In its 13 years of publishing, Pro Audio Review has had a couple of formats changes to its design, but I am excited about the new redesign that will be implemented in the next issue, November 2008. NewBay Media has commissioned a top-to-bottom redesign for PAR that will streamline the layout, adopt easier-to-read fonts and tighter, more focused sections. The design will carry over to the digital edition as well.
The magazine world changes fast these days, and with the influence of the Internet, a magazine has to update itself periodically. But don't worry, Pro Audio Review will continue to have its unbiased product reviews and technical bench tests, along with our gear-driven features and trade show coverage. One thing that I have learned from our readers in the 13 years since I created PAR, it's all about gear.
At the AES
As of this writing, the PAR staff is at AES looking at all the gear at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. SF is my favorite city in California, with its cool temps and plenty of Bohemian places to take out our clients and writers. Judging from our AES product preview capsules, I see a lot of new microphones, analog rack products, especially high performance mic preamps. We will have a full report of the new products and those which received our PAR Excellence Award in the November issue.
Besides the gear and software, the AES show will put on an informative session panels covering multichannel audio, audio equipment and measurements (as a magazine that actually measures performance, I am always interested in spec sessions) and loudspeaker design. The AES show will also present a number of workshops including archiving and one that I plan to attend, "Revolt of the Mastering Engineers," a lively panel that includes noted engineers who are putting out fresh music and reissues on vinyl and 15 ips tape. And you thought tape was dead.
Some folks producing new half-track 15 ips tapes, the Tape Project, even help you find a used reel-to-reel player (or a repair technician to recondition your old one) to listen to the music in all their analog bliss. There is no wanting for new turntables. The audiophile world is full of them.
Speaking of the lure of tape, I pulled out some premium metal cassettes that I copied CDs onto for my pre-CD era car in the mid 1990s. I made a bunch of transfers on Sony's top-of-the-line ES Dolby S cassette deck with manual bias. I recorded them with noise reduction on TDK MA metal tape. Some of the CDs had an edgy harshness, so one of the secondary benefits of the analog was the soft compression that softened up the hard transients. Even with the tape hiss, these little slow speed enclosed tapes sound great in the car. And pretty darn good through my high end monitoring system. Hey, maybe I could rent it out as portable mastering processor. I have plenty of fresh blanks...
John Gatski is publisher and founding editor of Pro Audio Review. On Halloween, he celebrates his 20th anniversary with the company (first as IMAS and now as NewBay Media).