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TalkBack | Letters to Mix, October 2009

Steve Miller on Les Paul I've known Les for 61 of my 65 years. He has always been present in my life, always there. He showed me how to hold a guitar

Steve Miller (center) with lifelong friend Les Paul (left) and bass player Bill Peterson.

Steve Miller on Les Paul

I’ve known Les for 61 of my 65 years. He has always been present in my life, always there. He showed me how to hold a guitar and taught me my first chords, explained how to speed up and slow down a tape recorder, and how to overdub vocals and guitar parts when I was 5. The year was 1949. He showed me how much fun it is to play and sing. He told me I was a musician and to believe in myself, and that I was going to go far when I was 5, and I believed him. He has always been my inspiration and the model for my life as a musician and a human being.

Behind the immense musical talent, magnificent performer and unrivaled entertainer existed a technical genius with such a strong and inquisitive mind that he single-handedly pushed electric guitar and recording technology further forward than anyone else in the 20th century.

It’s amazing that today in 2009 the Gibson Guitar Company spends its greatest energy and resources building Les Paul model guitars exactly as they were built in 1958 and 1959.

When I pulled out my Les Paul guitar at my recent concerts since his death, the crowd started chanting Les’ name. It’s going to be a less-vibrant world without Rhubarb Red.
Steve Miller

For more remembrances of Les Paul from leading members of the pro audio community, turn to page 26 for Mix’s special Les Paul Tribute and online at

Praise for Bonnaroo Festival Sound

You were spot-on with the review of the audio quality at Bonnaroo (“From the Editor,” July 2009). Festivals are always “new and exciting,” as I like to put it. In most cases, there is no soundcheck — just plug and play. The [Bonnaroo] system was fantastic, as was the Eighth Day crew [which provided sound for the main stage]. I’d never worked on the [DiGiCo] SD8 before, and at that time had only a couple of shows under my belt with Erykah Badu and no rehearsals — “run and gun.” (I’m subbing for Gordon Mack; he’s currently with John Legend.)

“The three-second rule” was definitely in effect: My belief is that working on any digital console you’re unfamiliar with will add three seconds to the execution of any command. Three seconds in live audio can be a lifetime, depending on which side of the feedback chain you’re on.

Verta and Chris Berry, the Eighth Day system techs, were able to answer all the questions I had, which allowed me to set up the desk to my preference. Also the fact that they had a few consoles there gave me time to get myself acquainted with the SD8. I thoroughly enjoyed mixing that show. The system, the console and, most importantly, the techs — and all the Eighth Day crew — were the best! They knew the equipment and their jobs, which allowed me to concentrate on my job mixing Erykah Badu.

My hat is off to Eighth Day Sound and Bonnaroo for not skimping on the most important part of a live show: the audio and the crew.
Kenneth H. Williams

Kudos and Thank You

Thank you for “The ‘Wrecking Crew’ Exclusive” [November 2008], of which I just availed myself at

In the 1980s, FM radio station KKGO was “the” station for jazz listeners in Southern California. [KKGO DJ] Chuck Niles played Tommy Tedesco’s “My Desiree” one afternoon, and I was lucky enough to already be recording the broadcast on cassette.

Now, all these years later, I’ve really enjoyed recollecting music from my past and Tommy Tedesco is high on the list. To be able to read so much about the man, the musician, the contributor is very rewarding to this music appreciator. Again, thank you.

Pablo Moralez

Vintage Gear Reviews

I’m curious as to whether old Mix “Field Test” reviews are available online somewhere. When looking at vintage gear, I am often interested in reading reviews that were put out at the time of release, and Mix always did a great job of profiling new gear. Thanks!

Steve Heinke

Pure Audio, Seattle

Steve — Mix has archived each issue at beginning with the January 1999 issue. To search “Field Test” reviews from these issues to the present, go to and in the Search window at the top-right-hand corner type in the name of the product in which you’re interested.

— Kevin Becka

DAW Studio Essentials

In the weekly MixLine e-newsletter, we asked readers to tell us about their essential DAW software.

Two software programs that I have found very useful on the Mac are Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro recording and utility software, and Iced Audio’s AudioFinder audio file organizer and “Swiss army knife.”

Scott Simons

A suggestion for other DAW studio essentials: Sonic Studio’s PreMaster CD, the only pro app for Mac OS that focuses on premastering.

Oliver Masciarotte

Next month, we look at audio education — both in the classroom and online. What advice would you give to a student looking for the right audio program? E-mail us at [email protected].