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This month, we've got together with Samplebase and controller experts Novation to give away a fabulous bundle of goodies comprising every one of the Samplebase SoundBlocks and a Novation Remote SL37 controller. But this isn't your usual SOS competition. To enter, you need to create a track using Samplebase's products (which can include the free Ignition SoundBlock and Satellite content player). Songs can either be composed entirely of Samplebase SoundBlocks or can include other sound sources (including vocals), so long as the songs that are submitted prominently feature Samplebase sounds.
Akai have long been the predominant name in hip-hop beat creation, thanks to their MPC range. Can they continue this success with that increasingly rare thing, a drum machine?
Software Synth & Hardware Controller
Arturia's 'hybrid instrument' teams a custom keyboard with their massive synth patch library plug-in. Is this the way forward for hardware/software integration?
Audio Interface [Mac/PC]
If you need a compact audio interface, the paperback-sized Duafire from ESI might be just the thing to slip into your laptop bag.
Dynamics & EQ Processors [Mac/Windows]
Flux claim that their plug-ins combine simplicity and sophistication, thanks to their unusual interface design and novel controls. Let's find out...
Noise-reduction Software [Mac/PC]
Izotope are the latest developers to release a suite of tools for tackling problem audio. As well as the usual noise-reduction algorithms, RX also includes clip reduction and an advanced 'spectral repair' module.
Active Studio Monitors
Last year Mackie impressed us with their HR Mk2 series of studio monitors, but they've now introduced new models at roughly half the price. Surely this means there are compromises?
Semi-modular Vacuum Tube Synthesizer
The Wretch Machine sounds absolutely terrible — but that's exactly as its creators, Metasonix, intended. To see what valve-powered synthesis can do for you, read on...
Vocal Harmony Plug-in [Mac/PC]
Vocal harmonies can add gloss to a musical production, but if you don't have access to a group of first-rate session singers, does software really provide a viable alternative?
Multi-pattern Valve Microphone
Newmann (no, that's not a typo...) are a small British company aiming to make affordable high-quality mics with a vintage flavour. It's a laudable aim, but have they achieved it?
Scorewriting Software For Guitarists
With the emphasis on affordability and ease of use, Notion Music's latest notation package is aimed squarely at guitarists.
Hot new sound library releases
• Zero-G Phaedra
Software Synth [Mac/PC]
Like a Cold War spy, Olga is not as Russian as it first appears, but still hides a great deal of mystery and intrigue...
Portable Digital Recorder
The field recorder market just got a little more crowded, but does Tascam's take on the portable two-track concept add anything new?
You can have TL Audio's new series of vintage-styled valve devices in any colour you like — as long as it's black!
Digital Mixer & Audio Interface
Designed to integrate with Cubase, and featuring new preamps and compressors, Yamaha's N-series digital mixers have been causing quite a stir. Could the N12 be the centrepiece of your project studio?
People + Opinion
Producing Nick Cave, Kate Bush... and Snoop Dogg
From PIL and Kate Bush to Nick Cave and Arcade Fire, Nick Launay has built a career working with artists who like to explore the outer limits.
Recording A Virtual Landslide
When Grammy-award winning producer Liam Watson met country-folk singer Pete Molinari, they discovered a shared love of '50s country music, and decided to make an album that would hark back to the glory days of Nashville recording.
Readers' Music Reviewed
More of your submissions get the once-over by the SOS editorial staff. Sponsored by breed-media.co.uk.
'4 Minutes' by Madonna, Timbaland, Marcella Araica
Madonna's popularity shows no sign of flagging, thanks in part to her ability to seek out cutting-edge production talent. Producer and mixer Demo Castellon explains how he shaped her latest chart-topper.
SOS Editor In Chief Paul White wonders if the present economic downturn might lead to greater creativity?
Is it time for MySpace to get down to business?
Protect your software investment
When you buy music software, you're not paying for a physical object, but a licence that resides on a small plastic key. How can you protect your investment, and what happens if something goes wrong?
Logic Notes & Techniques
We covered the basics of score production last month; now it's time to learn more about presentation, with the aim of creating scores that really look the part.
Hear For Yourself
Here are the URL links to the audio examples that accompany and enhance the July 2008 Guitar Technology article on getting BIG sounds from small amps.
Producers: Devo, Robert Margouleff • Engineers: Robert Margouleff, Howard Siegel
Armed with a subversive view of society and a command of catchy synth-pop, Devo burst into the charts in 1980 with weird classic 'Whip It'. Producer Robert Margouleff talks de-evolution...
Digital Performer Notes & Techniques
DP's Drum Editor provides a unique environment for programming and editing MIDI data, free from the 'piano roll' - and it's not just for drums, either. We look at how to get the best from this great feature.
This month we consider the return of Power PC processor technology to Apple, and also investigate how adding Apple's RAID card to the latest Mac Pro can improve audio performance.
In a departure from the norm, we take Mix Rescue on location and get back into the swing of mixing on hardware!
Hear For Yourself
Links to Audio files mentioned within JULY 08's Mix Rescue article.
Reason Notes & Techniques
Reason 4's overhauled sequencer is now more powerful but has caused head-scratching amongst users. If you're one of the confused, read on...
Sonar Notes & Techniques
Why take two digital audio programs into the studio, when you can optimise Sonar to do many of the common tasks you'd expect to need a dedicated audio editor for?
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
Our recent explorations of the new software synthesizers introduced in Cubase 4 conclude with a tour around Spector...
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
Here are the URL links to the audio examples that accompany and enhance the July 2008 Cubase Notes article.
Improving a 'boxy' garage studio
We take a distance-learning approach this month, to help US reader Jody Whitesides improve the sound of his home studio.
The newly released Service Pack 3 will be the last one ever issued for Windows XP — and XP itself is due to go 'off the market' at the end of June. Are there any implications for the thousands of XP-using musicians out there?
How top engineers use their most important effect
If you've ever spent hours mixing only to be confronted with a wall of mud, you might need to think harder about how to use reverb and delay in your mixes — and some simple tricks can yield dramatic results.
Hear For Yourself
Links to audio files that accompany the JULY 2008 front cover article on Reverb.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
When your Pro Tools mix is finished, you'll need to export it as a stereo file. We explain why the obvious Bounce To Disk option might not be the best choice for you...
Deal Or No Deal?
The role of the producer is changing, and whether you're freelancing for record companies or developing new bands independently, it's vital to put your relationship with label and artist on a solid legal footing.
LIMS/SRT and Summer NAMM 2008 shows
This month, SOS News Editor Chris Mayes-Wright brings you a round-up of June 2008's London International Music Show and the Summer NAMM Show held in Nashville, Tennessee. Hear interviews with API, Alesis, Belkin, C-Thru Music, Joemeek, Moog, Neumann, Roland and Toft Audio, all recorded on the show floor in Music City.