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The Shape Of Things To Come

The Shape Of Things To Come

Aphex are one of those American companies that have traditionally occupied the upper‑middle sector of the effects market, where for the past few years they've stood solidly by what they reckon to be a unique product — the Aural Exciter. It's taken some time for our side of the Atlantic to react to the effects of aural excitement but now it's a run a way success and you can't stop it.

In recognition of this fact, Aphex have decided to discontinue the Type B exciter! Well there you go. But... fast on the heels of that news comes the next letter in the alphabet, C — Aphex Type C in fact, and at less than £300 this new unit has not simply been restyled but has improved internal circuitry as well to give it a better noise performance. And on the back panel, it's now fitted with standard jack and phono connectors.

But that's not all. The Aphex Type A is also soon to be released. This will be the big brother of the range and will, we are lead to believe, use the same low‑noise circuitry but with the added bonus of being a balanced unit which should enable higher operating levels to be used.

Well, now that you're totally excited about those new products, there's yet more news from Aphex in the shape of the Studio Dominator. Due in the country around November, the advanced information points out that it's an intelligent 3‑band limiter incorporating a unique Transient Enhancement Circuit that actually increases your perception of transients whilst maintaining absolute peak limiting. Sounds like there's a bit of excitation going on there as well. We'll just have to wait. In the meantime, the Type A and Type C are due soon and you can obtain further information on these products from UK distributors Sound Technology Ltd.

Sony CD PLayer

When it comes to Compact Disc players, the Sony name inspires confidence. With the recent launch of even more models, the Sony range of CD players now covers a broad price bracket and offers the likes of the world's first portable CD, the D50, and the flagship of the range the CDP 502ES pictured here. It seems that Sony envisage the CD market really going places this year and that, coupled with a drop in compact disc prices and the availability of such a variety of players, Christmas could sound a lot better for many of us.

Getting back to the CDP 502ES, it features a full micro-controlled track selector which enables you to programme in your own track running order. Now, that's par for the course in CD land but what you can do with this system — and Sony probably don't think people would ever want to do this — is edit sounds directly off a compact disc. By punching in your start and stop points you can select very short sections of sound and then on pressing the repeat key, have it loop round. Sample that and you could be getting into some very interesting territory! Of course, this unit includes all the necessary features such as a digital display of track number and time etc. You can get more information on all Sony CD players at your local hi‑fi shop.

The Shape Of Things To ComeMonitor sound quality is very much a personal thing and therefore often susceptible to the 'current fashion' school of thought. Wellard Research are a new company in the field of speaker design and have just launched their first product, the Wellard Middle Monitor. It should be pointed out that these speakers are, in fact, active systems each with their own built‑in MOSFET power amplifiers capable of generating 109dB SPL.

For a speaker that's only half a metre in height, the Middle Monitors are extremely heavy, weighing in at 42kg each. Apparently this is due to the construction materials used and the size of the main driver magnet.

Wellard claim that these monitors surpass the finest of hi‑fi speakers and that they have been conceived as first class studio monitors and will reveal the most delicate detail often hidden in a mix. Apparently, Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin are one of the first to break with tradition and install the speakers. We'll have to see how the Wellards ride the fashion but if you'd like some hard factual information on the Middle Monitors then write to Wellard Research Ltd.

Yet another new British outfit is The Bokse Company Ltd. Their first product, the US‑8 Universal Syncronizer (reviewed in this inaugural issue of Sound On Sound), has now been available for several months. We do hear though that they have a batch of four new products planned for release in a month or so, all of which continue the theme of control system manipulation.

As the amount of new products in the field of synchronisation increases, it's becoming more apparent that the facilities of the top‑line studios and post‑production suites are rapidly falling into everyone's grasp. The creation of modern music at all levels will soon be taken over completely by another digital intrusion in the form of timecode, and I'm sure there are many companies out there poised to get us all wrapped up and synchronised by next spring. So, from Bokse comes a new generation of some of the most affordable units to date.

The Timecode Controller will read and generate SMPTE code with a display of Hrs, Mins, Secs and Frames. Other features include control of tempo, cue point, MIDI and the ability to interface with the US‑8 Syncronizer which will enable you to drive other timebase clocks. An interesting option is that of programmable tempo with up to 64 possible changes and full MIDI program selection.

Their ATS‑3 Active Timecode Splitter is a useful device that helps to solve those annoying situations where you want a timecode master clock controlling a variety of different units. Any one of three inputs — MIDI, DIN Sync or Clock — may be selected and used to drive six outputs without any time delay problems.

On the MIDI side of things, Bokse are to release the MPS‑7 MIDI Patch Selector and as the name implies this unit allows any one of seven MIDI inputs to be routed to any of seven outputs and is particularly useful if you want to avoid the task of constantly plugging MIDI DIN cables in and out.

Finally, an ingenius box that's designed to put the musical feel back into fixed rate clocks — the MIDI Humanizer. This device can be controlled by manually tapping in the beat of the music whereupon the unit's own internal clock will follow your feel. You can control it from any audio source, such as a miked-up hi‑hat, and even synchronise a live drum kit or other sound source to any MIDI controllable instrument such as a drum machine. Contact: The Bokse Company Ltd.

Sequential Prophet 2000 sampling keyboard.Sequential Prophet 2000 sampling keyboard.

The sudden, if not anticipated, arrival of affordable samplers has commenced and they are coming as rack-mounted or stand‑alone units with integral keyboards. The Sequential Prophet 2000 sampling keyboard is the latest model to join the growing team and features a full five‑octave, velocity-sensitive weighted action keyboard. On the sound side, the Prophet offers 8‑voice polyphony with up to 16 different sound samples spread across the keyboard. Sample-wise, it offers a full bandwidth of 20kHz giving 3 seconds of sample time over half the keyboard; for the longer 8 second sample duration, an 8kHz bandwidth. A rather nice inclusion from Sequential is a more traditional type synthesizer section with its variety of on‑board waveshapes, a filter, envelope shaper and arpeggiator.

All the resulting sounds may be transferred from the machine's internal 256K memory and stored on microfloppy disks for later use. On the MIDI front, the 2000 supports the standard MIDI parameters plus further options such as double‑speed MIDI data transfer and the ability to both transmit and receive sound samples over MIDI (very interesting!).

You can find out more about the Prophet at your local dealer, and if you're really excited about sampling then why not enter our competition elsewhere in this November 1985 issue to win this new Sequential keyboard sampler?