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Shape Of Things To Come

Yet another selection of recently announced new products to whet your appetite!


Plasmec Systems will present their new pro quality ADAS hard disk recording and editing system at the forthcoming MIDI Music Show. Plasmec say that the low cost system will bring professional direct to disk recording within the reach of ordinary musicians for the first time; ADAS offers 16-bit linear stereo recording at 44.1 kHz and 48kHz.

The ADAS hardware is housed in a compact box which connects between an Atari ST and a hard disk drive. The main attraction of the ST-based system is its price — under £2000 for a complete 10 minute system — but it also offers the ability to run concurrently with a sequencer. ADAS itself places minimal demands on the ST's processor, because the computer has only to control the hard disk, so a MIDI sequencer can run at the same time. Another benefit of the low processor demands is that ADAS will work with any ST, even an unmodified 520. A free desk accessory allows control of stereo recording and playback by allowing MIDI data from a sequencer to trigger ADAS.

DAC, (Contact Details).


Deltron have launched a range of audio/video multi-pole connectors which they claim are the world's most advanced. The 7000 series contains panel sockets and plugs in 3, 4, and 5-contact versions, with an interesting colour coding feature. A selection of easy to fit and remove coloured rings simply clip on to the free cable plug or socket. There is also a selection of push-in coloured identifiers for the panel sockets.

Another benefit of the 7000 series is the squeeze release clip, which enables the plugs and sockets to be quickly disconnected via a push-down device.

Deltron Components, (Contact Details).


Audio Technica have announced two CD accessories: a CD lens cleaner, and a set of damping/light absorbing rings. The CD lens cleaner consists of a disc carrying eight small brushes in a spiral configuration — cleaning is achieved by moistening the inner brush with cleaning fluid and 'playing' the disc for 10 seconds. A major manufacturer of CD transports has indicated that lens contamination (from volatile lubricants in CD players, smoke etc.) is an important factor in long-term CD performance deterioration.

The damping rings, which come in packs of five, are thin green rubber rings not unlike small bicycle tyres — the idea is that they absorb stray laser light, mechanically damp the disc, protect the disc edges and add peripheral flywheel mass.

Audio Technica, (Contact Details).


Digitech have extended their range of digital signal processors with several new models. At the top of the range, the DSP256 has been superceded by the DSP256XL (£399), which features improved reverb and chorusing effects from that of its predecessor. The 24 different effects on offer are: Stereo, Ping-pong, Multi-tap and Slapback Delays; Digital Sub and Output Mixers; Chorus; Large/Small Room, Gated, Reverse and Ultimate Reverb; Flange; Programmable Mixing; 9-band Graphic and 3-band Parametric EQs; Low-pass Filter. Up to four effects can be used at once, in 128 preset factory and 128 user programs.

The DSP16 (£269) is a new studio stereo effects processor with 128 preset factory programs that combine 16 different reverb and delay effects with varying decay and delay times. A 3-band EQ allows instant live tailoring of the sound to your requirements, and there are also front panel controls for effect mix, input level and output level.

Also new is the GSP21 Pro (£749), a development of the GSP21 guitar multi-effects processor that features presets written by 17 top name guitarists — so you really can sound like Steve Vai at the touch of a button. Other contributors include Ted Nugent, Steve Lukather and Brad Gillis.

John Hornby Skewes & Co., (Contact Details).


The LXP15 is the latest addition to Lexicon's range of digital effects, coming in somewhere above the LXP1 and LXP5 in terms of both price and features. The new multieffects processor provides 128 preset effects programs and 128 user programs, all with 27 variable parameters.

Lexicon's Dynamic MIDI offers live remote control over all effects parameters from any MIDI controller, and MIDI controller maps can be created globally or for individual patches. One respect in which the LXP15 offers a clear advantage over the LXP1 and LXP5 is in its user interface; the new unit has an informative LCD display to facilitate editing.

Stirling Audio Systems, (Contact Details).


BBE have produced a plug-in module version of their single-channel Sonic Maximizer to retrofit any TOA 900 series power amp. The BBE 701 aims to correct the phase and amplitude distortion inherent in dynamic loudspeakers; by controlling these parameters, BBE claim to be able to accurately reproduce an original performance with much greater clarity. Two screwdriver adjustment points for Low Contour and Definition are located on the front panel, as is a hardwire bypass switch that allows the operator to compare the processed sound with the unprocessed.

Stirling Audio Systems, (Contact Details).


More Pro-DAT cassettes are now available from 3M. The company say that this reflects "a commitment from 3M to the growing market for DAT in the broadcast and professional recording areas in the UK, which require a dependable product to suit their operating conditions."

The new cassettes are produced in lengths from 46 to 120 minutes, and feature an ultra-fine metal particulate tape with Anti-Stat treated backing. The binder's formulation is specifically intended to handle the effects of DAT's 2000rpm head rotation and high speed searches. The tapes are distinguishable from consumer cassettes by red doors and hubs.

3M Professional Audio/Video group, (Contact Details).


Passport have announced new versions of several of their products. Master Tracks Pro 4 for the Mac is now up to version 4.5, adding new features and enhancements that include support for MIDI Manager, Overdub Record Mode, Loop Recording, the addition of on-screen volume faders, and user-programmable device name tables.

For the PC, Master Tracks Pro and Trax (respectively, professional and entry level sequencers), have been updated to work with Windows 3.0. In addition to enhancing the sequencer's looks, Windows 3.0 breaks the 640K RAM limit that PC users have traditionally had to put up with. Depending on the system, users of 286 or 386 computers can access up to 15 megabytes of RAM. A special feature of both MT Pro and Trax enhances the 'non-preemptive' mode of Windows 3.0, where background applications wait for the active application to become idle before performing their tasks. Both programs are interrupt-driven, and will therefore play or record regardless of the status of the foreground application.

Version 2.0 of Encore, the company's popular Mac/PC composing and notation program, is now available. It features an expanded symbol library, improved page layout control, support of guitar chords, automatic beaming, extensive key commands, the ability to import Mac to PC files via Apple File Exchange, and reading ASCII text files from other programs. Version 2.0 also features an enhanced transcription engine which transcribes live MIDI input and MIDI files with greater accuracy. Encore supports 64 staves, and allows the user to work on 16 files simultaneously.

Finally, Passport have announced the release of ScoreInput, a real-time input utility program for use with their Score music engraving software for the PC. Score is used by music publishers, copyists and composers for publishing quality engraved sheet music. ScoreInput acts as an alternative input method for Score, allowing the user to input music by playing it either on a MIDI keyboard or on the computer keyboard itself.

MCMXCIX, (Contact Details).


The SCI is a new ABS plastic moulded mic case from Samson Technologies. The sturdy double-walled design sports twin latches with an integral handle, and it can accomodate the Samson VLP, Stage 22, or MR1 systems, along with the usual cable accessories and AC adapter. Protection is afforded by egg crate-style padded foam on the interior.

Shuttlesound, (Contact Details).


Allen & Heath's 16-bus Saber console has undergone improvements to both mute automation and EQ, and been rechristened the Saber 2 in the process. The latest V4 mute automation software offers memory within the console for mute song sequences, not just for mute snapshots, synchronised to MIDI clocks. Because no external sequencer is needed, there is now no conflict in interpreting MIDI commands, and mute chase to any song position is automatic.

Both mid sweep EQ sections now have a 20:1 frequency range in place of 10:1. The upper mid range is now from 600Hz to 12 kHz, and the lower mid range from 60Hz to 1.5kHz. The high and low frequency shelving sections have new corner frequencies: 8kHz and 16kHz at HF; 40Hz and 80Hz at LF. The console prices remain unchanged.

Allen & Heath, (Contact Details).


Stewart Ward, designer of the original Session amp range, has announced the first of a new range of products under the Award Design name. The Sessionmaster guitar pre-amp (£149) has been specifically designed with direct guitar recording applications in mind, offering optimum audio performance. Background noise is quoted at -84dB, without the use of any noise gates, ensuring that even on the heaviest overdrive setting noise is virtually undetectable. Meticulous development has gone into the built-in 'miked speaker' simulation circuitry, which provides signal to the Recording output; a conventional DI feed can be taken from the Normal output.

The front panel has a gain control, 3-band EQ, and three boost switches for gain, bass and mid. At low gain settings the EQ is pre-overdrive, and post-overdrive at high gain, allowing a full range of amp simulations.

Radius International, (Contact Details).


The Vocalist is a new Digitech processor designed specifically for producing quality vocal harmonies. The company say that new processing techniques enable pitch shifting to be achieved while while retaining the original timbre of the fundamental tone. The Vocalist, which comes in a desktop type unit rather than a rack, can create up to four separate harmonies from its input; ADT, chorusing, and real-time pitch correction are also possible.

John Hornby Skewes & Co., (Contact Details).


New from Morley is the EP1 Pedal, a foot controlled volume pedal-type MIDI continuous controller source designed for live performance control of MIDI effects units, keyboards, lighting etc. The pedal is preset to output controller #7 (main volume) on MIDI channel 1, but a MIDI mapper or similar can be used to re-map the data to any controller. The unit is rather cunningly powered via the MIDI In, allowing it to be used without any batteries or power supply. Data arriving at the input (from, say, your master keyboard) is merged with the EP1's own controller data before being output. If nothing is connected to the MIDI In, an external PSU is required.

Radius International, (Contact Details).

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The Power To Be Portable

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 - May 1991


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