The 10 Best USB Audio Interfaces for Musicians

Posted by Grant Patten on Jul 19, 2021 8:05:16 AM

The 10 Best USB Audio Interfaces for Musicians

The 10 Best USB Audio Interfaces for Musicians

Source: Royalty-free stock photo ID: shutterstock_1431547073

A good audio interface that converts microphone and instrument signals into a format that your computer recognizes is an important piece of gear for pretty much any musician to have, so let’s review Front Row’s top 10 USB audio interfaces for musicians.

(In no particular order)

  1. Scarlett 2i2
  2. Behringer UMC404HD
  3. Lexicon Alpha
  4. Komplete MK2
  5. Apogee One
  6. Alesis iO2 Express
  7. PreSonus Audio Interface
  8. Audient EVO 4 USB Audio Interface
  9. Steinberg UR12 USB Audio Interface
  10. Universal Audio Apollo Solo

 

Scarlett 2i2

Scarlett 2i2

The Scarlett 2i2 [Amazon Affiliate Link] from UK-based music product manufacturer Focusrite is one of the best-reviewed USB audio interfaces out there.

This audio interface has two of the best performing mic preamps that the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable “Air mode” to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound. There are two high headroom instrument inputs, for plugging a guitar or bass straight in.

This interface comes with subscriptions to software from Focusrite, Avid, Ableton, Splice and Softube.

 

Behringer UMC404HD

BEHRINGER UMC404HDThe Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a 4x4 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface for recording microphones and instruments. It is compatible with most popular recording software, including Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, etc.

This interface has four world-class MIDAS-designed mic preamps, which include +48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones, all going through studio-grade 24-Bit/192 kHz converters for the best possible sound quality.

Comes with Tracktion software, a digital audio workstation (DAW) for composing, recording, editing, mixing and sharing your music with the world.

 

Lexicon Alpha

Lexicon AlphaThe Lexicon Alpha [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a complete hardware and software solution that turns your computer into a portable, professional 24-bit/48 kHz digital recording studio. It offers a 2x2x2 USB I/O mixer, which is powered directly from the USB bus and includes Cubase recording software.

Alpha has stereo line inputs for keyboards, drum machines or analog output of a CD/MP3 player.

Alpha has professional mixer features, such as separate mic and line level input controls, and monitor mix control for balancing an audio source between live input and playback mix level while recording.

 

Komplete MK2

The Komplete MK2The Komplete MK2 [Amazon Affiliate Link] from German manufacturer Native Instruments has four analog and two digital inputs, including two balanced mic/line/instrument inputs (XLR/1/4" TRS, phantom powered) with individual gain controls and two balanced line inputs (1/4" TRS).

This interface has two headphone outputs with separate level controls and source switching, including zero latency with direct monitoring.

Up to 24bit recording and 192 kHz sample rates. The included software (Ableton Live Lite, Replica, Solid Bus Comp, Phasis, Choral, Flair, Monark, Maschine 2, Traktor) has everything needed to record and produce tracks, plus synths, effects and more.

 

Apogee One

Apogee OneThe Apogee One [Amazon Affiliate Link] is an all-in-one portable, USB audio interface that gives you everything you need to make professional recordings on the go. Connect a microphone, guitar or use the interface’s built-in omnidirectional microphone to capture music. Designed in CA.

The Apogee One has two in and two out connectors, as well as low latency and seamless compatibility with the latest macOS and Windows operating systems.

The Apogee One’s stereo output delivers audiophile quality sound from your Mac/PC to your headphones or speakers.

 

Alesis iO2 Express

ALESIS IO2 EXPRESSThe iO2 Express [Amazon Affiliate Link] from American music product manufacturer Alesis is a compact audio recording interface for home studios and portable recording setups. This two-channel USB interface for Mac and PC-based systems allows recording at up to 24-bit resolution.

This compact recording interface is small enough to fit into a mobile recording rig, sling bag, or backpack, yet contains high-quality components and circuitry suitable for the studio.

In addition to the included Cubase LE software, the iO2 Express is compatible with virtually all audio and MIDI software.

 

PreSonus Audio Interface

PRESONUS AUDIO INTERFACEThe Audiobox96 USB audio interface [Amazon Affiliate Link] from American audio equipment manufacturer PreSonus is a great choice for mobile musicians and podcasters.

This audio interface has two dual-purpose front-panel input channels, each with high-quality mic preamplifiers and two combo mic/instrument inputs.

The Audiobox96 is ruggedly built and works with virtually any PC or Mac recording software. It boasts high-performance mic preamplifiers and professional-quality, 24-bit, 96 kHz converters. Comes with Studio One 3 Artist software for Mac and Windows.

 

Audient Audio Interface

AUDIENT AUDIO INTERFACEThe EVO 4 [Amazon Affiliate Link] from UK-based audio product manufacturer Audient is a sleek-looking USB audio interface with two mic pre amplifiers.

The EVO 4 also has class leading converters, smart gain, smart touchpoints, speaker and headphone outputs and +48v phantom power.

This interface comes bundled with software for Mac and Windows – everything you need to get started recording high-quality audio directly into your computer.

 

Steinberg Audio Interface

STEINBERG AUDIO INTERFACEThe UR12 Audio Interface [Amazon Affiliate Link] from German audio product manufacturer Steinberg captures 24-bit/192 kHz audio and has a mic preamp supporting +48v phantom power.

The interface has an XLR mic input, an instrument input and two RCA outputs. An additional USB mini socket is provided for power source connection when used with an iPad.

This interface is quite portable, weighing just ~2.8 lbs. The interface comes bundled with Cubase AI software for music production.

 

Universal Audio Apollo

UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLOThe Apollo Solo Heritage Edition [Amazon Affiliate Link] from California-based audio product manufacturer Universal Audio is a bit pricier than most other USB audio interfaces but is packed with features, including class-leading audio conversion, two mic preamps, and real-time plug-in processing.

The Apollo Solo has guitar amp emulations from Neve, API, Avalon, Manley, Marshall, Fender and more, as well as a best-in-class headphone amplifier for loud, detailed, low-noise monitoring.

This interface comes bundled with a software suite of five award-winning plug-in titles, featuring collections from Teletronix, Pultec and UA.

 

Get Musical Instrument Insurance | Front Row Instrument Insurance | Insurance for Musicians | Guitar Insurance | Piano Insurance

If you’re researching USB audio interfaces, chances are that you own some musical instruments; perhaps you’re even a musician yourself. And if you own valuable instruments, you should consider protecting them with musical instrument insurance.

Front Row’s insurance for musical instruments (Canada) is a good option for insuring your musical instruments, including guitars, violins, drums, etc. You can get a quote and purchase a policy online in just a few minutes, or read more about the coverages available on the instrument insurance site.

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides musical instrument insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with clients and insurers to expedite the payment of claims.

One of Front Row’s specialties is creating custom insurance packages for musicians. This can include tour liability and coverage for recording studios. Front Row has offices in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, New York and LA and a staff of 50+ with a combined ~510 years of insurance experience. Front Row also has a Nashville office with Tom Corley, music industry insurance expert.

Related posts:

Disclaimer: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your broker for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs which may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording.

Amazon Associates Disclosure: Front Row Insurance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This post may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you.

Topics: musical instrument insurance, Best of

The 20 Best Music Podcasts/ Podcasts for Musicians/ Musician Podcasts

Posted by Grant Patten on Apr 13, 2021 7:36:49 AM

The 20 Best Music Podcasts / Podcasts for Musicians / Musician Podcasts

The 20 Best Music PodcastsSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 650796391, Shutterstock

Let’s review Front Row’s top 20 podcasts for musicians. We’ll discuss:

(in no particular order)

  1. Future Friday
  2. The Watt from Pedro Show
  3. "Walking The Floor" with Chris Shiflet‪t
  4. Questlove Supreme
  5. Turned Out A Pun‪k
  6. Broken Record
  7. Sodajerker
  8. DIY Musician Podcast
  9. Canadian Musician Podcast
  10. Something About the Beatles
  11. Music Business Hack‪s
  12. Song Exploder
  13. Sound Opinions
  14. Popcast
  15. All Songs Considere‪d
  16. The Soundtrack Sho‪w
  17. Song Vs. Song
  18. Middle Class Musicia‪n
  19. Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast
  20. Charlie Likes Musi‪c

 

Future Friday | musician podcasts

Link: https://futurefriday.net/

Guitarist Tom May from American rock band The Menzingers hosts this podcast, which features conversations and stories with his musician friends and others at home and on the road.

Notable episodes include #10 with vocalist/guitarist Lauren Denitzio of Worriers, #17 with singer and guitarist of Broadway Calls, Ty Vaughn and #19 with Dave Hause (American singer-songwriter).

The Watt from Pedro Show | music podcasts free

Link: https://www.twfps.com/

This show takes its name from San Pedro, California and is hosted by acclaimed bassist, vocalist and songwriter Mike Watt (NME voted Watt one of the “40 Greatest Bassists of All Time”).

Each episode begins with a John Coltrane song, and then Watt plays an “eclectic mix of underground music” and interviews guests about their musical history and other topics. Famous guests have included Flea, Barrence Whitfield and Peter Stampfel.

"Walking The Floor" with Chris Shiflet‪t | best rock music podcast

Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/walking-the-floor-with-chris-shiflett/id725700990

Chris Shiflett, guitarist for Foo Fighters, hosts “Walking The Floor” where he engages a wide range of musical guests, writers and artists in one-on-one interviews exploring their creative inspirations, failures, successes and everything in between.

Notable episodes include #6 and #7 with Dwight Yoakam, #12 with Steve Earle, #73 with Lucinda Williams, #147 with Todd Snifer and #181 with Tommy Lee.

Questlove Supreme | best music podcasts

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Questlove_Supreme

Created in 2016, Questlove Supreme is a weekly podcast hosted by The Roots’ drummer Questlove.

A combination of interviews, humor, pop culture and music, the program normally features musical guests, such as Darius Rucker, John Densmore, Mariah Carey, Solange, Q-Tip, The Revolution and even Weird Al. Magazine Consequence of Sound summed the show up as a “music junkie's dream.”

Turned Out A Pun‪k | best punk music podcast

Link: https://audioboom.com/channel/turned-out-a-punk

Damian Abraham, the lead singer of a Toronto-based punk band, created this podcast.

Each week, Abraham sits down and chats with an interesting person from the far-reaching worlds of entertainment to find out how their life was changed by the discovery of punk music. Guests are normally (not always) musicians, including Jason Williamson, Fat Mike Burkett, Steve Diggle, Dean Spunt, Mike Watt and Jay Bentley.

Broken Record | top music podcasts

Link: https://brokenrecordpodcast.com/

The Broken Record podcast is hosted by acclaimed music producer Rick Rubin and features writer Malcolm Gladwell (of Blink and Outliers fame). In this podcast, “the musicians you love talk about their life, inspiration and craft.”

There have been interesting interviews with many famous musicians on this podcast, including Rivers Cuomo, Ben Folds, Jack White, Wyclef Jean, Flea, Bruce Springsteen and the Beastie Boys.

Sodajerker | best podcasts about music

Link: https://www.sodajerker.com/podcast/

This podcast from the UK features interviews with some of the world’s most successful songwriters, including Jeff Tweedy, Lucinda Williams, Matt Berninger, Billy Ocean and Rufus Wainwright.

Hosted by UK songwriting duo Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor (Sodajerker).

DIY Musician Podcast

Link: https://podcast.cdbaby.com/

DIY Musician features interviews with artists of all styles and backgrounds who have found a unique but authentic pathway to success, as well as in-depth discussions with music publicists, promoters, lawyers, publishers, talent agents and more.

This podcast is geared toward independent musicians who want to build a sustainable music career without giving up (too much) financial or creative control. Hosted by guitarist Kevin Breuner (Smalltown Poets) and pop lyricist Chris Robley (The Sort Ofs).

Canadian Musician | best Canadian music podcast

Link: https://www.canadianmusicianpodcast.com/

Launched in 1979, Canadian Musician is a magazine profiling musicians (usually Canadian ones), published bi-monthly. Their podcast was launched in 2013 and features many interesting interviews with musicians, including Brendan Canning, Randy Bachman, Dallas Smith and Jason Collett.

This podcast features in-depth conversations and insider information on timely topics from around the music industry.

Note: Front Row has contributed to Canadian Musician magazine; see article: INSURE YOUR GEAR: Unfortunate Examples of Instrument Damage

Something About the Beatles | best Beatles podcast

Link: https://somethingaboutthebeatles.com/

Something About the Beatles is an intelligent and entertaining examination of The Beatles' music and career. “Smart, funny and surprising; just like the Fab Four.” The podcast often features interviews with insiders who knew The Beatles well, including photographer Ethan Russell.

Robert Rodriquez, an award-winning author who has written extensively about The Beatles (including the book Revolver: How the Beatles Re-Imagined Rock 'n' Roll; Amazon Affiliate Link), hosts the podcast.

Music Business Hacks | music business podcast

Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/music-business-hacks/id1343284015

A music business podcast made for artists who are looking for clear information, inspiration and application for their careers. Ideas are broken down into steps that musicians can use to advance their career. The podcast is written and hosted by Simon Tam, founder of rock band The Slants.

Episodes include #356, which focuses on the world of k-pop, #341, which explores helpful fitness routines for musicians and #312, which is about record labels and demos.

Song Exploder | best song analysis podcast

Link: https://songexploder.net/

Song Exploder is a music podcast created by musician Hrishikesh Hirway, who hosted it from its 2014 inception until late 2018 and again from December 2019 onwards. This biweekly podcast features musicians talking about the creative process behind an individual song while "deconstructing" the song into its component parts.

The songs highlighted on the program have ranged from pop to hardcore punk to television theme songs, film scores and video game music.

Sound Opinions | best music criticism podcast

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Opinions

Sound Opinions is an independent radio talk show and podcast based in Chicago. It focuses on the discussion of music genres, history, artists and albums.

This podcast is hosted by American music critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot and features interviews with musicians and industry figures as well as dissections of classic albums and musical movements. Kot and DeRogatis review recent record releases and under-the-radar albums.

Popcast | best pop music podcast

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/column/popcast-pop-music-podcast

Popcast is The New York Times's pop music podcast about music news, new songs, albums and artists of note. Jon Caramanica, an American pop music critic for The Times, hosts this podcast. It covers the latest in popular music criticism, trends and news.

Past episodes have covered an eclectic mix of artists, including Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, Ennio Morricone, Kenny Rogers, Post Malone, Prince, Kanye West, among others.

All Songs Considered | best podcasts about music

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Songs_Considered

All Songs Considered (a project of National Public Radio/NPR) is a weekly podcast launched in January 2000 by American musician and media personality Bob Boilen. This podcast is a source of discovery for new music of all genres.

The podcast has interviews with both emerging and established musicians, including Ed O’Brien, John Legend, Wayne Coyne and Cat Stevens. “Hear songs that can completely change your day, with humor, heart and (sometimes) a whole lot of noise.”

The Soundtrack Show | best film score podcast

Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-soundtrack-show/id1351960656

The Soundtrack Show is a look at film scores and soundtracks for some of the most popular movies, TV Shows, Video Games and Theater pieces of all time.

Notable episodes have analyzed the film scores of Home Alone, The Karate Kid, The Goonies, Casablanca, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rocky, Psycho and many others.

Song Vs. Song | best song analysis podcast

Link: https://songvssong.libsyn.com/

Hosted by Todd (in the Shadows) Nathanson and SyFy's Dany Roth, Song vs. Song pits two similar songs of an era against each other with controversial outcomes.

Some past episodes have featured “battles” between The Shins vs. Death Cab for Cutie, Korn vs. Limp Bizkit, Neutral Milk Hotel vs. The Magnetic Fields, Backstreet Boys vs. 'N Sync, Franz Ferdinand vs. Modest Mouse, Cher vs. Tina Turner, and many others.

Middle Class Musician | best podcasts about music

Link: https://www.middleclassmusician.co/podcast

Candid conversations with the working force of the music industry. This Nashville-based podcast explores what it really looks like to make a living in one of the fastest changing industries in the world. Hosted by American singer/songwriter Andrew Galucki.

“The middle class musician is the music professional who is finding a way to make a living in the post-Napster world.”

Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast | best classical music podcast

Link: https://stickynotespodcast.libsyn.com/

Sticky Notes is a classical music podcast for everyone. Whether you are a beginner just looking to get into classical music but don't know where to start, or a seasoned musician interested in the lives and ideas of your fellow artists, this podcast is for you.

This podcast has interviews with top artists of today, in-depth looks at specific pieces from the repertoire, and deep dives into each era of classical music, plus much more.

Charlie Likes Music | top music podcasts

Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/charlie-likes-music/id1493325429

Charlie Short, a Chicago-based musician, hosts this podcast. Short plays bass, guitar, sings and has played in and around the Midwestern US for ~20 years. On his podcast, he talks about recorded music through the lens of music that he likes.

Short covers the history of musicians and groups, as well other interesting facts about music. He tries to bring attention to music that many have not heard before.

Get Musical Instrument Insurance | Front Row Instrument Insurance | Insurance for Musicians | Guitar Insurance | Piano Insurance

If you’re listening to podcasts about music, chances are that you own some musical instruments; perhaps you’re even a musician yourself. And if you own valuable instruments, you should consider protecting them with musical instrument insurance.

Front Row’s insurance for musical instruments (Canada) is a good option for insuring your musical instruments, including guitars, violins, drums, etc. You can get a quote and purchase a policy online in just a few minutes, or read more about the coverages available on the instrument insurance site.

 

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides musical instrument insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with clients and insurers to expedite the payment of claims.

One of Front Row’s specialties is creating custom insurance packages for musicians. This can include tour liability and coverage for recording studios. Front Row has offices in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, New York and LA and a staff of 50+ with a combined ~510 years of insurance experience. Front Row also has a Nashville office with Tom Corley, music industry insurance expert.

Related posts:

Disclaimer: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your broker for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs which may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording.

Amazon Associates Disclosure: Front Row Insurance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This post may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you.

Topics: musical instrument insurance, Best of

The 10 Best Laptops for Music Production in 2021

Posted by Grant Patten on Oct 14, 2020 10:06:06 AM

The 10 Best Laptops for Music Production in 2021 / Best Music Production Computers

Let’s review the ten best laptops for music production available on the market now.

(in no particular order)

We’ll discuss:

  1. Asus VivoBook
  2. Asus ZenBook
  3. Apple MacBook Pro
  4. Microsoft Surface Book
  5. Samsung Notebook
  6. Dell Inspiron Gaming Edition
  7. Huawei MateBook
  8. Razer Blade Gaming Edition
  9. Lenovo ThinkPad
  10. Acer Swift

 

1. Asus VivoBook | best budget music production laptop

VivoBook 15

Asus is an underrated and affordable brand for music production laptops and their VivoBook 15 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a solid laptop for music production that can be had at a reasonable price.

Designed especially for those who value portability (just ~3 lbs and 0.78” thin), the VivoBook is a powerful laptop that you can use to carry out high-end music recording and production.

A 7th Gen i5 Intel Core processor powerfully drives the laptop and it contains 8GB RAM (upgradable to 16GB). Comprehensive connections, including USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 2.0, and HDMI.

2. Asus ZenBook | affordable music production laptop

ZenBook Asus

Another solid, affordable laptop in the Asus line is their ZenBook. [Amazon Affiliate Link] This computer is ultra slim and durable, making it easily portable.

The laptop has an ErgoLift design for improved typing position (although some reviewers on Amazon have complained about the keyboard), an optimized cooling system and enhanced audio performance.

The ZenBook’s 8th Gen Intel Core i7 Quad Core Processor with 16GB RAM makes it a slightly more powerful machine than the aforementioned VivoBook.

3. Apple MacBook Pro (various sizes) | best computers for music production

MacBook Pro Apple

The music industry, largely, seems to use Macs for music production at this point.

The famous MacBook Pro has excellent performance (especially if you opt for up to 32GB of memory) and it can handle high-level processing for programs like Cubase, Ableton Live and Adobe Audition.

The 16-inch larger screen is more expensive than the smaller 13-inch [Amazon Affiliate Link], of course, but both are excellent machines.

Tip: Admittedly, MacBooks aren’t cheap. If you’d rather not pay for a brand new MacBook, be sure to also check out resale sites like eBay, Kijiji, etc. and consider the older models.

4. Microsoft Surface Book | best computer for music production

Microsoft’s Surface Book

Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a powerful little machine that is able to convert into a laptop or a tablet. However, if you wish to use a stylus with the touchscreen, a Surface Pen has to be purchased separately.

The 3240 x 2160 display is vibrant and impressive, and the 1TB solid state hard drive will be able to store a generous amount of music files.

The Surface Book has enhanced dual far-field Studio Mics and Dolby Audio sound. The touchscreen ability makes it convenient for music producers, as it provides the option of quickly editing a track on screen with their fingers and provides quick access to a keyboard and trackpad.

5. Samsung Notebook | best music production laptop

the Samsung Notebook

With 16GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB SSD, the Samsung Notebook [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a powerful laptop that should be able to handle most music production requirements.

The Notebook also has touchscreen functionality, can be flipped into a tablet and comes along with a built-in “S Pen” stylus. The Intel Core i7 processor is quite fast and should be able to handle most multitasking situations that come up while making music.

In terms of ports, the Notebook just has two USB 3 ports, one USB Type-C and one HDMI, so you may need additional peripherals and/or adaptors to attach more.

6. Dell Inspiron Gaming Edition

The Dell Inspiron Gaming Edition

The Dell Inspiron Gaming Edition [Amazon Affiliate Link] comes with the 7th-generation Intel Quad-Core processor and 8GB DDR4 Memory (can be upgraded to 16GB), so it should be powerful enough for most music production needs.

This laptop has impressive sound: front-firing speakers, a subwoofer and Waves MaxxAudio Pro. Spacious stereo imaging and the laptop actually gets loud. There is even a little bit of genuine bass.

Three USB 3.0 ports. The keyboard has a nice feel, and the backlighting is just right. Supports a 4K second monitor, if desired.

7. Huawei MateBook

the MateBook Huawei

You will get solid performance out of the MateBook [Amazon Affiliate Link]: Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, Wi-Fi 2x2 MIMO, and a new Gen Intel Processor all boost the performance of this machine.

It is a light and thin laptop with long battery life (10 hours). The 8GB DDR4 RAM (no RAM upgrades possible) allows for light to moderate music producing.

The laptop’s precision touchscreen (1920 x 1080 display, 14 inches) makes it easy to navigate any of your programs or apps and its weight of just 1.38 kg makes it easy to take on the road.

8. Razer Blade Gaming Edition

The Razer Blade Gaming Edition

The Razer Blade 15 Gaming Edition [Amazon Affiliate Link] includes 16GB RAM and is upgradeable (advanced model) to a 1TB solid state drive, making it capable of handling the most complex music production tasks.

The 0.7" thin aluminum unibody makes this computer lightweight and highly portable. The computer also has a “vapor chamber cooling” system for maximum performance and comfort.

The 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED touch display will be pleasing to most music producers.

9. Lenovo ThinkPad | best laptop for music production and recording

the Lenovo ThinkPad

For those who prefer to stick to the Windows operating system, the Lenovo ThinkPad [Amazon Affiliate Link] is likely the best Windows laptop for music production.

With the 8th Generation R Intel Core i7 processor and 32GB RAM, you’ll be able to handle complex music production tasks on this machine quite easily.

The computer’s default 512GB solid state drive is upgradeable to an enormous 2TB storage size. The computer also has a nice variety of ports: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, and 1 x HDMI.

10. Acer Swift | cheap laptop for music production

The Acer Swift laptop

The Acer Swift 3 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is an inexpensive laptop that can be used for music production. It has a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 Processor with 8GB of RAM (not upgradeable), so it should be powerful enough to handle light to moderate music production tasks.

The solid state drive is a generous size at 256GB. The 14-inch display is 1920 x 1080 pixels with LED backlighting. The computer has a decent variety of ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type C, 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 2.0 and 1 x HDMI.

The battery life is very respectable at 11 hours. At just 2.62 lbs and 0.63" thin, this laptop is very lightweight and portable. Embedded fingerprint reader for fast verification.

Music Production Accessories for your Laptop | Best Music Production Software | Best Music Making Software | Music Editing Software

If you’re getting a laptop for music production, don’t forget about these accessories:

A laptop sleeve will help protect your laptop against dust, debris and scratches. You could get the “official” one that is usually an accessory to the laptop purchase, or you could get a generic one that fits various laptops of a certain size, such as the RAINYEAR 13 Inch Laptop Sleeve. [Amazon Link]

An external hard drive and/or subscription to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox would be advisable because even if you have a large hard drive on the laptop, you will likely be surprised at how quickly that drive can fill up. A well-reviewed external HD to consider is the Seagate portable external HD. [Amazon Link]

You’ll of course need music production software to produce music on the laptop! Here are some commonly recommended programs:

  • Ableton Live: digital audio workstation for macOS and Windows
  • Adobe Audition: digital audio workstation from Adobe
  • Cakewalk by BandLab: complete music production package
  • Cubase: digital audio workstation for music and MIDI recording
  • Logic Pro: digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer for macOS
  • Reaper: digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer for macOS, Windows & Linux
  • Reason: more for electronic music production
  • Sibelius (music notation software): mainly for setting actual sheet music and probably best if you want to make printed parts for a band/orchestra

Note: ~8GB of RAM can be a bit tight if you're running multiple music production software programs, plus other software like a web browser, so if you’ll be using a lot of software simultaneously, always opt for more RAM.

Get Musical Instrument Insurance | Instrument Insurance | Insurance for Musicians

If you’re looking at music production laptops, chances are you own some musical instruments; perhaps you’re even a musician yourself. And if you own valuable instruments, you should consider protecting them with musical instrument insurance.

Front Row’s insurance for musical instruments (Canada) is a good option for insuring your musical instruments, including guitars, violins, drums, etc. You can get a quote and purchase a policy online in just a few minutes, or read more about the coverages available on the instrument insurance site.

Note: Front Row’s musical instrument insurance policy comes along with $5,000 CAD (subject to change) in Computer Hardware/Software Coverage.

 

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides musical instrument insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with clients and insurers to expedite the payment of claims.

One of Front Row’s specialties is creating custom insurance packages for musicians. This can include tour liability and coverage for recording studios. Front Row has offices in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver and a staff of 50+ with a combined ~510 years of insurance experience. Front Row also has a Nashville office with Tom Corley, music industry insurance expert.

Amazon Associates Disclosure: Front Row Insurance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Front Row Insurance earns from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to you. 

Related posts:

Citations:

https://www.binarytides.com/best-laptops-for-music-production-under-500/
https://www.pclaunches.com/best-laptop-for-music-production/
https://consordini.com/best-laptops-for-music-production/
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Topics: musical instrument insurance, Best of

The 10 Best Music Documentaries / the Best Rockumentaries

Posted by Grant Patten on Oct 5, 2020 7:06:06 AM

Stop Making Sense coverThe 10 Best Music Documentaries / the Best Rockumentaries

Let’s review Front Row’s top 10 music documentary films. We’ll discuss:

(in no particular order)

  1. Stop Making Sense
  2. Montage of Heck and Soaked in Bleach
  3. Gimme Shelter
  4. Dont Look Back [sic]
  5. Rattle and Hum
  6. The Decline of Western Civilization
  7. Woodstock
  8. The Last Waltz and Once Were Brothers
  9. Amy
  10. The Story of Wish You Were Here and Live at Pompeii

 

1. Stop Making Sense / best music documentaries

According to Rolling Stone, “the greatest concert movie ever” is Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense. [Amazon Link] This documentary of the Talking Heads band was filmed over the course of four nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in 1983.

The songs performed in the movie are mostly from Talking Heads’ album, Speaking in Tongues, including hits such as “Burning Down the House” and "Girlfriend Is Better".

via GIPHY

Montage of Heck cover2. Montage of Heck and Soaked in Bleach / best rockumentaries

Montage of Heck [Amazon Link] is an artful documentary directed by Brett Morgen about the life of musician Kurt Cobain. The documentary is “fully authorized” in that Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, was consulted throughout the process and even granted Morgen access to Cobain's personal archive of art, music, notes, and never-before-seen home movie footage. The documentary contains various interviews with those who were in Cobain’s life, including his mother, bandmates and ex-girlfriend.

Soaked in Bleach [Amazon Link] is a much more controversial quasi-documentary (contains some scripted scenes of docudrama in it) that seems to push the narrative that Cobain *potentially* did not commit suicide and was instead perhaps murdered, or some other form of foul play. But the movie does contain some interesting interviews with various members of the police force involved in the Cobain death investigation – no matter what side of the “interpretation fence” you might be on, it’s an entertaining piece, even if it has somewhat of an agenda.

Gimme Shelter cover3. Gimme Shelter / best music docs

Gimme Shelter [Amazon Link] is a documentary by the Maysles Brothers about the last weeks of The Rolling Stones' 1969 US tour, which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. Violence erupted at this concert, resulting in the deaths of multiple fans and injuries to many others.

One Amazon reviewer’s comment (Jeff Morant): “One of the best documentaries ever made and one of the best Criterion releases! Even if you're not a fan of The Stones, this a very haunting film and one that will stay with you for quite some time.”

Dont Look Back jacket4. Dont Look Back [sic]

Dont Look Back [Amazon Link] is a documentary about singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The film documents Dylan's 1965 concert tour in England.

The movie features some of Dylan’s most famous songs, including “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”.

Fun Fact/Trivia: the famous "Subterranean Homesick Blues" footage of Dylan shuffling cue cards shown at the beginning of the film was actually shot at the end of filming.

5. Rattle and Hum / best movies about music

Rattle and Hum jacketRattle and Hum [Amazon Link] is a music documentary about the much lauded Irish rock band U2, filmed during their fall 1987 tour of North America.

The doc includes footage of U2 performing live with famed guitarist B.B. King (song: “When Love Comes to Town”).

The documentary features an artful mix of black-and-white and colour cinematography and includes many of the band’s most famous songs, including “Desire”, “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For”, “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.

The Decline of Western Civilization cover6. The Decline of Western Civilization

The Decline of Western Civilization [Amazon Link] is about the Los Angeles punk rock scene/subculture in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

The doc features concert footage of LA punk bands and (often amusing) interviews with band members and their fans.

Notable bands featured in the doc include Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Germs, and X. Two sequels were also made: Part II: The Metal Years and Part III. [Amazon Links]

7. Woodstock / best docs about music

Woodstock jacketWoodstock [Amazon Link] is about the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival which took place in August 1969 near Bethel, New York.

The Director’s Cut version contains a Blu-ray version of the film along with a second disc of bonus features, including “Untold Stories Revisited" and 16 previously unreleased performances.

Notable musicians and bands featured in this famous concert doc include Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joan Baez, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Joe Cocker.

The Last Waltz jacket8. The Last Waltz / Once Were Brothers

One of the most respected concert docs of all time is certainly The Last Waltz [Amazon Link], which is about The Band's historic 1976 farewell performance. Directed by Martin Scorsese.

The concert was held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The doc features many of The Band’s best known songs, including “Up on Cripple Creek”, “Life Is a Carnival” and “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”. Other musicians featured in the doc include Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.

A nice companion documentary to this is the more recent doc, Once Were Brothers. [Amazon Link] This doc focuses on frontman Robbie Robertson’s life, how The Band formed, and how/why they eventually disbanded. Produced by Scorsese.

Amy jacket9. Amy

Amy [Amazon Link] tells the tragic story of the talented English singer-songwriter, Amy Winehouse.

The film covers Winehouse's life and her struggle with substance abuse, both before and after her career blossomed, and which eventually caused her untimely death.

The film includes footage of Winehouse performing some of her best known songs, including "Stronger than Me", "Back to Black", and "Rehab"; and even some never-before-heard songs and auditions.

The Story of Wish You Were Here jacket10. The Story of Wish You Were Here and Live at Pompeii

The Story of Wish You Were Here [Amazon Link] is about the making of the Wish You Were Here album by Pink Floyd. The doc includes interviews with almost every key person who participated in the making of this acclaimed album, including David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters.

Live at Pompeii [Amazon Link] is an older Pink Floyd doc that focuses on the band performing at the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. The main footage in and around Pompeii was filmed over four days in October 1971, using the band's regular touring equipment. The Director's Cut DVD combines the original footage from ‘71 with more contemporary shots.

Get Musical Instrument Insurance | Front Row Instrument Insurance | Insurance for Musicians

If you’re watching music documentaries, chances are you own some musical instruments; perhaps you’re even a musician yourself. And if you own valuable instruments, you should consider protecting them with musical instrument insurance.

Front Row’s insurance for musical instruments (Canada) is a good option for insuring your musical instruments, including guitars, violins, drums, etc. You can get a quote and purchase a policy online in just a few minutes, or read more about the coverages available on the instrument insurance site.

 

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides musical instrument insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with clients and insurers to expedite the payment of claims.

One of Front Row’s specialties is creating custom insurance packages for musicians. This can include tour liability and coverage for recording studios. Front Row has offices in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver and a staff of 50+ with a combined ~510 years of insurance experience. Front Row also has a Nashville office with Tom Corley, music industry insurance expert.

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Topics: musical instrument insurance, Documentary Insurance, docudrama insurance, Best of