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April 2005 Magazine Contents

Reviews

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    ADAM P33A

    Active Monitors

    This pair of active monitors provides much of the performance of the company's high-end S3As, but at a more affordable price point.

    Reviews
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    Arturia CS80V

    Software Synth (Mac/PC)

    Yamaha's CS80 was one of the finest analogue polysynths of all time. How close have Arturia come to modelling its classic sound in software? We put the software up against the hardware to find out...

    Reviews
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    BLUE Bluebird

    Condenser Microphone

    Although it may look very similar to their existing Baby Bottle, this new mic from BLUE turns out to be a different beast entirely.

    Reviews
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    Bob Moog MuRF

    Voltage-Controlled Filter Pedal

    This unusual effects pedal combines a bank of eight band-pass filters with an analogue-style control sequencer.

    Reviews
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    Easier Alternatives To Flagship Music Apps

    PC Musician

    Flagship sequencer apps are so packed with features that it could almost be a full-time job learning the package of your choice. If your needs are simpler, why not make it easy on yourself and investigate one of many options that are more entry-level or cut-down, yet still remarkably capable?

    Reviews
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    Fatar Studiologic VMK188

    88-note Piano-action Controller Keyboard

    No-one can doubt Fatar's long-established record for making quality MIDI controller keyboards, but that market has become highly competitive over the past couple of years. Can the VMK188 hold its own against all the budget alternatives?

    Reviews
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    Hartmann Neuron VS

    Neuronal Software Synth [Mac/PC]

    If you pined for the innovative Neuron in 2003, but couldn't afford the £3500 price tag, check out Neuron VS; it packs most of the original synth engine into a £500 software instrument and throws in a distinctive hardware controller.

    Reviews
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    IK Multimedia Sonik Synth 2

    Vintage Synth Virtual Instrument [Mac/PC]

    The latest instrument plug-in from IK Multimedia and Sonic Reality packages eight Gigabytes of samples, mostly from a huge range of classic synths, in IK's Sampletank front end.

    Reviews
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    Korg TP2 & TPB2

    Dual Tube Preamp/Optical Compressor

    Korg's new valve preamp and optical compressor is available not only as a stand-alone box, but also in a version which can be installed directly into either of their flagship digital multitrackers.

    Reviews
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    Mackie Spike

    USB Recording System (Mac/PC)

    Mackie's first foray into the market for desktop USB devices is a well specified 24-bit/96kHz stereo interface with built-in DSP effects.

    Reviews
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    Native Instruments Absynth 3

    Software Synth [Mac/PC]

    Absynth has always dared to be somewhat different to other software synths, and version 3 continues the grand tradition, with new effects, built-in frequency-shifting, and surround processing options.

    Reviews
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    Phonic T8100, T8200 & T8300

    Valve Processors

    This range of valve processors offers a variety of character sounds for the more adventurous home recordist.

    Reviews
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    Roland SP606

    Sampling Workstation

    The latest in Roland's SP series of phrase samplers can also double as a computer and audio interface, and PC users can take advantage of a bundled Cakewalk sequencer/mixer. Is this the best SP yet? We find out...

    Reviews
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    Rolls RM203X

    Stereo Line Mixer

    Rolls cram a very useful nine stereo line channels and a mono mic channel into a 1U box that's targeting keyboard players.

    Reviews
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    Sample Libraries On Test

    A Fistful Of Drummers 5* • Black Grand 4* • Sounds Of The 70s 4* • Percussive Adventures 5*

    Four new Sample Disc collections get the aural treatment from the SOS reviewers: A Fistful Of Drummers 5* • Black Grand 4* • Sounds Of The 70s 4* • Percussive Adventures 5*

    Reviews
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    Sony Acid Pro 5

    Audio & MIDI Loop Sequencer [PC]

    Version 5 of Acid Pro is the first major upgrade under the Sony Media Software badge, and has taken two years to arrive. Does it keep pace with other manufacturers' loop-sequencing packages?

    Reviews
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    Soundscape Mixpander Power Pak & Mixtreme 192

    DSP-based Recording & Mixing Cards [PC]

    Soundscape's new range of PCI cards offers a unique combination of features, including latency-free, DSP-assisted routing and mixing, the freedom to combine VST plug-ins and DSP-based effects, and multi-client driver support for all host-based Windows recording applications.

    Reviews
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    SPL Model 2381

    Stereo Monitor Controller

    Following on from their Model 2380 surround monitoring controller, SPL have now designed a stereo version with built-in talkback facilities.

    Reviews
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    Tascam DP01 & DP01FX

    Digital Multitrackers

    Tascam's two new digital multitrackers are the latest in their long line of Portastudio products.

    Reviews
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    TC Electronic MD3

    Stereo Mastering Tools [Powercore]

    Thanks to the new MD3 package, Powercore users now have access to high-end mastering tools from TC's System 6000 processor.

    Reviews

Techniques

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    Better Vocal Sounds In Pro Tools

    Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    We look at a range of techniques you can try to help you produce a better vocal sound for your project.

    Techniques
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    CLASSIC TRACKS: Chic 'Le Freak'

    Producers: Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards • Engineer: Bob Clearmountain

    They might have been the greatest production team of the disco era, but even Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards could fall victim to the elitism of New York's club scene — and their response was the most memorable of all Chic's hits.

    Techniques
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    Convolution Processing With Impulse Responses

    How It Works

    Although convolution is often associated with high-end reverb processing, this technology makes many other new sounds available to you once you understand how it works.

    Techniques
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    Cubase: Using Non-Real-time Processing

    Cubase Tips & Techniques

    While processing 100s of channels with effects in real time has increasingly become the norm for most of us, there are still occasions when not processing audio in real time can be useful. We look at how to achieve this in Cubase SX.

    Techniques
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    Digital Performer: Future Features & Tempo Analysis

    Digital Performer Tips & Techniques

    MOTU hinted at even more additions to DP during January 2005's NAMM show. We get a sneak preview, as well as exploring the program's Tempo Analysis powers.

    Techniques
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    Logic: Using Sidechains

    Logic Tips & Techniques

    Sidechains are usually associated with effects processing, but they are also available in many of Logic's internal soft synths. So what can you do with them?

    Techniques
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    Pre-producing Live Loops in Sonar

    Sonar Tips & Techniques

    Cakewalk's Sonar makes an ideal pre-production tool for creating loops you can use in Ableton's Live sequencer. We explore some of the possibilities of the partnership.

    Techniques
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    Reason: Getting More Out Of V2.5

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    We've got a lot to look forward to with the imminent release of Reason v3, but there's still a world of exploration available in v2.5 — so don't stop creating while you're waiting.

    Techniques
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    Setting Up Logic Node

    Apple Notes

    We've discussed Logic's distributed audio processing in past Apple Notes columns, but this month we offer some tips on setting up Logic Node to run on a network of headless Macs, along with some advice on Firewire-based networking.

    Techniques
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    Solving Directmusic Timing Problems In Cubase SX & Nuendo

    PC Notes

    We tackle a Directmusic timing problem in Cubase SX and Nuendo, catch up with Gigastudio news, and bring some great freebie plug-ins and VSTis to your attention...

    Techniques
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    Sonar: Going 64-bit

    Sonar Notes

    A quick look at the Project 5 update and news of Sonar's rewrite for 64-bit processors.

    Techniques
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    Studio SOS: Anjunbeats

    Above & Beyond

    The SOS team are back in London this month to help some high-profile remixers sort out the monitoring problems in their new studio.

    Techniques

Sound Advice

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    Q. Can I use one Roland MC80 sequencer to replace two MC50s?

    I want to replace our band's two Roland MC50 sequencers with the MC80. Although the MC80 only holds one song at a time in memory, it can play back multiple songs directly from the disk drive, but I was wondering if there was a significant pause time between songs when playing directly from disk?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. Do I need an external CD recorder for mastering?

    I'm considering buying an Alesis ML9600 Mastering CD Recorder — but I was wondering if you would recommend this unit? Or should I keep it all based on the 'quiet' PC using my humble 32x speed CD recorder?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. How can I minimise my soundcard's latency without the crackles?

    The best latency I can get is 35.5ms, with a buffer setting of 1536 samples and sample rate of 44.1kHz. There are no pops or clicks, but there is a very slight audible delay between pressing a key on my Novation keyboard and the sound coming out of the speakers. Surely there must be a way to get the latency down to 11 or 12ms without the crackles?

    Sound Advice
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    Q. Why are my PC and multitracker playing back at different speeds?

    I have a Roland VS2480 connected to a PC via a co-axial cable to transfer audio digitally to the DAW. When I set the digital clock source to the PC's co-axial input everything is hunky dory. If I disconnect the PC and use the internal digital clock in the VS, it plays back at a slower speed. Why?

    Sound Advice

People

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    Business End

    Music Producers Guild members evaluate readers' tracks

    Listen online to the tracks whilst reading what some Music Producers Guild members think of the latest collection of SOS reader recordings.

    People
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    Crosstalk: Readers' Writes

    Your Correspondence

    Replies from the editorial team to more of your valued feedback.

    People
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    Demo Doctor

    Readers' Recordings

    Listen to these tracks from SOS readers and see whether you agree with the good Doctor's prognosis...

    People
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    Laurent Garnier

    Producing 'The Cloud Making Machine'

    When DJs produce their own albums, the results can be mixed — but Laurent Garnier is not your average DJ, and his 'The Cloud Making Machine' is anything but a conventional house or techno record.

    People
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    Phil Ramone: Producer

    Managing People & Technology

    Over a 40-year career, Phil Ramone has built up perhaps the most impressive discography of any producer working today — and although he emphasises the importance of traditional engineering and people-management skills, his work is also at the limits of what cutting-edge technology makes possible.

    People
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    Sounding Off: Musicians' Charity

    Sam Inglis

    Who really benefits from musicians' charity?

    People
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    Paul White circa 2002.

    String Theory

    Leader

    Isn't it time for the guitar to become the prime means of control for synthesizers instead of the keyboard?

    People
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    Thunder: The Band As Business

    Striking Back

    Having been one of the UK's most popular rock acts in the early '90s, Thunder found that record labels were no longer willing or able to promote their releases properly. Now they have taken matters into their own hands, using the Internet and new methods of distribution to get their records back in the charts.

    People
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