Thanks for a great article (Feed Me, October 2001). I’ve been "feeding" my audio for some time in a similar fashion. The improved results of using a direct feed for audio are truly worth the extra effort. This article will help many in the right direction.
I did find what I would consider an error, though, in the cabling mentioned in the article. Specifically, the article mentions using 1/4-inch mono connectors for a balanced line connection out of the mixer. This is not possible. Three-position (stereo-type) connectors are required for "balanced" signals.
On the Mackie mixer, the jack is labeled "balanced," but with a mono plug, you will get an "unbalanced" signal. This will probably work fine as long as you keep your cable length short, a point not mentioned in the article.
You are correct. If you use a 1/4-inch mono-plug the signal will be unbalanced, though the setup works as pictured in the article without any trouble. Perhaps we’ve just been lucky in not encountering line noise, but we’ll definitely be switching to 1/4-inch stereo plugs in order to take advantage of that balanced monaural signal coming out of the mixer.
Eating Video Doubts
Amateur video enthusiasts like myself hear so much about high-definition videotape and how much its contrast and resolution mimic film, but I’ve been dubious and hard-pressed to believe it.
I finally ate my own words when I came upon an article highlighting Sidney Lumet’s new series, 100 Center Street. I had watched the show since its first episode and was awed at the brilliant cinematography, moody lighting and crystal clear images. I lamented that video will never look as good. Then I reached the section that said the show is shot, "…using high definition videotape… produc(ing) an intimate reality so natural you may not notice how unusual it is."
I was humbled by my own arrogance and can now say to all those who feel the way I used to about video, that it is not the medium of your production, but the quality of your efforts and how much work you want to put into each scene.
Atlantic City, NJ
I read with delight The Keys, Please (September 2001), which reviewed the Compaq 7000Z Presario. The system seemed to be exactly what I wanted. I called Compaq to place an order and was told that Adobe Premiere was not loaded, only StudioDV. I referred the salesperson to your magazine. He had no explanation. I then went to Circuit City and said I wanted the computer as reviewed and the salesman said that they were loading VideoWave, not StudioDV or Adobe Premiere. The monitor was different, the hard drive capacity was different and, in short, it was hardly recognizable as the computer tested in your article. Can you explain why this is? I rely heavily on the info in your magazine and have subscribed way back to the early days of video editing. Your advice has always been invaluable.
Virginia R. Heckert
Pisgah Forest, NC
There are many different ways to configure the Compaq Presario 7000 series. This allows you to customize the computer to fit your needs more precisely. Unfortunately, as you discovered, this likely means that you will be unable to get exactly the same computer that we reviewed. Fortunately, it also means that you can often get a better and faster computer for a lower price. For example, as of this writing, Compaq now has a
Presario 8000 series that can be equipped for video for $1,000 less than the Presario 7000Z that we reviewed. Since we reviewed and liked the 7000Z, it is a good guess that the 8000 is also a good machine, but in all honesty, we can’t make that claim, since we have not yet seen or tested this newer model.
Computer systems are much more prone to becoming superseded by newer products than anything else we review. Our best advice is that you do as much research as you can before you get to the store, and get a guarantee that you can return the machine if it does not meet your expectations.