RCF HD12-A: The Best Live Sound Speakers You’ve Never Heard Of


Last year, I was in the market for some compact, lightweight, loud PA speakers for my own live sound system. I considered the Yamaha DSR112–a favorite in the powered speaker market, and one of the loudest in its class. But I was somewhat put off by the heavier weight and relatively high price compared to other similar speakers. Then I discovered the RCF HD12-A. The HD12-A seemed to fit the bill for what I was looking for. It’s a compact, lightweight, powered speaker that has excellent sound quality and can go really loud–some say on the order of the DSR112. Continue Reading »

Balanced Rewire Mod for Pyle PDMIC78 and PDMIC58 Microphones

I recently posted over at the micmodkits.com site about how to do the balanced rewire mod for the Pyle PDMIC78 & PDMIC58, which are two popular clones of the Shure SM57 and SM58. Check it out, if you haven’t already:


Sbode Bluetooth Earbuds Review


In addition to my involvement with pro audio and recording, I also do a fair amount of casual music listening and consuming other media on my phone, tablet, and computer. At the office, I’ve typically used a pair of standard wired earbuds for listening to music on my computer while I work. Apart from being a little bass-heavy, those earbuds (some cheapies I bought from Monoprice) have always sounded fine, but somehow the fabric-covered wires often get twisted, tangled, and knotted-up in such a way that I find myself spending more time than I like just straightening out the cables. At home, I’ve used a pair of regular wired headphones (some budget-priced Sennheisers) for listening to music or watching movies on my phone before going to sleep at night. However, those headphones tend to block out too much background noise (I actually WANT to hear any unexpected “bumps in the night”), and the 6-ft cable on them can also be cumbersome. More than once, I’ve tripped and nearly fallen just getting out of bed while wearing them. To that end, I recently found myself in the market for a wireless listening solution, which led me to the Sbode Bluetooth Earbuds. After testing them out for a few weeks now, they’ve left a very positive impression.
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How to Choose a Drum Set


A common conversation I have around Christmas time each year goes something like this: “Hey, you play the drums, right? I want to buy a drum set for my child/grandchild/husband/etc., but I don’t know what to buy. What kind of drums should I buy, where should I buy them, and how much should I expect to spend?” I’ve had this same conversation so many times that it inspired me to write this article. So in the future, when people ask me, I can simply send them a link to the article, they can go read it, and (hopefully) find answers to their questions. As you’ll see, this isn’t an easy question with a quick and easy answer. Asking “what kind of drums should I buy?” is similar to asking “what kind of car should I buy?”, so it evokes a necessarily lengthy response. Continue Reading »

Tom Mic Shootout Revisited

A few years ago, I blogged about a tom mic shootout that I conducted between two very popular mics for toms: the Sennheiser e604 and the CAD M179. At that time, I had been using the e604’s for recording my tom tracks and really wasn’t too thrilled with them. Meanwhile, I had been reading many positive reviews about what a great tom mic the CAD M179 made, so I ordered a pair to try them out. Continue Reading »

Finding Your Room’s Sweet Spot for Recording Drums


An all-important detail that isn’t mentioned in many articles about recording acoustic drums is how important it is to find the “sweet spot” in your room where the drums sound their best. I found this out the hard way. Since building my studio several years back, I’ve always set up the drums roughly centered along one of the longer walls (my room is 24′ x 22′), with the drummer’s back to the wall. This just seemed to be the logical place to set them up. It allowed me plenty of room to work around the kit when setting up the mics, allowed good visual communication between the drummer and the other band members, and it kept the kit somewhat out of the way for when people walk through the live room to the control room (which is on the opposite end of the building from the front door). It also allowed my own band plenty of room to set up a guitar amp on one side of the kit and a bass amp on the other for rehearsals, since that’s how things would normally be set up on stage during a live performance. Continue Reading »

Yamaha CBR12 Passive Speaker Review


The Yamaha CBR series of loudspeakers are passive versions of Yamaha’s powered DBR series. It uses the same cabinets and (presumably) the same drivers as the DBR, minus the built-in mixer and power amp, and (being passive) include a passive internal crossover network. The DBR12 generally gets very good reviews from owners, so my expectations for the passive CBR12 were high when I purchased 4 of them to use primarily for monitor wedges. I wasn’t disappointed. Continue Reading »

Behringer P16 Personal In Ear Monitoring System


The P16 is Behringer’s personal in-ear monitoring system. The features and performance of this system rival that of competing systems (e.g. Aviom, Allen & Heath) that cost 4 or 5 times as much as the Behringer. After using the P16 at church twice a week for over a year now, I thought it was time for a comprehensive review of this system for others who may be interested, but may be unsure of exactly what components they need to integrate it into their own existing sound system. Continue Reading »

The Stereo-to-Mono Summing Cable That No One Makes


Have you ever used a stereo-to-mono “Y-cable” or TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve)-to-TS(Tip/Sleeve) cable for combining two audio outputs together, or for summing the Left and Right channels from a single stereo output to mono? For example, maybe you wanted to connect the stereo outputs of your computer, CD player, iPod, iPad, Android tablet or phone into a single 1/4″ input channel on an audio mixer. Or maybe you needed to sum a stereo signal to mono for connecting to a single subwoofer. Or maybe you were mixing a song in your home recording studio and needed to check your mixes in mono on a single “grot box”, like the Auratone or one of its clones (Avantone Mix Cube, Behringer Behritone C5A, C50A, etc.). If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably done this, but what you may not know is this: a Y-cable or stereo-to-mono cable used to SPLIT a signal into two outputs is being used properly. A Y-cable used to MIX or COMBINE two signals into one input is being abused, and may even damage your equipment! Continue Reading »

In Ear Monitoring with the Behringer X-Air XR18


As I’ve written about previously, I’m the proud owner of a Behringer X-Air XR18 digital Wi-fi mixer. I love this thing. After using it for about a year now, I could never imagine going back to an analog mixer and a huge rack full of heavy analog gear for my live sound system. One of the things I like about the XR18 is its flexibility. When I recently decided to go to a wired in-ear monitor system for myself (I’m the drummer in the band), I discovered there are no fewer than 3 options for doing so with the XR18. The other guys in the band will continue to use floor wedges, but after getting accustomed to using in-ear monitors at church for several months now (and abusing my own ears mercilessly for over 25 years playing drums), I decided to do the same thing with my own PA system. Continue Reading »