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The Shape Of Things To Come

Reports of some of the new products unveiled at this year's Frankfurt Music Fair which will be winging their way into the shops over the coming months.

Having staggered back from the Frankfurt Music Trade Fair with bundles of brochures covering all the latest equipment, we were faced with the perennial problem of sifting through the mountains of information and categorising it into: a) equipment which will definitely arrive in Britain, b) equipment which may arrive if an importer can be found and c) equipment which will never be available here at all. So, here's a selection of products which are definitely on their way...

In the past, when mixer manufacturers spoke of a modular design concept, the products haven't, until now, looked anything like the Keymix system from Allen & Heath Brenell.

This latest AHB mixer adopts the standard rack-mounting approach to house a series of three constituent parts of a mixer and bring them all under computer control with a standalone operation module.

Each of the 19" units contain eight audio channels, with the KM1 Master Unit forming the system nerve centre. This features 8 inputs, 8 effect sends and 8 effect returns. The KM2 Slave offers identical channel facilities and up to three slaves may be linked to a KM1. The third module is the KM3 Equaliser which again offers 8 channels, but this time it's of 3-band sweep equalisation which can be patched into each mixer unit as required. A fully expanded system would provide 64 line inputs and up to a total of 32 EQ channels.

At the heart of the system is the KMR control module which is used to programme the following: effects send routing, input and effects return channel muting, MIDI modes, and sequence mode. (In sequence mode you're able to chain different 'song' settings together). All program data may be stored in the KMM memory module which slots into the top of the KMR.

However, if you're already an owner of a Commodore 64/128 computer, the Keymix system is controllable without the KMR module using AHB's own software. Additional interfaces are also available in the shape of the KMI64 computer link and the KMS64 which offers Sync 24 compatibility and tape sync facilities. (Contact Details)

If you want to transmit MIDI signals over long distances then the latest offering from Quark, the LRM-2 Long Range MIDI, may solve your problems. Designed to transmit signals down cables of up to 200 metres length instead of the limited 15 metres of the normal MIDI data range,the LRM-2 has obvious applications in live or studio situations where remote MIDI control is desirable. (Contact Details)

From Bel Electronics comes the BDE3200, a quality digital delay processor which just happens to change into a sound sampler at the press of a button.

In its basic format the unit offers 99 programmable delay settings and 6 seconds delay time at 15kHz bandwidth which, with the addition of more memory, expands to a maximum of 32 seconds for extra-long samples.

Included within the BDE3200 are sample editing, reverse, pitch shift and sequencing options plus full MIDI keyboard control. Samples may be stored on the optional rack-mounting disk system for instant recall.

Also within the BDE range is a smaller version, the BDE2400, which is similar in all respects except for the delay/sampling time, which is only expandable up to a maximum of 24 seconds. (Contact Details)

Live PA specialists TOA continue to expand their range of speakers with the 380-SE three-way system. This loudspeaker has been specially designed to cope with the vigorous bass end and transient requirements of electronic instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines and guitar synths, and can be driven up to a maximum of 380 watts of power. (Contact Details)

As with many of the Japanese synthesizer manufacturers, Korg have been slow to launch a sampling keyboard onto the market. The DSS-1 Digital Sampling Synthesizer will very soon be the shape of things to come from Korg, and offers both sampling and sound synthesis in one unit. It's an 8-voice, 61-key instrument with a built-in 1 Mbyte disk storage system. Internal memory holds 16 different waveforms for instant recall. The variable slope VCF and the VCA section all add to the sound-shaping capabilities as do the two onboard digital delays and programmable equaliser.

Also from Korg comes the SG-1 Sampling Grand. This is a 76-key instrument with four built-in preset piano sounds and optional ROM cards which contain further sampled instruments. (Contact Details)

From the innovators of the electronic drum kit comes a series of new products which are aimed at MIDI and the Simmons drummer. The MTM is a unit which processes signals from electronic or miked up acoustic drums and turns them into trigger and MIDI data. 100 memories are provided for storage of MIDI note, channel and program data, plus dynamic expression and effects which include delay, sequencing and note layering.

For owners of Simmons kits from the SDS5 onwards comes the TMI trigger to MIDI interface, which gives you MIDI control over external sound modules or synthesizers.

The SDE is a MIDI controllable voice expander for tuned percussion sounds including marimbas, glocks and vibes.

And, last of all, we have the SDC200 drum combo amplifier. This is a purpose designed amp for electronic drum kits and features a powerful 200 watts output, with individual channel inputs and EQ for bass, snare, toms, hi-hat and cymbals. (Contact Details)

As mentioned in last month's Edits page, Ibanez have launched a MIDI guitar. Labelled the IMG2010, it features a MIDI Hex pickup which translates note information from the guitar strings into MIDI data. The sleek-looking guitar is linked to a rackmounted unit which offers extensive control over the MIDI data and includes a 128 patch memory for storage of MIDI information and guitar settings. On the guitar body itself the traditional vibrato arm has been employed in some rather different areas and allows control over not only the pitch bend but also portamento, glissando and many other parameters. (Contact Details)

If you're designing music software for computers there isn't a more popular machine than the Commodore 64. From C-Lab comes the latest package for the CM64, the new Supertrack MIDI Recorder. This 16-track system is designed to be approached like a regular analogue tape recorder but with the added flexibility of MIDI. The software is disk based and can be used to control MIDI instruments and provide a powerful recording tool with 8400 event capacity, real-time or step-time recording, programmable drop in/out points, pre/post quantisation and sync-to-tape. Up to 63 individual patterns can be recorded and chained into 255 steps.

The C-Lab software is supplied with its own interface, though it will work with a Passport type, for which the software is available separately. (Contact Details)

As high quality sampling becomes more important in the modern recording process, one of the long-established names in this field, PPG, introduce the HDU Hard Disk Unit. The HDU's 95 Mbyte storage (!) is capable of sampling 6 minutes of 16-bit Compact Disc-quality sound in stereo. Samples may be manipulated in various ways, including time compression, looping and editing. The clever inclusion of MIDI Song Position Pointers means that you can synchronise MIDI sequencers and have a truly digital recording system without the need fortape.

In addition to the sampling facility, effects such as echo, flanging, phasing and harmonising are all possible. (Contact Details)

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Sound On Sound - Copyright: SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.


Sound On Sound - Apr 1986

Donated & scanned by: Bill Blackledge


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