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inside SweetwaterBy Chuck and Brenda Surack
Owners, Sweetwater Sound

   Some people may have the idea that since we're around all this incredible music technology all the time, we don't get all that excited now by NAMM Shows or new equipment arriving. That's just not the case. When the first Yamaha digital mixer appeared here at Sweetwater, we were among the group that couldn't wait to open the box and get the unit set up in one of our demo rooms.

   Yes, despite all the years in this business, we still get that tingle every time the first piece of any new gear arrives. Like you, we find it's a rush to open the carton, smell that distinctive combination of metal, plastic and
Mackie HUIs, monitors and mixers are arriving daily
Mackie HUIs, monitors and mixers are arriving daily
electronics (like that new car smell, only better), lift the unit out of the box, then give it the old "once over."

   Why do we bring this up? Because right now is a particularly exciting time for the industry and for Sweetwater: All sorts of Yamaha equipment has been arriving over the last 30 days or so; Mackie monitors and HUIs (see photo) are finally here in adequate supply; truly beautiful (and highly playable) guitars from the biggest names in the business are making their way into our warehouse; and the latest generation of digital multitracks are now starting to ship.

   We still remember how awesome it was when that very first 16- bit machine showed up at our original ware-house. Today, our new warehouse is actually far larger than the entire Sweetwater building was when that first ADAT arrived. But it's not 16-bit machines anymore — 20 and 24-bit multi-tracking is now possible, in many cases for less money than you would have spent for one of the original multitracks.

   You might remember the debates about analog vs. digital quality in those early days. Clearly, digital is the medium of choice for today's musician. And if you thought those 16-bit recorders sounded great (and they still do, of course), you're going to absolutely flip over the sound of these new machines. By going from 16 to 20 bits, you are getting much greater sonic detail since each additional bit actually doubles the number of values that can be recorded. A 20-bit recorder can then record an amazing 16 times more audio data! Knowing this, you're sure to want to check out all the articles in this issue on the newest digital multitracks.

   Have you received your new 1998 Sweetwater Equipment Directory? Chances are that you have, because the feedback we're getting via phone, fax and e-mail has been tremendous. We're not surprised at your response — we knew we had a winner even as we were planning and designing this special publication. With all the information, specs and features listed for thousands of items, we knew it would become a veritable ency-clopedia for musicians around the world.

   The thing that did come as a shock was receiving over a dozen requests (and that's just so far) from schools around the country actually asking for copies of the Directory to use as "textbooks" on modern music technology. That's understandable when you stop and think about it, since every facet of music production is included. Students can gain a great deal of insight into what goes into recording music in today's studios just by reading the product descriptions, as well as the special reference sections we included, like "State-Of-The-Studio 1998" and "GearTalk."

   Frankly, we're pretty jazzed about this concept. Helping young people gain an appreciation for all types of music and an active interest in recording technology is something we wholeheartedly support. Which is one reason why many cartons of Directories have now been shipped out to classrooms across the country. With all the "doom and gloom" we hear in the media, we think it's great that there are teachers out there who want to give young people a unique opportunity to learn about something that will certainly enrich their lives. We're proud to do our share in getting students this head start.

   As mentioned earlier, the first shipments of Yamaha gear hit our warehouse just after the Spring Issue of Sweet Notes shipped, and our phone lines have been lighting up like Christmas trees ever since. Seems like an awful lot of you are happy about Sweetwater getting the full line of Yamaha products. That's probably one of the main reasons that March sales were the strongest in our company's history — and that's saying a lot.

   Over and over our sales staff heard people say that they just couldn't get the technical assistance and knowledgeable advice they needed to choose specific Yamaha products from other dealers. That's just one reason we created our unique Sweetwater University concept: To keep all our Sales Engineers fully informed and completely up-to-date on all the newest products from companies like Yamaha, Digidesign, Mackie, Roland, Kurzweil and many others. Which means when you call, they have the answers to even your toughest questions.

   The year is off to a great start for our company and our hundreds of thousands of customers, and we aim to make absolutely sure the rest of 1998 lives up to this most excellent beginning.

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