Music technology reviewers have a fascinating job, and it's become even more fun since audio hit the web. I was thinking about that the other night as I composed some demo tunes for an upcoming article. All I needed to do was record a couple examples of the instrument's standout features, but exploring the new sonic territory was so inspiring that by the time I looked up, it was 4 a.m. That state of flow is what got me into this field, and it still drives me.

In this episode, I share some of my favorite music hardware and software demo songs, prepared for magazines, websites, and CD-ROMs. I also talk with two reviewers who've inspired me, Jim Aikin and Mark Nelson, about their experiences creating musical demos. (DMI 08-23-2007: 16 minutes 14 seconds)

Production Notes

I reached Aikin and Nelson by Skype, connecting to their land-line phones through the SkypeOut service and recording the call with Ecamm Call Recorder. I recorded through my Logitech 250 headset, a $30 USB contraption that sounds surprisingly good and saves me from having to hover over a full-size mic.

In previous Skype interviews with audio experts, I'd used the "two-ender" broadcast technique, having the interviewee record an additional track with a studio mic and a higher resolution and send me the file. I'd then replace his Skype track with the high-res one. In this case, though, I was just going for some quotes, not an extended interview, so I kept it simple. The quality came out fine, and I then enhanced the audio more with Izotope Ozone.

Korg KP3

When I reviewed the Korg KP3 Kaoss Pad effect processor, one of my favorite features turned out to be the touchpad-controlled synthesizer, which had initially seemed like a showy add-on.

I recorded my voiceover directly into BIAS Peak using an SE Electronics USB2200a mic, which I've been comparing with the Rode Podcaster I used in earlier episodes. Both mics plug directly into a computer via USB. I like the clear, natural sound the SE gives my voice; the Rode has a strong proximity effect, so tiny changes in mouth position alter the sound. I continue to be annoyed by the SE's miniature USB connector, though. The Rode has a full-size USB connector so it's easier to use longer cables and put some distance between the mic and my noisy Mac. The Rode also has a better pop filter.

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