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Article from Music Technology, July 1993

Adventures in Time + Space

Never ones to stand still when they can get yet another sample CD out, Time + Space have plenty of strange attractions lined up to keep you fascinated in the coming months - starting with the latest double whammy of the sample CD world, XL1.

The sequel to the X-statically-received X-Static Goldmine, XL1 is another double CD set, this time offering more than 2500 samples for the sum of £79.

CD1 is divided into three sections: Construction Kits, Drums and Percussion (360 samples "from dance trax of all eras"), and a DAT Backup section of all the drum and percussion sounds from the second section, sampled and mapped for Akai's S1000 and S3000 samplers. The Construction Kit concept of the first section presents groupings (Kits) of 30 samples (loops, drums, bass, vox, FX etc.) together with demos which illustrate these samples in use together.

CD2 divides into nine sections: Hip Hop and Percussion Loops; Tekno and House Loops; Rolls and Breaks; Jazz and Funk Bass; Bass Synths and Techno Loops; Funky Stuff (Hammond, Rhodes, Clavinet, funky guitars...); Chords, Sweeps and Pads; FX and Vox; and a DAT Backup Section of the loops from the first two sections - as with CD1, sampled and mapped for the S1000 and S3000.

Dedicated followers of hardcore, progressive, techno, trance and acid should check out Technotrance (£49.95), 'the sound of the underground'. Sample categories here include Classic Rave Synths, Special Rave FX, Rave and Hardcore Basses, Cross-faded Trancers and Filtered Synths and Basses, Acid Basses and Bubblers, Top-end Tinklers and Euro-style Synths, Shattering Sub-Basses, Industrial FX, Ambient Atmospheres... you get the picture.

Further new arrivals in the Time + Space continuum are Film Collection (£49.95), a double-CD sequel to the Sound FX Collection from German company Best Service, providing "another 2 hours of hi-definition stereo sound effects"; and Albie Donelly's Killer Horns, the definitive horn sample CD (T + S say!), available in audio CD (£49.95) and CD ROM (£139) formats.

For further information and orders, telephone (Contact Details).

ODC - easy as 1-2-3!

Britain's 7th CD manufacturing centre opened recently in Islington, North London, to meet the growing demand for high-quality audio CDs. The Optical Disc Company's £1m production line, which can turn out over 10 CDs a minute, will manufacture for both UK and European markets.

As well as audio CDs, ODC will manufacture CD-i and CD-ROM discs, and apparently the equipment can be converted to manufacture MiniDiscs if required. ODC sourced its production line from Data Disc of Wurselen, Germany. The purpose-built line provides "a computer-controlled A-Z of CD manufacturing, from stamping the polycarbonate disc sub-stratum to aluminium coating lacquering, and colour label printing."

Says ODC sales director Mike Carey: "Industry forecasts suggest that sales of CDs will increase from 80 million in 1992 to 101 million this year and over 135 million by 1995. ODC offers record companies and other customers Europe's newest CD production centre."

With the distinct possibility that CD ROM will become the standard medium for distribution of computer games, and the prospect of CD taking over from videotape as the medium for commercial distribution of feature films, pressing plants like ODC could have their work cut out in the years to come. But will they be prepared to press up your 'white label' meisterwerk ambient music CD/multimedia CD ROM/cyberdelic CD video?

For more information contact The Optical Disc Company at (Contact Details).


Hi-tech music retailer Barnaby Marder Music Ltd, noting the steady increase in the use of PCs in the music market, has taken the unusual step of allying themselves with PC company Compaq, and are launching complete music packages based around the company's computers in conjunction with software from the likes of Steinberg and Emagic.

For further information, contact Barnaby Marder Music at (Contact Details).

The 5-sided studio

Bristol has acquired a major new recording complex with the opening of Pentagon Studios, a "custom-designed 56-track project recording studio offering management and entertainment facilities" situated in the centre of the city.

A 350 sq ft live room is complemented by a similarly-sized control room containing a 112-input DDA automated console, an Otari MTR90 MkII 24-track, a 24-track Alesis ADAT setup, and ATC 100As and Yamaha NS10Ms for monitoring. This studio is augmented by a 180 sq ft digital studio offering a Yamaha DMR8 8-track digital recorder/console, a 24-track ADAT setup, an Otari MTR90 MkII 24-track, and monitoring on Dynaudio M1s and a Stentor sub-bass unit. Also available is a 150 sq ft pre-production/demo/writing room.

In addition to the recording facilities, Pentagon houses Pentagon Management and Pentagon Entertainment. The team at the complex sift through demo tapes and promo material on a daily basis, and say that any act which shows promise will be offered management and professional assistance in the production of master-quality recordings suitable for pressing with national and international distribution.

For more information, contact Pentagon Recording Studios at (Contact Details).

Repairing to the city

"If your computer is ill, we have the medicine!" claim London-based HCS Engineering Ltd, a 10-month-old computer repair company specialising in the nursing back to health of Commodore Amiga and Atari ST computers. So far, HCS claim, they have managed to turn 99% of dead machines into fully working, reliable computers.

The company's special contract with their couriers means they are able to collect from anywhere in the UK mainland and have the ailing computer tended to during the next working day. And, they say, anyone in the UK mainland who has a standard model ST or Amiga can have their computer back in three working days.

What's more, visitors to the company's premises can usually have their computer back on the same day if they bring it in before 1pm!

For more information, contact HCS Engineering Ltd at (Contact Details).

Mixing in the city

It's about that time of year again, when mixing DJs up and down the country steel themselves to do battle on the wheels of steel in the DMC/Technics UK Mixing Championships.

This year there will be two main regional heats, one in the North and one in the South (venues yet to be chosen), while the UK final will be held in Manchester on September 14th as part of this year's 'In The City' seminar.

Anyone wishing to enter the competition should send their name and address to (Contact Details) for further details.

Shedding light on the PC

These days it seems there's scarcely any area of human endeavour which hasn't been illuminated by the powerful influence of computers.

Appropriately enough, then, lighting consoles are no exception - and now, thanks to the efforts of UK company Artistic Licence, the PC is starting to find a place for itself in the lighting world.

Light-Cad is an offline lighting editor, running on a PC, which employs familiar mouse-driven graphic screen concepts, complete with onscreen sliders, for ready programming and editing of memories, chases, patches and pages. The software can read/write Avolites-format disks and Celco Q-Cards, effectively allowing it to interface with a wide range of lighting consoles.

Shows created on Light-Cad can be saved to the PC's hard drive, printed out for reference, or exported to a lighting console. Companion software, Archive, allows the contents of expensive memory cards to be copied from card to the PC's hard drive, freeing the card for re-use (a good idea, as they cost in excess of £200 each!). The disk files created in this way can be annotated, allowing you to create a document of the card's contents.

The Light-Cad software package costs £500 (the Cubase of the lighting console world, perhaps?!), while the Card Reader costs a further £100. Archive, meanwhile, costs £300 including both software and Card Reader.

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

Into manual rescue

If you've become the proud owner of an old, or perhaps not so old, piece of gear but not of the manual which should accompany it, Chris Newman may well be able to help you out.

A long-time collector of instrument manuals, Chris has decided to put his collection to good use via a new service called Manual Supplies. If he has the manual you require, he will photocopy it for you for a modest fee (he suggests £5.50, depending on the size of the manual).

So what sort of companies are we talking about here? "The likes of ARP, Moog, Sequential, Roland, E-mu, Linn Electronics, Fairlight, Oberheim, PPG, AMS, Yamaha, Casio, Lexicon etc." says Chris. So if you've been searching high and low for the instructions that will let you get the most out of that Minimoog, ARP Odyssey, PPG Wave, LinnDrum or Fairlight II which has been languishing under the bed for longer than you care to admit, Chris could well be the man to get you (or at least your gear) up and running.

As of writing, he's sorting out a PO Box number for customer enquiries, but he's also happy to hear from any MT readers (being one himself) via phone (Contact Details).

The multimedia complex

Milton Keynes-based production company AK Music, whose output to date includes the Chill Out series of music/dance videos, TV animation work, backing tracks for pop group Yah, and "a plethora of corporate and promotional work", have developed what they term a "multimedia production facility" at their premises.

The facility comprises a 16-track, MIDI-based music studio, a SADiE 4-track digital audio editing system with over 190 minutes of recording time, a fully-equipped animation studio and full video recording and editing facilities.

Explains Andy Watts of AK: "We can take a project from the initial visualisation right through to the production masters without leaving the building."

Keith Bateman, head of production, comments: "Our experience with audio production and our team of in-house composers and producers mean that we can produce a tailor-made soundtrack for your video or multimedia project." He adds that the SADiE hard disk system, which AK chose because of its "incredibly fast user interface", allows them to "quickly merge the music, dialogue and sound to produce a finished soundtrack."

The first major in-house project using SADiE will be the company's latest Chill Out video, Chill Out 3.

AK Music can be contacted on (Contact Details).


Yamaha's most sophisticated multi-effects processor yet, the new SPX990 - successor to the SPX900 - offers 20-bit D/A and A/D for better than 100dB dynamic range. Features include newly-developed DSP technology, improved reverb algorithms, improved editing facilities, RAM card expansion with an additional 100 effects programs on a single card, superior pitch-change precision using dynamic waveform analysis techniques, intelligent (ie. harmonically-based) pitch-change effects, tempo-derived delay-time programming, and XLR and phono jack connections.

For more information, contact Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd, (Contact Details).

Winning ways

Akai supremo Dave Caulfield shrugs his shoulders and hands over the goods to Helen Benson (left). Also pictured MT Editor Nigel Lord and Akai UK's Toni Rutherford (right).

The Grand Prizegiving Ceremony for our mouthwatering Akai competition took place at MT HQ, Ely, this month, confirming Helen Benson from Surrey as the proud owner of a brand new S3000. Having answered our question! correctly and being first out of our extremely large hat, Helen was "gobsmacked" and a worthy winner. We look forward to hearing the fruits of her labours...

Meeting at Morley

This July, Morley College in South London is running an Electronic Music Forum which its organisers describe as "a unique opportunity to learn a great deal in a short time"!

Participants can select the whole programme or individual course subjects - which include Sequencing and Recording Techniques "at all levels".

There will also be opportunities to participate in practical projects. The first course starts on July 2nd and the last on July 15th.

For details contact Morley College on (Contact Details).

Yamaha go GMental

The latest evidence of General MIDI's pervasive influence comes with the news that Yamaha have introduced a GM Voice disk for their SY85 synth.

Although the SY85 wasn't designed to be a General MIDI instrument, it seems Yamaha can't ignore the siren call of the ever-growing GM songfile market. The "GM-friendly" (!) Voice set on the new disk gives the user access to GM voice templates and GM performances, they say.

The disk is free of charge to users and is available from Yamaha-Kemble's Hi-tech public domain library - as is a new librarian program for the company's QY20 Walkstation. Available for the ST and the PC, the program allows QY20 users to quickly save and recall patterns and songs. Continuing in a similar vein, SY85/TG500 users who also own an ST can get hold of a computer-based editor for their instrument, allowing monitor-based rather than LCD-based editing of Voice parameters.

Yamaha-Kemble's championing of public domain (ie. free) software support for their hi-tech products, begun with the QY10 walkstation and RY30 drum machine, has been one of the more positive and encouraging responses to our recessionary economic climate.

Continuing with the product support theme, the company have now introduced a series of Quick Guide booklets, initially covering the QY20, SY25 and the new GW50 (see last month's Incoming Data). Designed to give a simple overview of commands and techniques, these Guides also include hints and tips not available in the instruction manuals. Perhaps, then, we can expect to see such Guides always accompanying the manuals in future.

For more information, contact Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd at (Contact Details).

Elektric collaborations

The long-awaited debut album from former Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos and his band Elektric Music has been released in Germany and should be available in the UK soon. Our Dusseldorf mole informs us that there are eight songs, including 'Crosstalk', 'TV', 'Information' (a collaboration with LFO), 'Kissing The Machine' (recorded with Andy McCluskey of OMD), and the title track 'Esperanto'. Import fans note the album is on the German label SPV.

Another project, with Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr - aka Electronic - is pencilled in for when the Mancunian duo begin work on their next album. Anyone for Elektric Electronic Music?

Roland's 3D FX

First there was RSS, or Roland Sound Space, an expensive but powerful 3D sound-processing system with which you could position individual sounds (almost) anywhere within a three-dimensional soundfield. Not only that, but it let you move sounds around this field in real time simply by adjusting front-panel rotary controllers. Impressive, but never destined for mass-market sales.

Now Roland have taken some of that RSS technology and implemented it in two affordable new rackmount effects processors, the SRV-330 Dimensional Space Reverb and the SDE-330 Dimensional Space Delay (£699 each). "They are new, they are original, and they offer unprecedented control and adjustment of width, depth and spatial clarity within standard reverb, chorus and delay programs" claims Roland UK's enthusiastic press release. "Just imagine reverbs whose warmth and depth lend a literally cavernous quality to vocals, chorussing that tugs at the pit of your stomach, ambience that gives you the space you've been striving to achieve for years, special FX with multitap delays appearing at 20 different positions in a 360 degree arc around the listener, and you get some idea of what we are talking about." I'm imagining, I' m imagining - and at the APRS Show towards the end of June, which marks the new units' UK debut, I'll be listening.

In the meantime, ponder on this: will the SRV-330 and SDE-330 introduce a new dimension to musical creativity, or simply introduce new ways to create godawful mixes?

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

Jukebox services

New from British MIDI software company Sunrise Software via computer music specialists PC Services are two inexpensive programs, PC Jukebox and PC Drummer.

The former is a DOS-based program designed to provide easy ways of playing Standard MIDI Files on the PC. You can play a single file, play files at random from disk, or design a set sequence. The software also lets you loop files, pause between files, and delay the start of the next file for a specified time - features well suited to onstage use - and provides a simple System Exclusive librarian.

PC Drummer is a Windows 3.1 program based around an onscreen pattern editor which lets you enter drum hits onto a grid. Each pattern can be assigned its own set of drum and percussion sounds, and you can build up a complete drum track by chaining patterns together.

The program is General MIDI-compatible, and stores files in Standard MIDI File format so that your finished rhythm tracks can be loaded into a wide range of MIDI software. PC Drummer is compatible with most popular PC sound cards and MIDI interfaces.

PC Jukebox is priced at £30, PC Drummer at £49 - both prices exclusive of VAT and delivery.

For more information, contact PC Services at (Contact Details).

It's a fantasy, OK?

Korg's M1 synth is still going strong - and still, it seems, inspiring sound cards from some programmers. New from Metra Sound is sound card 7, Fantasy, by Paul Wells. This has 100 Programs offering PPG-type sounds, pads, FX, voices, bass, strings, some fuller brass sounds and some stabs and lead sounds. Also provided are 100 Combinations. The sounds are in fact available in two formats: ROM card (£65) and Atari disk (£28); all prices include VAT.

Metra Sound are now offering their sample disks as 92 separate disks priced at £9 each; previously they were only available as 21 different sets. Disks cover Ensoniq EPS and EPS16 Plus, Emax II, Korg DSS1, Yamaha TX16W, Hohner ADS, and Akai and Roland samplers. Three different demo tapes are available at £2 each or £5 for all five.

For more information on all the above, contact Metra Sound's UK distributors Sounds OK at (Contact Details).

The two sides of Tascam

Back in the late '80s, Tascam scored a big hit with their MM-1 MIDI Mixer. Now they're bringing out the MM-200, a 19" rackmountable keyboard mixer designed for use both in the studio and on stage - and although it doesn't have the MM-1's MIDI muting it could nonetheless prove very popular among MIDI-based musicians.

For a start, it has eight stereo line-level input channels, and a Bal/Pan control on each channel which acts a balance control for stereo signals and a pan control for mono signals. Other channel features are trim control, high and low EQ, effects sends (which can be configured, independently for each channel, as two stereo or four mono), and a linear input fader.

Oh, and Tascam haven't neglected MIDI altogether on their new mixer: a MIDI patchbay allows any of four MIDI In signals to be routed to any of eight MIDI Thrus - with routing selection being readily accessible on the front panel.

Features of the MM-200's master section include a master fader, four effect send masters, four stereo effect returns, a BBE sonic enhancement system for phase shift and amplitude compensation, effect sub-inputs into the effect send masters, and stereo sub-inputs into the stereo mix buss.

Recommended retail price of the MM-200 is £449 including VAT.

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

Room for learning

This August, The Cutting Rooms at South Manchester College will be playing host to two summer-school courses, one in recording and the other in hi-tech music-making. All tuition will be given by active professionals in the College's modern facilities, which include Mac computers, digital editing, and a moving fader-assisted 24-track studio complete with Dolby SR noise reduction.

Applicants need not have any prior knowledge of the subject. Special evening sessions will be available with tutors to discuss specific questions, and it is intended that courses will have the flexibility to cater for special interests. The College is also happy to arrange courses 'on demand', and ideas for new ones are always welcome!

To complement the summer schools, a series of intensive weekend courses on such subjects as recording, MIDI, maintenance and PA are planned.

For further details and an application form, contact John Blamire or Paul O'Brien at The Cutting Rooms, (Contact Details).

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

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Music Technology - Jul 1993

News by Simon Trask

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