Login| Account| Your Cart
Call us toll free
  • Interface Preamps vs. Dedicated Preamps

    Interface Preamps vs. Dedicated Preamps

    It's very common to find audio interfaces with built-in preamps these days. If you read our 5 Secrets to a Better Vocal Recording article, you know that stock preamps on most interfaces are clean and getting better and better. Although this is true, you can't match the color and sheen that dedicated preamps can add to your tracks. The reason being mostly that they have more room for things like higher end capacitors and transformers to give more headroom and color. Interfaces tend to be more cost effective and save money where they can to get engineers to start recording right away.

    In this short article, we will showcase a recent shootout between Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 preamps and the PreSonus RC|500 channel strip. The track in question is a verse from the album Far Away From Here sung by the artist, Nathan Edwards. A link to the album will follow the shootout.

    The first take is the Scarlett 18i8:

    The second is the RC|500 with no effects.

    The third is the RC|500 with subtle compression and EQ.

    The 18i8 preamps are nice and clean and work great. But having a dedicated preamp or channel strip can really help shape your sounds in ways that software plugins can't match. You'll notice increased clarity and presence with the dedicated preamp. When you're tracking a whole bunch of instruments, that clarity delivered across many tracks becomes even more apparent. Instruments stand out better, sound more balanced, and make for a better mix. That's not to take away from the 18i8 preamps. What they deliver in that box is amazing for what you're paying, but once you have a nice interface like a Focusrite Scarlett interface, you should definitely look at a dedicated preamp as a potential investment in your sound.

    As promised, here is the link to Nathan Edwards' album, Far Away From Here.

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

  • New Generation of Chameleon Labs Gear

    New Generation of Chameleon Labs Gear

    The highly anticipated release of the new generation of Chameleon Labs gear has finally begun! The new 7603 Preamp and EQ has been very highly anticipated. This isn't a small improvement over the 7602, it's a large improvement. The level of care, detail, and craftsmanship that's gone into this update is significant.  Yes, they changed the look too, but that's the least significant thing going here. They also have some excellent 500 series racks out at well. Let's take a look.

    7603 Preamp and EQ - $899


    The 7603 is Chameleon Labs' flagship preamp design. It is a beast of a unit that had the minds of CL's engineers behind every component. During the two-year process of designing the sleek preamp, the company reverse-engineered some of the most famous transformers to create their own. The input stage has two custom Chameleon Labs transformers (one for mic input, one for DI input), and the output stage is equipped with a transformer that was meticulously constructed to have extremely low-noise operation while also being an incredible color palette. The EQ section is CL's first inductor design. Inductor EQ's are more sought after for their saturation and the way they add impedance, almost compressing the signal. With 80dB on the input stage and 80dB on the output, the 7603 is a piece that will hold its own even among the most highly appraised preamps costing more than twice the price. It will easily find a place in home studios and the most professional studios all around the world.

    880 Power Supply for 500 Series - $549.99


    The 880 is an 8-slot 500 series module power supply. Included in the box is the chassis, four Chameleon Labs slot covers, rubber feet and even a handle. This makes it great for stationary studio use, or for engineers on the go who have the pres, compressors, EQ's and other effects that they know and like. On the back, there are standard XLR inputs and outputs, but with a little something extra. Wired in parallel are DB25 connectors. Having a DB25 option is great for engineers who use DB25 connections into their consoles and converters. On the PCB inside the box, there is a switch next to each slot. This switch can route the output of the current channel directly to the input of the next channel. This eliminates the need for patch cables and can keep your noise floor lower.

    CPS503 1-Slot 500 Series Power Supply - $299


    If 8 slots is a bit too much, Chameleon Labs also released the CPS503, a 1-slot 500 series power supply. included in the $299 price is the half rack unit, the 5-pin XLR power adapter and a power link cable to link up another unit. You can daisy chain up to 8 total CPS503 power supplies! Also available is a chassis without the power adapter (strictly as an expander) for only $199. Chameleon Labs was really thinking outside the chassis when designing the 503.

    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.

  • Tracking with Manley Force, Tube-Tech PE 1C and Teletronix LA-2A (UA Reissue)

    Tracking with Manley Force, Tube-Tech PE 1C and Teletronix LA-2A (UA Reissue)

    Last week, we got in a reissue LA-2A. I had never seen one in person until then. I'll be honest, I never understood all the hype. I had heard lots of plugin models and a few videos and samples online, but nothing compares to hearing the real thing. When I first plugged it in and cranked up the gain reduction, I was blown away. That's the sound you hear on the most famous records. Sure, you don't need to spend a couple thousand dollars on a one-channel compressor, but it can take your recordings to the next level.


    Another famous piece that I have never had the opportunity to use until recently is a Tube-Tech PE 1C. Any of my studio friends will be able to tell you the one brand I can't stop talking about is Tube-Tech. This is a Pultec-style EQ, similar to the Warm Audio EQP-WA. I have the plug-in version of this piece by Softube and I love it. But like I said before, you can't beat the real deal.


    We also have a used Manley Force in stock. This is one of my favorite 4-channel preamps. They are very clear, but also give a saturated sheen to anything passing through. I honestly think it is a great preamp for anything. Drums, vocals, bass DI, guitar cab, acoustic guitar and so on. Check out this article to see some of the Manley gear we stock.


    Let's get to the part everyone wants to hear. For this recording, we recorded a Guild CO-2 (American made) with a stereo pair of Earthworks SR77. We did not compress the guitar at all. We ran an ESP LTB D-4 bass into the Manley Force DI input, then into the LA-2A and added a bit of EQ afterward. For bass compression we took out between 3 and 7 dB. The picture at the very top shows the exact settings we used for bass EQ. As you can see, we used a little bit of the "Pultec Trick." One the vocal track, we used a Neumann M-147. For compression, the meter was anywhere between 5 and 20dB of gain reduction. I love the LA-2A because even when it is pushed to it's limits, it still sounds great. On the EQ side, We did a small boost at 5kHz and with a bit of the Pultec trick as well. There are no other effects other than the compression and EQ used while tracking. Check it out!

    After using this gear and hearing it in person, I don't want to go back to plugins. Don't get me wrong, plugins are great for convenience and they still sound pretty good. But nothing comes close to the real gear.

    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.

  • Arturia Synthesizers Now Available

    Arturia Synthesizers Now Available

    We have been bringing on a lot of new brands over the past year. One we have been quite anxious for is Arturia. If you don't know the brand, you will very soon. They are most known for their synthesizers and drum machines, but they also have great keyboard controllers that include the very impressive Analog Lab software. Today, we will take you through a few of our favorite Arturia products.

    MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer - $299


    The MicroBrute is a performance-based analog synthesizer that pays homage to the MiniBrute. This 25-key monster packs a lot more than it shows. It has all of the classic synth controls (LFO, four Oscillators, Envelope, Resonance, etc), and also has a few extra features. For starters, it has a built-in sequencer that allows the user to save 8 patterns of 64 steps. This sequencer has a Tap Tempo and a Rate control. It is also clockable via external gear and even your DAW! As you can see if the upper-right corner, it includes two small patch cables that connect control voltages to different parts of the synth via Mod Matrix. This is a feature unheard of in this price range. We have longer patch cables available so you can connect the MicroBrute to other analog gear.

    DrumBrute Drum Sequencer - $449



    The DrumBrute is a very advanced drum sequencer with more features than any other in its class. Unlike other drum machines, Arturia introduced a "randomness" feature. This is especially useful on high hat parts, but can be used on any track. Randomness will trigger the selected track at random times during the sequence to bring a little life to your tracks. The part about this that impressed me the most is that in addition to the mix output, every single track has a dedicated output that you can run into a mixer or audio interface and mix later on in your DAW. This is something you won't see anywhere else!

    KeyStep Controller - $119


    They Keystep is a lot more than your average keyboard controller. It features a sequencer that can be clocked to your DAW or external gear. The built-in arpeggiator is extremely versatile. It allows you to change the rate, pattern and hold notes while being synched with the clock source. Arturia also put a twist on the Mod Wheel and Pitch Bend. Instead of being wheels, they are very sensitive touchpads that work seamlessly.

    KeyLab 49 - $349


    The KeyLab 49 is a rugged keyboard controller with tons of flexibility. The really special part of this one is the included software - Arturia's Analog Lab. This software has over 6,000 presets of classic hardware synthesizers. When you open up Analog Lab, the KeyLab 49 automatically maps to the software. Within seconds, you have tons of the classic, famous synthesizers at your fingertips.

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any 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.

  • Allen and Heath ZED Mixers Now In Stock

    Allen and Heath ZED Mixers Now In Stock

    Our first shipment of Allen and Heath mixers just arrived and are now available! There are tons of different options in the ZED line. Today, we're going to show you a few of our favorites.

    ZED-6FX - $149.00


    The ZED-6FX is the perfect portable mixer for any solo artist or small group. On each one of the mixers, every channel is separated into vertical PCB's which is something not found in mixers of this price range. This makes the mixer much more durable. The ZED-6FX features two of the same boutique preamps sound in the high-end mixers from Allen and Heath with a high-pass switch at 100Hz. It also has a two-band-EQ, pan control, and an FX send to use one of the many built-in effects to enhance your live performance. At a price of only $149, you can't go wrong.

    ZEDi-10FX - $249


    The ZEDi-10FX boasts the same preamps and effects as the 6FX, but adds a mid-band in the EQ section, two more preamps, and an AUX send for and extra output to use with outboard gear or a monitor send. The most interesting part of the ZEDi-10FX is the USB port that transforms this already impressive mixer into a 4-in and 4-out audio interface. You can record your 4 microphone channels or your stereo mix directly into your DAW.

    ZED-24 - $699


    The ZED-24 is the flagship of the ZED mixers. It comes packed with 16 of the same High-end mic pres, 3-band EQ with a sweepable mid-range and even PFL switches. Each channel even has insert jacks for using outboard gear. Smaller options just like this are available as the ZED-14 and ZED-16FX. Onboard is also a USB output to record the stereo mix. This feature is great for bands who want to sell their live performances right after a show. This really is a full- featured mixer ready for any stage, or even a home studio.

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any 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.

  • 5 Secrets to a Better Drum Recording

    5 Secrets to a Better Drum Recording


    When I listen to a recording, the one instrument that really pops out at me and tells me if it is a good mix is the drum kit. If the drums don't sound professional, the entire song falls short of its potential. In this article, we're going to give you a few tips to keep that from happening to your drum tracks.


    1) Good drums make a good recording

    I may be stating the obvious here, but the most important part of recording a drum kit is having good drums. Before you go in the studio, change all the heads and make sure you are using your best cymbals. That's where the sound starts and it will have the biggest impact (other than practicing) later on during the mixing process.

    2) Microphone choice

    There are hundreds of different microphones you can purchase today, so choosing the right ones for your home or project studio on a budget can be a project in itself. There are a few really good drum microphone kits that are pretty affordable and can get you a good sound. Many engineers, myself included, prefer to purchase microphones separately to shape the sound without limiting themselves to what comes in a kit. I have a few favorites that are my go-to microphones. For example, an Audix i5 is always on my snare and my AT4041's are my overheads almost every time.

    3) Microphone placement

    Placement is just as important as your microphone choice because it can drastically alter the sound. It is very typical of engineers to close-mic each individual drum so they get the snap of the stick hitting the head and the body of the drum ringing. It is also easier to mix punchy drums later on if you do this. The most crucial aspect of drum microphone placement is phasing within the overheads and room mics. Because sound travels slowly, you are guaranteed to have some kind of phase cancellation with more microphones being used at the same time. The best way to get around this is to make the kit sound as possible while tracking using the 3:1 spaced pair rule. Then, during editing, zoom in on your drum tracks and try to line up the waveforms as much as possible. This will eliminate almost all of the phasing and transform your good drum tracks into great drum tracks.

    4) Different preamps make a different sound

    As stated in our 5 Secrets to a Better Vocal Recording article, using the right preamp can really take your recording to the next level. The same goes for drums. There are lots of interfaces with good built-in preamps, but the extra punch and depth you get from something like Audient or Focusrite ISA preamps is unparalleled. If you have an audio interface with preamps in it, then this shouldn't be the first thing you go for, but it will definitely make a difference when you have good microphones on a nice kit.

    Check out our 3:1 ratio explanation here:

    5) Mixing with compression and reference tracks

    The reason that so many people choose to put a microphone on each separate drum is so that they can add compression and blend in the real drum with samples as well. The best way to find good compression settings for your drums is to load a good mix of the same style into your DAW and try to make your drums sound like the recording. This is called a reference track, and many of the pros use them all the time. It's a surefire way to check your mix against a professional's.

    If this was helpful, be sure to check out our other articles here. As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474, or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

  • Audient Interfaces and Preamps Now Available

    Audient Interfaces and Preamps Now Available

    Pixel Pro Audio is now carrying one of the most respected lines of audio interfaces. Audient is famous for their high-end recording consoles. They have brought the same legendary microphone preamps from their mixing consoles into a compact, well-built portable interface fit for the home or project studio. In this article, we'll go over the interfaces and the very unique preamps you can use to expand your input count. There's a lot, so stick with us!

    iD4 - $199


    The iD4 is the entry level interface featuring one of the console preamps and a JFET DI input. I was really surprised at the smooth response of the DI. I compared it to a few others (one for $150, the other at $999) and the iD4 completely blew them out of the water. This interface is bus powered and very durable in an all-metal enclosure. This makes it a perfect solution for recording at home or on the road.

    iD14 - $299


    For only $100 more than the iD4, the iD14 features one more console preamp, class-leading Burr Brown converters, an ADAT input for 8 more channels of inputs, and three function buttons. One for speaker volume selection, one for headphone volume selection and the last for Audient's Scroll Control technology. Scroll Control is a feature specific to Audient interfaces, and is available on both the iD4 and iD14! Here's a great video about its unlimited uses:

    iD22 - $599


    The iD22 is the flagship of the three interfaces. It has two built-in console preamps with a high-pass, phase reverse, 10dB pad and of course, phantom power for condenser microphones. In the monitor section, there is a large volume knob with a "DIM" switch for reducing the monitor level and a "CUT" switch for completely muting the monitors. The three function buttons on the side are totally programmable by the user. For example, you may want to have one switch programmed for mono, another for talkback, and the last for switching your monitor sends. On the rear panel, there are balanced sends and returns so you can use outboard compressors or EQ's while tracking. There are also two stereo sets of monitor outputs. If two preamps aren't enough, there is also ADAT I/O that can give you up to 10 inputs and 14 outputs!

    ASP800 - $849


    With all those ADAT ports on the interfaces, Audient had to make amazing preamps to use with them. Naturally, each channel has the same console preamps. What is really unique about the ASP800 is the HMX MOSFET saturation and the Vintage IRON transformer drive on the first two channels. The console preamps sound great, but these two elements are taking it to the next level. Audient has tons of great videos on how to do some serious tone-shaping, but my favorite is the way they use it to totally open up the sound with just these two knobs. Check it out!

    ASP880 - $1399


    Finally, we have reached the ASP880. This is an 8-channel microphone preamp and converter with loads of headroom and tons of tonal options. Each channel has a sweepable high-pass, phase reverse, pad, and phantom power. What really sets this apart are the three switchable impedance values on each channel. The impedance can drastically change the tone, so having it on every channel is like having 24 different microphones that each give you amazing sounds. Both 8-channel preamps use Burr Brown converters for the cleanest possible conversion keeping your signal sounding the same in your DAW as it did when tracking.

    As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. Be sure to check out our other articles here. 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!

  • 5 Secrets to a Better Vocal Recording

    5 Secrets to a Better Vocal Recording

    Vocals can be some of the trickiest parts to record and mix in a song. In most cases, it's the lead part and you need it to stand out, sit right and sound good all at one time. In this article, we're going to offer a few suggestions to make your vocals do just that.

    1) Using the right microphone

    The easiest way to make your vocals sound good is to use a good microphone for that person or voice. Many times, home studios will have one or two vocal microphones, so that makes an easy choice: the one that sounds the best! If you have a couple or are looking at expanding your locker for different clients, check out comparisons, read reviews and listen to the microphones. For certain voices, a $100 microphone will sound better than a $1000 microphone depending on the sound you are looking for.

    2) Pop Filter

    Using a pop filter will cut out a lot of the plosives in your voice. In many condenser microphones, the extra push of low-frequency air will over saturate the capsule, causing distortion within the microphone. Pop filters are designed to redirect the air away from the capsule, saving your recording. There are dozens of pop filters manufactured today for less than $25 street price like the SM Pro PS1. This makes it an easy investment for better sounding vocals.

    3) Keep your distance

    The tendency with many engineers and artists new to the field is to get as close to the microphone as possible. While it may sound more full due to the proximity effect, it can make mixing much more difficult. When singers get into the music and are not focused on distance from the mic, they start to sway to the sides and back away. The closer you are to a microphone, the bigger difference you will hear with any movement away from the original position.  For good measure, try recording in three different positions. First, get right up on the mic, then about 6 inches away, then about a foot away. This takes very little time and can make a huge difference.

    4) Treat your room as you would like to be treated

    When you start backing far away from the mic, the room sound tends to blend in, and sometimes, take over. It is always a good idea to have some kind of room treatment or even a dedicated vocal booth. There are great options in all price ranges from the $99 Primacoustic VoxGuard VU to the $299 Aston Halo or even a $2000 room kit. The treatment will absorb the sound waves rather than letting them bounce around the room. When the reflections hit the microphone with the original signal (your voice) it causes phasing which will cut out crucial frequencies. Room reflections can ruin the sound of even the most amazing microphones.

    5) Using the right preamp

    I once met an engineer who said, "my favorite way to EQ a vocal is to use the right microphone with the right preamp." Although many audio interfaces have clean built-in preamps, their sound can't compare to a standalone hardware unit. Standalone preamps are great because they typically have more headroom, better components (due to having more space and power), and can add a different color to the sound that you can't get with anything else. There are even some channel strips that give you a compressor and EQ for really impressive prices. My personal favorite channel for under $1000 is the PreSonus RC500.

    If this list was helpful, be sure to check out our other articles here. As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on every 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!

  • RodeLink Newsshooter Kit is Incredible & Now Available!

    RodeLink Newsshooter Kit is Incredible & Now Available!

    Ever since the release of the Rode Filmmaker Kit, many of us have been waiting in anticipation for a handheld-accessible version. Now available is the Newsshooter. It comes equipped with the same legendary RX-CAM receiver as the Filmmaker Kit, but also includes the TX-XLR transmitter.


    The transmitter is built like a tank with tons of features. It has a locking XLR jack with phantom power accessibility, a four-stage gain selection, a bright LED screen and a headphone output for direct monitoring. There are also many ways to power this transmitter. Out of the box, it has a battery compartment that holds two AA batteries. If that compartment is removed, a Sony NP battery can be inserted for the same amount of power. This is especially useful for many reporters and techs on the road as this is a battery commonly found and used in many other rigs. A third power option is plugging in a power bank via the micro USB port on the side of the unit. This is great for connecting the transmitter to a Rode Blimp. You not only can lock on your shotgun microphone cable without worry, but also constantly provide power if you don't have batteries.

    Synchronizing the transmitter with the receiver is a very user-friendly process. Just press the two arrow buttons on the side of the TX-XLR and the red button on the RX. You are then free to choose your channel and start filming. After the two are linked, they use the 2.4 GHz range to simultaneously send audio on two channels. The RX automatically uses the strongest signal, ensuring you have cable-like connections in the busiest of 2.4GHz areas while having the advantages of a wireless connection. The Newsshooter Kit can do this up to 328 feet!

    Twenty years ago, Rode started a revolution in home recording with the NT1 and other quality, yet affordable microphones. They continue their legacy today with the Newsshooter Kit for only $499! If you already have a RodeLink RX from the Filmmaker Kit, you can just purchase the TX-XLR and add it to your system seamlessly.

    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!

    Don't forget to check out our other articles about the latest gear and audio news here.

  • Latest Gear From NAMM 2017!

    Latest Gear From NAMM 2017!

    It's January and that means it's time for the annual NAMM show in Anaheim! We have sent our very own Jay Lison and Chris Van Den Berg to get the scoop on the latest and greatest gear that will soon be available. During the show the manufacturers from the best names in pro audio reveal their newest products and latest innovations. The holidays are over for the season, but when NAMM opens its doors we receive gifts all over again!

    While meeting with some of the best companies in the business, our guys on the ground have shared a few of their favorite products so far!

    As you may know, Chameleon Labs announced the 7603 preamp and EQ and the 7730 VCA stereo compressor last year. They've spent the last few months perfecting their custom-built transformers and thoroughly testing these units so that they will be held in high regard in the most famous studios but also affordable enough to be racked in your home studio. Personally, I can't wait for the 7730. I would love to run drums and my mix bus through it.



    MOTU has announced the release of a bunch of new portable interfaces. We're just going to cover a few of them here. The 624 is a 16x16 interface with two preamps, four line inputs, two guitar inputs and ADAT I/O. It utilizes the famous DAC found in their flagship 1248. The other that really caught my eye was the LP32. I don't know that I have ever seen 32x32 digital I/O capability in a half rack box with more than one connectivity option!



    Last year, Golden Age Project released the Comp-3A, a very faithful reproduction of the vintage FET leveling amplifier from many years ago. I really fell in love with this compressor and will soon have a stereo pair in my studio. This year, they raised the bar again by releasing the Comp-2A. This is a compressor based on one of the most famous tube compressors of all time. The best part is, it takes up less than half the space!



    Blue Microphones have just announced the new essentials series. It takes their famous microphones like the Spark, Bluebird and Baby Bottle and puts them in a new, more robust body, upgrades their sonic qualities and adds filters like a low cut and a pad for getting the tone right before you have to fix it in the mix.



    Another from Golden Age Project is the Comp-554 compressor. This is the 500 series format of the Comp-54 MKII with some additional features. This is a fully discrete unit (just like the Comp-3A and Comp-2A) with no IC's in the audio signal path. It delivers the sonic qualities of the famed 2254 compressor designed in 1969 but at a fraction of the cost. The 554 alone is worth investing in 500 series, but you can also add the renowned Pre-573 and EQ-573 for a rack full of colorful tones at a great price.

    These are our favorites so far, but stay posted. We'll be having much more coming for you soon! To stay updated visit our facebook page and check out our Instagram and Twitter feeds!

1 - 10 of 168 products

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. ...
  7. 17