Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
4 Times You Shouldn't Take the Gig
The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig
The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument
15 Reality Checks Young Artists Need to Hear

3 of the Best Headphones Under $200 for Musicians on a Budget

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Headphones  a simple thing, right? We all use them on a daily basis: at the gym, on the subway, walking home, in our rooms, in the studio, in a coffee shop. You my not even realize that headphones are far from created equal until you hear the difference between a quality-designed set of cans and a celebrity-endorsed marketing scheme.

In Defense of Digital: The Headroom Fallacy

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A couple of weeks ago, we revisited the great debate on analog tape as a medium; this week we set another rampant misconception of the audio world in our sights: the analog vs. digital headroom debate. Mythology, or perhaps misunderstanding, are two other words I'd use for this topic. Unfortunately, the pro-audio world is steeped in these nuggets of folklore, which is maybe what causes such great debate among professionals and amateurs alike.

The audio realm stands at an interesting crossroads, with one foot rooted in art and the other in science. One side subjective, the other objective. This duality can muddy the waters quickly, as quantifiable, measurable data often must yield to the simple fact that if it sounds good, it is good.

On our virtual chopping block today? The concept of headroom and what it means to you.

In Defense of Digital: What You ACTUALLY Miss About Analog Tape

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If I had a dollar for every time I heard an artist say, "You know what? I'm doing my next album to tape!" do you have any idea how much Brooklyn-made, handcrafted, small-batch mustache wax I could buy? Williamsburg's local economy would rival Dubai, and people would be building private islands in the East River. Even in 2015, the audio community still seems to be firmly steeped in this ethos of "analog is better… vintage is better… tape is better," and for almost no legitimately defensible reason.

I'm not saying analog is bad or that vintage outboard gear has no place; there's a legitimate reason you still see Fairchild 670s going for $30,000. I'm also not necessarily trying to defend the MP3 as an audio format. The fact of the matter is that digital is here to stay, and it couldn't be further from "the death of music as we know it," as many in the industry hail it.

For some reason, there's an overwhelming horde of mindless, message-board-misinformation regurgitating zealots who demonize the presence of a computer in the recording studio, or look at it as a necessary evil of our ever-increasing progress as the industry more or less railroads itself on digital rails towards some sort of musical Sodom and Gommorah. At least that's what they'd have you believe. So, let's take a look at why digital is not inferior to analog and why it is not the devil incarnate that has ruined music as we know it.

9 Mics Under $500 That Sound Incredibly High-End

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Every musician with a home studio always has the same question: "How do I get a big studio sound on a small budget?" While there's no way to put the sound of an $12,000 signal path into a $500 package, with some recording know-how, good practices, and careful selection of your tools, you can still get some great sounds in your home studio without selling your car. While many mics are application, specific odds are your home studio and budget will most likely revolve around one workhorse mic that can more or less try to do it all. With that in mind, below are some of my picks for the best "bang for your buck" mic choices in the under-$500 (street price) category.

The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument

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You asked, and you shall receive, Sonicbids blog readers. Per multiple requests, here's my guide to, "When the hell do I start turning these knobs, and where do they go?" But before we begin, I offer you the fine print: These references are general ideas for where to begin to look for sonic issues with particular sounds, instruments, and voices. I'm not going to tell you "always notch this 9 dB here and add 3 dB here with a wide boost and, voila, perfect sound!" because it's unfortunately just not that simple. So before you message me, "Aaron, I notched out so much 250 Hz out of my snare, I snapped the knob off the console, and it still sounds muddy!" just know that not all sound sources are created equal.