Slate Digital Recording Revolution

FG-116 Blue

Slate Digital has revolutionized recording in 3 ways. Their new FG-116 Blue Compressors demonstrate all 3 perfectly. I have shown each of these, as I realized what they were doing, in my column in Just Jazz Guitar. Here I update each one and gather the 3 together to show how Steven Slate has engineered a new paradigm in digital recording while realizing the dreams of millions of recording artists of all types and at all levels.

  1. CREATE PERFECT EMULATIONS OF THE BEST VINTAGE GEAR. The FG-116 Blue Vintage plug-in module sounds good enough to fool some of the best ears in the business, placing one of the all-time best compressors into your studio, even if it’s in your bedroom or closet!
  2. IMPROVE ON THE BEST. The FG-116 Blue Modern plug-in extends the capabilities of the original to give you even more flexibility. Any gear is bound to have some part that can be improved, and who better to find these spots than the team that reproduces them so perfectly? By placing these improvements in a separate module, you have the choice of using the original or “hotrodded” version.
  3. MAKE THEM AFFORDABLE FOR MUSICIANS. Most musicians aren’t rolling in cash, and it tends not to arrive at reliable intervals, so Slate has pioneered renting plug-ins. This allows you to pay a low monthly fee for ALL of the Slate plug-ins PLUS several excellent ones that they have chosen from other companies. Best of all, you only pay for the months that you are actually using them. So if you spend half of the year writing your masterpiece, and only four months recording it, you only pay for the four months. Best of all, if you were signed up for the EVERYTHING BUNDLE already, you would have received an email from Steven Slate telling you that FOUR new plug-ins were now available to you (at NO extra charge) with instructions on downloading!

I don’t know of a single company that can compete with Slate on ANY of their three breakthrough revolutions.

But as it should be, hearing is believing, so watch and hear Steven Slate demonstrate the new FG-116 Blue Compressors here.


DORICO – Steinberg’s Eagerly-Awaited Notation Software

Dorico is the big music news today (May 17, 2016)! Steinberg has announced the name of their software as well as its availability in the 4th quarter of 2016.

Dorico is the latest, but is it the greatest? Certainly Steinberg thinks so (with good reason, which I will get to), claiming that is “redefines the gold standard in scoring software.” I can’t comment on that because I have not seen it, but I have read Daniel Spreadbury’s blog Making Notes and the attention to detail as well as their design for modern processors and operating systems is just amazing. Imagine dedicating one expert to creating the code for note ties for a year! Lest you think that might be overkill, imagine the power in a CPU with four cores (pretty standard today) where three of them are rarely if ever used by an application. I for one tend to get frustrated by this when my “state-of-the-art” program keeps me waiting while what should be a background process ties up my whole machine.

Am I getting off topic here? Not at all. We need a new paradigm of software development that combines features with speed, ease-of-use, and great end results. This is what the Dorico team has been working at. We need software that creates great-looking scores “right out of the box” as well as being customizable in every feasible way. Again, this is a task the Dorico team has set for themselves. Finally, we need software that has been built with a timeframe that allows it to be driven by a standard of excellence, not by artificial deadlines of marketing. That Steinberg allowed a brilliant team the time they needed to create such a product demonstrates a commitment to quality that is rare in the world of software and deserves the highest praise.

Of course Steinberg had good reason to place their trust in the Dorico team. Led by the brilliant Daniel Spreadbury, this is the core of the group that made Sibelius the state-of-the-art in music notation software years ago, only to be “downsized” by Avid with their acquisition of the software. Steinberg wisely scooped up the team and gave them the freedom to create a new “gold standard” and they seem to have done that and more. As a composer, musician, and computer scientist, I am in a somewhat unique position to view Dorico’s development and from my perspective (from reading Making Notes ) my appreciation has moved from admiration to amazement.¬† Dorico seems to have solved problems that its competitors have not even realized yet.This is not going to be a case of feature-matching between essentially similar products. With Dorico, Steinberg has introduced a new level of software that would require a complete rewrite of existing software to attempt to compete, a long process during which Dorico will no doubt continue to refine and progress.

Will it be popular? It took me four tries to get back on to the Dorico site this morning, so it looks like I’m not the only one looking to check out details. If you are at all interested in notation software, you must check out Dorico.

Music Theory for the Bass Player – #1 Best Seller

Congratulations to Ariane Cap! Her book Music Theory for the Bass Player has become a “#1 Best Seller” on (in Bass Guitar Songbooks). This comes as no surprise to me, nor I hope to any reader of Just Jazz Guitar, where I review the book in this month’s issue. Since this is the magazine’s last month of publication it may be hard to find, so I have reprinted the review here (with permission from the magazine, of course).



I will just add here that every bass player should own a copy of this superb book. Ariane Cap’s ingenious linking of logical fingering and hand position with music theory makes this a truly practical “theory” book, while her clear and concise explanations and directions are easy to understand and follow. Follow her advice and you will become a much better player.

Read the review here.

Order the book here.

Visit Ariane Cap’s web site here.