Aug 2007 | Vol. 76
August/September 2007 Issue | Vol. 76
(800) 222-4700 •
Guitar Special ................1,2,3,4,5,6
Studio Notebook ......................... 6
MOTU MachFive 2 ...................... 7
Hands On: Abbey Road Keyboards .... 7
Antares Harmony Engine ............... 8
Apogee Symphony Mobile .............. 8
Zoom HD16CD, HD8CD ................. 9
Steinberg Sequel ........................ 9
Inside Sweetwater ......................10
Korg M3 ..................................10
Sonic Reality R.A.W. ...................11
Expert Center ............................11
Guitar 101 ................................12
Customer Studio. .......................12
Inside the Sweetwater Difference ....13
TechNotes ................................14
Blue Woodpecker .......................14
Synth Tricks ..............................15
SSL Alpha VHD.. ........................15
and more!
Making music happen for over 27 years!
Modern music is largely built on the electric guitar — no
big secret there! What’s amazing is the variety of electric
guitar gear that’s available, and how much cool stuff
continues to be introduced by manufacturers. There
are so many great electric guitar-oriented products
out there. In this special issue of SweetNotes, we’ll take a tour of some of the latest and
greatest offerings for the electric guitarist.
There are one-of-a-kind instruments that become almost as well-known as the artists that play them: Stevie Ray
Vaughn and Rory Gallagher’s battered Strats. Billy Gibbons’ Pearly Gates. Mike Bloomfield and Peter Green’s Les
Pauls. Brian May’s homemade guitar. Eric Clapton’s Blackie. But few artists are as closely associated with a guitar
as Eddie Van Halen is with his homemade Strat-style guitar, which was loaded with a humbucking pickup and
painted in a striped design using bicycle paint. It’s an instrument that has moved past “associated with” status to
full-blown iconic status. To say it’s one-of-a-kind is selling it short!
At least it was one-of-a-kind! Now Eddie has joined with Fender to launch the EVH brand, and the first
instrument from the new company is the Frankenstein, an exact replica of Eddie’s homemade guitar.
Fender went to extreme lengths over many months to duplicate this famous instrument, down to the last
ding, mark, scratch, screw hole, and cigarette burn. They even searched out the correct-year quarter to
screw down to the top and found authentic reflectors to attach to the back. Eddie has said he can’t
tell the original from the replicas!
Only 300 of these instruments will be made, so don’t hesitate, or you’ll miss out!
Eddie has also collaborated with Fender to produce the first amplifier from EVH, the 5150-III head and matching 4x12 cabinets.
The 100-watt all-tube 5150-III head is available in black and ivory and has a striped metal grille. There are three channels, voiced
to produce the exact tones Eddie wants for his clean, crunch, and lead sounds. The amp features custom-made transformers
and special biasing to achieve Eddie’s fabled tone. The preamp section is designed to make notes “jump out of the guitar,” and
to inspire creative, unpredictable playing. A footswitch selects any of the three
5150-III head and matching 4x12 cabinet
channels as well as the effects loop.
This amp deserves great speaker cabs, so EVH has also released the 5150-III 412
enclosures in black and ivory. The premium birch-ply cabinets are relatively light
in weight and are very resonant, per Eddie’s specs. They contain Celestion G12EVH
speakers for a dynamic, harmonically rich tone.
Eddie Van Halen is indisputably an icon in the guitar world, and now you can
own an exact replica of his famous guitar, and the exact same amp and cabinets
he uses himself. Don’t delay, call your Sales Engineer now to learn more!
—Mitch Gallagher
01 Page 01.indd 1
7/19/07 8:13:26 AM
from the editor
The electric guitar is an interesting instrument. Think about how many instruments qualify as “electric guitars.” Strats, Teles, Les Pauls,
Explorers, Variaxes, Flying Vs, ES335s, Jaguars, Byrdlands, G6120s, Melody Makers, JEM77s, SGs, Flys, Custom 22s, Sheratons…this
doesn’t even barely begin to compile a list of models that all qualify. Then consider the variations among even a single model. How
many different types of Fender Strats are there? Gibson Les Pauls? Different woods, neck shapes, pickups, fingerboards, bridges, hardware,
electronics…the number of combinations is staggering!
That’s part of what makes the electric guitar such a fascinating subject — there’s just no way to know everything about it. Every time you
think you have it nailed, someone comes along with a new variation. And that’s just the guitars, before you factor in amplifiers and effects.
All of those variations and combinations make electric guitar gear a compelling topic for a special issue of SweetNotes. But it’s easy to get
caught up in the facts and specs about the hardware. The point is to find the right combination or system for producing the unique tone
that you want to hear.
That’s what makes the great players great; you can identify them immediately from the tone they produce. It doesn’t seem possible,
but two players playing the same guitar through the same amp with the same settings can still sound quite different, tone-wise. Those
Editorial Director same players will tell you that’s because a large percentage of the tone comes from the player, not the instrument. But there still is that
[email protected] percentage of your sound that’s defined and refined by the gear you use and how you interact with and set it.
Mitch Gallagher
This fact, combined with the staggering number of variations mentioned earlier, is why almost every guitar player is on an endless quest to
find their perfect instrument, amp, and effects. Even if you occasionally “arrive” at your sound, it’s really only a temporary arrival. A new
guitar, new strings, new pick, new cable, new pedal, new amp…any one of those items can change everything…hopefully for the better!
That’s what makes being obsessed with the electric guitar so fun! It’s an endless search both musically and equipment-wise. Enjoy the
ride, and good luck with your own tone quest!
Our Guitar Gallery is Always Open! Stompbox Heaven
If you’ve been searching in vain for your dream axe or squinting at tiny, low-resolution photos online, it’s time to
try a new approach. Sweetwater’s Guitar Gallery showcases the incredible array of the guitars we have right here
in stock — and you can get up-close and personal with any and all of them, anytime! They’re presented by serial
number, so you’re seeing the exact guitar you will be ordering.
A click of the mouse gives you instant access to the Guitar Gallery’s wide-ranging selection of electric and acoustic
guitars and basses. Each instrument gets the royal treatment, with multiple high-resolution photos that allow you
to examine it closely from several angles. You can take a detailed look at fretwork, wood grain, finish, and hardware without leaving the comfort of your chair! We also include comprehensive descriptions and specs, so you can
get to know these guitars inside and out.
Plus, the Sweetwater Difference means
you’ll get an instrument that plays great,
right out of the box. As soon as we receive
a guitar from the manufacturer, we inspect
it to make sure it’s in pristine condition. Then,
before the guitar is shipped to its new owner, our
experts subject it to a rigorous 55-point inspection. We make sure you get what you ordered,
and that it’s set up properly and ready to play
when it arrives at your door. Our Guitar Gallery
lets you choose the guitar that’s perfect for you,
and our unparalleled service and sales staff
makes sure you get it!
As guitarists, we know how the right effects pedal can
be downright inspiring. That’s why Sweetwater stocks
such a wide variety of classic — and soon-to-be
classic — stompboxes to get your creative juices
For example, the classics from Dunlop. Jimi Hendrix
was a master of using effects, and Dunlop has
graciously offered up some of Jimi’s favorites. The
Uni-Vibe churns out thick choruses and rotary
speaker emulations. Next, we’ve got Jimi Hendrix
Editions of both the Octavio and Fuzz Face,
two fuzz boxes often found under Jimi’s feet, with
the former
adding an
up” for the
cool tonal
texture heard
in “Purple
We’re also
Dunlop Uni-Vibe & Hendrix Fuzz Face
to announce that we’ve expanded our selection
of pedals from electro-harmonix, the boutique-y
company that has been favored by guitarists and
bassists since the ‘60s. New to our inventory are both
— continued on page 3
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
02-03 Page 02.indd 2
7/19/07 1:30:29 PM
— Stompbox Heaven continued from page 2
MXR Auto Q, Distortion III & Phase 90
Electro-Harmonix POG & Metal Muff
the MicroSynth and the Bass MicroSynth, which allow you to take your axe places
that it’s never been. Along those same lines, the POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator)
excels at adding up to two octaves above or below (or both
simultaneously) for thick guitar tones. For straight-up
Gibson 1956
distortion, the Metal Muff is great for scooped-mids
Les Paul Goldtop
rhythm parts — stomp down on the Top Boost button for
searing leads.
MXR stompboxes are favored by such guitar heavyweights as Eddie Van Halen and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). The
Phase 90 adds a touch of shimmer to your tone, with smooth, watery phase shifting. To add sustain to their tone, countless guitarists
have turned to the Dyna Comp. We also now carry the Distortion III and Auto Q to complete your effects arsenal.
This only touches on the guitar effects we carry. If you’re looking to expand your tonal options, a new stompbox from Sweetwater may
be just the ticket to spice up your licks!
Gibson Custom Guitars: History in the Making
Gibson’s history is full of legendary guitars, preferred and played by musical icons from every genre. Until recently,
owning a vintage piece of that history has been off-limits to all but the most well-heeled among us. Enter Gibson
Custom guitars, which range from painstakingly accurate historical reproductions and signature models to oneof-a-kind modern instruments that would make any collector proud.
Using the choicest tonewoods and premium components, the master luthiers who make Gibson
Custom guitars are truly “hands-on,” meticulously crafting the guitars throughout each step of the
manufacturing process. This attention to detail means you get a superior instrument, whether it’s
a recreation of a venerable classic Les Paul from the 1950s, or a precise recreation of a legendary
artist’s favorite Gibson. Historical models include vintage touches — right down to period-correct
electronics, pickguards, finishes, and hardware — that will take your breath away as soon as you
open the case. What could be better than the look and feel of a “vintage” instrument in a brandnew guitar that’s ultra-playable right out of the box?
So many artists play or have played Gibsons that a comprehensive list would probably fill up an
entire issue of SweetNotes! Suffice it to say, the best play the best, and Gibson Custom offers some of
the most interesting, sought-after artist signature models you’ll ever see (or hear). For example: you
can get the Jimmy Page Signature Doubleneck model, an accurate reproduction of the axe used
live on “Stairway to Heaven.” On behalf of all you guitarists out there, we’ll just say it: How cool is that?
Tube-powered Tone!
Gibson 1960 Les Paul
Standard Reissue
Peavey is no stranger to guitar amplification, and their latest offerings keep upping the ante for value and
tone. Leading the way is the Windsor, a single-channel tube amp. With 100 watts pulsing through three
12AX7 and four EL34 tubes, power is the name of the game with the Windsor. Loaded with Resonance and
Presence controls, as well as Texture circuitry — all three of which are proprietary Peavey technologies
— the Windsor offers control over amp response and damping factor, as well as bouncing between vintage
Class A and more modern Class A/B push-pull circuitry for an amazing tonal control.
Gibson Custom
1957 Les Paul
The Windsor’s little brother — the Windsor Studio — boasts 15 watts of Class A power in a compact
package. Perfect for the studio or intimate club gigs, the Windsor Studio conjures tones reminiscent of the
golden age of rock. Boost is available at the touch of a footswitch, and a Power Sponge attenuator
gives you perfect distortion at any volume. A 12" speaker broadcasts the sweet tube tones.
Last, the all-tube, Class A Mini Colossal amp proves that big tone can
indeed come in small packages. At just five watts driven by 12AX7 and
EL84 tubes and an 8" speaker, this compact terror reacts beautifully to
being pushed hard. The perfect recording amp, the Mini Colossal gives you
amazing tone at a manageable volume.
Peavey JSX Mini Colossal
Peavy Windsor Studio
The Sweetwater Difference — Experience it for yourself! Call, fax, or email us today!
02-03 Page 02.indd 3
7/19/07 8:19:20 AM
Vox Turns 50 in Style!
AC15H1TV Limited Edition
To celebrate a half-century of building some of the most
distinctive and legendary amplifiers on the planet, Vox decided to
do what they do best: create a unique, handwired guitar amp that
showcases that incredible British tone. Of course, not just any design
would do justice to such an occasion, so the engineers at Vox hit
upon an ingenious way to celebrate 50 years of great tone while
producing an entirely new amp. Hence, the AC15H1TV.
Based on the original AC15, the new amp combines the EF86 preamp
channel from the 1958 model with 1963’s Top Boost channel. The result
is a sonic trip through the golden age of Vox tone, all from one amplifier.
This 15-watt, all-tube handwired amp also includes a half-power switch,
12" Celestion Alnico “Blue” speaker, and Brilliance and Bass Shift switches. Enclosed in “TV-front” cabinet and covered
in rich cream vinyl, the AC15H1TV looks incredible and sounds even better. Vox is also manufacturing a separate
head/cabinet version, and a limited edition of the amp with a stunning oiled mahogany cabinet.
Pocket POD
Put a POD in your Pocket
Line 6 PODs revolutionized the way we look at recording direct, with
small kidney-shaped units that packed tons of tones. The latest POD
incarnation is the most compact yet, fitting in the palm of your hand.
Small in size, but not scrimping on features, the Pocket POD packs
an impressive 300+ presets including models of 32 amps, 16 cabinets,
and 16 effects, and can be powered by four AAA batteries. An onboard
chromatic tuner mutes the output for on-stage tuning, and USB connectivity further
expand its capabilities as you can edit presets on a computer. As a practice tool, the
Pocket POD can accommodate the connection of a CD/MP3 player. Palm-sized guitar
power to go with the Pocket POD!
A PRS Signature Model for The Guitar Planet
a Fleet-fingered Artist
Johnny Hiland is one of those guitarists whose agility on the
fingerboard has to be seen to be believed! There’s no other way
to fully comprehend his stellar technique and clean velocity.
Plus, Hiland is renowned for his effortless ability to cross musical
boundaries, jumping from style to style as if it’s as natural as
breathing. You just know he’s going to use a top-notch instrument
that’s as fine-tuned and versatile as his playing. That’s where
the Paul Reed Smith Johnny Hiland Signature
Model comes in.
It’s not hard to pick the first feature that stands out on
this eye-popping instrument: A rock maple neck and
its large dot inlays join a mahogany body topped
with breathtaking carved figured maple. Add a
pair of JH signature humbuckers with chrome
covers, and you’ve got a high-performance PRS
with neck-craning looks to boot. The Johnny
Hiland Signature Model’s extended tonal options
allow you to pull off anything from country pickin’ to
smoldering metal, and everything in-between — which is
just another day at the office for Johnny Hiland.
To keep your guitar looking and
playing its best, Planet Waves
offers a complete line of guitar
accessories. From humidifiers
and dehumidifiers to keep your
acoustic guitar perfectly attuned
to its surroundings, to tuners
and string winders, Planet Waves
covers all the bases. To help you
Chordmaster navigate from chord to chord, the
Chordmaster provides a digital chord dictionary
with a touchscreen LCD. In the strap department,
Planet Waves offers woven straps with worldthemed patterns as well as straps based
on themes such as famous amp
grille-cloths and jazzy textures. The
Chromatic Pedal Tuner is great
for on-stage use, with true bypass
and both strobe and sweep tuning
modes. Whether you’re a hobbyist
or a touring professional, Planet
Waves has all the essentials
you need to keep your guitar
and happy!
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
04-05 Page 10.indd 4
7/19/07 5:05:24 PM
Hands on: Marshall, Fender, Randall amps
By Mitch Gallagher
Given that Marshall has produced both legendary guitar amps, and a steady stream of great new amps,
their decision to launch a Vintage Modern series of amps seems completely apropos. The all-tube
amps (there are 50- and 100-watt heads, a 50-watt 2x12 combo, and 4x12 cabs) offer two “dynamic
ranges.” The Low range gives you the tone and gain of a vintage Marshall. With the High range, an
extra preamp tube is added, providing extra drive for rock tones. A Mid-boost fattens up the tone nicely.
There are separate Detail and Body preamp controls for shaping the sound. With a little tweaking, you
can easily dial in anything from a sparkling clean tone to a round fat sound; it’s a flexible system that
also allows you to compensate for single-coil and humbucker-equipped guitars. An onboard digital plate
reverb provides ambience, while the master volume knob lets you set the decibel output level from gentle
to eviscerating.
I used the 100-watt Vintage Modern head through a 1936 2x12 cabinet and a Vintage Modern 4x12
(which was clad in dark purple tolex — some might call it “deep purple”). The amp provided all the Marshall tone,
crunch, grind, and punch you’d expect and there’s plenty of drive for great rock and fusion tones. Even with the Body and Detail preamp gain controls dimed, you can
roll back your guitar’s knob to clean things up nicely.
Vintage Modern 2266C
If you’re after a flexible, responsive Marshall with excellent articulation and great sound, the Vintage Modern will be right up your alley.
There’s just nothing like playing through a highly responsive amp; your entire touch changes. If you value
“feel” in your amp, then you must check out the Fender ’57 Deluxe Reissue. It’s one of the most
responsive, touch-sensitive, and articulate amps I’ve ever played through. The hand-wired ’57 Deluxe is a
re-creation of the amazing tweed “5E3” combo amps that Fender put out during the ’50s. The all-tube amp
provides 12 watts through an alnico Jensen P-12Q 12" speaker (just like the original). The amp comes with two
12AX7 preamp tubes; if you prefer more clean headroom you can substitute a 12AY7 for one of them. A 5Y3GT
tube rectifier provides all the beautiful “sag” the original had. The finger-joined pine cabinet is covered with
genuine lacquered tweed, and sports a vintage brown/gold grille and a leather strap handle.
This is an amp that begs to be played with a dynamic touch. As you turn up the volume, the tone smoothly
breaks up. Even maxed out, the volume is manageable; in fact, as you get past midway on the dial, you’ll just
add more breakup and compression without adding more volume. No matter how distorted the sound gets,
your guitar’s volume knob will easily bring it back to clean.
Between being able to control the compression and distortion from your guitar, and the amp’s response to how
hard you pick, you have complete control over the tone you produce literally at your fingertips. I’ve rarely played a more responsive amp
than this. If it seems I’m stoked about this amp, it’s because I am. A guitar, a cable, and this amp will put you straight into tone heaven!
’57 Deluxe Reisssue
As a guitarist, it can be hard to settle on one amp that covers everything you want. There are some versatile amps out there, but few can match
Randall’s MTS series of tube amps, which have slots for installing optional tube preamp modules that emulate a variety of different amplifiers — you
can sort of think of it as a tube-based analog modeling! There also are “signature” modules, such as those for Dan
Donegan (Disturbed) and George Lynch, including “Mr. Scary,” which produces his tone from the Dokken days.
I spent a couple of weeks with the RM20B, a 15-watt, 1x12 combo that has a single module slot. The amp is equipped
with Ruby EL84 power tubes and a Celestion Greenback. The RM20B has a tube boost for overdrive or volume boost, and
a unique “Density” control, which can add substantial low end. Around back there’s an effects loop, external speaker
outs, a line out, and a compensated “Mic Eliminator” output for recording or PA use. Nice.
What does the RM20B sound like? That depends on the module you use. The Blackface produces convincing “American”
clean tones. The Plexi module sounds authentically thick and crunchy — dialing up the Density control produced
amazing 4x12-style thump! The XTC module is all about maximum gain, sustain, and shred.
I used the RM20B in my studio as well as for a live gig at a church. Despite its 15-watt rating, this thing can get loud.
It easily kept up with a drummer and bass player. With a nice complement of modules at hand, it covers just about any
amp need in the studio. Live, it has the versatility to shine on a country gig one night, a classic-rock gig the next, and a
metal-fest the next — few amps can cover as much ground.
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
04-05 Page 10.indd 5
7/19/07 8:21:29 AM
From Mouse to Moose
MIDI Moose
When it comes to onstage footswitching, most of us want enough to get the job
done, no more, no less. Too few options and we’re not taking full advantage of our
gear, too many and it’s a distraction. Call it the “Goldilocks” footswitch dilemma.
Tech 21 comes to the rescue with two great MIDI footswitch options: the 7-button MIDI Moose foot controller, and the MIDI Mouse, which
features three switches. Either unit can be powered via a 9V battery, phantom power from the MIDI cable, or from an optional power supply.
MIDI Mouse
Right off the bat, you’ll be struck by MIDI Moose’s intuitive operation. You can access up to 128 patches and choose among them using numbered and up/down footswitches. The easy-to-read display is battery-friendly, turning off after five seconds to save juice. Hit your selected patch
switch again, and up pops the display. The MIDI Mouse features up and down switches, plus another switch that lets you search for patches and
send your choice to the output. Both units are enclosed in rugged metal housings, so your stage rig will be “just right” for years to come.
Voodoo Switcher
Guitarists are on an eternal quest for tone, and
GCX Guitar Audio Switcher
many have realized that stompboxes — even ones
that sound great — can rob tone away from your signal if they don’t pass the signal correctly when bypassed. But what if you could make any pedal operate as though it was
wired for true bypass? With Voodoo Lab’s GCX Guitar Audio Switcher, you can operate any pedal through one of eight true-bypass audio loops. The GCX loops have no
active circuitry, and once your guitar, amp, and effects are plugged in, your guitar has a direct path to the amp. This means that pedals that don’t utilize true bypass can be
selected when you need them, but there will be no impact on your tone when the effect is bypassed.
To pull off this hands-free feat of tone-saving genius, you need only connect a Ground Control Pro, which can control up to four GCX Switchers, or eight simultaneous
MIDI devices. Stored preset names are brightly displayed, so even on the darkest stage you always know what’s happening. Coupled with the GCX, Ground Control Pro can
potentially turn any rig into a massive multi-effects processor with your favorite effects and true bypass. Very cool!
studio notebook: Pedalboards
By Mitch Gallagher
For the past few years, my focus has been almost solely on classical guitar — at least
as far as my own guitar playing. But recently, I’ve been compelled to pull out my
electrics for live gigs and to play on studio sessions for different artists and producers.
In the course of doing that, I’ve gone through and updated many of my old pedals. As I
dug through the closets, I couldn’t believe how many I had accumulated over the years.
Having all those pedals is great from the standpoint of perfecting tones. (I find you can
never have too many overdrives to choose from, in particular….) However, making
them all accessible, usable, reliable, and transportable is another thing entirely. It was
time to get things organized onto a pedalboard.
Pedalboards make a lot of sense, both for players and for studios that keep a selection
of stompboxes around. Pedalboards allow you to:
• Reduce wear and tear on pedals and cables
• Organize and optimize signal flow
• Speed up set-up and tear-down
• Increase portability
• Provide clean, consistent power
• Minimize cable mess
While you could make your own pedalboard, I find
it more efficient to go with a commercial ready-made
Pedal Tote
board. There are many available. Because I have pedals
of wildly varying sizes, I went with a Gator Powered Pedal Tote, which has a
large flat surface, and comes with a
universal G-BUS-8 power supply for
powering the pedals, and with a handy
case/carrying bag. (It’s also available
without the power supply.) If you’re
using BOSS pedals, the company’s
BCB30 and BCB60 are terrific, and feature hardshell cases for excellent protection.
Furman also makes pedalboards with built-in power and patching capabilities, the
SPB-8 and SPB-8C (which includes a case).
A power supply for your pedalboard is essential. You don’t want to have to remove your
pedals to change batteries all the time. As mentioned, some pedalboards include power
supplies, or Voodoo Lab makes the Pedal Power 2 universal supply. The BOSS TU2
is an example of a tuner pedal that can also power seven other pedals.
If you have a complex rig, then A/B or loop switching capabilities may make your
life easier. Pedals that do this range from the BOSS AB2 2-way selector to the
Radial Switchbone and BigShot. For large rigs or complex setups,
the Radial JD7 has two ins and seven outs, and the Voodoo Lab GCX and
Ground Control combine to give you programmable MIDI control over all
your effects — it’s a sweet system.
Assembling a pedalboard pays off big when it’s time to use your rig. Just connect your
guitar and amp, plug in the AC power, and you’re making music with all your pedals
ready to go!
The Sweetwater Difference — Experience it for yourself! Call, fax, or email us today!
06 Page 11.indd 6
7/19/07 8:25:21 AM
Mach Speed!
When MOTU debuted MachFive a few years back, it turned more than a few heads. A truly universal
software sampler, MachFive could import nearly any format of sample or loop thanks to the
UVI-Xtract import utility, meaning that MachFive users could trigger and manipulate any sample
within a common, unified interface.
MachFive 2 puts both the Universal Binary Mac version and Windows version in the same
package, and bolsters the included sample library to a whopping 32GB — an entire DVD of which
is a special MachFive edition of Vienna Symphonic Library Orchestra. Among the other DVDs,
there’s a disc of universal loops and instruments, 8GB of samples of the MachFive Concert Grand,
and a DVD full of 192kHz and surround samples. Add to this the fact that MachFive 2 can import
virtually any sample with drag-and-drop ease — and that means no time-consuming importing
process is required — and you’ve got what could be the most user-friendly sampler ever created.
Not only is MachFive 2 amazingly versatile as far as content is concerned, but it represents a tour de force of editing and manipulation as well. Edit
samples in MachFive’s full-screen editor with unlimited undo/redo. Jump over to MachFive’s LoopLab and edit beat-sliced loops down to the smallest beat. Trigger each slice
separately, or drag and drop the loop into your host software. Apply MachFive’s powerful synthesis engine to any sample, keygroup, layer, loop, or preset using two filters, eight
LFOs, six multipoint syncable envelopes, and pitch processing, or create your own synth sounds with MachFive’s built-in synth engine. Forty-seven real-time effects from tape
delays to exciters to vinyl effects push your creativity even further. Put the finishing touches on with an amazing convolution reverb.
While many samplers restrict the number of parts you can use, there’s no such boundary with MachFive 2. Load as many instruments as you need — as long as your
computer can handle the load, you’re good to go.
Since MachFive 2 can operate as an AU, MAS, RTAS, VST, or DXi plug-in or as a standalone instrument, and is very accepting of virtually every sample format known to
man, everybody can benefit from this second-generation ground-breaking sampler technology. The original MachFive was a huge hit, and this second incarnation packs a
substantially bigger punch. Needless to say, the face of sampling
> > MOTU MachFive 2 • Sweetwater price $459.97 •
is changing at Mach speed!
Hands On: Abbey Road Keyboards
By Mitch Gallagher
Quick, what do Paul Simon, Yoda, Manfred Mann, Harry Potter, Howard Jones, Gandalf, Sting, and Indiana Jones all have in
If you shouted out “Abbey Road Studio,” you know your pop culture! The studio has played host to an incredible list of stellar artists
— incuding their most famous clients, The Beatles — and famous filmscore sessions in the decades it has been open for business.
The studio’s history, famous acoustics, top-notch engineers, and legendary gear collection make it one of the most desirable facilities
in the world at which to record.
Unless you’re up for a trip to London, recording there may be a challenge. But now Propellerhead Software has made it possible to use
some of the most famous instruments from Abbey Road in your own studio with the Abbey Road Keyboards ReFill collection
for Reason. The instruments were all sampled using state-of-the-art gear, but “Classic” versions are also provided that were sampled
using vintage mics, preamps, outboard, and consoles — and consulting veteran Abbey Road engineers — to capture the way they
sounded “back in the day.”
The sampling was done in Abbey Road Studio Two, so you can add the coloration and ambience of that 2,280 square-foot
space to the sounds, or you can add reverb from Abbey Road’s Echo Chamber Two. The instruments include a Steinway
Vertegrand upright piano known as “Mrs. Mills,” a Challen studio piano, a Hammond RT-3 with Leslie Model 122, a
Mannborg Harmonium, a Mellotron Model 400, a Schiedmayer Celeste, and Premier Tubular Bells.
The sounds include Combi presets (Abbey Road Keyboards requirements include Reason 3 or later, running on a Mac or
PC with 1GB or more of RAM) giving you access to different stereo close-miked sounds, ambience, and echo chamber, so
you can balance the tones the way you want. There are also NN-XT patches (both full and “light” versions), pre-configured ReWire templates, and demo songs (including
very impressive songs with vocals and guitars tracked into Dr. Rex loop players).
The package is rounded out by a beautiful 40-page book by vintage keyboard expert Mark Vail that documents the vintage recording gear, and the instruments and how
each was recorded (including diagrams of mic placements).
Reason is my default virtual “sampler/synth rack/sound module” for composing with MIDI, and the addition of the Abbey Road Keyboards ReFill rounds out the sound
selection nicely. The sounds are very playable, and there are numerous variations and “processed” versions of each instrument to choose from. Whether you want classic
vintage keyboard sounds or new textures,
> > Propellerheads Abbey Road Keyboards • Sweetwater price $185.97 •
this is a great collection!
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
07 Page 03.indd 7
7/19/07 8:27:09 AM
Hearing Voices
Occasionally, a product comes along that absolutely changes the way we
do things. Antares Auto-Tune was one such product, giving engineers the
ability to instantly fix out-of-tune vocal passages. So what do you do after
you’ve revolutionized vocal production? Well, if you’re Antares, you do it
again, this time with a gem called Harmony Engine.
As the name implies, Harmony Engine acts as a vehicle to render up to
4-part harmonies in real-time. These voices are formant-corrected and
maintain independent vocal characteristics thanks to Antares Throat
Modeling technology, which allows you to create a physical model of the
human vocal tract through which to process the harmony part. Harmony Engine also offers
the ability to apply vibrato to the generated harmonies as well as control the panning. All of these tweakable
settings are controlled through a very simple and straightforward user interface.
Harmony Engine lets you work the way that works best for you, with harmonies being generated automatically, or you can have note-by-note control. Harmonies can be set to
follow the key, or the harmony can be created chord-by-chord with the option of inversions. You also have MIDI-based options for creating harmonies. Chord by MIDI mode
allows a standard MIDI controller or a pre-recorded MIDI track to trigger harmony voices. MIDI Omni mode lets you “play” the harmonies on a controller the same way you
would with a virtual instrument. Finally, for the ultimate in control, four separate MIDI channels can be used for absolute control over each note of the arrangement.
To ensure that the harmonies sound amazingly real, Antares included the tools necessary to avoid artificial-sounding results. A Humanize function adds user-definable
amounts of variation to the harmonies for a realistic feel. For consistency from track to track, you can create virtual backing groups — up to six of them — with user-created
settings, and recall them for instant backing vocals. If your host supports it, you can route the four outputs to independent channels for additional effects processing.
Harmony Engine will prove an invaluable tool for engineers and arrangers who might be called on to add harmonies at a moment’s notice. Singer/songwriters will absolutely
love the ability to instantly beef up tracks with perfectly in-pitch backing singers. Antares has been leading the way in vocal processing for a while now, and Harmony Engine
shows that they’re not looking to give up that throne just yet!
> > Antares Harmony Engine • Sweetwater price $299.97 •
Symphony Takes Your
MacBook Pro to New Heights
Just a few short years ago, the kind of native digital recording capability we take for granted today was hard to come by,
not to mention expensive and cumbersome. To predict that a portable notebook computer could ever perform DAW
operations at a professional level would have been unthinkable — even a relatively powerful desktop studio CPU
would have been breathing hard in order to get a respectable number of tracks, not to mention running plug-ins,
virtual instruments, and editing operations. Now Apogee breaks the shackles of desktop systems and empowers your
MacBook Pro to perform like a champ with the incredible Symphony Mobile ExpressCard.
Symphony Mobile gives you 32 channels of amazingly low-latency I/O (1.6 milliseconds at 96kHz), and the ability to
record at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. Just plug it into your MacBook Pro and connect to a compatible Apogee converter (Rosetta
200, Rosetta 800, AD-16X, or DA-16X), and you’re in business. Watch Logic Pro’s functionality practically explode with this handy
card, which is also compatible with any Core Audio application (including Digital Performer, Cubase, and Nuendo). Imagine a truly
portable recording rig that can run nearly three dozen tracks at full steam, including plug-ins — with negligible latency!
The MacBook Pro has managed to supplant many fixed desktop systems with its processing power, speed, versatility, and great display. Project studios have reaped the benefits of
this computer’s portability and horsepower — especially space-starved areas, which can quickly go from “tracking room” to “control room” with a minimum of fuss. Now, the
addition of a Symphony Mobile card to your MacBook Pro means another step up in your tracking capability, not to mention sound quality and workflow.
Pro-level native laptop DAW recording is now a reality, and Apogee’s solution is both elegantly simple and affordable. Sweetwater has the tools — all you need to do is call your
Sales Engineer to make your portable recording dream rig a reality. Turnkey installation is available, too, so you can fire up your new MacBook Pro with Apple’s Logic Pro 7
software and the Apogee Symphony Mobile ExpressCard already installed.
It’s a new era in native notebook recording, and the Symphony Mobile card puts your MacBook Pro at the forefront!
> > Apogee Symphony Mobile • Sweetwater price $535.97 •
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
08 Page 05.indd 8
7/19/07 8:28:25 AM
Portable Workstations from Zoom!
If you remember the “good old days” of analog recording, you’ll recall (with a wince,
perhaps) that the only way to get anything resembling “portable” multitrack recordings
usually involved a cassette tape and a less-than-ultra-compact machine. The results were
compromised by wow, flutter, and background hiss, even with the best gear of the day. Fastforward (no pun intended) to today: We might not have flying cars or live on the moon, but
we do have some top-flight multitracking technology that can go just about anywhere,
easily. The ZOOM HD16 and HD8 recorders are self-contained mini studios, complete
with robust hard drives, meters, faders, visual displays, 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution, and
even CD-burning capability. All this would have filled up a room back in the “good old
days.” Now it comfortably fits on any desktop or tour bus.
The HD16 can record 16 physical tracks, each with 10 additional virtual tracks. You can track up to
eight sources simultaneously, making it possible to easily record live performances or in-the-studio basic tracks that
can be individually mixed and manipulated to your liking later. The HD16’s eight XLR/TRS combo jacks provide
plenty of input options, plus phantom power for condenser microphones. Impressed? Add the ample 80GB hard
drive, 100-plus effects for guitar, bass, and vocals, a dedicated programmable drum machine, and a built-in
CD-R/RW drive, and you’ve literally got a one-stop shop for recording, mixing, and mastering your project! ZOOM also packs in touchsensitive pads for realistic drum programming. This definitely isn’t your father’s portable cassette studio.
If you’re looking for an even more compact solution, the HD8 offers eight tracks (with 160 virtual takes for each track), and gives
you the ability to record to two tracks simultaneously. You can use the HD8’s two phantom-powered combo inputs for either highor low-impedance sources. Like its big brother, the HD8 includes an 80GB hard drive, CD-R/RW drive, effects selection, and drum
machine function. A sampler function even lets you add additional drum sounds to its drum machine.
ZOOM equipped both the HD16 and HD8 with USB 2.0 ports for easy computer connectivity, and they come bundled with Steinberg Cubase LE
recording and editing software. And you won’t need tape head
> > Zoom HD16 • Sweetwater price $699.99 •
cleaner for these recorders.
> > Zoom HD8 • Sweetwater price $499.97 •
Steinberg Sequel
Learning the ins and outs of recording is never an easy task. From the finer points of mic placement
to mixing and editing effectively, the learning curve can be pretty intimidating. With the release of
Sequel, Steinberg provides entry-level music production software that allows even musical novices to
dive into the world of recording with little difficulty.
Sequel — which runs on both Macs and PCs — is the perfect all-in-one solution with all the tools
you need to take a project from idea to song. You’ve got access to up to eight simultaneous recording
tracks, with the number of total tracks only limited by your computer’s power. On-board tools include
the same audio engine that top-notch producers and engineers around the world rely on daily, plus
intuitive editing and mixing tools, including a very handy SmartTool that changes function depending
on where it’s located in the track. “Warp” audio by stretching and pitch-shifting in real-time. Also
included is a suite of effects with everything from compression and distortion to delays and modulation effects
— all the tools necessary to produce great recordings. There are also more than 600 instrument presets and 50
audio track presets to start you down the path of putting the touches on your song.
In the mix window, Sequel offers a 3-band EQ with low and high shelving and a compressor on each channel. To add other effects, there are a
pair of insert points on each channel, along with two global effects sends per channel. On the master fader, there are two fixed mastering effects
— Stereo Enhancer and Maximizer — for finishing touches, as well as a pair of inserts for adding reverb or other effects to the entire mix.
Steinberg ships Sequel with over 5,000 loops to get your creativity flowing. These loops run the gamut from pop to metal to alternative to classical. Even novices can
build their own songs with the loop library, and since Sequel will stay in the right key automatically and never gets out of step with the rhythm, you can concentrate on
assembling your song. Sequel will even accept loops from third-party libraries, so it can grow with you as your needs change. Integrated support allows your finished song to
be exported directly to iTunes.
Sequel is great for beginners, but it’s also perfect for seasoned pros looking for a quick-and-easy way to lay down tracks on a musical sketchpad. With its loop-based
production methods and eight simultaneous recording tracks, Sequel
takes the labor out of music production so you can concentrate on
> > Steinberg Sequel • Sweetwater price $99.99 •
what’s really important — creating music!
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
09 Page 15.indd 9
7/19/07 8:29:49 AM
There are lots of great things about TapeOpCon, but one of the best parts
of going to a conference like this is getting to hang out with hundreds of
musicians, recording engineers, and producers. I think sometimes people
forget that here at Sweetwater, we’re all recording and music fanatics.
So the opportunity to spend a long weekend immersed in recording and
music is, simply put, a complete blast! We had the chance to say hello
to the many Sweetwater friends and supporters who were in attendance,
which is always a treat, as well as meet many new friends. It was truly
wonderful to see so many people brought together by their love of
recording and music. We were proud to be part of it!
Chuck Surack
Recently six of us from here at Sweetwater packed up our bags and headed out
to Tucson, Arizona. But our trip was more than just a vacation. Our reason for
going was to attend the Tape Op Conference, which is put on each year by Tape Op
magazine. This is the second year we’ve participated in the conference. Not only did
we have a booth in the exhibit hall where we were running the Shure Challenge (a
blind listening test where participants were asked to identify three different Shure
microphones using only their ears), but we also all were participants in panel
discussions and recording technique demonstrations. Personally, I was on the “Price
Is Right” panel, which discussed how gear is designed and comes to market. Other
Sweetwater attendees were on Pro Tools LE and HD, mixing, and education panels,
and gave demos on recording drums. Sweetwater was also honored to sponsor the
main Producer’s Panel (moderated by SweetNotes editor Mitch Gallagher), which
included such stellar names as Mitch Easter, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, John Morand,
Pete Anderson, and Joe Chiccarelli.
By the time you read this, our Summer
ProGear Gear Directory will have begun
mailing…in fact, some of you may
have already received your copy. This
issue we’re up to an astounding 452 pages. Who
knew there were so many products available in the
industry? In truth, even the thousands of products
that pack those pages are just a fraction of the
number available in our warehouse. It takes
a monumental effort on the part of so many
people here at Sweetwater to make one of these
directories happen — and we now do three
issues a year! We hope you enjoy the latest edition
of ProGear!
By the way, if you can’t wait a moment longer to start looking through your copy,
you can download an electronic version of the ProGear directory from
Korg M3
Korg has maintained a presence in the world of digital synthesis that most manufacturers
should be envious of. From the original M1 to the Triton to the potent processing of the OASYS,
Korg consistently leads the way. The M3 Series not only represents the latest generation of Korg synth
workstations, but also marks the “trickling down” of OASYS technology into affordable models.
The M3 is equipped with the EDS (Enhanced Definition Synthesis) sound generator that was distilled from the HD-1 engine
and second-generation KARMA functionality. Loaded with 256MB of PCM samples, the M3 holds what could be considered a “best
of” sound set from the OASYS. These sounds come in the form of 512 programs, all of which are fully editable. EXB expansion blocks further
expand the sonic capabilities of the M3, and an optional RADIAS card delivers 24 voices and four timbres of MMT synthesis technology.
The M3 boasts a touch screen that provides access to everything from a drum module to advanced synthesis to adding effects. Speaking of effects,
the M3 offers up to five insert effects, two master effects, and a single total effect, with a huge selection of everything from delays to compressors
to amp modeling. And since the M3 is a synthesizer after all, there’s a complete host of filters, oscillators, and modulation tools to completely
bend the presets to your liking. Plus, you can sample up to 11 minutes of 16-bit/48kHz mono audio (approximately five minutes stereo), load samples from a USB
storage device or CD, or import AIFF, WAV, AKAI S1000/S3000 files. For hands-on control over the tweaking and operation of the M3, Korg included a joystick and ribbon
controller, plus eight pads and 10 sliders. A pair of analog 1/4" inputs, six 1/4" outputs, and S/PDIF I/O round out the physical features.
The M3 is available in four different models: The 88-key hammer-action M3-88; the 73- and 61-key semi-weighted M3-73 and M3-61, and the M3 module. There’s also
an optional EXB-FireWire card that can be installed for connection to a computer.
By offering the legacy of the M series of keyboards along with inspiring touches from the OASYS — all while keeping the price very manageable — Korg has a real
winner on its hands with the M3. If you’ve been pining for the power
of the OASYS, the M3 gives you a ton of synthesis power in an intuitive
> > Korg M3-88 • Sweetwater price $3499.97 •
and well laid out package, and it sounds great, too!
> > Korg M3-73 • Sweetwater price $2899.97 •
> > Korg M3-61 • Sweetwater price $2499.97 •
> > Korg M3-M • Sweetwater price $1999.97 •
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
10 Page 08.indd 10
7/19/07 8:31:06 AM
R.A.W. Power
Recent years have seen virtual instruments
and loops taking a firm hold on the
music world. From replacing lackluster
performances to acting as inspiration, loops
are here to stay. This production method has
enabled a new crop of producers, hip-hop
artists, and one-man-bands to flourish using
these new creative tools. Sonic Reality — an
industry leader in the field of loop libraries —
offers up R.A.W., an awe-inspiring collection
of loops that spans from folk to urban, with a
little of everything thrown in.
R.A.W. (which stands for REX, Apple Loops,
and Wave, the supported formats included in
each library) is one of the most universally
compatible loop collections known to man.
Not only is it compatible virtually across the
board, it’s also jam-packed with an amazing
number of loops (over 42,000). How’s that
for having sonic options? Those 42,000 loops are encapsulated
in the R.A.W. Gold Edition, which contains the Universal Groove Kit + 15 Style Paks
bundle, which is one of the most comprehensive values around in the realm of loop libraries.
But Sonic Reality realizes that not everyone needs that scope of options, which is why the
Universal Groove Kit is available on its own, as are the 15 individual Style Paks.
The Style Paks cover all the bases, so if you’re in need of a groove, chances are there’s a Style Pak for it. Need
a Chicago blues shuffle? There’s a Style Pak for that. What about an R&B groove from Detroit, circa 1964?
R.A.W.’s got that, too. There’s a loop library to cover nearly any style of music imaginable. The loops included
in R.A.W. libraries are all 24-bit for seamless integration into high-resolution sessions.
Considering the number of loops available, the sound quality, and the cost — just under $400 for the
complete R.A.W. Gold Edition with Universal Groove Kit and all 15 Style Paks, and less than $50 each for
individual Style Paks — you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value in loop libraries.
• Blues Grooves
• Country Folk Rhythms
• Electronic: Drum and Bass
• Hip Hop: Dirty South
• Jazz Grooves
• Latin Afro-Cuban Grooves
• Latin Brazilian Grooves
• Latin Caribbean Grooves
• Nashville Pop Grooves
• Sixties Motown Grooves
• Trip Hop Beats
• Urban Grooves
• Vintage Rock Grooves
• Vintage Soul Grooves
• World Grooves
> > Sonic Reality R.A.W. Gold Edition • Sweetwater price $399.97
> > Sonic Reality R.A.W. Universal Groove Kit • Sweetwater price $169.97
> > Sonic Reality R.A.W. Individual loop paks • Sweetwater price $49.97 (each)
Q: How do I authorize my Waves
plug-ins if my studio computer isn’t
connected to the web?
A: You can authorize your Waves plug-ins via
another computer that is online by following
these steps.
1. Install the Waves plug-ins on the
computer that’s on the web, and
connect your iLok. (No other audio
software needs to be installed
on this computer, just your
Waves plug-ins. It doesn’t
matter if your web
computer is a PC
and your studio
computer is a
Mac, or vice-versa).
2. Run the Waves authorizer for the plug-ins that
you installed on the Internet computer and follow the Waves authorization procedure. These
steps can be found on our website at:
3. Once your iLok is authorized you can remove
it from the online computer and uninstall the
Waves software from that machine.
4. Install the Waves plug-ins on your DAW
computer and plug in your iLok. It should not
be necessary to run the Waves authorizer on the
studio computer.
The Sweetwater Difference — Experience it for yourself! Call, fax, or email us today!
11 Page 09.indd 11
7/19/07 1:29:33 PM
GUITAR 101: Necks, Part II
By Jim Miller
Last issue we addressed neck sizes and profiles. This time, we’ll
tackle the second part of guitar necks by discussing the materials
used on fingerboards. The types of timbers used to produce fingerboards haven’t significantly changed in about 100 years. While the
specific wood used on an instrument’s fingerboard can have some
impact on overall tone, none can be said to be “the best” in any
quantifiable way.
Essentially, there are three woods used on fingerboards, with
rosewood being the most common. It was used on Spanish guitars
as far back as the 1700s and before that, on lutes. The term “rosewood” applies to the timber of the tree species, Dalbergia. When
cut, the wood has a strong, sweet smell that may persist for several
years. This pleasant lingering scent earned the wood the common
name “rosewood.”
Brazilian rosewood is the most sought-after because of its beautiful
coloration and grain pattern. However, it is now almost impossible
to obtain, as it is listed as an endangered species. Though not as
spectacular, East Indian rosewood has most of the properties you’d
want in a timber being used for a fingerboard and other rosewood
species are being investigated as possible sources for the future.
These include species native to tropical America, Southeast Asia,
and Madagascar.
Ebony has also been used for centuries for fretted instruments.
Commonly referred to as the “king of woods,” ebony is dark in
color (often intensely black) and denser than rosewood. It is also
one of the few woods that sinks in water. Gibson and Gretsch both
reserved ebony for their top-of-the-line guitars. Most ebony comes
from a tree in the family Diospyros, which is native to India and
Sri Lanka, though it is often cited as being of African origin. In
some cases, high-quality rosewood may be stained and finished to
look like ebony.
The third common fretboard material is maple, which simply
shouts “Fender” because Leo Fender’s first generation of guitars all
had maple necks and fingerboards. The maple used in this manner
comes from several different tree species in the genus Acer. Many
guitar builders had used maple in their necks because of its availability, resonance, and light weight, however these were stained
in a variety of colors, while Fender was the first manufacturer to
exclusively use unstained maple for all its necks and fingerboards.
and the “blonde” necks became a Fender trademark.
Are there pros and cons to any of the three? Maple and ebony,
being denser woods tend to produce a slightly brighter sound,
most noticeable in the attack, while rosewood is often cited as
having a slight warming effect. In general, players end up with
the fingerboard the manufacturer chose to put on a specific
instrument. Some traditional jazz players may shun the look of a
maple fingerboard, but for cosmetic reasons. Brazilian rosewood
is desirable, simply because of its rarity and beauty. An instrument
with a Brazilian fingerboard would be worth several times what it
might be if it used a less desirable material. Looks and rarity aside,
most guitar players have no problem adapting to fingerboards
constructed from any of these timbers.
Customer Studio: Psalmist Recording Studio
Charlotte, North Carolina, is known more for NASCAR, pro football, and quintessential Southern-ness
than as a buzzing hub of recording activity. But Ted Kynard’s labor of love, Psalmist Recording
Studio, has evolved into a real attraction for musicians throughout the region. The friendly Kynard
points out, “We’ve done a little bit of everything, from demos to full-blown album projects. There are
a lot of creative people around here.”
Psalmist, a division of Lazy Ridge Music, Inc., began five years ago as a humble home studio with
a desktop PC and a few microphones and preamps. “I have a lot of friends who write,” says Kynard,
“and they just wanted to record some decent demos without having to pay an arm and a leg.” He
was more than happy to oblige, but the flood of clients soon dictated that he build a dedicated
facility and upgrade his gear. Now, the 1,500-square-foot Psalmist facility features several recording
rooms, as well as a kitchen area. “It’s still expanding,” notes Kynard. In the process of all that
growth, he hired Kristina Hess in late 2005 as an audio engineer. “She’s been an incredible help
to the operation. Kristina’s got a great ear, and has really made a difference in getting things
organized here.”
The studio features a Mac-based Pro Tools HD system and a stellar collection of outboard gear, as well as guitars, basses, drum kits, pianos,
and keyboards. Go-to gear includes a Neumann U87 mic, as well as AKG and Sennheiser models. Kynard depends on his collection of Avalon and Universal Audio preamps
(“They’re great for vocals and anything acoustic,” he says), as well as Focusrite units. He takes a quick mental inventory of the gear he has purchased from Sweetwater, including ADAM monitors, Avalon, Neumann, and Shure products, as well as Auralex wall treatment throughout. Kynard adds with a chuckle, “I’ve got about 50 miles of cable from
Sweetwater.” He’s full of positive things to say about his Sales Engineer, Brian Loney: “Brian’s always been really knowledgeable; he’s right there with all the information I need.
I’ve been very happy dealing with Sweetwater — there haven’t been any negatives.”
Though Kynard hints that Psalmist may branch out at some point, for now he’s content to work with bands and writers, many of whom come from upstate to take advantage of
Psalmist’s quality work and reasonable rates. He says the studio will probably require a new building sometime in the future, but, “we’re taking it one step at a time. We want to
keep pleasing our customers and grow that way.” Contact Psalmist Recording Studio at 704-455-7912, or visit for more information.
Want to see your studio in SweetNotes? Email photos to Mitch Gallagher now! ([email protected])
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or email us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
12 Page 07.indd 12
7/19/07 5:38:34 PM
Our guest interviewee this go-round is our
Director of Marketing, Mike Ross. When
you hear the term “Marketing Department”
your natural inclination might be to think
of a scene from the old Bewitched program,
with Darrin Stephens pitching his vision for
an incredibly creative advertising campaign
to his client. Maybe the image that comes to
mind is of a high-end Madison Avenue firm
with imagery featuring supermodels and
obtuse references to whatever the product
might be.
Inside the
Here at Sweetwater, our Marketing
Department is a logical extension of our
value-added business model. They don’t
just produce our industry’s high-end
“wish book” — our ProGear product
directory — they’re responsible for helping
our customers and potential customers
understand all we have to offer here and what
makes us unique from all the other music technology providers. This amazing
team is responsible not just for the great ProGear directory and the beautiful ads
you see in the various magazines, but for our incredibly deep website, our daily
electronic newsletter, inSync, and much more.
Jeff Radke
JR: Tell us about your background and what brings you to
Mike Ross: What brought me here is a passion for gear I’ve had ever since I
got my first cassette recorder as a kid. Prior to coming to Sweetwater, I spent 20
years in the ad agency business. A good part of that time was in the studio as a
radio and TV producer. One day I received my weekly e-mail issue of GearNet
and I saw an opening for the Director of Marketing position at Sweetwater, and
I knew right away that marrying my love of technology and recording with my
skills in advertising and marketing was the right thing to do.
How long have you been at Sweetwater and how has your job
changed during your tenure?
I’ve been here about two and a half years. I don’t think the job itself has changed
as much as my understanding of what the Sweetwater Difference really is and
how to explain it to our customers.
What are your department’s
Anything and everything that has to do with
delivering the message of who Sweetwater is, and
educating our customers on the details about
the great products we carry. That includes all
of our print work, from ProGear directories to
brand ads in magazines to this very edition of
SweetNotes you’re reading now. Our department
is also responsible for our incredible website and
the marketing for Sweetwater you see on the web.
How do you view your department as
part of the larger Sweetwater puzzle?
Working at Sweetwater is about working together
as a team. Of course, it’s our job to lead the
charge in telling the Sweetwater story, but we’re
also working internally to provide support
and resources for our sales staff and other
departments within the company.
How has the new campus helped make your department even
faster/better/more efficient?
The new work environment is very stimulating, very conducive to maintaining
focus on the quality of work we do here. It’s inspiring to work in a facility that
reflects our high standards.
How would you compare our marketing activities to other
retail organizations inside and outside of our industry?
By the nature of the products we sell, and the common interests and goals of the
people who use them, our marketing is much more targeted than most other
retailers. I enjoy marketing to our customers — figuring out what’s compelling to
them. It’s especially fun because I’m as much of a gear fanatic as they are!
Anything else you’d like us to know about your department?
Our marketing team is an amazing group of artists, writers, and programmers,
but we’re also musicians and recording engineers who have the same interests and
passion as our customers! I think that makes us uniquely qualified to understand
our customers’ needs and to help give them valid reasons to choose Sweetwater.
What is the “Sweetwater Difference”?
This company is built on the commitment that we
can and will do whatever it takes to make sure that
buying gear and instruments from us results in a
totally satisfying experience. We really are interested
in our customers — not just the gear they need to
buy, but their musical ambitions and dreams. As a
former customer, this is what kept me coming back
time and again.
The Sweetwater
Marketing Team
Mike Ross
Director of Marketing
(800) 222-4700 |
13 Page 12.indd 13
7/19/07 3:18:51 PM
But the story of digital video just begins there. Over the last few years, widescreen,
high-definition TVs have become hot ticket items. Hook a DVD player up to a 52"
widescreen TV, and wow, that’s impressive. Now add a high-def signal from your
local cable provider or one of the satellite companies and everyone, including your
Uncle Phil and Aunt Dorothy can clearly see the difference. Which is why widescreen
TV and high-def (HD) video is the rage right now. But where does that leave audio?
Play a 24-bit/96kHz recording for a casual listener and they’ll say it sounds just fine.
They certainly won’t gasp in astonishment. The problem is simple: Unlike the nightand-day difference between low-res video and an HD signal on a 52" widescreen, 24bit sound quality doesn’t hit you right between the eyes. People are spending their
hard-earned dollars on a big screen TV they can watch Monday Night Football on
with their friends. And with that great picture, 16-bit surround sound audio seems
good enough, even though it’s been compressed along the way.
Jim Miller
I want to thank everyone who sent me e-mail regarding my column in the last issue
of SweetNotes. It seems to have struck a chord with quite a few readers. I wish I
had more room, as I would have loved to share some of the interesting messages I
received. I also wish I had been able to answer each and every e-mail personally. All
I can say is that I read each and every one and am humbled that you guys took time
out to drop me a note!
In this issue, I want to talk about what’s going on in the music industry today. By
that I mean recorded music, not music industry technology, though admittedly
that does enter into the picture, as you’ll soon see. To kick things off, Apple recently
announced that in an amazingly short amount of time, it has sold over 100 million
iPods, making it the fastest-selling music player in history. Now that’s impressive!
Meanwhile, all those iPod owners have purchased well over two billion songs
since the iTunes Music Store went live in April of 2003. That doesn’t even take into
consideration all the music videos, TV shows, and feature movies that Apple has
made available, with more to come.
Our current 24-bit audio formats can produce audio that has many times the
resolution of CDs. But do such recordings sound even twice as good as CDs? Of
course not. If and when the high-definition Blu-ray or HD DVD formats gain
significant market share, we should have uncompressed 24-bit audio at least as an
option, though nothing is engraved in stone at present.
For now, though, when you download a song from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, you
get a 128kbps AAC-encoded file, which is arguably better than the original MP3
compression. Some iTunes Plus songs are now being offered at 256kbps or twice the
standard rate and without the digital rights management (DRM) protection, so they
can be played on iPods, other digital music players, and an unlimited number of
computers. For the time being, and for many music lovers who download most or
all of their music, being free of DRM seems to be a bigger issue than audio quality.
When digital audio was first born, a 16-bit recording at a sample rate of 44.1kHz
was pretty amazing and truly pushed technologies of the day to their limits. Over
the last 25 years or so, we had an excellent medium in the compact disc that served
us well. Yet here we are in 2007, with the majority of us having the ability to record
24-bit audio at sample rates up to 192kHz, but without the means to distribute it.
Which takes us full circle. The bottom line here is that consumers want music —
lots of it — and it must sound good, or at least good enough! Both CDs and MP3/
AAC audio files meet those needs. Until the average person can hear a significant
difference in the quality of a particular audio format, they won’t particularly be
interested in paying more for it. Those of you reading this would hardly be in that
category, but for now, we’ll have to live with the limitations imposed upon us by the
delivery methods chosen — or more accurately rejected — by the general public.
We need only look at what a disaster SACD and DVD-A were.
During the last decade, while audio delivery systems lagged behind, video made the
leap from low-resolution VHS tapes to the bright, shiny DVD. Its image quality was
stunning and surround sound audio sounded pretty awesome. Thus, in fairly short
order, the public accepted DVDs.
Perhaps linking high resolution audio to the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats will
be the answer. But the last thing we need in our quest for better sound quality is a
format war to rival Beta versus VHS. George Santayana stated it best: “Those who
cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The man had a point there!
Blue Changes the Microphone Pecking Order
“Where will they go next?” That’s what we always ask ourselves while staring in wonder at Blue’s latest combination of solid
design, great-sounding practical application, and artful execution. After stunning the industry with model after model of
incredible microphones that run the gamut from multi-purpose mic locker stalwarts to innovative insectoid-styled condensers,
Blue has moved in yet another new direction and introduced the stunning active ribbon Woodpecker.
The Woodpecker pairs Blue’s proven Class A discreet electronics with an aluminum ribbon transducer to provide a distinctive, smooth sound.
This mic excels at capturing the natural sound of the room, whether you’re using it on vocals, acoustic or electric instruments, or drums. Of
course, this attribute makes the Woodpecker an ideal ambient mic as well. Its figure-8 pickup pattern gives a true impression of any space, and
its un-hyped tonality is a perfect fit for multiple-mic combinations.
As unique and classy as this mic sounds, it has the looks to match. An exotic wood body gives the Woodpecker an extraordinarily rich
appearance, complemented by a gold mesh screen. This is one of those pieces of gear you recognize instantly. The included custom brass
shockmount only adds to the Woodpecker’s visual appeal. A cherrywood storage box is also included.
Simply put: Blue does it again. The Woodpecker sounds and looks incredible, bringing together the clarity and convenience of active
microphones with the natural, vintage tonality and vibe of a ribbon model. Call your Sales Engineer now to learn more!
> > Blue Woodpecker • Sweetwater price $999.97 •
(800) 222-4700 |
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7/19/07 8:39:50 AM
We all know that a real guitar track will almost always be better than a MIDI guitar
track. There are just too many subtle nuances that can’t be captured by MIDI or
reproduced with a limited number of samples. But this is of little value to you if a MIDI
guitar track is the way you have to go.
By Daniel Fisher
Here are a few tips that can make any MIDI rhythm guitar track more tolerable to the
average listener.
1) Try to use only the notes of a chord allowed on a real guitar. How do you figure this
out? Well, my favorite trick is to use both hands and hold down all of the six open
strings of a guitar. From low to high the notes are E, A, D, G, B (for reference, this is
the B right below middle C), and E. Get comfortable grabbing those six notes quickly.
Now think of a chord you want to play and apply this rule: Never let any note of a
chord go below (to the left of) the E-A-D-G-B-E notes. For example, let’s say you want to play a C chord (C-E-G). Look at the E-A-D-G-B-E notes you’re holding. You can
use the low E (though in reality most guitarists would omit this note from this particular chord to avoid playing the first inversion). Now you might be tempted to take
the A you’re holding and move it down to a G. But that breaks the rule. Instead move the A up to the next C. Now move the D up one step to the E. Keep the G where it is
and move the B up to the next C. Finally, leave the high E where it is.
Keep practicing this with different chords and you’ll begin to do it without much thought.
2) Learn to roll your chords from low-to-high and high-to-low. The best notes to start out on are the open strings: E-A-D-G-B-E. Just rock back and forth and try to imagine
the sound of dragging your finger or pick across strings. Don’t worry
about other chords until you get this to sound realistic.
3) Move a few notes while keeping others the same. This is very guitar-like.
4) And finally, my secret MIDI weapon (especially for acoustic guitar
tracks) is to duplicate the MIDI track, assign a different guitar sound
to each track, and then pan one slightly left and the other slightly
right. Balance the volumes of the two tracks so that they produce a
center image. Now use your sequencer’s Change Velocity parameter to
randomly vary the velocities of all the notes in both tracks.
The end result is a sparkling guitar track that breathes across the stereo
field and doesn’t sound like the same strokes over and over. Have fun!
SSL Takes you from Clean to Mean
Some names just ooze quality. The mere mention of certain audio luminaries is enough to make you perk up and take notice when one of their new products hits
the shelves — a great example is SSL. Solid State Logic has been associated with premium-quality studio gear for nearly four decades, and they continue to wear
their reputation well with the release of innovative product lines that suit the project room as well as the big-time studio. The Alpha VHD preamp represents SSL’s
commitment to great sound and practical flexibility.
You might think of the Alpha VHD as a “Jekyll and Hyde” of sorts: it’s designed to provide the kind of clean, transparent signal that has made SSL a renowned studio
mainstay, but increase the gain and you’re in for some major harmonic content — giving you everything from sweet tube-style overdrive to a more gritty drive
associated with transistors. Plus, the two worlds can be combined to get some truly intense signal coloration. If you’re looking for that missing ingredient to get certain
parts to “pop” out of your mixes, this box might just be the one.
How does SSL pack this capability, plus four phantom-powered channels, into a compact, single-rackspace chassis? The streamlined front panel is simplicity itself:
each channel features its own input and output knobs, plus a control labeled “VHD.” As you increase input gain, you simply turn the VHD knob counter-clockwise for
smooth, tube-style 2nd-order harmonic content, or clockwise for 3rd-order, more “in your face,” tones. Since you can apply up to 75dB of gain, you won’t be lacking for
signal strength — a real plus for ribbon microphones. Backing off the input gain keeps the signal path pristine, for high-fidelity sound reproduction. The entire circuit
is pure analog, too. Having the ability to add so much (or little) color to the signal makes the Alpha VHD an ideal front end for digital recording systems.
Each of the Alpha VHD’s channels also features a hi-Z input (with passive DI-type impedance detection), rear-panel XLR in and out, phantom power switch, and 20dB
pad. Your studio rack will be well served by this
> > Solid State Logic Alpha VHD • Sweetwater price $1695.97 •
incredible 1U preamp’s multiple personalities.
(800) 222-4700 |
15 Page 06.indd 15
7/19/07 8:41:06 AM
Change Service Requested
5501 US Hwy 30 W, Fort Wayne, IN 46818
(800) 222-4700 •
Guitar Special ............... 1,2,3,4,5,6
Studio Notebook ........................ 6
MOTU MachFive 2 ..................... 7
Hands On: Abbey Road Keyboards ... 7
Antares Harmony Engine .............. 8
Apogee Symphony Mobile ............. 8
Zoom HD16CD, HD8CD ................ 9
Steinberg Sequel ....................... 9
Inside Sweetwater ..................... 10
Korg M3 ................................. 10
Sonic Reality R.A.W. .................. 11
All contents © 2004 Sweetwater, Inc.
Expert Center ........................... 11
Guitar 101 ............................... 12
Customer Studio. ...................... 12
Inside the Sweetwater Difference ... 13
TechNotes ............................... 14
Blue Woodpecker ...................... 14
Synth Tricks ............................. 15
SSL Alpha VHD.. ....................... 15
and more!
©2007 Sweetwater Sound, Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
Name: Joseph Secu
Position at Sweetwater:
Sales Engineer
Start date: May 2004
Education: Bachelor of
Science in Communications
at Liberty University, Associate
of Science in Recording Arts
at Full Sail
Where are you from originally? Delaware and Pennsylvania (I lived only
a mile from the state line.)
What was your occupation before coming to Sweetwater? Student
Why did you first apply for a job at Sweetwater? I was a customer and was
fascinated by the professionalism of the company. I carried a Sweetwater ProGear directory
with me to class every day at Full Sail. A student noticed I was never without a gear directory
suggested I should just work there. Here I am today.
Foreign languages: Romanian
Technical strengths: Studio monitors, microphones, preamps, live sound, computer
recording software and devices
Favorite music-related websites: (of course),,
Instruments you play: Just my voice!
Gear you own: Digidesign Pro Tools LE, Apple Logic Pro, MOTU Digital Performer, Apogee
MiniDac Firewire, Apple 17" MacBook Pro, a ton of software samplers and instruments.
16 Page 16.indd 16
Family info: Single and content.
Other stuff we should know about you: My hobbies include cooking and fine dining, traveling, art, and Broadway shows.
Personal motto: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
Favorite magazines: Pro Sound News, Sound on Sound, Car and Driver, Automobile,
The Dupont Registry for Cars, Audio Video Interiors, Stereophile, Absolute Sound
Real-life hero: My mother. She rescued me from an orphanage in Romania and adopted
me and three other children.
Guilty pleasures of choice: Luxury automobiles, consumer electronics and gadgets,
high-end consumer audio systems and home theater
How would your boss describe you? Loyal, hard-working, dedicated.
How would your best friend describe you? Loyal, caring, thoughtful, generous. A
good listener and a good giver of advice.
What did you dream about doing for a living when you were growing up?
Theatrical productions
Describe the most dramatic situation in which you provided the
“Sweetwater Difference” for a customer: There have been many instances where I
was able to help someone out in a unique way. For me, it’s not out of the ordinary to go out of
the way for one of my customers (figuratively and literally). I’m just happy to help.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Sweetwater Team? Feeling
like I’m a part of a big family and working with guys and gals that share the same interests
and passions as I do. I enjoy networking with great customers, helping them make decisions
about gear, and making new friends.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Sweetwater? It’s better to
make an “executive decision” and ask for forgiveness later than to not make an attempt at all.
7/19/07 8:42:13 AM
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