May 2006 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN Prism Sound ADA8XR multi-channel A-D/D-A converters (worth £6985)

Deadline: 2006-06-30

Prism Sound are generously giving SOS readers the chance to win one of their ADA8XR multi-channel A-D/D-A converters worth between £6985 and £8650 (depending on configuration). The winner will also get the chance to have it personally configured to their specifications by Prism Sound's own engineers.
Prize kindly donated by Prism Sound +44 (0)1223 424988.
www.prismsound.com

Reviews

Alesis Fusion

Synth Workstation

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In these days of fast, flexible computers and powerful virtual instruments, has the hardware workstation synth had its day? Alesis's Fusion mounts the case for the defence, offering four synthesis types, sampling, sequencing and hard disk recording — for under £1000.

Allen & Heath WZ320S

Mixer

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A robust and unusually flexible mixer with lots of stereo inputs.

ART USB Phono Plus

Turntable/Phono Preamp & USB Interface [Mac/PC]

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Most computer audio interfaces don't offer the RIAA equalisation required to attach a turntable directly, but ART's neat problem-solver is designed to do just that.

Arturia Brass

Brass Software Instrument

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Manufacturers have sought to provide expressive computer-based simulations of real instruments by releasing ever larger and more detailed sample libraries. But whatever happened to the idea of modelling instruments using synthesis techniques? Arturia haven't forgotten...

Cakewalk Dimension Pro

Software Synth & Sampler [Mac OS X/Win XP]

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Cakewalk have taken the workhorse soft synth that was bundled with their Project 5 loop sequencer, put the sound library on steroids and made it available as a separate product on both Mac and PC.

Creamware Pro 12 ASB

Modelled Analogue Synth

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Creamware's Minimax ASB (the company's hardware recreation of the Minimoog) won over the critics — can they repeat the winning ASB formula with Sequential Circuits' Prophet 5 synth? Synth wizard Dave Stewart is your guide...

Electrovoice Cardinal & Raven

Microphones

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These new condenser and dynamic microphones from the EVBlue range boast classy retro styling but how do they sound?

ESI Pro Near05 Experience

Active Monitors

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Boasting a serious sound at a very affordable price point, these new monitors should win many friends.

Grace Design Model 101

Mic Preamp

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Some mic preamps are renowned for their flattery of the recorded signal, but this high-spec single-channel unit proudly aspires to cleanliness and neutrality, translating the character of your performances and microphones with the utmost fidelity.

Guitar Technology

Digitech Expression Factory • 'Re-amping' Electric Guitars

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• Digitech EX7 Expression Factory • Electro-Harmonix 2880 Super Multitrack Looper • Technique: 'Re-amping' electric guitars

Marantz PMD570

Digital Stereo Recorder

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This sleek rackmount Compact Flash-based recorder makes an ideal recording 'scratch pad', and files can also be imported into your DAW when things get more serious.

Native Instruments Bandstand

General MIDI Soft Synth [Mac OS X/Windows]

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General MIDI synths are rarely glamorous, but there's no reason why they should not sound as good as more professional alternatives — that, at least, is the thinking behind NI's Bandstand soft synth.

PSP 608 Multidelay

Delay-based Effects Plug-in [Mac/PC]

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PSP's latest plug-in covers the spectrum from vintage tape-echo emulation to serious weirdness.

Sample Libraries: On Test

Hot New Releases

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Zero G Nostalgia: Kompakt Instrument • Big Fish Audio Soul City: Multi-format • Zero G Vocal Forge: Intakt Instrument

Source Elements Source-Connect

Remote Recording Plug-in [Pro Tools]

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This innovative new plug-in allows Pro Tools users to record each other over the Internet, in real time.

T-Bone SCT2000 & Retro Tube

Multi-Pattern Valve Microphones

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These two multi-pattern valve (tube) mics are contrasted with each other in terms of both sound and design cosmetics.

Terratec Axon AX100 MkII

MIDI Guitar System

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Take Blue Chip's advanced Axon MIDI guitar system, bundle it with new editing software and a Terratec soundcard, and you have the Axon AX100. We strum its sounds and test its triggering...

People + Opinion

Crosstalk: Your Feedback

Readers' Writes

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Console Yourself

I don't think I've ever seen your magazine mention a useful...

Recipe For Success?

Paul White's Leader

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More food for thought from SOS's Editor In Chief, Paul White.

Recording 24: The Game

Richard Aitken: Nimrod Productions

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In the past, tie-in video games have had to use samples to recreate real orchestral soundtracks from the original TV series or film. With 24: The Game, however, it was the other way around.

Roger Nichols: Digital-To-Digital Transfers

Across The Board

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How can you go wrong with digital-to-digital transfers? And why is it bass that sounds better at 24-bit?

Sounding Off: Musical Creativity

Ben Mullon

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What's really important when it comes to musical creativity?

The Grand Ole Opry

Behind The Scenes At The Home Of Country Music

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Country Music's greatest showcase, the Grand Ole Opry, is a bastion of traditional values — and the home of some seriously advanced technology. Step inside...

Technique

Advanced Tempo & Beat Control In Digital Performer

Digital Performer Tips & Techniques

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When it comes to controlling sequence tempo and imposing a meaningful beat structure on freely-recorded MIDI and audio, DP has plenty of tricks up its sleeve — including Live-like 'liquid audio' powers.

Are PC Musicians Ready For Windows x64?

The 64-bit Question

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With advantages such as more efficient processing and the ability to address up to a Terabyte of RAM, Windows XP Professional x64 has a lot to offer PC-based musicians — in theory. We put the fully 64-bit system idea to the test.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing'

Producers: Mark Knopfler, Neil Dorfsman • Engineer: Neil Dorfsman

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The Brothers In Arms album turned Dire Straits into one of the biggest-selling bands of all time, thanks to some technical innovation, tough decision-making, and that guitar sound — which was created by accident. Find out how they did it...

Core Duo Laptops: Battery Life

PC Notes

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Intel Centrino laptops, especially those using the brand-new Core Duo processor, offer much to the PC-based musician but can suffer a reduction in their usually generous battery life under certain circumstances. We investigate...

DIY Mastering

Cubase Notes & Techniques

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While mastering in a home or project studio is unlikely to produce the very best results, Cubase SX does have some basic tools for those who want (or have) to adopt a DIY approach.

Logic: Tempo-Matching With Global Tracks

Logic Tips & Techniques

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Global Tracks let you manipulate the bars and beats of your Song to match freely-played MIDI or audio recordings. Find out how to tempo-match...

Loop-based Composition In Reason

Reason Tips & Techniques

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Reason is more than just a MIDI sequencing environment; it can also be used for creating new pieces spontaneously from sample loops. We show you how...

Making A Living From Music For Picture: Part 6

Completed Orchestrations

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We look at the completed orchestrations for the film project introduced last month, and begin to consider the problem of what to do when a director demands revisions to your work...

Mix Rescue: James Michael

'Do Ya Luv Me'

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Despite having a generally well-balanced mix, James Michael felt that his track wasn't sounding quite right, so he contacted Mix Rescue for some mastering pointers. Check out the 'before' and 'after' mixes while you pick up some useful tips.

Pro Tools Mastering Limiter Shootout

Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

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If you want to get maximum level out of your Pro Tools mixes, you need a mastering limiter. But which one? We put the leading contenders to the test.

Recording A String Section

Theory & Practice

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You can mike up a string section in many different ways, but which one sounds best? We explain the theory behind the most popular mic techniques and then record several of them on a real string session so that you can let your ears decide.

Recording Killer Guitar Sounds In Sonar 5

Sonar Tips & Techniques

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The technology for easily achieving an expensively produced effect when recording guitars is becoming more and more accessible. We take a look at what Sonar has to offer in this department, and examine other tools for creating killer guitar sounds.

Studio SOS: The Lab

Flying Duvet Remedies

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Flying duvets provide an emergency remedy for control-room acoustics in The Lab's two-storey industrial unit.

Universal Binaries & Mac Mini

Apple Notes

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The Mac Mini joins the iMac and the new Mac Book Pro as the latest Apple computer to make the move to Intel processors. We also have the latest news on Universal Binaries, including a look at whether the developer tools used to create these new applications will have a negative effect on performance for Power PC users.

Music Business

Getting The Most From The MIDEM Show

Networking & Doing Business

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The annual MIDEM conference is the music industry's biggest shop floor and networking opportunity — and whether you're an artist, a DJ or a producer, you can do business there. Read on...

Sound Advice

Q. Do I need two S/PDIF inputs?

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If you have two bits of gear that you'd like to run into your computer interface via S/PDIF, do you need two S/PDIF inputs?

Q. Is a matched pair of mics necessary for stereo recording?

Thumbnail for article: Q. Is a matched pair of mics necessary for stereo recording?

Do I really need to use a 'matched pair' of microphones, or even two mics of the same make and model, for stereo recording...

Q. Is it best to synchronise all my digital gear using a word clock generator?

Thumbnail for article: Q. Is it best to synchronise all my digital gear using a word clock generator?

Please could Hugh Robjohns write a comprehensive article explaining the operational advantages and disadvantages of using a...

Q. Should I apply bus processing while I am mixing?

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I've seen it suggested that compressing the stereo bus is the key to getting a mix to come together and sound 'like a record'. Is this really the case?

Q. What kind of bass trap do I need?

Thumbnail for article: Q. What kind of bass trap do I need?

We have set up a new recording studio at our school [Radley College in Oxfordshire]. It's not huge, but we do...

Q. What should I do about the dent in my tweeter?

Thumbnail for article: Q. What should I do about the dent in my tweeter?

I noticed a dent in the tweeter of one of my Yamaha MSP10 monitors this morning (the kids, I'm sure). Is this something to...

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