Tag Archive for: recording

Ableton-Hardware Hybrid Setup

Producers often get comfortable in the computer and feel they are not getting enough, so they decide to invest in hardware.

Once you get good at something, it’s only natural to want to upgrade to the next level. You may get that feeling that you aren’t getting enough out of it, or that the medium is limiting in some way. With my students, often this feeling means leaping from a DAW like Abelton to a hardware-based setup. 

They often think that by doing so, they’re going to unlock a richer sound, and a more intuitive, instrumental interface. They believe they will be liberated, able to just jam out compositions without having to rely on an “unnatural” mouse click or MIDI mapping inside a DAW. 

The truth is that once they make this leap, and ditch Ableton for an Electron Octatrak, and a modular, they often find themselves being even more limited by the foreign user interface and the fact that modular doesn’t have an “undo” button, or patch saves.

That’s why I always recommend that they use an Ableton-hardware hybrid setup that incorporates the best of both worlds, where the tactile, plug and play nature of hardware meets the convenience of being able to easily save, and revert back to settings on the computer. 

Over the years, I think I have a pretty rounded philosophy of how to tackle this integration, which I would like to share with you in this post.

However, let’s talk about hardware first, so that you can understand its strengths and weaknesses. 

A photo of a simple example of an Ableton-hardware hybrid setup.


Myths About Hardware

It automatically Sounds Better

Just because something is hardware, doesn’t mean that it’s going to mythically sound better. In some cases, analog summing can fix some issues and enhance certain things but it can also be sounding different than digital and since our ears are used to the digital realm, it might be misleading. It’s not 2005 anymore; virtual instruments have grown leaps and bounds over the years. Even to a trained ear, it’s hard to tell the difference between an emulated TB303 and the Roland Cloud version. Analog does have charm and specific texture but it’s different than digital. Some people get confused once in front of certain pieces of gear.

However, there are things that happen with the sound in hardware that is difficult to emulate in software. For instance, the “ghost in the sound’ – that almost invisible hand that creates random, happy accidents due to the fact that you are working with pure electrical current, rather than a binary representation of it. 

This “hand” often results in sounds that are impossible to replicate, existing for only as long as they project from the speakers. To me, this is the magic of hardware – that unpredictability that exists for a fleeting moment, until it’s gone, never to be heard again, unless you capture it. 

In other words, analog has a sound that digital doesn’t have and that’s an aesthetic that pleases many people. Believe it or not, some people really do prefer the digital sound, mostly because our ears have got used to it.

However, what is this capability worth, if you can’t capture it properly? That’s why it’s imperative when buying hardware that you also buy a solid audio interface to be able to record the sound at the highest fidelity. Because at the end of the day, your hardware will only sound as good as the weakest part of the chain.

It’s More Intuitive

This is another fallacy. If anything, analog hardware can create a new set of problems, with the main problem being that you can’t just pull up a setting or patch. You also can’t revert back to a previous setting if something gets all messed up. 

Instead, you have to work backward in order to figure out where it went wrong. And if it’s analog, chances are that due to the “ghost in the machine” you won’t be able to get back to where you were. This results in endless hours of fruitless tinkering.

This also poses problems for live performance as well. I remember when I was performing at MUTEK with a modular setup. I was in the middle of soundcheck, jamming on my modular, getting lost in the frequencies. Then at the end of the check, I realized that I had to repatch everything back to where I wanted it for the beginning of the set. It was frustrating, to say the least. On a computer, I could have just reloaded the project. 

If you’re allergic to the mouse and sceen, perhaps hardware might be closer to your needs but it doesn’t mean it will be easier.

It’s DAWless

What is an MPC, Octotrak, Deluge if not a Digital Audio Workstation? They are digital, process audio, and they are a workshop. If anything, you are just substituting an intuitive interface that looks like a laptop, for a complicated interface that looks like a box with buttons on it (wait, isn’t that what a laptop is; just a box with buttons?). 

If you can’t stand the aesthetic of a laptop and want something sleeker, then that is your right as a creative. Just know, it’s way harder to drop a drum sample into an MPC than Ableton assisted by a Push or Maschine. If you hate the look of a laptop on stage, disguise it in a case.


How To Get The Most Out Of Your Hardware

Learn One Piece At A Time

People will often buy a lot of gear all at once without understanding their needs. Unless you are copying someone’s setup exactly from a YouTube video, and want their exact same sound, chances are people want their own thing to fit their artistic vision. 

So people will often be like ok, I need a synth, a drum machine, a set of effects, and a “brain” that I can route this all into. Then they set this all up, and realize that they are totally overwhelmed and have no idea how to use it, because there is no blueprint for it.

That’s why I recommend starting out with one piece of gear and getting really good at it. Once you know how it plays, then you can start thinking about the next part of the chain. 

So, let’s say you start with an analog synth. First, you must understand where all the filters are, and what they do. Understand how the oscillators sound, and how you can route them. Then you can consider your next addition.

So if you got a synth, the next thing you’re probably going to want is a way to sequence it. That is often a drum machine with a VC gate that can signal the synth to play (or not play) certain parameters. I recommend Beatstep Pro (Arturia) or Pioneer DJ Toraiz Squid. Of course, there are many you could add but those 2 are very versatile and fast to learn.

Once you figure that out, maybe you want an effect in order to get some more character out of the synth. Make sure that the effects that you buy are exactly what you want by testing it on the sequenced synthesizer. If they don’t create exactly what you want, then get new ones. No need to move on until you figure this out. 

By moving on too soon, you may just get tangled in your new setup, and not realize how to use it. Now you’re $5,000 deep into a headache, and not any more or less creative.

However, if you understand your pieces inside and out before expanding the chain, then you will run into fewer obstacles.

Record Everything

Remember, often with analog hardware, what you made will only exist at that moment. You may never be able to record that again. Therefore, make sure that you have plenty of space on whatever device you are recording onto because you should be recording nearly everything.

This works especially well if your creative process is to create a bunch of loops, and then assemble your loops into a song.

Truth be told, hardware doesn’t require endless MIDI mappings, and clicking, and is more instrumental, in a lot of ways. The knobs are properly dialed in with the circuits, and the keys are weighted to interact with the synth in ways that a standard MIDI controller may not be. Therefore, the loops that you create may very well be more interesting than anything you could have made with a soft-synth. 

Make Sure Your Recording Is Clean

Like I mentioned before, you need a good audio interface. I recommend Focusrite Scarlett or SSL2. These record at a high sample rate, and will capture the purest representation of what’s outputting from your setup. 

Also, you have to record it properly. Therefore, the signal has to come as close as possible to 0dB because the noise floor will always be the same on hardware. So if you’re recording at -6dB as you would with digital instruments, when your hardware recording is loaded into your “brain”, it will not seem loud enough in many cases. 

That’s because -6dB in the physical world is quiet. So, naturally, you will turn it up. However, when you turn it up you add 6dB of noise to the recording. Maybe you want this noise, but it won’t be accurate to the fidelity of your original recording. Therefore, always make sure that when recording, that it is as close to 0DB as possible.  

Realize You Will Be A Noob, Again

Just because you were a proficient Ableton user, doesn’t mean you will be a proficient hardware user. You will have to pick up the user manual again and start watching copious YouTube videos in order to get back up to speed. 

Your first stuff will probably sound terrible. This may be discouraging, but this is the reality you will have to accept. Just because you made electronic music “in the box”, doesn’t mean you will be able to “out of the box”

another photo of an Ableton-hardware hybrid setup

How To Get The Most Out Of An ABleton-Hardware Hybrid Setup


For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume you’re proficient with your DAW. In this article, we’ll use Ableton as our primary example. 

Play To Each Other’s Strengths

The goal with a hybrid setup is to buy what the computer can’t give you, and/or compliment what you’re doing on the computer with hardware. 

As you know, the process in Ableton is pretty intuitive, and not destructive in nature. If you screw something up, you can always undo, or revert to a previous version of the project.

It’s also way easier to visualize a song’s arrangement on Ableton than it is on an MPC. 

However, perhaps you like the playability of the MPC. Well, there is a solution to that – it’s called Ableton Push. I use it for basically everything; it’s amazing. It adds that tactile instrumentation that’s missing when dealing with a mouse. Additionally, all its MIDI mappings are designed to be standardized and intuitive with Ableton. 

Use Ableton As A Band Member

A good way to use Ableton in conjunction with your hardware is to use it as a session musician/band member. Write out a basic structure of a song on Ableton, MIDI clock it with your hardware, and then route your hardware into channels, and start jamming. Inside Ableton you can also create some complex effects chains that can modulate the hardware in unexpected ways, giving you something entirely fresh.

Use Ableton To Preserve Sounds

Another way you can use Ableton to compliment your hardware in an Ableton-hardware hybrid setup is to be able to have multiple versions of the same project that contains all the hardware loops that you recorded. Since Ableton’s environment isn’t destructive to waveforms like something like the MPC would be due to its limited hard drive space, you can modify the waveforms, without having to have multiple large files. Instead, you just have individual projects for different versions of the recording. 

Split Your Time Into Technical And Creative Sessions

This kind of works whether you are pure hardware, or using an Ableton-hardware hybrid setup. The fact remains, whenever you are integrating analog gear, there will be a setup process. You can’t just load settings. So you have to get all your patches set up, your effects set up and properly bypassed, your sequencer running, and your patterns in order. You then have to make sure that everything is playing back close to 0dB to avoid the dreaded noise. 

This will consume a good amount of brainpower. 

Therefore, once this is all ready, make sure to take a break. Go drink a beer, meditate, exercise, or do whatever you do to reset your mind.

Then come back and start jamming and being creative with your Ableton-hardware hybrid setup.

MIDI Controllers Are Your Friend

MIDI mapping is really easy on Ableton. Sure, it takes a little bit of time to set up, but it’s often nothing compared to the amount of time you will be tweaking hardware to get a similar result. Therefore, get some MIDI faders and knobs to control some internal processes in Ableton. 

MIDI will create that tactile sensation that hardware provides. The Push is, once again, a great way of accomplishing this, since it’s intuitive with Ableton. However, some people don’t want to spend that much money on a MIDI controller. In that case, there are dozens of great controllers out there that allow you to essentially create your own instruments on the fly.

Some suggestions: AKAI midimix, Novation Launch Control

These mappings will also affect your hardware as well, since you can map them to different internal faders that change the sound of the hardware, such as channel volume, or surgical EQ parameters. 


Ultimately, do what works best for your creative process. These are just my recommendations from my experiences using both exclusively, and then integrating the two. Just remember, there is a learning curve with everything, and things that were true for one, will not be for the other. There is no magic bullet when it comes to making music. Hardware won’t make you amazing, software won’t make you amazing. Only talent and dedication will.

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The acoustic-electronic combo

In the last 5 years, I’ve been seeing more and more projects that combine the use of acoustic sounds, samples, and recordings with synthetic, analog sounds. What’s interesting is that in the 90s, this combo wasn’t very popular, and in the eyes of many purists it was a huge no-no. The benefits of an acoustic-analog recording combination is what I’d like to discuss in this post.

There are a huge number of amazing musicians we could point to as being good references of this combination. For instance, in 2011, ECM asked Ricardo Villalobos to remix some songs from their catalog.

I remember that Ric had been playing many tracks from the jazz-influenced label mostly because he loves to create these epic moments of weirdness, where he’s play something totally unexpected in the middle of his sets. Sometimes even in a peak moment where most people would be expecting a bomb song, he’d drop some weird jazz music and layer it with some of his own techno songs he recorded in his studio, mostly from his modular. Seeing him play some of that during a few events circa 2005-2009, I saw how the acoustic-electronic combo always brought some magic into a very electronic set, but you’d have to be happy. I remember some people being weirded out by it but that, as he’d say, is not his problem.

In the 90s, this combination wasn’t always welcomed, mostly because people were really wanting to dive deep into pure electronic music, as in, if it was techno, it had to be techno and there was no room for anything that wasn’t on that agenda. I’m sorry to say that I was one of those guys as well! Especially when I entered my minimal techno era around 1996, I wanted the purest electronic aesthetic and anything acoustic would make me cringe, especially guitars.

I find that ever since Ric explored the ECM catalog, it really opened a lot of doors for people to combine the two worlds to unite them. One person that jumps to my mind as one of the artists that explored that the most is certainly Petre Inspirescu, who was really known for bringing classical vibes to techno—in his mix for Fabric or in his work with the Pi Ensemble. It’s important to note that it was an exploration, yes, but it also worked really, really well. Sometimes people explore something and it doesn’t really work, but Petre, in my humble opinion, brought it to a more refined result than what Villalobos did.

So, what should we take from this history exactly? How can one get into the acoustic-electronic aesthetic and make it work well?

Reverb and Room Acoustics

It’s crazy how a good reverb can bring life to anything, and since acoustic instruments are recorded in a room, organic reverb added to a sound brings a whole new world to it. The more realistic the reverb, the more warmth it can bring [to a mix]. This is what influenced me the most to start my own reverb collection, and my lust for finding the most realistic reverb. I did many tests with mastering, asking artists who have great reverb in their productions what can make a difference.

  • Convolution: If you can, always use the convolution reverb by max for live. One thing I noticed about stock plugins is the grain that comes out weird during mastering; this is never the case for convolution. If you’re not familiar with what convolution means, it’s basically taking the “image” of a place’s reverb and applying it as a preset for your plugin. You can then have special places such as a specific studio, concert room or even, a restaurant. It’s used in movies for creating proper atmospheres but it does such a great job on percussion. One of my favourite convolution reverb plugins is the one by Melda called mConvolutionMB—it’s multi-band, giving you a lot of options for creating really special spaces. You can also browse the internet in search of free impulse responses that you can load in your plugin. I also encourage you to randomly put sounds in it to get the reverb that is used in the sample to apply it to your song so you get a feeling that it’s all part of the same place.
  • Record your own: I know some people who buy pieces of drum kits separately to have the real thing then can play with. They’ll then record themselves playing percussion over their song. You’d be surprised about even with a cheap microphone, you can create something pretty interesting to layer your sounds with. It will catch the reverb of your place which is also unique. Snares, hats, cymbals are cheaper to buy than you think, and having them physically with you is pretty fun too.
  • Binaural recording: You can buy a binaural microphone that allows you to record sounds based upon your head, which is ideal to create stereo impression on the listener who uses headphones. If you record percussion at your ear level, it will give the listener the idea that the percussion is right in front of you. It really creates a special aesthetic for whatever you record and also some stereo placement that is unique. There are all kinds of tricks you can do with recording random things. Since it’s very precise for stereo, some people use frequency modulation using binaural technique to induce the brain in different states of mind like relaxation. I won’t get into that but there’s plenty to read on the topic if you’re curious.
  • Hardware reverb: This is hard to beat. If you can invest into a hardware reverb unit such as a pedal or a rackmount effect, you’ll get some really next level results. Something like an old DP4 by Ensoniq or Alesis, Lexicon ones can be a dramatic improvement. You can also look into a multi-effect pedal like the one by Big Sky.

Preamps and Other Tools

While the idea of acoustic layered over analog is magical, you’ll have to agree that the highest quality recordings will make a huge difference. This is why when you look for quality samples, you’ll look for the highest sample rate possible and something like 192khz will be the holy grail. This means you can re-pitch it with the least compromise, and you’ll get a lot of what we call the air-factor, where the complexity of the high end will be crystal clear.

Something else people overlook, especially when it comes to samples that were recorded, is the use of preamps. I’ve been shying away from this topic for years until I really saw how using them can completely change the quality of your sound, adding not only beefiness but also, a special texture, depending of the preamp you’re using. Ones by Neve will sound different than API, for instance, and using them on certain things will change the character of a sound. Plugins that emulate them are pretty solid at it. I tested all of the preamps this year, from Universal Audio, and found that the ones by Neve are the ones that feel the suitable for the music I want to do. I also saw a considerable amount of enthusiasm from clients when I used them on their projects. So, recording your own, even with a cheap microphone, if you use some nice preamp, you’ll get something pretty solid out of it. Cheap microphone can even be a source of coloration for your samples but nowadays you can find really nice, affordable microphones so it might be worth investing a bit more so you get something useful for years ahead.

Virtual drummers are also something you can look into. There are many out there but Slate Digital makes really high quality program that can help you have highly realistic percussion. Otherwise, you can look at Addictive Drummer that has a range of different drum kits to get sounds from. It’s very realistic as well and layering it over a rigid drum machine sequence can provide a lot of depth!

SEE ALSO : Integrating a modular setup with your DAW

Why should you make music?

Why make music?

This simple question might seem like it has an easy answer, but when I was asked recently why I make music, I realized that the more I started thinking about it, the more complex the answer became. Today it can feel like everything in the modern world works against musicians, but the more I think about it, the more I think that this isn’t exactly true. Let me explain:

You might not be aware of this, but between the 1930s and 1970s in the US Baseball was a very important part of national culture and identity. During this time, the inclusion of immigrants in the sport was quite important—Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play American baseball professionally, which helped to promote the inclusion of the African-American community in professional sports in the US at that time. Baseball wasn’t the only thing promoting the inclusion of immigrants and minorities in the national culture, but it definitely played a role (I recommend Ken Burns’ baseball series if you’re interested in this topic).

We can see the same sort of trend in the history of music. The countless occurrences of music becoming a part of politics are too numerous to describe in detail here, but electronic music specifically had its popularity grow due in part to its early adoption by gay communities—same with disco. Even nowadays, Montreal’s MUTEK festival is playing a similar role—forcing gender equity in the artist lineup and giving artists a platform to express themselves safely, no matter what their gender or orientation. Music is a platform for self-expression and provides artists with a chance to share their own personal views. MUTEK’s early vision was to create a space for artists to share the fruit of technological research in music and present it as an art form beyond trends, movements, etc., but over time it became clear that personal touches were also quite essential to the festival.

So, when I was asked “why do you make music?”, some of the points I have just explained came to mind, but I also paused and thought about my own inner motivation(s) and how they have evolved over the years.

I think that for me, every 5 years the purpose of making music has changed directions; my motivations were originally very goal-driven. This is something I see a lot with people I work with—their inner motive for making music is directly linked to where they want to go next. For young artists examining the careers of older ones, the point of making music and how it changes over time is a worthy discussion to have.

Based on my understanding and experience, there are common goals that unite many artists and might help to answer the question “why should you make music?” (the answers to this question I’ve compiled below are not in any specific order).

To learn a skill or to have a hobby

My earliest interest in music was in the early 80s, but back then it was nearly impossible to make electronic music. Music lessons felt boring and pointless, but DJing music for break-dancing was pretty dope. However, learning to be a DJ while living outside of Montreal at that time was pretty much impossible. Presently, I often have people ask me if I could teach them to DJ because they’d love to do it for fun for friends, but I refer them to YouTube as it is quicker and cheaper. Many people with this motivation are simply into the idea of assembling music and playing it. DJing music is quite fun and a great hobby that you can do with friends. After you start doing it for a while, the point of DJing might shift from just doing it to entertain some friends towards connecting with other DJs, or sharing demos on Soundcloud and aspiring to play in front of a crowd. The “why DJ?” becomes purely related to the attraction of doing it. It’s rare to see people really asking themselves “why”, but I remember when I was starting to DJ that I had close friends and family asking why they should take my hobby seriously. I was really into theatre back then, and to people close to me the idea of being a DJ seemed silly.

Regardless of your original motivations to start messing around with music-making, making music as a hobby is really fun—it’s a wonderful creative outlet and can even be useful with friends when you have evenings together and everyone wants to be entertained.

To establish yourself as a part of a community

A sense of community comes for most after they’ve started DJing, but many people also start here. What’s interesting about music is it can be a side-project throughout your entire life. Going from one community to another is also not uncommon. I was really into raves in the early 90s and wanted to contribute to that scene by playing music I thought was suitable for that community, but over time my music tastes changed. My circle of friends changed a few times as my passion for what I loved (music) created some distance around people, but music has always been there in the background.

Having music as the centre of your life gives life purpose in-itself, as well as creates a lifestyle around it—there’s no good or bad way to approach this. I know some jazz and classical musicians that have so much devotion to their craft that it would make anyone I know from the electronic scene blush. Is making music the centre of your life to that degree better? These devoted musicians aren’t necessarily happier in the end, but what music gives them personally is the most important reason why they make and/or perform it and a very valuable and satisfying part of their lives.

The tricky part of motivation is that sometimes you might never really feel like you’ve reached your end goal. Being part of a community, for example, is hard to quantify and depends on the feedback you’re getting. This type of internal/external motivation loop is where a lot of people struggle and get lost. It’s common to see people who are under the impression that it would be better to abandon everything and sell all their music related toys than to keep trying to reach their goal. Is there a way to avoid this thought? Why do people slip into negativity all of a sudden and react drastically?

Say you’ve tried to sustain a music “career” or project for years and it never really went as far as you wanted it to—it’s easy to pin the problem on a lack of recognition from others. Same goes for an artist who has been around a long time and has “done everything” and then gets lost when thinking about what to do next. Sometimes your music community might change directions drastically if they reach that point—a lot of my peers switched to making house music at one point—which can also make you feel lost yourself. When you feel lost or tired of trying with music, it really has nothing to do with other people, but more with your personal approach to music. This might sound cliché, but it’s true.

Personally, I have been experimenting with my approach to music quite a lot; I find a lot of relief by focusing on people who care and appreciate what I do. Building your own community or small circle of music friends has been for me the only thing that can get me back on track when I feel lost. I lost my patience after chasing others for years and decided to shift my energy towards those who cared instead—and I didn’t have to search very far.

To make a career out of music

Once people feel included in a music community, the next logical goal is to try to “make it” on a professional level. This can mean many things:

A career for self-expression and self-realization

One of the most important needs of humans is to feel they’re able grow and to have others (and themselves) witness it. If you’re pushing yourself making music, you’ll see and hear the growth of your music yourself, and with time and patience the quality will get better which provides great feelings of satisfaction, especially when it’s turned into a career.

A community-driven career

As I’ve covered in multiple past posts, one can be attracted by a community of artists or genres and want to join their movement. The beauty of this approach is connecting socially over electronic music, which can create opportunities for many conversations and projects, technical, philosophical, or otherwise.

You can also do music for multiple reasons and those reasons can morph through time, through life changing events or simply because your interests are shifting. I come to question myself every now and then. Asking yourself this question also helps you understand where to go next. One of the reason why the base of this question is more relevant than what we think of.

SEE ALSO : Workflow Suggestions for Music Collaborations

Good quality microphones for iPhone

One of my favorite things about making music is to combine recordings of random things I find or field recordings to include in my music – a great, simple way to do that is with an iPhone microphone. Since this is a topic I often cover in this blog, I thought I’d go over some iPhone microphones I’ve had the chance to use, test, or have seen friends use.

Why use an iPhone microphone?

iPhone microphones (or any phone microphones) are ideal for portability as well as for using them when you have quick moment of inspiration to seize a moment. I believe smartphone microphones are an essential any electronic musician should have. Not only can you record a weird conversation you’re hearing in a cafe, but you can also record a moment of a track that sounds amazing at an event (although the quality won’t be great…at least it’s a way to remember something you liked). The idea is to create material you can use as sample or references. Recording sounds in and out of the studio is always a great source of inspiration.

Here are some microphones for smartphones:

Zoom iQ7 iOS Lightning X/Y Microphone (Amazon)

Zoom has been a top choice for many for a long time. If you don’t have the handheld recorder you can get this microphone with lightning connector. It’s probably one of the best out there hands-down, not only because of the great quality of the audio but also for the app that comes with the microphone. The app makes it way easier than the handheld recorder as not only do you get quick access to different parts of the configuration, but you can even send it to your Dropbox.

I recommend this one as my first pick.

Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier

Lavalier microphones are usually used to pick up someone’s voice, so you’ll see it on people on TV or people on stage when they do conferences. They have pros and cons, but the one thing I like about them is they also have their own sound profile. The guy I work with for my jazz project uses one for his saxophone and while at first I was a bit skeptical, the end results were beyond what I was expecting. This Movo does something really cool if you wear it subtlety and record yourself or play some instruments. It’s a bit annoying to install but if you’re creative, it can be pretty fun to try unusual ways to pick up sounds.

Cs-10em Binaural Microphones and Earphones

This one is amazing but it doesn’t work with a smartphone because these pods are also microphones for binaural recording. This means that you get a stereo microphone at the level of your ears, recording the world around you. What this does is, if you pass the recording to a friend who wears headphones, he will hear it exactly how you did when you wore the pods. So lets say you recorded yourself in a coffee shop and some people were talking in the back, the listener will also hear it in the back. For positioning and field recordings, this toy is a dream. The only downside is you need something like a handheld microphone with an entry or pair it with the iQ6.

Rode IXYL Condenser

Rode makes amazing condensers and the quality of their products is always outstanding. The only reason I don’t suggest this one at first is the price. It won’t fit everyone’s budget and can be overwhelming if you use it only occasionally. But if you think you really want to get into field recording, go with this. I’ve tried this model but don’t own one because I can’t have them all …but it’s certainly in my wishlist!

IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio

This one is last on the list but could also be first. While the microphone is totally fine and you get something lovely for the price, what makes the iRig really cool is the number of things they offer, from other toys for picking up sounds to great apps that can help you make music on your iPad. They’ve been around for quite a while now and know what they’re doing.

SEE ALSO :   Home studio essentials: Starter kits for electronic music production