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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
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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 have built on the technology from their respected NTK to develop this affordable new multi-pattern valve mic.
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?
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?
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.
Analogue Effect Pedals
Two new effect pedals from the celebrated synth manufacturer provide serious modulation flexibility within a stomp-box format.
People + Opinion
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.
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.
Replies to a few more of your letters, emails, and faxes.
So you think missing a lecture of your music tech course won't harm your career prospects? Read on...
Shaun Hayward & Joe Kenny
Shaun Hayward & Joe Kenny of Chunc Productions reveal their gear setup and musical motivations.
Who'd want to be a writer of manuals? The endless showbiz parties, awards, book-signings and... hang on a minute...
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.
The Aux object might seem a little arcane, but it's the key to a variety of useful Environment workarounds.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
PT version 6.4 comes with some surprising and long-awaited new features.
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.
The SOS team help Peter May to brush up his drum sounds and put more life into his mixes.
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.
After over five years, Synth Secrets reaches its conclusion (and conclusions!). Will we ever look at synthesis in quite the same way again?
This month we look at clever envelope tricks, as well as how to transfer projects between DAWs that speak OMF.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
How is a '3D' effect achieved with two speakers?
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?