Behind a bank of computers, hard disk drives, guitars and recording gear sits Eric Ng, one of Asia’s top Mandarin pop musicians. His company, Funkie Monkies Productions, uses Seagate hard drives to capture, store and backup every guitar riff, drum beat, vocal track and other digital data that goes into making a hit song.
Ng, who has composed more than 100 songs and helped produce over 100 albums, is a master of creating music in the digital age, taking the art to new heights by switching from the traditional digital recording method in 44.1 hertz/16 Bit to 96 hertz/24 bit. The newer recording method enables him to capture every nuance of an artist’s performance.
“It makes a big difference in terms of audio quality,” says Ng. “With the old method, a song would normally take up three gigabytes of space. Now, with the more intense and complete recording method, a song will take up between 15 and 20 gigabytes on the hard drive. It’s like a digital photo: the greater the resolution, the more detail is captured. Recording in high–audio quality to our Seagate drives helps us get the very best from each artist.”
Ng began his career playing at clubs and pubs in Singapore. As a talented guitarist, drummer, bassist and keyboardist, it was a natural progression for him to move into composing, music arrangement and production. But things have changed dramatically from when he produced his first studio album.
Back in 2000, Ng used traditional analog tape for recording, a media that was superior over digital format in sound quality. However, master copies of the analog tapes were bulky, and it was impossible to replicate same sound quality when dubbed or copied. The tapes also deteriorate over time.
Digital recording has improved dramatically in sound quality over the last decade, however, and now rival analog technology. Revolutionizing the way musicians create and share their work, digital recording preserves a consistent sound quality, making the whole process of music production smoother and faster. Cost effectiveness is another one of the key benefits of digital recording for Ng, allowing multiple recordings for the same section of a song and different ways to achieve the desired results.
Seagate’s storage products have also made his work in the studio more efficient. Among the numerous Seagate drives used for storing, sharing and archiving his music, Ng uses a roomy 750GB portable drive that includes a FireWire 800 interface for fast transfer of large files (it also offers the ability to switch from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 or eSATA interfaces). And it enables users to store and access files from both PCs and Macs, without reformatting.
“The [drive] is incredibly quick,” Ng says. “In the music business, time is money. The cost of renting a studio is expensive, and you pay by the hour. You don’t want to be waiting around while files are transferred from the drive to the Mac and back again.”
Ng also likes the easy portability of his Seagate drives. Whenever inspiration strikes, he can get to work—whether he’s at home, in the studio or at the airport.
“Whenever an idea hits me, I can plug in my Seagate drive and open my laptop,” he says. “Not only can I work on my music, I can also edit photos or videos. These days, being a musician isn’t just about the music. You have to do whatever you can to connect with people.”
BanSeng Teh, SVP and managing director for Asia–Pacific and Japan, Seagate, says the drive’s versatility makes it an ideal storage solution for creative professionals.
“The complexity of the production environment requires flexibility to work between multiple systems , while performance is also critical,” he says. “With interchangeable interfaces, interoperability between operating systems and advanced performance, Seagate drive brings a whole new level of user experience to the industry.”
So where will the digital music revolution take us next? Ng offers just one exciting possibility.
“Imagine a producer leading five musicians in different countries around the world, all singing and playing their instruments and having the music streamed over the Internet and captured on a disk drive in a matter of minutes,” he says. “The music they create could be amazing, and yet the band may have never met! It’s already possible now. As far as I can see, the digital music revolution has few limits but endless possibilities.”
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