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Article from Music Technology, August 1993

Technical problems deftly solved by MT's experts

Your worst nightmares exorcised by Ian Waugh

QI have a problem. I am interested in the sounds created by analogue synths and am thinking of buying one. But which one? Ideally, I would be able to record (via a MIDI sequencer) continual filter changes and such like.

Another bonus would be a multitimbral synth with more than one voice. I don't know if this is possible, but you never know. Please help with some info on the subject, otherwise I just know I'll end up spending a wad of cash on something I don't need.
S.C. Morris

AMost synths have filter parameters which can be controlled via MIDI, which is what allows them to be edited with a software synth editor However, being able to control said filters in real-time is another matter altogether, and one which most synths can't handle. If they can, you will often be limited to playing just one sound.

Knowing which synths can handle filter changes in real-time via MIDI means digging into the innards of the manuals. I can only really point you towards one instrument which seems ideally suited to your requirements - Roland's JD-800. This is designed like an analogue synth with lots of lovely knobs and sliders. Twiddling the sliders generates MIDI data which can be recorded and played back via a sequencer.

Expand your horizons with the Roland JD-990 - knob-twiddling via MIDI.

It's 5-part multitimbral and you can alter all five parts at the same time. What's more, you can even tweak the individual Tones which make up the parts! However, all this tweaking is done with SysEx messages, and if you really go bananas it may affect the important stuff like MIDI note data. But be sensible and you should be OK. You can do similar things via MIDI with Roland's new JD-990 expander, such as using an expression pedal and so on. The JD-990 was reviewed in MT, June '93.

If any reader or manufacturer knows of any other instruments which can perform similar tricks, let us know and we'll print a list of them in a future issue.

QI am a Swedish musician/software developer. I have a studio and I am soon going to buy new speakers. I want a speaker with frequency response from the lowest bass to the most shimmering high frequency. And it is important that the speaker response is flat.

I know that I must listen to speakers myself, but it should be very interesting to hear your point of view. Which speaker is the best:

1. Tannoy 8NFM
2. Tannoy 10DMT
3. Yamaha NS-700X
4. Yamaha NS-40M
5. JBL4412

It is perhaps some other speaker that you like better? I hope you understand my bad English.
Benny Ronnhager

AYour English is better than my Swedish. Come to that, it's better than my English! (here, here! - Ed). However, while we at MT dabble with amplification and monitors and so on, you'd be better off addressing your question to our sister magazine Home & Studio Recording.

St.Etienne producer Ian Catt models the classic Yamaha NS-10s. Ian takes two sugars, by the way.

I don't actually recognise any of the speakers you mention. I believe the Yamahas are hi-fi speakers for domestic use rather than pro audio studio use. I suspect the others are, too.

The only speaker I could personally suggest you look at is the Yamaha NS-10, which is very well respected in the monitor field. But as you yourself said, you've got to listen to them and make your own decision.

QA friend and I are currently producing tunes using a powerful PC setup that includes the SB 16 ASP and Waveblaster cards. We were considering buying a Roland PC-200 Mk II to use as a controller keyboard, when I noticed that a second-hand JX-3P is of a similar price. Not knowing much about this instrument, we'd appreciate it if you could answer a few questions:

1. What is the polyphony of the JX-3P?
2. Does it have a Local Off control?
3. Is it velocity sensitive?
4. What sort of sounds does it do best?
5. Do either the PC-200 Mk II or the JX-3P have aftertouch?
John Topley

A Roland PC-200 Mk II yesterday. Better than the JX-3P?

AThe JX-3P is 6-part polyphonic, it does not have a Local Off control, nor is it velocity sensitive. It's an all-round type of synth, but it's quite a few years old now. I reckon it's best for organs, strings and analogue brass-type sounds. It does not have aftertouch.

The PC-200 Mk II is velocity sensitive. It does not have aftertouch on its keys, but it can generate aftertouch data via a slider. This is not as immediately expressive when playing, but it does allow you to add aftertouch to a track later, which you may find more useful. Then again, you may not.

The JX-3P has 32 presets and 32 programmable sounds, and you would not be able to call up all 128 sounds in your sound card from the JX-3P's front panel. The PC-200 Mk II is designed to work with GS (and GM) instruments and sounds, and can transmit 128 program changes. But it doesn't have any sounds of its own - whereas the JX-3P does. Finally, the JX-3P has more keys, although the PC-200 Mk II has an Octave Up/Down switch giving it a 6-octave range.

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Publisher: Music Technology - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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Music Technology - Aug 1993

Feedback by Ian Waugh

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