What's new in the world of the Micro Musician
June saw the 22nd annual APRS (Association of Professional Recording Studios) Exhibition for the fourth time at Olympia 2 in London.
This year over 180 exhibitors participated taking up three floors of the venue.
Not surprisingly most of the stands were offering products costing about the same as an entire street in Stevenage but we did manage to find a few gems of interest to micro musicians.
Audio Design had a direct to disk system on show for the Atari ST which offer 30 minutes of stereo recording with full editing facilities for about £8000. Not cheap but prices on this sort of technology can only come down.
Contact: Audio Design (Contact Details)
The R-880 Reverb features some of the most comprehensive reverb simulations going combined with some very flexible control options. Price £2100. In the same series is the E-660 parametric equaliser which also features a high degree of control over the sound. Price £1288.
On the keyboard front comes the U-20 which utilises some of the same technology found in the the rack-mount U-110 but features quieter processing. It has 128 onboard sounds, 64 patches which include four drumsets. The sounds on board include D-50 type samples as well as classic patches from other Roland synths, It'll also take U-110 Rom cards plus card designed specifically for the U-20 itself. No fixed price has been set as yet but it should be around the £1000 mark.
Contact: Roland UK (Contact Details)
Sound Technology had lots of nice goodies to offer. Among them was the new Alesis 16 channel mixing desk which we saw at Frankfurt but also some new little black boxes for use with the C-Lab Unitor. The Human Touch which is an audio to trigger interface that sits piggy back fashion on top of the Unitor.
Contact: Sound Technology (Contact Details)
Sound Technology, it was recently announced, have been appointed UK distributor for the Anatek Micro-circuits range of products.
Two years of research and development have produced a new range of products, initially in the form of MIDI accessories. The first of these being Pocket Merge, Pocket Filter, Pocket Pedal and Pocket Sequencer.
The Pocket Merge lets you merge two MIDI signals into one and handles any MIDI message including system exclusive. Units are placed directly in line and can be combined to merge data from more than two instruments.
Pocket Pedal can be used with any volume pedal to introduce MIDI control over volume, pitch bend, modulation and portamento time or control sustain, sostenuto, start/stop, and portamento on/off with a foot switch.
Pocket Filter gives you control over the MIDI traffic in your set-up. Each type of data can be filtered individually or in any combination at any point in a MIDI line.
And lastly, but by no means least, the Pocket Sequencer. This records several minutes of performance from and MIDI instrument, an LED metronome indictes the tempo which is easily adjustable. It can also be used as a portable composition and demontration tool.
All these Anatek pocket products are already available for around £99. At this relatively affordable price and with all the right features they will make useful additions to any MIDI system.
Contact: Sound Technology (Contact Details)
Archimedes Software House Clares Micro Supplies have just entered into the world of computer music after the success of their excellent graphics packages.
Armadeus is a sample editing package for use with their own 8 bit sampling podule. It features full bandwidth mono sampling capability and utilises all available memory so that you can have about three minutes of sampling on a four meg machine.
All the editing options you can think of are in there along with the ability to read Atari ST format files but the really nice feature of this package is the multiple looping.
Loads of loop points can be put in and songs can be created by playing each loop a number of times in whatever order. Really useful if you're putting together a twelve inch mix.
The sound quality seemed very good from the pre release version I heard and the whole package should cost but a couple of hundred pounds. Full review in the next issue.
Contact: Clares Micro Supplies (Contact Details)
New additions to this range are the GSP-100 guitar preamp/equaliser (£129), the MV-100 four into two mic/line mixer (£129), the A-100 50 watt stereo power amp (£179), the Q-100 two channel, seven band graphic equaliser (£109), the S-100 50 watt loudspeakers (£129) and the FX-500 multi-effects processor £349. In the pipe line for the British Music fair are several other products in this series including the TW-100 power supply which will power up to five of these units from one plug. Price £79.
Contact: Yamaha (Contact Details)
The ever present R.A Penfold has done it again! This time he turns his attentions to the world of Computers and Music. Published by PC Publishing, Computers and Music will be of help to any musician being tempted into the unfamiliar territory of micro based music.
The book explains the basics of computing (so no previous experience is necessary!), the types of music software available and how to set up your own computer music studio.
At a time when computers are becoming increasingly important to anyone in the world of music, this book will provide an essential guide to setting up a computer-based music making system that anyone can understand. And that can't be bad!
Contact: PC Publishing (Contact Details)
In the last issue you may remember we reviewed the Steinberg Twelve sequencing package.
What we forgot to mention is the fact the combined deal on the 1040 ST and Twelve is only available from Hugh Symons Distribution and the photo we used was from them.
Contact: Hugh Symons Distribution (Contact Details)
MGA SoftCat have recently announced Guitar Wizard - a computer program to help with learning to play the guitar.
The easy-to-use program uses graphic displays of the fretboard to help the guitarist learn the fingerings and fretboard patterns for all types of chords and scales.
As well as use for the novice, Guitar Wizard can also help the advanced player develop improvisational skills by analysing fretboard harmony and fingering patterns. The program can also be used with all types of fretted string instruments in standard and non-standard tunings.
You can change the tuning of any or all strings and get an instant analysis of the chord and scale patterns for that tuning. Any screen can be printed directly to your dot matrix printer for study away from the computer.
Guitar Wizard is available for the Apple Macintosh £32.95, Apple II £27.95, Commodore-64/Atari 800/XL/XE at £22.95 (prices include VAT)
Contact: MGA SoftCat, (Contact Details)
Latest additions to the extensive MCM software list include the following:
The Opcode Studio 3
Having just released their Vision software, Opcode have updated their hardware with the new Studio 3. The system follows up from the Studio plus 2 and is a rack-mountable Macintosh MIDI interface with two independant INs and six assignable OUTs. It also reads and writes SMPTE in any format, has optional foot controllers to punch-in, control tempo etc. At £349 it is well priced and probably the most comprehensive synchronisers available for the Mac.
Passport have followed up the success of their MIDI transport for the Mac with one for the Atari and the IBM. This will operate as a MIDI interface or as a stand alone MIDI/SMPTE synchronizer and also write all forms of SMPTE or generate its own variable FSK signal (compatible with PPS-1). At £275.00 this is a very comprehensive unit.
The Super Librarian
An offer from Pixel Publishing that could save you a fortune! It will store voices, bulk system dumps, sequences, drum machine patterns and effect patches.
It also allows you to build new banks and re-name voices fast. A wide range of devices are already supported and new ones are being added all the time.
The Proteus Editor
The imminent appearance of the Emu Proteus has pushed Opcode to release an editor/librarian. Full graphic display makes editing simple. Initially available on the Mac there will soon be a version for the Atari very shortly.
Contact: MCMXCIX (Contact Details)
Just as we were going to press we caught wind of a brand new micro which should be launched mid September.
The SAM Coupe is based around Z80 8 bit architecture but relies heavily on dedicated sound and graphics chips and has MIDI IN OUT and THRU as standard. The sound chip (a Philips SAA 1099) offers six channel stereo sound and can be programmed over eight octave.
The computer is expandable to 512K and will have slimline disk drives that slide in under the keyboard. The price? an attractive sounding £150. Needless to say MM will be looking with interest at this in the next ish.
Contact: Bruce Gordon (Contact Details)
BMG Records have been giving us glowing reports of the Husky Hawk handheld computer. For the last year the BMG salesforce have been trying out the computer and have reported that it has reduced time spent on paperwork by 90% and order processing from 5 days to 12 hours.
John McKeever, Sales Director of BMG, said "The music business is very fast moving, due mainly to rapid changes in customer demand. The last year has seen the emergence of CDs as the growing medium which has caused us certain production problems. They would have been insurmountable without the Hawks. Our sales force wouldn't be without them."
So, what's so good about the Husky Hawk? Well, the sales force enter details into the Husky Hawk. At home, they plug the handheld computer into a modem and all the information is sent to BMG's IBM computer for overnight processing and next day distribution.
Next morning, fresh journey plans for the day are displayed on the Hawk's large, clear LCD screen at the touch of a key, a second key press displays information on the dealers to be visited. 32 Husky Hawks are now being supplied for use by Arista and RCA strike forces.
In addition to this, they will also be equipped with Husky Sidebox printers to speed up the invoicing system and car stock records.
The Husky Hawk is available in various configurations with memory sizes up to 1.1 Megabytes.
Contact Husky Computers Ltd (Contact Details) or FTM Communications (Contact Details).
A hands-on learning forum for contemporary music and technology will be running at the University of East Anglia, Norwich from August 26-30.
The theme will be the exploration of the world of imagination (their words not ours!), which this technology makes possible. All styles of music will be studied and technical instruction will be given in all aspects of MIDI, as well as guidance in practical and aesthetic aspects of music making.
Tuition will be given by experts such as Dave Mattacks, Richard Orton, Adrian Lee, Bob Jenkins, Javier Alvarez and Denis Smalley.
Places will be limited to allow for the maximum hands-on experience, so make your application today!
Contact (Contact Details)
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