Category: Recording Equipment Reviews

Recording Your Gigs with Lively

Recording Your Gigs with Lively

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As a band, you sometimes need to prove that you have a great live show for people to come to your shows, and a cell phone video recording or word of mouth won’t always cut it for potential ticket buyers. Other times, fans want to remember and relive your shows that they’ve seen. Why not let fans preview or relive your act with recordings of your shows?

There are many ways you could go about making a recording of your shows. However, one of the newer options is to use an app called Lively, which aims to make the A/V recording and distribution process easier.

What Does Lively Do?

Lively is usable by both fans (to find audio and video recordings of shows) and artists. As an artist, Lively lets you:

  • Record your show as audio or video on an iOS device
  • Master your tracks easily with Lively Audio Manager
  • Upload your show
  • Share or sell your recordings

How Do I Use Lively?

The way this application works is really simple.

  • Plug the Apogee interface into a stereo mix from the front of house console.
  • Plug an iPad into an Apogee Duet interface.
  • Open the Lively app.
  • During your soundcheck, hit record. Then, play back to ensure the mix and levels are where you want them; adjust in the app as needed before the show starts.
  • At the start of the show, begin recording.
  • Add song markers in (either during the show or after).
  • Upload songs for fans to find.

What Do I Need To Use Lively?

To use the app, you’ll need an iPad (which many people, especially musicians, have these days) and an Apogee Duet audio interface. It would also be good to carry with you a couple of short XLR cables and a couple of 1/4 inch XLR cables, for connecting the front of house console and your interface.

How Much Does Lively Cost?

A new iPad costs from $299 up to $929 (if you need the processing power of a high-end laptop and cellular service). An Apogee Duet iOS audio interface is $595. The Lively app itself is free, but the recording functions are not available without a fee (ranges from $4.99 to $11.99).

Why Should I Use It?

While you can record your shows with other devices, it will take more time and effort to transfer the material to your computer, edit, and upload. Lively makes it so simple that, with a few taps on the ol’ iPad, the process can be done before fans even leave the venue.

As a musician, it’s essential to get fans to your gigs, focus on your show and your fans at the gigs, and sell your music. Lively helps you do all three.

Have you sold live recordings of your gigs in the past? What equipment did you use? Have you used Lively yet? If not, would you consider it?

See also: Five Websites for Selling Your Music Online, Top Five Websites for Streaming Your Music, 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs

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Music Recording Equipment: Finding the Right Headphones

Music Recording Equipment: Finding the Right Headphones

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Headphones may be overlooked when people think about what equipment is needed to make music recordings happen, but they are an important part of the recording studio. In a recording session, artists may want to use headphones to hear their voice or other parts of the arrangement. The headphone mix may affect their performance, so it’s important that you have good headphones to help the artist hear clearly and perform their best.

DT 770 PRO by beyerdynamic

These crazy-comfortable closed-back headphones may be the very best on the market in their price range (or perhaps in general). They fit around the ears tightly but comfortably. Their clarity is amazing – if you solo a vocal, it’s like you are standing right in front of them. There is also a semi-open back model called the DT 880 PRO, and a fully-open back for critical listening and mastering called the DT 990 PRO. Price: $299

K240 Studio by AKG

The K240s are semi-open studio headphones that also have very comfortable pads. These headphones are very light while wearing (240g). The cable that comes included is a mini-XLR to 1/8th inch adapter, allowing for very easy cable replacement. Price: $149

HD 280 PRO by Sennheiser

Sennheiser makes a great set of headphones that isolate very well. This is important for recording. If you are trying to record a quiet, intimate vocal, you don’t need the music leaking out of their headphones and being recorded into the vocal track. The solid construction doesn’t hinder comfort and helps durability. This pair of headphones are built with closed construction. Price: $99

SRH240A by Shure

The SRH240A headphones are a rugged set of closed headphones. This more affordable pair is comfortable and isolating; again, perfect for recording with minimal bleed, and also great for music listening. Price: $75

Other Tips for Choosing Headphones

When choosing a pair of headphones for music recording, keep in mind your needs. Will you be mixing with them? Make sure they are comfortable and honest sounding. Will you be using them for artists to be monitoring while recording? Choose a pair that are closed and isolating. Before listening and trying them out, make a mix of music you are very familiar with. Listen to what the high end, low end, and mids sound like. Make sure the headphones replicate each well.

Have you established a recording studio? What type of headphones do you prefer to use, and why?

See also: Recording Music: Pros and Cons of Creating a Home Studio, Recording Music: Essential Equipment for a Home Studio, Music Recording Equipment: The Best Microphones, Music Recording Equipment: Digital Audio Workstations.

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Music Recording Equipment: The Best Microphones

Music Recording Equipment: The Best Microphones

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

In both live performances and music recording, there are a lot of components that affect the way the final product will sound. Because they are the initial pieces to capture and filter the sound of instruments or voices, microphones are very important.

If you’re setting up a studio, here are some different microphones to consider:

U87 by Neumann

One of the most popular microphones, this large diaphragm condenser (LDC) is mostly used on female vocals or breathy vocalists because of the way it beautifully captures the “air” of a voice. In 2012, this microphone was rated by Sound On Sound magazine to be the “best microphone”. $3,600

TLM 103 by Neumann

With the same capsule as the U87, this more-affordable LDC is also great for capturing the air and presence of a vocal. It has a flat response to around 5k, then a 4 dB boost. This mic has very little noise, so it can be used for very quiet things (radio broadcast, foley recording) while still handling high SPL (for use as drum overheads). $1,100

C1 by Studio Projects

This mic is very, very affordable, but the low price doesn’t mean low quality. This microphone can be found in high end music studios recording some big records, and it has been compared to microphones 10 times its price. The C1 has the ability to close mic high SPL sources (such as guitar cabs and drum overheads). $300

C414 XLII by AKG

This is another versatile microphone that is mainly used for drum overheads and vocals. This LDC is often sold in pairs for the application of recording stereo rooms or overheads. Acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments also sound great through this. $1,100 (single) $2,300 (pair)

SM27 by Shure

This mic is another affordable, flexible LDC. Compared to the other, more expensive microphones in this list, this one might need some shaping in post, depending on what you are using it for. It can take the high SPL of drums and capture all the light nuances of vocals. $299

Capturing the sound during music recording sessions as best as possible is an important part of the recording process. Although they aren’t the only element that matters, the right tools make a big difference.

Do you have a favorite mic for recording? Is it one of the above mics, or something else? Does your go-to mic vary depending on what you’re recording?

See also: Recording Music: Pros and Cons of Creating a Home StudioRecording Music: Essential Equipment for a Home Studio, Music Recording Equipment: Digital Audio Workstations, Music Recording Equipment: Finding the Right Headphones.

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Music Recording Equipment: Digital Audio Workstations

Music Recording Equipment: Digital Audio Workstations

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Before the rise of computers, recording studios had tape machines that they recorded to, and editing was done by cutting and pasting pieces of the recording with a razor and tape. Today, Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) have taken the place of those tape machines, bringing with them a multitude of options that didn’t exist previously. If you are setting up a recording studio, DAWs are a necessity, especially you plan to collaborate with other industry professionals.

There are many different DAWs to choose from, so we’ve pulled together some of the best and most popular. Take a look through these options and see what is best for you.

Pro Tools

Pro Tools is arguably the most popular (or perhaps a more appropriate word is common) DAW. Pro Tools Express comes with an interface and a basic set of plug-ins for $499. Compare the different versions on this comparison chart. A free trial of Pro Tools 11 is available. Available for both Mac and Windows OS.

Logic Pro X

The latest version of Logic Pro X comes with awesome new features which previously required third-party plug-ins (Drummer, a drum programmer; Arpeggiator; and Flex Pitch, a tuning application). The now-included plug-ins are a step forward, making this program excellent for programming and making synths and beats. The dark interface also allows for less strain on your screen and battery.
$199 on the App Store; Mac OS only.


Like other DAWs, Cubase offers versions of the program at varying price points and with various features, allowing you to choose the level that fits your budget and your needs. This program has many plug-ins, including pitch correction (standard in all versions). Prices range from US $99 to EUR $699; available for both Mac and Windows OS.

Studio One

This program is made by Presonus and also has varying programs (Free, Artist, Producer, and Professional) at varying prices. Compare their different features and prices, and find the version best suited to your needs and budget. Available for both Mac and Windows OS.


Reaper is a one-version program with much of the same functionality and ability as the other DAWs listed. It offers a 60-day free trial, after which the license is only $60. Available for both Mac and Windows OS.

While it may be obvious that you need this equipment, the choice may not be as clear. Our best advice is to identify your studio’s needs first, then research and compare your options.

Have you purchased one of the above DAWs? Or is there another version that you use? How has it worked out for your studio?

See also: Recording Music: Essential Equipment for a Home Studio, Recording Music: Pros and Cons of Creating a Home Studio, Music Recording Equipment: The Best Microphones, Music Recording Equipment: Finding the Right Headphones.

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