As the Eighties draws to a close, we already have in our midst several significant indicators as to the direction hi-tech instruments and recording equipment might be taking in the early part of the next decade. For instance, our main feature this month is the review of the SY77 - Yamaha's 'next generation' flagship synthesizer, and surely the 'true' replacement for the DX7. With a new method of synthesis (RCM) to explain and a host of features, we have split our review into two parts, just as we did when Roland's flagship LA synth was first launched. This month Martin Russ covers the main features, and next month he'll explain in detail what Real-time Convolution and Modulation actually is, and how it can be used to programme new voices as well as the sounds of certain classic synths.
1989 has been characterised by a continuing fall in the price of equipment, and a corresponding rise in value-for-money. You only have to look at the reviews of the Kawai K4 synth, the Alesis MIDIverb III effects unit, and the remarkable Tascam MSR24 24-track in this magazine to realise that manufacturers are giving us more or (in the case of the MSR24) previously unattainable features for less money than before. Good news? Not necessarily. In the hi-tech field, we are constantly discovering that most people only utilise a fraction of the features they are provided with. Personally, I would like to see hi-tech manufacturers all making a New Year's resolution to hold back on the flood of new features on forthcoming products, and have them concentrate more effort and resources on improving their user interface - and their owner's manuals! Most people in this country have access to a domestic video recorder, so isn't it also about time that audio-visual versions of the manual were included with an instrument? It would probably cost manufacturers less to mass produce a tutorial video than it would the usual 'telephone directory' that masquerades as an owner's manual - paper is a far more expensive resource than plastic, after all.
Which brings me neatly to the thorny subject of inflation and price increases. In order to bring you even more pages of quality editorial in the Nineties, the newsagent price of the magazine will be rising. If you want to beat the price increase, and ensure you don't miss your regular copy of Sound On Sound, then there is still time to subscribe at our current bargain basement rates (see page 2 for details). We won't be asking you to shell out extra for nothing, mind you. In return, you will receive a bigger and better magazine, containing even more of what has made Sound On Sound Britain's No. 1 hi-tech music recording monthly. Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and enjoy the issue!