Music Diary

The Strymon BigSky: Is It Worth It?

For a relatively new company, Strymon has built itself a massive reputation for premium performance. Go to almost any band’s live show, and there’s a very good chance you’ll see at least one Strymon pedal on the guitarist’s pedalboard. However, that performance isn’t cheap. The only Strymon stompbox with a list price below $299 is their OB1, a compressor and clean boost, and even that is about twice the price…



Trying to Decipher the Novation Launchkey 25 MkII

A couple of weeks ago, I got a text message from an old family friend. “Hey—would you be interested in a keyboard? I have no use for this one.” The keyboard in question was a Novation Lunchkey 25 MkII, one of the most popular MIDI controllers on the market. It’s an offshoot of Novation’s famous LaunchPad series, which rose to prominence when this video by Madeon went viral. I don’t have…


The Complete Guide to Putting Together a Pedalboard

Few instruments are as versatile as the electric guitar. From the folksy licks of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham to the two-handed tapping of prog metal outfit Scale the Summit to the otherworldy soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine, there’s almost nothing an electric guitar can’t do.



The Studebaker SB-450 Vinyl Record Cleaning System

I really like vinyl records. And I mean like, a lot. Most of my extra spending money goes to adding to my collection. I’m not typically a very organized person, but I have several spreadsheets cataloging my records, all sorted in different arrangements. I run a vinyl blog where I review every record I have in order. The only thing keeping me from starting a video review blog is all the…



The Zoom MS-70CDR: A Wealth of Effects in a Tiny Package

As far as guitar players go, I’m a bit of a gearhead. My live rig is loaded with stompboxes wired in a labyrinthine tangle of cables and effects loops. When my band plays live, it’s not unusual for a gaggle of audience members to crowd around my pedalboard after our set and ask about my setup.


Kustom KPM10 Powered Monitor: Big Sound on a Budget

Last weekend, my wife and I hosted an indie rock show in our living room. It wasn’t the first house show we’ve ever thrown, and it certainly wasn’t the loudest. But as I was sound checking the bands, I realized that I desperately needed to upgrade my live sound set up.


The Strangest Turntables Ever Made

A turntable is a simple machine. All it really needs is a platter to hold the record, a stylus to pass through the grooves, and some method of amplifying the vibration from the stylus. While most record players keep it pretty simple, a few have stretched the machine to new limits.


Vinyl Care Mistakes You Might Be Making

Vinyl is back. For years, hipsters have ironically foretold the format’s return, but the numbers finally support it. 2017 marked the highest year for vinyl sales since 1991, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But vinyl is a delicate medium. And with so many new people hopping on the vinyl train, many people are inadvertently damaging their records.




The Complete Noob’s Guide to Choosing a Turntable

Against all expectations, vinyl sales continue to rise. That means that more people than ever are buying record players. However, building a stereo setup for your vinyl can be a difficult undertaking if you don’t know what you’re looking for.




The Yamaha DTX400K Electronic Drum Set Really Rocks!

We have many musical instruments at our house, but we have always lacked a drum set. My youngest son has begged to learn how to play, so when I had the chance to review the Yamaha DTX400K electronic drum set (MSRP $799), we jumped all over it. I was not sure what to expect, but this thing has blown us away.