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Actually, it just came out finally a few days ago. I too had been waiting with bated breath to get one. Finally saw it (and heard it) the other day and it's awesome! Only reason I didn't walk out the door with one was because my buddy who works at the music store is getting me a killer deal on it but I have to wait a couple more weeks.

 

But anyway, it's out now and you need to go check it out!

 

--Lee

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When your wait is over, please post your comments here.

 

As to the delay in shipping, vaporware is very common in this industry. Many products that are announced NEVER appear, some change price or features, or mutate into something else. But at least in this case, it looks like what Yamaha announced is indeed what they're shipping.

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Oh yeah, it's DEFINITELY everything they said it would be.

 

I will be sure and post comments once I get mine - does anybody have any specific questions about it? I may be able to answer already since I've spent several hours at the store messing with it, and if I don't know already I can go back there and find out - a good excuse to "visit" it. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

--Lee

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Yamaha has just announced a web site dedicated to the AW4416. The site, www.aw4416.com , features FAQ's, top and backside photos, specs, options, etc.

 

From the backside shot, the unit seems to come with two (2) built-in mic preamps. Anyone know if the effects generator includes bit resolution downgrading?

 

[This message has been edited by dansouth@yahoo.com (edited 10-10-2000).]

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Yes that is true, it only comes with 2 mic inputs (XLR, phantom power etc.) and the rest are line. This is SORT OF a disadvantage, but I planned on using outboard pre's for most of my mics anyway.

 

The web site has been up for months and they haven't updated it much since then, but it does have a lot of good info.

 

--Lee

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  • 1 month later...

Here's an update - the www.aw4416.com site has recently been updated with a new look and lots of new info. Check it out.

 

The AW4416 sounds great and seems to be very easy to use. I just received my a week ago, so I haven't tried all of the nifty features yet, but tracking and manual mixes are a breeze. You'll have to spend a little bit of time assembling it, because the hard drive, the CD-RW, and optional expansion cards have to be installed before you power it up. I know it's tempting, but PLEASE DON'T TRY TO TURN IT ON BEFORE INSTALLING THESE OPTIONS! You'll risk damaging the unit.

 

I'm glad to see that the AW4416 has three knobs for EQ (F,Q,G) unlike the 01V, which requires you to use the data wheel to enter the Q value. It's nice to have it all right there in one spot.

 

My only complaint to date is that the hard drive is a little noiser than I would like. Mine is about twice as loud as the internal Macintosy HD. Anyone else have this problem? I'm going to discuss this with the dealer. Maybe mine's just noisier than normal. Other than that, this thing ROCKS! Get yours while you can. When the government finds out how fun the AW4416 is, it will DEFINITELY become contraband!

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I too had been waiting for it but my desire got cooled off halfway thru the wait; the reason? It is more cumbersome and messy than I expected, with more functions that I'll NEVER use than I expected, and not as breakthru as I expected, after all. It's a 01V (not a 02R)with a HD recorder. That's all about it.

I have been using Roland VS 1680 for two years now and it's just great. I would change it for a 24 tracker, or a 32 tracker, certainly not for another 16-tracker.

It could attract me if it had MIDI sequencing onboard.

I will wait till next year.

I am much more excited by Mackie HDR-24/96.

 

Max

Italy.

Max Ventura, Italy.
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Since the Keyboard Report is, at this moment, still being fact-checked by Yamaha, I can't yet post any comments about my experiences with the 4416. Within a few days I plan to post a quick summary here, since this topic is obviously of interest to a lot of people -- but you'll have to read the Keyboard Report for the full story. The review is scheduled for Keyboard's January issue.

 

--Jim Aikin

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Sound On Sound mag has a great review of the AW4416 this month.

 

I think I mentioned elsewhere that I got my hands on one and played with it for several hours, and I must say I was mightily impressed. Mine is still back ordered but I should have it ANY DAY now. Can't wait!

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Sound On Sound mag has a great review of the AW4416 this month.

 

Not to be catty or anything ... oh, okay, I'll go ahead and be catty. The SOS review is very detailed on the tracking and mixing side, but gives short shrift to the track editing features. I don't know Hugh Robjohns, but one could easily get the impression from the review that he's an experienced old-school engineer who has never, ever worked with Pro Tools, Cubase, or Logic.

 

More significant, there was at least one serious technical error. (Unless the Brits got a much more recent OS than I did, which is possible, but not likely.)

 

Here's what the SOS review says: "MIDI program change and control change messages, for example from an external sequencer, can be assigned to operate a wide variety of features in the console, including the scene memories. However, Yamaha recommend using the internal automix facilities for complicated automation passes, simply because of the amount of data that would have to be transferred to and from the sequencer."

 

My guess is, this paragraph is the result of a phone conversation between the reviewer and his Yamaha contact, during which the reviewer didn't quite understand what the Yamaha person was saying. It's quite clear that the reviewer never tried the feature he is describing in this passage. The phrase "...control change messages ... can be assigned to operate a wide variety of features..." is dead wrong.

 

Neither the MIDI chapter nor the Automix chapter in the AW4416 manual makes any reference whatever to control changes. You can recall scene snapshots using program changes -- he got that right -- but the mixer would appear not to be able to transmit or receive MIDI controller data for automation purposes.

 

In the MIDI page of the OS, there is indeed a parameter line in which, someday, you may be able to switch controller RX and TX on and off -- but this line is inoperative in the current OS except for the "echo" switch, which causes incoming CCs to be echoed at the out/thru jack. You can't edit any other parameter in that line. Just to double-check, I tried pushing a slider up and down after MIDIing the 4416 to Logic. The 4416 didn't transmit anything.

 

My guess is, the Yamaha contact said to the reviewer something like this: "Oh, you wouldn't want to use controller data for automation. It would take up too much MIDI bandwidth." The reviewer interpreted this as meaning, "You _could_ do it, but you'll get better results with internal automation, so we recommend you don't use MIDI." The Yamaha contact was presumably intending to be understood as having said something more like, "Here's why we haven't implemented MIDI-controller-based automation."

 

Not that I'm immune from this sort of foul-up. Anybody can make a mistake, especially with a device as deep as the AW4416. All I'll say is, here at Keyboard we make an earnest and unstinting effort to actually try features before we write about them. (That was the catty bit.)

 

--Jim Aikin

 

[This message has been edited by Jim Aikin (edited 11-17-2000).]

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Oh. Well I would never wanna do a thing like that anyway (use MIDI to control automation). YOU KEYBOARD PLAYERS!! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif But, I'm looking forward to hearing more of your comments.

 

In any case I've already ordered the thing, and I think for my own purposes it will work well.

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Oh. Well I would never wanna do a thing like that anyway (use MIDI to control automation). YOU KEYBOARD PLAYERS!! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif But, I'm looking forward to hearing more of your comments.

 

Granted, storing your automation in a computer entails a lot more hardware and a little extra hassle in terms of keeping track of your song files. And granted, at a point in the mix where there are a lot of fader moves (such as at a final fadeout, for example), the MIDI data stream can start to impose a bit of delay.

 

Having said all that, a decent sequencer provides ***way*** better facilities for editing your fader moves as controller data than what the AW provides. My own preference (if I were in charge of the universe) would be to lay out my mix on the AW, blow it over to a sequencer to tinker with the data, and then blow it back to the AW (by putting the unit in some sort of "record MIDI automation" mode) for storage and in case any last-minute tweaks were needed. I don't know of any hard disk recorder that currently operates that way -- all I'm saying is, wouldn't it be swell?

 

--Jim A.

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This may sound like a smartass question (and god knows I would never ask a smartass question http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif ), but I'm sincerely asking cuz I don't know: why would it be swell? I mean what could you do with that that you couldn't do with plain ol' fader automation?

 

Maybe I just think differently, but one of the reasons I prefer to get the all in one solution over a computer based system is because I like using faders. I think of them like another instrument I guess. I think controlling fader moves with a sequencer would feel to me kinda like using software faders in Pro Tools - which I sometimes do, I just don't like it as much. Please 'splain what the benefits are.

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

This may sound like a smartass question (and god knows I would never ask a smartass question http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif ), but I'm sincerely asking cuz I don't know: why would it be swell? I mean what could you do with that that you couldn't do with plain ol' fader automation?

 

...one of the reasons I prefer to get the all in one solution over a computer based system is because I like using faders...

 

Happy to oblige. I agree that on-screen faders suck compared to using the real thing! But when it comes to editing a bunch of controller data, computers rule.

 

Here's an example: Let's say you've got one channel of your mix automated perfectly, including some complicated fades, mutes, and even EQ or compression changes -- only you've got four alternate takes for that particular track, and you want to be able to listen to each take by itself in the context of the mix, and maybe even bounce down to a new track using the four alternate takes as sources. Assigning the alternate takes to their own mixer channels and muting/unmuting them in the AW4416 is a piece of cake -- but how are you going to get them all to play back with the identical fader moves, etc.? For that, a computer sequencer's block copy function would be the tool of choice.

 

Here's another example: Maybe you like the way a track fades in, and you want to repeat that fade-in after the bridge. Again, block-copying is superior to trying to recreate the fade manually.

 

Here's an even better example: In the AW4416, to the best of my knowledge, enabling/disabling the automix playback is a global switch. Either the mix plays along with the tracks, or it doesn't. But by recording each channel's automation data to a different sequencer track and then muting or unmuting individual tracks of controller data, you could "de-automate" selected mixer channels. This might be incredibly useful if you want to fiddle with one channel, for example, while listening to other channels fading and panning in their carefully planned manner.

 

Again, I love hardware faders for mixing, and motorized ones are even better. A lot depends on how exacting your needs are, and on how you're used to working.

 

--Jim A.

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Originally posted by Jim Aikin:

Here's an example: Let's say you've got one channel of your mix automated perfectly, including some complicated fades, mutes, and even EQ or compression changes -- only you've got four alternate takes for that particular track, and you want to be able to listen to each take by itself in the context of the mix, and maybe even bounce down to a new track using the four alternate takes as sources. Assigning the alternate takes to their own mixer channels and muting/unmuting them in the AW4416 is a piece of cake -- but how are you going to get them all to play back with the identical fader moves, etc.?

 

I thought, in the AW you did that with virtual tracks??? I didn't, actually, check to see whether the automation stays in place when you switch virtual tracks on the channel. But I would assume they did cuz the automation is channel specific.

 

Here's an even better example: In the AW4416, to the best of my knowledge, enabling/disabling the automix playback is a global switch. Either the mix plays along with the tracks, or it doesn't. But by recording each channel's automation data to a different sequencer track and then muting or unmuting individual tracks of controller data, you could "de-automate" selected mixer channels. This might be incredibly useful if you want to fiddle with one channel, for example, while listening to other channels fading and panning in their carefully planned manner.

 

Hmm, yeah that would be useful, but are you saying it doesn't "hear" any manual fader moves when it's playing an automix?

 

Again, I love hardware faders for mixing, and motorized ones are even better.

 

Yeah, I'm really psyched about the motorized faders. Automated consoles without motorized faders tend to get me all confused. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif I love to be able to SEE where you're at on a fader just by looking at it.

 

Thanks for the feedback! I can tell you'll be a great discussion partner when I finally get my toy and start working with it.

 

--Lee

 

[This message has been edited by Lee Flier (edited 11-17-2000).]

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Originally posted by argomax:

It's a 01V (not a 02R)with a HD recorder. That's all about it.

 

Not quite. First of all, the 01V is a 24-channel mixer (16 A/D inputs + 8 on an expansion card). The AW4416 features a 40-channel mixer (8 A/D inputs, 16 inputs on two expansion cards, plus 16 tape returns).

 

Secondly, the 01V has no onboard automation. If you want to automate an 01V mix, you MUST use MIDI. The AW4416 features onboard moving-fader automation.

 

Everyone's needs are different. I considered a full blown ProTools system and also an all-Mackie system (d8b and HD2496). These would offer a lot of features that the AW4416 doesn't have, features like more expandability, plug ins, advanced editing tools, etc. But they also require a LOT more care and feeding than an all-in-one unit.

 

There was a thread on this discussion board about a month ago about streamlining one's studio in order to increase productivity and creativity. I paid very close attention to the comments that were posted, because I'm tired of spending my precious studio time on the technical hassles inherent in a complex system. With an all-in-one unit, I can work much more quickly. At the end of the day, it's the creativity and the spark and the joy of the music that counts, not the fact that I can't edit fader moves under a microscope.

 

If I need to do some slicing and dicing, I can transfer the tracks to my Logic/2408 system. If I need even more horsepower on a particular track, I can lug the AW4416 out to the car, book time in an expensive room, dump the tracks and have the pros edit and mix them. But for 90% of what I need to do, the AW4416, along with some good mics, pre's, compressors, and Lexicons should be more than adequate.

 

I would like to paraphrase Mr. Aikin's idea, which he so eloquently stated in his recent review of the Kurzweil K2600. If you can't make good music on the AW4416, don't blame Yamaha.

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I hear ya Dan! I wanted to keep a fairly simple setup myself. And I agree, for the small percentage of stuff I can't do with the 4416, I can book a studio and take it over there and do it.

 

BTW the reviewer in Sound On Sound echoed your complaint about the noisy hard drive. I didn't notice this, but I was in a noisy music store.

 

So I'm wondering Dan, what pre's and other outboard gear are you getting (or do already have) to complement your new purchase?

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

I hear ya Dan! I wanted to keep a fairly simple setup myself. And I agree, for the small percentage of stuff I can't do with the 4416, I can book a studio and take it over there and do it.

 

Exactly! I'm a gearhead, to be sure, but I get pretty frustrated when all I do is tinker with gear. That's not why I bought the gear in the first place. I bought it to make music. For the past few years, my studio has been sounding better and better, but I've been producing less and less music. A complicated rig can really slow you down.

 

The AW4416 represents an exceptional balance of sound quality, features, and ease of use. It's nice not to have to turn on nine pieces of hardware just to record a vocal/piano song idea. Portability is a nice feature, as well.

 

BTW the reviewer in Sound On Sound echoed your complaint about the noisy hard drive.

 

Perhaps our esteemed friends at musicplayer.com can ask Yamaha if they can suggest a quieter alternative. Supposedly, you can use any 2.5 inch drive. I have to believe that there are some relatively silent drives out there.

 

So I'm wondering Dan, what pre's and other outboard gear are you getting (or do already have) to complement your new purchase?

 

I have a TC Gold Channel which has good converters and some nice compression presets. Nice EQ, too. I've got a VT737SP, one of the half rack Joe Meek units (really warm on bass guitar), and a dbx 166. I just bought a Distressor, but I haven't had a chance to hook it up yet. Also, I plan to get one of the Universal Audio LA-2A reissues.

 

Verbs include: PCM 90, MXP-1, SRV330. The verb on the AW4416 is quite nice on some material (better than you'd expect). I'm a little short in the mic department, but that's a 2001 project.

 

This is probably fodder for a different thread, but can you suggest any mics or processors that work well for vocals? I rarely mic any instruments.

 

Dan

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>>I hear ya Dan! I wanted to keep a fairly simple setup myself. <<

 

This is a subject that's also dear to me. I have a computer-based setup, but I still manage to keep things pretty simple by just having everything hooked up in a normalized fashion, then with presets for common situations. Basically, I guess I'm saying it's possible to turn a "complex" setup into a simpler one just by freezing a particular setup.

 

About on-screen vs. fader automation -- sure, faders are fun to use. But I think of them more as "entry devices." For the serious tweaking, on-screen mixing is great. It can even be faster. For example, on a tune I was doing last night, I wanted to have a different volume level of each hit of a snare, and all had been recorded at the same level. To punch in and record fader automation would have been a MAJOR hassle compared to just drawing a few lines.

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>>The review is scheduled for Keyboard's January issue.<<

 

I look forward to reading the full review, as well as to seeing some advance comments in this forum.

 

To those who may not be familiar with Jim -- I know there are at least one or two of you out there -- he is about as thorough as is possible when it comes to reviews. I call him before making any major keyboard purchase just to get his input. He also edits my Keyboard column, so he's basically the "mastering engineer" for my articles that appear there...sort of the print equivalent of Bernie Grundman.

 

Good to see you here, Jim. Now gives us the scoop on the 4416!!

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Dan,

 

Know what you mean about the whole chain getting too complex. If you're just engineering (and especially if you work at a studio where there is a dedicated maintenance crew), it's fine, but when you have a project studio and you're trying to be the musician, engineer and maintenance person, it's a royal pain. The number of things that can and do go wrong with computer based audio systems blows my mind (even though I program computers every day!). One thing I found encouraging about the SOS review of the 4416 is that the reviewer said the OS never crashed and seemed very stable; that is a major concern I have.

 

As for the hard drive issue, don't know if it's the drive or the fan that's making most of the noise. If it's the fan, changing the drive won't help. Most of those little laptop drives are not that noisy but cooling systems almost inevitably are.

 

Sounds like you've got some cool gear! I am still painfully making my way through evaluating the plethora of outboard gear that's out there these days. I do not have a very big budget so that's a major consideration. But, as we've been saying, a few limitations, whether self imposed or budget imposed, can be a good thing!

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by Anderton:

About on-screen vs. fader automation -- sure, faders are fun to use. But I think of them more as "entry devices." For the serious tweaking, on-screen mixing is great. It can even be faster. For example, on a tune I was doing last night, I wanted to have a different volume level of each hit of a snare, and all had been recorded at the same level. To punch in and record fader automation would have been a MAJOR hassle compared to just drawing a few lines.

 

Ha! Again I guess it's just what you're used to. I find most things a lot faster to do with faders, especially when you want to ride more than one thing at a time. I find that calling up channels in Pro Tools and making changes is really tedious, even though I'm well used to computers in other applications.

 

And if you have a console that records your own fader moves, that to me is faster in a situation like the snare levels. I usually have a feel for how much gain a given fader move is going to give me, whereas when I draw a line on a computer I can't necessarily predict what it's going to sound like till I hear it back. I'm sure there are some folks who find it easier to look at a graph and can say within a reasonable degree what it will sound like, but I like the real-time aspect of faders.

 

To be sure, there are lots of cool things about computer based editing! And I wouldn't mind having that option available for final-final tweaking. But most of the time I paint with a pretty broad brush and it doesn't bother me not to have that degree of control.

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by Anderton:

I have a computer-based setup, but I still manage to keep things pretty simple by just having everything hooked up in a normalized fashion, then with presets for common situations. Basically, I guess I'm saying it's possible to turn a "complex" setup into a simpler one just by freezing a particular setup.

 

It's great to hear that you've been able to organize your studio so effectively. Unfortunately, organization doesn't eliminate every problem. New equipment, software upgrades, OS upgrades, computer upgrades, de-supported software (OMS), sync hassles, equipment breakdowns, and simple context switches (e.g. between projects or artists) can bring a project studio to its knees. As a general rule, the less equipment you use, the less time you have to devote to getting the pieces to work in harmony (equipment quality held constant). An all-in-one is brilliant, especially for tracking, and the AW4416 has some great mixdown features, too. I'll bet that Roger Nichols could do things on an AW4416 that I couldn't do in the best studio in New York. Think about it; I have.

 

Everyone has a threshold for equipment hassles. The important thing is to determine how much tweaking and fiddling you can handle and still get things done, then adjust your setup accordingly.

 

For a good example of a recording tracked almost exclusively on Roland VS series recorders, check out Victor Wooten's "What Did He Say?"

 

 

[This message has been edited by dansouth@yahoo.com (edited 11-17-2000).]

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Yeah, ya know, simplicity is key for a working artist, and the Roland VS was the most simple solution I could find in the digital realm. I worked in some incredibly complex, expensive, and unstable digital studios; they still drew some cool results, but going digital scared the hell out of me until I discovered the dedicated stand-alone DAW's. I still haven't bought a midi interface to hook my G3 up to the VS in order to take advantage of the Logic Audio that was bundled with the VS. I know it would give me a lot of cool options, but there's a reluctance to get away from what Lee's talking about, which is that "hands-on" factor where you're putting your fingers on the faders and hearing the results right there. A balance needs to be struck when you're an artist who's written some rhymes and grooves & you just want to record it and get it out there, but you still want to compete with what your audiences are used to hearing quality-wise. But my Roland VS880EX is one bad machine, and it's ONE machine: once I mastered it, I didn't have to sweat any more tech shit. 64 tracks digital down to 8 playback, w/fx out da wazoo. Just boot it up & go, baby. Ya gotta luv dat.

Eric Vincent (ASCAP)

www.curvedominant.com

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Dan, I stand corrected on the 01V/02R affinity with AW4416.

However, I've tried the AW 4416 at a friend's store (not in mine, I am a dealer too but I mostly keep second-hand gear) and I truly found it cumbersome and loaded to the gills with confusing routing, too-much of everything and a very crowded screen. I tried to edit some demo recordings, based on my VS experience, and I could not sort it out, nor could my mate, who has it in its store and is the resident Pro Tools expert. Mind you, we did not read the manual. I am sure it is an excellent machine, but, like I said, I am waiting for a stand-alone 24- or even 32-tracker with the same format (mixer+recorder+editing+effects+mastering), not another 16-tracker. And definitely one with as many realtime controls onboard as possible (faders, EQ, pan, busses) on each channel, and the possibility to load VST or TDM plugins maybe, with a resident software as similar as possible to VST or Logic but without the computer-like interface, substituted by streamlined, friendly controls.

I really like to keep my studio simple and to the point, therefore I am now employing two sync'd VS 1680 and I do my MIDI sequencing on a separate workstation, that I then sync to the VS. I realy can work MUCH faster than most of my colleagues who run C-Base or P_Tools or whatever, and I really don't see the point of using a computer in my signal path. Am i primitive, like somebody implied somewhere else?

 

Max

Italy

Max Ventura, Italy.
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>>To be sure, there are lots of cool things about computer based editing! And I wouldn't mind having that option available for final-final tweaking. But most of the time I paint with a pretty broad brush and it doesn't bother me not to have that degree of control.<<

 

That's the whole point, having both options gives you all possibilities. The biggest drawback of computer-based editing, of course, is only being able to work on one channel at a time. So much of mixing involves interaction among channels. That's why I use computer editing for the tweaky, single channel stuff...it's not that useful for real mixing.

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>>New equipment, software upgrades, OS upgrades, computer upgrades, de-supported software (OMS), sync hassles, equipment breakdowns, and simple context switches (e.g. between projects or artists) can bring a project studio to its knees.<<

 

I really don't change my gear very much. I'm still using Windows 98SE; I never bothered with the Millennium Edition (OS upgrades are the worst!). I don't upgrade software that's working unless there are a ton of new features I need, and sync hassles went away by doing everything in the computer, and transferring audio via ADAT light pipe. I should have been clearer that simplicity is not just a matter of organization, but more a matter of "just say no" to things that threaten the stability of a setup.

 

That said, I certainly have no beef with all-in-ones. They don't work for me only because my computer also does video editing, mastering, sample creation, and beta testing as well as recording. No all-in-one I've met can do all those tasks! But in a similar vein, when I want to come up with a cool groove, I reach for the ASR-X, I don't boot up a sequencer. I'm just trying to say that if you resist temptation and plan ahead, you can make a computer-based studio not too odious to use.

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