Monday, February 22, 2021

Why I Love Cakewalk by BandLab

5. Mix Recall The mix recall feature is a huge game changer. With Cakewalk’s ability to create scenes as well as alt mixes within any given project, you can literally have instant recall to different versions of the same mix, or even save a remix within the same project. This is also great for mix revisions. Say you send out a mix and the artist wants the vocals, the drums, and the bass to be up by just a few dBs, then they call back a few days later and want to go back to the original. Now, there is no need to adjust everything back to the settings you had written down on a piece of paper, or bring up a separate session, simply go back in and select your previous version and recall everything instantly. 4. Infinite Routing Possibilities Whether it’s patch points or aux tracks, you have infinite routing possibilities that you have within the DAW. Let’s say that you want to route your audio, or your midi dry and wet to two separate tracks, or maybe you want your bass guitar split into a high and a low band, so that you can treat them differently, or maybe you want to take two mono sources and blend them together as one stereo track. All of this and more is possible through the use of aux tracks that can actually be displayed right underneath the tracks that you currently have in your project. 3. Completely Customizable In Cakewalk, everything from the way that it looks, to the way that it loads a project and even down to making custom plugin chains and templates that can then be recalled at any time, is completely customizable! 2. No Limitations There are no limitations to this free DAW! With most affordable or free DAWS, you are given a set amount of tracks, or minimal options to start with, but not with Cakewalk. Whether you are tracking, mixing, or mastering, you will have all of the tools you need right at your fingertips, from essential to unique, right out of the gate. The layout is designed to emulate the layout of an analog console. You can even build and upload your channel strip with an expandable library of pro channel modules, ranging from everything from convolution reverb, resonant filtering dynamic compression, powerful EQ, tape and console emulation, peak limiting, tube saturation. You will also get great stock plugins and a virtual instrument suite of the main essentials for making great music, all for free! 1. It’s FREE! This is absolutely the top reason to love Cakewalk. There are no strings attached, no hidden gimmicks, no buy-up plans, it is 100% free. Cakewalk is an excellent and affordable solution to getting started and allows you to focus on buying other essential elements to making music first.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Step Recording in Cakewalk by Bandlab



Step recording is a method of recording MIDI notes one note or chord at a time. It’s a very easy and precise way to record, but can sound mechanical if used in the wrong situation. You use step recording in its typical form by choosing a step size, such as a quarter note, and then playing a note on your MIDI keyboard.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Cakewalk by BandLab Tutorials


How much does Cakewalk cost? Is Cakewalk really free? 

Yes.Cakewalk by BandLab, once Sonar, is now FREE. Usually a FREE digital audio workstation (DAW) would be limited. Not this one! Whether it's beatmaking, recording, mixing, mastering, or anything in between, this is the most powerful full featured DAW on the market. 

 Is Cakewalk good for beginners?

In short, yes. Although my thought process is that the DAW is only a tool. If you're starting out it would be beneficial to start out with a DAW that can grow with you as you get better. Cakewalk is easy enough to learn quickly with a little help (see playlist provided) and yet robust enough to perform on par with any other DAW on the market.

Is Cakewalk different from BandLab?

 Yes. Essentially there is an online version and a desktop version. Each has there own strengths and weaknesses apart from each other, but also work well together. While the online version is more loop based and shareable right after conception. The desktop version is more robust and has more to offer the singer/songwriter or recording engineer.

Honestly, you have nothing to lose by trying Cakewalk as it is completely free and safe. If you're interested in trying it out this playlist will get you up and running quickly and feeling comfortable with the program. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

iSet Guitar Pedal Review - Part 2


0:40 - Overdrive: 

5:07 - Distortion: 

9:58 - Heavy Metal: 

15:01 - Multi-Echo: 

25:06 - Reverb: 

31:39 - Cube Baby: 


Friday, October 30, 2020

Warman Guitar's Does It Again!


Another mind blowing video chocked full of Warman Guitars pickups and sound examples to boot. These things really are on a whole new level! 

The Warman DriveTrain 

Warman's highest output multi coil humbucker with an output of a whopping 29.87 kOhms. Let em break that down a bit for ya, I'm talking four coils of sheer insanity giving a total resistance or 29.87 kOhm with an inductance ( Henries ) in excess of 20H!! 

In fact it actually destabilised the inductance meter topping it out and over its maximum reading of 20H when all four coils are wired in series. It’s Warman's ultimate output bridge position guitar pickup and not for the feint hearted. 

When you need to cool it down a bit you can use the 4 wire output to coil tap it down to just a mild mannered twin rail humbucker at around 14.8 k , basically the same as one of their Twin Locos. As this is a rail pickup with multiple polarities it can be used in either bridge or neck positions, but its equally at home in a bass. 

MSRP 21.99 Euros or 28.40 USD

The Warman Quake 1

Wound to 16.5 kOhm with a high power ceramic magnet generating 7 Henries of inductance and 12 adjustable pole screws spaced at 52mm this is one beast of a pickup. The Warman 4 Wire output can be wired up with push pull pots for coil tapping or you can get the best of all worlds by using a mini toggle on-on-on switch and wiring it for series, parallel and coil cut options. 

MSRP 18.50 Euros or 23.89 USD

 The Warman Quake 3

Based on the Quake 1 pickup, Warman replaced the 2 plastic coil spacers that usually sit under the outside edges of the bobbins with slim width extra ceramic magnets so this version has 3 magnets sat under the coils to better saturate them with their magnetic field. This gives increased mid range punch to the tone of the pickup and a little more output than the Quake 1. 

Wound to 16.5 kOhm with 3 high power ceramic magnet generating 7.47 Henries of inductance and 12 adjustable pole screws spaced at 52mm this is one beast of a pickup. The 4 Wire output can be wired up for maximum tonal options. 

MSRP 19.50 Euros or 25.18 USD

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Episode 054 - 8 Vocal Tips for Better Performances



  • The August Edition of the HSS Song Contest is over with Mark George coming out on top as the winner. Although it was incredibly hard to choose a winner, Mark’s song,  “The Other Side of Sound” was picked due to its arrangement, it’s clarity and balance, as well as the interest it generated even as an instrumental piece. You can hear the song and listen to my comments on it here: (


  • The September Edition of the HSS Song Contest is on! 


Here are the guidelines for the contest.

  • Original non-copyrighted work 
  • No lewd lyrics or vulgarity 
  • One submission per entrant 
  • File submission in WAV or MP3 
  • Deadline September 25th 

Upload your songs here:

  •  Why would you want to upload your song? 

      The main purpose I started the song contest was to inspire musicians to release more music and to generate interest in others music, while providing insight and constructive dialogue from a professional standpoint on how to improve the song submitted.

     Now, a few months into the HSS Song Contest routine, this segment of the channel has taken on a life of its own! The community it has created and the feedback that has been generated from within the community is amazing! There have been collaborations, friendships, and professional connections made as a result of the contest and so many have claimed that they are learning more and more every single time around.

      The song that is chosen as the winner receives a free mix/master of the winning entry from yours truly and the results are shared on the channel to help everyone benefit from knowing what went into it.    

From time to time I am asked to help out on a project or need some instrumentation for personal client work. While I can play a Bass, I am not a Bassist. That said, I am creating a list of Session Players that I can call on to work on projects. If you’d like the opportunity to work on some projects and collaborate with other like minded musicians. Sign up!


     Every guitarist knows that becoming a better player takes lots and lots of practice. Positive Grid’s “Spark” amplifier is a Bluetooth-connected practice amp/speaker packed with features including tons of onboard effects, a nice assortment of I/O ports, dual speakers, and a wealth of panel controls and presets. 

     It gets better: With the Spark’s free companion app, you can play along with tunes that you stream through the amp and have your mobile device display which chords to play as you go. Or, you can have the app lay down an accompanying drum and bass track for you to jam along to. The Spark mobile app (for Android and iOS) gives you access to a massive library of amp models and effects that let you emulate the sound you get from classic tube amps, acoustic amps, bass amps, and other types of amplifiers. You can also create customized effects using virtual pedals for Overdrive, Noise Gate, Delay, Modulation, and Reverb, or you can access Positive Grid’s BIAS-powered tone library that contains more than 10,000 amp and effects presets that let you mimic the guitar sounds of your favorite players such as Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and many others. 

     If you’re a guitarist and you’re looking for an affordable mobile rig to practice with at home, at work, or even on your commute, the Spark may be the solution you;re looking for..

-This months 3 FREE Plugins-

1. Temper

Temper is a modern digital distortion plugin featuring a rich saturation stage and a unique phase distortion. Use the variable saturation curve to add warmth and edge to your sound, and let the phase distortion bring character and clarity through your mix. Temper also features a simple resonant lowpass filter and a feedback path to drive the intensity of the tone. Watch the Temper Video demo here.

2. Alter/Ego

Alter/Ego is based on the award winning technology featured in chipspeech but instead of targeting Vintage voice technology, it focuses on more ‘modern’ (1990+) singing synthesis algorithms and research. It is specially tailored for musical needs – simply type in your lyrics, and then play on your MIDI keyboard. It’s a true synthesizer, the sound can be extensively modified for easy and expressive performances. 

3. Driftmaker

Driftmaker is a delay disintegration device that parses incoming audio, recalls certain parts and adds analog deterioration to the signal.



1. Consider Using Auto-Tune

The name “autotune” can have what some people would consider to be negative connotations. The artificial, robot-voice style that is popular in some genres is wildly unpopular with other people. But the truth is that modern auto tuning software is capable of far more subtle vocal correction than simply turning your voice into a robot. For a start, it’s variable, meaning you can apply a little or a lot. And then there’s micro pitch controls, formants and other smaller tweaks that can take individual notes or whole clips and pull them to where they need to be without sounding like they have been processed. Antares is at the forefront of these kinds of tools but there’s also Melodyne, and DAWs like Cubase (VariAudio) and Logic (Flex Pitch) have very powerful tools built-in. Used with care, they can rescue almost any vocal.

2. Warm Up

This is something you can do to help your performance at the source, regardless of any processing that may come later in the chain. Professional singers have all kinds of techniques and routines they use to keep their voices in shape and prepare before recording takes. You don’t necessarily have to go as far as copying them, but singing a few scales, regulating your breathing and making sure you are hydrated before starting will all help you to nail a better performance than if you just turn up and begin.

3. Generate Harmonies

You can bolster a vocal performance by adding harmonies, but you may not be confident in singing them yourself. The good news is that there are several ways to do it in software. Cakewalk is one DAW that has a tool for doing just this, and any tool or plug-in that lets you pitch shift audio without changing its speed (i.e. most DAWs these days) can be utilised to create harmonies on a new audio track. However, simply pitch shifting a clip to use as a harmony may not always sound great, and it’s better to get access to individual notes so you can truly control the way they interact with your main vocal melody. SynchroArts Revoice Pro 4 is another very powerful tool for working with the pitch and timing of vocals.

4. Use Dedicated Vocal Plug-Ins

Recording while monitoring through software insert effects is much less of a hassle these days, with computers powerful enough to operate at very low latency, or indeed interfaces with onboard DSP and direct monitoring available. But it’s usually advisable to record a vocal clean and then add processing afterwards so that it can be tweaked and edited in the most flexible way possible. Specialist tools like iZotope’s Nectar provide a multitude of controls tailored specially to vocals like breath control, saturation, de-essing and more. Waves also makes some excellent vocal processors and if you don’t want to spend too much, you can use your DAW’s bundled plugs in a chain to combine things like EQ, compression, de-essing and saturation into a ready-to-use preset to apply to your vocals.

5. Consider Software-Generated Accompaniment

If you’re not happy with your own performance it’s always an option to get someone else in to sing for you. But if that is not a possibility, you could look at software-generated backing or even lead vocals. Instruments like EastWest’s Symphonic Choirs, Hollywood Backup Singers, Voices of Soul and Voices of Opera use something called WordBuilder, a technology that lets you type in text and then has the instrument recreate it using its sample library. Yamaha’s Vocaloid is another “virtual singer” that lets you build up authentic sounding vocal parts from a large library, bypassing the need to sing for yourself.

6. Process More

Not necessarily just the kinds of processing that you would ordinarily do like adding compression and reverb, but consider more weird and wonderful options. A vocal that is perhaps lacking in body can be run through all kinds of effects to change the way it sounds including guitar fx, delays, lo-fi effects and much more. It’s true that this approach might not suit a pop single for example, but for many other genres of music it can help to blend a vocal into a track in interesting and unusual ways. Since plug-ins are all virtual, you can always experiment and try a few things, undoing them later if you decide down the line that they aren’t right.

7.  Learn Mic Technique

The way you interact with a microphone can have a big impact on the way a vocal is recorded. Obviously to begin with you’ll need a decent quality studio mic and a recording environment that’s as soundproofed as you can reasonably make it. If you find it necessary to move closer to the mic because your vocal projection isn’t so strong, you need to mitigate the proximity effect by making sure you have at least one pop shield, and possibly even two if you are very close to the mic. Some mics also have internal popshields, though every vocalist should really own an external one as well. It’s also vital to maintain a consistent distance from the mic while singing - around 6-8 inches is recommended but this will depend on the power of your voice. Moving around while singing will affect the recording level, so is to be avoided if at all possible.

8. Sing Like Nobody’s Watching 

For a less experienced vocalist, singing live into a mic, even in a studio, can make them self-conscious. It’s natural to be a little nervous but it can also affect the quality of a performance. You might find that clearing the room of people - the control room if you’re in a studio - can help with this. You may need to keep the engineer around to stop and start recording, but they could also set a loop around the track, activate recording and then you could try several takes in a row, all without anyone else around. 


Home Studio Simplified exists to simplify the complexities of the Home Studio and to help you make professional music in a less than professional space. We can Dream alone. We can Create alone. But Together we can achieve so much more.


Monday, August 31, 2020

Plugin Load Balancing in Cakewalk by BandLab

Plugin load balancing is a great built-in feature of Cakewalk by BandLab and in this episode I walk through the how and the why of it all. Also, I offer some practical tips on other ways to minimize your CPU workload and get better system performance.