ITs guide to the British Music Fair.
It's been several years since musicians last had the opportunity to see and try all the latest instruments and equipment under one roof - but now's your chance. From Friday August 2nd to Sunday August 4th, the British Music Fair opens the doors of London's Olympia 2 Exhibition Centre with what promises to be the most exciting musicians' show ever. IN TUNE will be there - of course - and we hope you will too; so to whet your appetite here's a guide to just some of the new gear you'll be able to sample.
London's Olympia Exhibition Centre is situated in the Hammersmith Rd., W14. Getting there (wherever you're coming from) is easy - just take a tube to the Olympia Tube Station, which you can get to on either the Piccadilly or District lines. If a bus is more to your liking then routes 9, 27, 28, 33, 49, 73 and 91 will get you there. Wealthy patrons will find a multistorey car park situated off Olympia Way, and there's a reasonable number of meters in the immediate vicinity. The Show is open from 10am to 7pm on Friday August 2nd and Saturday August 3rd, but do note that it closes at 5pm on Sunday 7th. Entry to the British Music Fair costs £3 for adults and £1.50 for OAPs and children under 14. Incidentally, there's a £1 reduction for card-producing Musicians' Union members. You can either pay at the door or get your tickets in advance by sending a cheque made payable to Philbeach Events Ltd. (with SAE) to (Contact Details). More info can be obtained from organisers Philbeach Events on (Contact Details). See you there!
In addition to a huge assembly of musical instruments, amps, effects and accessories, the British Music Fair will have other attractions, in the shape of free concerts featuring top players from the Rock, Jazz, Folk, Pop and Classical worlds. Most importantly, many manufacturers will be giving visitors the chance to try gear for themselves - not just look at it - with the provision of good testing and demo facilities.
Having said that, who's going to be there? Regrettably, not every manufacturer will be represented at this year's show. Very few of the increasingly popular British guitar makers, for example, have been able to afford the costs of exhibiting, they tell us, but you can safely anticipate a mind-boggling collection of gear (much of it never seen before in the U.K.) from the majority of U.K. instrument and equipment companies who will, quite definitely, be showing. Here's a brief run-down of just some of the new items which we expect to be unveiled.
Drool first over the unbelievable GIBSON LES PAUL CUSTOM 'Black Beauty' which is IN TUNE's Competition prize for this and next month's issues. You'll find it on the ROSETTI stand, along with all the other Gibsons and Epiphones. If setting eyes on the 'real thing' doesn't whet your appetite to enter our competition then we hereby award you the IN TUNE ZOMBIE OF THE YEAR Award! While knee-trembling over the Les Paul, you'll also be able to sample the new Gibson/Schaller hardware which is being launched at the show. By all accounts it should be well worth seeing!
While you're visiting Rosetti, you should also take time to see their exciting new Pitch Rider, from IVL Technologies. This device displays whether any instrument is sharp or flat, and also can provide a MIDI out signal from any instrument via a mike, thus interfacing it with any other MIDI gear.
JMS will have a new digital drum unit, also from Rosetti, which can be triggered from drum pads, keyboards or home computers. Also from JMS will be a new drum programming unit. Rack mounted, enabling you to programme direct from pads, the unit delivers a MIDI-out signal which can trigger the JMS 12-track studio programme.
Cooper/Haines (no relation of the illustrious Ed's!) are a new name in amplification which Rosetti will be featuring. Combining valve and MOSFET technologies, we're as much in the dark as you are about this new gear - but we have been promised review samples soon. Rosetti will also show a new Seiko keyboard, the DS250, plus new RAM and ROM packs for Yamaha's DX-7, bags of new saxes, mouthpieces from such names as Amati, Yanagisawa and Vandoren.
Having decided that you're going to win yourself the world's finest electric guitar, you're going to need an amp to play it through, so check-out Vox's new Concert 50 watt+ valve combos - available in 1x12 and 2x12 versions - on the ROSE MORRIS stand. Featuring advanced Eq, twin switchable channels with master volume, D.I. output and a 2 year warranty, they promise to be interesting listening.
PEAVEY are, as ever, about to unleash a huge variety of new gear, including three new guitars. The Predator and Mantis models feature genuine Kahler trems, the Predator having a single 12 pole high output Peavey humbucker, the Mantis (looking like a sort of Flying V) having a pair of them. Both models are priced at RRP £335. Even better news is the introduction of a solid bodied 12 string from Peavey; the Milestone, due to sell for RRP £435.
New PA gear from Peavey will include the Deca (see our review in this issue) plus new 'cluster' speaker enclosures, not to mention the advanced AMR gear, first seen at the APRS Show (see further details in this issue). Do get a look at their new 4-track cassette machine and matching mixer.
With an avalanche of new products, JOHN HORNBY SKEWES's stand promises to be one of this year's most exciting. We've already given you some of the gen about their new Teczon and Audio-Technica 4-track cassette machines, not to mention the low-cost Bandstand mixers and devastatingly priced rack mounted effects units, but look-out for a new dual impedance Audio-Technica mike, the PR022. Drummers are not being left out either, as JHS will be launching their new Thunder and Headliner kits and cymbals - as ever with JHS, expect low low prices! Finally, on the guitar side, keep your eyes open for new Hondo acoustics and electrics - possibly the most improved guitar range in the past three years or so. Kahler now have some 24 trems which will be shown. This is one stand not to miss!
TOA are among the fastest growing PA companies right now, and in addition to their great new £510 radio guitar system (reviewed in this issue), look-out for their 380SE 3-way speaker system, designed for keyboard. With a bass-reflex design, it features a 15" woofer, constant diversity horn and exponential horn tweeter. Toa will also show various new PA cabs including their 30SD, also a 3-way unit of high spec. Ditto their RS-21M compact speaker handling 100 watt at 8 Ohms with its full range 12" driver housed in a sealed enclosure.
Ibanez, meanwhile, will have a new 'headless' bass at a 'highly competitive price' on the SUMMERFIELD stand, along with other new Ibanez models - still under wraps when we went to Press on this issue. Meanwhile, watch for Tama drums and their new Power Tower keyboard stands, also on show from Summerfield.
Drummers looking for bargain priced kits are advised to check the STENTOR stand for a new European-made kit (complete with cymbals) scheduled to retail for around £300 - mysteriously, it's called the Brand X!
HH are unveiling their new VX series of Mos-Fet power amps (more about which in our APRS review) alongside the new backline amps featured in last month's IN TUNE. At the same time, sister company CARLSBRO are also pushing hard into the PA market, especially with their new Taurus enclosures and lower-power PA/mixer amps. Again, see last month's news pages for more gen - better still, visit their stand.
HOHNER are now running the British Music Strings outfit and you can expect this division to show their new Black Mamba percussion gear, alongside new electric and acoustic Hohner guitars. Sonor kits will also be gracing the Hohner stand, along with new lower-cost Sabian cymbals. The B-20 range is described as 'medium price': each cymbal is said to be cast from a mixture of 'purest copper, tin and silver'. All popular sizes are being produced, apparently. Cheaper still are the new Sabian B-8s, which are offered as 14" hi-hats, 16" crash, 18" crash and 20" ride. The B-8s are made from a 'specially formulated bronze material containing copper and tin, and manufactured on some of the most advanced cymbal making machinery in Europe', Sabian claim. Given Sabian's reputation, they should be well worth a look.
Show visitors looking for the latest premium-class guitars, amps and effects, should certainly pay a call on MUSIMEX's two stands, where they'll find Steinberger lined-up with those indefatigable Manson brothers. Need a new amp, alternatively? Well, Musimex can help you there, too, with the West German-made digital valve amp range from Engl and the highly rated Session series, which has recently expanded into a unique stereo stack format - sounds fascinating! Musimex will also show those superb TC effects - both rack-mounted and in floor pedal format. Regular IT readers will know how highly we rate their quality, so why not take this chance to see what you make of them?
CASIO continue their upward march into the pro-keyboard market with the new SZ-1 Sequencer. MIDI equipped, the SZ-1 can be used with keyboards, drum machines, computers etc. and has an internal memory of 1,800 steps, expandable with an optional RAM pack. RRP will be a mere £295! The CZ-5000, meanwhile, will obviously be worth a gander, with its 5 octave, 16 note poly keyboard, using Casio's 'phase distortion' sound method. The CZ-5000 (which carries an RRP of only £955) also offers 64 on-board memories, RAM and tape-dump options, 8-channel sequencing, programmable keyboard split and full MIDI assignment on all 16 channels. Keep your eyes open for yet more new mini and full-size keyboards in the Casio range which they're expected to unveil.
On the mike front, make a point of seeing the great new Shure SM98 (more on which is in our APRS write-up) from importers H.W. INERNATIONAL. This tiny clip-on directional mike could be the best and most useful drum/instrument mike yet. See too the new Shure PZM directional 'plate' mike which is beginning to be widely used in Pro circles for some fascinating applications. Also from H.W., look at the Hafler power amps - one of our favourite power amp ranges.
YAMAHA (as ever) will have a full line of new goodies displayed in two main areas, one for keyboard/high-tech gear, the other for guitars and backline amps. Watch-out for new Yamaha CP Series pianos, the CP80M, CP70M & CP60M all now with MIDI, the RX21 Digital Rhythm Programmer, DX5 Digital Algorithm synth., the DX21 (see our review in this issue) and the REV7, a pro-class digital reverb with effects. If high-tech isn't your scene, then see the latest Yamaha guitars, amps, drums and a new range of tuned percussion gear!
On the guitar and bass side, RICKENBACKER will have their own brand of strings, 'vintage' straps, T-Shirts, sweatshirts and - of course - all the Rickenbacker range, including both guitars and basses, quite a few of which the U.K. public may not yet be familiar with.
Book publishers and distributors IMP will mainline on Russ Shipton's new guitar course Rock & Pop Guitar - a four-part series @ 2.95 ea. Stereo cassettes of the course will also sell for £2.50. Roger Evans' Playing Keyboards will sell for £3.95 with an optional cassette @ £2.50 and is claimed to give a complete guide to basic keyboard playing - could be useful, all you mini-synth fans! IMP will also have their huge range of song books, including material from Howard Jones, The Style Council, Paul Young, Freddie Mercury, The Doors, Motown and others. Final good news from IMP includes new books from Hal Leonard - Synthesiser Technique, Synthesiser Basics and Synthesisers and Computers - essential reading these days we'd guess!
ATLANTEX will be giving visitors to the Show the chance to try the superb new Alesis XT Digital Reverb which we were raving about following the APRS Show last month. They'll also have the devastatingly priced Accessit Aphex Aural Exciter. Home recording fans should see the new Fostex 80 8-tracker, their new 'Model 20' twin track plus SMPTE time-code mastering machine, the 450 mixing desk, ART2 Digital Reverb and some excellent value Dod Digitech DDL units, both rack mounted and floor-standing. Understandably guarded about revealing details of their latest gear before the show, IT's man with the shabby raincoat and Len Deighton complex whispers that there could well be major home recording developments on the 'interconnection' front. Does this imply MIDI? We suspect that it does.
SIEL (keyboard & software specialists) will be on hand to demo their DK-80 bitimbric synth. and EX-80 expander, plus the Siel DK-70. With a 4 Octave keyboard & stage playing 'arm', the DK-70 will sell for around £499.
New software from Siel will include a MIDI DDL and Multi-Track programme for Commodore's 64, plus a Database Synth and Graphic Editor for the DX/EX-80, CB-64 & Spectrum computers. Also on the Siel stand will be a new DX-7 Editor package along with their distributed lines, the Commodore Music Maker and Island Logic software, the latter including The Music System for the CBM-64 and much more in the software line. On the keyboard front, you'll be able to see Siel's digital low-cost MK keyboards, both RS-232 and MIDI compatible. Prices will range from £175 upwards.
Innovative speaker and enclosure designers FRAZER WYATT will be showing their well-regarded full-range dx enclosures, alongside eight new comparatively low-cost units, suited to PA, keyboards, bass, electronic percussion etc. A fascinating new Frazer Wyatt amp is also destined for the Show, too, an ostensibly 80 watt rated unit but with virtually unlimited 'headroom', we gather. Configured thus, it should provide zero clipping on waveform peaks from keyboards, delivering an extra 10dB of loudness. Volume, sensitivity and exceptionally comprehensive Eq are part of a package which is promised to be 'very attractively priced'.
Back with guitars, BLUE SUEDE MUSIC are planning to unveil their newly acquired Bill Lawrence range of pickups. Although absent from the U.K. market for some while, Lawrence pickups are among the market leaders in the States, where they've received a significant boost from endorsee Nils Lofgren, currently playing with Bruce Springsteen - and you can't get much hotter than that! Expect to see new goodies from Tokai, too, also a Blue Suede line.
In addition to the new AKG D321 mike (see the review in this issue) this renowned maker will also show the super-rugged C535EB condenser mike, currently being used by an increasing number of hire companies and major artists. AKG have recently launched new mini-monitor speakers (the LSM 50s), K240DF Studio monitor headphones, plus flightcases for mikes in transit. Teachers into high-tech aids should watch-out for AKG's 'Singing Blackboard' - it sounds like fun!
MTR, meanwhile, will have all the new gear covered in our APRS round-up, plus one or two other goodies we didn't have room to cover there. A new low-cost power amp with splendid specifications is one newcomer, likewise a pair of tiny monitors scheduled to cost about the same per pair as 'some other' types do each. We also anticipate yet another 4-track on cassette machine to be unveiled by MTR, this time possibly under the Cutec banner, where it will (rumour has it) challenge the Porta-One particularly hard on a price/spec basis. Along with their fine-looking new Vesta-Fire rack mountable multitracker and those Tam desks, it gives MTR a particularly strong hand.
AKAI are still developing their Micro Studio System, meanwhile, and will have several new goodies on show to interface with it. Not all of their new gear relates just to their own system, however, so even non-users should pay them a visit. You'll be able to see the new ME10D MIDI DDL, a unique new unit which works by providing a delay of up to 1,000ms. between MIDI received and transmitted signals. The uniqueness comes in because it does this, of course, without the need for analogue to digital conversion! Rack mounted, the ME10D will sell at only £119 - and that's not a misprint!
Also new from Akai, expect to see a rack mounted combination of pitch changer, octave doubler and DDL. Apparently, key control function lets you change pitch on any input signal in 1/2-step without changing signal speed. You can also replay any signal and add your own harmonics and effects. Octave doubling on the MM99 allows up to ±2 octaves to the original signal, with a choice of either stereo or mono on the DDL. Price? An impressively low £119! Again at £119, the Akai ME20A affords auto arpeggios from existing MIDI instruments in three patterns. The sequence pattern offers up to 128 notes plus memory capability of harmonics and patterns. Expect more new gear at the Show from Akai - they're obviously in the MIDI business to stay, so they'll definitely be worth a call if that's your scene.
Distributors/Importers FCN weren't being too forthcoming about their plans for the Show, but we have been trying some early samples of new Westones which will be on their stand. These are the Spectrum DX - a hell of a guitar for just £195 - a Spectrum Bass (the GT model) which is equally nice and should sell for £245. Expect a new Westone headless, too. No doubt FCN's stand will feature other newcomers from lines like Zildjian, Trak, Badger, Arion, etc.
ROLAND weren't too certain what new gear they would have on display - but display is definitely the right word as they'll have numerous demo rooms in which you'll be able to try their gear. In addition to units like the MI-10 MIDI to CV Interface and other MIDI units like the MI-30, MI-40 and MI-50, do try the MIDI compatible SRV-2000 digital reverb and the SDE-2500 DDL. One innovatory goodie which Roland think will be with them in time for the show is a fascinating sounding new rack mounting unit combining TR 707 digital drum sounds, a bass synth and both 2-note and 4-note poly synth sounds, all in one and all MIDI capable!
Percussionists thinking of a change to electronic kits should make a point of seeing the fabulous Mike Giles, who'll be demo-ing Roland's MIDI-capable DDR-30 Digital Drum Module with its PD-10 and PD-20 pads. The TR727 will be on demo too, complete with its complement of Latin percussion rhythms.
Undoubtedly there'll be far more to see than we've managed to cram into this brief overview of the new gear that we'd heard about by the time we closed for this issue; but even if this was a complete list, we can't see how any musician can afford to miss this unique event. For our part, we'll look forward to seeing you there - if we can prise you off the huge number of planned 'hands on' demos, that is!
More details of any of the above products can be obtained by entering the product name you're interested in on the 'any other info' section of this month's free In Tune info form.
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