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  • Portable Guitar Rigs

    Portable Guitar Rigs

    As a guitar player, I know the struggle of having to haul around an amp with my electric as I have a Carvin V3 halfstack and that is no easy task. Over the past few years, I have been discovering some really effective, yet very portable solutions that allow me to take my great guitar tone with me. In this article, I am going to show you a few of those options.

    Hotone Nano Legacy Amp Heads - $99.99-$139.99

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    Hotone makes small, 5 Watt amp heads that pack a lot of punch. They are compatible with cabinets of 4-16 ohms of impedance and are small enough to fit in a sweatshirt pocket. Being in a metal band, it's no surprise that my favorite is the Heart Attack. Hotone has made a head for any guitar player though. The variety of tones is incredible. It's not enough for me to just tell you that it sounds good, so check out this audio sample:

    These amp heads even have a headphone output. That means you can use this without a cab. Check out our Hotone Nano Legacy bundles with headphones if you like saving money!

    ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Jr - $249.00

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    This little amp is less than half of a cubic foot, but packs the tone of a much larger amp. It can go from smooth jazz to broken up and dirty rock and roll, all with only 35 watts. It has four simple controls: Gain, Volume, Tone and Ambiance. The Ambiance control is a digital emulation of an open-back cabinet. The higher it is turned up, the more room sound you get. It can really make the amp sound huge. Also available is a larger version for $449 that boasts a whopping 200 watts, but still weighs less than 10 pounds.

    Line 6 Pocket Pod - $129.99

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    For years, Line 6 has been known for their legendary digital guitar effects. I had played a show with a band who's guitarist used one and his tone was some of the best I heard that night. Now, you can take those awesome tones with you anywhere, plug in headphones and jam. There is no limit to the variety of factory sounds that come with it, but I am always really impressed with their distortion. Both for metal and rock.

    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 - $149

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    I wasn't expecting to put an audio interface on here, but Focusrite's Scarlett Range is unique in terms of guitar. Last year, Focusrite did a huge upgrade on their best-selling interfaces. They say the new Scarletts are built for guitarists with higher headroom on the Hi-Z input, lower latency, and 11 guitar pedal plug-ins included for free. What sets this apart from the other options is that it allows you to record into your computer using these effects in real time. The smaller Scarletts are small and portable, but built like a brick so you don't have to worry about taking it on the road.

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474 or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

    Be sure to check out our other articles here.

  • Studio One - Ampire Metal Pack Review

    Studio One - Ampire Metal Pack Review

    This past week, I had purchased the Studio One Ampire Metal Pack. For only $29.95, It comes with 6 new guitar amp models, a new bass cab, a new drum kit for Impact and  tons of great presets. Personally, I prefer the sound of a real amp and never have used a guitar amp simulator in a real recording. I have only used them for scratch tracks and practice. That said, I am highly impressed with the Ampire Metal Pack, it sounds like a real amp more so than the modelers I've used in the past.

    To start, there are a few new amp models: Metal Clean, High Gain (my favorite), Angel Power, Metal American, Metal German and Gain Horse. The High Gain head in combination with the 4x12 Metal American cabinet sounded like the bands I like and sounded the closest to my amp. What's really nice is that you still get all of the pedal effects. I like to crank the tube driver along with the amp to get some really heavy tones. The bass cab modelling also sounds great. I just scrolled through the presets and chose the one I liked best. I can honestly say that all of them were incredible.

    I never use drum samples, but it came with the pack, so I figured I would include it in the samples. I can actually see these being very helpful to blend with a drum. Hundreds of engineers and producers are doing that on a daily basis. It's pretty cool that PreSonus included some really punchy and snappy samples for such a low-priced pack.

    My band, Shield the Survivors, is working a a few demos. I recorded these drums live (did not quantize them yet) and plugged in the guitars directly to the interface. I sampled each of the drums completely for this example (not blending) so that you get an idea of what just the samples can do for you. There are real cymbals and room mics in the recording though. I did not use any EQ on the guitars or bass other than what is in the Ampire plugin. Check it out!

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474 or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

    Be sure to check out our other articles here.

  • Recording Drums with the New Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre - 16 Microphones and Sound Samples!

    Recording Drums with the New Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre - 16 Microphones and Sound Samples!

    One thing I've been doing a lot of lately is recording drums. I've caught myself running out of inputs. At the heart of my studio is a Clarett 8PreX. With eight built-in preamps/line inputs and lots of digital I/O, there is plenty of room to expand. Enter the new Scarlett OctoPre. If you haven't heard of the Scarlett OctoPre and Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic, check out this article.

    To connect the OctoPre to my Clarett 8PreX, I used a word clock cable out of the Clarett to the word clock input of the OctoPre and an optical cable from the OctoPre ADAT out to the Clarett ADAT in. Within minutes, I had system capable of 16 analog inputs. As the title states, I used 16 microphones for this track and had a blast doing it. It doesn't mean I will use all of them, but I would much rather record something and not need it than to need it and not have recorded it. So this begs the question, "what did he use all 16 inputs on???"

    I put a microphone on the top and bottom of every drum (snare, toms) and one on the beater side of the kick and one at the resonant head of the kick catching the low end. I also used a crotch mic, two overheads two room mics and a glue mic (kind of as a third overhead). I had to do lots of measuring and phase flipping to make sure that I had little to no phase cancellation. First, we'll listen to the eight microphones going into my external pres which I ran into the Clarett line inputs for conversion:

    With the addition of the other eight microphones, here was the result:

    Now I have a much fuller sound and a lot of options to make it sound however I want. For only being $399.99, this would make a great addition to any home studio.

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have and questions or comments, feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474, or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

    Be sure to check out our other articles here.

  • Check Out Our Used Gear Section - It's Huge!

    Check Out Our Used Gear Section - It's Huge!

    We don't talk about used gear as much as we used to, but we have a great selection of used gear available at all times. From entry level recording interfaces, to high end microphones. We purchase thousands of dollars of used gear every day, and we have fresh stock that goes up throughout the week every single week. So check back often! We've always got interesting things going up on our website. In fact, the first place you can see our used selection is on our website! So it's the best place to shop our used gear.

    This week we listed many interesting pieces, but I'll focus on a few that I thought were particularly interesting.

    Neumann TLM-49 - $999.99

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    This is a beautiful sounding TLM-49. We had this on our testing bench earlier this week and everyone commented on how amazing it sounded. This stands out in the crowd. We test dozens of microphones every week, and everyone stopped and took note when we were testing out this microphone. It's really sounds incredible.

     

    Lexicon PCM-70 - $599.99

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    The Lexicon PCM-70 is one of the most famous effects processors ever built. They never lose their value either, even as plugins replace most effects processors. Why? These things have a sound that I've not hear emulated by a plugin. There's just something about the way the A/D, D/A and electronics sound in these units that sits really nicely in a mix, yet has a unique tone to it. The reverbs are just amazing in this unit.

     

    DBX 119 Compressor $174.99

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    I'll end with a goofy, inexpensive hidden gem of a compressor. These things have the same VCA can in them that the famous DBX 160 VU does. These things CRUSH audio. That thing that dynamites do so well, where they pump and aggressively compress drums, creating a punchy, smashed, aggressive sound? That's what this thing does. It's a bit noisier than a Dynamite, but it is a fun compressor to slam drums through.

     

  • Aston Microphones Starlight Sound Samples

    Aston Microphones Starlight Sound Samples

    Aston Microphones has been around for a little over a year. In that short time, they have had wild success in becoming one of the most popular boutique microphone companies in the world. This past week, we got to try the new Starlight microphones first-hand in my home studio!

    Before we do any sound samples, watch our interview with James of Aston at the 2017 NAMM show to learn all about the Starlight microphone:

    Now that you know all about the Starlight, it's time to hear it. Before we go to the samples, I'll describe the session. We recorded two drum kits, acoustic guitar and snare drum with the Starlight. For preamps, we used my Focusrite Clarett 8PreX because the preamps are very clean and will not color the sound like my tube or vintage preamps. In this article, we will show off the first drum kit (and we'll definitely share the other sound samples with you next time).

    This is a Pearl kick and toms with a Mapex snare and a blend of cymbals. The real treat here is the 24" Zildjian ride cymbal. In the following sound samples, we used two pairs of overheads positioned in the exact same spot - Aston Starlights and Audio-Technica AT4041's. We used the AT4041 pair for the comparison because they are a very natural-sounding and well-loved overhead microphone used in home and professional studios around the world.

    On to the sound samples!

    The first one is the Starlights in "Vintage" mode with an Audix D6 on kick:

    The next sample is the same microphone setup and placement, but the Starlights are in "Modern" mode:

    In this last take, we had the 4041's and the Starlights both positioned in the exact same spot and matched within 0.5dB so as to not throw off your perception of the sound. First I'll show you the AT4041 pair:

    Next up, the Starlight pair matched within 0.5 dB on the same take:

    Overall, I think the Aston Starlights are extremely smooth. My favorite overheads I have ever used were Neumann KM86i's (used, about $2000 each) and these get really close. Over 50 of the world's top producers and recording engineers were part of the capsule selection process. It's no wonder it turned out just as smooth and versatile as it is.

    When our friend, Michael, from Aston was with us, he said we should try the Starlight as a top snare mic. If you haven't guess from my D6 already, I am an Audix kind of guy. An i5 will always be my top snare mic and I never would have thought to use a small diaphragm condenser. We set it to "Hybrid" mode and gave it a shot. I was shocked at the results.

    First, I'll show you the track on an Audix i5:

    Next is the Starlight:

    I love how dynamic the i5 is and how it captures the "reality" of a snare drum. However, this can lead to inconsistent snare hits depending on the drummer. The Starlight was much more consistent and fat. The waves in my DAW were so similar to each other. It was such a fat sound that really made it punch and stand out.

    I liked so much about both of them, that I thought I would blend the two. I did level match as well. The combination delivers the best of both worlds:

    These are the first of many sound samples you will get from the Aston Starlight. As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474 or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

    Be sure to check out our other articles here.

  • Certified Used D'Angelico Guitars!

    Certified Used D'Angelico Guitars!

    We just got our latest batch of used instruments in! Each batch we get is exciting and has a few gems that really stand out. This time, it was a few D'Angelico guitars! These guitars have so much style and more importantly, sound as good as they look. They are built in the old archtop hollow-body acoustic design with an Art-Deco flair. They have a very tight, crisp tone and great projection that sounds wonderful played either just acoustically or through the piezo bridge pickup. The slim C-shape neck allows comfortable playing for for both acoustic and electric players.

    We have two D'Angelico models: the Excel-1A and the Excel 63. The Excel-1A has a cutaway and a 25.5" scale while the Excel 63 has a full body with a 25" scale. Both models have classy looks, solid hardware appointments, wonderful tone, and would work fantastically for jazz and blues. Order from our website or hurry on in, we only have a few in stock and they will go quickly!

  • 3-Week Recording Class - Sign up for only $249!

    3-Week Recording Class - Sign up for only $249!

    Sign up for our Basics of Recording Class, a 3-week course for only $249!

     

    Many of our customers come into our store to buy their first recording interface, microphone, upgrade a preamp, etc,  and they have questions about recording, sound, or various aspects of recording studio life. In order to answer all of these questions, we built a studio control room! In this studio we will hold a 3-week course which will meet at our store in downtown Appleton, WI twice per week for hour and a half sessions to teach the basics of sound, recording, and mixing. The start date is June 6th and will be every Tuesday and Thursday night (6:00pm-7:30pm) for three weeks.

    In the first few lessons, we will discuss how sound moves and how microphones react to it. Students will learn the signal chain and how the analog sound we can hear becomes a digital track that we can edit, mix and hear again and again. These skills will be usable in any Digital Audio Workstation, like Pro Tools, Studio One etc...

    Deeper into the course, we will demonstrate and practice how to properly utilize EQ and compression for commercial results. You can also expect to learn about different microphones and where to place them for the best possible source tracks. To sign up for the next class, stop in our store in Downtown Appleton or send an email to david.p@pixelproaudio.com.

    If the group classes aren't enough, we will offer individualized lessons for all students who have completed the six-week course. Starting at $40 per half-hour session, you can bring in your mix and get help to sculpt it into a professional recording. We have very limited seats, so sign up soon!

     

  • Listening Comparison: Sennheiser e609 vs e906

    Listening Comparison: Sennheiser e609 vs e906

    We get this question a lot: "Whats the difference between the Sennheiser e609 and the e906?"

    Both of these microphones are on sale right now through July 4th, so we thought we would take this opportunity to show you what you can save money on! The e609 is $99 ($10 off) and the e906 is $149 ($40 off).

    This is a very common question among guitar players and engineers everywhere. Everywhere you look, there is a different answer. The e906 does have an EQ switch that allows for a flat response, a boost at 4.2kHz and and dip at 4.2kHz. Today, we're going to show you the sonic differences in the flat position. For these sound samples, we painstakingly measured the microphones to the exact same distance from the center of the speaker and their distances away from the grill to match each other down to the centimeter.

    In the first example, we have a clean guitar track recorded with pedal effects on a Blackstar HT Club 40:

    What I noticed is that the e609 had more proximity effect than the e906. In some cases that can be what you are going for. Personally, I like the clarity of the e906 and how it is more up-front. Let's take a listen to these two microphones on a crunch tone:

    In this one, the difference between the mid-range and low-end response is very audible. The microphones were matched within 0.2 dB of each other, but the e609 still sounds louder because of the way it captures the lower frequencies. We have one more example - Distorted guitar:

    In this one, I really like the way the e609 sounds gritty and very driving. The e906 is very smooth. I think they would make a great combination blended together. Overall, I think both microphones are fantastic. They could both be used for any guitar amp for any tone.

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to call us at 855-269-0474, or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

  • Check Out Our Latest Recording Bundles and Save!

    Check Out Our Latest Recording Bundles and Save!

    We've been very busy that past few months finding ways in which we can save you money. One of the best ways we have found is bundling. That means we throw in lots of extra stuff that you may need in the future all in one package for little to no additional cost! Let's take a look at some of our favorites.

    Clarett 2Pre with JM27 and XLR Cable - $509.99

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    The Clarett Range by Focusrite are some of the fastest and best-sounding interfaces available. ISA modeled preamps and crystal-clear converters make this interface an easy choice. The 2Pre typically runs at $499.99, but for an additional $10, we are throwing in a JM27 small diaphragm condenser microphone and a free cable. This is a great package for anyone looking to upgrade their interface, or begin recording. If you don't need the microphone, check out our other Clarett 2Pre bundle with two 15-foot XLR cables included for FREE!

    Hotone Skyline Pedal with PSU and 8-Head - $109.97

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    In this bundle, we combined the Skyline pedal (among others in different bundles) with the Goldwire power supply and the 8-Head daisy chain absolutely free. This allows you to connect up to 8 pedals together and save $10 in the process!

    Heil PR40 with Boom Arm and Shockmount - $459.99

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    We get a lot of customers looking for podcasting gear. A common theme among them is the desire for a high-quality microphone with a boom arm that can clip to their desk. The PR40 is an industry standard microphone for broadcasting, so we decided it was the perfect choice. We have also included the PR40 shockmount and a boom arm with a cable already installed. This makes it the perfect solution for a clean setup that sounds great. Saving over $10 is a great bonus as well!

    PreSonus Studio 192 + DP88 + Faderport + Cables - $1499.95

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    Thanks to our good friends at PreSonus, we have put together the ultimate Pixel Pro Audio Exclusive Bundle. This includes a Studio 192 interface, Digimax DP88, two optical cables and a Faderport. This give you a whopping 16 channels of detailed preamps, low round-trip latency and the ability to control your DAW session by hardly moving a finger. Of course, the Studio 192 also includes a free copy of Studio One 3: Artist Version. The is a killer package and saves you over $250!

     

  • Golden Age Project - New Releases!

    Golden Age Project - New Releases!

    We just got our shipment of new releases from Golden Age Project. The revolutionary company has been around since 2005 with the release of their first ribbon microphone. A year later, GAP gained a lot of attention for their Pre-73, a discrete, 1073-style Class-A preamp that captures the color and essence of the original preamp in a very affordable box. Since then, they have been working on making amazing, yet affordable gear and microphones based off of classic designs.

    Recently, Golden Age Project announced the release of the Comp-2A and the Comp-554. The Comp-2A is a recreation of the original Teletronix LA-2A. GAP has decided to do something a little different than your average clone. Check out this great tutorial:

    As you can see, this compressor is only two rack units tall and only a half rack long. This makes it a mobile compressor as well as a rackable compressor if you use the Unite Big. The Unite Big is a rack that allows you to two half rack, 2U pieces together. Previously, this was made specifically for the Comp-3A, another truly incredible recreation. But now, you can also rack up a pair of Comp-2A's. This will deliver the sound of two LA-2A compressors in less rack spaces than just one original unit!

    The other long-awaited release, the Comp-554, is a 500-series version of the coveted Comp-54 MKII. This compressor pays homage to the famed 2254. It is a piece that makes any track shine and can transform a dull mix into an expensive-sounding master track. The Comp-554 has all the same controls and headroom as the half-rack unit, but with a few extra features. The most notable being the "Air" switch for an extra 3dB or 6dB (depending on position) at 30kHz for that extra sheen. This is especially useful on vocals and acoustic instruments. There is also a 600 Ohm and 2000 Ohm switch which will at resistance and color the high end for different tones.

    It's been an exciting year for Golden Age Project. We can't wait to see what's to come next!

    As Always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to call us at 855-269-0474 or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

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