This month's glimpse over the horizon
Listeners to BBC Radio 3 are invited to Byte The Music in February with a program hosted by Jesus Jones' Mike Edwards, who'll be chewing over the vexed subject of how digital technology is affecting music.
Running from Monday 7th February to Friday 18th February (5.00pm-5.15pm), the program will cover styles from pop to world music to classical, and joining Mike will be such luminaries as Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Wendy Carlos, Anne Dudley and Jez from Utah Saints. Written by former Rockschool drummer Geoff Nicholls and produced by Charlotte Blofeld, the program demonstrates how computer technology is revolutionising music of all styles, how it is undermining conventional ideas of what music is, and how it affects the teaching and performance of music. Coverage is also given to the composition process, copyright and the bridges which link us to world music.
The TG300 is the new 2U halfrack size module from Yamaha and joins the existing family of AWM tone modules.
Featuring 16-part multitimbrality and 32-note polyphony, it conforms to General MIDI standard and has a waveform ROM of 6Mb containing almost 200 waveforms. Voices can be selected from any of the 456 preset sounds and 128 editable sounds, and assigned to any of the reverb, chorus or variation parameters.
The TG300 features a computer interface allowing direct connection to a PC compatible or Apple Mac, and Yamaha will be making available their new MIDI Quest range of editors for the Atari, PC and Mac.
The TG300 should be available from February (watch out for a review in next month's MT) at a suggested selling price of £649 including VAT. More from: Yamaha-Kemble, (Contact Details).
AMG have announced the release of a specially priced CD-ROM featuring all the samples from their two 'Now'-series CDs: Now That's What I Call Sampling! and the forthcoming Now 2: The Future (scheduled for release sometime in February or March) - plus bonus samples unavailable elsewhere. Now CD-ROM is available in all formats from AMG for £50 inc. VAT. More from: AMG, (Contact Details).
The MIDI, Electronic Music and Recording Show is taking place at the Wembley Conference and Exhibition centre this year, on the 22-24th April. Admission to the exhibition costs £8, or £5 in advance, and the seminars are free of charge to all visitors. The seminar program running throughout the event will cover all aspects of music technology and multimedia, providing visitors with the opportunity to discover more about technology at first hand.
Information centres and advice clinics will form part of the seminars, allowing you to put your questions (and complaints!) to the experts and manufacturers. The exhibition will also be the showcase for new products in the UK, following their unveilings at the Frankfurt and NAMM (USA) fairs, including a demonstration of the new VL1 from Yamaha. For further information, contact: Westminster Exhibitions, (Contact Details).
Jamo have just launched the SW8 bass reflex subwoofer with compact Jamo Sidekicks speakers. Designed for smaller systems, the SW8 boasts two 4" woofers each capable of handling 60W RMS and covering a frequency range of 50-200Hz. Impedance is 8 Ohms, and the unit is finished in black with a retail price of £149.99. Complementing the SW8, the Sidekick speakers are also finished in black and are made out of die-cast plastic with built-in mounting brackets which allow them to be positioned anywhere. They feature 3 1/4" woofers and have a quoted frequency range of 100Hz-20kHz with a power rating of 35 Watts RMS and are said to deliver a rich and precise sound. For further information, (Contact Details).
In keeping up with the increasing demand for PC MIDI software and hardware, Arbiter have just launched the Key MP128 MIDI Interface. Offering eight fully-independent MIDI Outs, the device connects to the parallel port of any PC, and is designed to be used in conjunction with a card interface (such as the MPU-401 or Soundblaster), giving your PC a total 144 MIDI channels!
The Key MP128 is priced £175 inc. VAT. More from Arbiter Pro MIDI, (Contact Details).
Two new PC MIDI interfaces, this time by Mark Of The Unicorn, have also been released into this expanding market. MIDI Express PC is a 1U 19" rackmount that connects to the computer via an expansion card and parallel cable, both of which are provided. It features six MIDI Ins and six MIDI Outs, as well as a SMPTE generator/reader. All of the six outputs are independent - providing up to 96 MIDI channels - and compatibility with a wide range of software is ensured by emulation of the standard MPU-401 type interface.
The second is the MIDI Express PC Notebook, which connects directly to the serial port of a portable PC, providing sequencing on the move. The Notebook version has all the functions of the regular MIDI Express PC, but with only four MIDI inputs instead of six. Both units are supplied complete with Console - a software utility running under windows that provides an easy, graphic way to configure MIDI connections and SMPTE settings.
Incidentally, you can check out our review of the MIDI Express for the Apple Mac in this very issue.
Both the MIDI Express PC and the Notebook version cost £379 inc. VAT. More from: Sound Technology, (Contact Details).
OK, OK... before you get hot under the collar, Claire is the new personal music coach software from Opcode Systems, designed to give musicians a 'non-tiring aid' for their instrument and vocal training.
The program records, analyses and presents in a visual form the user's progress in fundamental musical skills such as ear training, sightreading and music theory, as well as telling you, via the Mac's internal microphone, how far out of tune your singing or playing is! For more information about Claire contact: MCM, (Contact Details).
The Roland MT-120 is a new Standard MIDI File and ISM (Intelligent System of Music) data player ideal for musicians who wish to practise their skills. The MT-120 achieves this by automatically converting SMF sequence data into the ISM format in real-time, thus making available the "many unique playing functions and practice simulations that ISM data is capable of reproducing". These include the ability to practise pieces of music over and over again at the user's own speed by marking and looping sections, or muting different instruments or parts.
The MT-120 incorporates external stereo outputs with level control to accommodate both keyboard or guitar level inputs, as well as the ability to record songs up to 42,000 events long.
The Roland MT-120 costs £795 inc. VAT. For further information contact: Roland UK, (Contact Details).
Following the launch of the RAP-10, 16-bit sampling, GM-compatible sound card, Roland have announced a new professional sound editing software package called Audio Toolworks. It offers comprehensive editing of sample wave data (WAV) and Standard MIDI Files (SMF), and features playback in mono, stereo and independent 2-track modes at different sampling rates up to 44.1 KHz.
Audio Toolworks also includes an 18-track mixer page for use with 16 GM and two digital sound sources, with independent control of level, pan, effects send, muting, as well as a host of professional features like independent 2-track editing, scrub editing and 'non-destructive editing'.
When combined, the RAP-10 and Audio Toolworks offer a powerful sound editing and recording facility to PC owners. Both sound card and ATW will be available in an all-in-one pack called the ATW-10 (see review in this issue), retailing at £449 including VAT.
For more information, contact: Roland UK, (Contact Details).
The new JamMan digital sampler from Lexicon is now available from Stirling Audio. It offers an entirely new method of creative sampling and employs a cleverly-designed interface with useful functions that make it fast and easy to use - ideal, in fact, for live applications. Sample record or playback can be triggered using a front panel switch, foot controller or by an input level audio trigger.
For more Information and a free brochure, contact Stirling Audio Systems, (Contact Details).
Bigboxpowders have announced their arrival in no uncertain terms, claiming that their team - accomplished computer graphicists Jon Bowen and Katherine Szuminska are "ablaze with bright ideas about music and video and technology and all that shit."
BBP admit to using computer graphics to convey the linages of music but... "don't subscribe to that duckspeak about 'closer interaction between visuals and music'". The team have already released a promo for APL entitled 'The Calling' (Beyond Records) and are set to release a full visualisation of Laurent Gamier's track 'Go To Sleep'.
With an estimated 70% of major label income coming from back-catalogue sales, BBC also pose the question, "what will the future be like if that figure is allowed to rise to 90% or 100%?" The words 'safe' and 'predictable' immediately spring to mind. See also Thomas Dolby, page 36. Find out more by faxing BBC on (Contact Details).
VideoLogic has recently made new changes to MediaSpace, its leading digital media adaptor, with major enhancements to its multimedia control software to record and play back from CD-ROM, added support for Microsoft Video for Windows and a new MediaSpace Playback board. The new software release now extends MediaSpace beyond the limitations of digital video by providing a better development environment and tools for multimedia applications.
VideoLogic's range of MediaSpace and DVA-4000 boards provide a 'complete solution' for digital video authoring and playback on the PC. Also released is a playback version which delivers full screen, full motion colour movies with CD-quality audio. For more information, contact: VideoLogic Limited, (Contact Details).
Denon have released a new twin cassette deck that features dual outputs to allow the machine to function as two independent cassette decks. The DK-770R also features Dolby B, C and HX Pro noise reduction systems as well as simultaneous recording, high-speed dubbing and pitch control. For more information contact: Hayden Laboratories Ltd., (Contact Details).
The Islington Music Workshop are running another Sound Engineering course on the 14th-16th February, by popular demand.
For more details and a prospectus for this course and others, contact: The Islington Music Workshop, (Contact Details).
The Empty Quarter, a newly-established label, has released the first in a series of companions to their 'bible of industrial music' magazine Music From The Empty Quarter.
Now in book form, it features exclusive interviews and a CD of unreleased material from the likes of Lagowski, Blackhouse and Solar Enemy.
More from: T.E.Q. Music, (Contact Details).
Novation announce the release of BassStation, joining their portable, battery-operated keyboards, but with an added twist - the sound generation is analogue!
Not dissimilar to the mm-10 controller keyboard with two octaves and full-size keys, it has in addition a wealth of brightly blue coloured knobs. It includes a 12dB/24dB per octave cut-off selector switch in the filter section, which enables emulations of analogue modules like the ever popular Roland TB303, and the classic fat, punchy sounds of a Minimoog. Another feature included is MIDI compatibility (which eliminates the necessity for a retrofit which virtually doubles the size of the actual module!). The MIDI spec allows for real-time transmission and reception of the Filter and Envelope sections. The BassStation analogue synthesiser will be available from UK dealers from the end of January, and will have a recommended retail price of £349.99. For more information contact: Novation Electronic Music Systems Ltd., (Contact Details).
Millenium (in Nottingham) now stock and demonstrate one of the very latest digital recording systems for the PC - Software Audio Workshop. With four stereo tracks and real-time non-destructive editing/mixing, plus the ability to sync to a sequencer on the same PC via a Music Quest MQX-32M, the system is claimed to represent a considerable step forward for those who wish to get into digital recording on the PC, but have so far found the cost prohibitive. SAW also has the advantage of compatibility with Turtle Beach Multisound, Pro Media XA16 Audio Canvas, Digital Audio Labs CardD, and Creative Lab's Soundblaster Pro 16 range.
Incidentally, Millenium are currently demonstrating Steinberg's Cubase Audio for the Atari Falcon 030, so this could be the golden opportunity to compare both systems.
Software Audio Workshop is priced at £579 and Cubase Audio for the Falcon is £699. For more details, or to arrange a demonstration, call Rick on (Contact Details).
The Full Motion video module for the Amiga CD32 launched mid-January will transform the machine into a formidable home entertainment package. The new module allows the CD32 console to play 74 minutes of video from one 5" CD.
Obvious applications would be in movies and music videos, both of which have already been produced as FMV discs. At 25 to 30 frames per second, the picture quality of the FMV discs is actually superior to VHS format, and the sound is apparently of CD quality.
The technology behind the MPEG1 is based on the Video CD standard for linear full motion video agreed upon by major players in the industry - including Commodore, JVC, Philips, Sony, Matsushita and Paramount. The CD32 will play any MPEG1 disc.
Computer games publishers are apparently also interested in the new medium and there are already 30 games titles available with a further 30 more on the verge of release. The machine can also play audio CDs and yes... karaoke discs.
For further information, contact: Commodore Business Machines, (Contact Details).
HHB recently announced the launch of their new range of portable DAT recorders. The PDR1000 is a professional portable DAT machine designed to meet the demands of location sound recording applications. Just the thing for those 'in the field' sample collecting trips to far-flung corners of the globe.
The recorder boasts a wealth of features including 44.1KHz, 48KHz and 32KHz selectable sampling rates, balanced XLR Mic/Line inputs, AES/EBU/SPDIF digital I/Os and 48V phantom powering.
In addition to the PDR1000, HHB have also launched the PDR1000TC, a DAT player with timecode facilities. It is equipped to 'jam sync', convert Absolute Time to timecode and to record, generate and reference to time code in all existing international standards.
HHB claim that "despite its higher specification, the PortaDAT PDR1000TC is priced considerably lower than its closest rival". If you want to find out just how considerable the lower price is, contact: HHB Communications Ltd, (Contact Details).
The Institute of CyberArts is compiling a directory of amateur and professional sound and vision productions using computers and synthesisers.
Listings in the CyberArts Sound & Vision Directory will include:
News by Danny McAleer
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