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Prizes kindly donated by Terratec.
Virtual Analogue Synth (Mac/PC)
Arturia caught our attention with Storm, the virtual studio suite, but of late they have diversified into emulating classic hardware instruments. So how do they fare in their attempt to capture the mighty Minimoog in software?
MIDI Output Device For Acoustic Pianos
Even the best weighted keyboards and sample libraries offer only an approximation to the feel and sound of an old-fashioned piano. So what if you just can't do without the real thing, but need to have your notes output as MIDI? Enter the Piano Bar from synth pioneers Bob Moog and Don Buchla...
Buzz Audio have combined their top-flight preamplification and compression circuitry with a new equaliser design to create a versatile front-end for recording.
Music Production Computer
The AMD Athlon 64-based music computers from UK retailer Dawsons Music offer performance comparable to the very fastest Pentium 4 CPUs, and are ready to take advantage of 64-bit music software once it becomes available.
This new pair of studio headphones provides excellent monitoring resolution at a surprisingly affordable price.
PC Virtual Studio Software
FL Studio has always been popular with those seeking a cost-effective, easy-to-use alternative to the 'big name' sequencers. The latest version adds a new drum sequencing tool, high-quality time-stretching and video support.
Long before its debut this Spring, the new keyboard workstation from Korg was already the subject of much speculation. We find out what's really going on inside the OASYS's sleek metal case.
KRK's well-known V Series has been overhauled, making these active monitors even more tempting for the home studio owner.
192kHz PC/Mac Soundcard
The simple idea of providing high-quality stereo I/O with well-written drivers helped M Audio sell bucketloads of their original Audiophile soundcard. Its successor ups the ante in every respect, providing better sound quality, balanced I/O, dedicated monitor outputs and 192kHz support.
Three new Sample CD collections get the aural treatment from the SOS reviewers:
Stand-alone VST Plug-in Player
If you want to get your hands on the latest VST Instruments and Plug-in effects, but don't fancy having a PC in your studio, Muse Research's Receptor could be the answer.
This new infinite-baffle 2.1 monitoring system incorporates some unusual technology, including cabinets cast from aluminium-zinc alloy. But do these innovations translate into a cutting-edge sound?
Turntable-controlled CD Player
Although Numark's new CD deck is squarely aimed at live DJs, its intriguing feature set gives it the potential for serious studio use, and at a comparatively affordable price.
Plug-in Formats: Mac & PC VST
Mac/PC MADI Soundcard & MADI-to-ADAT Converter
Until now, MADI interfacing has been restricted to high-end digital desks, but RME's affordable hardware brings it to the project studio market. If you need a lot of inputs or outputs within an ASIO environment, their soundcard and 64-channel MADI-to-ADAT converter could be perfect.
Multi-pattern Capacitor Microphone
Rode redesign their well-known NT2, and achieve a class-leading noise floor in the process.
Giving a modern instrument the same name as a line of vintage analogues that have an assured place in the synth hall of fame invites comparisons. So is the Juno-D the rightful heir to the Juno throne or more of a young pretender?
This small new mixer provides six phantom-powered mic preamps, two aux sends, and up to 16 inputs at mixdown.
Modelling Reverb For Pro Tools
If you're looking for a high-quality reverb with plenty of user control, Sony's Oxford Reverb might be just what you're after.
Grand Piano Virtual Instrument (Mac OS 9/OS X)
Synthogy's Ivory goes where no virtual piano has gone before, sampling three full-size grand pianos to form a detailed library more than 30GB in size — and all-in-one £189 plug-in!
Despite its modern-looking packaging, this new unit offers a classic sound.
Virtual Drum Instrument (Mac/PC)
Hot on the heels of FXpansion's colossal BFD comes another 30 Gigabyte sampled drum library with a software front-end. DFH Superior offers complete control over the spill between all the drums and mics in your virtual kit, as well as obsessive levels of multisampling!
Plug-in Formats: Mac & PC UAD1
Formats: PC Direct X, RTAS & VST; Mac Audio Units, MAS, RTAS & VST
Two of Zoom's budget studio effects processors have been re-released with a few modernisations. Are they still relevant in today's market?
People + Opinion
Music Producers Guild members 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.
Replies from the editorial team to more of your valued feedback.
Producing Destroy Rock & Roll
Myles MacInnes has given the dance world a wake-up call with his Destroy Rock & Roll album, blending house music and '80s soft rock to surprising effect.
What if Macs and PCs had been around in Elvis's day?
Part 5: 1998-2004
As Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi celebrates his 75th birthday, we conclude our history of this innovative company by coming right up to the end of 2004...
25 Years Of Hits
Producer, singer/songwriter Trevor Horn has been at the forefront of technological innovation since his earliest work with The Buggles, in a career that has yielded innumerable classic singles and albums.
Paul White's Leader
Our esteemed leader speculates on the recently completed purchase of Steinberg by Yamaha, and what this might mean for musicians.
Digital Performer Notes
Smooth your audio edits, create soundbites from beats, find out about tempo analysis and get the run-down on why you need the DP 4.52 update...
Learn how you can quickly program Transformer objects to mimic Ableton Live's useful 'user scales' feature, thus keeping transposed MIDI parts in key.
This month we present a closer look at the RV7000 Advanced Reverb, plus a handful of effect-related hints and tips.
Sonar offers lots of useful metering options you may not even be aware of, so this month we run through them and why you might want to use them, as well as getting clever with colours and explaining how to make your screen setup a hint more transparent...
Producers: Stephen Hague & New Order; Engineer: David Jacob
Producer Stephen Hague took New Order into the studio with an ambitious brief: to write and record a single that would break the band in America.
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
Device Panels were introduced in Cubase SX 3 to enable the creation of on-screen interfaces for controlling MIDI devices. This month we look at how you can create one to control plug-ins.
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...
Things You Should Know!
With affordable capacitor mics now flooding the market, more musicians than ever before have access to the means to make high-quality recordings. But if you are new to this type of mic, there are some important things you need to know to get good results without damaging your investment.
Apple kicked off a potentially exciting year for their customers at the recent Macworld show in San Francisco with a host of new and updated products, including the most affordable Macintosh computer the company has ever brought to market.
Is PC processing power finally matching the aspirations of PC musicians? PC Notes debates the issue, as well as bringing you another crop of news, tips and ideas.
Tsunami: Raising Voices
Celebrities from around the world were keen to contribute to a fund-raising single for victims of the Asian tsunami, and converting all of this goodwill into a finished record required innovative use of broadband Internet to collect together their performances.
Most hardware devices you use with your PC require drivers — but what happens to them and their associated files when you change the hardware or update to new drivers? Unfortunately, they hang about in various locations, cluttering your hard drive and storing up problems for the future. We explain how to make a clean sweep and get rid of them once and for all.
The SOS crew travel to an attic in Birmingham (UK) to help a drummer improve his recordings.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
In this month's Pro Tools Notes we are going to take a closer look at one of the more understated improvements introduced in the version 6.7 upgrade. What are tick-based audio tracks, how do they work, and what can you do with them?