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PC Notes

Article from Sound On Sound, July 1993

Brian Heywood brings back news of the latest soft and hardware from the Multimedia Show.

We are well into exhibition season now and this month your intrepid PC columnist has been busy checking out the Multimedia Show at Earls Court. There were lots of stands showing flashy video products as well as various authoring systems, plus stands from multimedia production companies and CD-ROM distributors. On the sound and music side, Roland and Westpoint Creative had stands on which they were showing some new products.


Roland were showing their new RAP-10 multimedia sound card which should be available in the shops next month. The card is based on the same technology used in their Sound Canvas and pro-audio sampling product ranges. The synthesizer section is fully GM compatible, with 26-note polyphony, and has six drum kit setups. Like the Sound Blaster 16, the MIDI port is compatible with their MPU-401 standard in UART mode, so you may need to check that your particular software will work with it before buying. Other features include an analogue mixer for combining the wave, synthesizer outputs and auxiliary/microphone input, a joystick port and software for waveform editing, sequencing and playback. One feature unique to the RAP-10 is that the reverb and chorus effects available for the synthesizer can also be applied to the digital audio output. The card will retail for just under £500; contact Rob Hazelton at Roland for more details ((Contact Details)).


Westpoint Creative were showing a late beta of their MPC MIDI sequencer. Midisoft Studio now notates your performance in real time and allows you to print out the tracks as separate parts, transposed if necessary. One interesting feature is the inclusion of a MIDI DLL, which appears to allow you to add MIDI capabilities to your own Windows applications. The new version of Midisoft Studio should be available sometime this month and will cost £179. For more details contact Westpoint Creative on (Contact Details).


For those interested in designing and installing studios, Shuttlesound have just released their ShuttleCAD system. The software allows you to draw block schematics, rack and building layouts, custom metalwork and even helps you prepare sales presentations. The basic software costs £760, with additional modules for designing racks (£35), sales presentations (£70) and disks containing manufacturer's product range details (£25 to £35 each). You can also subscribe to their data service which keeps you up to date as manufacturers add modules to their product ranges. For more information contact Rob Robinson on (Contact Details).


Howling Dog Systems — the people who produce the innovative Power Chords sequencer — have branched out into kids software. Mr Drumstix' Music Studio is what's known as 'edutainment' software and is designed to provide your child with the means to explore the world of music. The program has a number of characters that personalise the instruments, with Mr Drumstix, Ms Florida Keys and Guitar George — I'll let you work out who plays what! This looks like a fun program and might be a good way of easing children into the world of music. Howling Dog products are distributed in this country by Digital Music on (Contact Details).


There is a new version of Wave for Windows which is a sample editor for Windows WAV files. The main improvements are in the tools available to process the digital audio, which adds both the ability to equalise and to add sound effects such as chorus, reverb and echo effects. Wave also now has over 100 presets to make editing with the more programmable tools easier. The WaveQ presets are for use in Wave's four-band parametric equaliser and the EFX Clips presets apply to the Digital Delay, Reverb, Flange, Auto Stutter, and Distort tools. Other improvements include the addition of a 'normalisation' tool — which boosts the waveform's level so that it takes full advantage of the dynamic range of your sound card — and improvements in Wave's compatibility with some sound card drivers. The software also now supports the Microsoft ADPCM file compression format, which can reduce the sound file size by a factor of four. Wave for Windows is distributed by MCM; call Jason Kranzler on (Contact Details) if you want more information.


Brian Heywood has a Masters from the Music Department of City University and has been using PCs professionally in audio production for longer than he cares to remember. He is also co-author of the PC Music Handbook which is available from the SOS Bookshop and is a technical consultant to the UK MIDI Association. Brian can be contacted via email on CIX as brianh@cix or on PAN as BRIANHEYWOOD.

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Publisher: Sound On Sound - SOS Publications Ltd.
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Sound On Sound - Jul 1993



Feature by Brian Heywood

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