OWC: What is your professional and musical background?
Jim: I was one of the original members of MacCentral, one of the largest Macintosh news sites on the Web. That site was sold in 1999 to Macworld and I worked there until 2009.
I held several positions there and wrote for the magazine and online covering almost every Apple topic imaginable. Through it all, my real passion was creating music.
After leaving Macworld, I started The Loop to fill a niche I saw in the industry, speaking honestly about technology and the trends I see. I've combined my love of music and the website as a way to help others create music.
OWC: Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
Jim: What's interesting about my music is that I'll learn from everyone and anyone. I have a lot of producers, engineers and musician friends that I talk to all the time. We'll talk about micing techniques, mixing, EQs, compressors and ways to use them all to get the best sound.
When it comes right down to it, I want to create the best music possible, but I also want to teach people what I know and what I've learned. I learn new things all the time, and I hope I never stop.
OWC: Describe your studio setup.
Jim: Like most musicians, I love gear. I've been playing for 20 years, so I've still got a few of the old Boss Chorus and Overdrive pedals that I use. What's made music really interesting these days is the computer.
I've supplemented my analog gear with software. Things like stompboxes from Line 6 and Digitech have changed the way I create music and even think about making music. The possibilities of sound and virtually endless now, and I like that feeling.
I've also added software like AmpliTube and Guitar Rig for my guitar, but some of my favorite software is from Universal Audio (UA). They make perfect replications of old vintage gear as audio plug-ins. So, if you're looking for a Fairchild compressor, you can get one from UA and it will sound amazing.
I also have 14 guitars, 8 amps, and a nice collection of AKG mics for recording guitar, vocals and drums. There are a variety of audio interfaces I use from Apogee, Line 6, two Mackie 1640 boards, 003 Factory and a number of others.
OWC: How does the Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 fit into your workflow?
Jim: The Qx2 is indispensable to me. When you're recording, the last thing you need is an error from a hard drive because Pro Tools or Logic can't read or write to it. It's frustrating and takes you completely out of the groove.
Things like that just don't happen with the Qx2. Just last week, I was recording about 15 tracks at once from drums and guitar and the Qx2 didn't flinch. That's what I want and need from something I'm going to have in my workflow.
We look for gear that we're comfortable using. That usually means that it works without failure — that is the Qx2.
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