Letters to Mix

HELLO, I'M STILL HERE Not to be picky, but the Donny Osmond (And They Call It Techie Love, September 2006 Mix) quote that Lucille Ball, Ray Bolger and

Paul Williams

Not to be picky, but the Donny Osmond (“And They Call It Techie Love,” September 2006 Mix) quote that Lucille Ball, Ray Bolger and Paul Williams are people that “aren't with us anymore” is only two-thirds correct. I'm in New York for ASCAP board meetings and I'm beginning to feel a bit like Mark Twain at his own funeral. Can you stop the rumors?
Paul Williams

Dear Paul,
Sorry about that! Maybe that performance where your character dies in the end of Brian De Palma's
Phantom of the Paradise was so good that Donny assumed you weren't with us anymore.

Note: The good news is Williams is alive and quite well. Currently managed by Phil Ramone, this Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe — winning composer of hits such as “We've Only Just Begun,” “Evergreen” and “The Rainbow Connection” is on the board of directors of ASCAP and is currently writing the music and lyrics for the Garry Marshall musical Happy Days, followed by another musical based on the highly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
— George Petersen

I just finished your editorial on “The NASCAR Studio” (“From the Editor,” March 2006). I have been in the computer business for 20 years, and you are exactly right when it comes to the evolution of “bloatware.” Configuring a usable DAW does indeed get tricky if not impossible with Microsoft's “Clippy” always popping up.

We differ on the long-term solution, however. It is not necessary for the OS companies to offer more options in their installs, although this would certainly help overall. I have been using another OS called Linux. It is free, highly customizable (source included) and can run on almost any motherboard. Upgrades are easy, and leftover files are usually not a problem.

The lack of music software for this OS is a problem. There are many audio titles on the Net, but very few, if any, would rival Pro Tools. One DAW project for Linux is Ardour (http://ardour.org). It is free and supported by the open-source community. The user interface is recognizable, and it even supports plug-ins to extend its capability. As a suggestion, you should have one of your writers check this out, maybe even do a comparison. I firmly believe that when audio software vendors begin to generate products for the Linux OS, you will see an increase in their use due to the OS' ease of use and configuration.
Greg Tomalesky
Blue Sky Sound

I wanted to correct a couple of mis-details in the description of the Neumann U87 in the “TECnology Hall of Fame” in the September 2006 issue. The text mentions “the U87 used the same K67 capsule as the U67.” Actually, the original U87 used the K87 capsule, which was acoustically identical to the K67, but not electrically the same. The K67 was fitted to the mic with the introduction of the U87A version in 1986.

Also, the K87 (nor the K67, for that matter) does not “require” 60-volt bias and the batteries never “augmented the phantom power.” The U87 could always run solely on 48V phantom power (P48), and, until the introduction of the “A” version, Neumann biased the capsule at approximately 47V. The batteries were an alternate powering technique for the mic so that it could be used in field recording and other situations where there was no phantom available — especially because at the time of the U87's introduction, phantom power (developed by Neumann) was still new and far from the ubiquity we find today. And, when running on batteries, the capsule was actually biased at about 45V — at least with brand-new cells in place.

The two major versions of the mic are the U87 and U87A, plus numerous small internal — and one not-so-small — revisions. The original U87 was produced in versions with both the Tuchel connector: U87 for the European market and the XLR-connector U87i with an “i” (international) suffix. There also was a little-known “p” designation. By the introduction of the U87Ai, the Tuchel had been phased out in favor of the now-standardized XLR connector. Note that there were also some specially developed versions of the mic, including the U397, which runs on -9VDC phantom and the slightly more common modulation-lead (“T”) powered U77.
Tony Merrill
Stephen Paul Audio

I'm writing in response to an article you published in February's issue “Bitstream.” First of all, let's agree Oliver [Masciarotte] really does have issues with the FCC that continually cloud his thinking. I've been watching digital, over-the-air free TV for the past 35 months, and we still have 18 months to go with analog. I purchased my receiver at Circuit City for $88 and connected it to my Sony 32-inch TV. Last year, I purchased a 42-inch 16×9 HD display and connected my receiver to it. I know what TV pictures look like from DISH and DirectTV, not to mention cable, and you will not see quality HD on any pay service like that of free TV.

As of today, here in Lancaster County, Pa., I receive NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, Public TV, UPN and an independent in free digital over-the-air delivery with most in HD during prime time. Most of these over-the-air channels are now serving two digital streams, giving me not seven but 11 free channels of viewing — all in better quality than I could purchase from any pay service.

Oliver mentions “wearable computers.” With no wires attached. wouldn't it make sense that local over-the-air TV would be a point of connectivity for such a device? Or is it his belief that America will continually expect being technically dumbed down? Oliver, have you seen the pictures that are broadcast for free in HD? If not, fifth-generation receivers are available for around $100. How can over-the-air HD even be compared to what's available on your PC or Mac, not to mention what the computer signal would look on a 50-inch or larger display, and you still have to pay your ISP? The truth is, the best-quality TV is free.
Don Horst
Creative Arts Technical Services

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