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Q & A

Q.Most of my samplers, synths, effects, etc. rely on embedded DSP applications to operate. There is a lot of talk in the software industry about Year 2000 compliance (or lack thereof) for embedded applications. My question is: Is there a possibility that some of my systems will stop working as year 2000 rolls around? I haven't seen any discussion regarding the fact that a lot of audio equipment uses the same embedded technologies that are currently being investigated/upgraded/fixed in other industries to meet these standards.
A.The year 2000 issue does not affect any computer based music equipment that we are aware on. Most of this type of equipment does not use or have a date clock.

Q.What is the difference between a single coil and humbucker style pickup? And what's all the fuss about when comparing them?
A.Aha! Finally a guitar question! Electronically speaking, a single coil pickup consists of (surprise) a single coil of wire wrapped around six magnetic poles. While this results in a bright, detailed sound, it also tends to act like an antenna, attracting many different kinds of noise fields, so single coil pickups almost always produce some amount of hum — even quite loudly at times (under lots of fluorescents or near a computer, for example).
   The humbucker style pickup has two coils linked in series, but out of phase. This configuration causes the two coils to cancel each other out, eliminating or "bucking" the hum. The result is a much quieter pickup. Tonally speaking, the humbucker pickup is characterized as having a fatter, warmer sound as compared to a single coil.
   Which is better is a personal matter: Some players find that the stinging tone of a single coil cuts through a mix better and has more high frequency harmonic content. Others like the buttery-smooth richness and darker tones of a humbucker.

Q.How often should I clean my ADAT?
A.Alesis recommends that they be wet cleaned every 250 head hours. This includes the tape path and transport drive parts. Belts, idlers, etc. should be inspected for wear and replaced if necessary. We find that this keeps the sync time on rewind nice and quick. It also keeps the natural deposits of tape oxide from causing head error problems. If enough dirt collects you will get an ERROR 7 in the display. The idea is to prevent this before it happens!
   Note: Unless you are properly trained by Alesis, you should never attempt wet cleaning yourself! Be careful when using cleaning tapes in your machine — most of these operate on the principle of sanding the dirt away, which unfortunately also slowly sands your head away, too! Here at Sweetwater, we're factory certified to handle any ADAT cleaning (or any other tape-based system, for that matter).

Q.I'm not a pro by any means, but I need a meter to check my cables and speakers. What do you recommend?
A.Modern Digital Multi Meters (DMMs) can be expensive and have a very high input impedance, usually >2 meg ohm/volt; some are >20 meg ohm/volt. These sensitive meters will often "read" 60 -70 volts on an AC outlet which is turned OFF. You don't need this kind of performance, so your best solution is a simple cord/cable tester like the Digitech Model 210 which lists for only $79.95 (call for your Sweetwater special pricing). It will allow you to do a "go/no-go" test on any quarter inch or XLR cable with complete confidence.

Got a question? Well, we've got answers! Simply mail your question to Sweetwater at 5335 Bass Rd., Ft. Wayne, IN 46808 or send e-mail to "tech_support@sweetwater.com".

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