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Kelly's i: If it's new, if it's net, .. it's here.


Rock 'n' Roland


WAS a time you needed the equivalent of Jason Donovan's annual cocaine fund to build even a halfway decent music studio.

Putting together anything more than eight tracks meant musicians had to rely on long hours in expensive studios.

But today it's perfectly possible to produce professional-quality music within a package costing well under two grand.

The Mirror's Graham Brough fancies himself as the next Vangelis, so we gave him carte blanche to use our good name to assemble all the freebies he needed to put together a 24-track, digital recording studio.

First purchase, a laptop. A pounds 900 Toshiba 2100 CDS is perfectly adequate for the job. His next move was for a pounds 349 piece of kit called the U-8 by Roland. Calling itself a digital studio, it's a sophisticated sound card, sound-effects module and a controller for everything that takes place on the laptop screen.

The U-8 comes with software by Steinberg called Cubasis, a version of the industry standard Cubase as used by hi-tech muso luminaries like Peter Gabriel, and instantly your laptop screen is showing a virtual studio with rows of knobs and sliders. Move a slider on the U-8 with your fingers and its virtual twin moves on the screen. Very cool.

Next comes the Roland Sound Canvas SC 8820 for around pounds 300. It's a box of sample-based synthesised sounds and gives you an instant orchestra, soul band, even rock guitar. Just trigger it from any old keyboard with MIDI. You can now plug in a guitar and flick open the sound effects. Out pop row upon row of digital, studio-quality, pre-set and editable sound effects.

There's no excuse now - you'll sound just as bad as you really are.

Postscript: Kelly's i has heard some of the stuff Broughie produced using this system and it's astonishingly good. Which is a miracle in itself.

SHARP this week revealed this multi-media version of its Zaurus PDA range - destined to bring movies on the move to the Japanese.

They'll run on the 3G DoCoMo network but it's not clear yet whether the device has its telecoms function built in or will link to a separate device.

Either way, the Zaurus will bring high-speed internet, realtime music streaming, and the possibility of downloading PDA versions of movies and TV shows onto its hefty memory card - storing up to 256meg of data.


SO you've got your MP3 player, your mobile, the digi camera and the PDA.

And what's more you don't feel like a prat boring your mates about them all day long.

Then this is the jacket for you.

Fifteen pockets, all zippered, ready to help you transport your precious gadgets wherever you want.

And it might as well have the words "rob me" embroidered on the back. Trust us, multi-pocketed jackets are best left to fisherman and shoplifters.

CONFUSED about buying an internet tablet or a laptop or even one of the new portrait-style monitor machines? Paceblade's Pacebook is all three in one.

Use it as a standard laptop, then detach the monitor and scribble on the touch-sensitive screen.

The pounds 2,300 machine carries a battery-saving Transmeta chip, 128meg of memory and a 30gig hard-disk drive.

It launches in the States in the autumn.

Get your head round this

WHEN we first featured this Hitachi wearable PC 'twas but a concept.

Now the firm will have them in the shops before Christmas (in the States at least, here by spring).

And although the idea of doing your computing with a fighter pilot's gunsights strapped to your head may seem ridiculous, the price isn't - around pounds 1,400. You receive a cap-like visor that gives the illusion of a 13-inch screen, a mini-processor and a mike for voice controls.

It's blue movies

HOW have you managed so far without being able to surf the net on your camcorder, and transmit images on to the net via your mobile?

Sony launched the world's first Bluetooth-enabled camcorders this week, the PC120 and the IP7, costing around pounds 1,600 each.

Fast transmission of Bluetooth means images can be sent straight to the net without plugging the camcorder into a PC.

We have fallen in love with IP7 - smaller than a Walkman and the sexiest camcorder we've seen.

iRiver's flowing

WE like the cut of this iRiver 2 iMP-250, a pocket player equipped for all eventualities.

It's compatible with MP3, MP3Pro and the Ogg Vorbis music compression code. Plus it packs a CD player and an FM radio. Should be out here early next month. More details from www.grey



HANDY free service that means you never have to miss the Lottery result ever again. Just spend a minute registering on the site and get the result text messaged to you in the pub as it happens.


ON TRACK: Roland U-8; LAPTOP: Toshiba 2100 CDS; EFFECTS: Roland Sound Canvas; VERSATILE: Paceblade Pacebook; I SEE: Hitachi's wearable PC; EASY: Pace opened up; NEW: Bluetooth camera; TOP: iMP-250
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 25, 2001
Previous Article:My Meg hates me says mum.

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