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Gain vs Volume: The Practical Differences That Matter

Updated: Studio Recording              
gain and volume

At some point, no matter if you're learning to record music, be a mixing engineer, toying with your first guitar pedals, you'll be asking the question "What's the difference between gain and volume?" To the untrained mind, they seem like they're the same. They both make audio louder when you increase them. The sound of changing either might seem identical to you now, and maybe […]

What is MIDI? The Music Tool You Can't Live Without

Updated: Beat Production              
MIDI introduction

It all started in 1983. If you're a music afficionado and know the sound of each decade, you'll know that there was a sudden jump from the 70's to the 80's where suddenly we stopped hearing live instruments as much. Out of the blue the pop music scene was filled with the cheesiest sounding "computer music," which progressively got better. That trend never ended, to […]

What is Sidechaining? This Pro Mixing Trick Will Evolve Your Music

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
sidechaining

If you're a music producer of any kind then you've tried your hand at mixing. You may even be great at it. You know the ins and outs of equalization, compression, using effects on auxiliary sends, using group buses, etc. But still, once you sit back to check your mix on a couple of sets of speaker monitors and even your nice headphones, things just […]

Sidechain Compression: A Critical Method for Mix Clarity

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
sidechain compression critical method for mix clarity

If you're a long-time follower of LedgerNote, you know I've written a ton about mixing tricks of the trade to help you get better clarity, especially in the bottom-end of your mix. Sometimes there's only so much you can do with equalization. And that's where the concept of sidechaining comes in. It's not hard to understand or set up, though we all need that first […]

Songs for Sale: How the Music Industry Creates Pop Stars From Thin Air

Updated: Careers & Marketing              
songs for sale

This isn't news to the old-timers. We remember the days when artists all covered each other's songs and wrote for one another. The thing is, they were all capable and proved it time and again. That's not the case today. And it seems the big wigs would like to sweep that little secret under the rug. People are becoming wise to the game though. There's […]

How Do Analog Stereo Compressors Work?

Updated: Q & A              
analog stereo compressors

I've over simplified the question in the title above, but that gets to the essence of the discussion between myself and a smart gentleman, who I thank for sending in such a high quality set of questions. Thanks to all of the people writing in. We can't get back to everyone, but we're doing our best. We're performing triage over here, so the goofier the […]

What is Dithering in Audio & What Does it Do? (An Easy Explanation!)

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
dither

My goal here is to cut through the fog and give it to you plain. We're going to define dither, talk about what it actually is in the context of digital audio (as opposed to printing images or processing video, though we'll mention this), and tell you when and how to use it. What's funny is we've all seen and heard this technique applied in […]

How is Post-Processing Done on a Guitar Amp Mic During Mixing?

Updated: Q & A              
mixing guitar amplifier microphone recording

We received a very insightful question recently that requires some critical thinking to explain the answer. You'll enjoy this one if you like puzzles, especially as a studio engineer and/or guitarist. As always, let me thank a couple readers for their help. Frederick notified us of an error in our mp3 compression article and Pepsy supplied us with a picture we needed for another article. […]

How Major Labels are Using Small Music Blogs to Gaslight Us About Youtube's Claim System

Updated: Interesting              
major labels and youtube claim system

The nerve of these people to try to convince us that THEY are the victims here... God forbid musicians find a way to reach their own fans. The State of Youtube's Claim System As everyone knows, Youtube's claim system is severely broken when it comes to music. Not a day goes by when a creator on the video streaming site isn't essentially unfairly robbed of […]

Katy Perry & Juicy J Lose Copyright Lawsuit to Christian Rapper Flame

Updated: Interesting              
katy perry dark horse copyright infringment

This one has been cooking for years in the background. I caught wind of it years ago and forgot about it, only to see it finally come to a head in the courts. The Background of the Dark Horse Saga In 2013, Katy Perry releases a song "Dark Horse" that features an instrumental and a rap verse by Juicy J, where the final touches were […]

Top 10 Richest Guitarists in the World

Updated: Interesting              
richest guitarists in the world

How many young guitarists have you known that dream of hitting it big and getting the fame, adoration, and riches? Perhaps you're one of them. The songwriting despite the writer's block, the grueling years on tour, the album and merchandise sales... that all sounds great if you really want it. But you're in for a big surprise if you think that's all it takes to […]

Top 10 Richest Rock Stars in the World

Updated: Interesting              
top 10 richest rock stars in the world

Many young musicians dream of being a rock star for the fame and adoration, even though it's a grueling lifestyle of non-stop touring. These starving artist types have a big surprise coming if they break into the big time, because you can make an unbelievable amount of money as one of the top 10 richest rock stars in the world. As you read this list, […]

Top 10 Richest Country Singers in the World

Updated: Interesting              
top 10 richest country singers in the world

The new data is out! You may not see huge shifts in the list of the top 10 richest country singers in the world due to some established giants, but we've dropped some artists out and added new ones. This is more interesting than the usual static list where everyone just earns more money due to investments and new businesses. And that's one of the […]

Top 10 Richest Rappers in the World

Updated: Interesting              
richest rappers

Nothing is more fun than the mid-year time when the new data comes out and we can update this list. It's not often that you see a huge shift in the list of top 10 richest rappers in the world. Usually it's the same players and their net worth moving up or down a bit based on investments. No matter how it shakes out, we […]

Can I Use Direct Monitoring With an Audio Interface?

Updated: Q & A              
direct monitoring

A friendly fellow sent in a wonderful pre-purchase question that I'm sure many other newcomers to the audio interface world are curious about too. It's a fun ride, so please read along as we learn about... Before you even read this, you can rest easy knowing it had a happy ending: "I purchased the unit. Aside from an issue where I had some latency in […]

The Best Flanger Pedals for That Thick, Other-Worldly, Wooshing Effect

Updated: Reviews              
flanger pedals

We modern guitarists are lucky. Flanging used to be a nightmare of manipulating reel-to-reel machines, but today it can be achieved in analog or digital fashion all from a small stomp box situated at our feet. This means we can now use it during live performances, too. Most listeners couldn't tell you what the flanger effect is called, but they know it when they hear […]

The Best Phaser Pedals to Sweep Your Frequencies Into Another Reality

Updated: Reviews              
phaser pedals

The phaser is among the earliest effects invented. It was actually invented as a way to emulate the sound of a rotating organ speakers and the phase shifting that comes along with that rotation. The sound you hear when engaging one of these pedals is that of peaks and troughs being swept up and down the frequency spectrum, much like a flanger but subtly different. […]

The Best Octave Pedals to Thicken Your Tone & Enhance Your Effects

Updated: Reviews              
octave pedals

The octave effect is exactly what it sounds like it is. You can pitch shift your signal up or down an octave or more at a time so you can use your guitar to play the role of other instruments like a bass guitar, for example. What many don't understand at first is that you can recombine the original signal with the octave-shifted signal to […]

The Best Harmonizer Pedals to Turn Your Guitar & Vocals Into a Lush Choir

Updated: Reviews              
harmonizer pedals

A lot of us can remember a time where if we wanted to harmonize guitar leads, we'd need two guitarists playing at the same time and hope to the high heavens they can stay in perfect unison. Today, we're far luckier thanks to the invention of pitch-shifting and harmonization effects. One guitarist can shred a lead melody and it can be copied and pitch-shifted to […]

The Best Pitch Shifter Pedals to Harmonize Your Leads Like an Ensemble

Updated: Reviews              
pitch shifter pedals

If any instrumentalist can get a lot of use out of the pitch shift effect, it's a guitarist. The uses are endless, from harmonizing one's own lead to filling in for a bassist. Combine it with other pedals like a looper and an entire musical universe opens up before you. And how fortunate we are, because in the old days we had to record to […]

Jared H. HeadshotLedger Note is the leading-edge online music magazine. With our focus on education for industry professionals while at work and enjoyment at home, we never cease adding and updating our tutorials, tips & tricks, and entertainment blog. Use our passion for your benefit in the studio, at gigs, and during practice and rehearsal. Progress never stops at Ledger Note. Gear Gigs Grind Glory. Learn more about the Ledger Note Team here. See you at the top!