Where has this year gone? I clearly recall taking down the Christmas cards about a fortnight ago and here I am writing a leader column for the December issue, which you'll get to see while some sadist on the TV is still counting down the shopping days.
As regular readers will probably know by now, I usually use some of the 'dire TV' time over Christmas to tidy up my studio after the ravages wreaked by a year of patching in review gear. As a rule, stuff gets taken out of my system rather than added, so over the years my setup has shrunk from an open‑reel multitrack the size of a gas cooker, outboard racks that you needed crampons to scale and a 64-input console you could land a Harrier jump‑jet on, to a Mac, some nice mic amps and a control surface. My trusty Roland JV2080 synth is still patched in, but the majority of my work now takes place in the box. However, that doesn't mean I don't still hanker after new pieces of kit from time to time, especially if I come across a nice microphone.
Aside from an infallible lottery-predictor or a fresh can of DeoxIt for cleaning all my plugs and sockets during the annual rebuild, I have to say that I'm rather tempted by the new Korg Wavedrum. It is essentially the same as the original, which cost around the price of a car 14 or so years ago when it was first introduced, but now you can get it for the price of a decent bicycle! OK, it doesn't have the wooden 'toilet seat' surround, but it sounds and feels wonderful, both for traditional drum-kit and latin sounds, and for abstract electronic percussion. I can feel my credit card levitating as we speak!
Another tempting item is the Waves Vocal Rider native plug‑in, which essentially looks at the levels of both your main mix and the vocal track in question and generates track level automation for your vocals automatically. This helps 'sit' the vocal correctly in the track before you even reach for compression, so it could be very useful for our Mix Rescue series. Another impressive piece of 'mix fix' software that appeals to me is the new Steven Slate drum replacer, Trigger, which is far less susceptible to the effects of spill than most drum replacers and comes with a library of really good multi‑miked drum sounds.
But what I want most of all is a version of Apple's Time Machine backup system that works for real life. Screwed up something this morning? No problem, just a couple of mouse clicks and you're back to yesterday breakfast time. Now that would be a great Christmas present — as long as it didn't mean watching some dire Christmas TV programme twice.
Paul White Editor In Chief