Letters to Mix - Mixonline

Letters to Mix

THE PRICE OF FIBER As someone who does network consulting, I found the June issue very good and worthwhile as a general background for clients who are
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THE PRICE OF FIBER

As someone who does network consulting, I found the June issue very good and worthwhile as a general background for clients who are not familiar with networking. However, I find the assertion by Ed Bacorn [of Glyph Technologies] that “Ethernet is very high overhead” and so is slow to be silly. The calculation of check-sums and breaking up messages into segments is typically done on the NIC card and presents no overhead to the host computer. Ethernet is slow because it is designed as a shared media network and has to wait to see if someone else wants to talk before transmitting. The problem with LANs as a storage device is that they are optimized to share information in relatively limited volumes. NFS does allow sharing files over a LAN, but it is not high performance nor does it support isochronious traffic such as video or audio well. This is why SANs were invented — to allow sharing of storage and bulk files, rather than information.

STK and EMC, among other vendors, have hybrid products that transmit metadata and thumbnails over a LAN, and bulk over a SAN. These are in the early days of development and so are very expensive.

The other inaccuracy is that “fiber costs an arm and a leg.” We are not buying gasoline here. A well-installed fiber plant costs about the same as a cat 5 cable plant installed, according to the cat 5 specs. Yes, switches are costly now, but they are not necessary unless we are talking about work groups requiring more than about five workstations accessing the SAN simultaneously. (Hopefully, they will go the way of Ethernet switches and fall in price by a factor of 10 over the next two years.) I find myself puzzled by the statement “…you get a sustained 25 MB per second…” With a Fibre Channel-arbitrated loop, you will get whatever the sustained throughput of the disk is, and you can multiplex several disk accesses onto the loop at up to the available Fibre Channel bandwidth (either 100 or 200 MB per second). Also, there is no reason to mess with SCSI drives and SCSI to Fibre Channel interfaces when there is no premium for native Fibre Channel drives. (See Seagate's Website, www.seagate.com, or any drive dealer, www.dirtcheapdrives.com.)
Gerald Robinson
Via e-mail

TAKING TIME TO TEACH

I was happy to see that Mick Guzauski was nominated for a TEC Award. While there are many other people who could write about his extraordinary talent as a mix engineer for widely diverse musical styles, I wanted to take a moment to nominate him as a helluva guy. I recently contacted Mick totally out of the blue and asked if he could help a group of high school students who were in my music technology class. Not only did he respond, but he offered us what has to be a very precious commodity: his time. I don't think my students will soon forget his generosity, and I know I won't forget our visit.
Michael Groarke
New York, N.Y.

FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION IT

It's quite funny to read in the last “Feedback” (August 2001) a letter from Andrew Hamilton about the idea of running, maybe someday in the future, a Pro Tools MixPlus on a laptop…(with the adjunction of a Magma PCI expansion unit). That's exactly what I was already doing some years ago, and am still doing now, but with a Soundscape workstation (first a SSHDR1-Plus unit, now an R.Ed), just by connecting it on the printer port of my big, big, powerful, 4-year-old, 133MHz notebook PC! It's still running on Win95 and equipped with a 1.2GB (very slow) drive and a whopping 32 MB of RAM! What do you think of 32 tracks of 24-bit digital audio plus onboard mixing?

Just add the converters, which I did, and this is the setup I use on a regular basis for all my orchestral, choir and big band recordings…and mixes! So, unlike Andrea and Leonard Hospidor wrote in their July “Field Test” of the Soundscape R.Ed, this system really doesn't use the power of the CPU, or the RAM, or the drives, and this is not like Pro Tools!

A last word: Don't be afraid to use it “live.” My system never crashed in more than seven years of (ab)use. Never. In fact, I even use it sometimes live as a source of (multitrack) audio and for mixing! Interested? Just check the Soundscape site: www.soundscape-digital.com.
Luc Henrion
Beta-tester for Soundscape
Belgium

ACOUSTICAL CORRECTIONS

Thank you for covering Illbruck's SONEX products in the recent acoustical materials guide (June 2001). The article unfortunately contains errors and misleading information that give your readers an incorrect impression of Illbruck products and their benefits.

The article does not include the important point that all SONEX panels are available in Willtec foam, which is Class 1 fire-rated for flame spread and smoke density. SONEX panels are available in a wide range of designs and thicknesses, including SONEXone, SONEXclassic and SONEXvalueline. SONEXclassic is not a polyurethane version of SONEXone, which the article states.

SONEX panels are also available in polyurethane for use where fire codes permit. Standard panel (not roll) sizes of SONEX Panels measure 24×48 inches (not 24×28 inches or 64-square-foot roll).
Mary Jones
Public Relations Account Manager
Minneapolis, Minn.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: THE EDUCATOR'S VIEW

While Mr. Lehrman's article (“Insider Audio,” October 2000) made some fine points about Napster and the Internet, I have to agree with Ms. Waldman's position (“Feedback,” December 2000) that the songwriter is the one who stands to be hurt most by sites like Napster, which do not pay royalties for the use of music.

I am in the unique position of being not only a songwriter and record producer, but I am also a music business educator at Queensborough College, in Bayside, N.Y.

I see first-hand how difficult it is to convince young students — who are studying music business, no less — that taking intellectual property without asking, whether it be via sampling or downloading prerecorded music, is theft.

My latest tactic, which seems to get the point across best, is to ask one of my students to give me the keys to their car. At first they are incredulous, then they ask why. I respond that I want to use it and claim “fair use.” It's out there in the lot, so I should be able to use it as I see fit.

When they cry, “But that's my property,” I then respond, “Exactly, just the way a song is someone's property.” If I am not entitled to use your house, car or guitar without your permission, then why should I be allowed to use your song without permission?

The marvelous technology that has made it better for all creative artists has also fostered a form of disrespect for the intellectual property rights of others. The Napster/Internet debate is not just an “us vs. the big guys issue,” but an intellectual property issue. It is crucial that the whole story be told and that young (and old) users of the Internet be conditioned to respond to song theft the same way they would respond to having their lunch money taken from them.
Robert Porembski
Faculty, Queensborough Community College
Bayside, N.Y.

PUTTING IT SIMPLY

I don't understand why it is so difficult to understand a simple fact: If consumers don't pay for recorded music, then the business of music recording will disappear.

Songwriters, producers, musicians, studio owners (like myself), technicians all will have to start working on something different from music recording.

And by the way, Mix magazine will also disappear, unless you just focus on sound-for-picture…until Napster or some other company becomes a “movie-sharing” system over high-speed Internet access.
Alberto Tarantini
Digisound SRL.
Buenos Aires, Argentina

THE SMELL OF ANALOG TAPE IN THE MORNING

I just read your articles on Mix Online on analog tape tutorials. It brought back many wonderful memories. I started working with professional analog tapes back when I was a student at Vanderbilt in Nashville in 1969. I got to use the venerable old Ampex 2-track ¼-inch machines, see the introduction of the 8-track Scully and Ampex recorders, and watch it grow into 16- and 24-track 2-inch behemoths. I work as an engineer in an industry where I do acoustics and sound work, as well as instrumentation and data acquisition, and I have spent many an hour on Honeywell 101 FM instrumentation analog machines inside Marine Corps AAVs and Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicles, recording instrumentation values for dynamic study of the machines.

Today, I use digital flying head machines to record events and find these machines as “finicky” in their own way as the old-style analog decks. The articles brought back many memories about learning, and being a trainee on recorders, calibrating and cleaning and troubleshooting them. The articles were well done, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them.
Blake Van Hoy
Oak Ridge, Tenn.

SLIPPED UNDER OUR RADAR

I would like to comment on and clarify some concerns about the “Got RADAR II?” sidebar article on page 146 of the May issue of Mix. You state that iZ Technology Corporation is offering free downloads of software Version 2.50 for the RADAR II. Because Otari is the exclusive distributor of the RADAR II (a fact that is not mentioned in your article), and because Otari warrantees all of the RADAR products it sells, we also test all software versions extensively before approving them for use in RADAR II recorders. It is also standard practice that a warrantee for a product becomes void if the purchaser modifies the equipment in a way that is not approved by the seller of the product. This applies to the Otari RADAR II, as use of nonapproved software constitutes an unauthorized modification and is in violation of the terms and conditions of the warrantee that Otari offers.

Additionally, I would like to have it understood that Otari deliberately chose not to approve the software Version 2.50, as submitted to us by iZ Technology, because our tests found that, though it did provide a few new features and some minor bug fixes, it contained new bugs and was potentially less stable than the software Version 2.20 that Otari currently distributes free-of-charge to RADAR II customers. Otari has spent 36 years serving the pro audio industry, and we take our commitment to our customers very seriously. It is out of respect for our many customers that we wish to clarify these issues.
Chris Steinwand
Otari Corporation

REPEAT WHEN NECESSARY

I want to say thank you to Paul Lehrman for an entertaining and substantive read in last month's “Insider Audio.” It would appear that the signal processing youth at consoles today have not only stopped listening to what's around them…they also have a dangerous and blithe contempt for all that has gone before in technology and art. What's the old “saw”? “He who ignores history is doomed to repeat the folly of the past.” Again, thanks for sharing your story. I'll be watching for your by-line in the future.
Ron Rolland
Fine Audio Recording Services
Lake Forest, Ill.

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