Product: MUSIC 5000
Publisher: Hybrid
Compatibility: BBC B, B+, Master 128 & Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Will Watts
Originally published in EUG #02
Price: £2.95 (Approx)
Supplier: Hybrid Technology Limited, 88 Butt Lane, Milton, CAMBRIDGE CB4 6DG. Tel: (01223) 861522
Supplier: ACP/Pres LTD, PO Box 319, Lightwater, SURREY GU18 5PW. Tel: (01276) 72046

Having no wish to 're-invent the wheel', I don't intend to explain all the workings of the Music 5000 here, as Hybrid Technology can do it so much better themselves. Below are a few quotes from their publicity hand-outs, however:

"The Music 5000 is a stereo digital synthesizer capable of a vast range of instrumental, percussion and other effects... You build music and sounds in an integrated environment of easy-to-use editors: the Main Menu, Mixing Desk, Staff (or Stave) editor and the Notepad. It is a multi-track recording system with unmatched power for editing, organising and structuring music...and allows you to have up to eight different sounds playing at the same time... The software system is based on AMPLE (Advanced Music Production Language Environment)".

"Yes, yes," I hear you cry. "But what does it sound like???"

The simple answer to that is "Very good!!" and Hybrid Technology can provide you with an audio cassette entitled 'The Hybrid Music System's Greatest Hits'. It features the work of such household names (??!!) as Pilgrim Beart, Alistair Johnston, Michael Harbour, Mark Mulders, Obernell, David Reed, Jim Woodhouse and Andrew Uttley so you can see (or rather hear) for yourself.

The tape contains a total of thirteen tracks which demonstrate the system's potential and it covers a wide aural spectrum of musical styles (although which musician produced which piece I can't say as it comes without an inlay). Don't expect 'hours of entertainment' from this tape either - it's a demo in the true sense, with most examples lasting under ninety seconds.

What it does give you is a good idea of what can be done with the system. Some of the sounds are very good representations of acoustic instruments, piano, clarinet, harpsichord, etc but, being a bit of a 'headbanger' I preferred the more 'electrified' synthetic voices, my favourite tracks being the second on side one and the first on side two.

As well as spotlighting some of the voices the system can produce, several dynamic effects are also demonstrated: fade ins, fade outs, mid-piece tempo changes, echo, reverberation and stereo panning can all be heard.

If you are considering buying the Music 5000, I would advise you to send for this tape, which comes with a number of detailed glossy fact sheets explaining the system. If, after hearing the tape, you decide to buy, contact ACP/Pres as they can supply a special Electron version of the package.

Will Watts, EUG #2