z Gear Stories episode 24

Gear Stories 24, Encore for Blue, and “I’ll give you 7 grand for that mBox!”




Hey there, everybody!


It’s Gear Stories time again!


If you have just recently met me and this is your first gear stories newsletter, let me fill you in quickly!  First of all, if you don’t want to get them just let me know, but you might like them!  Give it a try first,


Second, my standard modus operandi is to try to talk about two different items in each newsletter, one being something attainable by regular guys like you and me, and the other is something that regular guys like you and me could find interesting and desirable, and that someday, after we win the lottery, we might be able to actually get!


But first, a couple quick of items of business.


First, we have let people know that Paul Reed Smith himself is going to be here this weekend to help people design their own custom guitar. Paul is bringing his Private Stock wood library – the best pieces he has been hoarding for the last 20 years,  so if you’ve missed all the other notices, IT”S THIS WEEKEND!  …If you happen to have a spare ten grand that’s burning a hole in your pocket, there are few better ways to spend it that on a investment guitar!


Now here’s one that is BIG!  ALso for guitarists.  If you are a serious guitarist and love Joe Satriani, then you could have the chance to meet him and even get a half an hour one on one lesson with Joe… (One of my friends told me that he’d like to do that and teach Joe a thing or two!  Love the confidence!  But for those of us who are NOT guitar Gods, I’d like to have a lesson with Joe teaching!)  Mr. Satriani is coming to give a guitar workshop on march 22nd.  It’s not a fan event, but a serious guitar workshop, and there is very limited seating… here s the place to register if you can make it out to Indiana for this one of a kind event… http://www.sweetwater.com/seejoe


If you want to get your half an hour lesson, all you have to do is buy this guitar before 4 p.m. on the day of the event (and of course, be here by then!)  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/JS20THLTD/


Now on to the GEAR STORIES!


Let’s call BLUE mics up for an ENCORE!


If you know me well, you know I am a big fan of Blue mics.  I have a few myself, and use them often.  Of course, up until recently, Blue mics has mainly focused on the studio mic category, but a few weeks ago, everything changed!  Blue released its “ENCORE” series of mics.


These are handheld microphones designed for live performance.


In the history of modern music performance, there has been basically one mic that has dominated the market, and is simply ubiquitous in the live sound reinforcement industry.   And of course, like Band Aids and Kleenex and Pro Tools, name recognition counts for more than anything in staple products like Adhesive bandages, facial tissues, Digital Audio Workstations, and Handheld microphones!


The problem is, the old standby is not always the best mic for every live situation.


But when Blue came to us with their Encore Series mics, they set up a bevy of mics on the stage in our theater, and all of us brought our headphones in so we could listen to them very critically side by side.  We were comparing microphones within a certain price range, and in the “handheld dynamic mic for less than $120” category, the one that won by general consensus was the Blue Encore 100…




Then they compared several mics that were in the category of “handheld mics around the price of $150.”  Again, no contest for clarity and richness of sound, head and shoulders above the rest was the Blue Encore 200!  Strangely enough, it is an “Active Dynamic mic” which I’d never even heard of before!  it’s the ONLY one in this category we carry…  I don’t really know what makes that tick, but I know how it makes it sound!




Finally, they brought out other mics in the category of Handheld Condenser mic… there are not a lot, but there are enough and there are some very good ones.  These mics tend to provide a quality much closer to that of a studio mic, but in a handheld package.  Of course, Nuemann, Sennheiser, Shure, Audio Technica and others make this category of mics and they are often priced at more than six or seven hundred dollars.  But anything anywhere NEAR the price range of the Blue Encore 300 was eclipsed by it’s quality!




If all was fair and people didn’t buy simply by name recognition, but by the best value for the money, then the Blue Encore mic series would be the dominant mic in the live music industry!


From now until the next Gear Stories comes out (around this time next month) you can get $5.00 off the Encore 100, $10 off the Encore 200, and $15 off the Encore 300!


But you have to call (or e-mail) me to get that deal!






Pro Tools HD upgrades… the best deal going!  (Or, Hey Dude, I’ll give you seven grand for that old M box!)



Anyone familiar with recording these days has heard of Pro Tools… and most of us familiar with recording actually HAVE Pro Tools!  It is the most popular, prevalent, and all pervasive recording software in the world!  It is the Band aid of Digital Audio Workstations!  And there are a few different flavors, or levels of Pro Tools.


The most popular version of Pro Tools is L.E.  That is not to say that Pro Tools L.E. is actually a light version… in fact is virtually identical in function to the highest end version of Pro Tools  which is called Pro Tools HD.


The HD version is the BIG KAHUNA, and is also comparatively quite expensive.  If you want to get into pro tools LE, you can do so for less than three hundred dollars, but an entry level price for Pro Tools HD (For an HD1 core system and a 96i/o interface) is just under ten thousand dollars!


What makes it so great, you ask?  A LOT of things!


First of all, there is the processing that is done on the Accel cards.  While all the other Digital Audio Workstation software programs do the processing inside the computer’s processor (where else, right?) Pro Tools HD has these Accel cards that fit in the PCI slots in your computer and have processors on them, so that the processing of the audio through all the plug in’s and such, are done on the card, leaving your computer to redraw the screen and answer e-mails!  This makes for an incredibly FAST and efficient recording process.  Also, the quality of the components and coding of the software, the plug ins that are available… all of it is top notch and sounds AMAZING!


Virtually every major release you hear from national and international artists are recorded on a Pro Tools HD rig.  HD is truly what puts the “Pro” in Pro Tools!


So why am I bringing this up?  (I’m so glad that you asked in my imagination!)


If you have a Pro Tools LE system, you can now trade up to Pro Tools LE for amazingly low prices!


The makers of Pro Tools see Pro Tools HD going strong because it’s hard to improve on the best, and no other system has come anywhere close it it… but they want to make sure that more and more people are able to actually get it, so they came up with an ingenious plan!  They would do a FANTASTIC deal for trade ins of old LE systems.


There are countless programs for upgrading, and each one is unique, since there are so many types of Pro tools L.E. systems out there, but until the end of March digidesign is offering HUGE discounts AND free stuff with each one!


For instance, if you have  an M Box or Digi 001 interface, you can get an HD 2 system with a 192i/o (that is their top of the line interface) for $7895!  Now that might not seem like a low price until you consider that  if you were to buy without the trade in the HD2 system would cost $10995 and the 192 i/o would cost $3995!   So that totals up to $14990 … which means if you have an old m Box, Digidesign is willing to pay you $7095 for your old M box (which only cost you a few hundred dollars!)


Certainly, it’s not cheap, but if I had an old M Box and somebody offered me seven grand for it, I would be a fool not to take it!


The price range for these trade in programs go between $1695 for an upgrade from an old legacy interface to an HD interface, to around $11000 for an M Box up to an HD3 system… (which normally goes for $1295 plus the interface for $3995)


No matter how you slice it, Digidesign has never been more committed to getting people into their flagship system, and they are bending over backwards to make it happen for people!


Of course, the obvious question is “Why don’t I just hop on E-bay and buy an old used M Box for a few hundred bucks and use it for the trade in?”  Sorry, that does not work.  It has to have been registered in your name prior to October 2009 in order to qualify for the trade in, and at these prices, they are being VERY diligent in making sure everything qualifies!


So, if you have an old Pro Tools LE system sitting around, and have always wanted to get into the ultra high end for your studio, there has never been a better time, and it all ends at the end of this month!  So, no matter where you live, call me and lets get working on this now!


Until next time…