Music Maker Equipment Scene
New Casios, Sharp Music Processor, Bel DDL
Sharp bring a new dimension to home entertainment with the launch of their GF-990G Music Processor. At first glance the newcomer appears to be yet another upmarket mains/battery stereo unit, with 4-band radio, twin metal tape compatible cassette decks with auto track location and programming facilities, a 5-band graphic equaliser and detachable two-way loudspeakers. But closer inspection reveals some unique plus features!
For, with its built-in microcomputer, detachable keyboard and digital recording circuitry, the GF-990G is virtually a portable home recording studio - designed to sell at VAT-inclusive retail price of £329.
Using the keyboard, housed in the base of the unit, even non-musicians can 'read' sheet music and input notes and musical commands into the music processor memory, either for playback or recording on to cassette in analogue or digital mode - in the latter case taking up only a sixth of the tape used for conventional recording.
Required pitch, tone, tempo and rhythm can also be keyed in - the GF-990G giving the user the choice of four synthesised rhythms: waltz, swing, rock or beguine. Once a melody is encoded, it is possible to use the twin cassette deck facilities to edit one's analogue recording or make copies using a double-speed dubbing capability.
Using the music processor function only, the GF-990G becomes an 'instrument' in its own right for tapping out tunes direct through the loudspeakers. Budding composers can also work with the unit, memorising their compositions as they go along and having the facility to backtrack their recording to change, erase or insert notes.
Another option for those who already play an instrument is to use the unit as a rhythm box - selecting one of the four available rhythms to play as a background accompaniment to their music.
Audio output of the GF-990G is 10 watts per channel (AC operation) or 7.5 watts per channel when powered by ten 1.5 volt HP-2 type batteries. Two 1.5 volt HP 7 type batteries are used as back-up power for the microprocessor - which is capable of memorising up to 340 notes and commands.
Overall dimensions of the GF-990G are 753mm wide, 283mm high, 160mm deep. The detachable speaker housings - each incorporating a 16cm mica cone woofer and 5cm tweeter - measure 180mm wide, 283 high 160mm deep. Weight of the unit (with speakers) is 10kg. Further details from Sharp Electronics (UK) Limited, (Contact Details).
Bel's latest product is the BD60 Digital Delay Line which should sell for around £600. The maximum delays are 2 secs at 16 kHz bandwidth and 4 secs at 8kHz (x2 delay). It features 4 individual outputs with separate delay mix controls and 3 operating modes — Manual, Oscillator or Envelope. The repeat switch allows a sound to be frozen and infinitely repeated without deterioration. Both feedback and output mix controls have phase invert switches. More details from Bel Marketing, (Contact Details).
Casio continue to extend their range of keyboards with three new products, the CT610, the MT800 and the PT-50. The CT610 is the replacement for the MT602 and offers stereo chorus, 1 finger chords, 12 rhythms and an arpeggiator and features 20 new preset sounds. Price is around £345. The MT800 mini-keyboard is four octave, stereo with detachable speakers. It has 12 preset rhythms, stereo chorus, 12 preset sounds and a 5w per channel output, all for £250. It also features cassette dumping, as does the PT-50. This is a development of the PT-30, now able to accept RAM and ROM packs, further expanding the memory capacity. The instrument itself has 8 preset sounds, 16 preset rhythms, 9 one key preset chords, one key melody and musical data display and will cost you £99.
Casio also move into the amplifier market with 3 budget amps. The smallest the AS10 is an 8 watt battery-operated amp with a 12cm speaker, selling for £39. The £145 AS120 is a 20 watts mains-operated amplifier with a 20cm speaker. It also features built-in reverb as does the 50 watt AS1000 which gives you a 30cm speaker plus tweeter for £195. Contact Casio (UK) at (Contact Details).