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Namm Special Report

The National Association of Music Merchants' International Music & Sound Expo was held as usual in Chicago, Illinois at the end of June. E&MM sent a roving reporter to cover the entire show in just 48 hours, and below are some of the highlights of the new products he saw.

First off are Korg who announced several new products at the NAMM show. The Poly 61M synthesiser is an updated version of the popular Poly 61 keyboard released by Korg a few years ago. The 61M MIDI keyboard will allow you to control any other MIDI device such as the new Korg EX800 programmable polyphonic synthesiser module.

Designed as a stand-alone or rackmounted unit, the EX800 offers an eight-voice programmable synthesiser with 64 memories and a built-in fully polyphonic 256-step sequencer. All voices and sequencer programs may be dumped to tape via a highspeed tape interface system, and MIDI information may be displayed on a TV screen when the unit is connected to a home computer. The EX800 may be linked to the Korg Poly 800 keyboard or any other MIDI compatible unit, as well as being controlled by the new Korg RK100 remote keyboard.

The RK100 is a lightweight shoulder keyboard for use with any MIDI keyboard via a simple cable which carries all MIDI data including key data, program change, pitch bend, modulation, volume control and active sensing. A total of 64 programs may be accessed at any one time, and these are simply arranged in eight banks of eight voices each.

Further new products from Korg include the DDM110 Super Drums and DDM220 Super Percussion drum machines. The Super Drums offer nine digitally-sampled drum sounds (using PCM technology), and rhythm programs may be created in real or step time, with up to 32 different rhythm patterns and a maximum of 385 bars per song. Programs can be stored on tape via the tape interface socket on the rear panel, while further rear panel sockets provide full sync facilities and a trigger output for the control of synthesisers or digital delay devices.

The Super Percussion DDM220 is similar control-wise to the Super Drums except that the machine's range of PCM encoded sounds are all Latin percussion instruments. Nine different instruments are available including congas, timbale, wood block, cowbell and cabasa.

Finally, the Korg KMS30 MIDI Synchroniser enables synchronised operation of synthesisers, drum machines, sequencers and multitrack tape recorders. The clock signals can be recorded onto tape and played back into the KMS30 to enable further sequencer or drum machine parts to be recorded in perfect sync with any previously recorded tracks. Non-MIDI devices may be synchronised to MIDI equipment, and when using this facility the control clock frequency is switchable between 24 or 48 units per quarter note.

Further information on all these products may be obtained from Rose Morris, (Contact Details).

See page 56 for details of how to win a MIDI keyboard system consisting of the EX800 expander module and RK100 remote keyboard.

The Zen-On Metrina Multi is an interesting new device that fulfils many of a musician's basic requirements. This small compact unit combines five useful functions in one. The Metrina can be a metronome with audible output and visual display, pitch pipes which generate 12 chromatic tuning tones with audible and visual readout, a stopwatch, a digital watch with 24-hour display, and an alarm clock. The Multi uses a liquid crystal display for all functions and a small built-in speaker for the audio output.

Further Information from CSL Summerfields, (Contact Details).

Fender Rhodes introduced a new MkV electric piano. Following on in the Rhodes tradition, the MkV retains all the important qualities of the original design, but incorporates several new improvements.

A patented method of mounting the upper-register harmonic tone bars has resulted in an increase in clarity and note sustain. The lower register has also been redesigned so that the harmonic bars resemble more closely true tuning forks, and this should result in even the lowest notes sounding out clearly. Perhaps one of the most immediately noticeable improvements is the new keyboard action: this has an improved cam design which lengthens the hammer stroke by two inches, and produces a richer sound from the above-mentioned harmonic bars.

The piano is available in 73- or 88-note versions, and comes in a new style high-strength polymer case which accounts for a large reduction in the overall weight of the instrument.

Details from CBS/Fender, (Contact Details).

The Syntauri Corporation demonstrated the Proxima MIDI/16 and Proxima MIDI/16X hardware/software packages for the Syntauri Music System. The Proxima series combines the facilities of Metatrak software and the digital voices of the Mountain Music System synth with the facility to plug into the user's own digital or analogue synthesiser.

Proxima MIDI/16 offers a 3000-note sequencer, whereas Proxima MIDI/16X is capable of 20,000 notes or approximately 20 minutes' recording time.

Users may apply their MIDI keyboards to access the software capabilities of the Proxima system, whose features include record/playback, 16-track sound-on-sound, pitch bend, after touch, modulation amount and velocity. Any MIDI channel number may be assigned to any track, and the system also provides a drum sync facility. Owners of Metatrak software will find their files compatible and interactive with the Proxima software.

Further details from Computer Music Studios, (Contact Details).

New from Roland, the MSQ100 MIDI digital keyboard recorder is the smaller brother of the MSQ700, and offers many of the same features. It's a one-track sequencer with overdub facility and a 6100-note storage capacity. Sequences may be recorded in real or step time, and all numerical data including 'tempo' and 'notes available' may be displayed on the LCD readout.

Details from Roland UK Ltd, (Contact Details).

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