More news, views, and a smidgeon of hot gossip!
Hi-tech and pro audio retailer 2001 has been appointed the UK distributor of the Warner Audio Notes range of Interactive CD ROM discs for use with the Apple Macintosh, with the first of the releases being Mozart's Magic Flute.
The Audio Notes series brings together recordings of well known pieces of music with a complete in-depth collection of education notes. Through the aid of a CD ROM player connected to the Macintosh, you can listen to the performance whilst watching a scrolling score of the music, reading the story line, or exploring a whole host of related information about the music.
The Magic Flute comes as a three disc collection and features both English and German translations, a 400 word dictionary of musical terms, various different performances of the piece, as well as commentary. Audio Notes cost £59 each and cover a wide range of works stretching from renaissance to modern jazz. CD ROM technology is fast becoming one of the most exciting and flexible ways of presenting audio-visual information in a totally interactive environment. Audio Notes are available through Apple Computer Centres or direct from 2001.
2001, (Contact Details).
MIDITech have introduced a dedicated MIDI lead tester called MIDITEST 5. Musicians can spend frustrating hours trying to find out whether a MIDI problem is equipment-based only to discover that it is caused by a broken lead. A problem made more difficult by moulded plugs.
The MIDITEST 5 box houses two MIDI sockets and a system of lights which indicate a cable's status, telling you whether there is a broken connection, shorted wire, or wrongly soldered plugs. The unit costs only £15.50 and is available by mail order.
MIDITech, (Contact Details).
Boomerang Sound of Manchester have been expanding in all directions. With their recent move into 3000 sq ft premises, the company can now offer a larger demonstration area where customers can examine a range of recording equipment. With all the extra space available, Boomerang have also increased their maintenance staff to four with the appointment of Richard Cockram, who previously worked on a freelance basis at PWL and Roundhouse studios, London.
Boomerang have also expanded their range of products with their appointment as Fostex dealers and service agents, as well as dealers for Sennheiser microphones and Denon cassette machines.
Boomerang Sound, (Contact Details).
This year's BMF promises to be the biggest ever, covering some 8000 square metres with 150 exhibitors, including 40 new companies and 10 from overseas. The decision to allow non-trade association members to exhibit this year has broadened the product base and resulted in some 30% of the total exhibits showing pro audio and recording related instruments and equipment.
This year the BMF holds a number of new attractions apart from the increased variety of exhibitors. There is a 'learn to play' centre which will offer practical guidance to teachers, parents, and musicians who wish to find out more about playing and teaching an instrument. The centre is being organised in conjunction with the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, and includes representation from music colleges, teachers, instrument manufacturers, and music associations.
Interest in MIDI is becoming more widespread as the interface can now be found on a host of instruments, from keyboards to guitars, wind and percussion. However, it is still very new to some people and so, to help in this area, you'll find the newly established UK MIDI Association (UKMA) at the show.
On the Friday, the 'Young Guitarist Of The Year' competition finals will be held. A total of 15 guitarists will compete for the £1000 prize money, and the event will be filmed by the BBC for transmission the following day.
For visitors with young children, a Musical Adventure Playground is being set up by the Liverpudlian musicians cooperative 'Urban Strawberry Lunch'. (Great name!) Famous for their musical sculptures constructed from environmental waste materials, the playground should provide children with hours of musical fun, leaving parents free to get around the show and check out some of the more serious stuff.
Many exhibitors invite celebrities from all fields of music to their BMF stands in order to demonstrate instruments to the public. By their very nature, musicians and particularly pop stars are always difficult to pin down in advance. Therefore, when you arrive at the show you should check the notices for information on celebrity appearances for that day. In previous years members of Ultravox, Simple Minds, Status Quo, Spandau Ballet, Marillion, Dr.Feelgood, 10cc and Level 42 have all attended the show. Naturally, Sound On Sound will be there too!
Finally, this year teachers and music advisers who pre-register for the show will be able to gain free admission during the public days, from Friday to Sunday. The normal admission fee is £5 on the door. For a registration form write to: BMF Teachers, (Contact Details).
The British Music Fair, Olympia, London. Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July. Admission £5.
New country and blues band The Notting Hillbillies, formed by ex-Dire Straits members Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher, recorded their debut album on a Soundtracs IL3632 in-line console.
Missing... Presumed Having A Good Time was recorded at Knopfler's private studio in West London, and since its release has reached the No.2 slot in the UK album charts and has been in the Top 10 in Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Germany.
As reported previously, the UK MIDI Association (UKMA) is now up and running. They have now announced the availability of the official detailed MIDI Specification (February 1990 revision) at a cost of £25 to members and £33 for non-members. In addition, the much sort after MIDI File Specification is also available for £5.
The UKMA is now operating a conference area on The Music Network, Europe's on-line musicians' network, where users can leave questions, hints and tips, or read MIDI-related information. Vic Lennard of the UKMA has announced that all persons joining the UKMA will now receive automatic free membership to TMN.
UKMA, (Contact Details).
ABC Music have secured the last stocks of Steinberg's famous Pro24 sequencer for the Atari ST. Pro24 was the recognised industry standard Atari sequencer and developed through a number of versions to its final, most powerful, Version 3.0 incarnation. It offers 24 MIDI tracks, four editing pages, multitrack and channel record features, plus sync capabilities and MIDI File compatibility.
The final stock is now being sold for a fraction of the original £285 selling price, at only £99. Stocks are limited, so get in quick!
ABC Music, (Contact Details).
Freelance author and lecturer for the University Of Surrey's Recording Course, Francis Rumsey, has written what must be the most up-to-date book on MIDI. Entitled MIDI Systems And Control, this A5 size book contains some 130 pages and covers the topic from head to toe in a simple and straightforward style.
The book starts with an explanation of the MIDI interface, its hardware and software. Further chapters guide you through the different MIDI messages, System Exclusive, and timing information - including MIDI Time Code. Other chapters are dedicated to specific applications, such as the use of MIDI on keyboards, samplers, sequencers, mix automation and drum machines, with each category focusing on the particular MIDI messages involved and their usefulness.
The book closes with a discussion on building a MIDI instrument setup, the role of the master keyboard and sequencer, thoughts on interconnection and MIDI delay problems.
The more technically minded will also find an overview of the MIDI Sample Dump Standard and MIDI File Format, together with background information on binary, timecode, and MIDI implementation charts. We thoroughly recommend this book for being concise and informative, and for not over-complicating the MIDI issue. It should prove a valuable addition to any musician's library, be they beginner or seasoned MIDIphile.
MIDI Systems And Control is published by the Focal Press at £14.95 and is available from good bookshops. It will also be included in next month's SOS Bookshop.
As of the 11th May 1990, Cheetah Marketing Ltd changed its name to Cheetah International Ltd. MD Howard Jacobson explained the reason for the change.
"The company was originally conceived in 1982 to exploit the fast growing computer peripherals market in the UK. Our intention then was to design or source products and market them under our own brand name. In 1986 we entered the musical instrument market and established a hi-tech manufacturing plant in Wales. Four years on the company is now a leading manufacturer of hi-tech musical instruments and exports now account for 40% of our turnover. We felt the name 'Marketing' was now misleading and that many of our customers, especially in the music side of our business, didn't fully appreciate the fact that the products were designed and manufactured within the company. The new name of Cheetah International Ltd therefore now reflects the company's true activity."
Glyn Baxter of Celestion was recently presented with a silver disc commemorating 60,000 sales of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe band's top-selling album, ABWH.
Celestion received the award on the recommendation of Rick Wakeman who, along with fellow keyboardist Julian Colbeck, utilised a total of four Celestion SR systems throughout the ABWH world tour for onstage monitoring of all keyboards.
To show how much he likes them, Rick Wakeman, currently on his solo UK tour, has taken the same SR systems on the road again.
Plasmec Systems, the UK distributor of the American Lone Wolf product range, used the APRS exhibition to show their range of MIDITap fibre optic MIDI network systems and the new MIDIHub programmable patchbay. All the units are designed to link together to form what Lone Wolf call the 'virtual studio'. All MIDI equipment connected to the network can communicate with other devices via fibre optic cable systems that carry accelerated MIDI information.
MIDIHub offers an 8x8 or 16x16 MIDI patchbay with full merging and routing of inputs. By use of the PatchView software for Atari, Macintosh, or PC compatibles, the whole patching system can be displayed on screen where instruments and configurations can be recalled by name and interconnections quickly set up and stored.
Plasmec will be exhibiting for the first time at this year's BMF in July, where they will launch two brand new products from Lone Wolf.
Plasmec Systems Ltd, (Contact Details).
XRI Systems launched their XRL8 MIDILite at the recent APRS exhibition. This 1U rack-mounting unit allows any MIDI note information from a keyboard, sequencer, drum machine etc, to control most stage lighting systems.
The unit takes the MIDI data from your equipment and converts it into control voltages which are readily accepted by most professional lighting dimmer packs. The basic XRL8 (£399 inc VAT) provides eight individual channels which can be expanded up to 16. For greater capacity, the unit can be linked to the LEMI MIDI Dimmer Pack which provides a further 24 channels, and XRL units can be chained together to build even bigger lighting controllers.
XRI Systems, (Contact Details).
MasterBits have released another CD in their Climax Collection. Their latest offering is entirely dedicated to vocals, with over 600 samples stored on disc. Amongst the collection you'll find a wide range of vocals featuring male and female voices from around the world, including expressions like 'yeah', 'doo-dap', 'hop', 'ooh', 'ah', 'oh', 'mmh'![The latter sounds are not Frankie Howard samples! - Ed] Sounds are sampled at different pitches for multi-sampling and many can be used specifically for 'voice sequencing' and 'vocal percussion' work, lending a more professional touch to your compositions. Volume 1 in the vocal series costs £45 inc VAT.
The Advanced Media Group, (Contact Details).
Unisound, the Kilburn-based London music store, have informed us that a Fostex R8 8-track reel to reel tape machine has been stolen from their shop. As the machine will no doubt come up for sale somewhere, readers are asked to keep an eye out for a machine whose serial number is 0700976. Anybody with information about the whereabouts of this machine should contact Unisound. (Contact Details).
The importance of Europe in the Yamaha product development process has increased dramatically over the past 12 months, and with 1992 fast approaching Yamaha are expecting European musicians to play a key role in providing voices, sample data, and support software to satisfy the needs of this market, which has quite different tastes to Japan and America.
The Yamaha Research and Development Centre in London has so far provided 30-40% of the preset voices for the SY product range, with the work being shared amongst R&D staff and European musicians. However, due to the time-consuming nature of this work and demanding schedules, Yamaha are now looking for dedicated professionals/semi-professional musicians amongst the Sound On Sound readership who feel that they may have something to contribute.
Anyone interested in working on a freelance basis should send a portfolio of their work, for DX and/or SY synths, along with a CV to Yamaha. All respondents will be kept on a database and selected musicians will be invited to the R&D Centre to discuss future projects.
Mike Barnes, Yamaha R&D Centre, (Contact Details).
Andertons Music Company of Guildford have now become a Roland Main Dealer and can offer the extensive range of Roland products to their customers. John Russell, hi-tech music consultant at Andertons, will be on hand to provide advice on specific musical requirements and can be contacted at the store or via The Music Network (mail ID: jrussell). Andertons pride themselves in their after-sales support and hold an extensive library of RAM/ROM cards and sounds for samplers.
As well as adding Roland products to their already extensive selection of equipment, Andertons are also offering interest-free credit facilities across many of their lines. (Contact Details).
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