Perhaps the greatest advantage of using optical disks is that when the session
is over you don’t need to back anything up, you just eject the disk and
take it away with you. You can also build up a sound effects library on optical
disk which is infinitely expandable. The format of the disk is compatible with
SoundStation opticals, even though some of the parameters have to be changed
on the fly as the audio is played back. Also, if you have a project which was
started on a SoundStation Sigma and the segments were EQ’d, then you can
continue to edit that project and take it back to the Sigma where you will find
that all the EQ information is still there. Sabre handles the EQ intelligently,
even if it doesn’t have the ability to perform it itself.
It does seem that optical disk is the medium of the future. Maybe not in it’s
present form since storage time is still comparatively limited, but the advantages
of being able to slot in a disk containing work in progress, finish the work
and then take it away with you without waiting must be a great temptation. DAR
have been very clever in designing Sabre not to conflict with the other products
in their range, and it ought by now to go without saying that the DAR interface
is one of the best. Even though there is no touch screen, I believe a SoundStation
operator could go straight to Sabre and work it with no training or manual reading
sessions. I could see Sabre as a complement to an existing SoundStation set
up, so that you could allocate the Sabre studio to smaller jobs, or to segments
of large jobs, and then bring the optical disks into the SoundStation studio
to finish off the work. Sabre is still not something you could describe as inexpensive,
but it will bring SoundStation performance to more studios and more projects.
Working with the mouse
At the top of the screen their is the familiar DAR directory from which segments
are chosen and brought down into the playback sequence. On SoundStation, you
select a segment by touching it on the screen and then copying to the playback
sequence. Working with the mouse is similar and even offers some advantages.
First, select a segment by pointing and clicking in the usual way. You can
then audition the segment by pressing the right mouse button. If it’s the
correct segment then hold the button down and a hand appears with which you
can take it down to the playback sequence. Let go of the mouse button and the
segment is spotted to the Now Line (the current playback position). If Sabre
is reading timecode, then the segment will be spotted to the current timecode.
The alternative to spotting is copying the segment which means that the segment
will be positioned immediately after the last existing segment on the track,
or at the beginning of the track if it is empty.
A particular advantage of the mouse is that you can push the cursor to the
edge of the screen, which immediately tells Sabre that you want to examine something
which is off the edge. Sabre then scrolls until you can see what you want. There
is no equivalent to this in SoundStation since the touch screen doesn’t
know where your finger is until you touch it, whereas the mouse cursor’s
position is known all the time.