Music Maker Equipment Scene
Music, new products from Yamaha and Roland
C-Tape developments have introduced a new version of their popular 8cm and 20cm C Ducer contact mics. The new mics, which again come complete with a Gigster battery-powered pre-amplifier, are this time styled in brown and designed to blend in more smoothly with the natural colour of an acoustic bass, guitar, or violin. Further details Tel. 0252 319171.
Yamaha seem to be boldly exploring areas that no other manufacturers have even contemplated. They announced seven new keyboard instruments and the terms VCO and VCF were not to be found on any of them. You should all be aware of Yamaha's FM system of sound generation, as utilised by the GS-1, GS-2 and CE-20. Now comes the latest DX range of keyboards which bear the slogan "Programmable Algorithm FM Digital Synthesis". Essentially these instruments utilise the FM system, however, by enabling the player to control the mode and routing of up to six FM circuits, and to arrange them in a vague kind of algorithmic format, the instruments are now programmable. There are three new DX machines:
DX-1: This is still in its final prototype stages but it will be cheaper than the GS 1 (i.e. less than £10,000). It features a 73 note touch sensitive keyboard that is 32 note polyphonic in mono, 16 note in stereo, has 6 FM generators, 2x6 EGs, 1 x pitch EG, and offers 145 sound parameters and 60 operating parameters (the algorithmic bit). It can store 32 sounds and has 8x8 performance memories. It will also take two 32 voicing plug-in cartridges.
DX-7: A smaller version of the DX-1, with a 61 note pressure and velocity sensitive keyboard, 6 FM generators, 6 x EGs, 1 x pitch EG, and 145 Sound Parameters, 26 Operating Para meters. It is 16 note polyphonic and can store 32 sounds, with room for one cartridge. Price unsure.
DX-9: Yamaha hope that the DX-9 will sell for under £1,000. It has 4 FM generators, 4 EGs, 68 Sound Parameters, 20 operating parameters. The 5 octave keyboard is 16 note polyphonic, and it can store 20 sounds, changeable through the cassette interface facility.
All the DX machines utilise Yamaha's new envelope system that has eight rather than four parameters, and all can be used with the BC-1 Breath Controller.
CE-25: This is a follow up to the superb CE-20, but more of a polyphonic instrument than its predecessor, with twenty different polyphonic presets controlled by a four octave touch sensitive keyboard. Yamaha hope that the price of this unit will be similar to that of the CE-20 (under £1,000).
Pianos have always played a large part of Yamaha's business, and we'll see some new models at Frankfurt.
PF-15: Utilises an 88 note balanced and weighted touch sensitive keyboard, which has a particularly nice feel, and is well suited to the traditional pianist.
PF-10: This machine features a smaller 76 note keyboard, which has more of an organ feel to it.
Both PF machines utilise the FM technology again and feature 10 preset voices including the old favourites - Piano (3), Harpsichord (2), Electric Piano (3), Vibraphone and Clavi net. Both instruments run in stereo and have twin monitor speakers which exhibit the new ultra-quiet stereo-chorus facility to the full.
CP-7: To complement the more established CP range of electric and electronic pianos, Yamaha add the CP-7 aimed at the beginner. It offers 4 presets and has on board stereo speakers and chorus.
Eight new Yamaha guitars will have been seen at Frankfurt for the first time. Prices given should only be taken as a very rough guideline as exchange rates are now fluctuating in an alarming manner.
SG 200: A flat top solid body with glued-in neck, 2 Yamaha Humbuckers with 3-position selector switch. Around £200.
SC 200T: Features include 3 single coil pickups, detachable neck, tremolo unit, 5-way selector switch. Available in various colours, one of which is Pearl Blue - an icy white with just a hint of blue to the sheen.
SC 400T: Similar to the SC-400, but now with Yamaha's new tremolo unit (the 'T'). Roughly £250.
SA-800: At around £400, this is towards the low end of Yamaha's semi-acoustic range. It features an Alder/Spruce sustain block, and 2 Humbuckers.
BB-300: Good value at under £200, this bass is available in either Candy-tone Red, or Black. It offers a split pick-up, a new style bridge, and a detachable neck with thinner profile.
BB-400SF: This is a fretless version of the ever popular BB-400, however the frets are marked on the neck if you are worried that you can't handle a fretless just yet.
BB-3000: For those with a bit more cash, the BB-3000 is well up at the top end. It has new pick-ups with brass surrounds, brass nut, a thinner neck profile, gold plated hardware, and a deep cutaway.
SG-3000: And for around £750 you can have yourself a superb new axe. The SG-3000S has newly redesigned Yamaha humbuckers, various coil tappings, some rather flash cosmetic trimmings, a new low mass bridge, and some new colour finishes to choose from.
Yamaha will certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons with their entry into the home recording world. The MT-44 is a 4 channel cassette deck with the ability to record 4 signals individually or simultaneously. It has an improved performance utilising both Dolby 'B' and 'C' systems. One advantage of its slower 1-7/8 ips tape speed is that it can be used to play domestic cassettes, and you can also produce a two track end product cassette that can be played on any other tape machine.
The MM-30 is the mixing desk that is designed to be used with the MT-44. It facilitates track bouncing recording techniques and it will handle up to 10 different signals simultaneously.
The MS-10 is a compact monitor speaker that incorporates a 20 Watt amplifier: again designed to form part of the Yamaha home studio. Yamaha aren't able to provide costs for these products yet, but they hope to put together an entire package that would sell for less than the cost of the TEAC Portastudio.
The MR-10 is a rhythm unit which can also be played in real time. It has 5 pads that can either be used on their own or as an accompaniment to any of the 12 preset rhythm patterns. The pads produce Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Hi-Tom, Lo-Tom. and Cymbal sounds; the snare is tuneable, and an optional 'kick-pedal' is available to trigger the bass drum.
Yamaha also have two new recording mixers. The RM-804 is an 8 into 4/2 desk, whilst the RM-1608 offers 16 into 8/2/2/2 (16 input channels with 3-way operation). On the PA side of things there are some new speaker cabinets, stage mixing desks and some rather heavy duty high power amplifiers - for example, the PC-5002M (M for meters) handles 1500w into 8 ohms if used in mono mode.
All in all it looks like Yamaha are once again about to confirm their position as one of the most professional of musical equipment manufacturers.
Roland have a good selection of new products for unveiling at Frankfurt, including two synthesisers, a programming unit, new synthesiser modules, two combo amps, 3 cabinets, a new microcomposer and a digital chromatic tuner.
The synthesisers are two new polyphonies, the JX-3P and the Jupiter 6. Both are 6 voice models, retailing at £850 and £2,000 respectively.
The JX-3P is a preset instrument using 6 pairs of DCOs and having a 5-octave keyboard. Push tablets give 32 preset sounds, and there's a built-in polyphonic sequencer giving up to 128 steps with tape dump; there's also a Stereo Chorus and MIDI bus output, fast becoming a standard for computer interfacing. Presets include Strings, Organs, Electric Pianos, Vibes, Whistles, Brass and Sync Wah.
For an additional £200 it's possible to purchase the PG-200 Programmer, which clips magnetically onto the JX-3P and allows editing of the presets and addition of another 32 sounds. These are stored in the empty C and D memory banks of the synth.
The other polyphonic is the Jupiter 6, selling at around £2,000. In appearance a cross between the Jupiter-8 and Juno 6, it again features a 5-octave keyboard and 6-note polyphony. The keyboard can be split, and there are 2 VCOs, VCF, VCA and two envelope generators for each note. There are 4 Arpeggio modes, 32 memories, tape dump and MIDI interface. Various oscillator assignment modes are available together with tape dump, portamento and glissando, auto tuning and foot-switch patch shifting.
The new Microcomposer, available in April, is the MC-202, retailing at £375. It's expected to be a 2-channel digital sequencer with a capacity of around 2,000 notes and a built-in monophonic synthesiser similar to the SH-101. Cassette dump and tape sync facilities will be included.
Additions to the Roland 100m modular system include a Portamento Controller, Signal/Gate Multiple Jack, and 4 band Parametric EQ. The RM-165 Portamento Controller retails at £150 and gives two controls from 2m sec to 5 sec. The RM-173 retails at £125 and features 4 signal gates with S/N of over 100dB, together with a multiple jack field for 6 channels with 4 jacks per channel. The RM-174 Parametric EQ retails at £150 and has frequencies 20-200Hz, 100Hz-1kHz, 500Hz-5kHz and 2kHz-20kHz. Boost and cut is plus or minus 12dB, and there's an LED overload indicator included.
New additions to the Cube range of combo amps include the C-40 CH with Chorus and C-60 CH with Chorus. Each feature normal and overdrive inputs, 3-band EQ, Chorus and Reverb, footswitching of effects and headphone sockets. Retail price are £230 and £275 respectively.
The SST cabinet series includes the new SST-40 at £165, SST-60 at £205, and SST-80 at £240. Each features round horn piezo ceramic coated tweeters, 60Hz-20kHz frequency response, standard jack and square push-terminal connectors and particle board/PVC construction.
Lastly, the TU-12 Chromatic tuner, which retails for £49. Concert pitch can be set from 440-445Hz, and dual displays of a large meter and a pair of LEDs make tuning under stage conditions easier. Guitar and Bass guitar modes are selectable, but the Digital Processing design of the device makes it equally suitable for any other instrument. Accuracy is plus or minus one cent.