DefSoft IQ Studio Pak
If you're the owner of a Sharp IQ electronic organiser, then you'll certainly be interested in the Studio Pak program card, which provides a suite of 14 utilities for use by studio engineers and record producers. Slotting the card into the IQ is no problem, and after power up, it's simply a matter of pressing the Card button and then pressing Menu on the card itself. Like other IQ cards, the surface of the card doubles as a dedicated keypad via the touch-sensitive viewing window. Most of the work is then done using the cursor and numeric keys.
The first menu item is Delays, which is selected using the cursor keys, followed by Enter. This has a default tempo of 120 bpm, which may be changed at will, followed by delay times in milliseconds corresponding to whole, three-quarter, three-per-beat and one and a half beats. Custom time divisions may also be entered; another utility enables a tempo to be established simply by tapping time on any key. Guitar displays 322 guitar chords on a fingering grid.
Three-way Calculator relates bars, tempo and time; entering any two will automatically calculate the third. Offset works out time code offsets from sequencer bar number and tempo information while NWb/m2 shows the equivalent decibel and nano Webers values for a given reference tape level.
Resync is another tempo-related facility, enabling a tempo to be worked out from timecode values and bar or beat counts for sync'ing MIDI to SMPTE time code. Particularly useful is the Harmonizer Ratios section, which links tempo with tape speed, frequency, percentage, harmonizer ratios and pitch. Changing the desired value shows changes in all the other parameters.
There's an audible metronome, a keyboard equivalent of the chord-finder, showing up to 552 chord shapes and 41 scales on a keyboard display, and CalcTime, which works out tape lengths against elapsed time. Stretch works out the ratios and percentages involved in sample stretching.
Film Tempo is quite sophisticated and allows up to nine timecode cues to be worked on. The result is a series of musical tempii that will match the beats of the music to the cue points. Finally, List Tempo works out the accurate tempo for less accurate synchronisers and is useful when using synchronisers that work with tempo to four decimal places of accuracy. This section includes conversions for the SRC.AT, the C-Lab Unitor, the SRC (1&2) and the Roland SBX80.
It's unlikely that anyone will want to use all the features offered by this useful little card, but the tempo-related calculations are very welcome, as are the guitar and keyboard chords. The Tap Tempo facility is really useful too.
Studio Pak is easy to use and, I think, a really neat idea. For the studio yuppie who already has a Sharp IQ, it's indispensable, but DefSoft are also doing good deals on Sharp IQs too should you need one.
Studio Pak £89.95 including VAT
DefSoft, (Contact Details).
Review by Paul White
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