For the RecordAfter reading your inaccurate and misleading article regarding Charles Dye's role in Robi Rosa's and my production of Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca," I was saddened that Mr. Dye continues to make no mention or give any credit to all the other recording engineers who worked so hard on that project. They include: Jules Gondar, Craig Lozowick, Nathan Malki and, especially our arranger, Randy Cantor. Mr. Cantor self-recorded practically every sound effect, rhythm section and keyboard you hear.
Charles Dye's self-congratulatory remarks are opposite to the team spirit we share at The Gentlemen's Club Recording Studios...where being a gentleman is club rule number one. Maybe that's why he doesn't work here anymore.
Desmond ChildThe Gentlemen's ClubRecording StudioMiami Beach, Fla.
Turn It Down!Editor's Note: Mark Frink's recent column on hearing/sound level issues, "Why Louder Sounds Better," in ourJanuary 2000 issue has generated a flurry of letters from hearing and live sound professionals. Here are just a few:
Coping With hearing lossI recently returned to audio after a five year hiatus (I am now 55) and received a rude shock when I pushed the calibrate button on my mixer. Thinking that the 8kHz oscillator was broken, I cranked up the gain until my JBL LSR-42P monitors were shrieking. I know this because my wife came in with hands over her ears, not because I heard anything. This lead me to do some sweeps. It wasn't all that bad. I still am pretty flat up to about 6 kHz and have some response in the 10 to 15 kHz range, though it is way down and asymmetric. I can still hear a significant change when I boost my 12kHz treble controls a few dB. But it is clear that I might miss something or mess up a mix. What to do? I have a background in physics, so my first thought was FFT. If I could see the sound distribution, I might be able to compensate, much as a blind person learns to "see" by touch, etc. I searched the Internet and located several programs, but only one really fit the bill. And, incredibly, it is free! It is a Windows program called Spectrogram 5.0.5 by R.S. Horne, available from a number of sites. I downloaded it from the PCMAG site.
It took a while to learn the program. My first discovery was that it revealed ground loops that were not otherwise audible. I was able to clean up my setup by monitoring various noises. Then I moved on to program material. I listened to a variety of music, from CDs and FM, while monitoring the spectrum. After a good amount of tweaking the setup, I was able to really get into it. Now I can't do without it. I can recognize details of program material visually! But I was still rather bummed by my hearing loss. Your article has put me pretty much at ease. In fact, since I calmed down, what I have observed is that while the high end of my hearing is attenuated, the midrange is much better able to discern certain qualities and timbres than in my youth. This leads me to believe that there can be a kind of sound designed for mature ears, that instead of focusing on the bandwidth, works with more subtlety in the range below 5 kHz. But this is another topic. Thank you very much for your article.
Ed Russellvia e-mail
Gading the TestI'm just in the middle of reading the "Why Louder Sounds Better" article in the Jan. 2000 issue. I don't have much of a problem with anything in it. In fact, it's quite informative, but there is one little fact I thought worth pointing out. Mark Frink writes that the results of the free screening offered at the AES convention show that we are losing our hearing. While the result may well be true, conducting a hearing test at the AES is pretty much worthless. Unless you walk in with your hands clasped over your ears and go directly to the hearing test, you've been subjected to many hours of high SPLs, which will affect your hearing quite a bit but in the short term mostly. If you want an accurate hearing test, then you need to take it on "fresh" ears, not on ears that have been fatigued by hours of Genelec 1029As blasting a variety of material. I usually wear my earplugs when I go to the AES show. I always tell people that it's the best investment I've ever made in any audio equipment.
Paul Braunbehrensvia e-mail
More Important Than GearI just finished reading your article "Why Louder Sounds Better" in this month's Mix. I would like to thank you for providing the sound engineer's perspective as well as the audiological perspective in one article. It is wonderful that you included oSHA standards and some potential negative results of excessive exposure. As an audiologist who works with musicians, sound engineers and music fans, I am glad to see that information is starting to lead to action and that individuals are more concerned regarding their hearing. The last sentence in your article says it all. It's not the expensive equipment (which can be replaced) that is important, it's our most valuable instruments, our ears, that allow us to experience great sounding music.
Craig A. Kasper, MA, CCC-AColumbia University Centerfor Hearing ConservationNew York City
Strike That, Reverse ItTo correct Marvin Etzioni's "Producer's Desk", Nov. 1999 comment about vinyl discs, the speed is slower on the inner grooves, not faster.
Chuck KirkpatrickCooper City, Fla.