Readers' Letters: Why did you change your DAW?, and more...

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of

Monday December 17, 2012

In response to Why did you change your DAW?, Olebogeng Aka Herote writes...

I've used a Cubase, Nuendo and Cakewalk(Sonar 1,3,4 & 5) digital audio workstations. And honeslty speaking the only thing that I've noticed when every time I changed from one digital workstation to another, I always missed the sounds and effx that each digital audio workstation offered. Yeah, I do agree that sound quality of each audio workstation was always a problem for me but I still believe that afterall what counts is not the digital audio workstation but the man who is utilising it. Another thing that bothers with changing digital audio workstation is that it takes time to get used to the new one even if there are instructions provided. Even though it might be advisable to get used to one audio workstation, personally I believe that if you know atleast the basics of more than one audio workstation will help to boost some confidence. I did it and I've discovered that most of the audio stations are of the same basic principle of a multi-track recorder but differs in names and in application.

In response to The difference between linear and nonlinear distortion, Dallas Hodgson writes...

Dan's comment, which got shot down, in your Readers' Letters went as follows:

"i know this is an old post but you really should remove it. the terms linear and non-linear are very well defined mathematically, especially regarding signal processing. you have created your own definitions and they aren't the 'correct' ones."

You may not like this, but Dan is correct. The terms "linear" and "non linear", as applied to signal processing (which is what we are discussing here in recording land, as opposed to funhouse mirror land) are unequivocally defined.

I can back this up 100%, with references, on request. You are correct, however, in your assumption that audio distortion in its most common sense is a non-linear function, and has no "linear" equivalent.

-djh (DSP engineer)

RP response: With respect, you are disagreeing with something that the article isn't saying. If you would like to submit an article defining 'linear' and 'non linear' then you would be very welcome.

In response to A four 4 x 12 cabinet line array for guitarists? No way, says one Audio Masterclass visitor, Johnny Scales writes...

Hi guys,

It seems to me that the "line array" thing was done back in the seventies by the Grateful Dead. They toured with the "wall of sound" from '74 to '76. It was great but also expensive and difficult to tour with....some specs;

Grateful Dead Wall of Sound Specs;

26,400 watts of continuous power via 44 amplifiers

586 JBL loudspeakers (15", 12" and 5")

54 Electrovoice tweeters

75 tons in weight (approximately)

RP response: A 75-ton sound system sounds good to us! :-)

In response to Readers' Studios: Mario Walzberg's StudiOjo in the Netherlands, Ronn writes...

... and here's one happy customer of StudiOjo. Having a small home-studio myself (i.e. Cubase 4, M-Audio Projectmixer, Rode mike and a lot of cretivity) I still like working with Mario and the atmosphere at StudiOjo!

I've just ordered your Masterclass-stuff and will be enjoying it, but for shure will be working on it together with Mario once in a while.


it looks great!


In response to Apple Computer - the best April Fool joke ever!, Gerald Lopez writes...

it might no be such a bad idea as a refrence monitor, if your mix sounds just about deasent on the iPod Hi-Fi, it will shurely sound great any where else, i my self use a pair of cheap in-ear phones for the same purpurse.

In response to Can you get a great vocal sound from a $200 mic? (Hint... Yes you can!) With AUDIO!, Eugene Somers writes...

Excellent Production Celivia and Richard,It has the magic to capture the listners thouthts and attention,and thats what to me good music is all about,It has defenitly captured mine.Great Job.


In response to Electronic drum sets? Why???, StuCollins writes...

Good article!

Take a listen to the Roland Td-20 and you will be blown away. I love my 4 acoustic kits, and all my custom snares and cymbals, but honestly - with the Td20 brain - you can create any sound you can imagine! Roland has really done their homework! Plus- for recording - it has individual outs, midi - and I could go on for days. Its about time people see the ADVANTAGE of electronic kits. I love them both, but honestly - after buying the Td-20 - for a regular, everyday playing at home kit - I always sit behind my Td20. Look forward to trying it live soon.

In response to Help - my twenty-year old recording won't play. What can I do?, George In Dallas writes...

For HOW LONG did you bake them?

RP response: 90 minutes, which worked fine in this case. Consider however that different tapes and different ovens might not always need the same length of time. Best to experiment on an unwanted reel.

In response to How can one become a premium quality rap artist in this hectic modern age?, The Mistress Of Hip Hop Tennessee writes...

I found your article insulting the least!!!! Girls with big butts that have to shake a certain Way!!! lot of bling and bad boy images. Paul WallS SOUNDd, and Pharrell with his ice cream colors and Mr.West. Something you might not know most rappers have college Degres and are well educated in the art of business and communications these days.

My advice the artist needs to develop his/her on sound, flo-style and fashion. I have found more unsigned artist are sounding better than whats being played on the radio.

Rap is a passion of words, experiences good bad or in the strip club!!!Love in the Club! Oh Well with that!!!! Real Facts Did you know that David Banner doing Katrina Took the clothes from his closet and food from his cabinets and got in his car and drove down to see what he could. He wears great suits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't judge a book by its cover TAKE THE TIME TO OPEN THE BOOK!!!!!

In response to Believe me, you WANT to buy THIS microphone..., Frank Gorgo writes...

" is not paid to feature particular equipment, neither do we accept advertising directly from manufacturers or distributors."

That this is true is the reason I read your articles and have you bookmarked for quick access. It's so nice to read a good article about the equipment rather than a well-crafted paid ad.

Thanks, Frank

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Ken Shoroc Holder writes...

This was enjoyable, it made me felt at home and it is truthful, Thats how we do it home in Caribbean(Trinidad) still, yes we have modern PA loudspeaker systems but most times it look like the piture in this article and sounds really powerful. Good one Record-Producer...

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Reggie Thompson ,producer ( writes...

I perfectly understand what your talking about, a few years back I walked into a club downtown Montreal for a showcase ,I was doing FOH and stumble across a pile of speaker going from front loaded array & horns w/bass bins all pilled up one over the other (a real mess!!), so I said to myself this can't be because I was told that the club's 'sound system' sounded amazing ,so I thought there had to be a mistake ,but that wasn't the case!, that was the system that I had to deal with!, can't tell you my discouragement ,face to the situation I asked the house tech to throw in my Steely Dan CD, couldn't believe it!!, it sounded great!!! everything was there,lows,mid & highs ,Hi-FI and powerfull, the guy told me instead of EQ-ing ,that over the years he had been tweaking the system by adding components to what ever he felt was missing in the sound . Is it shear luck? or pure genius? I guess will never find out!.

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Jean-Michel Perrenoud writes...

This P.A looks great! i heard some of that kind and they sound good. They play mono usualy,isn'it? I think with PA that the best is to be adapted with the kind of show and the music they are needed. Sound and look! An advantage of modern PA is less weight, and a smaller size.Practical advantage.

In response to Open up your mic and preamp, take out the connectors and solder the cable directly. Discuss.., Andrey Shabronov writes...

I am afraid, that anyone using proper connection gear (Switchcraft, Neutrik, etc.) will hardly notice any difference after soldering cables directly. Imagine how many interconnections even relatively small studio equipped with mixing console has! Any live-sound set-up for the typical rock band has a bunch of cablesjacksXLRs multicores....... o be plugged in so weirdly, that it can make any unexperienced person crazy. Yes, serious sound degradation can occur while signal passes through several contacting metal surfaces, but I am sure this is not the case when well-designed and properly made connectors are in use.

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Wow, So On Point! writes...

No electronic voodoo to get clear "natural" sound. No computer aided devices designing speaker boxes, just ears. I miss that era sometimes and expressing that to kid wonders in the design build field garners looks suggesting my increasing senility. I can remember back when we used a little simple math to build a cab, then constructing ing it and tweaking the box design to get what we were looking for instead of now, tweaking an outboard processor of a store bought setup and having another processor telling us it sounds right, when my ears tell me it's not......

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Al Venditti San Diego, CA. USA writes...

Who wrote this? Very nice. What is the first step in "beefing up" a relatively small PA?

RP response: I'm David Mellor and I wrote the article. The first step in beefing up your system is to get more amps and more speakers!

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Bill Baerg writes...

Hey Dave,

Looks like everything up there was built to "throw" sound. This could account for the feeling of thrust that you felt and heard. Had that experience once when Fred Van Mechelen made a pair of "horn wings" that clipped onto a pair of flush mounted tuned cabinets with a couple of bungey cords. Wow, what a difference it made even with only one per side of three cabinets. We had to take them off because they were a bit too uncomfortable at eighty feet and 120+db. Not on the ears but on the body!

The sound quality has probably more to do with using real Hi-Fidelity Amplifiers than anything. Like anything made up of components; it can only be as good as the weakest link and if they were using any commercial PA amps equivalent to their menagerie of speakers they could not have had that sweet a sound. I would definitely blame the amps.



In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, H. Mark Reynolds (Keyman) writes...

Hey bless to you, I know it had to be someone from the caribbean who owned that system because we got a few here in Jamaica. You got great sound description.


In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Erwin Hugo writes...

Yes its true! having a good quality sounds doesn't only depend on branded equipments, top of the line gigs very expensive one... although you are using a homemade PA speakers, homemade racks etc... and even sometimes a homemade power amp can do good also. it all depends on your mixing ability. i even expirienced in my mobile services, sometimes in big fiestas they used to rent two livebands at the same occassion at the same time. We use homemade equipment versus the other liveband all branded and original and still we got the better quality of sound and got most of the audience appreciations.

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Steve Niemand writes...

Anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of sound sytems, how they work, and why, should go online to which has an entire section devoted to education and was largely responsible for the sound system I built which is a 4 way, quad amplified setup that accurately covers from 30hz to over 25khz with unbelievable clarity.

21" subs, 15" low mids, 10" high mids, and dual horn highs w/bullet tweeters added for sizzle. Hint: every component in the system has an efficiency of 100db or more. The results are staggering!

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Peter Gowen writes...

Interesting that I would receive this article on 'being surprised by a good sound system' on the morning after attending the Return To Forever reunion concert at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia. The sound last night was the best I ever heard, period.

My friend turned to me during the opening number and said, "This sound is incredible!". He's a musician. I responded, "Well, Chick wouldn't have it any other way."

It was a conventional suspended line array with big bass boxes on L&R stage. But it was just so clean, clear & powerful, yet not painful. We were fairly close, row N to the side in a venue that seats 4000 under the shed and 10,000 more on the "lawn".

Mixed in subtle stereo, the sound seemed to come from the players themselves, rather than the speakers. We were on Chick's side, but could hear every note of Dimeola's guitar on the far side.

What's remarkable is that, over the years, the huge Mann has taken MUCH criticism for amplified sound, both for the Philadelphia Orchestra and other concerts.

I should have walked to the back to hear what that was like.

Interestingly, I had a similiar epiphany in 1973 at the Orpheum in Boston with Mahavishnu Orch. Big stacks of Cerwin-Vega onstage & (I assume) a lot of Crown amps).

I sat with the band I was working with at the time mid-way center. I recall thinking, "So, good amplified concert sound IS possible, after all!"

I remarked to them, "Well, John wouldn't have it any other way". Deja vu all over again?

In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Robert Snyder / Rough Wood Studios writes...

I remember hearing a little set of speakers and commenting on the particularly good sound coming from them. They were Klipsch monitors from the late 70's or early 80's. I was told that the reason they sounded so good was that the Low end came from a traditional driver, and everything else came from a well designed horn. Tour system seems to be the same. Though the bass cabinets also employ a sort of horn.

In response to For beginners - Why do your loudspeakers have holes in them?, Rob Collins writes...


I read your article concerning ported loudspeakers and I think you left out a few key points:

Ported loudspeakers are likely to be boomy and inaccurate due to poor implementation and not the inherent design. Most manufactures use this boomy psychoacoustic effect to make a small speaker sound like it has some appreciable bass. Also comparing two speakers, vented and sealed, with the same volume, and components is not a fair comparison either because the drive units in each will be tailored for the each cabinet type. Finally the bass roll off at low frequencies is different. If two manufactures, one of a sealed and one of a vented design, were to specify the low frequency output at -3dB at 60 Hz. Those two speakers would sound vastly different not due to the ported vs sealed debate you specify but due to the roll off characteristics of each design. A ported design rolls off at 24dB per octave and a sealed design rolls off at 12dB per octave. The sealed design will have much more bass output. even if the sealed design is specified at -3dB at 70 Hz it would still have more output than the ported design over the last two octaves. I could write about this forever, but I do think these key points should be included in your article.

Great site, keep up the good work.



In response to THIS is what a PA speaker should look like!, Pierre writes...

I agree with you David : is ageing the only reason why i 'm not happy with "modern" PA systems ? Since i found a pair of A5 ALTEC vot's , anything else is blah and dull ! cheers ;-)

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