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March 2012

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Spring is here! With the greenery and the promise of warm weather ahead, you'll likely be in the mood to write a song or two, or three, or ten... and the March issue of RECORDING will be there to help you along. It's our Annual Songwriter Issue, and we have a great selection of articles and reviews to help you feed your muse!

With a legendary career behind her and a brand-new album wowing critics and snagging a Grammy® nomination for Best Americana Album, Emmylou Harris is one of the most inspiring singer/songwriters out there today. In this issue, we talk to the team behind her Hard Bargain album: all three of the engineers who worked on the project with her and took her music on tour, discussing everything from using the studio to inspire songwriting ideas to effective tracking and mixing. We even have an exclusive interview with Ms. Harris herself on how she uses the studio as a songwriting tool!

And that's not all. This issue features a detailed and fascinating interview with educator and producer Ronan Chris Murphy on effective songwriting techniques, a tutorial on creating usable demos fast by songwriter/performer Al Bouchard, a report on taking songs from idea to finished masters by our new Editor-At-Large Beto Hale, and an incisive look by successful producer Erik Alexandrakis on how to turn your songs into real money.

Songwriting tools get the nod in this issue, along with other studio delicacies. We look at the MICRO BR-80 pocket recorder/effects processor/interface from BOSS, take the GuitarJack 2 and StudioTrack from Sonoma Wire Works out for a spin, test the Optek FretLight system as a cool new tool for guitar education and inspiration, and dig into Cakewalk Music Creator 6 for Windows. We also test the new Fox preamp from Slate Pro Audio, marvel at the new features of Steinberg Cubase 6, and take a hard look at Apple's newest tools for songwriters -- both GarageBand '11 and the MacBook Air that we tested it on!

All this plus more Recording Fundamentals with Eric Ferguson, Readers' Tapes with Marty Peters, and our monthly features, adds up to a wonderfully inspiring issue for songwriters and studio hounds alike. Spring into the songwriting process with the March 2012 RECORDING!

Pick it up now on the newsstand... and so you get your next issue early (and save on cost), why not hit the big red Subscribe Now button on this page and have RECORDING delivered to your door each month?


BOSS MICRO BR BR-80 Digital Recorder   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

This recorder fits in your guitar case, offers 8-track playback/mixdown, and adds high-quality DSP and computer connectivity to the package.

The BR recorders from Roland's BOSS brand are known for hitting a sweet spot for th......Expand

Reviewed & Revisited: Apple MacBook Air and GarageBand '11   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

The future of computer-based music on the go, in hardware and software. Also: a look at Course Technology PTR's GarageBand '11 Power! instructional text.

Apple has never been shy about changing how we interact with our compu......Expand

Once Over -- Reviews In Brief   |   Reviewed by Fernando Curiel, Allen Goodman, and Mike Metlay

Fretlight FG-421 lighted-fretboard guitar and Guitar Pro 6 Fretlight Ready; Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack 2 and StudioTrack.

Few new guitars are memorable and innovative, two words that describe the Fretlight guitars. There a......Expand

Cakewalk Music Creator 6   |   Reviewed by Allen Goodman

This affordable entry-level DAW packs a serious punch, courtesy of its shared heritage with the high-end SONAR X1 audio/MIDI software.

Cakewalk's latest entry-level music-creation software is Music Creator 6, which is based ......Expand

Slate Pro Audio Fox Preamp   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

If you can't decide what sort of "flavor" you want your first upscale preamp to have, why not buy one that gives you four of them in one box?

Whether you are a plug-in junkie or a hardware addict, the name Steven Slate shoul......Expand

Reviewed & Revisited: Steinberg Cubase 6   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

New and improved workflow features make this new release the Cubase that loyal users have been waiting for, and give new arrivals lots of reasons to make it their DAW of choice.

DAW updates can be a tricky emotional ride. Al......Expand

Fade Out   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Words And Ideas From PreSonuSphere.

PreSonuSphere is a conference sponsored by PreSonus to help its users network and learn how to better use their gear. I attended the first annual PreSonuSphere on November 19, 2011, at the......Expand


Emmylou Harris: The Songwriter And The Studio   |   Interviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Fresh from a Grammy(r) nomination for her latest album, the world-famous singer/songwriter discusses the songwriting process and how it relates to the studio environment, accompanied by hands-on information from her creative team-engineers Jay Joy......Expand

Ronan Chris Murphy: Sage Advice For The Recording Singer/Songwriter   |   Interviewed by Beto Hale

His credits list ranges from King Crimson and Steve Morse to Chucho Valdes and The California Guitar Trio, and he travels the world as engineer, producer, and educator. You'll want to learn what he has to teach about success in the songwriting pro......Expand


Songwriters -- Turn Your Songs Into Money!   |   Written by Eric Alexandrakis

A seasoned industry veteran gets down and dirty with what you need to know to take your musical ideas all the way to the bank.

Eric Alexandrakis knows how to turn songs into money. He walks the walk for a living, so we asked......Expand

Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 3: Introduction To Audio - Part 2 (Where Do The Mics Go?)   |   Written by Eric Ferguson

Last month we had a look at the science behind how sound moves and affects our ears; now it's time to use that knowledge to our advantage as we place mics in the studio.

One question is central to nearly all recording sessio......Expand

From Songwriting To Final Master: A Recording Project   |   Written by Beto Hale

Ever wondered what it would be like to follow a fully realized album from its inception to its completion? Now you can, with plenty of good advice along the way.

It always starts with the song, and there are many ways to do ......Expand

A Demo In A Day   |   Written by Joe Bouchard

In a rut? Feel like you're getting nowhere with your demos? Get up and go with this realistic gameplan for producing great results in a hurry.

When many of the great rock songs were written in the '60s, writers would hack ou......Expand

Kef America

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