December 2004 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN Mackie 1620 Onyx Firewire Mixer

Deadline: 2005-01-31

Fancy this fabulous 16-channel analogue mixer plus the Firewire digital card (total prize worth around £1150)? Enter our competition and you never know your luck!

Reviews

Access Virus TI

PREVIEW: Virtual Analogue Synthesizer

It's back! And it's deadlier than ever! We get a first look preview of the next-generation Virus...

Aphex Punch Factory

Compressor Pedal

This new optical compressor not only has a smooth sound, but also offers gain-reduction metering to help you set it up.

Apple iMac G5

Desktop Computer

Apple's original iMac marked the beginning of a turnaround for the company, and despite the consumer-oriented nature of the product, iMacs have found a place in many a home studio over the years. With the iMac range finally inheriting a G5 processor, have Apple created the perfect entry-level machine for demanding Mac musicians on a budget?

Apple Logic Pro 7

MIDI + Audio Sequencer (Mac OS X)

The new version 7 of Logic is a huge upgrade which sees the program assimilated even further into Apple's product range, and adds some intriguing new instruments and networking features. Following last month's preview, here's the full lowdown...

Arturia Storm v3

Software Music Studio (Mac/PC)

Storm, the French software studio from virtual-instrument creators Arturia, keeps on improving. We check out version 3...

Dave Smith Poly Evolver

Four-voice Analogue/Digital Synth & Sequencer

2002 saw the release of the Evolver, a quirky hybrid analogue/digital synth and sequencer from Sequential synth pioneer Dave Smith. Now he continues his renaissance with a four-voice polyphonic version that integrates neatly with the original.

Dbx 162SL

Dual Compressor/Limiter

Despite being both smaller and lighter, this new compressor yields little in performance to Dbx's flagship 160SL.

Drawmer 1968 Mercenary Edition

Valve Compressor

This new 1U rack from Drawmer offers their best-sounding compression yet.

Genelec 8040A & 7060A

Active Monitors & Subwoofer

Genelec update their popular 1000-series monitors, improving the technical specifications without losing the family sound.

Hot New Sample CDs

Sample Library

Reviews/appraisals of the latest sample CDs:
VSL Woodwind Ensembles 6* GIGASTUDIO, EXS24 MkII
VSL Epic Horns 6* GIGASTUDIO, EXS24 MkII
Loopmasters Percussionism 6* WAV+REX2
PMI Baroque Organ 5* MULTI-FORMAT

Inta Audio Opteron PC

Computer For Music Production

AMD's Opteron range of CPUs are popular with musicians and ready for 64-bit computing — so how does Inta Audio's Opteron PC compare with typical Intel machines?

MOTU Mach Five

Universal Software Sampler (Mac/PC)

MOTU's software sampler seeks to be accessible to everyone, irrespective of preferred platform, sequencer or sample format. Can Mach Five really be all things to all people?

Native Instruments Elektrik Piano

Sample-based VST Instrument (Mac/PC)

For years it was instantly associated with smooth late-70s productions, and now the sound of the electric piano is enjoying a comeback. But just how good is Native Instruments' sample-based virtual version?

RME Fireface 800

Firewire 800 Recording Interface (Mac/PC)

RME's Fireface 800 brings together all of the company's expertise in developing audio hardware for computers, mic preamps and converters into one highly desirable unit. But can you really fit so much functionality into one interface without cutting corners?

Samson CL7

Capacitor Microphone

This new low-cost mic combines smart styling with a solid, neutral sound.

TC Electronic Powercore Compact

Integrated Effects Unit (Mac/PC)

The latest addition to TC's Powercore range offers the convenience of Firewire connection at a bargain price, with some serious new plug-ins included.

Vocaloid Miriam

Singing Synthesis Software (Windows)

Miriam Stockley is the first well-known singer to undergo the Vocaloid sampling technique, allowing anyone with a PC to install her as a virtual instrument. But how well does it work in practice?

Waves Transform Bundle

Sound Shaping Plug-ins (Mac/PC)

If you are the kind of person who likes to accentuate the transients in their pitch-shifted recordings, before vocoding them and auto-doubling the results, Waves have the perfect plug-in bundle for you...

Live Sound

The Isle Of Wight Festival Sound

Behind The Scenes

The Isle of Wight Festivals of 1968-1970 attracted hundreds of thousands of music lovers, and after a long break the event is back. We talk to some of those who helped create the festival's sound, past and present.

People + Opinion

Crosstalk: Your Communications

Readers Writes

Responses to recent articles from SOS readers.

Ian Broudie

The Art Of Production

Since emerging from the Liverpool music scene at the turn of the '80s, Ian Broudie has juggled parallel careers as an artist and a producer. He has a new solo disc in the shops, and with albums by the Coral and the Zutons riding high in the charts, his production services are in greater demand than ever.

Servant Or Master?

Leader

Is the increasing use of digital music downloads starting to take effect on the art of mastering?

Sounding Off: iCatch-22

Paul Ireson

The UK's iTunes Music Store customer service did not impress one SOS reader...

The History Of Roland

Part 2: 1979-1985

This month, we see how Roland survived some tricky times at the start of the 1980s, and how founder Ikutaro Kakehashi ensured that they were well-placed to take advantage of technological developments over the following few years.

Technique

Digital Performer v4.5 First Look

Digital Performer Notes

MOTU recently announced the latest big update to Digital Performer, version 4.5. We offer a brief preview of some of the new features to come, as well as explaining how to use DP effectively with Ableton's Live.

Logic — Live-style Tricks from Touch Tracks

Logic Notes

Have you ever coveted the real-time functions of Ableton's Live? In which case, you will be interested to know how you can simulate some aspects of Live in Logic using the Touch Tracks object?

Sonar v4: Workflow Improvements

Sonar Notes

Not every new feature of Sonar 4 is a headline-grabber — there are many new facilities and tweaks to existing features that you might not initially notice, but which could make a big difference to your workflow.

Avoiding PCI Problems

PC Notes

The PCI standard has more ins and outs than you might be aware of. We attempt to sort them out, as well as highlighting a problem that can cause software authorisations to expire before their time.

Bootleg Mixing

Richard X & Mark Vidler

The craze for mashing up wildly different records to create illicit bootleg mixes has moved into the mainstream, and underground producers such as Richard X and Mark Vidler now find their services in hot demand from artists and record labels.

Cheaper G5; iBook Revisions

Apple Notes

There's no shortage of Apple news this month, including the release of new versions of Logic, a revision to the iBook line and a new, cheaper G5 model.

Choosing A Studio Room

Typical Home Studio Locations

Buying a house is a big investment, so it's important to pick the right property, and if you are a recording musician you will probably want it to include a suitable space for a studio. We weigh up the pros and cons of different studio locations within a typical small home, and also look at the kind of work that each space might require to make it usable.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Cure 'A Forest'

Producers: Robert Smith, Mike Hedges

Mike Hedges made his 1980 debut as a producer with one of The Cure's most enduring singles. 'A Forest' and the accompanying Seventeen Seconds album used his and the band's creativity in the studio to the full.

Demo Doctor

Reader Recordings Analysed

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

Mix Controls

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

We take a look behind the behaviour of Cubase's most common mixing controls, to show the many options beneath the seemingly simple surface.

Pro Tools Help Book Manuals

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

There's an outbreak of literary criticism in this month's column, as we take a look at some of the Pro Tools books currently doing the rounds.

REX Loops: Substituting Sounds

Reason Notes

Ever loved the feel of a REX loop but disliked the drum sounds? Using Reason, you can steal the feel and substitute sounds of your choice... We show you how.

Studio SOS

Rob O'Neil

A dodgy snare recording was just one of the problems facing Rob O'Neil at the mixdown stage, so the SOS dynamic duo (Paul and Hugh) visited his home studio to help him sort things out.

The SOS Guide To Keeping Your PC Cool, Quiet, and Stable

PC Musician

Even a few degrees of extra heat inside your computer could damage your CPU and shorten the life of other components. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to bring down your PC's temperature while still ensuring the quiet operation you need in the studio.

Sound Advice

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