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his month we've teamed up with Berklee College of Music to offer SOS readers the chance to win the Production course of your choice, worth up to $1300 including registration fee and required books, through Berkleemusic.com.
Modelled Analogue Synth
The Virus TI promises to bridge the divide between hardware and software instruments, and create a world of Total Integration, while still offering the classic Virus sound. Is it a hard reality, or have Access gone totally soft?
Stereo Ribbon Microphone
This new monster mic incorporates two separate ribbon diaphragms, allowing you to use either Blumlein or M&S stereo recording configurations.
Patchable Analogue & Digital Synthesizer
Alongside Bob Moog, Don Buchla is one of the founding fathers of synthesis, and yet much less is known of him and his instruments. With this two-part review of Buchla's latest synth, and a history of some of his pioneering work, we hope to redress the balance...
MIDI + Audio Sequencer [Windows]
The new version 5 sees Cakewalk's Sonar becoming a more complete production package than ever, with the addition of new synths, a convolution reverb, 64-bit support and Roland's celebrated Variphrase vocal processing technology.
Digital Guitar Effects Pedals
These new pedals model celebrated guitar tones, including those of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, in unprecedented detail.
192kHz Audio + MIDI Interface For PC
Firewire and USB 2 interfaces have their advantages, but if you need serious channel counts at high sample rates, the PCI card still rules, and ESI's heavyweight recording system caters for a huge range of input and output formats at up to 192kHz.
Despite their diminutive size, these new nearfield monitors still share the Genelec family sound.
We finish our in-depth examination of Korg's new mega-workstation, taking in the remaining synth engines, the sampler, the KARMA algorithms and the onboard sequencer, and draw our conclusions about it...
Instrument Preamp / DI / Re-amp
Aimed at professionals, the Multi Z PIP combines premium DI box, mixer, and re-amping device in a single small unit.
Control Surface For Apple Garage Band 2
There are dedicated (and expensive) control surfaces for Logic, Pro Tools and Cubase... so why not an affordable one for Apple's semi-free entry-level application Garage Band? M-Audio must have thought exactly the same thing...
Hot Releases Assessed
We check out the latest sample libraries on the block: True Strike 1 • Flatpack 2 • Drumdrops In Dub Volume 1.
Mastering Limiter Plug-in For Pro Tools
Like many of Sony Oxford's plug-ins, their new limiter takes a familiar concept and applies a novel twist.
This new mixer caters for those who found TL Audio's M3 too small, and the flagship VTC too big. But is the M4 just right?
Valve Recording Channel & Multi-band Compressor
These two new valve units offer unusually powerful processing for professional studio use.
Acoustic Instrument Amplifier
AER's Acousticube has been at the pinnacle of acoustic instrument amps since 1992. Does the latest revision live up to the legacy?
The new Crystal Clear Sound range of mics includes two models intended for instrument miking. They've got the prestigious AKG name, but they won't break the bank.
Meet The Sound Guy
As well as doing regular stints at Camden's Barfly and other London venues, Jonathan Lucas engineers for a successful gigging band, whom he also records in the studio. We find out how it all came together.
Hand-held Capacitor Microphone
M-Audio are perhaps better known for their studio and computer-based peripherals, but they now have a microphone range, to which has been added a stage-specific model. We put the Aries through its paces.
Staying safe on stage is more than a matter of simply making sure that willing hands are available before taking a dive. Knowing how to properly handle the mains power we all need is also crucial to performance health...
Active PA Speakers
Italian company RCF have a good pedigree. They helped design and manufacture for Mackie when the latter first entered the live sound market. We check out RCF's own entry in the portable powered PA stakes.
Although monitor engineering is often thought of as subordinate to handling the FOH sound, in reality it's at least as important. We take a tour around this most crucial of live sound subjects.
Active PA Speakers
The PA market isn't short of powered 'plastic' cabinets at the moment, but not many use the coaxial speaker design approach — which is what sets apart this Italian-made model.
Powered PA Mixer
Clever lightweight amplifier technology and exceptional effects, plus several other useful features, distinguish this practical and powerful live mixer.
People + Opinion
Composing For Films
Harry Gregson-Williams's drive to explore original ideas and sounds has made him one of Hollywood's leading composers, scoring everything from romantic comedies to spy thrillers and historical dramas.
Paul White's Leader
Is the modern sequencer/DAW user interface now crying out to be streamlined?
Can manufacturers consider providing even the most basic of bags or cases for all those vulnerable small items of equipment?
He took an unusual and unhurried career path, but Toby Wright has helped to create some of the most influential hard rock records of the last 20 years, including Metallica's definitive ...And Justice For All, and is now one of America's most sought-after engineers and producers.
Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
We all know that Beat Detective can be used to fix up dodgy drumming. But how about creating a tempo map from a freely played keyboard part? Or replacing a piano track with note-for-note accuracy? You can achieve amazing results when you know how...
With interface standards and user requirements changing all the time, the audio interface marketplace is a volatile one. We catch up with representatives of eight leading manufacturers for the inside track on the future of audio I/O hardware.
Producer/Engineer: Gil Norton
With their oblique, short and often brutally noisy songs, The Pixies reinvented rock music at the turn of the '90s, and influenced almost everyone who picked up a guitar in the following decade. Producer and engineer Gil Norton helped them to shape their breakthrough single.
Christmas came slightly early this year for Mac enthusiasts, with significant product announcements, including new dual-core, dual-processor Power Mac G5s. But just what do the new high-spec computers mean for musicians?
How It Works & Ways To Use It
Granular synthesis is the core technology behind the latest time-stretching and pitch-shifting algorithms, but it can also be used to generate extraordinary evolving soundscapes. We explain how the process works and show you how to get the best from the software that uses it.
Sonar Tips & Techniques
Cakewalk have strengthened the MIDI side of Sonar 5 considerably, in recognition of the rise of software synths that benefit from enhanced MIDI controllability. We run through some of the new features and suggest how you might want to use them...
Getting A Break
Writing music for picture seems like the ideal career. You get to work in your studio for a living, you can earn good money, and there's so much potential work: action films, travel and nature documentaries, romantic comedies, cartoons, low-budget sci-fi, even breakfast cereal ads. But how do you break into this lucrative world?
Logic Tips & Techniques
Mixing live band recordings within Logic presents a unique set of challenges, so we show you how to get great results with the minimum hassle.
Live Tips & Techniques
We begin this regular column on using Ableton Live by examining how you can increase your productivity whilst using the program as a writing tool.
This SOS reader was having trouble with his monitoring, so the SOS team sped over to his home studio in Bristol, England to sort things out.
Sampler Synth Engines
Nearly all modern samplers have powerful synth engines concealed inside them — and sometimes they're so well hidden that their users are unaware of their existence. But then why would you want a synth in your sampler? Let's find out...
Reason Tips & Techniques
Can't quite get your Reason rhythm section kicking with the rest of the track? If you've never considered tuning your drum samples and loops to help create a tight and harmonious mix, now may be the time to try it...
Digital Performer Tips & Techniques
Few of us use our software sequencers in isolation — we all need associated hardware, such as monitors, external effects, and favourite MIDI synths. This month we take a look at using DP with such hardware.
The 64-bit Windows XP x64 edition is on the shelves, but musicians should stick with their trusty 32-bit OS for the moment. PC Notes explains why, as well as offering some constructive soundcard feature suggestions to manufacturers.
Cubase Tips & Techniques
We take a look at building tempo maps for writing to picture in Cubase, using Markers, Time Warping and the Process Tempo command.
Everything You Wanted To Know (But Were Afraid To Ask)
If you want to make money as a songwriter, composer or lyricist, the obvious answer is to find yourself a publisher. But what do music publishers actually do for their clients? Why do you need one, and how can you find the right one?
Would it be possible to use two figure-of-eight mics to create a surround sound recording on a two-track recorder, which could be decoded and mixed later on?
I have just bought an old spring reverb unit called the Great British Spring off eBay. It sounds great but if I feed any drums through it, it makes a weird 'ping' sound...
What is it about the capacitor mic's capsule or the way it is mounted that dictates the polar pattern of the mic?
When it comes to computer audio interfaces, what is it that we are really paying for and how does the price relate to the quality of the A-D/D-A converters?
After maximising my mix, so that the level of the audio is just below the point of clipping, if I insert a high-pass filter at, say, 40Hz, suddenly the audio starts to clip. What is happening?