Letters to Mix

TRY THIS ON FOR SIZE After reading your article on mixing drums (The Inside Track) in the January 2007 issue, I'd like to offer an additional technique

After reading your article on mixing drums (“The Inside Track”) in the January 2007 issue, I'd like to offer an additional technique to help center the snare drum in the mix. Try using an X/Y pair of microphones as overheads and aim them at the center of the snare drum. (I'll usually bring this pair of mics in from the rear of the kit and boomed over the drummer's head.) The mics will look off-center hanging over the kit, but there are a couple of benefits: The drummer's head is usually centered on the snare drum, so it's natural-sounding from the player's perspective. It helps to avoid the phase cancellations created when a lot of microphones are used together.

A spot mic on the hi-hat usually isn't needed, further reducing the number of mics on the kit. Aiming the X/Y pair over the middle of the snare drum moves the microphones closer to the hi-hat so that it becomes more prominent in the overhead drum mix. The ride cymbal also tends to balance better in the overall drum mix using this placement.
Dan Guerrie

I have been a dedicated reader of Mix since the 1980s, and I always look forward to my monthly issue, which I never fail to read cover to cover. One of my favorite columns, of course, was “The Fast Lane” by Stephen St.Croix. I still look back at those articles and often laugh aloud at his irreverence — and sometimes his prescience. Are there any plans to compile his writings into a book?
Michael “Fraz” Kirch

Many of Mix's longtime readers have asked us to publish Stephen St.Croix's “The Fast Lane” columns in book form. We are presently compiling a selection of columns, along with many of Steve's personal photos and drawings, for a collection to be published by MixBooks this year. Watch for a formal announcement in Mix and on

There are many moments in life when I think all of us experience feelings about whether what we do actually has some effect on others. I feel compelled to write after the shock of the news of the passing of Stephen St.Croix.

I have been an avid reader of Mix since 1985. Traditionally, after scanning the cover and briefly looking at the “Table of Contents,” I've always read Stephen's articles first. They truly have brought me tremendous enjoyment and laughter at his humor, insight and awareness by the poignancy of his viewpoints and breadth of knowledge. He [always helped me feel] that someone else perhaps feels as I do, and has a voice and ability to let these ideas be heard. He has truly been an inspiration to me and, I am confident, to many others.

It has been fascinating to me to grieve for someone I have never met, yet feel so connected to through his writing. There were so many instances when I wanted to write to him and say, “Yeah, you're right,” or, “Thanks for bringing it up.” Sadly, now it is too late. He has, as he stated in his last article, “been writing personal letters to his friends,” and this friend just wanted to send a long belated and much overdue “Thank you, Stephen!”
Frank Prpic
Platinum Glass Productions

I have a question for Bobby Frasier regarding his October 2006 review of JBL's LSR 4328P. You mention that overlap on the shelving EQ bands would enable you to quiet down the 1kHz range that seems a little forward. The overlap seems like a good idea, but because the frequency range you want to drop happens to be at the boundary between EQ bands, could you not drop it, in effect by using gain on both bands and setting the corners to either side of 1 kHz?
Chris Dobson

Chris, you are absolutely correct. It will work this way, but to get just a 1dB “drop” in relation to the 2dB boost you've entered, you need to have your “corner frequencies” set at about 667 Hz on the low shelf and 1.37 kHz on the high shelf. To get a 2dB drop, the corners go out to about 354 Hz and 2.59 kHz, respectively, due to the nature of the filter slopes (as witnessed on their software graph), effecting quite a bit of territory around 1 kHz. So, more correctly, I should have requested a variable slope in future updates for more of a notch effect. But again, you are correct, sir!
— Bobby Frasier

Regarding Heather Johnson's piece “Sting With Edin Karamazov” (December 2006 “Recording Notes”) about Sting's new CD of songs by John Dowland, I know the lute produces a soft sound and is not easy to record well. But the solution is definitely not the gross compression that afflicts the sound of this CD. Among all the folks who were involved in the recording and mastering, didn't anyone notice the grotesque sound?
Doug Pomeroy
Pomeroy Audio

In reading the December 2006 Mix, I came across the article on the Romus Studio in Italy (“Sound for Picture”). It looks like a very beautiful, well-designed space, and it probably sounds fantastic. However, my gripe is with a new acronym I came across in the article: “SAE,” which stands for “Stealth Acoustic Environment.”

According to the article, the SAE technique is based on military applications that enable planes and ships to give low radar return. According to designer Giuseppe Zappata, this design “sculpted” the area around the sound engineers' listening point to trap the flow of acoustic energy. I don't know how far behind the technology is in Italy, but in the U.S., during the past 20 or 25 years, most control room designs have tried to minimize reflections at the mix position. If Zappata really has a new design breakthrough in reducing reflections at the mix position, I would love to hear more about it. But if SAE is just the new $0.50 (or 0.38 Euro) B.S. buzzword acronym for the S.O.S., I would love to see this term packed away with my “digital speaker cable.”
Kip Williams

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