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“If I was in opera, I would still be back at the Bath Township Playhouse trying to write an opera for Akron, Ohio, for maybe a few lawyers who consider themselves the enlightened ones of the community. People would be stifling yawns, and no one else would see it.”- Mark Mothersbaugh

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April 2014

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April showers bring Songwriter Power in this month's RECORDING! This special issue focuses on the tools every successful recording songwriter should have handy for capturing ideas and presenting them in the most effective possible ways.

Sven-Erik Seaholm comes from a long and successful career as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer/engineer. He introduces novice songwriters to some of the basic tools and workflows that he's found effective in creating and recording new songs. Eleanor Goldfield is no stranger to world-class studios and equipment, but in this issue she offers a wide selection of useful songwriting and recording products that readers can obtain free of charge. And Paul J. Stamler discusses the basics of choosing and setting up a studio's equipment from monitors to mics, concluding his unique "from the outside in" perspective begun last issue.

And that's not all. Eric Alexandrakis notes that his current success came from many years of making mistakes and learning from them; in a funny and accessible article, he walks readers through no less than 25 of the biggest goofs he's seen in the songwriting world and gives advice on how to avoid making them yourself.

Songwriters wanting to learn about the very newest studio equipment will find lots of reviews to love in this issue, including AEA's songwriter-friendly N22 ribbon mic, Dynaudio Professional's desktop-friendly DBM50 monitors, the very powerful and portable TASCAM DP-008EX Digital Portastudio, CME's unusual and playable Xkey controller, and more.

All this plus our regular features, full coverage of the 2014 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, and more. If you want to get your hands on the very best tools for recording your song ideas -- and to learn how to use them -- you can't miss the April RECORDING!

Reviews

Dynaudio Professional DBM50 Monitors   |   Reviewed by Lorenz Rychner

An unusual shape and outstanding audio performance on your desktop.

For much of the past hundred years the tiny country of Denmark, much smaller in population than even Switzerland, has produced outstanding audio companies with inno......Expand

AEA N22 Ribbon Microphone   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

An entirely new design from the classic ribbon maker, aimed directly at the small recording studio.


Audio Engineering Associates (AEA) is famous and well-respected for its Big Ribbon mic designs, handmade in Pasadena, CA, wh......Expand

TASCAM DP-008EX Digital Pocketstudio   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Think the portable recorder is a thing of the past? Nope! This new design offers songwriter-friendly and DAW-friendly features aplenty.


It's true that the most common audio recording device in the studio of 2014 is the perso......Expand

Studio Projects SPM5 500 Series Mic Preamp   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This clean, high-gain mic pre adds flexibility and sonic punch with cool extras.


Studio Projects is a California-based company with a 15-year legacy building highly affordable quality microphones such as those found in their......Expand

CME Xkey USB MIDI Keyboard   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

A totally original approach to the problem of portability vs. playability results in a controller that excels at both.


I first got to know Mr. Zhao Yitian, the prime mover behind CME, some years ago, and I have always been i......Expand

Louder Than Liftoff Chop Shop   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

A new audio firm debuts a filter module that combines great tonal flexibility with a very approachable price.


Louder Than Liftoff is a new company formed by gear designer Brad McGowan with his brother Kyle. Readers might rem......Expand

For Your Bookshelf   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Three cool titles help songwriters maximize social media, learn the role of the producer... and get themselves into and out of all sorts of trouble.


I had the pleasure of hearing Bobby Owsinski talk to a rapt audience at Pre......Expand

Features

2014 Winter NAMM Show Report   |   Written by Mike Metlay with Paul Vnuk Jr. and Lorenz Rychner

The gear was everywhere, the innovations were impressive... and we were there. Check out the highlights of Anaheim's annual gear blowout.


We kicked off the New Year with a trip to Anaheim, CA, for the 2014 Winter NAMM Show........Expand

Capture And Craft: The Songwriter's Toolbox   |   Written by Sven-Erik Seaholm

The songwriting process can be made quicker and more creative with the right tools. Here's one successful songwriter's approach.


"A song is like a dream, and you try to make it come true." -- Bob Dylan

A song ......Expand

Audio In The Land Of The Free   |   Written by Eleanor Goldfield

You can find audio software for everything from basic tracking to mimicking live instruments, for the incredible price of absolutely nothing.


There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but believe it or not, there is such a......Expand

From the Outside In: A Different Approach to the Startup Studio. Part 2: Now We Add Gear   |   Written by Paul J. Stamler with the Staff of RECORDING

Last month we worried first about how our room would sound. Now we stock it... starting with the monitors.


Last month, we concentrated on the first and most important part of any Startup Studio: the room. Now we can finally ......Expand

25 Mistakes Artists Make   |   Written by Eric Alexandrakis

Can you find one or more classic errors that you're making right now? We hope not, but...


They're everywhere, like cheap wine in a crinkly brown Mini-mart bag. Some think they look cool walking around drinking out of it, but......Expand

Fade Out   |   Written by Sven-Erik Seaholm

What Looms On This Horizon?


On a recent laundry day, I picked up my favorite jeans and noticed an unusual wear pattern on the back left pocket: A white rectangular outline that came from the interaction of good old-fashioned......Expand

Garritan Abby Road Studios - CFX Concert Grand Virtual Piano



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