September 2000 In This Issue

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Reviews

Akai DPS16

Digital Personal Studio

Competition in the world of 16-track recording workstations is hotting up, and Akai's new DPS16 looks to be a prime contender, with its impressive user interface and 24-bit/96kHz capabilities. Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser take it for a spin.

Amek Pure Path

Channel In A Box

Hugh Robjohns tests this fully-featured, dual path channel strip, with circuitry designed by the legendary Mr Rupert Neve.

CAD VX2

Large Diaphragm Valve Condenser Microphone

The flagship of the CAD range, the VX2 is a massive, dual-capsule, dual-valve condenser mic, with all the virtues associated with large-diaphragm tube mics. Hugh Robjohns drools...

Ego Sys Wami Rack 24

Digital Audio & MIDI Soundcard

A new PCI soundcard and breakout box system from Ego Sys combines analogue and digital audio, MIDI, and a host of synchronisation and driver options, and all without breaking the bank. Martin Walker wonders if this might be all you ever need...

Emagic EXS24

Virtual Sampler

Emagic's virtual sampler provides Logic Audio users with a practical alternative to hardware-based sampling. Paul White puts it to the test.

Emu Systems Emulator II

8-bit Sampling Keyboard, Part 2 (Retro)

Paul Wiffen continues his homage to the first 'musical' sampling keyboard, which brought sampling out of the dark ages of simple trigger playback and into the realm of filters, envelopes and performance controls which we take for granted on all modern samplers. The Emulator II was, as he explains, also responsible for other major innovations like on-board hard drives and CD-ROM libraries...

FMR RNC1773 'Really Nice' Compressor

Compressor

Paul White tries out a small, but highly effective stereo compressor with some unique features.

Focusrite Platinum Mix Master

Mastering Processor

Paul White tries a new analogue mastering processor that combines expansion, compression, EQ, width control and limiting in a single device.

MIllennium Garage

Sample Library

* Score = 5

Millennium Music

Custom-built PCs

Millennium Music are one of several UK companies who specialise in building PC systems to musicians' individual requirements. Martin Walker test-drives their service...

Mindprint T-Comp

Compressor

Paul White tries out a two channel compressor with tube 'warming' and optional digital I/O.

Oberheim/Viscount OB12

Analogue Modelling Synth

Legend has it that Sir Alec Guiness's character in Star Wars was named after Oberheim's original OB1 synthesizer; and, like that character, the OB-series has now overcome death to reappear in virtual form. Gordon Reid finds the new OB12 more powerful than he could possibly have imagined - at the price, at least...

Smart Sound P1000B & P2000

Mains Power Conditioners

Do you want to hear how good your audio equipment can really sound? Martin Walker investigates a product that may significantly improve the sound of your studio.

Sound Spectral

Sample Library

* Score = 4

Steinberg Cubase VST5.0

Multitrack Recording & Sequencing Software

PC users have had to wait almost two years for many of the improvements which graced version 4 of Steinberg's popular sequencing package on the Mac platform. Now, however, they've leapfrogged straight to version 5, a major upgrade which incorporates all of those improvements and more. Martin Walker finds out if the wait was worthwhile.

TC Works Spark

Modular Virtual Synthesis Software

TC have come up with a new twist on the analogue synth emulation theme by providing modular oscillator, filter and envelope blocks that can be combined with VST effects. Paul White tries a few variations.

Top Secret Guitars

Sample Library

* Score = 4

Vintage & Valves Bluesy Guitars

Sample Library

* Score = 3

Waldorf PPG Wave 2.V

Wavetable Synth VST Instrument

Waldorf have emulated the original PPG Wave digital synthesizer in software for use as a VST Instrument. Paul White tries out the virtual Wave.

Yamaha AW4416

Recording Workstation

Yamaha's AW4416 recording workstation, which debued at the NAMM show earlier this year, has been the subject of more reader inquiries at the SOS office than any other product in living memory. In this exclusive preview, Hugh Robjohns gets his hands on a prototype to find out what we have to look forward to...

Zoom GFX8

Guitar Effects Processor

John Walden puts his foot down to test-drive Zoom's GFX8 floor-mounted guitar direct recording and effects processor.

People + Opinion

An Introduction To mLAN, Part 2

Exploration

Last month, Paul Wiffen explained how he heard about mLAN — a new data-transfer protocol which will allow us to send audio, MIDI, and even video down one FireWire connector. This month, he finds out from Yoshi Sawada of Yamaha's mLAN development team how the system is likely to work in practice.

DAVE FRIDMANN: Producing Flaming Lips & Mercury Rev

Interview | Producer

Those who bemoan the lack of invention and experimentation in today's rock music must make an exception for Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips, two of America's finest and most successful 'alternative' outfits. Their shared producer and engineer Dave Fridmann tells Sam Inglis about their unique approaches to recording.

E, WALLY GAGEL & JIM LANG (EELS): Recording Daisies Of The Galaxy

Interview | Band

After poor sales of an album that dealt with death, Mr E and his Eels returned with a beautiful-sounding, poignant, and often funny record about life, recorded mainly in the basement of E's house. Matt Bell talks to E and his collaborators about how the album was made.

RAMON ZENKER: Recording Fragma's 'Toca's Miracle'

Interview | Producer

Most record producers would greet the discovery that their work has been bootlegged with dismay. For German dance producer Ramon Zenker, however, it proved to be the key to a smash hit. Sam Inglis finds out more...

Recreating The Ballet Mechanique In The Digital Age, Part 2

Exploration

Last month, Paul D Lehrman described how he became involved in a project to create a performable edition of George Antheil's prophetic but never performed, Ballet Mechanique, in its original version with 16 synchronised player pianos and a human ensemble. With the process of sequencing the 1240-measure work complete, he was now faced with the task of preparing the first ever live performance of the piece...

SOUNDING OFF

Manufacturers ave exploited their customers' tolerances by Steve Watts

Steve Watts argues that software manufacturers have exploited their customers' tolerances for shoddy, bug-laden products for long enough.

THE SERIOUS HAT BAND: Anger The Burns

Readerzone

SOS pops in on another regular reader to check out their home studio.

Windows Media Player Version 7; IBM Microdrive

Cutting Edge

This month Dave Shapton compares his vision of the future for digital music with that of Microsoft...

Technique

Business Advice On The Net

Net Notes

Business advice for those aspiring to a career in music does not always come cheap. John Walden trawls the 'net to see if he can find a free lunch.

Buying The Equipment You Really Need, Part 2

Feature | Tips & Tricks

Last month, Paul White looked at the vocal recording chain to identify areas in which spending more money would produce better results. This month it's the turn of outboard effects and monitoring.

Career; CD-R Backups; Mastering; Reducing Fan Noise; Minidisc Copying; Recording Vocals

Q & A

Q. How do I find the industry career for me?
Q. How can I get my CD-R backups to be more reliable?
Q. How can I get my CD master to sound as loud as commercial CDs?
Q. How can I reduce my Athlon-based PC's fan noise?
Q. Will copying digitally between Minidiscs reduce the sound quality?
Q. How can I conquer PA feedback when rehearsing?
Q. How should I go about using two 16-channel mixers together?
Q. Can I use my guitar processor for recording vocals?

Cubase 5.01

PC Notes

The root of PC problems can often be found in incorrect or incomplete software installations. Martin Walker shows you how to avoid pitfalls when upgrading and adding to your existing applications.

Electronic Cow Programs As Shareware

Atari Notes

Derek Johnson reviews a new MIDI output expander and ruminates on the release of a herd of Electronic Cow programs as shareware.

Playback

Readers' Music Reviewed

LA Reprieved * Jasper Fish And The Alice Band * Steve Adams * Paulo Lucchi * Tim Carter * Promenade * Monotype * Vaccine * Henrik Spoov

Recording In One Room

Tips & Tricks

Some of the most common problems encountered when working in a home studio arise from having to record in the same room as your recording equipment. However, good-quality recordings are still perfectly possible in such conditions. Hugh Robjohns advises on how to obtain the best results.

Setting Up A Desktop Studio, Part 2

Tips & Tricks

Continuing his series on setting up a recording environment based around a Mac or PC computer, Paul White goes through the hardware and software options for recording audio alongside your MIDI tracks.

Synth Secrets, Part 17: From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (2)

Tips & Tricks

Sample and hold modules, as Gordon Reid explained last month, convert a continuously varying signal into a stepped series of fixed pitches. And this, as we shall see, is the basis of what we know as 'digital audio'...
• Read all parts

The Cube; mLAN

Apple Notes

Vic Lennard gives the lowdown on the new range of Apple computers and accessories...

Understanding & Using Directional Microphones

Exploration

Many of us do the vast majority of our recordings using mics with a cardioid polar pattern, but alternative patterns can give radically different — and sometimes much better — results. Hugh Robjohns explains the differences between these designs and the applications to which they're suited.

Using Your PC Soundcard To Improve Sound Quality In Your Studio

Tips & Tricks

In order to get the most out of your audio equipment, you need to be able to line it up correctly. Most PC users, however, may already have all the necessary tools and, as Martin Walker explains, they are easy to use when you know how.

Music Business

Big Georges Guide To Commercial Success: Plan Of Action

Feature | Tips & Tricks

Watch out — this month's column sees Big George in fighting mood...

Making Sense Of Music Contracts

Feature | Tips & Tricks

Even the most robust musician can be turned into quivering jelly at the prospect of having to sign a legal document — yet it's impossible to make much progress in the music business without signing contracts. Robin Morley guides fellow musicians through the contractual maze of management, publishing and recording deals, in an attempt to make things a little clearer...

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