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Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A Free Guide from Audio Masterclass

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Would you connect your mixing console or recording system to the Internet?

Every time you connect your computer to the Internet, it is being probed within minutes by automated software to see if it has any weaknesses. Does the same apply to your mixing console or recording system?


Here's an experiment - connect your Windows computer to the Internet without a firewall or antivirus software and see how long it is before it catches a virus or something similarly bad happens. Some studies have demonstrated that it can typically be as little as ten minutes. Other than wiping your computer completely, it will take an awful lot longer than that to fix the problem.

So if you run a mixing or recording software such as Pro Tools, or any other, on your Windows computer, one of the last things you should consider doing is connecting it to the Internet. Standalone mixers and recorders don't have that kind of connectivity so the question doesn't even arise.

Don't expect your firewall or antivirus software to provide 100% protection.The people who design such software are either not as clever as the hackers, or they used to be hackers themselves but their brains are not quite so sharp any more, so they have had to get honest jobs.

If you are a professional and depend on your equipment simply to work every day, then you would think long and hard before connecting your music computer to the Internet. If you want to exchange audio with other people, do it on a different computer and transfer the data by DVD-ROM. Likewise if you want to download software updates (which is not so safe as it will involve transferring an executable from your Internet computer to your music computer).

FREE EBOOK - Equipping Your Home Recording Studio

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio

But some software authorizations now depend on having a live Internet connection, so what do you do? The answer is as before, to have a firewall in place, and up-to-date antivirus software, and connect to the Internet for only the minimum period of time possible.

You might think this is overkill - after all, connection to the Internet is part of everyday life. Well yes it is, but if you ran a commercial facility and expected to sell $2000 or more of studio time in a day to important clients that you hope will return again and again, would you take the risk?

Of course you could use a Macintosh - viruses for the Mac are rare. This is not to say that the Mac is inherently resistant to viruses, just that more hackers have it in for Bill Gates than they do Steve Jobs.

There is no sign that the virus problem, or the parallel problem of people accessing your system and tinkering with it, is going away. Studio security these days means more than simply locking the doors and windows.

By David Mellor Friday October 28, 2005