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Article #208 (376 is last):
From: aa400 (Phillip M. Chow)
Subject: 1990 Winter NAMM  / 0290AR
Date: Mon Feb 19 15:35:48 1990

Winter NAMM 1990 in Anaheim    by John Davis, MIDI Resource Editor
  Taken from ST Informer 02/90         Used here with permission
         --  Winter NAMM brings new respect to Atari --
    ANAHEIM,  CA  - The National Association of Music Merchants,
better known as NAMM, has given us another outstanding look into
the business of music.  Twice yearly, NAMM sponsors expositions 
for members of the music community.  The winter show, held in
Anaheim California, is the larger of the two and it has been 
estimated that this years show drew approximately 50,000
exhibitors, buyers, and members of the press.
   Atari was the first computer manufacturer to have an exhibit
at a NAMM show, and they carried on the tradition in a big way
again this year.  Atari had a two-room suite upstairs, overlooking
the entire first exhibit hall, with a large banner underneath
the window proclaiming "Beyond MIDI.  The Next Generation From
Atari".  The first room was more like an office, with couches
and chairs for weary legs, and Portfolios and Lynx's for idle
hands.  The other room was soundproofed, and contained a sophisti-
cated arsenal of music making electronics, including the eagerly
anticipated Atari/Hotz MIDI Translator.  A device that may very 
well change the face of the music industry.

   Dr. Scholl's Foot Powder stock is probably soaring this week.
Some of the staff from ST Informer/MIDI Resource, along with about
50,000 other people, have just returned from a three day walking
marathon - a valiant attempt to see every product displayed at the
1990 Winter NAMM Show.
  The winter show is held in Anaheim California at the Anaheim
convention center, just a stone's throw from Disneyland. 
Manufacturers from all over the world combine to form one of the 
largest industry expositions in America, and it makes you realize
just how big the music business is.  What follows is our account
of the most interesting products and displays we found for the
MIDI musician.
   -- Atari --
   Atari's space consisted of a two room affair upstairs, over-
looking the first exhibit hall.  Representatives from Atari were
on hand in the first room, along with several Portfolios, Lynxes,
a STacy (running the Spectre GCR), and a Mega ST/Laser setup
running desktop publishing software.  The second room was used as
the sound room.  One half of it was occupied by a number by a 
number of Mega systems running various MIDI software packages,
while the other half was filled with gear used by Jimmy Hotz and
the long promised Hotz Box (now officially named the 'Atari Hotz
MIDI Translator').
   The Atari Hotz MIDI Translator and STacy computer are now 
shipping in a bundled package with a suggested retial price of
$9899.95.  We got to watch Jimmy Hotz demostrate some new features
of the translator to Mick Fleetwood (drummer for Fleetwood Mac),
and within ten minutes, Mick was performing some very credible 
guitar licks to the accompaniment of 'Stairway To Heaven'.  I sure
hope Atari can come up with a less expensive translator 'for the
rest of us' - I want one!
   The STacy Laptop was in abundance at NAMM, and was present in 
the booths of almost all major MIDI software developers.  Presently,
only 2 meg and 4 meg models (both with a built-in 40 meg hard disk)
are available.  The STacy 2 carries a suggested retail of $2499,
while the STacy 4 will go for $2899.
   Atari also officially introduced the 'Atari MIDI-Tasking System',
a psuedo multi-tasking system for MIDI applications.  The MIDI-Tasking
system was developed by Intelligent Music, and will be marketed
directly from Atari, with a retail price of only $12.95.  The
MIDI-Tasking system will allow the ST to run up to six GEM applica-
tions simultaneously.  With its standardized data-sharing capabilities,
information can be exchanged between applications in realtime
through a system scrapbook.
   The MIDI-Tasking system also offers a unique set of features
specifically for MIDI users, including the ability to transfer
information from any MIDI application to any other MIDI application.
Although the system can work with non-MIDI applications, Atari does
not plan to promote the MIDI-Tasking System outside the music market.
   On Friday night, Atari co-hosted a concert featuring the Jack
Bruce band.  Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, Atari
never promoted the concert as a reunion of the legendary 60's band,
Cream.  Instead, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, both members of the
original band, along with Bernie Worrel and Blues Sarceno, joined
together to play new tunes, along with some old classic Cream
material.  The other member of the original band, Eric Clapton,
was not in attendance.  Sigh...
   Another group of musical luminaries also joined together to
perform some futuristic jazz music.  Michael Shrieve (Santana)
was joined by Andy Summers (The Police), Dave Torn, Mark Isham,
David Beal and Doug Lund for an hour of, uh, unusual music.
   The general feeling in the Atari area was very upbeat.  It
appears that most major developers will support the MIDI-Tasking
software, and there was a great deal of excitement over the
prominence of STacys throughout the show.  Let's just hope that
Atari's performance in the MIDI market can help overcome the set-
backs they've experienced in other markets.
   -- Hardware --
   There hasn't been a lot of ground-breaking development in
sound synthesis since the last NAMM show.  Yamaha introduced
a new technology, but most other manufacturers offered a
repackaged products of exisiting technology.
   Roland Corporation was showing one of the more exciting
oackages - a MIDI Starter System consisting of a CM-32L 
Sound Module (or an LAPC-1 Sound Card for IBMs), a PC-100
MIDI Data Keyboard, and sequencing software for either the
Atari, the Macintosh, the IBM or the Amiga.  The CM-32L
(and LAPC-1) are actually repackaged versions of Roland's
very popular MT-32.  The PC-100 is simply a keyboard with 49
full-sized keys and a MIDI-OUT port.  It can be used as a 
basic controller for any synthesizer or computer.
   When combined with a personal computer, this package gives
you everything necessary to create an enormous amount of
music.  The MIDI Starter System is priced at $995.  A new
addition to the CM (Computer Music) Series is the CS-10
(no price announced), a stereo monitor amplifier for all
computers.  This device, which is shielded so that it can
double as a monitor stand, contains a six-watt stereo
amplifier, a pair of side mounted mid-range speakers, a
center-mounted bass speaker, and volume/tone controls.
   For the professional musician, ROland has introduced
the D-70 LA Synthesizer, the next generation of the very
successful D-50.  The D-70 features a new high-performance
filter, new PCM samples, the ability to use U-series sample
cards and six-part multi-timbral capabilities - for a list
price of $2895.
   The musician who wants to get everything in a single
package with a 61-note keyboard.  Included is an LA synthesizer,
an Auto Arranger, a drum machine, a simple sequencer, reverb and
a built-in stereo with speakers.  The E-10 ($1495) differs from
the E-20 ($2095) in that it does not accept additional sound cards,
and it has less sequence memory, fewer reverbs and no LCD display.
Both synthesizers have MIDI ports for connection to computers
and other synthesizers.
   As mentioned, the only new sound synthesis technology came from
Yamaha, with the introduction of the SY77.  Yamaha has dubbed
their new process 'Realtime Convolution and Modulation Synthesis',
and the results are breathtaking.  RC&M synthesis combines 16-bit
samples with advanced FM synthesis, and samples can be used to 
modulate the FM operators.  All of this can be used to modulate
the FM operators.  All of this can be processed with up to eight
filters, each controlled by a dedicated envelope generator.  If
you've never worked with FM synthesis, all of this will sound like
gobbledegook to you.  Take my word for it, this synth sounds great!
Throw in a built-in sequencer, disk drive and digital effect pro-
cessing, and you have an outstanding new synthesizer.
   If the price of this greatness ($2995) is a little too much,
you might be interested in the SY55 ($1595).  The SY55 also uses
16-bit samples, but has fewer filters and less memory for voices
and sequences than its big brother.  The SY55 is also available
as a tone generator module only in a rackmount package called the
TG55 ($995), and is basically an SY55 without a keyboard.
   Yamaha also has several new additions to its very popular line
of portable keyboards, the PSS series.  There's a keyboard available
for almost any taste or budget, ranging from the tiny PSS-20 
($24.95), with 32 mini keys and 6 voices (but no MIDI), to the
PSS-790 ($339.95), containing 61 full size keys, MIDI, a drum
machine, drum pads, and a built-in sequencer.
   -- Software --
   There wasn't really a whole lot in new software, either.
After all, how many different sequencers and patch editors can
the industry come up with?  Most manufacturers were offering
enhancements to existing products, as well as entry level versions
of their more popular sequencers.
   Dr. T's was showing Tiger Cub, an entry level product for the
new MIDI musician.  It's based on three of Dr. T's most popular
products [ the KCS sequencer, the T.I.G.E.R. editor, and the
Copyist notation program.  They are stripped down versions of the
original programs, but at $99, Tiger Cub still offers a lot of bang.
   Intelligent Music was showing version 1.2 of RealTime, a rhythm
sequencer for the ST.  The new version features an unlimited number
of tracks, the ability to sort tracks in any order, improved timing,
faster screen response, and it has even been significantly reduced
in size, allowing it to run on any Atari, even the 520ST.
   As mentioned, Intelligent Music has also developed the MIDI-
Tasking System, now licensed to Atari as the standard for all multi-
tasking MIDI software.  This system, formerly known as ST Ram, allows
up to 6 GEM applications to be loaded at the same time.  Each
application maintains a window on the GEM desktop, and the application
is accessed by clicking within its window.  The system appeared
to operate quite smoothly, allowing MIDI data to be traded easily
between the various applications.
   Hybrid Arts is finally shipping GenEdit, a program which functions
as a librarian and an editor for almost any synthesizer.  Configura-
tions are provided to support the most popular synthesizers, and the
program allows the knowledgable user to create a configuration for
any others.  The editor's configuration for any others.  The editor's
configurations have a very professional appearance, with onscreen
knobs, sliders, and graphic envelopes.
   Hybrid Arts has a product which promises to be extremely popular.
Imagine a multi-timbral stereo FM synthesizer with 78 different
instruments, a drum machine with 16 accompaniment styles, and
sequencing software that works in any resolution - with online help
and graphic note editing using a staff and notes.  Now imagine
paying less than $150 for the whole package.  I think this one product
is going to introduce a lot of people to the wonders of MIDI and
electronic music.  Look for FM Melody Maker to be released by Hybrid
Arts shortly.
   Passport has supported almost all computers with various versions
of their popular sequencer, Master Tracks.  They were showing the
newest version, Pro 4, currently available only on the Macintosh.
More significant, however, is the fact that as of December 12, 1989,
Passport Designs has dropped the use of copy protection on several
of their key titles.  The programs immediatly affected include
Pro 4 and Encore for the Macintosh, Master Tracks Pro for the Amiga,
IBM, and Apple IIgs, and Score and Escort for the IBM.
   The representative I spoke with, said that sales do not seem to
have been affected by this move, and if the trend continues, the
protection will be removed from other products in the future.  I
applaud Passport Designs for their new policy, and truly hope that
it works for them.
   At last summer's NAMM show, Scorpion Systems Group introduced
sYbil, a realtime performance too for the Macintosh.  sYbil allows
the performer to extend and redefine the capability of MIDI control-
lers: events generated by the controller can be scaled, inverted,
set to trigger other events, remapped, and just about anything
else you want.  The end result is that a single person can make a
single MIDI controller sound like a full band.
   In the ongoing demonstration, a representative from Scorpion was
processing the output of sYbil with a MIDI guitar.  Some notes of
the guitar had been remapped to various percussion instruments,
some had been mapped to a bass synthesizer, and others had been 
mapped to a bass synthesizer, and others had been mapped to horns 
and strings.  With a single guitar, he was able to perform composi-
tions using bass, horns, and strings simultaneously, with full
rhythm accompaniment!  The best news is that sYbil is now available
for the Macintosh, Atari ST, IBM compatibles and the Yamaha C1, for
a list price of $299.
   Digidesign has brought their popular Sound Tools Digital Recording,
Editing, & Playback system to te Atari Mega line of computers.
This system has been available for the Macintosh for some time,
and it brings CD quality recording and playback with powerful
editing features to the ST.  It also allows DAT editing, and at $2995,
it is one of the most affordable direct-to-hard disk recording
systems currently available for the Atari.  Sound Tools is scheduled
for a March release.
   -- Other Significant Products --
   There were a number of other new and interesting products being
shown at NAMM.  MusicNet Holding Company is a new company offering
something which could be a real boon for the sheet music industry -
the MusicSource Sheet Music System.  MusicSource brings to the
consumer a new method of shopping for and purchasing printed sheet
music, through the use of a unit no larger than an arcade game.
   The unit houses a computer and CD-ROM containing the data for
literally hundreds of thousands of songs.  A touch-sensitive screen
allows the user to scan the built-in database to scan for titles,
and actually have the music displayed on the monitor screen as it
will appear when printed.  The prospective customer can use a built-
in piano keyboard to sight read the music, or the MusicScoure unit
can play the song using a built-in synthesizer.
   If a particular song can't be found in the current database, the
unit will automatically use a satellite link to connect to the master
database and search for the song.  If the user decides to purchase
the music, it is automatically printed on a laser printer located
behind the counter.  It will be interesting to see how well this
new system works - the implications are enormous.
   Another trend noticed at NAMM was the sale of music disks - not
cassette tapes or compact disks, but computer disks with MIDI data
to allow anyone with a sequencer and synthesizer to recreate a wide
variety of music.  Music Data is a new line offered by Passport,
and they have hundreds of songs, arranged as hits form various time
periods, country and western, big band and classical selections.
All sequences have been voiced for the Roland MT-32, and are availa-
ble for any computer that supports Standard MIDI Files.
   Trycho Tunes offer a similar selection of sequencing in an even
larger number of data formats.  One format even supports the MIDIMan,
a device which allows a standard cassette recorder to play MIDI
sequences which have been stored on a cassette tape.  In this format,
there are even accompaniment vocal tracks recorded on the extra
cassette track which will play in sync with the sequencer!  The
downside to sequencer data like this may be the price - sequences
typically cost about $15 per song.
   -- Fini --
   Well, that's the highlights of the 1990 Winter NAMM.  We haven't
even touched on all the things to be seen at NAMM, but let;s get
real - and pass the foot powder please!

Manufacturers Mentioned:

Atari Corporation             Digidesign
1196 Borregas Ave.            1360 Willow Road
Sunnyvale, CA 94088           Menlo Park, CA 94025
(408) 745-2000                (415) 327-8811

DR. T's Music Software        Hybrid Arts
220 Boylston St.              11920 W. Olympic Blvd.
Chesnut Hill, MA 02167        Los Angeles, CA 90064
(617) 244-6954                (213) 826-3777

Intelligent Music             MusicNet Holding Company
PO Box 8748                   3006 South Highland Drive
Albany, NY 12208              Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
(518) 434-4110                (801) 486-5555

Passport Designs, Inc.        Roland Corp. of America
625 Miramontes ST.            7200 Dominion Cir.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019       Los Angeles, CA 90040
(415) 726-0280                (213) 685-5141

Scorpion System Group         Trycho Music International
175 Fifth Avenue Suite 2624   2166 W Broadway Suit 330
New York, NY 10010            Anaheim, CA 92804
(415) 864-2956                (714) 826-2271

Yamaha Corporation of America
P.O. Box 6600
Bueana Park, CA 90622
(714) 522-9011


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