z Gear Stories episode 32

Gear Stories #32, Hot off the presses, PRO TOOLS 9, and Powered Speaker Wars!


Hey friends!  It’s Gear Stories time again, and this one is particularly exciting for me!  BIG BIG changes in the industry!  The last segment of the newsletter will spill the beans on tis announcement!


Of course, if you are not interested in getting this newsletter, just let me know, and I’ll take you off the list.


As usual, before we get going on the gear stories proper, a bit of new/old news.  I told you about the Paul Reed Smith hand made prototypes last moth, and there were only eleven made and we had all of them except for one that Paul kept for himself.  They showcase the new bridge piece he invented which significantly increases the tone and sustain that transfers from the bridge to the tone wood of the guitar.  Also, the finish on these guitars is so gorgeous that it seems like you could reach inside of it!  The photos just don’t do them justice.


At the time of my last writing, we only had three or four left, but apparently the financing fell through on a few of those deals, and now there are five available.  I can’t believe we have any left, since they are such a pice of history (And each one comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by Paul Reed Smith himself!)  SO… if you are at all a guitar collector, these are pretty much guaranteed to take their place in guitar history and they are virtually guaranteed to increase in value!  True “investment guitars!”


So what do you get for the guitar player who has everything?  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=prototypes



Also, the fairly new feature of these newsletters is the “Deconstructed Song” where I post a song on my personal web site and then  tell the story of how the recording was created from the ground up.  For the first time, this month, I am doing a Hip Hop Track by regional rap artist, “Joonz” from right here in the midwest.  Even if you don;t like rap,. this is a fun little song, and hopefully you will also find the recording techniques helpful.  Here is the link… http://www.dreamrodeo.com/wordpress/u-deconstructed-song-dont-stop-the-music


Now, on to Gear Stories!



Part One … HOT OFF THE PRESSES!  Pro Tools 9… Avid Changes everything AGAIN!!!!!  (And makes life easier)


As I wrote about last month, strange things have ben brewing over at AVID, as they recently introduced brand new interfaces for both their Pro Tools LE line, and their Pro Tools HD line, and introduced a totally new platform called Pro Tools HD Native!  It’s been dizzying!  But then, JUST today!  At 8 p.m. Eastern time, November 4th, 2010… they have released a bomb shell that once again is shaking the world of pro audio and home recording to it’s foundation!


Pro Tools 9!


For quite some time, pro tools has been the number one recording platform in the world.  that shows no sign of changing… Even though there were several things that drove the audio recording community CRAZY!


First of all, there were the artificial restrictions placed on pro tools!  If you did not have a Pro Tools interface, you could not use it… simple as that!   They were a company that sold hardware, but they happened to own the most popular recording software in the world, so they made it so that no other hardware would work with it.  I see the logic… (pardon the pun) but it drove a lot of us totally crazy!


There were other things too… artificial track count restrictions.  Where the other recording platforms tended to use the power of your computer to draw the limit, Pro Tools LE said you could only use a certain number of tracks, unless you bought an add on that unlocked the ability to use 16 more tracks.  It seemed silly!


Then there were the several flavors of Pro Tools… the software was different wether you were using Pro Tools HD, Pro Tools LE, or Pro Tools M Powered.  Again, it made people crazy!


Also there were other more tweaky things, like automatic delay compensation for the use of certain third party plug ins… and other things that make a hobbyist’s eyes glaze over, and drive a professional crazy!


Well… it’s all changing as of now.


Pre Tools 9 has released the restriction on using other company’s hardware with pro tools… so people who truly love their Apogee duet, or their presonus firestudio, ect. will be able to use them with pro tools now…  Pro Tools 9 can address any hardware that completely conforms to ASIO or Core Audio specifications.  Please call me if you have a question about compatibility with any particular interface.    All you will need to make Pro Tools 9 run, from AVID’s point of view is an iLok to hold your registration!


Of course, the new interfaces designed for Pro Tools have been benchmark tested to be some of the best sounding interfaces available… and the specs show it!  They rival the top of the line interfaces that are out there… and many say they surpass it, so even if you COULD use another company’s interfaces, AVID’s point is “Why would you want to!?”


Also, the track count has been significantly increased!  Basically, if you are running out of tracks with Pro Tools 9, you should really rethink how you are going about putting your recordings together… seriously, you can be a lot more efficient that that!


The add on that used to provide things like increased track count and mp3 encoders and such was called the Music Production Toolkit.  All of the functionality of the toolkit has been incorporated into Pro Tools 9.  There will be a new Music Production Toolkit that adds even more features, but that is a story for another day!


Another new thing about pro tools 9 is that there is only ONE flavor!  There will no longer be such a thing as “Pro Tools LE, or Pro Tools HD in terms of software.  The hardware systems will all address the same software, so wether you are working in a bedroom with an M Box Mini, or Skywalker Sound with a pro tools HD4 system, it is the SAME software!  How cool is that!?


There is going to be a period of transition where some of the older technology, (that is still perfectly relevant) is going to be available, and still come with Pro Tools 8.  During this time, Sweetwater will have amazing blow out deals on the original M Box 2 styles with pro tools 8, that will allow you to get into Pro Tools for less than it has EVER cost before!  (GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!!  Hint hint hint!)  And there are great crossgrade options to get to Pro Tools 9 from Pro Tools 8.  In fact, depending which interface you buy that comes with ProTools 8, for a limited time, it’s possible to buy an interface and get the upgrade to Pro Tools 9, for less than it would cost to buy Pro Tools 9 on its own!  Give me a call, and we’ll go over the details.


And of course, the best thing yet… this will all be available as of this weekend.  I don;t have any links available for this, because I am writing this story a few hors before any of this is going live and will have to wait for the announcement before I can send this… I want to hit it RIGHT when the announcement is made… so the best thing I can tell you to do is go to http://www.sweetwater.com/ and type pro tools 9 in the search!  Or from what I am told, you will probably see a lot about it without even searching!




Part two, for the live performing musician…  POWERED SPEAKER WARS!


(Cue John Williams’ score!)


A relatively short time ago, in a galaxy right here, there has been a drama unfolding…  In the relatively quiet world of powered PA speakers (I use the term “quiet” figuratively here!) there were a few established brands and everyone sold in their niche and played nice with everybody else… but then came a deep disturbance in the force…  A newcomer in the market, QSC released the K series and life was never the same!


Suddenly, there was a drastic shift!  Instead of JBL sitting complacently in the number one spot, their sales numbers dropped off a cliff an into the basement.  it seemed that QSC had raised the bar!  They speakers were more expensive, but they sounded GREAT!  Everybody HAD to have the QSC.


Actually, JBL doesn’t sit complacently at all…  They waved their hand and said, “These aren’t the droids you are looking for” and released their brand new. completely redesigned line of powered PA speakers, the new PRX series.  In a bold response, within a week, QSC released a revamp of the k series, and there was a full scale rebellion!


Who is going to win?  The live performing musicians win!


Here at Sweetwater, we are privileged to have the manufacturers vying for our attention at these (excruciatingly) early morning training meetings that we have twice a week!  The manufacturers parade out their brand new products in our state of the art performance theater, and demonstrate the features and values of their products.   (It’s really pretty cool!)


Of course, JBL and QSC both had their speakers here and were playing them for us, side by side.  From that, I was able to form a strong opinion for myself.


I like them both!


That is not to say that that they are the same.  Since that time, I have been selling either the JBL PRX’s OR the QSC K series to different people based on their needs, and the kind of music that they are playing.


My personal opinion is that if you are playing music that’s hard driving, punchy and has loads of kick drum… let’s say an electronica DJ ding raves, or a funk/rock band with a slapping bass player… then I would steer you toward the  JBL’s…  To my taste, they carried the low end in a way that made you want to get out of your seat and dance!


On the other hand, if you are doing acoustic music in a coffee house, or Jazz in a club, or music that has a lot of nuance and subtlety, I would most certainly recommend the QSC… To my ears, they are the PA speakers that most closely resemble the clarity and accuracy of studio monitors.


Needless to say, the bar has been raised on ALL pa speakers by both companies.


I also do not mean to imply that if you were a coffee house acoustic band and you got JBLs, or you were a rock band and you got the QSC’s, you would be unhappy with them…  I have seen plenty of both, and all were ecstatic over the quality of their speakers.


The fact of the matter is that in this business, is that when the manufacturers compete on the basis of sound quality, everybody wins… especially the AUDIENCE!


Call me, and we will discuss a lovely package deal that will have your musical outfit sounding better than you ever imagined it could!



Here are the links… QSC…  http://www.sweetwater.com/c134–QSC–Active_Powered_PA_Speakers/popular/params=eyJkaW1lbnNpb24iOnsiQnJhbmQiOiI0Mjk0OTY2MjE0In19


JBL  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=jbl+prx&go=Search


And until next time…   May the Force be with you!


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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