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Anatek Pocket MIDI Accessories

Craig Anderton checks out this new trio of pocket-sized MIDI accessories.


Craig Anderton checks out this new trio of pocket-sized MIDI accessories.


The Pocket Products range of MIDI accessories, which includes the Pocket Filter, Pocket Merge and Pocket Pedal, feature small size (3.2" x 2.1" x 1.2") and a status LED that turns off when any MIDI data other than realtime data passes through the unit. They draw their power via the MIDI line and require no batteries or AC adaptor. The LED also indicates MIDI error or overload conditions by turning off and staying off, in which case you need to reset the unit by unplugging the MIDI In cable. In all my testing, though, I never needed to reset any of the boxes.

POCKET FILTER



The Pocket Filter filters your choice of Aftertouch (Poly or Channel), Continuous Controllers (unfortunately, all controllers are filtered out; you can't choose specific ones), Pitch Bend, Program Change, all Channel data (System messages are not filtered), note events (both Note-On and Note-Off), System Exclusive/Common messages (Real-Time messages are not filtered), and System Real-Time messages.

You can select any or all of the above via an 8-position DIP switch on top of the unit and can filter data out of all MIDI channels or, where appropriate, any selected channel. Channel selection requires a keyboard or equivalent MIDI controller: you turn on all the switches and play the keys that correspond to the channels to be filtered, as shown on the diagram included with the short (but clear and useful) instructions.

I tested the Pocket Filter using Ralph Muha's excellent MIDIScope program and confirmed that the box does exactly what Anatek says it does. By the way, the Filter also internally generates Active Sensing data.

POCKET MERGE



The Pocket Merge is a basic, 2-In/1-Out, MIDI data merger. The question with mergers is how much data they'll accept before they overload, so I tried feeding progressively more complex data streams into the unit. For the final test, I fed about nine channels' worth of dense, sequenced material into one input and the output from a MIDI guitar, in Mono mode, doing outrageous amounts of pitch-bending, into the other input. Amazingly enough, the unit still didn't choke.

This is a great box that really makes MIDI merging affordable. It's also just the ticket for programming a rack-mount device with editor/librarian software and feeding the rack with both the computer's MIDI Out and a keyboard: the Pocket Merge had no problems handling any System Exclusive data I threw at it. Every studio should have a MIDI merger available, and I suspect quite a few will choose this one for its low cost and ease of use.

POCKET PEDAL



Pocket Pedal translates the motion from a standard, resistance-based, volume pedal to four types of MIDI output messages: Volume, Pitch Bend, Modulation, and Portamento time. These appear on any number of MIDI channels, selected in a manner similar to channel selection for the Pocket Filter. A second jack socket accepts a footswitch (not supplied) that can be set to provide sustain, sostenuto, start/stop, or portamento on/off functions. The four footswitch and four pedal options are set with a DIP switch.

The box includes an auto-calibration routine that calibrates your pedal when you plug it in, so that the pedal will generate the full range of MIDI values (0-127) - very hip. What's more, you can also calibrate a reverse curve (ie. pushing the pedal down goes from maximum to minimum value), and Pitch Bend can be calibrated in one of three ways (full-range, bend up to normal pitch, or bend down from normal pitch). You can't choose different pedal response curves except 'reverse', but considering what this box does provide, it seems almost ungrateful to point that out.

CONCLUSION



These are great little units. The price is right, the features useful, and they don't take up a lot of space. I bought the Pocket Merge as soon as I finished testing it, and the Pocket Pedal fills a need for those musicians who require real-time control over the most common MIDI Controllers. The Pocket Filter may prove the least useful of the three units, because many devices (such as sequencers) already include filters, and you can't just filter out one Controller (like the infamous All Notes Off command, which can cause real problems when merging signals together). Still, it does work as advertised. My only caution: don't lose the single-sheet instructions, because they are the only way you will find out about some of the units' strongest points. Thumbs up to Anatek on their first foray into the world of MIDI accessories.

FURTHER INFORMATION

£99 inc VAT (per unit).

Sound Technology plc, (Contact Details).

Copyright 1989 Electronic Musician magazine, (Contact Details). Reprinted with the kind permission of the Publishers.



Previous Article in this issue

Casio FZ20M Sampler

Next article in this issue

Keyboards with Bros


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 - Aug 1989

Review by Craig Anderton

Previous article in this issue:

> Casio FZ20M Sampler

Next article in this issue:

> Keyboards with Bros


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