LOS SUPER MEMORIES
Because pop music is so heavily tied into our memories, your April article on Los Super Seven [“Recording Notes”] sent me to the reference books, as something didn't seem correct.
“Talk to Me” charted in late 1963, not the late '50s, as implied in the review. Also, the label credited the hit to Sunny & The Sunglows, although Sunny did have later releases as Sunny & The Sunliners.
You're right, Frank. I should have clarified that it was the Little Willie John version of the song that hit Number 5 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1958. — Blair Jackson
CAKE INSPIRES MUSICIANS ON MODEST BUDGETS
Bravo on the recent Cake profile [“Tour Profile,” January 2005]! In the 18 months that I've been a Mix reader, I think this is the first time you've featured an artist or group who didn't use $100,000 or more on equipment. Though I understand the need to cover as diverse a selection of artists as possible to satisfy the greatest number of subscribers, it seems like you could achieve that goal and avoid stepping on the spirits of economically challenged readers such as myself by including more features on “affordable” production.
Who are your subscribers? To have the information about equipment and other expenses be of use to anyone, they would have to be either a successful professional or financially well-endowed. In the case of the former, mentioning Avalon preamps and Access Virus synths would be of little use, as a highly successful professional would no doubt be collaborating with others who would supply info about all of the latest gear. In the case of the latter, well, I guess it must be nice to have what essentially amounts to a monthly guide to spending money, but for the other 95 percent of us, working at shitty jobs and saving money for nine months to buy Ableton Live, how about integrating equipment reviews, artist profiles and articles that show what a motivated starving artist can do with a minimum amount of gear?
To end on a positive note, I'd like to say thanks for representing the electronic music community as extensively as you do. Minor quirks aside, your magazine is still more useful and interesting than other music periodicals.
JIGGLER TRUMPS CAFFEINE, KEEPS PRO TOOLS AWAKE
I just finished reading the April issue of Mix, and I'd like to make a comment regarding Paul Lehrman's “Insider Audio” column. “No Sleep for the Weary” details problems with audio interfaces if the Macintosh goes to sleep. While I cannot find anything in Digidesign's compatibility documents for Pro Tools LE Version 6.7 stating this explicitly, I've always been told by Digidesign to disable Sleep mode on any Mac using Pro Tools (although the software being used with M-Audio's FireWire Solo is not mentioned).
However, if Sleep [mode] is desired when Pro Tools is not running, then Jiggler V. 1.2 (www.sticksoftware.com/software/Jiggler.html) is in order. This freeware application from Stick Software can be configured so that the mouse is automatically jiggled at a user-specified interval when Pro Tools is running, but there is no user input from a keyboard or mouse, thus preventing the Mac from ever falling asleep while Pro Tools LE is running. It should be noted that I have no ties to Stick Software.
Jonathan S. Abrams
Chief engineer, Nutmeg Audio Post
New York City
OF VIDEO SCALERS AND AC POWER UNITS
I'd like to address two small technical issues from the April 2005 Mix. The first is a statement in Stephen St.Croix's [“Fast Lane”] column on digital video scalers [“With Snake Oil Comes Scales”]. He is absolutely correct that scaling (or interpolation) between a given signal and a display's native pixel layout is a big cause of image ugliness. (This goes for those nifty LCD screens on everyone's desks, as well.) It is also quite possible that the product he mentioned looks great.
Unfortunately, St.Croix was overly enthusiastic when he stated that the SDI video connection is “raw data direct from the reading laser.” SDI is a video interconnection common in digital broadcast equipment, such as VTRs. In its standard-def form, it is a data stream that represents analog component video (Y, R-Y, B-Y) at a particular sample rate and bit depth. Raw data from the DVD must be converted to the SDI standard as DVDs are MPEG-compressed. Fortunately, SDI is a much higher data rate, typically 270 Mb/sec, so the effect is essentially transparent. This also explains why there are no inexpensive hacks to put an SDI output on any DVD player. This requires actual circuitry, not just software changes.
My other comment is in regards to the review of the Monster Cable [AVS 2000 Pro and Pro 7000 Studio AC Power Units in “Auditions,” April 2005 issue]. First is the mention that the stabilization effects of the AVS 2000 can also be achieved with a true on-line UPS (one that continuously makes AC power from the battery side of the system, giving complete isolation from the power line) with the added benefit of power failure backup. Second, claims about the audible end result of any power conditioning product should be taken quite skeptically, unless careful blind testing has been done. Balanced power systems have proven their ability to improve certain audio problems under certain conditions. Beyond that, beware of transformers, isolators, cables, plugs and anything else that claims to improve performance by improving the supplied power.
Lab Tech Systems
INDIE COMPOSERS IMPACT MUSIC LIBRARIES
Sarah Benzuly's article [“Production Music Libraries,” April 2005] was an interesting insight into new delivery methods that production music libraries are often reluctant to discuss directly with their end-users. The trend toward online searches and downloads are often a hassle for end-users due to multiple accounts and passwords.
Interesting that the article did not address online music distribution services that offer music from true indie composers. Composers can upload directly and pay a small fee each time a track is sold — mostly via credit card. Anyone can log on, anyone can search and listen and anyone can buy, usually at a fraction of the cost charged by traditional music libraries.
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