FACTOR REALITY IN THE FANTASY
I was psyched when I saw your “Fantasy Studio Shopping Spree” [October 2004]. What a cool idea: gear recommendations to outfit a complete studio for three different budgets. My [excitement] turned to dismay when I read the article and saw that acoustic treatment has again been slighted. The author assumed that all this fabulous gear has “an awaiting, ideal environment.” In my experience, the vast majority of studios have anything but an ideal environment. What control rooms need most isn't more gear but acoustic treatment and bass traps.
The acoustic quality of the room you record in is arguably more important than which microphones or preamps you use. In a control room, having bass traps will help you get an accurate and portable mix more easily than any brand of monitor or outboard gear. Yet all I see are reviews of microphones, preamps, monitors and outboard gear.
The growing number of companies that provide acoustic treatment to enlightened audio pros proves the worth of these products. Mix should do its best to educate readers rather than dismiss an entire class of products that offer great benefit.
PROPER ACOUSTICS, PROPER MIX
I have noticed that in the past two years, there has not been an article on the importance of room acoustics. After getting my new issue yesterday and seeing “Studio Shopping” and there being not one mention of acoustics or acoustic products in the budget, I was alarmed. People are forgetting how important the room is!
Anyone can go out and buy gear from Guitar Center or Sam Ash, but without a proper room, the mix is never going to be right anyway! I propose that Mix write an article on the importance of acoustics and proper studios for tracking and especially mixing!
[For our latest coverage on room acoustics, please refer to Mix's two-part series, published in June and July 2004. Bob Hodas' “Homeward Bound: The Move to the Small Studio” addresses acoustics issues that arise when building and tuning a project studio. These articles can be found onwww.mixonline.com. — Eds.]
PAIN OR PLEASURE?
Part two of [Stephen St.Croix's] three-part series, “I Can See for Miles and Miles” [August 2004], makes me feel much better about my frustration with the Yamaha Motif Series of keyboards. I mistakenly purchased a Motif 6 last year.
I should have known better: Recollections of trying to navigate the programming in the last Yamaha keyboard that I used regularly, the venerable DX7, should have steered me clear. I turned my back on Yamaha for decades [after enduring] nights bleary-eyed and thumbing through the manual spread open over the DX's cover. I became an Ensoniq devotee, owning several of its keyboards and I still appreciate the ease of programming both sounds and sequences with Ensoniq as compared to “modern” computer-based sequencing programs. It is sad to me that they really are no longer a force in the market, even [under] the guise of E-mu.
But as fate would have it, I was wooed and coaxed by the siren song of the Motif. What heavenly sounds come forth from the Motif, but what devils lie in wait in the corners of the logic of this torture device! Unfortunately, history does repeat itself and fools do not learn from their own mistakes.
Your article was affirming to me that I am not crazy — that I might still be able to understand newer keyboard technology. I had given up hope. Perhaps the future is not so dim and I can look forward to the day of buying a new workstation keyboard and be able to actually use it for more than a masochistic experience.
NAMING THE NEW GUARD
I have been a Mix reader for about 15 years now. I engineer all types of music: country/western, rock, R&B, gospel and hip hop. I appreciate your coverage on the different engineers in music.
I feel that you have missed one engineer in particular whose successes are just as good as some of the household names we are all familiar with: Elliot Scheiner, Jimmy Douglass, Mick Guzauski, Bruce Swedien.
The records Steve Hodge has recorded and mixed for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis at Flyte Tyme definitely should earn him the praise of Mix magazine. I am sure that they would echo this sentiment. I think it would be fair enough to say that it's time to provide some coverage to the great recordings this man has provided to the music industry.
The sound of Jam and Lewis' records over the years has been brilliant, and I think it is due to incredible writing and the abilities of engineer Steve Hodge. I would love to see a story on the techniques that he uses as an audio engineer.
Kelvin D. Grimble
P.A.R. Audio Recording
[I'm] from the band The Rosenbergs in New York City. I read your piece on promoters and concert tickets and couldn't agree more [“There's a New Trend in Town,” May 2004]. However, I do think there's one other main factor: Clear Channel. A few weeks ago, the Dennis Miller Show asked me to put together a three-person panel to discuss media consolidation, so I brought along Art Alexakis of Everclear and Rah Digga from Busta Rhymes' band. We had fun with it, but our message was serious: Clear Channel is quickly becoming the “OPEC” of the concert industry. By owning companies such as SFX and every major radio station from here to Mars, they're free to charge what they want for tickets, play the six artists they deem worthy and make off with the lion's share of the profits.
I used to work for Delsener/Slater before they were bought out by SFX, and the things I saw then were nothing compared to the way it is now with regard to “Let's charge what we want and who cares about the consumer.”
A friend of mine, Henry Gomez, at Crain's Business just did a piece on Clear Channel reducing its commercial time across Ohio, which will allow them to charge advertisers more for the few remaining coveted spots — not to mention the lucky listeners who get to hear the same six artists three more times in a day — and everyone wonders why the business is in the state it's in?
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