What is Auto-Tune, and is it OK to Use in Your Home Recording Studio?

You've been hearing it for more than 10 years, even before Cher released "Do You Believe in Love," though you may not realize it. Antares Auto-Tune is an audio manipulation program that allows a user to change the pitch (another way of saying "tune") of any sound. It started out life as a tool to make audio production easier and faster. And for folks doing home recording studios to record their voice, it was the holy grail. Auto-Tune is a brand name, but the effect it produces is becoming so wide-spread that it's getting to be a generic term for pitch-correction software tools. Probably its biggest competitor is Celemony Melodyne . They all do pretty much the same thing - namely, move out-of-tune musical notes to where they were supposed to be. For example, if a singer recorded a song, … [Read more...]

Review of IK Multimedia’s iRig Microphone For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Home recording is our thing at Home Brew Audio. And in that capacity we are making it our mission to spread the word that professional sounding audio is do-able for just about anyone. The technology leaps in the past few years make professional audio recording affordable to pretty much everyone with a computer and microphone. That’s what we’ve been saying. But IK Multimedia is challenging even the need for a computer now! We’re still a bit shell-shocked about their new products for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. These include the iRig Mic, iRig AmpliTube electric guitar/bass adapter, and the iKlip microphone stand adapter for the iPad. Today we’re going to talk about the iRig Mic. So what is the iRig Mic? It is a condenser microphone that you can plug into your iPhone, iPad or iPod … [Read more...]

Wind Across US Open Microphone Causing Distraction

At the US Open Men's final, heavy winds blowing across the umpire's microphone caused a very loud, deep noise to echo across the court. Announcer John McEnroe said "Someone should tell the umpire to turn his mic off - it's distracting to the players." This just goes to show that even though microphone windshields help greatly, they cannot completely eliminate that wind noise. I wrote a few days ago about the very large and peculiar-looking windshield being used by the US Open tennis umpires, the Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield. Read more about that here: http://homebrewaudio.co/microphone-used-by-chair-umpire-at-us-open-tennis-tournament/ … [Read more...]

A Mic Preamp for Your iPhone or iPad – The IK Multimedia iRig Pre

Meet the new iRig PRE from IK Multimedia, a microphone preamplifier (preamp) that works with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This thing is, as usual from IK Multimedia, awesome. It allows you to plug any microphone (I'll say that again in case it didn't sink in..."any microphone") into your iOS device. So how is this different from the iRig Mic (see our review of that product here: Review of iRig Mic)? the big difference is, in case you missed it above, that whereas the iRig Mic is a special microphone you get from IK Multimedia that can plug into your iOS device, the iRig PRE is a piece of hardware that allows you to plug any microphone into your iOS device. See the picture to the left. The iRig PRE is the thing in the middle, the little box that has an XLR (standard 3-pin mic … [Read more...]

How To Be Your Own Glee Club – Queen Harmony Demo

What do you do when you don't have anyone else to sing harmony with? You sing harmony with yourself! Okay, what the heck is Ken talking about this time? Well, I was watching Glee recently, and one of the songs in the show was the Queen song, Fat Bottomed Girls, which opens with a killer a capella harmony. I couldn't get the song out of my head, so I decided to sing it (the intro anyway)...all 9 parts...myself...at the same time. Normally one person can't sing harmony with themselves, though I think there ought to be a surgery that allows it:). But with a computer and a mic, you can literally be every person in a Glee Club! If you're curious about how it came out, click on the audio player below for the intro to Fat Bottomed Girls as sung once again by me, myself and me 2. [jwplayer … [Read more...]

Vocal Harmony Experiments

I have done several vocal harmony demos on how you can use your pc recording studio to record your own harmonies, using just your own voice. Obviously the same techniques work for multiple people each singing their own harmony parts, but that's not the point. So what is? Well I wanted to show someone several examples of the "how to record harmonies" demos we've done and realized it was sort of hard because they were all their own individual posts. So I created this page in order to have all the harmony audios in one place. So here they are. These examples contain only one guy singing all the parts to just the awesome a capella intros to a couple of famous songs, which is a neat audio recording technique you can learn here at Home Brew Audio. As we do more, we'll add them here as well.  … [Read more...]

Victoria Azarenka Wore Powerbeats by Dr. Dre In-Ear Headphones At US Open

Add Victoria Azarenka to the list of athletes who wear Dr. Dre headphones. At the 2012 US Open, it was very clear to see that she was wearing Powerbeats by Dr. Dre In-Ear Headphones during her pre-match interview for both the semi-finals on Friday and the finals on Sunday. The thing that is different about these though, is that they are more like ear buds than headphones. I really like this type of headphone because they allow you to go jogging without falling out of your ears like regular ear buds. And it would be pretty awkward to jog with full-on headphones. The Powerbeats provide the same great audio quality as the full-sized headphones in the Dr. Dre line, the Beats by Dr. Dre. Plus unlike most ear bud type phones, these offer ControlTalk for on-cable iPod/iPhone control. To … [Read more...]

The New Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Mic Now Available For Pre-Order

This is really exciting.  Sennheiser announced their new shotgun mic, the Sennheiser MKE 600, very recently and you can be among the first to get one.  It's available for pre order exclusively at B&H, the first retailer to stock and ship the new mic.  You can order yours by clicking here. The reason I said it was so exciting was that I have stated that my "desert island mic" was the Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun mic (see my review, along with audio and video samples here: http://homebrewaudio.co/sennheiser-mkh-416-shotgun-microphone-review/).  But that one costs about a thousand clams.  If the new MKE 600 sounds anywhere near as good as the MKH 416, it will be a fantastic value at just $399.95.  Plus I can justify that to my wife a lot easier than the grand I'd have to drop for the … [Read more...]

Microphone Used By Chair Umpire At US Open Tennis Tournament

I was going crazy trying to figure out what that large (huge really) microphone was that the chair umpires were using during the 2012 US Open Tennis Tournament.  And no wonder I couldn't find an answer - it isn't a large mic at all!  It's a cover for the mic (any mic) called the Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield (yeah, sounds like something kinkier than a microphone attachment;)). The Baby Ball Gag Windshield actually covers the capsule of a microphone to reduce the effect of wind blowing across it.  The ball-shaped cover actually comes in two parts so if you need to cover a standard ball-end microphone like a Shure SM58, you can, though it is really designed for cylindrical mics like the Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun mic. The inside of the Ball Gag is made of the same kind of materials … [Read more...]

Sing Harmony With Yourself – Learn How to Record Your Voice on Your PC and Sing Along With It!

Have you ever been singing a song by yourself, and you could just hear the harmonies that were "supposed" to be there but were not? Every time I sing Take It Easy, by The Eagles, I get to the chorus and just have to imagine that I have Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmidt standing beside me. Without the vocal harmonies, the song just doesn't have the same punch, the same magic. Imagine trying to perform Kansas' Carry On Wayward Son, solo! I don't think so (actually I managed to do it...the intro anyway. Wanna hear it? It's right here: Vocal Harmony Experiments.) The same holds true for Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen. There are certain songs that just cannot or should not be performed without those magical vocals. So what in the world do you do about it if you're a solo performer? Well, for … [Read more...]