Letters to Mix

INNER CONFLICT Great article with Rodney Jerkins (December 2004). But, man, next time tell him not to smile so much! Nobody could miss how happy that

Great article with Rodney Jerkins (December 2004). But, man, next time tell him not to smile so much! Nobody could miss how happy that guy is!

Seriously, though, I wish there was a Rough Mix: That would be my rag. Instead of producers of the universe flashing their bling, there would be guys showcased — such as Peter R. Kelsey and Leslie Chew (RED Productions, L.A.) and Rich Goldman and his team (Riptide Music, L.A.) — who produce all day, all the time. Just amazing, in-the-trenches — type people.

I love Rodney: He's tough and makes great records. But seeing all the bling and all the talk of Number Ones and “extra blessings” that enable one to purchase cars and houses and airplanes, well, makes me jealous. But more so, I just turned the page and looked at the pictures of new gear — it was sort of cheesy. I wanted to call Rodney and ask him if he could help me pay my rent.

I want to hear about the guys who hooked up a Variac to an 1176 or put a small nuclear device in the insert of [a] lead guitarist's channel strip to make the solo stand out — well, maybe not that — but guys who drive the trade, and not just [featuring them] in the back of the magazine in some blurb.

Mix is and always will be the de facto standard. I've read it since I was in my teens. I'm 42 now, so don't think this was easy for me to write.

Us little guys, the ones who constitute the lifeblood of the industry (my peers much more than me), are still blowing things up and electrocuting themselves, all to further the careers of the producer — and to make better records, of course. They deserve some kudos in a very big way.
Robb Howell
Painted Horse Studio, Peace Machine
Tustin, CA

Sorry that my first letter to Mix is a complaint. I've been a regular reader for most of the past 20 years and have subscribed for the last year. In all this time, there hasn't been anything to complain about. (Well, the cover ink does rub off on your fingers sometimes.)

The past couple of issues have had a Yamaha ad insert on heavy stock, with an adhesive line to attach to a magazine page. Problem is, no matter how careful I am, I can't seem to remove the ad without tearing the page. Last month, I ripped Paul Lehrman. This month, Eddie Ciletti. Now, these are two of my favorite columnists who I read faithfully, but it's pretty hard to do so when you have to re-attach shreds of paper. I hope next month's ad isn't attached to Stephen St.Croix. I'd hate to set him off.

Thanks for publishing a consistently excellent magazine over many years. But please stop sticking ads to the page with this infernal goop.
Mike Marston

I have been a Mix reader for a number of years and, as of late, I dread picking up and reading through the magazine. Why? Because by the time I am done, there are fingerprints on the cover and the ink is on my hands. This problem started occurring with the August 2004 issue. Please tell the bean counters to spend the money so the ink stays on the page.
Brian Long

I have been a Logic user since the Atari days and have done more than 60 records with Logic. I began using Logic (then called Creator) with 24-track machines, then with DA-88s, then with [Pro Tools]|Mix24 and three Farm cards and it was a solid system. Last year, I switched to a G5 dual 2.5 with OS X; hence, I had to sell the Mix24 and buy a [Pro Tools]|HD2 system to continue my productions with all my TDM plug-ins.

That is where my one-year nightmare began. After everything was installed by a New York City-based Logic technician, I began working with the system (some big live sessions with lots of TDM plug-ins, 24 direct TDM instruments, 24 DTDM audio tracks with different sample rates and 64 DAE audio tracks). Toward the end of every mix, once all plug-in and automation data was written, Logic crashed. And I mean self-destructive, nasty OS X crashes that kept reoccurring, even when I restarted the song with much earlier versions. The song just closed down without warning and corrupted itself so that the next crash would follow about one hour later, the next one 10 minutes later — until I had to finish the mix in 30-second fragments from crash to crash.

Ironically, the first answer I got from Apple Care/Emagic when I called was, “Who said Logic would work with Digidesign's HD?” I thought this was a joke and asked for another Logic specialist. Emagic figured [that] maybe it was [happening] because of plug-in incompatibilities. Waves even admitted [to] not being compatible with Logic 7 and sent me a new beta version for the TDM Platinum bundle. After I disabled the plug-ins, it still crashed because of the memory chips, which I replaced. I made new environments, mixed without DTDM, downgraded from Logic 7 to Logic 6.4.3, upgraded to the Pro Tools 6.7 DAE, tried mixing without Logic Control, without MIDI, got a second internal drive and installed a brand-new OS 10.3.2 system, because Digidesign was not yet compatible with 10.3.4.

[After all of this,] it would work for a day or so, but toward the end of every mix, it would crash again. I spent countless hours consulting three different people at Apple/Logic tech support via phone and e-mail, e-mailed them hundreds of crash log files — I even paid hundreds of dollars to two Logic specialists that Emagic recommended. I tried just about anything to fix the problem, but the system still crashed at some point, in almost every production.

After that album was mixed, I started the next production without DAE, without TDM and DTDM — just native with only Logic plug-ins — and no more crashes. With larger disk buffers and some tweaking, I now run 64 audio tracks with tons of plug-ins and automation, along with 24 ESX and ES2 instruments. I feel like an idiot for having spent $17,000 for something that Logic can handle natively with a dual-2.5 G5. Next week, I'll put the [Pro Tools]|HD2, the Platinum Waves and all the TDM plug-ins on eBay and look forward to a crash-proof, stripped-down native future with Logic.

Digidesign Pro Tools|HD might be a great system, and it might even work with Logic for less-complicated arrangements (without lots of automation), but it's just not the Number One pro solution for Logic producers anymore like it used to be. I wish someone had told me before the investment. Hopefully, this letter can save some colleagues the headaches I went through.
Toby Gad
New York City

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