The Shape Of Things To Come
A look at what's new in the recording and hi-tech equipment fields including Applied Microsystem's new synchroniser, Oberheim's rack-mount Matrix-6 expander and more...
The stream of new products continues this month with many manufacturers looking towards the APRS trade show in London as the launch point for all their latest devices. Here's a sneak preview of some of them...
If you're into computers and you are looking for a new music add-on, then the new Tron Digidrum 3 for the Commodore 64 could be for you.
From Syndromic Music, the combined hardware/software package allows the digitally sampled drums to be programmed with over 375,000 steps, and voices may be chosen from the 30 or more samples. These include assorted drum sounds ranging from standard kits to latin and synth sounds plus an unusual glass kit!
Owners of existing Tron Digidrum 2 units will be pleased to learn that you can update your system with a low-cost software upgrade. (Contact Details)
From the Japanese company TOA comes a new condenser microphone, the KY (no jokes about 'jelly' please). This has been designed for both studio and live use and is of a modular construction.
It comes fitted with the YMM musical instrument capsule as standard, but optional YMV and YFV capsules for male/female vocals are also available. The system can be phantom-powered and there's a red LED to indicate 'live' status.
The already well-established Oberheim Matrix-6 keyboard has now arrived as the 'keyboard less' Matrix-6R rack-mounting version of the same synthesizer. The 6R utilises the same voice circuitry with 6 DCOs, 4-pole low pass filters, three 5-parameter envelope generators, 2 LFOs and extensive MIDI implementation including MIDI Mono Mode for independent 6-voice control by external sequencers.
Rebis are best known for their modular processors, in particular noise gates, so it should be no surprise to learn that their latest product is (wait for it!) - a 'new' noise gate. What is a surprise is that along with the most comprehensive set of controls yet seen on a gate, the new RA701 is a 1U rack-mount unit that talks MIDI.
Its applications are inumerable. For example, it could put an end to the frustrations of studios with MIDI drum machines that won't trigger externally without special pads or interfaces. The RA701's two channels send note-on/off, key number and velocity data via a single MIDI Out socket. Units can be chained via the Merge Input and voices are normally selected using key number re-allocation on the receiving drum machine.
In the audio department, the gate has a 90dB range, frequency-conscious sidechain, and four-stage envelope. The hold and release can be switched to follow the attack regardless of signal length to allow fixed envelope shaping.
Envelope delay of up to 2 seconds gives useful slapback effects, particularly on reverb, and the 4 second maximum trigger mask facility can be used to remove offbeats or change accent levels.
Just for good measure the RA701 includes both stereo and 'duck' operation, external key inputs and good old 5-volt trigger outputs as well as MIDI.
The Rebis MIDI Gate, as it's called, will be on show for the first time at the APRS 86 exhibition at Olympia 2, London, June 25-27. (Contact Details)
Mentioned back in our March issue were the Roland S-50 and smaller S-10 sampling keyboards. These instruments are now due into the country around the end of July/beginning of August, so here's just a brief reminder of the technical specification of the more impressive S-50 model.
The keyboard will feature a 12-bit 32kHz sampling frequency which will provide a maximum sampling time of 17.5 seconds, sixteen voices, a five-octave keyboard with up to 60 split points and 3.5" disk storage. Both the S-50 and S-10 will be on show at the British Music Fair where you'll be able to hear a full demonstration of all Roland new products. (Contact Details)
In a continuing effort to expand their range of mixers, Soundtracs have announced their new FM Series 19" rack-mounting mixer. It's been designed to be fixed into a studio installation or a flight case and is totally modular. Fourteen different modules are available covering a wide spectrum from mono and stereo input channels, monitoring and group outputs etc. When used as a desk-top rather than rackmounting mixer, the meter section will also tilt forwards to facilitate easy viewing.
A number of different configurations are possible, making the FM Series particularly suitable for application as a Monitor mixer, PA mixer, Recording, Broadcast, Disco, Keyboards mixer, Video production and much more. (Contact Details)
Favoured as nearfield desktop monitors by many top studios like The Garden and Sarm West, the Acoustic Research AR18 speakers have recently been upgraded. The new models now use a more-refined cone structure for the woofer element and this has lead to a design with a natural signal fall-off as it approaches the crossover point which helps minimalise colouration. The result is that the new AR18 speakers don't use a crossover for the woofers and this allows them to be direct-driven from the input terminals. (Contact Details)
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