December 2003 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN Audio Technica AT3060 valve mics

Deadline: 2004-01-30

2 readers get the chance to win this £399 ground-breaking tube design, which can be run directly from a phantom power source. 3rd & 4th prizes of studio headphones also to be won

Reviews

Audio Technica AE2500

Dynamic/Electret Kick-drum Microphone

Audio Technica have put two different capsules into the same mic, giving you a choice of different sounds for different occasions.

Audiotrak Maya 44 USB

USB PC Audio Interface

Laptop users on a budget can't help but be tempted by the Audiotrak Maya 44 USB's promise of four-channel analogue I/O, low-latency ASIO drivers and multi-client support for under £100. Is it really as good as it sounds?

DAV Electronics BG1

Dual Mic Preamp

This new preamp gives you vintage Decca design at a surprisingly low cost.

Doepfer A100 Modular

Synthesis Modules

Since the launch of their A100 modular synth in the mid-'90s, Doepfer have been quietly adding modules to the system, some fairly simple, others splendidly esoteric. We explore some of the latest...

Edirol UR80

USB Interface & Controller For PC & Mac

Edirol's all-in-one UR80 combines USB audio and MIDI interfaces with a fader-based control surface.

Emagic Space Designer

Convolving Reverb Plug-in For Logic

Convolving reverbs are coming down in price as more manufacturers make their own. We check out Emagic's new plug-in, which is one of the more affordable ones around, but still allows you to create your own reverbs from favourite spaces.

Event TR5 & TR8

Active Monitors

Event build on their tried and tested design principles to offer two new sets of affordable active monitors.

Focusrite Liquid Channel (preview)

Convolving Voice Channel

DSP convolving techniques now allow us to 'sample' the sound of real reverberant spaces, and even other digital reverbs. But why stop at reverb? Focusrite's Liquid Channel can be used to reproduce the effect of classic compressors and even mic preamps...

Izotope Trash

Distortion Modeller For Windows PCs

There's already a decent range of products providing digital emulations of vintage guitar amps, but Izotope's Direct X plug-in goes a lot further, offering no fewer than seven processing modules, and is intended to model every kind of distortion you'll ever need.

Korg D32XD & D16XD

Digital Multitrackers

In a market populated by 16-track and 24-track machines, Korg up the ante once again with the first project-studio multitracker to offer 32-track playback.

Latest Sample CDs

Sample Library

• LA Riot: Big Rockin' Beats Volume 2 * Score = 4
• Smokers Delight * Score = 5
• Punch ERM * Score = 4
• World Traveler * Score = 4

M Audio BX5

Active Nearfield Monitors

M Audio's new desktop active monitors offer magnetic shielding and a smooth mid-range sound.

Mackie Control

DAW Control Surface

While computer software gives modern musicians an overwhelming array of new possibilities, not everyone prefers virtual, on-screen user interfaces over the traditional tactile alternatives. Building on the success of previous mixer and control surface designs, Mackie's affordable Mackie Control promises the best of the soft- and hardware worlds — but will it make you hang up your mouse?

Mackie Tapco 6306

Mixer

A new affordable mini-mixer from Mackie brings their Tapco brand bang up to date.

Novation Virtual BassStation

Software Plug-in For Mac & PC

Novation's V-Station plug-in provided a software version of their hardware K-Station — now there's a software version of their mid-'90s hardware monophonic analogue bass synths, the BassStation and BassStation Rack...

Propellerhead Reason v2.5

Virtual Studio for Mac & PC

The success story that is the Reason software studio continues to unfold with the release of v2.5, which adds a slew of sophisticated effects and processing devices — all free to registered users.

RME Quad Mic

Four-channel Mic Preamp

A cost-effective four-channel microphone preamp with flexible powering options well-suited to location recording.

Samson Q7

Drum Mic Set

An extremely cost-effective set of seven dedicated drum microphones.

ST Audio DSP3000 M-Port

PCI Audio Interface [PC/Mac]

ST Audio's DSP3000 system offers an impressive feature set for its price, boasting eight-channel 24-bit/96kHz analogue I/O with mic preamps on every channel, plus digital I/O in S/PDIF and AES-EBU formats, MIDI I/O, and the ability to function as a stand-alone analogue/ADAT digital converter.

Vox Valvetronix Tone Lab

Modelling Valve Guitar Preamp

This new modelling preamp achieves a variety of realistic amp tones by combining DSP processing with real analogue gain stages.

Yamaha S90

Weighted-action Keyboard Synth

Yamaha have taken a weighted keyboard from their latest digital pianos, added high-quality piano samples and Motif sounds, and thrown in a playback sequencer and arpeggiator, and master-keyboard facilities. Left to simmer, the S90 is the result...

Live Sound

Playing Backing Tracks

Sound On Stage

We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different on-stage playback machines, and offer advice on how to avoid those embarrassing live backing-track pitfalls!

People + Opinion

Andy Barlow: Recording Between Darkness & Wonder

Lamb

Since Lamb first came to prominence at the height of the mid-'90s trip-hop movement, Andy Barlow and Lou Rhodes' distinctive blend of electronica and organic songwriting has gone from strength to strength.

Crosstalk: Your Feedback

Bob Katz replies to our review of his mastering book, plus other reader feedback...

Preset In Our Ways

Paul White's Leader

Paul White berates the over-use of effects for the increasing number of poor recordings.

Rich Costey: Recording Muse's Absolution

With their number one album Absolution, British three-piece Muse have established themselves as one of the most ambitious and innovative rock bands in the world — and in Rich Costey, they've found an engineer and producer who understands their aims and encourages them to experiment.

Technique

Business End: demo assessment

Music Producers Guild panel

Business End enables you to have your demo reviewed by a panel of producers, songwriters, musicians and managers. This month's industry panel is drawn from the MPG (Music Producer's Guild).

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'Strange Days'

Artist: THE DOORS; Producer: Paul Rothchild; Engineeer: Bruce Botnick

Engineer and producer Bruce Botnick recorded some of the greatest artifacts of West Coast psychedelia, among them the first five albums by The Doors. Here he describes the making of their influential second album and its title track, which saw them develop their live sound through radical experimentation in the studio.

Cubase 2.01 Update; Rewire Tips

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

This month we take a look at how you can get the most out of Cubase and Reason using Rewire, and report on the release of the significant, yet seemingly insignificant, Cubase SX 2.01 revision.

Cutting Edge

Windows XP Media Center

With the release in the UK of XP Media Center Edition, Microsoft aim to make Windows PCs a modern equivalent of the radiogram — the heart of a complete music and video home. entertainment system

Demo Doctor

Readers Recordings Analysed

Another batch of lucky SOS readers' demos wait nervously for the Doctor's diagnosis. What is the verdict? Listen while you read on...

DP4 and FXpansion's VST-to-AU Adapter

Digital Performer Notes

A whole world of free, inexpensive or just plain great VST plug-ins opens up for DP 4 users who also run FXpansion's indispensable VST to AU Adapter. We check out how it works and round up some DP news and tips to boot.

Flexible bussing in Sonar 3

Sonar Notes

Extremely flexible bussing and assignable effects controls are just two of the extra features brought to Sonar by the 3.0 upgrade and explored this month...

HD Accel Card

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

HD Accel is the latest processor card for Pro Tools HD TDM systems. We investigate, and try to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the release.

Installing A New PC Motherboard: The SOS Guide

PC Musician

The beauty of PCs is that they are highly upgradeable. Swapping out your old motherboard for a new one, for example, is a feasible prospect for increasing performance without buying a whole new machine. If you're considering the process, though, there's a lot to bear in mind...

Mixing On Headphones

What To Use & How To Do It

It's often necessary to work on headphones in the home studio, even when mixing. So what headphones should you choose, and how do you go about getting the best results?

Pentium-M Laptop Tests

PC Notes

Encouraging results are achieved from testing a new laptop equipped with an Intel Pentium-M processor. Could it become the centre of the PC user's ideal mobile setup?

Questions & Answers

Reader Q&A

SOS staff deliver more solutions to interesting recording/programming questions.

Roland XV/JV Power User Tips

Masterclass

This month, we untangle the intricacies of the XV file system, as well as tracking down some useful software utilities and web sites for Roland synth users.

Snazzier Snares in Logic

Logic Notes

Get better snare drum sounds with these nifty processing tricks.

Studio SOS

Clive John

Recording piano was turning out to be a grand challenge in Clive John's home studio, so the SOS team headed over to sort things out.

Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs: Part2

Synth Secrets

If you followed last month's advice, you'll know how to synthesize a basic Hammond tone on a Roland Juno 6. But can the same technique be applied to any other synth?

Windows iTunes & OS X Updates

Apple Notes

There's plenty to investigate in this month's Apple Notes, from the Windows version of iTunes to the latest major update to OS X.

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