A Sound Design
Design Studio Programs
Article from Electronic Soundmaker & Computer Music, January 1985
A set of programs for the Spectrum to enable you to unravel the mysteries of DX synthesis.
Curtis Schwartz looks at four pieces of software designed to make MIDI manageable.
The original idea behind the development of MIDI, was to enable any MIDI instrument, from any manufacturer or country, to interface with any other MIDI instrument — whether it be a computer, digital drum machine or conventional synthesiser. However, within that original 'ideal', many manufacturers have still attempted to retain their own mutual exclusiveness, whether it be in their computer interfaces or in the transmission of performance controls such as after-touch or sustain.
One British company, however, are attempting to fight for truth, freedom and for the free world to be able to experience MIDI in the way it was meant to be experienced. If SCI's Prophet 600 chooses not to be a perfect partner for a DX7, then that's SCI's problem. However, what this merry band of computer persons are striving for is, within the confines of their own synthesiser computer programs, to make them compatible with all currently available MIDI interfaces — a small step for Mankind, but an enormous leap for these isles of ours.
To get to the point (Good idea — ED), Sound Design Studio have written four pieces of software for the Spectrum computer for the DX7 or DX9 owner. Two of these programs are for giving real time editing displays of the DX7 and DX9 parameters, the third is a DX7 Voice Library and the fourth is a Parameter Store, which will store 32 files of DX7 function parameters which can be recalled at the press of a button (as on Yamaha's DX1).
The DX7 and DX9 Voice Editor and Dump Facility (£24.99) may not be the best name in the world for a couple of computer programs, however these two programs are deceptively useful.
Firstly, they give a visual display of all parameters on the DX7 or DX9, thus simplifying the editing procedure a million-fold. This is not too revolutionary however, and anyone who spotted the CX5M review in our October issue will be very familiar with this. However, they also provide you with a program dump facility — moving either single programs or a bank of 32 voices (on the DX7, or 20 voices on the DX9) between the keyboard, the Spectrum and a tape cassette. For the DX7 user, who will have to spend up to £70 per RAM cartridge to be able to store 32 voices, this is an extremely useful facility.
The third program these likely lads have put together simply acts as a DX7 voice library and dump facility (£24.99), however, the voice library not only stores a bank of 32 voices, but rather 7 files of 32 voices! 'Extra good' is what I have to say on that matter, as it can also facilitate storing all those files onto tape in one go. This program is also available for the DX9, whereby you have seven files of 20 voices.
The final item on the agenda is the ingenious DX7 function parameter store (£14.99). Another spiffing name, yet proves to be a very useful item, by enabling one to recall up to 32 different settings of performance controls (after-touch, portamento, mono/poly etc.) at the press of either a single button on the Spectrum's keyboard, or remotely from anotherMIDI'd keyboard.
Altogether, these programs are a very useful addition to any DX owner's set-up. If you have not yet got a home computer, then it makes it an even more attractive temptation, as the Spectrum is a relatively inexpensive and portable computer, with an enormous range of additional software from which to choose.
For further information, Sound Design Studio can be contacted on (Contact Details).
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Review by Curtis Schwartz
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