Sweetwater GearFest

Keyboards, Synths, Samplers and Groove Boxes.

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Sweetwater GearFest

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:30 am

Indiana. Our motto is We’re Above Kentucky. It used to be Hey, at Least it’s not Arkansas, but militant Johnny Cash/Glen Campbell fans gained control of the legislature and got it changed. Unlikely as it may seem, interesting things do occasionally happen here, such as the recent Battle for Daylight Saving Time. But this is ComputerMusicGuide.com, so I'll describe my recent visit to Fort Wayne, where Sweetwater Music maintains their fine campus and distro center.

If you're a musician or gear nut passing near, it's well worth stopping in. They have several state of the art studios, a very nice performance theater, various conference halls, classrooms, and of course several large instrument and gear showrooms, all in a building that’s more like a shopping mall than a music store.

For the annual two day gear fest, several large tents are added to accommodate a variety of gear mfgrs, grassy performance venues and flea markets for used gear. They provide an acceptable cafe/food court for their employees which is open to the public and food prices are not at all criminal. This square dealing is praiseworthy because they're a few miles from the nearest anything at all and they could easily get away with a bit of gastronomic gougery.

At least a hundred seminars, classes, workshops and gadget demos were offered so you couldn't see them all, but I was able to attend several events that were of interest to me.

The keynote assembly hosted by Thomas Dolby was the high point of the weekend for me. Of course it was a treat to hear him perform four songs, but he's also a very entertaining speaker who offered lots of humorous stories and pics:


"I started out as a child."
Image


For a gear fest, however, his setup was notably minimal:

Image


Yep, just a mic, a controller, a pad box and a lappy running Logic Pro.
But here’s a clip of the show that proves it's all he needed:




Here’s a few random pics from the gear tents:

- Mandatory Moog pron:
Image


- Manley, yes, but Aye like it too:
Image


- No Gus. I asked.
Image


- No Rich, either.
Image


I attended several other programs dealing with tracking live instruments,
mixing tracks, mastering, DAW tricks & tips, ect.

Very enjoyable were two sessions I attended featuring Craig Anderton.
The first was a presentation explaining how useful a knobby interface still is,
even if you’re totally ITB. In the pic below, he tackles an age old debate from
the ground up:

Image


You may have noticed he’s on a DJ kick now. I’ll admit he did make Traktor look like fun…

Image


His other program was a change of pace, in which he presented “EM Live! — an interactive, informative workshop version of Electronic Musician Magazine filled with tips, techniques, and opinions about gear and how to use it.” He explained he was trying something new, which was evident from the relaxed format of the program and the fact that the time was up before he’d covered all the planned material. It was very successful and I’m sure everyone would have happily stayed longer, but we had to make room for the next program. (Note to Sweetwater: give him more time next year.) He discussed several topics (yes, he drove the Traktor out again), indulged the audience in many questions, and hosted a few live interviews. Here’s Moog’s Asher Fulero displaying the new MoogerFooger delay thingy:

Image


I probably shouldn't mention this, but when Anderton found out
I was there he shamelessly pestered me for a picture with him.

Image


But of course you know it was I who did the pestering. Mr. Anderton
was extremely gracious and more than willing to humor yet another weird stalker
fan who asks "Hey do strangers ever come up to you and say they feel they
know you because of Harmony Central?"

A few final thoughts:

- The gender inequity was worse than a Rush concert. The few female types present were mostly comprised of the GF/wife class, a few Sweetwater employees and gear reps, a smattering of flannel folk fems and one or two Glamorous Lead Singers.

- I was surprised by the advanced maturity of the crowd. I believe I was very near the median age.

- Usta be, you only had to worry about jerks who wouldn’t turn off their cell phones in a theatre. Now there’s Laptop Doosh Guy, who brings his ultra bright lappy to the program with him so he can blind the people behind him in the darkened auditorium. Dim it, ya dimwit! Lots of folks were taking viddies with iPads, but they weren’t nearly so bright.

- Note to me: don't leave the good camera home next time.

- Why do people stop and chat right in the middle of a busy hallway??!! Yes, you! Quit it! Go stand by the wall and talk about "Whur yuh wunna go now?" "Ah dunno how bout you?" "Ah dunno neither." "Let's slowly shuffle three or four steps and stop again." "Nah ah think ah'd ruther stan' here 'n loudly phone somebody." "Gud ideer, me too."

- Sheesh.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2012

Postby MetroSonus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:24 pm

it's up.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2012

Postby christianrock » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:23 pm

Sweet report :thu:
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2012

Postby ElectricPuppy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:28 pm

christianrock wrote:Sweet report :thu:


Nice one, CR! :lol: I get it.

Splendid report indeed, sir, that's good stuff!
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2012

Postby MetroSonus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:48 pm

yes I was in a coffee lacking haze first thing this morning when I went through the post.. but let me say now yes, thanks for putting the effort into it! :thu:
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2012

Postby Plink Floyd » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:45 am

Front Payge, Bishess!!1+1

Thanks for the kind comments. And one other thing I forgot to mention:

- Most of the presenters asked "Hey, anybody from out of town?", and I'd guess it was more than ninety percent. Yeah, Fort Wayne isn't a mecca for music stars and studio moguls, but lots of people came from very far away, all over the country. That probably supports my estimate of the average age: retired = money + time to travel for hobbies.


Oh yeah, got me a used thingy for cheeps @ the festivus:

Image

It's a very knobby thingy, don't tell Swardle.

:shh:
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:31 am

HOLY SKIT BEAT THANGZ GONNA BE @ SW GEAR FEST THIS WEEKEND!!!OMG++!!

BEEEEET THAAAAANNGZ!!

Ima go.

Rich Formdoni too.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby MetroSonus » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:47 am

ZOMG................:eek:

For realz?


make sure you get a fedora and a little card that says "press".
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby soundwave106 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:49 pm

Plink Floyd wrote:HOLY SKIT BEAT THANGZ GONNA BE @ SW GEAR FEST THIS WEEKEND!!!OMG++!!
BEEEEET THAAAAANNGZ!!


You know, for all the thwaps that they got over Tha Intertubes for their :lol:marketing :lol:, they haven't done as bad as expected.

So they've released a hardware beat box with solid enough basics but some annoying, unfinished aspects to the OS. EG: They're about on the level of Waldorf.
BC | SC
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby MetroSonus » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:35 pm

im sorry, but whenever I hear kang, this is all i can think of :facepalm:

Image
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby christianrock » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:16 pm

Cool. I wish I could go.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:06 am

christianrock wrote:Cool. I wish I could go.
It's pretty fun for such as we, but I don't think I'd drive 650 miles from ATL for the fest itself. But if anyone finds themselves travelling near, it's well worth the detour to visit the place on a non-festivus day.

I'm going for Friday only this year since I have other plans on Saturday. I'll miss a few interesting presentations on the second day (Rob Papen, Anderton), but really, I'm looking forward to the flea market and Big Fest Sale Specials™ as much as the rest of it.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby christianrock » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:01 pm

I like Anderton but I don't see him as a visionary - just a regular likeable guy using regular gear and doing his weekend warrior thing.

Papen on the other hand might be interesting.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:43 am

I <3 Sweetwater. I try to do most of my new gear purchases with those guys.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:58 pm

ZGOM!!! RichF IZ TEMPTORING ME WITH TEH KORGIES!!!

Image

We must forgive him, though, because he is a fine fellow, and Korg has such tempting stuffs.

:grin:

Moar pics next week, when I'm back to work and have leisure tiem.

:wave:
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby christianrock » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:03 am

So. Are we getting moar pics nao?

:wave:
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:19 am

No, not nao. Maybe later. But not nao. Soon, though.

Just, not nao.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:48 am

OK, nao.*

I really didn't take many pics this year. I only attended for one day instead of two, & maybe it just didn't have the same novelty as before, idunno? Also, it was just me & teh son since he didn't bring any buds this year, so we hung together more than last time.

Over 7000 people showed up. It was much bigger this year, gear-wise. They added some acreage and more large tents (up to about a dozen now) to display 'Pro Audio' stuffs. Lots more younger people too, it seemed to me.

We were glad we didn't pay to see the keynote artist (Terry Bozzio). I mean, he's a great drummer, and played interesting things on his amazing 900 piece drum trap and all, but who wants a forty minute drum solo? He did come back after a bit and played a kickass set with guitarist Gary Hoey & bassist Billy Sheehan.

*kidding: pics later
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:23 am

OK, finally here are a few pics:


Image
The equip room for the main auditorium, housing lotsa amps & stuff I don't even


Image
A nice diffuser.


Image

Image
The left and right halves of the super slutty mic locker.

And that's really about it. I just didn't take that many pics this time. I wanted to get some of Teh Kangz,
but their turf was too crowded when I went by & I didn't make it back to their tent before I left. They just
had a little booth anyway, probably the smallest space you could book.

I should mention that I attended a half hour King Korg/Krome demo by RichF which was very enjoyable.
That dude has chops, lemme tell ya! He dazzled, in spite of being confronted by insufferable climatic balminess,
and the indignity of bugs with the effrontery to fly right into the mouth during public speaking engagements. lol.
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Re: Sweetwater GearFest 2013

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:25 am

Oh yeah, I hit the GC down the road on the way home & scored a used rack mxr for cheaps:

Image

Sounds way better than my crummy old Samson.
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