Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Crown XTi Series Review

  Whenever you think of professional grade power amps for large concert style PA systems, the name Crown immediately comes to mind, and for good reason. Crown has been making “tried and true” amplifiers since the late 50’s, which has established Crown as one of the leaders in audio electronics. Well a lot has changed in the past 60 years, especially in regards to music technology, but one thing has remained constant and that is Crown’s ability to harness new technologies to provide a quality power amp for just about any audio application big or small. Crown designs several different series of amps; each series usually incorporates 4 different models that offer various power levels but house the same great features. This way there is sure to be a Crown amplifier that fits your needs and budget.

  One of the newer series that offers this great versatility and some staple features that Crown is known for, is the XTi series. Available in a 1000, 2000, 4000, and a 6000 this particular line offers great functions like integrated DSP that allows you to quickly and easily configure crossovers, EQ, limiting and delay, along with tools like a pink noise generator, subharmonic synthesizer, and universal tracking switch-mode power supply, which reduces power draw and waste heat. And as the first line of Crown amps to use Icepak™ thermal modeling software, they are at the top of their class when it comes to thermal efficiency and lightweight portability.
Here is a breakdown of the key features that the Crown XTi series amp offers:
•Integrated speaker presets with LCD front panel display
• Accurate, uncolored sound with very low distortion for the best in music and voice reproduction
• Advanced protection circuitry guards against: shorted output, open circuits,  DC,  mis-matched loads, general overheating, high-frequency overloads and internal faults
• Extremely versatile, handling a wide range of speaker impedances and outputs
• Switch-mode universal power supply
• Speaker presets for crossover frequencies, EQ, limiting, and delay
• All products fill 2U rack spaces and weigh under 19 lb (24 lb for XTi 6000); weight sets a new standard in lightweight amps
• Speakon® and binding post outputs, XLR inputs and loop-thrus
• Comprehensive LED status per channel

  With features and functionality like these, the XTi series proves once again that Crown is king when it comes to making great quality amplifiers and sound reinforcement products. Check out the XTi series today to find one that fits your needs! offers free shipping and a 30-day Money Back "No Hassle" Guarantee.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Support A Small Business Sale

Support A 
Small Business Sale

To show you our appreciation for supporting a small business like us, we made three very special offers just for you. Four days only starting Thanksgiving through midnight Cyber Monday.

Choose from three items for only $29.99
In Ceiling 5.25" Speakers

Theater Solutions Pair of In-Ceiling 5.25" TS50C Speakers are smaller affordable speakers for your whole house audio installation. Theater Solution's new TS50C line of in-ceiling speakers can handle 200 watts RMS per pair and 400 watts Max per pair. You don't need an expensive amplifier to power these speakers, they are highly efficient and don't let the price fool you. These in-ceiling speakers are constructed with a woven kevlar cone and a 6db crossover to deliver clear pleasing audio. These little guys deliver quality sound while staying soft on your pocket book. Theater Solutions in-ceiling 5.25" speakers, the perfect choice for your multi-room installation. 
Computer Speakers 2.1 System

TS211 CC1

New 2.1 Computer Multimedia Speaker System is compatible with PCs, Laptops, DVD players, Mp3 players, Televisions, and Gaming Consoles
  • 200 Watts RMS System Power
  • Built in USB memory device input and SD card Player
  • Mobile and Modern Design
  • Professionally designed built-in amplifier, subwoofer, and 2 satellite speakers
Sycho Sound Car Amplifier  
click image for user reviews 

This SY2K is a high performance two channel amplifier will rock your vehicle all day and all night long. 
  • Sycho Sound SY2K 500 Watt Amplifier
  • Dynamic Power 500 Watts Max
  • Class A/B MOSFET Amplifier
  • 50 Watts RMS x 2 channels at 4 ohms (bridged) and <1% THD+


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Have an iPhone 4s - Here Is A Gadget You Need

Scott shares some great tips using his SendStation with his new iPhone 4s. Check it out!

Visit to buy this item.

Friday, October 14, 2011

STELLAService Awards “EXCELLENT” Rating To an on-line audio and speaker store receives recognition for providing top-rated customer service., a leading supplier of home audio and pro audio speakers and accessories, has been awarded an EXCELLENT rating by STELLAService, a company dedicated to publishing objective, in-depth ratings on the customer service performance of online businesses. STELLAService assesses Internet retailers across three main areas: 1) online user experience; 2) shipping and returns; and 3) live customer support. STELLAServices reports that less than half of the thousands of companies they rate pass their meticulous rating  process.’s owner Mike Lewis comments, “I am so proud of our OnlyFactoryDirect team; from the day we launched we focused our energy and efforts on customer service. We lead the way years ago with Free Shipping and our “No Hassle” return policy. We have made decisions at every turn based on how it will impact the customer experience, receiving an EXCELLENT rating from STELLAService, is a direct reflection of our commitment to our customers.”
John Ernsberger, Co-founder of STELLAService comments, “Everyone claims to have world-class customer service,” he continues, “through our comprehensive and objective evaluations of each site’s customer service performance; we’re able to cut through the noise and uncover which sites are truly delivering the best online customer experience. We are excited to highlight leading e-retailers when it comes to customer service while also providing online shoppers with direction to the best sites in each product category.”

Online electronics is one of the fastest growing categories for e-retailers. Forester Research predicts that online purchasing will grow to a staggering 250 Billion by 2014. One of the top product categories that represent more than 44% of those online sales are consumer electronics. Sasha Letourneau, Director of Sales & Marketing for explains, “Research shows that people are more e-commerce savvy and surprisingly enough, customer satisfaction of online shopping has been rated much higher recently.” Forrester reports that 82% of those who end up buying online are satisfied vs. only 61% who walk in to a physical store during their purchasing cycle. “I believe most consumers are on a tighter budget and realize that brick and mortar stores have more overhead, so their prices are higher and frankly many times it’s difficult to find a human that is an authority on the item you are interested in.” She continues, “It is the perfect timing for a company like STELLAServices to help consumers navigate all the online retailers to find the best product at the best price, with the best customer service. We are very pleased to wear the seal of EXCELLENCE.”

About is an online retailer of home audio and pro audio goods. offers a 30-day “No Hassle” Guarantee and Free Shipping to the 48 continental states. They will send a pre-paid shipping label and offer you a full refund if you are not satisfied with your audio purchase. An audio technician is available M-F 8am-4pm PST or Chat Live online Tues-Sat.

Friday, September 30, 2011

User Review of Technical Pro Urec5

My name is Shawn C and Im a front-of-house engineer as well as an active musician near Toronto, Canada.

I had a need to record live performances as well as rehearsals and was looking for a simple solution that I could mount in my road case and connect directly to my mixer. I happened across the Technical Pro Urec5  and it looked to do what I needed done.
To be quite honest, I was concerned about the fact that there wasnt any online user reviews or content about the Urec5 unit. And, the price made me second guess my interest in the product, too was this studio grade quality? Is it as good as $250 solution or even a $500 solution? After using it for a month or so I say to you, YES to all.  

Upon opening the package and setting it up I was surprised to find out that I had to use an SD card that was less than 4Gb in size. I picked up a 2Gb card at the local Staples wondering if I should pick up another.  THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE! You can record hours and hours of content on this thing with files automatically converted directly to MP3.  For editing, I drag them off the card and drop them directly onto a track in my audio workstation software (Cubase).  The quality is clean with little to no noise.  I get EXACTLY what the mixer is feeding it. 
So, wheres the catch? Wheres the its not as good as a costlier solution?
There is no catch. It is what it is.  And, considering no real mechanical parts are required with record-to-chip-memory technology, then one shouldnt expect a lot in terms of mass.
This is a simple device: record and playback.  There is no search or scrubber capability which means you have to move through a list of recordings one by one and play a song back from the beginning to find something in the middle. Is this a big problem? Not, really but, its inconvenient at times, especially during rehearsals where you want to listen back to a particular area of interest.  Too, you can plug a USB drive into the device, as well as the SD chip, and play music during set-breaks which is a big plus rather than having to hang your IPOD off your rig or consume two channels on your mixer for your IPOD.

Operationally, you set the Urec5 device to record mode; press the record arm button and then press the go button.  To play back you disarm it, set to play mode and press play.  The device has its own EQ and volume control so sending it back through your mixers TAPE IN saves you from having to consume mixer channels.

As far as construction goes, the container is adequate but Id be concerned about placing something heavy on top of it.  It works well in a rack situation which, reminds me: the rack ears are packaged separately inside of the Styrofoam supports  so LOCATE THESE FIRST BEFORE TOSSING OUT.  The front panel is solid and theres a substantial tactile presence to the buttons and knobs.  Theres no click, per se, when the SD card goes in it just gets to the point where it wont go any further so dont force it.

With respects to connectivity there are both RCA and ¼ unbalanced connections going in and out of the box.  I feed to the UREC from my TAPE OUT and return through the TAPE IN connections on the mixer.  Ive also sent a feed from the ¼ out (concurrently to the RCA outs, btw) to an M-Audio digital interface which worked well providing you didnt jiggle the cables which caused a bit of noise. 
Remember, too, that this device will probably be fed from a mixer with just enough output to power a set of headphones.  This will not be the same sound that people hear in the venue youre playing into.  The fact is your choice of PA drivers, speakers, subs and cabinets all affect the color and tonality of your end-sound So, what comes out of the mixer may lack a degree of personality that those other components provide.  Like I said, you get what ever your mixer gives. 
Yes, Id buy another. Yes, Id recommend this to a family member. And, Yes, Id buy from Only Factory Direct again.

permission to republish from Shawn C. for only

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get a Free Speaker Bag With Any SRM450v2 or SRM350v2

Mackie pushing to finish a strong 3rd Quarter has announced a rebate program for their top selling SRMv2 series active speakers. The SRM series has been a decade long staple for Mackie, recently Mackie re-engineered the series and released the new SRMv2 Series. Mackie’s newly designed SRMv2 Series received rave reviews from their critics, recognizing the sophisticated electronics, featuring separate Linkwitz-Reilly 24dB-per-octave crossover circuits for the LF woofer and HF compression driver. The SRMv2’s electronic crossover circuitry effectively splits input signal frequencies into highs and lows for the transducers, and eliminates unwanted phasing issues. Also, the new Class-D with servo feedback fast recovery amplifier gives the SRM45v2 and SRM350v2  more power (300 W), and pair that with a second Class AB amp (100 W) that drives the new 1.75” high frequency titanium dome compression driver connected to a multi-cell horn and you get more clarity and punch than ever before.

Mackie is offering a Free speaker bag with any purchase of a SRM450v2 or SRM350v2 from an authorized dealer now through October 15th, 2011. Rebate forms are available at or and must be submitted with receipt by October 31st, 2011. See rebate form for specific details.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SM Pro Audio XPH4 Headphone Amp Video

    • Input Connectors: stereo 3.5mm mini TRS and RCA
    • Max gain: 19dB/Channel
    • Input Impedance: 100K unbalanced
    • S/N ratio: > 98dB
    • Max input level : + 22 dB
    • Power: 12-18V DC adapter (optional accessory, not included)
    • Output connectors: 1/4” stereo TRS phone
    • Size: 88 x 54 x 38 mm
    • Output impedance: Minimum 10 ohms each output
    Many times when you are in the studio, more than one person would like to hear the mix or each person wants a different volume level than the other. The SM Pro Audio XPH4 Headphone Amplifier is a convenient studio accessory that powers up to 4 headphones. There are two inputs, an RCA and a 3.5 mini connection to connect directly from any form of headphone output or use a line level output. The back side houses four 1/4" stereo outputs, each connection is a 10 ohm output. One advantage to using a separate headphone amplifier is managing the crossfeed. Crossfeeding blends the left and right stereo channels slightly, reducing the extreme channel separation which is characteristic of headphone listening and sometimes can cause headaches. The XPH4 allows you to switch from stereo to mono, this is especially nice if you are spending long hours in the studio with headphones.

    Bottom line: The XPH4 is an extremely useful studio accessory built solid with a few basic features. Over all it does exactly what you would purchase a multi-channel headphone amplifier to do with a reasonable price point of $49.99.

    Buy it now at:

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Football Season Kick-Off Sale

    Take 15% Off any purchase over $249 on Pro Audio Gear or Home Audio Gear

    Save for 4 days only. Save on brand names like Alesis, Auralex, JBL, Podium Pro Audio, Numark, Pioneer Jamo, SM Pro Audio, Mackie and more pro audio gear and home audio brand names.

    Promo Code Available Exclusively at

    5 Reasons an Audio Technician or Musician Should Have an Audio Cable Tester

    Professional Audio Technicians, Mobile Audio DJs, and Musicians alike rely on their equipment and speakers to perform perfectly, and when this doesn't happen it could have a lasting impact on their pocketbook.  This is why Audio Professionals generally carry with them a basic tool box that can assist in pin-pointing the defective piece of equipment in the line up. This can be very time consuming and difficult depending on the scale of the venue. There is one tool in the box we believe that no Pro Audio Technician, DJ, or Musician should be with out, the SM Pro Audio CT-2 Audio Cable Tester, and here is why.

    1)  Saves Time: When someone calls with unwanted distortion or sound degradation, I always recommend swapping out the cables first, or if you have an Audio Cable Tester, to test the cables.  Here is the first advantage of the SM Pro Audio Cable tester, the CT2 offers many common connectors such as Speakon, XLR, Phono, BNC, DIN, TRS, TS, DMX, and Banana. To swap out every cable with a new cable just to diagnose if that is the root of the issue would be too burdensome and time consuming. The CT2 allows for testing cables even with different connectors at each end.

    2) Saves Money: The connectors and the wire junction points at the connectors is  responsible for approximately 90% of all cable failures. Most frequently, these are where the flex points are and the wire breaks right where it is attached to the connector. The CT-2 Audio Cable Tester from SM Pro Audio actually will help determine if the cable is dead or if it is repairable with a new connector. We tested several old balanced 1/4" jack cables, and the LED light display tells us if the sleeve, tip, or ring are good. The user can easily determine if swapping out the tip for a dollar will solve the issue rather than tossing the whole cable.

    3) The price point.  Any other Audio Cable Tester that has similar features and functions will easily cost you $60-100. The CT-2 retails for only $39.99.

    4) Convenience & Portability: The CT2 audio cable tester only measures 8.9cm x 14cm x 3.7cm and requires only a 9volt battery for operation. The construction of the CT2 audio cable tester is durable.

    5) Ease of Use: This is not a complicated tool, it doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles however, it is an extremely functional tool that may save a gig or two in the end.

    Purchase the CT-2 Audio Cable Tester Now at:

    Mackie Onyx BlackJack USB Interface Review

    The Mackie ONYX BlackJack is a rugged bus-powered USB audio interface that is small with great sound quality and versatile monitoring, making it an ideal portable companion to a laptop but equally at home in a fixed location such as a personal studio.

    Mackies ONYX BlackJack offers the quality preamp so recognized in their higher priced line of Onyx Mixers, but for a lot less money. The BlackJack features two Onyx preamps, having mic/line inputs on combination XLR / ¼” jacks, with individual DI switching for using the line jacks as high-impedance inputs, and switchable global phantom power. The monitor outputs are on balanced quarter-inch jacks, governed by the Monitor level control, and there’s a headphone output and accompanying level control on the front panel.
    The Onyx preamps are designed to go beyond standalone microphone preamps in headroom, transparency, and fidelity. Additionally, the Onyx preamps have a full 60db gain, improved radio frequency (RFI) rejection and an ultra-wide dynamic range. Onyx preamps rival even the most expensive boutique mic preamps for sound quality due to the Cirrus Logic converter. Power for the circuitry comes from the USB port, so there’s no need for a separate PSU. The 24-bit Cirrus Logic converter is capable of a 114dB dynamic range (A-Weighted), which is way beyond the signal-to-noise spec of most studio gear. The BlackJack performed well with sampling rates of up to 95kHz, and the playback quality has proven to be excellent. Importantly, the gain staging within the unit means that the preamp circuitry is correctly matched to the A-D conversion, to sustain headroom while minimizing noise and distortion. Zero latency recording is possible by routing the input directly into the monitors and into the computer simultaneously, reducing any audible delay from player to computer (allowing the computer buffer to be directed towards the CPU). It also allows you to track in mono or stereo. 

    The Blackjack works with both Mac and Pc computers and compatible with all the major DAW software (except those limited to a manufacturers own hardware). I f you are running Windows, users are advised to to download and install the latest ASIO driver from for optimal performance. The Blackjack comes bundled with a copy of Mackie’s Tracktion 3 software, an amateur friendly introduction into computer recording if you’re not already familiar with another DAW.
    Bottom line, there are less expensive interfaces on the market, but overall, comparable interfaces do not possess this sound quality. In fact, many of the USB interfaces that are three times more expensive don’t offer the headroom and fidelity that Mackie’s Onyx BlackJack does.  Finally, the BlackJacks compact portable and durable design and reasonable price point earns a 4.5 star rating out of 5 stars.

    • ·         Industry standard 24-bit recording/playback on USB with 2in/2out audio. Bus powered. 
    •            Two high-quality Onyx mic preamps with superb fidelity and dynamic range
    • ·         48V Phantom Power to use with Condenser Microphones
    • ·         True Analog monitoring of inputs for zero latency recording
    • ·         Built-in DI on each input for direct guitar/bass connections
    • ·         Premium Ciruss Logic AD/DA converters with 114 db dynamic range
    Available Now at

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Technical Pro RX35U Review

    Technical Pro RX35U Review

    The RX35U Audio Receiver with Tuner is nicely packed, and the manual included is moderately informative, but gives you all the necessary information required except, more detailed specifications regarding the wattage. It is a personal pet peeve of mine that almost all amplifier manufacturers are overly optimistic or intentionally confusing on their stated specifications. We will hook up the system and share our guesstimation as to the continuous wattage, later. The amplifier itself weighs 8lbs and overall has a clean professional look. The front panel of the RX35U, there are 22 features including volume/tuner knobs, USB, SD card, mp3 player inputs, DVD, Aux, MP3/SD/USB, Play/Pause, Previous, and Next Buttons, two microphone inputs and three knobs to control the microphone's volume, echo, and tone and finally three controls to manipulate bass, treble, and balance.

    We are currently in the midst of building outdoor theater packs for next summer, so Technician Scott and I hooked up five 800C speakers using a laptop and Alesis-4USB mixer. The sound was really incredible, we tested several scenes from "Lord of the Rings," and "Harry Potter," because they both have excellent surround formatting and we wanted to test the surround capabilities. We were really impressed by the overall sound quality and therefore wanted to push the amplifier to see if the RX35U could handle some bigger speakers. We switched the front Podium Pro 800Cs for the larger Trap12 models in the front and "wow" it really created a surround system that could easily cover a 50 person venue. Connecting the system was simple, and well laid out.

    Next, we tested the USB and SD card inputs, and again the over-all performance was good. We didn't bother setting up an antenna to test the tuner. I would estimate the actually combined RMS around 300 watts @ 8ohms.

    The coolest thing about this receiver is that I can see it being used in so many different capacities, from my daughters dance studio, to our home surround theater, outdoor theaters (amp is not weather resistant), restaurants, and small venues.

    Bottom line, I would say that for the ridiculously low price of $124.99 and taking all the features, power, and sound quality in to consideration  the Technical Pro RX35U is absolutely a great buy.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    You Rock Guitar Review

         In the past 5 years or so there has been a huge influx of popular video games focused on “virtually living the dream” and promising to transform your youngster or teen into the next “Guitar Hero”. This insurgence of guitar based gaming has done a great job of reintroducing REAL guitar driven music to the modern music market and has introduced countless young potential shredders to some classic music that they may have never been exposed to otherwise.  The drawback to these games is that they never really focused on true musicianship or had anything to do with even closely simulating actual guitar playing as pressing colored buttons has absolutely zero benefit to learning notes, pitch, fingering etc. But a little company called Inspired Instruments wants to change all of that with the new You Rock Guitar!

       The You Rock Guitar is a fully functional game controller that features real feel and playability using real strings to pick and a touch sensitive fret board complete with simulated strings, fret markers, etc., all created in a way that makes gaming much more like actually jamming! Impressive right, but that’s not all! The You Rock guitar is MUCH more than just a game controller (which in hindsight is really the least impressive function this little sucker packs), it’s a fully functional instrument that can be used with an amp, headphones, your computer, your mobile phone, and even works as a midi controller (a function that I think is amazing considering how difficult it is to accurately replicate stringed instruments when using the standard midi keyboard to trigger sounds). The You Rock boasts 25 sound presets for guitar, an additional 50 guitar synth presets, 25 jam tracks with “You Rock Modes” for learning scales etc., 50 built-in drum tracks, 65 alternate tunings with open space to save your own, 100 customizable parameters and presets, multiple play modes, removable neck for travel or storage, multi-directional whammy bar, game controls, and the ability to interchange headstock designs.

       Overall a very impressive little unit! The tracking is fast so for recording with midi alone this is a great tool for the recording guitarist. The preset sounds are decent and have a vast array of tones and effects making this a great axe for practicing or jamming anywhere.  The removable neck makes it easy to toss in a backpack and take anywhere (even on a plane). You Rock comes complete with chord and scale charts and some other beginner guitarist training tools and the ease and versatility of connectivity to so many different applications makes this a piece of gear that is no one trick pony. So saddle up and take one for a ride, you may just be the coolest cowboy at the rodeo! Check one out today!!!

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Quick Review of JBL PRX612M

    We just got these bad boys in, here is a quick review….

    LIGHTWEIGHT!! I know, you have already read that they are incredibly lightweight, and so had I, so why would I mention it first thing? I work every day around thousands of speakers, active speakers are heavy, the PRX612Ms aren’t. If you are a mobile audio DJ, or a working musician, the mere 34lbs will be such a relief!  Besides being lightweight, they seem durable, and the sealed design and heavy scratch resistant coating on the exterior makes me believe these will endure the test of time. 

    Setting them up was easy, however, I must say I was a little surprised at the lack of features on the rear, I expected more EQ capability out of JBL. It has a Monitor/Main control switch basically means if you are using them on their side or on the floor as monitors, they roll off at about 90dB to keep from sounding muddy and produce less coupling. That might be a cool feature for bands, not a big advantage for mobile audio djs. 

    The overall sound is AWESOME and wow…they get so loud! The specifications state that they are an incredible 134db, and I absolutely believe it. The PRX612M reproduce tight low end with very crisp mid and highs. Pair with a stand alone sub like the EON518s, if you are looking for booming bass, but for this size of speaker, the PRX kicks some decent bass.  The sound quality is excellent, one of the best that I have ever heard and add that to the sheer awesome power and lightweight cabinet the PRX612M is the perfect mobile audio dj / karaoke speaker.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Mackie's Onyx BlackJack Recording Interface Review

    Mackie ONYX Black Jack

    The Mackie ONYX BlackJack is a rugged bus-powered USB audio interface that is small with great sound quality and versatile monitoring, making it an ideal portable companion to a laptop but equally at home in a fixed location such as a personal studio.  

    Mackies ONYX BlackJack offers the quality preamp so recognized in their higher priced line of Onyx Mixers. The BlackJack features two Onyx preamps, having mic/line inputs on combination XLR / ¼” jacks, with individual DI switching for using the line jacks as high-impedance inputs, and switchable global phantom power. The monitor outputs are on balanced quarter-inch jacks, governed by the Monitor level control, and there’s a headphone output and accompanying level control on the front panel.  

    The Onyx preamps are designed to go beyond standalone microphone preamps in headroom, transparency, and fidelity. Additionally, the Onyx preamps have a full 60db gain, improved radio frequency (RFI) refection and an ultra-wide dynamic range. Onyx preamps rival even the most expensive boutique mic preamps for sound quality a good part due to the Cirrus Logic converter. Power for the circuitry comes from the USB port, so there’s no need for a separate PSU. The 24-bit Cirrus Logic converter is capable of a 114dB dynamic range (A-Weighted), which is way beyond the signal-to-noise spec of most studio gear. Importantly, the gain staging within the unit means that the preamp circuitry is correctly matched to the A-D conversion, to sustain headroom while minimizing noise and distortion. Zero latency recording is possible by routing the input directly into the monitors and into the computer simultaneously, reducing any audible delay form player to computer (allowing the computer buffer to be directed towards the CPU). It also allows you to track in mono or stereo.  Overall, comparable interfaces do not possess this sound quality, and audio interfaces that do typically cost ten times as much as the Mackie Onyx Blackjack.

    The Onyx Blackjack’s overall design is rugged and due to the unique 25 degree angled structure making it easy to see the controls, extremely user friendly. On the front there are five knobs, two gain (-20dB to +40dB), one “To Mon”, Monitor, and Phones knob. The gain knobs are linked to an LED light that remains green to show a healthy signal and blinks red when it is experiencing overload. The Monitor knob offers Mute to Max control with a Mono/Stereo button. The “To Mone” knob sends the input signal directly to the monitor outpurs for no-latency, analog monitoring. The Monitor and Phones knob also is Mute to Max with a 48V Phantom power button to drive condenser mics and then a headphones ¼” jack port to the far right. The sensible lay-out of the components, add to the usability of this unit. The back of the Onyx Blackjack has a USB port, R/L Monitor Outputs for balanced or unbalanced ¼” jacks, and two XLR & ¼” combination mic analog inputs. This unit is built like a tank and we give the overall usability an A+.

    Overall the Onyx BlackJack is considered a real bargain and a very affordable interface and delivers both superior sound quality and flexibility. If you want to make high quality recordings this is the unit for you.

    Available Now at for only $149.99 with FREE SHIPPING in the main 48 states.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    What's the Deal with this Auralex Isolation Padding? MoPads Under Review

    The Auralex MoPad Isolation pads are one of the most affordable ways to sonically take your recording studio to the next level. It's hard to believe that having your monitors on a shelf, cabinet, or desk could cause so much excitement, but that is exactly what it does. It "excites" or vibrates the wall or surface that it is in contact with, especially during the low frequencies. Adding Auralex Mopads to your set-up, your monitors will sound deeper, the bass will be tighter, and your overall sound will have more definition.  Even adding them to inexpensive computer speakers will make a huge difference.

    The official terminology is "acoustic decoupling" or Acoustic quieting which is the process of making quieter by damping vibrations to prevent them from reaching the observer. Speakers vibrates, causing soundwaves in air and negatively impacts thesound or recording. Quieting is achieved by absorbing the vibrational energy or minimizing the source of the vibration.

    In addition to the acoustic benefits, MoPads also have a cool little feature that allows you to angle your monitors up or down by 4 or 8 degrees using a fiew extra pieces of angled foam. Ideally, your monitors will be placed at ear-level height, so if your desk or shelf is too high or low, make the adjustment using the Auralex foam. All in all, again this is a super affordable way to improve the sound in your home studio, and you won't regret the investment.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    How do the Podium Pro Audio PP1204CA Powered Speakers Stack Up?

    As most musicians will tell you, finding good quality PA speakers without breaking the bank is no easy task. To make matters worse, many affordable products are either cheaply made, lack quality, or are totally void of important functions and accessories.  Well, I have discovered an exception to the rule; Podium Pro Audio’s PP1204CA Powered Speakers with built in Mp3 Player.  Although fairly unknown to most, Podium Pro Audio provides very functional and cost effective products backed by a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defect (something almost non-existent anymore in the music retail world). When stacked against other name brand items of similar caliber, the Podium PP1204CA not only held its own but outshined its higher priced competitors in some areas.

    The PP1204CA is a powered 2 way PA speaker featuring a Class A amplifier that delivers 300 watts (RMS) & 600 watts (Peak Power) to a Deluxe 12"  woofer with a 75oz Driver with a 3” voice coil and wide dispersion titanium membrane tweeter. It also features an onboard MP3 Player that works with a USB thumb drive or SD card (a 4gb thumb-drive is provided), a very sensitive EQ with Master Volume, Treble and Bass Control Knobs. The PP1204CA powered speaker also offers two XLR or ¼ inch inputs, an additional XLR or RCA input, and an XLR or ¼ inch line level output to connect multiple speakers. The rugged ABS plastic housing features top & side handles, as well as wheels on the rear bottom for ease of transport. The rubber feet are also contoured so that they can be easily stacked on top of one another and can be elevated with speaker stands with the built in pole mounts.
    Here are a few of the key ingredients that make this product a delectable delight. As I mentioned, the tone controls are very sensitive meaning the slightest adjustment makes a huge difference in the tonality of the speaker. Most on-board equalizers or tone controls make very slight changes in tone (ie: you turn up the treble and just get a tinnier sound but no added clarity), however these controls really work to sculpt and color your sound with very little effort. The built-in MP3 player is also great for all kinds of jam on the go type events (such as BBQ’s, tailgating, sporting events, church camps, etc.) and makes it very convenient to just plug in a small memory card and have hours of music at your fingertips.

    Ease of connectivity and portability make these great speakers to take on the road, considering the wattage and sensitivity for a pair would suffice for larger gigs or a single speaker for smaller gigs or functions. I see the smaller version of these used throughout a live band set-up as monitors. With the addition of a few small accessories like an Alesis LineLink cable and a Sendstation PocketDock, one can easily and safely hook up a laptop or iPod giving you endless musical possibilities! The only real drawback is the 50 lbs weight per speaker, but with the added top handle and rear casters the weight issue is offset by such conveniences. 

     So if you’re in the market for an affordable PA system with great sound and tons of awesome features check out the Podium Pro Audio PP1204CA, available exclusively from

    Review written by Scott “SVH” Von Heldt, professional touring/recording artist, author, and journalist.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    What Do I Need to Connect My Laptop to My Speakers?

    Here is a great video Scott our Pro Audio Technician made to explain why it is important that you use an audio interface with your powered speakers. He also reviews several Alesis Cables, the Alesis LineLink, MicLink, PhonoLink, and GuitarLink.

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Guitar Tuning Made Easy...GoGo Tuner TT-1

         There are many tuners on the market that clip on to your headstock and most all of them really work the same way, they effectively get you "in tune" very quickly in just about any setting. They all seem to work the same by using either a built-in mic or the vibration of the instrument to pick up the note values and the GoGo Tuner TT-1 works the same way. However, this little puppy has some pretty cool little features and conveniences that make it stand out a bit above the rest.

      The main features are its fast accuracy up to ±.5 cent and a range that covers from A0(27.5Hz) - C8(4186.00Hz), and can be calibrated for alternate tunings with a pitch range from 430-450hz. The TT-1 also precisely tunes a multitude of instruments including Acoustic guitar, electric bass, violin, viola, ukulele, electric guitar, brass and woodwind instruments, and has 5 settings Chromatic/Guitar/Bass/Violin/Viola. It uses a single battery and comes with an Auto Power-Off function that preserves the battery life (something I think any musician can appreciate).

     The real stand out features are the large bright LED screen which illuminates red when out of tune and green when in tune while simultaneously showing you if you are sharp or flat etc. The 360 degree swivel arm bracket makes positioning the TT-1 a snap in any direction. Such a design makes this a great tool for learning note names as you practice (if playing scales slowly this tuner will pick up each note, helping you develop a better sense of what notes are where on your fret board and aiding in the development of your ear to distinguish pitches accurately). The swivel also makes it easy to hide the bulk of the tuner behind your headstock, therefore leaving it intact to “tune on the fly” during gigs without having a huge eyesore on the end of your axe.  The clamp is very rugged and durable as well and has a soft rubber inside the clamp that clings tightly without scuffing or scratching your prized instrument.

      With these few added features and intuitive functionality the TT-1 is one of the coolest little headstock tuners on the market today and at a price of $29.99 a smart buy on a tool of the trade you can’t live without.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Review: Theater Solutions B1 Two Way Bookshelf Speaker

    The Theater Solutions B1 Two-Way Bookshelf Speaker is a part of Theater Solution’s Reference Series speaker line, steady performers that offer warm and precise sound reproduction in a most reasonable price range. As I scan the specifications, I am impressed with the stated frequency response range of 45Hz to 22,000 KHz which is lower than many bookshelf speakers in its class and the highs are considerably higher than many of its competitors. Also, the Theater Solutions B1 measures a modest 9.5" x 5.875" x 6.25" making it very compact and versatile, which ultimately is the grand appeal of bookshelf speakers in general. Upon closer review, the specifications appear above average for the over-all size of the speakers and price, but let’s open the box and take a closer look.

    At first glance the packaging is disappointing; however, as I open the box, they are tightly secure with thick Styrofoam completely surrounding the speakers. As, I unpack the speakers the cabinets feel well constructed with solid MDF construction and a light black woodgrain finish. 

    In terms of sound I must admit, I was completely caught off guard. The Theater Solutions two-way bookshelf speaker is very responsive and produces clear, precise tones across the frequency response range. Its enclosure utilizes a bass reflex design, which basically means it is ported to the rear. The four inch woofer sustains low end sound surprisingly well, while the 1” titanium tweeter sparkles. The woofer and tweeter are shielded magnetically so that they can be safely placed on a shelf close to a television screen. As suggested with any bookshelf speaker, these would have to be paired with a subwoofer to recreate truly full-range sound, this is true with even top brands such as Boston Acoustic or Pioneer.

    The Theater Solutions B1 Two-way bookshelf speakers would be perfect for enjoying stereo music or being used as main surround speakers in a home theater arrangement. They have a respectable sensitivity rating of 89db, allowing even a modest amplifier to work to within its comfort zone. Over-all I give the Theater Solutions B1 Two-Way Bookshelf Speakers a 4 /12 Star Rating out of 5 Stars because of their versatility, clean sound, and the Life Time Manufacture Defect Warranty.