New Security System For Our Music Recording Studio

Security camera keeps equipment secure

These days I almost exclusively talk about great musical artists on this site. I do occasionally publish some articles to give tips and advice on enjoying music. I am a big fan of vinyl record players, so most of these articles will focus on turntables, their care and their use.

But many of you know that we are still a record company. We produce records and we market them. This means that we have a recording studio. Now this is a small recording studio. It is nothing like the giant studios and the famous studios that are used to create some of these great records I feature on the site, like Bob Dylan or Carl Orff.

Inside a recording studio

Our recording studio is fairly small, but it still houses a lot of expensive equipment. For that reason I decided to also start writing some articles on running a recording studio, what goes into one, and how to ensure everything works smoothly.

A big factor for that is security. The reason I’m writing this now is that I recently upgraded to a new security system. It was a very expensive Lorex home security system that includes multiple cameras and everything you need to run and monitor them.

It cost a lot, but it is a state of the art system and is a huge upgrade from what we previously had. We also added door and window sensors and motion detectors. These allow us to keep the studio and all the equipment inside secure.

Security camera keeps equipment secure

It is not just the musical equipment. We’ve also got a small grow room where we grow herbs. Okay, I’m sure you know that that means marijuana. We grow marijuana. To grow it indoors, you need grow lights and those are quite expensive. So you can add that to the musical equipment for things that we really try to protect from intruders.

The new Lorex security system and the many security cameras make it so that the studio is never not guarded. It is always being watched. We can monitor all of the camera feeds remotely on a smart phone app, too. That means we can be far away from the studio, but still keep an eye on things.

Whenever a camera or a motion detector detects any sort of movement, it sends us an alert on the app. Then we can quickly check the camera feeds and see what is going on. We can also alert the authorities, if need be.

In addition to allowing us to monitor all our security cameras live, all of the feeds are also recorded. These recordings are great in case of an intrusion, because we can give them to the police as evidence. It greatly speeds up them catching anyone and returning our equipment.

Not only that, having a state-of-the-art home security system complete with cameras also means that our insurance goes down. We no longer need to pay as much to insure all of our equipment, because we can show that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that our equipment is not stolen.

If you have your own recording studio or are thinking of opening one, you should definitely budget for a security system from the start. Because you will be buying expensive equipment to put in your recording studio, you need to make sure that equipment is protected.

Even if it is insured, losing it can set you back in terms of time. Besides, the money you save on insurance pays for the cost of the security system very quickly. I believe we made that money back in a few months.

Now that I have seen how a security system like this works, I have decided to also get one for my home. I really like it and I think it’s a great thing and even though it is expensive, it is nowhere near as expensive as you might think. You can get the whole thing for less than $1000 and that is definitely a worthwhile investment to protect your business, your home and your family.

Learning How To Sing Better

Quick, what is the oldest instrument in the world? That’s right, it’s your voice. More specifically, it’s your vocal cords. It is the one instrument we all know how to use. Of course, not all of us know how to use it well. But we can all learn.

Learning to sing is a great pursuit for anyone. And it’s not that hard to do. You can find all types of singing lessons. There are online lessons, vocal coaches, full courses that you can download or listen to on CD and various levels of music instructors. Head here for an in-depth look at all the different types of music lessons.

The first step for anyone wanting to improve their singing voice is to figure out exactly which type of lesson is good for you. Most people’s first thought will be to get free lessons. There are tons of these available online. You can find sites that describe various exercises for improving your voice and, of course, you can find hundreds of YouTube videos that will teach you how to sing better, like the following one.

The next step up from that is to buy a comprehensive online course. Courses like these are usually made by well-known instructors, but you don’t actually have any contact with the trainer himself or herself. Instead, you just watch the videos and learn on your own. It is similar to the free lessons, except you get a structured course and you don’t have to find quality articles and videos. That actually takes a lot of time, since there are so many bad ones online. It is not easy to find the good ones among all the bad ones.

These online courses are great for beginners, but they don’t do much for advanced students. If you are advanced, you will want to get a vocal coach and we will talk about that next. But for beginners they could be good. But you have to be the type of person who can motivate themselves. If you quickly lose motivation without having an actual person pushing you forward, then these courses will not work for you.

And that brings us to actual live singing instructors. There are two types here. There are in person instructors. These are people who are in your area, so that you can take lessons at their music studio or have them come to your home. These are generally the most expensive type of lessons and they require you to be in an area where good instructors are available. You also need that instructor to have free time and you to have free time at the same time.

singing lessons

The other alternative is to get an online instructor. Is basically the same as an in person instructor, except they are not in your area and you take lessons via Skype or some other online webcam video chat tool. Generally these lessons are slightly cheaper, but that is not always the case. They are more convenient, since no one needs to leave their home. The instructor stays in their place and you stay at yours. They are obviously not quite as good as in person lessons, but there as close as you can get without actually being there in person.

As I mentioned above, for most people I would recommend buying an online course when you are starting out. The reason I don’t recommend free lessons, is that it just takes too much time to find good ones and to create your own lesson plan. Many of the best courses aren’t that expensive, so this is money well spent.

Once you reach a certain level, it will be time to move on to a live instructor. By then you will also have a good idea of whether you will want to continue learning how to sing or whether you would rather move on to something else. This is another reason I say go with the cheaper online lessons first. You don’t want to spend a ton of money on an instructor, only to find out a few months later that singing isn’t really for you.

Choosing The Ideal Turntables For DJs

turntable record player deck

Ask any vinyl DJ what their most important piece of gear is, and you’ll almost certainly always get the same response – “my decks”. There are many reasons for this, but it might help if you think of your decks as the interface between you and the music – your decks are your way of controlling what your audience hears, you can touch them and move them and you need to know how they respond in every tiny detail.

turntable record player deck
A Dj’s turntable deck

Seeing as your decks will be such a crucial part of your DJ setup, you need to be sure that they perform at the right level for you. Different DJs play in different ways, so it’s (unfortunately) not just a case of going out and buying ‘The ideal turntable for DJs ever made’, even if you could afford it. The fact is, every DJ develops their own style, and some decks are more suited to some styles than others.

Ideally, you would want to try out any deck before you actually buy it; a good way of doing this is by making a lot of DJ friends, so you can then pop over to their house or garage, or wherever they practice, and have a go on their gear. This is by far the best way to figure out if a particular brand or model of turntable suits your playing style.

If you’re not sure about how to DJ at all, this is also a good way to learn the ropes – if you can get an expert to show you the basics, you’ll pick up the essentials much more quickly than if you’re just trying to figure it all out on your own.

Whichever record player you end up choosing, make sure you have enough money left over in the budget for security. Whenever you buy an expensive piece of equipment, you need to make sure nothing happened to it. This means insurance, yes, but it also means some kind of security system, perhaps with surveillance cameras.

For very expensive equipment, like in a recording studio you’ll want a full system. That means, in addition to security cameras, motion detectors, door and window sensors and a wireless connection to a smartphone app that allows you to monitor everything in real time. This is the only way to protect expensive equipment from thieves.


DJ Decks – Belt Drive or Direct Drive?

Anyway, if you are looking to get yourself a new set of DJ decks, then there are a couple of big points to look out for. DJ turntables come in two flavors – belt drive and direct drive. If you ask a DJ about this, they will probably say you should never get belt drive decks – and they would probably be right.

Direct drive decks are generally far superior, but they are also generally far more expensive. So, if you’re on a really tight budget and are not sure that you’re going to be doing a lot of DJing and making some money from it, then maybe a belt drive deck might be the better option. A decent belt drive deck will do the trick if you’re just cueing up one record after another and not doing any complex beat matching or scratching, and will save you a few quid to start up.

However, if you know that you want to DJ for the rest of your life and nothing but the best will do (well, as much as your budget can stretch to) then you’ll need to get yourself a good set of direct drive decks. These have much higher torque ratings than belt drive decks, offer better tempo control and are essential if you intend on doing any serious scratching.

How to Clean a Turntable Record Player

Cleaning a record player

Maybe it’s the way the needle strikes the fine hidden groves on the vinyl records to produce crisp clear high pitched soothing sounds that always leave you in a trance… or maybe it’s the classic sophisticated classic look and status the “music time-machine” oozes from the corner of your living room, but one thing’s for sure, it feels awesome to own one. A quality record player, like the Pro-ject Debut Carbon (link to review), is one of the greatest gifts from our glorious past that music lovers can enjoy holding on to for the next couple of decades. That is if we can keep them clean and operational for that long… right??

Cleaning a record player
The stylus is the most delicate part and needs to be cleaned regularly.

So how do you clean your one of a kind record player? How do you ensure that the quality of music it plays is always crisp and flowing without any annoying skips or loops or even that your stylus (needle) doesn’t suddenly snap off due to clogged dust or dirt?

Or even worse, can you imagine that all time favorite vinyl record from your collection, you know… I’m talking about that priced hand-me-down from ol’ grandpa Jones, the 1959 James Brown’s album “Please Please Please” or that Bob Dylan original record. Can you imagine that record getting a crack or a mean scratch and it’s totally ruined just because you decided it was okay to neglect your record player?

Now, just like anything else in your home, record players (especially the old antique ones…), need some love and care for them to continue operating properly and blaring those cool tunes we love so much. Your vinyl records do too…


Why You Need To Clean Your Turntable Record Player On A Regular Basis

There’s some simple grade school science that goes on while playing music from a turntable record player which leaves the needle, the vinyl record and the turntable surface (platter) very attractive to dust particles. All the dust just wants to fly and settle there! As the needle and the vinyl record rub together, static charges are created on both surfaces and any speck of dust floating around there just can’t stay away from the record player. No matter how clean you think your home is! I once took my old record player’s cartridge for repair because the thing just stopped working, only for it to be sent back after a day with a note that read:

“Dear Tom,

We are deeply sorry that you had to miss your 5 o’clock dose of smooth Jazz yesterday. We know how much you enjoy that. Anyway, we are glad to tell you that your cartridge is fine and the problem was only caused by some little built up dust on your stylus. Be careful to keep your record player clean each time you use it. Before and after Tom… before and after, okay?

Kind reargds,


SpeakOut Classic Music Shop”


What You’ll Need For Cleaning Your Record Player

  • Two pieces of cloth – one lint-free, the other should be antistatic
  • Compressed air can if necessary
  • Cleaning (or rubbing) alcohol
  • A stylus brush… they have these in most record shops
  • Soft paint brush or Q-tips where the stylus cleaning brush is unavailable


How To Clean Your Turntable Record Player – Step By Step

Step 1: Start with the Playing Mechanism

The first step is to clean the platter and the needle.

The Platter

This is the circular turntable surface that spins the vinyl records. Take the lint-free cloth and dampen it with a little rubbing alcohol then clean the platter in circular-spiral motions. Remember, it’s advised that you start from the center heading outwards. Make sure to remove all dust and debris sticking on the surface. Use the can of compressed air to blow any loose debris on the platter if necessary. Using your mouth to blow off dust means there’s a risk you might leave your saliva there.

The Stylus

You’ll need the stylus cleaning brush for this. The stylus should always be cleaned using back and forth strokes (following the direction of a playing record) and never sideways! Thorough cleaning may require you to deep the stylus cleaning brush in some bit of rubbing alcohol but generally you can do it with the brush only depending on how often you clean your stylus.

Using your fingers to remove dust from the needle is very much discouraged. Chances are… you might leave some sweat or oil on the stylus which would accelerate the buildup of stubborn dirt. Use the soft brush or stylus brush all the time. Remember also not to blow the stylus with your mouth. The high-pressured can of compressed air is not advised either. Just keep it to the brush and you’ll be fine.

Step 2: Clean the Rest of the Record Player

The second step is to clean the record player casing

The Outer Case

Use a damp cloth to wipe the outer casing clean. Most record player come with a wooden or hard plastic casing which can easily be wiped clean. However, it’s better to use the anti-static cloth for this for obvious reasons. Another thing to consider when wiping the casing is to avoid getting any liquid in the ports or wires. Use the compressed air can to blow out any dust or debris trapped inside the ports. After cleaning the record player’s case, make sure you cover it well with the enclosing cover it came with. If it didn’t, use a clean piece of cloth large enough to cover the entire record player from all sides.


Bonus Tips

  • Always clean the stylus before and after playing any records
  • Always clean your vinyl records before and after playing them
  • You can cover the record player while playing records to reduce the accumulation of dust due to the static charges