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

The 8 Best Multi-Effects Pedals for Live & Studio Guitar Sounds

Multi-effects pedals are one of the best ways to gain access to dozens of common guitar processors in a single unit. They certainly take convenience to the next level, and today’s digital processors have never sounded better. It’s common for…

SE2200T Review: An Affordable & Capable Studio Condenser Mic

It isn’t often that we cover discontinued products, but occasionally exceptions should be made. The secondhand market for coveted music gear is alive and well, so with that in mind, let’s review the SE2200T by sE Electronics. Can a Cheap…

The 15 Best Home Studio Mics in 2023 [Any Budget]

What differentiates a “home studio” mic from a “pro studio” mic is generally the budget of whoever’s purchasing it. Aside from that, the best mics are the best mics! We usually recommend starting out with the highest quality microphone you…

The 10 Best Speakers for Vinyl Record Player in 2023 [Any Budget]

Shopping for the best speakers for a vinyl record player can be a little daunting. With so much variety out there, how do you know which ones are actual quality? What Speakers Do You Need for Your Turntable? As of…

The 20 Best Reverb Plugins in 2023 [Free & Paid]

Reverb is one of the most commonly used effects in mixing. It’s part of a broader category of processors we sometimes call “time-based effects,” which also includes delay. Before digital, reverb was recorded using actual rooms called echo chambers. A…

The Ultimate List of Free Pro Tools Plugins 2023

If you’re looking for third-party plugins to expand your growing collection, look no further than The Ultimate List of Free Pro Tools plugins. Whether you need a Pultec-style EQ or a trigger gate for electronic music stutter effects, this list…

Overloud Voice Review: The Ultimate One-Stop Vocal Production Plugin?

Ever wondered how the world’s top engineers craft award-winning vocals? Everyone has their own approach and techniques, but many of the same kinds of effects go into vocal chains on each and every mix, across genres and from mixer to…

The Best Violin Microphones to Add Some Live Strings to Your Mix

The best violin microphone for stage or studio does a solid job of capturing the detail and nuance of the instrument. Violin can be incredibly intimate, so you’ll want to try and retain that delicateness with a microphone that captures…

9 Best Closed Back Studio Headphones in 2023

Closed back studio headphones are an essential piece of equipment to have on hand. They provide the best isolation with minor sacrifice to sound quality. But because they isolate the listener from the room, they’re the ideal option to use…

The 7 Best Tape Delay Pedals for Studio & Live Sound

A tape delay pedal emulates the sound of a widely used analog effect that is much more easily accomplished with digital technology. Tape delay has some unique and desirable characteristics to readily transform your sound. What Is Tape Delay? Tape…

The Best DJ Headphones in 2023 (Our Top Picks for Any Budget)

The best DJ headphones aren’t the same as the best studio headphones. We’ll discover what sets them apart and how to pick the right set for you! Why Having a Quality Pair of Headphones for DJing Is a Must Nearly…

The Best Bass Amp for Gigging [2023 Guide]

For a lot of musicians, nothing beats the feeling of playing a live gig. Performing live captures your band’s raw energy night to night in an environment that’s way less sterile than the studio. And depending on the style of…

The 10 Best Drum Practice Pads in 2023

Drum practice pads are one of the best ways to develop sticking technique in a quiet and controlled manner. They allow drummers to really hone in on the more mechanical aspects of rudiments to perfect their approach when it’s time…

The Best Distortion Pedals for Live & Studio Playing [2023 Guide]

A distortion pedal is an indispensable effect for every guitar player — even those who don’t necessarily play heavy music. At light settings, they can give your tone a bit of crunch and compression. At more extreme settings, you can…

McDSP HD vs. Native Plugins: Everything You Need to Know

The McDSP plugin collection includes two versions of each effect. We’ll shed light on McDSP HD vs Native plugins so you know what’s right for your system. What Is a DSP Plugin? DSP stands for digital signal processing, or digital…

7 Best Desktop Computers for Music Production in 2023

We’ve checked out tablets and laptops, and now it’s time to have a look at the best desktop computers for music production. Understanding Music Production Computers As tech gets better and better, even budget computers are reasonably powerful. What that…

7 Best Laptops for Music Production in 2023

The good news for beginners is that there’s a solid chance you can start recording with whatever laptop you already own. In the event you’re looking for a new laptop for music production, we’ll check out some of the most…

The Best Condenser Mics for Your Studio in 2023 [Any Budget]

The best condenser mic will see constant use in your studio. There’s so much variety out there that it can be a bit overwhelming trying to sort the good from the bad, so we’ve put together a shortlist of some…

The 6 Best Center Channel Speakers for Any Budget [2023 Guide]

A center channel speaker is a component in any surround sound set-up for post-production, surround mixing, or home theater entertainment. Typically when designing a surround system, you would match the center speaker to the others, and oftentimes brands will offer…

Best Audio Interface for Mac in 2023 (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 15 Best Compressor Plugin VSTs in 2023 [Free & Paid]

A compressor is one of the most fundamental processors an engineer has at their disposal. We know them to be great at tightening up the dynamic range of a signal—in other words, making a signal more even and consistent in…

Best Computer for Music Production in 2023 [Any Budget]

The computer is the hub of the digital recording studio, so you’ll want to make sure you get the appropriate one for the job. Luckily, there isn’t a single best computer for music production, but rather a number of choices…

Acoustic Guitar and Vocal Recording Tips: How to Nail Your Takes

If you’ve spent any significant amount of time experimenting with recording on a professional or just a hobbyist level, there’s a good chance you’ve been asked to capture a singer-songwriter before. In today’s world of modern digital recording, our natural…

Best Headphones for Music Production 2023

Finding the right pair of headphones for music production can be tough. There are so many choices that if you ask engineers what their favorite headphones are, you’ll probably get different answers from each one. We’ve done our diligence to…

The 12 Best MIDI Controllers for Music Production in 2023

Wondering which is the best MIDI controller for you? Take your pick from 12 of the top choices, whether you’re after a portable 25-note controller for production on-the-go, or a full-sized keyboard for ultimate playability. What Is MIDI? MIDI is…

The Best Headphones for Digital Piano Players in 2023

There’s a lot of crossover between the best headphones for digital piano and those that excel for general audio work. In order to reproduce the most favored qualities of a top-notch digital piano, players are encouraged to use dependable headphones…

Here Are the Best Ways to Make Money in Music in 2023

The music industry’s landscape has changed pretty dramatically over the last 15 years. Whether you’re in a band or a solo artist, or working behind the scenes in music production or the music business, the industry has evolved and continues…

The 12 Best Microphone Preamps for Every Budget in 2023

Microphone preamps are the next devices in the signal path right after the mic. We need preamps to amplify mic signals to line level, which is the standard operating level of recording equipment. Even when going direct with higher output…

The Best Modeling Amps to Elevate Your Guitar Sounds [2023 Guide]

Modeling amps are one of the easiest ways to inject a ton of tonal variety into your everyday playing. There’s something about the convenience of digital emulations that make these amps so fun to play, whether it’s just practicing on…

What Is the Best Guitar Tuner? [2023 Guide]

It goes without saying that one of the most important first purchases for every guitar player is a tuner — that bears no further explanation! We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular options to help narrow…

The 10 Best Flanger Pedals to Add Some Sweep to Your Sound

Guitarists have a lot of options when it comes to effects pedals. After the basics like overdrive, distortion, and reverb/delay, comes modulation. Flanger pedals are a type of modulation effect that leave a pretty profound mark on your tone. If…

The 11 Best Mastering Plugins in 2023

When it comes to mastering in-the-box, you’ll want a great compressor, a limiter, an EQ, and most of the stuff you’re already familiar with for mixing. Many of the best mastering plugins combine the parameters you’ll need into a single…

The Best USB Audio Interfaces For $100 or Less in 2023

Some time ago, we took a look at the best USB audio interfaces for home studios on a budget. The idea behind the list was to compile some of most tried-and-true interfaces for the home recorder likely needing no more…

The Best De-Esser Plugin for Your Vocals (Free & Paid)

Mixing professional sounding vocals isn’t easy. Before even getting to that stage, it starts with an amazing performance and an excellent recording. Covering those two bases is fundamental and certainly helps make the mix stage more creative and fun rather…

10 Best Limiter Plugins in 2023 [FREE & PAID]

Limiters are awesome plugins for catching a signal’s highest peaks in a way that doesn’t ruin the overall tonality and balance of an instrument, group, or mix. Here is a modest sample of 10 of the best limiter plugins out…

How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream in 2023?

Streaming platforms have revolutionized music sales. There’s just no way around it—if you’re an artist, you have to upload your music for streaming. In 2019, digital streams accounted for nearly 80% of total music sales globally, and the number continues…

Sad Chord Progressions: How to Create an Emotional Sound

Sad chord progressions carry a lot of emotional content and provide the backbone to compositions across genres. While it’s normal to want to create something fresh whenever a songwriter picks up their instrument, knowing common chord progressions is a huge…

The 20 Best Virtual Amp Sims in 2023 [Free & Paid]

A great amp sim can take your guitar recordings to the next level since not many of us can record a 100-watt tube head at home. There are attenuators, sure, and lots of modern amps are being built with direct…

The 15 Best Filter Plugin VSTs in 2023 [Free & Paid]

Filter plugins are one of the easiest effects to use that can have a huge impact on how something sounds. As a form of EQ, filters help you shape the frequency content of an instrument. In the simplest terms, they…

The 15 Best Analog Summing Mixers for Your Studio in 2023

A summing mixer is a very interesting, if not often overlooked or misunderstood, piece of gear. Like most pieces of hardware, summing mixers vary in mileage; some have no more than a few knobs, while others have a slew of…

Marshall Code 50 Review: How Does It Stack Up?

Marshall is among the most recognized names in amplification. While best known and most favored for their iconic tube amplifiers, the company has never shied away from keeping current. Enter the Code series of digital modeling amps offering a variety…

The Best Patch Cables for Your Guitar Pedalboard in 2023

When you’re trying to build out a neat and functional pedalboard, it’s the details that truly matter. Cables are definitely the least interesting part of the board, but choosing the right ones can make connecting everything — in an orderly…

Finding the Best Pop Filter for Recording Vocals

If you’ve recorded vocals and wondered why you heard loud bursts of air when the singer hits certain consonants, then you already understand the use of a pop filter. While it isn’t the most earth-shattering piece of studio equipment we…

Arturia FET 76 Review: Getting a Legendary Studio Compression Sound

Founded in 1999, Arturia began their journey in music-making software. Fast forward to the present, and they’re a celebrated producer of analog-emulated classic keyboards and synthesizers, effects, and hardware of their own. Today, we’re diving into a review of the…

Roland JD-Xi Review: A Crossover Synth Offering the Best of Both Worlds

For decades, Roland has been a frontrunner in synthesizers, sequencers, effects, amplifiers, and everything sound-making. It’s no surprise that the JD-Xi packs a hefty amount of tech into a small package. In this Roland JD-Xi review, we’ll take a look…

Korg Opsix Review: The Ultimate FM Synthesizer?

Korg graced the synthesizer space with two new releases in 2020. One, the Wavestate, made its full debut at Winter NAMM that year, while the Opsix was yet an unmarked prototype. Despite the many ups and downs of a now…

What Are the Best Budget Guitar Cabs (Our Top Picks for 2023)

Curious as to what are the best budget guitar cabs for your brand new tube head? Here are our favorites heading into the upcoming year! What Is a Guitar Cabinet & When Would You Need One? A guitar cabinet is…

ART P16 Patchbay Review: The Ultimate 16-Channel XLR Patchbay

Applied Research and Technology (ART) are well known producers of affordable recording equipment, including everything from power conditioners to microphones and outboard gear. In this review, we’ll be considering the ART P16 patchbay and how it can simplify connections in…

Friedman Pink Taco Review: An Updated Take on a Classic Combo

Tone connoisseurs know all about the critically acclaimed amps by Friedman. For over 25 years, amp builder, modifier, and repairer, Dave Friedman, has helped cultivate the sounds of such legendary guitarists as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens, and Jerry Cantrell.…

The Best Compressor Pedal for Any Budget [Our Top 7 Picks]

The compressor pedal can be an afterthought for many players. In fact, it’s probably right up there next to tuners as far as fun goes. For many guitarists, because it doesn’t have an immediately noticeable effect in the same way…