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Category: Tutorials

Tubescreamer shootout part 2 – free options

I was convinced to add all the free plugin options to the shootout. So I’ve downloaded several more plugins and ran them through the same test.

There are several free options currently available: TSE Audio TSE808, Ignite Amps TS-999, Ignite Amps TSB-01, Skreamer module in Guitar Rig 5 Player, Screamer module in POD Farm 2 Free, and Greener module in Peavey ReValver HPse (free for Addictive Drums users).

I made clips of 3 different knob settings for each:
Setting 1 is 0% gain, 50% tone, 50% level (no boost, just tighter lows)
Setting 2 is all knobs at 50% (medium clipping distortion)
Setting 3 is all knobs at 100% (lots of distortion, boosted highs and boosted ouput level)

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DIY Walkman Distortion Effect

Last month I finally found the time to finish one of the DIY projects I’ve had on the go for months. The project was turning a Sony Walkman into a nasty distortion box and I’m really happy I finally finished it.

The concept is simple. Remove the mechanical guts, replace jacks and overload the Walkman amplifier to create distortion. It’s not a tape distortion but I can do that in a different project. Any portable cassette player will work. I like the Sony Sport for it’s great rugged case and memorable look. A player with EQ controls, bass boost or other enhancements could be helpful.


Guest Post: Digital to Analog Conversion Basics

A DAC or DA converter (digital to analog converter), is essentially the outputs of your sound card. When you read about monitoring in a studio environment you see a lot written about loudspeakers and amplifiers but digital to analog conversion is less frequently discussed. Of course we also have ADC which is analog to digital conversion which relates to the recording process. In this context we will focus on the DAC as everyone will be using those, including electronic only musicians.

Even the cheapest sound card has a DAC chip inside which converts the digital data stream into an audio signal which can then be amplified to a level which is appropriate for line level. There are many different DAC chips that can operate at various bit depths and sample rates. Some common ones are made by Cirrus Logic, Analog Devices, Burr Brown, Wolfson, and AKM. DAC chips are released fairly frequently and each development tries to improve on cost and/or sound quality.

All semi-pro sound cards/interfaces have a DAC chip for each of outputs available (often one per stereo pair), and usually the more you spend, the better the specifications of the audio devices within the audio interface. It is possible to pay $2,000.00 for a mere 2 channels of high end stereo L and R output or a mere $20.00 for a SoundBlaster.

Apogee Symphony IO is one of many well respected AD/DA converters for professional studio use