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EM Editor's Note: Is It December Already?

December 1, 2009
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Mike Levine

I can't believe it's the December issue and another year is almost over. Wow, that was fast. From a technology standpoint, 2009 has been a pretty interesting year. As expected, computers got faster, storage cheaper and software more adept. It's also been a year that's seen a huge jump in the popularity of iPhone apps. For musicians, iPhone music apps have become something to pay attention to. There are still too few that are genuine music-production tools, but they're getting better and better.

It's probably fair to say that this has been the year that the social-networking sites Facebook and Twitter have moved front and center. For musicians, this is significant because we now have some great vehicles for promoting ourselves. To help you take advantage of those sites, the next two “Industry Insider” columns, starting with this issue, will feature an interview with music publicist Ariel Hyatt, who's an expert at using social media for promotion. Part 1 (p. 42) focuses on how musicians can take advantage of Twitter. Just reading this interview taught me a lot about Twitter and helped demystify it for me. In the January issue, Part 2 will present Hyatt's tips for using Facebook for publicity.

It's been a busy 2009 for Richard Devine, the subject of this month's cover story (p. 26). Although he's perhaps not a household name, chances are you've heard his work in a loop library, a computer startup sound or a TV commercial.

Devine's original take on sound design has made his work attractive to a huge range of commercial clients. And when he has time, he also does his own cutting-edge electronic music, as well as remixes for other artists. EM's own Geary Yelton, who wrote the cover story, had the good fortune to do the interview at Devine's home studio outside of Atlanta. As you'll see from the photos (and a video clip on emusician.com), it's some setup.

Another story in this issue that taught me a lot was Brian Heller's “Polar Pattern Power” (p. 32). In it, he describes a technique by which you record a source with both an omni and a figure-8 mic in a coincident setup and send each one to its own track. Then, by varying the relationship between the figure-8- and omni-track levels, you can dial in any polar pattern you want, after the fact! Sure, it takes a little more work to set up than a conventional single-mic arrangement, but for situations where you need directional flexibility, it's really useful (and pretty darn cool, to boot).

I'm psyched about our review section this issue. We've got eight gear reviews, including a look at the Universal Audio UAD-2 Solo/Laptop (p. 44), which reviewer Gino Robair rated 5 out of 5 in every category. As far as I can recall, that's the only time a product has ever scored perfectly across the board in an EM review. That's pretty impressive. Also of note is our review of the Mackie Onyx 820i (p. 48), which is one of that company's new line of FireWire mixers. What makes the Onyx-i line particularly newsworthy is that Mackie has written a driver that allows users to run Pro Tools M-Powered on any of the Onyx-i mixers.

I'm sure 2010 will bring plenty of surprises on the music technology front, so stay tuned. EM and emusician.com will be right there to bring it all to you.

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