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Article from Music Technology, December 1992

A4 on the Floor

Latest addition to Korg's 'A' range of signal processors is the A4. Designed specifically with the guitarist in mind, the new processor comes in a pedal-board format, like the company's budget A5 Series units.

Using a specially developed 52-bit Korg DSP chip, the all-digital A4 provides compression, distortion/overdrive, three-band EQ, pitch shifter, delay, chorus/flanger and reverb effects operating in series, with 21-bit A/D conversion and 18-bit linear D/A conversion. Other features of the new processor are a built-in chromatic tuner and MIDI compatibility.

Available in the shops from December, the A4 is set to retail for £349 including VAT.

For more information, contact Korg UK at (Contact Details).

Spiritual Guidance

New from Harman Audio are two packages for Soundcraft's Spirit Auto mixing console. The Spirit Pac consists of Steinberg's Spirit Auto software and MIDEX key expander/multi-MIDI-output unit together with a custom-made padded bag designed to house the Cubase key, Spirit key and associated software disks.

The Spirit Sync Pac, meanwhile, replaces MIDEX with MIDEX+, which features full SMPTE read/write capability for synchronisation to a tape machine.

The Spirit Pac is priced at £663, Spirit Sync Pac at £744. The Spirit Auto software can also be purchased on its own for £399. All prices include VAT. Full technical support is provided by Harman's 'Steinberg Helpline'.

For more information contact Harman Audio, (Contact Details).

Electronic Noise

New from Essential Publications, the team responsible for the Destination Jarre fanzine, is Cyber Noise, a 16-page magazine dedicated to covering all styles of electronic music. Issue One is available now, featuring articles and/or discographies covering former Tangerine Dream members' solo recordings, Die Warzau, Front 242, Kraftwerk and Erasure. Also included is the first piece in a projected series covering artists signed to Mute Records, and a news section.

Issue Two will be out in January. Also available from the same team is The Unofficial Jean-Michel Jarre Biography, a book which contains around sixty A4 pages of information, text and pictures covering every important aspect of the French musicians' career to date. Included are a complete worldwide discography and a run-down of all his performances, together with information on the one-off Music for Supermarkets album and rare Jarre recordings from the early seventies.

For more information, contact Graham Needham at (Contact Details).

The Expanding PCM Universe

Courtesy of the SY77 PCM.EX memory expansion kit from German company Musitronics, Yamaha SY77 owners can now double their synth's onboard ROM sample memory. The additional 4Mb memory, which fits inside the synth, provides 143 new samples - 36 instrumental (piano, Rhodes, guitars, basses, strings, brass etc), 36 synthesiser, 61 drum/percussion/FX, eight digital waveforms and two wave sequences.

The kit comes complete with a ROM card containing 128 patches which utilise the new samples, so you can take advantage of them straight away.

A TG77 version of the PCM.EX should be out before the New Year, while versions for the SY/TG55 are scheduled for the New Year. An introductory price for the expansion kit has been set at £299 including VAT.

Also new from Musitronics are two PCM cards for the Roland U Series, D70 and compatibles. The Voice card features 39 sounds including Mellotron, various choirs and solo voices, and a few spoken words (such as "Go!", "Yeah!" and "Dance!"), while the Analogue card provides 41 sounds including Jupiter, OBX, VS and Xpander pads, basses, leads, strings and brass patches.

The cards are available now at a cost of £69 each, inclusive of VAT.

For more information contact AMG at (Contact Details).

Cord Changes

Exclusive UK distribution of German company Dynacord's Professional Music Products is now in the hands of Shuttlesound. The Surrey-based company are promoting the Sub600 Active Sub Bass speaker unit (featuring an 18" Gauss loudspeaker and a 500 watt processor-controlled amplifier), the CLS222 Compact Rotor System (simulated Leslie cabinet effect from a 1U rack-mount unit) and the PSX range of Processor Controlled Powered Mixers (8:2, 12:2 and 16:2 versions, with a 200-watt onboard monitor amp on the latter two).

For more information contact Shuttlesound Limited at (Contact Details).

Dancing in France

If over an hour of rap, acid, industrial, funk, techno, house, new jack swing and raggamuffin samples on one CD sounds like your tasse de thé the imaginatively-titled Dance Series 2 sample CD from French company MegaMidi could be right up your rue.

Included on the CD are 360 loops and 40 Song Kits. Each Song Kit has its own drum and percussion loops, bass lines, vocal riffs, guitar and synth licks, and effects.

Dance Series 2 is available by itself for £55 or packaged with Dance Series 1 for an inclusive price of £99.

For more information contact AMG at (Contact Details).

On The Tube

Incorporating patent-applied-for Hughes and Kettner tube technology, the Tubeman is a new four-channel tube amp expander/recording amp/pre-amp which has been designed with versatility of use firmly in mind.

Courtesy of Line Out, Recording Out and Instrument Out sockets on its rear panel, Tubeman can be used as an amp expander on stage, as a recording amp in the studio, as a floor pedal on stage, as a practice amp at home, and as a full-featured preamp anywhere. Measuring just 8½ x 5 x 2¼ inches, the unit has also been designed with portability in mind.

A four-channel selection switch lets you flip readily between jazz, funk, blues and rock sounds; equally accessible are controls for gain, master level, three-band EQ, and mid-boost on/off.

Tubeman is priced at £269 including VAT. For more information, contact UK distributors John Hornby Skewes & Co Ltd at (Contact Details).

Marriage Of Convenience

Act One; The Honeymoon Begins...

Following six months of discussions with Alesis, and extensive testing by their own engineers, Fostex have announced their intention to support Alesis' S-VHS digital audio recording format, as used on ADAT. The two companies have signed a licensing agreement which will see Fostex bringing out a fully ADAT-compatible tape machine in the first quarter of next year.

"After careful evaluation of the specifications and design of the format, Fostex has decided that the S-VHS tape medium and ADAT technology offers a superior recording format for today and into the future," says Fostex Vice President of Marketing, David Oren. He continues: "Fostex examined all of the available tape formats and chose S-VHS because of its superior storage capacity for digital data, and because of its broad availability.

Unlike 8mm and other formats, S-VHS is readily available in all world markets. Furthermore, S-VHS has almost four times the tape surface of 8mm at standard speed and over 11 times at the higher speed that ADAT operates at. This results in a more robust and reliable recording format."

Alesis are understandably well chuffed at this development. Quoth Russell Palmer, President and Chief Operating Officer at Alesis: "We are very excited by our new relationship with Fostex and expect it to further reinforce the ADAT format as the worldwide standard for digital multitrack recording."

Clearly there's some strategic manoeuvring going on here against Fostex' traditional rival, Tascam - who are set to launch their own eight-track digital audio tape machine, the DA88, in the New Year, using Video 8 tape as the recording medium together with a proprietary transport mechanism.

Following the launch of their digital tape machine, Fostex will also be entering the digital audio workstation market with products from their recently-formed Fostex Research & Development subsidiary in the US (now home to a contingent of ex-New England Digital employees). With tape- and disk-based digital audio recording systems looking set to co-exist for some while to come, common sense suggests that Fostex' new products will support the Proprietary Multichannel Optical Digital Interface protocol developed by Alesis and already implemented on ADAT. This would allow multitrack digital audio data to be transferred in the digital domain between tape-and disk-based systems. There again, companies, like politicians, aren't always well-endowed in the common-sense department.

For the moment, the happy couple deserve congratulations - but will it all end in tears? Stay tuned...

Index of Possibilities

With CD-R (recordable compact disc) increasingly being used in studio, broadcast, post-production and mastering applications, the CD-R Indexer from HHB Communications Ltd is a timely product which should find wide application.

Compatible with the Marantz CDR1 and other Philips-based CD recorders, the Indexer aims to smooth the transfer process between DAT and CD-R by automating the conversion of Track Start ID markers on DAT to track increment flags on CD - usually, flags have to be entered manually after recording from DAT to CD has taken place, a time-consuming and laborious task which introduces the possibility of operator error. Indexer can also compensate for 'lateness' in the positioning of ID markers on DAT tapes, which can occur when a DAT machine's audio detection circuitry has a slow rise-time.

Applications of the CD-R Indexer aren't limited to recording from DAT to CD-R, however. The unit also permits manipulation of status bits within the datastream, one application being to 'flip' the consumer/professional flag which normally prevents direct digital recording from a professional to a consumer DAT machine.

The CD-R Indexer costs £699 excluding VAT.

More information from HHB Communications Ltd, (Contact Details).

Reeling in the Years

Described as "a definitive guide to the creation and management of audio master tapes", The Master Tape Book: the Complete Guide for Professionals is a new book available from the APRS (the Association of Professional Recording Services).

Written by Alan Parsons, Bill Foster and Chris Hollebone, and with a foreword by Phil Collins, the book includes sections on good studio and A&R practices, analogue and digital tape formats, tones and alignment, master tape handling and storage, and the role of the producer.

The Master Tape Book is available by post (price £15 plus £2 for postage and packing) from the APRS, (Contact Details).

Technology On Course

Starting next February, the London College of Music will be running a Diploma in Music Technology course at Thames Valley University in London. The course will provide students with practical experience of musical technology and prepare them for careers as recording engineers, producers, keyboard technicians, MIDI programmers and the like. To this end, visits, seminars, workshops and studio location work will form part of the course, and leading music industry professionals will teach and advise at all levels.

The Diploma is being supported by the British Record Producer's Guild and the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and also has the endorsement of leading instrument manufacturers like Korg, Roland and Yamaha - Korg, for instance, will be providing a Wavestation A/D, and their product specialist Phil Macdonald will be assisting in a teaching role.

For further information contact Thames Valley University at (Contact Details).

Making Advances

New from Ensoniq is the ASR-10 Advanced Sampling Recorder, a keyboard sampler which succeeds the company's EPS-16 Plus sampler. The ASR-10 features true 16-bit linear sampling and utilises 64 x oversampling Delta-Sigma (one-bit) technology. Sampling can be in mono or stereo, with a choice of 29.76 or 44.1kHz sampling rates available.

The ASR-10's standard 2Mb of sample RAM gives 20.5 seconds of mono or 10.3 seconds of stereo sampling time at the higher rate.

Longer sampling times can be accommodated by upgrading the ASR's memory to a maximum of 16Mb using standard, inexpensive SIMM chips.

The new sampler comes fitted with a high-density floppy disk drive. However, if you want to avoid countless disk-swaps when saving large amounts of sample data, you'll probably want to fit the optional SP-3 SCSI Interface and invest in an external hard drive. Ensoniq will also be providing the DI-10 Digital Interface for anyone wanting to transfer sample data in the digital domain between the ASR-10 and, say, a DAT machine.

At the heart of the new sampler is a new custom oscillator chip which has allowed 31-note polyphony and hardware envelopes to be implemented. In keeping with Ensoniq's traditional adherence to the work-station approach on their keyboards, the ASR-10 has an onboard 16-track sequencer and built-in 24-bit effects processor. The effects section provides 47 algorithms, many of which have been derived from the company's highly desirable DP/4 Parallel Effects Processor.

EPS and EPS-16 Plus owners tempted to upgrade to the new instrument will be glad to know that it's compatible with their sound library.

The ASR-10 is available now, while a rack-mount version, the ASR-10R, is scheduled for release in January.

Prices: ASR-10 £1999: ASR-10R £1999: SP-3 SCSI Interface £TBA; DI-10 Digital Interface £TBA. Quoted prices include VAT.

For more information, contact UK distributors Sound Technology at (Contact Details).

Reaching A Climax

New from Masterbits is the fifth Climax Collection sample CD, which is devoted to the violin. Featured are 486 standard audio samples (302 sustains and 184 attacks) together with 25 banks of data-streamed S1000/S1100 samples for direct digital transfer via the samplers' IB104 interface.

The CD's data section includes 10 banks (166 samples) at 29kHz for samplers with less memory, 14 banks (387 samples) at 44.1kHz, and one 16Mb bank featuring 11 Programs.

Climax Collection 5 costs £45 including VAT, while all five volumes can be bought for an inclusive price of £190.

For more information contact AMG at (Contact Details).

Previous Article in this issue

A Cynic Writes...

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King Of The Castle

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

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Music Technology - Dec 1992

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

News by Simon Trask

Previous article in this issue:

> A Cynic Writes...

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> King Of The Castle

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