Welcome to The News where we tell you what on earth is happening.
New Electrovoice PA gear from Shuttlesound comes in the shape of the SH1810, a horn-loaded three way full range speaker system. They promise extra smooth mid-range, and self-protecting solid-state drivers. Professional stuff, this, at £3,000 a pair.
The Strathclyde Police have written asking "Britain's most influential musicians' magazine" (that's us, dimbo) to help them trace the owners of a WEM Copicat and other guitar accessories found in the Harthill area, Motherwell District, Strathclyde in March 1986. If it was yours, call the 'Custodier' Police Office, (Contact Details).
Bright shiny new stereo digital reverb from Mr Ibanez. Being very stereo means the SDR1000 (as it is known to its friends) can do two different mono reverbs simultaneously. It'll do Halls, Rooms, Plates, Gates, Cups and saucers (well, maybe not), and a whole host of other sophisticated things like panning and MIDI assignments. And we've got one at the moment, so you can guess what that means for next month...
Advance warning of Roland Roadshows in your area (unless you live somewhere else). The gigs will be: Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, and London, in the five days starting November 10th. Starring will be Tommy Snyder (famous person), Mark Wood (not so famous person) and Robbie Bums (famous dead poet). It'll be £2 to get in, unless you're in the MU, in which case it's double... er, half that. More details next month.
Another MIDI processor from Akai. The ASK90 Audio Trigger Interface Board (hey – love the name!) can take up to eight independent inputs, such as sequencers, drum machines, contact mikes, etc, and turn their audio signals into MIDI code. It's equipped with such technique-enhancing facilities as a variable Trigger Threshold, high and low channel sensitivity, plus Capture Time and Recover Time, which allow specific control over retriggering. The ASK90 has been developed for use with the S900 sampler, and comes with a disc containing three drum programs and 12 samples. And it only costs £170.
Hammonds School Of Music, based above their shop in Watford, has recently started two courses immediately relevant to Making Music readers. The courses consist of ten weekly two-hour meetings, and include lots of hands-on experimentation. The Foundation Course in Music Technology is intended for beginners in modem music, and runs them through the basic principles of acoustics, recording and computer music, with the intention of preparing the music student for the Composing Electro-Acoustic Music course. More details available from (Contact Details).
Buster Music in Prestwich have written to tell us that they are the sole distributors for Gordon-Smith guitars. They also say that Gordon-Smith guitars have no connection with any other guitar makers anywhere in the world. We're very happy for them both.
Musimex have announced a new Steinberger six-string, the GL4T, with two single coil and one humbucking EMG pickups. Pushbutton pickup selection gives all possible combinations, and active EQ is available as an option. It comes with transposing trem, and a price in excess of £1,500.
Nick Partis at Alligator Music is planning to set up a musicians' holiday centre in West Wales, offering accommodation, trout fishing and canoeing, plus 16-track facilities, at around £160 per person per week. He wants your help with his market research: "Perhaps they would write to me, (Contact Details), for a simple questionnaire about preference equipmentwise, and other facilities."
Prince live-in-Detroit on C4 on Tuesday 30th September; stereo simulcast of Queen at Wembley on 25th October on C4 and the ILR network; The Tube's back from 31st October.
Four new variations on the Japanese guitar theme from Fender: three six-strings and a bass. Firstly, the Fender Contemporary Strat (£430) has two single coil pickups and a humbucker, five-way switch, System 1 tremolo, Allen key locking nut, and single tone and volume controls. Secondly, the Squier Contemporary Strat (£250) has but one pickup and a volume knob, combined with the old style trem. Thirdly, and most interestingly, the Fender Contemporary Telecaster (£432) has two single coils and a humbucker, System 1 tremolo, volume, tone, and three toggle switches for pickup switching, giving a coil tap for the humbucker. All six-strings have rosewood fingerboards. Finally, the Squier Jazz Bass (£336) has a 34in scale, two pickups, two volumes, and one tone.
Now here's a daft idea: an amp built into a bright red plastic petrol can. Bass, treble, master volume, and facilities for either batteries or a 9V adaptor.
Distributors British Music Strings say The Can is much louder than you'd expect. Hmmm. How loud do you expect a petrol can to be?
Allen & Heath Brenell, who make AHB mixers, have won a Design Centre Award for their CMC24 Computer Assisted Mixing System, a 24-channel desk for 16-track recording. And David Bowie's just bought one for his Swiss home studio.
If you have a Juno 6 or 60, and are frustrated by its non-MIDIness, your days of hair-tearing are over. Groove Electronics ((Contact Details)) of Wiltshire are offering a MIDI interface kit for said synthesisers. The basic kit will cost you £99, and they'll fit it for you for another £30.
TDK have revealed to us their new restyled and mechanically improved line-up of cassettes with the intention of getting them inside your portastudios, Walkpersons, hi-fi decks und so weiter. Nine tapes make the range now. Normal ferries are the D (£1.25 – prices here for C90 length), AD (£1.50) and AD-X (£1.80); portastudio chromes are the SF (£1.70), SA (£1.99), SA-X (£2.30) and HXS metal-for-chrome-position (£2.75); and the up-market metals are the MA-X (£3.25) and MAX-G (£4.75). Rust never sleeps.
Tranvex Music have announced their "revolutionary" new Electradyne XJ500 15in Bass Driver speaker, with 12½in magnet. Apart from claiming that this high sensitivity unit can generate four times more power than ordinary bass speakers, they say that in full horn bass enclosure tests sound pressure levels have reached "a believable 145dB with a Power Handling of 3000 watts (Peak)". Incredible. (Contact Details).
By the time you've finished reading this issue of MAKING MUSIC you'll be a much wiser person. So wise, in fact, that you'll know the answers to the following questions:
1 Which three drummers influenced the currently fashionable trend of sitting low on the drum stool?
2 What is the working title of Andy Summers' forthcoming solo album?
3 What are the notes that make up the chord of Ab min seventh (plus 4) on the guitar?
4 When and where was the Vox Tornado six-string made?
5 What's the best-selling amplifier this month?
The answers to all five questions (and many more) are in the magazine you hold. Send the five correct answers in to Cranium Comer, (Contact Details) – the first correct entry receives a year's subscription (12 issues of Making Music posted direct to your door).
The DOD Pitchrider 7000 Mk.II is the latest version of IVL's original pitch-to-MIDI converter. Each guitar string can be assigned its own MIDI channel, programs and settings can be memorised, and it will cope with string bending. The hexaphonic pickup fits under the strings without requiring woodworking. And all of this is controllable via a footswitch.
The DOD FX35 Octoplus Signal Processor is a little less sophisticated: it's an octivider that adds a note one octave below the original. It comes with Direct, Level, and Tone controls.
Owners of the DOD PDS1000 digital delay will be irritated by the introduction of the PDS1002, which offers an extra second of delay at "no extra cost", plus all those other facilities.
After our glowing review of their ultra-cheap Sidewinder series, Marlin have gone well over the top with the new Master Class guitars and basses. The graphite necked MB-90 bass has a phenolic resin fingerboard, 24 frets, Schaller pickups, sophisticated passive electronics, and a price of £699. The MB92 costs £300 more, and has Seymour Duncan active EQ pickups, and an intricate "multiple inlay" body design. The two guitars are the ML-80 and ML-82 at £599 and £775 respectively; both are Strat-shaped, with two single coil pickups and a humbucker at the back – blade pickups, all.
New stuff from this old name includes a 120w twin channel guitar combo, a six channel mixer amplifier with reverb, and a series of 'competitively priced' effects pedals (phase, compression, analogue delay, stereo chorus, flange, overdrive and distortion). More details when we 'ave 'em.
The Peavey XR500C is a new five channel powered mixer with built-in reverb, monitor sends, jack or cannon channel inputs, seven band graphic, plus a high and low EQ on each channel. The design is apparently an update on the XR500, and it retails at £459.
To be launched this month is the latest Tascam Portastudio, the Porta Two. UK Distributors Harman see it as an eventual replacement for the getting-old 244, although the products will initially be sold side by side. It apparently has much the same features and dimensions as the 244, but is styled more along Porta One lines. The Porta Two should sell for around £600.
Nerve is another home grown guitar manufacturer, based in Coventry. Not only do they make and sell their own-design guitars for under £500, but they supply parts, fit tremolos, refinish, repair... you get the gist. Contact them on (Contact Details).
Of which there were several last month, and we manfully admit to them. First Nik Kershaw considered his new album to be the most eclectic he'd made (not electric), session drummers are employed to play with the maximum of good vibes (not minimum), and it's the bloody mindedness of the British Public, not the session players, that brands them as lacking in soul (Drum Hum page 41). Icicle Works' Ian McNabb is not left handed, though the people who produced the colour separation seem to believe he is. John Walters meant that DDD is found only on CDs which are completely digital, and no, Telecom have not gone into noise reduction... that's Telcom. Are we stupid or what?
A new UK distributor (PBI Distribution) for Fernandes guitars has resulted in that rarest of occurrences, a price decrease. Two examples: the RST40 guitar was £340, now £265, and the Revolver bass was £935, now £725. Much better, we say – and look forward to the promised soon-come new models.
To prove that dreams do come true, at least those which are wholesome, worthwhile and follow the American way, we present James Williams of Reigate, clutching the first thing he unpacked from the deeply wonderful Yamaha 8000 drum kit he won from us. And Yamaha. Inside the other large packages were the rest of the kit and a Yamaha workman who fell inside at the packing bay (not true). James went away happy. His family went away looking for a leaflet on soundproofing.
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