z Gear Stories episode 31

Gear Stories 31  Waves of deals, and Avid changes everything (almost)


Greeting friends!  It’s Gear Stories time again, and as always, if you don’t want to get it, let me know and I’ll take you off the list, but try it first!  You might like it!


First off is this month’s “Deconstructed Song.”  So far, these have primarily dealt with Virtual Instruments, but this month’s song uses mostly NOT Virtual Instruments… so I guess you could call them “Real” instruments…  It’s a Chinese Folk song called “Ma Ma How,” (I am told this is a song that praises the virtues of Motherhood) and you can hear it and read about everything I did in the arrangement  at this link…  http://www.dreamrodeo.com/wordpress/y-song-notes-china-ma-ma-how


A few small items of news here…


First off, Sweetwater has long worked with a leasing company called L.F.C.I. for large institutional leases, and many of our customers have wished a lease arrangement was available to them… well now it is.  If you want to get into that High End Rig, but don’t want to lay out all the cash at once, you can now apply for a personal lease from $5,000 up to $40,000,  and make that dream a reality!  They can make quick decisions, too, so you don’t have to hang around waiting!


Here are a few details about the program:


o  The minimum amount is $5000.00 for a consumer lease.

o  Up to a maximum of 60 payment terms

o  Requires clean and established personal credit

o  Must be a US Citizen

o  A “Personal Guarantee” will be required

o  Rates will be contingent upon the risk factors


Contact me if you are interested…



Second, HOT OFF TTHE PRESSES!  (Meaning, I just got the press release minutes before I started writing this.)


Moog has just released it’s newest and most affordable of their uber-cool completely analog monophonic synthesizers… It operates from Control Voltage, or MIDI, or USB MIDI, and can even be rack-mounted… Other than that, it is very much like the other synths in the Phatty series.  It’s called the Moog Slim Phatty, and here’s about as much as I know about it…




Third,  We have just received the Epiphone Slash “Appetite” Les Paul Standard Limited Edition Guitars.  This is a very limited edition, and they have been so popular that we have already sold a good portion of them before they even arrived!   At $999 – it’s a great bang for the buck, and includes Certificate signed by Slash.  These are going to fly off the shelves!  (so duck, really fast!), and when they’re gone, they’re gone.





Now, on to our main stories.


Waves Plug-in Promos… WAVES of great deals!  (Sorry for the bad pun)


When I first switched my studio from ADAT  to Computer Based Recording, the first third party plug ins I ever bought was the Waves Native Power Pack.




I learned the basic concept of software plug ins from using that, and soon, I realized that I could simply not achieve the level of quality I desired in my recordings without them.  Over the years, as I have gotten better at my craft, I have increased my bevy of plug ins, so at this point, when I want to pull up that oh-so-essential “Vocal Rider” plug in, ( http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VocalRiderNat/ ) I have to scroll almost two computer screen heights down to reach the “V’s” in my waves folder.


Hello, my name is Jon and I am addicted to plug ins…


At this point, my collection includes the Gold Bundle, the SSL bundle, Vocal Rider, Eddie Kramer Signature series, Tony Maserati (NOT the CAR!) Signature series, the Jack Joseph Puig Collection, and I am about to put in my order for the Chris Lord Alge Signature Series and Jack Joseph Puig Signature Series, and I’m seriously thinking about the L316 if I can afford it.


Here’s that list in links…












Holy Cow!  And I use pretty much all of it!


WAVES is pretty much the industry standard, and is by far the most commonly used brand of third party signal processing plug ins in the industry.  Chances are that if a song was recorded in the last 12 years or so, one part of it or another went through some Waves processing.


Even people that will only record old school on analog tape, if they put their music on a CD, or an mp3, in order to get it to that stage at the very least went through the L1 Limiting lug in, which is in several of their bundles.


I could extoll the virtues of these individual plug ins all day long and no one would want to read it, or you can call me an talk about what you are trying to achieve  in your recordings, and we’ll go over what might be the best bundle for you.  There are so many!


So why am I ranting about WAVES plug ins right now, you ask?


Right now, there is an UNPRECEDENTED deal going on on ALL WAVES bundles!  Everything is 40% off right now!  For how long, you ask?  Well, Waves typically does their promotions on a monthly basis, but this time, they are just saying “for a limited time only”, so if you are interested in any of their bundles, you should act quickly.  If you were thinking of getting into a good professional plug in bundle any time soon, you can not afford to miss this sale!


40% off!  That is HUGE!


And the COOLEST thing of all is that if you’re not sure you want one of these bundles, you can actually download it and try a fully functional version for seven days just to see how useful it is to you, and if you like it, all you need to do is buy that authorization numbers from me, and it’s yours!  Note – you will need an iLok to use the software, or even do a demo.  Call me if you have any questions about that.


CALL ME, or order online before the end of the month.  Here’s the link!     http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=waves+bundles&go=Search


Part Two:  AVID changes EVERYTHING… (almost)


Most of you out there have heard of Pro Tools.  It’s the single most popular professional recording platform in the world.  It was used at some stage on almost every pro recording in the last decade, and it has been a stable and growing presence in our industry.


The Ultra Pro market has been sewn up with Pro Tools HD, that really starts at about 10 to 12 grand just to get a starter system.  And then the Project Studio market had been dominated by  Pro Tools LE with the DIGI 003 interface line, and of course, quite possibly the most popular recording device ever created for home studios… the line called the M Box can be found in bedrooms, basements and garages all over the nation… not to mention big star’s tour busses and even gets mentioned in top forty pop tunes on occasion!


There has been not much change in the whole Pro Tools product line over the last few years, until the last few weeks.


FIrst it was the humble M Box, which has been the M Box 2 line of products for many years… they are the small, blue interfaces that plug in via USB (or Firewire, in the case of the M Box Pro) on your computer and allow one or two microphone inputs and some line in and line outs and allows you to record on the same software that the guys in the big time use.  About a month ago, the long-in-the-tooth M Box 2 was retired with the release of the “Pro Tools M Box”  (Commonly referred to, but not officially named the M Box 3!)


AVID (the parent company that owns Pro Tools) really stepped up the game on the quality of these units.  They were shooting for the quality in preamps and conversion that henceforth has only been touted by the Apogee Duet (long thought of as the most affordable Pro level interface available)  It’s always hard to tell when looking at a spec sheet (As Billy Joel once said, “there’s a new band in town, but you can’t get the sound from a story in a magazine aimed at your average teen”  …as I once again reveal my age)  but the specs look good.  They seem, in some ways, to surpass that of the Apogee.


It remains to be seen, but this is a clear example of how the consumer wins by healthy competition.  Wether the Duet or the M Box has the better sound is up for debate, and in the long run, if you can listen side by side and identify a difference with your ears, then you probably ought to think about getting into an HD rig and going Pro!  The one cool thing about this is that now, that level of quality is open to Windows users, who before could not use a Duet, since they are Apple only.


They still come in the same configurations… the Mini, the M Box and the Pro…  (The M box2 Micro remains unchanged and still available)  They exchanged the bright blue look, for a new, darker, sleeker look, too!  Take a look at them…







The next big thing from AVID was all new interface configurations for the Pro Tools HD line.  Many were afraid with last years crazy upgrade deals that AVID was trying to dump the HD line to come out with something new… but they were only half right.  In fact, those upgrade deals were so popular that they had to go into pumped up production to keep up with demand… so NO, Pro Tools HD is not going anywhere.  but it has been revitalized!


They got a top design team to revamp the HD interfaces, and rumor has it that some of the people that were responsible for the Apogee Symphony I/O line worked on these new interfaces…  (Always picking on Apogee!)


I really like the new interfaces because it seems that Avid was listening hard to the consumer about what they needed their HD systems to do, and they stepped up to the plate.  Take a look at these bad boys!







Of course, various options are available, and chances are, if you can imagine an I/O configuration that makes sense for your studio, it can be configured with these new interfaces.


And finally, what everyone was waiting for from AVID… a system that bridged the gap between the Pro Tools LE systems (that top out at around four thousand dollars) and the HD systems that take about $14K to get into.




For most of us in the business, that sounds like “Military Intelligence” or any other classic oxymorons.  The reason is that the thing that has made Pro Tools HD special over the years is the core cards, that have additional processing on them so you can make use of TDM plug ins that require those extra processors.  You could still use native plug ins in Pro Tools HD… but what ACTUALLY set it apart from Pro Tools LE systems in the long run was the ability to work in high Definition audio, with the high sample rates that one cannot avail in Pro Tools LE.


This new version of Pro Tools makes use of the native processors in your computer, so it cannot use TDM plug ins, but it CAN work with the high density sampling rates that are often required in high end projects.  It also adds a number of highly requested features from the TDM side, including, automatic delay compensation for plug ins, and professional sync options.  And now that computer processors have gotten so powerful, it makes sense to make use of that power!


So Pro Tools HD native consists of a PCI card that does NOT have additional processors on them, but has input connections for the HD interfaces mentioned above.  It snugly fits into that 5 to 10 thousand dollar per system price range, so upwardly mobile project studios can now afford the clout of being a Pro Tools HD studio!  That goes a long way in the business.


I would love to discuss the benefits of this with anyone who is seriously interested in getting into HD but has found it cost prohibitive in the past.  Call me and we’ll get you set up!


In the mean time here is a link so you can see what is available…  http://www.sweetwater.com/feature/hdnative/


When I said that AVID changed everything “ALMOST”  the one thing that stayed the same is the DIGI 003 series.  Unless there is a DIGI 004 around the corner that nobody told me about, I think we’re still the same there.


I think that that is enough change for this month!


Until next time, I look forward to being of service.


Jon Gillespie, Sweetwater Sales Engineer


800 222 4700 x 1352

260 432 8176 x 1352 (outside the U.S.)

260 432 1758 FAX

[email protected]


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My own personal web site can be found here…  http://www.dreamrodeo.com/


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