Ableton Live 10 Review

Ableton Live is a software sequencer for recording and mixing live performances as well as composing, arranging, mixing, and mastering original music.

DJs and music producers alike favor its control suite over other software sequencers. Ableton Live 10 is the best update the software has received.

This review evaluates its main features in terms of the users who would benefit from them.

We’ll go over any possible drawbacks you may experience with the Ableton Live 10 Suite, but for music producers, mixers, arrangers, DJs, and other industry professionals, the Live 10 update is the best version of an already multifunctional application.

The Interface

You may already know that Ableton Live has an intuitive, simple interface set up in two views: arrangement and session.

This allows you to play samples and MIDI sequences live, or in a predetermined order so you can trigger the instruments or third party sounds manually.

The Live 10 update improves on the formula even more.

It’s clean and intuitive in the refreshed Live 10 design, with the previous skin options changing to more comprehensive themes that change how you interact with Live 10 based on your preferences.

Unlike in Live 9, clip fade-ins don’t need to be enabled separately in Live 10 – there are built-in shortcuts for that and other commonly used processes that allow you to instantly reposition clips in your track or fold all arrangement tracks.

The Chase MIDI Notes tab lets the program resume long sound clips without them needing to be manually retriggered.

Just looking at Live 10, you know you’re getting a more refined suite than previous updates. The browser is now color-coded for your curated content, managing your updates, and curating your tracks.

The typeface is clean and easy to read, as it has been on other Live versions, but this time with more customization options to help users make it as easy to read for them as they want.

Capture, Wavetable, and other devices like Pedal and Drum Bass all appear on the interface in more intuitive ways to help with the efficiency of your design.

Arrangement view has improved that design by grouping your features intuitively to avoid a cluttered interface, even though Live 10 has more features than ever before.

If you know what all that means, then you’re in the right place in your industry to make use of Ableton Live 10.

Even if you don’t have experience with other interfaces, the options for instrumentation and effects may convince you.

The Push 2 interface that has been integrated into Ableton Live 10 also gives you more options in terms of applications and an even more refined interface.

Those who use Push on their devices will be happy to read on and discover how Ableton has fixed one of the major drawbacks of previous updates, which was the lack of Push features.

Push integration

The Push interface gives Ableton Live 10 access to premium features, making it a more versatile studio DAW than any on the market.

Ableton Live 10 doesn’t have to be established with Push but Push and Push 2 offer a lot of useful expanded functionality that makes Live 10 even more interactive.

The vibrant Push display could be a huge asset to organizing your work in a live performance setting or a studio composition setting.

Push also allows Live 10 to visualize each note in MIDI clips, which enhances users’ ability to sequence them, something that previous Live 10 suites have been lacking and now can’t do without. Push enhances the already stellar MIDI sequencing on Ableton Live 10 by showing notes in four rows, accentuated by a separate sequencer section. 

Push users should love the full integration with Live 10, including the new features and vibrant, intuitive interface changes. Using new devices in the suite like Wavetable and Echo is not only easy but they look great too.

Previous Live updates have been a little slow getting full device integration up to speed with the Push interface, which has made Mac users and “Push natives” a little slow to get on board. Those worries are gone with Live 10.

Instrumentation options

Ableton Live 10 features synth options that give mixers way more utility than previous updates to the suite. The range of timbres and the sheer number of presets all situated on the vibrant Push 2 display makes Live 10 more multifaceted than the versions that preceded it.

New audio effects give users a ton of options, including echo, drum base, and pedal, all of which provide modes for mixing and production that can make Live 10 even more customizable.

Echo allows users to program delays, similar to a tape system. Drum Base is a tool that gives users more audio shaping options than before by combining transient shaping, compression, and distortion into one mechanic.

Pedal is the best guitar distortion effect added to Ableton Live in all its updates, including dedicated sub controls for manipulating the low end of the spectrum better than any previous version.

Live packs

Ableton Live 10’s live pack options aren’t for everyone, particularly those who are overwhelmed by bundled content in an already multifunctional design suite.

However, they have a lot to offer those looking for even more options and are better in Live 10 than they’ve ever been.

These packs include Build and Drop and other themed content packages, including stylistic instrument presets and effects that help consolidate the creative process around a style built-in to the samples. They help mixers by providing MIDI clips and samples and more raw material in keeping with the live pack’s theme.

The instrument packs in Live 10 aren’t a significant jump in variety from the Live 10 presets, but some users may find the options for hybrid kits to be useful, as they include more instrument mixes and a host of MIDI beat clips that pair with the other kits and applications. The Drum Booth kit, for instance, is perfect for acoustic mixing. Synth Essentials comes with all the samples and presets needed for an electronic mix.

These packs may not appeal to everyone, but for many users they expand the information available in Live 10 to customize mixes so it’s worth it to see them improve from Live 9.

Wavetable

Wavetable is the main device in the new packs that we’ll talk about since it’s probably the most useful for the average Live 10 user.

Wavetable has a wide palette of synthesizers and instruments that make its design capabilities much improved over its predecessors.

You can use it to morph hundreds of wavetables using classic and synthetic forms and two flexible filters.

It’s Live 10’s main synth collection for a reason, and works perfectly in tandem with Operator and Analog on Ableton’s system.

With the ability to make adjustments in the form of automation and to edit MIDI clips together, Wavetable is a great addition to your already packed feature list with Push, drum pads, keyboards, and more operating on the Live 10 interface.

Demo

A demo option sweetens the deal for the Ableton Live 10 suite because it allows you to practice on its basic features for free.

If your system requirements are in order, you have nothing to lose by trying out the Live 10 demo.

Cons

We didn’t notice cons with the interface or features available with the Ableton Live 10 design suite. The main drawback is that Live 10 loads slower on iMac than Live 9.

The Takeaway

Ableton Live 10, like its previous versions, is most notable for its features and interface.

The applications, live packs, instrument and clip options, and other features give mixers, arrangers, and composers all the tools they need to boost their audio design station with one of the best mixing and design suites available.

Its integration with Push gives Live 10 options for applications and devices, as well as useful MIDI visualization options.

Wavetable and Echo, as well as other live packs and applications, give Live 10 a ton of building options that include everything from a themed interface to new instrument and clip packs.

If the adjustment and automation options on MIDI playback, instrument mixes, and customizable interfaces aren’t big enough selling points, Live 10 also offers a demo period that gives users the chance to experience its features without financial risk.

This offsets the premium price of Live 10, but it’s not so outside the market prices of other suites to criticize it on those grounds.

In fact, if you’re a designer looking for an improved version of Live 9, Live 10 ups Ableton’s game in its creative features, sound library, and intuitive interface.

Its new integration with third-party programs makes it an even better option for designers looking for an all-in-one design suite to mix, arrange, compose, and master existing or new music.

With the addition of a free trial, you don’t even have to take our word for it: you can try it out yourself.

Best Website Builder for Musicians in 2020

Music is one of those careers that now requires an online presence for its artists to be successful.

Not only have a ton of artists been discovered on the internet, but being present and active there is crucial to establishing a marketing network, a social media presence, and a loyal following.

Building a website could be useful for any career that involves these things, but there are specific options for musicians that should be considered by anyone that wants a page tailor-made to their career’s needs.

Read on to discover the 5 best website builders for musicians in 2020, including a series of reviews and a buying guide to help you compare the main features you should be shopping for when comparing major website builders.

Top 5 Website Builders for Musicians

Wix

A few of the best website builders out there are specific for musicians, but many, including our pick for the best of the best, are programs with so many options that musicians can use them just as well as anyone.

Wix is one of those.

Known by many as the best all-around website builder on the internet, Wix is easy to use, has a free version, and should let you do anything you can imagine to get your website running with the templates and applications you want.

The ease of use comes from its drag-and-drop design, which is intuitive for anyone, even those who have never built a website before.

Wix has a tone of style designs too, including the ability to add galleries, assemble a mailing list, and choose from a ton of musician-specific templates to make your website unique.

Wix has cheap plans, starting with a free version that escalates to $20 per month if you plan on selling albums or songs from your site.

You can manage gigs, track sales, create a network of contacts, and more with Wix’s business features, which include many musician-specific options for the template that you choose.

For the wealth of features and ease of use, Wix tops our list of website builders for anyone, musicians included.

Pros

  • Easy to use with an intuitive design
  • Tons of template and style options
  • Free account options as well as paid business profiles
  • Musician-specific features for sales, mailing lists, and styles

Cons

  • The inability to switch templates once the site has become active means that musicians need to spend more time building the site before it goes live

Squarespace

Squarespace is another of the best website builders out there and as far as the visual design of their templates, it might be the best.

It doesn’t top this list despite its high-quality style because of fewer options for musician-specific needs and the premium price.

Those who are creative, though, can make better use of Squarespace’s design options than other website builders out there.

This includes tons of well-known artists and musicians – they love the depth of customization options and the beautiful templates that make Squarespace websites stand out.

From minimalist record sales companies to complex storefronts, Squarespace templates are ideal for budding and establishing careers in music.

Squarespace has drop-down menus and selectable options, rather than a drag-and-drop interface, making it a little more difficult to use than some other sites.

Thankfully, Squarespace has 24/7 support and offers a 2-week free trial so people can try it out before committing.

Having said that, Squarespace plans are not as cheap as some others. Their cheapest is $12 per month and that goes up to $26 or even $40 per month for a plan that includes eCommerce options.

Pros

  • Squarespace’s template designs are second to none
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Options for a 14-day free trial

Cons

  • Above-average prices
  • Less intuitive design than Wix

Bandzoogle

Bandzoogle, if you can get past the cheesy title, is a great website builder specific for those that want to showcase their band, sell records, and network with the online music community.

You should know what you’re getting into with Bandzoogle – a smaller, less well-established site than some of the more refined alternatives, but one with music-specific options and a few features that should make any budding band excited.

The first is that eCommerce accounts on Bandzoogle are all free of commission, which means you can sell your band’s albums and merch without worrying about paying out to the service.

Their music-specific analytics are useful for bands that want to track their sales and fanbase activity.

In addition, Bandzoogle features over 100 music-specific templates optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.

Since the site is fully integrated with social media platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube, you can allow fans to stream songs from your site and access your merch from the same place.

At $8.29 per month, Bandzoogle is one of the cheaper plans out there, especially for eCommerce-enabled pages.

They don’t have a free option, but they offer 30-day free trials so you can try out both cheap and expensive plans to see if you like them before you financially commit to them.

Pros

  • Music-specific features such as templates
  • Social media integration gives customers easy access to your music and material
  • Cheap plans and generous trials periods

Cons

  • The interface isn’t as refined as those on some of the bigger sites

BandVista

This is another musician-specific website builder for those that want an easy and cheap way to get their band albums or their merch out there for fans to see.

It’s a great budget pick for those that are looking to set up a site quickly and easily and don’t mind sacrificing some premium features to get it done.

BandVista is an easy application to use and set up so it’s ideal for those that want to set up a website quickly.

It’s also cheaper than many of the more well-known alternatives, though it comes with options that are easier to navigate than the main sites.

The low price, ease of use, and quick application setup are its main positives, however.

BandVista is as known for its simplicity as for its easy setup, but for some artists, especially those that tend towards more creative design, their template options may not be enough.

BandVista’s style is a little outdated, with template options that tend towards simpler designs and not a lot of unique features.

However, it’s cheap and easy to set up for those that want a simple platform to make a quick site.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Simple templates make it easy to choose one
  • Band-centric styles and templates

Cons

  • Outdated interface and appearance

Weebly

For musicians deep into SEO features and looking for a wide selection of applications on their music site, Weebly is the best platform available.

While it’s not musician-specific, it can be optimized for bands and used to network with its ideal categorization features that emphasize strategies that help you be found in a Google search.

This means that Weebly’s use of SEO represents more people finding your music and booking your events just by virtue of their keyword, sorting, and optimization strategies.

They provide a ton of flexible, stylish apps to use to spruce up your site and increase your traffic.

Best of all, Weebly offers a free plan designed to get you attracted to their specialty features before considering a paid plan. You could always just keep things free, however.

They offer options for free domains, shipping discounts, and other eCommerce features, with some plans as low as $6 per month.

Their performance, professional, and free plans all offer more applications than most other website builders.

For musicians, the eCommerce options are particularly valuable for those that want to use their websites to advertise a record label or sell merch.

This is all without the aggressive compensation fees of some of the other website builders.

Pros

  • State of the art SEO features
  • eCommerce applications for free domains, shipping discounts, and more
  • A variety of affordable plans

Cons

  • Not the most intuitive interface on the market

Best Website Builders for Musicians: Buying Guide

Not all website builders are made equally – their templates, usability, monetization options, cost, and design make a huge difference.

These differences are accentuated when you’re a musician that wants to build a site with a specific purpose, such as selling your band’s records or establishing a network to increase your fan-base and fill your booking schedule.

Read on to compare the main features of these site builders to compare the ones on this list or any that you may be considering.

Templates

The first thing that may attract you to a site builder is their template options.

For those that are creative and want to be able to customize their applications and have a ton of premium options to give their site a unique identity, you may want to use Wix or Squarespace and customize it for a music site rather than rely on the relatively few options of niche sites like BandVista.

Some of these platforms have over 100 music-specific website templates to give you the tools you need to make the site in your head a reality.

Usability

Some of the sites with hundreds of templates are tougher to use. Some have textbox constructions rather than drag-and-drop applications and others can be overwhelming with the choices you have.

This may be a reason to opt for the simpler sites, which often come with a cheaper price tag.

Some users may prioritize usability in order to set up their site quickly, rather than deal with a million options and templates. Particularly for those that have never made a website before or don’t know what they want, simplicity could be a huge selling point.

Monetization

As a musician or a band member, you may be creating this site to monetize your band label, records, or merchandise.

Not every website builder can be monetized, however, and not all of those that can are monetizable for free.

If this is your main goal, you need a site builder with networking options to increase your fanbase and options for storefronts and monetized applications.

Most don’t have eCommerce options as a default so in that case, you need to compare the premium prices of each site builder when choosing between them.

Cost

The cost has a huge impact on profitability when you consider that these sites are paid for with per month subscriptions and have a wide range of prices.

Some cost $25+ per month and others have account options that are completely free.

Free accounts are often more limited, but many (such as Wix) have some diverse free accounts.

Many offer free trials of different lengths as well, which is something to watch for when you aren’t sure which site builder you want to use and prefer to try them out first.

Interface

Some site builders have a simple interface that lets you drag and drop design options, while others have more conventional website builder applications.

Depending on your experience, you may want to find options that are simpler to use so you can build your band’s site quickly.

The age of the site builder also matters here, as some may have outdated templates that aren’t as eye-catching.

The type of music you play matters here as well since the interface can communicate a lot about intentions and style.

The Takeaway

Site builders for musicians range from niche sites that have specific features for the industry and general sites tailor-made for creative thinkers to make the site they want.

Our top choice is Wix for the breadth of features it has, as well as its customization options, usability, and free account options.

However, by using this review series and buying guide, you can choose between any other site builders you find as well by comparing their main features.

By figuring out your specific needs in terms of usability and monetization, you can customize any site builder for your needs as a musician looking to expand your fan-base or sell your music.

Top 5 Free Autotune Plugins to Use in 2020

Music production is an expensive business to get into because of the software and hardware overheads.

Finding free plugins and apps out there to give your tech an edge over the competition and improve your music with premium features usually reserved for premium services could be a huge plus to your business.

This is why we compiled this review list of the top 5 free autotune plugins you should consider in 2020 to up your music production game for no out of pocket cost.

We also created a buying guide comparing their features more generally so that you can make an informed decision of which plugin is the best for you based on your needs and the needs of your business.

You could also use the guide to compare plugins you find on your own if you have a specific brand in mind.

Reviews of the Top 5 Free Autotune Plugins

These are the 5 best free autotune plugins we reviewed. We go over their main features and pros, as well as some of the drawbacks so you know exactly what you’re buying.

MAuto Pitch

For visualization and customization, MAuto Pitch is the best free plugin we tried out.

It has a range of features that improve music production on many levels, including fine-tuning sets, configuring formats, and enhancing performance.

The first thing you’ll notice about MAuto Pitch is its interface. Its modern, intuitive visuals are easy to interpret but also organized with the options at your disposal to make your music production work easy.

Namely, the main features MAuto Pitch excels in are its depth, speed, and tuning controls.

Its depth control features give you enhancement functions that allow you to alter sound depth to your specifications. This includes fine-tuning the pitch to get it exactly the way you want it.

The speed control similarly lets you set the parameters for the program to skip the out of tune sounds, jump around, or smooth it out with transition controls. Both the high and low speeds on the MAuto Pitch plugin give you options to customize your experience.

This multi-functionality and control make MAuto Pitch the best plugin we reviewed.

Pros

  • Optimal sound, depth, and speed controls
  • Modern, intuitive interface
  • Enhancement functions that offer tons of customization

Cons

  • For the heaviest music production work, MAuto Pitch, which is designed for lighter edits, may not have everything you need compared to premium software options

GSnap

GSnap is a popular option when it comes to vocal pitch tuning and other various effects and is well-known for its adeptness in altering vocal sounds.

Of course, it can mix and produce for instruments as well, but it’s in the vocal range that GSnap shines and may top your personal list if those functions appeal to you and your work, though it doesn’t quite top ours.

The user interface, both in graphics and controls, is easy to use. It has two sides so you can view the original and updated pitches, as well as a MIDI control box that allows you to input and link notes to the track you’re working on.

GSnap has features in the program that guide you through the work that needs to be done, taking you to the areas that need work on its own.

It’s a multifunctional app as well, with 12 control knobs that help you edit effects with a lot of customization. Speed and vibrato knobs are particularly useful, allowing you to use pitch detection and manipulation to make the music sound more organic and in tune.

The gate and threshold knobs are also useful, allowing you to pitch-shift at will and adjust the sound detection so that the plugin reads the sounds differently depending on what you’re producing and for what medium.

This multi-functionality makes GSnap a great alternative pick that might be the top pick for those that focus on thresholds or who want a plugin that emphasizes voice controls.

Pros

  • Pitch tuning and effects are more varied than the average plugin
  • The interface is sparser than some modern applications but still intuitive
  • 12 control knobs give you a ton of features to play with

Cons

  • GSnap is not available for Mac

KeroVee

For voice conversion, KeroVee is a great choice.

It comes with a ton of tools and functions that can help you manage pitch correction to your specifications and replace organic voices with mixed mechanical equivalents.

This applies to instruments as well, which can be autotuned on KeroVee as well as on many premium applications.

The display is broken into two sides, which show the initial and mixed signals and allow you to fine-tune the results with knobs on the display.

Pitch adjustment is accurate on KeroVee even to demanding specifications and is perfect for formatting, panning, and transposing sounds.

Its MIDI controller can detect notes automatically and give you corrections that you don’t even need to input manually. Its calibration and nuisance knobs let you remove discrepancies, adjust vibrato, and set the plugin’s correction speed.

KeroVee’s plugin guides and automatic correction software are finetuned for professional autotuning work.

Pros

  • Autotuning software offers optimal control
  • The interface is simple but functional
  • Numerous fine-tuning knobs give you customization and functional pitch shifting, formatting, and calibration options

Cons

  • KeroVee is built to finetune vocals, not as much for overhauling huge multi-track instrumentations, so some producers may prefer another plugin

Graillon 2

Auburn Sound’s Graillon autotune plugin hasn’t always been free, but Graillon 2 gives you its premium features at no cost to you.

The Graillon 2 plugin has to be the top choice for autotuning in metallic or robotic sounds with its smooth correction module controls that can adjust the speed of sound changes.

You’ll notice right away that Graillon 2 has a classy interface with a nostalgic color scheme and large decorative font. The central display gives you access to the current sound and intuitively helps you see how the program is correcting it.

Graillon 2 has inertia and speed knobs that reduce pitch correction. It also has a bitcrusher function that gives you access to distorted and robotic sounds that are specific for certain compositions.

The growl sound functions and bitcrusher combined with the vintage interface make Graillon 2 a compelling classic experience with a lot of features.

Pros

  • A perfect plugin for autotuning metallic sounds and turning voice samples into artificial sounds
  • Nostalgic, high-end interface appearance and intuitive controls
  • Bitcrusher function gives you multifunctional distortion options
  • Growl sounds and other knobs round out a versatile plugin package

Cons

  • The lack of semi-tone jumps and some tricky pitch-shift dial options can take some getting used to for some users

AAS Autotune

We’ve talked about the interfaces on each of these autotune plugins but AAS Autotune is our pick for the best plugin that has no interface at all.

This means that you can only set one correction parameter at a time, but the plugin still works well for certain needs.

For tuning fast sounds, especially robotic ones like autotuned vocals in pop tracks, AAS Autotune works well for the most simplified functions possible.

For some tuning, this can be a useful application, especially if you don’t want to mess with a ton of features.

AAS Autotune can be turned on and do its thing without you nursing it so if your goal is to use software to truly “auto” tune the sounds, AAS Autotune might be the choice for you.

Another bonus to the lack of an interface is that it takes up almost no processing power on your computer, freeing it up for other tasks if you want to work on something else.

Pros

  • Low RAM requirements make it easy to run with other applications
  • True automatic tuning makes it easy to set up and run without messing with a ton of features
  • Fast tuning for metallic sounds or hectic pop tracks is easier with AAS than doing it manually with something else

Cons

  • No interface means no frills and fewer options for customization – just make sure you know what you’re getting into

5 Best Free Autotune Plugins: Buying Guide

This buying guide summarizes the main features you should be looking for when comparing these and other autotune plugins.

Interface

The first thing to look for is a plugin that features an interface you can use, since it won’t matter what features it has if you can’t use it efficiently.

Some have classy interfaces like Graillon 2’s decorative font style and some don’t have any interface at all: AAS Autotune, for instance, is just a program that you run on your computer and doesn’t have any windows or extra features.

This gives you a wide array of choices when you’re looking at the interfaces that might work for you.

Since you’re probably using this plugin for work, you need something that you can spend hours on, view the options you need easily, and make your sound design changes with as little hassle as possible.

The good news is that since all these plugins are free, you could theoretically try them out one at a time until you find one you really like.

Control features

How each plugin plays on the traditional features of autotune programs will go a long way to determining which is the right application for your needs.

MIDI controllers, speed, vibrato, gate, and other function knobs (as well as various autotune effects) give the plugins their own identity.

They go from pure minimalism to ultimate multi-functional style tools with as many as 12 knobs to view on increasingly complex interfaces.

What you want to accomplish with this plugin, from voice manipulation to instrumentation conversion, needs to be compared to the desired effects themselves and will largely affect which plugin you choose.

Compatibility

Compatibility is something to check on any plugin before you try and incorporate it into your workspace. GSnap, for instance, isn’t compatible with Mac operating systems.

Some require more RAM than others to run successfully (consider AAS Autotune, for instance, whose minimalism makes it an easy application to run on any computer).

Compatibility may not be on your list of desired features but it’s essential by nature to consider when you’re making your decision.

Uses

This category is separate from the features because, in addition to looking at what the plugins can specifically do, you need to look at how you intend to use them to choose the right one.

For example, one plugin may have more features but may lack another’s accuracy in terms of specific conversions of natural voices to robotic effects or adding vibrato, or another specific function you may need.

You need to compare your intentions to the features to know which plugin will work best for you.

Cost

As stated, all these plugins are free, so this is no concern here.

The Takeaway

Free autotune plugins can be extremely useful additions to any audio mixer or music producer’s toolkit.

Usually, they come at a price, which is why we assembled this list of the 5 best free ones you can use to mix and tune music and sounds without paying a high premium.

Many of these plugins feature versatile features, control knobs, clever interfaces, and tons of customization options.

One of them (AAS Autotune) doesn’t feature any of these things but instead offers a streamlined approach to autotune plugins that lets you run applications quickly and without the hassle of figuring out bells and whistles. No matter which you choose, you’ll be choosing correctly.

Even still, the wealth of options makes MAuto Pitch our top choice for free autotune plugins because of its wealth of features, beautiful interface, and options for fine-tuning compositions to exact specifications.

No matter if you choose one of these or a brand of your own, use our buying guide to compare the main features so you can match the plugin to your audio production needs.

Autotuning complex compositions is difficult but it doesn’t have to be expensive – use this guide to get a premium autotune plugin for your software arsenal without spending a dime.

Best Delay Pedals

When you set out on to become a guitar player, there are so many different things that one should learn. And it all goes way past just the techniques and music theory.

The problem with this seemingly simple instrument is that it comes with an additional set of features and challenges, including a variety of different effects and other devices that can either enhance the tone or just help you perform music in different ways.

There’s even some science involved in making a perfect rig.

Be that as it may, delay pedals remain as one of the essential components for electric (or even acoustic) guitar players.

Without them, your tone might just be too “dry” and uninteresting. Sure, some may resort to using reverb pedals, but the delay or echo effect has its own charm and makes the tone more appealing in most of the contexts of modern music.

But this comes with its own set of advantages – what are the best delay pedals that you can find these days?

Well, the problem is that we have an over saturated market and so many different brands and models to choose from that it gets difficult to filter out the good stuff.

This is why we decided to do our own research and a rundown of the best delay pedals that you can find on the market these days.

Boss DD-8 Digital Delay

Of course, with a list of any kind of pedals, you just can’t avoid adding Boss somewhere in there.

For this purpose, we’re opening things up with their DD-8, which is a continuation of their long-running series of digital delay pedals that started way back in the 1980s.

While retaining the same classic design and features of the older models, DD-8 manages to push this effect to a whole new level and bring some diversity in there.

Aside from mind-blowing 10 seconds of maximum delay time, it also comes with 11 different delay modes.

Additionally, it also features a separate plug that allows you to pair it with a tap switch or an expression pedal.

MXR M169 Carbon Copy

But in case you’re more into vintage stuff, simplicity, and old school kind of tones, then you can look into MXR and their amazing M169, also known as Carbon Copy.

The beauty of analog delays lies in the so-called “bucked brigade devices” that are essentially a line of capacitors that store and transfer the signal.

While it can’t have more than 600 milliseconds of delay time, the repeated tones sound just a little muffled. And this is exactly the appealing thing about analog delays, including MXR’s M169.

There are just three simple controls and an additional switch that adds some modulation in the mix.

TC Electronic Flashback 2

TC Electronic has always been pretty good at keeping things simple and very functional and versatile at the same time. This is exactly what we can see with their Flashback 2 delay.

Aside from three basic controls for volume level, feedback (number of repeats) and delay time, it comes with 8 different delay modes, as well as 3 additional slots for the company’s famous TonePrint feature.

These are specially designed presets that were made in collaboration with some of the biggest guitar heroes of today.

Additionally, TC Electronic’s Flashback 2 pedal comes with a looper that’s capable of recording up to 40 seconds of your playing.

Behringer VD400 Vintage Delay

Yes, there might be some weird looks that we have Behringer on the list of the best pedals of any kind. However, some of their pedal models actually work rather well, at least for their ridiculously low price.

For instance, we have their VD400 Vintage Delay that has pretty much everything that you need if you need just a simple echo effect.

There are just three basic controls that you find on pretty much any delay pedal – volume (labeled as “intensity”), repeat rate (of feedback), and delay time.

Yes, it has only 300 milliseconds of delay, but it’s an actual analog delay and it’s a budget-friendly pedal. What more could you ask for?

Dunlop EP103 Echoplex

Dunlop comes up as one of the best manufacturers in this game. And that comes as no surprise at all, since they’ve been building their great reputation for decades now.

For the list of delays, we’re bringing their EP103 or the so-called Echoplex. This simple little pedal is way more powerful than it seems at a first glance.

Beneath a stylish-looking simple device comes a very powerful beast that can completely reinvent your tone.

Echoplex is a compact recreation of those quirky-sounding tape-based delays that have remained popular among the lovers of old school tones.

Just imagine the possibilities with this simple little pedal.

Electro-Harmonix Canyon

Electro-Harmonix is yet another old brand that’s been around for quite a while.

Although typically popular for their amazing Big Muff Pi fuzz pedals, they also have other exciting effects, one of them being the appropriately named Canyon delay.

Of course, just like almost all of the delay pedals today, it features three basic controls.

However, it’s all enhanced with two pro-level features – 10 different delay type presets and a total of 62 seconds of loop time. These are pretty amazing additions to such a seemingly simple little pedal.

Boss DD-500

Look, there’s no way to avoid mentioning Boss at least twice. But DD-500 is not like your average digital delay.

It’s a full-on echo effect workstation with a surprisingly vast amount of possibilities. In fact, it’s as if you made a special effects processor just for the delay effect.

Aside from its 12 delay modes and ver detailed parameter controls, it comes with an onboard phrase looper and even a selectable bypass type.

Even though it’s a digital pedal, it does an amazing job of replicating those analog delays, including tape-based ones. It’s a bit expensive, but you just can’t go wrong with it.

Best Headphones for Audio Production in 2020

Headphones for audio production need a few major qualities to improve their functions, features, their ability to cancel noise, and their modern technology conveniences such as voice activation and control.

Comparing these features can be difficult when you’re dealing with not only the major brands but the diverse models they offer.

This review series and buying guide are designed to give you the inside track on the best headphones to buy for audio production in 2020.

We’ll go over the key features of the 5 major models we like and then compare them by criteria in a buying guide to help you determine which will best suit your needs.

Even if you don’t want the models we list, you can still use the guide to work through your own choices and compare their aptitudes against your needs in audio production.

Reviews of the Best Headphones for Audio Production

These reviews of the 5 best headphones for audio production include their major features as well as any possible drawbacks they may have.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica is one of the most critically acclaimed names in studio monitor headphones and the ATH-M50x tops our list for the same reasons that people have been buying them professionally for years.

Audio engineers and pro reviewers agree that these professional studio monitor headphones are some of the best that money can buy.

The extended frequency range of the ATH-M50x headphones gives them industry-leading clarity in both accurate bass response and the higher registers.

Audio-Technica has circumaural design earcups that completely cover your ears and provide professional sound isolation for mixing and design even in a noisy environment. This makes them perfect tools for a busy engineer or a club DJ.

These premium headphones though have something the cheaper models don’t, which is a 90-degree swiveling mechanism on the earcups that provide efficient ear monitoring. The earpads and headband were also ambitiously comfortable compared to the price.

The detachable 45-millimeter proprietary cable fits into a large aperture driver for optimal sound delivery. Rare earth magnets and copper-aluminum wire voice coils promote professional sound quality and clarity.

Though the price is premium, there are more expensive models on the market with lesser quality.

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x studio monitor headphones are recommended by audio professionals everywhere and we see no reason to dispute them.

Pros

  • Superior sound quality and clarity, as well as an extended frequency bass range
  • Proprietary aperture drivers, 45-millimeter
  • 90-degree swiveling earcups for maximum sound isolation
  • Comfortable pads and headband

Cons

  • These headphones are built for audio monitoring and production; some users have noted that they can become uncomfortable when used for casual purposes like gaming

Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones

Status Audio’s CB-1 headphones have a ton of industry-leading features that make them a favored budget option for some top musicians and audio producers, both for quality and comfort.

They show up on top technology review compendiums for a reason – we simply had to include them on our list of the best audio production headphones for 2020.

The 50-millimeter drivers on the CB-1 headphones set them apart, giving the sound quality a more expansive range.

Two 9-foot cables and an adaptor give you the ability to take them throughout a larger workspace and a custom locking mechanism prevents them from popping out.

CB-1 headphones are compatible with any audio cables, ensuring that any professional sound producer can use them with the equipment they already have.

The design and aesthetics also really impressed us. The Status Audio headphones have a slim look that doesn’t show off any branding. They’re built small enough to fold and store easily for travel.

Speaking of design, the CB-1 headphones are also designed with comfort in mind, with a padded headband and stuffed earcups that stay comfortable for hours of wear.

The cup fully covers your ears, making it unnecessary to create a noise-canceling effect using a tight headband – the earcups do it automatically.

For comfort and style on a lower budget, the Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones are another top choice.

Pros

  • 50-millimeter drivers
  • Studio-quality audio production
  • Minimalistic, unbranded design
  • Slim construction promotes storability
  • Padded earcups for complete ear enclosure

Cons

  • Not the best bass range response on the market

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica tops our list as the best studio headphones in general, and they’re coming back for a top budget pick.

For their winning designs in both engineering and features, offering premium sound cancelation, ideal aesthetic construction, and the perfect physical technology to maximize the quality and efficiency of your sound production in 2020 without breaking the bank.

Audio-Technica designs their headphones specifically for audio engineering, both tracking and mixing.

If you know anything about sound design headphones, you know that they usually aren’t wireless – the 40-millimeter drivers on the ATH-M20x studio monitor headphones are copper class aluminum wire voice coils for the best possible sound quality. They’re tuned to enhance low-frequency performance for more accurate mixing.

The aesthetic design is also top-notch, with contoured earcups that provide perfect isolation and cancelation in even noisy environments, ideal for both sound production and being a DJ.

Those who are into tracking, mixing, or design know the conveniences of a single-side cable exit, which the Audio-Technica has in a magnet neodymium slot.

For audio production headphones on a budget, look no further than Audio-Technica.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Rare earth magnet drivers with copper-aluminum wire voice coils
  • Contoured earcup design (circumaural) for premium sound isolation/cancelation
  • Single-side cable exit with 40-millimeter drivers

Cons

  • The 3-meter cord may be too long for some, depending on the workstation setup

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones

The Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones are for people who know their technical specs and want quality audio production headphones on a smaller budget.

For those with painful necks, these headphones also have a weight advantage, weighing a comfortable 285 grams in total to take the strain off.

Circumaural ear coupling improves sound isolation for professional mixing and production.

The natural sounds on the Sennheiser headphones are responsive and warm, with a nominal impedance of 64 ohms and a sound pressure level of 133 dB.

Those who are technically minded and know what they want out of their specs will be happy to know they have a frequency response of 25000 Hz

The Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones are also refined for comfort, with earpads and headband padding that help you stay comfortable while wearing them for long periods.

Pros

  • Lightweight construction makes the Sennheiser headphones easy to wear for long production sessions
  • Ear coupling provides unique sound isolation properties that encourage working in noisy environments
  • Replaceable pads, headband padding, and audio cord

Cons

  • Some users complain that the pins on the internal jack get bent when the stiff cable on these headphones pull on them over extended periods

Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones

While most audio engineers opt for the higher quality metals and surer quality of corded headphones, some prefer to be modern, perhaps because of the constraints of their workspace.

For that, they may want a Bluetooth option. While not as lauded as corded headphones, there are some great wireless headphones for audio production out there.

Our top pick in that category is the Status Audio BT One Wireless model.

These headphones have a 40-millimeter driver that promotes clarity, giving a full bass range competitive with the corded models in its class.

The metal frame gives it a sleek, modern design, with modern conveniences like button controls on the headphones themselves to promote ease of use.

These include playback and volume controls, as well as a microphone that lets you make calls from your headset without taking them off to use your phone. It easily folds for travel.

Of course, with the Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones, you’re wondering about the Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth 5.0 of the Status Audio BT headphones supports two phones, tablets, or computers. Compatible devices include those made by Mac, PC, Android, and Personal Media Players Pixel.

Being wireless, you also need to consider the battery life on these headphones.

Thankfully, the Status Audio BT headphones last 30 hours on one charge, making these headphones the ideal companion for sound producers traveling long distances.

They charge by USB in just over an hour. These features make the Status Audio wireless headphones our pick for the best Bluetooth-enabled headphones for audio production available in 2020.

Pros

  • Convenient Bluetooth technology compatible with most smartphones and tablets
  • Modern, minimalist design aesthetic
  • 30-hour battery life on a 1-hour charge
  • Quality bass range
  • Built-in buttons

Cons

  • The plastic frame and headband aren’t as durable as some of the more expensive models

Buying Guide

Here are the main categories of features that should be compared between these headphone models.

By shopping with this list in mind, you can make sure to buy exactly what you need.

Sound quality

The sound quality is stellar on the headphones we listed, but not everything on the market is made equally.

When you’re shopping, look for things like the decibel limit, bass range quality, and other technical-specific features and compare the models for their specs.

Construction

Construction will set some of these models apart, with price factoring heavily into the material quality of the headband and frame, as well as the cord.

Some have stiffer cords made of rarer metals and others have budget plastic constructions that might save you money but may cost you durability.

Earcups are another significant aspect of construction, with some of the models listed providing professional-level sound isolation by covering your whole ear, which is what you want from audio production headphones.

Construction also factors into the aesthetic design of the headphones, with some favoring flashy branded designs and others being sleeker and more minimalistic.

This can affect practical use as well as preference, however, since some models are slimmer and more foldable for use in travel.

Cost

Cost is a measurable response to your preferences depending on your needs. From our top premium pick, down to our budget pick, both by Audio-Technica, you should be able to find audio production headphones that work with your budget.

Special features

Some of these headphones have special features, which could make or break them in terms of your preferences.

Some are easier to take on the go, including the completely wireless Bluetooth versions that can connect with smartphones and tablets and are ideal for mixing music on a plane ride.

Other more expensive models have swiveling earcups such as our top Audio-Technica pick, and others have built-in buttons.

The length of the cord also factors in here, with some providing too much or too little compared to the needs of your workspace.

Since these features can’t be compared to each other numerically, you need to know what special features are a priority for you before you start looking so you can match the audio production headphones to your specific needs.

The Takeaway

Audio production requires subtle and effective tools. Comparing headphone brands and models can be complicated if you don’t know the standard of comparison.

This review series and buying guide are designed to help you sort it out by comparing the main features of the different models available, including their construction, aesthetics, and cost.

Our top pick for headphones for audio producers and mixers is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones.

They have superior material construction, including the earcups, headband, and lead wires, and industry-leading professional sound quality. The earpieces have leading sound isolation tech, giving you the ability to mix and design sound on a professional level for a consumer-grade price.

Though you might buy different models depending on whether your needs involve travel, wireless functions, or a specific millimeter driver, the models listed in this review guide should serve you well so long as you know enough to compare their construction and functions to your needs as an audio producer in 2020.

The 8 Best Online DJ Courses [2020]: Compared and Reviewed

DJing is a dying art form.

There, we said it.

Long gone are the days where manual beat matching, scratching, and djing with vinyl were normal DJ skillsets.

With the advent of DAWs with automatic syncing and beat matching, the DJ has become more of a curator and personality than a musician.

However, these same DAWs have opened the doors to a whole universe of possibilities.

Ableton Live, for example, has enable DJs to basically become whole bands and produce new sounds on the spot.

With that in mind, we set out to find what is the best online DJ course out there in 2020.

We purchased close to 10 online dj courses, here are the ones that made the final cut:

Course Name Teacher What’s Included? Musical Genre Focus Price / Our Rating
Editor’s Value Choice
DJ Courses Online Bundle
DJ TLM
Isaac Cotec
Nick Trikakis
14 video based dj courses on DJing techniques, Serato, Traktor, Ableton Live, and more.
– 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
– Close to 100 hours of content
All Genres
Editor’s Overall Choice
Point Blank- DJ Skills Online Course
Dozens of lecturers, including:
  • Mr Dex (DJ for Wu Tang, Estelle, and more)

  • Ben Bristow

  • DJ Davine

  • Rockwell
  • Diploma from a world class instituion,
    – Weekly online masterclasses,
    Personal, 1-on-1 tutorials every 2 weeks,
    -Recordings of all classes available on demand,
    – Student forum and alumni network, which includes leading DJs and Producers
    All Genres
    Armin Van Buuren Masterclass
    Armin Van Buuren
    – About 3 hours of video content
    – Downloadable class workbook
    – Access to other masterclasses, such as Deadmau5’s.
    EDM / Trance
    Learn how to DJ From The Wu-Tang Clan
    DJ Symphony
    – About 7 hours of video content
    Certificate Upon Completion
    Hip Hop
    ProducerTech: Ableton Live DJ’s Guide
    ProducerTech
    – About 3 hours of video content split into 18 modules
    – Live DJ template and 100MB Bonus FX samples
    All Genres

    Best Overal Online DJ Courses

    #1 DJ Courses Online Review: Overall Staff Pick

    It was a though decision, but due to its laser sharp focus on DJing only, and the quality of the content, as well as the price, the DJ Courses Online program takes the number 1 spot.

    DJ Courses Online Bundle- Key Facts

    Duration: Unlimited / On Demand
    Instructors:
    DJ TLM– DJ and producer with 25 years of experience
    Isaac Cotec– Certified Ableton teacher
    Nick Trikakis– Former employee at Native Instruments and AKAI, producer, and DJ.
    What’s Included?:
    – Over a hundred of hours of videos
    – 14 full courses for all skill levels
    – 30 day money back guarantee + email support
    Price:
    Starts at 19$
    CHECK CURRENT PRICE

    All in all, there are over 10 dj courses included for a monthly fee of only 19$.

    It covers all major DAWs as well going in-depth into some really interested and complex DJ theory.

    Of all the dj courses we tested, this was by far the most in-depth one we found.

    Unlike some of the other dj courses in this list, the instructors don’t have big names in the industry, however, they more than make up for this with their knowledge of DJ techniques.

    Some of the techniques included are:

    • Beat counting
    • Beat matching
    • Syncing
    • Song Structure
    • Song selection
    • DJ equipment
    • EQing
    • Effects
    • Cue Points
    • Looping
    • Transitions
    • Sampling
    • Backspinning 
    • Organising your library
    • Scratching- in-depth techniques
    • Recording mixes
    • Branding
    • Serato
    • Ableton Live
    • Tracktor
    • Career DJ Tips

    And much more.

    And this is where the course shines.

    For 19.99$/month (the price of a cheap lunch), you’ll have access to all information you could ever want on the topic of DJing.

    Anything that you could possibly think of has been covered by these guys, including DJ tips for anything from career to branding and organizing your library- loads of gems to be found.

    And what’s more, the course is delivered in a straightforward and easy manner. The platform works great on both mobile and desktop and the classes are to the point and effective.

    If you end up not using the course, you can always ask for a refund, as they have a great 30 days money back guarantee.

    CLASS PREVIEW

    #2- Point Blank DJ Skills Review: The Credible Choice

    This school shouldn’t need an introduction.

    It’s been chosen as the ‘Best Music Production School’ by the readers of DJ Mag.

    Point Blank DJ Skills – Key Facts

    Duration: 3 months live course (Not on demand)
    Instructors:
    Ben Bristow aka Mr Bristow– DJ, producer, beatboxer. Has played in Space (Ibiza), as well as ministry of sound, scala, and cargo.
    Darren Henry aka Quest– Dubstep pioneer DJ
    Nigel Hosten aka Mr. Dex– DJ for the Wu-Tang Clan, Sway, Scratch Perverts and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
    David Clarke aka DJ Davine– Has played Ministry of Sound, The Garage and the Mother Live 333.
    What’s Included?:
    – Weekly online classes, bi-weekly 1-on-1 online classes
    – Access to student forum
    – Diploma upon completion
    Price:
    Starts at around 450$
    CHECK CURRENT PRICE

    It’s the school that Goldie turned to when he wanted to learn ableton live, it’s where Patrick Topping honed his skills as a producer, and its where countless many other leading artists went to hone their skills before making it big.

    And that’s where Point Blank really shines- It’s student network is simply unrivalled.

    And this extends to their online DJ courses too.

    By enrolling in the DJ Skills course, for example, you’ll have access to the student forum, whatsapp groups, and weekly masterclasses with your peers, many of whom will undoubtedly make a name for themselves in their craft.

    Even if you’re not looking to network, Point Blank is well worth its price.

    It’s one of the most practical dj courses in this list, teaching you not only the skills needed, but the whole logistics and operations behind managing your music library and gigs.

    Here’s a quick look at the topics covered:

    • Equipment Overview
    • Cueing
    • Drop Mixing
    • Beat Matching
    • Equalisation
    • Transforming
    • Rekordbox (Export Mode)
    • Programming Mixes
    • Recording a Mix

    Here’s a sample of a class:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOJyrCFBnRs

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #3- Armin Van Buuren Masterclass Review: The Production Value Choice

    For those of you who don’t know, Armin Van Buuren is an iconic DJ and producer from the Netherlands. He’s the 4 time consecutive best DJ in the world according to DJ Mag and one of the four “trance” artists nominated to a grammy.

    Armin Van Buuren Masterclass – Key Facts

    Duration: On demand
    Instructors:
    Armin Van Buuren– Legendary house/trance producer and DJ
    What’s Included?:
    – 3+ hours of video
    – PDF workbooks
    – Student support forum
    Price:
    Starts at around 50$
    CHECK CURRENT PRICE

    Now masterclasses tend to have the reputation of being sometimes light on the technical side, though we didn’t find that to be the case for this program.

    There is one caveat though: The course focuses a lot on the production side of things with Logic.

    However, there is still a solid amount of content regarding playing live sets, including the following lessons:

    •  Approaching Your DJ Set
    • Building a Set: Edits and Mashups
    •  Using the Decks: Basics
    • Using the Decks: Armin’s Techniques
    • Performance DJ Tips

    The good thing about masterclass is that you can pay monthly, starting at about 20$, so once you get done with the DJing classes, you can cancel your subscription without doing the rest of the course. Though we do recommend the rest of the course if you’re interested in trance / EDM music production.

    This subscription also allows you to stream hundreds of other high quality courses, including courses by deadmau5, Hans Zimmer, Timbaland, and more.

    If you want to learn to DJ from the one of the best, look no further.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #4 Udemy: Learn to DJ From The Wu-Tang Clan Review: The Hip Hop Choice

    This course we simply couldn’t ignore. After all, most things are temporary but the Wu is forever.

    In this course, the legendary hip hop DJ Symphony goes through some classic hip hop DJing techniques as well as some overall DJ theory.

    It includes over 7 hours of video and entitles you to a certificate upon completion.

    The main highlight of the course for us was it’s production value.

    The camera is mostly set up from a bird’s eye view of the mixing table and decks, allowing you to follow along with your deck- It’s by far the most hands-on course we tested.

    All the content was high quality, with the video streaming seamlessly with great definition. This makes it super easy to follow.

    In addition, the teacher is a master at his craft. If you’re looking for a hip-hop specific course, this one is a no brainer.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #5 Skillshare: DJing Live: From Setup to Soundcheck (w/ Young Guru) Review

    In the same vein as #3, Young Guru’s DJ course on skillshare is a must have for any hip hop DJ.

    It’s a very solid course for beginner and intermediate DJs on how to setup your gear for a live performance, but we rank it after DJ Symphony’s course as we found that it wasn’t as in-depth and hands-on.

    It’s still a great course, coming from a legendary engineer and hip hop producer responsible for many hits from Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

    Its important to note that this course focuses solely on setting up your gear and software. No major techniques are discussed, though there are a couple of nuggets of information that are really interesting.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    DAW Specific Online DJ Courses:

    #1- ProducerTech: Ableton Live DJ’s Guide Review

    Producertech is one of the leading online music course providers.

    They stand out from the crowd by producing really specific dj courses focused on one particular piece of software.

    Generally, the quality of content is very high. Their Ableton Live course is no different.

    Ableton Live is a whole other ball game when it comes to live DJing as it comes with a huge pad that allows you to program your live performance.

    Guys like daedelus have taken the definition of being a DJ to a different dimension, with sets featuring live production and sampling with the Ableton Live:

    We can’t promise that this course will make you an overnight daedelus, but if you’re interested in that world, it’s certainly a good introduction.

    Here a sample of a class:

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #2- Point Blank Online School- Traktor Pro DJ Review

    As we previously mentioned, Point Blank is a leading school in the music industry. And as you would expect, their Traktor Pro DJ course does not disappoint.

    It will take you about 2 months to complete it and will require an investment of about 400£ or 500$, depending on deals and promotions.

    Topics covered:

    • Traktor Inferface: Importing Tracks
    • Skills: Beat Matching, Looping, Cueing, Quantizing, Beat Jumping.
    • Basic FX
    • Harmonic Mixing: Analysing keys, mixing acapellas.
    • Crate Digging, Idents, Broadcast
    • Hardware: Digital Vinyl, Midi Controllers

    Here’s a sneak peak of what a class looks like:

    As is the norm with Point Blank, you’ll get online masterclass with your colleagues, and also 1-on-1’s with the lecturers.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #3 Skillshare: The Basics of Serato DJ Review

    Hosted by Mister Gray, this skillshare is, like most skillshare courses, short and sweet.

    It will take you about an hour to complete, and in the end, you’ll have increased significantly your knowledge of how Serato DJ works and how to make the most of it. Particularly if you’re a beginner in the ways of Serato.

    The teacher is a somewhat successful DJ and producer from the United States who focuses on hip hop and EDM / dubstep.

    The production value of this course is insane, as is the case with most skillshare courses.

    The major downfall, however, is its lack of depth. This really is a course for beginners.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    Final Thoughts

    We hope we’ve helped you find the very best online DJ course for your needs.

    If you’re looking for general music courses or music production related courses, please check out our guide on that subject.

    And as always, if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below!

    Best EQ Plugins

    When recording, producing, or mixing music at home, you can use any kind of professional-level plugins to enhance your work.

    What’s rather mind-blowing these days is the fact that you can make it all sound quite professional without having to spend too much.

    Home studios have become extremely functional, with some individual artists doing previously unimaginable things, all from the comfort of their bedrooms.

    Isn’t that just the best feeling for a musician?

    However, things might not be that simple. In order to do so, you’ll have to find a proper collection of plugins.

    And although it usually seems pretty simple and like something you can sort out at the input, equalizers are extremely important.

    These are the things that you should sort out in the mixing process, all while keeping the recorded input “flat,” which makes it perfect for further processing. And EQ plugins can be a pretty touchy subject.

    After all, it takes more than just a simple 3-band EQ to sort things out.

    Sometimes you need to add low-pass or high-pass filtering, or even cut out an entire part of the spectrum.

    With all this said, we’ve figured that we could look more into this issue and find the best EQ plugins on the market today. After some research, we came up with this list.

    iZotope Neutron 3

    What iZotope has put out over the years has impressed even the pickiest of producers and mixing engineers out there.

    When it comes to EQ plugins, we’d love to mention their Neutron 3, which brings this series of plugins to a whole new level.

    Starting with its user interface, we can see some significant changes and improvements, making this plugin way more practical even for not so advanced users.

    And the whole interface works hand-in-hand with the new features, like the ability to add up to 12 nodes on the EQ curve and tweaking them as you wish.

    Its strongest feature is the addition of the Masking Meter which identifies conflicting frequencies and sorts them out.

    Overall, it’s a fully professional and easy to use EQ.

    Sonnox Oxford EQ V3

    Made by Sonnox, the Oxford EQ V3 is a simpler yet very powerful tool for sorting out the full spectrum frequencies of your project’s individual tracks.

    The main idea here was to have a parametric EQ with five individual frequency ranges.

    Each range has some detailed controls. And although not as visual compared to some more “modern” plugins, it’s still pretty accessible for many different users.

    It also comes with 4 different EQ types and additional amazing features for cutting out unwanted frequencies with precision.

    Looking at its features and how it works, it comes up as an amazing choice for a mastering EQ.

    Waves PuigTec EQP-1A

    If you’re a fan of those realistic-looking plugins that mimic the looks and aesthetics of actual rack-mounted units or other devices, then you’ll love Waves’ PuigTec EQP-1A.

    In fact, the plugin is intended as a fairly realistic replica of Pultec EQP-1A, which is a tube-driven equalizing rack-mounted unit.

    Even today, these units are made the same way as they were back in the late 1970s. And this plugin manages to capture it pretty well.

    It comes with three sections, one for low-end, the other one for high-end boost, and the third one for high-end cutting.

    It might be a bit unusual for some lovers of modern plugins, but it’s a real feast for those who love the vintage stuff. Besides, it’s not that expensive either.

    SSL Native X-EQ 2

    Now, the X-EQ 2 by SSL Native is a pretty complex and advanced equalizer for pretty much any style of music.

    It comes with no less than 17 different equalizing types and 9 different filtering options.

    With each frequency band, you can switch between many different curve types and apply different parameters to them.

    There’s also the so-called “Parallel” mode that helps you replicate those vintage-styled parallel passive EQ circuits.

    And the best part is that it features impressive 24 frequency bands for you to play with. Along with its incredible algorithms, you’ll be able to do wonders with this plugin.

    Voxengo PrimeEQ

    But if you need something simple and affordable that will still offer precise equalizing, then you can go with Voxengo and their PrimeEQ plugin.

    It’s designed as a simple parametric EQ for individual tracks that lets you do even some very detailed tone-shaping.

    Interestingly enough, it can handle up to 32 individual parametric filter bands, which is more than impressive for a plugin of this price level.

    The interface might not be the prettiest one but it’s extremely simple and functional for users of all skill levels.

    It also comes with 13 different filtering types and even has the history of your edits, enabling the undo and redo options.

    FabFilter Pro-Q 3

    If you need a great EQ plugin for your home studio that will enable you to do all the detailed edits from the comfort of your bedroom, then we’d advise you to go with FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3.

    It’s not the cheapest one, but it’s still within the reasonable price limits.

    Now, this plugin offers more than just simple EQ processing, since it’s also capable of advanced filtering.

    It comes with a total of 24 custom frequency bands with some advanced equalizer curve-shaping options.

    It also comes with some very practical features, like the Auto Gain which looks into multiple channels and does its own gain correction.

    This is an extremely useful tool for any mixing process.

    Slate Digital Eiosis AirEQ

    Lastly, we would like to mention Slate Digital and their Eiosis AirEQ.

    Looking at its user interface, it’s pretty clear that it combines modern principles with some vintage features.

    And what’s rather interesting, it has a collection of five very creative features labeled as Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Strength, each covering different frequency ranges or other tone-shaping properties.

    Best Studio Monitors in the Market Right Now [2020]

    Whether you are a music production professional or a beginner starting a Home Studio, choosing the right quality monitors is one of the most difficult decisions.

    Which are the best studio monitors?

    This recurring question has many answers, as many as audio monitors are in the market, and the best way we can take to decide is to check which ones satisfy better our needs.

    When choosing studio monitors we must ask ourselves certain questions that will help us select the right ones.

    The first question is about the size of our study, will they be used in a home study or in a professional study?

    The next thing is to define our budget, and taking into account these 2 factors, we will analyze among the three fundamental quality parameters: Build quality, sound quality and connectivity.

     Let’s  start with some of the best professional studio monitors :

    Adam Audio A7X

    The Adam Audio A7X monitor has a great reputation among professional audio production studios; even, many affirm that “everything that happens through the A7X sounds good”.

    It is the creation of a German company, which has positioned this monitor as the bestseller in its catalog.

    It is a versatile, highly balanced, near-field monitoring speaker.

    The Adam Audio A7X has a price of around $750 per unit, a slightly high price for those who start, but they will ensure the highest clarity and quality when mixing.

    It features a very high frequency response from 42Hz to 50kHz.

    It has a built-in amplifier with a power of 150W, which helps power the 7 “carbon fiber woofer and a 2” tweeter called X-ART, properly used by the brand, producing surprising audio clarity as it does not dominate the room and makes the sounds highly decipherable.

    Construction quality is high, designed in high-density wood. In terms of connectivity it has 2 audio connectors, RCA non-balanced and XLR balanced.

    Neumann KH 120 A

    The Neumann KH 120A active audio monitor competes in quality / price ratio with the Adam Audio A7X, it is created by the German company Neumann, a leading manufacturer of studio microphones that has been working in the sound industry for more than 90 years.

    This studio monitoring speaker demonstrates all the experience of this legendary company, focused on its new line of monitors.

    KH120A is a monitor d compact, two – way study has so far proven an excellent quality for the approximately $700.

    It’s especially outstanding for its incredibly detailed mid-range sounds.

    The Neumann KH 120A features a minimalist and compact design, a height of around 11″ and of just over 7″ of  width.

    The build quality is excellent, it consists of a two-piece cast aluminum case, it has curvatures in its casing that substantially improve the sound and also giving it a sophisticated look.

    In the sound quality apart, it has 100W of power 50 W Woofer and 50 W Tweeter, and a frequency range from 52Hz to 21KHz.

    Its connectivity is a bit limited since it only has one XLR input.

    The Neumann KH 120A is highly recommended for its accurate reproduction, balanced tone and uniform sound dispersion.

    Yamaha HS8

    Let’s start with midrange audio monitors, where prices below $500.

    HS line Yamaha monitors are one of the most used and traditional on the market.

    Characteristics of the HS5, HS7 and even the legendary NS10 remain in Yamaha HS8: room control High Trim, and regulation of low and high.

    This monitor has higher overall performance than its predecessors, thanks to a unique mount that reduces vibration and the phase switch, which allows you to configure a subwoofer system with simple connections, without the need for additional equipment.

     The price of each monitor varies around $340. As because build quality of the Yamaha HS8, we can say that it has a simple but elegant appearance.

    They are made of dense MDF, and they have good acoustic damping. However, it has very few settings available.

    The HS8 has an 8” cone woofer shows minimal distortion and good sound, even at the low end, which is very important for producers working with heavier bass.

    1” tweeter is highly clear in terms of highs and the frequency range is from 38Hz to 30KHz. Its power is 120W, and has XLR and TRS balanced and unbalanced inputs.

     PreSonus Eris E5 XT

    For a price close to $150, you can get a special studio monitor for small spaces.

    The PreSonus Eris E5 XT audio monitor are the revamped version of the Eris E5, and it is considered one of the best in terms of price range and its amazing features.

    It has a 5.25″ woofer that comes with its own 45W power amplifier, comes with low-frequency Kevlar transducers, and the 1″ silk dome tweeter.

    This active studio monitor can output up to 102 dB of maximum sound pressure.

    They are equipped with an EBM (Elliptical Boundary Modeled) waveguide designed by Hugh Sarvis of WorxAudio, which gives you a privileged response before the frequencies.

    This feature is ideal for group work, as it creates a 100 degree horizontal dispersion, creating a larger optimum point.

    On the back it brings a simple tone control for the range of bass, mid and treble sounds.

    It has unbalanced RCA inputs, ¼” balanced TRS and balanced XLR or Jack inputs. It has no tone control.

    JBL 305P MkII

    Finally, if you have a low budget to start, the JBL 305P MkII audio monitors are the ones for you, at $100, you will get the scope and clarity of a good audio studio.

    This monitoring speaker is made of MDF and some parts in black PVC. Its mold is made of structural ABS, which gives it a robust and construction and quality.

    The 305PMKII features a 1″ tweeter, 5″ woofer, 82W total power, and a frequency range of 43Hz to 24KHz.

    Low frequencies are surprising, especially if compared with other monitors in this same range.

    Other features that set it apart from the rest, is the audio quality at high volumes, as it remains accurate and clean, with no added roughness or distortion.

    On the back they have volume control, bass and treble controls and XLR and TRS connections. A peculiarity is the implementation of what JBL calls “image control waveguide”.

    This technology allows that, to the placed anywhere in a room, an accurate representation of the sound will be heard.

    Manley Voxbox Reference Channel Strip Review

    The sound processing has definitely taken a long way since the dawn of modern music.

    Just imagine – back in the old days, the 1950s and the 1960s, there were almost no effects units. The distortion was achieved by wrecking guitar amps and using faulty gear, and the effects like delay and chorus were so complicated that they involved somewhat unreliable and pretty bulky tape-based devices that had their limitations.

    The development of transistors made things a lot easier and simpler, making these effects units way more compact. But things definitely took a different turn with digital signal processing, a technology that’s crucial to modern music-making, both for instruments and vocals.

    But with so many digital processors these days, it’s not exactly easy to find the fully professional one that will be up to standards with some of the state-of-the-art studios today.

    On the other hand, even with this technology so widespread, many are still relying on the good old analog devices that give a different and unique twist to the tone in the sea of sterile-sounding digital devices.

    The one in question we’re dealing with here is the Voxbox by Manley, mainly intended for vocal processing, but it also found a use for any other audio sources.

    Interestingly enough, this powerful piece came out way back in the late 1990s and is still in production, almost unchanged, even to this day. So there must be a good reason why this is the case, right? Well, let’s look into it then.

    Features

    First off, the Voxbox is a channel strip, which is basically a device that you can find integrated into mixing consoles, with the input, volume slider, EQ, phantom power, and a few additional parameter controls.

    In some cases, like with the Voxbox, the channel strip can be external and provide processing before the signal even gets into the mixer or an audio interface. But the thing about it is that it provides analog processing with very detailed parameter controls, along with its integrated microphone preamp.

    The Voxbox comes with three inputs – the standard microphone XLR, line XLR, and the classic instrument 1/4-inch instrument jack.

    The signal then goes through the very popular Manley Mono Microphone Preamp which also features phantom power, bass cut, and input volume control.

    There’s also the input attenuator that modifies the signal for microphones or instruments before going into the tube stage. The gain control is a bit more complex than on other devices since it also adds a bit of coloration to the tone.

    Then there’s the compressor section with very detailed controls, giving you the option to control both the attack and release parameters with five different settings for each.

    The ratio is set to 3:1. Of course, the compressor section can be completely bypassed and it comes before the tubes in the signal path, avoiding any mic-pre clipping.

    The path further goes through vacuum tubes, in this case, 12AX7 and 6414 Valve. The circuit has two outputs, one balanced and the other that’s unbalanced, for more versatility, depending on your studio setup.

    Two additional outputs are located after the preamp, with the signal going through the de-esser, EQ, and a line amplifier with 6414 and 5751 tubes.

    Then we have the de-esser and limiter section, that’s more than useful for vocal processing, and in some cases even miked-up acoustic instruments.

    The parameter control in this part of the Voxbox also gives an option for 10:1 compression, which is basically a limiter at this point. This is the Manley’s renowned Elop de-esser and limiter.

    In the end, we have a very thorough 3-band equalizer with plenty of controls to shape the tone you want to. What’s interesting is that you can switch and do EQ processing before or after the de-esser and a limiter.

    There’s also the EQ Input switch that can patch the line input, preamp out, or the insert return. This way, you have a double-duty bypass switch for the preamp section or external processors and other different paths.

    The Voxbox is also equipped with an illuminated Sifam VU meter, and a few other features like the magnetic field containment, warm-up muting circuitry, silent switching, as well as the so-called “smart-grounding.”

    Performance

    Overall, it’s pretty clear that this is a very compelling and roughly built rack-mounted piece for professional studio recording.

    As we said, this is intended mainly for vocals, which can be seen with the inclusion of the company’s de-esser unit in it. But some great results can be achieved even with different miked-up acoustic instruments, miked-up electric instrument amplifiers, and the electric instruments plugged-in directly.

    The biggest advantage of such a piece is that you get a completely analog and tube-driven twist in a modern studio.

    It is intended for anyone who wants to incorporate that eargasmic vacuum tube saturation to their tone, even slight distortion in some cases.

    The abundance of input and different configuration possibilities open up new horizons, making the Voxbox a very flexible processing unit for any kind of a music studio these days.

    Conclusion

    But the thing you need to bear in mind is that this is a fully professional piece, not something that you would be able to fully implement in a home-based studio setting.

    With all the wonderful features and performance traits we explained here, you can clearly see what this device is capable of. And, needless to say, this can be seen with its price as well.

    With this said, the Voxbox is a very powerful processing piece that does wonders to not only vocals, acoustic instruments, miked amplifiers, and electric instruments.

    It found use in all the different musical styles due to its qualities.

    Now, if you’re planning to slowly start building a professional studio, this is one of the rack-mounted units you’ll want to get into.

    However, if you’re still on the home studio level and are mostly relying on your simple multi-channel audio interface, there’s no need to spend over $4000 on such a piece.

    iZotope VocalSynth 2 Review

    Finding ways to make vocal tracks more interesting is not exactly the easiest task.

    With so many different styles and constant changes in trends, demands for new processing and mixing techniques are always on the rise.

    Whether you’re an independent hobbyist making music from the comfort of your home, or a full-blown professional producer, you always need to be on the lookout for the different vocal processing plugins and techniques.

    While we’re at it, we figured we could take a closer look at one of the most interesting vocal processing software that came out not so long ago.

    The product in question is VocalSynth 2, which was conceived and developed by iZotope as the vocal processing “sequel” to the original version.

    What initially got our attention here was the abundance of different features and its use in both processing and mixing stages.

    There’s a lot of stuff to look into, but we’ll do our best to be as brief as possible and make our verdict. After all, the company behind products like Neutron or Ozone is worth checking out again, right? Let’s dig into it.

    Features

    First off, the plugin is, in so many ways, designed according to the first VocalSynth version.

    The signal first goes through the Pitch Correction part, and then into the full library of different synth-like effects. This altered signal is then sent to the section filled with the classic “stompbox-style” effects.

    In the end, both the dry and processed signal are blended in the final mixing process.

    VocalSynth 2 comes with five modules, or engines, onboard. So we have Vocoder, Polyvox, Compuvox, Biovox, and Talkbox.

    All except Polyvox have their input signal modulating the carrier synths in the Auto mode or can work in the so-called “Sidechain” mode.

    Polyvox, on the other hand, does harmonies and pitch correction. What’s more, you can use external MIDI instruments for controlling internal synths and adding harmonies.

    The addition of the Biovox module is pretty exciting. The main idea here is to help alter the complete vocal tract. Well, it won’t alter your vocal cords and other parts but will help you change the singing style to some extent.

    There are controls for formant shift, “Breathiness,” “Clarity,” and “Nasality.” The clarity control here tweaks the balance between the original vocal signal and the carrier synth signal.

    What’s more, Biovox has an advanced view which gives even more controls, like the “Vowel” pad. You can somewhat turn the voice coloration towards the desired type of vowel, even blend a few different types of vowels together.

    Going over to synths, there are two analog-inspired Oscillators, as well as the Noise oscillator and an LFO. Synths also come with a vast library of presets.

    Now looking into the plugin’s graphic interface, the whole idea was to make it similar to other of the iZotope’s recent products.

    There’s also the Anemone visualizer which gives the user all the visual info about the effect each module does to the signal. We can still find the old Wave Meter from the previous version here.

    Performance

    Speaking of the graphic interface, it’s designed to have more functional features.

    For instance, each of the five modules has an advanced menu dropdown view, which certainly makes things a bit more clear. This dropdown always fills the center of the interface, while it replaces the Output and Voicing/Pitch segments, as well as the visualizer.

    Overall, it’s a fairly simple yet clever addition that helps with easier navigation.

    The contents of these panels differ between modules, but each has its dedicated panning control.

    Compared to the old VocalSynth, this is a whole new functionality feature, as you can now pan each module separately. The same goes for low and high-pass filtering.

    What we quite liked is the overall hands-on practical approach and the intuitive design that makes everything look so clear. This is, in our opinion, especially the case with the synths.

    VocalSynth’s first edition lacked many of the functionalities that are now available in the second version.

    On the other hand, in practice, better results can be achieved when using the external synth in the Sidechain mode as the carrier. Especially if we’re talking about the Vocoder module.

    Biovox was, by far, the most surprising (and jaw-dropping) addition to this entire plugin. We have the mindblowing options for altering the original voice, to the point of where you can’t even recognize the original singer, while it still remains convincingly realistic. You’ll have to hear it in order to believe it.

    We would also like to point out the great addition of iZotope’s “communication” between their plugins. So there are some controls and additional functionality if you’re also using iZotope’s Neutron 2 or Ozone 8 plugins.

    Conclusion

    It’s no secret that this plugin requires some experience. After all, with so many additions and features, you can’t exactly expect it to be a beginner-friendly product.

    Somewhat of an expensive product, although not unobtainable, it sits somewhere around $200. So it’s pretty clear that this is a fully professional tool for advanced vocal processing and mixing.

    The advanced view, in general, makes it way easier to use, compared to the previous VocalSynth version. If we’re really going to nitpick, then there are a few complaints about how the synth section works. On the other hand, this is far from a dealbreaker, and the price is still more than justified for such a plugin.

    Anything that you want to do with vocal processing, it’s possible using iZotope’s VocalSynth 2. No matter the style, genre, or the particular era of music that you’re covering, this one comes in handy for all purposes and can completely shift the vocal style to unrecognizable, yet great-sounding, levels.

    Again, this is a fully professional tool for advanced users. We wouldn’t recommend it for hobbyists with modest home studios, as they won’t be able to use its full potential.