THE DOPPLER EFFECT
During the years, I have looked to Mix for factual and up-to-date articles on the recording business and I would say in general that Mix is the premier source for information about our industry. However, a recent article on recording in Atlanta (June 2004, “Life Is Peachy”) gives me cause for concern. Doppler Studios (pictured) is not mentioned in the article.
Now I suppose a lot of studios can say they weren't mentioned, and I'd bet that every time you feature a city or region, somebody feels like they've been left out. I'm not one for bragging and chest-thumping, [but] I find it hard to believe that a quality article on music recording in Atlanta would fail to cover activities at Doppler Studios — especially an article in Mix — because we regularly send you news on sessions here and you faithfully publish most of them.
Since last fall, we've had sessions with Whitney Houston, Chingy, Dropsonic, Monica, Ludacris, Disturbing tha Peace, Maxi Priest, Yolanda Adams, Holly Williams and others. We tracked an album for Third Day with producer Paul Ebersold, hosted a 5.1 mix session for Incubus with producer Brendan O'Brien and engineer Nick DiDia, and Kevin Bond won two Grammy® Awards for his work here with T.D. Jakes and Donnie McClurkin.
I don't know what phenomenon caused you to miss us. I'm a little disappointed, but I'll get over it. And I'm still going to read your magazine.
I just read George Petersen's piece [“Editor's Notes,” July 2004] on Clear Channel's claim that it controls all live recordings available on the day of the event. Like him, as soon as I heard the story, I immediately went to www.uspto.gov to read the patent. Petersen's description of the patent says it all: It's like getting a John Deere lawn mower, a weed eater and a leaf rake and claiming a patent on lawn care.
I'm 54, been across the planet a couple of times playing music and sold a couple million records. Still broke. Point being, I've seen a lot of screwy, unbelievable stuff. This Clear Channel move, along with the patent itself, is the most outrageous thing I have ever heard of. Though not at all a patent authority, I'm pretty sure that a patent is not [supposed to be] attainable if the idea has already been done or is so logical that someone in that art would come up with the same idea. J.J. Cale first told me his idea of a truckload of cassette duplicators at the gig so everybody could leave with a copy of the show they had just seen, 30 years ago.
We need to get a large legal firm (a prominent music attorney advises to go outside of the music business) to do some pro bono work and challenge the patent on behalf of the whole industry. Maybe if we stop Clear Channel on this one, it will expose its overall modus operandi that it will mark the beginning of its demise.
Thanks. Keep after them.
MORE THAN JUST A MEMORY
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed (and admired) your decision to put the picture of Sinatra, “The Singer and the Song,” on the last page of the recent [May 2004] issue. The magic of music is what recording engineers still want to capture and it often starts with a song and a singer. Very sentimental and right-on. I taped that page to my office wall.
Hal Leonard Publishing
TUNING IN TO RADIO
The Nashville music scene is a tough market to get any recognition. Most people in the biz are out for themselves and have little time for the many talented people who follow their creative hearts and musical passions. In Rick Clark's “Nashville Skyline” (July 2004), he calls attention to the Nashville music scene not for the Music Row perspective, but from the neighborly side of the music business that makes the majority of the Nashville talent base.
Nashville is a fantastic town for music. As the owner of the Radio Café, I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with outstanding musicians and songwriters not from 16th Avenue (Music Row), but right here in East Nashville. Rick briefly rippled the surface of the talent pool and brought forward the neighborly side of a tough road to hold. My old friend and soundman, Skip Litz, was a fine example of the true heart of music production. He worked for the love and enjoyment of creating music.
Although most people give credit to Music Row for the Nashville music scene, your magazine has realized that music comes from the hearts and front porches of songwriters and musicians. In our community, every house has a porch and every other house has a songwriter or musician hanging around waiting for their buddy to drop by to pick, sing and write.
Thanks for the attention and goodwill.
PRODUCER VERSION 2.0
In “Feedback” (July 2004), Todd Zimmerman touched on some topics that are 180 degrees out-of-phase with my personal reality. He spoke of homogenizing audio through new technology. In response to his letter, “The New Means of Over-Production?” which addressed the future of digital via the virtual studio, I'd like to reply with the following thoughts.
Yes, you can see complete detail clearly on a computer. It is what we use a VU meter and a 'scope for. But nothing has changed — we are still using our eyes.
Yes, our plug-ins are going to [become] obsolete, but so has our ½-inch 2-track.
Yes, the medium is more precise and, thus, more repeatable. This has changed, but this is where, as great producers, we need to change so we [don't become] obsolete.
Embrace the state-of-the-art. Do it better. Tweak your plug-ins longer to get the sound you like. EQ tracks with your seasoned ear. It is nondestructive; you can undo instantly! Mix it five ways and listen to it in the car and on your boom box in the garage. Today, you can render your five-minute song and burn it to CD faster than it would take to listen to half of the song in real time! No more ground loop hums and cross-track bleeds. There's less time taken in setting up logistics and more time to be creative.
Dialing-in an old sound or coming up with a great new one is in our hands. When we hold on to the past and lose touch with [what's new] and state-of-the-art, it's not just our old rack gear going obsolete: We do.
Scott Webb Creations Sound Design
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