Is Vic there? Good, he can answer a few questions
Technical Questions Answered by Vic Lennard
Q: Dear MT,
My current set-up is a Korg M1 and an IBM XT computer which runs Voyetra SP1 sequencing software. Is there an editing package for the M1 that will run on my PC? If so, how much?
I also want to get hold of a sampler; is there a decent package that will run on any PC? If there is, will it run together with my sequencing software? As I'm a student, I don't want to spend too much money, so I'd appreciate any information you can give me.
By the way, why is there so little software music-wise on the PC, considering it has the advantage of a hard drive over an Atari ST?
A There is a dedicated Korg M1 editor for the PC in the shape of the MIDIQuest M1 editor which retails for £69; details from Turnkey on (Contact Details). If you have any other MIDI equipment that you want to edit using the PC, it might be worth looking at a generic editor. The MIDIQuest Universal Editor can edit over 130 different MIDI products including synths, drum machines and effects units. Retail for this is £175.
The most obvious choice of sampler for your PC is the SoundBlaster Version II card, which retails for just under £140. This is an 8-bit mono sampler with a sampling rate of up to 15kHz, but it can replay samples at 44.1kHz. It includes an 11 voice FM synthesiser with either six melodic and five percussive voices, or nine melodic voices. Also included is a MIDI interface and a four watt power amp. SoundBlaster Pro - effectively a stereo version of Soundblaster - gives you four channels of digital audio, which can be configured to provide two stereo pairs, and has a socket for the Panasonic Multimedia CD-ROM drive. Price is a little under £235. More information from West Point Creative on (Contact Details).
Incidentally, if you were to update your sequencer to Sequencer Plus Classic, this has built-in support for the SoundBlaster cards. Consequently, you would be able to access sounds while using a sequencer.
Who says that there is little music software support for the PC? There are a wealth of sequencing programs which will run under DOS or Windows including Cadenza, Sequencer Plus, Cakewalk, Prism, Cubase and a shareware package called Winjammer. There are also various synth editors (in addition to the MIDIQuest series mentioned above), some excellent music DTP packages including Encore and Finale, and auto-accompaniment programs such as Band In A Box and Jammer.
Your comment about the hard drive giving the PC the advantage over the ST doesn't really hold up as any ST owner can use an external hard drive if they wish and few programs actually require a hard drive out of necessity. In fact, ST owners could justifiably argue that the lack of a built-in MIDI interface on the PC is far more of a disadvantage. But it has to be said that as far as music software is concerned, the PC has come on in leaps and bounds over the past nine months or so. The principal reason for this, of course, is the low price of PC compatibles. Software writers are now prepared to support it in a way that they were not two or three years ago.
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