New products from the States
Musicians already can compose with the aid of a computer that will easily enable them to change notes, transpose keys, modify tempi and make other alterations simply by hitting a couple of keys on the computer keyboard. Then, by pressing a couple of other keys, the computer can play back their revised composition.
The only thing the computer won't do is transcribe the composition onto staves, but that will change in less than a year, according to a spokesman for Roland Corp. which is in the process of developing the software for such a program. "Music transcription is a priority but it's a year away," he said.
Roland already has achieved a first step toward computer run transcriptions with its XY Plotter which will create high quality charts, graphs and other graphics which already have been created on a computer. The XY Plotter comes in two models, the DXY 101 and DXY 800.
Although one XY Plotter's pen operation was neatly drawing out Scott Joplin's 'The Entertainer', at Chicago's Consumers Electronics Show in June, it was doing so under instructions specially worked out by a Roland engineer. Next year it should be able to transcribe music played or composed on Roland's latest Piano Pluses and memorised on a computer's disc.
Roland has four models of the Piano Plus - EP-11, HP-30, HP-60 and HP-70 - which range in size from 61 keys to 75 keys. None of these models can interface with a computer, but the new HP-300 and HP-400, which will be introduced soon, will interface with computers and also will have larger keyboards - 76 keys for the HP-300 and a full 88-note keyboard on the HP-400. With a computer attachment, these new Piano Plus models will be able to store and playback anything played on them.
Previously Roland released its Compu-Music system which consists of a six-voice music synthesiser and a seven-voice drum synthesiser, called the CMU-800R, which interfaces with a computer on which music can be composed and arranged.
Another new keyboard from Roland is the Jupiter-6, a six-voice (12 VCO) version of the Jupiter-8 programmable polyphonic synthesiser, featuring a split keyboard and a variety of new performance features. The 61-key Jupiter-6 can store 32 different patch preset combinations and up to 48 different patch sounds, all easily switched by a remote footswitch in addition to the usual panel switches. Other special features include a four-direction Arpeggio, a Detune key for ensemble effect, a digital LFO, ADSR, Portamento, Cross Mod, VCO1 & 2 Syncing in either direction and Key Follow. The Detune key allows up to six different module VCO pitches to be detuned.
A cassette interface allows the player to record program data on a regular cassette tape. The Jupiter-6 also features MIDI digital interface for connection to many other computer-controlled products. The unit retails for $2,995.
For guitarists, Roland has combined its chorus effect and its Cube amp to create its new line of Cube Chorus amplifiers. They come in 40-watt and 60-watt models, and are furnished with a special chorus/reverb output jack that works in tandem with two effect switches to route the internal chorus and reverb effects in various ways, such as to another amp on an opposite side of the stage.
Other features on the Cube Chorus amplifiers are a two-input (normal/over drive) system fully adjustable to the instrument played, separately controlled overdrive, volume and master volume controls, reverb, chorus, and bass, middle and treble equalisation controls. The Cube Chorus 40, with 40 watts of power, retails for $375 and the Cube Chorus 60, with 60 watts of power, retails for $480.
Also for guitarists is Roland's new Boss TU-12 Chromatic Tuner which will automatically seek any note being played and then identify the note and tell whether it is on-pitch or sharp or flat, and if so how sharp or flat it is.
Guitar mode, one of two modes of operation, allows the selection of individual guitar or bass strings by means of two buttons. In the chromatic tuning mode, which can be used for any instrument, including guitar, the TU-12 seeks the pitch played automatically, with no adjustment of any kind necessary.
Unicord also has added to its Korg line the MM-25 monitor amplifier which can be used for portable amplification of guitar, keyboard and line level sources such as mixers and tape recorders. This compact, light weight combination of a 25-watt amplifier and a front-loaded, bass reflex speaker can be used as a stage monitor, a miniature PA system or for practice.
Different input and amplifier characteristics can be chosen to match the instrument or other input source. Selections include line level, keyboards high and low, guitars, microphone and guitar distortion which provides a naturalistic overdrive sound.
A highly efficient portable stage speaker system, the Stage System 200, has been developed by Electro-Voice. "It is ideal for small club systems, as a stage monitor, as a permanent sound reinforcement speaker, or for any application demanding a flat frequency response and a high powerhandling speaker in an incredibly portable and compact enclosure," Electro-Voice's director of marketing, Greg Hockman, said of the 16.36 kg system.
The S-200, which is capable of producing sound pressure levels in excess of 120dB at 1 meter on axis, has a frequency response of 90 to 18,000 Hz ±3dB when used without an external equaliser and a 12 dB/octave dual section type crossover network with the crossover point occurring at 2kHz.
The low-frequency section features the newly-developed EVM Pro-Line Model 12S which, thanks to new heat-resistant voice coil materials, can handle 300 watts continuous power (per EIA Standard RS-426). High efficiency is achieved through the coupling of a high-output version of EV's Super-Dome tweeter to a high-frequency Direktor that is moulded as an integral part of the cabinet.
An optional active equaliser expands the S-200's capabilities. Moving the EQ switch to the 'With EQ' position and inserting the equaliser in the signal path between the mixer and the power amplifier increases the output level with the bass response extended to 30 Hz. Under a third EQ possibility, switching to the high output mode without the active equaliser, the S-200 becomes an excellent floor monitor.
Bassists, who often are ignored in favour of guitarists and keyboardists despite their importance to a group's sound and feel, are newly served by Ken Smith Basses and by Ibanez.
The Ibanez RB620 Roadstar II Series Bass combines the classic bass design with such contemporary features as a full 34-inch scale, a solid maple neck, solid ash body, 'Super P4' single coil pickup, 'Velve Tune BII' machine heads, 'Sure Grip II' control knobs and a fully adjustable bridge. It's available in brown sunburst and natural finishes.
Ken Smith Basses now features special design Ken Smith humbucking pickups in J-J, P-J or Soap Bar style on all 14 models of its electric basses.
The hand-crafted basses feature maple bodies with three piece necks of maple with mahogany veneer that are fitted to their bodies with dove-tail glue joints. Dual flex-action truss rods are adjusted at the headstocks. Fingerboards are rosewood, caviuna or ebony with 24 frets. Other features include Badass bridges, Schaller machines, inlaid Strap-Loks, 12-foot Lawrence phone cables and chrome or gold-plated hardware. The electronics, which are mounted on printed circuit boards, are passive with master volume, mid-range rolloff tone control, pickup blend control, in-out phase switch, stand-by switch, pre-amp bypass switch, active bass and treble with 15 dB cut and boost. List prices range from $1,530 to $3,450. Ken Smith also is working on his first line of hand-crafted electric guitars which he expects to have available later this year.
New mixers have been introduced by Shure and Unicord. Shure's M268 Microphone Mixer, which is being promoted as 'The Drummer's Mixer', has been specially designed for optimum effectiveness as a submixer for rock, jazz and country music groups. By providing up to eight additional microphone inputs, the M268 allows musicians to easily and inexpensively expand the capabilities of their mixing boards, a feature that drummers who need multiple microphone setups may appreciate.
"The M268 is also an ideal mixer for electronic keyboard players since it provides a high-impedance output for the onstage amplifier, plus a low-impedance output to feed the main board," points out Michael Pettersen, Shure's assistant marketing manager for circuitry products.
The M268 accommodates both low-impedance and high-impedance microphones as well as tape recorders or other high-level accessories through an auxiliary input channel. Outputs include a high-impedance, ¼-inch phone jack; a low-impedance, professional three-socket jack; an auxiliary phono pin jack; and an auxiliary ¼-inch phone jack.
Other features include individual feedback-type gain controls for all five input channels, a master volume control, simplex (phantom) power for condenser microphones, a mix-bus for simple mixer interconnections and an automatic muting circuit that prevents speaker damage during turn-on and turn-off.
The Korg KMX-8 eight-channel stereo mixer from Unicord is designed for optimum performance with keyboards, microphones, guitars and line level sources. Each channel includes a gain control with LED overload indicator, pan pot, volume fader and effect send control which can be routed to two effects.
Master controls on the KMX-8 include, bass, treble, Effect A, Effect B, right master fader, left master fader and headphone level controls. Impedance is automatically adjusted from 10K to 500K ohms to match the input source. Frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz and the S/N ratio is - 110 dB.
Meanwhile Fretted Industries has introduced two new Washburn electric guitars - the G-30V and the SB-8V. The G-30V, which has an alder body and a rock maple neck, features a vertical humbucking pickup system that provides a traditional single coil sound when the VHS system is tapped by pulling the push-pull volume pot. With both coils kicked in, according to George Washburn, players can get the power of a humbucker without sacrificing the traditional sound characterised by a single magnetic field. The fingerboard is totally exposed to allow easy access to the last fret. The Washburn Dive Bomber tremolo unit also is offered on both the lacquered metallic red and the two-tone tobacco sunburst models which carry a list price of $699.
The SB-8VT-Bird Deluxe Vibrato features a three-piece rock maple neck and a smooth rosewood fingerboard on a bound ash body that Washburn says will provide crisp highs and sustain quality, while the pitch can be raised or dropped until the strings are slack and yet come back in tune. The guitar, which is offered in tobacco sunburst or black, also features deluxe, sealed 13:1 ratio tuners and two sustain pickups with coil tap capabilities for increased tonal variety. The list price for the SB-8V is $449.
Manufacturers and companies mentioned:
Electro-Voice Inc., (Contact Details)./Electro-Voice Ltd., (Contact Details).
Ibanez, (Contact Details)./Summerfields, (Contact Details).
Roland UK, (Contact Details).
Shure Brothers Inc., (Contact Details)./ Shure Electronics, (Contact Details).
Ken Smith Basses Ltd., (Contact Details).
Unicord, (Contact Details)./Korg, (Contact Details).