The Shape Of Things To Come
A Quick glance at the crystal ball reveals new products on the way from Kawai, Stepp, Tascam, Soundtracs, Ramsa, and others...
The K3 Digital Wave Memory Synthesizer is a new keyboard from Kawai that combines the features of both a digital and analogue synth. Using 33 digitally stored waveforms of real sounds and noise, any two 'sources' can be combined to form a basic voice. Up to 32 harmonics out of a possible 128, each with relative intensity, may then be added to enrich the quality of that fundamental sound.
Having selected your waveforms, analogue sound-shaping controls such as low and high pass filters, envelope generators and LFOs are available for further manipulation and the final program may be stored in a RAM cartridge. The synthesizer comes with 100 factory presets configured as 50 internal and 50 RAM sounds, all of which may be modified to suit your own needs.
The K3's five octave (C-C) keyboard is both velocity and pressure sensitive with full MIDI implementation and performance control over several parameters including VCA, VCF and LFO. Additional features of the K3 include stereo chorus and pitch wheel.
In keeping with related products, the Kawai K3 is also available in a rack-mounted version called the K3-M, and there's a Wave Editor software package for the more serious user. Created by Hybrid Arts, the software runs on the Atari 130XE computer and allows the user to instantly see the settings of the 128 available harmonics, shape sounds and store them to disk. We are told that there are plans to adapt the software for the Atari ST in the near future.
Also from Kawai comes the R-100 digital drum machine. This unit marks Kawai's first entry into the drum machine market and offers high quality sampled sounds with 12-bit resolution and a 32kHz sampling rate. Its 8 individual velocity sensitive pads allow you to easily programme rhythm patterns which can include a choice of up to 24 different sounds.
The R-100's internal memory holds (you guessed it!) 100 patterns, 100 songs and 10 chains with a 3,500 note capacity. Further data storage is possible via cassette tape or the R-100 RAM cartridge facility.
Additional features include: 10 separate audio outputs, individual tuning and volume adjustment of sounds, sync-to-tape and MIDI song position pointers.
As MIDI continues its rapid expansion into non-keyboard products, Soundtracs announce the introduction of the MIDI Series mixer. Considered to be the first of its kind, the mixer has been primarily designed for 'keyboard workshops' and being MIDI intelligent it does not rely on additional computer software packages. The mixer follows the increasingly popular 'in-line' format and comes in a 16 or 24 module frame with full 16-track monitoring and 16 subgroups.
In use, the mixer has 32 or 48 MIDI-controllable inputs, with additional control of 4 auxiliaries, plus 8 optional effects returns.
As part of a system, the mixer utilises a normal MIDI sequencer (eg. MSQ-700) for storage of data, which can then be played back in-sync with keyboard instruments and drum machines for semi-automated mixdown.
The name JBL has always been associated with quality loudspeaker products for both live PA and studio monitoring. Now JBL enter the field of compact monitors with the introduction of their Control 1 miniature system.
Although these speakers are only 9 inches high, the two-way driver system has been specially developed to offer the classic JBL sound but in a much smaller box. Power handling is rated at an amazing 150 watts, with a frequency response of 120Hz to 20kHz. The enclosure is made of polypropylene structural foam with rubber end-cheeks for 'nonslip' positioning (sounds rude!).
A variety of optional support brackets are available which enable the Control 1 to be mounted on shelves, ceilings and walls, or on a photographer's tripod. The speakers are recommended for use in a number of applications such as studio near-field monitoring, home recording, audio-visual work and foreground/background music in restaurants and discotheques.
From Tascam comes the new model 112 stereo mastering cassette. This machine follows in the footsteps of the well-respected Tascam 122 by offering similar facilities at a reduced price.
The new 112 has been designed not only to cope with the heavy working conditions of a studio environment, but also to deliver high quality audio. Dolby B, C and HX noise reduction systems are included, plus an MPX filter, and all signals can be monitored on the large VU meters which include a useful peak overload LED.
A remote control socket provides full transport management and for cassette duplication purposes 'tally out' information is also available to drive further machines. The 112 is also available as the 112R Auto Reverse stereo cassette.
Continuing to make their presence known, Ramsa have just introduced two new professional stereo power amplifiers. The WP-9170 offers 100 Watts RMS and the WP-9220 200 Watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms. Both fan-cooled amplifiers are capable of operating in the bridged mono mode for increased output power.
Owners of the Otari MX-5050 two-track mastering machine can now have 'centre-track' timecode fitted to their tape recorders by ITA.
This modification utilises the ASC adaptor and a new head block to give a centre-track SMPTE timecode facility plus normal stereo sound for video and other A-V applications.
Their DG-1, described as "the world's first totally electronic guitar", is a highly expressive, guitar-style controller whose sleek, non-wood body incorporates both parameter controls and the more familiar 'strings'. All DG-1 controls are 'soft', as is the so-called 'tremolo arm', so they can be assigned by the player to control things like filter sweep or LFO modulation depth - not just pitch and volume. The DG-1 's synthesizer voice section is externally housed in the LSU (Life Support Unit) which also doubles as a neat guitarstand.
As the DG-1 also supports MIDI, the player has further access for controlling the sounds found on all MIDI compatible synthesizers, drum machines and samplers (usually seen as the domain of the keyboard player).
The Stepp DG-1 also features MIDI In meaning that multi-timbral performance is possible so you could, for example, play synthesized bass, chords and lead solo parts on the one instrument.
The DG-1 itself has 100 onboard memory locations which (currently) house 10 ROM and 90 user programs. Sounds can be played over an 8 octave range, with 2 oscillators per string, 6 modulation sources, auto-tuning and much, much more...
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