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Plagued by technical and musical conundrums? Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead! Write to Grief, MT, (Contact Details).

Kenton Electronics will adapt the Minimoog for MIDI control. You can't, as far as we know, make the same adjustment to Gary Numan

QSome time ago I acquired a second-hand Minimoog which I connect to my MIDI setup via a Pro 2 CV/Gate converter from Kenton Electronics. This drives two separate synthesisers on different MIDI channels.

My MIDI keyboard/sequencer plays the Minimoog but not the same as when playing the Minimoog keyboard. The keyboard tracking switches don't have much effect and the glide doesn't work at all via MIDI.

Before being able to play the Minimoog I have to 'align it' against the MIDI keyboard by playing, for example, C1 on the Minimoog followed by C1 on the MIDI keyboard - or else a different pitch may be triggered, transposing the whole sound.

Is there a way of playing the Minimoog via MIDI using the Pro 2 just as if it were being played from its own keyboard? Having had some electronics experience I'd be able to carry out the work if you tell me how.

The Minimoog is connected to the Pro 2 as follows:

I also tried the Aux 1 and Aux 2 outputs with the Filter and Loudness inputs on the Minimoog and it worked okay. But the most important thing is making it work like the Minimoog's own keyboard - so controlling the VCF and VCA isn't my main concern.

I also have a Roland SH-101 which is connected to the second output of the Pro 2. The functions seem to work fine except one: by using one of the Aux outputs to control the Modulation input of the SH-101 (Kenton Electronics sells a minor modification for the SH-101 which adds external modulation and VCF control inputs) I only get modulation for a short while so I only get vibrato for half a second or so. What's wrong?
Hallvard Tangerass
Oslo, Norway

AThe Minimoog has many shortcomings in the way that it implements the control sockets - you seem to have discovered most of them! Here's a list:

1. CV input does not drive the keyboard tracking switches.

2. CV Control has been placed after the glide circuitry so this won't work.

3. The voltage sent to the Minimoog from an external source is added to the current keyboard note. Bad enough, but this has a knock-on effect - see 5.

4. Even if the Minimoog has been modified to get around the problem in 3, zero volts plays an F rather than the more usual C.

5. The keyboard on most synths - including the Minimoog - has a circuit which 'remembers' the last note played (so that it knows where to glide from). However, the note voltage is stored in a capacitor which gradually discharges over a period of minutes so the voltage added to the CV converter output is also affected and this can cause a drifting effect.

6. It is not exactly the 1-volt-per-octave standard.

Kenton has fitted 'proper' control sockets to Minimoogs but the process is quite complex - it's not just a case of adding a few wires. The company would be happy to send you details but says it's not really in a presentable form.

As you have pointed out, Roland made a far better job of the control sockets on the SH-101. Your problem with the modulation sounds as if you have the Aux pot set too high. The one driving the modulation must be set to minimum (ie, fully anti-clockwise), as overdriving can cause the modulation to stop. If that doesn't solve the problem, check your installation. Kenton has fitted the modification to many SH-101s without problem.

And if all else fails, you can reach Kenton in the following ways - (Contact Details). IW

QI'm a relatively young hi-tech muso interested in dance, ambient and new age music. Until recently I had just been using my old Amiga A500 to sequence a couple of synths and an 8-bit sampler (you know, the internal thingy) but now feel it's time to get more serious. Perhaps you could answer some questions I have...

1. I have composed several pieces on the Amiga that I wish to keep. Can I send MIDI data from my Amiga while it plays to a Mac Plus and get the Plus to record in Cubase?

2. Does the Cheetah SX-16 sampler have digital outs? Can you expand it to more than 2Mb? Why do people slag it off when it seems to have a great-looking spec? Could an S1000 load and play SX-16 samples? Can I get sample editing software for it on the Mac Plus?

3. When you change patches on the Alesis Midiverb does it click? In other words is it a smooth progression from patch to patch?

4. Are there Mac editors/librarians for the Kawai K1, Roland Alpha Juno II, Roland SH101 (only kidding!), and Alesis Midiverb?

5. I have a view to expand my home setup and I really like the Mackie 1604 mixer, but at £899 it's a bit steep. Could you recommend another mixer with roughly the same spec?

6. As I can't afford an LC III or Quadra, can you see me running into any problems using a 68000-basec Mac Plus with 4Mb of RAM and a 40Mb hard drive? I'm a bit concerned about speed as the Plus tends to slow down screen updates when using big applications. Would the machine's processing capability pose any problems for Cubase?

I know there are a lot of questions but I fear I will be totally lost if you cannot answer them all. It's a big step I'm making and I don't want to make any mistakes! Thanks.
Bryan Ross

AWell, Bryan, m'boy, that is a lot of questions. Let's hope we can squeeze in the requisite number of answers...

1. You don't say what Amiga sequencer you're using but as long as it supports MIDI Clock then yes, you can record your songs on Cubase. You could also transfer data via Standard MIDI Files but you'll have to get a DOS disk reader such as Messy SID or Cross DOS for the Amy, and Access PC or DOS Mounter for the Mac - unless you want to fiddle about with Apple File Exchange.

2. No, the SX16 doesn't have digital outs; no, you can't expand it to more than 2Mb and no, I don't know why people underrate it. Perhaps it's because it's a fairly basic machine which had reliability problems and was a reasonable rather than outstanding performer. But it can play stereo 16-bit samples and it's quite good value for money.

As regards S1000 compatibility - Akai machines cannot play SX-16 samples, but the SX-16 can play samples recorded on an S1000. It does support MIDI Sample Dump standard so you should be able to use it with a generic sample editor such as Steinberg's Avalon - but I have heard of problems trying to download samples from an SX-16 in this way, so no guarantees, I'm afraid.

3. Changes from some patches are smoother than changes from others. Try it and see.

4. There are few dedicated editors for the Mac, but if you have a lot of synths a universal editor such as Opcode's Galaxy is probably your best bet. Contact MCM ((Contact Details)) for details.

5. You generally get what you pay for - even in the music biz. Mackie mixers are generally quoted as being 8-10dB quieter than those of a similar spec/price. See what you can haggle your dealer down to. He may have a part-ex or ex-demo machine he can do at a better rate.

You could look at the Mackie 1202 with an RRP of £355, but of course, it doesn't have all the 1604's facilities. That said, Marcus Studios in London have just bought one to record vocals.

6. Which Mac to opt for? Weeeeell, the Plus is really rather long in the tooth now and all new program development is concentrated on the 030 and 040 processors (even though the developers will have an eye to backwards compatibility).

Most new progs are developed for use with System 7 and I'd hate to use that on a Plus! The latest versions of Cubase will run on the Plus and SE but Steinberg don't recommend them. 'Fraid I couldn't recommend one, either. But keep your eyes on Mac prices because Apple reduces them every week. The latest blitz offers an LCII4/80 with a colour monitor for £699.

I'm afraid my advice to people with a (very) very low budget is to save until they can afford a reasonably-spec'd computer. If you're really strapped for cash, why not check out the Atari STs? They are cheap (particularly second-hand) and have a greater range of music software than all the other computers put together. This includes Cubase and lots of individual instrument editors. But the sooner you get rid of the A500 the better! IW

OMD (1986), New Order (1989) and Talk Talk (1986) - Trevor's faves.

QPlease could you give me details on how to make my own fanzine or magazine? Also could you have some of my fave bands in your magazine, such as Talk Talk, OMD and New Order, and the instruments they use?
Trevor Anveyingeld

AYour own magazine? You're not going to launch a serious rival to MT, are you? If so, we're not telling you how. But if it's a low-budget fanzine you're after, all you need is a typewriter, a stapler, scissors (for stealing photos from magazines etc.) and access to a photocopier. Many a great punk fanzine was launched by these means alone. Then you can get a cult following, invest in an Apple Mac with QuarkXPress software, and sellout to a multinational publishing corporation. Finally, take over a national daily, embezzle the pension fund and jump off a yacht. Easy.

Meanwhile, turn to page 32 to catch up with Paul Humphreys and Martin Cooper, late of OMD. Further information on the bands you mention can be gleaned from our back issues, available from (Contact Details). Issues are £2.50 each including p&p.

Try the following: OMD - Music Technology December 1991 and December 1986, Electronics & Music Maker June 1984 and December 1981; New Order - Music Technology April 1989 and Electronics & Music Maker March 1985; Talk Talk - E&MM March 1986. PW

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Music Technology - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.


Music Technology - Oct 1993

Donated by: Ian Sanderson

Feedback by Ian Waugh, Phil Ward

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