The Help File
Where everything clicks
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, The Mix, (Contact Details)
QMy queries are in respect of what can only now be described as 'retro' gear. However, when I talk about 'retro', I'm referring to the long lost period in the past when buying second hand gear meant buying technology that was still usable, if not currently in vogue.
Unfortunately, now that synthesisers have achieved antique status, the skill of the bargain hunter is pushed to extreme limits. As a result of my personal bargain hunting obsession, I've managed to get hold of some great gear, but with one or two options missing. Can you help?
1. Where can I get 2.8" Quick Disks for the Akai X7000 sampling keyboard? I have tried to obtain a full sample library already, and have spoken to Toni Rutherford who is as lost as I am. She did, however, direct me to Blade (once Thatched Cottage) but the number was disconnected. Can you still get memory expansions for the X7000, and are there any books or video manuals available?
2. What about a retro review of the Casio CZ101? It always appears in the gear list of most of your interviewees - and it is a very useful little synth.
3. Also, consider the idea of a page of Readers' Synths Patches, the sounds could maybe be put on the CD for others to sample.
4. Where can I get a manual for the Keynote Chameleon? I've been told that a company called Intermanual Rescue, provides manuals at a cost. Is this true? If so, where can I find them?
5. Are there such things as MIDI consultants who will assess your set up and formulate a perfect working system for you? Are they worth the cost?
Sorry to bombard you with so many questions, ideas and comments, but I'm sure at least a few of these will be of use to other readers as well.
'Smooth', Positive Productions
AYou're right, Smooth, the skill of the bargain hunter is tested to the limit these days, but I'm sure that you and others are more than up to the challenge. As for your questions....
1. Don't know, mate, but you sometimes see libraries for the X7000 for sale in 'One careful owner'. Try placing an ad yourself, cos I'm sure there's some X7000 owner out there who'd let you copy disks etc. Blade, and for that matter Thatched Cottage, are now defunct.
2. Good idea. We see the CZ101 almost everywhere we go, so expect to see a retro piece at some point.
3. Patchwork was a long-running and popular feature in one of our predecessors Music Technology, where readers sent in their own synth patches. Nowadays, though, most people have samplers, and we think the best way of providing our readers with the classic synth sounds of yesteryear, is by sticking them on our CD. Issue 1 (July), for example, has a selection of sounds from AMP's classic synth sample CD, and the August issue featured the Fairlight Series II. Rest assured that upcoming issues will feature more synth sounds for you to sample.
4. Intermanual Rescue provide manuals for a wide range of synths, for a fee (naturally). Their phone/fax number is (Contact Details), and address is: (Contact Details)
5. There are MIDI consultants around but, like other services, their effectiveness and fees vary wildly. We suggest you gen up on MIDI through the mix and specialist MIDI books, so you don't have to line other people's pockets. Hope we've been of some help. DM
QJust to let you know that the CD-ROM featured on the first issue of "The Mix" does not work with the Power Macintosh 7100/66AV, though the audio sounds alright. Future renewals of my long standing H&SR subscription will depend on your reply.
David Crosby, Kent.
AThe RE:MIX CD:ROM should work on any Mac, and since it works on our LCIIIs, there certainly should be no problem running it on your Power Mac.
Firstly, do other CD-ROMs work on your Mac? It may be that your CD:ROM driver needs re-installing. Go through the installing routine again, and make sure that the drivers 'High Sierra File Access', 'ISO 9660 file access' and 'Foreign File Access' are installed. If that doesn't work, try getting your CD:ROM drive cleaned. If it's not in peak condition i.e. a little dirty, then it might be confused by RE:MIX's multi-mode format, which has both PC and Mac partitions, as well as the audio section. If you still can't use it, give us a call.
I feel sure ex-HSR reader David Crosby will shortly be experiencing a feeling of 'Deja Vu'. CJK
QI am in the process of preparing budgets and designs for a small recording studio to be situated within a sixth-form college where I teach part time. I would be grateful if you could forward a list of forthcoming trade shows, or events where studio equipment will be featured.
It would also be much appreciated if you could recommend certain manufacturers or models of equipment most suited to a college environment - lots of hard use by a large number of students, some of who will lack the respect some equipment requires. If Land Rover built a mixing desk, I would probably buy it!
Martin Scriven, West Yorkshire.
AAs far as trade exhibitions are concerned, you've missed both the APRS and the British Music Fair (the show season is spring-summer) but luckily there's still the London Music Show to come this year, where there's a fair bit of recording gear on display. The LMS takes place at the Wembley conference centre on the 26th and 27th of November, details from Music Maker Exhibitions on (Contact Details). Alternatively, if your college is feeling generous, get them to send you to Paris in January for the AES show - let the Chunnel take the strain.
Most modern recording equipment is built to a high standard, 'though of course some models are more durable than others. Unfortunately, Land Rover don't yet build audio equipment (though if BMW continue to pour money into the company, maybe they soon will), but I can suggest some models that can handle the rough-and-ready of college use. Soundcraft's Spirit Studio (the original, chunky model) and Tascam's M2600 are both eight-buss in-line consoles that are built to a high standard. Get 24 input channels and they'll be perfect for use with either the Fostex G24s or Tascam MSR24 analogue multi-tracks.
By buying an analogue multi-track, you'll probably get heavier use than if you get a digital multi-track such as the Alesis ADAT or Tascam DA88, simply because they're simpler in design, so there's less to go wrong. DM
QI have recently bought a Lynex 16bit stereo sampler (for not much money) which uses the Atari ST as a control interface. Unfortunately, it came without the necessary driver software. I would be grateful for any information about this gadget, or where I can get the software for it. I have heard rumours that it can be driven from Cubase, in the same manner as DigiDesign's SampleCell for the Mac.
John Tuffen, York.
ATHE MIX Private Investigations Department has unfortunately drawn a blank on this one, but if anyone has any information that might be of use to John, please can they contact him on the following number: (Contact Details) or write to him: (Contact Details). DM
QOh dear, I hope you can help me. I've just impulsively purchased your first issue. I'm very interested in music, especially dance, but I haven't a clue what sort of equipment I would need to start my own mini home studio. What basic equipment does one need to mix and remix records? Is there, by sheer coincidence of course, some publication that could help me?
I would be truly grateful for your help. Please don't brush my letter aside because of my rather inadequate technological knowledge - we've all got to start somewhere.
George Tait, Edinburgh
AWe don't brush letters aside because of 'inadequate technological knowledge' - after all, that's what we're here for - to vegetate, entertain and inform - well, something like that. What you need is a computer with some sequencing software, such as an Atari ST, Mac Classic or PC, with Steinberg Cubase or Emagic Notator, or simplified versions of those programs, like Cubase Lite or Notator MicroLogic.
You need a synth or keyboard to input the music into the computer, and some sound modules for the computer to drive. If you want vocals and live instruments, you'll need a multitracker of some kind, such as Fostex's X18H cassette four-track or Tascam's Porta 07. You can then synchronise your sequencer and multitracker together using a sync box.
You might like to get a sampler for using loops and accessing a wide range of sounds. Look at Akai's S01 or a secondhand S900, Emu Emax or Casio FZ1. You'll probably need some kind of mixer, such as a Soundcraft Spirit Folio, one of the Phonic range or a secondhand Seck. Stick it all through your stereo and you're in business. Stick with us, George, and you'll be alright. DM
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