For the best possible stage or recorded sound Direct Injection into a mixer desk is indispensable, which means if you have any kind of equipment with an unbalanced output (keyboards, guitars, drum machines, to name but a few) you need a good D.I. box.
The Boss DI-1 is a very good DI box. Taking into account that many bands find it's an important part of the stage act to play football with them, the DI-1 is of incredibly robust design. It's an active device as opposed to a simple transformer, so there's a wide frequency response and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. It uses battery or phantom power, and an Auto Power Off setting switches off the power to save batteries whenever the device is not used for fifteen minutes.
The Roland SPM-120 powered mixing desk is now to be known as the CPM-120 powered mixing desk in an update of catalogue references. No change is to be made to the specification of the desk so it remains, by any name, the most cost-effective combination mixer/power amp you can buy.
The popular series of Boss MIDI utilities is to be sold as Roland equipment to reflect their connection with the Roland MIDI rack series and Roland Digital Group computer-related equipment. Thus the Boss MI-10 MIDI/CV interface, MI-30 MIDI channel Filter/Converter, MI-40 MIDI Input Selector and MI-50 MIDI Output Selector will become the Roland MPU-101, MPU-103, MPU-104 and MPU-105 respectively.
With the new Boss sampler
It took Paul Hardcastle to make me take a close look at the new Boss DSD-2 Digital Sampler and Delay pedal. When you have almost 30 existing pedals in your compact range it's so easy to be blasé about yet another one, especially if it looks pretty much like the last one you launched. The first sample I received stayed in its box for a week.
The fact is that the DSD-2 will behave very like the DD-2 Digital Delay. It sits on the floor looking as innocuous as an everyday distortion pedal — until you hit the switch. It then gives the clearest repeat echo effects a guitar is ever likely to need, with delay times of up to 800 milli-seconds. The first difference with the DSD-2, however, is that it has a trigger input socket that allows a rhythm unit to control the repeat speed.
Imagine your echo playing strict eighths or sixteenths in time to music! That's clever. But it even follows odd trigger rhythms programmed into the Doctor Rhythm or TR-707 which will change automatically as the track changes the patterns.
Like the DD-2, again, one man band tricks can be performed by playing a short bass phrase and then layering chords and twiddly bits over it. This can be held indefinitely while you solo over the top. (Which I usually am!)
Sound on sound effects that were to be found on tape echoes were a good idea but not very practical. You didn't know quite when the recorded first part was coming back for you to play along with. The DSD-2 is much more controllable as it comes back when you hit the footswitch. You just play the first phrase as part of your solo then play the harmony whilst holding the pedal. Instant Wishbone Ash!
Of course, being a digital sampler the DSD-2 is suitable for more than guitar. By using a microphone you can sample dust-bins or dog barks. Build up vocal backing chords and trigger it by pressing the footswitch or, again, by using rhythm unit trigger pulses. You could even speak words into it and have them repeated far more quickly than you could possibly say them.
Now that's a good idea.
It took Paul Hardcastle to make me take a close look at the new Boss DSD-2 Digital Sampler and Delay pedal!
It took Paul Hardcastle to... (continued next issue)
Roland Newslink - Summer 1985
News by Alan Townsend
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