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The Shape of Things to Come

Our regular monthly round-up of appetising new products from the field of hi-tech music and recording technology.


From Fostex comes the next generation of budget mixers incorporating a built-in multitrack cassette recorder.

The Model 460features a 4-track cassette deck with SMPTE/EBU sync code capability for audio/video work. It offers a two-speed tape transport running at 17/8 or 33/4 ips, Dolby B and C noise reduction and a two-memory autolocate function.

The mixer section features eight balanced input channels each with phantom power, two-band parametric EQ, two effects sends, pan and solo. There are also eight dedicated tape returns, four buss outputs and a stereo master out.

Following in the footsteps of the popular Fostex X-15 comes the new X-30. This futuristic looking multitracker features a 4-track cassette system with Dolby B and C noise reduction, two-band EQ, pan controls and a return-to-zero function.

Prices not yet available. Details from Fostex UK distributors: (Contact Details).


No, it's not the latest dance craze, but something that will certainly help you produce dance mixes. The Twister Programmable Automation Computer (PAC) is in fact a mixdown aid. The unit involves three areas: computer control of signal levels, computer reading of input levels, and status communication via MIDI.

In its most basic form, the Twister PAC can control both signal levels and muting on eight channels of any mixing desk, by plugging it into the insert points. If more than eight channels are required, further units may be linked together.

The beauty of the Twister is that it stores all its performance information on a MIDI sequencer and it is this approach which results in the relatively low cost for such a device as this.

Price £995. Details from The Synthesizer Company Ltd, (Contact Details).


Launched at the February Music Fair in Frankfurt, the Ensoniq ESQ-M synth expander is now on sale in the UK.

This rack-mounted version of the original ESQ-1 features the same powerful synthesizer voice circuitry with 8-voice polyphony and three oscillators per voice. There is also a choice of some 32 sampled and digitally synthesized waveforms that can be used as sonic building blocks prior to shaping the sound through the envelope and filter sections. The major difference between the ESQ-1 and the ESQ-M (apart from the keyboard) is the omission of the sequencer section.

Price £875 inc VAT. Details from Ensoniq UK, (Contact Details).


Following the success last year of their 'Maxim' loudspeakers, Goodmans have now developed the Maxamp, active speaker system. These small speakers provide 25 watts output via an internal amplifier through a two-driver arrangement which uses a 125mm woofer and 20mm tweeter. The Maxamp speakers seem ideal near-field monitors in a home recording set-up and will no doubt find other applications in A-V situations.

Price £99.90 inc VAT per pair. Details from Goodmans, (Contact Details).


This month Steinberg introduce a variety of new and revised software packages. For the Pro-24 user comes the updated Version 2.0 software featuring, amongst its enhancements, new score editing, song arranging and MIDI System Exclusive functions. However, we have also been told that Version 2.1 of the software will be released at the APRS Show in late June, and this will feature three cycle record modes, group muting and logical editing(?). All users of the Steinberg Pro-24 who subscribe to their update service will receive the new software automatically. Other users should contact Steinberg directly themselves.

Also to be shown at the APRS for the first time in the world, will be the new Steinberg editing software for the Yamaha DMP7 digital mixer (see p38). This software has been developed in close liaison with Yamaha.

Continuing their Soundworks Series for the Atari ST, Steinberg have now released the long-awaited Ensoniq Mirage sample editor. Not only does this allow extensive manipulation of sampled sounds, but it is also compatible with Akai S900 samples created and stored via the Soundworks S900 editor. This means that samples from both machines are interchangeable when using the Steinberg editing software.

Finally, the new DX-Synthworks program has been designed for use with all six-operator Yamaha FM synths and incorporates the unique creator function first seen in Steinberg's Pro-Creator program. We are told that existing Pro-Creator owners may upgrade their software for a small fee. All the Steinberg software mentioned runs on the Atari ST computer.

Further details from Steinberg UK, (Contact Details).

Passport Designs have released Score, a desktop music publishing package for IBM PC and compatibles.

Score allows you to input a piece of music via a MIDI keyboard, mouse or the computer's own QWERTY keyboard, and produce 'camera-ready artwork' manuscript by outputting the data to either a laser printer, typesetter or dot matrix printer.

Developed over a period of 15 years by Professor Leland Smith at Stanford University, Score offers facilities such as graphic editing and page layout with control over the size, shape, spacing and resolution of music notation.

Price N/A. Details from Rittor Music Europe Ltd, (Contact Details).

BIT 2 is a new piece of software for use with the Yamaha CX5M or CX5II/128 computers and offers real-time performance. BIT 2 utilises three voice banks: one is the built-in file of preset voices and the other two are labelled 'User' and 'Alternate' voice bank. The latter two are used for loading in SFG voice files.

It is possible to programme 20 performance memories at a time, with each memory defining four 'instruments' together with all the related performance data. A 100 note sequencer offers one-shot or loop play functions and transposition.

Price £20 cassette or £25 disk. Available from (Contact Details). Yamaha X-Series Owners' Club members qualify for a discount price. Please contact the Owners' Club direct on (Contact Details).

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Arif Mardin

Sound On Sound - Copyright: SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.


Sound On Sound - Jul 1987


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