Step by Step
AT the heart of a home recording system is a multitrack tape recorder. At the heart of a developing Midi system is a Midi Sequencer. We look at what is available and how the development of Midi complements home recording requirements.
The new Korg SQD-1 Midi Recorder has rapidly established itself as the state of the art unit for anyone with a Midi instrument.
It is more that just a Midi Sequencer and is far more versatile than a multitrack tape recorder. Because the SQD-1 stores information digitally, any Midi information can be overdubbed any number of times without any reduction in sound quality.
For example, a complex chord progression can be built up one note at a time (step time recording) and when finished, performance controls (pitch bends, program changes, etc.) can be overdubbed.
Real time recording is also possible with different resolutions so a great deal of flexibility is available for different timings to be explored. 15,000 notes can be stored in the internal memory whilst the built in disk drive enables 30,000 notes per double sided disk to be stored and retrieved very quickly.
Ten songs can be stored on each disk making the SQD-1 ideal for live use on stage as well as at home and in the studio.
The SQD-1 can run more than one Midi instrument, in fact, up to 16 different units can play 16 different polyphonic parts at the same time. So as you build up a system with extra Midi instruments, the SQD-1 becomes more and more useful.
Korg have two budget priced Midi units which can be used to expand any Midi system. The Korg MR-16 Midi Rhythm Unit contains 19 percussion sounds including everything in a standard drum kit.
Each sound is played via Midi and the MR-16 has separate outputs and separate volume and pan controls.
The MR-16 frees the musician from limitations of patterns and song memories and enables far more flexible rhythm patterns to be created when used with a Midi Sequencer such as the SQD-1.
The Korg EX800 is a programmable synth module that works as a sound source for any Midi keyboard or sequencer. It is based upon the highly successful Poly 800 Synthesizer and is essentially a Poly 800 without its keyboard.
It can be played from all Midi keyboards including Midi pianos, organsand computers as well as synthesizers and sequencers such as the SQD-1.
For those who already own a drum machine, the SQD-1 Midi Recorder can be timed from an external drum machine and can provide a click track for syncing to a multitrack tape recorder. This is an important link because it can sync all Midi instruments (controlled from the SQD-1) to all non-Midi instruments such as vocals and guitars which are recorded on the multitrack machine (See Fig 1).
The latest development in multitrack recording equipment comes from Clarion. The new XD-6500 is a 4 track, high-speed recording cassette deck with built in mixing facilities. The XD6500 has dBX type II noise reduction, punch-in and punch-out, accessory send and returns for each track and the option of rack mounting. Link this to the Korg SQD-1 and you have a formidable base from which to build a home recording system.
One effect, more than any other, makes an amateur recording sound professional and that is reverb. Most good quality reverb units are very expensive but Korg have just launched a good value Gated Reverb, the Korg GR-1. This is a stereo reverb, but the addition of a Gate section allows all the latest special effects to be produced.
The only other essential effect to have in a home recording studio is some form of delay unit. These units can be used for echo effects as well as chorus and flanging. Korg have two delay units, the SDD1000 and SDD2000, both of which enable sampling.
Using the SDD1000 a sound of up to 2.048 seconds can be sampled and then played back repeatedly. The pitch of the sample can be varied.
The SDD2000 has 64 program memories and Midi. This means that up to 64 different effects can be memorised and program changes can be carried out via Midi. Up to 4.368 seconds of sound can be sampled and then played back in pitch using any Midi keyboard. So with an SDD2000 you can transform a Poly 800, for example, into a sampling keyboard and each program sound on the Poly 800 can have a different delay effect.
To help anyone with sampling units such as the SDD1000 and SDD2000, Korg have produced a sampling sound cassette, the STP-2000 which features 165 unique effects and sounds from pianos and saxophones to whole orchestras, fireworks and elephants.
Korg produce a wide range of accessories to help the musician setting up a system. Everything from powered monitors to connecting cables, from headphones to twin channel volume pedals. For example, the TM03 Table Monitor is ultra compact, with a built-in battery powered amplifier. Korg's connecting cables have numbered collars on the plugs to end confusion when connecting large numbers of leads. Korg also produce Midi cables up to 12 metres in length.
Many musicians have already discovered the Korg KMS-30 Midi Synchronizer is the solution to timing problems and for linking Midi, sync and tape. Others use the KMT-60 Midi Thru unit which has one Midi input and six Midi outputs.
Whatever your music and whatever your setup, Korg and Clarion have a great deal to contribute.
WHEN many young musicians start out, they tend to believe that, if they can't tune their instruments without a tuner, they're poor musicians.
Wrong. A tuner is simply a quicker, more convenient way of tuning anything from one string to a whole band.
(That's why so many top pros rely on electronic models.)
A chromatic tuner, such as the new Korg DT-1 can be used to check individual note tuning in the middle of a song live on stage — just hold down a note that's in the right key for the song and the tuner will instantly tell you what note is being played and just how in tune it is.
The Korg AT-12 is the ultimate in chromatic tuners, tuning over 7 octaves and producing 4 octaves of tones. Both the AT-12 and DT-1 tuners require no note setting as this is automatic. Both tuners have slow or fast meter response and this is particularly useful for classical musicians for pitch training.
The GT60X guitar tuner is a budget priced compact guitar and bass tuner.
Korg have recently launched three Chord Processors which can quickly display visually all popular chords and how to play them. Select major minor and 7th chords and also see what diminished suspended fourth, seventh flat five, sixth, major seventh, added ninth, ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords look like. There is a keyboard version, a guitar version, and one with a musical score display.
The Korg Professional Modular Effects system features a mains powered pedal board and a number of interchangeable modules all of which are studio quality effects. Because no batteries are involved, circuits are far superior to those used in conventional pedal effects plus the Korg PME system is more compact and convenient. There are currently 16 modules to choose from.
Korg experience in high quality effects has led to the introduction of a range of individual pedal effects.
Each effect is housed in a heavy duty shielded enclosure and offers the musician high quality and reliability as well as value for money.
Playback - Autumn 85
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