It’s Getting Better All the Time


By Steve Oppenheimer

(February 2005)

Surprise! Welcome to the new and improved version of Electronic Musician. The last time we redesigned EM was in 1988, and as much as we liked our old look, it was starting to look, well, old. Of course, we could have kept doing what has worked for so long. But when it comes to magazine designs, Thomas Jefferson and Chairman Mao were right that a revolution now and then is a healthy thing.

In my humble opinion, the new design is attractive, modern, sophisticated, easy to read, and unique in the music and audio industry. It enables us to create a wide variety of layouts, and its potential will become increasingly apparent as we explore its many subtleties, so what you see in this issue is truly just the beginning.

Along with a new design, we’ve made significant improvements to our content, especially the columns. In recent years, space limitations precluded us from running all of our columns each month, so you couldn’t rely on seeing your favorites in every issue. We wanted to correct that without sacrificing features or reviews and yet continuing to offer a content-rich, balanced issue. In addition, we wanted to offer more short, practical tips that make your studio life more productive, creative, and enjoyable.

We started by creating two entirely new “tips” columns: “Sound Design Workshop” and “Making Tracks.” Sometimes these columns will offer general techniques, and other times they will be product-specific — but they will always be practical. “Sound Design Workshop” is a one-page column, edited by associate editor Len Sasso, that presents synthesis, sampling, and effects-processing tips. Warning: following the suggestions in this column can result in stretched ears and bent minds! “Making Tracks” offers two pages packed with recording and sequencing techniques. Associate Editor Rusty Cutchin edits “Making Tracks” and, being from Texas, doesn’t mess around; this column delivers the goods!

“Square One” was redesigned into a two-page column, and “Working Musician” was trimmed to a lean, mean one-pager. “Tech Page,” “Pro/File,” and the ever-popular “Final Mix” continue unabated, although they certainly look a lot nicer. The other obvious change is one of omission: “Recording Musician” and “Desktop Musician” are gone. But have no fear; the important topics we would have covered in these columns will be presented as features. And except for rare occasions when columns are delayed for technical reasons, we will now run all of the columns all of the time.

In the reviews section, multiple EM meters are gone, replaced by one “overall” rating (as in Quick Picks) that gives you a quick summary of the reviewer’s bottom-line evaluation. This doesn’t excuse you from reading the review, though! Also, the manufacturer contact information has been reduced to the Web URL only, because the manufacturer’s site is generally the best source to obtain supplemental information.

I am confident that you will find our new look and new columns exciting, useful, and enjoyable. Please feel free to email us your feedback at We want to hear from you!