Thursday, 22 October 2009

People power

A bit off topic today, but I wanted to bring this to the attention of those who didn't know and those who snub social networks as gimmicks.

My faith in humanity has been restored a little after the two real world situations that Twitter users affected last week. I'm not going to go over what happened as it's now been told a million times but you can find out about the Trafigura incident here and the Jan Moir talking shite incident here

Has Twitter finally found it's niche as a open forum to express opinions en masse? The Trafigura story broke and was finished with in a matter of hours. In the old days there would have been a petition and maybe a demonstration or the like, which would have taken days, weeks or even months to organise and execute. Now the same effect can be achieved within a day. Love it.

I also love the fact that people with power seem to take the internet seriously, and in some cases are even intimidated by it. Not exactly why that is yet, but it could be because the net is such an open playing field. Once a dirty secret is laid out in a secluded corner of the net it can spread within hours to be a global talking point and those involved are often forced to respond. This is a powerful tool, and unbelievably it's still in it's infancy. It's inspiring and scary all at the same time.

In other news, I somehow was talked into running the live sound for an awards show at Alexandra Palace. It was for inventors and whilst I had no idea what most of the things did, the Korean guy who won invention of the year had a pretty amazing product. It's a synthetic bonelike material that can be used to hold breaks together. The idea being that if you break your arm you can be out of hospital in a couple of hours and have no need for a plaster cast. That's got to be worth an award at least!


See you soon,


Saturday, 10 October 2009

New Day Rising

It's quite possible to create a good recording anywhere with the equipment available these days but the one point that people seem to miss out is that you have to have the experience to be able to get the most out of it. For example - Waves have just released a series of 'Signature' plug-ins from such luminaries as Tony Maserati and Eddie Kramer. You can have a look at them here. Now what each these units actually are is a group of various plug-ins (compression, eq, stereo imaging, FX, etc) controlled by one GUI. Each of these units settings have been designed by the aforementioned 'Signature' artist, the idea being that you can now EQ your kick drum in the same way Eddie Kramer would.

I haven't tried these plug-ins yet and am actually looking forward to seeing what they do, but I do do have one huge problem with them - the way they are being marketed! I'm sure they sound great and do a good job, but they will not sound great on everything. On some things they will be bang on and exactly what you're looking for, and on other things they may be not so great or even make things worse. There's nothing wrong with that, as the same can be said for almost every bit of kit out there, from Neve to Behringer. Ok maybe not Behringer but you get my point.

Waves have chosen to market this as if it's the same thing as having Eddie Kramer come round to your house and mix it for you, and I think that's incredibly misleading. Most professionals and knowledgeable amateurs will know the score and if they choose to purchase, they will do for the right reasons - because they like what they do. However I think there will be a lot of people without the experience buying these thinking they will be the magic wand they've been looking for. If you put to much bass on something it doesn't matter that Eddie Kramer or Tony Maserati designed the plug-in, it'll still be too bassy! The same goes for too much compression, over (or under) use of effects, bad stereo imaging - the list goes on.

The greatest example of this technological quicksand is what i call 'The Beatles Fallacy'. Ever since the advent of the Tascam Portastudio, salesman and the misguided have been keen to point out that the home recording set up du jour is technically better than what The Beatles had available to them. I couldn't agree more.


A) You're not The Beatles.
B) You're not in Abbey Road.
C) You don't have George Martin around.
D) You don't have have some of the most inventive engineers of their time helping out.

I could go on.

There was a interview I read once that I swear was with Brian May though my memery of it is a little cloudy. Anyway, whoever it was supported Jimi Hendrix one night, and for one reason or another ended up using Jimi's guitar rig. They said that all it just continously produced feed back and a sounded bloody awful, yet when Jimi got up and played through exactly the same set up it sounded like Jimi Hendrix! The point being that having the same kit doesn't somehow allow you to absorb someone elses talent or instincts.

So in conclusion, be careful - don't believe the hype! Buy something because you've tried it and you like what it can do, not what you hope it can do!!!