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Advanced Simulated Analogue Synthesizer (Preview)
Access's strangely-named Virus is another digital synth emulating the analogues of yesteryear — but this one might be the best of the bunch so far. Paul Nagle brings you a sneak preview of the first Virus to hit the UK.
Andy Keir casts a critical ear over the new Alesis rack mixer and discovers that he's in for a quiet time.
Dual-channel Mic Preamp
Tyneside-based DACS have been building high-quality equipment for people on a one-off basis for years, but now they've launched a range of equipment that anyone can buy. Hugh Robjohns explains why he'd rather buy British.
1/4 PC MIDI Interface
As PC musicians expand into the world of MIDI outside their computer casing, they'll find a few more MIDI outputs never go amiss. Martin Walker enters a parallel dimension.
Enu have conjured up a combination of sampler and sample playback unit which makes the capabilities of their E4X sampler available at a significantly less-than-E4X price. Simon Trask looks for the sleight of hand...
PC Sequencing Software
With Sound Studio Gold, Evolution refuse to let budget sequencing mean budget features. Martin Walker examines a grown-up package at a baby price.
Following on from their Freebass TB303 clone, FAT's new PCP Procoder is another take on a classic instrument of the past — that mainstay of many a disco, electro, and Kraftwerk track, the analogue vocoder. Chris Carter absolutely refuses to make silly robot voices with it.
GeneralMusic are perhaps best known for their home keyboards, but this powerful new high-end instrument is aimed more at the synthesizer workstation market, though is still includes keyboard auto-accompaniment features. Are the company mapping out a brave new world? Simon Trask explores the SK76.
Leslie Speaker Simulator
The quest for the perfect Leslie speaker simulator continues. Nick Magnus welcomes an all-analogue member to the rotary club...
Paul White tries his luck on the green and finds that where voice channels are concerned, this box is a whole in one.
Digital Sampling Synthesizer (Retro)
Not over-endowed with intelligence the chunky DSS1 had just 256k of memory. Paul Nagle speaks up in defence of a dinosaur.
In the mid-'80s, Korg released their first sampling Grand, the SG1, a digital stage piano that doubled as a MIDI master controller keyboard. 10 years on, they've revisited the concept with the heavyweight SGproX. Paul Farrer considers whether a decade has made all the difference...
Active Reference Monitors
Paul White studio-tests KRK's latest active monitoring package, designed to provide compact, reference-standard monitoring.
Paul White hooks up Mackie's new monitors, nails down the furniture, and settles down for a long listening session.
Universal SMPTE/Video/Digital Audio Synchroniser
Three years since it was first announced, MOTU's Digital Timepiece is here at last. Bristling with features, it aims to become the one-stop solution for the digital project studio's AV sync needs. Mike Collins explains how to get clock-wise...
Spinets, Hammonds, massed choirs? Nope. Derek Johnson takes a trip with a module that does just what it says on the tin.
Take a powerful PC. Add a clever bit of programming, a soundcard and some samples, and you have the reality software synthesizer. Not a revolutionary concept, but wait until you hear the sounds! Martin Walker picks himself up off the floor.
COSM-modelled Drum System (Preview)
First previewed at the NAMM show in January, Roland's first foray into the world of drum modelling is now almost ready for release. Nicholas Rowland brings you an exclusive preview from the official launch party.
Hard Disk Recording System
If you don't fancy struggling to get a 'PC plus soundcard' hard disk recording setup working reliably, you might be interested in a system where pre-configured external hardware shoulders all the complex processing, while your PC just stays in charge. Martin Walker explores the Soundscape solution.
Cubase VST was the MIDI+ Audio sequencing sensation of last year on the Mac, offering built-in digital effects with no additional hardware required. Now, after much work, Steinberg have succeeded in porting VST to the PC — at the same price, and, once again, with no additional hardware required. Janet Harniman Cook is suitably impressed.
Paul White checks over TSC's latest Mac-clone-based music studio package and sees red.
Yamaha have taken their MU90R, wired in a VL tone generator and put three-part harmoniser in the effects section. The result is the MU100R. Christopher Holder gets virtual.
People + Opinion
Interview | Band
Autechre's own take on techno is so far from the mainstream that the duo, Rob Brown and Sean Booth, can scarcely understand why anyone shares their tastes. The fact is that they do, in their thousands. Christopher Holder heads to Sheffield to work on his studio tan.
Interview | Composer
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Dirk Campbell is a successful TV music writer who refuses to toe the corporate line and never watches television. Dave Stewart about the complexities of an industry that offers substantial reward to those strong-minded enough to take on its challenges and contradictions.
Interview | Producer
The skills of world-class producer Don Was are constantly in demand. But, as he explains, years of taking care of someone else's work can have a disastrous effect on your own. Here, he reveals to Paul Tingen why (and how) he released a recording of his own for the first time in seven years.
Dull, lifeless sound you can't do a thing with? Your problem could be direct injection — the scourge of modern recording, claims Glyn Cornelius.
Interview | Artist
A tremendously gifted yet private man, Greek composer Vangelis has contributed greatly to the acceptance of electronic music as an art form of its own with soundtrack work like Chariots Of Fire and Blade Runner. From 1975 to 1987, Vangelis did nearly all his recordings at his own Nemo Studios in London, a place hitherto as shrouded in mystery as the man himself. Richard Clews dons his investigator's mac and turns his attention to Vangelis's Nemo years...
Why is no-one giving Mac sequencers away for nothing? Martin Russ dives into the sobering world of shareware and freeware.
The mathematical principles that produce beautiful images such as Mandelbrot sets can also generate intriguing music. Derek Johnson looks at a program that could make you go Atari fractal... Fractal Music.
Upgrading is becoming a regular task for many PC owners. Martin Walker gets stuck in once again, looking at hard drives, memory expansions, and faster processors.
Tips & Tricks
Associating sounds with MIDI datafiles is not difficult, but does require some initial setting up. If your sequences never seem to sound the same as they did last time, Martin Walker may have the answers.
Tips & Techniques
Tips & Tricks
If you're burning CDs at home, you'll obtain the best quality if your audio data is at its highest possible average signal level. Most people yawn at this and reach for the normalisation button on their audio editor, but, as Craig Anderton explains, unless you're careful, you could be doing your material a disservice...
Tips & Tricks
Modern PC soundcards can deliver excellent audio performance, but are sometimes held back by the computer itself. Martin Walker shows you how to squeeze out the last drop of performance.
Readers' Music Reviewed
Petri's Earth Turtle * Tugg * Macohna * Laurie Bennett And The Models * Paul K Hurst * Kashmire * Gary Trotman * The Element * Tic * Robert Fenby * Reform * Control Z
Tips & Tricks
Using a sampler without some sort of hard drive is just not an option these days, which means that some understanding of SCSI is necessary. Devoted Akai samplist Paul Farrer explains some of the pitfalls that can befall the unwary user of SCSI'd up samplers, and examines some of the other cross-platform issues that can complicate sampling.
Tips & Tricks
Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge program is renowned for offering more options and features than most users can absorb without a full-time study course! Customer Service Represetative Sean Lee offers some insider hints and tips to help you work more efficiently.
Chris Carter offers insight into motivation and stress in the studio and some possible solutions.
Tips & Techniques
Last month Paul White covered gates and compressors; this month it's up to enhancers to justify their existence...