Your Music & Audio Professionals
Welcome to Solo Music Lab, your source for information on all things music. From the home recording studio and learning various instruments, to audio production and engineering – we cover it all! Solo Music Lab offers helpful insights on all aspects of audio production and musical instruments. With all the many musical tools available, we are here to help you accomplish the task at hand and make it sound fantastic. We provide detailed product reviews and comparisons, so that you can make an informed decision when you decide to make a purchase.
The heart of any music begins and ends with a musical instrument of some sort. This is where it all starts. Granted, the advent of digital audio has allowed for many instruments to be played through a different medium. Whether that is a blessing or a curse will depend on the musician. Whether you look at an electronic drum set or a synth, digital instruments have come a long way. Nonetheless, making an interesting sound, and maybe even an iconic sound, is the goal.
The guitar is almost certainly the most popular musical instrument, and is widely distributed throughout the world. Guitars come in an amazing variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Nearly every type of guitar can be divided into smaller subcategories that will have varying appeal to particular musicians. These subcategories dictate the features like the guitar’s tuning and build quality.
Two of the most well-known subcategories are electric guitar and acoustic guitar. One of the most popular designs is the acoustic electric, which takes advantage of acoustic volume and presence while also being capable of plugging into a sound system and sending direct signal to an amplifier. You don’t need to spend a fortune, and a good quality acoustic electric guitar for beginners can sound surprisingly good. For more advanced musicians, taking a step up to the best acoustic electric guitar under $500 will make a big difference.
In the typical band ensemble, bass guitar is another essential instrument that fills out the lower sound frequencies and serves to reinforce the rhythm along with the drum set. Bass guitar does not grab the spotlight like lead guitar, but is no less critical to carrying the melody and musical progression.
While one guitar might be popular for use as a rock guitar or blues guitar, most models are fairly interchangeable from one genre to the next. It really depends on what the artists desires. And for those airy sprinklings of unique sound, adding a taste of mandolin, ukulele, or even sitar can add layers that bring unique variety and contrast to your music.
More often than not, synthesizers are used both on stage and in the studio to generate a tremendous variety of sounds. Modern synths can reproduce everything from stunning grand piano sounds, to strings and orchestral pads that fill the mix and provide depth with ambient sounds. A full size 88 key keyboard will provide all the versatility and octaves a serious musician might need.
Of course nothing beats the real thing, and seeing your kids learn to play is invigorating. Getting you child started with a beginner violin or any other instrument can lead to a lifetime of musical exploration.
Amplifiers are the primary means by which musicians project sound from their instruments throughout the concert hall as well as their studio spaces. Certain amplifier models possess sound characteristics that have become iconic. Guitar amps and bass guitar amps are particularly well-known for their beneficial characteristics as touring stage amplifiers or studio amplifiers for recording purposes.
When it comes to on-stage amplifiers, keyboard amps are a different animal. Offering many of the features common to instrument amplifiers, keyboard amplifiers also differ in offering multiple inputs for additional synths, vocals, or even drum sounds. In this sense they are much like a beefed-up portable PA system.
Guitar amplifiers aren’t only for electric and bass guitar. Some of the most popular amplifier models are those which offer specific features that tailor to acoustic guitars. Of course without an acoustic guitar pickup you’ll have a hard time running your guitar through an amp, so that’s a good place to start.
A good number of amplifiers have almost become standard options in professional studio recording. Names like Marshall and Ampeg have been staples in studio recording for decades. But instruments amplifiers are not the only amps used in the studio. Small amps can make a huge difference as well. A quality mic preamp is one fitting example but reliable headphone amp is another studio essential. Nearfield monitors like the Yamaha HS Series have been gracing studio desks and appeasing the demanding ears of producers and engineers since the 70’s.
Aside from power amplifiers for live sound, amplifiers are used in a huge number of other applications. From amusement parks to shopping malls and churches, nearly any modern building is designed with sound systems like in ceiling speakers to provide music and announcements throughout the facilities.
Home theater power amplifiers bring entertainment to life in the comfort of your home. Whether you love sports, a good movie, or a heated online gaming session, a quality arrangement of in wall speakers can make all the difference. If you need an economical upgrade, the very best budget subwoofer can add a lot to your audio experience without costing a fortune. And impressing guests with a good night of entertainment is always enjoyable for all. Add a quality karaoke machine into the mix and you can almost make magic happen!
Modern wireless sound systems have also changed many of the dynamics of a good sound system. In the old days, quality sound was only possible by running wires from some type of amplifier to a speaker, but that has all changed. Investing in the best bass Bluetooth speaker for your audio affections will allow you to bring the music and entertainment with you whether you are in the home theater, beside the pool, or in the car. And a Bluetooth car amplifier can connect to your smart phone so your playlist follows you along whenever you need it.
As much as I love the sound of the old 2 inch tape, even I will admit that the world of music has seen incredible benefit from modern recording software. Aside from professional uses, anyone with a decent pair of ears who wants to learn can acquire inexpensive, or even free recording software. But you’ll still need some essential home recording studio equipment like a suitable music production computer, and something to listen back with, like studio monitor speakers or a quality set of studio headphones.
When it comes to digital audio workstations, everyone knows Pro Tools. But some of today’s best DAW software can be found in studios running Reason, Fl Studio, Audacity, or even REAPER. All of these are entirely capable of pumping out very high quality recordings as well, and even from the comforts of your parent’s basement. Just ask Billy Eilish and Owl City. You’ll definitely need an audio interface to record on your computer, but a quality home recording studio kit can take you further than you might initially think. Add a quality midi keyboard controller into your production tool belt and you are ready to rock.
The days of the iconic recording studio might seem to be limited, as artists write, and even record their next hits from the tour bus. But that’s not to say that certain elements of the high-end recording studio are anywhere near obsolete. Dialing in some sounds with software plugins simply cannot match the quality and capability of hardware.
Professional recording studios invest in considerable funding to make top tier hardware available. A trip to the studio can save you from spending a fortune on the best microphone for recording vocals, among other very expensive hardware. But for those assembling a home recording studio, investing in some of the basics like a large diaphragm condenser mic and a USB mic will help you cover a variety of needs, such as a acoustic guitar mic, tracking strings, percussion, among many others. A reputable kick drum mic can just as easy double for micing a bass guitar cab.
Beyond capability, essential studio hardware is vital for experimentation. Testing a variety of mics, amps, guitars, etc. won’t offer the same level of variety in the tour bus, or even the home studio. And large spaces open up possibilities like orchestral arrangements, and recording large groups in rooms that have optimal sound quality with acoustic treatments built into the structure and properly applied throughout. Not to mention, people with expertise who know how to extract specific sound frequencies from very expensive hardware. Rather than spending several thousands on the very best mic preamp for vocals, you can rent the studio to track your vocals and save a ton.
There is a vast ocean of accessories that find their niche within every tiny corner of the musical and audio needs of everyday life. By nature, artists and music lovers seem predisposed to exploring new songs and technologies that enhance the overall listening experience. For homeowners and business entrepreneurs looking for easy installation, outdoor wireless speakers are perfect for providing a warm listening environment for visitors and guests.
discovering the next intriguing sound that might become the signature of a hit song or an entire album. Effects pedals like a bass DI box are one of the most common avenues to explore new and exciting sounds.
Readily available technology has provided the ability to produce video and audio projects from home, and reach millions of people through online venues. Anyone with a driving interest can soon fond their self gathering accessories that are vital to accomplish the task they enjoy. Its amazing what can be accomplished today and with very little startup money invested upfront.
If you are serious about music or audio production for any variety of media projects, then investing in home recording studio equipment is a process worth working at. There are all sorts of essential accessories that you’ll need to prioritize for your needs. Getting your hands on the best laptop for music production and installing some good recording software is definitely the best place to start. Of course, you’ll need to listen back to your projects, so studio monitors and studio monitor stands are another vital piece of the puzzle. For most home studios, reliable recording studio headphones are another essential piece of gear. We look at those vital pieces of audio gear in more detail.
Anyone who has delved into the world of producing audio and video will tell you the demands it places on your computer. You might be surprised to see how audio tracks can add up. Mixing a large project can quite easily lead to tracks that number over one hundred. After all, running side chain compression, or adding some low growl to the bass line is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. But all that need for processing power requires finding the best digital audio workstation for your application, so your hard work can reach it’s fullest potential. Often called a ‘DAW’ for short, any quality audio or video computer should be optimized for audio and video processing in order to track and edit reliably.
Keeping your expensive investments safe while touring from city to city is vital. Risking damage to sensitive EQs, compressors, or video equipment is a real risk while traveling or loading gear. A protective rack mount case can save your rack mount effects processor from suffering damage, and make moving your entire live sound system easier and safer for all involved. And nothing brings the sense of freedom and expression to a live vocal performance like a wireless microphone. But vocal quality is pivotal, so dependable vocal mics with a reputation for durability should be your primary focus.
Audio equipment isn’t dedicated only to the studio, or stage. Smartphones are likely the most popular means of keeping your playlist close at hand and cranking your favorite tunes through your home stereo system is easier than ever with today’s technology. Thankfully, even a cheap car stereo can provide a wireless connection via Bluetooth, so you can listen to your favorite songs and have hands-free calling while you are driving.