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This month, we've teamed up with Loud Technologies to offer SOS readers the chance to win a superb Mackie/Tapco studio bundle. Up for grabs are Mackie's new Satellite Firewire audio interface, worth around £400, which features a unique dock enabling you to use the interface in mobile and desktop situations; a pair of Mackie HR824 active nearfield monitors, worth £1173; a Mackie Control Universal (MCU) control surface, worth £939; and Tapco's Link MIDI 4x4 (£117), a versatile USB-equipped MIDI interface, making a total value of £2629. This competition is open ONLY to paid-up SOS magazine or eSub subscribers. If you do not have a subscription, it's worth buying one to enter! Go to www.soundonsound.com/subs fro subscription info...
Prize kindly donated by Loud Technologies Inc. +1 425 487 4333 www.loudtechinc.com www.loudtechinc.com
This month, our friends at London-based production emporium Metropolis, who took part in the shoot-out, are giving £1000 worth of vouchers for their on-line mastering service, iMastering, to one lucky Sound On Sound reader. The winner can choose from Metropolis' 'standard' iMastering option — where an unspecified engineer masters the tracks — or 'named' iMastering, a service that offers the client a choice of mastering engineers from Metropolis's 10-strong, chart-topping team.
Prize kindly donated by Metropolis Group
+44 (0)20 8742 1111
Electronic Drum Kit
Now that electronic drums have finally become respectable, there seems to be a trend towards producing more easily affordable MIDI kits. This offering from Alesis is based around the well-regarded DM5 module, yet is still surprisingly inexpensive.
Is an all-in-one mixer, MIDI controller and audio interface the perfect solution for digital DJs and live laptop artists?
Apple's first Intel-based laptop was introduced earlier this year. Is this the portable Mac musicians and audio engineers have been waiting for?
Arturia emulate both the classic Prophet 5 and the lesser-known Prophet VS synthesizers in their latest software instrument.
Digidesign unveil a suite of powerful new mixing and automation features with this major HD release of the Pro Tools software, and throw in a surprising number of other goodies at the same time.
Firewire-based Dynamic Convolution Processor
Following on from last month's sneak preview, here's the full SOS hands-on test: If you're looking for characterful compression and EQ to warm up your computer-based mixes, Focusrite's Liquid Mix might just be the answer.
Gear Reviews, Tips and Techniques
Editing Software For Variax Guitars
The revolutionary Variax modelling guitar is already a uniquely versatile instrument, but now Line 6 have added an extra dimension with the ability to customise almost every aspect of its operation.
With their latest monitor design, M-Audio are aiming higher than ever before. We put the EX66 to the test...
MIDI + Audio Sequencer For Mac OS X
Mark Of The Unicorn's flagship recording package combines individual design with a heavyweight feature set. Could Digital Performer be the sequencer for you?
There have been some famous twin-guitar line-ups in rock history and, even if you can't strum a note, you can now have the virtual equivalent — both of these software instruments will play on time and in tune, and won't want a solo in every song! But are they both equally good?
AMD's dual-core Athlon CPUs are proving popular with those seeking the ultimate in desktop PC performance for their money, and this machine from PC Audio Labs shows why.
Latest Sound Libraries on Test
• Soniccouture Abstrakt: Konkrete • Tekniks Drumm EAR • AMG Kick-ass Brass • Bela D Media Lyrical Distortion: Volumes 1 & 2
Pitch & Time Correction Plug-in For Pro Tools
Serato's Pitch 'n Time has carved out a reputation as one of the best time-stretching and pitch-shifting plug-ins out there, with special features including 'morphing' time-stretch and the ability to recreate varispeed effects.
We examine a handsome Chinese-made valve mic with retro style to spare. But how does it sound?
Tascam's new 48-channel digital console is an imposing sight, full of features and attractively priced. We get to grips with it...
Drum Replacement Plug-in For Pro Tools
Beefing up real drums with samples is routine practice these days, but the standard tool is looking pretty dated. Can TL Labs' new plug-in help us do it better?
The Solo 110 and Solo 610 are a pair of high-quality, no-frills preamps — one solid-state, the other valve.
People + Opinion
More of your feedback and a letter from Bryan Adams about August's "Classic Tracks" feature...
Producing Kasabian & Arctic Monkeys
Jim Abbiss decided to go back to basics and make records the way he wanted to make them. The result? The fastest-selling debut album in history...
Has the computer changed our musical values?
Writing & Producing With Robbie Williams
Despite his best efforts, Stephen Duffy's solo work never quite made him a superstar — but it did get him one of the best co-writing gigs around.
Paul White's Leader
The National Consumer Council believe the rules about what music can and cannot be copied by the public need radical overhaul. Editor In Chief Paul White throws his personal view into the hat too...
Knowing the right microphone for the job, from the huge variety of types and models available, is an essential skill for anyone who records regularly, and can make the difference between sub-standard and spectacular results. Follow our essential guidelines to ensure you always make the optimum choice.
As the Mac world looks forward to news of what's in store for the next major version of Mac OS X, we take a look back on an interesting technology, introduced in the last major version, whose audio-processing potential has so far been overlooked.
Producers: Tom Dowd • Derek & The Dominos
Inspired by a Persian classical poet and a certain Mrs Harrison, 'Layla' went on to become Eric Clapton's most enduring hit.
Ableton Live Notes & Techniques
Last month, we looked at how to build a DAW-like audio mixer in Live's Session view. This time, we'll turn our attention to MIDI channel strips, navigation, and tracking in the Arrangement view.
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
Cubase SX supplies us with a comprehensive set of editing tools, but the manner in which they can be used varies enormously — and also depends upon the task at hand...
+ Audio Files
A top-notch jazz session is given a touch of class at mixdown.
New Intel desktop processors promising lots of power but significantly lower operating temperatures, plus 64-bit compatibility — an ideal combination for computer-based musicians — are about to arrive. If you're on the verge of upgrading your PC, read this first...
Digital Performer Notes & Technique
DP5's new virtual instruments have all the facilities you need for creating large and well-organised libraries of patches and samples, easily accessible and portable between projects and computers - as long as you know where to look.
The Audio Tweaks That Work - And The Ones That Don't!
Windows XP works better for audio than any other Windows OS so far, but musicians still seek those ultimate go-faster tricks, so this month we bring you a guide to those that are worth doing and those that are worth avoiding.
Sonar Notes & Technique
The Pentagon I soft synth bundled with Sonar 5 is a powerhouse that even offers vocoding facilities. If you've overlooked it so far, remedy the situation with our tips, tricks and programming guide.
Logic Notes & Techniques
Everything you need to know to create precise and original remixes using this premier MIDI+Audio sequencer!
Recording drums and guitars is the task in this month's studio troubleshooting visit.
Reason Notes & Techniques
Mixer automation lets you create more dynamic mixes, but also provides a fast alternative to arranging all your tracks in the sequencer. We offer a simple guide to making the most of it.
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
We've had a good look at some of the tools available for mastering in Pro Tools. So what are the best ways to use these tools?