It sometimes seems to me that the main purpose of editorials is to fuel ongoing controversies in the hope that the resulting heated discussions will end up in print on the readers' letters page in the form of entertaining prose. Following this theory further, there can be little doubt that sound sampling is one area of music recording that attracts it's fair share of opposite views so where better than here to start the ball rolling?
One view of the subject, which I tend to share, is that the price of sampling equipment has only now fallen to the level at which semi-pro musicians and home studio owners can afford to include this technique in their armoury, and that it's now too late! For the last couple of years, sampling has been used on records to the point where it has been virtually thrashed to death and now that it's lying on its back with its feet in the air, we are entreated to buy its remains at a reduced price. If you think about it, it has always been the same, with some new product just around the corner which is supposedly all that we'll need to achieve perfection, be it digital reverb, sampling or a computerised mixing desk.
One outcome of this is that we are encouraged to believe that technology can replace skill, but this is of course false. It has always been true that a recording of a piece of music seldom transcends the musical ideas it embodies, be they at the compositional or productional level, and that particular truth has not changed, even in the face of new developments.
If this leads you to believe that I am in some way against progress, that is not true either, as all these new toys can expand the horizons of recording, but what I am saying is that you will still get better results using whatever modest equipment is available to you in an enlightened manner than the chap up the road with all the new toys but no original ideas.
This became obvious during the few days that I spent going through the veritable mountain of entries for the TDK jingle contest. Some of the entries recorded on little better than dictating machines contained some of the most imaginative ideas whilst others were perfectly recorded but bland pieces with no originality or substance, obviously created using fairly elaborate equipment. I am glad to say however, that the majority of entries did our readers credit and were well produced, using the available gear to good advantage. If you're impatient to know just how you got on, don't worry, the day of judgement is nigh.
On an entirely different subject, some of you have called to say that your local newsagent has sold out of HSR before you've had chance to pick up a copy. The logical thing to do is either to take out a subscription, or place a firm order with your newsagent, but in any event, if you do find that you're having problems getting your copy, please let us know and we'll do our best to improve the situation - and don't forget to include the address of your newsagent.
As from next month, the name of the magazine will be changed to 'Home And Studio Recording' in response to the interest that we have attracted from professional recording studios and institutions. Additionally we will be circulating copies of HSR to top studios and radio stations as it transpires that many engineers are furtively reading HSR under the desk already; with the new title they can indulge in this (audible passtime without feeling guilty.
Don't panic if you're not a professional studio engineer, the majority of our readership is still made up of enthusiasts and we still intend to write all our articles in an easy to understand form - even our reviews of expensive or complicated equipment contain information that is valuable to all recording enthusiasts, from the absolute beginner to the studio owner.
You may notice some style changes within the magazine but this will be implemented as an aid to presentation — there will be no gratuitous streaks of blood across the page just for the sake of using up ink or looking trendy.
Once again let me remind you that we write the magazine for you and if you have any comments or suggestions that you would like us to consider, please write or phone: we really would like to hear from you.
Editorial by Paul White
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