Letters to Mix

STRAIGHT FACTS ABOUT CROSSROADS Good article on Eric Clapton's Crossroads [Guitar Festival, January 2005]. I just wanted to note that Robert Johnson recorded

Good article on Eric Clapton's “Crossroads [Guitar Festival,” January 2005]. I just wanted to note that Robert Johnson recorded the song “Crossroads” in a San Antonio motel room, not in Memphis. Mix is a great magazine. I look forward to each issue.
Kevin Ossenfort

We're extremely sorry to hear about Toby Gad's problems running Logic TDM with Pro Tools|HD hardware [as reported in the March 2005 “Feedback”]. We've been attempting to contact Toby to discuss his problems, but as of press time, we haven't been able to reach him. While we feel that Toby's problems aren't typical, we all know that's of little comfort when you're trying to complete an important project and meet deadlines!

I'm replying for Digidesign and can't speak directly for the Apple Logic team and the problems that occurred on the support side (Apple may have something to add), but, traditionally, we've worked tightly with the Logic folks to ensure that we mutually run our products through extensive testing. In fact, we require testing of the most recent versions of Logic before our major Pro Tools software or hardware releases, and everything is tested, from track count to automation to plug-in operation.

If and when users experience problems, Apple and Digidesign both provide a combination of Web resources, phone support and a knowledgeable dealer network to assist users. In Toby's case, we took a single support call from him regarding an error he received, gave him some things to try and did not hear from him after that. I wish we had heard from him later so we might have tried to help him through this.

Pro Tools|HD systems are in use in mission-critical applications that music creation pros depend on every day — including live tracking and large-scale mixing. Working together, our products offer a powerful production environment that is not available elsewhere, with high-quality, large-scale I/O, low-latency, guaranteed high track count and world-class “power on demand” plug-ins, with no dropped samples, glitches or requirements for larger buffers. Users can access the power of host processing in combination with DSP power and can move smoothly and transparently between the “native” world and TDM.

Ultimately, Toby made a tough call that may work for him, but a lot of other working pros continue to draw on benefits and functionality they have experienced with Pro Tools|HD systems (whether with Logic or Pro Tools software as a front end). I personally care a lot about Toby's bad experience — we all do here — and hope that we can serve him again in the future.
Dave Lebolt
General manager, Digidesign

I read with interest [the February 4, 2005, issue of] “Blair's Blog” [a regular feature by senior editor Blair Jackson in MixLine, one of two bi-monthly online newsletters available from Mix at www.mixonline.com], and I think you should pass on to him that members of the Academy vote only in areas in which they feel they have some knowledge. Because there are only 12,000 members worldwide, we vote in only nine out of 40-plus areas. The record companies that produce many of the current nominations have many Academy members working for them and are naturally out in force voting for their artists.

As only Academy members can submit nominations, groups that want to be nominated have to have some relationship with a member. Until this year, we have not had a way of listening to the hundreds of nominations that are presented in the various categories. Members are not allowed to canvas other members to ask for their vote, so it often becomes a popularity contest. Most of us have never heard of many of the artists nominated.

In the final vote this year, the Academy and iTunes joined ranks to give members a way to hear the top picks up for a vote. I had written the Academy more than a year ago requesting that nominations should include a Web address where we can actually listen to who's doing what, and now it seems we're moving in that direction.
Gary Smith
Gary Smith Productions

It's true that electronic equipment can take the place of learning instruments, at least for a while, but people still love a great song and a good singer. Alicia Keys and bands like Train play real music on real instruments, while the posers do their thing and the new beat poetry called rap/hip hop grows and evolves. Britune may think that there's no time left to make intelligent music, but that's not really so now, is it?

Wasn't it the Dixie Chicks who went Platinum several times over and had real songs and good looks, too? They had it together and it beats the mixers and posers hands-down.

I would like to comment on the March 2005 issue, in particular, to once again praise Stephen St.Croix (“Two Questions”) and Paul Lehrman (“A Talk With John Chowning”), whose columns seemed obliquely aligned. Both made me question if the technology is really as much of an asset as it seems. While I make no claims to be a great engineer or producer, I always strive to improve.

When I started, my goal was to document a sound as accurately as I could. As time has passed, I have found that clients normally want the recorded sound to be better than the original. This is in direct conflict with the “garbage in, garbage out” mantra I learned as a youth. Now with the common practice of looping, virtual instruments and swapping samples for instruments, we seem farther removed from the source than ever. In essence, by the time we have the production CD, we are hearing a recording of the recording of the recording of the recording of the recording. That assumes the sample or virtual instrument is not a fifth-generation recording.

My point is I'm lost. What is our job these days? While I am all for the control and flexibility offered with DAWs, virtual instruments and convolution reverbs, if I have to construct or modify every performance, I am more of an editor than an engineer. I'd rather be invisible. I'd rather capture the sound of air moving in a room. Somehow, I have a sinking feeling that's not the future.

St.Croix and Lehrman's columns are always thought-provoking and engaging and the chief reason I subscribe. Keep up the great work! Thank you.
Todd Zimmerman
Studio 139

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