AN APPLE WITHOUT BUGS
In the article “Taking the G5 Live!” by Kevin Becka (February 2004), I think the author [may have] encountered a bug with the G5's front FireWire port under the “Video, Too” section. Becka says, “What didn't work was when we tried to take the QuickTime video out of the second FireWire port to a DV cam, then out to a second projector and screen onstage. When doing so, we could get the video out to the DV camera, but once we played the song and all was in sync, it resulted in some serious dropouts.”
If Becka was actually referring to the “second FireWire port” as the front FireWire port on the G5, then he should be aware that Apple has an internally documented issue with the front FireWire port on Power Mac G5s. The symptoms of the issue are that when a DV video device is connected to the front FireWire port, the video and audio playback/capture suffers from severe dropouts and occassional device disconnections. When the same device is connected to the rear FireWire 400 port, there are no problems at all. Apple support says that this is a hot issue and has been escalated to top-level engineers.
I experienced the same problem with a new dual 2.0GHz G5 system when I connected a Canon GL2 video camcorder to the front FireWire port. The problem can be seen when trying to capture video from the camcorder into iMovie or Final Cut Pro 4.1.1. I took my camcorder into an Apple Store to try capturing on a single 1.6GHz G5. Strangely enough, I did not experience any problems with the front FireWire port.
Some other G5 users have reported similar problems on the Apple Discussion forums. [To visit Apple's Discussion forum, go to http://discussions.info.apple.com and choose a topic. — Eds.]
PLAYING THE GAME RIGHT
I just wanted to congratulate you and your colleagues at Mix magazine on a terrific job covering game audio in this month's issue. Please pass our thanks to the entire team. Fantastic work and some great research on your part — you guys really did your homework! Thank you.
In the January 2004 issue of Mix, the article “Let It Be…Naked” states that The Beatles' last concert used the Neumann KM84i for vocal mics. They wouldn't have [had] a KM84i, as the “i” stands for a U.S. export version of the mic with an XLR connector instead of Tuchel. Those are AKG C28s, which also offered a capsule extension rod. The available Neumann extension rod was not nearly as long as some of the available AKG C28 extensions. You see the AKG C28 in quite a few Beatles sessions from this era. If you look at pictures from the rooftop concert, the mic body is about twice as long as a Neumann KM84.
INTEGRATION FOR WHO?
I am sure that Mr. Jobs appreciates Mr. St.Croix's shrine in the corner of his living room. But before he nominates Mr. Jobs for some sort of Nobel Prize, I have to wonder how many times Mr. St.Croix has labored for untold hours over a product on a PC, only to have it rejected by the operating system when trying to import it? All simply because the OS prefers its own proprietary format? As a person that regularly moves between the two platforms, more than one tastefully designed little plastic box has been spared a horrible fate simply by the fact that a sledgehammer wasn't handy at the moment. Maybe some more consideration should go into Jobs' King of Integration title?
As one local Apple sales representative told me, “You just have to learn the little tricks to get around it.” Tricks?! When I purchase a tool, I shouldn't have to learn any “tricks” to make it do what it claims it can do. I think we can all thank our lucky stars that auto manufacturers don't design their vehicles to run on only certain brands of gasoline. (Although, I am sure they have considered it.) Or how about a saw that only cuts pine? An oven that only cooks certain types of food? It's a marketing dead-end, no matter how “tactilely beautiful” they may be.
Computer manufacturers remind me not of Mercedes and Maseratis, but of adolescent-minded 4×4 truck owners with the all-too-visible Bad Boy stickers on the rear windows performing unsanitary acts on the logos of their competitors. Computers are a tool and not a lifestyle, no matter how clever the marketing campaign, and they should serve the needs of the people who use them. That will get them the market share.
A SCHEMATIC FROM THE PAST
Imagine my surprise when I opened to the “Tech's Files” (February 2004) and saw part of my 1973 Omnipressor™ schematic (including original handwriting) and my trick of limiting op amp output with pin 8 discussed in detail — 30 years later. The final touch: seeing Eventide's ad for the Legendary Legacy plug-ins of the same 1970s classics. A real blast from the past!
Eventide Clockworks started in the basement of Sound Exchange, a small studio at 54th Street and 8th Avenue. We worked with Richard Factor and Tony Agnello on the early digital delay lines, a bucket brigade Flanger and the Instant Phaser. Ah, yes, discrete analog design, incandescent pilot lights, handmade wiring harnesses and TTL logic! What a time. It was the beginning of a revolution in sound processing and the transition to digital audio. How far we have all traveled in the three decades since!
AMP TO FIT
Paul Lehrman's article “In a Silent Way” (March 2004) reminded me of Tony Bennett's performance with pianist Ralph Sharon in Auckland a few years ago. Due to traffic problems, my wife and I arrived at the venue — a large acoustically challenged hall — slightly late.
We entered the auditorium a couple of minutes into Mr. Bennett's opening number and my immediate thought was that part of the P.A. system had failed. After a few minutes, however, our ears adjusted to the low volume and we were treated to a superb concert where the P.A. system was — in the most literal sense — merely “reinforcing” the true sounds of the performers. The minimal amount of amplification brought a wonderful, emotional honesty and immediacy to the performance.
Ian G. Morris
Tonewright, New Zealand
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