MOTU Digital Performer

Digital Performer has always offered Mac users a huge range of features and robust native performance. With the release of version 6, the program adds a slew of impressive improvements, including a redesigned user interface, dedicated comping features, convolution reverb and leveling-amplifier plug-ins, Final Cut Pro import and export features, and plenty more.

The Look

When you first open DP6, you’ll notice that the program has had a makeover and now sports a more modern look, with a color palette that’s lighter and less austere. Nowhere is this new look more strikingly manifested than in the Mixing Board.

Although the Tracks window looks fairly similar to past incarnations, it has been given a key new feature: vertical zooming, which allows you to make the tracks larger. I’ve always found the Tracks window text to be uncomfortably small, so this capability is a welcome addition.

The Feel

More significant than the cosmetic changes are the functional ones. A lot has been done to rearrange the DP work space to make it more efficient. The first part of the restructuring that you’re likely to notice is the Control Bar, which has been simplified significantly, with a large field in the middle devoted only to the main and auxiliary counter readouts. The pullout drawers from previous versions, which contained project audio settings, buttons for accessing the various windows, and more, have been removed. These features are now accessible through the Sidebar windows or the new, customizable Shortcuts window.

Across DP6, Mini-menus have been changed. They now reside as drop-down menus on the right of windows and are hidden under disclosure triangles. Also, it’s now easier to open and close the Sidebar on either side. Double-clicking on the divider at the edge of the Consolidated window accomplishes that.

Also new are Inspector palettes, which are small info windows that can be displayed in a Sidebar cell or popped out of the Consolidated window and floated. These include Snap Info, Cursor Info, Event Info, Selection Info, and Sound File Info. Having these windows readily available improves your ability to quickly ascertain status of a range of parameters and settings.

For those short on screen real estate, a new feature lets you open multiple tabbed windows within a single Sidebar cell. You can then switch back and forth between the different windows by clicking on their tabs.

The new Universal Track Selector is a window that opens in a Sidebar, which updates to match the track selections in the active editor window. Although I see its utility, I would have also liked an option for it to work as a master track selector, which would override track selections in the individual windows. That way, you could be working on a set of tracks in, say, the MIDI editor, and then switch to QuickScribe without having to reselect those same tracks.

Comp This

Probably the most talked-about new features in DP6 are the ones dedicated to track comping. Getting started is easy. First, open the Sequence window and pull down the Track Settings menu of the track you’re comping. Next, select Show Takes, and all the takes you’ve recorded of the track are displayed underneath the track, slightly indented, and are ready for comping or to be turned into separate tracks. Using the Comping tool, you then drag over the sections in the takes that you want in your comp, and they appear as separate Soundbites in the comp track at the top. There you can further tweak them and easily add crossfades. I would like to see an automatic crossfade option added. While some users will want to add their own crossfades, others might find such an option to be a time-saver.

You can set up as many comp takes as you want. Just make sure to create a new take before comping again, or you’ll overwrite your previous one. You can even comp your comps. Overall, the comping features are intuitive and well thought out. And unlike similar features in some other digital audio sequencers, you don’t have to use them unless you want to, which I like.

Plugging into DP6

The sexiest additions to DP6 are its two new plug-ins, ProVerb and MasterWorks Leveler. ProVerb is an excellent-sounding convolution reverb that’s markedly superior to DP’s other best reverb plugins. You can choose from a nice selection of impulse responses (IRs) ranging from European concert halls to instrument plates to parking garages. For future revisions, IRs of classic reverbs and delays would be a useful addition.

You don’t have to wait to expand your IR collection, though, because ProVerb lets you load your own. (You can find downloadable IRs at a variety of Web sites.) In fact, you can load any audio file as an IR (if it’s in a supported format), which makes ProVerb a useful tool for sound design as well.

Other controls on ProVerb include four bands of EQ, Mix, Predelay, and Damping. A feature called Dynamic Mixing utilizes a compressor designed to duck the reverb tail, dependent on the input level and user settings. The idea is to let elements sound wet, but not overly so.

The other new plug-in is MasterWorks Leveler, which models a Teletronix LA-2A. It offers both compressor and limiter settings and four response curves: Slow Vintage, Fast Vintage, Slow Modern, and Fast Modern. The differences between the Vintage and Modern settings are subtle, but to my ears, the latter sounded more present and the former more tubey. You also get Gain Reduction, Makeup Gain, and Response knobs. As a whole, MasterWorks Leveler is easy to set and sounds really good. The additions of ProVerb and MasterWorks Leveler make DP’s plug-in collection even more well rounded.

A related improvement is the new Plug-in Set feature. It lets you set up custom sets with only the plug-ins that you want active. Doing so will allow you to reduce RAM usage and make DP launch a lot faster. By holding down the Option key when you start DP, you can choose which Plug-in Set to load.

Burning for You

DP6 also marks the debut of the program’s CD-burning capabilities. Within the Bounce to Disk window, you can choose Burn Audio CD from the Project Format menu. DP will then prompt you to insert a blank CD once the bounce is complete. You can alternatively choose to create a disk image for later burning.

The boundaries of the CD tracks can be defined by Soundbites or by Markers (or both), which gives you a lot of flexibility. You’re also able to set the Pre Gap, which is the space between tracks, to a duration of your choosing. Note that CDs burned by DP are not Red Book compliant. If you’re planning on professional replication, you’ll need to burn the final disc in another application.

Thus Rendered

In previous versions of DP, if you wanted to include a virtual instrument track as part of your bounced-to-disk mix, you had to first freeze that track and turn it into an audio track before it would show up in your bounced mix.

As a result of DP6’s new prerendering features, freezing before bounces is no longer necessary because virtual instrument tracks are now automatically prerendered unless you specify otherwise in each plug-in. Prerendering saves CPU because those instruments no longer have to render in real time during mixdown.

Score One for DP

For DP users involved with audio for video, the new Final Cut Pro XML import and export features will be of great interest. They allow for updating of files between DP and Final Cut Pro, either dynamically, with both apps running on the same machine, or through the sending of XML Interchange files back and forth. For composers dealing with constant picture changes (a fact of life in film and video projects), these capabilities promise to make life easier.

By invoking the Import Final Cut Pro XML command, you’re able to see revisions from a Final Cut Pro file graphically indicated in DP’s timeline and shown in an itemized list. The revised video itself does not get imported, so you’ll need to obtain and import that separately in order to view it in DP. Going the other direction, you’re able to send revised audio to Final Cut from DP, where it shows up in a new sequence in Final Cut’s Browser window.

The Long and Short of It

Overall, I am very impressed with this latest incarnation of DP. From a performance standpoint, it’s solid. I’ve been running it on a Mac Pro under OS X 10.5.6, and I’ve found it both speedy and stable. From a feature standpoint, the program has become even more comprehensive. I really like the new user interface, and the work-flow improvements have further streamlined DP’s intuitive production environment.


PROS: New comping features. Updated UI. Two excellent new plug-ins. CD-burning capabilities. Plug-in Sets allow for faster program loading. File integration with Final Cut Pro.

CONS: CD burning not Red Book compliant. No automatic crossfades when comping.

In our reviews, prices are MAP or street unless otherwise noted.



5 Amazing; as good as it gets with current technology

4 Clearly above average; very desirable

3 Good; meets expectations

2 Somewhat disappointing but usable

1 Unacceptably flawed

Pilot flying near Reagan was AWOL from army

The pilot involved in a near miss with President Ronald Reagan’s helicopter was a soldier sought by the army for being absent without leave, federal officials said yesterday.

Pilot Ralph William Myers , who lost his flying licence after his arrest Thursday in the incident near Mr. Reagan’s mountaintop ranch, has been missing from duty at the Fort Lewis military base in Washington state since Aug. 3, said U.S. attorney Robert Bonner.

Base spokesman Bob Rosenburgh said a Ralph William Myers joined the Nevada Air National Guard as an aircraft maintenance specialist in 1980, switching to the Army Reserve three years later and going to active army duty at Fort Lewis on June 16 as a medical specialist.

”We went AWOL (absent without leave) in August,”Mr. Rosenburgh said in a telephone interview.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Mr. Myers would be charged in the incident, while the White House put a brave face on the latest security scare for the President.

”You can’t close down the skies. It’s an open sky and a free country and you can fly wherever you want to,”White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said after the off-course small plane came dangerously close to the president’s best beginner drone over his ranch near Santa Barbara.

Mr. Fitzwater said all precautions had been followed but it was impossible to protect the President totally while he was airborne.

The FAA said it was revoking the pilot’s licence of Mr. Myers of Oswego, Ore., whose Piper Archer plane flew within 45 metres of Mr. Reagan’s helicopter.

Another quadcopters with camera followed the plane and noted its tail numbr. Authorities were alerted as the plane landed at John Wayne airport near Los Angeles and the Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting the President, interviewed the pilot and another man on board for seven hours before allowing them to leave without being charged.

An FAA spokesman in Los Angeles said Mr. Myers would be charged with violations of federal aviation regulations, possibly including charges of flying carelessly or recklessly, entering a restricted area without permission and flying too close to the ground.

Mr. Fitzwater said that at no time was the President in danger. The helicopter pilot reported that the two aircraft had not been on a collision course.

The President frequently travels by helicopter. On this occasion he was flying from Point Mugu naval air station to his ranch. On most weekends he goes by helicopter from the White House to his Camp David retreat in nearby Maryland.

Digital handheld recorder primer

Though handheld recorders have been around for decades, initially in cassette format, they have really hit their stride in the last several years. Let’s look into the mini-revolution taking place, literally, in the palm of our hands.

Originally, hand-held recorders, with the convenience of quickly being able to capture a conversation, rapidly became crucial to stenographers and journalists alike. The lack of audio fidelity meant they were nowhere near suitable enough for realistic musical production, and these types of devices were mostly ignored by the music community.

Over time, as with any technology, they improved in fidelity and diminished in scale, making them even more affordable, versatile, and practical. They now began showing up in the hands of concert bootleggers, songwriters, and sound engineers who were looking to capture sound effects in the field.

Still based on tape storage at this point, either a cassette variation or the now nearly-forgotten DAT tape, there were still limits to their scalability and robustness. With the introduction of DAT tape they could at least record digitally, which led to a dramatic improvement in fidelity.

Concurrently, microphone technology was starting to catch up. Small, inexpensive, high-quality mic capsules began to permeate the industry, thus allowing for professional-grade condenser mics to be included at low cost.

The last technological hurdle to overcome was storage. With the advent of cheap RAM and small-scale storage cards, allowing for hours of CD or better-than-CD quality recording, the circle was complete.

This brings us to where we are today: the digital hand-held recorder with stereo, first-rate condenser mics capable of recording several hours worth of CD-quality audio at a very affordable cost.

The explosion of choices is staggering. All the major manufacturers have a digital recorder in their product lineup, as well as many second-tier companies. Prices range from under $100 for pocket-sized, lo-fi versions to thousands of dollars for professional field recording models that hover on the brink of the handheld classification. Most decent brand name models fall between the $300-$500 mark.

Obviously, your application will dictate your needs, but I am going to address our core readers here–the musicians. Let’s visit some important points to consider when shopping for a recorder.

First off, any recorder may do the job, but consider this: fidelity will make your recordings more valuable. Better fidelity means you stand a better chance of properly hearing what you played. If you are a songwriter at the piano, for example, having a decent recording of the song will help you more readily interpret your intentions when it comes time to re-record the song, especially when you or a third party will be creating a professional demo of the song.

Good quality recordings are important even if your band is simply capturing rehearsals, jams, or new tunes. What about a live, bootleg recording of your band? Having a high-fidelity recording would allow you to put the track up on the Internet immediately without you having to perform any serious audio surgery.

The message here: don’t skimp on fidelity; accept and use nothing less than CD quality!

Make sure you get a unit with detailed level monitoring. Most units feature multi-segmented LCD displays that can help give you fairly accurate levels. Two or three coloured LEDs just don’t cut it here. You need to make sure your recording level is high enough or that your signal is not too hot–there’s nothing worse than trying to re-capture the moment because your levels are unworkable.

Battery life. The new Yamaha recorder, for example, boasts a 50-hour recording/playing cycle on a single AA battery–that’s impressive to be sure. Most models allow for hours of recording using inexpensive batteries, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Remember that it never hurts to a have a spare set of batteries on hand.

Data retrieval. With most recorders having some form of onboard memory built in, a USB or FireWire connection is paramount. You don’t want to be re-recording the audio through analog outputs as this defeats the purpose of having a digital recorder, Alternatively, most recorders will have some form of a memory card option such as a Compact Flash or SD card. Hopefully, your computer has a card reader. If not, you can buy a USB card reader to add to your computer for under $30. Remember to make sure the reader supports your memory card format!

Mic configuration. Stereo condenser goes without saying–I prefer the mics to be in the X-Y arrangement for better spatial imaging and fewer phasing issues.

Lastly, a mic stand mount. My Zoom H4N came with a small plastic piece that screwed into the bottom of the recorder and allowed the unit to easily fit into a standard mic clip. This feature is very handy indeed.

Invicta watches review of how classy and luxurious they are

Beautiful on the inside and outside is how you can describe the making of wrist watches in this modern era. The only accessory which all men in the world probably love to flaunt is branded luxury watches. If you are in search of a black leather watch studded with diamond, then you have found the perfect match. Do a quick survey through Invicta watches review online. You will realize that the Invicta Lupah Revolution 0513 is something to be treasured while wearing to functions and parties. It assures both class and elegance along with great quality. Here are the best features of Invicta gold 0513.

Luxurious and classy face

So, you are very much familiar with the sliver toned stainless steel. This gorgeous product is a black beauty with stainless steel case which is black ion plated. The dial has gunmetal hands, which are in good contrast with a grey colored dial. The dial window material is flame fusioned crystal. The hour positions are marked with Arabic numerals. All the fifty three diamonds are placed perfectly on the hour marker and numerals. The limited edition of this collection is also available with the special feature of studded white pearls. They are fit onto all the three sub dials.

You can wear it while swimming and snorkeling since it is water resistant for 100 meters depth in water.

Easy settings

On the right side of the dial, three knobs have been provided. The top knob is to be used for start and stop settings of the watch. The bottom knob can be used to reset the entire watch settings. The middle one is a bit special. If you pull the knob halfway, you can set the calendar. The month can be set by turning it anticlockwise. When you pull the knob to full extent, you can set the time. All these actions can be performed smoothly.

Main features

It has automatic Swiss movement. The watch is kept in position due to the band design unlike many other watches. The analog display is done beautifully. As you already know, the case is black in color with black ion plated steel case. The dial window is a fusion crystal. The black leather strap gives it a classic look. Fifty three stunning diamonds are studded on the hours and numerals of the grey dial. The metal hands of the watch are luminous. White pearls are studded on the sub dials in the limited edition offer. Three different knobs with unique functions for the operation are present. It is water resistant for almost a hundred meters. This makes it wearable during snorkeling and swimming. The diameter of the case is 47 millimeters and case thickness is 23 millimeters. The bandwidth of the watch is 31 millimeters. And it weighs 16 ounces.

When you will check the Invicta grand diver review for this product, you will realize that all the buyers have given a higher rating of satisfaction about the watch. The money paid is totally worth the product.

Edirol R-09HR High-Resolution WAVE/MP3 Recorder

Pocket-size digital recorders have been around for a couple of years now, but the latest offerings deliver bigger bang for the buck. Memory capacities and feature sets are expanding, while interfaces have taken a cue from computer-based GUIs to become increasingly user friendly. What’s more, prices for portable digital recorders are generally headed south.

The Edirol R-09HR stereo recorder is a shining example of this trend toward mega feature sets at modest prices. This new model replaces the earlier R-09. One of only a handful of similar products that feature a built-in speaker, the R-09HR provides an integral stereo (omnidirectional) condenser mic, external mic and line inputs, signal processing, a large OLED display, and a well-designed file directory. It’s also the only product in its price class to offer a wireless remote control.

The Going Rate

The R-09HR can record 16- and 24-bit WAV files at standard sampling rates from 44.1 to 96 kHz, and MP3 files from 64 to 320 Kbps bit rates (see more product specs on the EM Web site). Playback capabilities are the same as those for recording, but in addition to 32-bit WAV files, it can also play 32 Kbps and VBR (variable bit rate) MP3s. The included 512 MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card allows between 13 and 980 minutes of stereo recording time, depending on the file format chosen. The audio file format has a write-protect feature that prevents accidental erasure of important files. Higher-capacity memory cards – up to 32 GB – allow proportionally greater record times.

The R-09HR can be powered by two standard AA alkaline or rechargeable AA nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries (neither type is supplied). Edirol says a fresh pair of NiMH batteries will allow 8 hours or more of continuous recording time using the R-09HR’s internal microphone. An AC adapter is also included (see the online bonus material “Extra Goodies” for more about the R-09HR’s included and optional accessories).

The internal mic sports two capsules that point outward in opposite directions on the head of the R-09HR’s chassis. On the unit’s front panel, transport buttons also serve as controls for navigating the recorder’s user-friendly Finder file directory. In addition to the transport buttons, hardware-based controls include those for setting input and output levels, activating a low-cut filter (set in software to a 100, 200, or 400 Hz corner frequency), and enabling either a limiter or AGC (automatic gain control) function. The limiter prevents accidental overload while recording, whereas the AGC function prevents levels from getting either too high or too low.

When activated during recording, a Hold switch locks out most recorder functions to prevent you from accidentally changing levels or stopping. With the push of a button, you can split audio files on the fly while recording, creating two or more files. This is a great feature for, say, recording a concert and creating a separate file for each song without having to start and stop. You can also loop a section of a file and increase or decrease playback speed without changing pitch, to facilitate learning a recorded guitar solo or transcribe dictated notes, for instance.

Another switch activates 5V plug-in power for the optional CS-15 external miniature condenser mic ($109). The R-09HR has three 3.5 mm minijacks for mic and line input and headphone output. A somewhat flimsy plastic hatch opens to allow access to a memory card slot and a USB port (for transferring files to and from a computer). A USB cable is supplied with the R-09HR.

Four types of reverb (one room, one plate, and two hall programs) are singularly available during playback at supported sampling rates below 88.2 kHz. You can’t record the reverb or hear it while monitoring your recording, and depth is the only reverb parameter you can adjust.

In the Pocket

It takes about 11 seconds to put the R-09HR into record mode from a powered-down state. In all the recordings I made with it, the sound quality was surprisingly detailed and spectrally balanced, especially considering the microphone design limitations that must have gone into a product with such a low price point. On acoustic guitar, aiming the head of the recorder so that the omni capsules were near the 12th fret yielded a detailed and full-bodied sound.

I also recorded the natural ambience outside my studio, where a light wind was blowing through tall pine trees. The R-09HR provided plenty of input gain to record this quiet soundscape at full scale. The mics weren’t as sensitive to turbulence as some other condensers I’ve used, but the low-cut filter – set to 200 Hz – nevertheless came in handy in all but preventing rumble from the wind. That said, I would recommend fitting the mic capsules with urethane-foam windscreens when recording in the field. Characters on the R-09HR’s OLED display – when adjusted to maximum brightness – were visible even in direct sunlight.

While recording, I could monitor my input source with headphones. However, the recorder’s inherent 6 ms latency was distracting when recording an instrument in the same room, especially when I was the performer. Output levels at full bore were adequate for monitoring a quiet acoustic performance in the same room using my AKG K271 Studio headphones. But it was clear the headphone output wouldn’t be loud enough for confidence monitoring anything substantially louder, such as a rock band, in close proximity.

I loved being able to hear my files play back through the R-09HR’s rear-panel speaker, which precluded the need to use headphones for listening to recordings of my songwriting ideas. I could also navigate to a folder for a given song’s files and then record a new file directly into that folder – obviating the need to move it there from the Finder’s root level after recording. Renaming files and folders was also really fast and easy.

The AGC function worked great for recording song ideas on the go without the hassle of setting optimal levels. The recorder’s loop-playback function worked like a charm and was a great boon to transcribing my dictated review notes for this article. However, changing a file’s playback speed produced distracting slapback echoes, making that feature only marginally useful.

Quibbles and Kudos

The OS 1.03 software that was installed on my review unit was a bit buggy, causing arbitrary power-downs during playback on several occasions, preventing a split file from being directly accessed, and even making the recorder’s functions freeze up one time. Edirol assures me that the OS 1.04 software (which was released too close to press time for me to test) fixes all those problems. Additionally, I wish the R-09HR had balanced XLR or TRS jacks for its mic and line inputs, but the unit’s small form factor and modest price point probably made that infeasible.

The R-09HR offers a lot for the money. Many similar products have a leaner feature set yet cost more. Whether you need a high-fidelity recorder to record your band’s concerts or capture nature’s finer moments, or a low-fidelity memo pad for recording songwriting ideas or a meeting with an entertainment lawyer, the R-09HR is a solid choice.

EM contributing editor Michael Cooper has written more than 300 articles about pro audio in the past 20 years. Visit him at


PROS: Big bang for the buck. Quality sound. Built-in stereo mic and mono speaker. User-friendly file directory and menu structure. Limiter, AGC, and low-cut filter provided. Easily fits in a shirt pocket. Handy wireless control included.

CONS: Headphone output has 6 ms latency and is not very loud. Playback-speed control causes slapback sound. Mic and line inputs are on unbalanced 3.5 mm minijacks.

Delay delay delay delay

I like delay.

I like delay a lot.

I have always had this thing with weird noises–not weird noises made by a single pedal you click on and all of a sudden you have “weird,” but weird noises that have to be achieved by your own creativity. Take flanger for instance. You turn it on and everyone thinks the same thing: “Yup, flanger.” But delay, on the other hand–that is all about how you use it.

I’ve scaled my pedal board back a bit, but at one time I was using a Boss DD3 and two Line 6 DL4s. As well, I have the guts of a DD3 in my custom Tele, too. Since then, I have taken away a DL4 and replaced it with the Boss RE 20 Space Echo. I have gone through a few reverb pedals as well. I went from the Electro-Harmonix Holier Grail to the Holy Grail. Now, I am onto this less expensive pedal made by Behringer called the RV600.

I have tried lots of custom delay pedals that are very cool, but I am more into what I can do with what I have. I started with the DD3 and I still use the same one I got 10 years ago. Mine is strange, though. When you put the repeat to full, it starts to turn into a dinosaur eating your face. It gets really crazy and the delays morph into pure destruction. I guess it is from all the touring and me stepping on it about a million times.

Delays are very simple. They take a note and repeat it. Done. But it is all about using those repeating notes to create new space within a song; creating a completely different feeling. In the studio, we use very subtle delays on a lot of parts. We creep it in just to the point where you can almost hear it–just enough that when you take it away, you miss it. There is a really cool pitch shifter delay (Boss PS3) we use a lot for this as well. That was our secret weapon for the new record (The World I Want To Leave Behind). It has a really nice sparkle to it on this one setting and adds some great texture to lead parts.


Any weird noises on any of our records are from us playing with our delays. The whole ending to “Tonight I’m Gone” (from The Theory Of Harmonial Value) was done in one take with three or four best delay pedal for guitar and a Roland Space Echo. There was nothing else but us tweaking the knobs, seeing what weird sounds we could come up with. Nothing was planned; we just pressed record.

Live, we use delays in completely different ways. It is more about shifting from subtle delays to the weirdest noises we can make. I have a couple tricks I like to use a lot. One is with the DD3. With the delay on the slowest millisecond notch, I play a single note and put the repeat on full and the speed of delay on the fastest. After playing the note, I slowly start sweeping the delay speed down all the way. This gives you that “the world is slowing down and about to end” sort of sound.

Another one of my favourite things is to use the DL4 with an expression pedal. With the expression pedal UP, set adelay to a nice tape echo setting. Give it an average repeat and set the speed to whatever tempo you need. Store that. Now push the expression pedal DOWN and turn the repeat all the way up to full and the delay speed to almost the fastest setting. It will be going crazy on you but store that setting onto the same patch. This will give you two settings you can sweep back and forth from. Now with the expression pedal UP, play a chord. While it is ringing out, slowly put the expression pedal into the DOWN position. You will get a really wild tape feedback loop happening that you can control using the expression. When it gets too crazy (and it will) bring the pedal back into the UP position. This effect is all over our records. You can hear it on “Start Angry, End Mad” (from Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?) before the song kicks in after the intro.

It’s strange. While other kids were going to parties, I was at home shoving a screwdriver into my guitar pickups, seeing what weird noises I could make. Who would have ever known it would amount to anything?

Digital Recorders – Portable idea catchers for all occasions

Wouldn’t it be great if all your musical inspiration came to you while you were in the studio rather than at the car wash? Well, inspiration doesn’t work that way, but luckily there’s now a wide range of pocket-sized digital audio recorders that capture ideas wherever you are, and let you upload the audio to your computer later.

What kind of digital recorder you want depends on how you want to use it. If you’re just looking to record voice notes or a spontaneous lyric or melody that you plan to record more professionally later, something from the less-expensive “digital voice recorder” segment should work just fine. Weighing as little as three ounces, these tiny gadgets are descendants of the ancient micro cassette recorder - just push a button to start and stop recording, or use voice-activated recording. Transferring the recorded audio onto your computer is equally easy. Some devices sync to your computer via USB, others record onto memory cards (XD, SmartMedia, or MemoryStick) which can be mounted as a drive on your desktop using a USB card reader.

So what are the options? If you’ve already got an Apple iPod (not an iPod mini), spending an extra $35 will get you the Belkin Voice Recorder. It snaps into your iPod’s headphone connector and can record as much audio as your iPod can handle, albeit in 16-bit/8kHz mono WAV format. If you’re not an iPod owner, Olympus’ diminutive WS-100 records WMA-format audio onto its 64MB of internal flash memory, plugs directly into your computer’s USB port, and offers voice activation. Though its built-in mic is monaural, for an additional $59 the Olympus MS-50S mic will let you capture stereo. In the works is the WS-200, which will record in stereo natively and will be sold exclusively at Radio Shack.

If you’re at an impromptu jam session with your friends and you want to do some off-the-cuff recording of instruments and vocals, we recommend leaving the digital voice recorder realm and buying a device such as the Korg ToneWorks Pandora PXR4, a 4-track device that records directly onto SmartMedia cards. It’s still quite compact, and is outfitted with 1/4″ (hi/low-switchable) and stereo line/mic inputs, and 1/8″ stereo and headphone (stereo) outs. Its USB port can upload your recording directly to your computer. It also has a built-in mic, more than 70 effects, and a built-in drum machine.

The cutting-edge hi-fi option is the new Edirol R-1. It offers 2-track recording in WAV (24-bit/44.1kHz) or MP3 formats from its internal stereo mics, an external mic via its 1/8″ jack (plug-in power), or from its S/PDIF optical in to a Compact Flash card (up to 2GB). Files can be transferred to your computer via its fast USB 2.0 port. The R-1 can be powered by two AA batteries or from its included rechargeable battery pack, and it offers a metronome, tuner, and effects.

Choosing Waist Trainers – 3 Types to Choose From

There is hardly a woman who would not like to have the perfect body shape that would make them feel confident about themselves and drive men crazy. Although the notions about the perfect female body shape have changed with time, a narrow waist and broader busts and hips are still considered to be the ideal. At one point of time, women regularly used best waist trainers in order to narrow down their waist size and achieve the curvy body shape. The corsets of earlier days offered full support to the body along with waist slimming, while most modern corsets offer only waist narrowing. These days, you can find various kinds of waist trainer corsets in the market. Read on to inform yourself about the 3 different types of corsets, according to the common types of materials that they are made of.

Corset waist trainers

These have more number of layers than latex waist trainers, and are also firmer in nature. These can consist of laces, drawings and various other decorative constituents. But these outfits are made of a type of fabric which is more comfortable for the skin and also breathable in nature. Considering the fact that these are firmer in nature, these can keep your waist tucked in and do not wrinkle. Using these outfits continuously can cause permanent alterations in the shape of your body.

Ribbon corset waist trainer

This looks just like a corset waist trainer and you will be able to customize it as per your body shape and size. These types of corsets have a lacing in the rear part, just as you can see in period films. You have the chance to tighten these to a size that you need.

Latex waist trainers

These allow free movements as they consist of just a few bones in their body. These are more flexible in shape and are considered to be “starters”. These may show from under your dress as these come with a few odd wrinkles on the sides. These are ideal to wear while working out at the gym. The extent of stress, ‘manage’ and the density and blend of material that is used tend to differ with the type of corset that you are using. When you use this well-fitting outfit beneath your dresses, you can look sensual even when you are wearing casual apparels.

The type of corset that you choose from among these 3 types rests on your personal choice. Many women recommend latex trainers for beginners in waist training. However, latex is not a very breathable fabric. Naturally, it can be uncomfortable and irritating for some women. While any of these corset types can be perfect for reducing the waist size of women of any shape, fitness level, size and age, the best ones are those which can allow you to get an hourglass shape and also proper support for your back. You should choose your trainer with a lot of care and after evaluating your body shape in a proper manner.

VOD and DVRs: a delicate balance

In addition to offering various on-demand services from headend servers, cable operators are also deploying an increasing number of set-top boxes equipped with digital video recorder (DVR) technology that gives viewers the ability to timeshift content and pause, rewind or fast forward during a live program.

Most operators who are leasing DVR-equipped set-tops to subscribers are motivated by a competitive desire to match the DVR [also known as personal video recorder or PVR] offerings from their satellite competitors, though some industry players predict that DVRs will evolve in the future into home servers that MSOs will intentionally push content to and that subscribers will use to store non-video content.

“At Scientific-Atlanta, we believe that network-based on-demand services such as VOD and SVOD and locally-based on demand services through DVR are complementary,” says Dave Davies, VP of strategy and product marketing, Scientific-Atlanta. “Consumers see both services as enabling them to watch what they want when they want, whether the content is distributed via commercial broadcast channels or not. Additionally, research indicates that DVR actually encourages the use of VOD and other network-based on demand services.”

Davies points to a 2004 Lyra Research study that found that DVR users watched over 30% more free VOD programs and nearly 60% more paid VOD programs than non-DVR users. In that vein, he believes the best business case forTelevision On Demand is with a full range of network- and locally-based on demand services.

“For Scientific-Atlanta, the technology that underlies DVR is more than just an enabler of one service; it is a platform for the future on which operators can build an overall entertainment experience,” says Davies.

Scientific-Atlanta already offers set-tops that can deliver HDTV and multi-room services that extend DVR functionality throughout the home. The company is also developing a next-generation DVR with built-in DVD recording capability, which it envisions being used in a “Cable Anywhere” service that would let people take the cable programming they love with them wherever they go.

“There are a variety of possible business models for such a service,” says Davies. “Operators could offer the opportunity to own a DVD recording of any program for a fee. Likewise, the VOD paradigm could be greatly expanded by following any VOD stream with the opportunity to own the program for a small surcharge.”

Scientific-Atlanta predicts that set-top storage will open the door for operators to offer a personalized TV environment in which subscribers customize their “IV environment, much as they do with their computer desktops. The hard drive in the set-top could enable storage of all kinds of content in addition to cable video programming, as subscribers could “lease” a section of the hard drive to store home videos, family photos, MP3s and games that could be played against other people in the home–or other subscribers in the cable system.

“Ultimately, the set-top hard drive could house all this, as well as other downloadable applications and programs that have yet to be imagined,” says Davies. “In this way, the cable operator enables the family room TV–or every TV–to become a complete, integrated entertainment center for the household.”

Jean-Briac Perrette, senior vice president of new media, NBC Universal Cable, admits it is hard for a programmer to like DVRs when one considers the threat they represent to traditional network advertising sales and the 30-second spot.


“I clearly hate the concept,” says Perrette. “That said, I’m fully cognizant of the fact that the technology is here and viewers like it. So I’m clearly not going to be blind to the advent of technology. What we need to do for both DVRs and the VOD platform is to find ways to get services rated. We need to ensure that we transition in a smart way and don’t cannibalize our existing revenue stream by bringing content to market. Ratings is a big issue.”

Looking at DVR and VOD from a technology perspective, Perrette thinks that VOD has a short-term edge because of its much greater storage capacity, one that he hopes programmers can take advantage of.

“It’s fascinating in that they are two technologies that while they are very similar, are still very different,” says Perrette, “On demand has an opportunity, a short-term technology lead in the sense that server capacity and the amount of content that can be roiled out compared to the amount of content saved on a DVR box is much greater. Comcast is talking about 10,000 hours of content, while the average DVR box will store 80 hours. That will change and we will soon have a much larger housing capability on the DVR box, which will minimize the short-term technical advantage that VOD has. The bigger issue is you have the opportunity in VOD to make this richer platform that provides more original content, and is organized in a way that’s easier for the user to access.”

Steve Necessary, president of VOD for Concurrent Computer Corporation, thinks that VOD and DVR are “an overwhelming complement” to one another and are only minimally competitive. Necessary says that since DBS operators have DVRs, cable operators also have to provide them to maintain competitive parity. But cable’s advantage is that it has VOD as a differentiator on top of DVRs.

“Both have the capability to move viewers away from the appointment TV,, linear viewing model to an on demand model,” says Necessary. “You either pull it off” the headend server or off the hard disk, and one feeds the other. Our kids or grandkids are going to wonder, ‘What do you mean had to watch ‘ER’ at 10 o’clock on Thursday night?'”

DVRs do a terrific job of allowing consumers to proactively build their own customized programming library, says Necessary. Their main drawback, however, is that despite some intuitive software they still require viewers to be proactive.

“DVRs do a great job if you plan for it, but they do a lousy job on Friday morning of going and getting Thursday night’s content,” says Necessary. “The network DVR does a terrific job of that. Obviously, you have to work through the rights issues, but the network DVR can do a great job of ‘after the fact’ content aggregation for consumers.”

Necessary adds that DVRs are attractive from an ROI perspective, as they generate ten dollars per month of leasing revenue. While the initial cost for a DVR-equipped set-top is higher, the monthly lease fees still add up to a “pretty good return,” he says. In comparison, the ROI for VOD has more variables, depending on the quality and variety of content an operator is offering.

“Of course, to the extent you can quantify reduced digital churn or reduced overall subscriber churn that you can attribute to VOD, then that swings the economics significantly,” notes Necessary.

While some operators and vendors have mulled the idea of using DVRs as a sort of “edge server” that they could push content to, much as DBS operators do, Concurrent’s experience with customers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter and Mediacom suggests that this is inefficient, he adds.

“You could do it, absolutely, but why would you?” says Necessary. “The overwhelming majority of set-tops in digital homes don’t have hard drives in them, and you have got to have a solution for the rest of the homes. You have to look at, ‘What are my tradeoffs? How hard is it for me to allocate a Little bit of spectrum per node for on-demand purposes?’ It might shift your peaks a little, but that hasn’t been a real problem.”

“From my perspective, it doesn’t really tax the infrastructure much to do [SVOD and VOD], and it adds so much to the complexity and cost if you had to rely on a box to do that,” says Necessary. “Notwithstanding the early challenges that HBO On Demand had, we haven’t seen those problems for literally years. So I think the question it falls into is just because you can do something doesn’t mean you necessarily should.”

Ken Papagan, Executive VP of VOD measurement and reporting firm Rentrak Corporation, agrees that VOD and DVR technologies can only benefit each other.

“DVRs and VOD are actually quite compatible and can be effectively used to promote each other,” says Papagan. “For example, the limitless amount of content that could be streamed on demand can compensate for the very limited storage capability of a DVR. Additionally, the advantage of a DVR strategy to complement on demand is that certain programming rights may not be available for on demand or the economics may not be suitable. Therefore, the ability to time shift those programs easily can be greatly facilitated by a DVR.”

SeaChange is another big fan of DVR technology, says Joseph Ambeault, director of broadband systems for the VOD vendor.

“DVRs acclimate consumers to also using on demand,” he says. “They are similar technologies, and they all have benefits. One of the biggest limitations on VOD is content licensing, as it becomes a public display, and DVRs help address that.”

“When operators have DVRs deployed, there is a much lower churn rate,” adds Ambeault. “There is a lot of loyalty there. The cable DVR technology is the same as satellite but these subscribers also have VOD. You want to look at VOD as more of an impulse kind of thing. A differentiation between the products from a programming standpoint as opposed to technology is the way to go, particularly if VOD content is exclusive.”

Edmond Shapiro, director of project delivery, Americas for middleware vendor NDS, also notes that content licensing issues are a big driver behind DVRs and says the major reason for cable operators to offer DVRs is commercial, not technical. He points to the failure of Maestro, an ambitious network-based DVR service that had trouble getting programming agreements from operators because of copyright issues.

“The commercial issue is this: there is the ability for the consumer to record broadcast content, as result of the Betamax ruling on fair use,” says Shapiro. “The PVR is considered legally as a replacement for the VCR, so the consumer who records content onto disk is functionally taking advantage of a legal precedent. The cable operator doesn’t have to pay an additional fee to broadcasters, and that’s understood. What’s not so clear is that the same theories apply to headend storage, where the cable operator is storing information from the broadcast signal and sharing with the consumer over a network.”

Another reason to have DVRs, says Shapiro, is that even with a very robust on demand service, such as one with 10,000 hours of content, there will still be viewers who are looking for different niche content. The DVR gives them the ability to record that content themselves, he notes.

“You could have 500,000 hours of content and be taking 10,000 hours of that and putting it on an on demand server,” says Shapiro. “What if you are in the group of consumers whose favorite programming doesn’t get into that 10,000 hours? Will you move over to satellite to get that? That’s why it’s very clear that DVR is a defensive play for operators–they aren’t going to lose the guys who are not interested in those 10,000 hours.”

Josh Sapan, President and CEO of cable programmer Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, says that in his experience, households who have DVRs before VOD “habituate much more slowly to VOD because they essentially create their own on demand experience through the DVR.” As such, he says, the growth of DVR technology should give programmers even greater impetus to create original, exclusive content for the VOD platform that can’t be found anywhere else, something Rainbow is doing with its Mag Rack and Sportskool services.

“If over time DVRs proliferate significantly, and I think they will, just as VOD will, then the importance of original programming for on demand increases dramatically,” he says.

Most automakers install data recorders in vehicles

General Motors may be the worldwide leader when it comes to installing black boxes, but not every manufacturer is in a rush to record what drivers are doing.

Ford Motor Co., which shares with GM a common platform for downloading data via equipment and software from a California company called Vetronix Corp., is second in the race to install electronic data recorders in its cars. Every Ford with electronic throttle control since the 2003 model year has a data recorder able to record five seconds on either side of a crash. All Fords will eventually get this system.

Toyota Motor Corp. runs neck-and-neck with Ford for proliferation of the recorders. The Toyota Highlander and Sienna and Lexus LS 430, GS 430/300, SC 430 and RX 330 models record pre- and postcrash data – vehicle speed, brake action, throttle position, shift position, engine speed, change of speed over time and airbag deployment – and many more Toyota products record at least the postcrash information. Data are used solely for safety development, says Toyota spokewoman Allison Takahashi.

Honda Motor Co. uses many electronic data recorders, but only to deploy airbags. Though some data is recorded, Honda says the information is the property of the vehicle owner.

Recorders shunned

Nissan Motor Co. shuns electronic data recorders, relying on an airbag control unit to deploy airbags and record airbag and front seat belt status. No speed or g-force information is recorded, says spokesman Dean Case.

“We’ll meet government requirements, but we’re not looking at becoming Big Brother,” he says.

Hyundai Motor Co. says cost rules out the use of the recorders, while affiliate Kia Motors Corp. says only the airbag deployment sequence is retained for safety engineers or crash investigators to review.

Things aren’t so clear in Europe. BMW AG says that data such as engine rpm and temperature are recorded strictly for service purposes.

“We don’t want to put our customers in the position of having their own car testifying against them,” says BMW of North America LLC spokesman Gordon Keil.

Volkswagen and Audi vehicles have no systems capable of recording data over time, and Porsches have a simple data recorder to track airbag deployment. Porsche supports the collection of data to improve safety but opposes mandatory installation of the recorders.

“Porsche customers traditionally value the sense of independence that driving can provide,” Porsche’s policy states. “Therefore, we believe they would be opposed to Porsche equipping its cars with devices capable of monitoring their movements.”

Same technology

Given these stances, you might expect DaimlerChrysler’s U.S. and European operations would be at odds, but in practice the two entities are working on the same technology.

Mercedes-Benz has no data recorders and relies on stability control sensors to activate safety equipment but is developing the underlying architecture that will allow for the recorders in the future.

Meanwhile, the Chrysler group already has data recorders in some 2005 models (the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum and Jeep Grand Cherokee) and is developing recorders that will be compatible with the new electronic architecture.

Data recorders will be in all Chrysler vehicles by the end of the decade, says Luis Morais, Chrysler senior manager of safety planning, and putting the same units into Mercedes vehicles shouldn’t pose any great hurdles. Chrysler also is working with the same supplier as GM and Ford are for downloading data.