A GREAT Vocal Mic Can Make ALL The Difference!
So there I was in the rehearsal studio of a band that was smack dab in the middle of the musical doldrums, not quite able to figure out why they felt and sounded so flat as of late. I had my trusty Blue Encore 300 mic in my backpack, not having even used it myself, but I figured what the hell, let this singer have a go at it. We plug it in and within two lines of the first song they played, the singer's face lit up. To be honest, I had heard the song they were playing a million times, but, like them, it felt like I was hearing it for the first time. Before long, the smile on the singer's face had spread to the rest of the band and you could literally feel the room lifting off the floor. A week later, they see me again and the first question out of their mouths is "You don't happen to have that mic on you, do ya?"
No, but, lucky for you (and everyone else) Blue Microphones and Guitar Center/Musician's Friend are running a Buy One Get One Free Sale on the enCore line of dynamic microphones. Two truly great live vocal mics for $199? Sold!
Loopers: Don't Knock 'Em Til You've Tried Them!
While it's not necessary to go whole hog and buy a $500 Boss RC-505 Looping Station, a decent used loop pedal such as the Boss RC-1, RC-2 or TC Helicon's Ditto pedal can all be had for under $100. Another thirty bucks and you can buy one absolutely new-in-box, which it won't be the minute you open it, of course.
Sure, this will give you the ability to stack an entire performance a la Jon Brion, KT Tunstall or Ed Sheeran, but, more importantly, it can enable you the opportunity to stretch out as a musician without boring the rest of your band to tears playing the same part over and over. This is immeasurably helpful for lead guitarists interested in mastering the fine art of soloing tastefully, or for singers wanting to work out vocal harmonies, or for songwriting. Having the ability to lay down a basic foundation upon which to work out melodies or lyrics will prove exhilarating, as will integrating looping into your live show in creative ways.
Take These Tips From Pantera's Phil Anselmo: Rip Off 20 Bands That You Love, Gig Often, and BE REAL!!
You can rehearse for YEARS, spend immeasurable hours in the recording studio refining every second of your latest recording, but the ONLY way to truly improve as a band is to PLAY LIVE. Anywhere, anytime, for any amount of money. Doing so will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of any band and tighten up arrangements more than any amount of rehearsing or recording.