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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.
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 £900.
A robust and unusually flexible mixer with lots of stereo inputs.
Turntable/Phono Preamp & USB Interface [Mac/PC]
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.
Brass Software Instrument
In recent years, 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...
Software Synth & Sampler [Mac OS X/Win XP]
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.
Modelled Analogue Synth
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...
These condenser and dynamic microphones boast classy retro styling but how do they sound?
Boasting a serious sound at a very affordable price point, these new monitors should win many friends.
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.
Gear Reviews, Tips and Techniques
• Digitech EX7 Expression Factory
Digital Stereo Recorder
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.
General MIDI Soft Synth [Mac OS X/Windows]
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.
Delay-based Effects Plug-in [Mac/PC]
PSP's latest plug-in covers the spectrum from vintage tape-echo emulation to serious weirdness.
Hot New Releases
• Big Fish Audio Soul City: Multi-format
Remote Recording Plug-in [Pro Tools]
This innovative new plug-in allows Pro Tools users to record each other over the Internet, in real time.
Multi-pattern Valve Microphones
These two multi-pattern valve (tube) mics are contrasted with each other in terms of both sound and design cosmetics.
MIDI Guitar System
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
Paul White's Leader
More food for thought from SOS's Editor In Chief, Paul White.
Richard Aitken of Nimrod Productions
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.
The Current State Of Affairs
How can you go wrong with digital-to-digital transfers? And why is it bass that sounds better at 24-bit?
What's really important when it comes to musical creativity?
Behind The Scenes At The Home Of Country Music
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...
Digital Performer Notes & Techniques
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.
The 64-bit Question
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.
Producers: Mark Knopfler, Neil Dorfsman
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...
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...
Cubase Notes & Techniques
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.
Reason Notes & Techniques
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...
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...
+ Audio Files
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.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
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.
Theory & Practice
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.
Sonar Notes & Techniques
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.
Flying duvets provide an emergency remedy for control-room acoustics in The Lab's two-storey industrial unit.
Logic Notes & Techniques
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...
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.
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...