I was able to catch up with Doug Rogers, president of EastWest, right after Thanksgiving to find out more about the new PLAY player and what to expect for implementation on both the Mac and PC platforms under 64-bit.
A native New Zealander, with 30 years experience in the audio industry, Doug Rogers is the recipient of many recording industry awards including “Recording Engineer of the Year.” In 2005, “The Art of Digital Music” named him one of “56 Visionary Artists & Insiders” in the book of the same name.
In March 1988, he founded EastWest, the most critically acclaimed sound developer in the world, and recipient of over 50 industry awards, more than any other sound developer.
PA – Customers already using QLSO and Symphonic Choirs are wondering when to expect the first PLAY update. Do you have a projected release date? And will either QLSO or Symphonic Choirs have forthcoming updates?
DR – We are making no projections currently, we are improving both products because of the features in our new software engine PLAY, and it’s a lot of work. EWQLSO will be released first.
PA – Given the stress and investment of software development, why did you decide to go forward and create your own player vs. licensing from other companies? How do you see customer support changing because of that decision?
DR – We had no choice. OEM software tends to be a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution. We had specific requirements, and we knew we need to take the programming to the next level, so developing the software ourselves became a necessity. Of course, with this comes a lot of cost and support, but if we want to stay at the forefront of this business, we have to do it.
PA – Could you explain what NETWORK CONTROL is? For freestanding machines, is this like your own V-Stack or Forte; your own version of FX Teleport or MIDIoverLAN?
DR – It’s closer to V-Stack than FX Teleport; we’re not moving audio, just providing control from the master PLAY application (by selecting interface 2, 3, 4 and so on in the menu) that will enable you to load and change anything on the interface on a second, third, fourth etc. computer from the host interface.
PA – With 64-bit and PLAY, are you seeing that rather than having multiple “farm” PCs like we do now, that we’ll be seeing a more “server” solution where you’ll have an EastWest machine (singular) housing QLSO, Symphonic Choirs, etc.?
DR – We think both are an option. The power users want everything live, so they will probably fill each computer with RAM (16GBs is the practical limit currently due to hardware restrictions) and continue to use slaves as well. We believe for the first time it will be possible to run the entire orchestra live, and that has been a dream of our power users from the beginning. For everyone else, they will be able to load a whole lot more instruments than they ever could before.
PA – Being able to demo and buy online is a very bold concept. What was behind that decision and when do you expect to implement it?
DR – We’ve experimented with online delivery since 1995 when we first launched soundsonline.com. However, now we think we have a much more elegant solution that will interest our customers more. This is another benefit of controlling our own software development.
PA – Can you explain a little bit about Mic Mixer and Space Control?
DR – The Mic Mixer is simply putting the three simultaneous mic positions for the orchestra, choirs and pianos on the interface so the user can both turn them on/off individually, and mix them as if they had a physical mixer. This is how we wanted it from the beginning, and another example of why we needed our own software.
Space Control is now called “reverb.” This is no ordinary reverb however, it is convolution reverb that we sampled ourselves in the hall we recorded the orchestra and choirs in plus we sampled EastWest Studios and its live chambers, and many other great sounding spaces.
In the original releases there are 19 options and we’re adding more.
PA – Lastly, we’ve been reading on the forums about the new String Library you’re recording. Can you give us a peek into the future and tell us a little more about that?
DR – Since our studios are currently closed for remodeling, this is going to be a 2008 project. Our intention is capture strings in the large studio 1, which has the most incredible acoustics. These are not designed to replace our current strings, but to provide an option of a smaller space.