The Shape Of Things To Come
Our regular monthly exploration of upcoming new products in the field of hi-tech music and recording technology.
Continuing what seems like a never-ending stream of new products from TOA, this month sees the introduction of three new combo amplifiers - the KD-1 (50 watts), KD-2 (100 watts) and top of the range KD-3 (150 watts), which feature four stereo input channels, effects sends, direct outputs and a five-band graphic equaliser.
The combos are ideally suited to live keyboard applications and feature heavy duty loudspeakers and metal protection grilles.
Prices: KD-1 £327.75, KD-2 £506, KD-3 £713. Further details from TOA Electronics Ltd, (Contact Details)
From Yamaha comes the latest instrument to bridge the acoustic/electronic gap. The Yamaha MIDI Grand Piano, as it is known, is in every way a traditional grand piano but Yamaha have built in the electronics of a MIDI master keyboard, which turn the instrument into a powerful controller. In some ways the MIDI aspects are similar to those found on the now discontinued KX88, in that they offer full control over MIDI program/patch assignment, pitch bend and modulation wheels, and feature four MIDI Out sockets. No synthesizer voice circuitry is included, it's just a straight acoustic piano.
Price to be announced. Details from Yamaha Kemble, (Contact Details).
The development of microphone technology is by no means as fast-moving as microprocessor based equipment. It's an important and rare moment then, when an established company introduces a new range of microphones that move forward another step.
Electro-Voice have launched their new N/D Series microphones which feature neodymium alloy, a metal with four times the normal magnetic power of conventional iron magnets. The range consists of four vocal and two instrument mics. All the models are dynamic microphones, the N/D757, N/D457, N/D357 and N/D257, offer various cardioid pick-up patterns suited to both live and studio vocal applications. The N/D308 and N/D408 are instrument mics with cardioid and supercardioid polar patterns intended for use with bass drum, backing singers, brass sections etc.
The use of neodymium magnets is said to have several benefits, particularly in controlling high SPL distortion and feedback.
Prices from Shuttlesound, (Contact Details).
Simultaneous signal processing is what the new Drawmer M500 is all about. Claimed to be the most comprehensive noise gate in the world, the M500 just happens to be able to offer you compression, expansion, de-essing, auto-pan, filter-pan, auto-levelling, auto-fade and limiting all at the same time. What's more, every parameter can be accessed and settings can be stored in one of the 50 user memories. The unit comes with 78 pre-programmed patches and can also record up to 16 different sound envelopes which can be stored and superimposed onto any signal passing through the M500 gate.
Being MIDI compatible, the M500 allows real-time effect changes to be implemented via any suitable MIDI controller.
Price around £700 ex VAT. Contact Drawmer Distribution, (Contact Details).
Two new products from MTR this month fill a hole in the market for those looking for budget priced solutions to some perennial problems.
The OR 126 is a cleverly designed 19" rack offering 12U of open rack space which can be set to any angle between horizontal and vertical. This facility makes it ideal for housing tape recorders and mixers or just the usual range of effects. At the bottom of the rack a further 611 of space is available and this is particularly suitable for housing power amplifiers or mixer power supply units.
The second product from MTR is their SPA 600 Mosfet power amplifier. The power output measures up at 300 watts per channel into 4 ohms, 600 watts in mono bridged mode. The electronics feature seven-way protection circuitry and a two-speed force cooling fan. Signal connections are via XLR, jack and binding posts for the output speaker terminals.
Prices inc VAT: OR 126 Rack £63; SPA 600 £499. Information from MTR Ltd, (Contact Details).
The V3 MIDI Thru Box from Philip Rees is a simple, yet effective, star chain device featuring one-in/three-out MIDI Thru connections and can be either battery or AC mains adaptor powered.
For those with a larger appetite for Thru connections, the V10 offers a similar solution to MIDI routing problems but comes as a one-in/ten-out unit and is mains powered.
Prices: V3 £11.95; V10 £29.95. Information from Philip Rees Modern Music Technology, (Contact Details).
If you own an Ensoniq Mirage sampler and a Sinclair Spectrum computer, then you are definitely going to be interested in a new software release from ENSPEC Systems.
Although this is admittedly a little home-spun program, it deserves a mention because of its low cost and useful features.
The ENSPEC software recognises the fact that the Mirage is under-rated when it comes to it being used as a standard synthesizer! Yes, we know it's a sampling keyboard, but this software will allow you to draw fundamental waveforms like sine, square, triangle etc, then modify them, load them into the Mirage and then programme in a modulation characteristic. The results sound just like a traditional synth. So now, you can have sampled and synth sounds from your Mirage. PS. Further options in the software include cross-fade looping!
Price £29.95 (or £24.95 for Ensoniq user group (Oasis) members). Details from ENSPEC Systems, (Contact Details).
MegaMix is a software/hardware package which runs on either the Apple Mac or IBM PC compatibles. As its name suggests, it's an automated mixing assistant that allows software control of channels, groups, muting and soloing.
You can programme it to fade up channel levels and carry out a number of complex tasks, all precisely timed throughout the mix, by virtue of MegaMix's MIDI to SMPTE compatibility via MIDI song pointers. Under software control, of course, you can do such things as cut and paste the best bits of a mix together to give you the ultimate version, hit the play button and it is all there!
As MegaMix uses its own VCA circuitry, no modification is required to your existing mixing desk - the system just plugs into the inserts points.
Price on application from Take Note, (Contact Details).
A new 8-track sequencer package and MIDI interface for the Amstrad PCW 8256/8512 computer has been released by DHCP Electronics. A Casio CZ101/1000 voice editor program is also available.
Prices £124.95 and £79.95 respectively. Details from DHCP Electronics, (Contact Details).
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