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Adaptec's Toast is already the most widely used CD-burning software for the Mac, thanks to licensing deals that have seen it given away with most CD writers. The latest update sees it now being sold as part of a tasty bundle, incorporating other useful applications and a CD labelling device. Mike Simmons finds out if it's too good to be true...
Cardioid Capacitor Microphones
Groove Tubes' latest trio of microphones offer a choice of diaphragm and circuit designs at competitive prices. Paul White examines the sibling rivalry...
Martin Walker checks out some essential new plug-ins for your favourite DAW.
Bitheadz'Unity DS1 is one of the best-established software samplers, and the latest incarnation offers several major new features, including DirectConnect support for use with Pro Tools. Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser sample its delights.
Debuzzer & Corrector
We looked at Cedar's three Series X audio-restoration processors last month. This issue sees Hugh Robjohns correcting his azimuth and removing his buzzes with the two latest additions to the company's catalogue...
It would take a lot to convince your average engineer, producer or programmer to abandon their trusty hardware sampler, but Creamware may finaly tip the balance with their new PCI sampling card. Martin Walker never says 'never' again...
Nearfield Studio Monitors
Spanish loudspeaker manufacturer DAS have launched two nearfield monitors with more than a hint of luxury about them. Hugh Robjohns sits back and listens...
There is a vast array of digital converters on the market, but relatively few offer 96kHz capabilities, and fewer still provide built-in sample-rate conversion. Hugh Robjohns checks out the latest offering from Digital Audio Denmark.
8-bit Sampling Keboard
Unil the EII came along, Paul Wiffen had no time for sampling as a musical tool. But when he found all the filtering and enveloping he was used to from analogue synthesis, plus a sound fidelity which he hadn't heard before, he was a convert...
Built in to the same box as Emu's flagship Proteus 2000 comes the Xtreme Lead 1, a dance-based 64-voice, 16-part multitambral sound module with 32Mb of onboard sampled ROM sounds. But is it as powerful as it is bright? Paul Farrer finds out.
The latest Joemeek processor to benefit from the company's Meequaliser technology is the new incarnation of the VC1. Paul White racks it up...
Guitar Recording Preamp
Physical modelling has always held out the best hope for producing realistic miked-up amp tones from a DI processor, and many recording guitarists found their prayers answered when Line 6 launched the Pod. But does this new contender in the field have anything more to offer? Dave Lockwood gets physical with the J Station.
Rhythm Production Sampler
Korg's Electribe family of instruments aims to combine cutting-edge dance sounds with an easy-to-use interface. Nicholas Rowland meets the latest member, the ES1 desktop sampler.
Two years after its launch, Roland's innovative SP808 sampling workstation has undergone a dramatic change in appearance, and also now benefits from new effects and improved Zip drive storeage. Chris Carter embarks on an affair with an EX...
Roland's impressive range of 'next generation' instruments have seen the company share a number of new technologies across a wide range of products. The latest of these is the VA7, an arranger keyboard which incorporates their revolutionary Variphrase technology. Paul Farrer makes arrangements...
2-channel Dynamics Processor
Paul White checks out the new two-channel version of SPL's innovative dynamics processor.
Computer Recording System
Steinberg believe that now that PCs are so powerful, the days of dedicated DSP farm for professional computer-based recording systems are over. Martin Walker enters the native processing world of Nuendo.
24-track Hard Disk Recorder
Tascam's MX2424 hard disk recorder aims to provide professional 24-track digital recording features at an affordable price, combining the simplicity of tape recorder-style operation with the flexibility of computer editing. Paul White finds out how well it achieves these aims.
Guitar Amp Modeller
Paul White gives Zoom's new low-cost modelling guitar preamp the once over.
People + Opinion
A new interfacing standard is just around the corner which can carry digital audio, MIDI, timecode and hard drive communications down a single cable, in addition to the digital video and multimedia signals which the likes of Sony, Apple and others are already sending down it. Paul Wiffen, long an advocate of high-speed digital interfaces, investigates and finds that he may just have a new religion to evangelise.
The SOS team drop in on another reader's studio.
Jon Thompson explains how online distribution can work for new music — but only if you get in at the ground floor...
Interview | Collector
Martin Newcomb opened his vast collection of rare electronic instruments to the public, but the public stayed at home. Now, therefore, he's changed his plans and built a studio — but some amazing vintage synths still feature prominently. Gordon Reid finds out more from Martin and studio designer Kevin Van Green.
Interview | Producer
Mousse T's radio remix of the song 'Sex Bomb' has sold a million copies across Europe and has once again revived sales of Tom Jones' Reload. Mike Senior talks mixing and remixing with the influential German producer.
The music business is in the midst of legal battles instigated by MP3. Dave Shapton argues that these problems are partly due to misconceptions about the technology and its consequences for the distribution of music.
Interview | Producer/Engineer
Vintage producer/engineer Nigel Bates was one of the original devotees of the PPG Wave digital synthesizer, an instrument that is still a mainstay of his music. These days, he's also enthsiastic in his use of the latest software-based mixing tools. Paul Wiffen finds out more about his fusion of the classic and the cutting-edge. Extra material by Sam Inglis and Matt Bell.
Feature | Tips & Tricks
In 1924 George Antheil wrote a piece of music which required 16 synchronised player pianos playing four different parts, along with a bizarre human ensemble. But it took 75 years before Antheil's dream of a gigantic machine-controlled performance was fully realised, using MIDI, by US-based musician and SOS contributor Paul D Lehrman. In this two-part feature, he explains how this two-year project reached fruition.
Tips & Tricks
Hugh Robjohns looks at how a music track for film or video is handled at the dubbing stage, and explains much of the jargon associated with this element of a programme's construction.
Feature | Tips & Tricks
We've all lusted after the shiny new gear that appears month after month in the pages of Sound On Sound — but how do you know what will make a real difference to your recordings and what will be an expensive luxury? Paul White picks out the areas where money will be well spent, and the products that will take your sound up a gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Confused by word clock? When is it best to normalise a signal? Are optical cables a con? Paul White answers these and other questions we're most often asked about digital audio.
Derek Johnson rediscovers an entire family of software from lost developer Hybrid Arts.
Vic Lennard gives soume sound advice on hard disk partitioning and also points the way to some useful free music notation software.
Readers' Music Reviewed
Einstein's Daughter * Passionhouse * Anechoic * The Missing * Robert Brown * M. Collison * Suzanne Neumann * Mark Hutchinson * DJ Gord * Ms Muffin
Tips & Tricks
In the first part of a new series, Paul White looks at the business of setting up a desktop computer-based studio. The first stage of planning is to determine exactly what you want your system to be capable of.
Tips & Tricks
Cheaper and larger-capacity hard drives are becoming available all the time. Martin Walker takes a look at ways for PC musicians to manage this ever-expanding audio storage space.
Tips & Tricks
Gordon Reid introduces the synthesis modules that allow you to create a number of commonly used 'random' effects, and their close relatives — analogue sequencers.
• Read all parts
Utilities for monitoring CPU usage and file accesses are less than entertaining, but Martin Walker finds them invaluable for finding out what's going on inside his PC...
Demand is continuing to grow for training courses in sound engineering and in the business of modern music. Derek Johnson & Debbie Poyser explore some web-based information sources to help you decide which course is for you.
Many home-studio users are moving from systems based around a simple analogue mixer to MIDI + Audio sequencers. These packages include 'virtual' mixer surfaces that can be somewhat daunting when compared with basic hardware mixers. Paul White explains some of the differences and smooths the upgrade path...
Feature | Tips & Tricks
This month Big George adds an extra layer of fulfilment to your music... fun.
Q & A
Q. How can I avoid over-sibilant vocal recordings?
Q. Why can't I use Freeverb with Cool Edit 2000?
Q. Is my sample legal?
Q. How can I get two different audio programs to both use my SW1000XG soundcard?