Centre of Attraction
Now that our feet have finally recovered from walking round the show, we can tell you what impressed us most (after the free drinks and sweatshirts).
Faced with the wealth of new products on display, it was difficult to select those worthy of special attention, but there were some that seemed to attract slightly more than their fair share of the limelight. That does not however mean that anything we have omitted is not worthy of interest so having got that straight, read on.
For three days last month, the Kensington Exhibition Centre became the focus of attention for many recording enthusiasts and professional recording related companies as the APRS show once again got under way. With so many manufacturers distributing it is naturally difficult to cover all interesting new products but having fought to the front of what seemed to be the thickest crowds, there were certain items definitely worthy of further attention.
From Rebis comes a digital sampler - the RA226. It operates in two modes; Delay or Sample. In Delay mode, the time length can be set by a Time control and Feedback provides a variable number of repeats. The Mix control gives a balance of input and output in Delay mode or can be used for monitoring the input in Sample mode. Once in this mode, the RA226 will automatically record anything that exceeds its internal threshold level and it can be re-played forwards or backwards. Furthermore the start and end points of the sample can be accurately defined enabling any part of it to be omitted on playback and the sample may also be looped, although there is no provision for keyboard control of the pitch of the stored sound. The unit appears to be easy to use, and at an estimated price of £525, a very interesting proposition for those looking at the high quality digital delay/sampler market. Although not yet available we will do our utmost to get our hands on a review model in the near future.
Vesta Fire also have a budget sampler which may be played from any one volt/octave keyboard with a CV output and a review of this model is currently being written.
One of the most talked about products on display was the new Yamaha REV7. This MIDI controlled digital reverb unit features six reflection modes, up to 99.9ms of initial and first reflection predelay time and up to 9.9 seconds of reverb decay time. The texture of the sound may be changed by an inbuilt parametric equaliser and 30 preset ROM effects are also incorporated. These cover many sorts of plate, spring, hall and echo room sounds as well as delay, ambience and live feel. Production models will also incorporate non-linear and gated programs. As if this weren't enough, the unit also has stereo phasing, flanging, tremolo and chorus capabilities, all in true stereo. No fewer than 60 effects programs can be created and stored in memory.
A delay/reverb unit has also come out from John Hornby Skewes although this is a much cheaper affair. The S1310R Digitec Delay can produce straight or delayed reverb and the delay time is variable between 5ms and 1310ms. Feedback and Modulation controls are also included.
Yet another new MIDI controlled reverb was on show, this time from Roland. The SRV2000 is capable of holding 32 reverberation patterns in its memory and has a maximum reverb time of 99 seconds. The reverb may be extensively modified to create virtually any conceivable acoustic environment or gated effect and literally tens of thousands of permutations are possible. Units are not yet available, but when the SRV2000 reaches the shops in September it will retail at around £1375.
MTR are putting a delay on the market manufactured by Tamtec. This is a 6-tap delay line capable of generating some striking and unusual sound textures and should retail for about £450. Needless to say, we are plotting to get our hands on one.
On the mixer and recorder side, Tascam were displaying their Tascam MS16, which is a new 16-track reel to reel recorder that uses 1" tape running at 15ips. It is also fully compatible with SMPTE and has a large range of editing features. Several optional add-ons are also available for the MS16 such as an autolocator, a remote control unit and a DBX noise reduction unit.
Also featured on the Tascam stand was the 388 Studio 8. This is a self-contained recording system that incorporates an 8-channel mixer and an 8-track reel to reel recorder. The mixer has eight input channels, eight output busses, left and right stereo busses, an aux buss, an effects buss, two effects returns, a 3-band parametric EQ and a monitor section. The recorder section runs on ¼" tape (on a 7" reel) and includes amongst its functions a real time counter, SMPTE compatibility and DBX noise reduction (that you can assign to tracks individually if need be).
On a smaller scale, Tascam have brought out a new Portastudio; the 246. This has six input channels, four tracks and a 2-band parametric EQ section as well as two effects sends. DBX is available and the unit runs at 3¾ips or 1⅞ips, making it compatible with prerecorded cassettes.
Another multitracker to make its first appearance at the APRS show was the Teczon Dub Multi 4x4 from John Hornby Skewes; a 4-channel, 4-track machine with a 2-band parametric which retails at £429. Big brother to the Teczon is the Audio Technica RMX64 multitracker. This is in a similar league to the Tascam 246, being again a 6-channel, 4-track cassette recorder. It boasts a detailed EQ section, a solo buss, two auxiliary sends and returns and both Dolby B and C noise reduction. Its retail price is £1099. Next month should see a review of this model in HSR, and a review of the Teczon will also follow in a few months.
Needless to say we will endeavour to keep you informed on these and any other new products available.
More information is available from the following addresses.
Rebis RA226;- Rebis Audio, (Contact Details).
Yamaha REV7;- Yamaha Kemble Music (UK) Ltd, (Contact Details).
John Hornby Skewes S1310R, Teczon Dub Multi 4x4 and Audio Technica RMX64;- John Hornby Skewes, (Contact Details).
Roland SRV2000;- Roland UK, (Contact Details).
Tamtec Delay and Vesta-Fire Sampler;- MTR, (Contact Details).
Tascam 388 and 246 Portastudio;- Harman UK, Ltd, (Contact Details).
Show Report by Neville Unwin
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