Video: Fuel dives into Eventide’s H9 Max effects on “Shimmer” and more

•March 13, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Watch while Brett Scallions, lead singer and guitarist of the band “Fuel“, and Phil Buckman, bassist of Fuel, casually sing, perform and discuss the Eventide H9 Max guitar & bass effects pedal. In this video, watch and listen as Brett recreates the spring reverb guitar tone of the song “Shimmer” from his iPad Pro, and talks about how he’ll be using the H9 Max for any future performances of the song. Check out how Phil shows off how the pedal sounds on bass with a chorus sound from the H9 from his computer, and talks about the history of Eventide’s sounds in his studio.


Check out the video of Fuel’s Shimmer for an A/B comparison!

To learn more about Eventide’s H9 Max pedal for use on the stage, studio or how to control it with the H9 Control app via Bluetooth from your iPhone, iPad, Mac/PC or Android, please visit:

For more information about Fuel’s tour dates, song releases and more, please visit:

Video courtesy of Fuel, Eventide Audio and Starr Ackerman’s Public Relations / Artist Relations / Music Technology Blog





We Make Dance Music – Music Samples, Templates Review – Promo Code

•September 7, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Need low-cost music samples to make some killer music? I checked out a new website for purchasing music samples and template kits called This website is a very low-cost hub for finding great acapellas, house kits, templates for Ableton, Logic, FL Studio and more, but mostly – it just fits right into the “OK- no problem, I can afford these quality samples’ category.” (Which is basically what every musician is really looking for.)


At first glance, We Make Dance Music‘s web store is straightforward, and easy to navigate through. A simple scroll will bring you directly to the store’s highlighted libraries for music samples, strategically and functionally laid out for easy perusing, selection, auditioning, and purchasing. You can download DAW Templates, Sounds, Presets, MIDI Files, Audio Stems, Acapellas & Royalty Free Music, for incredibly low prices (anywhere from $5 to$40 at most). Directly from the homepage, here are a couple of the menu choices that would inspire a further look: Ableton Live Templates & Projects, Logic Pro X Templates & Projects, FL Studio Templates & Projects and Music Construction Kits.


Going even deeper into the music samples and construction kit choices, I found a lot of interesting and instantly usable collections for creative hip-hop, house, and electronic (EDM) music producers. The construction kits feature the latest trends in music production and hot new emerging styles, like “Can’t Escape the Trap” for Urban / Rhythmic CHR ($29.99), and “Future Bass Essentials Vol.2” for Trap / Ambient / Disco House ($24).


For producers looking for cinematic, atmospheric, dark and retro pop keyboard style sounds, like the ones used in the blockbuster Netflix series Stranger Things, check out “Deep Funky House Kits” by Tunecraft Sounds ($24). I was impressed by this particular collection of sounds, as it covered the realm of intelligent and psychosomatic samples needed for film scoring and creating large soundscapes for dramatic songs. These kits include sound banks, MIDI files, FX and hits, vocals, recorded synth lines and much more.


What sets‘s store apart from the myriad of sample download sites is their extensive collection of Acapellas! As a vocalist and recording studio professional, I found these samples to be exactly what I was looking for – inspiration! I downloaded Alessia Cara’s cover vocals of “Growing Pains” produced by Glucose Recordings ($7) and instantly started creating a remix of my own, Furthermore, these vocal recordings are stunning, and the audio files are mastered to sit perfectly in any mix. (BPM and Key info are also included).


I also downloaded the “Soul Tech“collection by Sample Tools by Cr2 ($21.99). Definitely packed with a lot of samples for deep house/ tech house in the minor keys. Downloads of both libraries were fast and furious, and checkout / registration was super simple. (We musicians hate instructions and waiting, and there was next to none of both).



If you’re looking for a place to download freakishly awesome samples at incredibly low prices, and be instantly inspired and making music in minutes, then please click here to visit’s web store for your next movie score, hit song, or mashup! In a pinch, you can find the exact sample library for your exact need, without paying top dollar for an 8GB library to get the sounds you need; they have sounds and templates by genre, format, stems, series, and also royalty free samples! For under $30, I had two sound libraries, downloaded in under four minutes, and was auditioning sounds in Ableton Live.


If you aren’t convinced from the highlighted sample kits I included in this article, I implore you to check out‘s sample library kits and templates out for 20% off with this promo code for ALL musicians and music producers who’re looking to save a buck!


PROMO CODE for 20% off purchases from at checkout:





From the We Make Dance Music website:

“Established in July of 2012, We Make Dance Music is a trusted community marketplace for producers, musicians and singers to discover, buy and sell unique music project files around the world. Whether a template to spark inspiration, sounds to enrich your production, or music files for your media project, We Make Dance Music allows people to share their ideas and passion for music in over 125 countries at any time. We promote a culture of curiosity and creativity through our products, services, and, most importantly, our artists. We aspire to create a centralized source of sound in the cloud empowering artists the world over to make music that moves people’s hearts and souls. Earning stable income from the sales of their music, artists are free to do more of what they love while the global community has access to an online catalog of innovative sounds. We will continue to empower creatives to make a living of their passion. We will consolidate our technology to fulfill our vision of a world where artists worldwide can thrive making the music of the future.”

Video: Why do we go to NAMM? Featuring Producer & Artist – Jae Deal

•February 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Let’s face it, it’s very hard to “make it” in the music industry as an artist, producer or engineer. You can be a badass singer, guitar player or “insert musicianship here”, but if you don’t know anything about marketing yourself, using social media or already have a high-ranking friend or relative that was/is already famous or in the music biz, it’s going to be really tough to get recognized for your talent in the way that would be satisfying to you, whatever your goals may be.

What is NAMM? NAMM is a music industry trade show hosted twice a year, drawing tens of 1000’s of musicians, producers, engineers, companies who exhibit, buyers and retailers for musical instruments. NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants, established in 1901, and is the not-for-profit association that strengthens the $17 billion global music, sound and event technology products industry.

Still lost? Think of all the things you might see at Guitar Center or on, and then put all of those companies and their staff in one place…major guitar and bass companies, like “Fender”, “D’Angelico”, “Martin”, “Taylor”, “Ampeg”, and then think of the rest of the band instruments – keyboards, drums, DJ equipment – “Korg”, “Roland”, “Roli”, “Pioneer”, “Gemini” and then throw in the music tech giants that make recording these instruments possible, like Shure and Blue (microphones), “IK Multimedia” (virtual instruments, iOS apps and portable recording accessories), Avid (Pro Tools recording software), Ableton (recording software), Solid State Logic (mixing consoles), and all of the backline, front of house equipment and legendary studio effects processors and preamps from companies like “Eventide” and “Presonus” (who also have mixers, speaker stacks, rack effects units, you name it). Basically, NAMM is one huge dog and pony show for the exhibitors/vendors to show off their new gear to the retailers/resellers for sales of new products, and the largest toy store any musician has ever seen where they can’t actually buy anything, just test it out and make relationships for future work to ensue. But the one thing you can’t sell and you might have missed from this whole paragraph was the word “relationships”. You can’t buy or sell those, and they are the most valuable thing you can gain from going to NAMM.

So, why do we go to NAMM as artists/producers/engineers/publicists? To build relationships, period. You know the old saying, “It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know?” Well, if you’re not making actual friends at NAMM and keeping them and working to keep them, you know – the kind of people who hold the same core values you do – integrity, business ethics, trust, compassion and just doing it for the love of the jam… you’re missing out on opportunities for A LOT of free artist promotions, gigs, gear, collaborations, endorsements, international publicity and more. And I’m not just talking about other musicians, these are the manufacturers’ artist relations reps, marketing directors, and sometimes owners of the companies who are the MVPs of your team.

After a few years of NAMM, you learn who the real players are, and who’s walking the walk. These are the guys doing the presentation demos on the exhibitors’ stages, getting in front of the cameras when asked to speak and play guitar/bass/keyboards/sing in front of USA Today, and then they go from zero to hero in Los Angeles because their first gig was on national TV from an exhibitor’s publicity gig. After a while, you also learn something very important, that you end up having a team of people looking out for your best interests. If you’re really talented, cool and keep a humble approach, and ALWAYS deliver on time, you could have a squad of 100+ people – a mix of manufacturer reps, other musicians, charity organizations and editorial who’ve “got your back” whenever you need something. And you will ALWAYS need something.

Jae Deal has been to NAMM as a working musician and producer for many years, here’s his take on what these NAMM relationships mean to him, and what NAMM really is for people like us – those looking to make a career out of music forever. (FYI- he had 9 badges for NAMM, starting with Fender as “Artist” and ending with‘s press badge as “On-Air Personality” – I’ll give you one guess which badge he wore for the entire show – insert “stoked emoji here”).

Here is Jae Deal’s video on Why do we go to NAMM? Relationships. Watch and Learn.

Jae Deal is an award-winning American composer and producer, who has worked with the likes of Janet Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Elton John, Queen Latifah and many, many more. Jae Deal has appeared as a public speaker for TEDx, and most of all, is an amazing friend, talented musician, and compassionate collaborator and confidant. For more information on Jae Deal, please visit his website.


Apple Music – the streaming service that REALLY brings new music – check out these new artists: Nothing But Thieves, Aquilo and Chet Faker/ Marcus Marr

•January 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Streaming music services are all over the place, each with subscription models that cost money if you don’t want to listen to ads. I personally am a fan of three different ones, but all for different reasons. But, I will explain why Apple Music is my favorite out of all of them.

#1 If you have iTunes, Apple already knows what you like to listen to. If you look in your iTunes library, you’ll see a playlist that has the “Top 25 Most Played”… and if you want to make a radio station out of any one of those songs, all you have to do is “make one” and you’ll hear similar music that totally gets the genre, time period and will also introduce you to new artists who sound the same.

#2 The Apple Music radio stations clearly spent time finding quality music directors that bring new music to the listeners. For example, if you listen to “Chill” or “Alternative Rock”, I can guarantee you will hear music that you’ve never heard before. And if you keep listening, yes, sometimes you will hear the same music once in a while, but it’s not in the overbearing manner that Sirius XM or the actual FM radio provides (playing popular songs every hour, on the hour, until you want to turn the radio completely off and switch to your own devices before your head explodes). You also have the ability to “Love” or “Dislike” music when it comes on, making the stations you listen to even more effective and playing more songs like it.

#3 DJ Much? Creating playlists has never been easier. I hear so many new songs, if I like something, I’ll immediately add it to a playlist or create a new one based on the genre. Or just add it my library so it will replay at will. Everything from Apple’s products automatically synch up…so these playlists are automatically added to my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. I don’t know about you, but I really f***ing love that.

#4 NO ADS pricing model: for $9.99 US per month, you can’t beat Apple Music. I mean, you can try, but so far, it’s been instrumental in finding new artists and great music. Just listening to it inspired me to make new music, and also keeps me on the pulse of what new artists are making now. You will not be disappointed.


Drumroll please…New artists that I heard exclusively on Apple Music stations FIRST:

Nothing But Thieves, click here to view them on Apple Music / iTunes preview

Nothing But Thieves – Lover, Please Stay Video



Aquilo, click here to view them on Apple Music / iTunes preview

Aquilo – Human – Video (these guys are so new, they don’t even have an official video for this song) 



Chet Faker and Marcus Marr – The Killing Jar, click here to view on Apple Music / iTunes preview

Chet Faker and Marcus Marr – The Killing Jar video 


Green Day’s Jason Freese: “I love iLoud Micro Monitors!”

•January 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Green Day’s Jason Freese on stage with iLoud Micro Monitor
IK’s compact speaker monitors travel with Green Day’s keyboard player
16 October 2017Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 1.52.31 PM

“I LOVE THEM!! Completely taken away with the clarity, volume and bass response of such small speakers!”

“The iLoud Micro Monitors serve so many different functions for my daily life. I use them in my studio for small monitor references as well as in my hotel rooms on the road to write, record, mix or practice with. It is so nice to finally have a small pair of monitors that I can have with me by my side at all times which I can rely on!”

Click here to receive up to 25% off from Amazon on iLoud Micro Monitor

Jason Freese is an American musician, songwriter, record producer, and recording engineer. As a professional studio musician, he has performed on over 50 albums by more than 35 different artists, including multiple albums by Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, NOFX, Dr. Dre and Avenged Sevenfold.

Jason has performed as a touring member of Green Day on their American Idiot World Tour, their 21st Century Breakdown World Tour, their 99 Revolutions Tour and their Revolution Radio Tour, and appeared on their live albums Bullet in a Bible and Awesome as F**k. His performing credits include keyboards and saxophone.

iLoud Micro Monitor is two extremely portable, high-performance bi-amped speakers that delivers a combined 50W RMS of power for solid bass, plenty of headroom and a stunningly defined stereo image. Learn more about iLoud Micro Monitor, the mobile and reliable studio monitor reference system from IK Multimedia.

Click here to receive up to 25% off from Amazon on iLoud Micro Monitor

Syntronik is “a massive lifesaver” for The Killers’ – “Wonderful Wonderful”

•January 11, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Starr Ackerman’s Interview with Matt Breunig, The Killers’ playback/monitor/keyboards tech/engineer
21 August 2017
Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 12.59.31 PM

Wonderful Wonderful” is The Killers‘ 5th studio album, to be released in September 2017. BBC News’ Mark Savage called it,”The Killers’ most vital album since Sam’s Town in 2006.” Matt Breunig has worked with The Killers since 2008, performing as Playback/Monitor engineer, Keyboard Tech, and recording/tracking engineer. Here are some quotes from the IK interview with Matt Breunig about using IK’s new Syntronik for the upcoming Killers‘ tour to promote “Wonderful Wonderful” and on using AmpliTube in the studio to track The Killers‘ frontman – Brandon Flowers:

“Due to the extensive amount of random keyboard tracks recorded with so many different synths, especially vintage ones, when I saw the email announcing Syntronik I was very excited that it would save me tons of work tracking down those synths to be sampled and loaded into a soft-synth to be played by Mainstage live.”

“I have been using it to finish up the keyboard sounds to play the new Killers’ album, ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, live for the last few weeks. I have had no issues with Syntronik using it to find and recreate the sounds that were used on the record.  I think the tonal characteristics of each synth could hardly be any closer.  It has honestly been a massive life saver for me.”

“While some of the synths in Syntronik have already been modeled by other companies, when I saw the few that haven’t been and knew I would need those…I had hoped that once it was released I would like them, and you guys did a great job! In fact, I’m sampling a V-80 sound right now for some tracks…it took me about five minutes to find something close already in the presets in Syntronik.”

“With the exception of Pro-V and Galaxy, there are at least 5 different sounds from Syntronik’s OXa and V-80 per song because of all of the layering. We used an OB-6 on almost every song and I will definitely be using the OXa to get those sounds instead of sampling the original keyboard.”

“Here is a list of the some of the models from Syntronik that I used to replace sounds from the original keyboards for the live tour and the songs from “Wonderful Wonderful” they are used on:

OXaLife To Come, Some Kind of Love

V-80Some Kind of Love (almost all the prominent key parts)

GalaxyLife To Come

Pro-VTyson vs Douglas

“I have been a fan of IK software pretty much since the beginning and have enjoyed watching you progress over the years. I was turned onto IK when the music director for a recording session came in with his Miroslav Philharmonik software and was very impressed by the string sounds.  I feel like you do a better job at capturing the non-linear harmonic distortion and characteristics of most equipment better than a lot of other manufacturers.  I loved AmpliTube 3 and am especially happy with AmpliTube 4.”

“The Killers love to track very fast and they have had amp simulators in their studio for years. Recently, I finally installed AmpliTube Max on their studio computer so they can finally have some real flexibility, and so when I have to work with them in the studio – I don’t feel like I have my hands tied when Brandon is looking for specific guitar tones.”

Learn more about IK Multimedia’s Syntronik

Click here to receive up to 25% off from Amazon on iLoud Micro Monitor

Video: Jae Deal & DJ Aktive use IK’s gear for Janet Jackson’s 2017 Tour

•January 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Programming and producing using Syntronik, iLoud Micro Monitor & more
11 September 2017

Watch this video interview to learn how production & tour programming pros, Jae Deal and DJ Aktive, are using IK’s Syntronik, Miroslav Philharmonik 2, iLoud Micro Monitor and other IK products to program Janet Jackson’s 2017 “State of the World” tour.

Here are the simple reasons why artists Jae Deal and DJ Aktive are using Syntronik and iLoud Micro Monitor to provide the best representation of sound for Janet Jackson’s 2017 “State of the World Tour.”:

Syntronik is a cutting-edge virtual synthesizer instrument with some of the most advanced sampling techniques combined with a new hybrid sample and modeling synthesis engine. Syntronik includes 17 amazing instruments, available as a collection or separately, with over 2,000 preset sounds covering a wide selection from 38 of the most iconic to ultra-rare and painstakingly multi-sampled vintage synthesizers.

The iLoud Micro Monitor speaker monitor system is two extremely portable, high-performance bi-amped speakers that delivers a combined 50W RMS of power for solid bass, plenty of headroom and a stunningly defined stereo image. Whether you’re recording, editing, mixing or mastering audio, editing video, sound designing or gaming, iLoud Micro Monitor ensures your production will translate well to the huge variety of consumer devices. With iLoud Micro Monitor, you will hear the truth in your music no matter whether you’re mixing in your bedroom, mastering in a small studio or just listening to your favorite tunes at home.

Click here to receive up to 25% off from Amazon on iLoud Micro Monitor

Jae Deal is an American composer, arranger, music producer and orchestrator in various genres including pop, gospel, and hip hop. He is also a session keyboardist, programmer, and bassist in Los Angeles, California. Jae Deal has worked behind the scenes and on stage with several premiere artists including Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Mary Mary, Karen Clark Sheard, Ne-Yo, Faith Evans, Tye Tribbett, T-Pain, Jessica Simpson and Wynton Marsalis, Elton John, Jill Scott and songwriter, Diane Warren.

DJ Aktive: With today’s DJs achieving fame and celebrity status like the artists whose albums they spin, no one is at a higher level than Philly’s own DJ Aktive. Spinning professionally for the past 18 years, DJ Aktive has made serious moves in his career that have taken him literally around the world with some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest names, including Janet Jackson, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Nas, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Estelle, John Legend, Marsha Ambrosius, The Roots, LL Cool J, Tyga and Queen Latifah, to name a few.

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