The Computer Revolution
If there's one thing that galls me (as my old publisher would say), it's a Doubting Thomas. Especially one that moans when the medicine they are being given is for their own good! You see, I've been receiving a bit of unjustified flack of late from several Doubting Thomases, regarding the undue amount of coverage SOS gives to computers.
Let me dispel some fears by saying that Sound On Sound is not a computer magazine and never will be; it is a hi-tech music recording magazine. From its inception, Sound On Sound has devoted editorial space to music software and the computers used to run that software. If it appears that we are now giving greater emphasis to computer products, it is with good reason. If we did not, we would be failing to do our job properly.
How come? Well, doesn't it seem rather academic to review a sophisticated piece of software like C-Lab's Notator or Jim Miller's Personal Composer, with their emphasis on scorewriting, without discussing how you can print out your finished work? It does to us, that's why last month's issue carried a review of a Citizen printer and an overview of 24-pin printer technology.
Now you may well feel that if musicians want to know about "boring printers" they should read a computer magazine. Fine. Just find me a computer magazine that even mentions music printing, let alone discusses the incompatibility problems you will encounter when you attempt to print out your latest masterpiece. I wouldn't bother looking if I was you, because you won't find any! But when those Doubting Thomases are tearing their hair out because the printer driver supplied with their latest all-singing, all-dancing program will not drive that very expensive laser printer they just pawned their car phone for, I'm sure they'll be very glad SOS was there to help, don't you?
As technology advances, it is blurring the distinction between all manner of disciplines. Nothing is black and white anymore, just shades of grey. In such a climate, it becomes increasingly difficult not to discuss computers - especially in a magazine that deals with MIDI. Terms like 'bandwidth', 'sampling rate', 'Fast Fourier Transform', 'MIDI baud rate' and 'interpolation' are used with gay abandon by many of today's musicians, yet 10 years ago such phrases would never have been heard outside of an A-level Physics class!! My, how the world turns...
I can tell you now that 1989 will herald yet another revolution in an area related to computers and music - and Sound On Sound will be there at the start to help blaze the trail. Next month's issue will launch a major new force in the world of hi-tech music that will have repercussions throughout the industry. What is it? You'll have to wait and see!
Meanwhile, enjoy this issue, and on behalf of all at SOS may I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Editorial by Ian Gilby
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