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The Help File

Article from The Mix, April 1995

Your questions answered

Digital diagnostics, techno troubles, glitches in your Gizmos; they're all in a day's work for The Mix medical department. Send your queries to: The Help File, (Contact Details).

Scuzzy trouble

QI am writing to you in the hope that you can solve my SCSI problem. I have an Apple Mac Qudra 650, and an Akai S3000i which I need to connect via SCSI to use the Steinberg Recycle program. They work perfectly well when connected together directly, but when I connect my external hard disk, or my SyQuest drive, it hangs the Mac as soon as I boot it up.

I noticed in the review of Recycle (issue 5 of THE MIX) that the reviewer had been using the software for four months. I was wondering if he encountered the same problem as I have, and if so, how he managed to solve it.
Darren Hickey, Horndon-on-the-Hill, Essex.

AIt sounds as though you have your SCSI IDs set to the same number on both (or even all three) units. At the back of SCSI drives, you will find either a dipswitch or counter for setting a device ID number. SCSI works by chaining together devices, and each drive must have a unique ID number, so the host computer doesn't become confused between them, as appears to be happening to your Mac.

Check the back of each device and set them so each unit, the Akai, external hard disk and SyQuest drive, has a different ID number. It's usually safest to set the first device to one, assuming your internal drive is number nought. Then number the following devices sequentially from there. RB

MIDI Mix up

QI'm using an Atari STe running Cubase v3.1. The MIDI mixer is one of the best features on it, but I can't use it completely. To be more precise, I can't find a way to activate the pan control. Actually, movements are recorded and active on playback, but the synth (a Korg M1) doesn't respond to it. All other components on the mixer are alright.

Also, I'd like you to explain system-exclusive messages in general, and how to use MIDI charts in practice. Thanks a lot.
O D.D., London.

AThe Korg M1 doesn't actually respond to pan control (number 07) messages; possibly because of its multi-output configuration. In the MIDI implementation chart next to pan, you will see that there is an X in the column, indicating its inability to process this controller change. What you need to do is to re-program the MIDI mixer with system exclusive messages:

F0,42,3F,19,41,xx,xx,xx,xx,F7 (where the xx denotes a variable field)

F0 and F7 are just the start and stop bytes of the message, to tell the keyboard or computer where the ends of the system exclusive are. The next four numbers are concerned with the keyboard's manufacturer and the model. Each synth, expander, and sampler has its own unique number, so that nobody gets the wrong mail, if you like. The next set of numbers (how many there are depends on the synth and the type of message being sent) are for controlling various parameters; everything from pan to transpose and detune, to editing the whole effects set-up can be changed.

With the M1, the last one or two numbers of this set are for the parameter values. In the case of pan, a value of 05,00 sets the pan to 5:5. whilst 00,00 and 0A,00 set the sound to output via A and B respectively. The setting 0B,00 corresponds to output C, whilst setting 0D,00 pans the signal to output D. It may seem very odd that system exclusives use letters in their commands, but this is because they are written in hexadecimal (meaning it counts up to 0F, before carrying over the unit to 10). To set up a pan pot in the mixer map, create a graphic dial as usual, and then in the input box underneath the MIDI message banner type: f0,42,3F,19,41,0A,08,xx,00,f7.

Next, set the minimum and maximum settings to 0 and 13 respectively (0 to D in hexadecimal) in the object appearance box. In the message 0A is the number for pan, 08 is the MIDI channel (08 to 0F), xx is the variable field (set from 0 to D), which the dial affects, and 00 is unused.

Once you've set the pan control on the MIDI mixer to the system exclusive (making sure that in the Global Menu on the M1 system exclusives receive is switched to on), then you can twiddle away, secure in the knowledge that the pan control is responding. With this as a guide, experiment with different values, seeing which numbers affects what parameters; it's unlikely that you're going to do any damage. You could also get the Cubase Utilities disk (disk ref: GD2139) from Goodmans International for a small sum of money, which has a preprogrammed mixer map for the M1 on it. Telephone them on (Contact Details), quoting the disk reference number. DM

Mein Kampf

QI own a Korg M1, and have created a load of programs and combinations, stored in internal memory. I would be devastated if I switched it on one day to find the programs scrambled and all my hard work gone to waste. Could memory failure cause this to happen, and if so, what media (aside from paper) can I store them on, without a computer and cheaply? A friend has a Roland JV1000 with a disk drive. Is there any way to put them on his disks?
David Nelson, Wirral, Merseyside.

AUnfortunately, the cheapest way of storing sounds from the M1 is to use a computer, and dump them via system exclusives. With the best will in the world, you cannot fit a disk drive to it either, and the only synths you can dump your sounds onto are another M1 (or M1r), or the T1/2/3. The latter does have a disk drive, with which you can then store all the sounds. Otherwise, the only means of saving sounds is with a RAM card, and these aren't all that expensive.

Although you can buy them directly from Korg (for £90), Sounds OK have RAM cards for the M1 (which hold all the programs, combinations, and global parameters) for just £59 (plus £2 p+p). It is advisable to back up any important work, (although most modern synths aren't liable to crash unless you mistreat them), because the battery only has a limited lifespan of about six years. DM

How do they do that?

QI would greatly appreciate it if you could give me information on how to start making trance, techno, and house on a low budget. What keyboard or sampler would be best to start off using, and what equipment would be best to record my work on? I would like to combine drum loops, overdub some sampled vocals and other rhythms to make the track that I want.
Alan Aitchinson, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Roland W30: what happened to the sampler workstation?

AThe cheapest way to make techno, trance and house on a low budget is to go for a sampling workstation. This provides you with preset sounds, a drum kit, samples and an internal sequencer to string it all together. Sadly, not many workstations offer the facility to sample or even to load samples in nowadays, and your best bet would be to hunt down a secondhand Roland W30 or E-Mu EII.

Failing that, you've got the sequencer plus sampler and keyboard option to pursue, which naturally starts to cost more, depending on which computer platform you opt for. A second hand Atari STe is still the cheapest route into computer sequencing, and you could even save the money to be spent on a sampler initially by using a sequencer such as Breakthru, which uses the STe's internal sound chip to replay 8-bit samples alongside MIDI tracks.

You don't mention how low your budget is, but you shouldn't expect to get any change out of a grand if you're serious about sampling and sequencing. A budget of up to two thousand is more realistic, if you wish to use memory-hungry loops and vocal samples. Most members of the house/techno tribe mix straight down to DAT, as they have no need for multitracking, and the Sony TC D7 is the preferred machine. RB

Known whereabouts

AWith reference to a question asked by Howard Ingram of Belfast, in THE MIX (February 1995), about the company Digisound. Indeed it is still alive, but in a state of hibernation at present. Due to problems obtaining various parts for their excellent range of analogue modules, Tim Higham decided to cease production, temporarily, until the situation resolved itself. I last spoke to him in the latter half of last year, and he was hopeful that production would start up again sometime in 1995, although this is by no means certain.

The company has relocated since Mr Ingram bought his Digisound equipment, but for the moment, Tim can only be contacted on his private home number. If Mr Ingram is desperate to get in contact with him, he can either (Contact Details), and I will pass Tim's details onto him.

Hope this is of help.
Analogue Man

Patching things up

AAs an alternative to a MIDI patch bay, H. Maitland might want to consider using some MIDI switches, like the one that is available in kit form from Maplin. I use one of these for selecting between the tape sync source and master keyboard in my set up, and another to allow me to switch between the master keyboard and PC when using the EVS-1 editor, which has no thru capabilities.

Another variation that I devised based on the Maplin kit, allows me to connect the out of my modules to the PC to allow sound editing. I admit that it's not as transparent a solution as a programmable MIDI patch bay, but it cost me less that £10 to give me the required flexibility. For the budget-conscious home studio user it's a simple but effective solution, and I'm sure other readers have similar tips that could benefit us all.
Graham Owen, Basingstoke.

Previous Article in this issue

Mix and patch

Next article in this issue

Monitor mix

Publisher: The Mix - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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The Mix - Apr 1995

Donated by: Colin Potter

Coverdisc: Chris Needham

Previous article in this issue:

> Mix and patch

Next article in this issue:

> Monitor mix

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