mics/capsules have the same spatial pickup response – in the cardioid family – but again, using just simple mixing, the WXYZ group can be created from these mics’ signals.

Watch A DIY Synthesizer Get Built From Scratch

Building a synthesizer is a lot of work. It seems pretty safe to assume, but if you had any doubts, just watch this one come together from scratch like the behemoth of circuit boards it is.

Synth-creator themonkeybars timelapsed the entire build process using app on his iPhone that took one shot every five seconds to create a whopping 43 minutes of jittery synth-making craziness. If you do the math, you’ll find that’s something like 46,000 frames and 64 hours of work. It’s also 43 minutes of synth music, created by the same dial-adorned musical slab you see coming to life before your very eyes.


RODE Updates iOS Recording App 

RØDE Microphones has announced the next iteration of its field recording app for Apple’s iOS devices,RØDE Rec. This update, released to the app store as a free upgrade, has a number of enhancements including a dedicated iPad interface, MP3 publishing and support for ten different languages.RØDE Rec has been incredibly well received since its launch in January of this year, where it was the only app on the market to allow for recording at 24-bit/96kHz (using RØDE’s iXY stereo microphone). This is the first update since RØDE acquired the FiRe app from creator Audiofile Engineering, and signals RØDE’s intention to provide not only the best field recording app for mobile devices, but a platform that rivals dedicated audio field recorders.The update’s addition of a retina-compatible iPad interface enhances control on the larger device considerably. Users can now view the waveform, transport controls, non-linear editing and much more, all in the one screen making recording, editing and publishing a breeze.The popular MP3 format has also been added, following overwhelming demand from existing users. ”While RØDE Rec is designed for the capture and sharing of broadcast-grade audio there’s no denying the popularity and indeed the convenience of the MP3 format.” explains Damien Wilson, RØDE’s Global Marketing & Sales Director. ”RØDE Rec is one of very few apps on iOS that supports MP3, and combined with one-touch sharing via dropbox and email it’s a great option when you want to share an audio grab quickly with friends, colleagues or clients.”This updated version also marks the app’s debut in localised languages, with support for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese (simplified), Japanese and Korean, in addition to English. The localised apps are available on the relevant international iTunes App stores.An update to RØDE Rec LE, the free, feature-limited version of RØDE Rec will be released shortly, including the dedicated iPad interface and enhanced stability. Pricing and Availability:RØDE Rec costs $5.99

RODE Updates iOS Recording App 

RØDE Microphones has announced the next iteration of its field recording app for Apple’s iOS devices,RØDE Rec. This update, released to the app store as a free upgrade, has a number of enhancements including a dedicated iPad interface, MP3 publishing and support for ten different languages.

RØDE Rec has been incredibly well received since its launch in January of this year, where it was the only app on the market to allow for recording at 24-bit/96kHz (using RØDE’s iXY stereo microphone). This is the first update since RØDE acquired the FiRe app from creator Audiofile Engineering, and signals RØDE’s intention to provide not only the best field recording app for mobile devices, but a platform that rivals dedicated audio field recorders.

The update’s addition of a retina-compatible iPad interface enhances control on the larger device considerably. Users can now view the waveform, transport controls, non-linear editing and much more, all in the one screen making recording, editing and publishing a breeze.

The popular MP3 format has also been added, following overwhelming demand from existing users. ”While RØDE Rec is designed for the capture and sharing of broadcast-grade audio there’s no denying the popularity and indeed the convenience of the MP3 format.” explains Damien Wilson, RØDE’s Global Marketing & Sales Director. ”RØDE Rec is one of very few apps on iOS that supports MP3, and combined with one-touch sharing via dropbox and email it’s a great option when you want to share an audio grab quickly with friends, colleagues or clients.”

This updated version also marks the app’s debut in localised languages, with support for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese (simplified), Japanese and Korean, in addition to English. The localised apps are available on the relevant international iTunes App stores.

An update to RØDE Rec LE, the free, feature-limited version of RØDE Rec will be released shortly, including the dedicated iPad interface and enhanced stability. 

Pricing and Availability:
RØDE Rec costs $5.99

Using the Quartet with Auria
Auria ($49) is a multitrack recording software for the iPad. It allows you to record up to 24 simultaneous tracks on the iPad, and monitor up to 48 tracks. Again, this is on a frickin’ iPad! (Aside: this is the computational power I can’t wait to see when the iPad has the new A7 chip.) I’ve barely had time to do much on it, but getting the Quartet to work with it is was very easy. When I plugged the device into my iPad and launched Auria, it auto-detected the Quartet. Since the input settings I had set on my Mac were still loaded into the Quartet, I just had to tell the tracks in Auria to use the proper Quartets inputs and I was good to go.
How I use the Quartet
Every now and then, I get together with some friends to jam and I want to record our sessions. It’s nothing fancy, just a mememto of the evening. I wanted it to sound better than just tossing a microphone in the middle of the room and hoping for the best. Instead, I now use the Quartet with Logic. I mike my amp, and use an ABY box (a pedal that lets me send the output to two amps simultaneously) to also get a clean signal into Logic. Other musicians either go direct into the Quartet, or use additional ABY boxes. I’m a gigantic fan of clean signals, especially for bass and vocals. I’m 90 percent happy with my amp sound, but I like to also grab a clean signal for either double tracking an effect, or just just replacing my track with a software amp.
I do something similar when I’m recording my amp. Even if I’m the only one recording, I like to set up a couple of mikes on my amp, but also use the ABY box to get a clean signal.
I’m also starting to use the iPad with Auria more. Right now, people I jam with come to me, but in previous bands I went to the rehearsal space. with the Quartet and my iPad are small enough I can put in my cable bag along with a few microphones and have a nice little way to capture the moment. View high resolution

Using the Quartet with Auria

Auria ($49) is a multitrack recording software for the iPad. It allows you to record up to 24 simultaneous tracks on the iPad, and monitor up to 48 tracks. Again, this is on a frickin’ iPad! (Aside: this is the computational power I can’t wait to see when the iPad has the new A7 chip.) I’ve barely had time to do much on it, but getting the Quartet to work with it is was very easy. When I plugged the device into my iPad and launched Auria, it auto-detected the Quartet. Since the input settings I had set on my Mac were still loaded into the Quartet, I just had to tell the tracks in Auria to use the proper Quartets inputs and I was good to go.

How I use the Quartet

Every now and then, I get together with some friends to jam and I want to record our sessions. It’s nothing fancy, just a mememto of the evening. I wanted it to sound better than just tossing a microphone in the middle of the room and hoping for the best. Instead, I now use the Quartet with Logic. I mike my amp, and use an ABY box (a pedal that lets me send the output to two amps simultaneously) to also get a clean signal into Logic. Other musicians either go direct into the Quartet, or use additional ABY boxes. I’m a gigantic fan of clean signals, especially for bass and vocals. I’m 90 percent happy with my amp sound, but I like to also grab a clean signal for either double tracking an effect, or just just replacing my track with a software amp.

I do something similar when I’m recording my amp. Even if I’m the only one recording, I like to set up a couple of mikes on my amp, but also use the ABY box to get a clean signal.

I’m also starting to use the iPad with Auria more. Right now, people I jam with come to me, but in previous bands I went to the rehearsal space. with the Quartet and my iPad are small enough I can put in my cable bag along with a few microphones and have a nice little way to capture the moment.

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