March 1997 In This Issue

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Reviews

Alesis Nano Compressor

Stereo Compressor/Limiter

Paul White plugs in the smallest compressor he has ever encountered, and finds that there's nothing small about the sound.

Alesis Point Seven

Shielded Nearfield Studio Monitor

Affordable compact and with magnetic shielding, the new Point Seven monitors are sure to cause a stir. Christopher Holder determines whether serious reference monitoring has taken another price dip.

ART Levelar

Vactrol Levelling Amplifier

Paul White puts the squeeze on ART's new baby valve compressor.

Creative Essentials Mixed Mode CDs

Sample Library

* Woodwind & brass = 4.5
* Orchestral flavours = 4.5
* String textures = 4
* Voices of Africa = 4
* Ethnic flavours = 4
* World class break = 3.5
* Funk construction = 3
* Techno prisoners = 3.5
* Hip Hop and Swing breakdown = 4
* House and Garage construction = 4.5

DBX Model 760X

Microphone Amplifier

Thinking of buying a new microphone? Maybe you should consider investing in a dedicated mic preamp instead, to improve the clarity and definition of your recordings without breaking the bank. Dominic Hawken plugs in the mic he likes and checks out the new contender from dbx

Digitech Vocalist

Workstation Vocal Harmony Processor

The newest member of Digitech's Vocalist family of intelligent pitch-shifters boasts some slimmed-down features from previous models and a 'hands-on' user interface. Paul Farrer warms up with some scales, adjusts his bow tie and takes this powerful module right through the standing ovation and bouquets

Drawmer 1962

Digital Vacuum Tube Preamp

Drawmer's 1960 series leaps into the digital age with the launch of the 1962, which combines a specially designed low-noise preamp, variable tube coloration and audio-sweetening tools with an optional 24-bit output stage. Paul White celebrates the year of the tube.

Dynaudio BM6A

Active Nearfield Monitors

Paul White puts Dynaudio's new nearfield monitors to the test and is actively impressed.

Freeform Analogue Technologies Freebass FB383

Analogue Monosynth

People keep on making 'em, people keep on buying 'em. Is there no end to the appetite for TB303 clones? Paul Nagle checks out one of the cheapest yet, and concludes that FAT is good for you after all.

Groove Tubes A-series

Valve Microphones

They may look the same as their predecessors, but inside the a-version of Groove Tubes' mics is a new set of circuitry. Paul White's feelin' groovy..

Liquid Guitar

Sample Library

* Score = 3

Orgon Systems Energiser

Analogue Synthesizer

The British-made single-oscillator monosynth is unashamedly retro in both its knob-laden styling and its lack of MIDI. Paul Nagle gets orgon-ised.

Roland JP8000

Analogue Modelling synthesizer

When Roland announce a new synth, endowed with a new breed of synthesis, it's time to sit up and take notice. The 'Analogue Modelling' JP8000 appears to offer the power and flexibility of digital control applied to analogue-type sounds. Can it be too good to be true? Paul Ward tries to stop tweaking long enough to tell us.

Roland MC8

Microcomposer (Retro)

Roland's MC8 began electronic music's move away from the limited compositional scope of the analogue sequencer, and left its stamp on some of the seminal pop of the 1980s. Chris and Cosey's Chris Carter, a pioneering MC8 user himself , fires up the 20 candles on the MC8's birthday cake...

Roland Sound Canvas SC88

Pro GM Sound Module

Roland's SC88 could be described as a Rolls-Royce in the world of General MIDI sound modules. So is the new upgraded SC88 Pro a luxurious stretch limo complete with mini-bar and luxuriant walnut veneer? Derek Johnson dons his chauffeur's cap and takes it for a drive...

Samson Q5

Headphone Amplifier

If you can keep your head when all around you are loosing theirs, the chances are you're not monitoring loud enough! Paul White listens in on Samson's Q5 headphone amp.

Soundtracs Topaz 14:4

4-buss Compact Mixer

Steve Brodie checks out Soundtracs' latest addition to the increasingly-crowded compact mixer market.

TL Audio Crimson C3021

Tube Compressor

Paul White studio tests the Crimson C3021 to see how favourably it compares with its indigo counterparts.

Turtle Beach Systems Multisound Pinnacle & Fiji

PC Soundcards

Turtle Beach have a reputation for producing some of the best PC soundcards available, and the new loftily-named Multisound Pinnacle and Fiji cards have been eagerly awaited since their predecessors, the high-spec Tahiti and Multisound Classic cards, were discontinued. Janet Harniman-Cook scales new heights...

Vestax HDRV8

8-track Hard Disk Recorder

If you're looking for 8-track hard disk recording in a hardware unit that behaves just like a tape recorder, but with all the benefits of digital recording, you owe it to yourself to check out the Vestax HDRV8. Paul Wiffen reminds you that you should never judge a book by its title.

Westlake BBSM4

Nearfield Monitors

Paul White finds that all things bright are not necessarily beautiful.

Yamaha Rev500

Reverb Processor

The modest £399 price tag on Yamaha's latest dedicated reverb belies the quality and controllability the unit offers. Hugh Robjohns thinks it's up there with the best.

People + Opinion

BUTCH VIG: Nevermind The Garbage

Interview | Producer

Butch Vig came to fame for his work on the seminal Nirvana album Nevermind, going on to make a name for himself in post-punk indie production. Now he's hit the big time as both artist and producer, as part of internationally-successful band Garbage. Richard Buskin caught up with him to talk about roots, reincarnation, and rubbish...

Buying Budget Gear

Feature | Tips & Tricks

With so many low-cost recording products coming onto the market every month, you may be tempted to ask what, if anything, is to be gained by buying more expensive models. Paul White attempts to answer.

CHRIS MADDEN: Beta Testing

Sounding Off

Ever fancied a job as a beta tester of the latest products? Chris Madden's turning it down thanks.

CHRISTOPHER FOGEL: Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill

Interview | Engineer

Christopher Fogel accepted an offer to mix an album by an unknown Canadian, and found himself caught up in the phenomenon that was Alanis Morissette. He tells Nigel Humberstone how he went about recording her without loosing the vibe and spontaneity.

CTS Professional Sales

Exploration

Carlsbro Retail's installation arm, CTS, has recently set up a brand-new sales facility near Nottingham. Paul White takes a look around.

GEORGE MASSENBURG: The Equalizer

Interview | Music Production

Internationally renowned as a producer, recording engineer, and designer of audio equipment, George Massenburg is nonetheless is still in love with the art of music production. Dave Lockwood met up with him in Los Angeles.

HIDEKI NAKANO & MOTONORI NAKAMURA (SONY JAPAN): Behind The MDMX4 Minidisc Multitracker

Interview | Manufacturer

When one of the Sony development team for the new Sony MDMX4 MiniDisc multitracker flew into the UK recently, along with the member of the product planning department, it was an ideal opportunity to find out more about Sony's plans for the home studio-based musician. Martin Walker listened in.

JEAN-PHILLIPE RYKIEL & FRANÇOIS BREANT: Pioneers Of Western/African Fusion

Interview | Artist

Musicians, arrangers and producers Jean-Phillipe Rykiel and François Breant are well known in their native France as pioneers of Western and African crossover music, and for their willingness to use technology to produce new and challenging forms of music. Paul Tingen paid them each a visit at their Parisian studios to discuss their working methods.

Technique

Audio Editing On The PC: Steinberg Wavelab, Sonic Foundry Sound Forge, SEK-D Samplitude Studio

Exploration

With the advance of new technology, PC audio editors have finally reached the point where they can give Macintosh systems a run for their money. Janet Harniman-Cook investigates the possibilities.

Capturing A Good Vocal Performance

Tips & Tricks

Ask a dozen engineers how to make great vocal recordings and you'll get a dozen different answers — but there are some ground rules, as Hugh Robjohns explains.

Electronic Cow's MIDI Arpeggiator; Sound Chip Synth

Atari Notes

Derek Johnson keeps the Atari flag boldly flying with news of a new Atari-based software-only synth, and also checks out a new shareware sample conversion utility...

Fitzwilliam Swing Band

Playback | Readers' Music Reviewed

Paradise * Torque * Mark Gleeson And Stephen Hawkes * Dream Kitchen * John Francis * Space Goats * Hyperborea * Who Slapped John * Martin Archer * Rathe * Dave Whyte * Chrome

Making MIDI Sequencing More Realistic, Part 2: Drum Parts

Tips & Techniques

In last month's issue, Paul Farrer offered hints and tips for making your programmed MIDI instruments seem more real. This month it's the the turn of drums and percussion.
• Read Part 1 (February 1997)

MMX; Extensions

Apple Notes

Martin Russ puts the latest doom and gloom Apple news from the media into context.

PC Musician's Guide To Plug & Play

Exploration

A system that knows when you've plugged in a new piece of kit, and which sets it up automatically, sound like a big step forward for PC owners. Unfortunately, that big step is into a chasm for many people. Martin Walker lays down some planks to get you safely across.

Reverb From First Principles

Exploration

Many of today's digital effects processors offer you considerable control over the creation of artificial ambiences for your music, and if you know how reverberation works in real spaces, you'll be better equipped for designing fake ones. Hugh Robjohns boldly goes...

Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 4

Software & DSP Plug-ins

The arrival of audio processing software plug-ins for the PC means that the platform can now compete as a viable digital audio workstation, and the latest update to PC audio editor Sound Forge supports the use of several software-based processors. Martin Walker checks them out.

Soundscape Version 2.0; CheckIt

PC Notes

Brian Heywood brings you the latest hard disk recording news from the Soundscape, and gives his PC a thorough medical with Checkit...

Stereo Microphone Techniques Explained, Part 2

Exploration

Hugh Robjohns continues his history of stereo recording techniques with a look at the development of spaced microphone arrays.
• Read Part 1 (February 1997)

Using Toast & Masterlist CD To Make CDs In The Studio

Tips & Tricks

Now that CD writers and well-specified CD-burning software are becoming more affordable, you might like to think about the advantages DIY CDs could bring to your studio. Mike Collins explains the benefits and takes you through the burning process using two popular software packages.

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