Dear companies that make music software (Audio work stations, VST’s, plug ins, etc.),

For years now, as a professional musician/composer, I’ve legally purchased your music software every single time I wanted or needed one. Whether it was from Musician’s Friend, or often right from your own websites, I’ve always paid for your software, and have never torrented or stolen it. I did use some pieces through a trial period, but just to make sure it did what I needed it to do.

I am not the only one like this. There are hundreds of thousands, dare I say millions, of hard working musicians like myself that regularly pay for the products you provide. And while I’m well aware of the number of people that steal your software and share it, I’m confident that the good outweighs the bad. So why do those who do good get the short end of the stick?

There’s nothing worse than finally buying the new virtual instrument you’ve been waiting to get, only to spend a ridiculous amount of time with confirmation emails and activation codes that are a character too short (or just flat out don’t work), and I wind up needing help from tech support – nothing turns me off from a company faster than needing to talk to tech support when I’m SETTING THE PRODUCT UP rather than using it. I worked hard to get that new compressor, so the last thing I want to do when I finally get it is wait over night for a half-assed and generic “We’ll be with you shortly” email, followed by waiting two or three business days for someone to get with me, about a problem that he or she likely has spent half their week helping others with. To your credit, everyone else’s problem probably isn’t about the product crashing. But when there are projects and deadlines, waiting to talk to tech support is the last thing I need to do.

So please: Stop screwing over your loyal, paying, hard working customers, and find a way around software piracy that isn’t a giant middle finger to your consumers.

Thank you very much,

- Lee Chavez

PS: It seems every single company now has their own separate software of which it’s sole purpose is to enter and keep track of activation/product codes. This is the cherry on top. While I have yet to run into any software that takes more than 20 minutes to simply download to my computer, it’s a major inconvenience to also have to install and keep track of (what honestly is) a major waste of time – this isn’t necessary, and I say that as a musician who, like you guys, is in an industry where everyone seems to expect your product/service for free.

Seriously – if anyone wants to contact me, I’m completely open to discussing and brainstorming on how we can get past this problem.

I have no experience in sound design. But since it’s something I want to do alongside music, I figured “why not just start?”. So that’s exactly where this video came from. The audio overall is decently consistent, and the highest it peaks is around -3db. And believe it or not, it’s not the explosion that brings it there! (If you’d like to read about the process involved, read below)



There is a lot that goes into sound design (seriously, sound mixers are one of the unsung heroes of the film production industry), and there’s a lot more that I could have done. Like I could have experimented with more reverb to give everything the proper sound for the environment depicted, and I could have gotten more sound effects overall, but non the less, this is what I did:

For the opening sequence of shots where I’m walking to the truck and before it “blows up”, all that’s there is a clip of outdoor ambiance I got for free from Originally, I recorded just ambiance from the camera mic, but decided early on in editing that this was the way to go. The footsteps from, and what the camera mic picked up of the key’s falling and hitting things.

The explosion, flame and violin screech sound effect were also downloaded from FreeSFX, and a little reverb was added where need be. And I composed the music for the video, and recorded the frantic dialogue ADR right into Sony Vegas.

So there’s the process! There was a lot of help in Volume Envelopes to control the volume of the audio tracks, and to keep from there being a ton of audio tracks spread out all over the place.

It was great fun, and I look forward to doing more of this when I can!


Now available – listen to the new song and download it for free!

From my upcoming EP, “Death Riders”, due May 27th.


Volunteering at SXSW was one of the best experiences and times I’ve had! Four days at the Gaming Expo, and four days of Music Panels. I got to meet a ton of the good people from Rooster Teeth and Achievement Hunter, the creator of the Kerbal Space Program game, Gavin Laurrsen of Laurrsen Mastering, and a ton of other awesome people. But above all, I met Joe Zaffuto and Dan “PhunnyGuy” Friedman, the two founders of Laggin’ Out – who respectively have outstanding careers in television, comedy, and the gaming industry.

They run a gaming podcast on their Twitch and YouTube channels, of which I’ve been made their music composer!

This is a very proud partnership, and I’m excited to work with them and the rest of the crew.


Again, to Joe and Dan, thank you both for taking a chance!

(“Like” their Facebook page to get updates about LON, and to catch the bi-weekly podcast on Twitch and YouTube)

There are two services exclusively that I’m offering as of now – jingle writing, and song mixing. Learn more at the links below:

Jingles: here

Mixing: here

Thanks for reading!

What is normally an overlooked amp by many guitarists, the Roland Cube 30x has a TON of surprise in it.

I received this amp Christmas Eve 2010. It was a ton of fun to play with for a few months, but as I started writing my first EP that March, I kind of brushed it off as “lesser” than my half stack (a Crate GLX1200… I know), as it was “just a practice amp”.

Fast forward three years, I pulled it out of my closet in preparation of jamming with my little sister as she would be getting a drum set. I noodled around on it after not playing through it for a while, and found myself on the Dyna Amp setting. Out of the nine settings this amp holds, the Dyna Amp is by far my favorite. And it’s made me completely rethink my perception of amplifiers!

After practicing nonstop with the Cube 30x, I decided to check it out as a recording amp. And just as when I played around with the Dyna Amp setting, I was blown away again when I heard back the recorded guitar tracks from this amp. It’s midrange is very rich, and with the bass knob just past 9 o’clock, it had a ton of punch and provided a solid tone. (Of course mic placement is a huge key to getting anything sounding great when recording, but regardless.)

Bottom line, besides one or two other settings (the built in Jazz Chorus for the clean channel is a major beneficial factor), the Dyna Amp setting is really all I use the amp for. Which doesn’t bother me at all, as I’m already used to amps having two settings – clean and distortion.

It’s also found a home in my own rig as the second amp next to my Jet City 100. Plus, did you know my recent guitar cover of Black Label Society’s “My Dying Time” was recorded completely on the Cube 30x with a Shure SM57?

All that aside, it’s a bit difficult to classify this as review. But I’ll just say this – give it a shot. Take in your guitar and pedals and try it for yourself. If you’re looking for a new amp, why not possibly save a few hundred/thousand dollars if this could be what you’re looking for?

I’m not saying it’s a Marshall JCM 800 (though the Dyna Amp setting sounds like it’s modeled after it), but don’t make the mistake of overlooking it because of it’s price and size!

It’s quite amazing!


A look at how a copy of “The Labyrinth of Suffering” is packaged.

“The Labyrinth of Suffering” OUT NOW:

Video  —  Posted: January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
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