Your article on fractal music-generation programs was quite interesting ("Square One: Fractals and Music," October 1999). I plan to download a program or two to use as in-class demos, but as a mathematics instructor, I must note an inaccuracy. Mr. Diaz-Jerez claims that the equation X2-1=0 is a linear equation, when in fact it is not. Linear equations do not contain exponents. An example of a linear equation (in slope-intercept form) would be Y=3X+4. Otherwise, an excellent article.
Kevin G. CrothersMathematics DepartmentWando High SchoolMt. Pleasant, SC
Spanked on SpamI was horrified to read in "Working Musician: Ocean of Promotion" (October 1999) authors Lygia Ferra and Erik Hawkins advising musicians to use "acquired" e-mail lists to send unsolicited e-mail to unsuspecting netizens. This, as I would have thought you would have known, is called spamming and is near the top of the list of most noxious violations of net-etiquette, or "netiquette." Not only is it almost always unproductive, it is one of the fastest ways of being removed from your Internet service or Web site provider. Under certain circumstances and in some jurisdictions it is also illegal. Your readers-as well as the innocent denizens of the Internet-deserve much better.
name withheld by request
SAX EDUCATIONFirst of all-great magazine. I refer to it for reviews and articles almost exclusively. I have just one thing to say about the "Equal Time" article in the October 1999 issue: Please don't tell engineers to boost midrange on saxophones.
I have been a sax player for 42 years and am a studio musician in L.A. The sound that I work so hard in achieving has been "messed up" by engineers adding midrange to the recorded tracks. The best way I have found to reproduce the sound of the sax is to "minus" the high frequency (10 kHz) about 2.5 dB and leave the rest flat.
The article is a nice starting point for someone learning about EQ, but it shouldn't be taken as the Holy Grail. Sometimes less or none is better.
Pat ZicariMusic, MIDI & Madnessvia e-mail
Picture Perfect ThanksI thoroughly enjoyed Gene Takahashi's primer on audio to picture synchronization ("Square One: Picture Perfect Sound," September 1999). I'm eager to get into providing music for video projects, so I'd definitely like to see a continuing series on this subject, perhaps primers on SMPTE, MPEG, and so forth.
Thanks for publishing an outstanding magazine. I have a passion for making music, and EM educates me with the tips, tricks, and technology for maximizing my productivity.
Randall K. Harpvia e-mail
When Is Pro Not Pro?I don't quite understand why Jeff Casey wrote in "A Perfect Ten" (August 1999) that while the Spirit 328 digital console had only two assignable dynamic processors, it was not a major concern because users could use outboard compressors or limiters. As far as I could gather from the article, the 328 has no insert on the tape returns, so how can you insert any dynamics processor into the signal chain?
I have been considering upgrading to a digital mixer, in particular the Spirit 328, but that was before I read this article. I think this is a very serious limitation, and Soundcraft does not mention this in any of its product literature. So thank you very much for pointing this out in the review.
In my opinion, a digital mixer without a dynamic processor on an individual channel cannot be graded as a professional mixer at all.
Henry Laivia e-mail
Henry-The 328's lack of inserts and relative paucity of onboard compressors might indeed be a concern when tracking with mics (say, recording a vocal) because you might want to insert a favorite compressor after the internal mic preamp and before the converter. But you do get two assignable onboard compressors; how many compressors do you need to use simultaneously during tracking-or for that matter, during mixdown? Furthermore, the 328's onboard compressors are very good, especially when compared with the digital compressors in competing digital mixers.
At mixdown, you have the option of wiring an analog compressor inline between the tape deck's analog track output and the mixer's tape return. As with many studio wiring tasks, a patch bay can make this simple. True, you have to go through the deck's DAC and the mixer's ADC, which is not ideal, but that's not necessarily a disaster if the converters are good. That's what Jeff Casey was talking about.
Finally, what can and cannot be graded as a "professional" console is a matter of perspective, unless you want to consider extreme examples. To a high-end engineer, many of the products we home-studio owners use are considered to be semipro ("musical instrument") gear, sold in music stores rather than pro audio shops. Yet a lot of professional-quality work is produced with them.-Steve O.
Open Source of JoyRegarding R Pickett's article titled "The Penguin's Song" (June 1999), I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that someone had the foresight to help all the rest of us rebels out here by writing such a helpful and insightful article.
So few magazines have the guts to investigate anything but the accepted standards because it's not "in" or it just doesn't sell. For years, I have been trying out alternate operating systems to use for hard disk recording, and finally someone comes along and lets me know that the new Linux OS (which is a lot cheaper than anything else out there) I just bought has promise in this area.
I've never read your magazine before, but after picking up this back issue at my local pro shop I will buy every issue of EM I can afford. (Of course, I'm a starving musician, so it'll be a struggle every month.) Tell Mr. Pickett that we're proud of him out here in penguin land and that he should keep it coming. Proud to see you in a brave (and open source) new world!
Alan "Doc" PrideDecatur, IL
Chomping at the BitFor eight years I've owned a successful commercial project facility. Before that, I worked for IBM. I feel if anyone should understand bit-depth and how it translates to audio advantage, I should. But I am confused.
Manufacturers' ads talk about "24 bit" constantly, but I have been told by several people I trust that 24 bit is not 24 bit is not 24 bit. I understand that some products truncate the extra bit resolution. One person told me that a good implementation of a 20-bit converter is far superior sonically than most of the current 24-bit designs (with Apogee being one of the exceptions).
A manufacturer rep told me that the noise of the necessary electronic circuits that surround the 24-bit A-D converters actually erase most of the advantage of the expanded resolution. He went so far as to say that it is cost-prohibitive to build the circuits necessary to implement true, fully improved 24-bit resolution.
If companies think that throwing around "24-bit, 96 kHz" is going to get me to buy, they've missed the mark completely. I am less apt to make a decision now than ever before. Can you help me (and I hope other readers) by spending some real time on this subject?
Bill Dodd, OwnerMud-Hut Studiosvia e-mail
Bill-We are planning to address this topic in an upcoming "Square One."-Mary C.
So, Longer Is BetterI'm a fairly new subscriber to your magazine, and I'd like to say I'm very pleased with the caliber and scope of the articles. I have learned so much in the few short months that I've been a reader. I especially like the fact that the articles tend to be longer and more in-depth than your average "scratch the surface and then go buy whatever products we're advertising" articles. Please keep up the great work.
Mike Giblinvia e-mail
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