The BEST Plugin VST products for the unique requirements of Metal Guitar [2022]

metal guitar vst plugin products

Wellcome to our list of the best Plugin VST products for metal guitar. This is by no far an end-all list, as I am sure you all have your preferences, it is merely an enumeration of must-have tools to have in your arsenal.

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: Ample Metal Hellrazer

One of two virtual instruments on this list, The ample metal hellraiser stands out in its speciality in djent and progressive metal. It’s not often you get virtual instruments designed for such a niche subgenre, but the djent scene has been dominant for some of the past few years and to have such a great virtual instrument dedicated to mimicking these sounds mean that any producer or sound designer looking to get to grips with this technique and how it interacts with the wider components of a track would easily benefit from getting their hands on the Ample Metal Hellraiser.

So, how is it designed? It encompasses literally everything you would need to make an instrumental guitar track with this one single plugin – so, especially if working in genres like shred, it is in some ways pretty all encompassing, though it is also the kind of gear which can be added to simply if you feel like experimenting with how different sounds and plugins can work together. By everything, this means all the things needed to create a great mix such as EQ and other FX such as modulation and many different kinds of distortion as well as all the amps, cabs, and mics needed to fully define your own sound. Then there is the guitar itself – capable of simulating most kinds of technique from tremolo picking to bends, slides, vibrato, legato, and more.

Specifications: Windows 7/8/10, 64-bit only, MacOS 10.9 or higher. VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, or Standalone host

Price: 126.54 USD

CHECK PRICE: Ample Metal Hellrazer – Ample Sound

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: Inphonik PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit

What is the goal of the retro decimator unit? To absolutely crush any sound to the sonic limits of distortion, overdrive, and other ways of altering your music landscape to make it heavier. One of the most ultimate, extreme plugins dedicated to turning every soundwave into a haze of awesomely destructive distortion, Inphonik’s Retro Decimator Unit will guarantee that your songs are never lacking in heavy duty FX again.

What’s so special about it is the fact that it goes above and beyond the normal scope of any plugin. Whilst many models on the market are focussed on providing specific effects such as phaser, overdrive, and so on, the retro decimator is ready to warp the soundwave in literally any way possible. It’s specialism isn’t conventional – instead, the Retro Decimator is out to find every opportunity to push sound design to the edge.

Specifications: VST, AU, and AAX pluginsavailable for Windows, MacOS, and Linux (exact operating systems not listed), Rack Extension for MacOS and Windows, and AUv3/IAA available for iPad and iPhone

GET YOUR FREE COPY: Inphonik PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: Line 6 Metallurgy Trio

There are tons of plugin bundles out there, but there are very few which focus so precisely and distinctively on the needs of metal guitarist beyond simply providing heavy overdrive and ample amounts of distortion. Metal is such a complex genre with an incredible range of different techniques, sounds, and complex mind bending riffs which go into the playing alone, let alone the intricacies of sound design and production required to separate all these complex and intertwined elements.

What other plugins recognise the nuances between doom, thrash, djent, hardcore, and so on. With four discreet amps which can be paired with eight speaker cabinets and any combination of two of eight microphones, the possibilities for mixing, matching, and crossing the boundaries of genre are numerous. And for the metal guitarist who loves to play live, the fact that all these plugins appear just as they would on a real pedalboard means that they are easy to pick up in no time at all.

Specifications: Operating systems not listed, but available as VST, AU, and AAX plugins for any DAW

CHECK PRICE: Line 6 Metallurgy Trio

Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Hydra

As opposed to plugins or FX, Shreddage 3 is a full blown virtual guitar. Beyond the expense and technical expertise needed to hire a luthier to create a physical guitar from scratch, this virtual instrument was a change for the creators at Impact Soundworks to really let their minds run wild with the best things they could come up with for sheer metal force.

What really sets this apart is it’s 8 string, drop-E capabilities designed to create the biggest walls of sound imaginable. So much of Shreddage 3 was recorded just for this virtual instrument itself, meaning you can find sounds which won’t be replicated anywhere else. It does all varieties of playing really well, from crushingly heavy to super clean, intricate tones needed for shred guitar.

Specifications: requires version 5.7 or higher of Kontakt Player – a free sampler from Native instruments.Kontakt Player itselfruns on Windows 10 or 11 and MacOS 10.14, 10.15, 11 or 12 (intel) as well as MacOS 11 or 12 (Apple Silicon Macs)

CHECK PRICE: Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Hydra

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: HOFA IQ SERIES REVERB V2

Reverb: that quintessential, all important plugin which no musician or sound designer can do without. Otherwise, unless you want your music sounded flat, dry, dull, and sterile, you can’t exactly avoid adding in the natural echoes and reverberations which would exist in a live studio recording but which get taken away when you work on a DAW. That’s where reverb plugins step in. Nevertheless, reverb for metal guitarists generally is a bit more unique and specialised than it is for pop or the lighter forms of rock. That’s because the complex riffs and techniques used in metal as well as the layers of sound and production which go into a heavy track mean that reverb has to be added carefully so as to prevent muddling of the sounds as well as it sounding unnatural.

For metal and rock a large variety of reverb types is also extremely important and this is where the Reverb V2 really comes into it’s own. This reverb plugin has been used on albums by Slipknot and Tool amongst others, and is unique in its wealth of reverb varieties and ability to emulate the classic atmospheric spaces beloved of reverb designers such as churches – but also for its combination of algorithmic reverb with more traditional reverb types in order to combine flexibility with depth of sound. For the complex layered sounds of metal, it is vital that a producer has plenty of options, and this plugin allows up to six different types of reverb to be in use at a time. In combination with compression, modulation, and extreme amounts of creative control over the timings, distance, and quality of different parts of the reverb, this is one of the most in depth and technical – but therefore indispensable – reverbs on the market for metal and rock guitarists.

Specifications: Not listed on site but predecessors ran on both MacOS and Windows in all formats

CHECK PRICE: HOFA IQ SERIES REVERB V2

Conclussions

So there you have it – a mixed, yet versatile and highly worthwhile bag of some of the most creative plugins for rock and metal guitarists of 2022. These plugins will boost your creativity, have you writing completely different riffs to what you are used to, and change the way you think about music.

And if you are on a tight budget, make sure you bookmark our Deals category by clicking here!

Happy sound design!

All About Tone – Ten Lessons I’ve learnt in using Digital FX to find the perfect sound

Tone is the feeling, the “vibe” that your instrument reproduces, and from a technical point of view it is close to “timbre”. However, it is much more, is is what defines you as an artist and it is something that you never fully consider as finished or final, always improving and expressing your creative identity.

Less is more

It may sound obvious to seasoned professionals, but a common mistake of beginner sound designers is using too many FX and plugins layered on top of each other. Not only can this slow down the processing power of your computer, it can also make your music sound extremely muddy and difficult to distinguish between the different tones, sounds, and even, in extreme cases, instruments.

Separate different sounds

Separating different sounds in the mix means that each one can truly shine on their own. By keeping your distorted guitars at one frequency and your acoustic guitars at another, you ensure that they end up being appreciated for what they are. This may sound like an obvious piece of sound design and production advice; however, it goes deeper and means not just producing cleanly but also mentally separating the distinct qualities of sound within your mix so you can more easily decide what to do with them.

But also learn how they relate to each other

Separating sounds in only one part of this technique, however, by learning how different sounds relate when next to each other, you can decide what plugins to apply and how to position your different tracks. This means understanding that when placed immediately after that slow part, your epic guitar solo might sound completely different than if you put it at the end of the song after the climax.

Balance rich and thin tones

Just like a meal, every song needs balance – for example, those fat, bassy sounds of the analogue-modelled valve amp plugin you just picked up need to be counterbalanced with something to ensure your tone doesn’t get too muddy. Adding another plugin designed to work on the top end of the EQ spectrum such as a phaser or flanger could ensure your track doesn’t become monotonous or too overwhelming.

Ensure your plugins work with your guitar

This can be an easy one to overlook, but your guitar itself is responsible for a lot of your tone, as is how you play it. As sound designers, it is easy to get bogged down in the wealth of plugins and FX out there and easy to get extremely carried away with testing new ones, however, the relationship between your guitar, your interface, and your DAW is just as important to keep in mind. A guitar designed for metal such as an Ibanez will react differently to those fat, bluesy plugins you might be using for some of your slower tracks or guitar solos – especially if you sit somewhere in between genres- as a Les Paul would.

Make sure nothing gets lost in the mastering process

When mastering, it is important to remember that in the process of reaching for a polished song, it is vital not to let the quest for perfection get in the way of a real, human sounding recording. This is especially important for guitarists as whilst specialist production advice exists out there, a lot of the tutorials on how to use DAWs such as Logic X Pro are geared towards pop artists who may not necessarily be looking for a rough and ready sound in the same was as blues, rock, and metal artists might be. Therefore, whilst mastering any track, allow some of the imperfections to shine through, because they are what make each of them have a unique fingerprint.

Mix different instruments according to tone

Have you ever considered the tone of different instruments before you add plugins and FX? Your guitar might have a naturally really clean, bright sound, so adding a valve amp could be a good idea if you want it to sit a bit lower in the mix in order to bulk your track or leave room for other instruments on top. This is just one of the ways you can mix according to tone, and one of the best tricks is to consider your instruments as comparative and understand the before and after of each one – therefore, making heavy use of any mute switches for plugins can be a real-life saver.

Don’t forget to acknowledge the design and makeup of your plugins

This can be one for real lovers of sound design but acknowledging the design and creation process which went into your plugins means that you can understand them better and thus mix and master more cleanly and efficiently. Are you using true-to-life plugins modelled after real amps and FX pedals with all components inside just as exact? Or are you using strongly digitally inspired plugins such as some of the spacier sounds which have developed through plugins designed for the era of DAWs? It makes a difference it then you can know not only how these plugins interact with others technologically, but it will also inspire you to use them in more creative ways once you are more confident with them.

Know what you’re looking for as a result

Knowing your desired results can go a long way towards choosing plugins. Having an overall picture of the track complete with how you want it mixed and mastered as well as arrangement and how this will affect elements such as EQ means that this can enable you to understand how all your creative choices bounce off each other and interact. This can make the mixing and mastering process much easier because it makes you able to see how tracks are put together and taken apart again and how plugins, AUs, VSTs, and other FX come into this. Building a track from the results backwards can be a great exercise in experimenting with gear, and it also allows you to develop an identity for the track as a whole and thus yourself as a sound designer, guitarist, producer, and more.

But also, don’t be afraid to experiment.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s a reason why tracks often have multiple versions including demos, bootlegs, remixes, and radio edits. It can sometimes be hard to identify what a track really needs to feel complete, but this doesn’t matter because with multiple possibilities, you can experiment with your gear to your heart’s content. It can become easy to get carried away with plugins, so why not harness this into something which becomes a creative bonus? You may thank yourself for it in the future when you have more material to draw on or are looking for inspiration for something entirely new.

Conclusions

These are just some ideas which can help on your creative journey as a sound designer – allowing you to think about your musical endeavours differently and not get hung up by the common mistakes and misconceptions which can plague a lot of beginners by using the same deep understanding of your gear which underpins any great piece of sound design.

Inspiration from Analogue – 5 Fantastic Digital FX Inspired Directly By Real World Gear

Nowadays it is as easy as sitting down at a computer to make a good song. Sound design has been democratised with it no longer being necessary to have a full studio to create. However, whilst plugins are important, how you use them is also as significant. And choosing the correct plugins is not simply a matter of picking those which you like the look of or feel would work for your chosen genre. Just as plugin design involves taking something abstract such as a soundwave and combining it with the technology which can alter or modulate it, so does choosing plugins mean some thought is needed about what kind of sounds from real, live studio recordings you want to bring to your DAW. As guitarists, our physical instruments mean we are operating somewhere between digital and analogue even when working with a DAW – and the plugins featured in this article reflect this. Read on to find out this year’s top picks.

Mimicking Analogue Sound: How to Recreate a Full Studio on Your Desktop

Much goes into the process of designing plugins and it is a fine art to translate real life sound from amps and guitars onto a DAW. Some plugins even go as far as to use circuit modelling technology to precisely recreate the components within a physical stompbox or other piece of gear. These plugins below aren’t verbatim copies of real life stompboxes, but they all use creative ways of translating analogue soundwaves to digital FX and are great pieces of gear in themselves. Although roughly arranged by genre here, they are nevertheless all very versatile. Below is some inspiration and the best current FX on the market for those who wish to create studio tone from the comfort of their desktop.

Best For Indie:

PhoenixVerb is a brand-new collaboration between Exponential Audio and iZotope. iZotope was originally founded as a company aimed at musicians as opposed to engineers and so balanced the technicality of its products with easy-to-use interfaces which meant that musicians could simply focus on being creative as opposed to figuring out all of the mechanics of the product.

This shows through in PhoenixVerb’s distinctive dials and frequency display – it also has over 900 presets to help the musician on a time budget but also allows a sound designer to get deeper if desired with independent output controls for attack, tail, and early reflections. The verb’s frequency display is real time responsive to even the smallest changes and Exponential audio have modelled the sound to allow the musician control over every component of a soundwave, allowing for maximum independence and direct connection to the world of real studio sound when mixing and mastering.

https://www.izotope.com/en/shop/exponential-audio-phoenixverb.html

Specifications: Runs on Mac OSX Mountain Lion (10.8.5) to Mac OS X Catalina (10.15) and Windows 7 to Windows 10

Price: 99 USD

Best For Blues:

Waves Abbey Road Saturation – Waves Abbey Road Saturation FX plugin would be welcome for all genres, but for the rounded, warm, fuzzy sounds of blues, it is beyond comparison. It’s flexibility allows it to be used for all kind of warm sounds, whatever your niche may be, from rockabilly, blues, pop rock, or simply for adding a bit more warmth and depth to guitar recordings. Waves is modelled of the Abbey Road exclusive patented TG12345 desk distortion and has been dubbed the ‘compander’, compressing inputs and expanding outputs for a super-rich sound. As well as with its REDD distortion, it can be cranked up to add some grit and distortion proper to your heavier sounds or kept in the background adding layers of nuance.

https://www.waves.com/plugins/abbey-road-saturator#introducing-the-abbey-road-saturator-plugin

Specifications: Runs on MacOS 10.14.6, 10.15.7, 11.6.2, and 12.3. Also runs on Windows 10 64 bit and Windows 11.

Price: 29.99 USD

Best for Pop and Rock:

Chowdhury DSP – Chow Phaser. Made by independent American FX designer Justin Chowdhury, the Chow Phaser is modelled after a legendary piece of 70s analogue gear – the Schulte Compact Phasing ‘A’. This plugin is designed to have both mono and stereo features and prioritises roughness and warm to create nonlinear, multi-layered waves. The original Schulte Compact Phasing was used by artists as diverse as Kraftwerk, Ritchie Blackmore, and Pink Floyd. It’s interface allows for an incredible amount of fine tuning but it is the way this plugin mimics the warm sounds of the era it was based on that means it really brings the best of both worlds to your FX rack.

https://chowdsp.com/products.html

Specifications: Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Another great feature is full source code is also available on the designer’s website

Price: Free download from the designer’s website

FabFilter Saturn 2 – This plugin is currently one of the most talked about on the market and it’s modelling after real amps and FX is one of the things which has made it’s warm tone so appealing to many guitarists. The diversity of waveforms allows any musician to tune their FX to their satisfaction. It is also available for a 30-day free trial, meaning that you have plenty of time to test the FX to see which ones work for you before purchase. Saturn 2 also works with tape saturation but comes into its own when used for distortion overall.

https://www.fabfilter.com/products/saturn-2-multiband-distortion-saturation-plug-in

Specifications: Windows 7-11 or Vista, MacOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only)

Price: Free trial for 30 days and then 129 USD as single

Lastly, Krush by Tritik is a fantastic middle ground between the sharp noises of the digital real and the rich, fuzzy tones analogue afficionados look for. It contains both bitcrushing and an extremely flexible modulation centre which expands the number of sounds possible exponentially, enabling you to go from gritty high speed guitar to soft, ballad-ready overdrive. It’s analogue modelled low pass and high pass filters are a make it an unusual but therefore desirable sweet spot between the digital and analogue realms, offering the best of both worlds. Krush sits in a unique position where it can achieve some of the dirtier higher, and sharper sounds which you would expect from a digital VST as well as adding richness and depth from its analogue inspirations.

Krush

Specifications: Windows 7 or later and MacOS 10.9 or later

Price: Free

These are just some of the plugins on the market which are inspired heavily by specific analogue technologies – and though they span a wide range of prices and genres, the technology behind them shows how the sound of your favourite studio recordings can be translated to your own work. It’s no easy feat replicating the world of the studio for a DAW, but all these designers have done it extremely well and despite rough guidelines listed here, these plugins are worth investigation for guitarists of every genre and budget.

Your Identity as a Sound Designer: A Quick Cheatsheet for Using Plugins to Find Your Artistic Identity

It’s hard to find your identity as a guitarist. Whilst it may seem as if there are no more legends along the lines of Steve Vai or Eric Clapton, the meaning of being a guitarist is still constantly changing. Now the ease of digital sound design means everyone has access to similar gear, it’s up to the individual to use it creatively in order to convey a unique sound. Read on for how sound design can help do this and quick tips as to developing your own unique sound.

Sound Design Identity: Understand How DAWs Affect Artistic Identity

In the age of analogue, much of an artist’s sonic identity could come from their gear, whether that was a quirky, refurbished guitar, or the amps and cabinets available in the studio. The shape of the room, it’s furnishings, and the number of people present would all have affected the way the finished product turned out. On a DAW, consistent and controlled settings prevent this variability, thus the ability to create a unique sound belongs to the artist themselves. This means when using a DAW sound designers must get creative with adding the things which would come naturally with an analogue recording- layering reverbs, equalising, and mixing and mastering so their sound has just the right amount of distinctiveness – something especially important for guitarists where so much is reliant on tone and feeling to get the musical message across.

Sound Design Identity: Learn From Your Idols

How did your favourite producers, sound designers, or guitarists get to where they are today? None of them would have been perfect from the get go. What separates them from the thousands of guitarists who give up is the fact that they not only continued trying but that they fine-tuned and adapted their creative processes to avoid ever making the same mistakes twice.

As sound designers- whether you have a small bedroom set up and are just starting out or a personal studio and you may be wishing to reinvent your sound, using plugins to experiment with adding and subtracting things from your sound is one way of ensuring all your tracks are unique and carry that distinctive fingerprint which sets them out as yours and yours alone.

Sound Design Identity: Use Reference Tracks

Reference tracks are a heavy part of the production process, but for any sound designer there is always the risk of sounding too much like your inspirations. It can be frustrating when you don’t have access to the same gear as them and you may spend your time in the studio trying to find that perfect sound. The important thing to realise is that any alternatives you choose will mark you out as separate from your influences and therefore give you more of a creative edge. As a result, embracing differences and realising it’s impossible to sound exactly like your idols is one of the best ways forward – it can separate you from the hundreds of other guitarists who get stuck at this stage. Reference tracks are just that – references, and expecting your work to sound exactly like them limits your creative possibilities. Whether a producer or sound designer yourself – or a guitarist working with a team of other creatives – understanding this can be one of the most freeing parts of developing a creative identity.  

Sound Design Identity: Repurpose Plugins and Sounds

Default plugins on DAWs such as Logic are often geared towards some of the most crowd pleasing and popular sounds. This means harking back to the heyday of guitar with rock and hard rock oriented amps which are versatile enough to still be used in modern genres such as indie rock. But what if you want something different? Before shelling out on specialist gear to sound just like your influences, see if repurposing the default plugins on your DAW can achieve similar sounds at a fraction of the price and whilst simultaneously giving your music a distinctive edge. That metal plugin you bought on a whim and have now forgotten about as your band changed direction? Some of the reverb could sound great for one of your darker, moodier tracks, even if it doesn’t strictly fit into the genre.

Think Outside of the Boundaries of Genre

Out of the wealth of plugins available, many are often geared towards specific genres, especially in niches known to sell consistently such as blues. However, these genre labels need not limit you if you truly want to break boundaries a bit. If you’re a rock guitarist, why not use an indie style reverb for a ballad? Or taking that same reverb heavy noise of underground and indie music and using it for experimental or noise music? By looking at your own genre through the eyes of another, you can get a more accurate picture of where you stand within wider sound design and make creative movies which pinpoint your sound yet keep it familiar enough that it can draw in new listeners.

Know What You Need

There is a lot of advice out there on the internet and ultimately every sound designer ha their own way of working. If you haven’t yet found yours, it can be hard to tell what’s relevant. Knowing what you need can bring exponential growth in both your artistic and technical development. Are you a bedroom producer who simply wants some decent reverb to make those low key, soft guitars sound more emotional? Or are you knee deep in technical shred guitar recordings and are looking to ensure every note of a guitar solo shines through? By focusing on what you love, it’s easier to find what you need- and find plugins which really work for you in the process.

Overall, these are just some of the ways in which the process of sound design can help you define a distinctive identity as an artist. By seeing your artistic identity reflected in the plugins you use, waveforms you see, and creative choices which you make, you can further hone and develop your sense of yourself as a musician so that all your work has your own distinctive stamp on it – a compilation of the gear you use and the way you use it in a pattern completely unique to you.

Budget Sound Design Guide: Free Plugins and Alternative DAW Options for All Levels

They biggest myth in sound design is the idea that defining your own sound costs the earth. Not able to afford the most expensive plugins? Want something other than Logic X Pro? Read on for some hidden gems – completely free plugins which are versatile enough to shake up the way you think about sound whilst still being adaptable to most genres.

Budget Sound Design Tool: Peavey Revalver 4

Peavey is one of the oldest and most established amp brands but they have used their past successes as a springboard for new and versatile products. Peavey Revalver 4 is just one example of this and how fine attention to detail pays off to create stellar sound design for absolutely free!

With instrument modelling at the input and tone matching at the output as a result of its finely configured audio cloning technology, the Peavey Revalver 4 is completely true to life and takes its name from valve amplifiers, renowned for giving a deep and rich tone bringing human warmth and sonic touch to your recordings.

Revalver 4 also allows third party plugins, pedals, and VSTs to be added, meaning it is without a doubt one of the more flexible free plugins you can find. Not only does the Revalver 4 meet the needs of audiophiles everywhere with its commitment to mimicking the natural tone of classic Peavey gear. While the amp store provides paid additions, at its basic level, tone cloning, independent mic placement, and the ability to control features by MIDI mean it still has much to offer.

Revalver 4 is available for free download at the following link and works for both Windows and OSX.

https://revalver.peavey.com

Budget Sound Design Tool: Chameleon by Guitar ML

It’s only occasionally you find such a hidden gem in the world of sound design. Whilst most plugin designers seek a competitive edge within the market, honing their skills so they can become the best at what they do, occasionally a designer breaks outside the mould to create something which really has a unique selling point. For a free plug in – and for what it does – Chameleon by Guitar ML is absolutely one of these.

Over the course of a song, the sound created by a guitar is in a state of constant motion, and this is responsible for much of the dynamism of both live music and analogue recordings. Chameleon by Guitar ML has gone one step further than most plugin designers, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a plugin which models three real world samples to create a virtual amp head. This is therefore the ideal plugin for those looking to develop an ear for sonic nuance, with less but richer and deeper options and extreme amounts of control.

Chameleon is available forWindows 7 and up, Mac 10.11 and up, as well as Linux. More information can be found on their website.

https://guitarml.com

Budget Sound Design Tool: Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla Supermassive is all about reverb, reverb, and more reverb. Named after interstellar phenomena, it’s different settings all conjure up ethereal, spacey sounds which bring a dramatic edge to your sound design.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. For free, there is no reason not to give this plugin a try. Valhalla Supermassive has a clean interface and easy to use controls – perfect for anyone who wants to shake things up without learning too many new skills. Easy to master, it can be used both in moderation to add something subtle or to go all out and drown your guitar in dreamlike, deep space sounds ready to redefine anything from shoegaze to doom metal.

One of the biggest pros of this plugin is the neutrality of the sounds in the first place – they are bold and adaptable to any genre – a stellar plugin at zero cost and with plenty of features to explore.

It’s latest version (1.5.0) is available for both Mac and Windows computers with Intel and Arm features also available for Apple M1. This update sees VST fixes for Studio One and FL Studio as well.

https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-supermassive/

Logic Pro X’s Amp/Pedalboard designer

It is extremely easy to overlook the options which are right there at our fingertips. Most of us graduate from Garageband to Logic X Pro or an alternative DAW very, very early on in our musical careers, often skipping it entirely.

However, for anyone with a Mac, Garageband is a worthwhile feature to investigate because of its availability alone – plus the achievement of working creatively with some of the most default plugins. Logic’s Amp/Pedalboard designer may not have the reviews, renown, finesse, or attention of the rest of what is out there, it’s important not to overlook what it has to offer. The humble pedalboard designer contains amps styled after those by Mesa, Orange, Vox, Marshall, and Fender, plus rare boutique cabinets, seven microphone options, and the ability to reposition the mic at will. Though not as specialist as some other plugins on the market, these generalist options mean it’s literally up to you how you use them – pushing your creativity to new heights.  

Naturally, Pedalboard Designer has been developed for IOS, and comes with Logic, though can be accessed freely on Garageband if you wish to test it before downloading Logic itself.

Reaper: An Alternative, Budget DAW as Worthwhile as Logic

With three hidden-gem, free plugins, and an unconventional option on the list, what about your DAW itself in terms of budget gear? Whilst most producers and sound designers choose to work on macs and use Logic or other popular DAWs such as Ableton, Reaper is an overlooked budget DAW which has a 60 day free trial period and after that costs only $60 for a discounted licence. Whilst commercial licences cost more – at $225 – Reaper is very easy to begin with at a low cost and offers plenty of freedom for deciding whether it is for you or not.

At a cheaper price, Reaper has a pretty mind-boggling range of VSTs and plugins. It’s simplicity and the fact it doesn’t cost the earth makes it great for sound designers on a budget who are happy stretching themselves to adapt to a new piece of software.

https://www.reaper.fm/download.php

Reaper is adaptable, supporting Linux with Intel and Arm, MacOs 10.5-12, and Windows from Windows XP to Windows 11 as well as working with WINE.

These are just some of the budget friendly options on the market, however, with them it is entirely possible to create a sound design setup for a very small amount – one which, when you get to know it, is as useful as any at a higher price or with seemingly more sophisticated gear.

The Hippie era and the Californian Desert: A guide to the guitar sound which created a musical phenomenon

Note – this article is not necessarily intended as a guide to the specific pedals out there on the market or used by musicians. Instead, it gives a deeper look into the mechanics of each of these kinds of effects – how they work to create the sounds that they do, and how this in turn shaped the musical era when these became popular- both in the public imagination and in the way guitarists continue to use them today. Any of these kinds of pedal can be found in both digital and analogue form, with digital pedals for sound design altering the wave form in a very similar way to their analogue counterparts.

The two decades spanning the 1960s to the 1970s were a seminal and pioneering period of music. As society became less restrictive, all forms of new subcultures were born. Beginning with The Beatles, who took a strong influence from Indian ragas – and ending with Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, in this period music technology saw exponential growth in response to changes in demand by the music industry. Luthiers, technicians, and electronics specialists were able to showcase their skills with the design of new sounds and repurposing of old sounds.

These new sounds led to musicians redefining what it meant to play guitar. Sound recordings became increasingly complex, and memorabilia from the era has become prized within the market. Conjuring up vistas of the desert areas of California, with their rocky outcrops, stunning saguaro cacti, and the backdrop to many a Hollywood movie, guitarists in the sixties were all about distorting the sound of the original note through effects which aimed as much for edgy rebellion as for a mellow, rich, soulful tone with plenty of harmonics and different layers. Jimi Hendrix is one of the most notable as he held the stage through the raw feeling of his distorted version of the Star-Spangled Banner. Below are some of the pedals which became popular within the era – and a guide to their internal mechanisms for anyone curious about the creation of its signature sounds.  

Wah

This pedal was most famously used by Hendrix – and is designed to make a crying sound come out of the guitar. Wah pedals work by adding a filter to the original sound which is controlled when the pedal is activated, as well as by controls which may vary from pedal to pedal. As a result, parts of the soundwave are chopped off, boosting the midrange, and excluding the extremities to make the guitar sound as if it has literally developed a voice of its own. This mid-range boost is a very characteristic part of its technology, mellowing out the sound- making it richer, fuller, and more human. On any DAW, the wah pedal is one of the most commonly included pedal in any FX library, due to its popularity and versatility.                                                      

Fuzz

The fuzz pedal – another characteristic sound of the sixties and seventies desert rock era – uses a phenomenon called clipping to create a very different kind of distortion from both wah pedals and the myriad overdrive pedals available on the market. This means that so much gain is applied to the signal that it distorts, hitting a threshold which essentially causes the soundwave to double back on itself and overlap, causing a very grainy, thick sounding wall of noise. Whilst clipping is undesirable in the mixing and mastering process, within a fuzz pedal, all runs smoothly based off a very simple circuit and the resulting sound is much softer than the process within the mechanics might suggest. In fact, this is one of the gentler forms of guitar distortion, used by pop rock bands all throughout the sixties and seventies but also perfect for the slower ballads of harder rock acts. Like the wah pedal, the fuzz pedal is a staple of pretty much all DAWs, and there are plenty of options.

Tremolo

Tremolo bars became a characteristic feature of classic American rock ‘n’ roll towards the end of the era as guitar effects moved on in their sophistication. As rock music became more complex and the solos contained higher and more intense riffs, tremolo bars were favoured to give a ‘wobbly’, distorted sound to high notes.

Tremolo can refer to both the tremolo or whammy bar – which is a feature on certain kinds of guitar – as well as to tremolo pedals, which use very small, frequent alterations in either pitch, volume, or both to create a vibrato effect. Both square and sine waves distort the original signal differently, with distortion in this case referring to a way of altering the notes, which is different to the emphasis of undertones, overtones, and overlapping waves in fuzz, wah, and overdrive pedals. Therefore, they are invaluable for cleaner solos and different sounds when rock or metal guitarists want to take a break and go clean again. A tremolo is easily found on many FX plugins on DAWs such as Logic and Ableton.

Distortion/Overdrive

Classic distortion is one of the most recognisable sounds of the era, and music legend has it that it first became a significant part of rock history when the Rolling Stones stomped on their amps to record their now classic song (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. As a result, millions of other artists craved the sound which set them apart and provided a sense of edgy rebellion against the puritanism, clean sounds and lyrics of the fifties as middle America really came into being. The distorted sound became synonymous with music which set its listeners apart a little bit. It’s not hard to find distortion/overdrive on any DAW – and the multitude of choices means there is something for everyone, though as a result careful consideration is needed to find the perfect sound for your track.

Phaser

This pedal is most synonymous with the early seventies when Led Zeppelin began using it in their guitar solos to great effect. During this time, rock music began getting heavier. The phaser pedal is one which creates a sweeping sound by filtering the original signal via a sound processor. It has a series of peaks and troughs in its frequency attenuation graph, and thus when the positions of the peak’s changes, it makes the original note sound as if it is sweeping up and down due to the constantly changing frequencies within the pedal’s filter. As a result, this can be used to great dramatic effect. Phaser plugins range from state of the art to basic and can be found for all styles of guitar from psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll to heavy metal.

How have these sounds become associated with the Californian desert and how have they been repurposed for today?

Every era of music has its distinctive and characteristic sounds, but these sounds are some of the most evocative of a particular place and time because of the emotional and historical significance of the music which was created there. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix were pioneers of the music which shaped the minds and hearts of the youth at the time as well as bands such as Deep Purple, America, and earlier bands such as The Beatles and the Mamas and the Papas- and which for many who remember the era, this music still holds an extremely special place due to the memories of freedom and rebellion associated with it.

The Californian Desert was also the location of many historical festivals such as Woodstock – and saw the birth of musical get togethers which are still going on to this day. As a result, it is sometimes impossible to think of this era without also recalling the desert sounds and mesa outcrops which painted the backdrop to these festivals. Even to this day, the branding and decoration of some of these evokes the period with psychedelic lettering and bold colours, and the types of pedals in this article are perfect for bringing this era back to life or repurposing it’s sounds.  

How to Use the Major and Minor Musical Scale In Composition

A musical scale is a collection of notes that when played together sound “at home”, “normal” and “natural”. If you don’t consider scales and just compose by ear, your music will risk sounding “dissonant”, which basically means non-musical. The Major and Minor musical scales are the two most important scales in western music and are found everywhere from Christmas music to radio hits. They are some of the foundational building blocks of music theory and one of the first places many musicians begin with their theory knowledge. Generally, major scales sound ‘happy’ and ‘minor’ scales sound sad; nevertheless, a deeper look shows their musical makeup is inherently different. When used in compositions, it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart – chord progressions based off major scales can contain minor chords, and progressions based off minor scales can contain major chords. Breaking down the music theory can help you understand which is which and how to use them in composition.

How to Use the Major Musical Scale in Composition

The major scale is incredibly versatile and used in blues, rock, singer songwriter, RnB, folk, and much more. Like any scale, it is a sequence of intervals (gaps between notes) which creates a set of notes to be used to build chords and compose. It is identical to Ionian mode in modal music. Generally it has an upbeat, climactic, ‘happy’ feeling to it.

To use the major scale, it is easiest to focus on chord progressions. The most common chord progression in the major scale is the I – VI – V chord progression. Notes are numbered in order and each note has a particular chord attached to it These can be major or minor depending on which note in the scale the chord is based off, but the general pattern for the major scale uses Roman numerals to number the chords as follows, with lower case numerals indicating minor chords and upper case numerals indicating major.

I – ii (minor) – iii – IV – V – vi – VII(7)

The fully major I – IV – V progression is often followed by a minor vi chord which provides a sense of tension before the progression resolves to I again. This enables the chord progression to have a mixture of emotions which makes the composition more interesting and varied.

How to Use the Minor Musical Scale in Composition

The minor scale can be used similarly – by building chord progressions based on the notes of the scale. Like the major scale, each chord aligns to each note. However, the sequences of steps between the notes is different. Because the scale resolves (gives a feeling of completion) to a minor note, it is helpful to keep in mind that a composition generally needs major chords to lighten the atmosphere and ensure the song does not get too tense – except when deliberately trying to create a sense of sadness, but also of mystery, suspense, or eeriness.

The minor scale contains a diminished chord, also known as a tritone, which has a flattened fifth. This chord has a particularly tense and eerie feeling which is often used in horror movies or music like heavy metal. The chord numbering for the minor scale goes like this:

I – ii(diminished) – III – iv – v – VI – VII

Both major and minor scales can be used to create basslines in genres ranging from rock, indie, punk, or underground music set up. Knowing the scale means you can work out the related chord progressions which are possible – and from there identify the bass note of each chord.

These bass notes can be used to create a bassline which follows the chord progression tying together a composition in a way which is both satisfying and relatively simple to compose.

With a little bit of practice, the musical scales will come second nature to you!

Want to explore more music theory? Then come on down to our Musical Education category where we have prepared a lot of articles similar to this one – click here!

Is it Possible to Use Both Major and Minor Musical Scales in a Composition?

It is possible to switch from a major key (one based off a major scale) and a minor key in the same composition. This is done with a pivot chord which balances the different moods of the scales. It is a creative way of using the major and minor musical scale in composition, although it takes some music theory knowledge. There are many ways to learn theory in depth – but one of the most comprehensive and accessible courses on the internet can be found on Udemy. Jason Allen’s comprehensive music theory course, teaches theory at a college level, covering chord inversions, harmony, and even technical analysis of the building blocks of music, such as what it means to be in tune. Extremely satisfying for musical inspiration, it has racked up five-star reviews and been enjoyed by over 90,000 students so far.

Find this Udemy course by clicking here, we can’t recommend it enough!

Here is a representation of the major and minor scales on the piano keys

Variations on the Minor Scale

There are several variations on the minor scale, but two of the most common are harmonic minor and melodic minor. Harmonic minor has a tense sound which comes from raising the seventh note of the scale a half step upwards, making it sharp. The sound is often associated with Eastern scales such as the Persian scale – which uses these kinds of intervals – yet it is also found in Western music from the medieval era onwards.  

As well as the spooky sounding diminished chord, keys based off the harmonic minor scale also contain an augmented chord – with a raised, as opposed to flattened fifth. This creates a complex, jazzy sound which can be used to provide interest and relief – very different from the diminished chord.

This is the numbering of the chords for the harmonic minor scale:

I – ii(dim) – iii(aug) – iv – V – VI – vii (dim)

On the other hand, the melodic minor musical scale differs from the natural minor scale by raising the sixth and seventh notes up a half step when ascending. When descending, the scale becomes the same as the natural minor scale.

Ascending:

I – ii – III – IV – V – vi – vii

Descending:

VII – VI – v – iv – III – ii(dim) – I

Digital Music Theory Tools – Composing With Plugins

Music theory is a topic which, once explored, can be an endless source of fascination and inspiration. Sometimes, it can be hard to know where to stop, or what is and isn’t needed for composing a song. For those who wish to cut through the noise, some nifty plugins can help with doing so right alongside the composition. This does not mean that you don’t need to know music theory, it just means that there are tools to make your life a little easier when you try out different composition parts.

Scaler 2 by Plugin Boutique is fast, intuitive, and great for multitasking. You can get the plugin by clicking here! Reviewed in Beat Magazine and MusicTech, it has so far been given the thumbs up by over 30,000 musicians.

Pentatonic Scale: Music Theory to Create Tonal Quality in Composition

The pentatonic scale is a mainstays of American and Western music from folk, Appalachian ballads, and blues to roots rock and country and western. The minor pentatonic, with its deeper, darker sound, is more commonly used in blues and folk-rock, whilst the major pentatonic scale is more suited to country and western, with a twangier sound used in slide guitar playing and chicken picking techniques.

The major pentatonic scale is obtained by taking the normal (natural) major scale and removing two notes: the fourth note and the seventh note. All the notes that remain (five, or penta) create this scale, which is considered a very stable and strong scale, mostly fitted for bass or melodies where you are certain about the feelings that they transmit.

The minor pentatonic scale follows the natural minor but only has five notes instead of seven. Here, the second and flattened sixth notes are removed, giving a scale which sounds warm and pleasing, somewhere in between major and minor and neither eastern nor western. Also known as the blues scale, it has built modern pop music – pioneers of pop like the Beatles have taken inspiration from the blues and rock’n’roll tracks of their predecessors.

Both the major and minor pentatonic scale have a tonal quality. They do not have any semi tones in them – due to the notes which have been removed, they instead contain whole major third and minor third intervals respectively and this lends them a lilting quality like that found in Celtic music, taking them away from the conventions of classical composition.

If you are looking to deepen your knowledge of music theory, we have a whole category of articles, which can be accessed by clicking here.

How to use the theory of the major and minor pentatonic scale in composition:

Firstly, it depends on what genre you are composing. As above, certain genres lend themselves to certain scales more easily. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be exchanged. The third interval in the scale can also be used in composition to provide a lift and drive the bassline and chord progression into the chorus.

Each note of the scale is linked to a chord which is either major or minor, although to preserve the tonal quality of the scales, power chords can also be used. These are chords where the third- whether major or minor – has been removed – meaning that they are completely neutral and can be used to pivot between different keys – or even from the major pentatonic scale to the minor pentatonic scale and vice versa, with the blues/country composition ‘Windy and Warm’ by Chet Atkins being a case in point.

The minor pentatonic scale is also the basis for twelve bar blues. This is a traditional progression of chords from the American South which can easily be soloed over on guitar or used as the building blocks for composition in multiple genres such as those mentioned above.

I – I – I – I

IV – IV – I – I

V – IV – I – V

This is just the start of music theory – even in themselves, the major and minor pentatonic scales are useful for so much more than just soloing and the twelve-bar blues. Find an in depth, completely comprehensive, engaging, and enjoyable Udemy course by clicking here, with Jason Allen – available in seven languages, it covers everything you need and more.

Another useful technological tool for musicians in the Plugin Boutique Scaler 2.

This plugin not only allows you to learn music theory alongside producing your own work, it’s intuitive, simple, and has everything you need to take your music into your hands without having to get into the nitty gritty details – perfect for those musicians who prefer to learn on the go. Of course, it also covers the pentatonic scale. Find it by clicking here!

8 Effective Hacks That Will Help You Learn Jazz

In recent years, people have been captivated by the magic of jazz. People who love this music genre can’t get enough of it and want to learn as much about it as possible. It’s a beautiful style that is hard to reproduce, but easy to appreciate. Are you thinking about taking up jazz? Here are 8 effective hacks that will help you learn jazz in no time.

In recent years, people have been captivated by the magic of jazz. People who love this music genre can’t get enough of it and want to learn as much about it as possible. It’s a beautiful style that is hard to reproduce, but easy to appreciate. Are you thinking about taking up jazz? Here are 8 effective hacks that will help you learn jazz in no time.

1) Learn your major scales

While at first glance it may seem like you are learning the same scales as classical musicians, this is not the case. Jazz has its own set of rules that require special attention. Major scales are important for improvisation and understanding what chords go with which keys. For example, if you play a C major scale over an F7 chord, it will not sound good. Your scale will clash with the chord, which is how you know that it’s the wrong one to use. It’s important to learn your major scales in all 12 keys so that you can avoid this problem.

You may want to sit down and just run through these scales without an instrument, but practicing on an instrument is better. If you play a saxophone, practice your scales while playing that instrument. Use a piano or guitar to practice if that’s what you play. You will get faster at the scale and be able to go over it more efficiently by practicing with an instrument in hand.

2) Use a cheat sheet to learn jazz

If time is an issue, you might consider using a cheat sheet or fake book as it is also called to help you with learning jazz. It’s basically a simple document where you put all the chord changes and lyrics of your tune in there, and then print it out. Put this sheet on a stand right next to you as you practice the chords on your instrument(s). Eventually, you will know the tune by heart.  If you are just starting to learn jazz, then now is the time to get a new fake book to use in the middle of practicing chords. It helps you remember because it offers you a collection of jazz songs you can play in one handbook. Aside from that, the fake book can help you learn music more quickly without investing hours and hours trying to learn songs or recordings. However, all you need to do is to ensure that you get the right one because there are a lot of them in the market today.

3)  Listen to jazz often to learn jazz

This might seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out. The thing with jazz is that it’s an art form based on iteration and improvisation, which means you can’t really learn the  art of improvising by studying a bunch of examples in textbooks or notation alone. You have to practice doing it yourself, over and over again. And the best way to do that is by listening to jazz, which includes musicians improvising on real-time recordings. Listening helps you understand the art more, and gives you the inspiration to try out what you just heard. Honestly, there’s no other way to learn it.

4) Transcribe Music and Practice Your Transcriptions

When musicians are first learning jazz, they often rely heavily on using jazz language to improvise. Once you have a working vocabulary, however, it’s time to expand your knowledge by transcribing. Transcribing simply means listening to the recordings of great improvisers and writing their solos down by ear .

The goal is not necessarily to learn all of the notes, but to learn how great players construct solos. Learning the vocabulary is only the first step – learning how to create with that vocabulary is where things get interesting.

5) Learn your major and minor triads

To help you learn your major and minor triads, many musicians recommend singing the root of the chord followed by the type of chord (major or minor) while playing it on an instrument. This is a great way to get the sound in your head and into your ear. Once you can hear these chords in Major and Minor form separately, you will be able to hear when a jazz musician uses chords from the major or minor scale.

Learning the major and minor triads for every key in your instrument’s range can help you with improvisation, playing backup, and even writing jazz songs in any key.

6) Learning how to improvise to learn jazz

In the words of Bassist Matt Penman , “In order to really improvise well, you have to have a good command of the changes and be able to hear them in your head.” How can we apply this? Here are our recommendations for this one:

Record. A great way to really learn the changes is by recording yourself playing with them over and over again . You will be able to hear your progress, which helps you improve much more than simply playing in front of your mirror (which I am definitely guilty of). Write out solos. If soloing on recordings is not for you, try writing out your solos on paper. That’s right, write it out note for note.

This one is really great for those who are not as comfortable writing or improvising on the spot. If this is you, write down a tune and play it over and over again . Once you have become familiar with it, start to create solos of your own.

7) Learn Common Chord Progressions and Rhythms

Jazz is characterized by a certain chord and rhythmic pattern. If you know these patterns, it’s like learning the language of music. There are four common chords in Jazz: major 7th, dominant 7th, half-diminished seventh and minor 7th flat 5 (which is also known as a minor flatted 5th).

Learning these four chords will give you the ability to improvise with the most common chord progressions in Jazz.

8) Get Your Arpeggios Up to Shape

It’s important to know what arpeggios are and how they apply to jazz. An arpeggio is just a fancy way of saying that we’re going to learn each chord as a separate entity (like learning triads in music theory). So rather than thinking, “I’m playing C Major 7 here,” instead play the C Major 7 arpeggio and hear all of the chord tones. If we learn each chord as a separate entity and get good at recognizing them, it makes transposing and soloing that much easier.

Finally, the next steps of learning how to play Jazz are putting these different elements together and getting your ear involved more. Try spending some time playing songs that you like with a teacher or bandmate. This will help you get comfortable improvising while remembering things like chord progressions and rhythms of the tune at the same time. This will help you learn the changes, melodies and rhythms in each song you are learning. Jazz is a complex style of music that takes years to master, however knowing these key elements can make getting started on your Jazz journey much easier.

TrainYourEars – GREAT Music ear training software – Honest Review

What is Train Your Ears?

Train Your Ears is a revolutionary new Music ear training software tool for fine-tuning your ears and mind to the frequencies of different bandwidths, thereby showing you the differences between different sounds at a technical level as well as comparing before and after a bandwidth is changed. A fantastic product for both beginners and seasoned musicians alike, it goes into the granular details of equalisation, bringing a new perspective to a tool all music producers have encountered yet which is so commonplace that it normally becomes an accepted part of production. Train Your Ears is an incomparable way for all musicians to think more deeply about EQ – and in turn about their own music.

Why purchase this music ear training software?

Outside of simply requesting the user to match EQ bands with examples of noise which has been cut or boosted, this music ear training software allows you to move bands around to your liking and experiment with the interface to fine tune your understanding of how it works. In fact, Train Your Ears lets you literally take sound apart and reconstruct it – simply by listening to the different frequencies which resonate within it. So far, no other product comes close to giving the user this amount of freedom to experiment with sound – Train Your Ears is virtually unparalleled in giving musicians a way to EQ which matches their composition process.

When purchasing a DAW, there are many options for an EQ plugin which works for you. We have just recently reviewed probably the best new EQ software right now – Eventide Split EQ, read the review here. However, all of these tend to leave the user alone in terms of working out how to use them. In fact, they presume a pre-existing knowledge of the EQ process. Train Your Ears is therefore totally novel in letting artists combine it with any EQ plugin they wish to show you not just how the technology itself works but how noise itself interacts, creating real effects on the sounds of a song.

How to use the Train Your Ears music ear training software?

Too many articles on the internet attempt to teach EQ and fail because they are explaining a very nuanced concept in words – and yet it is one which is much better shown than told.

Train Your Ears does away with all the unnecessary written details and goes straight into showing you the difference between two versions of the exact same piece of music – one with EQ and one without. A typical practice session has seven bands which correspond to the division of EQ into bandwidths on a typical DAW such as Logic or Ableton.

It is very important for music ear training software products to provide the user with as much interaction as possible.

After a sample is played, it encourages you to match the audio with the corresponding bandwidth change, determining by how much it has been boosted or cut. Checking afterwards will then confirm how accurate your ear is.

The training session will then ask you to change the EQ’d signal so that once again it manages to sound the same as the original, and you are able to check afterwards to see if it is correct. The product also contains a monitor which allows you to see the exact level in decibels by which the signal has been boosted or cut, allowing a precise measurement of the amount of sound.

You can check the price for this product on the Train Your Ears website, by clicking here.

Once you install the product, be sure to check their own documentation and exercises by clicking here.

Here is an example assignment for Train Your Ears

Personal Review

I personally found that the software easily translated from a digital product to actual, tangible results which I was able to apply to my own music. At first, I was not able to hear the difference between the subtleties of different bandwidths and the smaller, technical divisions music falls into such as bass and sub-bass, but with even a small amount of time spent listening to Train Your Ears, I found myself becoming more finely attuned, simply because I had reference points.

By allowing the usage of songs which are already familiar, the music ear training software product manages to hold attention and makes the process of getting deep into some of the most subtle and technical aspects of music much easier. It translates terminology which is understandable first and foremost to those who are intimately familiar with the equipment into something manageable for most if not all musicians to turn into a fantastic reference for their own production skills.

It could be assumed that the applicability of this technology heavily depends on the style of music you are producing. Some genres, such as heavy metal, have very specific, niche methods of production which do not necessarily align to the customary methods of EQ’ing. Therefore, for those working in these genres, one key point for Train Your Ears would be if it is adaptable to managing other methods of working. Personally, I found the interface had a beautiful cleanliness and simplicity – which means it is flexible enough that in the hands of someone familiar with their genre, it can be adapted to suit any kind of music.

Pointing out the different bandwidths numerologically also means that there is a tangible, logical, concrete result for any EQ changes. EQ changes are not just an abstract wall of sound – instead they are given as precise numerical data so you can see exactly which bandwidth has been changed and where – as well as keeping track of multiple boosts and cuts.

You can check the price for this product on the Train Your Ears website, by clicking here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Train Your Ears is an indispensable way to get more in depth and understand the full picture of how EQ works before applying it to your own music. Any musician can benefit from it – whether novices or pros, it shows the real vibrations and elements which make up any production. Not only this, it does this in the abstract whilst also directly linking the sound you hear to measurable values.

In this way, it is a really valuable piece of kit – and most importantly gives you a way to change in real time an equalised piece of music to make it match the original again – demonstrating how much EQ’ing can change the sound of a song but also how, with the right skills, it is possible to manipulate it at multiple levels to reach a broader and more nuanced picture of your production, therefore giving the artist more freedom.

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