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

SSL Big Six Review: Upgrade Your Studio with This Powerful Mixer

To audio engineers and producers, few names resonate as profoundly as Solid State Logic (SSL). For decades, this pioneering brand has been at the forefront of shaping the soundscape of contemporary music, leaving an indelible mark on the industry with…

Waves SuperRack Performer Review: Dial in Your Live Sound

In the ever-evolving landscape of audio production, Waves stands as a trailblazing force, offering a vast array of plugins that have become essential tools for engineers, producers, and musicians alike. With a legacy rooted in groundbreaking digital signal processing and…

UA Sphere DLX Review: A Professional & Versatile Modeling Mic You Need

In the realm of professional audio gear, Universal Audio stands as a revered name synonymous with uncompromising quality, cutting-edge technology, and timeless craftsmanship. Renowned for their exceptional audio interfaces, outboard equipment, and plugins, UA has also made a significant impact…

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…

MOTU Digital Performer 11 Review: Embrace Elevated DAW Capabilities

Digital Performer is a digital audio workstation developed by MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn). It is designed for a variety of music and audio production tasks, including recording, MIDI sequencing, and mixing. Digital Performer has been a popular choice among…

The Loudness Penalty by Streaming Services

Streaming services like Spotify and others normalize the volume of all the material on their platform. This is so you’re not constantly turning the level up or down from song to song. However, tracks you’ve mixed may not play back…

Moog Grandmother vs Matriarch: Which Synthesizer Is Right for Me?

Pitting two popular synthesizers head-to-head, the Moog Grandmother vs Matriarch are both impressive members of the family. They are fundamentally different machines, however, despite Moog’s naming conventions and various design similarities. We’ll have a look at each in an effort…

Parallel Compression Explained

Parallel compression was developed as a means to an end. The vast majority of compressors are “downward” in action. This means that they work by reducing the peaks in source material. Parallel compression, on the other hand, was designed to…

Antares Harmony Engine Review: Craft Incredible Vocal Harmonies

Antares Harmony Engine isn’t new, but it’s gotten better and better over the years, making it worthy of a fresh review of features and specs. The company is well known for developing real-time plugins that make the lives of musicians,…

Antares Duo Review: The Ultimate Vocal Doubler Plugin?

As many may know, Antares Tech are the masterminds behind one of the most influential software plugins of all time: Auto-Tune. Their current suite of vocal effects includes numerous tools used by engineers and producers everyday to enhance the sound…

Boss IR-200 Review: The Ultimate All-in-One Compact Pedal?

This review covers the Boss IR-200 — a powerful pedal-based amp simulator and IR loader, complete with ambient effects and further pedalboard integration. If you’ve ever wished to transform and streamline your practice, performance, or studio rig for guitar or…

Audient Evo 16 Review: A Powerful & Elevated USB Audio Interface

Audient is a professional audio equipment manufacturer known for its high-quality audio interfaces, consoles, and studio monitoring systems since 1997. Audient’s mission has always been to design and produce innovative, affordable, and reliable products that meet the needs of professional…

Neve 88M Review: World-Class Recording in a Small Box

AMS Neve caused stirs throughout the recording industry when they announced their first ever bus-powered audio interface, the 88M, just one year ago. Premium quality meets portability in the 88M, an audio interface that makes a lot of tools look…

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…

Fundamental Stereo Miking Techniques

Stereo miking techniques use two microphones at the same time to record one sound source. Each microphone is then panned to the left and to the right to mimic the way our ears perceive sound in the “real world.” This…

Top Drum Software for Realistic Sounding MIDI Drums

Using drum software is one of the quickest and easiest means to lock down your song’s backbone. As a matter of fact, drum software has gotten so good that it isn’t uncommon for solo artists to release finished albums with…

Mitchell MS450 Review: The Perfect Entry-Level Electric Guitar?

In this review and rundown we’re looking at the Mitchell MS450. This guitar is a versatile and affordable instrument that delivers a wide range of tones, classic looks, and modern playability. Crafted with attention to detail, this single-cutaway beauty provides…

Room EQ Wizard | Free Acoustics Software

Room EQ Wizard (REW) is free room acoustics software for measuring and analyzing room and loudspeaker responses. The analysis helps you optimize your studio by finding the best spot for the speakers and listening position. Shooting the room gives you…

The 16 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…

Martin Special D Review: A Perfect Mid-Level Acoustic?

Looking for a midrange instrument that plays like an ultra-expensive one? They aren’t always easy to find, but suitable guitars do exist, in which the quality and playability seems to greatly outweigh the price. The Martin Special D might be…

Which Free Autotune Plugin Really Works? (Our Top 9 Picks)

Antares Audio Technologies introduced their proprietary Auto-Tune software in 1997. The purpose was to correct off-key pitches in real-time for perfectly tuned vocals or instruments. Autotune is a colloquial term now, frequently understood by artists as a catch-all for heavily…

Harbinger S12 Subwoofer Review: A Roadworthy & Compact Sub

Big bass usually comes at a price (and size!) that’s impractical for regular gigging. Lugging a subwoofer around takes its toll after a while, and would typically discourage most people from even embarking on the endeavor to begin with. But…

Ableton vs Pro Tools | Choosing a DAW

In the current age of music production, we have virtually endless tools at our disposal. It’s overwhelming when you’re just starting out because you want to set foot on the so-called ‘correct’ path. In regards to DAWs, everybody has an…

How to Make DIY Acoustic Panels for Your Studio

Unless your home studio was specifically designed for recording and mixing music, it’s probably not an ideal tracking and monitoring environment. Professional studios are carefully planned out to eliminate acoustic issues in many ways that residences are not. But if…

Vital VST vs Serum: The Ultimate Wavetable Synth Showdown

Every virtual instrument collection deserves a good wavetable synthesizer. This type of sample-based synthesis uses pre-recorded sounds as oscillator sources. What makes it unique from a regular sampler is how much you can manipulate those samples, even so far as…

12 Incredible Songwriting Tips that Work

As musicians, we spend the bulk of our time improving on what we do. We’d probably all agree that every new project we start (and sometimes never finish!) is a step towards getting better at songwriting. While there isn’t a…

The 6 Best Shure Microphones for Your Home Studio

Shure microphones have a wonderful reputation in the recording industry as some of the best, most reliable, and most affordable mics around. Shure started as a one-man radio company back in 1925, and by the early 1930s were one 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…

Cytomic The Glue: Best SSL Bus Compressors?

Cytomic The Glue is an affordable SSL-style bus compressor plugin. The plugins gets its name from the SSL hardware’s famous ability to ‘glue’ mixes together. Even though there are tons of SSL bus compression plugins on the market, Cytomic makes…

Bose S1 Pro Review: The Best Portable PA System?

Designed for solo acts, singer-songwriters, public speakers, and small events, the Bose S1 Pro covers a lot of territory in a compact package. In this Bose S1 Pro review, we’ll check out everything the portable speaker system has to offer.…

LUFS vs dB: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

With so many ways to measure loudness, you’re definitely not alone in wondering what the deal with LUFS vs dB is. What Are LUFS? LUFS stands for Loudness Units Full Scale. It provides a standardized means of measuring loudness. There…

Cardioid vs Condenser – What’s the Difference?

When you’re first learning about microphones, all of the various terms can be confusing. After reading this article, you’ll have a better grasp of the different kinds of microphones, and most importantly, why cardioid vs condenser is an invalid comparison!…

Understanding Guitar String Gauges: What Gauge Is Best for Me?

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of guitar string gauges, especially when you’re brand new to the instrument. There are a number of factors at play when choosing the right strings, not excluding your guitar’s scale length, the tuning you…

Seymour Duncan 59 Review: Modern Humbuckers with a Classic Flair

When you think of the “Mount Rushmore” of electric guitar, who comes to mind? Many names played huge roles in its development and refinement, including Leo Fender, Orville Gibson, Les Paul, Adolph Rickenbacker, and Jim Marshall, amongst others. Certainly deserving…

Eventide PitchFactor Review: A Versatile Pitch-Shifting & Delay Pedal

Eventide effects need little introduction. For over 50 years, they’ve trail-blazed digital processing and algorithms, developing massively successful hardware that’s been heard on countless records and used by some of the greatest musicians of all time. The formidable PitchFactor pedal…

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,…

How to Record Bass Guitar at Home

Believe it or not, bass is one of the easier instruments to record at home. There are at least several different approaches, most of which are light on fancy equipment and low on volume levels. Win-win! If you want to…

Barefoot Monitors: Footprint 01 vs Footprint 02

Barefoot monitors are known for their innovative design, clean sonics, and exceptionally high price tags. The Footprint line of powered nearfields offers the same outstanding quality as their larger speakers, for those with smaller rooms. The Barefoot Footprint 01 The…

What Is a Line Level Signal and Why Does It Matter?

One of the first things we learn about a recording system is the variety of audio signals that connect to it. It’s a concept that can initially be tough to grasp, but once you learn it you never forget it.…

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…

What is Plate Reverb and How is It Used?

If you’ve spent any time playing around with reverb in-the-box, you’ve probably observed the common types that exist. Chamber, hall, and room are easy enough to imagine, but what about plate reverb? We most easily associate “echo” with real-world spaces,…

Mixing Guitars: 10 Helpful Tricks for Incredible Tone

Many of us are guitarists, and most of us probably love to geek out on gear and tone as much as we like to actually play. After all, finding our individual “holy grail” tone is half of what makes playing…

Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe Review

Here to help you narrow your search for the optimal delay pedal is a review of the Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe. The brand is synonymous with the finest pickups in the game since 1976, while the man himself started…

SSL Vocalstrip 2 Review: A Powerful All-Around Vocal Processor

Vocals have always been one of the most critical elements of a song. They’re meant to tell a story, convey emotion, and take listeners on a journey through melody. The greatest songwriters of all-time nail the storytelling aspect of music…

Output Substance Review: The Ultimate Bass Engine VST?

Substance is a comprehensive virtual instrument by the masters of ingenuity at Output. This low-end monster supersedes convention, generating bass material from multiple sources to shape an evolutionary sound. In this review, we’ll be discussing its key features and critical…

How to EQ Bass Guitar: Simple Steps for a Better Low End

Nailing the low end content in a mix is an important step for better-sounding material. Too much bottom can make a mix muddy and inarticulate; too little can make a track appear thin and lifeless. Learning how to EQ bass…

Avid Pro Tools First | Free DAW Overview

Avid Pro Tools is the industry standard. It’s the platform for virtually every studio because it excels at tracking, editing, mixing, and production. Pro Tools First provides an introduction to the gold standard DAW without committing to a pricey monthly…

Vocal EQ Tips for Beginning Mixers

Vocal EQ is one of the ways we get a recorded performance from “dry” to “radio-ready.” It has a huge influence on the overall quality of a vocal, and even just simple moves like filtering can change the sound completely.…

VU Meter: Just How Useful Are They?

Most of us have a rough idea of what a VU meter does. But unless we spend a lot of time around analogue outboard gear, we probably aren’t super familiar with them. And let’s face it, many of us are…

The Best Brass VST Plugin Collection [FREE & PAID]

Brass can be a tough section to imitate with a plugin. As with most real instruments these days, though, there are plenty of excellent quality brass VST plugins, both free and paid. We’d recommend sifting through the list in order…