You got it wrong! “Ever wonder what kind of mic they use to pick up the guys talking in the middle of a battle scene. . . ? Answer: They don’t. . . . They get what they can . . .” and post dub it later.” (“We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Timecode,” March 2006)
I’m a motion picture sound mixer. I wouldn’t last two days with that attitude. We go to great lengths to get it live. Nobody likes looping. It’s expensive, time consuming and hurts the performance. Check out the film North Country. All that dialog in the mines was live and was recorded in locations that were so noisy you couldn’t even hear the person next to you yelling in your ear. So how did we do it? Sanken and Countryman lavs hidden in the headbands of the actor’s hardhats. The hardest part was convincing the extraordinary cast to let us put the entire rig, transmitter and all, in their hardhats. Fortunately, they were all troopers and it worked. Just another day on set doing location sound.
Mount Kisco, NY
STEVE WYTAS WHO?
In response to Steve Wytas’s snide letter in the March 2006 issue: Steve Wytas is being either disingenuous or ignorant, when he chides Eddie Kramer for “hating MP3 audio files when he loves DVD audio.” Wytas offers this misleading reason: “DVD audio is a 320kbs MP3 file.”
In fact, when Eddie says he loves DVD audio, I’m certain he actually means that he loves DVD-Audio. The simple use of a hyphen and an uppercase letter makes all the difference. Wytas is obviously confusing this with the audio portion of a DVD movie, an entirely different spec and not what Kramer was referring to. DVD movies use either Dolby AC-3, DTS, or MPEG2 for surround, and MPEG1 for stereo. DVD-Audio uses the Meridien Lossless CODEC, a much higher quality system than any MP3. DVD-Audio’s extremely comprehensive spec includes bit depths up to 24 and sample rates all the way to 192k. It offers 5.1 Surround, as well as stereo, and sounds vastly superior to any MP3 I’ve ever heard.
If this kind of sloppy thinking is the way Wytas operates, I’m not sure I’d ever hire Audio911 to be a consultant on anything: What have you done lately, Steve?
LOU JUDSON WHA’?
Just got the new issue, very good. What’s up with that dude slamming Neal and EQ? Prick. How many Grammys does Lou Judson have?
THE EQ FIRESIDE CHATS
Pete Prown is a contributing editor at Vintage Guitar magazine, writes for Back Beat Books, is lead guitarist in Guitar Garden [guitargarden .net], and is an American tax payer.
PETE PROWN: Hello. I’m a subscriber to EQ and am having deep problems with your new look and style. . . .
You say nothing of substance here. The issues have been jam packed from front to back with non-duplicative content. That is: content that you won’t find anywhere else. Real producers talking honestly, and dishing heavily on what they do and how. So for us, the hardcore, the look and style both improve our newstand positioning and appeal to an increasingly selective readership that, yes, also reads Rolling Stone, Spin, The Source, URB,and the list goes on and on but I’m getting ahead of you here.
PP: Well, here are a few of my concerns: The magazine now seems to be GQ rather than EQ.
Once again the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Eddie Kramer didn’t talk about suits and Kunkel didn’t talk cravats, but I understand your use of the word “seems”. So, point taken.
PP: Well, what’s the point of the style shot of Jermaine Dupri on the cover? It doesn’t tell the reader anything.
Well there’s a journalistic maxim of not apologizing and not explaining, but I’ll gladly yank the curtain back and have you see what we see and how and why: To attract top-flight production talent to the magazine, there has to be an immediate value add. For them. Rick Rubin does not appear on the cover of EQ if it’s going to be ANOTHER shot of him sitting in front of a board. A shot that’s been used and done to death. Jack White doesn’t return our calls if he gets an insert box on a cover featuring a mic pre. Moreover, readers can’t buy our magazines if they’re located in the hobbyist section of the newsstand versus up with GEAR, BLENDER, and SPIN (where we most recently found it at Borders), and finally JD doesn’t even talk to us if he can’t have some buy in on the cover concept and conception. So that might fill in the blanks for you as to why . . . but to service the long standing readers, emblazoned over his chest is THE reason the issue exists: 200+ tips from Grammy winners, guys in the trenches, young turks and the whole rogues’ gallery of people who might have something to say. And for an 84-page issue it’s jammed to the gills with (and this is ON the cover) producers and engineers that appeal to a wide variety of our readership demographic. For this we don’t begrudge JD a beauty shot.
PP: But within the Dupri article, we’re only shown three shots of the artist sitting on a variety of objects in a photo studio, instead of showing us the gear he uses or anything about his work. Furthermore, a chunk of the interview is about his MPC 62 sampler. So why not SHOW it to us?
Because every magazine study in the world indicates that the ruling truism is that people want to look at people. So we could have photographed him IN a studio, like every single other magazine. But we opted for compelling photos and compelling interview instead.
PP: The Doc Rodriguez interview features three (3) identical photos of the artist. Couldn’t you find any others?
Well we shouldn’t be as honest with you here as we are, but we agree with you. In this instance, though, the repeated use of the photo was more a design device that also was causally connected to the fact that we only had $200 to spend on his photo and this doesn’t pay for “others.”
PP: Did you think we wouldn’t notice?
Well we thought you’d be more amazed at the incisive article on him, as well as the one he WROTE himself.
PP: Again, SHOW us the artist’s studio or gear. You need to better illustrate the points in the article.
Gear listings are cool and usually occur appended to almost every article. The Gearhead section of the mag SHOWS what you’re looking for, however.
PP: Also, running this article onto the last page is lame. That page is typically reserved for a short, stand-alone article, not spill-over. Lame.
Hahaha . . . thank you, sir.
PP: Your readers would love you forever if you started putting in simple schematic diagrams showing them “how various pieces of gear connect to each other.” No other recording mags do that. Nice, simple diagrams would do wonders.
This is actually a cool idea . . . might be a tad too entry level for many but I like it . . . of course we’d have to secure an illustrator. And they’d want to be paid, and budgets are tight, but I’d be glad to steal this idea for sure.
PP: Your body typeface is hard to read. It’s not a true “black” color. It looks like dark gray on a white page, which is murder on the eyes (and I’m 43).
Well some of us are 43 too and we can read it just fine. . . .
PP: Anyway, thanks for listening.
Listening?!?! I won’t stop there . . . I’m running it in the Letters column if you don’t mind.
PP: Look, I don’t know if you’re intentionally trying to be a hybrid gear/style magazine to bring in more hip-hop readers. . . .
Has nothing to do with hip-hop readers . . . in the last 12 months we’ve put waaaayyy more than TOP 10 hip-hop producers on the cover. . . . We’ve put legacy cats on (Joe Chiccarelli, Ken Scott, Kramer, Swedien, Kunkel, Puig, Barresi, BT), we’ve put tattooed Grammy winning women on (Linda Perry) . . . we’ve put musician producers (Moby, Will I Am) and we’ve put relative no names whose work we really dig (TV on the Radio, Thievery Corp), and yeah . . . hip-hop producers as well . . . but the idea is to do a magazine that graphically is appealing . . . make that APPEALING, as well as informative, AND representative of the entire production community.
PP: It’s not flying with me and, I’d guess, other readers.
Well check the letters in the March issue. They overwhelming disagree with you. And I guess probably because as you’ve identified them they are first and foremost READERS . . . and our content is non-pareil. . . . We mean the guys we have writing for us from Anderton, Ciletti, the producers themselves and so on? Top flight. Yes, the design is a work in progress and your input is more than welcome on it, but there’s the forest, and there are the trees, and if someone out there is putting out more compelling content, well, we’d like to see it.
ALL HAIL THE CHIEF
I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how impressed I am with the February issue of EQ magazine. I know that it had to take a huge amount of time and talent to put all of that together but it is SO beneficial to all in the recording industry. We need more precise information from the “masters” and especially with the down-to-earth rhetoric they used to present all of their information. You don’t have to be a highly degree’d engineer to understand how to check phasing, mic a drum, or equalize an acoustic 12-string.
Don’t stop here — keep up the great work.
Thanks for all
OH, YOU FLATTERER, YOU
I’ve always kind of liked EQ, but I’ve grown increasingly satisfied with the magazine over the past year or so. I’ve noticed many people, like me, are writing to express thanks and congratulations, but I wish to thank you specifically for bringing back the ���Room With a VU” feature (or article, or column, or whatever the proper term is). You must be a musician at heart, truly, or incredibly clever (or both), to sense, as well as you have, the common pulse of musicians, young, younger and, er, seasoned, we’ll say.
Thanks so very much, and please keep up the good work!
AND THE HITS KEEP COMING
I have to say I couldn’t stop laughing while I was reading Jurmaine [sic] Dupree’s [sic] interview in EQ: I love the MPC 62!! I mean come on. You’re a technology magazine. Don’t you have anybody there to fact check and know that it’s an MPC 60 MkII. I mean it doesn’t take to [sic] much time to find out the facts. I know it’s small, but still when I was at several studios and was just talking with friends this came up and was good for a good laugh. You are one of the only music technology magazines left. I think you should make sure you get it right.
Editor’s Note: Ahhh, you got us. OK. Now run along and come back again when you can spell his name right, haha.
It would be utterly remiss of me not to acknowledge, indeed celebrate, your phrase “I’ll just sit like a dog in the dark eating wet cigarettes” (Talkbox, March 2006). This is not only a combination of words previously unimagined by this reader, but certainly something never otherwise found in an audio publication. Just wonderful.
And, geez Louise, were you really in a movie?!
Editor’s Note: Thank you sir. And indeed I was. The worst movie of 1987. Leonard Part 6. CATCH it.
GOOD CATCH, SEZ CRIME DOG MC GRUFF
As a home studio owner, I was pleased to see the article entitled, “Studio, Safe, Studio,” on the eqmag.com site. I found the information to be useful and reassuring, but one passage of the article troubled me greatly. Anthony Collins advises marking one’s equipment with personal information to make theft more obvious to buyers on the other end. That’s a good idea. But he recommends that a piece of that personal information could be a Social Security Number, which is absolutely absurd. If a theft-minded person ends up with your SSN essentially as a bonus gift, the hurt for the studio owner is not only an isolated financial loss. Identity theft is far worse than losing a Neumann or two! A better idea would be to make up some arbitrary alpha-numeric and record it yourself somewhere, like in a certified letter or with your insurance company, so that you can verify it later. But your own SSN?!?! Please.
Wise readers will know not to go engraving their SSNs on all their equipment. But for many, the suggestion that their SSNs can be advertised on their gear to keep them safe will unfortunately make sense to them. I hope that the editorial staff can catch this type of error in the future, and that the author be notified of his lapse in consciousness so that his own gear may be re-etched.
Thanks for your time,
Re: March 2006 issue, interview with Don Was and Gary Gold.
On page 54 (1st paragraph), I suspect Don was referring to a “I-IV-V” progression, not “one 4/5 progression.” In music theory, Arabic numerals are used to describe notes of a scale, and Roman numerals are used to describe chords built on those scale tones. For example, the notes of a C major scale are: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. They’re assigned Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (or 1 again). The Roman numeral “I” refers to a chord built on the first note of that scale: a C major chord. The “IV” chord is built on the 4th note of the scale: an F major chord; and the “V” chord is built on G, the fifth note of the scale, and so on. Otherwise, great interview.