July 2004 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN Camel Audio Cameleon 5000 & CamelPhat v2 plug-ins

Deadline: 2004-08-30

This month we've teamed up with Camel to offer eight SOS readers the chance to win two of the company's plug-ins: the Cameleon 5000 additive synth and Camelphat v2, a flexible multi-effect plug-in.
Prizes kindly donated by Camel Audio www.camelaudio.com

Reviews

Antares Filter

Filter & Delay Plug-in (Mac/PC)

Antares certainly don't believe in the 'less is more' maxim, if this new filtering effect is anything to go by.

ART Digital MPA

Mic Preamp & A-D Converter

This new dual preamp from ART combines imaginative valve circuitry with more digital output options than you can shake a stick at!

Clavia Nord Modular G2

Software-controlled Modular Synth

The Nord Modular offered a classic blend of flexible software and well-designed hardware in 1998. But can the improved G2 keep up with the soft synths of 2004?

Digidesign Command 8

Control Surface For DAWs

With fader controllers, you often have a choice of buying something dedicated to one software package, or selecting a generic unit that gives versatility at the cost of tight integration. Digidesign's Command 8 aims to offer the best of both worlds.

Disco DSP Vertigo 2.0

Resynthesizing Additive Soft Synth (Win)

Disco DSP's additive synth plug-in offers both high-quality resynthesis, with up to 256 partials per note, and a novel 'spectral display' for editing your sounds.

Focusrite Liquid Channel

Recording Channel

Combining Focusrite's cutting-edge preamplification and A-D conversion with Sintefex's pioneering convolution technology, the Liquid Channel can mimic the most celebrated mic preamps and compressors ever designed. Could this be the only voice channel you'll ever need?

FXpansion VST To RTAS Adaptor

Plug-in Format Adaptor (Mac OS X & WinXP)

As the name suggests, FXpansion's utility allows VST effects and Instruments to be used in Pro Tools, but how well does it really work?

Korg Legacy Collection (Part 2)

Virtual Instrument/Hardware Controller

In the second part of our coverage of Korg's new collection of software instruments, we turn our attention to the virtual MS20, and the MS20-shaped hardware controller. Just how well do these renditions compare to the original?

Latest Sample CDs

Sample Library

Reviews/appraisals of the latest sample CDs:
Alma Flamenco MULTI-FORMAT; A Funky Future MULTI-FORMAT; Vienna Overdrive GIGASTUDIO/EXS24 MKII; Cuckooland Completely Bonkers MULTI-FORMAT.

Mission Pro SM6A

Active Nearfield Monitors

Although perhaps better known as a leading UK manufacturer of hi-fi speakers, Mission have now launched their first active nearfield specifically designed for studio use.

MOTU 828 MkII

Firewire Audio Interface (Mac/PC)

Three years ago, Mark Of The Unicorn were the first manufacturer to bring out a working Firewire interface. Now, they've replaced the 828 with a MkII version offering high sample-rate recording, more flexible clocking, MIDI I/O and better metering — and, what's more, they've cut the price.

Rode K2

Valve Microphone

Rode have built on the technology from their respected NTK to develop this affordable new multi-pattern valve mic.

Sibelius 3

Mac/PC Scorewriter

Over the last 10 years, Sibelius Software have built a reputation for providing what most musicians consider to be the leading score-writing software. Now, in version 3, they have teamed up with Native Instruments to provide enhanced playback facilities — but does this upgrade live up to the high standards set by previous releases?

Soundcraft Compact 10

Desktop Mixer

This slim new mixer has been designed from the ground up to cater specifically for computer studio users. But have Soundcraft got the balance of facilities right?

Steinberg Cubase System 4

USB Interface & Recording Software (Mac/PC)

Buying your hardware and software from the same manufacturer is usually a good bet for hassle-free recording. Steinberg's latest package bundles their Cubase SL 2 sequencer with a four-in, four-out USB interface.

Studio Electronics Modmax Filter & Phaser

Analogue Effect Pedals

Two new effect pedals from the celebrated synth manufacturer provide serious modulation flexibility within a stomp-box format.

People + Opinion

Arif Mardin: Producer

From Aretha Franklin to Norah Jones

Arif Mardin has engineered and produced an incredible array of classic records from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Diana Ross, the Bee Gees and Barbra Streisand — yet the runaway success of his recent work with Norah Jones threatens to overshadow even these achievements.

Business End

MPG evaluation of Readers' tracks

Listen to the music while you read constructive comments from MPG (Music Producers Guild) members on SOS readers' submitted recordings.

Crosstalk

Your correspondence

Replies to a few more of your letters, emails, and faxes.

Learning Difficulties

Leader

So you think missing a lecture of your music tech course won't harm your career prospects? Read on...

Readerzone

Shaun Hayward & Joe Kenny

Shaun Hayward & Joe Kenny of Chunc Productions reveal their gear setup and musical motivations.

Writing Manuals

Sounding Off

Who'd want to be a writer of manuals? The endless showbiz parties, awards, book-signings and... hang on a minute...

Wyclef Jean

Producer

In 1996, the Fugees came like a breath of fresh air into a world of hip-hop that was becoming stale around the edges. Now Wyclef Jean is a star in his own right, and has deployed his production talents for artists ranging from urban legends like Funkmaster Flex and Cypress Hill to Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and even Tom Jones.

Technique

Logic's Aux object

Logic Notes

The Aux object might seem a little arcane, but it's the key to a variety of useful Environment workarounds.

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'The Reflex'

Producers: Duran Duran, Alex Sadkin, Ian Little; Engineers: Phil Thornalley, Pete Schwier

When Duran Duran began work on their third album in 1983, they were already one of the biggest bands in the world — and with eight months of studio time and half a million pounds spent, huge expectations surrounded Seven And The Ragged Tiger...

Demo Doctor

Listen to Readers' own recordings

Think your music is good? Listen to these tracks and read the good Doctor's analysis of their good and bad points...

Future-proofing DP Projects

Digital Performer Notes

This month, Performer Notes concludes its look at DP's Consoles, and suggests some ways of 'future-proofing' your Projects against the relentless flow of application and plug-in updates.

Longhorn & Harbal

PC Notes

The Harbal EQ-matching program benefits from some worthwhile tweaks. We report them, and discuss some new information about Longhorn, the next incarnation of the Windows OS.

MIDI Config Problems In OS X; GarageBand Update

Apple Notes

The launch of Mac OS 10.4, codenamed Tiger, is just around the corner, but in the meantime there's the 1.1 update of GarageBand to be going on with. We reveal the improvements, as well as investigating MIDI configuration problems in OS X.

PC Music Freeware Roundup

PC Musician

Thanks to the Internet and the generosity of talented programmers all over the world, it's possible to assemble a PC music software suite for no money at all. We round up some of the best download sites and freebie programs.

Pro Tools v6.4 Update

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

PT version 6.4 comes with some surprising and long-awaited new features.

Reason Notes starts here!

Monthly column for Propellerhead Reason users

SOS's 2003 Reader Survey told us that you want our help in getting the best from this popular package — and we're happy to oblige with a new monthly column.

Studio SOS

Peter May

The SOS team help Peter May to brush up his drum sounds and put more life into his mixes.

The Key Editor; Cubase 2.2

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

The Key Editor is a seemingly straightforward MIDI editor, yet under its surface lie a number of features that can really speed up your editing tasks. We explain, as well as reporting on the new version 2.2 Cubase update.

The Secret Of The Big Red Button

Synth Secrets

After over five years, Synth Secrets reaches its conclusion (and conclusions!). Will we ever look at synthesis in quite the same way again?

Using OMF to transfer Sonar files

Sonar Notes

This month we look at clever envelope tricks, as well as how to transfer projects between DAWs that speak OMF.

Using Software Effects & Outboard

Masterclass

Get the most from your computer's CPU by learning how to put your effects plug-ins where they really count. Plus, find out how to increase your mixing power by incorporating hardware effects units into your software mixdown.

Music Business

Alternative Careers for Sound Engineers

New Directions

The music industry's down, but your passion for audio is still high. Fortunately, there are alternatives to working in the studio that can feed your fervency and still make you a living — perhaps even a better one.

Sound Advice

Q. Do I need to compress my audio before A-D conversion?

I\'ve been told that I should use an analogue compressor or voice channel with compression as a front end when recording digitally, as this will reduce the dynamic range of the input signal and make better use of the A-D converter\'s available bit depth. Is this true?

Q. How can I resolve an IRQ conflict?

My PC uses an Abit KR7A-133 motherboard (not RAID) running an Athlon Thoroughbred XP 2400 processor with 1GB of RAM. The expansion slots currently contain the following devices: AGP slot — Matrox G450 dual-head; PCI slot 1 — SCSI CD writer; PCI slot 2 — empty; PCI slot 3 — M Audio Audiophile; PCI slot 4 — empty ¥ PCI slot 5 — empty ¥ PCI slot 6 — TC Powercore. My motherboard manual says PCI 4 shares an IRQ with the two USB ports, and that PCI 1 shares with the AGP. My Audiophile currently has an IRQ to itself and so I'm not touching it. However, I need the Powercore to not share an IRQ. In my BIOS, it's not immediately clear how to specify which IRQ is for which slot, since it only allows me to set each IRQ to 'PCI Slot' or 'Reserve'. I don't understand what reserving means, but I have all the IRQs assigned to PCI, so why do some PCI slots need to share?

Q. How do I take care of my valve mic?

I've just got hold of an Oktava valve mic. Having not used one before, I was wondering if there are any general rules or guidelines I should be aware of when using valve mics?

Q. How does virtual surround work?

How is a '3D' effect achieved with two speakers?

Q. What kind of reel-to-reel tape recorder do I need?

A friend of mine has a couple of old stereo tape reels which he\'d like to transfer to CD. I\'ve seen a number of stereo reel-to-reel tape machines for sale and I\'m considering investing in one, probably a Studer or a Revox, not only to help out my friend, but also because I\'m interested in experimenting with tape loops and tape saturation effects. Are old machines by these manufacturers reliable? Are all recorders and players compatible? What different tape speeds are there? Finally, if I want to try editing tape, what equipment do I need?

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