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Win this superb standalone VST plug-in host/player, with dozens of useful plug-ins pre-loaded.
Prize kindly donated by SCV London.
This new pair of active monitors provides much of the performance of the company's high-end S3As, but at a more affordable price point.
Software Synth (Mac/PC)
Yamaha's CS80 was one of the finest analogue polysynths of all time. How close have Arturia come to modelling its classic sound in software? We put the software up against the hardware to find out...
Although it may look very similar to their existing Baby Bottle, this new mic from BLUE turns out to be a different beast entirely.
Voltage-Controlled Filter Pedal
This unusual effects pedal combines a bank of eight band-pass filters with an analogue-style control sequencer.
88-note Piano-action Controller Keyboard
No-one can doubt Fatar's long-established record for making quality MIDI controller keyboards, but that market has become highly competitive over the past couple of years. Can the new VMK188 hold its own against all the budget alternatives?
Neuronal Software Synth (Mac/PC)
If you pined for the innovative Neuron in 2003, but couldn't afford the £3500 price tag, check out Neuron VS; it packs most of the original synth engine into a £500 software instrument and throws in a distinctive hardware controller.
Vintage Synth Virtual Instrument (Mac/PC)
The latest instrument plug-in from IK Multimedia and Sonic Reality packages eight Gigabytes of samples, mostly from a huge range of classic synths, in IK's Sampletank front end.
Valve Recording Channels
Korg's new valve preamp and optical compressor is available not only as a stand-alone box, but also in a version which can be installed directly into either of their flagship digital multitrackers.
USB Recording System (Mac/PC)
Mackie's first foray into the market for desktop USB devices is a well specified 24-bit/96kHz stereo interface with built-in DSP effects.
Software Synth (Mac/PC)
Absynth has always dared to be somewhat different to other software synths, and version 3 continues the grand tradition, with new effects, built-in frequency-shifting, and surround processing options.
This new range of valve processors offers a variety of character sounds for the more adventurous home recordist.
The latest in Roland's SP series of phrase samplers can also double as a computer and audio interface, and PC users can take advantage of a bundled Cakewalk sequencer/mixer. Is this the best SP yet? We find out...
Rolls cram nine stereo line channels and a mono mic channel into a 1U box.
Four new Sample Disc collections get the aural treatment from the SOS reviewers:
A Fistful Of Drummers 5*
Black Grand 4*
Sounds Of The 70s 4*
Percussive Adventures 5*
PC Audio & MIDI Loop Sequencer
Version 5 of Acid Pro is the first major upgrade under the Sony Media Software badge, and has taken two years to arrive. Does it keep pace with other manufacturers' loop-sequencing packages?
DSP-based Recording & Mixing Cards (PC)
Soundscape's new range of PCI cards offers a unique combination of features, including latency-free, DSP-assisted routing and mixing, the freedom to combine VST plug-ins and DSP-based effects, and multi-client driver support for all host-based Windows recording applications.
Stereo Monitor Controller
Following on from their Model 2380 surround monitoring controller, SPL have now designed a stereo version with built-in talkback facilities.
Tascam's two new digital multitrackers are the latest in their long line of Portastudio products.
Stereo Mastering Tools (Powercore)
Thanks to the new MD3 package, Powercore users now have access to high-end mastering tools from TC's System 6000 processor.
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 The Cloud Making Machine
When DJs produce their own albums, the results can be mixed - but Laurent Garnier is not your average DJ, and his The Cloud Making Machine is anything but a conventional house or techno record.
Managing People & Technology
Over a 40-year career, Phil Ramone has built up perhaps the most impressive discography of any producer working today - and although he emphasises the importance of traditional engineering and people-management skills, his work is also at the limits of what cutting-edge technology makes possible.
Who really benefits from musicians' charity?
Paul White's Leader
Isn't it time for the guitar to become the prime means of control for synthesizers instead of the keyboard?
Having been one of the UK's most popular rock acts in the early '90s, Thunder found that record labels were no longer willing or able to promote their releases properly. Now they have taken matters into their own hands, using the Internet and new methods of distribution to get their records back in the charts.
Digital Performer Notes
MOTU hinted at even more additions to DP during January's NAMM show. We get a sneak preview, as well as exploring the program's Tempo Analysis powers.
Sidechains are usually associated with effects processing, but they are also available in many of Logic's internal soft synths. So what can you do with them?
We've got a lot to look forward to with the imminent release of Reason v3, but there's still a world of exploration available in v2.5 - so don't stop creating while you are waiting.
A quick look at the Project 5 update and news of Sonar's rewrite for 64-bit processors.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
We look at a range of techniques you can try to help you produce a better vocal sound for your project.
Producers: Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards. Engineer: Bob Clearmountain
They might have been the greatest production team of the disco era, but even Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards could fall victim to the elitism of New York's club scene - and their response was the most memorable of all Chic's hits.
How It Works
Although convolution is often associated with high-end reverb processing, this technology makes many other new sounds available to you if you understand how it works.
Listen to these tracks from SOS readers and see whether you agree with the good Doctor's prognosis...
Flagship sequencer apps are so packed with features that it could almost be a full-time job learning the package of your choice. If your needs are simpler, why not make it easy on yourself and investigate one of the many options that are more entry-level or cut-down, yet still remarkably capable?
Cakewalk's Sonar makes an ideal pre-production tool for creating loops you can use in Ableton's Live sequencer. We explore some of the possibilities of the partnership.
We've discussed Logic's distributed audio processing in past Apple Notes columns, but this month we offer some tips on setting up Logic Node to run on a network of headless Macs, along with some advice on Firewire-based networking.
We tackle a Directmusic timing problem in Cubase SX and Nuendo, catch up with Gigastudio news and bring some great freebie plug-ins and VSTis to your attention...
Above & Beyond/Anjunbeats
The SOS team are back in London this month to help some high-profile remixers sort out the monitoring problems in their new studio.
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
While processing hundreds of channels with effects in real time has increasingly become the norm for most of us, there are still times when not processing audio in real time can be useful. This month we look at how to achieve this in Cubase SX.