Recording - November 2009 - 18

Sonar V-Studio 700 Fireface is optimized for use with ASIO, which then forced me into a choice between using it and the VS-700R. Although there are workarounds, this is something to take into consideration if you already own an interface with ASIO drivers that you want to continue to use. One such workaround is to use a WDM driver for one interface and ASIO for the other. I didn’t have a chance to test the WDM driver for the VS-700R, but Cakewalk reports that its performance is on par with the ASIO driver, which I found to be quite speedy (5 msec latency). If that’s the case, then that would put the VS700R driver at or near the top of the heap in terms of WDM performance; WDM driver quality varies wildly from product to product, with a few (like Frontier Design’s) being quite good, but most being far slower than their ASIO counterparts. Standalone option The VS-700R is also available as a stand-alone unit without the VS-700C, and as such it is highly competitive with other interfaces at its price point and above. Considering that the interface also includes a Fantom VS synthesizer, this product offers much more than “just” a multi-channel audio interface, and might be a very attractive solution for the user of any DAW software who is looking for both a quality audio interface and hardware synthesizer accompaniment. Nothing about the VS700R is exclusively tied to SONAR. However, it has no headphone jacks (whereas 2 headphone jacks are available on the VS-700C) nor an input jack for the Aux channel (also on the VS-700C). The menacing Fantom The Fantom VS synthesizer included in the VS-700R is a slightly scaled-down version of the synthesizer hardware found in Roland’s flagship Fantom-G keyboard workstations. While based on the same sound engine as the keyboards and possessing one ARX expansion module slot, the VS doesn’t have the standalone keyboard’s sampling capability, onboard sequencer, or arpeggiator (since SONAR could reasonably be expected to cover those functions for you). Its waveform ROM is half the size of the keyboard’s at 128 MB, and it won’t render as many simultaneous effects. It does share the keyboard’s 128-note polyphony and is capable of 16part multitimbral operation, though. The Fantom aboard the VS-700R is pretty much what you would want such a synth to be. First of all, it sounds really good. ItRECORDING NOVEMBER 2009 offers a very inclusive set of bread-and-butter patch presets for creating tracks, and its musical instrument emulations are among the best I have ever heard. It includes a fantastic grand piano, convincing brass and string sounds, and some of the nicest basses I have encountered in a ROMplertype synthesizer. Its ‘synthetic’ sounds range from atmospheric washes, pads, and sweeping panoramas to the ultra-weird. Once you hear it, you will be amazed that all those sounds come out of a 128 MB sample ROM. In addition, the VS allows allocation of 3 multi-effects (from a selection of 78) over its parts, and offers very nice independent chorus and reverb for further fattening and sweetening of its sounds. of the 4-tone patch structure, allowing manipulation of sounds down to the waveform level. It is one of the best GUI synth editors I have ever encountered. The only significant fault I could find in the Fantom VS package is in the way patches are selected, for editing or for use. I was probably overly sensitive to this in my capacity as a reviewer, but auditioning over 1400 patches, each of which required no fewer than 3 mouse movements and 4 clicks, ceased being ‘fun’ before I got to 100. While the VS does have a very nice categorizing scheme for patch organization (i.e., if you are looking for a trumpet it’s easy to find one that will suit your needs), general-purpose auditioning is a real pain. What’s worse, the Fantom VS doesn’t correctly respond to MIDI program control change, and issuing a control change does change the patch (to an apparent random setting) while the Fantom applet gives no indication of what patch is currently in focus. When the editor shows Soft Flute as the target instrument and what you hear is The Fantom VS includes a software editor that works from within a window in SONAR (or any other VST host), and its driver allows it to be seen by host software as if it were a software synthesizer. As a softsynth it offers the advantage of portability among hosts and near-zero sequencer playback latency, but being a hardware synthesizer it introduces no record latency and it uses no computer CPU overhead to create the sounds it produces. Because the VS is really a hardware synthesizer, only one instance of it can be allocated. However, sharing its impressive 128 voices among its 16-part multimbral parts compensates for lack of multiple instantiation capability. The editor, very similar to computer editors for the Fantom-G keyboards, provides easy access to the deepest portions a tubular bell you know you are lost. There’s nothing here that a future software or firmware upgrade can’t fix, but for now, expect patch browsing to take a while. Consoling SONAR SONAR is a great DAW application, and I’ve expressed that view in every review I have written of it. However, like all comprehensive DAW applications available today, SONAR is huge. Its multiple viewpoint screens, editing modes, and shortcuts have made it more precise and functional, but all of this power comes at the expense of innumerable mouse positioning and clicking episodes as well as many key strokes that eat up a lot of time. Over the years, various control surfaces have appeared that could be customized

Recording - November 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - November 2009

Recording - November 2009
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Les Paul Speaks
Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
The Hybrid Guitar Recording Method—A Modern Way of Tracking Serious Tones, Part 1
Radial JDX and Phazer
Shure SM27 and SM137 Microphones
Eventide PitchFactor
Recording’s Guitar Column
Lexicon I•ONIX U42S RecordingInterface
Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Readers’ Tapes
Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator
BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Line 6 BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - November 2009 - Recording - November 2009
Recording - November 2009 - Cover2
Recording - November 2009 - 1
Recording - November 2009 - Fade In
Recording - November 2009 - 3
Recording - November 2009 - Contents
Recording - November 2009 - 5
Recording - November 2009 - Talkback
Recording - November 2009 - 7
Recording - November 2009 - Fast Forward
Recording - November 2009 - 9
Recording - November 2009 - 10
Recording - November 2009 - 11
Recording - November 2009 - Les Paul Speaks
Recording - November 2009 - 13
Recording - November 2009 - 14
Recording - November 2009 - 15
Recording - November 2009 - Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
Recording - November 2009 - 17
Recording - November 2009 - 18
Recording - November 2009 - 19
Recording - November 2009 - 20
Recording - November 2009 - 21
Recording - November 2009 - 22
Recording - November 2009 - 23
Recording - November 2009 - The Hybrid Guitar Recording Method—A Modern Way of Tracking Serious Tones, Part 1
Recording - November 2009 - 25
Recording - November 2009 - 26
Recording - November 2009 - 27
Recording - November 2009 - 28
Recording - November 2009 - 29
Recording - November 2009 - 30
Recording - November 2009 - 31
Recording - November 2009 - Radial JDX and Phazer
Recording - November 2009 - 33
Recording - November 2009 - Shure SM27 and SM137 Microphones
Recording - November 2009 - 35
Recording - November 2009 - Eventide PitchFactor
Recording - November 2009 - 37
Recording - November 2009 - Recording’s Guitar Column
Recording - November 2009 - 39
Recording - November 2009 - Lexicon I•ONIX U42S RecordingInterface
Recording - November 2009 - 41
Recording - November 2009 - Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Recording - November 2009 - 43
Recording - November 2009 - 44
Recording - November 2009 - 45
Recording - November 2009 - 46
Recording - November 2009 - 47
Recording - November 2009 - 48
Recording - November 2009 - 49
Recording - November 2009 - Readers’ Tapes
Recording - November 2009 - 51
Recording - November 2009 - Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator
Recording - November 2009 - 53
Recording - November 2009 - BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Recording - November 2009 - 55
Recording - November 2009 - Line 6 BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic
Recording - November 2009 - Advertiser Index
Recording - November 2009 - 58
Recording - November 2009 - 59
Recording - November 2009 - 60
Recording - November 2009 - 61
Recording - November 2009 - 62
Recording - November 2009 - 63
Recording - November 2009 - Fade Out
Recording - November 2009 - Cover3
Recording - November 2009 - Cover4
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