May 11, 2006

Bits 'n' Pieces...

by Chris Randall

I got Computer Music #100 in the mail this morning. Holy fucking shit, but we got pwn3d in this issue. There is a short interview with me, about 5 other blatant mentions of Audio Damage plugins, plus the debut of our Dick Cheney Hunter Safety orange ad. (Check issue #101 for the debut of our shocking blue ad.) It should be noted that the interview is actually with both Adam and I, but I guess our rather bulky use of this weird Hodiernal present-plural tense we invented just for the occasion didn't sit well with the editors, because they took out all the "we" references and changed them to "I" and the interview turned in to "Five Questions With Chris Randall," even though Adam actually answered two of them.

Also, I believe #102 (maybe #101, possibly #103) will have a special CM-only Audio Damage plugin. As soon as I learn which issue it will be in, I'll inform you. But this will be the only place to get it.

And finally, don't forget that your FMOF loop is due Friday at midnight PST (GMT-9). Post links here or mail me a Zip.



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May.11.2006 @ 4:03 PM
tacos pescados
"Also, I believe #102 (maybe #101, possibly #103) will have a special CM-only Audio Damage plugin. As soon as I learn which issue it will be in, I'll inform you. But this will be the only place to get it."

trying not to be a format snob, but will this include both Windows + OSX formats???


May.11.2006 @ 4:05 PM
Chris Randall
Here's to looking a gift horse in the mouth!

It will include Windows VST, OSX UB AU, and OSX UB VST. Another hint: it is a model of a vintage Electro-Harmonix pedal, 100% accurate, and cool as fuck.



May.11.2006 @ 6:36 PM
[b]ad stone!

May.11.2006 @ 8:55 PM
The whole "never look a gift-horse in the mouth" thing was invented by the Trojans. Pshh.

May.11.2006 @ 10:05 PM
Here in Tokyo I can sometimes get FM(UK) at Tower but have not seen CM there in a long time or maybe ever, might be that I only ever got one issue of CM the time I went to London....

The US mags (music industry and tech) have not been worth a rats ass for years, I never learn from em and their "reviews" are always obviously bought and paid for. When I found out that there were good mags in the UK and that they also included <i>usable</i> content on disc I nearly peed myself with delight.

Now if only I could get them consistantly without paying the left nut required for overseas subscriptions.

Oh and FWIW, the japanese mags are completely sold out to domestic vendors, never have any full versions of anything or usable samples/loops/etc on disc, never teach any cool tech/tips, but they sure do look pretty!


May.11.2006 @ 10:24 PM
ok, I am a fan of Electro-Harmonix (come on electric mistress...). But the bookstores around here always seem to loose the CDs/DVDs that come with those magazines. I'm not prepared to subscribe either.

Anytime I read magazine reviews it seems like the articles are. Look at the spec sheet... It does every thing on the spec sheet... It sounded ok when some friends made noise around it... Buy it. They just usually aren't that useful in my opinion. I also get disturbed when an ad for an item occurs in the middle of the review for said item.

Maybe CM is different. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and find a copy when the magic issue is available.


May.12.2006 @ 8:39 AM
"Here's to looking a gift horse in the mouth!"

I'm not exactly sure what I'd do if someone gave me a horse, but I most certainly wouldn't look in its mouth. There are some things that should just be left to the imagination.

As for emulations of vintage Electro Harmonix pedals, I give a resounding, Cameo-inspired, "Word Up!"


May.14.2006 @ 3:22 AM
Once upon a time, I edited a magazine called Music & Computers. I've also written reviews for Keyboard, EM, Maximum PC, MacAddict, and more, including a short-lived magazine put out by Future. These days, I edit the audio section of O'Reilly Digital Media link []">link [] and write occasional reviews for EM.

As an editor, I choose the gear I want to review. In the M&C days, sometimes the ad staff would recommend a product, reasoning that if an advertiser (or potential advertiser) had identified our audience as a good prospect, then the advertiser's product might be something we should explore. And sometimes I'd agree. That didn't affect whatever rating we gave.

As a freelance reviewer, I either send a magazine a list of products I'd like to review or I consider assignments the editors offer me. Because it takes so much time to learn a product well enough to review it meaningfully (for me, anyway), I choose gear that either I'm seriously interested in buying or that's so groundbreaking that I want the chance to explore it thoroughly in my own studio. The Machinedrum link []">link []">link []</a> V-Synth <a href="link []">link []">link []</a> and Karma <a href="link []">link [] were in the latter category.

Most reviewers will also tell you that it's much harder to write a negative review than a positive one, because you *really* have to justify your complaints. When I gave one product a negative review a few years back, it took me 45 minutes just to compile all the troubleshooting e-mails I'd exchanged with the manufacturer so I could forward them to the editor. The editor and editor-in-chief then spent quite some time discussing the review and background issues with the manufacturer before we all agreed on wording we thought was fair. In the end, the product still got two stars out of five.

So, again, one reason you see so many positive reviews is because experienced reviewers tend request products they think they'll like. Sometimes we guess wrong, and that's a drag, because then it becomes a job rather than a joy. And there's probably only a handful of guys who can master new gear and write fast enough to make a living off of review fees.

One of the reviewers I learned from had this interesting philosophy: "Every product is right for *some* reader, so part of the review is identifying that person." Given the amount of bellyaching he's done about obscure issues over the years, I don't think he completely believed that, but it is a helpful excercise.

Before starting any review, I send the manufacturer a list of background questions to help ensure that I review the product in the proper context. When I complete the draft, it's sent to the manufacturer for fact-checking. Every music magazine I've worked for does at least the second stage.

I agree that music technology magazines are often bland and predictable, and that's one reason I enjoy visiting Analog Industries. (First post ? woohoo!) On the other hand, even in the dullest magazines, I'll always find at least one intriguing tidbit, and that keeps me reading.



May.16.2006 @ 11:50 AM
In fact, while reading Computer Music (the one that reviewed Dubstation and Phase Two), a letter from a reader saying "Don't you think that Arturia and Native Instruments will be pissed off that you gave them bad reviews (4 of 10 for Arturia Brass and 5 of 10 for NI Bandstand) when they spend so much in advertising?". The editor's reply was something like "In general, we don't even bother to review products that will score that low, as we'd rather use the space to tell you about something exciting and interesting. But we felt we had to, considering they're two of the biggest soft synth manufacturers and the two synths were such duds in an otherwise brilliant line".

I can't find the US version of CM anywhere, and the import version costs $15. But for an EH pedal replica and an issue full of actually useful stuff (as opposed to some of the other mags, which are glorified ads), that's worth it.


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