Monday, October 20, 2008

DJ Mixers Buyer’s Guide

Free Mackie DFX12 Live Sound Mixer

I am going to discuss what makes certain mixers better than others so that the beginners can have a decent understanding of why to choose one mixer over another. First of all, a good mixer usually has a pretty strong brand name to stand by it, so that you know you are getting a mixer of good quality that will last through years of abuse. The brands that are universally recognized as having high quality mixers are the following: Rane, Vestax, Stanton, Urei, Allen & Heath, Pioneer, Mackie, Ecler, and Audio Innovative.

However, this is not always the case as some lesser-quality brands sometimes surprise us with a good product such as the American Audio QD5-MK2, Numark DXM-Pro Series Mixers, Gemini UMX series Mixers, ; and other times great brands put out bad products…but overall the list is pretty accurate.

If you are looking to purchase a mixer, then the first thing you need to know is how many channels you want to mix simultaneously. Usually a two-channel mixer will suit your needs with two Phono (vinyl) inputs and two line (CD) inputs. Next, you want to look for a good, high-quality crossfader that will last through use. A good crossfader is one that will work for a long time without losing its sound integrity.

If a fader starts going bad, it will bleed, pop, and break up the sound pretty bad. Most of the mixers in that list above will have a crossfader to suite your needs. The most reliable and durable styles of crossfaders are Penny & Giles Faders, Pro-X-Faders, Magnetic Faders (used in Rane TTM-56 and Ecler Hak-380), Optical faders and VCA faders. The Magnetic Faders and Optical Faders (e.g. focus fader) use no type of contacts and only light to transmit signals; so these faders may out-last the mixer itself!!! The P&G, Pro-X-Fader, and VCA (Vestax style).

The next item to look at when purchasing a mixer is the Line Switches, EQ controls, and Cue (headphone) controls. The line-phone switch at the top of each channel should be replaceable and durable. For the scratch junkies out there, you will also want those switches to be 8-way adjustable so that you can have the switch move in a way that is comfortable to you. Make sure the feel of the EQ control is just right for your style of spinning.

Some people like EQ knobs and others like the sliders. Some mixers are accused of having small space between each EQ knob making it difficult to fine-tune the mix. Some mixers, such as the Urei series have also been accused of having an EQ delay, meaning that the sound doesn’t alter as soon as the knob is moved. To avoid issues like this, it is best to go and try out every mixer on your list of hopefuls at your local DJ store (Guitar Center or Sam Ash).

How to Buy a Harmonica

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Whether it's jazz, blues, or Billy Joel, a harmonica purchase will jump start your music career. There are a few things you need to know before you journey forth on your hunt for the perfect harmonica.

Step 1
Decide which type of harmonica is right for you. There are three styles of harmonica: diatonic, tremolo and chromatic. For a better understanding of each of these, check out this website. Suzuki has good descriptions of each kind. For beginners, the diatonic harmonica is highly recommended. A diatonic has ten holes and is a fairly easy instrument on which to learn.

Step 2
Choose a key. As if three kinds of harmonica wasn't enough variety, harmonicas also come in different keys! The most common key is C and you will have the most luck finding instructional booklets and sheet music in the key of C.

Step 3
Determine which material you would like your harmonica to be made from. Harmonicas come in plastic, wood and metal. Any of these are fine for beginners, but serious harmonica players tend to prefer metal over plastic and wood because they claim wood and plastic leak too much air.

Step 4
Budget for your harmonica purchase. The instrument has a huge range in price, but most harmonica experts suggest spending the few extra dollars to get a quality machine. You will find harmonicas starting at $5 to $10, but consider spending around $35 to get the most bang for your buck.

Step 5
Browse and comparison shop before buying. Book stores and hobby shops will sell harmonicas at affordable prices, and even throw in a beginner songbook with the purchase. This might be a good option for younger learners, or for those who aren't sure if they will be life long harmonica players. For more serious beginners, a music specialty shop or instrument retailer will offer mid- to high-end harmonicas.

Step 6
Do not preoccupy yourself with the brand of harmonica. Plenty of instrument makers have quality harmonicas. Hohner is the most well-known brand of harmonica, but plenty of others are just as wonderful. As long as you make an informed decision, you will be very happy with your purchase.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Boss Dr. Rhythm D- 880 Rhythm Machine?

The Roland Boss DR-880 is a rhythm-producing powerhouse for the performing guitarist. This hard to classify device is part drum machine, part bass guitar synthesizer, part guitarist effects package, and part backing band. All in all, Roland has packed the DR-880 with realistic sounds and a wide-variety of features, including:

  • Clean, realistic drum and bass-guitar sounds

  • Direct input connection for guitar

  • Audio-out ports for amp, P/A, or headphones (can also be used for analog computer input)

  • Built-in COSM Drive/Amp models

  • Effects such as chorus, delay, reverb, wah, crunch, and more

  • Built-in drum patterns you can edit

  • Composition function for drum and bass sounds

  • Touch tempo metronome

  • Play-pad for real-time drum or bass sounds

  • Built-in chromatic tuner

Tools for the Guitarist
A drum machine is nice, but what can this box do for the average guitarist? Quite a bit, actually. Connection is a breeze. Simply plug any electric or acoustic-electric guitar 1/4-inch cable into the clearly labeled input port on the front of the unit. Multiple outputs allow you to choose between headphones, mono or stereo output through 1/4" or RCA sockets. The output signal from the 1/4" socket is perfect for either a P/A system or an amplifier (the output signal strength is determined with a custom setting), and the RCA socket works great with stereo systems or dedicated monitors.

Next, activate the rock-solid chromatic tuner with a simple press of the "Tuner" button. The tuner is activated and the output signal is muted. The back-lit display is easy to read and provides all the information you need. The automated output muting is great for quick on-stage tuning and for ensuring that sounds do not escape by an accidental bump of the Play button.

Backing Band In A Box
The DR-880 provides several ways to create backing percussion and bass sounds:
  • Use E-Z Compose to quickly build a pattern with high-hat, snare, percussion, and bass guitar.

  • Use the touch-pad to play (or record) drum or bass sounds in real-time.

  • Modify and save one of the 500 pre-build patterns.

  • Build a pattern from scratch in the Compose Editor.

  • Load the machine with MIDI from your keyboard or PC.

I used the DR-880 for several months to act as a bass guitarist and drummer for our small church band. It never missed a practice, and never missed a beat. The ability to mix guitar, bass, and drum through separate volume controls was key to balancing the DR-880 with the rest of the group.

The instruction manual was difficult to follow, but after you've spent enough time with the unit it all begins to make sense. Many users strongly recommend the instructional video to quickly understand how to program the unit and understand some of the built-in shortcuts.

Nothing's perfect, and you may not agree with some of what I classify as blemishes, but it's only fair that I tell you of what I view as weaknesses of the DR-880. You can backup the data on the DR-880 (a plus), but you can only back it up as a bulk file. There's no way to export a set of patterns, for example, edit them on your PC, then reload the updates for playback. By far, the greatest limitation is the lack of expandable memory. Fewer and fewer recordable devices are fixed memory, but the Dr. Rhythm is one of them. Perhaps even worse, there's no way to know if you're about to exhaust available memory. When you hit the max, the machine simply says "Memory Full." Time to clear memory and restart from backup.

Overall Impression
I recommend the Boss DR-880. The drum and bass sounds are great, the built-in features for the guitarist provide a variety of sounds to experiment with, and features such as tap-tempo, recording, and beat-by-beat editing give you complete control over over playback and on-stage accompaniment.

Top 5 most difficult instruments to play

Get a free didgeridoo or a free french horn

Requires continuously vibrating lips and the employment of a special breathing technique known as circular breathing - taking in air through the nose whilst breathing out using the tongue and cheeks – to create the typical drone sound.

French Horn
Widely considered to be the most challenging instrument to master in an orchestra. The French horn requires breath to be controlled through up to 20 feet of narrow tubing using valves controlled by the left hand, and adjusting the position of the lips on the mouthpiece to control pitch. The right hand is moved inside the bell to lower the pitch.

The first musical instrument to be played without being touched, the Theremin requires a steady hand to control pitch: two antennae sense the position of the player’s hands to control frequency with one hand and volume with the other.

Pikasso Guitar
Built over two years for jazz artist Pat Methany, the Pikasso consists of 42 strings, three necks and two sound holes.

Ancient Greek Aulos
Discovered by a satyr in Greek Mythology, the aulos was so difficult to play the musician’s cheeks were fastened with a leather strap to prevent them from bursting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How To Buy An Acoustic Guitar

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You've heard those great acoustic guitar tunes and you've decided you must become an acoustic guitarist. However, you know you are not even started if you do not have your own guitar. You want to be a great acoustic guitarist so you want to get the best guitar for you. Here are steps that will guarantee you get what's best for you...

First, you must understand that there are very many different types of acoustic guitars: Twelve strings, six strings, acoustic electric guitars and so on. Second, you must also understand that you can get an acoustic guitar for as little as $100 and less or as high as $50K (Yes, that will buy two brand new cars!)

Now the point in giving you these basic information is to remind you that you can get carried away for the wrong reasons when buying an acoustic guitar. Know what you want and stick to it or you can easily buy something you really don't need.

The following should serve as a good checklist:

1) Make sure the neck is comfortable. Feel it. Is it too small or too big? Pick one that suits your hand. You shouldn't be struggling with the neck of your guitar. Remember that's where most of the actions will come from.

2) Check the wood. This is the most important determinant of your acoustic guitar's sound. Different woods give different timbres. If this wood stuff doesn't seem clear to you, play the guitar and compare it with others. Take the one that has the sound you prefer most.

3) Your guitar needs good tuning machines. There are two main types: the open and the enclosed type. Just know that the open ones are more prone to rust and require more maintenance than the enclosed ones.

4) Do you need a lot of amplification for your acoustic guitar where you perform? Then you'll be better off with an acoustic -electric guitar. These are designed to handlle very high amplification without producing feedbacks.

Buying an acoustic guitar is all about getting something that gives you great sounds, suits your budget and will last long. When you achieve stardom, you can go for those that have prestige. For now you should be just fine with these basics.

Free Numark TTXUSB DJ Turntable?

Free Numark TTUSB Turntable

The Numark TTXUSB turntable is an improved, USB-capable version of the industry standard, Numark TTX professional turntable. TTXUSB is a unique industrial-grade performance turntable that also makes digitizing your vinyl record collection a breeze by harnessing USB plug and play compatibility for both PC and Macintosh personal computers.

Features :

- interchangeable use of S-Shaped or straight tone arms

- variable torque

- battle or club style configuration

- adjustable anti-skating control for increased stereo balance

- support for both 33, 45 and 78 RPM playback speeds

- adjustable pitch control (± 8%, 10%, 25%, and 50%)

- switched Line/Phono output connectors for connection to a receiver or amplifier

- keylock feature included to allow DJs to adjust tempo without changing pitch

Numark's TTXUSB Turntable package includes the turntable, a USB cable for interconnecting with a computer, an RCA cable for patching into a stereo system, an adapter for 45 RPM recordings, and EZ Vinyl Converter by MixMeister (a new program available exclusively to Numark that quickly converts vinyl tracks directly to iTunes).

Free Numark TTUSB Turntable


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Should I Consider When Buying a Microphone?

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When it comes to buying microphones, there is a certain basic level of expertise that should be employed. Here are the three main things to keep in mind when buying a microphone of any type.

One of the first things to consider when buying a microphone is the type of usage that will be incurred by the microphone. Not all microphones are made for use in a wide variety of situations. For example, there is a big difference between the purchase of mikes that are going to be used in a secure environment, such as a sound proofed room, and those that are intended for use on a concert stage. Buy understanding how the microphone will be employed, it is easier to focus on the right types of microphones and not waste time looking at models that will not perform well in that situation.

Second, determine what level of sound quality will be acceptable for your new mike. Check onthe frequency response and the clarity of the transmission when buying a microphone. If at all possible run a quick test with a demonstration model, and make sure the unit will do what you need it to do in the way of sound capture and transmission. If the level of quality is not sufficient for your purposes, then check out other brands.

A third factor to keep in mind when buying a microphone is how compatible the new microphone will be with your existing equipment. While you may find a brand and product that is just great, there is no point in buying a microphone that cannot be easily miked to the sound equipment you already have in hand. Even if there are adapters that you could pick up, it may be a good idea to buy a microphone that is ready made to interact with your components.

The good thing is that many types of microphones are not all that expensive. That means you can find units that will work well in just about any situation without laying out a lot of money. Generally, basic microphones that will work with off the shelf recorders will start in the range of $25.00 US Dollars (USD). Even microphones that are intended for use with stage work can be purchased for less than $300.00 USD and still get reliable quality and performance. Because the prices are so reasonable, you may want to consider the possibility of covering your bases, by buying a microphone for use now, and then a second one to keep on hand for unexpected emergencies.

Free Shure Microphone Package

How to choose the right guitar pickup

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Choosing electric guitar pickup replacements is a common decision made by guitar players. Even the beginning player knows that having sub-par pickups is going to affect the sound that your new or old guitar produces. For this reason, you can order or purchase many different pickups from many different companies to best suit the sound you desire.

Many vendors offer a wide variety of pickups for all types of guitars. Some of the main types of pickups are single-coil, humbuckers and acoustic. The single-coil picks are usually seen on the popular Fender Stratocaster. The Stratocaster is not the only guitar that carries this style of pickup. Thousands of other guitars use these as well. The one main difference between a Stratocaster and another guitar using single-coil pickups is the company that manufactures them. Fender offers top quality single-coil pickups to purchase even if your "Strat" did not come equipped with the ones you were wishing for. It is probably best to try out different guitars on the same amp to see what the best sound is for you. The single-coil pickups usually have a vintage tone, with more noticeable feedback. Fender does offer pickups that have less feedback though. Some guitars use up to three different pickups at once.

If you are searching for a more powerful tone, grabbing some humbucking pickups is the best choice. Such companies as "Seymour Duncan" and "Dimarzio" offer pickups for a wide range of guitarists. There are humbuckers for anything from a blues sound to a heavy crunch sound. These manufacturers have descriptions on whether the pickups produce a high pitch tone, or a warm, bass sound. To obtain these sounds, the pickups are loaded with different magnets, screws and wires. There are vintage sounding humbuckers as well, usually seen on the "Les Paul" style guitars by Gibson.

Acoustic guitars only require one small pickup and the variety is not as wide. Acoustic guitars don't have nearly as many pickup choices due to the fact you are just trying to amplify the sound of the acoustic guitar and not change the acoustic tone. The three major types of acoustic pickups are soundhole pickups, soundboard transducers and undersaddle transducers. The soundhole pickups generally make your acoustic guitar sound and look more like an electric guitar. These soundhole style pickups normally sound less like the unplugged acoustic. Soundboard transducers are the most natural sounding of the three. Although they are more prone to feedback problems, they give you the more authentic sound. That just leaves the undersaddle transducers, which are less visible than the other types. The undersaddle style has a more natural sound than the soundhole pickup but is used for finger picking and light to moderate strumming. Strumming too hard, or using a heavy pick can cause the undersaddle transducer to produce an awkward sound.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Funny Guitar Commercial

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Top 10 Karaoke Songs For Guys

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There’s nothing quite like watching a sloppy, beer-induced rendition of a classic tune. Some liquid courage is all that most men need to stand up in front of a crowd of strangers and belt out semi-faithful covers of their favorite songs.

The combination of men, alcohol and a microphone has long been a dangerous one, and nothing has suffered the consequences more than these top 10 karaoke songs for guys.

No.10 - "Born in the U.S.A."
Bruce SpringsteenNever mind the political nature of this one, Bruce Springsteen's “Born in the U.S.A.” is a common karaoke song for guys thanks to its anthemic chorus and that recognizable opening keyboard. This is a good choice among the tone-deaf, as it’ll sound just fine if you’re more likely to scream it than sing it.

No.9 - "You Shook Me All Night Long"
AC/DCSinging any AC/DC song could leave you without a voice for a few days afterwards, but it could be worth it. Trying to duplicate the vocals of Brian Johnson basically forces you to give it 100% -- closed eyes, white-knuckle grip on the microphone and beet red in the face -- so this is usually a great choice.

No.8 - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
The Rolling StonesIf just singing isn’t enough to satisfy your karaoke lust, why not take the opportunity to flop around like Mick Jagger? Many a karaoke night have turned into a Mick Jagger dance-off, and what better place to start than with the karaoke song for guys, “Satisfaction”?

No.7 - "Sweet Caroline"
Neil DiamondFor guys who want to show off their crooning sensitive side, there’s no better way than a soulful rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” This’ll also give you a chance to show off your skills as a roaming lounge singer; you get extra points for crowd participation.

No.6 - "Livin' on a Prayer"
Bon JoviFeeling a little bit more ambitious? This Bon Jovi tune always seems like a good idea right up until you get to the chorus, where you have no choice but to try to reach that ungodly note -- “Whoa-HO!” Ninety-nine percent of guys can’t even come close, but it doesn’t stop them from trying.

No.5 - "Sweet Home Alabama"
Lynyrd SkynyrdNothing makes for better karaoke than the fake southern drawl required to pull this karaoke song for guys off. The opening riff should be enough to perk up the crowd and get them on your side too. If costumes are required, a sleeveless flannel shirt and torn jeans should do the trick.

No.4 - "Friends in Low Places"
Garth BrooksSomehow, this sad-sack tune about a scorned lover made its way to being a karaoke favorite -- then again, any song that sings directly about drinking yourself into a stupor is obvious karaoke fodder. The best part is that the loop-de-loop melody in the chorus is actually easier to sing under the influence.

No.3 - "Cecilia"
Simon & GarfunkelFor guys who head to karaoke nights in an attempt to pick up, this catchy Simon & Garfunkel ditty is a must. It offers a chance to show off the pipes, and sing a little heartbroken love song at the same time. Of course, if you don’t pull it off, chances are you’re heading home alone.

No.2 - "Don't Stop Believing"
JourneyAfter experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to The Sopranos and The Family Guy, chances are you’ll catch this tune more than once on any given karaoke night. Hell, you’ll even find some people with choreographed routines. The song provides ample opportunities for rock star leg kicks and intense finger-pointing, so it’s sure to bring out the performer in just about anyone who has the guts to try to match Steve Perry’s vocal range.

No.1 - "Born to Be Wild"
SteppenwolfIt’s repetitive, it doesn’t require a lot of work, and most men associate it with Easy Rider. “Born to Be Wild” is without a doubt the song you’re most likely to see performed by a 45-year-old man wearing aviator shades and a leather vest.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

How to Get Equipment for a Home Recording Studio

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Creating a home studio can be a task. With endless lists of equipment and setup configurations, a person could lose their passion for music in a hurry. The good news is that all it takes is a working knowledge of the needed equipment. Here are some basic tips regarding home studio equipment.

Step 1
Decide on your budget, quality expectations, technical experience and personal preferences regarding musical style. Such decisions will enable you to have a clear vision of the studio that you wish to create.

Step 2
Look into equipment for recording backing tracks. Use midi keyboards and/or guitar to midi converters to record notes for backing tracks, midi and audio multitrack software to record, play and edit your music, sound modules to use electrical sound samples in your recording and studio monitoring equipment (headphones and speakers) to hear what is being recorded.

Step 3
Purchase equipment to record vocals and live instruments. Use digital multitrack recorders or software multitrack sequencers to record audio and/or multitracks. In addition, purchase microphones for voice recording, an audio interface recording sound card to allow your computer to process your music and headphone playback gear to hear the backing tracks as you record new tracks and vocals in your studio.

Step 4
Decide on the type of mix down equipment. Studio monitors allow you to listen to your music while digital signal processors add effects (such as reverb, chorus and compression) to your tracks. In addition, mixers will provide ways to combine and refine multiple tracks, while mix-down track recorders provide stereo tracks for you to record the mix.

Step 5
Get equipment for mastering. Audio mastering programs will allow you to enhance your music tracks further. In addition, purchase a CD burner drive and burning software to record CDs of your studio creations.

How to Buy a Turntable

Get a Free Numark x2 Hybrid DJ CD Turntable

Although CDs are the most popular format these days, older recordings might still only be available on LPs (or even 78s). Also, records are a must for you amateur party DJs. These instructions are for buying a basic turntable.

Step 1
As inexpensive turntables made by Japanese manufacturers have noise-inducing plastic bases and plinths, consider buying a used turntable.

Step 2
Buy a belt-drive turntable if possible, as they cost less and provide greater tonal accuracy and isolation from motor noise than direct-drive turntables.

Step 3
Choose between manual, automatic (starts and stops the tonearm) and semi-automatic (lifts the tonearm at the end of the record) operation. Automatic operation offers convenience, while manual operation provides better sound quality.

Step 4
Make sure a model that interests you includes the features you want. These might include the ability to play 78 rpm records, a 45 rpm adapter, a dust cover, a clamp or a strobe.

Get a Free Numark x2 Hybrid DJ CD Turntable


Friday, October 10, 2008

Have you used Steinberg Virtual Instruments?

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Recording a well-tuned, masterfully played, expertly crafted instrument which has been lovingly cared for over the years is an undeniably powerful experience. And in a good acoustic environment? Heaven. Those are precisely the sounds and vibes you want for your music but often, due to schedules and budgets, it simply isn't a possibility. So for the times when you can't capture those special musical performances yourself, Steinberg delivers them to you with The Grand 2, Groove Agent 2, Virtual Guitarist, Virtual Bassist, and others in their series of virtual instruments.

With Steinberg, the only thing virtual is the name and the delivery. Every sound is a real sound recorded with utmost care to faithfully capture the full experience with the performances played by trained and talented studio musicians. When a note decays, it's real decay. And each note is recorded at multiple (up to 16) velocities, so when you play a little softer or a little harder, you hear a natural note, not a modulated one. From those samples expansive sound libraries are built and designed to stream off your hard disk for more detailed and expressive play. Steinberg practically wrote the book on software instruments with cool interfaces. Their interfaces are designed by an award-winning team of programmers and musicians to deliver a unique and satisfying experience that's fun, powerful, and intuitive all in one sweep.

If you're in search of real sounds and authentic vibes for your computer-based music productions, a Steinberg Virtual Instrument is about as close as you can get. Real sounds from real performances played by real musicians, ready to steal the stage in your songs and productions.

How to Choose a Drum Set

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With the huge variety of drum sets available, how do you decide which set is right for you? We'll introduce the components that go into a drum set: the snare drum, the bass drum, one or more mounted toms, and a floor tom. The two other essential components that complete the contemporary drum set are the cymbals and hardware, both of which we will address shortly. First we'll examine the various drum set configurations that are available.

If you're a beginner or hobbyist who wants to play in a band or jam with your friends, a 4-piece drum set consisting of a snare drum, bass drum, single mounted tom, and floor tom provides you with all the basic sounds. Ringo Starr made this configuration famous with The Beatles. A 4-piece set takes up a minimum of space, is easily portable, and has a sound well suited to jazz, blues, and rock styles.

If surrounding yourself with drums sounds like fun, then consider a five-piece, six-piece, or larger set, which add additional toms for a wider tonal range. These larger kits are well suited for rock, fusion, contemporary, and country styles.

Many drum sets come in two different configurations, Standard or Fusion. The drum diameters distinguish each configuration. Fusion drum sets typically feature 10" and 12" mounted toms, a 14" floor tom (suspended or standing) and usually a 22" bass drum. Standard-sized kits feature 12" and 13" mounted toms, a 16" floor tom, and 22" bass drum. The benefit of the smaller diameters of the Fusion set is their punchy tone and articulate sound. The benefit of the Standard size set is that the larger toms produce more volume and bigger tone. Choosing the best set is a subjective process with benefits to each configuration.

The double bass drum set was pioneered by the great jazz players and popularized by rock drummers. The double bass set allows you to play very fast patterns with power and has a striking visual appearance.

A rule of thumb is that kits with fewer and smaller drums are a good fit for jazz, traditional blues, and other primarily acoustic forms of music, while drum sets with larger drums are better for rock and other more amplified styles.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Imagine Line Updates Fl Studio to v8.0.2

Image Line recently updated FL Studio to v8.0.2.

Bug fixes:
-Fixed rare crash when loading new project while playlist is visible.


-Added preview to Edison & Slicex tools.

-Added knob for note release in step sequencer & piano roll randomizer tool.

-Implemented new audio clipboard format to counter Windows' inability to handle long bits of audio.


-Can now download the new LoopMasters RX2 content.


-Fixed VST rendering if a plugin reports zero programs.

-Fixed window resize (window kept getting bigger).

-Fixed memory leak when loading external banks.

-Create Temp folder before import of external banks.

-Browser is refreshed when the lib path changes.

-Fixed crash when importing samples with long filenames (longer than 31 characters).

-Fixed a mouse capture issue.

-Fixed bug exporting waves for VSTi programs that start or end with spaces.

-Fixed some small visual glitches.

-Fixed filename extension extraction bug.

-Increased browser button size.

-Removed mouse wheel velocity sensitivity.

-Added tablet pc / stylus option for controls.


-Fixed crash when sample is used normal and reversed.

-Doesn't load the MIDI loop into the pianoroll anymore when changing preset.

Fruity Wrapper:

-Fixed glitch when changing "bottom toolbar" setting.

-"Send pitch bend range" is now off by default.

-Fixed buffer size communication bug on plugin initialization.

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What sets Epiphone Les Pauls Guitars Apart?

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The Epiphone Les Pauls look, sound, and feel like their more expensive Gibson cousins. Why do they cost less?

First, Epiphones are made overseas where labor costs are low, while Gibsons are made in Nashville, TN. Next, Epiphone Les Pauls are made of common mahogany varieties; Gibsons use rare Honduran mahogany. Gibson also uses an intensive finish process; Epiphone uses a more cost-effective catalyzed finish. Just because Epiphones are made overseas, doesn’t mean they’re low quality.

For example, Les Paul pickups are made to Epiphone’s exacting specs. They are double- dipped in wax and quality-tested by Epi-phone engineers at every stage of development. It is this attention to detail that sets Epiphone apart. And it is these very details that provide the incredibly rich, creamy tone that makes this guitar a favorite of jazz, blues, and rock players. Epiphone’s dedication to music is reflected by a limited lifetime warranty on all of its models, regardless of price.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How to Embed Photos or Illustrations Inside of Candles

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Step 1. Prepare water bath.
Begin by preparing your mold for a water bath. A water bath will be needed in this project. In preparation for the water bath, attach weights to your mold. Also, prepare a water vessel with the appropriate amount of water.

Step 2. Melt wax.
We are using a high melting point wax. The melting point of the wax used here is about 163 degrees F.

Step 3. Pour wax into mold.
With the temperature of your wax at 185-190 degrees F, fill your mold.

Step 4. Submerge photo into wax.
Insert your photo into the wax-filled mold. Fully submerge your photo and allow it to sit for a moment or two. It will soak up wax and displace any air that is within the paper. If there are bubbles still sticking to the photo, try to move the photo around a bit to dislodge as many of the bubbles as possible (chopsticks are handy). Having no bubbles is ideal, but not always practical, so don’t waste too much time on this step. Also, lightly tap the sides of your mold with a blunt instrument to free up any bubbles that may be lurking there.

Step 5. Position Photo using a spoon and wet cloth.
Using the utensil of your choice, position your photo against the sidewall of the mold. A wooden spoon was used here that was pre-heated in the hot wax. If the spoon were cold, the photo would have stuck to it on contact. With the photo in place, take a wet washcloth, wet kitchen towel, or wet paper towels and apply it to the exterior of the mold at the location of the photo.

Step 6. Place mold in water bath.
Place the mold into the water bath. The entire interior will frost right away.
When your shell is as thick as you’d like it, remove the mold from the water bath. 3/8 to ½ of an inch is a good target thickness.

Step 7. Pour out inner wax.
With the mold removed from the water bath, wipe off any excess water from the exterior surface of your mold. If needed, slice open the top with a paring knife. Pour the core wax back into your pouring pitcher. Many times, the surface will not need to be sliced open, as no wax will have solidified on top.

Step 8. Level the top.
Once the shell is removed from the mold, place a cookie sheet on top of a pot of simmering water. The heated cookie sheet can then be used to melt away some of the wax on the top rim of the hurricane shell. Level the top to provide a clean appearance. If you have an electric griddle, you may wish to use that in a similar manner on low heat.

Step 9. Insert Votive
Insert a votive holder containing a votive candle inside your finished shell. Enjoy.

Get a Free Candle Making Package


Monday, October 6, 2008

Top 5 Cake-Decorating Tips

Get free Wilton Decorating Tools

1. Always place cake to be decorated on a serving platter with several narrow strips of waxed paper under the edges of the cake to protect the plate. When finished frosting, gently pull out the waxed paper.

2. Brush off any excess crumbs from the cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to "set" the rest, then apply the final frosting and/or decorations.

3. Use paste food coloring to get the most vivid colors. Gradually add color to frosting with a toothpick.

4. Stand narrow end of decorating bag in measuring cup or drinking glass when filling. Fill bag halfway with frosting for easier handling. (Note: A sturdy self-sealing plastic bag makes a good substitute for a decorating bag.)

5. Hold decorating tip close to the surface of your cake and squeeze bag with even pressure. Use your other hand to keep bag steady.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Top 5 Hobby Websites

A hobby is a spare-time recreational pursuit. While some hobbies strike many people as trivial or boring, hobbyists have found something compelling and entertaining about them. Some popular hobbies are collecting, cooking, gardening, reading, and more.

The best websites to discover a new hobby are:

1. eHobbies
2. Fastacks
3. Hobbyweb
4. Internet hobbies
5. Hobby Town USA

You can also check out Hobby Lobby and get a $200 gift card for free!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Propellerhead Reason 4?

Get your Propellerhead Reason 4

I've been using Propellerhead's Reason since its first incarnation back in 2000. Reason houses a virtual studio rack loaded with great sounding gear and an easy-to-use sequencer. The samplers and synthesizers provide me with an arsenal of useful sounds while the effects and signal processors give me everything I need to mix and master my songs. To this day I'm amazed with the sound quality I get from Reason, and it's no wonder I keep going back again and again. For my needs, no other program is as versatile or intuitive, which is why I use it on nearly every project. Whether it's rock, hip-hop, or even classical, my songs always come together faster and sound better when I use Reason. When I want to add guitars, vocals or other live instruments, I simply ReWire Reason to Pro Tools and I've got the best of both worlds working simultaneously.

For those of us who appreciate the ability to work within the virtual environment, using familiar "real world" tools, Reason is indispensable. For instance: the Reason rack can be flipped around, revealing all the various connections on each device, while routing is accomplished by connecting the devices with animated patch cables. It is a truly surreal experience, which begs the question "Why isn't everybody doing this?"

New in Reason 4, the Thor Polyphonic Synthesizer blew me away with its intense sounds and extreme flexibility. The presets alone were jaw dropping, let alone the sheer amount of editable parameters for manipulating them. I was also very impressed with the newly revamped sequencer. I am always impressed with Propellerhead's ability to integrate new features without creating a massive learning curve for their users. Other new features like the RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator and ReGroove Mixer inspire creative new ways for building tracks, while classic devices like Subtractor and Malstrom continue to hold their own as some of the best sounding recreations of analog gear to date.

For better or worse. Till death do us part. They'll be prying this piece of software from my cold dead hands. I don't need "a" reason to live... I need Reason 4 by Propellerhead to live.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Free Xyron Wishblade?

Get a Free Xyron Wishblade

The Xyron Wishblade cutting machine comes with software that makes welding words, creating shadows, auto-tracing items for simple cropping, fast and effortless! Take a look at the video to find more about it.

Get a Free Xyron Wishblade

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free Cricut Create Personal Cutting Machine?

Provo Craft, craft & hobby industry leaders and creators of thepopular Cricut devices, today announced the latest addition to theline: the Cricut Create(TM) personal cutting machine.

The Cricut Create combines the portability of the original Cricutwith many of the features of the Cricut Expression(R). Like theoriginal Cricut(R), the Cricut Create weighs around 10 pounds and isabout the size of a typical home printer. But unlike the original, theCricut Create allows cuts from 0.25" up to 11.5" on a 6" x 12" cuttingmat and also has several features previously available only with theCricut Expression.

The Cricut Create is perfect for the crafter that needsheavy-duty output from a lightweight machine, whether at home, on theroad or in the classroom," said Tonia Conger, Provo Craft's directorof marketing. "We see it as the next logical step in empowering womento express their creativity in the most unique ways possible.

Borrowing from the Cricut Expression, the Cricut Create offers a portrait mode, an auto-fill mode, fit-to-page mode, a center pointfunction and flip function. The Cricut Create is compatible with allcartridges as well as the new Cricut Jukebox(TM) and CricutDesignStudio(TM) software.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Free Family Tree Maker 2008?

Family Tree Maker 2008 is the friendliest genealogy program on the market. The design gives you a fast start on building your family tree and promotes the most vigorous growth over time. The layout is efficient, the tree theme is engaging, and the prompts are effective. Here is a program that makes genealogy easy, accurate and rewarding. It comes with a 6 month subscription to, the leading online site for genealogy research.

Features Set
Family Tree Maker is organized differently than other programs. Seven screens or workspaces are available for different tasks. Most of your work will be done in the People Workspace. One screen, three views: pedigree, family and individual. You can easily customize both individual and shared facts for a person by selecting from a comprehensive list including religious rites and retirement dates.

Bonus Features
Gain understanding of the events that may have shaped the lives of your relatives. Easily add significant world events to an individual’s timeline with one click. Wars, major achievements and natural disasters are listed by year with the individual’s age at the time of the event.

Ease of Use
The layout and design is attractive and intuitive with helpful prompts at every step: importing, adding people, researching potential new members, and reporting. Unlike other programs, the primary Workspace—People—combines the family and pedigree view along with the highlighted individual’s personal information.

Help and documentation
Family Tree Maker 2008 video tutorials are well produced, designed to jumpstart the complex process of genealogical research. Once you get started, the program has built-in prompts and an extensive searchable help section. Online, you’ll find a searchable knowledge base, user forum and customer service.

A beautifully designed program seamlessly integrated with a huge database will inspire the genealogist. The emphasis is on discovery—growing your tree with minimal frustration and maximum accuracy. If you’re searching for a family program, this is the one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Free Imagine Line Fl Studio 8?

Get your free Imagine Line FL Studio 8

This new version has many new features and changes. Some key new features:

  1. FL Synthmaker is a fully modular environment where you can create & share your own FL instruments, effects & dashboards, all without the need to write basic code in a modular 'plug-n-go' workspace.
  2. One-click-recording using Edison wave editor plugin. Edison ia a fully integrated audio editing and recording tool with spectral analysis, convolution reverb, loop-recording and more.
  3. Slicex, the powerhouse drumloop slicer & re-arranging tool.
    Soundgoodizer is a 'maximizer-enhancer' plugin based on the Maximus sound-process engine.
  4. Fruity Limiter for maximizing & compressing final mixes or individual tracks. Free to all users.
  5. Better integration with controllers. FL Studio can permanently learn and remember links to external controllers with the new ‘multilink’ function + 'Override generic links' option.
    Wave Candy, a flexible audio analysis and visualization tool with Oscilloscope, Spectrum Analyzer and Peak Meter.
  6. Sinc interpolation now faster (64 point sinc now usable in real-time, depending on CPU)
  7. Rendering with improved latency compensation
  8. Score logger, records all MIDI & note activity for instant recall. Everything you play, whether or not recording is active, is captured and ready to be dumped to the Piano roll.
  9. Directwave Player, broaden your musical palette with downloadable sound banks and multi-sample sets.
  10. Recording filter, to select Audio, Automation or Note data recording sessions, independently or in any combination.
  11. Slip editing and resizing tool has been added to the Playlist for all clip types.
  12. Multi-core safe plugins are threaded for performance gain on multi-core CPUs.
  13. A 'Selected mixer track' has been added to the Mixer. The selected mixer track is routed there for better integration with visual effects or a recording Edison.
  14. FL8 supports track-based sequencing in the Playlist. Pattern Clips present sequence data as Audio and/or Automation Clips
  15. An 'Online Panel', to keep users updated with content and patches.

Get your free Imagine Line FL Studio 8


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free Pazzles Inspiration Electronic Cutter?

This is the die cutting machine everyone has been waiting for! It does not require the use of cartridges and cuts, draws, embosses, engraves, pierces, and distresses many materials. Includes a designing software to create and produce your own images using photos and a scanner. It offers innovative features such as automated image tracing and automatic welding.

Get A Free Pazzles Inspiration Electronic Cutter

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Free Cricut Expression Machine?

Get a free Cricut Expression Machine

The Cricut Expression machine is a large unit meant to stay on a table. It cuts shapes, letters, and phrases in impressive sizes. With this machine, you can create bigger die cuts for classroom decor, scrapbook layouts, signage, and more! The Cricut Expression allows you to:
  1. Mix and match features in the same cut
  2. Use library of exisitng Cricut cartidges
  3. Cut portrait or landscape
  4. Change settings such as language and measure units

The video gives an introduction to the machine's features and capabilities. If you are looking for an electronic die cut machine, you have found the perfect deal!

Get a free Cricut Expression Machine

Free Michaels Arts & Crafts Store Gift Card?

Get a Free $500 Michaels Gift Card

Michaels, the nation's largest arts and crafts specialty retailer with annual sales topping $3.3 billion, opens its 1000th store on Sunday, September 14 at its newest store in San Antonio.

"This important milestone comes at a time when we are actively evolving our business to reflect our customers' needs," said Brian C. Cornell, Michaels Chief Executive Officer. "The 1000th store celebration marks not only how far we've come as a company, but how we are continuing to improve as we expand past the one-thousand-store mark."

One visible change will be a new logo that will roll out nationally in Michaels ads the week leading up to the opening ceremony at the 1000th store."Our new logo and tagline are an outward symbol that signifies how we have listened to our customers," said Aitken.

Get your Michaels gift card just in time for the holidays:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Help a Reader: Airbrush Kit

A reader asked me to find an offer for airbush kits. Here is what I sent her:

After completing the process, this reader gave me feedback:

"I’ve always wanted a airbush kit so I couldn’t resist completing the offers required for this excellent free gift. The redemption center was quick and now I have my airbush kit! I love it!"

Get your free airbrush kit by visiting this site:

And don't hesitate to send me any hobby related questions. I can help you find great deals online!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Free Print Shop 23 Deluxe?

I found a great deal when looking for “print shop 23” on Google (under sponsored links):

I went through a series of pages that required my personal information and signing up for free trails. I also used the Refer-A-Friend option to avoid paying for any other services. After spending a couple of hours completing the process, I am waiting to receive my free Print Shop 23 Deluxe.

I am very excited to start using this software because I can create greeting cards, stationary, calendars, posters, signs, and business cards. If you want a great desktop publishing solution, click here:

Die Cutting Machines Poll

I am searching for the best die cutting machine to get started with my new hobby: scrapbooking. I have read several reviews about the different machines in the market, but I want your opinions. Please share with me your experience. Thanks!

Which is the best die cutting machine?

View Results
Web Poll from Free Website Polls

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Free Brother Computerized Sewing Machine?

Computerized sewing machines remember my favorite stitch and the buttonhole configuration that I wish to repeat many times. I used my friend's computerized sewing machine and it automatically sets the stitch length and width, adjusts the tension, and tells you which presser foot to use. It saves a lot of time and it offers so many helpful features.

The only problem is that these machines can be very expensive. I wanted to find a used one, but what I found was ten times better. This site:
gives away a Brother computerized sewing machine for free! Let me share with you my journey through the best kept secret of the web:

Finding the product
I searched on Google for "computerized sewing machine" and found this link

Finding who is behind this offer
A company called World Avenue. Apparently, this company offers other items for free. How exciting!

Requirements to receive product
I used a secure Internet connection, gave away personal information (address, email), and spent about an hour going through the process.

Overall experience
I filled out a profile page and then answered a series of survey questions. Then I navegated through a series of pages with different offers. I signed up for a free trial of movie rentals, a couple of credit cards, and to receive coffee sample. I also used the refer a friend option and spent nothing out of pocket. I had to choose the zero cost offers slowly.

I completed the process and now I am waiting to receive my Brother Computerized Sewing Machine! I can't wait to start using it and learn more about its features. Maybe I can start an alterations small business from home!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Candle Making Safety

To many candle lovers the passion only requires them to light the candle with a match and watch the beauty of the candle light up and have the scent emanate through the room. If only it were that easy for those of us making the candles and providing the materials. The burning of a candle can be a magnificent event for the end user when the candle is made properly and performs to the end user’s satisfaction.

However, when you begin to pour candles, you quickly learn that this is not an easy goal to achieve. While the color, the design of the candle and the scent are very important factors and basically are what sell the candle, I think the overwhelming concern to the producer is that it burns safely for the end user. When making candles of any type, safety should always be the operative word both in terms of the manufacturing process and when the candle is burned.

In most instances the same "general safety" procedures can be followed for making paraffin and natural wax in pillar form, votives, containers or novelties. However, in some instances specific products do have additional safety needs It is always important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using any product.

The importance of burning safety of the candle cannot be overemphasized. We cannot cover all aspects of making a safe candle, so it is important that you research the safety recommendations for specific materials that you are using.

If you are ready to start making candles, you may want to check out This website offers free candle making supplies! The drop down menu also includes a candle maker. Have fun!


Free Wilton Cake Decorating Tools?

This is the first "free" offer I will review related to Arts, Crafts, and Hobbies.
I am learning how to decorate cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other events. I want to get the right tools to make my life easier. After my cake-decorating friend recommended to use Wilton cake supplies, I found out the 101 pc tool caddy set costs anywhere from $102-$155. Since that is too expensive for me, I decided to get it cheaper. I found a website that offers this set for free! I want to share my experience with you:

How and where can this product be found
I searched for wilton cake on Google. I found this site under the paid listings (on the right side of the results page.)

What company offers this product
World Avenue Corporation offers this product and many others. I will investigate some more about it and post what I find.

What is required to receive this product
I used basic information such as address and email, a secure internet connection, and anywhere from 35 minutes to 2 hours to review and sign up for free offers.

My experience with this offer
At first I filled out a profile page with basic information and filled out some survey questions. Then I got to a series of pages where I signed up for free trials (movie rentals, groceries, credit cards). I also used the refer a friend option to avoid paying a cent out of my pocket. I completed the process and now I'm waiting to receive the Wilton Cake Decorating tools. I am sure they will arrive just in time for me to make my daugther's birthday cake! I will update as soon as I receive it!