We asked readers to tell us whether the FCC's postponement of the wireless band changeover from February to June was a positive decision, or whether it simply added to consumers' confusion.
If the consumer is confused about the need to add a converter or upgrade to cable after the media blitz in our area, I believe they deserve a dark-screen future. Back to the radio for them: It's still free, it's mobile and can be stimulating enough to turn a couch-potato butt into those buns of steel once envied on the black box in the corner.
I'm a freelance audio-for-video engineer and a longtime Mix reader.
In the February 2009 “TalkBack” section, we asked engineers about the effects of the wireless changeover on their business.
I had several Sennheiser systems in the 700MHz range. Even though Sennheiser seems to have the most generous “rebate” plan, it's still going to cost me almost $2,000 to change the systems over. I have some systems that are older and don't qualify for any substantial rebate. The thing that frightens me now is that the remaining bandwidth is more congested, making frequency conflicts more common.
New York City
It's in the Cans
Thanks once again to Eddie Ciletti for another article with good solid info on studio headphones (“What's on Your Ears,” February 2009). As an audio technician for more than 30 years, my ears are kind of beat from using live sound stacks 'n' racks since the '70s, and from too many flights over the past 15 years doing broadcast audio. If we only knew that sticking your head in a JBL lens to see if it was working would do that much damage. Yikes! I wish we had all those fancy electronic checkers then that we do now!
I depend on good-quality headphones to monitor RF gear on a daily basis. I'm pretty fond of the Sony MDR 7504s I've had for quite some time, but occasionally use the Sennheiser HD580 or HD600 models. As we all know, hearing is so subjective; it truly is a matter of personal taste.
That said, I'd love for Eddie to look at both noise-canceling headphones and in-ear monitors. I use both devices regularly, especially on long flights, and carry “over-the-counter” Sony NC-5s that I really like. My in-ear monitors are Westone ES1 Musicians' Monitors, which I truly love. When you have a crying baby on a plane, the instant 25 dB of rejection you get when the ES1s are inserted is a lifesaver, and I find their quality just grand. I should note that I have the custom-molded ES1s.
I've been using a pair of AKG K 270 studio headphones for several years with great success. You can wear them for hours and they stay comfortable (over the ear with soft leather cushions). I like them because they have closed backs as I do on-location recordings. They automatically turn off when not on the head; they have gold-plated connectors; two speakers in each cup; and a wonderful sound!
Ellicott City, Md.
Eddie Ciletti had a nice article on the different headphones on the market these days for studio usage. It had two headphones listed by the Stax company (www.stax.co.jp/index-E.html): the SR-202 and the 4070. These headphones use an electrostatic driver, which requires a biasing voltage of 580 volts DC to drive the electrostatic plates. Your price quote does not reflect the driver unit needed to provide the biasing voltage and the amplifier, as the Stax headphones have a special 6-pin connector to connect them only to their driver units.
The SR-202 is no longer in production. The SRM-717 driver unit for the 4070 retails around $2,200, so you really are looking at a headphone price of $4,225. This is not their top of the line, which is the SR-007Mk2, costing more than $4,000 just for the headphones. I use the SR-007s as a check for headphone listeners as a part of my mastering process, and they are indeed the finest headphones in the world.
For utter transparency, clarity and transient detail, electrostatic headphones are the only way to go when you want the very finest fidelity money can buy.
High Fidelity Mastering
I read with anticipatory excitement the “Sound for Picture” article in the February 2009 issue on the movie Notorious. I had the opportunity to attend the shooting of the concert portions of this movie in New York City.
I was quickly saddened to see only a mere mention of the production sound mixer, Mathew Price. Price contributed a lot of work to this movie, from researching the exact make and models of the microphones of the period — and the specific models that B.I.G. used — to the multiple audio scenarios in just the concert portion alone, including coordinating Pro Tools playback; the live stage recording of multiple handheld and wireless microphones; multiple IFB feeds in a fantastically noisy and bass-driven environment; and handling with aplomb the many guests on the set, all of whom needed a headset or an IFB.
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