Letters to Mix - Mixonline

Letters to Mix

INFAMOUS OMISSION I am amazed. I hadn't realized that Pearl Harbor was shot as a silent movie and all the sound was added in post. At least that is the
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INFAMOUS OMISSION
I am amazed. I hadn't realized that Pearl Harbor was shot as asilent movie and all the sound was added in post. At least that is theimpression the reader gets from your article on Pearl Harborin the June issue. I don't mean to detract at all from the wonderfuljob done by the PH post team, but there was, in fact, anexcellent mixer on the set and, by all accounts, he did a great job.I've heard that 99% of the dialog was from the production tracks, andmany of the airplane and battle effects were those recorded onset.
Don't feel bad, though. This is the third article I've seen on soundfor Pearl Harbor that made no mention of Peter Devlin, theproduction mixer. I think your reporter missed out on a good story. Asexciting as the post suites are, every now and then somethinginteresting happens on set, too.
William Sarokin
Via e-mail

EXTRA CREDIT
Hey, how about a little credit here! I would like to make thesuggestion that future issues of Mix magazine showcasing newlybuilt studios mention the pro audio dealer who equipped thestudio.
I am not asking for credit for the dealer who just sold the gear. I'mtalking about the person who met with the studio designer, got the gearthere on time, arranged the wiring, and even helped find the rightcontractor for HVAC, electrical wiring and physical studioconstruction.
This type of dealer is hard to come by, but they are out there. I know,because I am one of them. I am not looking for credit for just myself,even though I did supply the studio on the cover of your June issue(Metropolitan, Bryn Mawr, Pa.). Mainly, I think Mix readersshould have a better idea of what is involved in putting together arecording studio.
Perhaps Mix magazine could request that information whenspotlighting these new studios. The same way everyone wants propercredit on that Grammy-winning album, pro audio dealers look for thesame kind of mention and appreciation when they've done their job well,too.
George Hajioannou
www.angelmtn.com

KUDOS FOR THE Q&A

Congratulations on the May 2001 issue's interviews with ArminSteiner and Elliot Mazer. I was fortunate to work with Armin on severaloccasions at Capitol Studios, but even before that his Sound Labs was alegend in the '70s L.A. studio scene. Elliot and I worked together atthe Automatt in San Francisco, although not on the same projects.
I learned quite a bit about recording from both of them, and, whileit's good to learn about the latest bells and whistles, these twogentlemen have a lot to share with Mix readers. They havemanaged to survive the ever-changing world of recording by using theirknowledge about basics and applying it today. Sometimes “oldschool” is the best school.
Leslie Ann Jones
Skywalker Sound

MAC DEFENDER
A reader submitted feedback on computers vs. “stand-alone”DAWs (September 2000). He expressed concern that this is a“transitional time for the Mac, with OS X threatening to outdateexisting software…” He also claimed that “Mac [is]abandoning the PCI slot on many new models.” I am a happy Macengineer and find these arguments for preferring stand-alone DAWs asalarmist and irrelevant.
It's true that Apple's models, such as the iMac and G4 Cube, have noPCI slots and, therefore, would be inappropriate models for digitalaudio workstations. However, these models were not designed for audioengineering, whereas the G4 is a superb candidate for audioapplications, having three PCI slots and the speed to make“host-based” workstations competitive with dedicated boardsystems. Of course, adding RAM and SCSI drives will add to the stickerprice, but once your machine is built, numerous applications can usethat hardware: from multitrack DAWs to MPEG encoders and CD recorders.Even a laptop, like the PowerBook (or PC laptop) can connect to a MagmaPCI expansion unit. Imagine running Pro Tools MixPlus on a laptop. Withthe computer appearing in so many of our daily tasks, it might as wellearn its keep and track a few sessions. Older Macs still have high-endlife in them, too. I had a “Cold Fusion” (8100/100) lyingaround, so I installed an Audiomedia II (NuBus) in one of its slots andDigital Performer. Now I have a very inexpensive solution to 24-bit mixarchival. Yes, the Audiomedia II's digital-in handles 24-bit digitalaudio even though its analog-in converts at 16-bit (64).
As for OS X, it won't “outdate” existing software. All ourapps that run on OS 9 will run in emulation mode on OS X. But whenaudio software comes along that's written for OS X it'll be well worththe upgrade. Right now, no MIDI/audio software takes advantage of thesingle-processor G4's 128-bit processing ability, not to mention the MPG4's throughput. I've written MOTU, who are still working on theirG4-friendly Digital Performer. But, in all honesty, compared with thespeed and track allocation I was used to before getting the“Sawtooth,” I'm well pleased with the investment. Oncesoftware catches up, the Mac will improve in performance. Maybe astand-alone DAW is attractive for its ease of use. It's definitely more“plug and play” than configuring a Mac. I hated computersuntil I saw what could be done with music on them.
Of course, a stand-alone DAW is really just another computer, but withlimited upgradability. I use four Macs of various vintage at my studio:a Cold Fusion, a Nitro, a Gossamer and the Sawtooth. They're veryreliable machines and, except for the G4, were bought second-hand. TheDAW in the window drives a hard bargain, indeed. This was written on a“Carl Sagan.
For info on PowerMacs, check out www.apple-history.com.
Lastly, I don't run the Internet on my DAWs. This avoids the unlikely,but possible, event of a Mac virus. Also, Internet applications areonly data-sensitive, unlike audio applications, which aretime-sensitive as well. I've been told that an inherent incompatibilityresides in this difference of protocol, and, therefore, one shouldn'tmix one's audio with one's browsing. Maybe that's overly cautious, butI shouldn't want to lose someone's project for any reason.
Andrew Hamilton
www.studiobdigital.com

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