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electronic MUSICIAN

Killer Drum Complaints

March 1, 2000

Nothing personal, but you can go to hell for the "Creating Killer Drum Grooves" article [in the January 2000 issue of EM]. It's articles and attitudes such as this that are putting musicians out of work and killing rock music.

The technology has gotten so great that people who don't know a thing about music theory, song structure, and all of the principles involved in writing music can just push a few buttons, paste some patterns together, and get a song.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm opposed to technology. In fact, I'm very excited. [Text ends.]

Ray Squaredvia e-mail

Ray-As you can see, I did not receive the full text of your message, but I think I get the drift. If you're going to get down on us, at least don't do it for something we never said or intended to say. (I'm amused by your opening, "Nothing personal, but you can go to hell," though. "You can go to hell" is kind of personal, after all. But I'm not offended. I know it's the article you're mad about.)

Just because we are willing to teach people how to program their drum machines better does not mean we think that drum machines are the answer to everything, that they should replace real drummers, or that they are appropriate for all music. Some music works well with a drum machine-the whole electronica/dance scene is based on them and on other electronic "grooves." Other types of music are better with a real drummer.

The EM editorial staff includes three drummers (Gino Robair, Matt Gallagher, and Brian Knave), and two of our contributing editors are also drummers (George Petersen and Larry the O). I certainly don't think we are the drummer's enemy.-Steve O.

Vegas Pro-testI appreciate the effort and expertise that go into your product reviews and annual Editor's Choice Awards. However, I was quite surprised to see the EM staff swayed by the Vegas Pro hype.

A few months ago I bought SEK'D Samplitude 2496. After spending two weeks with the 2496 demo, I then spent two weeks with the Vegas demo. I found it embarrassing that Sonic Foundry could retail Vegas for around the same price as 2496 with about one-third of its features. To get the same features offered in 2496 (integrated mixing, phenomenal editing features, extensive mastering features, basic MIDI, and integrated CD burning), one would have to buy not only Vegas, but Sound Forge, CD Architect, and a couple of Waves DirectX effects. The street price would easily be three times that of 2496. And still no MIDI!

The 5.5 upgrade of 2496 (which missed your deadline) offers an improved track count that exceeds even that of Vegas. Add built-in MP3, 5.1 surround sound, and a great mixer, and you've got an incredible all-in-one program.

The only strengths that Vegas offers are learning ease, Internet file matching, and audio for video work. So maybe Vegas should have won in a category with a different name. At this point (version 1.0), Vegas Pro has a long way to go as an all-in-one multitrack recording software package.

Craig Allenvia e-mail

Craig-We agree with you that Samplitude 2496 is a powerful program, which is why we gave it last year's Editors' Choice Award. The point here is not Samplitude 2496 but Vegas Pro. As we stated in the article, Vegas Pro is easily the most adept multitrack editor at preparing music for the Internet on the market today. That is the number-one goal for a vast number of musicians, which is one of the main reasons we gave the program this year's award.

It's true that Vegas Pro doesn't have all the editing features of a dedicated stereo editor such as Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge, but I suspect that many people looking at Vegas Pro have a stereo editor already. In fact, Vegas Pro includes a link that connects you to an external waveform editor, so the company obviously designed the program with that in mind. Yet Vegas Pro has a wide range of mixing features that should be suitable for many types of music projects, and because its interface is so intuitive and well organized, many people will find it more than adequate for their needs.

Samplitude 2496 and its predecessors have been favorites of mine for years. But with the range of styles, venues, and uses for music today, no one program can be all things to all people. In the multimedia and Internet projects category, Vegas Pro is as good as they come and deserves the award.-Dennis Miller

MANUFACTURER INPUTAt its inception, more than 500 units of the VC6Q were sold in less than two months, and another 500 units were on the way to fill back orders. During this period, only the two VC6Qs you received and one other had a failure. Unfortunately, you were one of the unlucky ones to get those units [see the Joemeek VC6Q review in the February 2000 EM].

So out of 500 VC6Qs shipped, three had a problem. That is about 0.45 percent, way below the acceptable level for any manufacturer. Our quality-control standards are very high, and we perform additional QC at our location in Torrance, California. Most failures are related to mishandling by freight companies, and the others to parts that test fine before shipment but then prove faulty. Most manufacturers are at the mercy of parts vendors and, yes, some parts do fail. But PMI Audio Group is committed to and proud of the service we provide in backing up every product we sell.

Alan HyattPeninsula Marketing, Inc./Joemeek

ERROR LOGJanuary 2000, "Virtual Sampling," p. 36: NemeSys's GigaSampler also supports DirectSound-based audio cards.

ELECTRONIC MUSIC INTERACTIVEWhether you're a newcomer to the universe of electronic music or a serious tweaker, you're sure to find useful information at the University of Oregon's Electronic Music Interactive site, located at nmc.uoregon.edu/emi. Developed by the university's New Media Center, the site contains easy-to-digest explanations of topics such as synthesizers, sound waves, and MIDI systems. You'll also find 80 informative diagrams, 50 animations with sound, and 150 interactive glossary terms. The site is also easy to navigate, with three main sections: Topics, Examples, and Glossary. It's a helpful reference that's definitely bookmarkworthy. EM assistant editor Rick Weldon isn't going to trash his reference books any time soon, but he still thinks this site's got it going on.

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