Outbreak of war, latest football results and a tap-dancing spaniel. This is the news.
These days Stockwell Road holds more for the casual punter then the usual hardware shops and chippy, especially if you're a Jazzer. Sound Suite is a new shop run by Gail Thompson who, as well as being a music teacher is also a player in Charlie Watts' big band. The shop will have a heavy accent on Jazz although more mainstream tastes will be catered for. In addition to the shop, once you've bought your instrument you can go next door and learn how to play it in the music school which is currently being set up and will teach most modern instruments. It is hoped that it will also serve as a venue for various clinics. A wind instruments section is planned for the not too distant future which sort of covers everything really, so next time you're in the area it may be worth a few minutes of your time to check it out.
Welcome news is that after an 18 month period in which there has been no American production of Fender guitars, manufacture has restarted in Brea, Los Angeles. Initial models in production are vintage replicas of a range basically similar to that of the previous series of American vintage replicas; these models are claimed authentic down to the smallest detail and are supplied complete with an original-style manual and tweed case. These guitars will represent the first 'Post-CBS' American Fenders and represent a determined attempt to regain the mystique of the days when Leo was in charge.
Hartley Peavey, solid bastion of the American Musical Instrument Industry, is now building amplifiers in Britain. Mr and Mrs Peavey have just opened the company's first non-US factory in Corby, Northants, thus bringing their policy of rugged independence to the UK. The British arm of the company is called Peavey Amplification Ltd and according to Hartley will provide the means of producing unique products for the European market. The photo shows the Peaveys road-testing the R&D department's latest product, although rumours that Hartley is planning to move into other markets are firmly denied.
Following the availability of the GR Guitar controller, Steinberger have announced the bass version, which should offer a similar tracking performance to the guitar version. Bass and synthesiser sounds can be mixed, and program edit functions may also be controlled from the instrument. The bass may be used to control other synths in combination with a MIDI interface. UK distributors are Musimex on (Contact Details).
AHB have followed up the success of their CMC Computerised Mixing Consoles with two new models, a 24:16:2 and a 32:16:2. New features include eight re-routable subgroups, extensive foldback and talkback systems and additional monitoring. The 32 input desk has 24-track monitoring, and both models offer the CMC features of programmable bus routing, and programmable monitor and channel muting. An optional programming unit, the CMR, allows memory expansion, event sequencing, and MIDI control of programmable console features. For details contact Allen and Heath Brenell Ltd on (Contact Details).
More good news for Commodore 64/128 owners with the impending release of the Digidrum 3. Software improvements enable the swapping and copying of sounds, as well as the mixing of two samples. The volume and envelope of each sample may be changed, and a graphic envelope of the sound may be called up. The system thus offers a sampled drum system with eight samples (three playable at once), and the storage of over 375,000 steps. Existing Version 2 owners need not despair as the software update is available separately at £14.99, whilst the full Digidrum 3 hardware/software costs £79.99 and is available direct from Syndromic Music on (Contact Details).
Dean Markley, well-loved for their guitar strings, are launching a range of amplification. Models include valve, transistor, hybrid, pre and power amps, with one model, the CD212, offering switchable valve/transistorised operation. The amplifier illustrated is the 'Kong', or K20 practice amp, [which offers] many opportunities for puns but we won't go into them here. More info from Rhino Distribution on (Contact Details).
The Oxford Synthesiser Company have announced several new software packages for the Commodore 64/128 and the Atari 520/1040ST. These include for the Atari, the Pro-24 track MIDI sequencer, and the Pro-Creator, which creates sounds combined from a DX/TX sound source or user-specified parameters. These retail at £165 and £120 respectively. Commodore packages are the Track Star, which combines an eight track sequencer with four on board sampled drum sounds, with MIDI interface included, and the Edit Kit, which edits the pro-16 sequencer. Retail prices are £70 for the Track Star and £30 for the Edit Kit. Contact the Oxford Synthesiser Company on (Contact Details) for more info.
The range of Trace-Elliot bass amplification is now up to Mark V. Soundwave reckon that they've had a hard time looking for features to improve, so most of the changes are in the nature of consolidation. These include footswitching for the graphic and preshape, and a graphic level control to balance eq in/out volume levels. Build quality is further improved, presumably to one stage better than a Chieftain tank, and there are other subtle changes to the noise reduction and display illumination, and all combos may now be used with extension speakers. Brochures on the new range are available from Soundwave at (Contact Details).
SJ Court, best known for their big PA systems, have announced a range of less gargantuan speakers, the Signature Series. Soft dome radiators are used for a smoother sound, and the stand-mounting Hyflex speaker has an appearance vaguely similar to a Bose system. The Lowflex reflex bin is designed to complement its smaller companions, extending the 40-20kHz frequency response down to 20Hz. There's also a bookshelf version, the Miniflex, which at 100W programme offers half the power handling of the Hyflex, so if you've got a bookshelf spare you can save on the price of a pair of stands. Details from Court at (Contact Details).
Quattro Electronics have announced a British made RAM cartridge for the DX7/RX11 which offers storage for 128 voices, switchable in banks of 32. A Write Protect switch safeguards data from accidental erasure and voltage fluctuations so that you don't have to remove the cartridge from the machine when switching on/off. At an envisaged retail price of less than £80 its large memory capacity looks impressive, and leaves the alternative from Yamaha appearing somewhat outdated. Details are available on (Contact Details).
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