Instruments & Equipment
July saw the announcement of some new devices from H/H Electronics, in the form of a couple of interesting echo units using solid-state bucket-brigade delay lines. These supersede the old pair of units which used tape loops and various replay head configurations.
The new units, designated the Digital Multi Echo and the Digital Echo Unit, both feature mic and line inputs and offer up to 25dB gain on the mic input and up to 10dB gain on line in. Outputs of both units are designed to fire into a minimum load of 600 ohms, at a normal level of 200mV, so they'll load into a normal amp with no trouble at all. Could do with a higher level output (say 0dBm, perhaps) for line level matching though, methinks. Noise level is —76dBm over the band 10Hz-10kHz; not bad, and again fine for instrument applications. Noise level is, of course, one of the major drawbacks of the 'Bucket-Brigade' analogue type of delay-line; one answer is to limit the HF response and reduce the more noticeable noise in the top end, which is obviously what H/H have done here.
The two units differ in their echo facilities. The Digital Multi Echo (regular readers will, by now, have sussed that this is the unit's only fault: it calls itself 'digital' and in fact it's 'analogue', but who cares... not bad for a major fault, eh?) offers a selection of four preset delay ranges and four preset repeat ranges, thereby offering between 21.5 and 312ms delay times and 20-256ms repeat times. And there's a springline reverb unit inside, too. Frequency response of the delay line circuitry is limited deliberately to reduce noise, as already mentioned: this results in the overall frequency response of the delay being dependent on the delay length. So at its longest (312ms) the response curve is 3dB down at 30Hz and 3.5kHz.
The Digital (there we go again) Echo Unit is designed for ADT and similar applications and offers echo or repeats designated 'ADT' (34ms echo, 42ms repeat), 'Short Echo', 'Medium Echo', and 'Long Echo', the latter offering 208ms echo and 216ms repeat. Then there are a couple of 'Special Effects' positions offering single or multiple echoes and repeats. All a bit hard to describe: better try them and find out.
Both units offer treble and bass tone controls, a 'stereo' output offering delayed-only signal, 100mV 1kohm echo send and return, echo and repeat volume controls, and footswitch operation. Interesting machines; viable state-of-the-art successors to H/H's original, very effective tape echo units. Well worth a look.
H/H Electronic, (Contact Details).
From September 17 to September 24, the 5th Music Show was held for the first time in Vincennes Floral Park, Paris. I had hoped that the noise problems of previous years would have been solved, but unfortunately it was worse; the organisers even had to switch off the current several times because the noise was nerve-wracking. There were a hundred exhibitors in a 10000 yds2 area and demos were numerous.
In the keyboard field, there was, of course, an increasing synthesiser presence.
Seimatone presented the Polymoog Keyboard: a Polymoog without manual controls of filter, attack... but with more presets. The Multimoog was also on display: its keyboard includes dynamic control facilities.
Korg exhibited the MS10, MS20 and the SQ10 sequencer. The MS10 is a good, low-priced (£220) synthesiser for the neophyte.
Gamme showed the Prophet from Sequential Circuits; it's a five-voice polyphonic synthesiser with 40 presets that you can easily modify, and hold them in store even if it is switched off. It uses digital techniques (see SI 3 - July).
Roland introduced the RS 505 with two sections: string ensemble and monophonic synthesiser. Also on display: the SH 7, a small duophonic performance synthesiser you can control with another keyboard; and the monophonic SH 1.
Piano Centre presented the famous 8-voice Oberheim polyphonic synthesiser, the RMI Keyboard Computer and the EMS range.
Yamaha showed the CS 80 and the Electone organs with the new PASS technology: the E 70 is really impressive. Microprocessors and digital techniques are now also being used extensively by organ manufacturers.
In the PA and recording equipment fields Dynacord showed the DRS 78 digital echo chamber (price around £1200) with echo-time programming, the SRS 56 reverb and the TAM 19 (phasing, flanging, double tracking).
Reditec presented the Cerwin-Vega range, Otari tape recorders, AKG mics and Raindirk consoles.
Son Professionnel introduced, for the first time, Turner amplifiers (Series A and B) at reasonable prices. Also on display: the RSD, Lockwood and Allen and Heath ranges.
Electroacoustique Appliquée, a new French manufacturer, presented a very interesting console, the Quest 1200 for 4-track or 8-track semi-pro recording. There are 12 balanced universal inputs (mic, line, RIAA) with phantom power, four outputs, two echo sends, foldback send, pfl on all channels, and a good routing system allowing mixing, and copying between two stereo machines. Penny and Giles faders are optional and price is around £2200.
Harman exhibited the new two-way 4662 and three-way 4663 JBL speakers. The 4662 has 4560, K 130-8, 2461, 2345 and 3110 components.
In the guitar field there were a lot of copies, of course: apart from them, Gaffarel showed the new Rickenbacker 481 and 3001 bass guitars.
Weimatone presented the Gibson ES 347 TD and ES 175 semi-acoustic guitars.
In conclusion, this show was a success as far as the number of instruments and musical equipment exhibited was concerned, and by the number of visitors (around 80000). I hope that next year the noise and space problems will be resolved. Jean Marandet
Confused by the mass of synths on the market that don't quite do what you want? Then you could do worse than contact Selidor. They're a little company that specialises in custom building synths and electronic musical devices, and converting and interfacing with existing models. They've so far built synthesised drums, complete stage synths, and are heavily into the new digital synthesiser technology. They've recently taken on the task of adding digital patching and memory-recall to a Roland System 700, based round a microprocessor. They've also got a really stable oscillator design that they reckon is the best they've heard. Give 'em a call if you think your synth needs a bit of extra wizardry.
Selidor Electronics Ltd, (Contact Details).
British groups who haven't been in the top 50 album or single charts in the last year are again invited to enter the Vitavox Live Sound Award. Previous winners were Landscape (1976) and Screeens (1977). Winners will receive a pair of Vitavox Thunderbolt speaker systems, studio time and the Vitavox trophy. Second and third placed groups will win £500 and £250 worth of equipment respectively. Closing date for entries is the 31st January 1979, so send immediately for more information and entry form to Vitavox Live Sound Award, c/o (Contact Details).
In terms of exciting new equipment, the two recent British regional musical instrument shows at Cardiff (September 29 - October 1) and at Harrogate (October 7-10), were rather uneventful. But that's merely from the point of view of somebody who'd been to the London show in-August — for local musicians the two shows were knockout.
As the only musicians' monthly at Cardiff, and the only musicians' monthly with editorial staff on hand at Harrogate, we had a very good time meeting lots of readers, old and new. It certainly is good to be able to meet you face to face, and this for us is the great value of these regional shows.
So, to everyone we met, hello again, and to the organisers of both events, ta very much and see you next year.
News by Jean Marandet
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