July 2003 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN MXL Valve Mics

Deadline: 2003-08-29

Reviews

Apple 17-Inch Powerbook

Laptop Computer

With the largest screen ever featured on a portable computer, Apple's flagship laptop would be tempting even if it didn't offer lots of musician-friendly features such as versatile connectivity and quiet operation...

Arturia Moog Modular V

Virtual Modular Synth For Mac & PC

For their latest software instrument, Arturia have taken on the tough job of modelling a modular synth — and it's the granddaddy of them all, a Moog modular... Switched-on software or spaghetti junction? We find out.

Audio Technica AT3060

Phantom-powered Valve Microphone

This ground-breaking new tube mic design can run directly from phantom power. But how does it sound?

Blue Sky Pro Desk

Active Monitoring System

Blue Sky provide their innovative speaker technology, first seen in the Sky System One, in a new and more compact system.

Creamware Noah

Instrument-modelling Hardware Synthesizer

Software instruments are flexible, upgradeable, and frequently offer better user interfaces, while hardware offers better tactile feedback and is easier to use live. But what if you could combine the plus points of both? Enter the Noah...

Demeter RV1

Dual Spring Reverb

Just what you've always wanted — a high-spec spring reverb for the digital age!

Echo Indigo

PCMCIA Headphone Output For Laptop Computers

Your laptop computer probably already has a headphone output - but does it offer low-latency 24-bit ASIO, GSIF, MME, Direct Sound and Core Audio drivers? Echo's Indigo does.

Flatpack

Sample Library

4*

Hammond B3

Modelled Electromechanical Tonewheel Organ

Synthesized, sampled, or modelled, the Hammond B3 tonewheel organ has inspired many imitations over the years. Now, for 15 thousand pounds, you can own Hammond's attempt at recreating the original. How close have they come? We consider this year's Model...

Making Waves Studio

Loop-based Music Production Software For Windows

Making Waves have been developing their eponymous looping software to include new features such as VST Instrument support and high sample-rate recording, while retaining its core virtues of simplicity and low hardware requirements.

RME Hammerfall DSP 9652

Soundcard For Mac & PC

RME have added MIDI I/O and extensive DSP facilities to their well-regarded Hammerfall digital soundcard. Will the new Hammerfall DSP keep its place as a benchmark for audio interface design?

Scoring Pack 1

Sample Library

Cinematix Vol. 1: 3*
James Johnson Spektral Minimalism: 5*
Robert Rich Ambient Atmospheres & Rhythms: 4*
Numina Emotional Peak Sounds For Cinema: 5*
Orchestral Series 3: Cinematic: 4*

Sibelius G7

Mac & PC Notation Software For Guitarists

Sibelius Software have won over the classical music community with their well-regarded score-writing software. Can their new G7 package do the same for guitarists?

Sonic-O-Tool 2

Sample Library

5*

Steinberg Groove Agent

Virtual Drummer VST Instrument For Mac & PC

If you don't fancy programming drums from scratch, but you find pre-recorded drum loops too inflexible, perhaps what you need is Steinberg's virtual drummer...

Synapse Audio Orion Platinum

Software Studio For Windows

Synapse Audio's Orion is now supplied platinum-coated and, with only a modest price rise over the Pro version, is also available in a cardboard box.

Tascam CDGT1

CD Guitar Trainer

Tascam's colourful new CDGT1 lets you easily practice playing or singing alongside your favourite CD.

TFPro P3

Recording Channel

The latest update of Ted Fletcher's ubiquitous half-rack recording channel.

The Sound Guy SFX Machine RT

Plug-In Folder

The Sound Guy SFX Machine RT: PC & Mac OS 9 VST, Mac OS X VST & AU

Yamaha MG16/4

Mixing Console

A new entry-level mixer for simple recording and monitoring tasks.

Zoom MRS802

Digital Multitracker

A complete studio in a box, for around the cost of a decent software sequencing package.

People + Opinion

Ben Hillier

Recording Blur, Tom McRae & Elbow

Blur's latest album has taken the band 18 months to make, commuting between London, Devon and Morocco. Somehow, producer Ben Hillier also found the time to produce new records by Elbow and Tom McRae...

Business End

The Audio Journal, Izernega, Pho Aureel 3.2

Chad Muska & Dave Roen

Recording Rappers In The SoHo Grand Hotel

A gaggle of famous MCs, a star of the extreme sports world, and a laptop recording setup in a hotel bedroom: could the MuskaBeatz project show the way ahead for rap music?

Crosstalk

Readers writes

Demo Doctor

Duncan Rowe: Top Demo

Duncan Rowe = Top Demo
Cosmic Puppet
Fret, Martin Rigby, Ben Mayer, Paul Rose

Four Tet

Kieran Hebden: Recording Rounds

Goldfrapp

Will Gregory: Recording Black Cherry

It seems that almost everyone who's heard Goldfrapp's debut album Felt Mountain has fallen under their spell. Now the duo have returned with a second, Black Cherry, and a harder, synth-based sound.

Leader

Too Many Hooks Spoil The Broth

There are very few hit records or classic albums that couldn't have been made using 24 tracks or less, and where more tracks were used, it's often the case that the drum kit and unused vocal takes accounted for over half of them. These days, with virtual tracks at our disposal, alternative takes cost us nothing. SOS Editor-in-chief Paul White proffers more words of wisdom...

Recording Solomon Burke's Don't Give Up On Me

S Husky Hoskulds

The success of soul legend Solomon Burke's comeback album is a testament to the virtues of keeping things simple in the studio.

Sounding Off

Using Real Drummers

We can argue about copyright ownership until the cows come home, but the real issue is not who owns it, but who played it?

Technique

Construct your own matrix sequencer

Logic Notes

Re-live the hardware of the early synth pioneers this month, as we show you how to construct your very own matrix sequencer in the Environment.

Cutting Edge

MediazGo; Window Media Centre Edition; NAB

This month we investigate two new technologies from Microsoft that could change the way we use audio and video for entertainment; plus, as video becomes more pervasive in the music technology market, we look at some of the latest announcements from NAB.

Digital Audio Clocking

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

The subject of clocking in digital audio systems is often a hazy area of understanding among us users, perhaps because we've been turned off by propellerheads who love arguing about it. Here's what you need to know in Pro Tools from a practical angle.

Eliminating PC Audio Glitches

PC Musician

Few things are more frustrating than unwanted clicks and pops in your recorded audio. But what are the main causes, and how can they be eliminated?

Freeze Tracks; AUs; Audio Hijack Pro; Rax

Digital Performer Notes

More on DP4 and OS X this month, including the new 'Freeze Tracks' feature...

IDE Drives For Music - RAID Arrays

Macintosh Speed Tests

Traditionally, SCSI drives give high sequencer track counts while IDE drives are more affordable but perform less well. Can you obtain better Mac sequencer performance and save money by using multiple IDE drives? We present some evidence...

Identifying & Solving Mains Supply Problems

In The Mains

Most of us never have trouble with the electricity in our studios — but as with everything we take for granted, fixing problems can be difficult when they do arise. We look at some of the main problems and solutions.

Macro Facility

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

This month we take another look at Cubase's Macro facility and discuss a selection of examples for adding some rather neat features to the program.

Q & A

How do I connect my SCSI drive to my VS multitracker? What's the difference between Humanise and Groove Quantise? How can I get rid of a standing wave? What's the difference between pan and balance? Can I record control voltages on my sampler? Which PC and monitors should I buy? What's wrong with my AKG valve mic? Can I use multiple ASIO drivers in Nuendo? What compressor settings should I use for the spoken word? What is the best way to mic up a choir? Why are the waveforms of the miked and direct signals different? When should I use an effect as an insert, and when as a send? Can I get 3D spatial effects from a plug-in? What's the difference between velcity and volume? What's wrong with my power amp? How can I restore my old half-inch tapes? How do I set up a condenser mic for vocal recording and which mic should I buy?

Recording A Jazz Band On Location

We follow a location recording project from start to finish, showing you how to plan for and conduct the session, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls.

Sequencer Delay Masterclass:

Using Your Sequencer's Delay Effects

Although delay can be one of the most simple studio effects, software delay plug-ins often provide a bewildering array of options. So we take a look at what all the sliders and switches do, and provide advice on how best to use them.

Sonar Notes

Track down hidden sources of distortion, make your audio playback more reliable, and manage your window Layouts.

Studio SOS

Allan Murrell

This month the intrepid SOS team travel to Wigan to address Allan Murrell's recording, monitoring and mixing problems.

Synth Secrets

Articulation & Bowed-string Synthesis

The skilful articulation of a synthesized string patch can improve it no end, even one created using very basic building blocks, as we saw at the end of last month. But we can take this approach much further...

Tweaking Extensions To Boost System Performance

Apple Notes

It's history in OS X, but extension management is a subject every OS 9 user has to deal with. This month, we offer some final advice on the subject and see if tweaking extensions really can boost your system's performance.

Use Old Computers As Standalone Effects & Instrument Racks

PC Notes

This month we offer a few suggestions about using your old computers as stand-alone effects and and instrument racks, and look at a utility to remap incoming MIDI velocities.

What Mic Should I Buy First?

We answer one of the most common queries from those just starting out with home recording.

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