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Digital Recording Software; PCI Card
Digidesign's Session digital recording software has now made the transition from Apple Macintosh to Windows-compatible PCs, a feat made possible by the simultaneous release of the company's first PCI-format digital I/O card, the Audiomedia III. Paul White checks out both.
Vocal Harmony Processor
Offering 5-part harmony at a budget price, the MV5 is Digitech's easiest to use pitch-shifter yet. The David Mellor Singers provide the tune...
Workstation Synth (Retro)
On its release in the late '80s, the SQ80 had to slug it out with Roland's D50 and Korg's M1, and didn't come out on top, at least as for sales were concerned. Steve Howell takes a look at an early and underrated workstation that still has a lot to offer.
Paul White tests a pair of US-built studio monitors designed to combine tonal accuracy with affordability.
MIDI Master Keyboard
This Italian master keyboard may be completely dumb soundwise, but it's pretty clever in other departments. Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser just love being in control.
4-channel Dual Filter Noise Gate Compressor
Always ready for some off-road action, Paul White scrambles for his XLR adaptors and test drives LA Audio's latest incarnation of the 4x4.
Plug-in Expansion Cards
It's not often that plug-in cards merit the same attention as the equipment they plug into, but these add-ons are capable of transforming Lexicon's PCM80 effects processor into a completely different beast, as Paul White discovers.
As Mackie's new 1402 VLZ goes a long way to bridging the gap between their original 1202 and 1604, it comes as no surprise that the new 1604 VLZ has evolved a whole new range of features. Paul White checks out the update of this steel-clad classic...
Stereo Analogue Filter
The predictability of modern digital sound sources, while convenient, may have you longing for some of the chaotic complexity of analogue. Paul Nagle looks at an analogue filter which could put the surprise back into your music.
Drum Synth Module
British company Novation made their name with the BassStation synth, which offered dance music producers instantly tweakable, analogue-style synth sounds in a MIDI-controllable package. The new DrumStation applies the same formula to the de rigueur dance sounds of Roland TR 808 and TR809 drum machines. Paul Nagle moves from station to station...
The SOS team test out a bunch of gear for this month's product roundup.
Dynamic & Back-electret Microphones
Shure have recently updated and augmented their 7-year old Beta microphone range. Paul White assesses the newcomers alongside the rest of the range.
20-Input Mic-line Mixer
First observed by the SOS team at the bottom of an aquarium at this year's Frankfurt Musikmesse, Spirit by Soundcraft's new Folio SX mixer has now arrived. Paul White dries it off and removes the goldfish droppings from the insert points.
This year's show-stealer at Frankfurt's Musik Messe, Steinberg's Cubase VST isn't just another 'MIDI plus Audio' sequencer — it adds the effects and processing options hitherto only available in expensive TDM systems, for the same price as the previous, non-audio version of Cubase. Is this the perfect desktop recording environment? Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser find out.
Analogue Synth Module
With prices for an original Roland TB303 as high as £1000 on the open market, it is unsurprising that the last two years have seen a number of manufacturers attempting to emulate the 303 in a cheaper, MIDI'd form. Martin Russ checks out the latest pretender to the throne...
Removable External SCSI drive
Where can you store all those long samples and audio files? Paul White checks out one possible answer.
Dual Cassette Deck
Paul White takes Tascam's new dual cassette deck into the studio for practical trials.
People + Opinion
Digital Technology & The Modern Musician, Part 1
Computers helped former BBC engineer Clive Williamson and his band Symbiosis through all the stages of CD production, right through to finished discs and artwork. In the first of a two-part series, he explains how he brought digital technology and traditional musicians together to create atmospheric ambient music.
Interview | Artist
Gary Numan's music epitomises the electro-pop era and undoubtedly helped boost synth sales in the early '80s. with the chart re-entry of his classic hit single 'Cars' Numan is approaching his third decade in pop. Jonathan Miller receives a lesson in the art of survival...
Interview | Band
It's taken a couple of years, but 808 State have at last emerged from a variety of studios with a sleek new album, the superbly-crafted Don Solaris. Mat Bell talks to head of State Graham Massey.
Interview | Producer
Nigel Shaw isn't signed to a record company, yet sales from the multiple albums he's produced in his home studio enable him to make a good living from his talents. Paul Tingen talks to him about the business of independent music
Interview | Engineer
With years of record label legal wrangles finally behind him, George Michael set about making an album to put him back at the top of the charts and consolidate his status as serious artist/producer. Working the desks on the Older sessions at SARM West was engineer Paul Gomersall, who tells Mark Cunningham about the making of the album.
Interview | Manufacturer
There are now more recording media and data storage formats than ever before. Paul White catches up with Pro Tape's Richard Symons, to discuss the role of tape in a multi-platform future.
SOS reader, songwriter and freelance producer Steven Robinson has some strong opinions on the state of pop music today. In this month's stream of invective, he gets some of it off his chest.
How To Become A Record Producer, Part 7
As the final mix looms, the end of the producer's job draws near. But which approach to mixing is best? David Mellor fires up the Moulinex.
Faced with the unfinished album sessions on analogue tape and a studio full of PCs and digital gear, Brian Heywood gets a chance to find out how flexible modern equipment really is.
The C-Lab Falcon MkX has flown through its CE tests and finally landed in the UK. Ofir Gal checks the spec and assesses the new machine's chances of taking off.
Playback | Readers' Music Reviewed
Nation To Nation * Contribution * More Unfriendly People In My Backyard * 4 Sight * Andrew Lloyd * Wild Bunch * Obscure State Of Mind * Jonathan Ovin * The Bartoks
Tips & Techniques
Conventional wisdom states that you can't 'fix it in the mix', but that doesn't mean you cant' try! Paul White discusses a few practical salvage techniques in the first part of this short series.
Martin Russ surveys his dying Mac IIsi and ponders the purchase of a new model. Will he go for leading-edge Power or a last-generation bargain?
Tips & Tricks
When using effects, it's all too easy to add noise to your mix — and it's not always the fault of your effects unit. Paul White offers a few practical tips for achieving quieter mixes.