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The Help File

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Article from The Mix, November 1994

Your questions answered

Digital diagnostics, techno troubles, glitches in your Gizmos; they're all in a day's work for The Mix medical department. Send your queries to: The Help File, (Contact Details)

If you're starting to find your Cubase Lite a little restricting, then it's time to upgrade to the grown-ups' version.

Back to basics

QI have a Quadra 840 A/V Mac, a Yamaha 810 keyboard, MIDI Translator II, and Cubase Lite, and have been experiencing problems. Please could you tell me how I can make music without pulling my hair out!

The first problem is sequencing decent drum beats. It just doesn't work. Why? Secondly, when I try to sequence a sound that is not a piano, the machine automatically changes it back to a piano - but only on playback. As far as I know and can tell from experience, the Yamaha 810 is a GM machine, so why won't it work?

Thirdly, you cannot cut a track and take the section into a new file. Is this just the program or what? Please help me!! Oh, one last thing, I want to do some sampling from records and tapes. How can I?
Stu Glasgow, University of Manchester

ASeeing as I'd hate for anyone to go bald prematurely, I am more than compelled to assist. The trouble you have with sequencing a good drum part may stem from your own personal inability, but has probably got more to do with Cubase Lite. I remember when I used to use Pro 12 on the ST - having to use the Score Edit to input rhythms is a nightmare. The only other option is to play them in, which is equally difficult for some people. May I suggest that you take some hints from our On The Beat tutorial. It may just give you some ideas.

As for the piano problem, this could possibly be sorted out using the GM editor. What the sequencer is doing is every time you replay from bar one, it resets any external patch alterations to the choices selected in the Sound Setup page. By using the GM editor to change the instrument in your part, instead of selecting a choice from your keyboard, this problem should be overcome.

Cubase Lite doesn't allow you to have any more than one song open at a time, so copying a part from one sequence to another is impossible. It seems that the root of all your problems is that Cubase program! Might I suggest that you upgrade your software to something a little more flexible. It will cost you a bit more (although Harman do trade-ins on your old Cubase software) but it's a small price to pay for a full head of hair.

Incidentally, to do any kind of sampling, you're going to need a sampler. Obvious, but true! Recommendations here are the Casio FZ10M or FZ1, which you can only get secondhand now, or one of the old Akai samplers, like the S950 or S900. You should be able to get a relatively decent sampler like the above, for between £600 and £800 from the One Careful Owner section of the mix. DM

Contact Harman Audio about Steinberg software on (Contact Details).

Where does it end...?

QI have a few queries about setting up a small commercial studio which I hope you can help me with. Firstly, I want to set up a studio which will help me to cater for a vast array of music, everything from rock to techno, and I was wondering if you could list a few basic items which I will need, based on a medium sized budget.

Secondly, is there a company which will help me set up by supplying all the necessary leads and professional advice on acoustics?

Lastly, I am unclear as to which recorder I should buy, ADAT, HD, or analogue tape. Could you offer some basic advice on this subject? I understand this is a large area and most of it is based on personal preference, but I would value your opinion.
David Gilbert, Nottingham

AIt's not easy knowing where to begin answering your query, David. Once you start setting up your studio, what you will find even harder is knowing where to stop.

Basically you will need a 16 or 24 channel 8-buss in-line mixing desk, such as Spirit's Studio LC, Allen & Heath's GS3, Soundtracs Topaz, Tascam's M2600, Mackie's 8-buss, or the Studiomaster P7.

You'll then require some black boxes to provide effects such as reverb, delay and so on - possibly a multi-effects unit such as an Alesis Quadraverb or ART Multiverb, which will give you several of these in one box.

A master keyboard and some sound modules and samplers would be considered essential in any modern recording studio, and your choice here is huge and varied. If you want to record 'live' music such as rock you will require a good range of microphones, a vocal booth and possibly even a 'live room' for capturing the ambient qualities of rock thrashings. Computer control is also a must these days, and a sequencing setup should be high on your shopping list.

I would hesitate to recommend any one supplier for all your needs, and would advise you to shop around as much as possible, letting your ears, your budget and perhaps a friend or colleague in the business, decide.

With regard to your last question, the jury is still out on the great analogue versus digital debate, and only your ears and perhaps a survey of people likely to want to record with you, will help you to decide.

It is perhaps still a little early to consider taking the direct-to-disk route, but an eight-track digital tape recorder such as Alesis or Fostex's ADAT format, or the rival Tascam DA88 (and soon, Sony), would provide you with the multi-tracking facilities 'live' music requires, as well as the ease of editing and compilation which digital media affords.

Some people still swear by the extra 'warmth' of reel-to-reel, and you would do well to canvas your market before plumping for one over the other. Ideally you should have both, and this is where the open-ended nature of your enquiry leaves us, pondering just where to stop. Only your bank manager can provide the answer to that question. RB

Help! Roland JV80 transfer instructions needed; alternatively, who knows where Ian Patterson is?

Changing colours

QI, undoubtedly like many of your readers, have Keynote Software's excellent Chameleon Universal Librarian for the Atari ST. I used to use this as a librarian for my Roland U20 and Yamaha DX7, both of which I have since sold.

The program was excellent and transformed my working practice. I then bought a Roland JV80, but when I contacted Keynote Software for the necessary MIDI transfer instructions I was told that Ian Patterson (the programmer who wrote the Chameleon software) had emigrated to France and was unable to be contacted.

I wonder if anyone would be able to write the necessary MIDI transfer instructions for the Roland JV80. With the manual, I am sure it is a straightforward exercise, but I am afraid that I am a MIDI language illiterate. I understand that the Chameleon program was based on another similar program called Genpatch, so transfer functions for that program would probably work for Chameleon.

Also, a comparative and critical survey of DAT recorders under £800 would be much welcomed in the mix.
Dominic Beeton, London

AAn exhaustive search of the mix's database has failed to uncover any trace of Ian Patterson's address in France or a set of transfer instructions for your JV80.

I myself use Chameleon and have written the occasional library for my own synths, but I am afraid I have no time to engage upon such a mammoth task. Perhaps one of our readers could help here. If anyone does have a set of transfer instructions already, or is prepared to write one for Dominic, contact us here at the mix and we'll put you in touch with him.

As regards your request for a survey of DAT recorders under £800, we are in the process of researching the market for just such an article, so expect to see that wish answered very soon in the mix. RB

The perfect mix

QSince I am training to be a DJ, I was wondering if you could help me by providing me with some information on bands and so forth? If you could, I would be very grateful as it would really help.
Clair Skinner, Bristol.

AThe dance-happy crew at the mix are all a little perplexed by your query, Clair. If it's advice on DJing you're after, look no further than this very issue, where Rob's excellent article on techniques will guide you through the intricacies of spinning the ones and twos.

If it's advice on what records to actually play (dance music consists of acts, not bands) then we cannot help you. A DJ is known by their choice of music, and reputations rise or fall depending on how upfront your tunes are.

Get down to your local specialist record shop and hassle the assistants until you have found a choice selection of tunes, then get mixing! RB

Previous Article in this issue

Monitor Mix

Next article in this issue

SNAP! to tomorrow

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

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
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The Mix - Nov 1994

Donated by: Colin Potter

Coverdisc: Mike Gorman


Previous article in this issue:

> Monitor Mix

Next article in this issue:

> SNAP! to tomorrow

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