Music Thing points out that USA Today has discovered home recording. If that doesn’t scare you, read on. Writing about technology is challenging, especially for laypeople. That’s why there’s so much mainstream information that’s largely to completely inaccurate. Watch what happens to hapless USA Today writer Byron Acohido when he tries to tackle the topic of home recording. This is in the “Money” section, so I’ll admit, something similar would probably happened if I tried to do financial reporting.

USA Today helpfully defines terms: “A DAW converts analog audio — vocals and sounds from a musical instrument — into a digital file that gets etched directly onto a computer’s hard drive.” (Emphasis mine.) Sorry, that’s wrong (a description of an A/D, not a DAW), wrong (confuses electrical signal with sound), sort of right, and wrong (accurate description of early phonograph recording, not how a hard drive works).

USA Today explains the platform wars: “Apple has become the professional recording industry standard by controlling the design of computers that work well with digital editing tools. Apple fine-tunes its motherboards, sound cards and graphics cards expressly to integrate with digital editing systems.” Wow, who knew? That internal headphone jack and my ATI card were specially tweaked for integrating with Pro Tools? Fascinating, but wrong.

“AMD has made converts of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Dweezil Zappa and other musicians who now swear by DAWs that use AMD’s efficient Opteron line of chips.” Not wrong, but not entirely sure what we’re getting at here. I only bring it up because I would like to see a “Dweezil loves AMD” campaign. Poor Apple, going with Intel. No Dweezil for you.

Audio interfaces “convert into a digital file, then transfers it to a hard drive for editing.” Wrong (he confused files and signal), and wrong (because he confused files and signal again).

Of course, you could take issue with the article implying a modern home studio is superior to George Martin in Abbey Road, but let’s stick to the things that are truly wrong as opposed to simply naive.

Truth is stranger than fiction: The article doesn’t get everything wrong. I did a double-take as I read a paragraph implying one reason you might consider a PC is that AMD is actively promoting using Windows PCs for audio editing by partering with Yamaha around the mLAN FireWire protocol. Wait . . . huh?! Believe it or not, it’s true. AMD, Yamaha, and Steinberg (there’s a bizarre alliance) are behind an initiative called power behind the music. Never mind that mLAN is cross-platform, running on Macs and Intel PCs, or that Cakewalk beat Steinberg to delivering 64-bit software (SONAR x64) that would let you take advantage of AMD’s chips. For some perverse reason, this road show is promoting AMD chips, Cubase, and mLAN. Okay . . . random, but true. There you go: you can learn something from USA Today. Okay, no, you can’t, but you can learn something from Google. The USA Today writers should try it.