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This month HHB Communications, Rode's UK distributor, have kindly agreed to give away two Rode microphones to Sound On Sound readers. First prize is a Rode K2 multi-pattern tube microphone with an RRP of £570. Second prize is Rode's NT2000 multi-pattern capacitor mic (RRP £450).
Prizes kindly donated by HHB Communications. Tel +44 (0)20 8962 5000. www.hhb.co.uk
8-channel Preamp & A-D/D-A Converter
Eight channels of high-spec mic preamplification, A-D/D-A conversion, and ADAT lightpipe I/O, all at a remarkable price. Is it too good to be true?
This new dual-channel compressor combines valve circuitry with an opto-compressor design. But does it deliver the best or the worst of both worlds?
Orchestral Sample Library
It's another multi-DVD orchestral library! Does it merit a thunderous introductory timp roll or a feeble tap on a vibraslap? Find out...
1820M • 1820 • 1212M PC Soundcard & Software Sampler
Emu's new range of soundcards offers an unprecedented level of flexibility, DSP power and sound quality for the price — with the added bonus of a very impressive software sampler.
Assignable USB MIDI Controller Keyboard
Evolution's new class-compliant MIDI keyboards are a cinch to use with computer-based sequencers. But do they perform as well as their spec suggests?
Virtual Instrument/Hardware Controller
Now that Korg's Legacy Collection is properly complete, we follow up last month's preview with the first instalment of our three-part review. This month, we focus on the Korg Wavestation plug-in...
Sample Looping Instrument: Mac & PC
NI have taken the technology behind Kontakt, and used it to build a sampler that's all about loops.
Latest Plug-ins reviewed
We test and report on another crop of highly insertable software Plug-ins:
PSP Master Q Formats: PC Direct X & VST; Mac OS X VST
TLL Everyphase Formats: Mac & PC RTAS & TDM
Fabfilter Fabfilter One Formats: PC VST & stand-alone
Cranesong Phoenix Formats: Mac & PC TDM
Audiorealism BassLine Formats: PC VST
Sonic Charge µTonic Formats: PC VST
Most of the major Windows sequencers now support dual processing, and if you want the ultimate performance, machines like Red Submarine's dual Xeon PC could be the way to go.
OS X Sample & Instrument Manager For EXS24
Multi-gigabyte sample libraries offer unprecedented realism and lots of potential for confusion. Redmatica's neat OS X utility allows Emagic EXS24 users to tame their unruly sample collections.
This new recording workstation is the most affordable and portable of the VS series, but it still lets you record, mix, and master all in the one box.
Dual-valve Capacitor Microphone
This impressive new mic from SE Electronics uses two valves instead of the usual one. But does it actually make any sonic difference?
Digital Loudspeaker System
Tannoy's latest-generation Ellipse technology has been combined with DSP processing from TC Electronic, creating a versatile and powerful high-resolution monitoring system.
People + Opinion
Music Producers Guild recording assessments
More constructive comments from MPG (Music Producers Guild) members on SOS readers' submitted recordings.
There's some amazing music being made in bedrooms these days. And bringing it to the wider public is the job of the Tigerbeat6 label, whose stars include label founder Kid 606 and Rjyan Kidwell, aka Cex.
Paul White gets a few things off his chest...
Paul Wiffen reflects on the evolving role of the programmer and the lonely life of the modern studio musician.
Cardigans producer Tore Johansson was thrown into unfamiliar musical territory when asked to produce the debut album by Scottish guitar band Franz Ferdinand, but the result was a commercial and artistic triumph.
SOS talks to a British designer who thinks audio in the 21st century is still best served by tube.
We respond to another batch of reader emails and letters.
What software you need and how best to do it!
Beat-slicing can radically expand the creative potential in your loop library — you can match tempos and key signatures, rearrange loop events, and delve into inspirational sound design. SOS looks at all the leading beat-slicing software and shows you how to get the best from this powerful technique within your sequencer.
Artist: Kate Bush; Producer: Andrew Powell; Engineer: Jon Kelly
Kate Bush's 1978 smash hit debut single was also the first major project Jon Kelly had recorded. It proved to be a dream start for both artist and engineer, and a perfect illustration of the benefits of working with talented session musicians.
XG Masterclass: Part 3
In this final instalment of our series of XG programming tips, we take a look at how the advanced modulation parameters can bring your layered sounds to life.
Readers' Recordings Assessed
Listen to the tracks while you read what the Doctor thought of another batch of lucky SOS readers' demos.
How do they affect your music?
Many of the articles in SOS, not to mention the specifications for audio hardware and software, use the terms fixed point numbers, floating point numbers and decibels. But what do terms like this actually mean? And what are the consequences for our music?
Increasing numbers of musicians want to gig with their computers — but home PCs are fragile and laptops may not always be powerful or adaptable enough. So what are your alternatives, and what measures can you take to protect the centrepiece of your live set?
This month, we find out whether Hyperthreading is hyper-helpful to the musician and discover some new freeware. First, though, it's time to spring-clean that Windows Registry...
In the penultimate instalment of this long-running series, we delve deeper into what can be achieved with just a few delays and some creative routing...
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
A common occasion for grief in Pro Tools is when moving projects from one system to another. Here are some tips to help you keep your hair.
Apple had some interesting announcements to make at this year's US National Association of Broadcasters show, including improvements to the eMac and portable line-up.
Learn how to set up Logic's Environment so that you can jam with other musicians in real time on a single system.
From miking to mixdown
The story of a multi-miked location recording session, from pre-concert setup to post-recording, software-controlled mixdown.
This month, the SOS team help The Arcades to rock even harder than before!
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
If you get that sync'ing feeling when using Cubase in conjunction with external hardware devices, you may need to know more about its synchronisation options. This month's column explains what's what.
Digital Performer Notes
Fancy turning your knob-laden MIDI synth into a control surface for tweaking plug-in synths? DP's Consoles make this kind of application possible.
This month we investigate a new DXi option that makes vocal manipulation as easy as editing MIDI data. Plus the usual haul of Sonar power tips...
If I record the DI'd signal from a guitar so I can put it through a guitar amp later, what are the concerns, if any? I'm wondering whether the line-level signal coming out of my mixer will be too high or otherwise inappropriate for the amp.
I use a large analogue Soundtracs desk with wonderful EQ, coupled to various bits of outboard gear. I want to output my audio from my PC into the desk for processing. Using all three of my soundcards simultaneously will give me 24 balanced outs. However, these soundcards are different models from different manufacturers. Is there a workaround or do I need three identical cards?
Having read your review of the Triple P Pyramid monitors [SOS March 2004], I can understand the benefit of having lower-quality, or, at least, 'limited-range' monitors alongside studio-quality, full-range monitors so that you can hear what your mixes will sound like on small domestic 'hi-fi' systems. What I don't understand is what advantage there is in buying these monitors for £250, when a cheap pair of hi-fi speakers can cost as little as £30. Surely that would give a similar sound for a cheaper price?
I understand that mixes from DAWs can be improved significantly if, instead of using the digital mix buss within the computer, individual tracks are converted to analogue and then summed/mixed externally. Could you explain the difference between digital and analogue mixing, and whether this analogue approach really does offer significant benefits?
I record guitar using a Line 6 Pod Pro going into a Roland VMC7200 mixing desk via S/PDIF. While the guitar is plugged in, every so often a little audio spike comes through the monitors from the Pod. It's not particularly loud but it is loud enough to ruin a perfectly good take. I have tried several different guitars so that is not the problem. Can you tell me what this noise could be and how to stop it?
I need some way to play a stereo backing track when playing live with my band. There's a keyboard part on the left channel, which would go to the PA, and a click track on the right channel, fed to our drummer's headphones. I don't want to use a CD player, as they skip, but I'm wondering what other options there are. Something with a start/stop footswitch or remote control would be good.
I'd like to know more about the difference between monitor designs that feature ports and those that do not. How do they differ in terms of sound and performance? Also, why is the term 'infinite baffle' used to refer to un-ported designs? Surely 'sealed cabinet' or 'enclosed speaker' is a more accurate description.