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Dispatches from the frontline of the future

Hue And Cry at the Scottish Music Show

Special guests Hue And Cry will be appearing at the Scottish Music Show on 11th September

The Scottish Music Show '93, the popular and prestigious music show for Scotland and the North of England, takes place on 11-12th September this year. The show, which allows visitors to discover what's new and best in the music industry, will be spread though four halls in the SECC Glasgow. Live Music Showcases are the highlight of the show with top artists performing various instruments and styles of music. Just announced is the news that pop-soulsters Hue And Cry will be appearing as special guests. The show will be open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday. Tickets cost £5 with a £1 concession for UB40s, OAPs and children under 10. For more information contact: Music Maker Exhibitions, (Contact Details)

An electronic orange

Peeling away sound with the GA904 Castle Orange

Attention club owners! Are you deaf or what? You've been playing your music too loud haven't you! Well, have a look at this - it's the GA904 Electronic Orange from Castle Associates. It's designed for use in night clubs where both employees, customers and neighbours are susceptible to high sound levels. The Orange is essentially a simple warning device that flashes if the sound level in the club goes above a preset level. Allowing the warning level to be exceeded for more than a certain time limit automatically cuts the power to the amplification equipment in a manner similar to normal mains power removal (so no equipment damage should occur). It's even fitted with an anti-tamper device to stop young ravers interfering and Castle see it as a means to stop clubs losing their entertainment licence. Well Def! For more information contact: Castle, (Contact Details)

Mozart could help you get a record deal

If you want to improve the look of your demo tapes to attract the attentions of A&R managers, you may be interested in getting help from Mozart - a transcription company now making their services directly available to musicians. They have set up 'demo to dots' to give demos a professional look. Part of the package also includes prepared leadsheets for melody line, guitar chords and lyrics straight from the demo. For more information contact Mozart, (Contact Details)

Banking on CD-ROM

Software Bank (Marketing) Ltd have come up with a new way to promote and sell software and music: the Software Select CD. This is a mixed-mode CD-ROM, which means that it contains a mix of CD audio tracks (playable on any CD player) and CD-ROM data tracks (playable only on a CD-ROM drive). Tracks 2-10 on the disc contain the music, featuring compete tracks from Indian Summer and God's Gift together with samplers off the latest album by Love Decade (all artists on the Total Records label), amounting to 25 minutes of music in total.

However, in addition to the music tracks, Software Select includes electronic brochures, hardware reviews, benchmark tests, free software, demos, working models, and encrypted (locked) full-featured software programs. The concept behind the locked programs is that buying a program buys you a 'key' to unlock the encryption and therefore give you access to the software - an idea that has been used before with, for instance, font CDs.

Comments Evros Starkis, A&R Director of Stradivaria UK: "With the diminishing sales for records, any opportunity to turn the tide in favour of increased sales must be good for the music industry. The explosion of CD-ROMs in the computer market provides unique opportunities for record companies and publishers alike. It will, for instance, open up opportunities in mail order; to get the consumer to buy records, what better way to entice them than by direct sales? CD-ROM is a great new promotional tool with a huge market waiting."

For more information on the Software Select CD-ROM, contact The Software Bank at (Contact Details).

Croydon's part-timers

Adding to a bumper crop of educational courses this month are part-time courses in Music Technology and Studio Recording at Solhurst Tertiary Centre (part of Croydon College) starting this September. The courses use a hands-on approach and are designed to enable participants to use their own equipment more effectively and be more useful to prospective employers. They are held in the college's 16-track recording studio which features sequencing on Apple and Atari computers. Each course consists of three independent terms forming a Croydon College Certificate. For more information contact: Croydon College, (Contact Details)

Multiple MIDI interfaces for PCs

Voyetra, who already have a range of MIDI interfaces available for PCs, have released new Windows 3.1 drivers for their range which when installed mean the user can control more than one interface at a time. This means that if, for example, two of their V24S interfaces (each with four MIDI outs) are connected, a total of eight MIDI outs is possible with the new drivers installed.

Also just released by Voyetra is a MIDI interface designed for PC parallel (printer) ports - the VP-11. This can be used for portable PCs which have no internal expansion card slots. The VP-11 costs £99.00. For more information contact: Computer Music Systems, (Contact Details)

Trantec reveal all at the Plasa

Trantec appear to be on a bit of a roll at the moment. Not only are they releasing new products and incorporating Shure capsules in existing ones, they're also selling bucketloads of their S1000 receivers - and we're giving one away in a competition this month (see page 20). Trantec are making a number of announcements at this year's Plasa show. The new Trantec S2000 is (he latest receiver in the Trantec range and is aimed at professional and semi-professional users in the music and leisure industries. The S2000 features Quartz control, two separate RF sections and can constantly monitor the received signal and switch between the two internal receivers to find the best one, thus avoiding normal interference. It is available as a lapel, hand-held, head-band or guitar system. From this September, Shure SM58 capsules will be available with all Trantec System hand held transmitters and be known as the 'Trantec Fifty Eight Wireless'. Trantec are also celebrating the 10,000th sale of the S1000 receiver at the show. For more information contact: Trantec, (Contact Details)

Electronica's 10th Birthday

The UK Electronica Future Age Music Festival (phew!) holds its tenth anniversary show on 26th September at the Shaw Theatre in Euston Road, London. Billed as the only regular event dedicated to live high tech, new age and computer music in the country, Electronica have in the past consistently pulled in artists from around the world. This year is no exception with attending luminaries including Richard Pinhas (the founder of French group Helden), Greek composer Ioanni and UK synthesists Paul Nagle and Michael Law. A host of high-technology musical equipment will feature and there will be a sophisticated light show with computer graphic projections and live video processing. There will also be a large selection of stalls selling CDs, cassettes and synth music publications. For more information contact: Amp Records, (Contact Details)

Novation's new baby

The mini MIDIcon from Novation

As the amount of music and multimedia software for the Mac and PC increases, Novation are to release the Midicon - a small MIDI controller keyboard that they say will complement any computer setup without being as intrusive or expensive as other MIDI keyboards. It has a full 2-octave keyboard that can be transposed over eight octaves and features a high resolution pitch and modulation wheel and an input for a sustain pedal. With alkaline batteries, Novation claim its battery life to be 250 hours; it can also be powered with an optional mains adaptor. Retail price is £84.99.

For more information contact: Novation, (Contact Details)

'Worlds smallest DAT player' from Sony

Can you see it? - the "world's smallest DAT player"

This month will see the release of a new DAT player from Sony that is billed as being the smallest ever. The reduced size is achieved by a new loading mechanism and the resulting player is not much larger than the smallest conventional Walkman. It features single-bit digital-to-analogue conversion and full remote-control headphones. It offers continuous replay of four hours with two AA size batteries, and retails for £249.99. For more information contact: Sony, (Contact Details)

Design your own editor

Screenshots from CP-Gen in action

A new software house, GRI-Soft, have released CP-Gen for the Atari ST which they claim allows you to design your own synthesiser editors for any MIDI-compatible instrument. Each editor is constructed using different types of controllers, which are configured to transmit the required MIDI messages. CP-Gen also has three types of receiving devices so you can design a MIDI monitor to look at activity in your MIDI link. Minimum requirements are some knowledge of MIDI and an Atari ST with 1Mb RAM. There is a demo available for £3 - the fully working version retails at £79.95. For more information contact: GRI-Soft, (Contact Details)

Aphex Twin ready to take on the world

Aphex Twin Richard is pleased with the deal

Richard James, electronics whizz-kid and Aphex Twin, has finally signed a 6-album deal with Warp which will see him promoted in the USA and Far East. The deal still gives James the freedom to release records on his own Rephlex label. The first fruits of the deal, the triple album Selected Ambient Works 2 will be released in October with a single and full worldwide tour to promote it.

For more information contact: Warp, (Contact Details)

Telephone number correction

In last month's MT we published an incorrect telephone number in the review of the Citronic SM650 mixer. The correct number for more information on the mixer is (Contact Details). Sorry!

Commodore's CD console

Now that the future for games software is widely perceived as lying in CD-ROM (what else?), the race is on to produce CD consoles which can combine leading-edge graphics capability with an affordable price - and the much-maligned Commodore have, it seems, left console giants Sega and Nintendo well behind.

The American computer company have launched the Amiga CD32, the world's first 32-bit CD console - and it retails for just £299.99. The likes of Gremlin, Millenium, Ocean Software, Psygnosis, Team 17, Mindscape, and Virgin Games are providing the all-important third-party software support. Titles will start at £19.99, while the average price of a disc will be £29.99.

The top-loading console, which is approximately A4-sized, comes with an 11-button 'joypad' for games operation. The internals of the machine, for those who like to know such things, consist of a Motorola 68020 processor, 2Mb of RAM, and the same AGA chipset used in Commodore's Amiga 1200 home computer. Like the 1200, the new console is capable of displaying 256,000 colours on screen from a total palette of 16.8 million, making it far superior to any existing games CD player. It can play audio CDs and CD+ Graphics discs, too.

The console also has a built-in operating system (the Amiga's 'Workbench'), allowing it to be expanded into a fully-functioning computer. And expandability of another kind is built in which will allow it to play FMV (Full Motion Video) off disc, using the recently-agreed MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) video compression standard. Is there anything it can't do?

If you're reading this and thinking "What the hell has this got to do with me as a musician?": WISE UP! CD-ROM-based games are opening up a whole new demand For music - and we're not talking plinky-plonk computer soundchips here. Think in terms of fully-fledged games soundtracks and you should start to get the picture. Then think about how vast the games market is and picture yourself as an in-demand games soundtrack composer.

If you need more convincing, turn immediately to this month's feature on Hex (p.46).

For more information on the Amiga CD32, contact Commodore at (Contact Details).

What is it? A guitar, a keyboard, a computer? No - it's the C2P2

The new instrument pitch

At the NAMM show this year a 'new family' of electronic musical instruments was demonstrated. Called 'Constantly Changing Polyphonic Pitch', the instruments are known as C2P2s for short. The developers, Corrigan Marketing, say the instruments are capable of varying simultaneous pitch in a way vocal groups naturally sing, in a way composers conceive overall chord movements, and in other ways previously denied to musicians - simultaneous pitchbend up and down by varying intervals without limit is allowed. The instruments are being aimed at all sorts of musicians - from classical to rock. MIDI Mode 4 processing is also included so that each individual note can be processed with a separate DSP chip before being mixed. Combined with the C2P2, the effects occur in sync with the musician's hand and finger movements. The makers have had 53 claims granted by the US patent office so there must be something new here! Watch this space for further details...

For more information contact: Corrigan Marketing, (Contact Details)

Gateway to the UK

Students at Gateway get to grips with the facilities

As educational courses in music technology appear daily, Gateway, now one of the veterans in the field, are expanding their operation to cover more areas within the UK. They are setting up regional centres in schools and colleges around the country, making the short intensive courses that Gateway are famous for more accessible to those people unable to travel to London. The first four establishments that have elected to be Gateway Regional Centres are Fareham Tertiary College in Hampshire, Halesowen College in the West Midlands, Essex County Music Centre and Northampton School for Boys. The first course on offer is a one week introduction to multitrack recording. The course will run for one week in each establishment starting in October this year. For more information contact: Gateway, The School of Music, (Contact Details)

New from E-mu

With the release of the Sound Engine Music Module, E-mu Systems are the latest in a growing number of hi-tech music companies to bring out a budget 'computer music' package. SEMM bundles together a General MIDI sound module, a copy of Opcode's EZ Vision software, and a special version of Opcode's librarian software EditOne - all for £549 including VAT.

The GM module is 32-voice polyphonic and contains two banks of "Proteus-type" sounds, together with user RAM and digital effects processing. E-mu are planning to bring out a similar PC-based package, and are currently discussing with Steinberg the possibility of using Cubase Lite with a special setup editor and librarian.

Upcoming from E-mu is a new sound module of a rather different kind. Although outwardly it resembles the company's popular Vintage Keys unit, it's more concerned with generating new sounds than with recreating old ones. Morpheus, as the new unit is known, incorporates a innovative 3D interpolation-filter system which has been labelled 'Z-Plane' synthesis.

Using a set of eight 14-pole filters, Morpheus allows sounds to be 'morphed' from one timbre into another using real-time interpolation between filter frames - the aural equivalent of video morphing! You'll have to wait a bit before you can get your hands on one, however - E-mu are talking about an October release date.

For more information, contact E-mu Systems Ltd at (Contact Details).

CD-ROM for the masses?

CD-ROM drives have reached a new low - in price, that is - with the latest price cut announced by Silica Systems, distributor of the Mitsumi CD-ROM drive for PC-compatible computers. Previously costing over £160 plus VAT, the Mitsumi drive can now be bought for just £149 plus VAT.

Silica are also offering two packages based around the Mitsumi, one consisting of the drive, interface card and Kodak's PhotoCD title Kodak Access for £179 plus VAT, and the other consisting of the same hardware together with Micrographx Graphic Works software and a 10,000-image clip art library for £199 plus VAT.

The astute among you will have gathered that the Mitsumi drive supports Kodak's PhotoCD format. What this means in practice is that you can take a roll of 35mm film along to a processing bureau (Boots, for example) and have your pictures transferred onto a CD-ROM disc for viewing on your computer monitor and within various software applications.

Importantly, the Mitsumi drive is multi-session compatible. A single CD-ROM can hold roughly 100 Kodak PhotoCD images; a multi-session drive means that you don't have to have 100 images transferred onto the disc at one time - pictures can be added to the disc at different transfer 'sessions'.

Silica Systems can be contacted at (Contact Details).

Repairing on Cue

It's 2am and you're just about to finish recording your latest masterpiece when a piece of vital equipment blows up. Who you gonna call? Cue Pro-Audio. They're a new company dedicated to the demands of repairing audio equipment in any situation. They say they will travel anywhere at anytime to treat an afflicted instrument, amp or system. The company is run by Danny Kitainik and Gareth Magennis who have both been in the industry for some years. They offer a 24-hour emergency call-out service as well as in-house facilities. They claim to repair anything - amps, synthesisers, computers, outboard gear, tape recorders and mixing desks - but not personal hi-fis! More information from: Cue, (Contact Details)

The optical-drive question

Direct-to-disk recording with optical drives from Sabre

Are optical drives fast enough to be used in direct-to-disk recording? In last month's MT, Ian Waugh, in his article 'The Hard Edge', implied they weren't. In response to this, DAR have sent a brochure on their Sabre system - an Optical Disk Digital Audio Workstation that they claim has "a better performance than many competing systems". DAR use the latest 5.25" optical drives - which are faster than conventional drives - in their 8-channel system. Applications include dialogue editing, effects preparation, commercial and music production and short TV, film and radio productions. Watch out for a review in MT soon. For more information contact: DAR, (Contact Details).

Audio goes multimedia

It's a sign of the times if ever there was one: the 95th Audio Engineering Society convention is taking as its theme this year "Audio in the Age of Multimedia". Explains convention chairman Leonard Feldman: "It is becoming impossible to consider audio as its own specialty. The buzzwords of home theatre, multimedia, HDTV and desktop video all involve audio as an essential element along with video and computers. As a result, this slogan was selected to reflect a convention theme that places audio in the context of many new and emerging integrated technologies."

Multimedia papers to be presented will deal with synchronisation in multimedia applications, and future human interfaces for computer-controlled sound systems. The convention's workshop/seminar series is set to include technical representatives from Apple, Silicon Graphics, Aware, Microsoft, IBM and Philips - illustrating just how far the AES convention is straying beyond its traditional audio brief.

In addition, the AES's largest exhibit floor ever will host a record number of computer and multimedia manufacturers, who will be launching their products in the audio marketplace for the very first time.

The AES Convention will take place at the Jacob J Kavits Centre in New York from October 7-10 this year.

For more information contact Fran Dyn on (Contact Details) or Martin Porter on (Contact Details).

Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll - the pictures

Rock'n'roll lifestyles: the truth

Ever wanted to see your favourite stars in a less than favourable light? The Complete Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll is a collection of photographs of rock and pop stars in various states of intoxication, euphoria, undress and...well, any other embarrassing state you can think of. It's the third in a series of Sex & Drugs books from Omnibus Press. For more information contact: Omnibus Press, Book Sales/Music Sales Ltd, (Contact Details)

European Multimedia Yearbook: special offer!

OK, so you read our review of the European Multimedia Yearbook 93 last month and you frantically scanned the pages of 'Scanners' looking for the special offer and... well, it wasn't there, was it? In our defence we plead a frenetic production schedule, late nights and caffeine daze... Let's have another go, shall we?

So impressed were we with the European Multimedia Yearbook 93 (see review in last month's 'End Product') that not only has it taken up residence on our reference-work bookshelf, but we've managed to secure a one-month special offer price exclusively for MT readers. Until the end of October '93 you can buy the Yearbook from compilers Multimedia Ventures for £60 instead of its usual price of £75 - that's a full £15 off! For anyone serious about investigating multimedia, desktop video et al the Yearbook is an invaluable and unbeatable source of information.

Note: please add £6 postage and packing per copy (UK), £10 p&p per copy (Europe), and £15 p&p per copy (airmail outside Europe) to the cost of the Yearbook when filling out your cheque.

Non-UK readers please pay either by a cheque drawn on a British bank or by Direct Bank Transfer to the Multimedia Ventures bank account at: (Contact Details).

Clip out the form below and send it together with your cheque, made payable to 'Multimedia Ventures', to: Multimedia Ventures, (Contact Details)

Previous Article in this issue

In the first place

Next article in this issue

Factory Records

Music Technology - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.


Music Technology - Sep 1993


Previous article in this issue:

> In the first place

Next article in this issue:

> Factory Records

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