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Author Topic: The Stephen Desper Thread  (Read 193966 times)
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« Reply #1200 on: August 23, 2012, 03:38:41 PM »

I finally had the chance to listen. This is what I've been waiting for. Finally the work on these great recordings gets not only explained but also shown. It's stuff like this that would make such a great addition to an official website for the Beach Boys and could also give the band an artistic rebirth after the commercial rebirth during this anniversary (which is not to say that there is no artistic content, I'm just talking about what is done on the outside, image-wise). There's so much potential and promise in the music and the recordings that it's even sadder to think what happened afterwards (15 Big Ones, M.I.U. etc.)
Makes onewanna go and record some music yourself and work on it.
I can't put into english words without sounding like a fool how great, entertaining and interesting this was so therefor I just give my honest thanks to Stephen and Will ! I enjoyed it very much.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 10:02:56 AM by Rocker » Logged

a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #1201 on: August 24, 2012, 08:18:50 AM »

COMMENT:

A heartfelt thanks to all of you who posted all the kind words to Will and myself. And also thank you to those of you who may have viewed the two videos, but did not post . . . thanks for listening too.

In the end it goes without saying that the Beach Boys made all of these magic musical moments possible.
To them a BIG THANK YOU!!  from all fans, everywhere.

If you missed the original Announcement . . . here it is . . .




====================================================================================
====================================================================================

Announcement  &  Guidelines for Use

With help from Will C. Music Productions I am proud to announce the first of many study-videos that will explore the sound production techniques I used in the making of Beach Boy and other artists’ music. These studies also include examples of my favorite mastering techniques applied to finished works. I believe you will find they clarify the music and expand the presentation in the stereo panorama. However, this "privilege of study" can cease to be, if abused.  

The study-videos provided under password covenant involve the use of copyrighted material. Copyright “Fair Use” rules and regulations allow for study and examination of copyrighted material provided that certain requirements are met. Navigating the Fair Use regulations is a slippery slope and open to much interpretation, depending on each particular situation.

Openly posted copies of copyrighted works proliferate the Internet today. In most cases these postings remain unchallenged by the copyright holder, and thus seem to be setting a broader precedence for tolerance. However, I caution you to be vigilant. The studies I am providing are not for use by the general public and are not openly posted nor should be openly posted. I have placed all these studies behind a password and non-descriptive web-address for a reason. Please respect my request that anything protected behind a password remain within and must be confined to this study. They are not be copied or posted elsewhere, such as Youtube.com, or to become the subject of a bootleg copy. To do otherwise is to tempt and/or “push” the Fair Use doctrine to a point that may not be tolerable or allowed by the copyright holder, resulting in the forced removal of the study(s).

I’m sorry to be so restrictive in my requests, but posting comments is one thing. Posting the actual music is another – even if used in a study format. All of these studies are available by privilege. Let us all respect that privilege and not violate the opportunity granted us for study by abusing the rules.

This message board is where I post. It is not connected with these study-videos.

These studies are provided for use by the dedicated and interested Beach Boy fan. Please feel free to share the study-site with fellow interested fans. But if you share, please caution those with whom you share of the restrictions that must be followed under this privilege.  Any copy of music or commentary should (1) be for personal use only, (2) not be for monetary gain, and (3) be in addition to purchased copies of the same material, i.e., not be used in place of the original purchasing of the musical product from a retail or Internet store.

All of the provided studies are designed to be reproduced over any stereo system, from small to large. I would encourage you to connect your computer to a good set of speakers or to your stereo system (via the headphone or output jack) for a complete realization of the music-subject explored in each study. I master for good sound. Connect your computer to the best sound you can. The listening rewards are enormous.
 
Required passwords can be seen by clicking on my name, then look under Website.

Please post all comments and/or discussions back onto this thread.  

Thank you and Good Listening,
 ~Stephen W. Desper

====================================================================================

First Study Link >>> http://vimeo.com/willcmusicproductions/w583rthv42tr808ccw

====================================================================================
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 08:20:20 AM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
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« Reply #1202 on: August 24, 2012, 10:00:15 AM »

I have to also once again say thanks so much to everyone who has posted and/or checked out the 2 videos!  I continue to be mesmerized by all that the Boys achieved in the studio!  It is awe inspiring, intimidating, educational, and overall just a wonderful experience hearing such beauty come out of the speakers! 
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« Reply #1203 on: August 26, 2012, 08:34:54 PM »

I haven't been 'round these parts in a while but I'm blown away by that video. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you again for all of your insights, Mr. Desper, and thank you and Will C. for that terrific video. We sometimes take for granted how much work goes into creating.
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« Reply #1204 on: August 27, 2012, 03:28:45 PM »

I haven't been 'round these parts in a while but I'm blown away by that video. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you again for all of your insights, Mr. Desper, and thank you and Will C. for that terrific video. We sometimes take for granted how much work goes into creating.
COMMENT:  Thank you very much.  If you don't mind me asking, (1) what did you think of the bonus track and (2) under what conditions do you listen?   .... ~swd
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« Reply #1205 on: August 27, 2012, 09:08:59 PM »

Wow............ That was seriously awesome. Thank you sooo much!!!!! You have no idea how cool it is to be able to hear this like THIS!!!!!!!!!! Stephen, you are the man!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable.  Feel like I'm living out a dream listening to this song and dissecting it in real time with Stephen Desper!! And through the Matrix!!!!!!!! Hell yes!
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« Reply #1206 on: August 27, 2012, 09:40:42 PM »

Jesus, the vocals at 21:28..... Holy moly.... This section of vocals sounds like it was eventually buried correct? So many other beautiful vocal parts... Probably going to watch this Study Video a thousand times in the next few weeks.  Just when you think you've heard it all.....
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« Reply #1207 on: August 27, 2012, 09:56:16 PM »

COMMENT:  Thank you very much.  If you don't mind me asking, (1) what did you think of the bonus track and (2) under what conditions do you listen?   .... ~swd

I thought the bonus track sounded much better than the regular version, but to be honest I stopped listening partway through because I'm not much of a fan of that particular song. I was wondering what you meant by "applying the matrix to each track of the final mix" (or something to that effect) considering I imagine you were working with a simple stereo audio signal. How was this achieved?

I played it through a 2.1 setup of Logitec computer speakers that were about 1.5 ft apart and about 1.5 feet from my face (the white noise was properly centred). One flaw of my setup is that my desk is next to a wall, so the right channel didn't get as much "breathing space" as the left.

As you may recall I do own one of your spatializer devices you sold with your great book... I haven't listened to my Sunflower LP through it in some time but I remember having been bowled over by This Whole World and All I Wanna Do in particular. I once had the chance to show it off to some Beach Boys fans and they were very impressed!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 09:59:45 PM by Mitchell » Logged

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« Reply #1208 on: August 28, 2012, 01:10:32 PM »

Didn't mention this. I don't have too much inside knowledge about techniques, etc. I always go by ear but of course would love to have time to really get into the recording stuff. All I can say about the bonustrack is that after listening to the worked-on version and then the original from the youtube link I can hear a difference in that the "worked-on" version sounds brighter and gives (especially Brian's lead) more room to breath, if that's a good expression.
I haven't had the chance yet to compare it to the album and/or single version (which I of course have but not here at my mother's home where I am right now). I can't say though that it did blow me away but then I don't have such great equipement and therefor my experience is certainly overshadowed by that aspect.


BTW If I'm not mistaken it was someone from this board who made and put up the video. He/She started a thread about that around the time when that terrible official musicvideo was released iIrc.

« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 01:13:30 PM by Rocker » Logged

a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #1209 on: August 28, 2012, 04:33:32 PM »

COMMENT:  Thank you very much.  If you don't mind me asking, (1) what did you think of the bonus track and (2) under what conditions do you listen?   .... ~swd

I thought the bonus track sounded much better than the regular version, but to be honest I stopped listening partway through because I'm not much of a fan of that particular song. I was wondering what you meant by "applying the matrix to each track of the final mix" (or something to that effect) considering I imagine you were working with a simple stereo audio signal. How was this achieved?

I played it through a 2.1 setup of Logitec computer speakers that were about 1.5 ft apart and about 1.5 feet from my face (the white noise was properly centred). One flaw of my setup is that my desk is next to a wall, so the right channel didn't get as much "breathing space" as the left.

As you may recall I do own one of your spatializer devices you sold with your great book... I haven't listened to my Sunflower LP through it in some time but I remember having been bowled over by This Whole World and All I Wanna Do in particular. I once had the chance to show it off to some Beach Boys fans and they were very impressed!
COMMENT:

Thank you Michael, for your answers. I think TWGMTR grows on you, but then that is why the music industry is so big -- not everyone likes the same thing.

I can only answer your “how’d you do that?” question in general. Otherwise these techniques are known as “trade secrets.”

Using the analog circuits I've developed over years of research, it is possible to influence not only the overall sound, but each track or the sound of each track, independent of the others (to some degree). This "independent track influence" is mostly in the dimensional domain, that is, the enveloping inference of one track or pairs of tracks compared to the overall original sound field and the relative position of tracks to one another on the sound stage.

I studied psychoacoustics while working for the Beach Boys and used it to make better recordings. Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of how the human auditory system perceives sounds. Most recording engineers learn psychoacoustic principles, either directly or indirectly, as they evolve in their profession. Some could teach it while others have no idea of the science behind their creations. Like cars, some drivers can actually build a car, while other drivers only know that a key starts the thing. And as both drivers will get you from point "A" to point "B" a mixer can create a wonderful mix without knowing which side of a patchcord-plug is positive.

Psychoacoustics deals mostly with loudness perception, Fletcher-Munson curves, Helmholtz resonation, Sabine values and those kind of things, with which you may be familiar. Having a good working understanding of psychoacoustics, I wanted to understand the science supporting these principles, namely physiological acoustics or the neurological actions responsible for our perception of sound. I took a year off to study on my own after I stopped working for The Beach Boys. This resulted in several patents (US and foreign) based on such subjects as Principal Components Perception Analysis, Head Related Transfer Functions, Reciprocative Coupling, Bilateral Symmetry, Temporal Autocorrelation, Superpositional Transformations, Active and Passive Perception, Pattern Recognition, Auditory Reflex Action, Perceptual Precedence, Dimensional Warping, and Conceptual Image Space. These are terms with which most engineers know little. They involve what happens in Brodmann’s areas 41 and 42 of the primary auditory cortex of the human brain. This is where information from the ear becomes self-cognizant and the whole of “conceptual image space” is presented as a continuous stream, external to ourselves, including the specialized information we know as “sound.”  In short, I was interested in getting the most out of two-speaker reproduction. Going to the source of sound perception, the brain, seemed the best pathway to my goal. And I must add, the brain is full of surprises.

The brain does not deal with sound as you may think. For example, because of the time delay each synaptic connection takes to transmit its piece of information about an acoustic event, something called “latent synaptic connection restriction,” the frequency at which the brain can “stream” sound information is limited to about 1,200 Hz. Sound frequencies higher than this are handled by way of labeled line codes. Not exactly digital, but not analog either, more electro-chemical. So even at the fundamental transformations the brain deals with “sound” or more proper, “signal” in a way not familiar to most audio engineers.

Now I understand that you probably don’t care to know any more and I don’t blame you . . . this is complex and possible boring stuff. Interesting to me, but boring to you. I guess all I really need to tell you is that what you hear and will hear in these studies is grounded in neurologically based circuitry, because like the brain, an electronic circuit can also process signal. In this case it processes signal distend to be comprehended in the higher transformations (like 10 –12 or higher) through induced illusions, which I call “Applied Neural Audiology.”
~swd

By the way, as you listen, your brain is growing synaptic connections and even synaptic forests that will expand your dimensional listening abilities with each playback.
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« Reply #1210 on: August 28, 2012, 05:33:23 PM »

Hey Mr. Desper, another quick question: Did you record the [American] Spring album with the same stereo-soundstage-widening machine (very technical of me!) that you used for The Beach Boys albums around this same time? Also -- you must get this on here a lot -- are these machines available for purchase still or will they be again in the future?
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« Reply #1211 on: August 28, 2012, 09:48:25 PM »

Great stuff! I do not find it boring in the least, though I don't really know the technical terms you're using! It's a fascinating subject.
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« Reply #1212 on: August 29, 2012, 12:38:29 PM »

I have just started listening to Stephen's study extracts and I can only add my compliments to all the others.

I. Am. Stunned.

Mind. Blown.

This is like listening to Bach in the 20th or 21st century.  It's The Music Of The Spheres.  Genius level musicans meet genius level engineers.

(I really need a pill to calm down now.........!)

YOW!

YEAH "Brian's ditty" really DOES BELONG in CCW!


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« Reply #1213 on: August 30, 2012, 04:01:19 PM »

Oh my goodness Stephen (and Will), thank you so so much for posting that video. That was probably the happiest 40 minutes I've had in years. What a wonderful experience. Words cannot express my gratitude.
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« Reply #1214 on: August 31, 2012, 07:11:57 AM »

Hey Mr. Desper, another quick question: Did you record the [American] Spring album with the same stereo-soundstage-widening machine (very technical of me!) that you used for The Beach Boys albums around this same time? Also -- you must get this on here a lot -- are these machines available for purchase still or will they be again in the future?

COMMENT:  Yes the Spring album did use matrix monitoring. As to your other question: I am considering a product, but starting another business will have to wait on the election in November to see how the country goes. Starting a business right now is not worth all the hassle dealing with red tape, regulations, etc. ~swd
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« Reply #1215 on: August 31, 2012, 03:45:47 PM »

Hey Mr. Desper, another quick question: Did you record the [American] Spring album with the same stereo-soundstage-widening machine (very technical of me!) that you used for The Beach Boys albums around this same time? Also -- you must get this on here a lot -- are these machines available for purchase still or will they be again in the future?

COMMENT:  Yes the Spring album did use matrix monitoring. As to your other question: I am considering a product, but starting another business will have to wait on the election in November to see how the country goes. Starting a business right now is not worth all the hassle dealing with red tape, regulations, etc. ~swd

well, how hard would it be to simply build the unit that you used to sell? You probably have some schematics for it somewhere, right?
Maybe just sell the schematics to those who want them?
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« Reply #1216 on: August 31, 2012, 10:54:53 PM »

Stephen, I think all of us here would love a new edition of your Recording The Beach Boys book. Your passion for the band, and for audio in general is really heartening to many of us here. I'd buy a photocopy of it from you if you had the time to make one. I'll also say that I'd be able to correct proofs for you, and can do some pro bono freelance work or whatever else you need to help you. Hell if you gave me the first edition, your notes, and your direction I'd be willing to write the thing for you and give you a consolidated first draft to work on.

I know you weren't soliciting for this type of thing. But I think many people here would love to help you in whatever way they could.
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« Reply #1217 on: September 01, 2012, 11:32:11 AM »

well, how hard would it be to simply build the unit that you used to sell? You probably have some schematics for it somewhere, right?
Maybe just sell the schematics to those who want them?
COMMENT: 

Around a decade ago Japan was having major economic problems.  Their version of what we will soon be facing and what is called the "fiscal cliff" due to hit us around the first of the year when taxes increase dramatically. At that time in Japan, Panasonic had to close 1/3 of its integrated circuit foundries where many IC chips were grown, just to survive. My chip design was one of many that were affected. The plant is still closed and the chip is long gone. To duplicate what it did would require the knowledge to build a computer or at least a multi-gate micro-processor. I don't mean buying the mother board, harddrives, sound and video boards and assembling them. I mean building the motherboard from resistors, capacitors, coils, and 12,000 gates or transistors. Therefore, what you ask is not possible today on a consumer level. Your best bet is to just wait on me to release "re-mastered" study-videos, based on the most advanced circuit designs.


~swd
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« Reply #1218 on: September 01, 2012, 11:48:31 AM »

Stephen, I think all of us here would love a new edition of your Recording The Beach Boys book. Your passion for the band, and for audio in general is really heartening to many of us here. I'd buy a photocopy of it from you if you had the time to make one. I'll also say that I'd be able to correct proofs for you, and can do some pro bono freelance work or whatever else you need to help you. Hell if you gave me the first edition, your notes, and your direction I'd be willing to write the thing for you and give you a consolidated first draft to work on.

I know you weren't soliciting for this type of thing. But I think many people here would love to help you in whatever way they could.
COMMENT:  Your point is well taken. But will the market bear the costs. Any new printings would not be at my expense as were the first two. Last release I charged less or around twenty bucks for a copy including postage. Some people complained that, although the pages were full of information, the cost per page was too high. So why should I consider breaking even when I get feedback like that? You have to consider all the time it takes to assemble everything, make a disc that is compatible with the printer's software, correct all the strange anomaly's that come up, print, assemble, bind (a whole process in itself), check, package, then print individual addresses for each package, then keep books that show who paid and who was sent a book, their check number, bla-bla-bla. Actually this time around I would hire someone to do it. Anyway, how many copies are we talking here?  Ten - Twenty - Forty, tops? I'm not convinced the market would bear the cost.

~swd
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« Reply #1219 on: September 01, 2012, 01:25:19 PM »

Mr. Desper,

CCW was started and abandoned during the Wild Honey sessions. On TSS (and numerous bootlegs) we hear what sounds like 1970 CCW Part One, but missing a few overdubs. Did the group rerecord this part and sound very close to how they did three years previously, was this section overdubs of old tapes, or does the TSS track borrow vocals from the Sunflower sessions?
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Which song: Gonna straight up bang you with "the wood".

Which song: Weather conditions make me horny

Which song: Lack of proper shoes leads to potential blood poisoning and death.

Which song: Who needs church? Let's do it on the couch.

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« Reply #1220 on: September 01, 2012, 03:31:52 PM »

Mr. Desper,

CCW was started and abandoned during the Wild Honey sessions. On TSS (and numerous bootlegs) we hear what sounds like 1970 CCW Part One, but missing a few overdubs. Did the group rerecord this part and sound very close to how they did three years previously, was this section overdubs of old tapes, or does the TSS track borrow vocals from the Sunflower sessions?


COMMENT:  Brian experimented with CCW for a long time. It was in his head for years. You just have heard some ideas that were put onto acetate as progress was being made. There was no final version.  When Brian became ill, Carl took over and salvaged a few tracks, as explained in the studio-video on CCW. Almost all of CCW, the Sunflower version, was by Carl's production. I don't know what TSS means. I do know that when you get advanced royalty payments, the record company wants its product. Carl and the entire group was under a lot of pressure to record. Carl took what Brian had done (which was very little) and made it into the Sunflower CCW. That production was almost entirely original.  No one "borrowed" tracks from Sunflower.

COMMENT IN GENERAL:  Dear Fans,  Don't read into these bootlegs anymore than what they are. Acetates of in-progress mixes, experiments in recordings, evaluations, rehearsal of parts, or just copies made to play for your wife. That is it!  That is all they are. Back before cassettes, this was it. The only way to hear something at home was to make an acetate of it. Big deal!?!  Nothing is structured.

~swd
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« Reply #1221 on: September 01, 2012, 04:00:45 PM »

TSS is The Smile Sessions. On it was a track called "Cool Cool Water (Version 2)" which, after a brief instrumental session, has (incomplete) CCW first part vocals. It *appears* to be Wild Honey era, but what struck me is that the vocals are INCREDIBLY similar to the Sunflower ones, except for a few missing vocal parts. I'm trying to figure out if they re-recorded for Sunflower, if they were overdubbed for Sunflower CCW, or if during the compilation of The Smile Sessions box they used Sunflower-era vocals (which to me seems unlikely).
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Which song: Inappropriate relationship with sister-in-law

Which song: Gonna straight up bang you with "the wood".

Which song: Weather conditions make me horny

Which song: Lack of proper shoes leads to potential blood poisoning and death.

Which song: Who needs church? Let's do it on the couch.

Dennis: "Holy sh*t, Al, you're finally showing signs of developing facial hair!!!"
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« Reply #1222 on: September 01, 2012, 06:22:15 PM »

TSS is The Smile Sessions. On it was a track called "Cool Cool Water (Version 2)" which, after a brief instrumental session, has (incomplete) CCW first part vocals. It *appears* to be Wild Honey era, but what struck me is that the vocals are INCREDIBLY similar to the Sunflower ones, except for a few missing vocal parts. I'm trying to figure out if they re-recorded for Sunflower, if they were overdubbed for Sunflower CCW, or if during the compilation of The Smile Sessions box they used Sunflower-era vocals (which to me seems unlikely).
COMMENT:  I have answered your questions. You keep wanting to pigeon-hole events. It doesn't work that way. Nothing is structured. Things get recorded, copied, edited, and augmented -- any time, any way. It's a very fluid business.

Try to enjoy the music for what it is. The study-videos are about the recording of the song presented, not the history. I'm a recording engineer, not a historian. If you want accurate history, your best bet is to ask Alan Boyd or Mark Linett. 

 
 ~swd
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« Reply #1223 on: September 01, 2012, 08:30:27 PM »

Thanks for being so patient, there are so many conflicting opinions out there that it can sometimes be overwhelming making sense of them all. I know we're not always the most grateful bunch around here, but I think we all support your work and look forward to it very much.

It would be unbelievably presumptuous of me to tell you what you should do with your own projects, so I hope you can understand that I'm only saying this in hopes of being supportive and encouraging towards someone whom I admire. Times have changed, publishing has changed. You don't have to collect checks anymore for example, but could use a simple internet payment system like paypal instead. Websites like Kickstarter allow writers to be completely funded through audience support. I just enjoy learning about the recording process behind the music, and am always hankering to hear more from someone really knowledgeable like yourself.

I asked you before about stereo technology, and I'd still welcome an answer from you on the subject. I really don't know how exactly stereo works, is there some industry standard that specifies the default range or "size" or a stereo recording? I'm really ignorant about the subject, so maybe you could talk a little bit about the topic and fill me in.
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« Reply #1224 on: September 02, 2012, 03:20:14 AM »

Stephen, I think all of us here would love a new edition of your Recording The Beach Boys book. Your passion for the band, and for audio in general is really heartening to many of us here. I'd buy a photocopy of it from you if you had the time to make one. I'll also say that I'd be able to correct proofs for you, and can do some pro bono freelance work or whatever else you need to help you. Hell if you gave me the first edition, your notes, and your direction I'd be willing to write the thing for you and give you a consolidated first draft to work on.

I know you weren't soliciting for this type of thing. But I think many people here would love to help you in whatever way they could.
COMMENT:  Your point is well taken. But will the market bear the costs. Any new printings would not be at my expense as were the first two. Last release I charged less or around twenty bucks for a copy including postage. Some people complained that, although the pages were full of information, the cost per page was too high. So why should I consider breaking even when I get feedback like that? You have to consider all the time it takes to assemble everything, make a disc that is compatible with the printer's software, correct all the strange anomaly's that come up, print, assemble, bind (a whole process in itself), check, package, then print individual addresses for each package, then keep books that show who paid and who was sent a book, their check number, bla-bla-bla. Actually this time around I would hire someone to do it. Anyway, how many copies are we talking here?  Ten - Twenty - Forty, tops? I'm not convinced the market would bear the cost.

~swd

Would an online solution meet your neets?

Friend of mine uses this site …

www.lulu.com

… to create small print-run books which I understand can even be printed on-demand, as single copies. Can also be sold via the major online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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