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Prize kindly donated by Focusrite: +44 (0)1494 462246 www.focusrite.com
Designed in Europe and built in China, AKG's latest studio mic aims to deliver value for money.
These stylish new powered monitors sit alongside the M1 Active MkII, rather than replacing it, and won't break the bank.
Software Loop Player [Mac/PC]
Working with musical loops is now a well-established part of the musical mainstream. Could you do with One more tool to get the job done?
With a versatile range of features and exceptional sound quality, AMS Neve's latest piece of outboard technology manages to be more than the sum of its parts.
Rotary Speaker Effects Pedal
The latest box of tricks from Boss is a pedal-based Leslie speaker simulator with some cool flashing lights.
Software Synth [Mac OS X /Win XP]
Cakewalk's latest virtual instrument takes traditional subtractive synthesis as its starting point, but offers a degree of flexibility that is unimaginable in any hardware instrument.
Modelled Tonewheel Organ
Having served up convincing hardware emulations of the legendary Minimoog and Prophet V analogue synths, Creamware turn their attention to the mighty Hammond B3 organ.
Hardware Control Surfaces For Pro Tools
Digidesign's D-Command and D-Control represent perhaps the most ambitious attempt yet to integrate recording and mixing systems. Do these Icons symbolise the future of digital audio workstations, or are they merely expensive control surfaces for Pro Tools?
DPA have used their hi-tech miniature microphone capsules to produce a pair of mics that you can use on just about any sound source.
Software Sampler [Windows]
Not content with adding a huge raft of improvements to their already comprehensive Emulator X soft sampler, Emu have also removed the need to use it with their own soundcards, so now everyone can get in on the fun.
Virtual Instrument [Mac/PC]
Gary Garritan's powerfully expressive solo violin instrument features some impressive technical innovations. Will it create a new generation of virtual Paganinis?
Modelling Reverb Plug-in [Mac OS X/Windows]
The convolution revolution has left a gap in the market for a high-quality reverb based on more traditional room-modelling techniques. IK's suite of plug-ins looks to fill the void.
Electrical noise — hiss, buzz and hum — is something that plagues every electric guitarist to some degree, but noise comes in a variety of forms and it is important to establish exactly which kind(s) you are experiencing in order to devise an appropriate solution.
Four hot Sample Collections get the SOS Sample Shop review treatment: • Big Fish Audio Chill • Best Service Chris Hein Horns Volume 1 • M-Audio Premium Electric Pianos • Loopmasters Soulful House Sessions
DSP Plug-in Processor
This sleek silver box promises to bring all the mixing power of a 32-channel SSL console into your computer recording setup.
We check out this suprisingly versatile member of Mackie's affordable Tapco family.
Plug-in Bundle [Windows/Mac OS X]
The latest incarnation of Wave Arts' plug-in suite is a treat for the eyes and the ears.
Software Synthesizer [Mac/PC]
Can this in-depth software emulation of the ARP 2600 improve on Arturia's existing 2600V?
People + Opinion
Some of the more interesting correspondence we receive at SOS towers.
Recording Morph The Cat
Morph The Cat, Donald Fagen's third solo album in 24 years, sees Fagen and engineer Elliott Scheiner continue their quest for the best possible sound quality — which, it seems, comes only from analogue recording.
Folk Music For The 21st Century
The idea of bringing folk music up to date is not a new one, but few people have taken it quite as far as Jim Moray. His material may be traditional, but his approach to music technology is as modern as it gets.
Paul White's Leader
Editor In Chief Paul White ponders ways to make recordings on a tight budget...
They certainly need talent... Harry Webley ponders their place in the universe.
Yellow Magic Orchestra Goes Latino
Japan's YMO helped pioneer the use of electronic instruments and sampling. Now Uwe Schmidt, aka Señor Coconut, has used the same techniques to render their greatest hits as Latin dances, with contributions from all three original YMO members.
Live Tips & Techniques
Ableton Live isn't just a DJ tool, but a very capable DAW. This month we begin a look at how to approach Live if you want to use it as a fully fledged audio sequencer.
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
When sequencers first allowed you to record musical notes in real time, one of the features that became ubiquitous in all systems was quantisation. Here we take a look at how quantise has evolved and is currently used in Cubase SX.
It's been an interesting four years for Mac-based audio engineers and musicians since Apple acquired Emagic, so this month we take the opportunity to acknowledge the anniversary and consider what's changed over this time and what's still to come.
Digital Performer Tips & Techniques
Last month, we passed briefly over the flashier additions to the latest version of DP, in favour of some less obvious but rather useful new features. Now it's time to return for a closer look at those shiny new bundled instruments...
Buss-powering USB and Firewire peripherals from a laptop seems like a good idea, cutting down on annoying power supplies and keeping everything portable — but it's not quite as straightforward as you might imagine.
Producer: Mike Chapman • Engineers: David Tickle, Pete Coleman
In 1979, at the end of a 13-way bidding war, The Knack went into the studio to record their debut single — a debut single that would go gold in seven days and sell six million copies worldwide. This is the story of how it came to be...
Logic Tips & Techniques
The facilities for surround sound in Logic Pro v7 are often overlooked, so here we take a peek at how to get going.
Rather appropriately, we round off this series by looking at what you need to consider when composing music designed to play while the end credits roll...
Sonar Tips & Techniques
Sonar offers several ways to mix, but is that a benefit or a source of confusion? Learn what the various mix modes do and you can choose the one that's right for your project.
This month, Dave Rogers' dance track gets a dose of production 'fairy dust'. Use the SOS Music Player to audition the changes.
Across The Board
Mixing music might seem like a black art, but here's a simple approach to help the newcomer get their tracks together.
Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
We follow up our comprehensive round-up of mastering limiter plug-ins for Pro Tools with a look at hot new products from three further manufacturers.
Open Source Graphical Programming Environment
Pure Data lets you process audio and MIDI within a powerful modular environment, and lets you combine it easily with video, custom hardware controllers, light shows, and even robotics. But, best of all, it's free!
The totally software studio, with sound quality at least as good as that offered by studio hardware, is now more feasible than ever before. But what are the factors to consider if you're going to go completely 'soft'?
This month's task for the SOS crew involves stripping down Simon McEvoy's entire studio to improve the acoustics and ergonomics.
Reason Tips & Techniques
The grey Spider devices look mild-mannered and unassuming — but they have super-powers that can unlock the hidden reserves of Reason's sound-making devices, as well as solving a host of more mundane problems.
Today The Bedroom, Tomorrow The World!
Thanks to iTunes, online music distribution is a reality — but can you really use it to make money from your own music?
I need a new soundcard, as I'm upgrading to a 64-bit system, and I've been looking at M-Audio's Delta 1010 and Delta 1010LT. What's the difference between them and will they work with my new machine?
I'm planning to build a shed studio with concrete walls, no windows and a drop-down ceiling. Will it be necessary to build a 'room within a room' to achieve decent soundproofing?
I've been thinking about using the DAT backup/restore function to back up my Akai 3200XL sample library...
Is there an easy way to measure speaker angles and distances for surround sound?
Years ago I touched a guitar that was plugged into an amp against a radiator, and it blew the amp and melted the guitar string. Afterwards someone told me that this was caused by a ground loop. Can you explain?