Aria, Electro-Harmonix, Fender, Fostex, Martin Audio, MXR, Soundcraft, Soundtracs, Sony, Tascam, Yamaha
At least one of the major home recording companies will be taking a rest from the four track cassette business at this year's show. Tascam say they have nothing new planned for their Portastudio line — it's only a few months ago that they launched the rack mounted 234, after all. But they are adding a pair of reel-to-reel machines to their catalogues... an eight track and a half track, both in the lower grands where pounds notes are concerned.
Aria made a few early forays into home recording last year when they released a couple of rack mounted effects. Frankfurt should see the unveiling of their own four track cassette machine.
And Sony are promising a few updates on their Palitoy look-alike — a somewhat brilliantly coloured package of two stereo cassette decks, free standing monitors and a radio(?). But we'll be more interested in finding out what the MU-D11 does. So far all we've seen is a Japanese colour brochure which makes it out to be a three track cassette recorder.
You want mixers, we gottem. Lots of newcomers being touted for keyboard players seeking to gather all their noises in one box. Boss are offering the simple, four channel BX-400 — just four volume controls, a master level and switchable mike, instrument or line input levels — and the more sophisticated six channel stereo BX-600 which includes panning and send and return levels. They're asking £80 for the 400 and £135 for the 600.
Fender have had a crack at the mixing and PA lark before, but will be going hell for panpot at Frankfurt. They're releasing five powered mixers, three mixing consoles, two stereo power amps, three sets of microphones and three speakers systems — and then in the afternoon...
They're going under the title of Pro-Sound, and to give you an example, the three mixing consoles offer details such as insertion patch points for the inputs, four auxiliary inputs (two with panning), dual monitor mixing busses, a 2W headphone amp and +24dbm transformer isolated line outputs. The top of the range includes cue/solo capability and switchable high pass filters on each channel.
Soundtracs say that they've been investigating the idea of a modular mixing system with microprocessor routing ever since the early days of May 1982. February '84 will see the results on their stand at Frankfurt. You can 'interrogate' the routing (compu-speak for finding out what the hell's happening, and where), either by using the onboard LED indicators as a visual display, or by linking the new mixer to a personal computer via its RS232 port. Soundtracs, who hail from Surbiton, claim it as a first for England.
On the effects side the most ear boggling contribution must come from Electro-Harmonix — a 64 second digital delay. Actually they're calling it a Digital Looping Recorder. You can pack in a minute's worth of riffing, then play along or overdub when it comes back round again. Electro-Harmonix don't say how much treble you're going to get at the end of all this, but they do reckon you'll have full bandwidth (15Hz to 12KHz) when the delay time is cut down to eight seconds.
A fast erase button can wipe all 64 seconds in the space of four — just as well, you don't want to be waiting with your finger on the button for a minute. And a sync output will enable one recorder to be linked to another — stereo digital, whatever next.
And... not at all showing off in any way, oh no, perish the thought... Atlantex would like us all to know that a 175 MXR Digital Time Delay has been installed in NASA's ground based shuttle communication control centre. It's used for synchronising video and audio communications which arrive at different times due to the properties of space, time, transcendental meditation and shooting down Russians... or something along those lines.
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