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Apple Notes

Article from Sound On Sound, April 1993

Previewed at Frankfurt '92, Emagic's Notator Logic is finally shipping for £499 of your British pound units — look out for a full review next month. So who are Emagic? Ex-C-Lab software gurus Gerhard Lengeling and Chris Adam, best known for the Atari ST sequencers Notator and Creator SL. Lengeling and Adam had a surprise in store at this year's Frankfurt Music Messe, in the shape of Logic Audio, a digital recording version of Notator Logic that supports Digidesign tapeless recording hardware (including AudioMedia LC, AudioMedia I/II, Sound Tools I/II, Pro Tools and ProMaster 20).

Logic Audio's most notable feature is 4-track simultaneous playback, a feature not available on rivals Studio Vision, Cubase Audio and Digital Performer. However, it won't be long before these applications are upgraded (it's already been announced for Studio Vision 1.5), since Logic Audio's 4-track prowess is a function of Digidesign's new Audio Engine system software. In addition to providing 4-track playback, the Audio Engine offers improved DSP performance, better synchronisation, and access to Digidesign's TDM digital audio bus (see Apple Notes March '93). Audio Engine is designed to run alongside compatible applications under System 7 (or in MultiFinder) allowing complete sessions — edit points et al — to be transported between applications.

Digidesign also used Frankfurt '93 to launch their new goodies, most of which were covered last month, with the notable exception of SampleCell II. A 32-voice sampler on a NuBus card, SampleCell II offers up to 32MB of RAM. A NuBus Mac with a Sample Cell II card installed works out at approximately the same price as Akai's new S3000 32-voice sampler. However, for those demanding more than 32 voices, a Mac with two SampleCell II cards works out far cheaper than two S3000s, as Digidesign have been quick to point out. Apropos of speed, the Californian wonder kids claim that SampleCell II's note on response — from applications that support it — is faster than an S3000's response to MIDI.


Such is the speed at which Apple are churning out new CPUs that at a recent product launch, several attendees inquired about products released last October. Treated to a first class, Mac controlled multimedia demo, the assembled throng witnessed the arrival of six new Macs ....


Internally this new compact Mac is far closer to the 16MHz 68030 LCII than to the old 8MHz, 68000 Classic. Its colour screen is 1" larger than the mono Classic, and capable of displaying 8-bit colour (256 colours) straight from the box. Fitting an additional (£50) 256K Video RAM allows the Colour Classic to display 16-bit colour (32,768 colours).

Unlike the five million compact Macs sold to date, the Colour Classic includes an LC-style expansion slot, making it possible to use Digidesign's new AudioMedia LC card (£899). At present the Colour Classic is only available to the education and charity sectors (£775 for a 4/40), however I've seen several suppliers offering Colour Classics to the general public for £929. The entry level Mac remains the Performa 200 (a rebadged Classic II bundled with ClarisWorks, At Ease and PC Exchange) which, at £680, is £195 cheaper than the Classic II.


The new entry level modular Mac is the LC III (£1245 for a 4/40 configuration), a machine that rivals the IIci for speed thanks to its 25MHz 68030 processor and full 32-bit address bus. The latter allows up to 20MB of internal RAM, or 36MB using the PC clone style 72-pin double-sided SIMMs.

The now humble 16MHz LC II will soon disappear, though the model lives on in the form of the Performa 400, which at £1062.98 includes a 14" colour monitor, and ClarisWorks etc.

LC owners who resisted the temptation to upgrade to the LCII will be pleased to know that a direct LC to LC III upgrade is available for £495. This is perhaps the first time in Apple's history that adopting a wait-and-see policy has paid off. The upgrade cost to LC II owners is the same.


Performance/price-wise, the £1745 (4/80) Centris 610 sits above the £1675 IIvx and its (almost) consumer equivalent the Performa 600 (£1616.17 including 14" monitor). Until now only Quadras offered 68040 processors, but the Centris line changes all that — the 610's brain is a 20MHz 608040 Lite. Delivering twice the performance of the much loved IIci, the 610 is a new large pizza-box design offering room for one half-height NuBus slot, one full-height (5.25") drive and up to 68MB of RAM. The 610 can deliver 16-bit colour to 14" monitors, or 16" displays with maximum VRAM expansion. The choice between the IIvx/Performa 600 and the Centris 610 depends on whether you consider the latter's speed advantage more important than the former's three NuBus slots.

The price gap between the 610 and 650 is £850; far wider than that between the IIvx and the 610. At £2595 for a 4/80 model, the Centris 650 is housed in a familiar IIvi/IIvx style case, its 68040 CPU clocking in at 25MHz. The 650 offers three NuBus slots, one PDS (Processor Direct Slot) and room for up to 136MB of RAM. The 650 uses Apple's new interleaved RAM that allows 32-bit words to be split between two SIMMs, though it's necessary to fill up SIMMS slots symmetrically to gain the 5% to 10% speed advantage that interleaving can deliver. Generally speaking, the 650 is approximately 2.5 times the speed of the IIci, and provides 16-bit colour support to displays up to 16".

Marginally faster than the Centris 650, the entry level Quadra — the 700 — has been reduced to £2875 for a 4/230 configuration. This compares with £2995 for a similarly configured Centris, indicating that the 700's days are numbered.


Despite being named 150 points below the Quadra 950, the new £4195 (8/230) Quadra 800 offers the same 33MHz 68040 processor, plus a slight speed advantage over the trusty Quadra 950, largely thanks to interleaved RAM (up to 136MB). The 800 is a new, desktop-friendly, mini-tower design that accommodates three internal drive bays (one 5.25" and two 3.5"). The 800 also includes 256K VRAM (upgradable to 512K) delivering 8-bit colour to 16" displays (or 21" displays with the 512K upgrade). The 800 also offers built in Ethernet, three NuBus slots and one PDS slot.

In comparison, the £4995 (4/230) Quadra 950 is supplied with an extra 512K of VRAM (delivering 16-bit colour to 16" displays), a built in security lock and extra expansion: three 5.25" drive bays, up to 256MB of RAM, 2M of VRAM (delivering 16 bit colour to 21" displays) and five NuBus slots. The 950 is also capable of delivering more power to its NuBus boards (up to 25W as opposed to 15W), and NuBus/PDS boards can be up to 2" higher. Whether these facilities are worth an extra £800, will depend on your needs — large capacity optical drives, CD ROMs and SyQuest drives require 5.25" bays.


The PowerBooks have been a huge success for Apple, who in 16 months jumped from nowhere to the third largest supplier of notebook computers. The latest addition — the £2745 (4/80) PowerBook 165c — is in fact a PowerBook 180 with a passive matrix 9" colour display instead of a 10" active matrix system. However, the extra processing power need to display 8-bit colour makes the 165c slower than the 180 and drains the battery faster too — 1.5 hours is about the limit.

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Publisher: Sound On Sound - SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.

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Sound On Sound - Apr 1993

Donated by: Russ Deval



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