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In Bed With Clares

Acorn Archimedes owners who fancy trying their hand at some rhythm programming may find an inexpensive new piece of software from Clares Micro Supplies worth getting to know.

Rhythm-Bed is a grid-based rhythm pattern sequencer which can trigger MIDI'd-up drum and percussion samples or the Archimedes' own built-in voices. The program comes complete with drumkit setup files for various MIDI keyboards and drum machines, along with drumkit modules for use with the computer's internal sounds. Clares have also provided plenty of demo patterns for those budding rhythm programmers who are less sure of themselves.

Pattern-editing functions include copy, delete, merge, cut, paste and clear. Patterns created in Rhythm-Bed can be transferred as MIDI Files to Clares' Rhapsody software, where they can form the basis (ie. the rhythmic 'bed') of fuller compositions.

Rhythm-Bed will set you back a modest £49.95, and can run on any Acorn RISC OS-based machine with at least 1Mb of memory.

For more information contact Clares Micro Supplies at (Contact Details).

Kurzweil Lose Their Keys

Kurzweil follow up the 1992 launch of their flagship K2000 synthesiser/sampler with a rack-mount version, surprisingly called the K2000R.

In addition to 8Mb of onboard sound ROM (expandable to 24Mb), the K2000R, like its keyboard counterpart, can be fitted with up to 64Mb of sample RAM and 16-bit sampling capabilities. A wide array of input options includes stereo analogue and AES/EBU, S/PDIF and optical digital.

The AES/EBU and S/PDIF inputs can also be used as digital outs, allowing, say, a sound effect from a CD library or source material from DAT to remain in the digital domain from start through K2000 synthesis and effects processing to recording onto DAT, digital audio workstation or digital multitrack.

Sample rates supported are 48, 44.1, 32 and 29.14 (!) kHz. The synth, which has two SCSI ports, supports Peavey's SMDI protocol for high-speed transfer of samples in MIDI Sample Dump Standard format via SCSI.

The synthesis facilities of the K2000R, meanwhile, include resonant filters, EQ, continuous panning, crossfading, amplitude modulation, waveshaping, and LFO modulation.

Effects processing is provided by an onboard stereo multi-effects processor which can produce four simultaneous effects, including reverb, chorus, delay, multitap delay, flanging, rotary simulation and EQ. The instrument's output section has ten analogue outs, configured as four stereo pairs (or eight individual outs) and a stereo master pair.

Finally, new version 1.3 software for the keyboard and rackmount models includes 200 new programs/sounds, 100 new setups, 15 new 'quick access' banks, and support for both Akai S1000 and Ensoniq EPS16 Plus sample files and keymaps.

Look out for a review of the K2000R in MT shortly.

Price: £2769 including VAT (same price for keyboard and rackmount versions).

For more information, contact UK Kurzweil distributors Washburn at (Contact Details).

Monster Sound

Perfect Pitch Music's FRANCINSTIEN stereo enhancement system, originally developed to enhance the stereo imaging of CD players, has already featured on CD releases from EG Records, Virgin Classics and a handful of smaller labels. Now the company are bringing out a new 1U rack-mounted version aimed specifically at the professional studio user.

Far more versatile than the original fixed-parameter version, the latest FRANCINSTIEN features six new controls which can be used to emphasise level, time-difference and tonal cues which the ear and brain require for spatial perception of audio. The unit provides a range of processing options which may be used for anything from opening up a 'congested' or 'boxy' mix to generating super-wide 3D effects.

A harmonics control permits the brightening of even the dullest signals, while two types of bass control can be used to increase respectively low-end warmth or low-end 'punch'.

Essentially, the system works by matching high-frequency intensity differences with low-frequency time differences. The professional unit combines this processing with versatile low-, mid- and high-frequency equalisation. It also provides for unbalanced operation (on quarter-inch jacks) or balanced operation (on XLRs), and automatically switches to optimise noise and headroom margin.

The unit's unusual name is an acronym of FRequency Adaptive Nonlinear Crosstalk Injection Network for STereo Image ENhancement! And you thought the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers was a mouthful...

FRANCINSTIEN costs £499 plus VAT.

For more information, contact distributors Audio Digital Technology at (Contact Details).

It's In The Bag

It's soft but strong and nineteen inches long. It's manufactured in tough black weatherproof material with thick rigid foam padding and red Hi-Strain double-stitched webbing straps. What is it? A Rackbag, that's what.

Designed with the live music, studio and video markets in mind, the Rackbag is a rigid hand-carry padded bag specially designed to protect standard 19" rackmount equipment. Conforming to British Standard 5954, the bag is available in 2U, 3U and 4U heights, and can carry any piece of 19" equipment not exceeding 450mm in depth. Other features of the Rackbag are a detachable shoulder strap with nonslip shoulder pad, an external pouch to take cables, manuals etc., and an address-label holder.

For more information contact CP Cases at (Contact Details).

Fading In The Mix

Latest addition to the GS3 range of mixing consoles from Allen & Heath is the GS3V, which in addition to the mute automation found on the existing consoles incorporates VCA fader automation of all input channel faders and the L/R faders, allowing 'hands-free' playback.

The GS3V's automation is independent of an external computer. Instead, fader moves are memorised by the console's own internal sequencer, which can be synchronised to the outside world of tape machines and MIDI sequencers by means of SMPTE timecode, MTC or MIDI clocks.

Full MIDI compatibility of onboard data allows the 3V's automation data to be transferred to an external MIDI sequencer for 'offline' editing and storage. Fader movements can be displayed on any Atari ST using V-Edit custom software and a printer port expander module, supplied with every console.

In its expanded format of 32 channels, the GS3V offers 64 channels on mixdown, with 32 channels of level automation and four stereo returns with EQ.

Prices: GS3V 16-channel £3499, GS3V 24-channel £4935, GS3V EX8 eight-channel expansion £1499. All prices include VAT.

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

Supporting Cast

When the going gets tough, the tough... get into product support. In the current harsh economic climate, companies increasingly need to give added value if they're to encourage prospective but cautious customers to part with their money.

Hi-tech music products offer good scope for doing just this. Companies can provide extra sounds, sequences or even software - in some cases for free. This is precisely what Yamaha-Kemble are doing at the moment. For instance, if you buy one of the company's EMP700 Stereo Multieffects Processors you will also get, at no additional cost, 100 dedicated guitar effects programs which were developed at Yamaha's R&D Centre in Tokyo. These consist of 50 electric, acoustic and bass effects designed for live applications, and a further 50 designed for studio-type applications. In Japan, you would have to buy these programs on ROM cards costing the equivalent of £60-70!

Existing EMP700 owners needn't feel left out - they can get the programs by writing to Steve Williamson of Yamaha-Kemble's Pro-Audio Marketing department, enclosing proof of purchase from their dealer.

Meanwhile, on the portable keyboard front the company are providing a range of interactive music software packs for the newly-launched PSR-600 keyboard. The range will initially consist of six titles: Beatles Classics, Classic Rock, Pop & Rock Hits, Classic Ballads, and Screen & Big Band Hits.

Taking advantage of the new PSR's onboard disk drive, each pack consists of a 3.5" data disk, a Songbook containing eight songs, and a 'jam track' which allows the user to play the melody over a backing track.

The packs are priced at £9.99 each and are available from all Yamaha Portable Keyboard dealers.

Yamaha's budget General MIDI module, the TG100, is also getting the support treatment - in this case in the form of free editor/librarian software written for Mac, Atari and PC Windows computers. The TG100's inset, non-backlit LCD window doesn't exactly make front-panel editing a lot of fun, so the availability of visual editing software can only be A Good Thing - especially when it's free!

Another technique for encouraging you to part with your money is the limited-period-only special bargain price. Yamaha-Kemble are on the ball here, too: for a strictly limited period, they're offering the EMP700 and the MFC05 MIDI Foot Controller, plus those 100 free sounds mentioned earlier, for just £399 including VAT - when the EMP700 alone normally costs £449, and the MFC05 £100. An added bonus is that the MFC05 can of course be used to remotely select patches on any MIDI device, not just the EMP.

For more information on the EMP700 special offer, the TG100 software and the PSR song packs, contact Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd at (Contact Details).

Brighton Rock

Advision, the Brighton-based studio owned by Geoff Downes of supergroup Asia, has become the first UK facility to install Korg's disk-based multitrack recording system, Soundlink.

Says Downes of his new purchase: "It is very important for me that technology is designed with the musician in mind as well as the engineer. With the Soundlink I have found a system with a clear layout which offers me the ability to adjust every single musical event to my liking, at a very reasonable price compared to other systems on the market."

Downes has recently been using Soundlink for the recording of his new album.

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

The Mega CD

And the Hits just keep on coming... The latest addition to Hit Music's Producer Series range of sample CDs is Remix! from Megabass, alias Martin Smith and Darren Ash, a duo who have done radio mixes for Radio One, Capital Radio and Kiss FM and mixed for the likes of Madonna, C&C Music Factory and The Shamen.

As well as regular dance samples in the form of loops, acid and rave synth sounds and a huge selection of vocal samples, Remix! features a large number of 'background' samples, such as bangs and whooshes, which are intended for use 'in the mix'.

Also included on the CD is a section containing sample data which can be loaded directly into S1000/1100 samplers fitted with digital I/O.

Remix! costs £49 including VAT and is available from distributors AMG at (Contact Details).

High-speed Togetherness

Fostex are keeping the products coming with two new tape machines, one a high-speed version of the company's X-28 cassette multitracker known logically enough as the X-28H, the other an integrated Dolby C stereo cassette deck and 12-channel mixer called the MC102.

The X-28H retains all the features of the X-28, such as eight inputs, simultaneous recording on four tracks, Dolby B noise reduction and soft-touch logic transport controls. However, in addition it allows recordings to be made at twice the normal tape speed, giving a significantly brighter and clearer sound. The X-28H is priced at £398.99 including VAT.

The MC102 is one of those products which has a disarmingly simple logic behind it. These days there are many recording applications where multi-part music can be mixed straight to stereo, without the need for a multitrack tape machine.

So why not combine mixer and stereo cassette deck in one unit? This is what Fostex have done with the 3U-high rackmount MC102. The mixer provides 10 line-level channels equipped with input level, pan and Aux send controls, and two mic-level channels equipped with gain, pan, Hi/Lo EQ and a choice of one of two aux sends. All channels include a stereo solo monitoring facility. Outputs are main stereo outs and source-selectable monitor out.

Applications for the MC102 include bands wanting to record rehearsals, musicians wanting to mix electronic music sources straight to tape, and DJs wanting to put together mixes and compilation tapes. The MC102 could also be a useful addition to an existing mixing desk - electronic sources could go straight to tape via its mixer channels, leaving the separate mixer to handle acoustic sources which may well require more detailed EQing and effecting control.

The MC102 is priced at £398.99.

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

Turning Turtle

London music shop Turnkey have acquired a limited quantity of Turtle Beach Multisound cards for the PC at a discount price of £586 including VAT (the usual retail price is £949).

In addition to providing 16-bit hard disk recording for 386/486 PCs, the card has a built-in E-mu Proteus 1/XR and a Windows 3.1 compatible MIDI interface. Wavelite software, which comes included with the card, provides cut-and-paste editing of audio recordings, while a £99 upgrade to Wave for Windows offers "the really pro" editing facilities.

For more information, contact the Turnkey PC department on (Contact Details).


The Einstein Music Software range of synth editors from EMC continues to grow with the announcement of new programs for Korg's 01/W and 03R/W synths, priced at £99 and £69 respectively. Available in ST and PC versions, both programs are full editor/managers which come with new sounds.

Support for further Korg synths comes with new full-featured editors for the M1/M1R (£85) and M3R (£69), again available in ST and PC versions. Owners of EMC's combined M1/M3R Combi editor/manager for the ST can upgrade to one of the new editors.

Also new from EMC is a Roland JV30 editor for the ST, again with new sounds included (£69).

For more information contact UK distributors AMG at (Contact Details).

Mixing With Spirits

First there was Spirit Studio, now mixing-console manufacturers Soundcraft Electronics have developed Spirit Auto, a new automated console aimed at the MIDI-based home studio market.

Priced at what Soundcraft describe as "an entry-level price point" of £3172.50, Spirit Auto comes in 16:8:2 and 24:8:2 configurations, and features both dynamic and snapshot automation of channel fader changes and channel and monitor mute settings. The console automation has been designed to work in conjunction with any MIDI sequencer or with dedicated mix automation software.

In the former case, Spirit Auto transmits its fader and mute data as MIDI controller messages, which can of course be recorded and played back as part of a MIDI sequence. 'Onscreen' generation of automation data is possible with sequencers which have a 'MIDI mixer' page, as this can be configured to represent the console's faders and mute buttons. Cubase users can get hold of a Spirit Auto template for their sequencer's MIDI mixer page via Soundcraft's distributors.

However, it is with dedicated automation software that the full capabilities of Spirit Auto are revealed. Currently there are two packages available: Steinberg's Spirit Auto for the Atari ST and JL Cooper's Softmix for the Apple Macintosh. Steinberg's software, which can run concurrently with Cubase under M-ROS multitasking, is a graphically-based program which provides read, write, update and auto takeover modes together with cut, copy and paste editing functions. Onscreen automation editing works like a sequencer, providing a clear visual interpretation of fader levels as contours through time.

Softmix provides similar facilities; other useful features of this system include Hit mode for spotting film or video cues, and Auto archiving. Both Spirit Auto and Softmix software provide increased fader resolution, giving finer response to audio level movements.

No Spirit Auto automation software is currently available for the PC, though it is under consideration as a future development.

Prices and distribution are as follows:
Spirit Auto 16:8:2, £3172.50, 24:8:2, £4641.25; contact Soundcraft Electronics on (Contact Details).

Steinberg Spirit Auto software (Atari ST): £399; contact Harman Audio on (Contact Details).

JL Cooper Softmix software (Apple Macintosh): £tba; contact Sound Technology on (Contact Details).

All prices include VAT.

Jobless In Heaven

Are you unemployed? Would you like the opportunity to work in a commercial recording studio while studying for a one-year City & Guilds exam in Sound Engineering or Modern Technology?

If you can answer "yes" to both of these questions, Music City Ltd would like to hear from you. Each year, the company, which runs a recording studio, rehearsal studio, music shop and PA business in New Cross, south-east London, accepts eight trainee engineers on a one-year placement under the government's Employment Training scheme - and this year you could be one of them.

The deal is this: you spend three days of each week working in the studio, and a fourth day studying for your chosen City & Guilds exam at the Institute of Music Technology, which is also located in south-east London. You don't have to worry about course fees, because Music City pay.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, there is a catch: you have to survive for a year on your dole money plus a weekly allowance of just £10.

You also have to get yourself selected in the first place. In the past, Music City have taken on trainees on a 'first come, first served' basis, but this year they're inviting as many applications as possible so they can choose who they take on. The company are an Equal Opportunities Employer - so whatever your sex, race, religion or dress sense, if you want to go for it, go for it.

For more information, contact Music City Ltd at (Contact Details).

HZ On The PC

EZSOUND FX is the name of a new set of sound utilities for Windows 3.0 and 3.1 from Future Trends Software Inc. Included in the set are Studio FX, which provides stereo sound recording and editing facilities; Musical FX, which can play music files in the background while you work or play on your PC, and Digital FX and Synth FX, which let you attach sampled or synthesised sounds to most Windows events (eg. replace your PC's warning beep with a sampled verbal warning).

EZSOUND FX supports all major PC sound cards, and requires Windows 3.0 or greater, VGA graphics, a sound board and a mouse.

Price: £55 including VAT.

For more information contact distributors PC Connections Direct Sales Ltd at (Contact Details).

Growing Up in Bristol

Following recent expansion work carried out at their premises, Bristol music shop EMIS have now opened up a second floor, allowing them to provide separate display areas for digital pianos, synths/hi-tech and portable keyboards.

EMIS are exclusive dealers in the South West for Solton and Celviano, and have recently added Korg, Ensoniq and Denon dealerships to their roster. Other hi-tech product lines stocked include Yamaha, E-mu, Gem, Kurzweil, Alesis, Cheetah and Oberheim.

EMIS are at (Contact Details).

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Mute Mavericks

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


Music Technology - Jan 1993


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