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East West/Zero G Sample Libraries With NI Plug-in Front-end (Mac/PC)
Sample and loop libraries have come a long way from being delivered on a humble audio CD — the most recent trend is to include a specific playback front-end for easy integration with your sequencer.
Multi-pattern Valve Mic
This mic combines a colourful valve sound with the flexibility of nine different polar patterns.
A pint-sized preamp with anything but a pint-sized sound, plus the bonus of Presets!
USB 2.0 Audio & MIDI Interface
Completing Behringer's B-Control family, the BCA2000 combines audio and MIDI interfacing with routing/mixing features, and preamps — and all for under £200.
Valve Recording Channel
This new front end offers a clean, warm sound and is surprisingly easy to use.
Noise-reduction Software (Mac/PC)
This cross-platform package from BIAS offers high-quality denoising at an affordable price.
A premium compression sound lurks behind the no-frills cosmetics of this new Broadhurst Gardens processor.
Is it an amp modeller? Is it a multitracker? Is it an audio/MIDI interface? We stomp the facts out of Digitech's new box?
Active Nearfield Monitors
These compact ported monitors from Belgium boast a communicative mid-range and a flattering overall sound.
Virtual Drum Instrument (Mac/PC)
When it comes to drum sounds, BFD and its XFL expansion pack offer unprecedented levels of detail and flexibility, totalling over 30GB of sample data. Is it overkill, or the rhythm programmer's ultimate weapon?
Firewire Audio Interface (Mac/PC)
The much-anticipated Hercules 1612FW Firewire interface supplies an impressive quotient of analogue I/O at a very attractive price.
Reviews/appraisals of the latest sample CDs:
Sample Lab Drum Fundamentals 4* MULTI-FORMAT
Tekniks Blue Shock 3* WAV/EXS24
Smart Loops Pro Drum Works (Volume One) 4* ACID
Cycles Volume Two: Unnatural Rhythm 4* AUDIO?WAV?REX2
The Joemeek product range has recently been completely overhauled, and one of the updated units is this new half-rack recording channel. Have the designers retained what made the original products successful?
USB MIDI Controller Keyboard
Thin is clearly In amongst manufacturers of keyboard controllers. Mere months after the arrival of Edirol's slender PCR1, M Audio weigh in with the equally waif-like O2. But is it slim and trim, or just a lightweight?
Mackie's new desktop controller offers source selection, monitor switching, and talkback facilities, all in a single robust box.
Preamp & A-D Converter
Mackie 'up the ante' once again by squeezing eight channels of their class-leading preamplification and A-D conversion into a 1U rack.
MIDI + Audio Sequencer (Mac OS X)
The migration to OS X has caused major upheavals for both software manufacturers and musicians, but Mark Of The Unicorn's long-established Digital Performer sequencer is better than ever.
Phonic's new audio analyser is certainly portable, but how well does it work?
Firewire Recording Interface (Mac & PC)
Unlike most eight-channel interfaces, the Presonus Firepod includes eight mic preamps — at a very appealing price.
Automatic Sample Generator For EXS24
If you are keen to move to an all-software setup, but still depend on sounds from your hardware synths, Redmatica's utility might smooth the path...
3-DVD Gigastudio-format Orchestral Brass Library
Sonic Implants extend their New World Symphony with an orchestral brass sample library.
Windows Audio Editor & DVD-Audio Authoring Package
The latest version of Steinberg's popular editing program now includes support for multi-channel audio, including the ability to create your own DVD-Audio discs.
Groove Library/Audition Engine (Mac OS X)
Featuring the performances of some of the world's best drummers, Drumcore is a software-based cross between a drum library and a custom loop-auditioning interface, allowing you to assemble rhythm tracks fast.
Despite its vintage design credentials, this new recording channel has some interesting new tricks up its sleeve.
People + Opinion
Sound & Music For Rockstar Games
Imagine selling a million copies of your music in just over a week, with no video, no radio play and no touring. Impossible? Not if it's the soundtrack to one of the most successful computer games of all time...
MPG producers evaluate reader tracks
Listen online to the tracks whilst reading what some Music Producers Guild members think of the latest collection of SOS reader recordings.
Walter Taieb enjoyed worldwide success as a dance producer, before reinventing himself as a classical composer. Working with violin prodigy Vanessa-Mae tested both his orchestration skills and his music technology expertise.
Responses to recent articles from SOS readers.
Joe Bryan of Universal Audio
Since Bill Putnam's sons founded Universal Audio anew, the company have become well known for software emulations of old gear, as well as for their hardware recreations of vintage classics. We find out how they go about it...
If Apple and Norton can offer automatic updates, then why can't music software companies? asks Editor-in-Chief Paul White.
Why are we still in love with vintage synths when all they do is break our hearts?
Part 4: 1992-1997
The recession of the early '90s was difficult for many companies — but not Roland. Diversifying still further from their roots as a maker of synthesizers and organs, they emerged stronger, encompassing almost every area of hi-tech musical instrument manufacture.
In an extended Apple Notes column we take an exclusive look at the 30-inch Cinema display from a musician and audio engineer's perspective, and evaluate the performance of the new dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with our usual series of performance tests.
Version 3 of Reason is officially on the way, adding some high-spec new devices and improved operational features.
This month, find your way around projects, undertake hands-free recording, configure an external MP3 encoder and create pseudo-Track Folders for MIDI.
Digital Performer Notes
The new Beat Detection Engine in DP 4.5 gives you much greater control over audio quantising and tempo manipulation. We explain how.
This month PC Notes comes across CD-burning problems, offers some Gigastudio 3 tips, and warns against a possible pitfall when updating a Cubase SX3 dongle.
Producer: John Leckie. Engineers: John Leckie, John Cornfield, Paul Schroeder
As the '80s drew to a close, The Stone Roses made rock music cool again, melding '60s psychedelia and acid house under the production guidance of John Leckie.
Reader Recordings Analysed
Think your own music is good? Listen to these tracks from SOS readers and see whether you agree with the good Doctor's prognosis...
Although rather time-consuming, this technique for locking your sequencer to a live take is often the best.
More Hands-on Power User Tips
A collection of imperative tips for harnessing the power of Roland's monster multitracker.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
Pro Tools was originally designed as an audio editor, and it still has some very powerful tools for quick and accurate editing. This month's Pro Tools Notes explains the mysteries of Shuffle mode, and looks at the ways in which key commands and memory locations can speed up your editing.
Acoustic problems and mains hum were making Aniff's studio difficult to use, so the SOS team stepped in to help.
You're planning to change your PC hard drives, so you just unplug the old ones, plug in the new ones, and off you go, right? Wrong!! There's many a slip, and this month we aim to help you avoid all of them.
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
Returning to Cubase's Mixer window again this month, we explore ways to make it more manageable when working with Projects that contain a large number of channels.