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We're offering two SOS readers the chance to have an entire album of their work (to the value of £650 each) professionally mastered by Emasters. Each winner will get 10 of their tracks mastered and receive an Exabyte CD production master of their album.
Prize kindly donated by Emasters www.emasters.co.uk
Convolution Reverb [Mac OS X]
Altiverb was one of the first convolution reverbs to appear. Is it still the best?
These high-spec passive monitors use well-established engineering principles to achieve a smooth and revealing sound.
Loop Recorder Stomp Box
Record loops and overdub in real time for lightning-quick track creation live or in the studio.
Plug-in Collection [Mac/Windows]
Cycling 74's Pluggo plug-in bundle continues to grow, and now encompasses over 100 effects, synths and modulation sources.
Word-Clock Distribution Amplifier
As we all acquire more and more digital audio equipment, clock distribution becomes more and more of a key issue. This new distribution amplifier not only delivers multiple word-clock outputs, but also offers real-time monitoring of the accuracy of the source clock signal.
Universal Microphone Mount
Firewire Interface [PC/Mac]
Focusrite's first computer recording interface looks to cover all the bases with plentiful I/O, DSP effects and flexible monitoring arrangements (including surround).
Virtual Drum Sampler [Windows/Mac OS X]
FXpansion's software drum machine takes the 'pad sampler' concept pioneered by Akai's MPC range to new levels.
Korg's latest multitracker is as small as it is affordable.
The Trigger Finger is clearly intended for those of us who prefer hitting to clicking when it comes to percussion, but, as we discover, there's much more to it than that...
v2 Software Synth [Mac OS X]
Every major sequencer manufacturer now sells software synths for use with their recording applications, but MOTU's MX4 had not been out long before an updated version was announced. We find out whether v2 was worth the wait...
Virtual Modular Synth [Mac/PC]
Native's sound design software is back, and with v5, you have more control over your instruments than ever — offering fully user-definable looks, the ability to construct your own modules from scratch, and an improved library. We get patching...
Mini-reviews of hot new Plug-ins
Variphrase Synthesizer & V-Synth OS v2
Part 1: The V-Synth repackaged Roland's groundbreaking Variphrase technology, creating a powerful new kind of sample-based synthesis. Now there's a rackmount V-Synth, and (as you'll discover in Part 1 of our two-part review) it's more powerful than the first...
We check out the latest sample libraries on the block:
Analog Archive ***
EZ Rollers ****
Notre Dame de Budapest *****
Multi-pattern Condenser Microphones
With a characterful sound to match their striking retro styling, these new mics set themselves apart from the crowd.
Bass Player VST Instrument [PC/Mac]
Looking for a new bass player? If you'd consider a software candidate, Steinberg's Virtual Bassist is now ready for audition...
Rubber Fold-away USB MIDI Keyboard
Note: this is a genuine product, not an April Fool hoax!
Two classic designs — the 610 preamp and LA2A compressor — are combined for the first time in this attractive new reissue.
DSP Plug-in Host [Mac/PC]
Waves are the latest software company to launch their own hardware DSP accelerators. The APA 32 and 44-M can be linked over Ethernet to form massively powerful plug-in farms.
People + Opinion
For over a decade, Nainita Desai has earned her living designing sounds and composing for film and television. She speaks about her experiences in the industry, and explains what opportunities there are for newcomers who want to get their foot in the door.
Reader Tracks commercially evaluated
Listen online to the tracks whilst reading what music industry professionals think of the latest collection of SOS reader recordings.
Response to your letters, emails and calls
Replies from the editorial team to more of your valued feedback.
We've seen some curious studios in SOS over the years, but not many have included a warehouse full of vintage hardware, Pro Tools HD rigs, and thermostatic ovens. But it's all part of the daily routine at FX Copyroom...
Have sample-library makers completely lost the plot?
Sound Engineer Extraordinaire
Steve Albini has become a legend in the world of alternative music by championing traditional engineering skills, respecting the opinions of the artists he records, and doing business ethically.
Producer: Chris Thomas; Engineer: Steve Churchyard
In 1982, the Pretenders responded to desperate circumstances with some of the strongest material they would ever produce. Engineer Steve Churchyard was there to record it.
Comprehensive automation is one of Logic's most powerful facets, allowing micro-management of all the settings in your mix.
You'd be surprised at the things that you can do without opening a menu in Pro Tools. And if there's no shortcut for the command you need, why not create your own?
More screen space without having to buy a second monitor — just one of the Sonar nuggets we've got for you this month...
Sonar 4 offers excellent loop editing facilities, and this month we're going to show you how to use them.
Knowing how to squeeze the very best performance and efficiency out of your DP setup can let you work more quickly and increase your creative options, whether you own a G3 iMac or the latest G5. For all you need, read on...
If you've never made a Refill from your Reason creations, now may be the time to give it a go. It's an easy process that can offer various benefits.
If you need to run multiple Firewire audio interfaces, you'll want to upgrade to the latest Tiger version of Logic. Read on...
The PCI Express peripheral standard is generally good news for musicians, but some audio problems related to this faster interface and certain motherboard chip sets are emerging. We examine the issues.
News & Updates
We investigate a newcomer to the orchestral sample-player scene and provide a quick round-up of the 'powered processing' options available to DP users.
As the Mac community looks to Pentium M-based Powerbooks to deliver high-performance, low-power mobile solutions, what if you can't wait until next year and need to purchase a Powerbook right now?
Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques
Preferences could be the key to more predictable behaviour and smoother operation — for Cubase, at least!
If you're looking to release a record that you have produced at home, it's a good idea to have the product professionally mastered, but it is not always obvious if a mix is adequately finished. We find out how to prepare your songs for the mastering house, and what the engineer can do for you.
News & Updates
We report on a new release of Reason that fixes some bugs but also ups the system requirements for running the software, and examine the problem of achieving 'exclusive' drum assignments in the NNXT super sample-player.
The SOS team purge the unwanted buzzes and hums from reader Jim Fish's new studio.
As we saw last month, sampling is really just a form of digital recording, but to use short recordings to emulate real instruments, you soon need to understand new concepts like multisampling, looping, and velocity switching. We explain all...
Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques
It's update frenzy this month, as Digidesign deal with the move to Tiger and iron out more of the bugs in Pro Tools 6.9.
Whether you're running a single PC in your bedroom or a bank of them in a professional studio, sometimes a tiny freeware or shareware utility can make the difference between frustration and elation. We round up some of the best and point you to places where you can find more.
Although there are many third-party equaliser plug-ins available, the EQ built into Cubase SX and SL is both functional and convenient, and has the unique advantage of being closely integrated with the Mixer, Inspector and Channel Settings windows.