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Article from Music Technology, March 1994

As close to the cutting edge as you can get without needing stitches...


Well, it's already here, actually. OmniMedia Ltd have launched the first titles in association with Philips, Amiga, Disctronics, PMI and BMG. Basically, it looks like a normal CD but it contains VHS-quality video as well as the digital audio. On the right equipment, over an hour's worth of full-motion video with stereo audio can be played back from one disc. Although at the moment this equipment is confined to Philips CD-i players (with Digital Video cartridge fitted), Amiga CD32s (with FMV cartridge fitted) and PCs and Macs containing an MPEG video board, 1994 should see several leading manufacturers unveiling their own domestic Video CD players - at which point a compatible TV and hi-fi speaker system will be all you need.

OK, fine. How is this going to effect music and multimedia production? Well, since MPEG is the worldwide standard for digitally encoding and decoding audio and video, and since upgrades will inevitably break the time barrier into movie-length discs, as a medium Video CD should take the world by storm. And since it's a CD, it offers all the ease of control and access we're used to: skip, random play, instant track selection, looping and sequencing et al. Furthermore, like any digital medium it offers potentially radical editing facilities - in fact, a company called Almathera have already launched a basic Video CD editor (Video Creator) which runs on the Amiga CD32. In other words, production values for this potentially mass medium will have to take account of its interactive potential. As with Peter Gabriel's CD-ROM Xplora 1, linear programming - the idea of your product having a single beginning, middle and end - is open to question. Certainly, the music business is set to become key to the development of Video CD.

Watch out for a special MT report on this new medium soon.

Omnimedia (who also develop consumer titles for CD-ROM, CD-i, CD32 and 3DO) can be contacted on (Contact Details).

New Gold ROMs

AMG have announced the introduction of the Sound Foundation range of synthesiser ROMs and disks by Hit Music Productions. Previously responsible for programming Valhala's International Gold Series, Hit Music have now "refined and repackaged" their sounds for AMG's Producer Series Gold for the following instruments: Korg M1, M3R and Wavestation; Roland D series; Ensoniq VFX; Yamaha SY series; and Kawai K1 and K4.

In addition, there are new sounds available for the first time for the Korg Wavestation AD/EX/SR, 01/W, and X3; and Roland JD800 and MKS70, with more planned.

Prices of disks start at £39, ROM cards at £50, both inc VAT. Advanced Media Group, (Contact Details)

Room at the TOP

Arbiters recently announced the arrival of the Fatar Computer Music Station CMS61 - the first MIDI keyboard to be designed and built specifically with the needs of the hi-tech computer musician in mind.

Ergonomically designed with recesses in its casing to snugly hold your computer keyboard, mouse and mat, the CMS61 features a 5-octave 61-note keyboard with touch sensitivity and a "positive and responsive action". The keyboard also offers a key transpose facility and has sustain pedal input socket plus two MIDI outs, an assignable control wheel and an assignable control pedal.

Arbiters Group PLC, (Contact Details)

New, fast SyQuests

SyQuest Technology in America has introduced the SQ3270S, a SCSI II version of its new 3.5-inch, 270Mb removable hard disk drive which reads and writes to the SyQuest 3.5-inch 105Mb cartridge. With its SCSI interface, the drive has a 13.5msec seek time and SyQuest claim it is three times faster than 128Mb magneto-opticals in the read mode and eight times faster when writing.

The drives should be available in March from OEM suppliers. US price will be around $650 including a cartridge, with extra cartridges costing about $80 each. UK prices will probably vary according to the supplier. Contact your favourite removable hard disk supplier for more details.

Synth classics

If you've been poring over MT's A-Z of Analogue, there's a new Classic Synth Plus sampling CD from AMP Records ihat should have you drooling. Featuring over 30 different synths including the Roland JD990, VP330 Vocoder, Jupiter 4, TB303 Bassline, MiniMoog, MultiMoog, ARP Explorer, Odyssey, Korg Wavestation SR, MI Micro Preset, E-mu Morpheus, Prophet 600, Yamaha TX802 and CS80, Oberheim OB1, Elka Synthex, OSCar, Wasp, Kawai K1, and Roland TR808, 909 and Yamaha RX21L drum machines - the CD includes wave sequences, instrumental riffs and lengthy special effects. There's also a demonstration piece showcasing many of the sounds used in techno, dance, progressive, and what AMP bemusingly call "corporate and abstract" styles.

So how much does this little lot set you back? A mere £24.95. Watch out for a thorough MT review in the very near future...

Future Age Music Express, (Contact Details)

Hard disk PC recording

- the professional option

Anyone enticed by the idea of PC-based hard disk recording but unconvinced by the less-than-professional spec of most PC sound cards would do well to check out the new CardD Plus system from Digital Audio Labs of Plymouth USA, distributed exclusively in the UK by Digital Music.

Whilst retaining all the attributes of its predecessor, the CardD, the CardD Plus features simultaneous record/playback facilities allowing the user to playback and monitor existing tracks whilst simultaneously recording new ones.

Further benefits may be reaped if used in conjunction with The EdDitor Plus and I/O CardD also available from Digital Music. The Windows 3.1 compatible waveform display editor provides fast, non-destructive waveform editing, SMPTE and MIDI support - whilst the sound card additionally provides digital input/output in the s/pDIF (IEC) format, along with standard analogue Ins and Outs.

CardD Plus costs £645, but current CardD owners can upgrade for a modest £99. EdDitor Plus retails at £275 whilst The EdDitor Plus costs £245. All prices plus VAT. A combination system of all three products - marketed by Digital Music as the DREAM package - Digital Recording Editing And Mastering, no less - is available for £1165.

Digital Music, (Contact Details)

Coming to a cinema near your armchair

Hitachi have unveiled a range of Cinemasound TVs - some of the first machines developed to fully utilise the Dolby Surround Pro-Logic system, and giving TV audio a much-needed kick in the pants.

In an ideal Surround Pro-Logic set up, centre channel speakers complement the usual left and right stereo speakers to create a sharper sound which 'fixes' dialogue (or, presumably, music) on the screen - essential for that true CinemaSound effect. The complete package consists of an Hitachi TV with built-in Dolby surround Pro-logic amplifier, four additional compact speakers, a TV stand and colour-coded remote control providing access to the Easitune system and to the teletext pages. At the present time, the usherette and the ice-cream lady are not included...

For a full demonstration of the Hitachi system, call David Hobbs on (Contact Details)


Lucky Dip Music is a new production company looking for demos from ambient and "electro/early synth" artists (they love Gary Numan, by the way). What's important is that the material is entirely original, and is finished - ie. don't make any excuses for equipment you haven't got round to buying yet. In return, they're offering possible inclusion on compilation tapes, work on 'live in' weekend sessions, the opportunity for solo artists to get together with others to form bands, and live work for the Numanoid band with the right blend of black leather, dry ice and talent.

'Ambient' is taken to include incidental music elevated to listening music in its own right, creative use of sampled sounds, and any original production and instrumental ideas. So what are you waiting for? Send demos to Lucky Dip, (Contact Details). Enclose an SAE if you want the tape returned - but there's no guarantee that it will be.


Distance is no object these days, right? So a collective of electronic artists - hi-tech musicians, video artists, DJs, writers and hackers well versed in communications networks - could be based anywhere and pick up new members from anywhere on God's optically fibred earth, right? Right. Well, here's one based in Australia...

Clan Analogue is dedicated to innovation in the electronic arts, and is looking to extend its membership into the UK and Europe via comms networks, a mailing list and a magazine called Kronic Oscillator. Members can participate in regular events - gigs, raves, clubs - performing their own material or simply getting involved and organising, and the chances are you could set up your own events over here with help and advice from members anywhere in the world. Home-produced recordings are also distributed through the Clan; these include CDs, vinyl, videos, cassettes, CD-ROMs and a multimedia PC demo.

Membership costs AUD$30 a year, including subscription to the magazine, and appropriately enough, this multimedia organisation can be contacted in no less than five different ways:

Post: (Contact Details). (Contact Details)

RAMming it in

The Connectix Corporation announced RAM Doubler, a new utility which, it is claimed, doubles the memory of Macintosh computers. It's a System Extension which eliminates the need for any user configuration and will run on any Mac II, LC, Performa, PowerBook, Centris, and Quadra computer with 4Mb of RAM or more. It should be compatible with most major applications.

The system uses a combination of memory re-allocation, compression and virtual memory techniques to do its stuff and Connextix claim it will typically triple the amount of information stored in 1Mb of RAM.

RAM Doubler will cost £69.95 - about the price of 2Mb of RAM. Too good to be true? There will be a review in MT soon.

Meanwhile, you can get further details from: Computers Unlimited, (Contact Details).


Islington Music Workshop has introduced a new MIDI Diploma course as part of their Spring '94 "semester" - as our American cousins might say. It's an 8-week course, covering MIDI instruments, applications, systems and computers, plus the kind of general music industry training - health and safety, professional roles and so on - for which the Workshop has become renowned.

The emphasis is on hands-on experience gathering in their own studio, so there should be more practice than theory...

If you've got Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays free between 11am and 6pm, starting February 24th/25th/26th for eight weeks, that's incredibly convenient because that's exactly when the course runs. You also need £350 plus VAT if you're unwaged; £400 plus VAT if you're a waged resident of Islington; or £500 plus VAT if you're a waged resident of anywhere else.

Contact: Islington Music Workshop, (Contact Details).

Listen up

How d'you fancy daily access to a well-maintained database of quality used professional audio equipment? For £60 subscription, AUDIOnet will provide you with just such a service, plus installation software and a users manual.

AUDIOnet is a dedicated international pro-audio equipment network. Gathering information from dealers and suppliers across the globe, AUDIOnet guarantees to update the data on every working day!

Add this service to MTs very own extensive Warehouse section and the bargains will never slip past.

Send them some cash, hook up your modem and relax - this will fill those sad lonely nights between MTs...

AUDIOnet, (Contact Details)

More bites from the big Apple

KRCS Group, the UK's biggest Apple retailer with AppleCentres in nine cities, is opening a specialist music division. With technical and software support provided by Oscar Music, KRCS aim to supply Mac systems across the range from portable to full studio systems.

Initial projects include special education packages based on Notator Logic which also include Claris Works for DTP and time management tools, and come complete with example files and templates.

An integral part of each package will be a year's full support through a telephone hotline to Oscar Music.

KRCS Music (Contact Details)


Do software developers ever sleep? Not at Opcode it seems; the new V2.0 of their Vision sequencing software package for the Mac is positively brimming with new and enhanced features to make it "faster and more intuitive for musicians to use". A complete software system for recording, editing and playback of MIDI-based music, many of the smaller enhancements to Vision were made in response to feedback from current users. Not only that, but both manuals have been extensively updated for user-friendliness. Now that's what we like to hear..!

New features include:
Standard Music Notation editing and printing
Track overview with blocks and a unique 'Phrase mode'
Groove Quantise
New colour window design
MIDI Machine control (MMC)
Unlimited sequences per file

Vision 2.0 is now available from UK distributors TSC priced at £349.95. Upgrades for the earlier version £99.95.

If you would like to test this software for yourself remember to keep 26th March free - TSC are holding an Opcode Clinic. Full details from:

TSC (Contact Details)

Amiga revelations

Amiga owners perplexed by the mysteries of desktop video and multimedia should make a note in their diaries for the 14th March when Premier Vision will be presenting a Desktop Video, Music & Multimedia seminar. Thoughtfully divided up to cover the remarkably wide range of Amiga-compatible products and techniques, the event will include graphics, audio, multimedia authoring and video software techniques - plus hardware add-ons.

The seminar was the brainchild of Premier Vision's Andrew Bishop and Andrew Gould (both Amiga buffs), and gathers together a think-tank of recognised Amy experts who will cover all of these areas and be on hand to answer those burning questions. Of particular interest will be discussion of Amiga's CD32 as a budget multimedia platform for "non programmers", and Amiga MIDI.

The event lakes place at King's College, London from 9.00am until 5.00pm. The damage? £99 (exc VAT) which includes a light lunch.

It seems like an incredible amount to pack into one day - whether they achieve it you can find out in our exclusive report next month. For further details and reservations contact:

Premier Vision (Contact Details)

A&R hotline

You may already know of the Bandit A&R Newsletter, published monthly and containing up-to-the-month inside information about which labels and management/production companies are looking for which kind of new artists. Well, the same organisation has now launched a phone line to showcase, each week, four of the companies featured in the current newsletter. The number to dial is (Contact Details), and calls are charged at 48p/minute peak and 36p/minute off-peak. Of course, you don't have to be a subscriber to use the service, and over the month you'll hear about 16 of the 20-or-so companies covered in the newsletter.

A subscription, by the way, costs £69.00 for a year and is available from Bandit Publications, (Contact Details).

New sounds for old synths

CIS, better known for their wide range of hi-tech stands and hardware support systems, recently signalled their move into high quality synth sound disks with three new collections for the Roland D5, D10, D20 and D110 keyboards. The disks are in Atari/MS-DOS MIDI file format and include the legendary Hammond B5 plus other sounds from synths past and present.

They retail for £33.95 for the set, inclusive of VAT and postage.

CIS International, (Contact Details)

ECTS '94

This year's ECTS (European Computer Trade Show) promises to be a huge event with over 75 exhibitors from Europe, Japan and the USA.

Taking place at the Business Design Centre, Royal Agricultural Hall, Upper Street, London N1 on Sunday 10th - Tuesday 12th April, ECTS Spring 1994 will definitely be fun and maybe enlightening from an MT perspective. Why? Well, this year's show will be focusing on the rapid covergence of media and technology...

"The games industry is not insular or introspective anymore. It is part of the wider global entertainment market, linking with Hollywood and the music business, creating new and exciting entertainment products for the 1990s" says Cat Maclean, Event director. Why not check out the event and see for yourself?

Rocket power

Ontrack Computer Systems has developed a piece of software which, the manufacturers claim, will typically speed up a PC's disk drive by up to 80%. Drive Rocket is a device driver which enables an IDE drive to read or write multiple sectors of data at one time instead of one sector at a time. And you thought it would be done with caching!

However, the ability of a disk drive to benefit from Drive Rocket varies according to several factors including the make, the capacity, the BIOS in your PC and so on. Ontrack has a free utility which will tell you by how much you can expect Drive Rocket to improve your drive's performance.

Further details from: Ontrack Computer Systems, (Contact Details). Or download it directly from the company's bulletin board on (Contact Details). The file you want is called RKT-TEST.EXE. Watch for a review soon in MT.


In an ideal world you would walk into a music shop, be helped onto a chaise longue, handed a Martini (shaken not stirred) and given headphones to audition the shop's stock of sample CDs at your leisure. No disappointments, no parting with hard-earned money with that nagging unease that this expensive gamble might not pay off.

Time + Space have just this in mind (well, maybe not the chaise longue and the Martini).

Installation of a Sony 100 CD Jukebox at main dealers in future will provide customers with the opportunity to audition all of their stock before buying.

If you want a sneak preview, why not look up T+S on their stand (No.170) at the MIDI and Electronic Music Show (Wembley, 22nd-24th April 1994). Meanwhile, T+S have reduced the prices of Datafile 1, 2 and 3, their classic dance sample collection - both on audio CD and CD-ROM:

Each audio CD - £19.95
Set of three - £49.95
CD-ROM (includes all three audio CDs) £149
Datafile CD-ROM upgrade for users already owing all three audio CDs - £99.
All prices include VAT and P&P.

Time & Space (Contact Details)

Previous Article in this issue

In the first place

Next article in this issue

Brave New World

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

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
More details on copyright ownership...


Music Technology - Mar 1994

Previous article in this issue:

> In the first place

Next article in this issue:

> Brave New World

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