May 1999 In This Issue

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Reviews

Alesis M1

Active Powered Monitors

The cost-effective M1 Active nearfield monitors are the first active speakers Alesis have produced. Paul White puts them to the test.

Alien Guitars

Sample Library

* Score = 4

Behringer MDX2200 Composer Pro

Multi-function Dynamics Processor

The latest version of Behringer's Composer dynamics processor appears to provide all the facilities anyone could ask for, with a separate expander/gate, compressor and limiter for each of its two channels. Hugh Robjohns checks it out.

Black II Black Bangin' Beat Boxes

Sample Library

* Score = 5

Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live!

PCI Soundcard

Over the years many musicians have got started with a low-cost Creative Labs soundcard, but the latest upmarket Soundblaster Live! model is even more tempting. Martin Walker checks out the specs.

Digidesign Procontrol

Pro Tools Hardware Control Surface

Pro Tools is virtually an industry standard for music production and post-production, even though its powerful mixing and signal processing capabilities have previously only been fully accessible through a computer screen. The recent introduction of Digidesign's own ProControl addresses that problem. Hugh Robjohns just loves being in control...

Focusrite Platinum Compounder

2-channel Dynamics Processor

Paul White gets inside Focusrite's new compressor to find out what really makes it tick.

Generalmusic Equinox

Keyboard Workstation

Italian firm Generalmusic have made their reputation in the home keyboard market, but their new Equinox is an extremely well-specified professional workstation. Paul Nagle is suitably impressed.

HHB CDR850 Professional

CD-R/CD-RW Recorder

HHB's new CD-R appears to offer all the features we've always wanted in an affordable standalone CD recorder. Hugh Robjohns finds out if it delivers.

JoeMeek SC4

Stereo Compressor

JoeMeek combine the old and the new in their opto-electronic analogue compressor with 24-bit digital I/O and M&S signal path. Paul White tries it out.

Kurzweil DMTi

Digital Multitrack Interface

Designed to interface the Kurzweil K2000/K2500 synths directly with digital recording equipment, the DMTi also has a role as a general-purpose digital format convertor. Hugh Robjohns checks it out.

Midiman SAM S/PDIF-ADAT

Mixer & Format Convertor

Midiman have a reputation for niche products at reasonable prices, and their latest, SAM, could do a number of useful jobs in the ADAT-based studio. Bob Dormon makes the connections.

Octave Cat, Kitten & Voyetra

Synthesizers (Retro)

Most US synthesizer manufacturers followed the now all-too-familiar corporate history of rapid growth in the 1970s followed by acrimonious dissolution in the 1980s. What happened to Octave, however, was a little different as Gordon Reid describes.

Portable Digital Multitrack Recorders

Buyer's Guide

With almost 20 self-contained digital multitrackers on the market, either new or second-hand, it can be hard to decide which one is for you. Debbie Poyser & Derek Johnson discuss the options and round up the available models.

Real Mega Different

Sample Library

* Score = 4

Rode NTV

Valve Microphones

In which our hero Paul White puts an Antipodean valve studio mic through its paces to ascertain whether it is Nice To Vocals.

Score Draw

Sibelius Scorewriting Software

Most MIDI sequencers now include some notation facilities, however, these fall some way short of the needs of the scorewriting professional. Arranger and conductor Mike Crofts checks out one of the few dedicated scorewriting programs.

Shure KSM32

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

A new studio microphone from Shure is always well worth investigating. Hugh Robjohns checks out the KSM32 cardioid mic.

Studio Essentials

Product Roundup

Yamaha CD8ADS Analogue Input Card; Rocktron PC Preamp Recording Channel.

Technosaurus Selector

Modular Synthesizer

Last month, Gordon Reid reviewed the babies of the Technosaurus range, the Microcon synthesizer and Cyclodon sequencer. This month, he tackles their (very) big brother, the Selector modular synthesizer...

Total House

Sample Library

* Score = 5

Waldorf Q

Analogue Modelling Synthesizer (Preview)

Waldorf's long-awaited Q synthesizer is now shipping, but without many of the features it will ultimately possess. Gordon Reid takes a hands-on look at what's here now and what's to come.

People + Opinion

GEORGE DUKE: 1970s Jazz-Rock

Interview | Musician

American keyboard player George Duke was at the forefront of the jazz-rock movement of the 1970s. Since then, he's been a prolific songwriter, producer, and recording artist in his own right. Paul Tingen ventures into the Duke's Hollywood residence...

How to Become a Recording Engineer, Part 2

Tips & Techniques

In order to become a professional music recording engineer, you have to start at the bottom and work up. But in such a competitive business, how do you even get in at the bottom? David Mellor explores various possibilities.
• Read Part 1 (April 1999)
• Read Part 3 (June 1999)
• Read Part 4 (September 1999)

IAN STEWART: Boring Music? Don't Blame Technology!

Sounding Off

It's true that too much music sounds predictable and boring, says Ian Stewart, but it's too easy to blame technology the real reasons lie elsewhere.

MIRIAM STOCKLEY: Recording Session Singing

Interview | Artist

Miriam Stockley is one of the premier session singers in the UK; but it's taken her until now to record an album of her own. She talks to Sue Sillitoe about recording the album in her new home studio.

TOMMY D: Recording Catatonia's 'Dead From The Waist Down'

Interview | Producer

Catatonia's rise from indie obscurity to pop dominance seems unstoppable and, with the first single from their new album, they're even targetting Radio 2 listeners. Matt Bell talks to producer Tommy D about the track's transformation from Akai DPS12 demo to Top Ten hit.

Technique

Avoiding Equipment Battery Failure

Tips & Tricks

It seems everybody is talking about the millennium bug, but a far greater threat to the operation of our studios is already ticking away inside our effects units and synthesizers. Paul White gives a battery health warning.

Connecting Audio + MIDI Signals Inside PC Music Software

Feature | Tips & Tricks

Multiple inputs and software-based mixers allow both audio and MIDI signals to travel some convoluted routes inside the PC. Martin Walker untangles his virtual cables to how best to get them out at the other end.

DirectX 6.1, DirectMusic; Yamaha CRW4260S; Pentium III

PC Notes

This month sees Martin Walker meeting the men from Microsoft, burning CDs faster, listening to new SoundFonts and testing out utility software. Does he ever sleep?

Faking Ensemble Backing Vocals

Tips & Tricks

Paul White comes up with a few tips for using the processing power of your computer audio sequencer to turn one or two voices into a complete backing ensemble.

Playback

Readers' Music Reviewed

The Gator Brothers * Eric Amarillo * Slick Wicked Nation * Dream Phoenix * The Baby Buddahs, * Andy & Pete Parsons * Trace * Sinaptic Gap * Alan Allen * Andrew Bowring * Jon Gooch * Unsigned Allsorts

Plug-ins; Adobe Premiere

Apple Notes

Martin Russ brings you more information about Mac plug-ins, and downloads two Software Development Kits.

Quinsoft Mixer Maps; Electronic Cow Charming Chaos; Pravda

Atari Notes

Studio management software, Cubase mixer maps, sounds and editor/librarian programs for a range of older synths are all up for grabs as an Atari developer posts his previously commercial work for free on the Internet. Derek Johnson tells you what's available and keeps an eye on the Atari news scene.

Recording Real Pianos

Tips & Tricks

The piano comes in a variety of forms and is used in many different roles as part of ensembles and as a solo instrument. Many engineers regard the piano as the hardest instrument to record. Hugh Robjohns offers some practical hints and tips for getting the right sound.

Synth Secrets, Part 1: What's In A Sound?

Exploration

In the first part of this new series exploring the world of subtractive synthesis, Gordon Reid goes right back to basics. What are waveforms and harmonics, where do they come from, and how does the theory relate to what we actually hear?
• Read all parts

Web Browsers: Synth Zone; Microsoft Explorer

Net Notes

Tracking down the information you need on the Internet can be a joy or a nightmare, depending on whether you're idly browsing or desperately searching for a small specific piece of information. In this month's Net Notes, Martin Walker passes on a selection of basic tips to make browsing easier.

Sound Advice

20 Tips On Smooth Studio Operation

Tips & Tricks

Paul White presents 20 ways to ensure your studio runs smoothly. If only he'd taken notice of them himself, he might be managing Abbey Road by now!

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