EAR Voted Best Pro Audio Store – MiSpy

Music And Sound Retailer Votes EAR Best Store In Phoenix Again!

Recently a secret shopper for MiSpy, a regular column in Music and Sound Retailer magazine visited the major music stores in the Phoenix area looking for the best store to purchase recording equipment.

Before you say “What? EAR Isn’t a music store!”, we should note that we share many of the same products and some clients. EAR’s relaxed professional environment, selling everything from audio and video products for post and music may not be a fair match. Still, how does a professional store like EAR match up against music stores for customer shopping experience? Quality of staff and showcase of products?

We’re like no other facility in the country

While other stores had their high points, EAR was awarded the best overall customer experience and professional quality. Stop by and check out our  large, freshly remodeled show rooms and unique compliment of video and audio products on display. Best of all, as pointed out in the MiSpy review – our people are our biggest resource. With over 150 combined years of audio and video expertise – we are like no other facility in the southwest.

We very much appreciate the recognition provided by Music & Sound Retailer magazine and invite you to see for yourself why EAR is your best choice for all your professional audio and video products and support.

Read the entire review…

Call ahead for a personal tour at 800-473-6914 or contact us on line anytime!

Audio Editing – The Early Pro Tools Days

The Early Days of Audio Editing With Pro Tools

Most people in audio production never stop to think about how recording and editing was done before the age of the computer. This article discusses one of the early hard disk based editing products from 20 years ago. Digidesign’s Sound Tools was the predecessor to Pro Tools. With only two channel editing, it was primitive by our present standards – but (in old man speak) “We liked it that way!”.

Today it seems unimaginable to spend seven-figure money to set up a world class recording studio – much less “wait” for even a simple edit to take shape with clients over our shoulder. But soft leather couches, patient production people working long hours and a good cappuccino machine made the process  manageable. It was early in the 1990s and we all thought the professional production world would always be this way, expensive and slow. Within a span of just 2-3 years it all changed dramatically.

From Linear to Non-linear. With tape – every edit was a rhythm of roll the tape, stop, rock the reels to find your edit spot, mark with a grease pencil or thumb, slide into an edit block, cut with razor blade and reconnect tape with edit tabs. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Some of our best clients would have so many edits, the tape was solid white with edit tape!

Early Pro Tools Mono-Chrome Interface

Enter this new thing, “non-linear” editing. In 1989 Digidesign and Dyaxis offered the audio editor the first generation of “hard disk based” editing.  The 500Mega-byte drives were very “mechanical” sounding as the fans and whirling drive parts chattered and buzzed.  It was still very exciting to think that you could move between edits with almost instantaneous commands. This space age user interface boasted a crazy new feature called an “undo” button. OMG! ;0)

To appreciated how impressive these new systems were compared to “linear” tape, think of comparing Star Treks’ transporter to driving across country in a car. There was no comparison!

Digidesign Sound Tools circa 1990 (click for enlarged view)

Typical of dramatic changes in high technology products, some people adopted early. While the subjective quality of the new hard disk based editors left some hold-outs, many were quick to save money and benefit from the much quicker new “non-linear” editing workstations. It would be a few more years before hard disk based system surpassed most “broadcast” or “world class” quality analog editors.

EAR was the first  Apple, Avid and Digidesign professional audio reseller in the Southwest and the new “Pro Tools” was a huge success. At only $6,000 it was a bargain! Professional Ampex, MCI or Otari tape decks were $4,000-$25,000 alone. The new price point and 16bit resolution made it an instant hit with smaller production companies and studios. The workflow of the day still required your edited project to be finished back to tape (ie: “layback”). However, the cost savings of buying one tape deck compared to multiple decks more than paid for the cost of the computer and software.

Sound Tolos brouchure details

The system was built on the Apple SE and Mac II, early Mac desktop computers. Apple was still a renegade computer for right-brained people, but their superior (often mono-chrome) graphics and creative feel made them the obvious platform of choice. EAR was also an Apple reseller – a perfect fit for our clients! Some may remember these days with fondness, others with frustration.

The early systems were not without their temperamental crashes. Like most new technology, as long as the head aches  don’t out number the advantages – people grew with the improvements and stability over the years.

30 years later EAR is one of the largest professional audio editing workstation providers in the Southwest. We now cover everything from microphones, mixing, content distribution and automated filed based workflow products.

We’re proud to have had the opportunity be the first of our kind in so many ways over the past decades, while still blazing new technology trails today! Haven’t seen the newest version of Pro Tools? Download a 30 day free trial version.

EAR’s nationally renowned award winning staff offers deep product knowledge and first rate integration, management and “after the sale” support for professional audio and video products and services.

Early Non-Linear Editing – EAR History

The Early Days of File Based Editing And Workflow

Now before you reach for a Kleenex to wipe the tears from your eyes, I promise not to get too sentimental about how we started editing video with computers for the first time, 20 years ago.  The world was a very different place for video editors in 1993. Between Sony, Ampex and few other tape manufacturers – getting into the professional video business was a $1M dollar plus proposition.

Avid MSP circa 1993 click for enlarged view

Today it seems unimaginable to spend seven-figure money to set up a video editing shop – much less “wait” for even a simple edit to take shape with clients over our shoulder. But soft leather couches, patient production people working long hours and a good cappuccino machine made the process  manageable. It was early in the 1990s and we all thought the professional video world would always be this way, expensive and slow. Within a span of just 2-3 years it all changed dramatically.

Typical of dramatic changes in high technology products, some people adopted early. While the subjective quality of the new hard disk based editors left some hold-outs, many were quick to save money and benefit from the much quicker new “non-linear” editing workstations. It would be a few more years before hard disk based editing was “broadcast quality”.

In 1993 Avid Technologies, an already successful manufacturer of $100,000 editing systems announced the first “affordable” editing solution Media Suite Pro. Five years before Apple announced Final Cut Pro, Avid was on their way to drive down the entry level price point for video editing.

EAR was the first  Apple and Avid professional video reseller in the Southwest and the new “MSP” was a huge success. At only $30,000 it was a bargain! Professional Sony tape decks were $15,000-$25,000 alone. The new price point and “AVR25” resolution made it an instant hit with smaller production companies and schools. The workflow of the day still required your edited project to be finished back to tape (ie: “layback”). However, the cost savings of buying one tape deck compared to three decks more than paid for the cost of the computer and software.   (Media Suite Pro Specification sheet from 1994)

Early MSP Features (click to view)

The system was built on the Apple Quadra 900, an early robust Mac tower computer. Apple was still a renegade computer for right-brained people, but their superior graphics and creative feel made them the obvious platform of choice. EAR was also an Apple reseller – a perfect fit for our clients! Some may remember these days with fondness, others with frustration.

The early system were not without their temperamental crashes. Like most new technology, as long as the head aches  don’t out number the advantages – people grew with the improvements and stability over the years.

Today EAR is the largest professional video editing workstation provider in the Southwest. We now cover everything from lights and cameras to content distribution and automated filed based workflow products.

We’re proud to have had the opportunity be the first of our kind in so many ways over the past decades, while still blazing new technology trails today!

EAR’s nationally renowned award winning staff offers deep product knowledge and first rate integration, management and “after the sale” support for professional audio and video products and services. We help make your purchase the most effective investment possible. Put simply – we’re in business to keep you in business profitably, since 1978.

What’s Happening With Final Cut Pro?

What’s Happening With Final Cut Pro?

In case you missed the roll out of Apple’s “evolutionary” version of Final Cut Pro X in June – it rocked the professional world, but not for the reason’s Apple expected. While many in the editing world loved its new interface and $299 price, most of the professional world saw its short comings as show stoppers and cried foul! Educational institutions were blind-sided as well by the timing and questionable future for FCP students.

Why not just go with the new “X” version? FCP X lacks support for many professional features including no multicam editing, no support for shared storage and a complete disconnect from the previous versions. These are just a few reasons for many professional users to consider moving off of Apple editing products entirely and look for a more future-proof product suite.

Avid and Adobe were quick to see the opportunity and offered attractive “cross-grades” for existing FCP users, slashing prices by 50% got a lot of immediate attention. Existing FCP users can use their FCP license (Avid) to get a huge discount to switch to other manufactures software. Adobe just heavily discounted CS5.5 temporarily (ask an EAR product specialist for details).

Both Adobe and Avid have extended their popular FCP trade-in programs through October. Hopefully the $1,495 – $895 price point established by these offers will continue. I suspect we may even see some “Lite” versions of software appear soon to keep entry level price affordable for new users. EAR also offers special pricing for education and government orders.

LAST BATCH OF FINAL CUT PRO SUITES

Before we close the book on Final Cut Pro there are a couple parting overtures Apple has tossed their pre-FCPX users. Due to tremendous pressure by scores of loyal FCP professional users, Apple shipped “one last batch” of Final Cut Pro Suite software in September (Ver 7). With ebay copies of FCP selling for above retail, EAR has a few copies at the old price of $995 each. Even less if ordered with a computer. Apple has also reinstated the download of software  updates for FCP version 7 to insure everyone has the last final fresh version of Final Cut.

INTO THE FUTURE

Last month Apple released FCP X with some features enhancements. For many this was seen as too little too late. Apple hardware still is seen as the best editing platform by many – however with Apple’s mobile and consumer focus it appears doubtful they will be making a strong effort to cater to the smaller professional user’s needs in the future.

Apple still makes great products. I wouldn’t count them out to roll out some game changers in the near future. The new transition to Thunderbolt hardware and it’s dramatic improvement in speed may offer Apple the chance to discontinue the last Mac Pro computer in the coming months or years as laptops and small footprint Macs ship with more CPU horsepower. Imagine – no more PCIe cards! Everything connects outside the computer via a small thin cable, storage, monitors, media recorders, everything. Laptops, Mac minis and iMac desktops

The days of feature comparisons between editing software have quietly come to point of personal preference. The choices between Avid and Adobe are very easy. Both are affordable, work on Mac or PC and while there are still some features to differentiate the two companies products, those too are becoming less important to the majority of editors.

The battle seems to be over for now, and we’re all the winners.

EAR has been an Apple reseller since 1989. We specialize in professional audio and video products for broadcast, post production and music recording. Contact one of our product specialist today for great advice and professional pricing.

Archive Solution For Audio and Video

Holy Cow!  Cache-A receives NAB Blue Ribbon award

Direct Update from the world’s most popular backup technology… We have a lot of respect for Creative Cow’s peer-to-peer support community for digital media professionals. So we are extremely pleased to hear that Cache-A received a Creative Cow Magazine Blue Ribbon Award for the category, Archive. We were very pleased that the award was picked by the Creative Cow Community  (reported by Bob Zelin, one of the most knowledgeable contributors to The Cow’s Forums).

Here’s what Bob says:

“How can you beat Cache-A? They dropped their price on the 800GB Prime-Cache LTO-4 while introducing the new, cost-effective 1500GB LTO-5-based Prime- Cache5, and they still offer the smartest LTO Archive products on the market…”

Cache-A’s mission is to make archiving easy by including all of the required hardware and software to provide a complete solution right out of the box. Archiving to us means not only, preserving the assets of digital media professionals, but providing easy access to that content at any stage in their file based workflows.

We are honored to receive Creative Cow’s Blue Ribbon Award for Archive and would like to share our professional pride with all involved in our industry. Thanks for the support.

For more details and special pricing contact one of EAR’s product specialist today! 800-473-6914 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm MST) or via our contact form.