How To Choose An Audio Interface

In a time when we are getting advanced technologically day by day, it is no surprise that even recording in the studio at your home has its way. If you’re looking to get started, the heart and soul of a home recording studio is called an audio interface. Some of you may be new with this piece of equipment or perhaps have never even heard of it. An audio interface is a device used to record your voice and/or your instruments with the use of a microphone or with instruments plugged in directly through a 1/4″ jack. Think of it as an external sound card that you use with your computer. Having this basic tool makes it easy to record at your own home. Just remember that audio interfaces are different from mixers and cannot be used in quite the same way.

Now that you know what an audio interface is, you have to know what is needed to choose one, and here are some tips.

1. Know what you need

The first question would be what will you be recording? Is it going to be voice or instruments? It is possible that it will be both but nevertheless, by knowing it, it will be easier to narrow down your needs. These are what you will contemplate in choosing.

a. Connection format

The most popular is USB, but it could be different, like Firewire or Thunderbolt. It will be important to know what types that your computer will to use or else it will be a waste and you’ll end up needing adapters.

b. Audio I/O

I/O stands for input/output and, and you want to have at least one for each line you’ll be recording simultaneously. Because of that, it is important to know what will be really needed so you can make sure you have enough. You’ll often be able to choose from I/Os with and without preamps, so keep in mind which instruments will be line and which will need amplification on their way into your computer’s recording software. 

c. Additional connections

Here are some of the additional connections that you should be aware of:

  1. MIDI I/O – having this will be useful for connecting any MIDI devices, though most communicate through USB these days and do not need to pass through an interface.
  2. Digital I/O – these allow you to expand the available channels. Common types include ADAT Lightpipe, S/PDIF, and AES/EBU.
  3. Instrumental level DI – used for directly connecting guitars or synths that have already been amplified.
  4. Reamp outputs – think of these as the opposite of an instrument DI. It can also serve as a monitor so you can keep an eye on your recordings as they takes are performed.

d. Digital Signal Processing or DSP

This is needed so that the audio interface would be allowed to function as a standalone device. 

2. Know the quality

Now that you have learned what is needed you will have to determined what grade of audio interface you will need. Keep in mind that good quality does not always equal a higher price. There are cheaper ones that are of great quality and can be used for a long time. But it is important to do some research about these things. Learn more about it by reading about the technology and also reading some reviews will be helpful.

3. Know your price

As said before, having a great quality audio interface does not have to be expensive. It will be still up to your needs and preferences. It will also be your choice to determine if it’s really worth it to invest in a premium model, which could very well be the case if you take your recording seriously. 

How To Decide if An Electric Fireplace Is Right For You

Fireplaces can be a very desirable feature for just about any home. Especially if they are well-maintained and ready for use, it may be the make-or-break reason that a potential buyer wants one home over another. It’s easy to understand why – nothing really beats coming in from the cold on a dark winter day and warming up next to the open flames.

The problem though is that not every house has a fireplace, let alone a chimney. What’s more, a huge percentage of the world doesn’t live in a house, per se. They might live in condos, apartments, or other living situations where a fireplace is simply not going to make sense. If you are in a house and it doesn’t have a fireplace already, it’s going to be quite expensive to put one in. So, if you want this luxury added to your home what are you left to do?

Well, you do have a couple of options, but we’re going to discuss electric fireplaces and when they are the right choice for you and your home.

When an Electric Fireplace Is Right For You

People are quick to bat an eye at the concept of an electric fireplace, but the reality is that these days it’s unwarranted. These devices can be installed just about anywhere, no fireplace or chimney required. Many of them work by plugging into an everyday outlet, so installation is a breeze to boot. There are also no real flames in the unit, so you won’t run into any issues with condo associates or apartment rules set by your landlord.

Electric fireplaces come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and designs (in fact, to see a great guide with a whole range of products check out this website: https://bestelectricfireplace.review). If you have a small apartment you can get them in free-standing designs that are nice and small and will still put off a good amount of heat. If you have a larger and more luxurious condo you can recess units up to 72″ and larger into your wall for a truly elegant look and feel.

Many people wonder if electric fireplaces are worth the money. They fear that they won’t look real, or worse they’ll even look drab. Our best advice is to go see one for yourself in person before you write them off. They can actually be quite impressive, and the amount of control they offer really makes them a great option for a lot of people.

For example, you have complete control over the flame height. In some cases, you even have control of the flame color. Simultaneously, you have control of the heat level, which can be run at full blast, off, or anywhere in between. All of this can usually be controlled from a convenient remote, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

So, if you’re in a situation where you don’t have a chimney and installing one is not a possibility, an electric fireplace is certainly worth considering. They can actually be quite affordable too, so if your budget is tight that’s another reason to consider one. If you haven’t taken a look we encourage you to. They may just suit your needs.

How to Buy A Sound System For Your Home in 2018

When you love the experience of going to a loud, energy-filled concert, you might want to replicate it in the privacy and comfort of your own home. However, if you are not familiar with the components of a home music surround sound system, you might wonder what considerations to keep in mind during the buying process. These tips can help you find and buy a sound system for your home in 2018.

Budget

Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind when you are shopping for a music surround sound system for your home is how much you want to spend on it. Your budget will be one of the most important criteria in what kind of system you ultimately look for and buy.

If you have no idea how much these systems cost, it is best that you do some preliminary research either by going online or calling your local electronics store for pricing. Once you know how much the average system costs, you can then either save and set aside the money for it or figure out another way to finance the purchase.

These systems range in price from very reasonable and low cost to extravagant and top dollar. You need to figure out how much you really want to spend on the purchase before you head out and start looking for one for your home.

Logistics

Another factor to keep in mind is how comfortable you will be when it comes to setting up the sound system in your home. These systems come with multitudes of wires and connections that all must be hooked up correctly in order for them to work. Further, you have to install the speakers at the ideal height on your ceiling or walls to get the experience you want when listening to music.

If you are a complete novice when it comes to hooking up electronics, you might want to be on the lookout for a system that is user-friendly and easy to connect. You also may want to ensure it has plenty of instructions that tell you what to do as well as online resources you can access if you have questions or concerns.

By taking the logistics of installing the system into consideration, you avoid buying one that is too complex for you to install. You will find one that walks you through the installation process so you can start enjoying it right away.

Customized or Prepackaged Box Sets

Finally, you need to ask yourself if you want to customize your own surround sound system or if you want one that is prepackaged and ready to go right out of the box. If you are technologically advanced and familiar with all of the components of a surround sound system, you may want to customize yours so you get the acoustics and sound quality you want from it.

However, if this is going to be your first system that you have ever owned, you may want one that comes boxed and ready for you to use. Most boxed sets have everything you need in them. They come complete with all of the wires, speakers, connections, and other hardware that is required to set up the system.

These factors may come into play as you are shopping for a surround sound system on which to listen to music in your home. They help you narrow your search and find systems that will ultimately be an asset to you. They also help you avoid overspending your budget or buying a system that you cannot figure out how to install on your own.

How To Choose The Right Paintball Gun for Speedball Beginners

Paintball is a fun sport and hobby, but speedball can rack up the excitement by a few degrees. Even if you are just starting in this game, careful gear selection can make you an unstoppable force on the field. Specifically, you will want to choose a paintball gun or marker that perfectly suits you.

What type of paintball gun should you buy?

First, make sure to perform due diligence on any gun you are considering for purchase. Research major criteria like use, quality, and cost. Look over reviews and visit sites that handle paintball guns before choosing one. It may be prudent to rent paintball guns for recreation before settling on a purchase.

There are three major classes of paintball guns. Pump markers have their niche, but not in speedball. They are highly accurate yet require more strategy and time than what is suitable for most speedball venues.

Why are mechanical paintball guns so popular?

Mechanical markers are excellent for beginners because they have a simple design and are easy to use. They are well known for low maintenance and high durability. You can use them in inclement weather and muddy conditions without much concern for their upkeep.

When only the best will do, use an electronic paintball gun.

You will see players use mechanical markers in speedball, but even as a beginner you may want to invest in an electronic paintball gun to be on par with other competitors. Electronic markers can be fired much quicker than the other guns.

An electro-pneumatic marker utilizes a circuit board to electronically control the shooting mechanism. Otherwise, its composition is similar to other paintball guns with a small bolt triggering system and compressed gases. This electronic feature allows the shooter to fire automatic bursts. Electronic guns don’t require much force to pull the triggers, but they do require more skill to shoot effectively than do mechanical paintball guns. When correctly shot, electronic guns are among the most accurate paintball guns on the market.

Electronic paintball guns also require more care and maintenance than do the other two classes of markers. They have more adjustable and moving parts that periodically need to be repaired. Their complexity and components make them less capable of withstanding the rigors of weather or improper use than their mechanical counterparts.

Can you have the best of both worlds?

Electro-mechanical paintball gun hybrids offer advantages of both mechanical and electronic markers. They are simple and sturdy and yet they still have an automatic shooting feature. These guns require little pressure to pull the triggers, like electronic markers. Parts are easily replaced and electro-mechanical guns are less expensive than electronic weapons.

Before you rush and buy a hybrid as your dream partner in speedball glory, here are a few features to take into consideration. Electro-mechanical paintball guns are as noisy as mechanical paintball guns, and they require almost as much air pressure. Moreover, you will lose out on both accuracy and consistency.

How much does a good speedball gun cost?

By now you have decided the only way to respectably compete with your peers is to invest in your own gear. A paintball gun is a large portion of this expense. Even with speedball, you need to determine if your time investment will be regular or only on special occasions. This will guide you on how large of an investment you might make.

Beginner-level guns are excellent for beginners, as the name would suggest, but also suit recreational players. If you are a part-time or recreational speedball player, $170 is a reasonable price for a good low-level gun.

Mid-range markers will run from $300 to $500, and you can expect to spend from $500 to $1600 on high-end paintball guns. You may purchase a mid-range marker if your goal is to participate in occasional speedball tournaments. You will want a high-end marker if you are a die-hard speedball fanatic of course. These are equipped with features like eyes, regulators and programmable circuit boards to ensure optimal timing of shots.

In Summary

If you are new to the fun and exciting world of speedball, investing in a suitable paintball gun should be the smoothest part of your journey.

When Looking For A Pressure Washer, Always Go Electric

For most people, buying a pressure washer is something of a confusing process. Pressure washers come in a wide range of different pressure ratings and with a wide variety of features. One of the first questions buyers encounter when they go looking for a pressure washer is whether they should purchase an electric or a gas-powered one. Here are just a few of the reasons that, for the average buyer, electric pressure washers are always a better choice than their gas counterparts.

Electric Pressure Washers Are Less Expensive

If you go shopping for a gas-powered pressure washer, it’s relatively easy to spend $500 or more. Electric pressure washers, on the other hand, tend to come in at $200 or less. To be clear, there are more expensive electric pressure washers made for specialized applications, but an inexpensive model is usually good enough for ordinary household use. Even if you’re buying for commercial purposes, you’ll still find that the prices of commercial-grade electric pressure washers are a bit lower than equivalent gas ones, though the difference isn’t quite as large at the commercial level.

Gas Pressure Washers Require Much More Maintenance

The biggest difference between electric and gas pressure washers is in the amount of maintenance they require. Gas pressure washers, though they can produce significant amounts of pressure, have a bad habit of breaking down frequently. The gasoline engines used to run them are typically small and prone to wear, while the pumps they are equipped with frequently have sealing issues. Electric pressure washers, by contrast, require very little maintenance over the course of their lifetimes. In large part, this fact is a result of cleaner-running electric motor technology, which doesn’t produce the buildup that usually occurs in small gas-powered engines. Storage maintenance, such as running the gas out of the engine to ensure it doesn’t go bad over the winter, is also a moot point with an electric pressure washer.

Electric Units Are Considerably Lighter and Easier to Move

Also a function of the difference between gas and electric motors is the fact that electric pressure washers are much lighter than gas-powered ones. If you need to carry your pressure washer up or down stairs or put it in a vehicle to move it around, an electric unit will be vastly more convenient for you. As a rule, electric pressure washers are also more compact, meaning that they can take up less space in the trunk of a car when you need to transport them. A large gas pressure washer, however, can require a truck or an SUV to move, making it very inconvenient if you need to use it anywhere but your own home.

Electric Pressure Washers Are Easier to Use

As with any piece of powered equipment, ease of use is a major factor in the decision to buy a pressure washer. Electric pressure washers are among the easiest pieces of equipment to use, as they literally only need to be plugged in, hooked to a hose and equipped with a proper nozzle. By contrast, many gas pressure washers still require priming, choke adjustment and pull-starting to even get started. If you’re looking for something that you can use without having to get used to the peculiarities of small gas engines, an electric pressure washer will be by far the better choice for you.

Running a Gas Pressure Washer is More Expensive and Involves More Downtime

A final advantage of electric pressure washers is the fact that they can run for the entire duration of your project without having to be stopped. A gas-powered pressure washer, on the other hand, will have a finite amount of fuel in it. When that fuel runs out, you’ll need to stop, refill the pressure washer and get it started again before you can continue with your work. Having to go through this process multiple times during a large project can involve quite a bit of downtime and delay the completion of the project itself. At the same time, filling and refilling the gas tank on your pressure washer can be somewhat expensive.

For these reasons and many others, people looking to purchase pressure washers are almost always better choosing an electric model over a gas-powered one. If you’re in the market for a pressure washer, an electric option will save you money, be more convenient and cause you far fewer maintenance headaches than one powered by a traditional gasoline engine.

Electric Smokers Are Easy To Use, But Do They Stack Up To The Alternatives?

Having a delicious smoked meat or fish can make a meal spectacular, but smoking meats is an art all in itself. Traditional smokers use a variety of woods and pellets to keep the fire going. The fire then causes a ring of smoke to develop, which envelops the meat and infuses a delicious smoked flavor into it. You get not only the taste and flavor of the meat, but the type of wood that you are using when smoking it as well. Electric smokers have become all the rage nowadays with more and more people switching from traditional options like wood and propane to something that is much easier and even safer when used around the home.

Traditional Methods

Traditional methods of smoking meats and fish include using wood pellets or chips or using propane. Both of these have their pros and cons. With wood pellets and chips, you need to constantly tend the fire to ensure that it does not go out. While this is all well and good at the time, most meats have to be cooked for hours upon hours until they can be deemed finished. If you are constantly tending the meat, it might become a problem if you have other chores to do. Propane smokers can be dangerous just because of the gas involved, not to mention the constant hiked pricing of propane. However, many people who enjoy smoked meats prefer either wood or propane because of that delicious wood-burned flavor. That is something that you just do not get with an electric smoker.

Electric Smokers

Electric smokers are becoming popular because of how easy they are to use. Even if you have never smoked meat or fish in your life, there’s a pretty good chance that you will be able to use this type of smoker. In fact, many people find that with electric smokers, they are able to focus on other things around the house while their food is being cooked. The smoker takes care of all of the different controls for you, ensuring that your meats come out perfectly every single time. You might not get that traditional smoke ring and flavor when you’re using an electric smoker, but it saves time and hassle. For those who tend to use propane, you might even save a bit of money by going with an electric option. Plus, a lot of people have found that while electric smokers tend to be smaller, you can fit more food into them because of the different racks inside.

Which One is Better?

If you ask any foodie who smokes a lot of their meats and fish, you might hear that they wouldn’t give up either of their smokers. Electric smokers have their place and both cook the foods quicker and easier. Traditional smokers are ideal if you plan to spend a lot of time staying around the appliance and tending to its fire. Both of these appliances result in a deliciously cooked meat that you can pair with potatoes, veggies and anything else that your heart desires. You might find that an electric smoker is more within your budget at first and then you upgrade to a traditional option, or vice versa.

The key here is to make use of the smoker that best fits your food and meal needs. If you need a quick and effortless way to smoke meats, you need to go with the electric smoker. If, on the other hand, you want a more traditional smoked flavor and don’t mind tending to the meat for many hours, you will find that traditional smokers are better fit for you. Do some research on different smokers available to you and find out more about the pricing and specs involved with each. Once you choose a specific smoker, it is up to you to figure out how to use it both effectively and safely. Once you learn how to use the appliance, you will find that it is easier than ever to get that delicious BBQ flavor at home without the price that comes with purchasing these types of meats when you are visiting a restaurant with family and friends.

Smart Home Devices: Should You Become an Early Adopter?

Smart Home devices are increasingly being released that provide automation and voice control options. These smart home devices provide flexibility and convenience to individuals and are gaining wider acceptance than ever before.

Still, these Smart home devices are still new to the market and are evolving as time goes on. Many people are wondering if these Smart Home Devices are right for them and whether they should adopt these devices early. Here are some of the considerations to look into when choosing to adopt smart devices.

What Smart Home Devices Exist?

Smart home devices are proliferating all over the home and generally offer convenience and greater control over your home. Smartphones are integrated with these technologies and provide the ability to control your lights with a smartphone or with a voice command, allow you to turn on or off appliances in the same way, and allow you to monitor your home remotely.

Smart security systems allow you to view your front door from your cell phone and will save photos of those who ring a doorbell. You can turn on an oven or appliance so that your dinner is ready before you return home so your dinner is not delayed. You can also monitor the internal temperature of your home or even your Sunday roast from the convenience of your home.

Smart home devices provide the ability to record tv shows when you are away from home, allow you to turn on your tv with a voice command, and eliminate the need for separate remotes. There are virtual assistants that can respond to questions and play music at your command.

This is just a sampling of the many options available for a Smart Home device. While these may seem convenient to you, you may be wondering if it is better to pursue these technologies now or wait until they are further fleshed our before buying.

Should You Become an Early Adopter of Smart Home Technology?

Smart home technology is still being worked out and there are several competing technologies out there that are vying for dominance in the industry. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google all have their own solutions and there is not a significant variance between their product offerings. By choosing to join the Smart Home technology early as an early adopter you risk spending a significant amount of money on a specific technology, only to have it outdated in a short period and replaced with something else.

However, the cost of many of these Smart Home Technologies are not so significant and can be purchased individually without the need to purchase every option out there. As an example, you can purchase an Alexa Echo and experience some of the benefits of a Smart Home by integrating your television with its voice control capabilities. Alternatively, you can integrate Phillips Hue lightbulbs with voice controls through an Amazon, Apple, or Google Smart Home device.

While the technology surrounding Smart Home devices is changing and still early in its life cycle, if you are interested in the capabilities of Smart Home devices and believe that you will benefit from using it, then by all means make a small investment and see how well you use the devices and how effective you are finding them. In addition, if you suffer from a disability and believe that these devices can increase your accessibility and mobility, then give Smart Home devices a chance.

Smart Home technologies are the wave of the future and a small investment now will provide you with exposure to a burgeoning technology that can expand your knowledge of the offerings and how they can be used. Start slowly with a small investment to start with but by all means learn about how these product offerings can change your life.

The Nest Thermostat in Review – To Buy or Not To Buy?

There are several things that you will need to look at when you are deciding to boy or not to buy the nest thermostat.

Pros

The first pro is that you are going to be able to save a lot of money. Even though, the thermostats are going to cost a lot of money at first, they are going to pay for themselves after you have used them for about two years. This is going to be even better if you have a larger home because you are going to be able to save even more money on your electricity.

The second pro is that you are not going to have to worry about some rooms being too hot or too cold. This is because you are going to be able to customize the settings on your thermostat, so that each room is going to be comfortable. Some rooms are going to have high ceilings or the circulation is going to be poor, so it is going to cause the room to be cooler. Therefore, you will be able to adjust the temperature in these rooms so you are not going to be cold while you are in that room.

The third pro is that this is an investment that is going to be well worth your money. These little upgrades are going to make a big difference when you are trying to sell your home in the future. This is because it is going to increase the value of your home. Plus there are a lot of people who are going to be more willing to buy your home if you have smart technology installed inside of the home. Potential buyers are going to love that you have a smart thermostat like the Nest inside of the home.

Cons

The first con is you are not going to be able to use the smart thermostat if you are living in an apartment or if you are planning on moving to an apartment. This is because the investment that you make in the thermostat is not going to be worth it since you are only going to be living in the apartment for a short period of time. This is unless you are planning on uninstalling the thermostat when you move out of the apartment so that you are going to be able to take it to your new home.

The second con is that there is a chance that the home might not be compatible with the new technology of the Nest thermostat. This means that you are going to need to have a HVAC system that is going to work with the smart thermostat. Therefore, you are going to need to check the website before you buy the thermostat to see if the home is going to be compatible before you buy it. This is the best way to save you a lot of hassle and worry when you are buying a smart thermostat for a new home.

The third con is that you are going to have to learn new technology. This is something that a lot of people are going to be annoyed about. This is because within the first week, you are going to need to do all of your programming so you are going to need to do a lot of work. You will have to figure out which comfort levels that you are going to like for the different times of the day. If you do not do this step, then it is going to cause you to become very frustrated with the thermostat.