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inside SweetwaterBy Chuck and Brenda Surack
Owners, Sweetwater Sound

   Choices. Today's musicians have more of them than ever before. Used to be if you wanted a synth, for example, you had to select one from a limited selection from only two or three manufacturers. Or if you wanted a high quality multitrack, open reel tape was your only choice. Obviously, things have changed. Not only can you choose from dozens of different models from many manufacturers, but you also get to pick which formats you want: There are now many synthesis technologies (V.A.S.T., analog modeling, AWM2, and so on), plenty of multitrack formats (tape-based, hard disk, computer-based), etc., etc. This is great, because now your creativity isn't limited by pricing, availability or selection. If there's a down side, it's only that there are now so many choices to be made, you need to get plenty of information to make an intelligent decision.

   As you probably know by now, Sweetwater was founded in great part because so few music retailers had the expertise to help musicians make these decisions (a situation that unfortunately still exists today). If you picked the wrong product and it didn't do the job for you, you had to go through a long, painful process to return it, then usually got blindsided by the hidden (and very mysterious) "restocking" fee.

   Thank goodness your Sweetwater Sales Engineer has the serious real world knowledge to help you make the right choice in gear, right from the start. And now that we've released our 1998 Sweetwater Equipment Directory, you also have a veritable The 1998 Equipment Directoryencyclopedia of information right at your fingertips to help get you pointed in the right direction. Which means you'll have all the necessary ammo when firing questions at your Sales Engineer. The Directory is crammed with so much useful information that everyone here at Sweetwater keeps a copy on his or her desk as a fast, convenient way to get useful data on thousands of products.

   You should have already received your copy of the Directory, but if you haven't, don't panic. All Sweet Notes subscribers will get one; it's just that addressing and mailing out over 200,000 copies tends to take a while. If you haven't gotten yours yet but desperately need access to the valuable information it contains, you can always get it from the special online version that's on our Web site.

   As a matter of fact, we're in the process right now of redesigning the Home Page of our Web site. This should be completed by the time you read this, so be sure to check it out. All the Sweetwater divisions (retail sales, Soundware, Communications Group and so on) will be unified and the site will be even easier to navigate. You'll even be able to access a searchable PDF file of all the Directory pages, with convenient links to major categories (like our Custom-Select guitars, digital multitracks, monitors, keyboards and so forth).

   If you're like us, few things are more frustrating than going to a slow, unorganized Web site. That's why our Web site is continually evolving to keep up with the times. Our Webmaster and online staff are all working hard to keep our site totally up-to-date, highly organized - and fast! Our new Home Page will allow you to go exactly where you want, to get the information you're looking for, with a minimum of hassle. And isn't that what the World Wide Web was designed for to begin with?

   Of course, we're always looking for new ways to better serve our thousands of customers, whether it's by improving our Web site or adding brand new products, which brings us to our other important news item this issue. If you even glanced at page 1, you know that Sweetwater is now an authorized dealer for the full line of superb Y-Brand products. This is wonderful news for those of you who know and trust the Y-Brand name, but want the kind of personalized service and affordable prices you get from us here at Sweetwater. Unlike some other manufacturers, Y-Brand does not hand out dealerships like candy - they only want retailers who will adequately support their products and steadfastly maintain the company's outstanding reputation.

   We'd venture to guess that not more than a handful of you haven't owned Y-Brand gear in the past: a DX7, effects processor or studio monitors, for example. Which means you know how great their products sound and how dependable they are, not to mention their innovative design. All of which makes us glad that we can now offer this superb line to all of you.

   Hey, 1998 has barely begun and you can already see what an exciting year this is going to be just by reading this issue of Sweet Notes. But there are many more exciting developments in store for you, so be sure to keep your eyes on these pages in the months to come!

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