Top 3 Inexpensive USB Audio Interfaces | Reviews and Studio Setup Tips

Tracking Down The Best, Cheap, USB Audio Interface

A few years ago, the only way to really record your own music was to hire a commercial recording studio, schlep all your gear in and watch as your hard earned cash drains away. Thanks to digital technology, those days are behind us. With a good, cheap USB audio interface, you can record studio quality music with nothing more than your personal computer.

I’m no cynic, and I’m not trashing on professional studios; they are definitely a great option for a professional quality sound. All I’m saying is that not everyone can afford a few weeks of studio time. With an inexpensive digital USB audio interface, you can produce your own music with very little capital investment.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best options on the market today. While I don’t suggest skimping, it’s surprising how little is needed for a great studio quality interface. We will check out three of my favorites, and I’ll explain why each of them is a killer deal. I’ll also talk about the other stuff you’ll need to get rolling (assuming you’re starting from scratch). Let’s begin!
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (1st GENERATION) USB Recording Audio Interface
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (1st GENERATION) USB Recording Audio Interface
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Focusrite 2i2: An inexpensive and simple USB audio interface

The Focusrite 2i2 is a perfect example of a simple, powerful and easy to use interface with a lot of versatility and upside. Not only is it very cheap to buy, it’s durable and results in a great sound quality.

One of the first things you’ll notice about this one is the metal outer case, a mark of its durability and solid build. The anodized aluminum looks awesome in a modern studio setup or on your desktop.

There are two inputs on the front. You’ll notice that they are dual type inputs, which allow for both standard 1/4 inch guitar cables and three pin XLR microphone cabling too.

This is a USB 2.0 audio interface, meaning it has faster transfer speed and thus better sound quality. There are nice features such as gain alert, which lights up a halo light around the gain knob for each input. When it’s red, you should reduce the gain to reduce distortion and clipping. When it’s green, the sound level is optimized.

This is a 24-bit interface, and it features 48v power so you can run both condenser and dynamic microphones (or any device requiring phantom power). It’s compatible with all of the major studio software such as Cubase and ProTools too, as well as simpler programs such as Garageband.

It’s definitely a great choice and one I’d recommend you look into.
TASCAM US-366 4-In/6-Out or 6-In/4-Out USB Audio Interface
TASCAM US-366 4-In/6-Out or 6-In/4-Out USB Audio Interface
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Tascam US-366: A gorgeous & powerful multi-track digital audio interface.

This beautiful USB audio interface by Tascam is a fine example of where technology in this industry is headed. We’re moving away from complex systems to a more unified approach with intuitive design, and I think it’s great.

This is a great interface if you’re wanting to do a bunch of multi-track audio recording, because it has the capability to record four tracks simultaneously, something that devices in this price range can rarely do. There are two standard XLR three pin microphone inputs, and two quarter inch cable inputs. Unlike some other devices, these are not combination ports.

Both XLR lines have 48v phantom power for running a condenser mic. You have the choice of standard RCA input and output, or you can opt for optical digital if you prefer. It’s a USB 2.0 device as well.

There’s a digital mixer included with the device, and you can choose between podcast and music mixing settings. It also includes a basic version of Cubase, though if you can do it I’d opt for fancier recording software (which the US-366 should be fully compatible with).

With a wider range of inputs and outputs than many of its contemporaries, this is a budget USB audio interface with a versatility many other can’t match. I love the rugged construction, high quality sound (due to a great internal pre-amps), and wonderfully intuitive and tactile controls. It’s high on my list.
Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX | 8-Channel Mixer with Effects & USB Audio Interface
Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX | 8-Channel Mixer with Effects & USB Audio Interface
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Alesis Multimix 8: An eight-channel mixing board and USB audio interface combo

If you’re a fan of devices that perform double duty, you’ll love this little mixing board and digital audio interface. It’s cheap, versatile and works well in both settings.

Right off the bat, I should mention that this board does NOT have 8 outputs. There are actually two (left and right), so if you’re running multiple instruments you’ll be limited to how much multi-tracking you can do. If you want to expand this, you’ll need a different interface or a better sound card.

It’s a 16-bit interface with full phantom power on the four mic inputs. It features a versatile EQ with three band equalization on the first four inputs and 2 band on the other four. It also includes other stuff you’ll find on mixing boards such as a high pass filter.

It really shines in a few different ways. First it eliminates the need for a separate mixer: it’s amazing how much simpler a build in soundboard makes your life. Secondly, it’s great for recording an instrument that requires a lot of different inputs, such as a drum set.

It’s durable, versatile, and sounds pretty great for the price point. And you can take it to your shows and it works great in a pinch with most PA systems or loudspeakers (though a full-fledged soundboard is better if your venue has one already).
Other Things To Consider:

Here are a few other considerations you should be aware of when looking for a digital USB audio interface.

Most of the time (in this price range) you’ll have a maximum of two outputs. That means two separate recording lines operating simultaneously. That’s not so much because of the audio interface, but it’s a limitation of your computer’s audio card. More expensive models can up the number of outputs (by acting as a sound card), but it will require fancier software too. Two channel USB audio interfaces are best for singer songwriters or artists who don’t mind doing tracks separately.
Your software can be a big limitation. First off, make sure that any interface you opt for is compatible with your recording software. Secondly, be sure that you know how to mix properly and work with the technology (I get sick of hearing people trash an interface, only to find that they’re not using the software correctly). I’m a big fan of Cubase myself, but there are a range of great options with their individual upsides.

How to write Visual Basic code to configure a User Interface created using a UserForm in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010

Using Visual Basic to Initialise, Control and Configure a UserForm in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010

UserForms allow you to design and create fully customisable dialogue boxes for users of your workbooks. They enable you to:

Design a User Interface that is easy and intuitive for users to use
Reduce the amount of manual data entry required when entering data and also the number of errors in your data
Control data entry by error checking data before it is entered into your workbook
Finally, a well designed UserForm is visually impactful and will make the workbook look professional

However, a UserForm without Visual Basic controlling the configuration of all the controls you have added (combo boxes, command buttons etc.) will have no functionality and the user will be unable to interact with it, or use it.

Before beginning to code a UserForm, you will need to create one. I have a hub in which I create a Hotel Reservation Interface which uses several controls including Command Buttons, Combo Boxes, Text boxes, Spin Bars and finally Option and Radio Buttons. That hub can be found here:

In this hub, we will write a number of scripts:

First for when the UserForm is initialized (in other words when the user clicks on the Reservations button which launches our Hotel Reservation Interface and therefore the UserForm)
Next, we need a script for when a user clicks the Add Another Reservation button
A further script is needed for when the user selects the Close Window button
Finally, we need a script for the Scroll Bar so that the user’s selection is displayed on screen and also stored so that it can be entered into the worksheet along with the other details of the reservation

Example of a Hotel Reservation User Interface created with Visual Basic and a UserForm in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010.
Example of a Hotel Reservation User Interface created with Visual Basic and a UserForm in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010. | Source
Example of the output from a UserForm in a worksheet in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010.
Example of the output from a UserForm in a worksheet in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010. | Source
Creating an Initialisation script in Visual Basic for a UserForm in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010

To access the code assigned to our UserForm,

On the Developer tab click the View Code button in the Controls Group
Scroll down to Forms and double click on the UserForm you created

Adding Visual Basic code to a UserForm in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010.
Adding Visual Basic code to a UserForm in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010. | Source

When you double click the UserForm it will open up the code page. Change the first line to the following and then add all the subsequent lines:

Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()

Nationality.Value = “”

Names.Value = “”

With Guests

.AddItem “1”

.AddItem “2”

.AddItem “3”

.AddItem “4”

.AddItem “5”

End With

CarNo = True

BreakfastNo = True

Nights.Max = 20

End Sub

Types of printer interfaces

Printers are connected to computers using a variety of different interfaces such as parallel, serial, SCSI, USB, or IEEE 1394. Network capable printers also have a built-in network interface and are connected directly to a port on the network so they can be shared across many computers..

A parallel printer interface is called (IEEE 1284). This port works by sending an 8-bit information stream to the printer. It uses a standard parallel printer cable, which has a DB-25 connector to connect to the computer and also a 36-pin Centronics connector for the connection to the printer. The maximum length of the parallel cable is usually limited to 10 feet. The reason for this is that the data integrity decreases, and you can have loss of data to the printer over a larger length.

The serial printer interface sends the data to the printer one bit at a time. This interface needs to be configured to the serial communication parameters including baud rate, parity bit, or start and stop bits. Serial printers are very rarely used these days, however sometimes dot matrix printers use this interface.
Universal Serial Bus (USB)

The USB port is the most common type of port available on most pc’s today. This is why it makes a great printer interface used on small and medium sized printers and desktop printers and scanners combo’s. (and many other peripherals). USB is much faster than most of the other types of printer interfaces. A USB printer comes with Plug and play compatibility and can be automatically detected and configured by your operating system.
IEEE 1394

The IEEE 1394, which is also called Firewire, due the super fast speed that it boasted at when it was first released. The firewire interface is not built in though on many printers or pc’s. It is available for for high end printers, and is popular on laptops.

Today most high end printers, and even some of the more basic ones, come with a built-in network adapter or can also have one fitted into them. Network printers are directly attached to one of the free network ports on a hub, or a router, and are assigned a network identification such as an IP address. The printer uses a standard network cable with an RJ-45 connector. Sometimes in a larger company, they will use a pc that is directly connected to the printer as a printer queue manger.

Today, one of the more popular interfaces for connections of printers is the wireless connections that support 802.11, Bluetooth, or Infrared standards. The main advantage of a wireless connections is that both the computer and the printer can be moved around, and obviously there are no wires. The disadvantage is that there is a limit to the range of the network coverage. They can also be prone to interfaces from other electrical sources, and the reason that most wireless printers are slow, is that the data is usually error checked vigorously.
Small Computer System Interface (SCSI)

There are very few printers which have a SCSI interface. These types printers are becoming obsolete due to the faster printer interfaces already discussed.

Tips When Selecting Wedding Dresses

One of the most important decisions a bride makes in preparing for her nuptials is her wedding gown. There is such a huge variety of wedding dresses that a new bride can choose from for her walk down the aisle. There are so many different styles in bridal gowns that it is possible to find designs to flatter virtually any size and shape of woman to help her feel more confident, sexy and beautiful on her special day.

Since no two women are built exactly the same, and because most women have areas of their bodies they want to either accentuate or downplay, it is good news that there is so much from which to choose. For that special day, it is important to have a marriage gown tailored carefully to fit the bride just right.

In most cases it will cost a little more when wedding dresses need to be altered, and even more if they are to be custom made. But, for many women, it is such an important aspect of their wedding day that they are willing to sacrifice in other areas of the wedding budget to be sure they have the perfect wedding dress. After all, for years to come they will see it in their wedding pictures and videos.

The primary design of a wedding dress should be all about highlighting the best features of the bride. This should be a high priority in the bridal dress selection, even more so than what the latest styles and trends might be. Going with a very trendy marriage dress might get some attention, but might not make the bride look and feel her very best.

In most cases, it is best to choose a classic style for the gown and shy away from dresses that the bride and groom might look back on at a later time and laugh at, instead of cherishing with fondness. One of the wedding gown styles that is a perpetual favorite is the classic A Line dress, which is simple, elegant and timeless. An A Line gown can be quite flattering on most women, no matter her weight or shape.

But, with that said, it is still a good idea to set aside sufficient time when shopping for the dress to be able to try on a number of different styles. While it is helpful to have the assistance of friends and family, and even a bridal consultant which will be available at most marriage dress shops, the bride should always listen to her own instincts and make a choice based on what makes her feel best. The perfect marriage dress will be the one that makes her feel special, confident, and like a princess.

It is no surprise that most wedding dresses come in white, as that is the most traditional color. However, some are surprised to learn that there are numerous shades of white from which you can choose. In addition, there are other colors available for wedding gowns, and some people choose to coordinate the color of the dress with the theme colors of the wedding.

Romantic Wedding Gowns Add Naturally Elegant Spices To Your Look

Different design themes hit the fashion wedding dress industry in a rather frequent pace. Some greatly cater to modern vogue devotees’ appreciation for beauty. But they are replaced by new fads in the next season. Also, some motifs steal the limelight all the while. Believe it or not, unique or overwhelmed appeal is discovered on items that have never walked far away from fashion-conscious people’ s attention. Amongst those eternal forces, romantic wedding gowns often trigger big impacts.

Just as the name implies, romantic wedding dresses usually embrace dreamlike sense of beauty. Female property is greatly accented by tier, transparent lace, chapel train, flower decoration on the signal shoulder strap or exquisite applique. In most cases, temperate elegance is wonderfully flattered on those delicate styles, which make girls’ overall appearances princess-like. Referring to wedding themes where romantic bridal dresses fit, there will be a lot of options. As romantic wedding gowns that hold sway over trends in the current fashion clothing arena often embrace natural gorgeousness, they will fit both formal and casual motifs.

Nowadays, fashion industry has never stopped accepting and removing new tendencies. In order to make sure you will look great on the solemn wedding date, it’ s absolutely of great importance to choosing a dress that fits the current fashion sense. When it comes to romantic wedding gowns, they definitely become secure wagers for you. Days ago, an English female celebrity tied the knot with a backless wedding gown worn. She charmed the crowd even though there was not any luxurious embellishment on her body. But the backless pattern is the really desirable finishing touch to put an appealing emphasis on her femininity, which makes her overall look temperately sexy. Comparing with blindly pursuing high-end elegance, allure oozing out from a dolce semblance must feel more impressive. Thus, avoid overdoing gorgeousness please. There will be a perfect style in the rich collection of romantic wedding gowns that wonderfully flatters your silhouette and expresses a classy taste. Just improve your sensibility.

Why Does My Wedding Dress Smell

Usually there are only a couple of things that can make your wedding dress smell funny. The first is when it’s brand new and “fresh” from the bridal store.

Since almost all wedding dresses are made in China and then shipped to the U.S. they must be chemically treated in China. This treatment is to keep unwanted insects from being accidentally transported with the wedding gowns. So they are chemically treated to kill these insects. The insects won’t be in the wedding dress itself, but will have gotten a free ride on the outside of the shipping bag.

You would probably describe the smell as being a bit fishy smelling. Not so much like rotten fish per se but just kind of a fishy odor. It’s a different enough odor, you’ll know it once you’ve smelled it.

Don’t be alarmed or scared about some insect getting in and eating your wedding dress or even crawling around inside the bag. The manufacturers all have a very clean environment when producing their wedding gowns. They have to to keep the dresses clean. Obviously everything has to be extra clean to keep your wedding gown in perfect shape and beautiful.

The chemical treatment is a requirement for all garment and fabric importers from any foreign country. And when you consider how important this is enviornmentally it’s a good precaution. So if your wedding gown has a peculiar smell, be glad it does.

Under most circumstances by the time your wedding gown arrives in the U.S. it doesn’t smell any more because the smell has dissipated. If you can still smell the chemical then just a quick spray of a fabric care product like “Febreeze” will do wonders.

The second reason your gown may smell is after it has been dry-cleaned.

Dry-cleaning solvent called “perc” can cause an odor. The older the perc and the poorer the dry-cleaner’s filters are the more the perc picks up various smells and the more concentrated the odor become.

(Your local dry-cleaners place various fabrics and garments in together to be cleaned. This can also transfer odors from one garment to another causing your wedding gown to smell – not like the solvent smell of perc, but with pecular ordors.)

The dry-cleaning equipment has special filters. These filters are designed to keep the solvent clean. The problem comes when the longer it goes between cleaning the more concentrated the solvent smell. These filters are expensive and each time they are changed a considerable amount of solvent can be wasted. The cleaning solvent is expensive. Dry cleaners want to use the perc as long as possible, this is important for the profitability of the dry-cleaner.

Dry cleaning smell can also be removed using a commercial fabric spray like “Fabreeze”. It is best to follow directions by the manufacturer.

If your wedding gown is cleaned and preserved it should not smell at all. And you’ll have the cherished memory of your wedding for years and years to come.

Wedding Gowns to Suit All Shapes and Sizes

Choosing the Silhouette

What is the Silhouette and why is it so important? Silhouette refers to the overall cut of a gown. It’s the most vital element to focus on, because a gown’s shape is its foundation – it is what sets the mood for the entire garment. The fitted bodice and full bell-shaped skirt of the ball gown, for example, gives a princess-like presence. More form-fitting styles like the A-line and sheath, offer a different appeal. The A-line elongates the line of the body, adding the sheath ups the ante on wedding-dress sex appeal, creating a sleek and modern option for the more daring. While the sheath ups the ante on wedding-dress sex appeal, creating a sleek and modern option for the more daring bride.

The Ball Gown

The most traditional of all shapes, the ball gown is typified by a fitted bodice and natural or dropped waistline that leads to a very full skirt. Pleats or gathers in the skirt are what make it a ball gown.

GOOD FOR: skinny minnies (adds curves) and pear shapes (the skirt hides everything).

BAD FOR: the petite (the excess fabric can overwhelm tiny frames) and those with a lot on top (you might end up looking round).

The Sheath

A modern sexier take on the traditional wedding gown, the sheath is characterized by a slim profile that closely follows the curves of the body. This style is characterized by a low waistline that is generally V or U-shaped, beginning several inches below the waist. Petite brides may want to consider other shapes as this style may create a shorter appearance.

GOOD FOR: the tall and thin as well as the slim and petite (the lean shape adds length). This shape is great for taller brides who are looking to create an hourglass appearance with the low waistline. Recommended for: taller brides, large hips, hourglass, pear shape figure.

BAD FOR: anyone who feels like they have something to hide (we repeat: lean shape). Not recommended for: petite brides.

The A-line

As its name implies, the A-line cut is narrow at the top, cut close to the ribcage, and extends out along the body in the shape of a triangle (or ‘A’) in a smooth, elongated line. It is perhaps the most popular skirt option, as it looks wonderful on a variety of body types. The lines of the skirt are always clean and ungathered, but there is, as always, a number of versions. The princess cut is exemplified by vertical seams travelling from the bust to the hem. Another take is the circle skirt, a very wide A-line with a full skirt.

GOOD FOR: most body types.

BAD FOR: almost no one.

What to wear when trying on gowns

It is advisable to wear your chosen lingerie for your wedding day when trying on wedding gowns. Why is this so important? It makes a big difference to the fit and look of the gown. You may choose a push up bra, a reducer bra or a corset but will this suit your gown choice? Wearing your chosen lingerie when trying on the different gowns will show you how the different silhouettes fit your body shape. When you pick up your gown you will not be stressed because the gown fits differently to when you originally tried it on.

Inexpensive Wedding Gowns

After you have tried on various wedding gowns to see what silhouette suits your body shape now armed with your knowledge go online and check out wedding dress websites for gowns with similar silhouettes. You can purchase quality inexpensive wedding gowns for your special day online. Of course your wedding gown will not be a designer brand wedding gown as these would cost in the in t thousands of dollars. The range of inexpensive bridal gowns styles and colour choices available are very good. You will more than likely be able to purchase an affordable unique wedding dress online.

Gown Styles

(a) Sexy Wedding Dresses
(b) Cocktail Wedding Dresses
(c) Casual Wedding Dresses
(d) Coloured Wedding Dresses

Plus Size Wedding Dresses

When browsing websites look at the Measurement Charts to see what size the gowns go upto. If You can have wedding dresses custom made at very affordable prices. If you are not sure email the business to see what they can offer. These days it is very easy to have a plus size wedding dress made in a range of elegant styles and colours.

What to Avoid

When looking to buy a wedding gown or to have one custom made do not advise your measurements while you are on a diet. This will be a very disappointing experience for you. Your Body shapes change while dieting or you may not lose as much weight as you were aiming for. Best to diet before looking for a wedding gown and then to maintain your weight after purchasing or organizing to have a custom wedding gown made.

Also avoid putting on weight after your measurements have been taken for your gown or you have purchased your wedding gown. It would be very upsetting to have a gown custom made that did not fit when it arrived. You cannot return the gown for a refund as when gowns are custom made they are made to your measurements supplied at the time of purchase.

In conclusion feeling like a princess on your wedding day is an obtainable dream for all size ladies. By taking the time to find out what silhouette suits your body shape you can go online and view gowns that will compliment and flatter your figure.

When browsing online you will see a large range of inexpensive bridal gowns that will suit your budget. Whether you want a formal, casual or cocktail wedding dress all these different styles are available to view online 24 hours a day. Have fun choosing your wedding gown online.

Marcia McNamara [] is dedicated to helping every Lady achieve her childhood desire to have the Perfect Sexy Wedding Dress for your extra special day.

Choose from custom made affordable quality Sexy Wedding Dresses, Casual Wedding Dresses and Tea Length Wedding Dresses.

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Complete Details for Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Complete Facts on Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Getting your wedding gown cleaned and preserved as soon after your wedding as possible helps to give you the very best possible results. You can still have your gown cleaned and preserved years later, but the delay can cause problems. Which of the three wedding gown preservation methods is best?

There are many wedding gown preservation companies that all claim their particular method is best. It doesn’t need to be confusing when you have the facts. This special report is designed to educate you, so that you can understand for yourself the three methods with their various pros and cons.

When you’ve competed this report you’ll have the facts you need to decide which method you want to use for your wedding gown preservation.

What you’ll find inside this Wedding Gown Preservation Report:

Chapter 1
The 5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Cleaned and Preserved:
-Remember your special day
-Celebrate an anniversary
-For use by a family member
-For a christening dress
-For a bassinette cover

Chapter 2
How should your wedding gown be cleaned:

Chapter 3
The three types of wedding gown preservation:
-Boxed method
-Sealed Boxed method
-Bagging method

Chapter 4
Debunking the myths, misinformation and out right lies:
-Boxed vs. Bagging
-“Museum” storage
-Cloth bag storage
-Boxed storage
-Sealed boxed storage
-Examining the dress
-Mold and mildew growth
-Insect infestation
-Allowing the fabric to breathe

Chapter 5
The goals of wedding gown preservation:
-Permanent creases
-Brown spots and oxidation

Chapter 6
Upgrade offers:
-What’s included in an upgrade
-What’s the value of an upgrade
-Why is an upgrade offered

Chapter 7
Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Chapter 1

5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Clean and Preserved.

1. The first and foremost reason is obviously because it is your wedding gown. It is the most expensive dress you’ll ever own and it’s part of the celebration of the most important day of your life. It is the dress in all of your wedding pictures. It is one of the things you’ll remember most about your wedding.

Sure you have your pictures, but to actually be able to see your actual wedding dress beautifully preserved will always bring back a flood of wonderful memories.

2. You may want to wear it to celebrate your 5th, or 10th or 25th wedding anniversary. You could put it on a mannequin and display it for an anniversary celebration.

3. Wedding gown preservation keeps your dress in perfect condition so your sister or your own daughter or even granddaughter can wear it on their wedding day. (It happens more often then you may think and is a wonderful opportunity for you and the lucky girl who wears it.)

4. Many brides are making a christening dress from their wedding gown. Being able to make your wedding gown into a dress that your precious daughter will wear on this important day is something to look forward to. It can start a great family tradition and heirloom.

5. Something that is beginning to take off in popularity is making a bassinette cover made out of it. This can easily be done and provides a wonderful reminder of your special day and the special little one inside the bassinette.

No matter the reason, wedding gown preservation is important. You may not think so now, but years from now you don’t want to regret that you missed the opportunity. There will be a time when you’ll want your wedding gown in beautiful condition again.

After the wedding many brides just leave their dress in the plastic garment bag thinking they’ll get it preserved “sometime”. There is always good intentions, but that “sometime” turns into weeks or even years. By procrastinating you may be in for some serious risks to your gown.

You know your wedding gown has some stains on it. There is the dirt, grass stains, and sometimes asphalt parking lot oil on the hem of your dress. Then there is the underarm deodorant, the perspiration, the body oils, the make-up, the spray tan that gets on the dress. There may even be a wine spill or two.

There can also be stains that are not easily visible, like soda, champagne, or cake frosting. Stains caused by any liquid will oxidize over time and turn brown. The longer any stain sets, or oxidizes the more difficult it is to remove. It’s important to have your wedding gown cleaned and preserved to prevent this from happening.

Keeping your gown in a plastic bag is probably the worst storage situation possible. Plastic is made from petroleum and gives off fumes. These chemical fumes causes yellowing in your dress. That’s also why you should never take your dress to a dry-cleaner and leave it in the plastic bag it comes home in.

Hanging your dress can cause additional problems. Your wedding gown is very heavy and hanging it will stretch the fabric and the seams. If your dress has sleeves then the weight of the dress will stretch the seams in the sleeve. If it’s strapless or you hang your dress by the side-seam hanging loops the manufacturer provides you’ll stretch the fabric and the side-seams. And for those dresses with a long heavy train the same can be true of the hanging loop for the train.

Wedding gown preservation done right can protect your treasured keepsake.

Chapter 2

How should your wedding gown be cleaned?

There are two types of cleaning methods: dry-cleaning and wet-cleaning.

Dry-cleaning really isn’t dry at all. Dry-cleaning refers to not using water for cleaning. It is cleaning with a petroleum solvent as the cleaning agent. The most common agent for dry-cleaning is perchloroethylene – “perc” for short. It is an excellent degreaser and can be used on all fabrics including silk, acetate, rayon and polyester. It can cause damage to some sequins and beads. It can melt the coating on some beads and melt the glue if the beads and sequins are glued onto the fabric.

Stoddard solvent is not as popular because it is more expensive and it has more regulations for it’s use – like it cannot be used in a facility in a strip mall. It is an excellent degreaser but has the added advantage that it will not harm beads or sequins.

Exxon DF-2000 is also a petroleum based solvent. It will not harm beads or sequins, but is not as good of a degreaser as Stoddard solvent. It does have fewer regulations so it is more popular for some dry-cleaning establishments.

Cleaning should be done with what is called “Virgin Solvent”. Virgin solvent is solvent that has been specially cleaned and filtered before each use. Many dry-cleaners use the same solvent over and over which means the solvent can retain residual oils and “dirt” which can be re-deposited on your dress. Dirty solvent will also leave a “dry-clean” smell on your dress.

Wet-cleaning, using water to clean your dress has several advantages. Water is best for removing any type of sugar stain, food stain or plain dirt on the hem. It is a poor degreaser, (but petroleum solvents cannot remove sugar or food stains.) Wet-cleaning also removes the sizing in fabrics (sizing is a starch like substance that is used to give “body” to the fabric by the manufacturer). Sizing in fabrics attract mice and insects. Proper wet-cleaning will not leave any odor in your gown.

The care label inside your wedding gown should indicate which method is recommended by the manufacturer.

Experience is the most important criteria to consider in selecting who should do your wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Asking questions is the most effective method to determine their experience. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in wedding gowns, or only clean them once in awhile? Do they examine each dress individually or just place it in with all of their regular cleaning?

Chapter 3

The 3 Types of Wedding Gown Preservation

The three types of wedding gown preservation are:
1. Plain Boxed method
2. Sealed Box method
3. Bagging method. Let’s examine each.

The Plain Boxed method. Your wedding gown is cleaned first and then is placed on a cardboard bust form. The bust form and dress are secured in the box. If the bust form was not secured properly in the box, the dress would slide and end up in a messy heap in the bottom of the box. The dress is folded and layered with tissue paper. The box may or may not have a windowed display area. The box is closed and sent to you.

Sealed Boxed method. This method is the same as the Plain Boxed method except it goes a step further in your wedding gown preservation protection. The box is sealed completely. It is sealed to keep out moisture and to keep out insects.

Bagging method. Again the gown is cleaned first and then it is hung usually on a padded hanger and then placed in some kind of cloth bag.

Chapter 4

Debunking the myths, lies and misinformation.

Let’s discuss these methods and debunk some of the misinformation, misunderstanding and out right lies being published on the internet about wedding gown preservation methods.

First, understand that the companies who use each of these methods try and get you to believe that their method is best. But let’s look at the logical and scientific facts.

Boxed vs. Bagging. The Boxed methods provide a convenient sized preservation box that can easily be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet. Bagging, depending on the size of your wedding gown can be very bulky and take up a considerable amount of closet space, especially if your gown was fuller or had a train. Consider where you would store your preserved wedding gown and how much storage space you have.

The Bagging method is also referred to as “Museum” storage or “Museum Quality” storage. The pitch behind this is that museums store their dresses in bags and not boxes. That is partially true. Even their own information explains that these museums also store dresses folded in drawers.

Museums do store most of their dresses in bags. Most of their dresses are thin A-lines and regular women’s wear dresses throughout the ages. These can easily be hung, take up very little “closet” space and will only need light touch-up and preparation for display.

It is different with bulky dresses, dresses with trains and wedding dresses. As mentioned before, if they are bagged and hung they take up a considerable amount of closet space. Also if they are hung the weight of the dress can cause the fabric the stretch. Have you felt the weight of some of the wedding dresses?

The dress manufacturer sews a ribbon loop into the seam of the dress and recommends hanging it from those loops. Yes, the loops can be reinforced but still the entire weight of the dress is suspended from the seams and it will cause the fabric to stretch. If the dress is a light weight “destination style” dress then this won’t matter.

If the dress has sleeves and it is hung from the sleeves the stretching can be worse. The shape of the sleeve can be deformed. The hanger can leave permanent marks in the top of the sleeves.
Other advantages this method purports to have is inspection of the dress and no folding of the fabric. When the wedding gown preservation is done with the Bagging method you can open the bag and easily examine the dress. If the dress is short with no train, then it shouldn’t have any folds. If it has a train then the train will be hung by a ribbon loop in its seam and will be folded about half way up the train, this will cause a double fold back for the last 12″-24″ of the train, from the hanging loop to the hem of the train. Remember how the train on your wedding dress was hung in the bag when you took it to your wedding. It will be hung the same way for this method. So dresses with trains will always have at least two folds in them using the Bagging method. (If they really don’t hang the train by the hanging loops then the entire train will be a wrinkled mess piled in the bottom of the bag – there is no place else for it to go).

Lastly, the cloth storage bag that is used in the Bagging method should be addressed. There are two areas of concern in regards to insect infestation when using a cloth bag for storage. Insects can get into the tiniest places and through the smallest cracks and openings. We have all experienced spiders, earwigs, pill bugs and other insects in some pretty unusual locations. The closure area, in many bags it’s a zipper in the Bagging method it is usually tied shut. This can provide an opportunity of insects entering at the ties or in between them. Second is the hole in the top of the bag where the hanger goes through. Insects can enter at this opening and get in a ruin your dress.

Cloth bags do let air pass through but that also means moisture can also pass through to the dress. As the humidity rises there’s more moisture in the air and therefore in the fabric of your dress. It really doesn’t mater much unless the humidity gets too high and that can promote mildew growth on the fabric.

Something else that can happen with the cloth bags. Cats, dogs and mice especially like to “mark” their territory. It has happened where an animal has urinated on the bag to mark their territory. Obviously it can soak through the cloth bag and onto the wedding dress. The dress would then have to be re-cleaned.

OK, now lets discuss the Boxed method. Two types of boxes can be used, one with a windowed display area in the top and the other just plain cardboard box. This is really a personal preference for each individual to decide.

With this method of wedding gown preservation the dress is cleaned first. It is then steamed and pressed. Then it is placed on a shaped bust form to fill out the top of the dress and makes it display better. The bust form is attached to the box so that the dress doesn’t slide around in the box and end up in a heap at the bottom of the box.

As the dress is placed in the box it is folded and layered with acid free tissue paper. This layering is to protect and soften the folds. If it is a plain cardboard box then a final layer of tissue paper is placed on top of the dress. If the box is a windowed display box then this layer is not used so you can see your dress through the display window.

The box can then be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet.

The Sealed Box method goes through the same process with the added step of sealing the entire box.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to each. The Boxed method says you can open the box see the dress to make sure it’s yours and to examine it. If it’s a windowed display box, you don’t need to open it to make sure it’s your dress – you can see it through the window.

However, there are problems if you think you can just open the box and examine the dress. First, you should never touch a cleaned and preserved wedding gown unless you have white cloth gloves on. You may or may not have clean hands, but your hands will have body oils on them and so you need gloves.

If you have white cloth gloves then when you open the box you’ll discover the bust form is attached to the box, so you’ll need to unattached it. Next you’ll need to unfold the dress, layer by layer to examine the train which will be the bottom layer in the box. Once you are satisfied you’ll need to refold the dress as it was before and reattach the bust form. This sounds considerably easier than it is.
If you actually take the dress out of the box, you’ll find it even more difficult getting everything back in the box properly.

Something else to absolutely make sure of before you open the box and try to examine your dress is the wedding gown preservation company’s guarantee. It may or may not say you can open the box and examine your dress. It may say you can open the box to examine your dress but doesn’t specifically say whether you can take the dress out of the box. If it isn’t specific then you should ask specific questions to make sure of what you can or can’t do that would void their guarantee.

Wedding gown preservation companies must protect themselves from the situation where a bride can take her dress out of the box, wear it, get something on it, put it back in the box and claim that the stain or dirt or whatever was never gotten out in the original cleaning and preservation process and demand it be reprocessed for free.

Don’t assume that just because the box is not sealed that you can open it, examine the dress and or take it out and not void the guarantee… you need to check first.

Boxes that are not sealed are susceptible to insect infestation. Insects love to get into small thin opening and into the fabric to build their nests. Just because the box is closed doesn’t mean insects can’t get in.

The same warning applies to Boxes as to the Bags when it comes to animals marking their territory. Cardboard protects better than a cloth bag but still can be ruined by an animal urinating on it.
Moisture and humidity can also vary in an unsealed box – same warnings apply.

What about the Sealed Box method then? It provides all of the benefits of the Boxed method with much more protection. You don’t have to worry about animals or insects.

What about examining the dress and the question of moisture and mildew in a sealed box? A number of the wedding gown preservation companies site these two reasons as a warning to not use the Sealed Box method.

Let’s address them one at a time.

Here’s the actual science on mold and mildew growth from a publication by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Optimal conditions for mildew to grow is 70%-98% relative humidity and 77-88 degrees Fahrenheit. When relative humidity is less than 62% mildew growth ceases completely.

So if your wedding gown is either boxed or bagged but not sealed you run the risk of mildew if you have high humidity and warm temperatures. If you live in an area of the country where the humidity level can be higher than 70% your unsealed exposed wedding gown can run the risk of mildew growing on it. You could also run the same risk of mildew if your box is sealed and you have sealed in that high moisture content in the box and dress.

So for optimal wedding gown preservation you want to have the Sealed Boxed method with little or no moisture sealed in the box. That would mean you need to make sure that your wedding gown preservation company dries your dress and controls the humidity prior to sealing the box.

Another objection some companies have about the Sealed Boxed method is that the fabric should be allowed to breathe. That’s almost comical when you think about it. Fabric doesn’t have any lungs – it doesn’t and in fact shouldn’t breathe. Having the fabric breathe means that air is allowed to flow through the fabric.

The problem with air flowing through the fabric is that the air carries dust, dirt, pollen, mold pores and bacteria. The fabric acts as a natural filter. So if the air is allowed to circulate through the dress then more and more of the contaminants can build up on the fabric. A sealed box does not allow the air to circulate and eliminates this problem. So what some companies pitch as a determent actually turns out in reality to be a benefit for sealing the box.

When it comes to wedding gown inspection with the Sealed Boxed method you simply can’t thoroughly examine the dress. You will want to choose a company that has a windowed display box so can see and verify it’s your gown. You will void their guarantee if you open the box to take your dress out and examine it.

That means you will have to “trust” the wedding gown preservation company that you use to do the cleaning and preservation right.

Check out the company. What type of reputation do they have? Read their testimonials. Are they members of the Better Business Bureau and with what kind of rating. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in just wedding gowns, or do they do every kind of dry-cleaning? Can you call and get your questions answered personally?

Chapter 5

What do you want your wedding gown preservation to do for you and your dress?

1. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent your dress from yellowing. Yellowing can be caused by several situations. Don’t use a plastic bag for long term storage. Plastic bags give off petroleum distillates that can yellow your dress over time. Storing your dress in a non-acid free environment can also cause yellowing of your dress. This would include a regular cardboard box, or using regular tissue paper instead of acid free tissue.

2. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent any permanent creases in your dress. Make sure that the company you use properly cares for your dress. If you insist on using the Bagging method they should make provisions for your train especially so it does not double fold back on itself in the bag. If you use the Boxed or Seal Boxed methods they should carefully fold the dress and buffer each fold with acid free tissue paper. This buffering will make the folds gentile and keep them from creasing.

(Be aware that some companies will promote the idea that your wedding gown should be re-folded every few years to prevent permanent creases. Although this sounds good in theory it isn’t true at all. First if your gown is stored properly, buffered with acid free tissue paper, the folds will remain folds. Unless there is some force that “squishes” the dress flat, or specifically flattens the folds into creases, creases won’t happen. Folds don’t “automatically” flatten themselves into creases. The fact actually is – creases can be removed from the fabric by proper steaming and or ironing. Seamstresses do this all of the time. If a seam or hem has to be changed they can easily make the “creases” disappear when they steam and or iron it.)

3. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent and mold, mildew or insect growth or infestation. This can only be guaranteed when you use the Sealed Boxed method – see that section under “Wedding Gown Preservation methods”.

4. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent brown spots or oxidation spots on your dress. Brown spots usually occur when a stain in the dress was not properly cleaned. The stain will oxidize over time and turn brown. This is especially true for any sugar based stain – ones caused from soda, wine, cake frosting or food.

These stains may not be visible when you send your dress in to be cleaned and preserved. It’s important that the company you use not only does a careful visual inspection but also a black-light inspection to reveal any hidden stains. And that the company completely removes all of the stains in your dress.

Chapter 6

Upgrade Offers

Some wedding gown preservation companies offer an upgrade service. The upgrade consists of using muslin in place of acid free tissue paper, additional insurance, and a upgraded storage container. Upgrades can cost anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00 more than their standard offer.

Upgrades are a “rip-off”!

Muslin is a very cheap fabric and offers no added benefit over acid free tissue paper. It sounds great, but it does nothing to make a better storage environment or keep the dress safer or better. Acid free tissue does everything muslin can do – and saves you money.

Most wedding gown preservation companies automatically provide $500.00 of insurance on their cleaning and preservation insurance. The insurance is actually provided for and through U.P.S. (or Fed-Ex). An upgrade increases the insurance to $1,500. You can purchase additional insurance when you ship your dress for $2 per $100 value, so for $10-$20 you can get the maximum insurance.
Remember insurance is provided so that the company providing the insurance can make money. It is a huge profit center for U.P.S. and Fed-Ex. Realize also that insurance companies do not like to pay out on claims and will minimize the payout as much as they can. They will claim your dress is used – (which it is) – that it is in poor condition – (that’s why you are having it cleaned) – that it’s last seasons or older model dress – (which it is, bridal manufacturer’s bring out new dresses twice per year, creating two seasons per year, so your dress is at least 1 to 3 or more seasons old). Get the picture, insurance is for the insurance company. Oh, and as and aside, in 12 years that I personally have dealt with U.P.S. shipping wedding dress for cleaning and preservation they have yet to lose a dress. I guess wedding dress boxes are too big to lose.

The last of the upgrade items is a different storage container. Check and you’ll see that the box is exactly the same except it’s a different color. The size, shape, it’s materials are all the same, the only difference is the outside color of the box.

So is there really any significant value in purchasing an upgrade? Absolutely not. It’s just a great ploy by that particular wedding gown preservation company to get you to spend more – thus increasing their profits dramatically.

Chapter 7

Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Cleaning summary:

Determine the fabric of your wedding gown. If it is polyester then it can usually safely be wet-cleaned. If it is silk, acetate or rayon then you have a few choices. Does it have beading or sequins on the dress? Percloroethylene (perc) is the most common dry-cleaning solvent but can discolor or melt the coating on the beads and sequins and can dissolve the glue if they are glued on. The better alternative is Stoddard Solvent or DF-2000. These dry-cleaning solvents are still excellent degreasers but will not harm the beads and sequins. Stoddard solvent is the best degreaser of the two.

Read the manufacturer’s fabric care label to help guide you on your choices.

Select a wedding gown preservation company that uses virgin solvent. You don’t want your dress being “cleaned” in dirty solvent that can leave an unpleasant odor in your dress.
Select a company that specializes in wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Choose a company that has been in business for a substantial time, is a member of the Better Business Bureau and has excellent reviews.

It’s also best to use a company that carefully hand inspects your dress and then does a further inspection using a black light. The company should do minor repairs at no additional cost to you. They can fix those loose beads, replace a button or fix a small tear in the fabric as part of their service.

Carefully examine the entire wedding gown preservation method. Select a company that will provide you the peace of mind, where you know your treasured keepsake will be put in an acid free environment, will be protected from unwanted creasing, protected from mold, mildew and insects, and provides a lifetime guarantee.

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Cheap Wedding Gowns: Gorgeous Gowns Available For Low Cost

Having a grand wedding is every woman’s dream. When the day of wedding is decided, the first thing that strikes in the mind of every girl is her wedding dress. But not all the girls are fortunate enough to wear expensive branded gowns. But now, there is no need to get disappointed because there are cheap wedding gowns, which are elegant and girls can easily afford for their wedding. Though these dresses are not made by the high profile designers, but still the common designers who design these dresses put all their efforts in making these dresses beautiful and gorgeous.

You can easily find these wedding dresses for all the sizes and in different designs and styles. From princess style to A-line, you can get any design as per your body type. To get cheap wedding gowns easily, the online means is the best option. There are many online stores that sell these dresses at discounted rates. These stores also avail you the accessories which perfectly compliment your wedding dress, adding to your overall appearance on the very special day of life.

In these stores, not only the wedding dresses, but you can also get other dresses for the purpose of wedding such as flower girl dresses, bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dresses. Online shopping is very much convenient because you can do your entire wedding shopping by just sitting at your home. Another option that you can opt to buy a wedding gown at low price is the retailer shop that sells second hand wedding gowns. There are many brides who sell their wedding gowns to earn some money after they get over with their wedding functions. But you have to be careful while selecting your dress from such stores.

You must carefully check the dress out if there is any stain in it or it is torn. If such a thing happens with you, you will end up becoming a victim of a fraud and then nobody will be there to listen to you afterward. So, it is better to look out each and every option available and not to rush while you are making the decision. A decision is best made when you are relaxed. Therefore, we advise you nothing but to relax and then choose the perfect piece, the one you find perfect for the auspicious day.

Cheap wedding gowns are easily available over the Internet. The best part of these gowns is that they are of superior quality and come for less money. Other kinds of wedding dresses are also available online.In these stores, not only the wedding dresses, but you can also get other dresses for the purpose of wedding such as flower girl dresses, bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dresses. Online shopping is very much convenient because you can do your entire wedding shopping by just sitting at your home. Another option that you can opt to buy a wedding gown at low price is the retailer shop that sells second hand wedding gowns. There are many brides who sell their wedding gowns to earn some money after they get over with their wedding functions. But you have to be careful while selecting your dress from such stores.

Mermaid Style Wedding Gowns Online That Suits You Best

Mermaid style wedding gowns online are not as famous as other types of wedding dresses because these define the curves in the women’s body and it is considered only by ladies with sexy and curvaceous body. This is not the type of wedding dress that fits into any size of women. Normally it’s because of the fact that it is similar to silhouette that follows the curves of the body from top to bottom. If you will see some photos of mermaid on books and online, you will see that their shoulders are slightly up or down the knees which points out some flair that makes the skirt fuller. Mermaid style wedding gowns online makes the look of the woman dramatic and it helps in boosting her self-confidence as well.

Even if you are sexy, this style is not meant for everyone. You must have the look and the features that will add all the drama and the style that will make this type of dress suited for you. If you have a slimmer body and you want to show off your body shape, this type of dress will be best for you on your wedding day. But you need to be sure that you are confident enough to handle it because this cut is truly for confident bride only. You do not have to stick to this style because there are still other styles that will surely fit into your body shape and to your character as well.

Choosing a wedding dress is truly complicated at times, especially if you do not have enough idea of various styles of wedding dresses that fits into your needs. There are other types of dresses that will surely fits you and you can also highlight some of your body parts like shoulders. If you want to show off your shoulders you can just wear a strapless style of wedding dress. There are also styles that are haltered and there are those with plunging neckline that offers striking effects to the bride. Different styles of skirts can fit your needs and you can ask the designer to make a mermaid inspired dresses with a twist. There are number of shapes that might fit into your like round skirt, trumpet shape or train shape. Used wedding gowns can now be bought online even if you want the mermaid style gown for your wedding.

Used wedding gowns in Mermaid style are tight fitting and it is important to pick the right underwear for it, it’s because it will be visible on the panty line when wedding photos were taken. It will be very embarrassing on your part. This is the reason why this cut is not meant for everyone. Though the height is not really an issue, this type should be worn by slim figures only. It’s because it will highlight your body curve and fuller figured women should not dare try it. Choosing the best may be troublesome at first but when you start to appreciate yourself and your figure, you will see that there are lots of styles that will best fit you.