There's a market for high resolution audio! Especially in downloadable, DRM-free form. So you're going to 256k bps, that's great. Please make the sample from the original masters, not from the CD! And I double-beg, please sample at 20 or even 24 bits! Wow, that would be awesome. 256k+ bps at 20 or 24 bits sampled from the masters would blow "CD quality" out of the water and make iTunes the best source on the planet for high resolution audio.
Forget SACD and DVD-AUDIO formats. I love DVD-AUDIO, but it's extremely cumbersome. I want it in my iPod! Give us real high resolution and we'll pay for it. $1.29 per song is great. An extra buck or two on an album wouldn't even be bad if the audio is not just a higher quality CD sample, but a higher quality sample from the masters.
One interesting factoid (to me) about the Mac Pro: it's just a computer. Apple is famous for all-in-one designs and my laptop had lots of integrated stuff... like, say, speakers. I've never bought a Mac workstation box before; the Mac Pro doesn't have stereo speakers built in (for obvious reason). So I bought Bose Companion 2's with it... this is something of a mini-review, I suppose.
Basically I think these are good speakers, but they're wildly wrongly EQ'd unless thumpy mud is your thing. They're not even in the same ballpark as flat. I'm not surprised that they're not flat, but they're far too hot in the 100-250Hz range and they don't make any attempt to compensate elsewhere. Normally speakers attempt to be fairly faithful and I boost the bass and treble a bit... the EQ looks like a very flat "V". Not so with the Companion 2's. It's still sortof a "V" but with the point moved way left in the spectrum and it curves back to flat in the high end. Looks more like the birds I used to draw when I was a little kid.
My biggest complaint, aside from the EQ, is that the bass isn't very tight. It gets boomy fast.
Another important note - they sound better loud. They don't do quiet very well, which is too bad, but not entirely surprising.
I have these sounding pretty good, but the EQ is definitely wacky. Depending on the song, 125Hz needs to go up or down a bit, but it's not worth the bother. This is basically iTunes' "spoken word" EQ (!!) with some bass added back very carefully.
So I'm mixing down some tracks recorded at 48kHz, and I've learned an interesting thing: a 192kbps MP3 created straight from the 48kHz masters sounds MUCH better than a uncompressed 44.1kHz AIFF from the same. The difference is astonishingly clear. You go, higher sample rates!
Well, wow. We installed the new Yamaha M7CL console and the Aviom monitor system last week, and they are just flat-out amazing. The console is a brilliant live console, it gives you lots of power, lots of routing control, great effects, and gets out of your way. The most surprising change after installing the new board is the quality of the sound. It is unquestionably superior to the Ramsa DA-7 (Panasonic) we had before. Huge, noticeable difference. I very much doubt that it's simply the move to 48kHz (from 44.1). The preamps have gotta be better, along with the D/A conversion in general.
Before I blab on ad nauseum about the console, a few words about Aviom monitors: run, don't walk, to the store, and buy them. Pay extra for them. Send them money for no reason! Avioms work like this: you send up to 16 separate channels of audio through one cat5 cable to the stage, and then you either chain the individual monitor units (w/ cat5) or you have a distributor. The distributor puts power on the cat5, so each unit doesn't need its own wall wart. But best of all, each monitor unit allows each user to mix their own monitor mix... they can individually control volume and pan (or stereo image width, for stereo sends) for each of the up to 16 channels.
The bottom line is that digital is no better or worse than analog, and amazing records can be and have been made with both. Digital gives you more power and control, unquestionably... and it can be used wisely... or not.
That being said, digital is very exciting for two reasons:
it breaks down barriers that prevent people from getting into the audio/recording field and it significantly de-mystifies the whole art of making records
it opens the doors to processing possibilities that could never happen in analog gear (look at Altiverb)
The most interesting part of the article is the Death Cab for Cutie guitarist's observation that the process of recording digitally is different from analog, and that the analog process is better for them. But clearly that's a problem of process, not of the recording medium itself (and their latest was done digitally and honestly sounds better than any of their previous records).
I started using Logic (Express) last night. The first hour was very frustrating, but once I "got it", it all clicked and I'm loving it. I did a complete (but preliminary) production of one of the songs I recorded at the Doin' the Stuff conference this summer in about 3-4 hours and it sounds pretty good. Once you grok how Logic uses "audio objects", it's a very smooth workflow. I easily brought in tracks recorded in Digital Performer (4), both mono and stereo, and Logic knew what to do with the split (L+R) stereo tracks. That was one of my biggest gripes with Live as a production environment.
I had the benefit of having some good Audio Unit plugins (EAS and Nomad Factory) which helped with the production, but I used Logic's PlatinumVerb to good effect (though I didn't like the presets, but in fairness I think they were designed to be run on a bus and not an insert), one of Logic's compressors, and I used its ChanEQ on every channel except the master (the EAS plugins are better suited for that).
Bouncing the master to disk was incredibly easy and flexible, too. I love it! Here's a screenshot:
I was in Houston last week to mix for the Doin' the Stuff conference and to help get things ready for moving to our new house there. DTS was awesome... it was SO cool to mix at serious volume again. Thursday night was especially amazing... two words: bass solo. Anthony pulled out his Flea impersonation and rocked the house. And if that wasn't cool enough, Crispin picked up on it and led into "Holy" with the whole Chili Peppers feel... it was amazing.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE mixing four musicians (acoustic/vocal, electric, bass, drums) who play well together. Especially loud. It's no wonder U2 sound so good live.
I'll have to write down all the "sound guy" stuff I did/learned/experienced when I have a chance.