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Oh no, not again. Sgt Peppers and 4-track. Tascam have used it in ads before, and now, in an American mag, it's the turn of Fostex. "While the Beatles were teaching Sgt Pepper and the Band to play, twenty years ago," gushes the copywriter, "George Martin was getting everything down on a 4-track tape recorder."
It's the everything here that's most objectionable, although the little Fostex X15, sitting next to Peppers' sleeve in the ad, does imply more. But let's look at the facts.
Two Studer J37 4-track recorders were used to record the bulk of Sgt Peppers; George Martin and Geoff Emerick would use them by recording four tracks on to one machine, then mix down to two on the other, fill the remaining two tracks, mix down back to the first again, and so on as necessary. On "A Day In The Life", however, the two Studers were linked together by a 50Hz tone from the first machine driving the second, giving seven tracks.
So us pedants would rather say that Sgt Peppers was recorded twelve-thirteenths bounced 4-track, and one-thirteenth 7-track. Which is hardly "getting everything down on a 4-track".
AHB have brought computer control to a 24/16/2 mixing desk for just over £2000. The CMC24 mixer can store complete patches of the routing set-up at any time, and hang on to 16 of these patches (with battery back-up).
You can enlarge on this memory by interconnecting your home micro with the CMC's interface port, which will also let you display such esoterica as channel routing and mute status, all in pretty little graphics on your very own screen.
What next? A cheque for £2200 plus VAT, that's what. More info; Allen & Heath Brenell, (Contact Details).
Hey, you with the DX7, how would you like 128 on board memories, all MIDI accessible? Is the answer yes? Not too surprising, I suppose. The DX7 expander board is being offered by Syco Systems in London who seem remarkably fond of fiddling around with other people's synthesisers. The new board plugs into two memory sockets inside the DX7 and reworks the software so you can call up four banks of 32 memories, all of them displayed in the LCD readout panel, as per usual.
The parameter slider picks the banks, the normal control panel pressure switches then select the memories. All the 128 patches are continuously accessible by MIDI so an outboard sequencer can flick through any of them while playing back its tracks.
The board costs £179 plus VAT if you've already got your DX7 (Syco will do the fitting job for you), or £79 plus VAT if you buy the DX7 from Syco Systems. This is what we in the business call a 'sales ploy'.
Sunn amplification, apparently rather a big name in the Sixties and Seventies, has at last acquired a regular UK distributor, HW International of north London. There's quite a range available: guitar combos and stacks, various bass set-ups from a 60 watt combo to the famous Coliseum 200 watt head and speaker cabs, along with a wealth of PA gear: power amps, mixer-amps, consoles, graphics, crossovers, speakers and wedges. Full information is promised if you write to HW International, (Contact Details).
If your stereo cassette machine boasts a "Metal" tape facility, but you've never been able to afford the fiver or so demanded for these up-market reels of rust, then Teac may well have the answer.
Their new MDX metal cassettes are aimed to sell at the price "of a premium CRO2 (Type II) tape".
You can get MDX in the normal lengths of C90, C60 and C46. Teac claim the price breakthrough has come about thanks to their supplier developing a new metal powder to spread over the tape's backing which has what they call a "hybrid binder system". And there we were thinking that Metal tapes were previously just a way for tape companies to make huge sacks of money.
Gary Numan's been busy finishing off a new LP lately, and finds a shift in emphasis from the old days of recording. "It used to be that you'd spend so many days recording an LP, then a couple of days mixing," he told One Two. "Now it's a few days recording, and then a long time mixing. The emphasis has changed around so that it's the mixing stage that's important."
This has showed itself most dramatically in Gazzer's approach to recording drums. Hours and hours bashing a snare drum to satisfy a bored engineer? Nah. "We just put a click on each track where you want a beat and then trigger an AMS digital delay. That way you can get the sound you want – maybe from an old record you've done, even – put it into the AMS and trigger away. A perfect drum sound in two minutes." Isn't technology wunnerful?
You've never heard of Pao-Pheng guitars, have you? Nor had we. They're made, of course, by the Pao-Pheng Industrial Co in Japan. They're mad, of course. How do we know? We've seen their brochure. Listen to this.
The PSEG III A281 (neat name) is "a muti-functioned type for performances use. The main factions are 32 kinds of rhythms, stoccato, eremelo, trill, turn, echo..." Perhaps MUTI is the new MIDI? And just how do you turn on the turn function, or should we say faction? These questions remain unanswered.
But wait. There is a PSEG II 280, too. It possesses muti-functions too, of course. Best of all, "It can be connected with microphone and mircophone" and it has "buit-in two speakers".
These are indeed extremely ugly guitars. But before you start getting out your graph paper and chisel there's a warning attached. "Patent No 112705. This patent right is preserved, no counterfeit allowed, the offense will be sued." Ah well, do as you would be done by.
Scanning through foreign mags as we occasionally do, just after the tea trolley's been round, we happened on two rather spiffing quotes recently. The first draws the obvious question: is he mental? The quotee is Pretenders' basher Martin Chambers, and the rag is the ancient "Rolling Stone".
"(The Poly 800 synthesiser is) a new system that's helpful, because you can plug it into other components, like a drum kit."
To achieve this, Poly 800 owners should remember to take off all the nut boxes, and consult Dr Spliff many times during the session.
Second quote is more in the category of "Coo blimey is that so" stuff that could well give you some kind of superior status as you hang over the bar at the Queen's Bum And Icepack tonight. It's from one Carmine Bonnano, president of US company Octave-Plateau Electronics, who make the Voyetra synth. It was found in that generally wacky US mag, "Keyboard".
"I estimate that the (US synthesiser) industry does anywhere from 60 to 70 million dollars per year. That's about the size of a decent supermarket... a good supermarket does something like half a million bucks a week. It's unbelievable. One department store outsells the whole synthesiser industry."
"Coo blimey, is that so?" There you are, you see? You said it. And so did they.
What with mega note sequencers, CX5 computers and digital synths, you might think Yamaha had gone off the idea of guitars.
In fact Britain should be the testing ground for a new range of electrics which have only so far seen the light of the production line in Japan. At the British Music Fair, Yamaha were displaying several of these new models, some replacements for existing styles, and others somewhat off the wall additions.
Probably the best known Yamaha guitar range is the SG and there are a handful of newies on the way. The SG450 and 450T are less expensive versions of the 1300T. The T means Tremolo, but in the case of the 1300 it's a luxurious, locking variety. The 450s will be an unlocked type coming in between £299 and £320.
Many guitarists have fancied the pickup power of the SG3000 but been wary about the pricey cosmetic job. The SG2100S will have the mahogany materials and anti-feedback humbuckers, but be cheaper without the 'lipstick'. It will have the 3000's through neck and bridge but with a smaller sustain plate — in fact some guitarists have found the 3000 to be too "enduring". It will cost around £750. The SG1200S will do a similar job for even fewer akkers.
Outside the SGs there are the single coil SEs, Yamaha's assault on the budget business. Not too dissimilar from a well known American guitar, they kick off at £169 for the basic three pickup, single volume, single tone model, adding tremolo arms, Alnico magnets and sturdier bridges as they increase in price. The most expensive we're likely to see in the UK is the £260-odd SE450.
As for the off-the-wall variety there's the SJ which is like another well known American guitar this time beginning with a T. Yamaha's version has a stronger flare to the body. The alder bodied flat top will retail for £299.
Finally there's the all black SG1300TS. The only white item on it is the Yamaha logo.
Extra basses as well such as a detachable neck version of the BB1200S parametric. The new 1100 will have an alder body, one P bass pickup, one J bass pickup and a price tag of £449. And coming in as good news for the impoverished (less poverished?) is the BB450, a replacement for the BB1000 with a shallow maple/rosewood neck, a BB3000 bridge, one P pickup, one J pickup, one tone, one volume. One cheque for £300 and a bit should do the job.
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