Saturday, June 24, 2017

How to create the Lo-Fi / phone line / old radio effect when mixing or mastering

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to see how to obtain that "lo-fi" effect, that often is present in many songs to create movement: it's a very effective way to lower the dynamics of the track before making it explode again, and it can be heard at the second 30 of the song above.

Let's start by saying that this effect can be used on any instrument, but it's very popular on a single rhythm guitar track, or on vocals, or even during mastering the whole song (obviously it's important to use this tool with parsimony, because it is easy to overuse it and to make it sound boring).

The idea is to do create a very narrow eq filter in order to make it sound as it is coming from an old radio, basically only the mid frequences must be heard (so that when this effect finishes the low and the high end comes back in producing a very impactful effect).

In this image I have used a low pass and a high pass filter to narrow down the frequences, and at the same time I have created a sligh boost in the mid area, to increase even more the effect, but it's not mandatory.

Once we have our lo-fi part perfectly carved down we can play even more if we want by adding some other effect, like a slight phaser (as in the song above), or by damaging the part even more with some saturation, as it can be heard in some Linkin Park song, or some bit crushing, as it can be heard in some classic Muse song.

Have fun with this interesting tool and let us know what do you think about it!

Become fan of this blog on Facebook! Share it and contact us to collaborate!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How not to be a Stompbox Addict Part 3/3


At this point of the article you are almost out of the pedal addiction, you know in the bottom of your heart that all those pedalboards are quite useless and just a way to show how big the ego of that guitaris is. You know your hands make the real difference and that is better to put money into a solid instrument and a good amp and not into boutique pedals. But you still need a freakin pedal. Well, this is the guide.

  • Take the best from what you have and improve your imagination. As said before maybe you don’t need a Reverb if your amp head has one, maybe you don’t need a distortion pedal too if the amp head sounds nice to your ears or at least try to have decent tone working on the knobs regulation before saying it’s crap.

  • Go to one or more of your local shop instrument and try different kind of pedals / If you have a lazy ass try a multieffect of one of your friend to understand well how the various kind of pedals work alone and together.

  • Project your pedalboard from the beginning in order to know how many and what kind of pedals you need.

  • When you know what kind of pedal you need just start searching online all the features of the various brands. Maybe find some comparison video on youtube to understand better the differences and what they do.

  • Try the pedal between your amp and your instrument, pedals don’t have ANY sound, they just modify the signal between the instrument and the amplification, so don’t trust just Youtube videos.

  • Don’t buy the cheapest/don’t buy the most expensive. Saving money doesn’t mean you have to waste them into awful pedals.

  • Buy with your ears, not with your eyes! No one cares if you have digital or analog pedals, or if they are built in Japan or Indonesia, no ones give a fuck! They must sound good to you.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

How not to be a Stompbox Addict Part 2/3

You are almost out of the “pedal addiction” and you are maybe considering that you don’t need twenty pedals… but just ten. Well, if you are a hard one, here is a list about why all those pedals are going to be a big problem for you!


  • The problems – More pedals = more jacks = more things that can randomly stop working and takes time to find the problem if the sound disappears = more sound degradation between the guitar and the amp (yes, even if they are true bypass and if you are using 150€ jacks) = MORE NOISE.

  • Improve your imagination – You must have crystal clear in mind what type of sounds you are after and then you must try to achieve it using as fewer steps as possible. Example: I need a really good clean for arpeggios. I can use the reverb on the amp head, its clean channel and a echo/delay pedal. Just buying one pedal you can craft your clean tone modulating it with the pedal and forging the core with your amp, which is almost always the best solution both for clean and high gain sounds. Use your imagination to build the shortest pedal chain as possibile and then look at the faces of the people asking you how it’s possibile that you have this awesome tone with that few pedals!

  • Tip Tap - Using pedals must be easy and you can’t dance tapping sixteen stompboxes during your live shows, or you’ll go crazy. Of course you can use a Midi pedalboard to simplify the selection of pedals but do you really need all those pedals? Less tap = more fun!

  • Save space for touring - Less is more, everytime, think about touring with a huge case full of pedals and then think about to travel with just a little bag with the essential you need.

  • Save money for Amp head and instruments – I know boutique pedals look gorgeus and they can do stuff you can barely imagine but to spend 600$ in pedals when your guitar costs 300$ is really stupid. They will never give you the tone you are searching for if your amp sucks and your instrument sounds dead.

  • The touch - I’ll be really frank now: what makes the differences in order to have an awesome tone is, first of all, your hands. How you play and what you play makes the real big difference in tone and sound, your way to pick the strings, to pull them down, the speed of your vibratos, the pressure of your fingers and how clean you’re moving them from a chord to another is what makes you sound better. No pedal can give you this skills. Stop craving for that damn ultra warm delay with seven knobs if you are not able to play a good arpeggio without it.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

How not to be a Stompbox Addict Part 1/3

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article! 
Today we are publishing a new article done by our collaborator Edoardo del Principe, and it is a humoristic take on the issue of the "stompbox addiction".
I hope you like it!
Most of guitarists suffer a serious illness called “stompbox addiction” which causes tons of dollars wasted in boutique pedals with nice finishes and 40 knobs. Even the poorest guitarist with this addiction has at least 10 Behringer pedals just to have a big pedalboard. I have mercy for them and I don’t want new guitarists to fall into this sick world, therefore this is the guide to not fall into “pedals addiction”!
The first and more important step is “prevention”. To do that you need to understand who you are.
A young teenage guitarist which is studying guitar: your eyes are full of hope and you are already dreaming to play as Steve Vai but your tone sucks and your 15watt combo can’t help you. Your solution is a basic multi effect as the Boss ME25. It has a preamp section which is useful to play without any amp, just using the output “phones” and connecting your multieffect to your headphones you can practice for hours without being stricken by your mom’s slipper. The Boss ME25 has everything you need and connecting it to your pc and downloading specific softwares you can find literally hundres of patches to sounds like AC/DC, Metallica, Deep Purple etc with FEW CLICKS. Boss Tone Central is the software to control your presets and patches and it can give you a really good tone with no effort.
If you are not into all these stuff and you just want to practice maybe with your acustic guitar my best advice is the Boss RC 3. It’s a looper and is really useful to learn to play over a drum track, creating loops, learning solos etc. The Boss RC 3 is a really good machine for every beginner guitaist and you’ll improve just using it. I promise.
Someone called me to play in a band, I’ve got just the Boss Metal Zone: Stay calm and don’t panic. I know you don’t want to fight against feedbacks so before doing everything and going into pedal addiction you must know what you really need. Are you being called to play in Thrash Metal band or in a Folk Rock band? After this you maybe don’t know if you need a Flanger or a Fuzz, so, my advice is to buy a sort of “live pedalboard” as the Boss ME70, Line6 Pod Hd 500 or other similar stuff. You have full control about the pedal chain and full control about every pedal in the chain: you’ll be able to craft your own sound in detail. You can use it with an amp head just putting off the preamp section and you’re ready to play every music genre.
If you are in one of these two categories following my advices you can being immune to the “pedals addiction” because in you early years of activity you tried every freakin’ type of pedal in the world so you thirst of pedals is satifistied (for now).

I’m practicing with my band but I want a better tone: Pedals are not the solution to your problem. On Youtube you can find thousands of video about how to improve your sound without spending a dime Pedals are the last part of a long process of sound crafting which starts at the beginning with the choice of your instrument and your amplification. If you have saved money in your instruments and amplification to put them into peadals you are following the wrong path. In order to have the perfect tone in your mind you need first of all a good instrument and give it voice with an amplification, this is the core of your sound. Pedals are the icing on top of the a cake. You need the right pedals, but if your cake is made almost entirely of icing, your cake will sucks.