The Shape of Things to Come
A chance to check out some of the forthcoming new products that might tempt you to dig deeper into your pockets later this year.
Housed in a 19" rack format, Tascam's 238 uses a staggered head arrangement similar to that of the Toa MR8T to record 8 tracks of audio onto a standard cassette running at double-speed (3¾ips), thereby giving approximately 22 minutes record time from a C90. Switchable dbx noise reduction is used and this helps the machine deliver a very respectable 30Hz to 16kHz frequency response and a claimed 93dB signal-to-noise ratio.
Full transport and record status functions are included on both the 238 itself and the optional RC88 remote control unit. Advanced features of the 238 include a programmable auto punch-in/out facility, three autolocate memories, plus a shuffle control which allows you to cue precisely to any point on tape.
There is a serial port connection giving computer control access to all of the 238 functions. This latter function should prove interesting as Tascam will make available the specification of this port to software developers, so we could well see a program from someone in the near future and most probably one that can be integrated with a sequencer. A full review follows next month.
Price £1299 inc VAT.
Contact Teac UK Ltd, (Contact Details).
Calling all Yuppies! Two new 'designer' tapes from TDK have arrived in the form of their AR Limited Edition. Stylishly packaged in a unique cassette library case, the tapes are available only in a C90 format and come as either Type I tape, which is an entirely new formula, or Type II, which is actually TDK SA tape. Apparently, AR tapes will only be available in certain retail outlets just to add that little extra exclusivity. Those with loadsamoney will be chuffed to learn that they come in matt black too!
Price from £1.99.
Studer, the manufacturers of the legendary Revox tape recorders, have announced their C270 professional stereo machine. This new tape recorder owes much to the PR99 and is available in a wide variety of speeds and formats, along the lines of previous Revox two-track models, from top speed 15ips down to low speed 15/32ips varieties.
The main design features include a flat-bed construction with easy access to the tape heads, a built-in monitor speaker, large VU meters with three peak indicators at +6, +9 and +12dB, and comprehensive digital counter/locate functions. All of the new Revox C series will feature an RS232 serial interface for use with a number of accessories including an autolocator.
Price on application.
Contact FWO Bauch Ltd, (Contact Details).
With the growing demands for non-inflammable furniture and the stringent fire regulations in public areas, fireproof foam acoustic tiles have become a standard requirement in all top studios. To fulfil this demand Studio Spares have recently introduced such a product from Acoustitile, who claim that their new tiles will not burn even under a blow lamp and do not give off toxic fumes either. Acoustitiles are available in any colour (provided it's grey!) and measure 500mm square, in either 75mm or 110mm thickness.
Price around £4.00 per panel.
Contact Studio Spares, (Contact Details).
C-LAB have introduced an updated version of their NOTATOR program for the Atari ST. For those familiar with C-Lab's Creator program but not Notator, the basic difference is that Notator contains the Creator sequencer, and combines it with a full-function music notation/score printing facility. The new enhancements to Notator include a Real-time MIDI Generator (RMG). This allows virtually any type of MIDI controller to be assigned to a set of 16 onscreen faders, one per MIDI channel, and adjusted and recorded whilst the sequencer plays. Groove Design is a new 'feel factor' quantisation control. This can be independently set on each of the 64 tracks and can analyse previously recorded tracks and use their timing characteristics as a template for new tracks.
A new version 2.0 CREATOR will be available around June and there is talk of a SMPTE synchroniser to interface the software to audio tape.
Finally, version 1.1 of the X- ALYZER (£199) will be with us soon. Its most notable enhancement will be its ability to be co-resident with Notator on a basic Atari 1040ST. This will allow you to use the sequencer and then flip into X-alyzer to edit a voice on a DX7 without stopping the sequence playing and thus instantly hear the effect of your edits.
Price Notator £485 inc VAT.
Contact Sound Technology plc, (Contact Details).
VOYETRA have announced a number of new software and hardware products which run on PC-compatible computers. Due for release this autumn is 'M'. This will be virtually identical to the Intelligent Music version of 'M' for the Apple Mac and Atari ST, though it will run under Microsoft Windows. Voyetra's version of 'M' is produced under license from Intelligent Music and will be file compatible with their Sequencer Plus program, making it a logical addition and giving you a total MIDI sequencing/editing/interactive-composing environment.
Talking of SEQUENCER PLUS, Voyetra have just released Version 2.0 of all three of their programs; Mark I, II and III. All programs have been greatly extended and now incorporate simultaneous multi-channel/multi-track recording, track subgrouping (as on a mixing desk), SMPTE calculator/elapsed time, improved timebase resolution up to 192ppqn, and a built-in notepad. Marks I and II now also include a Librarian Setup screen (already available on MkIII) which provides a direct link into Voyetra's Patch Master Plus universal librarian program. Registered users of the previous versions of Sequencer Plus can upgrade for the price difference between any two programs and owners of SP MkIII can upgrade for a small fee.
Voyetra have also released five programs in their SIDEMAN series. All programs provide editing, librarian functions and randomising, and are available for the following: Sideman DTX (Yamaha DX7 l&ll, TX7, TX816), Sideman 81Z (TX81Z, DX11,21,27,100), Sideman DW (Korg DW/ EX8000), Sideman CZ (Casio CZ1, 101,1000, 3000, 5000) and the Sideman Roland D50.
New Voyetra hardware products are also being released. The V4001 is a MIDI interface card offering compatibility with the industry standard Roland MPU401. It features MIDI In/Out, can read/write FSK code and is also designed to work alongside the EB1/EB4 Expansion Kit, which provides four MIDI Thru connections. Voyetra have announced a price reduction of their current OP4000 and OP4001 interface cards. Details on all Voyetra products are available from their new UK distributor. Contact Roger Evan at Audio Digital Technology. (Contact Details).
DIGIDESIGN move into hardware with THE SOUND ACCELERATOR. Priced at £795, this is a digital signal processing card for the Apple Mac II and SE. It provides CD quality sound playback from the Mac and makes most sound processing and synthesis functions real-time. A sound can be loaded into the computer via a sampler or CD-ROM and then manipulated via digital equalisation, mixing, merging etc, and users can hear the effect of each change as it takes place. In a bid to establish the card as a standard, Digidesign have decided to make the specification of The Sound Accelerator available to other software developers for third-party support projects.
For IBM PC or compatible users, Digidesign are now marketing Turtle Beach Softworks' SAMPLEVISION, for editing of Akai S900 samples. The program runs in a graphic environment and offers full editing and manipulation of sample data via mouse control with cut, copy and paste type functions. It requires a 640K PC with EGA, CGA or Hercules graphic system and a Roland MPU401 or compatible MIDI interface. The program costs £395 and other versions are promised for other makes of sampler. Further details from the new exclusive UK distributors.
Contact Evenlode Soundworks, (Contact Details).
BBC computer owners might be interested in a music printing program from Mid Sussex Software called the MUSIC PROCESSOR. This is primarily aimed at those who want a straightforward way of preparing music on screen for printing out via a dot-matrix printer. This is not a MIDI program and cannot be linked to any sequencing function, it's purely for music printing. Basic facilities include entry and editing of notes on staves; single, piano or eight-part scores; transposing; etc. Any single-part file can also be played back via the Beeb's internal sound chip for quick reference purposes. The program is available on both 40 and 80-track disk.
Contact Mid Sussex Software, (Contact Details).
Now in production is the new IL3632 in-line console from Soundtracs. It is available in either a 36 or 48 channel version and features, amongst other things, dual line inputs in addition to the mic input on every channel, four-band parametric EQ, an integral patchbay, and eight auxiliary sends. Monitoring can be either PFL or solo in-place and the monitor faders can be assigned as a subgroup fader. Further details from the UK distributor.
Price on application.
Contact Don Larking Audio Sales, (Contact Details).
Following on from the original Proverb comes the Proverb 200. This is a preset stereo effects unit with some 200 studio effects programs stored onboard. These are divided into reverbs, gates, chorus, flange, echo, pan etc. Any effect can be called up manually from the front panel or via a MIDI program change command.
Price £299 inc VAT.
Contact Harman UK Ltd, (Contact Details).
Amstrad have introduced their own 'portastudio' type machine in the shape of the Studio 100. Although aimed most definitely at the teenage market and built-down to a price, it is interesting to see Amstrad dipping their 'corporate toe' into the water and leaves us wondering what else might be on its way. A synthesizer perhaps?
The Studio 100 is literally an all-singing, all-dancing home recording system that includes a 4-track cassette recorder, 6-channel mixer with treble and bass EQ, pan controls and onboard analogue echo, a 2-track stereo cassette for mixdown, an AM/FM radio, and a record deck! All of these can be played through its two speakers via the integral 10 watts (rms) per channel amplifier. And, to make sure you're up and running straight away, you even get four microphones, a pair of headphones and a drum backing tape thrown in as well.
Now that they've got the recording side sorted out, I wonder what Amstrad think these kids are going to use for musical instruments? We almost wet our pants when the brochure boldly described the Studio 100 as "a superb midi audio system." It was the wrong MIDI, of course, but who knows what Alan Sugar has planned.
Contact Your local Dixons or Amstrad hi-fi stockist. (Contact Details).