Prince's first newspaper interview for over a decade has ruffled a few feathers. In it he says "the Internet is completely over" (referring to on-line music distribution). Sour grapes, or is he seeing that the future of music is not downloads? <http://www.billboard.com/news/prince-the-internet-is-over-1004102232.story#/news/prince-the-internet-is-over-1004102232.story>
In my last AE post I hinted (loudly) at the virtues of recording to tape. Today I received the August edition of Mix magazine, and in it is an articles titled "Analogue Tape is Back". Four engineers describe how they use tape in conjunction with ProTools. Some had gone completely digital and are now using tape again. Two of them use an interface called CLASP <http://www.endlessanalog.com/home>, which allows the multitrack to work as a ProTools plugin. Maybe this hybrid solution will be the future of recording.
I have now put up many more links. If anyone finds a dead one before I have a chance to check them all, please let me know.
My stereo has had various components replaced over the years; speakers, CD players, cassette decks, record decks, tuners. One part has remained in use for 30 years - the amplifier. It is one I built and is an E.A Rule design called the PW Winton, that featured in the March 1979 issue of Practical Wireless. I have only had to repair it once when a coupling capacitor dried out and went noisy. A very reliable amp, thanks mainly to the output stage using complimentary Hitachi power MOSFETS (2SJ48 and 2SK133).These devices have a negative temperature coefficient so there is no risk of thermal runaway. When I get time I will scan the article and put it online.
Back in the days (when dinosaurs ruled the earth...) I recorded to tape. Tape was expensive and has very limited editing capabilities, so getting a really good take of a performance was essential. During recording the big challenge was to get the best performance possible. This meant both good engineering practice, and some psychology. The trick was to draw the best performance out of the artist (especially singers). Knowing when a singer would peak was essential - some people are one-take wonders, others can go for 15 takes. Sometimes a dummy mic would be used to make the artist comfortable. A good headphone mix is essential to get best results, and sometimes this was manipulated to make the artist sing better. All these things are important when we consider that the artist is trying to perform to an invisible audience.
Nowadays it seems a lot of these procedures have been short circuited by recording into a DAW. This compromises performance in two ways - firstly, the engineer gets preoccupied with operating a computer during the session, rather than focusing on the artist. Secondly, almost every performer now knows that everything can be mended after it is recorded - can't keep in time?, falling out of tune? can't manage the whole song in one go? All these problems can be fixed later, and the artist knows it. The result is that the performer doesn't rise to the occasion, and the music has no X factor.
Mission accomplished. After a rather long night, all 23 reels of 8mm movie are now on miniDV, ready for editing. If anyone else is doing this here are some tips:
1. Use some bluetack to stick the feet of the projector to a table. Most old projectors have mechanical switches which take considerable force to operate and this bumps the image out of the video frame when you play or rewind.
2. Use a proper matt screen, but keep the projected image small for better focus. I projected an image about 40cm wide (which filled up about 10% of the screen!)
3. Wait until it is really dark and turn all the lights off but have a 25W reading lamp facing away from the screen. This is so you don't trip over the camera tripod every time you need to switch the lights on (which you need for threading the film etc).
4. On the video camera check the colour balance, if it has image stabilisation turn that off, and adjust the shutter speed so there is no flicker on the video. I used a Panasonic AG-DVX100B camera.
5. Be prepared to swear at least once as the film jams, tears and melts. By the end of the night I had several bits of film lying about.
6. Categorise the reels as you go so you know exactly what order they are on the video.