Welcome to the SAM Page, CRASH’s monthly update on the fun and frolics that SAMmy Fox has been up to. This month she visits the hairdressers for a quick trim and her new single reaches the coveted number 143 slot in the charts (Sorry viewers, NICK ROBERTS has forgotten his pills again — Ed).
Blue Alpha Electronics have finally finished the SAM Sound Sampler (three cheers!). It comes in a normal SAM interface box with two quarter-inch jack sockets on the top, one for audio in and one audio out. You get a disk with the essential software on it and a groovy blue microphone all for £49.95.
The big question obviously is: ‘Is it any good?’. Well, it’s okay.... Here’s why. Using the microphone, you can sample any sounds going on around you (or yourself singing ‘Ba ba black sheep’, or whatever) with reasonable success. The quality of the samples is definitely better than the Spectrum samplers I’ve used but not as good as those on 16-bit machines. I had more success sampling sounds from a hi-fi. You can control the input volume better and as a result get a better quality sample.
Once you’ve sampled your sounds, there are various things you can do to them. They can be played at normal, slow or fast speeds, or reversed so they play backwards. That’s where the editing facilities stop, though. Many more features should have been included. Things like echo, fade and the option to change the start and end position of the sample section played are common in all other samplers.
Blue Alpha Electronics need to develop this product more if they want it to be a real success. As it is, you’ll soon lose interest.
Another SAM product just out is the MIDI Sequencer from Tim Humphries. This allows budding musicians to record their masterpieces digitally and store them on disk to be played whenever they like.
The sequencer acts like a tape recorder for electronic keyboards but without any of the crackle and background noise. You don’t have to be a MIDI expert to use it — if you know the ins and outs of your keyboard then you’ll find the package simple to use.
When you have recorded your piece you can tinker with it until it’s just right. The sequencer has the facility to quantise, which adjusts the time at which each note is played, correcting any slight mistake you could have mode. Pieces of music can be cut and pasted to repeat, for a second verse for example, and ‘events’ can be edited so you can change particular notes or durations.
The SAM MIDI Sequencer costs £39.99 and comes complete with a set of MIDI leads. This is half the price of the equivalent software on an Atari ST or Amiga and does the job just as well! Contact SAM Co for more details.
There are some excellent demos floating about the SAM PD scene at the moment. One that springs to mind is (ahem!) the Nick Roberts SAM Demo Disk 1 (who?). This disk holds four animated demos, some already seen on Fred, but the rest are totally original.
The disk includes Fuzzies (lots of blood and gore), Bart Simpson (having a cow), Speed Demon (racing action) and James Pond (fishy animated demo). If you hadn’t already guessed, these demos were written by yours truly. I don’t make them out to be the bee’s knees in demos but people I’ve shown them to think they’re good so you can get your own copy now! You can get the disk from most PD libraries, look around for the best price.
Contact PD have got some great demos on their latest disk. Mainly written in machine code (clever buggers), they show the SAM can get up to the some sorts of things as more expensive 16-bit computers. The one that impressed me the most was called Balls (ooo, missus!). Lots of spinning balls around the screen in the shape of helicopters, SAM logos and lots more. For all Vic Reeves fans there’s a groovy Vic demo on the same disk. What is this fab disk? Contact PD Pack One, available for a few pounds from Contact PD.
So you think CRASH doesn’t do a good enough job on Coupé coverage, do you? Well, I’m coming around to your house to sort you out then (bash! thump! etc...). Well, for more monthly SAM action check out the fanzine, ZAT.
ZAT comes as a well presented photocopied A5 mag for only 80p. It carries regular sections on programming and reviews all the software coming out for your beloved computer. Interested? Write to ZAT for more details.
Look out for yet more Coupé fun and frolics in Issue 90. Send your SAM games, demos, hardware, info etc to: Newsfield, Nick Roberts, SAM PAGE, Crash.