Jump to content

Brittanylips

Members
  • Posts

    815
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Brittanylips

  1. Originally posted by MikeRivers However, the button says "48V." It seems that too may people think that "48V" is shorthand for "phantom power" perhaps along the same line as they think that "phase" is short for "polarity." I looked at the specs in the manual and, by golly, it says Phantom Power +48V +/- 20% You (just barely) meet your own specification, ignoring the fractions, with 38V being 48V -20%. I may be wrong about this, but I don't recall seeing "ignoring the fractions" when I read through this the other day. If you've recently added this, I tip my hat to you, even though I preferrred it the other way. I've come to realize that this format has its own reality, sort of like the island on LOST, where "20%" is, well, a little more than 20%, and 48 = 37.5, 38, or 1,405. A rose is a rose is a rose, +- 20%, and ignoring the fractions. forget about legal statute that protects consumers against mislabeling, I can't imagine for the life of me someone like, I don't know, Rick Chin signing off on this one. But I appreciate your candor. Seriously! -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  2. Originally posted by MikeRivers Your continuous ranting about corporate responsibility and responsiveness belongs elsewhere. I do not rant about corporate responsibility or responsiveness. You're confusing me with other posters. On the few occassions that I rant, I rant about other things. -plb
  3. Originally posted by Anderton But really...don't these posts belong in the 400F thread, which is still open and available for posting I thought about that but decided to respond in this thread since i was responding to something you said (and exists) in this thread. I apologize for taking the thread off topic and hope that no one thinks my little rant has anything to do with the Satellite itself which, FWIW, looks pretty cool to me. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  4. Originally posted by Anderton I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that people have experienced problems, the 400F thread is a testimony to that. But what was particularly frustrating for me was that I couldn't duplicate the experiences so I could figure out how to solve them, which I believe is part of my role with as the "moderator" of the Pro Review. I never knew if people were having a computer issue, a something else issue, another FireWire device on the same bus issue, the phase of the moon, or all of the above. It would be possible to argue that you give a disproportionate weight to the people who experienced problems, given the universe of 400F owners. I’m not weighting their responses, I’m just counting them, pre-weighting (like pre-fader). I accept that there are all sorts of reasons why some of the accounts of problems may not deserve much weight. But in giving three reasons for the length of the 400f thread, you end by saying “Third, although the majority of users reported no problems, a small group experienced weird FireWire "whines" and some other issues that stubbornly resisted solutions. Oddly, this seemed to be pretty much a Mac-only phenomenon, and only certain Mac models at that.” In fact, a majority not minority of users reported problems, and the problems were generally not mac-related. So I was baffled and responded. Probably should have kept my mouth shut. In any case, having read your response, to be accurate, why not say something like “Although a majority of users reported problems, try as I might, I was unable to replicate them with my unit. Furthermore, I have since found a solution to the mac-related whine problem plaguing some users. And given a reported rate of return of only 1%, I don't believe the problems expressed by early adapters in that thread represent overall customer satisfaction.” Originally posted by Anderton Because simply posting the number doesn't explain what the problems are with people who DID/DO experience problems. Ideally, people would explain problems, and others would be able to contribute a solution. To me, THAT'S the value of a Pro Review: One complains not just for the sake of complaining, but to find a solution, which (let me reiterate) is why it was frustrating that I couldn't experience the problems people were having. Understood. I accept that and realize that finding solutions (and having access to someone like yourself for troubleshooting) is fantastic. At the same time, if a product engenders report after report of bliss or grief, that’s helpful information. As much as the internet attracts complainers, I find that an awful lot of times, there’s wisdom in the sheer number and diversity of actual user experiences, and there’s an awful lot of bliss reported as well. George Petersen told me a story about how he once published an article about a product from a major manufacturer, I think it was Tascam, that was causing a lot of grief. The company complained to him, but he stood by it and in the scheme of things, even though he explained that that’s not what MIX was about, he felt compelled to do it. It’s almost impossible to imagine that what happened in the 400f thread would repeat. But the fact that almost every participant in the thread had some problem to report is itself worth reporting. Then, however you account for that, weight it, describe it, debunk it, explain it, put it in context, (post-fader) is however you choose to do it. But IMHO there’s a value in accurately representing the fact that a majority not minority reported problems, even if that’s not what the Pro Review is about. Originally posted by Anderton Again...have I ever said anything that even remotely questioned the negative experiences of others? No, never person to person. But you do not accept their overall experience as a reliable sample (and maybe you're right, post-fader). You explain, for example: - “a Pro Review thread is definitely going to attract more people who are having problems and are in need of a solution. I experience this every day with magazines: People write when they're upset about something.” - "Mackie told me that had less than 1% returns on the 400F and I take that statistic at face value" - "Third, although the majority of users reported no problems" Originally posted by Anderton it still seems to me that those having deal-breaker problems are a smaller subset of the universe of 400F users. That doesn't make the people who participated in the 400F thread insignificant; but it doesn't make them the majority, either. Sure - it may be true that those having deal-breaker problems are a smaller subset of the universe of 400f users. And it may be true that the people who reported problems in that thread do not represent the majority of 400f users. But in describing that thread, it is demonstrably false that the majority of users reported no problems. Most did, however you choose to interpret it. I guess if there's one thing we can agree on, it's that if you have any extra passes to NAMM, I wont be getting any of them. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  5. Originally posted by Anderton No, but I should give a full-length explanation rather than a summary. I didn't harvest the thread, and didn't do totals of who liked or didn't like the 400F. And I don't know if my comments about the unsuitable performance with WDM drivers would put me in the "satisfied" or "with reservations" column. Thanks for your explanation. I counted your response as entirely positive and said so. None of your nitpicks crossed the threshold of what I considered a reservation. Originally posted by Anderton The thing is, one tends to see things through one's personal experiences. Hence the value of the format! Through a number of opinions, expert plus average users, we get a better picture than either side by itself. Yay Pro Review! Originally posted by Anderton WDM driver issues aside, I thought the sound was great, the construction was excellent, and I had none of the whine or weird noise issues people experienced I don’t question your evaluation for one nanosecond. I accept and appreciate it and admire your work chasing down the Mac issue. I suppose there could be many reasons why, in this unusual instance, the aggregate user experience did not allign with yours, and I understand your point that complainers are loudest. But it seems like the Pro Review is remarkably immune to this, and many participants began with a favorable predisposition. As I see it, this is when the format is at its best - when one side is modulated by the other. In any case, you may have simply had the good luck to receive a good unit, it may have been pre-selected (I know you get a lot of lemons as well, but we’ll never know), it’s possible that things that do not bother you, with your expertise and “studio hygiene,” might bother less-expert users... again, the value of the format. For example, and this is only one of several examples of this kind of divergence: the loud pop bothered many users, but with your expertise and studio hygiene (order of turning things on and off), it was a non-issue. So for those users who report this as a real problem, I accept that. Originally posted by Anderton Ultimately, my impression after taking in the entire universe of Mackie 400F info that I had -- from this thread, from other threads, from Mackie regarding rates of return and so on -- was that indeed, "although the majority of users reported no problems, a small group experienced weird FireWire 'whines' and some other issues that stubbornly resisted solutions. Oddly, this seemed to be pretty much a Mac-only phenomenon, and only certain Mac models at that." (In retrospect, it may not have been clear when I wrote that sentence that by "this" I was referring specifically to the whine.) What wasn’t clear to me was not the meaning of “this,” it was the low weight you gave to thread participants in your universe. I feel like I’m a bigger cheerleader of the format that you created than you are! User after user reported problem after problem. I cannot recall a product that has generated so many reports of problems. If that carries less weight than Mackie-reported rates of return (arguably a promotional material), then why have the format? Originally posted by Anderton The ultimate indicator of customer satisfaction, I believe, is how many units get returned. Again, then why not abolish user feedback, and simply post this number? Incidentally, there are a number of ways to manipulate a ‘rate of return.’ Originally posted by Anderton Mackie told me that had less than 1% returns on the 400F and I take that statistic at face value Fine. But why not give the participants in your own forum the same face value acceptance? You could just as easily be skeptical of materials provided by a company interested in selling stuff. Instead, you’re skeptical of thread participants, squashing a majority of them into an overal "minority". Originally posted by Anderton “The thing is, one tends to see things through one's personal experiences. WDM driver issues aside, I thought the sound was great, the construction was excellent, and I had none of the whine or weird noise issues people experienced (although at the time, I did not have Mac set up, only Windows machines...and frankly, my ADK desktop computer is rock solid and seems to play very well with all other hardware I use with it, from interfaces to camcorders). “ All the more reason to be interested in how this thing works for others. I completely accept your evaluation. But am I deluded for taking seriously all those accounts from regular users reporting problem after problem? Again, I can scrape away the crusaders, but there’s just report after report of problem after problem. To me, this seems vindication for the format, unless all these people are not to be believed. And if they’re not, then what’s the point? Why am I reading this? Why am I writing this? Life has to have some meaning, even on the internet. Is d. gauss’s post above white noise I should filter away? Should I disregard the recent post from a working musician who, among other things, describes his terminal brain tumor, admiration for the sound of the 400f, but transmission whine issues shooting into his speakers and a replacement experience? (Incidentally, I did not count him as an unhappy customer, and accept what he says at face value). Anyway, I won’t belabor this. I’ve made my point. I truly admire all the work you’ve done on this and I accept your opinion, truly, just as I accept theirs. Where we differ is in whether we view the aggregate opinions of participants in that thread as a significant component in the universe of information or not. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  6. Originally posted by James Woodburn Dan is feverishly typing our comments regarding the phantom power levels and driver developments and I would like to address the concerns that Brittanylips has raised..... Satellite is our third generation firewire I/O product based on the latest technology, therefore an entirely different chipset and architecture than our second-generation firewire product - the 400F. We have shipped thousands of 400F's so far around the world exceeding our own forecasts and the vast majorities of users are happy and consider the product to be a market leader for sound quality. With all that said, please keep in mind that forums by nature can be perceived as negative - they are after all a primary resource for people seeking solutions to problems. Customers that are happily creating music with their products are drastically less inclined to spend the time to post.........:-) We believe very strongly in the 400F and will continue to develop enhancements, and in doing so, support both current and future Mackie customers. With any technology product that is produced in these volumes the chances of issues arising with small numbers of units does exist. Here at Mackie we pride ourselves on the fact that we have an industry leading support team who take their jobs very personally and are willing to go 'the extra mile' to ensure customer satisfaction. Mike Rivers has known us all a long time and I am sure he will vouch for our integrity in dealing with these matters as quickly and completely as we can. I understand. But in this case, you agreed to participate in a format in which the views of regular users are solicited. The idea, as originally presented, was that the views of regular users have value. If you are inclined to dismiss them as without value, then why participate in this format? No other Pro Review has generated such a negative response. Other Pro Reviews include accounts of users happily making music and reporting their positive experiences. So the phenomenon of largely negative reports is limited to the 400f, and did not occur with other products the underwent the same process. Furthermore, something happened in that thread which is rare on the internet and worth noting. As you say, unhappy users often flock to the net to complain while happy users are busy making music (although the Pro Review format seems remarkably immune to this). However, in that thread, a large proportion of users express a predisposition to like the 400f. They begin with a favorable impression, reinforced by Craig’s positive experience. Then, as the thread continues, as they confront problem after problem, many change their opinion from positive to negative. A change of opinion is so rare in this type of forum, it is almost an historical event, like a flower that blossoms only once every 100 years, and is therefore particularly persuasive. These were not your typical internet complainers, they were not there to complain, and their views should not be dismissed as such. You mentioned Mike Rivers as a reference for Mackie integrity. I’m not sure what this has to do with Mackie integrity or Mike Rivers. This is about whether the real-life experience of a majority of 400f users in that thread matters. As for Mackie’s integrity, frankly, I’m not sure what that really means, but personally, I would have to say that my own experience with Mackie has always been excellent. As for Mike Rivers, he makes no bones of his history with the company and appears to be on something of a Mackie crusade. So although I enjoy reading his posts and learn a lot from them, I am much more interested in what Craig has to say, and the views of regular users. While Mike debated them without having used the 400f, if we take seriously the premise of the Pro Review, and recognize that many of these people are entering the thread with a favorable predisposition, then any objective reading of that thread has to acknowledge that the 400f seems to be giving the people who are actually buying it an awful lot of grief. Incidentally, when the FireFace 800 first came out, audio forums were rife with complaints about driver issues, and I knew to avoid it. RME fixed the driver issues, online response changed from negative to positive, and I accumulated one. While the initial negative feedback about the FireFace is nothing like the cacophony of negative reports inspired by the 400f, the point is the same: real-life users reporting their real-life experience has value. As does the evaluation of a Professional Reviewer. Ostensibly, the Pro Review says both components have value, and if you agree to take part in it, and benefit from its obvious publicity value, then you should be prepared to accept the results. A bunch of people volunteered their time, energy, and effort to describe their honest, genuine, actual experience and you dismiss that because you don’t like what turned up. If you will only accept positive opinions as valid, and justify away any negative ones, then you are degrading the format and pooping on the time, energy, and effort that a lot of people put into that thread. In any case, even though I am bothered by your response (just as I understand why you are inclined to issue it), I have been a Mackie fan for many years and look forward to anything Mackie has to make, particularly future generations of this type of interface which, as you suggest, will only get better. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  7. Originally posted by Anderton One thing about Pro Reviews is once a company tries one, they want to do it again. That’s a good sign, and this one is particularly interesting because Mackie holds the record for the most number of posts ever in the Pro Review for their Onyx 400F (which still, almost a year after its start, is still getting posts). There were a few reasons why this so: First of all, it's a good piece of gear that potentially fit a lot of users needs, so they wanted to find out more about it. Second, there were a lot of interesting "sidebars" about audio quality, conversion, phase linearity, and the like. Third, although the majority of users reported no problems, a small group experienced weird FireWire "whines" and some other issues that stubbornly resisted solutions. Oddly, this seemed to be pretty much a Mac-only phenomenon, and only certain Mac models at that. At Mike River’s suggestion, I harvested the thread for stats on page 22. I found that the overwhelming majority of 400f users reported problems, and multiple, non-mac-related problems at that. Of 22 actual users (removing the single most negative and positive response): - 10% were happy campers - 30% were satisfied but with reservations / problems - 60% were unhappy and reported multiple problems, from wobbly knobs to multiple hum and whine issues, insufficient gain issues, driver issues, etc. The value of this brilliant format is that regular users post their views. I cannot recall any product that has generated so many negative ones. And they continue, unsolicited. Just the other day, I noticed that someone posted in the ever-popular ITB thread: “I've been thinking of switching from Paris, and so I've been testing out a Mackie 400f (which, turns out, has noise when the phantom power is switched on ).” Another user, another problem. I have no axe to grind, and am able to filter out the crusaders whose bad experience has driven them to complain loudly. But I find the number of average users reporting problems with the 400f to be stunning. And because this is entry-level gear, there are undoubtedly novice users unable to distinguish between a hardware problem and their own inexperience. I am therefore baffled by your summary. Have I misunderstood? -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  8. Originally posted by Boccaccio7070 I know every generation looks down at the younger one as if they were crazy, but your comments reveal such a lack of basic recording knowledge that I feel bad for you. Pick up a John Woram book (required reading at University of Miami school of music engineering) or if that's too dry for you, even Geoff Emerick's "Here there and everywhere; my life recording the Beatles" will at least open your mind to a world you seem convinced is nothing but a sham. I appreciate your sympathy. You are right in suggesting that what I know could fill a thimble. However, I am not rejecting recording methods of the past or present, just positing the future. Sorry for the misunderstanding. My own view is that this is very much a transition period between analog and digital, and is suffering from the fact that it is a transition period. Eventually, things will work themselves out, and a simpler digital future will surpass the analog past in both quality and ease of use. Until then, I’m not ready to put my D.W. Fearn on eBay. Incidentally, I understand that the University of Miami also offers an excellent course in surfing. No reading required. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  9. Originally posted by the stranger For one, people outside the field aren't going to understand the need for quality pre-amplification. I'm sure they could grasp that different pre-amps impart different tonal qualities to a signal. I would hope that you also grasp the same concept, and I'm sure you do. As for multiple stages? Why not? More choice is good. And another obvious point is that it does make a difference where in the chain you apply processing to a signal. I can run a compressor on a signal before recording or after recording that signal. And the results won't be the same. And being somebody with plenty of experience (which we know you have), you know that quality pre-amplification isn't exactly cheap. The trend towards outboard pre-amps is a response to the fact that a lot of gear follows a certain price point in design. And cost is always a factor. Most products have seen vast improvements in the quality of pre-amps provided, but there is still a world of flavors to be had by being able to adjust this piece of the recording chain (which is one of the most important). But, this is a good thing, IMO. It just adds more choices. Most interfaces/etc have decent enough pre-amps to get the job done. But, why denounce the ability to have more colors to choose from? Why does an artist use a variety of mediums and materials when he could just use the same tools over and over? Why on earth would you expect somebody "outside of the field" to understand signal flow, anyway? Did I say those things… Damn. Now I have to defend them. Oh well. Ok. Let me put it like this. Let’s divide the world into two opposite, competing philosophies: the world as it is (e.g. The collected works of Henry Kissinger) vs. the world as it should be, but isn’t (e.g. The collected works of Condoleeza Rice). Henry vs. Condi. Goofus vs. Galant. You are Henry and I am Condi. Henry accepts the recording world full of multiple stages of amplification, each of which is a signal processor with no off switch, and much of which was originally designed for other purposes ranging from radio broadcasting to telecommunications, all cobbled together in a Frankensteinian collection of unruly components. Condi posits a simpler more peaceful world in which audio enters the recording environment transparently, is processed and mixed once by the engineer, and returned neatly to the outside world for all to enjoy. (Yes, this doesn’t exist. Neither does democracy in the Middle East). Did you ever see the movie “Brazil?” Great movie. It depicts a world, no less crazy than our own, but different. For example, there are enormous ducts everywhere, huge tubes snaking in and out of every room. To us, it looks ridiculous. But as an element of the sci-fi reality in “Brazil,” ducts are taken for granted. We take mic preamps for granted. But they are no less ridiculous. Say you want to record a singer. There’s the singer, then there’s an object in front of them that converts their singing, the waves of oxygen molecules emanating from their face, into it a format that may be stored and manipulated in a recording environment. As it stands, those waves must pass through two large objects (each of which are made up of a number of smaller objects, but I digress): mic and preamp. Why not three large objects: mic, preamp, and post-pre-amp? Why not seven objects…. What I’m saying is, as Condi, I envision a simpler chain in which all that is required is one object. That the second object can color the sound in a nice way gives us the misguided impression that there’s something particular valuable about it. But Condi would say, "why not make this stage universally transparent and invisible to the user, and if you like that color so much, add it during the mixing stage when you are adding other colors?" Then Condi would insult your preamp as an effects box with no off switch and trot off to K Street for a snack. As Henry, you embrace the world as it is and love your preamps no less than your mics. Truth be known, I live in Henry's world too (I suppose we all do) and one of my very favorite pieces of equipment is a preamp, which aside from being a great preamp is something of a work of art. But that doesn’t stop me from realizing that if someone who knows nothing about recording asks me why must I place a big box between the microphone and the line level input of my interface, any reason I give them, however much it makes sense to me, will not make sense to them. And they have a point. Take phantom power, for example. We take it for granted in a way that we don’t take preamps for granted. But why should we? I used to live near an engineering friend of mine who collected vintage equipment, and would lend me things from time to time. These would often come with their own, weird, ancient, proprietary power supplies. That’s no longer the case and subsequently we don’t covet power supplies. They've become invisible, transparent, no big deal. Higher resolution digital formats that can deal with the dynamics of real life have also simplified the chain in terms of making compression on the way in less standard. So that’s one less stage of redundant processing, eliminated by technological progress. If you want to compress, great, but do it downstream. What theoretical advantage exists to applying compression on individual tracks at multiple stages? So as Condi, I’m thinking of the actual trip sound must make from the real world to the recording world and back out to the real world and envisioning it as straight as possible. Bring the sounds in as transparently as possible passing through as few boxes as possible, and then apply whatever effects you like but do it no more than once. Then, having colored and mixed the sound to your heart's content, return it to the real world so other people can hear it too. So yes, we live in Henry’s world, but at some point, hopefully, we’ll live in Condi’s. P.S. since this thread is immortal, it will continue to exist long after mic preamps have gone the way of the bustle. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  10. Reading about this product, I have two concerns. Beef #1 My first concern has to do with a point that Craig and Stranger are making in two different ways in the following quotes: Originally posted by Anderton The only limitation is that Scales and Rhythm doesn't tell you about proper fingerings, so I'm kind of faking that Originally posted by the stranger The guy should market these to guitar/piano teachers and music stores. This is almost so obvious, it should be something you just get because you want to have the right set of tools. It's not enough to practice scales, you have to practice them correctly. A good teacher as an adjunct to buying a product like this should almost be a requirement. The thing is, if you're practicing this kind of basic excercise the right way, it can dramatically improve your overall playing. But if you're practicing it the wrong way, you can not only not improve, but also you can hurt yourself. I know many musicians - guitarists, keyboardists, etc. - with hand, arm, shoulder and tendon injuries. If you are playing your instrument wrong and are doing something like this over and over, you can amplify a small physical mistake into an injury. You can also fortify bad habbits. For example, if Craig is practicing scales with the wrong fingerings, he may be reinforcing bad habbits and impeding his ability to play fast supple scales down the road. The injury thing though - particularly with young players - having an experienced teacher show you the right way is just such a critical part of the formula. And a lot of the physical mechanics are counterintuitive. It can take years to learn how not to tense up. Beef #2 My second beef has to do with the BPM. I could see the system encouraging players to practice at the faster tempos - to graduate from slow to fast ASAP. My experience is that practicing this kind of excercise at a slower tempo is more valuable than practicing it at a fast tempo. The best use of this kind of thing, I think, is to practice slowly and make sure that you are perfecting how you are playing. Then, fast playing is easy and natural. Ironically, it's players who think they need to practice everything at a fast tempo who have the hardest time playing fast. So IMHO I think there should be more gradations between 50 BPM and 100 BPM and some way to encourage slow practice. It's almost like telling the customer: we want you to take something painful and boring, like practicing scales, and make it even more painful and boring, by encouraging you to practice them slowly! But this is really the way to become a monster player, even though it is also counterintuitive. With the caveats "use under proper supervision" and "practice slowly" it seems like a great tool at $20. I think Stranger's recommendation is a good one: market to teachers. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  11. Reading about this product, I have two concerns. Beef #1 My first concern has to do with a point that Craig and Stranger are making in two different ways in the following quotes: Originally posted by Anderton The only limitation is that Scales and Rhythm doesn't tell you about proper fingerings, so I'm kind of faking that Originally posted by the stranger The guy should market these to guitar/piano teachers and music stores. This is almost so obvious, it should be something you just get because you want to have the right set of tools. It's not enough to practice scales, you have to practice them correctly. A good teacher as an adjunct to buying a product like this should almost be a requirement. The thing is, if you're practicing this kind of basic excercise the right way, it can dramatically improve your overall playing. But if you're practicing it the wrong way, you can not only not improve, but also you can hurt yourself. I know many musicians - guitarists, keyboardists, etc. - with hand, arm, shoulder and tendon injuries. If you are playing your instrument wrong and are doing something like this over and over, you can amplify a small physical mistake into an injury. You can also fortify bad habbits. For example, if Craig is practicing scales with the wrong fingerings, he may be reinforcing bad habbits and impeding his ability to play fast supple scales down the road. The injury thing though - particularly with young players - having an experienced teacher show you the right way is just such a critical part of the formula. And a lot of the physical mechanics are counterintuitive. It can take years to learn how not to tense up. Beef #2 My second beef has to do with the BPM. I could see the system encouraging players to practice at the faster tempos - to graduate from slow to fast ASAP. My experience is that practicing this kind of excercise at a slower tempo is more valuable than practicing it at a fast tempo. The best use of this kind of thing, I think, is to practice slowly and make sure that you are perfecting how you are playing. Then, fast playing is easy and natural. Ironically, it's players who think they need to practice everything at a fast tempo who have the hardest time playing fast. So IMHO I think there should be more gradations between 50 BPM and 100 BPM and some way to encourage slow practice. It's almost like telling the customer: we want you to take something painful and boring, like practicing scales, and make it even more painful and boring, by encouraging you to practice them slowly! But this is really the way to become a monster player, even though it is also counterintuitive. With the caveats "use under proper supervision" and "practice slowly" it seems like a great tool at $20. I think Stranger's recommendation is a good one: market to teachers. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  12. I'm really surprised that a Pro Review on something like Scales and Rhythm hasn't generated the same number of posts as the latest audio interface! But kudos to Craig for choosing this topic. A lot of starting out musicians ask me what they can do to get better, and to have an inexpensive product that helps them out makes a lot of sense. For some people I wouldn't be surprised if something like this can have a bigger impact on the quality of a recording than buying the latest greatest audio interface. Reading the Pro Review so far, I was a little freaked out by the fact that every time a question popped up in my head, Craig seemed to answer it in his next post. -plb
  13. I'm really surprised that a Pro Review on something like Scales and Rhythm hasn't generated the same number of posts as the latest audio interface! But kudos to Craig for choosing this topic. A lot of starting out musicians ask me what they can do to get better, and to have an inexpensive product that helps them out makes a lot of sense. For some people I wouldn't be surprised if something like this can have a bigger impact on the quality of a recording than buying the latest greatest audio interface. Reading the Pro Review so far, I was a little freaked out by the fact that every time a question popped up in my head, Craig seemed to answer it in his next post. -plb
  14. Great review! I have heard similar praise about the ADL600 from other users who are putting this thing high up on their echelon of go-to preamps, and it is now high up on my wish list. Also, I thought I might add that I have dealt with Presonus in the past and – with reference to the thread “are people more mean spirited?” – if anyone ever wants evidence that good-spirited people are out there as well, just give Presonus a call. Without exception, the guys at PreSonus are consistently friendly and helpful and if there is ever a problem, they go out of their way to make sure that it is quickly and entirely fixed. FWIW, in my experience, they really treat their customers right. -blips
  15. Originally posted by MikeRivers This is true if you're willing to buy a new piano whenever it goes out of tune... No, silly, you don’t need to buy a new piano every time it goes out of tune, you hire a piano tuner. See, the whole experience of owning and operating a piano (a complex machine that has evolved into something easy to use over hundreds of years) is now painless for the user, unlike owning and operating a…. yeeesh, I give up, and you know what I mean anyway! Briefly, however, let me clear up a few things, beginning with a personal disclosure. I belong to a race of time-traveling mollusks that has an interest in recording technology and Asian-fusion cuisine in the late 20th, early 21st centuries. And this is what I can tell you from my time travels: In the future, recording studios are easier to operate than they are today. Given that the Earth took four and a half billion years to create recording studios in the first place, the fact that it took a hundred years to make them user-friendly is not all that unreasonable. Also, a new condiment derived from milk byproducts and cumquats will become more popular than ketchup. Originally posted by MikeRivers But then Ensemble ...What's so special about that? On retrospect (this is where the time travel comes in really handy), it’s clear that one phase of studio simplification involved the convergence of functions into single devices that streamlined the workflow. While early examples often involved unsatisfactory compromises (wobbly knobs, fussy drivers, inadequate gain, and that sort of thing), when companies like Apogee got in the game, “real engineers” began to adopt them and there was no turning back. Discrete components, essential during early analog recording became less common as software integrated more tasks. Eventually even the metaphors of analog recording that dominated their early software counterparts began to dissapear. Originally posted by MikeRivers Ah, a Mac user. I might have known Guilty as charged. Quick tip from the future: there are worse stocks you could buy. Originally posted by MikeRivers ...Who is this Andy Smith? The guy who set up Paul Simon's home studio, I guess. ... I suspect you're hinting that he didn't have a Neve console like when he recorded Graceland, but rather a ProTools system like what his last few albums were recorded on.... Andy Smith records Paul Simon and you’d be surprised at how much he didn’t use that big beautiful Neve. The point is that as the chain is simplifying, living room recording even among top artists is happening in actual – rather than Whitney Houston style - living rooms. Originally posted by MikeRivers The more technology advances, the less any single person can understand it all, and the more there is to understand. You have to keep abreast of the technology or you'll get mired when trying to create art with it. As I see it, the opposite is true. One of the ironies of advancements in computer technology is a kind of computer illiteracy among new users as GUIs progressively cloister them from underlying code. (That's a good thing). The goal of any computer company is to make computers as easy to use as TVs. Compare that to the past when you had to know about programming just to use a word processor. Now they're so complex under the hood, they're easy above it. Writers can now spend all their time writing rather than fussing with their tools. How nice it will be when the same thing is true about recording. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  16. Originally posted by MikeRivers You're right, but not for the reason you propose. The great pianists of this era all have their own piano technicians. Keeping the piano at home in good shape is just a business expense. And when they tour, either they take their own piano (and tech) or they're sponsored by a piano company who delivers a piano to the venue and a technician to set it up for the pianist and the room. Heck, even rock'n'roll bands have a staff of guitar technicians and drum technicians. Most drummers don't know how to tune their drums (and that's always been the case) but I suspect that most guitarists can still tune their guitar and change a string when it breaks. I think you’re way off here, my friend. Everyone, not just top artists, can use a piano without knowing anything about it. For the past 100 years, the complex technology of a piano has been made transparent to anyone who buys one, professional or amateur. You do not need to roll with a staff to get a piano to work. All you have to do is push the buttons. It's just as true for you as it is for Elton John. If you buy a piano, you do not have to buy strings, a pin block, pins, an action, a harp, a case, dampers, etc., and assemble the various components. You don’t need to know a thing about the regulation of action, the point at which the depression of a key engages a complex mechanism to trigger a hammer to hit one or more strings and then immediately fall back while a damper remains suspended until you lift your finger… You just push the button and it works. Pianos work out of the box for everyone, their mechanism of action equally transparent to all users. When Joe Shmoe buys a piano, it comes with all its components all hooked up, ready to go. If it needs to be tuned, there’s more than enough tuners to go around (not just for top pros), and modern pianos themselves hold their tuning for a long time (that wasn’t always the case and is no easy feat given the enormous pressure of the strings). My point is that as technology matures, the complexity of its individual components disappears into a shroud of user friendliness. It’s a common goal in the evolution of any technology – cars, computers, pianos, you name it. As the technology matures, the underlying mechanism becomes increasingly transparent to the end user. In audio, all of this hideous ganging together of components will similarly become transparent just as it has with pianos. And the proliferation of all-in-one interfaces is part of the transition even though they may seem like an affront to the "real engineers" of the past. Certainly the worst of the all-in-ones with their sloppy compromises are an affront. But then along comes something like the Apogee Ensemble and changes the game. Come to think of it, the same thing was true with synthesizers. For a while, anyone who didn't physically patch together sine waves with LFOs in a mad scientist maze of cables was a wimp. OK, so then the DX7 comes along and well, OK, so it's not a toy. But if you were serious, you had to grapple with the underlying algorithms (just to keep things sufficiently tedious). Thank God that's no longer the case. A friend of mine at Sikorsky helped eliminate the need for a second pilot from some of their more sophisticated helicopters. With increasing reliance on computer automation, complex controls could be simplified, enabling one person to fly aircraft that used to require at least two. If you want to make music, you should be able to roll up your sleeves and get to work, without a support staff, closet full of cables, or co-pilot. Mic preamps, for example, are ridiculous, and should be eliminated from the face of the earth. The idea that there has to be a box between the device that converts sound waves into electrical signals, and the device that records those signals onto a format seems ridiculous to anyone who hasn’t been inculcated into this idiosyncrasy. We take them for granted – we cherish them – but ever try to explain why we spend so much money on these things to someone outside the field, and then watch their expression turn to one of disbelief and horror? And the idea that mic preamps enhance the signal only adds to their ridiculousness. If the process of recording includes capturing sound from the real world and then processing it in ways that are pleasing, why does the processing need to occur at more than one stage? Originally posted by MikeRivers Today's big name engineer is pretty interesting, though. Some of them really know what's going on inside the digital boxes even though they never grew up on analog hardware and never got any training in electronics. But they're the ones puzzled by things like what to do when connectors don't mate, or the levels are too low or high. And the major artists who have home studios (like Whitney Houston's famous living room) all have their own staff engineers who are expected to keep everyting ready to record at any time. Sure. But that will change. It already is changing. Andy Smith literally replicated Paul Simon's recording chain at the Hit Factory in Paul Simon's living room without a lot of fuss. Like any maturing technologies, studios are becoming easier to operate, with focus shifting increasingly from engineering to music making. Although, as a young technology, there’s a long way to go. Originally posted by MikeRivers Maybe in 100 years the industry will standardize on a digital microphone interface, and the tweakers will be taking apart digital microphones, installing their own preamp, and A/D converter. Stephen St. Croix wrote a wonderful column about this, how he grew up as an incorrigible tweaker, taking everything apart just to understand how it worked, constantly personalizing every bit of technology he could get his hands on. Until the digital revolution, that is. With everything burnt onto a tiny little chip, inveterate tweakers like himself were out of luck. In 100 years, the tweakers will not be taking apart their digital microphones, they'll be using them. -plb
  17. Originally posted by MikeRivers "Consumer" being the operative word here. Recording equipment is sold largely as consumer products today, to people who aren't engineers, who don't really know what's going on inside the box, and just want to record music. Some (I'm talking about the gear, not musicians) is better than others, and some are just going through the motions. But I'll admit that for the casual user (which is the hat the Pete seems to have on in this thread), most of them aren't really dreadful, and someone who understands what he's doing can get pretty darn good results with stuff that it's easy to toss off as "low end junk." A couple of hundred years ago, a pianist had to know an awful lot about what goes on inside a piano. I suppose a mark of a "real pianist" was the ability to tune, voice, and fix your instrument. I wonder though, how many of the great pianists of the last century - Rubenstien, Hoffman, Horrowitz, Argerich, Pollini, Lang Lang - ever tuned a piano in their life. My guess is none. Once a technology matures, the experts who use it don't deal with its components, only about honing their expert use. Recording technology, particularly digital, is remarkably young. Not wanting to know what goes on inside the box will be the hallmark of tommorrow's producers just as it is the hallmark of today's pianists. Incidentally, my Steinway is American made but includes the German renner action which I prefer (equivalent to swapping out an opamp?). But I certainly don't mess around in there. Steinway does the work, supplemented by private technicians. All I know is that when I push a button it works. There's nothing inherently noble about an end user ganging together seperate components. It's simply a legacy of any nascent field. So while I too cherish my outboard preamps and compressors, I'm more interested in having my recording technology as transparent as my piano technology. I just want to push a button and have it work. So the question, I think, becomes, how {censored}ty is too {censored}ty? At what point do the compromises of an all-in-one make it either unacceptably low quality, or so aggravating to use that it's just not worth it? Everyone has different standards and budgets, hence different answers. In this thread, the 400f is too {censored}ty for 60% of its users. And the fact that components are still good business is not, IMHO, a distinction between pro and consumer as much as it is the hallmark of a young technology. So for me, the FireFace (and likely the Ensemble) is not too {censored}ty, particularly when paired with my outboard. But as much as I love, for example, my Fearn preamp, in a hundred years an outboard mic pre will be as quaint as the lemur fat they used to use to grease up a piano. (I think it was lemur fat...) -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  18. Originally posted by MikeRivers That's the real engineer's way to do it. If you want to buy a do-it-all box, you have to accept the decisions (of which selling price is a big one) that the manufacturer makes. If you assemble a system from components, you get to choose where to spend the most money, and what you can put aside and upgrade later. I think that's less and less true. You know, the same argument was initially made against DAWs, and at first, “real engineers” avoided them. Now they are the landscape. Same with these things. Times have changed, and more functions are included into single devices as part of the natural evolution of the field, and with broad consumer choices. I recall that at one time the PowR dithering algorithm was offered by itself in a fabulously expensive box that did that and nothing else. And it certainly seemed “real engineery” to buy one. Now, it’s just another subroutine in the robust world of a DAW. Which isn’t to rail against the hard core sluttiness of dedicated components. Just that the dichotomy between good and separate vs. bad and together is not as true as it used to be (hastily-rushed-to-market falling-apart-at-the-seams low-end all-in-ones notwithstanding…) Originally posted by Pete Lyall I do have the Rosetta 192/Firewire and some preamps, as well as other front end gear in the 'real' studio. ...I'm really still just looking for a reasonably high quality one-size-fits-all solution to hang off of my new Macbook Pro 17 (firewire). I get the sense that we have similar setups, main with bells and whistles plus Apple laptop for portable. I have a FireFace 800 which is both flexible and solid, and a great example of an all-in-one without a lot of compromise. Plus, RME offers great support. It sounds like you would do OK with less inputs and flexibility for your portable interface, so the 800 might be feature overkill, but the extra features and flexibility certainly don’t hurt to have around, and you could buy it today. The FireFace 400 should be available late July/early August for around $1000. If you don’t need all the inputs and flexibility and can wait, the Apogee Ensemble should be killer. Actually, given the team that’s worked on it, it should be more like mass murderer (great pres, great converters). I have heard it’s on the verge of shipping; however, early units may be spoken for. I would imagine that this is one of those products that makes “cafeteria style” recording that much more of a relic. And at $1800, it’s a bargain in its class although not exactly entry-level. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  19. Originally posted by Pete Lyall I have a lot of respect for Mackie, and still own a number of their pieces (SDR-24/96, 1402-VLZ mixer, Universal remote, etc.) I specifically have respect for their solid state preamps, and thought the 400 might be the answer. After reading this thread over the span of yesterday and today, I'm presently not planning to buy the Onyx 400F. This is a bummer, as I thought I had found my solution. I will likely need to head towards a Traveler or one of the RME units. Earlier on in the thread, Mike Rivers suggested I harvest it for stats. On a sleepless night in a hotel, I did just that. (and it worked better than Ambien). I made a list of only those people who actually used the 400f in their studio, and recorded only their 1st person experience. Here’s the results: Craig received his unit from Mackie and reported excellent performance. Of 22 users who bought their units through regular channels: - 3 are happy without reservation - 6 are generally satisfied but report problems - 13 express multiple problems and regret the purchase Correcting for extremities (removing the single most negative and positive response) yields 2:6:12: - 10% happy - 30% satisfied with reservations - 60% unhappy Of the 13 who express multiple problems and regret: - 1/3 expressed initial satisfaction, but as problems mounted with continued use, satisfaction turned to regret over the course of the thread. - 6 expressed initial unit failure and regret - Of the 2 who exchanged their units for a new one, both expressed dissatisfaction with the replacement; one exchanged the 2nd unit for a 3rd unit. Problems reported include: - Bright converters (a problem for some, an asset for others) - Headphone output issue - Multiple Hum and Whine issues - Insufficient gain issues - Pops when turning on and off - Latency on G5 issue – subsequently resolved by Mackie - Wobbly knobs and build quality issues - Driver Issues – problems working with sonar, cakewalk, and multiple active programs. - Damage to computer. Like you, Pete, I own high, medium, and low end gear, and a 1402-VLZ is always on hand, one of my favorite “just in case” pieces of gear. But given what amounts to stunning levels of customer dissatisfaction, I can’t imagine buying a 400f anytime soon. -peaceloveandbrittanylips
  20. Originally posted by Jotown YThis is why the de-regulation of radio and TV station ownership was such a big issue. By allowing one entity or voice to control what comes through the publicly owned airwaves you get (for the first time in US history) the ability to block dissenting views. I agree - it's scarry. Originally posted by Jotown Clear Channel and others are not blacklisting the DixChix because people don't want to hear their music (the success they are currently having proves this to be untrue) they are blacklisting them for what they said about bush; hence they are being punished by an organized entity - which has clear political ties - for what they said. Agreed. Originally posted by Jotown First they blacklist music, then the blacklist news. This is not a good trend for America and that the Chix have succeeded despite efforts to block them is an aberration. Someone not so high profile who can't get other media exposure will never get their music, or their political opinion heard. It's the old adage "democracy is the worst political system in the world, except for all the other ones." Incidentally, I doubt that in the other direction, all that many pro Bush rappers are broadcast on hip hop stations. Not too many threads about that, though. As for someone not so high profile, there's never been as many opportunities to get their music and political opinions heard. Look at what happens here, at MySpace, etc. But no one is guaranteed radio play. Originally posted by Jotown Why is this so hard to grock? Because i think that the stench of blacklisting is so abhorant among artists, that many confuse denying airtime with denying freedom of speech. I was tangentially involved with this issue before with some artists at Def Jam who were selling tons of records, but were banned from the radio. While there was nothing about it that didn't stink (except, I suppose, that in the end it didn't matter because like the DixChix, the public embraced them anyway), it wasn't about free speech. Good word, "grock." -plb
  21. Originally posted by Rique Blacklisting does deny free speech. I'm a musician not a lawyer, but I think you and Jotown are missing a distinction: Gov'ts can insure or deny (and do deny) freedom of speech. But when private industry cuts off access to their distribution systems, and limits the size of an artist's audience (for whatever reason) that's not the same thing as denying free speech. Originally posted by Rique Let
  22. Originally posted by Rique Go ahead and boycott their music if you want but Blacklisting them from radio stations is a clear attempt to deny all people of their Free speech. In what way does not playing their music deny them speech? They're free to say whatever they want, regardless of how much their record is played. In fact, as many have pointed out, the result of the radio stations' decision is that the CHiX speech has been expanded, if anything, with increased media exposure and CD sales. If not getting on the radio is a violation of free speech, then is Clear Channel denying you of your right to free speech if it chooses not to play your music? -plb
  23. Originally posted by MrKnobs What happened was a corporate decision at high levels, a publicity stunt in its own right to promote radio shows and stations who were ragging on the DC for being anti-American. Pure mob mentality hate speech. Control of what the listeners get to hear by mega-corporations, exactly what many musicians decry as the evil system. Except even more evil in this case, because it was politically motivated. Terry D. You know, it's really the same underlying concept as the civil liberties vs. security debate - increasing one is at the expense of the other, so it becomes a matter of where you draw the line: more liberties/less security vs. less liberties/more security. And different people have different views on where the line should be. Similarly, free speech is also a matter of where you draw the line. The supreme court, for example, drew the line at yelling fire in a crowded theater in a landmark case - that is not protected by free spech. On the other hand, free speech accomodates KKK rallies and all sorts of heinous things, many of which are not even literally "speech" (flag burning, for example, is considered a form of speech). So important is the excercise of free speech that the courts are loathe to limit it. It's not that people love the KKK, but if the line were drawn to prevent the KKK from expressing their views, it would also prevent other, more bunny-friendly organizations from expressing their views. So when you describe what happened - "What happened was a corporate decision at high levels, a publicity stunt in its own right to promote radio shows and stations who were ragging on the DC for being anti-American" - I don't disagree and I don't like it any more than you do. But as evil, corporate, and politically motivated as it was, it is still protected by free speech and falls on the "you're allowed to do that" side of where the line is drawn. There are societies all over the world that would not tolerate that kind of speech. But I'd much rather live in one that does. -plb
  24. Originally posted by Angelo Clematide For me politic should be a public service, at least on presidential level. Sure, although the benefits of salaries outweight the drawbacks: without salaries, only rich people could afford to be politicians, so there would be even worse representation of the general population. (although most politicians tend to be rich anyway, without salaries it would automatically exclude anyone but the rich. Clinton, actually, needed the salary. Bush doesn't. ). Originally posted by Angelo Clematide Apart that he is the president, are there "arenas" creating business he also participates on, or are there none ? . None: When he becomes prez, he has to put his business interests in a blind trust, so that any political decisions are not linked to personal enrichment (again, not a perfect system). -plb
  25. Originally posted by Jotown When political action groups launch an attack on someones career that prohibits them from participating in the arena they have made their living in it is coercive whether the government supports it or not. That's arguably what the DixChicks were doing when they launched their attack on Bush, attempting to prohibit him from participating in the arena in which makes his living. When people speak out against politicians they are attempting to interfere with their carreers. Originally posted by Jotown And if this effort in effect takes away someons right to free speech we have a problem. It is the principal that one should be paying attention to here. It sounds like the principal is the very thing that you are ignoring, which is that speech is free for both sides, and suggesting rather that the side whose views you prefer should have greater freedom to express them. Calling for a boycott of the Dixie chicks whether we like it or not (and neither of us do) is nonethless an exercise of free speech - every bit as much as the chix dissing the Prez is an excercise of their free speech. The principal is that both sides are entitled to the same freedom. peaceloveandbrittanylips
×
×
  • Create New...