Thursday, June 9, 2016

4 Common Microphone Placement Mistakes

Home recording is exciting and fun, but at times it’s extremely frustrating, too. When a recording isn’t sounding the way that it should, more often than not the problem is the placement of the microphones that recorded the original tracks. Here are four microphone placement mistakes that every home recording studio needs to learn to avoid.

1. Using too many microphones. The simpler your setup is, the better your chances of getting a good recording, obviously within reason. If you use three microphones to mic a guitar amp, you’ve got to deal with proximity effect between all three, and you’ve got to balance the equalization and panning just right to make sure that the guitar amp sounds absolutely perfect. It’s much easier to do with a single microphone, placed properly. The golden rule of audio production is to keep microphone placement as simple as is possible.

2. Using the wrong type of microphone for the job. Realize that different microphones do different things; a large diaphragm condenser microphone is great for vocals, but it’s usually not the right choice for a drumset because of the way its pattern is. A Shure SM57 is great on snare drums, but not on kick drums because it doesn’t hear enough low frequencies. Know everything that you can about your microphones and pick the right one for the job.

3. Not experimenting. The essence of good production is a good ear, and you develop a good ear by trying out as many microphone placement alternatives as you can, Experiment as much as you can; if you’re recording bands other than your own, don’t do your experimenting on their time, but spend your own time trying to get the best sound that you can get out of guitar amps, vocals, pianos, whatever you can. Too many producers simply set up a microphone and press record. Good producers have a reason for putting a microphone in a certain location, and will experiment when necessary to get the right sound.

4. Ignoring or not understanding proximity effect. When you’ve got two microphones set up to record a sound source, if they’re not matched 100% properly or are different distances from the sound source, they’ll report back the audio information at different times. This results in a delay-type of sound that can be a huge issue on home recordings; it can hide certain frequencies and generally trash the overall sound of a song. Be aware of proximity effect, and fix it by buying hand-matched microphones and using your recording software to fix any difference between two miked recordings of the same sound source.

Do you have any microphone placement tips, or have you learned by trial-and-error what not to do when placing microphones? Post in our comments section below.

Tags:4 Common Microphone Placement Mistakes

4 Cell Phones with the Best Battery Life

These 4 cell phones are some of the best phones on the market with the longest battery life. All of these phones were tested for their true talk time battery life and are not the battery specs provided by the manufacture. This review takes into consideration various carriers and manufactures and had to be 3G compatible. Many of the major carriers did not carry a phone that provided long battery life. Several unlocked phones are listed for use with those carriers.

Sonim XP3 Quest (Unlocked) Phone

The Sonim XP3 Quest made the top of the list for a phone with the best battery life of 17.08 hours. An amazingly rugged, waterproof, phone with GPS support. This the perfect phone for the military, firefighters, police, hikers, and anyone needing reliability. It lacks multimedia messaging and has some reported Bluetooth connection problems. Listed at $499.99 it is well worth the price considering it meets stringent military specifications.

Nokia E55 (Unlocked) Phone

Nokia’s E55 phone is the second runner up with the best talk time battery life of 16.23 hours. A high quality very slim phone for $339.00. A Full featured smartphone that is perfect for business use. Some users find the hybrid keyboard hard to use. It weighs in at 3.4 ounces and offers GPS, e-mail, PC syncing and a 3.2 MP camera with video recording. A lot of battery life for such small, capable phone.

Samsung Eternity SGH-A867 (AT&T) Phone

The next best phone for extended battery life is the Samsung Eternity. It can go up to 14.3 hours before needing a charge. This phone has a touch-screen, AT&T Mobile TV, multimedia features and great call quality. The camera does not have a flash and has weak 3G connectivity. Considered a good phone for multimedia but not for the reliability business users need. For $129.95 from AT&T it is a great deal for such a long battery life.

Motorola Karma QA1 (AT&T) Phone

Motorola has made cell phones for a long time and it is no surprise one made the list. The Karma QA1 can last for 13.46 hours when using it for talk time. This phone is highly rated, has a HTML browser, social networking features, GPS, stereo Bluetooth, easy to use keyboard and many other features. For 79.99 and a 2 year contract with AT&T makes this the perfect phone for family text and multimedia users that need a lot of battery time.

Conclusion

There are several things that can be done to insure longer battery life for all cell phones. In areas where the phone is constantly switching between two different towers consider switching it off. The phone uses a lot of power negotiating connections to towers and will drain the phone battery quickly.

Always charge the phone battery before it is completely drained. Take the phone off the charger when it has fully charged to keep down heat buildup. Keep the phone in a cool location and turn off applications and Bluetooth when not in use.

Battery life can best be helped by turning the back lighting and screen brightness down a notch. This site tested many cell phones and provides a listing of the results for talk time battery life.

“Cell Phone Battery Life Charts.” cnet.com and personal experience

Tags:4 Cell Phones with the Best Battery Life

4 Big Ideas for Small Apartment Gardens

Big city living can often times mean small spaces for gardens. From windows to rooftops, here are four ways to cultivate whatever small garden space you have available.

Apartment Garden Idea 1) Balcony Garden

While you may not have a sprawling lawn to landscape, a balcony can be a great place to enjoy gardening while living in an apartment. A simple arrangement of colorful potted plants can bring a little green to city living.

Look for plants that thrive in partial shade, as the floor your apartment is located on may determine the amount of shade your plants receive throughout the day. Opt for plants that don’t require a lot of moisture, as without a garden hose or sprinkler system, it will be difficult to maintain highly saturated soil.

Luckily there is a large variety of beautiful flowers and shrubs that do very well in balcony gardens. Add some decorative planters that match your apartment décor for a seamless transformation of a simple balcony into a flourishing outdoor room.

Apartment Garden Idea 2) Indoor Herb Garden

If your apartment doesn’t have the option for a balcony garden, an indoor herb garden can be a nice way to bring the art of gardening inside. Herbs make great indoor plants: they can grow in small containers, they are fragrant, and are easy to keep.

A small set of pretty clay pots planted with your favorite herbs provides a beautiful and functional décor element to a kitchen or breakfast nook. Conveniently, many gardening centers and home improvement stores carry herb garden kits that come with the seeds and decorative containers.

Apartment Garden Idea 3) Community Gardens

If you are looking to get out of the apartment to stretch and plant, look for the option of a community garden. Many apartment complexes in urban areas have access to a shared community garden that is divided into several small areas.

This is a great choice for those who want the option to plant in a traditional garden bed rather than be confined to free-standing planters. It also gives you the ability to grow larger plants that would otherwise not be suitable for either a balcony or a rooftop garden.

Apartment Garden Idea 4) Rooftop Garden

The rooftop is the “penthouse” of apartment gardens: they get maximum exposure and rock star parties with pigeons. Ok, maybe the roof isn’t that glamorous, but they do have the luxury of becoming your own relaxing plant oasis.

Because of the increased sun exposure, choose plants that need maximum light and little moisture control. You will also need to look for plants that will thrive in large planters due to the unavailability of regular flower beds.

A comfortable deck chair can be the perfect furniture piece for this apartment garden. It provides a place for you to sit back, surround yourself with beautiful plants, and enjoy the high life of apartment gardening!

Tags:4 Big Ideas for Small Apartment Gardens

4 Best Places to Watch NCAA Tournament in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has always been the best place to watch the NCAA Tournament. Where else can you find hundreds of TV’s on one wall and betting windows just beneath them? Every casino has a version of an NCAA Tournament Party but there are five parties that stand out above the rest.

Hard Rock Goes above and beyond with NCAA Tournament Pool Party.
Only the Hard Rock could combine their outrageous pool party with the NCAA Tournament. The Hard Rock is turning it’s pool area into an all out NCAA Tournament Viewing party. Starting Thursday morning the festivities begin in the pool area and will carry on through the last games of the night. There will be VIP cabanas available and bottle service, along with the usual craziness that ensues at a Hard Rock party in the pool area. One more unique aspect of the pool party will be swim up blackjasck in the pool. The weather is expected to be 76 on Thursday and then a little more chilly the rest of the weekend.

If the pool isn’t to your liking, there will be several alternative viewing areas throughout the casino. The center bar will always be packed and a great place to watch the games. The center bar is also not to far from the betting windows and the sportsbook. Wasted Space will be open for later games to handle the overflow crowds if necessary.

South Point knows how to throw an NCAA Tournament Party.
The South Point knows how to throw a party and the NCAA Tournament is no different. This year the NCAA Tournament Party will be held in the South Point’s Grand Ballroom. The NCAA Tournament Party will be hosted by former college standouts Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams of Georgetown and UCLA Tournament winner Ed O’Bannon.

The NCAA Tournament Party will also feature convenient betting windows right in the Grand Ballroom and cheap eats like dollar hot dogs and $2.50 Bud Lites. The South Point always has one of the best Monday Night Football Parties and the NCAA Tournament follows the same successful formula.

Las Vegas Hilton is old school Las Vegas NCAA Tournament fun.
The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook has long been the standard as the best sportsbook in Las Vegas. The NCAA Tournament Party is designed just as their Sunday NFL parties in the showroom. There will be plenty of huge HD televisions, plenty of alcohol and cheap eats. The Las Vegas Hilton will also have prizes including a free shirt for any twenty dollar wager.

The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook will also have plenty of viewing areas for the over flow of NCAA Tournament viewing crowd. Inside the showroom there will also be convenient betting windows so the bettors won’t have to walk to the other side of the casino to place a wager.

Monte Carlo The Pub boasts HD televisions galore & plenty of fresh brew.
Monte Carlo’s The Pub will host a big NCAA Tournament Party in their spacious digs. The Pub always host one of the largest Monday Night Football Parties in Las Vegas and will follow the same formula. The Pub will not have betting windows in the bar area and it is about a 2500 foot walk to the sportsbook. The Pub boasts a nice selection of beer on tap and there will be food available also.

All casinos will have a version of an NCAA Tournament Party just ask any of your favorite casinos. If drinking, Designated Drivers, a non-profit agency that will get you and your car home in one piece. Call 702-456-Ride.

sources:
ESPN 1100 Las Vegas

Tags:4 Best Places to Watch NCAA Tournament in Las Vegas

4 of the Best Hotels in Denver, Colorado

Downtown Denver comes alive at night but during the day there is so much to do that you can lose all track of time. You can go to a football, basketball, or baseball game and even do some shopping. Everything is centrally located and very convenient.

If you’re planning to visit the Mile Hi City finding the right hotel will either make your vacation great or it will end on a sour note. To keep the latter from happening I’ve listed 4 of the best hotels located in the heart of downtown.

1. “The Brown Palace” is located at 321 17th Street near Broadway and the 16th Street Mall. The hotel has an on-site spa, 6 restaurants, fitness center, afternoon tea time in the lobby, a flower shop, and an on-site bakery. Guest rooms include high speed internet access, large living spaces, and a beautiful view of the downtown area; specials start at $169.00 per night. For more information or to make a reservation call 800-321-2599 or on the web at www.brownpalace.com.

2. “The Warwick Denver Hotel” is located at 1776 Grant Street. This hotel has a year-round rooftop heated swimming pool, a fitness center, gift shop, restaurant, valet parking, business services, and courtesy car services. The guest rooms measure from 350 to 1100 square feet per room and are equipped with leather executive chairs, honor bar, private balcony, flat screen TV, coffee maker, internet access, and custom slippers upon request. The average rate for the “Classic Rooms” are $129.00 per night. For more information visit them on line at http://ift.tt/19yeVDV or call 800-203-3232.

3. “The Burnsley All Suite Hotel” is located at 1000 Grant Street in the heart of downtown. The hotel offers free covered parking, free shuttle service, a lounge with live music on Fridays and Saturdays, a restaurant, and a heated outdoor pool. The suites are between 520 and 700 square feet and come equipped with high speed internet access, a working desk, panoramic views, a kitchen, dining/living room area, and your choice of King or Queen Size Suites; average rate is $529.00 per night. This hotel is close to some of Denver’s major attractions such as “The Denver Art Museum,” “Invesco Field at Mile Hi,” “Coors Field,” “The Pepsi Center,” “Six Flags,” and “The Colorado Convention Center.” To make reservations or to request more information please log on to www.burnsley.com or call 303-830-1000.

4. “The Curtis-A Doubletree Hotel” is located at 1405 Curtis Street with close access to shopping on “The 16th Street Mall” and across the street from “The Denver Center for Performing Arts.” This hotel has a restaurant that offers a contemporary menu, a bar/lounge, valet parking, fitness center, business center, gift shop, on-site candy store, and toy store. Rooms come equipped with internet access, iPod Speaker Systems, and the option of either a King Room or a “Signature Suite.” Some rooms have 2 bathrooms, a sofa, full bar, and separate living area. For more information call 800-525-6651 or on line at www.curtis.com.

For further information on any of the above hotels go to http://ift.tt/1UFdV7r or www.travel.yahoo.com.

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4 Critical Financial Aspects to Understand by Age 30

Even as someone who has a financial education from a top business school, it took me some time to get accustomed to and learn about my own personal finances. I have a passion for learning about and understanding personal finance, which is something that I’ve come to the realization that many people don’t have. And even more amazing to me is that many people don’t care or have the inclination to learn about their finances or financial situation.

While I’ll agree that for many people, it’s not necessary to understand every little aspect of their money, throughout the years, I’ve realized that there are certain factors that are more essential to know about when it comes to personal finances.

Annual expenses

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average expenditure per consumer unit in 2012 was $51,442. What your personal expenses are could range significantly compared to this average though. This is why I’ve been tracking our own family expenses for years. It helps us to better understand where our money is going and in what amounts, where we have room to cut, and see how our expenses increase or decrease from year to year. This also allows us to develop a personal inflation rate, which helps us better predict and forecast future costs and cost increases.

Annual income

Determining annual income might seem like a no-brainer to people with a regular job. You know your salary or hourly rate, and that’s that. But is it really?

What about investment earnings on stocks or a retirement account? How about interest on savings, savings bonds, or a certificate of deposit? Having a garage sale, reselling stuff online or at a local consignment shop, or doing a little freelance work on the side can boost earnings too. And on the flip side, how much of your regular income was sapped by things like income and employment taxes and insurance before you ever saw your paycheck?

This is why tracking income can be a real eye-opener to what you think you earn versus what you actually put in your pocket throughout the year. And being able to pair this against annual expenses provides a more accurate look at what your money is doing and how much of it you’re actually keeping.

Net worth

According to Nasdaq.com, “Over 65% of American adults have a net worth under $100,000. In Australia, over 65% of all adults have a net worth exceeding $100,000.”

I started tracking my own net worth back in the early 2000s. It’s proved a beneficial tool to help me better understand my financial situation and well as review progress over time and individual asset growth, reduction and performance. A simple spreadsheet listing assets versus liabilities is all it takes to provide me a quick glance at this information whenever I need it.

How to check credit reports and scores

Nowadays, age 30 might be a little late for knowing how to get pertinent information relating to your credit. Just 10 years ago, such information was as big a deal since identity theft wasn’t as prevalent. However, these days, being able to get free credit reports through sites like AnnualCreditReport.com or a credit check/identity theft protection site can help ensure you catch any potential problems before they become bigger issues.

More From This Contributor:

Building a Revenue Producing Blog

I Won’t Be Waiting to Take Social Security

Preparing to Publish My First E-book

Disclaimer:

The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Calculations have not been verified by a professional. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.

Tags:4 Critical Financial Aspects to Understand by Age 30

4 Common Problems with Turntables & How to Fix Them

I firmly believe that the best way to listen to music is with vinyl. I don’t consider myself an audiophile, nor do I groan when friends play CDs or MP3s, but there’s something about the large, physical artifact of the vinyl and the simple beauty of a good turntable that I like. Nevertheless, turntables have certain problems that other audio players are exempt from. Here’s a look at four of the most common turntable problems, and easy instructions on how to fix them.

1. Dirty stylus. If your turntable suddenly begins to sound, well, not so beautiful, the most likely culprit other than a damaged record is a damaged needle. Always be sure to clean the stylus of your turntable, if possible once daily; it doesn’t take too long, just put some isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball and gently run it from back to front on the stylus. There’s also stylus cleaning tools that you can buy. With some simple cleaning, you won’t get a distorted or overdriven type of sound, and your stylus will last much longer.

2. Belt issues. If your turntable suddenly stops turning, the belt has probably broken or slipped. New belts can be bought online, but be sure to either look for the exact model of your turntable or measure the length of the belt carefully with string. If you’ve completely lost the belt, be sure to check the bottom of the platter of the turntable before buying a replacement–I felt like a putz once when I failed to do this, and spent $20 on a belt that I already had.

3. Extremely quiet sound. The most common cause of extremely quiet–or loud–sound occurs when a turntable is plugged into the wrong type of input on a receiver. Older turntables especially, need to be plugged into a “phono” jack, which provides additional power for their fairly weak signals. Otherwise, you’ll hear a bad sound, or you’ll barely be able to hear anything. The good news is that most stereo receivers have multiple ins to handle both types of turntable outputs.

4. Constant needle skipping. If your needle skips, no matter how small the vibration, you’ll probably need to balance your turntable better. Most turntables have adjustable feet, and with a balance you can achieve much greater stability in your turntable. Keep it on a high, even platform, not on the ground, and away from excessive vibration, to the best of your ability. Remember, records aren’t CDs; you have to treat them very carefully, or you’ll damage them.

Do you know of any other common turntable problems? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags:4 Common Problems with Turntables & How to Fix Them

4 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes

It’s a well known fact that a kitchen can make or break a home, and if that kitchen is poorly designed? Fuhgeddaboudit! Fortunately, with a little bit of basic research, you can help prevent yourself from making even the most basic of mistakes when redesigning or remodeling a kitchen.

Mistake #1: Ignoring the “Work Triangle”

It’s a rookie mistake, but ignoring the work triangle can mean frustration and irritation for the rest of the kitchen’s lifespan (whether that be 10 years, 20 years or more.) The work triangle is a basic design principle that divides the kitchen space up into three sections: cleaning, cooking/prep space and the refrigerator.

Ideally, your food should all be stored either in the refrigerator or in the cabinets surrounding the refrigerator. Your cookware should be located near your cooking and prep space, and lastly your dishes should be located in cabinets by your cleaning space. This helps to create a cohesive flow when you are working in the kitchen and is much more essential than you may realize.

Mistake #2: Not Enough Lighting

In my own kitchen, there are two lights: one in the center of the ceiling and an after-thought installation of a small fluorescent bulb under the countertop. Needless to say, it drives me nuts (thankfully, this home isn’t permanent for us.)

When designing a kitchen, be sure to include task lighting as well as general lighting throughout. Consider using your work triangle to determine where you’ll need the most light. Be sure to have lights above your sink, your prep space and so forth. Otherwise, you’ll have inadequate lighting in your kitchen and you’ll regret it. (Fortunately, kitchen lighting can often be installed as an after thought if you feel you need additional lighting.)

Mistake #3: Following Trends

Sure, you may love the idea of one of those bright, flashy new kitchens with bright blue, smudge-proof cabinets and all the latest and greatest in kitchen trends. However, in 10 years, or when you’re trying to sell that house, will you still love those choices, or will you regret them?

When choosing cabinets and other items, try to create a room that fits the rest of the home but also is in some sense, “timeless.” Good trends to follow: pot-fillers over the stove and neutral, but attractive, backsplashes.

Mistake #4: Being Unrealistic

We’ve all got a dream kitchen in our head, but sometimes, that dream kitchen is out of our price range.

Unfortunately, this can translate to choices made regarding the kitchen which leave other items unfinished. Sure, you got those granite countertops; but now you don’t have enough money for your backsplash. Oops!

Try to rein in your dreams and stay realistic. Create a budget and stick to it to keep yourself from overspending in all the wrong areas, leaving you with little to no wiggle-room for other necessities; like oh, say, appliances?


Additional Information:

About.com: What is the Kitchen Work Triangle?

Tags:4 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes

4 Cheap Instruments that Are Incredibly Fun to Play

Everyone likes music, but not everyone has $600 to spend on a decent guitar or a few grand to drop on a piano. Luckily, there are some instruments that are both incredibly cheap and incredibly fun to play, and usually very easy to play, as well.

Here are four instruments that anyone can have a blast playing without taking too much of a hit to their wallets.


1. Recorder –
It’s not as piercing to the ear as a pan flute and not as expensive as…well, pretty much anything. Music teachers have handed out recorders to their kids for years because they’re simple and fun to play. There are even professional recorder players, who play professional level recorders, each which is actually pretty expensive. Stick with the cheap version unless you have concert hall aspirations.


2. Ukulele –
Fans of string instruments can have a blast playing around on a ukulele, and cheap ukuleles are only about $30-50. It’s tuned in a similar fashion to the top four strings of a guitar, so there’s no learning curve for anyone who plays the guitar already, and its light, happy sound has delighted famous guitarists such as George Harrison, who famously kept a stable of the little instruments. Learn a few ukulele turnarounds and you’ll sound amazing to your friends, all without spending too much cash.


3. Stylophone –
A $20 instrument played with an attached stylus, the Stylophone is basically a miniature synthesizer. Modern Stylophones come with two voices, a tuning knob, and an octave switch, leading to hours of entertainment and music making. David Bowie even owns and plays one. If you need any other reason to drop $20 on a cheap instrument, then I can’t help you.

4. Harmonica – A staple of blues and country music, the harmonica has been around for quite a while, and its simple construction makes the diatonic harmonica one of the least expensive instruments, with quality, professional harmonicas (or “harps” as the pros call them) coming in at about $20-25. You can get a playable harmonica for less than that, and since the harmonica is tuned to a diatonic scale, there are no wrong notes if you’re playing with a band in the same key as the harmonica is tuned. With a bit of practice, you can learn to play blues style harmonica, allowing for expressive, engaging playing, and there have been quite a few major artists to come into fame for their well-honed harp chops, from Mick Jagger to Steven Tyler to Stevie Wonder.

Do you know of any great, fun cheap instruments? Post in our comments section below.

Tags:4 Cheap Instruments that Are Incredibly Fun to Play

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