Although many of you might be reading this before the end of December, this is our January issue, so I''ll start out by wishing all of you a Happy New Year. What will 2011 bring from a gear standpoint? It''s hard to say, but NAMM is just around the corner (January 13-16, 2011), so you can count on a lot of new-product action soon. As usual, EM will be in Anaheim to cover the show with breaking product news, videos, blogs, and more.
Even before NAMM, there''s already been a lot of big news, including Avid''s bombshell Pro Tools 9 announcement on the eve of the AES show. That release could have wide-reaching effects in the gear world, both among users and manufacturers. We are in the process of reviewing Pro Tools 9 and will have coverage in EM soon.
Another recent major product announcement, also in the DAW space, was Cakewalk''s SONAR X1. SONAR, a key Windows DAW, has had a total redesign. (You can find more info about SONAR X1 and Pro Tools 9 in this month''s “What''s New”) With the introduction of SONAR X1, Cakewalk has added a great deal of functionality into the program, especially from a user interface standpoint. Interestingly, one of the reasons we just gave our Editors'' Choice Award to MOTU Digital Performer 7.2 was for its many useful productivity enhancements. Perhaps we''re seeing a trend, who knows? Contemporary DAWs have so many features that it seems to me that making them easier and faster to use is a fertile area for developers to focus on.
You can read about all the Editors'' Choice winners in this issue. As usually happens, the awards went to products from a broad range of companies, from tiny one- and two-person operations to large international corporations. I''d love to hear your thoughts about our award choices or any other EM-related subject. Drop us an e-mail or post a comment at emusician.com.
Also of note is the interview with producer J.R. Rotem (“Producing in the Fast Lane”). I really enjoyed talking to him because he''s incredibly knowledgeable about the gear in his studio, and he offered a lot of production tips, especially some cool arranging ideas for recorded vocals. Rotem''s biography is an interesting one. I was surprised to learn that when he started at Berklee College of Music, his performance experience was strictly in classical music, yet he majored in jazz performance, and after graduation launched his career as a jazz pianist before changing over to pop and hip-hop production. Talk about switching gears—wow. At least in Rotem''s case, musical talent has totally transcended genre.
In “Tune Up, Boot Up, Play", guitarist Michael Ross looks at the potential and the challenges of integrating a laptop into a live-guitar setup to take advantage of its superior effects-processing capabilities. He went on quite a gear odyssey as he searched for a setup that combined extreme portability with DSP power. He also talked to a number of other pro guitarists about their experiences with laptop-based rigs.