Shape Of Things To Come
Yet another selection of recently announced new products to whet your appetite!
New from Drawmer is the DS404 Quad Noise Gate, designed to complement the industry standard DS201 dual noise gate. The new unit features Programme Adaptive circuitry which makes it simple to operate, yet still suitable for a wide range of input signals from drums and other percussive instruments through to vocals, pianos, and even complete mixes. Variable low-pass and high-pass filters allow frequency selective gating, and each channel can be switched for internal or external keying. Each channel can be operated as a hard or soft gate, and the link function allows chain linking of two stereo pairs, any adjacent three, or all four channels.
Also new is the DL241 dual channel autocompressor, which incorporates many automatic functions to allow engineers to achieve optimum results with the minimum setup time, but without compromising facilities for skilled users. The expander/gate section features Programme Adaptive Expansion circuitry, to allow effective single control operation, producing a fast smooth response and eliminating 'chatter' around the threshold level. The expansion ratio, hold, attack and release continually adapt themselves to the dynamics of the incoming signal, and the only two controls for this section are threshold and fast/slow release.
The compressor section offers manually variable threshold and ratio, and auto or manual attack and release. A peak level section with exceptionally fast response time allows the user to set an absolute limit for the output level.
Drawmer Distribution, (Contact Details).
New from Microdeal is the first ever low-cost stereo sound sampler for the Atari ST. The Stereo Replay cartridge uses dual 8-bit analogue-to-digital and digital-to-analogue convertors, and there are stereo phono audio outputs. The hardware is compatible with ST, STF, STFM, Mega ST, STE, Mega STE and TT machines.
A stereo editor program allows editing of both mono and stereo samples; facilities include cut, paste, insert, loop, fade, pan, reverse, and cross-fade. The Stereo Beat replay program allows users to sequence and play back samples; up to 15 samples can be held in memory, and three mono channels can be used simultaneously. All this for only £89.95!
Microdeal, (Contact Details).
The star of the recent IMS was Emu's new keyboard, the Proteus MPS (Master Performance System). The instrument combines a Proteus-style sound generator with a high quality effects unit, and performance oriented software. There is no sequencer, emphasising that it is intended as a performer's or player's instrument, rather than a workstation of any kind.
The sound generator is based on the Proteus (which in turn uses Emulator III library sounds), with the addition of a mono version of a piano from the Proformance module. There are 4MB of ROM samples in all. The MPS is 32-voice polyphonic and 16-part multi-timbral, and there are four polyphonic outputs (configured as two stereo pairs). The 5-octave keyboard is velocity and pressure sensitive.
Performance control features include Performance Maps and QuicKeys. Performance Maps allow you to store and recall configurations of your entire MIDI network, and also assignments of MPS presets to all 16 MIDI channels for multi-timbral operation. Performance Maps can include Sys Ex data to be transmitted on selection. QuicKeys allow you to select and assign up to four internal Presets to the keyboard, each with its own keyboard range, with a single button push.
The Proteus MPS will cost £1,199, and should be available this month.
Emu Systems UK, (Contact Details).
Cheetah showed their new Master Series 770 controller keyboard (£899.99) at the IMS, an 88-note controller with velocity, release velocity, and aftertouch sensitivity, and piano weighted keys. Other features include eight definable keyboard zones, MIDI echo, delay and arpeggiation, and 100 performance memories.
On the sound generation front, the MS800 was finally shown in working form. This £199.99 budget unit is the cheapest programmable synth module on the market, and offers 16-voice polyphony, stereo outputs and multi-timbrality. The MS800 uses a basic form of wavetable synthesis, where the oscillators can switch between digital waveforms in mid-note.
Also new is the MD16RP 16-bit drum module (£399.95), a version of the 700-sound MD16R drum module that adds eight audio trigger inputs to the earlier model's features. Sounds are sampled at 44.1 kHz, and there are eight audio outputs. Other features include a drum sequencer with humanise function, dynamic pan and tuning, and tape sync.
Cheetah International, (Contact Details).
Brother have introduced another sequencer, their first new music product since moving into the market with the MDI40 sequencer 18 months ago. The PDC100 offers 32 data tracks (each can record on all 16 MIDI channels), a 21-note memory, a 32-character display, and full editing features. Variable tempo within songs is supported, and the unit operates at 96ppqn resolution. A 3.5" floppy drive is provided for data storage.
Bluebridge Music, (Contact Details).
Dr. T have released the Mac version of their X-Or generic editor/librarian (£279). Hardware requirements are a Mac with 1 Meg or more of memory; the program is compatible with System 7, MIDI Manager, and, in line with current Dr. T policy, is not copy protected.
Dr. T are strongly promoting X-Or as the most powerful such system for the Mac. X-Or comes with full editor profiles for over 90 popular synthesizers, and several more are supported by librarian-only profiles. One very useful feature of X-Or is its ability to record a 'snapshot' of your entire MIDI system, which can be recalled with a simple mouse click.
Organising patches is made easier by database-style searching and sorting features — you can assign keywords like "piano" or "acoustic" to each patch, along with comments, and the search feature allows you to pick out sounds that have certain keywords or text strings attached to them.
Al Hospers, Dr. T's CEO, commented, "X-Or will truly revolutionise how studio engineers and computer musicians deal with their MIDI setups. It will make it completely easy for producers and studio engineers to get back the instruments for sessions they did months ago. We are extremely excited about the power of X-Or and about what it offers to the Macintosh computer musician and studio engineers."
X-Or is already available for the Atari ST/STE, Amiga, and PC. All versions are essentially the same, although the ST program has the added benefit of E-Or, an utility which allows you to create your own instrument profiles.
Zone Distribution, (Contact Details).
The first of the Producer Series of sampling CDs from HitSound is now available. The Pascal Gabriel volume includes a wealth of dance music-oriented samples from the personal library of the man known for writing and re-mixing for Bomb The Bass, S'Express, EMF, Jimmy Somerville, Erasure and Coldcut, amongst others. None of the samples have previously appeared on record, and there are therefore no copyright problems with using them.
The samples include: dance synth sounds and effects; drum and percussion loops and breaks; guitar hooks and effects; vocal riffs and effects; hits, scratches and drop-ins; brass and string hits, effects and runs; film and media snatches; orchestral effects. As well as standard stereo samples, there is a selection of RSS (Roland Sound Space) encoded sounds, with 3D effects. There is also an S1000 data section on the disc, which allows banks to be loaded in to an S1000 via its digital interface.
Advanced Media Group, (Contact Details).
First the Quadraverb, then the Quadraverb Plus, now the Quadraverb GT (£150). The latest version of Alesis' acclaimed multi-effects unit adds to the existing digital effects an analogue pre-amp section featuring variable compression, distortion, pre-amp tone curves and bass boost, a guitar/amp cabinet simulator, a slow attack envelope for volume pedal type effects, and a noise gate. Digital effects include, as before: reverb; delay; parametric and graphic EQ; chorus; flanging; phase shifting; pitch detuning; multi-tap delays; sampling; programmable autopanning/tremolo; ring modulation; and resonators.
Sound Technology plc, (Contact Details).
Steinberg's Cubeat, the entry-level version of Cubase, has now been upgraded to version 2.0. Cubeat operates in the same way as Cubase, but has fewer edit screens and processing facilities. V2.0 adds Drum Edit, one of Cubase's most popular edit screens, and includes the latest drivers and MROS files.
Evenlode Soundworks, (Contact Details).
A German company, Lintronics, is now offering a comprehensive upgrade for the MemoryMoog that adds full MIDI facilities to the instrument, and upgrades its hardware to improve both features and reliability.
On the MIDI front, the upgraded keyboard supports Omni and Poly modes, Local On/Off, and send and receive channels are freely selectable. Single sounds and complete banks can be sent and received via Sys Ex. The following incoming MIDI data can be interpreted: program changes; channel pressure; mod wheel; controllers 2, 4, 5 and 7. All pots and switches can be addressed via MIDI in real time, allowing dynamic control of sounds via a sequencer.
Internal hardware and software modifications have added stereo outputs, improved the tuning stability of the instrument (a notorious problem), added a split function to the arpeggiator, and generally removed bugs and 'toughened up' assorted circuit boards.
The Lintronics Advanced MemoryMoog upgrade is currently only available from Germany, although Lintronics are looking for a UK agent.
Musik Halle, (Contact Details).
The instrument below is not, despite appearances, a MIDI lyre, but the new Philip Rees G2 MIDI controller. The G2 is an alternative controller that offers a means of playing guitar-style parts on MIDI expanders without actually trying to mimic too closely the physical hardware of a guitar.
The neck holds a row of 12 buttons, to which 12 chords are assigned; holding and releasing any button calls up a 6-note chord. 140 different 'necks' can be created and stored, and the chords are drawn from the preset library of over 800 variations, arranged by root note, type, and inversion. Both guitar and keyboard-style chords are included, and you can program custom chords on each neck. The notes are triggered by strumming or tapping six raised pads on the instrument body, and a large pad on the very bottom of the body can generate modulation, pitch bend and volume data. The result is a surprisingly playable instrument, all the better for the fact that it is not trying to be a guitar. The price should be around the £400 mark.
Philip Rees, (Contact Details).
Dr. T's KCS on the Amiga has now been upgraded to Level II, with features that could well make it the best Amiga sequencer on the market. The program is fully multi-tasking, and comes with Tiger graphic editing and QuickScore music printing modules. KCS itself offers 48 tracks, a high 384ppqn resolution, SMPTE sync via Dr. T's Phantom synchroniser, the Programmable Variations Generator (an algorithmic composition facility), the ability to play IFF samples, and 32 graphic faders for automated MIDI mixdown.
Zone Distribution, (Contact Details).
Steinberg are offering Cubase and the Midex Plus in a money-saving combined package for the Atari ST. Midex Plus is an all-format SMPTE sync box with four discrete parallel MIDI Outs (supporting, along with the Atari's MIDI Out, up to 80 MIDI channels), two extra MIDI inputs, and four key expansion slots. The cost of the package is £645.
Evenlode Soundworks, (Contact Details).
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