To those of you who have been working very hard since last month and find yourselves with $69,200.00 stashed under the mattress, I shall explain how you can rid yourself of this burden in one fell swoop. Place in a brown paper bag and leave under the third bench from the right in Central Park. Alternatively, you could invest in the AUDITY polyphonic synthesiser system from E-mu Systems. This is available with up to 16 computer-controlled voice cards (more to special order) and as the central computer has independent control over each voice, different sounds can be simultaneously assigned to different channels. The sounds are stored on floppy discs and can be edited without loss of the original sound. It boasts a 16 channel digital memory sequencer which allows the storage of up to 6,000 notes of multi-track composition. The system works on a 1 volt/octave control system and the user can assign different controllers to the various channels so 16 musicians could play the AUDITY at the same time. An extensive range of special-function software is available to extend its capabilities even further.
Electro-Harmonix have now available a new percussive instrument controller called the CLOCKWORKS CONTROLLER.
This instrument is capable of generating rich and complex rhythms with many variations. It is used to control several different Electro-Harmonix electronic drums and effects with variable electronic pulses from its five independent outputs. These controllable pulses from the 'Clockworks' trigger the various drum modules in the same manner as drum sticks do when they strike the pads.
The pulses from the Clockworks can vary automatically, or the player can manipulate its ten slide controls to synthesise rhythmic patterns in real time.
Modulations from the 'Super Space Drum', bursts of pink noise from the 'Crash Pad', hand clapping mixtures from the 'Clap Track' can be mixed with note sequences to produce creative exciting effects.
Also their Ambitron, available in America for some time now, is heading for England. This takes a single mono output and splits and 'broadens' it to a stereo image. It will probably be selling for around £79.
An interesting device from Lenny Pogan Productions is the Pitchfinder which replaces the 'stop' tailpiece on certain guitars. It enables you to retune all six strings simultaneously over a range of 100 cents (one semitone). Aimed at guitarists who play along with records and radio, it could be useful.
Ampersand have developed a Link system which can be added to Sequential Circuits' Prophet 5. It allows for separate control and gating of the Prophet's 5 voices. The Link consists of ¼ inch jacks for each of the voices' gate and control voltage inputs and outputs. Unison gate and control voltage inputs and outputs are also available and five switches select the voices to be controlled by the Link. The system will interface with the Roland Microcomposer and similar units. Guitar synthesisers and other instruments using a 1 volt/octave control system can also be used. Price is $990.00 installed by Ampersand.
The XL-210 Master Room reverb system from Micmix Audio is a self-contained 3½ inch rack mounted unit containing two independent stereo channels that are switchable to mono. The unit can be fed by either balanced or unbalanced lines and the unbalanced outputs will drive a 600 ohm load. Both channels include active equalization and chamber isolation techniques that enable the unit to be used near loudspeakers without feedback. The unit has been designed for road use and operates on 120 or 240 volts. Cost is $950.00.
Multivox have a new series of 10 effect units called Big Jam. They incorporate FET switching and LED operation indicators. All are battery-powered and have battery-check switches but an AC adapter is also available. The units comprise a graphic equaliser, an envelope-controlled filter, a compressor, a distortion unit, an octave follower, two phasers (one being a dual phaser), an analogue echo and two flangers (one is a flanger/overdriver combination).
Loft Modular Devices introduce a Series 450 Delay Line/Flanger capable of producing doppler, choral and delay effects. The unit is rack mountable and AC powered. Delays available are from 4 to 160 milliseconds for echos and 5 to 20 milliseconds for flanging. LEDs show operating mode and signal level and external control of the unit is possible by control voltage inputs and outputs. Total harmonic distortion over a range of 20Hz to 20kHz is reckoned to be 0.5%. Output noise is quoted as -78dB.
If you are one of those musicians who cannot keep their hands still and are continually playing scales up and down table-tops, over your jam sandwiches and up and down your legs — or your girlfriend's — (I hope you wipe your hands first), then Sports Health have just the answer (assuming you want to kick the habit). It comes in the form of a hand-developing putty, a rubbery/silicone material designed for twisting, pulling, stretching, punching and other grisly operations. It is intended to develop manual strength and dexterity and thus be an aid to musicians' digits. The putty is a blue colour and comes in a silver-coloured case shaped like a fist. An illustrated exercise booklet is included and the whole costs $6.50. I seem to recall seeing some 'heavies' kneading something similar as they lounged languidly in seedy doorways. You know, this could be dangerous — in the wrong hands. (Sorry!)
Companies and manufacturers mentioned:
E-mu Systems Inc., (Contact Details).
Electro Harmonix, (Contact Details).
Lenny Pogan Productions, Inc., (Contact Details).
Ampersand, (Contact Details);
Micmix Audio Products, (Contact Details).
Multivox, (Contact Details).
Loft Modular Devices, (Contact Details).
Sports Health Products, (Contact Details).
News by Ian Waugh
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