By Steve Oppenheimer
The fourth quarter of each year is always intense for the EM editorial staff. Holidays notwithstanding, we simultaneously produce our monthly issues of EM; the November/December issue of our quarterly for music teachers, Music Education Technology (see www.metmagazine.com); and our annual Computer Music Product Guide. We also produced the second edition of our newsstand-only Personal Studio Series magazine, which focuses on tips and techniques for using Steinberg Cubase 4 and virtual instruments.
To top it off, we also put together what is always our biggest story each year — the EM Editors’ Choice Awards (see p. 42). It’s a kick to go over all of our product coverage, talk with editors and authors about the leading products, and make our choices. On the other hand, we are crawling out on a limb by saying that the products are the best we’ve tested, and I’m always a bit nervous that the limb will break off and send us tumbling because a product that looked great when we reviewed it will turn out to be a turkey in the long run.
When the annual selection process is completed, however, I always look at the list of winners and feel relieved. Indeed, I feel very good about our choices this year. We tested some genuinely excellent products, and we’re pleased to bring you our choices for the best of the best.
Speaking of hot new products, the Winter NAMM Expo in Anaheim is the biggest U.S. show for personal-studio products, and it’s happening January 18 through 21. We’re teaming up with the Remix and Mix editors to bring you lots of video-based product demos from NAMM, exclusive celebrity and “musician on the street” interviews, a live show blog, and a good dose of “you are here” show ambience. That’s in addition to a preshow product guide (from the editors of Mix); our usual in-depth, online postshow report; and regular product coverage in our “What’s New” section. To better deliver the multimedia coverage, we’re creating a special NAMM microsite that can be reached from the EM, Mix, and Remix home pages.
Last but certainly not least, I mentioned in the October 2006 “First Take” column that an editorial blog was forthcoming. Well, it is now up and running! Called “The Bus,” the blog is cowritten by Senior Editors Gino Robair and Mike Levine, Associate Editor Geary Yelton, and yours truly, so you will get a variety of opinions, advice, links to resources on the Web, and inside views of the industry.
Furthermore, you can comment on any of our entries. In fact, that’s one reason we named it The Bus, as in “sends” and “returns.” We’ll send you our ideas and observations; you can process them and then give us your related ideas in return. To ensure that we stay on topic and avoid flaming, the comments are moderated. But with that understood, we invite you to give us your views.
So enjoy our Editors’ Choice Awards and NAMM coverage. And please get on The Bus by reading and commenting on our posts. We need your feedback to make this a fresh way for us to exchange ideas and discuss issues and events in the world of electronic music, sound design, and music production in the personal studio.