Bigger Means Better
Reasons for our increase in cover price.
November's E&MM saw us increase the size of the magazine by eight pages, and it probably hasn't escaped your attention that this month, we've added another eight. It's a reflection both of the growth in the electronic music marketplace and of the increase in the magazine's stature that this expansion has come about so swiftly. And it's for both those things that we owe such a huge debt to you, our readers.
More pages mean, among other things, more in-depth reviews - not press release re-writes or tentative previews - on the hardware that matters, more revealing interviews with well-known synth players and composers, more constructional projects and explanatory features, and more space into which our regular Computer Musician supplement can grow.
In short, the same formula we've all come to know and love, only more so.
It's also a fair bet that the increase in E&MM's cover price - to £1.20 - hasn't gone unnoticed either, and the most we can say in consolation is: it's not our fault. Inflation may have been comfortably in single figures for some while, but the publishing and printing industries have still got to face a whopping 25% increase in the cost of paper this winter. Faced with this daunting prospect, we decided that rather than cut paper quality or reduce the amount of colour inside the magazine, we'd give E&MM its first price rise for over 18 months.
What's your money bought you this month?
Well, on the review side of things, the first and only detailed report on the Kurzweil 250, an electronic instrument that can't quite reproduce all the colour and sparkle of a concert grand piano, but comes a damn sight nearer than any of its sampled-sound opposition; the first pro music products to come from two Japanese companies - Akai and Panasonic - intent on earning their share of what's becoming an increasingly profitable and wide-ranging cake; and four new electronic percussion devices - two Far Eastern, two British - that show there's plenty of innovation left in the field of electronic drums and drum machines.
Moving to the back of the issue and Computer Musician, you'll find an exclusive appraisal of Acorn Computers' Music 500, an extraordinary add-on for the BBC Micro that incorporates both a well-specified synthesis section and AMPLE, a music composition language second to none in terms of expandability and musician-friendliness.
There's also a roundup of six new software packages, three for the Commodore 64, two for the BBC B and one for the Spectrum. And the conclusion almost all our software reviewers come to is that, after a somewhat shaky start, the pro- grammers now seem to be getting their act together, producing software that's both imaginative and easy to use.
Not that Vangelis, subject of this month's cover feature and one of the most influential composers of his generation, will care overmuch about software. As the interview shows, the great man has succeeded in producing most of his best-selling music without the aid of a single computer, preferring instead the immediacy of conventional analogue synths such as the Yamaha CS80. If nothing else, his attitude affirms the theory that, despite the onslaught of micro technology, there's still plenty of room for all shades of opinion in today's electronic music scene.
Talking of shades of opinion, next month's E&MM will include our annual readership survey, in which you'll get the chance to air your views on what we as a magazine should and should not be doing.
Actually, you needn't wait till January, as our regular Interface page is ready and waiting for your comments on the direction E&MM is taking. The many interconnection queries we receive have been dominating the letters page for some while now, so let's have some comment - of the constructive kind, preferably - to add that little bit of spice.
After all, the more feedback we get, the better the magazine will become.
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