October 2004 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN Yamaha 01X Digital Mixer/Fader Control Surface/24-bit Interface

Deadline: 2004-11-30

Yamaha's 01X has broken new ground in the field of computer music: being arguably the first product to take full advantage of mLAN, it could set the direction computer interfaces will take for years to come.
Prizes kindly donated by Yamaha-Kemble. Phone Brochure Line +44 (0)870 444 5575. www.01xray.com

Reviews

ART DPS II

Valve Microphone Preamp

This dual-channel unit has hybrid solid-state/tube circuitry, variable input impedance, instrument-specific presets, and a flexible digital output.

Electro-Harmonix NY2A

Valve Optical Compressor

This high-end stereo compressor boasts three different flavours of optical compression.

Garritan Personal Orchestra

Orchestral Sample Library (Mac & PC)

Gary Garritan takes on the orchestral behemoths with a small but perfectly formed library packed with extra features.

Groove Tubes MD1b FET

Condenser Microphone

This new mic is a reissue of Groove Tubes' first large-diaphragm condenser, but with solid-state electronics replacing the valve to offer a more affordable package.

K+H O300D & Pro C28

Active Monitors & Digital Controller

Despite its small size, this new system leads the field when it comes to nearfield monitoring accuracy.

Latest Sample CDs

Sample Shop

Reviews/appraisals of the latest sample CDs:
Luscious Grooves 5* MULTI-FORMAT; Electro Magnetic Pulse 4* AUDIO+WAV+REX; SAM Solo Sessions 4* MULTI-FORMAT; Saophones 1 5* GIGASTUDIO/EXS24 MKII.

M Audio Firewire 1814

Firewire Interface (PC & Mac)

M Audio's half-rack interface provides a comprehensive selection of analogue and digital I/O at a competitive price.

M Audio Keystation Pro 88

USB MIDI Controller Keyboard

The price of compact MIDI controller keyboards has come tumbling down in the past few years, but weighted-action full-length keyboards have remained relatively expensive —until now. We investigate the 88-note keyboard that runs off USB power...

Mackie Onyx 1620

Mixer

Mackie combine a completely redesigned 16:2 mixer with a multi-channel Firewire audio interface. What more could you want?

MakeMusic! Finale 2004

Music Notation Software (PC/Mac)

The latest incarnation of a well-established scoring package holds few surprises, but plenty of power for the asking price.

Presonus Central Station

Monitor Controller

This high-quality passive monitor controller can cater for five stereo input sources and three pairs of speakers, with built-in cue monitoring and talkback functions.

Prosoniq Rayverb

Inverse Raytracing Convolution Reverb Plug-In (PC & Mac)

There are now plenty of convolution reverbs around, but Prosoniq\'s Rayverb offers something a little different. So just what is 'inverse raytracing' anyway?

Studio Electronics Omega 8

8-voice Digitally Controlled Analogue Synth

In this ever-changing world of virtual analogues, modelled instruments, and software emulations, it's a pleasant surprise to find that some companies are making synths the old-fashioned way. But is nostalgia really what it used to be?

Virsyn Cantor

Singing Synthesis Software ( XP/ Mac OS X)

If your computer could sing, what would it sound like? With the Cantor software synth from Virsyn, you can find out...

Wharfedale Pro Diamond 8.1 Pro Active

Active Monitors

These new active nearfields from Wharfedale offer a polished sound for studio owners on a budget.

People + Opinion

All Things Must Pass

Leader

Editor In Chief Paul White bemoans the ephemeral nature of modern software instruments and wonders what will be the Stradivarius of our time in 300 years...

Business End

Readers' Tracks evaluated

Hear the tracks while you read constructive comments from MPG (Music Producers Guild) members who assess the latest batch of SOS readers' submitted recordings.

Crosstalk

Reader Feedback

Replies to more of your emails, letters and faxes.

Readerzone: Synthfest!

Philip Taysom

Walk inside Philip Taysom's studio and you will find classic synths in abundance, all connected and all ready to play...

Sounding Off: Your CV

Paul Bower

Paul Bower explains why the CV may be more important than you think — even in the music industry.

The Engineers Who Changed Recording

Fathers Of Invention

Some of the legendary names in engineering and production didn't just make great records — they also invented equipment and techniques we take for granted today.

The Prodigy

Liam Howlett: Recording Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

Nowadays, plenty of hit albums are recorded in bedroom studios — but Liam Howlett of the Prodigy has gone one better, by recording his latest in bed.

The Resurrection Of Brian Wilson's SMiLE

Mark Linett & Darian Sahanaja

The Beach Boys' SMiLE album was to have been the pinnacle of Brian Wilson's groundbreaking recording and production achievements — but it was never completed. This year, in an extraordinary tale of emotional drama, tape-vault archaeology, and recording technology, Brian finished it, debuted it live, and then re-recorded it in the studio. SOS brings you the full story...

Technique

Alesis Ion User Tips

Programming Guide

Although the Ion is already well-respected for its sound quality, its synthesis architecture is also surprisingly flexible. We show you how to get the best from this little beast in your studio.

Bilocation: Binaural Recording & 5.1 Surround

New Surroundings

Binaural recordings can sound amazing on headphones, but do not work very well on conventional stereo speakers. Can they be adapted more successfully for surround systems?

CLASSIC TRACKS: Heroes

Artist: David Bowie; Producers: David Bowie, Tony Visconti; Studio: Hansa Ton, Berlin

With 'Heroes', David Bowie pulled off the rare feat of having a major hit with a highly experimental piece of art-rock, which featured among other highlights live synth treatments from Brian Eno, pitched feedback from guitarist Robert Fripp, and a lead vocal with level-triggered ambience.

Cubase SX3 Preview; Range Selection

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

This month we provide an exclusive preview of the new version of Cubase — SX 3 — and offer advice on how to get the most out of Cubase's Range Selection tool.

Demo Doctor

Analysis of Reader Recordings

Think your own music is good? Listen to these tracks from SOS readers and see if you agree with the good Doctor's prognosis...

How To Remote Control Sonar Effects

Sonar Notes

This month, how to use the handy Scrub tool, how to customise your track view, and an explanation of the procedure for setting up remote control of Sonar effects parameters.

Incurable Soundcard Stuttering?

PC Notes

We investigate an obscure PC parameter that may be responsible for some otherwise 'incurable' soundcard stuttering problems.

Linux Jack Sound Server Ported To OS X

Apple Notes

The Jack low-latency sound server has been ported to OS X from Linux. We discuss its background and implications.

Logic Notes

More hints and tips

Learn how to combine dynamics processing with delay and reverb to breathe life into your mixes.

MIDI Sequencing In Pro Tools

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

While Pro Tools is widely known for its dominance in the field of computer-based audio recording, little is made of the fact that it also features fully fledged MIDI sequencing facilities.

PC Music Shareware Roundup

PC Musician

Shareware might be cheap, but it can also make you very cheerful. We round up some of the best of the current PC music shareware scene.

Running Autotune within Digital Performer

Digital Performer Notes

A bundle of tips helps you get the most from Autotune running inside DP, and there is plug-in news aplenty...

Studio SOS

Dorian Kelly

The SOS team ride to the rescue of a budding media composer who is having trouble with his mixes.

Using Mackie Tracktion Sequencer As A Rewire Host

Reason Notes

Mackie's Tracktion sequencer makes an ideal budget Rewire host for adding audio recording and plug-in capabilities to your Reason setup, as we explain...

Sound Advice

Q. Can dust affect microphone performance?

This is probably a silly question, but I was just wondering: if I left my Neumann TLM103 mic out on its stand when not in use for long periods of time, would its performance be affected, by dust in particular? It does have a lovely wooden case to store it in when not in use, but I would prefer to leave it on the shockmount if possible.
SOS Forum Post

Q. How do I compress a stereo source?

I am recording using a spaced-pair miking setup and I want to apply light compression to the signal. Where in the signal chain should I insert the compressor (pre- or post-fade), and will I have to buy a dedicated stereo compressor to do the job properly?
SOS Forum Post

Q. How do you create a sense of height in a stereo soundscape?

I am working on the soundtrack for an independent movie, and I am wondering how to create the sense of height in the (stereo) soundscape. I was thinking a bit of EQ applied to the higher frequencies might do the trick, since these are more directional. Or should I filter the high end out of the reverb and keep it dry?
SOS Forum Post

Q. Is USB too slow for MIDI interfacing?

I've just bought Tascam Gigastudio, and in the manual it says 'Note: Nemesys recommends ISA or PCI-based MIDI interfaces, as they are faster than USB or Parallel Port interfaces'. As well as being too slow, I've also read that USB is unsuitable for MIDI because USB MIDI has timing jitter that could smear the timing of dense MIDI passages. If software manufacturers think USB is so unsuitable that they discourage people from using USB MIDI interfaces, then why do hardware manufacturers make them, and to the exclusion of PCI MIDI interfaces? Are there any multiple I/O PCI interfaces around any more?
SOS Forum Post

Q. What are the correct input impedances for Guitars and Mics?

I bought a new Boss guitar effects processor the other day, and noticed that, even without any effects, the guitar sounds a lot better through it than it does just straight through my mixer. I remembered reading something about electric guitars having a different input impedance to other kinds of equipment, and I'm wondering if this could be the cause? Also, could the sound from my mic be similarly improved by getting a stand-alone voice channel for it rather than just putting it through the mixer? Would the impedance match be much better?
SOS Forum Post

Q. What do the different 'colours' of noise do?

I am familiar with white noise, but I\'ve also seen mention of pink, red and even blue noise in your pages. What are these other kinds of noise, how are they produced and what are they used for?
Derek Amesbury

Q. What kind of stands are best for mounting monitors?

Is it best to use table-top stands, floor stands or wall brackets to mount my speakers? I have Mackie HR624s, which are not ported, so does it matter if they're positioned close to the wall?
SOS Forum Post

Q. What mics should I use on a snare drum?

I am looking at buying a matched pair of SE Electronics SE1 mics for drum miking. I am prepared to pay more for the right mics, but would the SE1s be suitable for 'over and under' miking of the snare? If not, could you offer any alternatives for this kind of configuration?
SOS Forum Post

Q. Why does it take so long to freeze a VST Instrument track?

I use Cubase SX 2 and find the Freeze function for VST Instrument tracks very useful. I was slightly disappointed to note that it can take up to six or seven minutes to freeze a VST track. Why is this the case when it only takes one to two minutes to export an entire composition as a WAV file?
Graham Pettican

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