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Shape Of Things To Come

Regular round-up of what's new in the world of hi-tech music and recording.


Allen & Heath's new Spectrum console brings the company's range of mute-automated range of recording desks down to a significantly lower price level. The standard configurations for the Spectrum are 16-8-16, 24-8-16 and 32-8-16 and prices start at under £3,000 + VAT. The split-format console can be expanded by adding an optional 8-input module. All inputs are available on remix, ie. 32 on a 16-8-16 configuration. Full EQ is available on all channels and monitors.

Both VU and bar-graph meters are available, and the MIDI Mute Processor is the same as that found on the Saber and Sigma consoles, allowing muting of channels, aux masters, stereo returns and monitor returns (line or tape). Each channel has a direct output, insert point, stereo cue and four mono aux sends, PFL/solo in place, and individually switched phantom powering. EQ consists of switched LF and HF sections, with a swept mid band and a switched LF cut filter.

Thatched Cottage Audio, (Contact Details).


Looking for the ultimate in portable hi-fi monitoring? Well, Cambridge SoundWorks' Model 11 (£499) is to a pair of those dinky Walkman speakers what an F16 is to a paper glider. The system consists of a 3-channel integrated amplifier and two small 2-way satellite loudspeakers, all of which can be packed away inside the BassCase, a combined attache-style carrying case and portable woofer. The BassCase also contains a cutout in the interior foam for a portable CD or DAT player. The whole system weighs in at just 23lbs.

The amp's output is rated at 36 watts RMS, and it can operate worldwide on 110 or 220V AC, or from 12V DC. Its three inputs are for tape, CD and aux. The satellite and bass speakers are powered separately in a bi-amped configuration.

The Model 11 was designed by Henry Koss (who also conceived the KLH Model 11 "stereo phonograph in a suitcase" in the early 60s, of which the new Model 11 might be considered a CD-age equivalent) as a system that was both portable enough to take on holiday, yet of sufficiently high quality to do justice to his favourite classical CDs.

Cambridge SoundWorks UK, (Contact Details).


Korg will be showing three new effects units at this month's Namm show. The A5 (£225) comes in three versions: the A5GR for guitar, the A5B for bass, and the A5FX multieffects processor for keyboards etc. All are 16-bit/44.1kHz foot-controlled units offering five simultaneous effects in 30 Programs (25 preset, 5 user), and the choice of effects is tailored to a specific instrument or role in each of the three variants The A2 (£850) is a 1U rackmount signal processor based on the existing A3. It now offers 97 chains of effects (which can be used in 100 Programs) and full stereo operation. Finally, the A1 (£1,375) is a 2U rackmount unit aimed squarely at the professional market. Conversion is 16-bit/48kHz, and balanced XLRs are provided for input and output. Processing is stereo throughout, and you can define your own chains of seven effects (in any order) which can be used in 100 Programs.

Korg UK, (Contact Details).


The US-made strap-on Lync LN1000 remote controller keyboard (£599) is now available in the UK. The LN1000, which seems to be the only product of its kind on the market (now that posing with a keyboard round your neck has gone out of fashion somewhat), offers velocity and aftertouch sensitivity, on a 49-note keyboard. 128 Patches can be programmed, defining MIDI Channel, Program Number, Velocity Response, Transposition, Volume, Mod Wheel Assignment and Aftertouch Assignment (both Mod Wheel and Aftertouch can be assigned to any MIDI controller). The performance controls consist of a reversible pitchbend wheel, mod wheel and a MIDI volume control.

Argents, (Contact Details).


New from Peavey is the MIDI Master (£299), an 8-in 8-out MIDI data processor. The eight inputs can be assigned to any or all of the outputs, or either of two independent internal processors. These processors can generate MIDI data of their own (from rear panel footpedal inputs or the front panel rotary data entry control) as well as processing incoming MIDI data. Filters are available on output, to remove the following types of data: Note On/Off; Aftertouch; Control Change; Program Change; Pitch Bend; System Common; System Real Time; All Notes Off.

The processor functions are: Map and Transpose; Filtering (as above); Compander; Velocity Switching; MIDI Channel Switching; two continuous controller inputs. One of the processors also has a delay facility.

Peavey Electronics, (Contact Details).


Soundcraft have announced a new range of high-quality mixers at very competitive prices — at the top of the Spirit range is a 24-track recording console which retails at under £2,800. The non-modular range consists of Spirit Studio and Spirit Live consoles, aimed respectively at the recording and PA markets.

The Spirit Studio consoles are in-line designs suitable for 8 to 24-track recording, and two frame sizes are available: 16-8-2 (£1,898.65) and 24-8-2 (£2,738.15). In mixdown mode, the monitor inputs double as extra line inputs. This gives 48 mixdown inputs on the 24-channel unit, and the four stereo effects returns add another eight, making a total of 56 inputs. Each of the input channels has a 4-band EQ section with fixed LF and HF controls and two swept frequency mid bands. The EQ section can be split between the two signal paths, by assigning the LF and HF filters to the monitor path.

There are six auxiliary busses, configured as one prefade foldback and two post-fade aux sends from each of the two channel signal paths. All foldback and auxiliary sends can be monitored and metered via the AFL buttons. The four stereo effects returns each have a 2-band EQ section.

There are three Spirit Live consoles: 8-3 (£615.25), 16-3 (£1,052.25), 24-3 (£1,527.20). The extra mono output alongside the main stereo faders can be used as an independent mono channel, or it can carry a sum of the L and R stereo signals, a Mowing mixing for an L-C-R PA configuration. An optional expander unit (£430) can be added to the two smaller frame sizes, adding eight more input channels. All channels have variable gain on the line input, a high-pass filter to cut stage rumble, 3-band EQ (fixed HF and two swept mid bands) and four aux sends (two pre-fade and two post-fade). Optional rackmount ears are available for the 8-3 frame.

Soundcraft Electronics Ltd, (Contact Details).


MIDI data analysis is a task most often handled by software, but for those who want a hardware tool for their MIDI troubleshooting, the Datastream MIDI Viewport (£99) could be just the thing. The unit decodes incoming data and displays it in plain English on an LCD matrix. The data is also shown in hex and decimal form, and you can scroll back and forth within the last 64 bytes of data received. All data passes through the unit unaffected.

Digisound, (Contact Details).


The best of old and new technology are combined in AKG's up-market K1000 reference headphones (£499), which effectively float studio-quality monitors beside your ears. The idea of an 'open' construction, holding the earphones away from the ear, is that it eliminates the resonances of the air volume within conventional designs and ensures a more natural stereo perspective — the headphones are more comfortable too.

The dynamic transducers in the K1000 (which should be driven from the loudspeaker outputs of an amp) employ a radial magnet for maximum acoustic openness, and the diaphragm itself is coated with a varnish popular amongst 16th and 17th century violin makers, which apparently suppresses partial vibrations throughout the 20Hz-22kHz frequency range. The swivelling earphones are held away from the ear by a leather headband and small cushions that rest against the temples. Sounds promising, but does it all work? A resounding 'yes' seems to be the answer from those who've tried the headphones, which by all accounts really are quite outstanding.

AKG Acoustics, (Contact Details)

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Sound On Sound - Copyright: SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.


Sound On Sound - Feb 1991

Donated by: Bert Jansch / Adam Jansch


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