The reasoning behind the new-look CM. Your guide, David Ellis.
This month's issue sees the first in the series of the new look CM. Well, it's not that drastic really. The point is that we've been wanting to balance the theoretical side of computer music with some decent projects for some time, but as with most technical things, it takes time to get them off the design bench and into print. So thanks for bearing with us during their gestation period! First off on the project front is the Programmable Digital Sound Generator, a 32-channel add-on that has been developed principally for the BBC Micro by Alan Boothman. This month's article covers the design and operation of the hardware, but next month we'll get down to the nitty-gritty of interfacing it with the micro, discussing the software that's been put together to run it, and also providing details about prices and availability. Because we feel that the PDSG is so important, this month's CM pages have largely been turned over to it, which means that the second part of The Gentle Art of Transcription and the Syndrom project have been held over for next month.
We'd like to thank everyone that took the trouble to complete the Questionnaire - the results were certainly very illuminating, and any changes in editorial policy that you notice in the future will no doubt owe a lot to your constructive comments. The most obvious of these is that we'll be concentrating on just a limited number of micros - the Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64 (though the Apple is bound to surface now and again!) - in order to push these to their utmost in various musical directions. As it happens, these are also the micros that are attracting the most attention from the micro music industry as far as interfaces and add-ons are concerned, and next month's E&MM will see our own starting-point for a lot to come in the shape of MIDI interfaces for all three micros. The logic behind this moderate change of heart is simply a question of not wanting to spread the butter too thinly, and anyway, the overriding impression that we've gained from the Questionnaire is that readers want quality rather than quantity when it comes to musical applications of micros. One casualty of this change in policy will unfortunately be the Which Micro? series that we started back in November.
Obviously we're still going to bring to your attention any micro that looks particularly interesting from a musical standpoint (the new Yamaha MSX machines being a case in point), but there seems little rhyme or reason in going over the well-trodden ground of three-channel sound generators and their limited software support yet again.
This change also affects how the Software Panel will be put into effect straight away. A fair number of readers offered their services, and we've contacted some of them because of their particular abilities or ideas. However, once CM's projects get into full swing, more programming openings for other readers are bound to appear and, in the not-too-distant future, we'll also be featuring the Program Corner as a regular spot in CM.
Editorial by David Ellis
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