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September 2004 Magazine Contents

Reviews

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    Ableton Live 4

    Loop-based Sequencer [Mac/PC]

    As a creative, stable and above all fun way of combining audio loops in real time, Ableton's Live has proved an ideal counterpart to Rewire-compatible applications such as Cubase. With version 4 offering a wealth of new features, including MIDI sequencing, could Live now replace traditional sequencers altogether?

    Reviews
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    Analogue Systems RS300

    CV-to-MIDI Converter

    No, we haven't got that the wrong way around... it really is a CV-to-MIDI converter. But why would you want such a thing? Read on...

    Reviews
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    Behringer B2030A Truth

    Active Monitors

    The new baby in Behringer's Truth monitor range offers great value for money and sleek good looks, but how good do they sound?

    Reviews
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    Carillon Core 4

    Music PC

    Computer specifications have changed radically in the three years since Carillon launched their first music PCs, but the company's signature metal rackmount case and attention to detail still sets them apart. Their powerful Core 4 machine offers support for three monitors, plus a huge 400GB RAID 0 hard drive array for audio data.

    Reviews
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    Cycling '74 Mode

    Plug-in Suite [Mac OS X]

    If you are looking for effects and instruments to give your mixes a sideways slant, Cycling '74 might have just the thing...

    Reviews
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    Edirol FA101

    Firewire Audio & MIDI Interface [PC/Mac]

    Edirol's first foray into Firewire audio is a compact 10-in, 10-out device with microphone preamps, S/PDIF and MIDI.

    Reviews
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    Edirol PCR1

    USB MIDI Controller Keyboard & Audio Interface

    There has been fierce competition over the past couple of years to create the ultimate portable MIDI controller for use with laptops. Edirol's PCR1 is one of the lightest and thinnest yet seen. Is it what we have all been waiting for?

    Reviews
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    Emu 0404

    PCI Soundcard

    Emu have already taken the market by storm with their range of affordable, high-performance soundcards, and their new stereo PCI card offers impressive features and audio specifications at a budget price.

    Reviews
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    Hot new Sample CDs on test

    Sample Library

    Reviews/appraisals of the latest sample CDs: PCP-80 Electric Grand 5* •  Solo Strings 5* • Tool Shed Percussion 5* • Woodwind Collection Expanded Edition 4*

    Reviews
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    Line 6 Variax Acoustic 700

    Modelling Guitar

    Extending the modelling approach they pioneered with the original Variax electric, Line 6 have now taken a shot at reproducing the sounds of different miked acoustic guitars. Almost completely immune to feedback, the Variax Acoustic will clearly be a hit in some live applications, but does it sound good enough to record?

    Reviews
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    Line 6 Vetta II & Variax Electric 700

    Modelling Guitar Amp & Guitar

    The Vetta II amp range embodies the most sophisticated implementation of Line 6's guitar amp modelling technology to date. It delivers more amp models than the original Vetta, offers more user control of the sounds, and it also features an optional digital interface for use with the Variax Digital Modelling Guitar. Second opinion by former Be Bop Deluxe guitarist Bill Nelson.

    Reviews
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    M-Audio Octane

    Mic Preamp & A-D Converter

    This stylish eight-channel preamp and converter offers front-panel instrument inputs and M&S stereo decoding.

    Reviews
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    Native Instruments Guitar Rig

    Guitar Amp Modelling Software [Mac/PC] & Foot Controller

    The market for software that emulates guitar amplifiers is pretty crowded these days, but Native Instruments have found a new angle with a modular program that comes with a dedicated hardware controller and interface.

    Reviews
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    Novation X-Station 25

    Controller Keyboard, Audio Interface & Synth

    After releasing their Remote 25 MIDI controller keyboard, Novation released the Remote Audio 25, rapidly following it with the Remote Audio 25 Xtreme. Now, the X-Station has replaced both of these. Can we disentangle it from its convoluted beginnings?

    Reviews
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    Pearl CC22

    Condenser Microphone

    This innovative rectangular-capsule design aims to combine the desirable attributes of small- and large-diaphragm sounds.

    Reviews
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    Real Traps Mini Trap & Micro Trap

    Acoustic Panels

    These acoustic panels not only offer sonic improvements over simple acoustic-foam treatments, but are also very easy to install.

    Reviews
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    Roland Fantom X

    Synthesizer Workstation

    Roland's original Fantom workstation wasn't really much competition for Korg's Triton, so it was no shock to see it revamped last year as the hugely improved Fantom S. But surprisingly, Roland have done it again. What's new this time around?

    Reviews
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    Soundfield SPS422B & SP451

    Surround Recording System

    This system can record in mono, stereo, or any current or future surround format — using just one mic.

    Reviews
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    TL Audio Ivory 2 5060

    Valve Compressor

    This new Ivory-series preamp and compressor combines the ease of presets with the flexibility of manual operation.

    Reviews
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    Ultimate Sound Bank Charlie

    Sampled Tonewheel Organ Plug-in [Mac/PC]

    Sampled tonewheel organ sounds have been around for many years, but more recently we have seen the arrival of modelled virtual tonewheel organs. Can a sample-based Hammond emulation still cut it?

    Reviews
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    URS N, A & S Series

    Classic Console EQ Plug-ins [Pro Tools]

    For all those Pro Tools users who pine for the sound of analogue EQ, URS have recreated the equalisers from three classic mixing desks.

    Reviews
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    Voxengo Pristine Space

    Multi-channel Convolution Reverb VST Plug-in [PC]

    Surround-capable reverbs don't usually come with a price tag of £100. However, nobody seems to have told Voxengo. So just how good is their Pristine Space PC VST plug-in?

    Reviews

Techniques

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    CLASSIC TRACKS: The Sex Pistols 'Anarchy In The UK'

    Producer: Chris Thomas • Engineer: Bill Price

    When punk rock broke in 1976, the Sex Pistols caused panic in establishment Britain — and more than a few raised eyebrows in Wessex Studios, where Chris Thomas and Bill Price recorded the band's milestone EMI debut album.

    Techniques
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    Cubase's MIDI Device Manager

    Cubase Tips & Techniques

    Cubase SX's MIDI Device Manager provides a way of choosing patches and banks on your external MIDI hardware by name rather than by number. We look at how to create your own MIDI Patch Name Scripts to make this possible.

    Techniques
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    Demo Doctor

    Readers' Recordings Analysed

    Think your own music is good? Listen to these tracks from SOS readers and see if you agree with the good Doctor's prognosis...

    Techniques
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    Instant Track Creation In Reason

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    We explore an advanced technique for creating 'instant' tracks using Propellerhead's Reason software.

    Techniques
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    Layering Sounds In Logic's Virtual Instruments

    Logic Tips & Techniques

    Layering hardware sound modules to create new sounds is a simple matter, but things are not nearly as easy when you are working with virtual instruments in Logic. Here are a few useful workarounds...

    Techniques
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    Live Drum Triggering

    One Drummer's Search For Perfect On-stage Sample Triggering

    When the epic, studio-created drum sounds of the 1980s had to be translated to a stage setting, sample triggering from drum kits came to the fore — and our man Gavin Harrison began his personal quest for the ultimate setup...

    Techniques
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    New Intel Chipsets: Good For Musicians?

    PC Notes

    Intel's latest chipsets are finding their way into new PCs — but do they offer any advantages to the computer musician?

    Techniques
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    OS X Tiger; Cinema Displays; New iPods

    Apple Notes

    New Cinema Displays, a new operating system upgrade, and a new iPod revision — all in this month's Apple Notes column.

    Techniques
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    Recording Violin & Piano

    Pro Gear Versus Project Studio Gear

    Recording chamber music in Birmingham's Symphony Hall is not something you get to do every day, so SOS decided to make the most of the occasion by using two completely different setups, one based on professional equipment (manned by Hugh Robjohns) and one on project studio gear (operated by Paul White).

    Techniques
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    Studio SOS

    TV Composer David Lowe

    We help television composer Dave Lowe transform a cavernous-sounding spare bedroom into a usable home studio.

    Techniques
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    Using Samplecell Libraries In Pro Tools

    Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    Digidesign's Samplecell products once had a huge army of users, many of whom still have well-loved sample libraries stranded in this format. We look at the options available to continue using these sample patches in Pro Tools.

    Techniques
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    Using Storm With Sonar

    Sonar Tips & Techniques

    We bring you yet more Sonar stratagems, including further adventures in envelope copying, some handy track tricks, and advice on using Arturia's Storm with Sonar.

    Techniques

Sound Advice

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    Music PCs: Manufacturers' Round Table

    PC Musician

    Buying a music computer from a specialist builder is an increasingly popular option for the PC musician. We rounded up some of the leading names in music PCs to find out exactly what they offer.

    Sound Advice
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    Q. In what order should I compress and EQ?

    When using a compressor and an EQ as insert effects on a snare drum, is it better to use compression followed by EQ or EQ first then compression?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. Can I remove the vocals from a track using phase?

    I am told that it is possible to remove the vocals from a CD track by reversing the phase of one of the stereo channels. Is this correct and, if so, how does it work? Also, is the reverse possible — can you remove the rest of the track to just leave the vocals?SOS Forum Post

    Sound Advice
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    Q. Do I really need to buy a channel strip?

    I often see reviews for mic preamps and channel strips in SOS and I'm wondering if I need one. I currently plug a condenser mic into a small mixer, which provides phantom power, which then feeds into my M-Audio Delta soundcard. Is there a good reason to pay money for a box that seems to do something I am already able to do?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. How can I stop my guitar buzzing?

    I am having serious earthing problems which are making it difficult for me to record a clean guitar sound. All my leads are good, and I don't have this problem with any of my other equipment — just the guitar stuff. Could it be a problem with my domestic mains supply?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. How do I transfer SysEx files to my Korg Wavestation synth?

    I bought some CDs of new sound banks for my Korg Wavestation off eBay recently, only to find that most of them are in System Exclusive (SysEx) format rather than MIDI files. I have loaded sounds into my synths from MIDI files before using Cubase, but I don't know how to do it with a SysEx file. Can you help?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. What can I use to trigger drums?

    I love banging away on my thighs and knees, and I feel that I make some of my most interesting drum patterns in this way. How could I build a controller with a pair of panels that are velocity-sensitive to sit atop my thighs?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. What is the whining noise coming from my soundcard?

    I noticed a quiet high-pitched whine coming from my Tannoy Reveal Active monitors, which are plugged into my Spirit Folio F14 mixer. Eventually I found that the whine stops when I press the button on my Edirol DA2496 soundcard to select an external word clock. I would rather get to the source of the problem and sort it out. Can you help?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. Where can I get a hearing test?

    I am concerned about my hearing getting damaged — more at live gigs than in the studio — and I'm wondering how I'd go about getting my hearing checked. Also, is there anything I can do to reduce the risk of damaging my hearing if I'm attending or playing regularly at loud gigs regularly?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. Why don't my mixes sound big in mono?

    I've been comparing two records, and both sound massive in the studio compared with our mixes but when you press the mono button, on one it disappears, and when you press it on the other it doesn't change one bit! How do they do it?

    Sound Advice

People

Music Business

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    Getting Indie Music Online

    Paul Sanders Of Consolidated Independent

    In the age of iTunes, if you want to sell your music, you have to be able to get it online. But to do this, you need to understand a ton of Internet technology. Does this man have the answer?

    Music Business
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    Presenting Your Demos

    Getting Your Music Heard

    Find out what you need to do — and avoid doing — if you want your demo to stand out from the crowd.

    Music Business
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