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CTS Studios, famed for their soundtrack work on films like A Passage To India and A View To A Kill have just announced the opening of their new Synthesiser Suite, a purpose built two-room complex featuring an isolation area and large control room permanently housing an impressive range of synths — Fairlight with MIDI and SMPTE, Linn 9000, Prophet t-8, Wave 2.3, Oberheim Matrix 12, the ubiquitous DX7, and a TX816. Enough to be going on with, I would've thought. All the benefits and facilities of a large studio complex are on hand, including, if required, direct linking to Studio 1's digital desk. At an hourly rate of £45 for the studio, and a daily charge of £100 for all synths bar the Fairlight, Studio 4 is even (relatively!) cheap. What more could your average knob-twiddler ask for? If this sounds like your idea of technical heaven, speak to Ginny Goudy at CTS, on (Contact Details).
Aria have announced a new addition to their range of effects pedals. The DM-X10 is a digital unit combining both Flanger and Chorus.
A selectable switch offers three preset modes for delay range and LFO waveform, with five rotary controls for Feedback, Effect Level, Depth, Speed and Time Adjustment. A stereo output reverses the phase on the processed sound and combines it with the direct sound for a wide effect. Double Tracking and Reverb can also be had out of this versatile little unit, which retails at £159.
More details from the distributors Gigsville at (Contact Details).
A new first from Yamaha — the VSS100 voice sampling keyboard — should soon be in the shops. It has a built-in microphone as well as an auxiliary input for bringing in on-line electronic sounds, and is portable, running on either batteries or AC power. Either a single eight-second sample or four two-second ones can be stored, which can then be played back across the 49-key keyboard.
Also on board are 21 preset FM orchestra voices ranging from Pipe Organ to Slapsynth, a choice of twelve different rhythms and an auto bass chord feature.
Whether you want those or not, monophonic sampling for under £200 can't be bad, which includes a cassette tape of around 50 interesting sample sounds. International Musician will be reviewing a VSS100 as soon as we can get our mitts on one...
More details from Yamaha-Kemble at (Contact Details).
Octave Plateau, the American firm behind Dave Stewart's favourite synth, the Voyetra-Eight, have announced two additions to their IBM PC-compatible range of MIDI gear. Their OP-4001 intelligent Midi interface acts as a direct replacement for Roland's MPU-401, providing in addition an improved sync capability (Send/Receive 5v clock pulses, and convert incoming FSK signal to 5v standard or vice-versa), an un-pitched audio metronome output with accented downbeat, and removing the need for a separate interface card and cable. At an American retail price of $295, it's also competitively-priced.
Their acclaimed Sequencer Plus 64-track MIDI sequencer package has received a substantial facelift too. The Rev 2.0 version now offers Play and Punch-In at any bar, an 'at-a-glance' View Mode allowing 72 bars across 22 tracks to be simultaneously displayed and 'cut & paste' edited, user-friendly pop-up control windows, an improved Midi Menu, bar-by-barTempo change, external Midi sync, and more...
Existing Sequencer Plus owners can upgrade for $75, or you can start from scratch for $495. Further information from Octave Plateau, (Contact Details).
Berkshire-based company Ace Sound & Light have just launched their improbably-named Anytronics SA500 power amp. Putting the emphasis on performance rather than prettification, the rather basic fascia of the unit conceals Mosfet circuitry capable of developing a maximum of 760 watts into 8 ohms in mono mode, or 380 watts in to 4 ohms in stereo mode. At £425 + Vat for the unbalanced version (a further £15+Vat for each balanced line) it could be just what you've been looking for. More info from Ace on (Contact Details).
Fostex have just released several new products which are of interest to present and potential owners of their file 16-track machine: a SMPTE reading synchroniser which will lock a B-16 to video or two B-16 machines together within two seconds. Called the 4030, it comes in the form of a 19" 1U rackmounting unit and costs approximately £1,200 including all the necessary multicore cables and connectors making it cheaper than any other time code synchroniser yet developed.
Fostex have also developed a sophisticated remote control — with full transport controls, ten memories, programmable drop-ins, cycle functions, a large time code display, and the ability to lock up to three 4030 synchronisers together for multi-multi-track recording or running of several video machines in sync with the multitrack machine. At around £500.00 the 4035 too would appear to represents major breakthrough in price and sophistication.
If you are without a SMPTE time code generator (such as Roland's SBX-80 or Linn 9000), then for £135 Fostex also have a time code generator which can generate any of the four standards of SMPTE code (24,25,30 or drop frame).
The other major item that Fostex have produced is the 4050 Autolocator. This is similar to the previously mentioned products in that it reads and generates SMPTE, has 10 memories, cycle functions etc., in addition to which it will generates MIDI master clock output. This feature enables it to act as a remote control autolocator for any MIDI sequencer or drum machine in the same way as it does the multitrack machine (as long as the MIDI units respond to MIDI song position data). Therefore, with the 4050, you could program it to go to, say, bar 48 and both the sequencers and the multitrack machines would go to bar 48 — a feat that only SSL mixing consoles have so far been able to only come close to achieving.
The 4050 SMPTE MIDI Autolocator will retail for around £1,000.00.
For further information, contact Atlantex on (Contact Details).
Rickenbacker (UK) Ltd have informed us that there are currently a considerable number of fake Rickys on the market, which the Trading Standards Office are investigating. So how can you tell the real from the bogus?
Apparently the safest way is to check the jack plate: every Rickenbacker guitar or bass has two letters and four numbers stamped on the metal plate around the jack socket(s), and if it's a stereo instrument, the two sockets should be labelled 'Standard' and 'Rick-O-Sound'. You have been warned...
AKG have produced a simple brochure showing suggested microphone positioning for studio recording and live concerts for all major band instruments, voices and percussion. The brochure also indicates the recommended AKG microphone for each different instrument, with secondary choices, where an alternative microphone will perform equally well. A brief specification of AKG musicians and vocalists microphones is also listed.
The brochure, called 'Microphone Applications' is free and can be obtained by sending a stamped, addressed envelope, marked 'Microphone Applications', to AKG Acoustics Ltd., (Contact Details)
Kahler Systems, manufacturers of one of the most in-demand guitar tremelos currently (as fitted by Aria, Guild, Washburn, Overwater et al) recently got a few of their more illustrious customers together for a quick pic. So, if you'd like to emulate the sound, if not the dress sense, of Mark King, Alan Murphy and co, you could do worse than check out Kahler's Tremolo Bridge...
Further info from UK distributors John Hornby Skewes, on (Contact Details).
Ursa Major Inc, American manufacturers of professional time-domain effects have recently managed to drop the prices of two of their most popular reverbs, the Stargate 323, and the Stargate 626. A combination of stronger foreign exchange rates and a drop in the cost of large-memory IC's allows the company to now offer the 15 Khz bandwidth devices at $1,300 for the 10-second delay, 8 'room', 323, and $1,800 for the 20-second, 16 room 626. Further information from Ursa Major, (Contact Details).