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nat whilk II

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  1. Great article, Craig. I tried the Channel Tools in Sonar for the first time after reading your comments about it, and narrowing the stereo image did the trick as far as making some synth horns sit in the mix in a song I'm working on. In an effort to make synth presets and patches sound impressive on first listen, lots of programmers intentionally spread the stereo field and introduce stereo motion to liven up the sound. Which is great until it messes up a mix with other instruments.
  2. Notes, I always appreciate your comments and your lifelong dedication to your art, no question. So, in all honesty, I still have to ask - what do you mean, "taken over by promotion"? And what's wrong with an industry "awarding itself"? Industries of all sorts have awards from medicine to auto design to literature to attorneys to composers to architects to retail stores to manufacturers to electronics to just about every industry under the sun. It just seems to me to be asking the impossible, to have awards of these sorts that somehow award on some purely "objective" or artistic or pure-quality valuation. There is no existing, meaningful consensus on such values - any choice would be at least as controversial and resented as any industry-promotional-biased choice would be. So if an industry sticks to the commercial winners as a basic group from which "the best" of this and that sub-classification is chosen - I think that has some meaning, and has the best chance of carrying some sort of meaning to the population. Surely more meaning than, say, a panel of academics would carry to the general population. Or a popular vote which would be truly the lowest common denominator. Or a "most sales dollars wins" approach. Craig's idea is interesting, although I don't know how a group of artists would be selected out to do the voting. There's got to be some criteria....the NFL Pro Bowl has an interesting approach. The players are selected by three groups - each group having 1/3 weight in the process. The groups are coaches, players, and whichever fans log on and vote online. And sure enough, there's always a firestorm of criticism regarding who was selected, who was neglected, and the process itself. But it seems an honest attempt to give the public some say, but leaving the choices basically up to the actual players and coaches when it's all tallied up. But I don't know how you could do that with musicians... I'm a glass-half-full type, as is probably obvious. It's my continual instinct that change is best served by building up the good that's there, rather than tearing down good and bad alike and building some new nirvana out of someone's current idealistic speculations. But I'm out of step with the times, clearly.... nat
  3. Ok, to see what the fuss is about (since I pay next to zero attention to the Grammy's each year) - here's the top winners for Album of the Year 2018 - 1998 2017 Bruno Mars for 24K Magic 2016 Adele for 25 2015 Taylor Swift for 1989 2014 Beck for Morning Phase 2013 Daft Punk for Random Access Memories 2012 Mumford & Sons for Babel 2011 Adele for 21 2010 Arcade Fire for The Suburbs 2009 Taylor Swift for Fearless 2008 Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for Raising Sand 2007 Herbie Hancock for River: The Joni Letters 2006 Dixie Chicks for Taking The Long Way 2005 U2 for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb 2004 Ray Charles & Various for Genius Loves Company 2003 OutKast for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below 2002 Norah Jones for Come Away With Me 2001 various for O Brother, Where Art Thou? 2000 Steely Dan for Two Against Nature 1999 Santana for Supernatural 1998 Lauryn Hill for The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill I certainly don't know enough about the thousands upon thousands of albums and artists out there to be able to say if these choices are "objective" or "commercial" or whatever. There do seem to be a few tribute-type, or maybe call them "lifetime achievement" type winners sprinkled in there. Sure are a few on there I admire, no question. I can live with this. There's too much music production and diversity to boil it all down on the purely artistic level. So let the industry perspective cull the field - and sure, everyone gripe, gripe, gripe, and judge, judge, judge, the judges. That's the static to me - all the griping. Did we think music somehow still thrives in some non-commercial elysium of pure art and arteests?? The awards ain't gospel and can't be. At least the overall endeavor of songs and albums and artists is celebrated and acknowledged. Gripers gonna gripe. nat
  4. Well....if you read up a bit on amps and guitars - re: the electronics and the basic functionality - they are fairly simple gizmos, electric guitars particularly. Once the transducer was discovered/invented, and the vacuum tube was developed, and they figured out how to smooth out AC to a nice, silky DC signal...99% of electric guitars and amps were a done deal. Solid state was the next stage that didn't really outperform the originals....so the changes since then have been incremental, not fundamental. There's an apparently infinite market for pedals that make marginal changes to the tone that guitars and amps produce...but they are the icing, not the cake. Playing styles, 'tho, have really changed. Pop types who used to just be able to play a few chords chunka-chunka, followed Clapton and others into increasing sophistication and expressiveness. Early rock lead players played mostly downstroke stuff as fast as they could, and then up/down pickers like Al DiMeola and John McClaughlin took that about as far as that can go....then Danny Gatton kicked off the hybrid technique...not to mention the shredding and tapping techniques that came along...the best electric guitar players (almost) rival the flamenco and classical players in sheer technique. For interesting advances in music, my money's on the players, not the manufacturers. I mean it was the synth fiddlers that took a total turkey of a "bass replacement" synth like the TB-303 and found a way to make amazing sounds from it. nat
  5. Oh, I'm probably not in the market myself on this. I'm happy with digital and plugins - and the Kramer Tape plugin from Waves in particular. I won't go so far to say I'd never ever go back to tape - depends like everything else on cost and efficiencies and results. I'd certainly go back to a hardware digital recorder if the right one came along. My VS-1680 has been gathering dust for a decade or so....but not because it was hard to use (it wasn't/isn't) but because of the lack of VST support, the small HD capacity, and the less-than-stellar sound quality by current standards. If some new recorder used some super-souped-up-super analog tape and it passed the cost/efficiency hurdles - what do I care what the physical medium is? You're probably right about that. Wouldn't it be just like the manufacturers then to add digital effects to make it "vintage tape"-like? Well, "need" is as "need" does. If it works, and it's inspiring to the musicians and studio types, they'll want it. Same type of thing with hardware summing boxes, right? You can tell folks all day they don't need to sum outside the box - but if the hardware summing unit imparts some magic they can hear (or even simply think they can hear), they'll buy it and love it. If people only bought gear they absolutely "need", then the gear market would be a few whales-squared smaller, gear would be more expensive, and a lot of happy accidents would never happen. My interest in all this is to just see where it goes. Places unexpected is what I expect. nat
  6. Sure - but isn't what would drive some new market for tape be other than the desire for clean/accurate recording? The "other" being the saturation/distortion, etc. Appreciate the detailed answers - I am familiar with ADAT and DAT et al. But again, some new market I don't think would be sellable on that. I'm wondering about another entirely new level of tape abilities...the old tape is, as all have been mentioning, too expensive, too unwieldy, etc. As far as the amount of tape required to hold a program, look no further than a cassette. What I've been reading about is IBM's very recent advances in tape storage abilities. A quote from a zdnet article from 2014: "IBM said they can pack 85.9 billion bits of data per square inch on areal data density on linear magnetic particulate tape. At that density a standard tape cartridge could store 154 terabytes of uncompressed data, 62 times better than existing cartridges. With the advance, IBM is keeping tape relevant for big data applications. Tape still has appeal given that it can last for decades and doesn't require power when not in use." Just wondering here - if a new super-version of tape came available that held a lot more analog audio per reel - and perhaps could run a lower speeds - and if the new tape machines were improved mechanically over the old lot still being maintained out there...that I think could draw a new market. nat
  7. So where does the magic happen with tape recorders? Is it in the recording head? Playback head? On the tape itself?? The saturation that's always talked about...and perhaps other audio-favorable artifacts. 'Cause I'm wondering if advances in tape manufacturing could tip the scale on the usual problems with tape - noise, friction, clumsy editing potential, degradation over time, and the sheer amount of physical tape required to hold the audio. I may just be displaying my ignorance, but tape is actually the cutting edge medium for big data storage these days. Maybe there's no translation or relation between storing bits and storing audio...out of my depth on that. (but cassettes used to hold data, right?) But IBM has got tape that holds insane amounts of data per square inch of tape - can such advances t somehow be put to use in the world of audio recording?? If the tape didn't have to move much - would the noise go away?? nat
  8. You still read about artists who just don't give up the tape. Indie, old school sorts, Americana, etc. Some record just drums/bass on tape, the rest digi. A new unit that looks vibey and is better than the old units?...I bet there's a market there somewhere. Won't take the world by storm, but if vinyl can be a niche...why not tape? nat
  9. That's super interesting. I wonder what sells management on the idea that a bulk-shipping manufacturer can morph into a single-item shipper, starting from ground zero, without entering a significant period of losses before some market share can be captured. I wonder if third-parties come into this offering the manufacturer some turnkey package to take excess inventory off their hands and handle all the fulfillment and customer service. And how long it would take to get burned that way... nat
  10. I wonder what triggered Chuck Surack's comments? Why right now? As Craig mentioned, some really big manufacturers sell off their websites (Gibson included.) Bottom line is - if it works, it works. Can't blame businesspeople for trying this and that. The trend is global and inexorable towards online purchasing, away from physical retail. Sweetwater has a very interesting position in the shopping landscape - it's not brick and mortar - it's not just a clearing house for postings like Amazon - it's basically a big warehouse and a highly trained salesforce. Sweetwater offers the retention of the actual human connection. They call me year after year, my sales guy - and it's been what, 6 years since I bought something from them? Geez, if AT&T would treat me that way maybe I wouldn't hate their guts....and I'd probably upgrade to something a bit beyond what I bottom-line need. So far, there's always been a place for a well-trained, informed sales force. They'll try to replace every last salesperson in the world with bots sooner or later - Chuck is probably fighting the long defeat. I'm glad Sweetwater is there - if only there were more outfits like them. They can profit off me, and I'll thank them for doing so. nat
  11. I'd switch to hardware like this if: 1. it could host VSTs 2. the audio quality was as good as the upper tier interfaces 3. had some decent monitor controls, talkback, and phantom power per input (not all or none.) I've been looking at the SSL X-Desk at lot lately and getting very intruiged. SSL brings that modular, expandable approach in on all their products, too. What is so irking about using computers - and this goes for a lot more than music - is that the computer industry has simply made "almost good enough" a way of doing business. Sell something that begs for the next, better version of itself. Perpetual market creation. nat
  12. Thx for the thoughtful response. I recall reading somewhere that the Bitches Brew album was created by editing down and patching together sections of long jams. After I read that, I went back and listened and yeah, it seemed to help me make sense of the sort of meandering lack of focus that is what bugs me the most about the album. I've never been one to trust my own taste particularly. When other careful and observant listeners take to something and I don't, it's, as the movie said, "a splinter in my mind" that I worry with. So much music gets panned because it doesn't meet listener's preconceived expectations. Nothing beats, for me, the experience of suddenly getting something that I've never gotten before, maybe even after decades of exposure. It's like exploring your own mind for hidden gold. nat
  13. I've given Bitches Brew a lot of listens over a lot of decades. I give it many +++s for stirring up the pot of experimentation in that day. Weather Report pretty much got planted as an idea from those sessions and WR has remained an endless source of inspiration for me ever since. But Bitches Brew itself - I just can't quite give it more than 3 out of 5 - when Miles gets 10 out of 5 from me when he's hitting the ball full on. What am I missing? Eddicate me..... nat
  14. Great comment. The episodic TV format is tried and true - interesting how viewer expectations differ between movies and TV series. Easier to let a dull episode slide with TV as a viewer - we seem to tolerate the occasional inept or irritating characters better - more of what we like to come, so we can wait. Game of Thrones, indeed. I just finished reading the five books for I think the 5th time. I would never have gotten through that huge,meandering, dull 4th installment A Feast For Crows if it wasn't part of a larger series that maintained my interest. Same principle...you get more over time if you tolerate the filler. TV is truly in a golden era that surpasses everything the format has provided since the beginnings. "TV" or "television" is certainly a misnomer. But since we all know what it means..... Movies will probably just keep leaning toward the blockbuster thing - make use of the big screen, the big sound, the whole "submit to the event" vibe. Only two hours give or take to wow 'em....so blow stuff up bang. Just curious - all you untold millions who read threads here - how many of you have an Alamo Drafthouse in your town? It's such an Austin institution, it seems weird to think that it's doing the corporate everywhere thing...I still love the place, 'tho (even 'tho I have to wear earplugs sometimes.) nat
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