May 2005 In This Issue

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Competition

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Deadline: 2005-06-30

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Reviews

Allen & Heath Xone VF1

Analogue Filter

You probably know Allen & Heath as a studio mixer manufacturer, but they also specialise in high-end DJ mixing and processing. Now they have combined their studio and DJ expertise into a multi-mode analogue filter with sophisticated MIDI control.

Apple Mac Mini

Desktop Computer

Apple have long been criticised for charging a premium for their products, making the Mac platform a more costly choice than the alternatives. With the newly released Mac Mini, Apple hope to change this perception, but is there enough Mac in the Mac Mini to make it useful for musicians?

ART TCS

Dual Compressor

Choose from optical and VCA compression, de-essing, noise reduction, and valve voicing within a single processor.

Audio Ease Rocket Science

Effects Plug-ins (Mac OS)

A new plug-in bundle from Dutch developer Audio Ease brings together three unique sound-shaping tools.

Audix SCX25

Condenser Microphone

Large-diaphragm mics don't have to be bulky and unwieldy, as this compact new contender from Audix demonstrates.

Bornemark Broomstick Bass

Virtual Bass Player Instrument (Mac/PC)

So how is your plug-in band coming on, then? With a combination of Steinberg's Groove Agent and Virtual Guitarist plus Yamaha's Vocaloid, all that is required is a bass player. Enter, stage left, Bornemark's Broomstick Bass...

CEDAR Audio Duo Auto Dehiss

Broad-band Noise-reduction Processor

This new slimline rack processor makes CEDAR's latest class-leading audio-restoration algorithms remarkably quick and easy to use.

Edirol UA101

USB 2 Audio Interface (PC)

Edirol have pioneered USB 2.0 as a format for connecting audio interfaces, and their latest unit offers 10 inputs and outputs at a price that compares well with Firewire alternatives.

Fervent Software Studio To Go

Bootable Linux Software Suite for PC

If you are attracted by the idea of Linux and open-source music software, but put off by the thought of installing it on your PC, there is another way: a bootable CD-ROM containing both the OS and all the software you need, ready to go.

JBL LSR6328 & LSR6312

Active Monitors & Subwoofer

JBL's new monitors incorporate Room Mode Correction technology which claims to be able to reduce the bass problems caused by standing waves at the listening position. But does it really work in practice?

Korg Kontrol 49

USB MIDI Controller Keyboard

Korg's Microkontrol was a highly versatile, yet compact MIDI controller — but perhaps, with its three octaves of miniature keys, it was too compact. With its four-octave, full-size keyboard, the Kontrol 49 looks set to put that right...

Mindprint Trio

Processor & Monitor Controller

Mindprint cram mic and line channel strips, monitor control, and talkback into a single desktop unit.

Native Instrument Battery 2

Virtual Drum Module (Mac/PC)

Two years on from its original release, Native's virtual drum module gets its first full upgrade. Is it all John Bonham tom mayhem, or is it limper than a Kraftwerk drum solo?

PMC TB2SA & DB1SA

Powered Monitors

Pioneering digital amplifiers are combined with PMC's proven transmission-line cabinet designs to deliver spectacular monitoring performance at a project-studio price.

Propellerhead Reason v3

Virtual Electronic Studio (Mac OS X/PC)

Astonishingly, Reason is now over four years old! Version 3 adds performance-enhancing features and mastering facilities, losing only Mac OS 9 support on the way. We bring you the first UK review of the full release version...

RME ADI2 & ADI4 DD

A-D/D-A Converter & Digital Format Converter

Two new half-rack boxes offer considerable operational flexibility and pristine sound in both the analogue and digital domains.

Roland Fantom Xa

Workstation Synth

At £1099, the Xa is the most affordable keyboard in the Fantom range. But, inevitably, features have been removed to make it such a bargain. Have Roland thrown out the works from the workstation?

Roland VC1

D50 RAM Card for Roland V-Synth & VariOS

Roland's innovative V-Synth can now be reprogrammed with a RAM card, effectively turning it into another instrument. The VC1 card puts the clock back to 1987, perfectly recreating the S&S tones of the Roland D50.

Sample Libraries: On Test

Sample Library

Four new Sample Library collections get the aural treatment from the SOS reviewers:

Apple Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra 4*
APPLE LOOPS

Sonic Boom Box 4*
APPLE LOOPS

Downbeat & Leftfield 4*
MULTI-FORMAT

Platinum Essentials 5*
AUDIO+WAV

Steinberg Groove Agent 2

Virtual Drummer Instrument (Mac/PC)

From the same team that brought you Virtual Guitarist, Groove Agent has had an impressive upgrade, and is now claimed to work better under non-Steinberg hosts. We put it through a proper multi-platform test.

Tascam FW1082

Firewire Audio & MIDI Interface / Control Surface (Mac/PC)

Joining the growing market for one-box devices combining audio and MIDI interfacing with control-surface functionality, Tascam's latest Firewire unit might be all you need for multitrack recording and mixing.

Terratec Phase 88 Rack FW

Firewire Audio Interface (Mac/PC)

Terratec's range of affordable audio interfaces now includes two attractive Firewire options: the eight-in/out Phase 88 Rack FW and the two-in/four-out Phase 24 FW.

Ursa Major Space Station

Digital Reverb & Effects Processor

The original 3U monster that was the SST282 Space Station has been reissued by Seven Woods Audio as this small desktop unit. Not content merely to offer all the classic sounds, though, the new incarnation has a number of fresh tricks up its sleeve?

Yamaha Motif Rack ES

Workstation Synth Module

Yamaha's original Motif Rack was a fine-sounding, well-specified synth module, but it suffered from MIDI timing problems when reviewed in SOS. Two years on, we put the follow-up Motif Rack ES to the test...

People + Opinion

Business End

Reader Tracks Evaluated

Listen online to the tracks whilst reading what some Music Producers Guild members think of the latest collection of SOS reader recordings.

Crosstalk: readers' writes

Your letters, emails, faxes

Replies from the editorial team to more of your valued feedback.

Greg Ladanyi

Jackson Browne, Don Henley & The SoCal Sound

Greg Ladanyi showed up at the right time in rock history to chair sessions for Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Warren Zevon, Toto, Fleetwood Mac and the Jacksons — but while 50 percent of life may be simply showing up, the other half requires a lot of hard work.

Manny Marroquin

Mixing For Kanye West & Alicia Keys

You might not know his name, but you've definitely heard his work: Manny Marroquin is the mix engineer of choice for leading artists in both urban and rock music.

Sounding Off

Mr X

Soon all software could be FREE — like it or not...

The Dust Brothers

Sampling, Remixing & The Boat Studio

The Dust Brothers changed the course of record production with a new approach to sampling. In their first ever in-depth technical interview, John King and Mike Simpson explain their unique way of making records and open the doors of their remarkable LA studio, The Boat.

The World At Your Fingertips

Paul White's Leader

Last month's column aroused plenty of response so Paul continues his thoughts on whether guitars or keyboards are best-suited to being 'controllers'.

Technique

Digital Performer: EQing Tracks

Digital Performer Notes

This month, how to tweak your tracks with MOTU's answer to Sony's Oxford EQ and speed up your workflow with the essential DP keyboard shortcut selection!

GarageBand 2, PowerBooks & iPods

Apple Notes

Although intended as an entry-level application to introduce new people to computer-based music making, Apple's GarageBand has received acclaim from beginners and professionals alike. In this special extended Apple Notes we look at version 2, which adds score editing, multitrack audio recording, and more...

Reason: New Refills & Tips

Reason Notes

This month: new Refills and tweaking techniques for Reason v3, plus the usual haul of time-saving tips.

Sonar: Studio or Producer?

Sonar Notes

It's time to address the Studio versus Producer question, as well as looking into a new Sonar remote-control option.

Catch and Link modes in Logic

Logic Notes

Combining Logic's Catch and Link modes can greatly increase the usefulness of multi-window Screensets, but it is not always clear, especially to new users, how the various options work.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Who 'Who Are You?'

Producers: Jon Astley, Glyn Johns

The Who's final album with Keith Moon took almost a year to record and pushed the band to the limit. Engineer and producer Jon Astley tells the remarkable story behind Who Are You?'s title track.

Composite Vocal Recording (Using Sonar 4)

Masterclass

The audio sequencing facilities we have at our disposal these days make it easier than ever before to produce world-class vocal recordings by taking the best parts from a series of takes and producing a composite from them. Here's how to do the job in Sonar 4.

Demo Doctor

Reader Recordings Analysed

Listen to these tracks from SOS readers and see whether you agree with the good Doctor's prognosis...

Folder Tracks

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

Steinberg originally introduced the concept of Folder tracks in Cubase VST, as a way of organising the track list in the Arrange window. This month we look at how this feature became even more powerful in Cubase SX, and how to make the most of it.

Maximum RAM

PC Notes

If you are tempted to approach the dizzy heights of 4GB of RAM in your PC, as supported by most motherboards, there are a few things to bear in mind.

Pop Shields: Why You Need Them

Recording Tips

Pop shields are essential for most modern studio productions, but what are they and why are they so important?

Pro Tools News

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

Our new-look Pro Tools Notes column brings you all the latest news from the Digidesign universe...

Studio SOS

East Norfolk Sixth Form College

East Norfolk Sixth Form College needed help integrating their hardware multitracker with their computer sequencing system, so the SOS team travelled over to Great Yarmouth to lend a hand.

Troubleshooting Your Pro Tools System

Masterclass

Whatever computer recording system you use, the chances are it's going to fall over sooner or later, and Pro Tools is no exception. So before you call Digidesign's technical support line, take a look at Sound On Sound's guide to diagnosing and fixing the most common faults.

Why & How To Partition Your Music PC Hard Drive

PC Musician

Did you know that sensibly partitioning your hard drive or, if it's already partitioned, simply swapping the positions of your audio and sample partitions could result in a significant improvement in PC audio performance? We explain the whys and wherefores.

Yamaha AW4416 User Tips

Masterclass: Part 1

Combining the guts of an 02R mixer with a fully featured multitrack recorder, the AW4416 ended up being a prodigiously complex beast. Our hands-on workshop shows you which of those snazzy features work best in practice, and how to use them efficiently.

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