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If we can't solve your problem then... er, perhaps someone else can - sorry, this isn't a very good sell-line... sorry

Need any advice? Trying to settle an argument? Write to Grief, MT, (Contact Details).

QHaving recently purchased a Groove Electronics Wasp Stinger, I have endeavoured to route the two separate 'Wasps' contained within the rack to separate MIDI channels. However, many laborious attempts have proved futile.

I would be grateful if you could explain the procedure for running Wasps A and B on two separate MIDI channels and why, at present, they only play on channel 1. Also, some insight into the MIDI edit section would be greatly appreciated.

At present I am recording onto DAT and during the copying process onto audio cassette the digital sound is deteriorating. Could you please explain this and suggest any way in which it may be rectified?
Greg Watts

With regard to Chris da Silva's letter in November's MT, Studio Electronics equipment is available in the UK through TSC in London.

Also, Groove Electronics did indeed produce a 4U rack unit called the Stinger. Externally it was yellow and brown and very knobbly. Internally it contained the guts from two EDP Wasps with MIDI.
Sean Coppinger
Acton, London

The original Wasp

AAh, the good ol' Wasp rears its stripey head again. Well, further to various letters and comments which have appeared in MT over the past months, I have now unearthed some more info about this gear and the company which produced the Stinger, Groove Electronics.

Groove, as most people will know, went into liquidation when the recession hit (three cheers for Mr Major - hip, hip er...). Neil Nash, who ran the company, did not scarper to the Costa del Dosh, but is now actively unemployed, receiving the requisite unemployment benefit and doing, I believe, some sort of biology degree.

One of the chaps who had a hand in designing Groove equipment, Patrick Shipsey, (and who, we are at pains to point out, had nothing to do with Groove's misfortunes) is now running a company called dBm which specialises in MIDI-to-CV converters. Patrick is the one Chris da Silva referred to when he said he believed someone from Groove was still producing the Wasp/Stinger units. Well, he isn't, but he does know quite a bit about them.

You need the manual to understand how to program the Stinger as all the program guidance you get is a set of LEDs. Patrick was kind enough to offer to put a copy of said manual in the post to Geoff Watts so hopefully Geoff is now programming his Stinger like a pro. Many thanks for that, Patrick.

If anyone is interesting in getting an analogue synth to work with MIDI, dBm can be contacted on (Contact Details) or by post at (Contact Details). But if there are any Waspies out there, please don't take advantage of Patrick's good nature. He's not officially involved with the Wasp or Groove.

Studio Electronics' SE-1 is, indeed, available from TSC ((Contact Details)) although in the interests of accuracy, it was not at the time of Chris da Silva's enquiry. Also, TSC is only handling the SE-1 and not the complete Studio Electronics' range. However, if sales go well - and they have been so far - TSC may increase this. The SE-1 is a true MIDI-compatible analogue synth and costs £1295.

As for the deteriorating quality of the DAT, there are several possibilities. The first thing is to check is the recording process itself. DAT is not as forgiving as analogue tape and if you overload the input the sound will distort. It is also possible for a well-used tape to cause problems or even, I suppose, a new one which slipped through quality control.

Another possibility is that the DAT recorder itself is faulty. I had intermittent problems with a Casio DA-7 which started to distort playback after it had been running for an hour or so. It was fixed. But then started to distort until it had been running for an hour or so. Another repair job seems to have cured the problem.

QI am very much into progressive music and as much as I enjoy listening to it, I would also like to generate such thumping sounds myself.

I only possess an Amiga 1500 and the Audio Engineer +2 sampling package. Could you please tell me what equipment I would require and where it could be purchased to enable me to sample a sound - a piano, for example - create a piano track, loop it and then store it to disk? I'd like to create several tracks, say piano, bass, whooshes, voice, ethnic flute and so on, co-ordinate each track and mix them together.
B. Cubson
Brigg, South Humberside

PS: Could you reply by post as I do not always manage to purchase MT.

ATo answer your PS first - no, I'm afraid we can't answer queries by post for the reasons you see in the box at the end. You would, of course, be guaranteed a regular supply of MT if you took out a subscription - and currently that would include a free Time + Space sample CD, which could be right up your street.

The sort of music you want to make is the sort of music Amiga users have been making for ages. Well, technically, if not musically. Indeed the world of Amiga demo disks is renowned the length and breadth of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Amy uses sampled sounds and there are several 'tracker' programs which let you use samples to build up music tracks, much in the way you describe. I'd suggest you start with a program called Octamed which is generally regarded as being the best tracker program available. What's more, there's a version in the public domain. I got mine from Valley PD ((Contact Details)). Give Brian there a call and he'll suggest a few other disks containing various sample-type programs. There are also lots of PD samples around so you don't even have to make your own. Now isn't that the height of technology?

Hope you have a thumping great time.

State of the art harmonising: the Eventide H3000

QAs a police officer and a musician, I was interested to read a recent article in Police Review on changing the tonal characteristics of the human voice for use in court when a person's identity must be protected. The system recommended was the Eventide H3000, at a not insubstantial price.

My question is, can you recommend a cheaper system than the Eventide, one capable of coping with pitch shifting, tone editing, etc, without turning the speaker into a Dalek?
Steve Payne

AI always knew there must be a practical use for all those harmoniser devices!

Yep, £2,800 may seem expensive but you tend to get what you pay for. I suspect the Eventide is several degrees over-specified for your application. But then, if the forces of law and order can't afford a few quid to protect witnesses then it's a bit of a bad do.

Scouring the small ads in a certain monthly satirical paper, revealed a company advertising an Electronic Telephone Voice Changer for the very insubstantial price of £12.99. (If that's still stretching the budget we'll organise a whip round here in the office.) I haven't seen or heard the thing so I don't know if it would turn you into a Dalek (do they have policemen on Skaro? - Ed) nor have I contacted the company, but I pass on the information for you to follow up if you wish - Power-Full Ltd., (Contact Details).

Alternatively, the musically talented and technically proficient company, Oscar Music, said they could build you a voice changing device for you to order, probably costing under £100. Give them a call on (Contact Details). Other than that, why not pop into your local friendly music shop (plain clothes optional) and try a few harmoniser devices - the Digitech Vocalist II is particularly well regarded and costs well under a grand.

QI would appreciate your advice on the following problem - I want to use my Roland DS keyboard on stage controlled entirely by a sequencer. Can you recommend one which is suitable, reliable, can hold about eight or nine songs in memory and can load a further eight for the second set quickly?

I have seen the Kawai Q80 and QX5 advertised locally. What about the Roland MC50? I would require a step-time sequencer because my keyboard playing is not what it should be.
Steve Bates
Royton, Oldham

Roland MC50 MkII the best onstage sequencer?

AThe Roland MC50 Mk II will do what you want. It can store up to eight songs under normal conditions - the actual storage capacity is about 40,000 events - and the new Super MRP Performance software loads a bank of songs and will play them in whatever order you specify. It was, in fact, designed specifically for performance.

The Mk II has a RRP of £799 but you may pick up a second-hand one. Older MC50s (that is, not the Mk IIs) may not have the Performance software, so check if you're thinking of buying second hand. However, I suspect Roland will be able to upgrade you for a nominal cost.

The Kawais are a few years old now but were excellent value for money when they were launched, although they can be a bit fiddly to operate. You'll certainly be able to pick up a 80 or 55 cheaper than a MC50.

Kawai has since left the UK and is distributing from Germany (the number is (Contact Details) if you want to contact the company) although the old UK phone number ((Contact Details)) is currently attached to the service centre. As of writing, no one is quite sure exactly what Kawai is going to do regarding instrument production and distribution. An alternative you might like to consider is to use a computer-based sequencer for composition and a MIDI File Player for playback on stage. Computer-based sequencers are far more powerful and better at note manipulation than hardware sequencers and you might find this very useful if your playing skills aren't what you would like them to be. Of course, it's a more expensive option but you could use the computer for other things, too. This would certainly be my preferred option. Next on my list would be the MC50 II.

Unfortunately, we cannot answer reader's queries by phone and we are unable to reply individually by letter. All letters addressed to Grief will be deemed intended for publication.

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


Music Technology - Feb 1994

Feedback by Ian Waugh

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