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Sampling features quite heavily in this issue, and not only in the review department. This month sees the start of Paul Williams' sampler project which offers a lot of useful facilities for a very affordable price.

It is however easy to lose track of the real objectives when faced with all this new technology and it's easy to talk yourself into believing that the lack of a piece of equipment is inhibiting your creativity when the exact opposite may be the case. Playing back some of my old recordings, which must be ten years old, I was surprised at how effective some of the sounds and treatments were, even though I had only four tracks, a spring reverb and a tape loop echo machine. True, my present recordings sound much cleaner but even on those old tapes, the ideas managed to win through.

One of my favourite bones of contention concerns the ubiquitous polysynth. Before affordable polysynths were introduced, monosynths had to be layered to provide any kind of polyphonic arrangement but each voice somehow retained its identity and the whole was frequently more than just the sum of the parts. How many polysynth parts have you heard that sound little better than a cheap organ played through a wah wah pedal, even though the gear itself cost a small fortune?

This too applies to samplers and with a bit of care, a very basic non-MIDI mono sampler can be used to create some very exciting effects. Again, polyphony often detracts from the impact of the sound and you only have to witness the number of records produced with totally redundant Fairlight parts that sound like a cheap polysynth played through a fuzz box to recognise this fact.

What it comes down to is that it is your ideas that count and not just the mound of equipment that you may or may not have accumulated, and a bit of healthy experimentation is definitely to be encouraged. For example; play your cheap monosynth through an old TV speaker suspended in an empty steel bucket and then mic up the results adding a load of cheap reverb at the same time. The chances are that anyone supposedly in the know will ask you what the sample was and what sampler you are using. A couple of cheap contact mics on the bucket and you could really get them guessing.

We are hoping to introduce a new page into H&SR in the near future dedicated to passing on useful little hints, tricks and tips that will help you to get the most out of your equipment so if you have any secrets that you'd like to share, please send them in and we'll fit them in somewhere.

Finally, the Frankfurt Music Fair is looming on the horizon and now is the time that we all draw straws to see who sits in the front seat of the car on the way over there. The one with the short straw sits in the front. The survivors from this expedition to the frozen wastes of Germany will be reporting on all the new products on show but as usual, I don't suppose we'll actually get any to play with until late in the summer.



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Home & Studio Recording - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

 

Home & Studio Recording - Feb 1986

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Editorial by Paul White

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