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Multi-pattern microphones traditionally have true capacitor capsules and are correspondingly relatively expensive — until now. Hugh Robjohns lends an ear to AKG's affordable new C4000B, the first dual diaphragm, multi-pattern mic with an electret capsule.
24-bit Multi-effects Unit
Paul White tries out what must be the most cost-effective programmable 24-bit effects unit on the market. But can quality really come at such a low price?
Bob Moog's analogue filter in a pedal certainly has the vintage look — but does it capture that vintage Moog sound? Paul White does the stomp and finds out.
The complete virtual studio comes a step closer with sophisticated software sampling. Derek Johnson & Debbie Poyser look at a cross-platform program that aims to take sampling out of the rack and onto the desktop.
Musical Instrument (Retro)
Norm Leete waxes lyrical about the mega-synth that introduced sampling to the world back in 1980 and went on to appear on innumerable hit singles and albums.
Bi-amplified Monitor Loudspeaker
JBL's latest active two-way reference loudspeaker system has been derived from their impressive LSR32 range-topper. Hugh Robjohns looks for family resemblances.
Is it really possible to produce a worthwhile stereo compressor which sells at under £200? Paul White finds out.
Pro Tools Plug-in
Pro Tools owners can now reap the benefits of a stack of vintage guitar amps thanks to a new plug-in from the masters of physical modelling. Paul White tunes up, plugs in and starts cranking up the virtual knobs.
Digital Audio Workstation
Digidesign's latest Pro Tools MIX card offers even more power than last year's PT24, providing higher plug-in performance and improved mixing and processing capabilities — and there's a new software version with some useful enhancements. Mike Collins weighs up the pros and cons.
For those who want to fit an entire MIDI studio on a desktop, Roland have produced a baby keyboard stuffed with their Sound Canvas GM/GS sounds. Paul White clears space by his computer for the SK88 Pro.
PCI Digital Audio Card & Analogue Interface
In a departure from their normal approach, Soundscape have developed a system that works inside your PC rather than outside it. Martin Walker takes a closer look at the Mixtreme environment.
The latest incarnation of SPL's enigmatic Vitalizer offers a mixture of the qualities of other models in the range. Paul White finds out whether it has anything new to offer.
Guitar Effects Processor
Though marketed as a guitar effects unit, the G Force might be more accurately described as a full-function studio effects processor with some neat guitar-related functions added. Paul White takes it for a spin.
Analogue Monosynth & Sequencer
Gordon Reid gets twiddling with two small but perfectly formed analogue units aimed at the pockets — literally — of today's aceed-hungry dancemongers.
Much of today's Mac music recording and processing software realistically requires a G3 processor to give optimum real-time performance; but this doesn't mean you need to consign older Macs to the scrapheap. As Bob Dormon explains, there is now an alternative to trading in your old Performa for a costly new machine.
Multitrack MiniDisc Recorder
Portable digital multitrackers are getting even more sophisticated — and ever more affordable. Hugh Robjohns checks out Yamaha's latest MiniDisk 4-track.
The SU700, Yamaha's entry into the 'groove sampler' stakes, is derived from their A3000 studio sampler and inherits some of its sibling's most impressive features — including adventurous effects and imaginative sample-manipulation facilities — while adding quite a few tricks of its own. Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser go loopy.
People + Opinion
ISDN is a term that you will have certainly have come across in the pages of SOS over the last few years, but perhaps without really knowing what it does and how it works. Hugh Robjohns explains the relevance of this international digital telecommunications network to the modern musician.
Interview | Producer
The first single from the Manic Street Preachers' This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours entered the UK Charts at Number One — even though the band had abandoned their traditional power-chord approch in favour of acoustic guitars, string machines and unusual synth effects. Sam Inglis talks to Dave Eringa, the producer who oversaw this successful change of direction.
Interview | Composer
By the time you read this, he could be clutching his first Oscar for his soundtrack for the historic blockbuster Elizabeth. David Hirschfelder discourses with Richard Buskin about the art, science and pyschology of scoring for the moving image.
A recent court ruling could be the biggest threat to music composers since the great cull of 1673. Big George breaks the bad news...
Tips & Techniques
Do you want to engineer top acts in top studios? Are you prepared to devote your entire life to music recording? In this new series, David Mellor explains how you can become a professional music recording engineer.
Robert Louis Medina explores the sordid world of naked Dutch flesh — and bemoans the gulf between the quality of Roland products and that of Roland manuals.
Paul Joyner recording in his Basement Room at home.
Interview | Producer
Every week, BBC1's new Saturday night show Get Your Act Together takes an aspiring singer or group and attempts to transform their musc, image and performace, to turn them into true professionals — in two days. Among the eminent record producers chosen to work their magic on these acts is Steve Levine, who talks to Sam Inglis about the unique challenges involved.
Tips & Tricks
The small and not-so-small time delays between a signal entering and then emerging from a computer soundcard can turn hard disk recording into a frustrating experience. Martin Walker leads us through the twists and turns of latency.
Newsgroups are one of the most valuable, yet one of the most neglected features of the internet — indeed, many people don't even know of their existence. Kevin Perry explains how to access them and what benefits they offer for musicians.
Readers' Music Reviewed
Reformation * Kameeling Things * Smartbomb * Pete Jones * Nathan Doyle * ndot * Huron * Jose Padilla * Mike Kentish * Toad * Tim Rowe * Squish
Tips & Tricks
Tired of those sampled string sounds? Hugh Robjohns outlines a number of techniques and tips for recording real live string soloists and string sections.
Collaboration between hardware and software developers isn't common in the world of PC music — but this month Martin Walker reports on several attempts to bridge the divide.
Tips & Tricks
If you're still under the impression that the Celeron is a type of vegetable, now's the time to find out more. Martin Walker plugs in some new processors.
Less than £60 buys an Atari sample editor that's up there with new Mac and PC audio tools in terms of sound-manipulation potential. Derek Johnson puts his samples through the Squash It! mangle.
Just as the Universal Serial Buss arrives, the FireWire juggernaut sounds its horn and releases the air-brakes. Martin Russ boldly attempts to fight off the worst of the bad puns.
Feature | Tips & Tricks
We've all experienced the burst of creativity that getting hold of a new sound can bring about — but not being able to afford new synths and sound modules is also a familiar feeling.