Max McAllister
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Max is a Los Angeles-based writer, musician, and engineer at the Brewery Recording Studio.

McDSP APB 16 Review: The Ultimate Analog Processing Box?

A few years ago, the McDSP APB was one of the most hyped new products to debut at the NAMM show. A few years later and not much has changed, as founder Colin McDowell and his team at McDSP created…

PMC Result 6 Review: Top of the Line Analog Active Monitors

PMC Result 6 monitors are two-way active nearfields providing more affordable access to some of the industry’s best monitoring. These speakers inherit all of the same qualities that have established PMC’s reputation as one of the finest developers in the…

Roland Fantom-06 Review: Powerful Synth Sounds On the Go

This Fantom-06 review checks out one of the best bang-for-your-buck synthesizers available from Roland, in a roomy 61-key layout. The Fantom-0 Series Offers Versatile Synth Workstations for Musicians On the Go The Fantom-0 line takes much of the power of…

The Best SSL Compressor Plugin Options in 2022

Having an SSL compressor plugin is like owning one of the world’s most famous dynamics processors, heard on thousands of hit records, inside your computer. It’s truly indispensable. We’re talking, of course, about the renowned bus compressor built right into…

Best Audio Interface for Mac in 2022 (Entry-Level & Beyond)

Apple computers are standard in creative industries because of their reliable and uncluttered operating systems. People make music on PCs as well, but sometimes have a harder time finding compatible hardware and software. Or, they encounter bugs and have stability…

The Best Chord Generator VST [Free and Paid]

A great chord progression is one of many factors that contributes to a quality piece of music. It forms a template, or the backbone, from which the rest of the song can be built. But finding chords that go together…

12 Best EQ Plugins in 2022 [Free & Paid]

Equalization is one of the most powerful tools we have as mixers. It can make instruments sound better, make instruments sound different, carve out space in a mix, add clarity, remove muddiness, and so much more. In that sense, the flexibility of…

PMC 6-2 Review: A New Generation of PMC Studio Monitors

What makes a studio monitor one of the absolute best in its class? It unequivocally starts with expert design, in which the PMC 6-2 was developed over the course of five years as part of a complete lineup of modern,…

Soundtoys Little AlterBoy Review: The Best Pitch Shifter VST?

Little AlterBoy by Soundtoys is a “monophonic voice manipulator” for vocal pitch/formant shifting, hard-tune effects, and more. Like the rest of the Soundtoys plugin library, it offers a distinct and intuitive layout that’s as powerful as it is easy to…

The 10 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings to Consider in 2022

Acoustic guitar strings are an often undervalued piece of the equation for people who are new to the instrument. Strings can make a huge deal of difference in overall comfort and playability, and most players prefer to swap them out…

EP vs LP: What’s the Difference & When Would You Release One?

Many artists want to better understand the difference between an EP vs LP, especially in terms of what it means for releasing their own music. There’s the simple distinction that one is shorter than the other, namely due what was…

The 8 Best Headphone Amplifiers for Any Budget [2022 Guide]

If you want to get the best sound quality out of a pair of high-end headphones, you may need an external amplifier to drive them. Headphone amplifiers deliver power to the drivers, just as an amplifier does with a pair…

The 10 Best XLR Cables for Microphones [2022 Guide]

It may not seem like it at first, but having quality cables is very important. You can spend thousands on a signal chain, but it’s often said that it’s only as good as the weakest component. Even though cheap cables…

Rossum SP-1200 Drum Machine Reissue Review

The Rossum SP-1200 is a modern reissue of the game-changing E-mu drum machine from the ’80s that revolutionized hip hop and electronic production. The Rossum SP-1200 Drum Machine Reissue Is an Updated Take on a Legendary Machine E-mu Systems released…

Near Field Monitors vs Far Field: What’s the Difference?

Much of the detailed work on a mix or master takes place on near field monitors. Far field monitors are an additional reference, and they’re also great for impressing clients and keeping a packed room engaged. For the majority of…

What Is Pitch in Music (& Why Does It Matter in the Studio?)

Understanding what pitch is in music is an invaluable and broad skill transferable to numerous tasks in music production. Not every engineer is a musician themselves, but many are. It’s good to have at least some foundational knowledge of music…

Telecaster vs Stratocaster Showdown: How Do They Compare?

Fender invented two of the most famous guitars of all time and created the source code for nearly every electric guitar that would follow. These models need no introduction: we’re talking about the timeless Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster. Both have…

What Is an 808 Beat & How Do You Create One?

The 808 is a defining feature of hip-hop (and its many sub-genres), pop, EDM, and modern electronic production. The original Roland drum machine took a while to catch on, but it would eventually revolutionize music. What Is an 808 Beat?…

8 Best Sustain Pedal Options for Keyboard & Digital Piano

It’s a relatively niche piece of equipment, but having a good sustain pedal can make a big difference in the overall playability of keyboards, digital pianos, and MIDI controllers. Does Having a Good Sustain Pedal Really Matter? It does matter,…

Should Studio Monitors Be Vertical or Horizontal? (5 Placement Tips)

A common question frequently heard is should studio monitors be vertical or horizontal? There’s good reason to wonder, and there’s a simple answer to that query which we’ll get into shortly. The underlying premise here is that optimal monitor placement…

The Best Wireless Microphone for Singers [2022 Guide]

The best wireless microphone sounds great, is reliable, and most importantly, lets a performer roam the stage without restriction. Historically, there’ve been reservations about wireless systems, namely due to questions about interference, sound quality, and overall reliability. The truth is,…

12 Best Kontakt Libraries for Every Collection in 2022

Native Instruments‘ free sample player, Kontakt, is every music producer’s entry point to the industry’s largest collection of sampled instruments. Kontakt is a universal host to hundreds of realistic sampled libraries from dozens of manufacturers. The best Kontakt libraries should…

Why Does My Subwoofer Sound Weak? (7 Common Causes)

Subwoofers convey a ton of low-end information and give us a feeling of fullness and power. In many cases, sub frequency content is felt more than heard, as in you can’t always pinpoint a fundamental frequency or pitch, but you…

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins [2022 Guide]

A transient shaper lets you control the attack and sustain of a signal. Unlike a compressor, they do not affect the level or the entire envelope of a sound. Transient shapers (also called ‘designers’) can increase or decrease the attack,…

The 10 Best Fuzz Pedals to Add Serious Crunch to Your Sound

Keen to learn more about the best fuzz pedals to use for meatier riffage? Look no further than this guide to some of the most popular pedals out there. What Is Fuzz, & How Does It Differ from Distortion? Fuzz…

The 5 Best LEWITT Microphones for Your Studio

Founded by Roman Perschon in 2009, the Vienna-headquartered LEWITT Microphones is one of the fastest-growing companies in the market, on track to become the industry’s not-so-best-kept secret. The design philosophy and manufacturing techniques behind all their products challenge the legacy companies…

Oeksound Spiff Review: A New Generation of Transient Shaper

The self-proclaimed “tech geeks” at Helsinki’s Oeksound made waves in 2016 with their now-renowned Soothe plugin. It was met with much acclaim even then, before it solidified its place in production with version 2, and it was clear that Oeksound…

PMC Wafer Review: The Best In-Wall “Stealth” Speakers?

PMC Speakers are changing the reputation of in-wall hi-fi units through their groundbreaking work with the Wafer1 and Wafer2. Designed for the home theater or audiophile system, the Wafer lineup delivers exceptional sound quality with a completely unobtrusive footprint. Can…

Samson SR850 Review: Best Budget Closed Back Headphones?

In this Samson SR850 review, we’ll determine whether it’s possible to get pro studio sound from sub-$50 headphones. Samson SR850 Review At the time of writing, the SR850s are on sale for $35. That makes them among the least expensive —…

What’s the Best Microphone for Hi-Hats? [2022 Guide]

To keep time and carry the feel of a song, hi-hats are one of the most important parts of a drum kit. It isn’t enough to capture them with overheads or a nearby snare microphone. In order to get the…

5 Piano EQ Tips to Improve Your Mix & Achieve Awesome Tone

Piano is a beautiful instrument, but when you put anything under a microscope, you’re bound to find some flaws. Such is the case with piano EQ. Never a one-size-fits-all technique, learning how to squeeze a piano in a mix is…

Yamaha P45 vs P125: Which Keyboard Is Better for Your Studio?

Today we’ll be comparing the Yamaha P45 vs P125 “portable” digital pianos. Yamaha has been a premiere manufacturer of both digital and acoustic pianos for years, so the brand has decades’ worth of experience in crafting quality entry-level instruments. Both…

The 5 Best Oscilloscope Plugins in 2022

Do you need an oscilloscope in your collection of plugins? It can be a majorly helpful tool for viewing waveforms in great detail. First, we’ll talk about what an oscilloscope is, and then we’ll list our top five favorite plugins.…

Akai Professional MPK249 Review: The Best Mid-Range MIDI Keyboard?

The Akai MPK series is hands-down the number one choice for countless musicians and producers. Akai is a name that ensures a combination of useable features, balanced pricing, and rugged reliability. If you’ve graduated from the ever-popular MPK Mini, then…

What Is Panning in Music and How Can You Use It in Your Mix?

Panning is an essential part of every mix. Placing elements throughout the stereo field creates space and width, and can make things sound HUGE in the right context. What Is Panning in Music? Panning is the process of moving things…

The 6 Best DJ Controller Stations for Any Budget [2022 Guide]

A DJ controller is the centerpiece of any mix-master’s club rig. But as more and more music is produced electronically, and in many cases by solo artists, controllers also offer a cool way to perform live — without just pressing…

The 7 Best Soundproof Curtains for Your Home Studio

Ever wondered how soundproof curtains actually perform in a home studio? While not the typical go-to in acoustic treatment, they do serve a purpose, especially under the right circumstances. What Are Soundproof Curtains? It’s important to clarify right away that…

The Best Reverb Pedal Options for Your Rig [2022 Guide]

Building a killer guitar rig is one of the funnest aspects of playing the instrument. And little is more satisfying than adding space, dimension, and even deep ambience to your tone with an awesome reverb pedal. Stompboxes aren’t just for…

The 8 Best In-Ear Monitors For Any Budget [2022 Guide]

The best in-ear monitors (IEM) can completely revolutionize a band’s live performance, isolating them from the noisy stage for clear monitoring. Some musicians who are already accustomed to IEM also prefer them in the studio over headphones — usually for…

The 10 Best Travel Guitar Options in 2022 [Acoustic & Electric]

The best travel guitar makes a perfect companion for busy, on-the-go guitarists searching for playability that’s built to move. There are electric options, acoustic options, and even hybrid electro-acoustic travel guitars. Whether it’s for practice and warming up, or full-blown…

Acoustic Loop1 Looper Pedal Review: Easy to Use and Made to Play

A good looper pedal serves a variety of purposes for guitar players. They can be excellent practice and writing tools, letting you improvise over chord progressions or explore song arrangements without having to set up to record. Some solo musicians…

What Is the Overtone Series & How Do Overtones Work?

The overtone series, also called the harmonic series, naturally occurs due to the way sound waves vibrate. Practically speaking, it helps define an instrument’s timbre. What Are Overtones in Music? A fundamental frequency is that of the primary note being…

AKG Perception 120 Condenser Mic Review: Comparing Price and Performance

AKG needs no introduction. The company makes some of the most-used microphones of all time, including the workhorse 414 condenser and the seven thousand dollar C12 tube mic. The AKG P120 is in a different category altogether, at an unbelievable…

What Is Sibilance (And Is It Always a Bad Thing?)

What is sibilance? We hear about it all the time, and how it’s this ugly sound in vocal recordings that we have to tame. Is that always the case? What Is Sibilance in Audio? By definition, sibilance is a kind…

sE Electronics RF SPACE Review: The Best Reflection Filter Acoustic Dampener?

sE Electronics set the standard for, and popularized, reflection filters after the debut of their Reflexion Filter (RF) PRO back in 2006. Eight years later they debuted the RF SPACE, marking a substantial design improvement over the already successful original.…

Foam Mic Cover vs Pop Filter: Which One Should I Use (And When)?

When it comes to recording vocals, a pop filter is an essential studio accessory. You’ve probably seen microphone bundles which include a stand, XLR cable, and of course, a pop filter. We’ll explore the main difference between a foam mic…

6 Best Laptops for Podcasting [Any Budget]

The best laptop for podcasting sports enough horsepower for modest recording needs. Realistically, you’ll want a machine that’s stable above anything else, because you don’t want crashes to interrupt the flow of a monologue or conversation. Obviously, your needs will…

How to Make Soft Synths Sound Analog

Digital synthesizers have gotten really, really good. We have analog emulations of classic synths that sound pretty darn incredible, and we have fully digital virtual instruments which are different beasts altogether. That said, there are still moments we’re left wondering…

Do I Really Need an Audio Interface for Streaming?

Streaming is bigger than ever. Twitch, the web’s top platform for a variety of live content, is massive. And it isn’t just about video games anymore; for some time now, popular streaming content includes people hanging out and talking to…

The Behringer ECM8000 Measurement Microphone Review

In this Behringer ECM8000 review, we’ll get to better understand the purpose of this measurement microphone and its importance. Behringer ECM8000 Review The Behringer ECM8000 is a specialized omnidirectional condenser microphone for measuring room equalization. It’s used in tandem with…