During various discussions between ourselves on our return from this year's Frankfurt Music Fair, the SOS staff all agreed that this year's show had two outstanding themes - MIDI and Sampling. Now it's fair to say that these are the same two themes of last year's show, but the difference was obvious. Most companies were exhibiting what could be referred to as second generation products which should help consolidate their market positions and allow the end-users of the first generation equipment time to catch up. The new and upgraded samplers like the Akai S900, Prophet 2002 (reviewed in this issue) and the Ensoniq Digital Multi-Sampler were prime examples.
On the MIDI side, companies such as Akai and Yamaha are bravely moving into products which develop the idea of direct MIDI data control and manipulation, that will appeal to the needs of both keyboard players and studio engineers alike. It was just as encouraging to see many companies entering this field for the first time with products that weren't solely improved copies of existing designs but which actually opened up new and exciting paths for future development. Ibanez, who unveiled their futuristic-looking MIDI guitar, were a case in point.
With more widespread applications for MIDI coming into view, it was plain to see that many companies had focused their attention on this area. But what of those in the recording world? As we have previously said, the innovations and uses of MIDI technology have been keyboard-based in their origins and few of the studio equipment manufacturers have included MIDI on product designs to date. So, it was something of a complete surprise to hear that a company like Drawmer were developing the MIDMAN, their first MIDI product. The result is revealed exclusively to the world in this issue. Rest assured, it is only one of many new products from the recording fraternity.
And a final word on MIDI - Jay Chapman's series, Talking MIDI, has unfortunately been held over for this issue but will continue where it left off next month. However, if you really can't wait, don't worry, because there's a different sort of article by Chris Jordan on page 45 which speculates on MIDI's immediate future. That should keep you going in the interim.
Finally, I will take this opportunity to introduce a new writer to you. He is Richard Elen, a name that may be familiar to some readers through his past work as Editor of Studio Sound, the recording industry's trade magazine. Richard is now a freelance engineer as well as journalist and will be contributing more to Sound On Sound over the coming months. As I'm sure you'll agree, his first piece for us - a look inside KPM Music Library - makes very interesting reading indeed. I hope you enjoy it and the rest of the magazine.
Editorial by Ian Gilby
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