May 2011 Archives

The mega earthquake struck Eastern Japan on March 11. Music stores in coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima prefectures were hardest hit by the devastating tsunami. The once in millennium natural disaster caused severe damage to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

Nearly two months have past, fear of aftershocks still prevail the area, and there are piles of rubbish everywhere. School season was one month ahead, music stores would have been busy preparing for spring special sales campaign and student recruitment to the music teaching studios. The stores, offices and lesson rooms were all swept away, however, the music dealers in the area are more than ever recognizing role of music and they are engaged in business that is deeply related to enrich life and mind of people. Musicians are voluntarily giving music concerts in the stricken area. The students lost their musical instruments in the disaster are getting new keyboard harmonicas and recorders donated from manufacturers and benevolent organizations.

Japan Music Trades interviewed presidents of Music Dealers' Associations in Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures to have them talk on their present situations and approaches to regain their business.

Hisamitsu Kimura, Secretary General, Aomori Pref. Music Dealers Association, President, Tou'ou Gakki

Minimum damage to Japan Sea areas
"We are located in Hirosaki City on Japan Sea coastal area opposite from the Pacific Ocean. There were no collapses of houses and office buildings around here. Our staff and music studio instructors are safe and doing all right.

"The most serious problem we experienced by the disaster was that gas and power were shut off. Every activity came to a halt. Gas supply nearly stopped for about 2 weeks. We saw people made a long queue at gas stations. Without cars, instructors and students had no means to come to us. Our staff had to stay home for a while.

"During the first 2 days without electricity service, we were all went out of business unable to make phone calls. To save energy, we reduced lightings in the office and studios. Only closed on Saturday of the week, we are open as usual.

"Life returned to normal conditions now, we see no apparent impact of the disaster. We postponed an in-store mini concert planned at the end of March to second weekend of April. However, not a few big events, concerts, and wedding receptions were canceled. In case they are staged, they are poorly attended.

"The destructive earthquake and tsunami did not much damage our store, but I feel we can better prepare for natural disaster expected in the future, for instance, much safer piano display."

Hideo Yamazaki, President, Iwate Pref. Music Dealers Association, Senior Vice president of Konari

Tsunami destroyed local community
"We have had 5 stores and music studios in the hardest hit Miyako and Yamada. Mad water climbed 1.8 meter high at the first floor of the main office in Miyako. The music studios on the second floor sustained with little damage, but it's unknown when we can go back to normal operation. The music studios at Yamada near Japan Railway Yamada Station were swept away by tsunami, caught fire and went into ashes. Eighty percent of Miyako and Yamda were ruined. Bright news is that all our staff is safe.

"Heaps of rubbles cover the ground, the area is far from any plight of recovery. We contacted all members of the association to know how they were doing. Tozando in Morioka reported that its Kamaishi sales office had damage with the building, and some music studios were hit by the tsunami.

"Our business has been affected by decrease of school age children even before the disaster. That has changed our business with larger revenue from school operation than store sales these years. The disaster struck our student enrollment program planned in March. We are really worried about its effect in the coming months. As sufferers are sheltered under many public schools in the area, children will be back to school on April 25 more than one month later than usual. Given the fact that sizable number of citizens has left the stricken cities and towns with children, we are wondering if they come back and we can resume the music studios.

"I say it takes much time before parents and children return to music making and taking instrument lesson. First priority is given to rebuilding social infrastructure and basic requirements for life. As a member of the local community, we work with our neighbors and support our customers providing services they need for music making when environment becomes better."  

Kunio Murayama, President, Miyagi Pref. Music Dealers Association, President, Sanritsu

Preparing to open teaching studios for children
"Our store in Ishinomaki located along the coast line has no electricity, and the windows are left broken. New glasses reached us recently, but they were broken-down by a Scale 6 aftershock. We don't gain a hold upon nature. The earthquake hit and ruined large part of Ishinomaki with massive land subsidence. It claimed thousands of lives.

"Tsunami heavily struck the music dealers in the coastal area with 4 upright pianos stuck at one store. In the inland areas, the earthquake damaged store buildings. We are unable to reach some dealers as of this day.

"I think it will take one year or two before the city resumes normal conditions even if everything goes as planned. Unless people get back to the city, and economy upturns, there will be no music business here.

"We all know that business environment will only deteriorate in coming months. But music teaching studios should be open for children. Knowing the benefits of music that give us pleasure and happiness, I believe music dealers must support local people, especially children, welcoming them to our music studios at earliest convenience.

"The disaster much affected our lesson programs with all plans canceled in April. Fortunately however, 250 sales staff and instructors are doing well and quite positive. Slowly, but steadily we are moving forward."

Shintaro Izumi, Secretary General, Akita Pref. Music Dealers Association, President, Music Store Kaneki

Deteriorating local economy
"We are located in Yokote. The earthquake cut off electric power system throughout the city. Four hours later, water supply stopped, but they fully recovered next day. We are lucky without any damage at the store and inventory. Probably the enhanced building structure helped us survive the unprecedented natural disaster. All member retailers have reported fine with no impairment to their stores.

"We went back to normal music studio operation in April. Because aftershocks continue, our life is still stumbling. So far we have been doing business as before as basic requirements for life are kept. By chance, we fueled all company-owned cars in the morning of the exact day. It greatly helped our business the days after.

"Now we see growing dropout rate at our music classes due to financial reason caused by disaster-induced layoffs at local factories and hotels. Agriculture businesses and fruit growers in Akita Pref. were badly damaged by the heavy snow fall last winter. We anticipate that dropout rate in suburban areas will further increase.

"Worse, the disaster is likely to curtail people's spending. We are very anxious that they stay at home keeping music away. Too much self-restrain affects local economy. The local government and businesses are teaming to boost spending to help economy of Yokote."

Masato Aoki, Secretary General, Yamagata Pref. Music Dealers Association, President, Nagai Riken

Serve the local community
"We closed doors of all stores in Okitama area except Yonezawa location after March 11 as power system was shut off. The Yonezawa store got back to normal operation next day, and the other locations followed in a few days.

"We had no serious damage at our stores though some guitars hooked on the wall dropped and floor tiles broke. More than anything else, we are pleased that our customers and staff evaded the frightening quake.

"As long as I know, no music dealers in Yamagata reported casualty or impairment. Shortage of gas impacted both students and instructors earlier times. We feel necessity to have improved information tools including Internet to keep communication with our customers and students as telephone system is unstable because of repeated aftershocks. 
  
"We are usually kept busy in March and April school season. The disaster gave our store sales and teaching operation a really serious impact. As our life is bit by bit returning to normal conditions, we see the store traffic is growing. There are customers come to us to pick up their instruments ordered before 3.11, and play music to ease physical and mental stress. There are definitely demands for music. We feel serving their needs and increase communication with our long time customers support recovery of the local community."

Hidehiko Inomata, President, Fukushima Pref. Music Dealers Association, President Yamaha Music Tohoku, Koriyama Store

Nuclear power plant problem casts shadow
"We are suffering from a triple disaster, the devastating earthquake, tsunami and failure of the nuclear power plant. Kikuya and Takano music stores on the coast line near the epi-center had serious damage. Not directly affected by the disaster, but sizable number of member dealers had to evacuate from nuke power plant area by government order. We are very concerned about impact of the unprecedented multitude of mishaps.

"Koriyama is situated in the center of the prefecture far from the sea. That has saved us from the catastrophe, and we are in much safer environment than the coastal cities. When the earthquake struck, there were 20 children left in our lesson rooms. Luckily, the children, instructors and sales staff escaped the mess.

"We run music school at 7 locations with 2,200 students enrolled. As one of the schools had been hardly hit, we had to consolidate it to the Koriyama Center location. The earthquake impaired our store leaving some cracks with the ceiling and walls. Water filled the floor of our store by mal-function of the sprinkler system. Wind and stringed instruments fell and were damaged. To protect them from aftershocks, they are displayed in cases.

"The most serious impact is the troubled nuclear power plant. Citizens in the area have evacuated. More than 20% of the students quit the music lesson and left the city alone or with family members in the fear of radioactive contamination. In some cases parents face financial difficulties having lost job because of the earthquake. The city life has almost returned to former conditions, but people feel uncertain about their future life in the stricken area.

"We have conducted emergency evacuation training periodically based on a safety manual for school operation in the past. We plan to improve the manual having experienced the disaster.

"We have started student recruitment campaign for the music studios at the end of April. Organizing sales campaigns and other events, we hope we can promote and share the pleasure of music making with customers in the area."

Ritsuo Sekiyama, President, Ibaraki Pref. Music Dealers Association, President, Sekiyama Gakki

Social infrastructure fragmented in unprecedented scale
"We are consisted of 7 music dealers. Struck by Scale 6 earthquake on 3.11, electric power was cut off and it continued for a couple of days. Mobile phone system did not work. Radio broadcasting was the only information source. Cars flooded the roads as signal traffic system went dead. Water supply also stopped for about 2 weeks. More than 5 meter high tsunami attacked O'arai port in Hitachinaka City. We have staff and instructors with their houses destroyed totally or in part and are sheltered under make shift houses.

"Printed music shelves collapsed and some musical instruments were a little damaged at our main store in Hitachinaka. Our loss was not much, though. We have never experienced this level of tsunami in decades. Great earthquake, off power and water supplies, and nuclear power plant failure developed all at once.

"As electricity, water supply and public transportation system returned in a week, we were back to normal operation at the store and music studios. Since public halls in the city had serious damage, we had to find venues for concert at hotels in March.

"Store traffic is increasing these days and customers are coming back. On the other hand, we see people are evacuating to neighboring cities though we are located 130 kilo meters away from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

"We were most affected by water supply cut off, and shortage of gas which lasted to the beginning of April. Product distribution totally stops without gas in suburban areas like here. I feel we must be well prepared with our own water and power supply systems for the future."             

Yamaha Synthesizer

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MOX8
MOX6
The upgraded models of the MO Series synthesizer introduced in 2005 comes with the same sound engine as the MOTIF XS, and in about 30% less weight from the predecessors.

The MOX8 features 88-key GHS keyboard action, while 72-key MOX6 is equipped with new semi weighted keyboard action.

They offer 1,217 voices including piano voices sampled with Yamaha concert grand piano, 355MB waveforms taken from the MOTIF XS, analog synthesizer and acoustic type sounds of strings, brass, reed and drum voices.

The Performance Mode that provides layered sounds of up to 4 voices allow the user to enjoy rich music styles from massive orchestra to solo performance accompanied by drums and bass. Besides 256 performance patterns, it has Performance Creator easy control function for production of Performances and Performance Record function for 4-part simultaneous recording.

In addition to the 97 onboard effects including vocoder, it offers the same reverb effect of the REV-X and VCM technology-based effects which deliver simulated effect voices of vintage effect machines.

The built-in sequencer supports professional level music production including direct and in Performance Mode recordings without any external devices.

Much requested step recording function, XA (Expanded Articulation) function which adds characteristic physical expression of instruments, 6,720 arpeggiator patterns and the 4-part interactive arpeggio engine enable even inexperienced musicians to effortlessly enjoy song writing.

The built-in USB Audio/MIDI interface expands recording and playback capabilities based on PC with the bundled Cubase AI software. It also supports HALion One sound engine, Steinberg Prologue virtual analog software synthesizer, new Yamaha YC-3B Organ Emulator and other software synthesizers provided by third parties for intuitive parameter edit control from the MOX.

Further details are available from:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/

Roland Synthesizer & Digital Piano

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JUPITER-80
The flagship model of the JUPITER synthesizers provides natural and rich musical expression much requested in live performance with the advanced SuperNATURAL synthesis engine backed by Behavior Modeling Technology.

In addition to musical instrument modeling sounds, the Behavior Modeling Technology has modeled characteristic play style of individual musical instruments to provide musicians with realistic organic acoustic sounds in realtime.

Acoustic type sounds of piano and electric piano are produced with the SuperNATURAL piano engine, while organ voices are taken from VK Series and V-Combo organs. Other voices include string, wind and world folklore instruments.

Synth voices provide broad spectrum of analog and digital synthesizer sounds produced with rich PCM waveforms of legendary D-50 and JD-8000, and oscillator and filter controls. Four SuperNATURAL voices can be multilayered to create "Live Set" which is allocated to upper and lower parts to be played split or layered.

The Solo and percussion parts are also provided for massive sounds not obtainable with old PCM synthesizer. Registration buttons allow the user to save and recall all settings instantly.

Other features include 76-note semi-weighted keyboard with after key touch sensitivity, 4 sliders with LED volume level indicator for individual parts, D-Beam, and TFT full-color touchscreen helpful on live stage.

Stylish and cool KS-J8 matched stand will be introduced shortly.

FP-4F
FP4 digital piano is now upgraded featuring SuperNATURAL piano engine, integrated V-Piano and 88-key stereo multisampling sound technologies for improved expression with continuously variable tonal change and natural sound decay.

Using the same Ivory feel G keyboard action with escapement as the RD-300NX, it elaborately responds to key touch of the player. Moisture absorbing material is used for the key top, and the natural keys have ivory like feel.

New speakers deliver massive sound effective on stage and street. Session Partner function provides automatic performance with professional-level rhythms and accompaniment patterns. In addition to music playback capability in WAV and  SMF formats, it has a USB memory port to save SMF performance data.

It comes either in Black or White body. A DP-10 damper pedal is standard. Triple pedal RPU-3 for more advanced pedal expression, and KSC-44 stand are sold separately. 

Further details are available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Korg Analog Ribbon Station

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monotribe ¥21,000
It is an analog version ELECTRIBE with built-in analog synthesizer, step sequencer and analog rhythm machine.

Rich functions packed in the compact body include easy and intuitive parameter control, powerful step sequencer used for the ELECTRIBE, 3-part drum section, 3 AAA battery-powered operation and a speaker.

Synth sound engine provides versatile sounds from nostalgic warm types to edgy sharp types selected by a single knob control. Bass drum, snare drum and hi-hat drum engine is upgraded with step sequencer that allows the user to control 8 step keys to change timing, rhythm and beat.

The ribbon controller keyboard offers Chromatic, Continuous and Wide modes. It uses the same VCF circuit as the popular MS-10 and MS-20. Having an input jack for external device, the monotribe works as filter effect machine. Sync In and Out jacks are provided for synchronized operation in multiple units.

Further details are available from:
http://www.korg.co.jp/

Pearl Snare Drum & Concert Bass Drum

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Custom Classic designed for "March" ¥90,000
Featuring 7.5mm thick one-piece maple shell, it's a new addition to the Custom Classic Series snare drums exclusively developed for marches with help of Toshiaki Ishiuchi, principal percussion of Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

The 4″ little shallower shell is equipped with responsive and crisp SN-1418WBC Ultra Sound bronze snappy, die-casting hoops and REMO Skin Tone heads for pure and brilliant march sound.

PBA3622PKST (Philharmonic Series "Premium") ¥650,000
The advanced model of the Philharmonic concert bass drum features highest quality mahogany shell processed with Pearl's distinguished shell molding technology.

Covered with ultra thin natural type lacquering, it derives natural sound of the shell in maximum level. High quality and supple calf skin heads provide professional sounds. New Composite hoops enhance expression capability of the mahogany shell.

Noiseless tuning system has perfectly eliminated noise using cushions for the hooks, tension bolts and lugs.

A suspension system stand finished in Nature Mahogany is standard to efficiently derive natural resonant sounds of the bass drum.

Further details are available from:
http://www.pearlgakki.com/

Yamaha Electric Acoustic Guitars

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APX500 II ¥40,000
APX700 II ¥62,000
APX700 II-12 ¥70,000
APX700IIL ¥70,000
APX1000 ¥95,000 (photo left)
CPX700 II ¥62,000
CPX700 II-12 ¥70,000
CPX1000 ¥95,000 (photo right)
Yamaha has upgraded the APX/CPX electric acoustic guitars after 5 years since last update. All models feature new preamplifiers specially designed for individual models. A total of 21 models are available in two different body styles, 3 types of pickups and rich finishes.

The APX500 II comes with an under saddle piezo pickup, and the APX 700II and CPX 700II are equipped with A.R.T (Acoustic Resonance Transducer) pickup which transmits vibration on body top directly to obtain natural sound. The APX 1000 and CPX 1000 have S.R.T. (Studio Response Technology) under saddle piezo pickup with a discrete element for the strings to achieve spacious sound.
All pickups come with matched new preamplifier.

They operate on 2 AAA batteries for stable power supply and enhanced tonal dynamics.

They feature solid spruce top (APX500II with spruce), nato sides and back (APX and CPX1000 with framed maple), nato neck and rosewood fingerboard. The APX700II also has 12-string and left-hand models. A 12-string model is available for the CPX700II.

Rich body finishes include Natural, Black, Old Violin Sunburst and Red Metallic for the APX500II, Natural, Black and Vintage Sunburst for the APX700II, Natural for the APX-700II-12/L, Crimson Red Burst, Pearl White, Natural and Mocha Black for the APX1000, Natural, Black and Sand Burst for the CPX700II, Natural for the CPX700II-12, Natural, Ultra Marine, Translucent Black and Brown Sunburst for the CPX1000.

Further details are available from:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/

Aria Electric Acoustic Guitars

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FET-STD ¥40,000
It has built-in 4-band equalizer, and digital tuner equipped with a back-lit display. In addition to an unbalanced output, it provides a balanced XLR output.

It features spruce top, sides and back, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge and a sound hole decorated with Avalon inlay.

Five finish colors of Natural, Brown Sunburst, Blue Shade, Red Shade and Black Shade are available.

ADL-01
This parlor size guitar in 650mm full scale meets the requirements of both finger picking and chord guitarists with its exceptional response.

It features solid red cedar top, mahogany sides, back and neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, wooden binding on the body, mosaic rosette on the sound hole, and Avalon-inlayed headstock.

It's available either in Natural or Brown sunburst.

Further details are available from:
http://www.ariaguitars.com/jp/

Steinberg DAW Software & Plug-ins

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CUBASE EL6/R
CUBASE EL6/E (Academy ver.)

Employing the same 32bit Floating Point Processing audio engine built into Cubase 6 with 24bit/96kHz audio quality, 48 audio tracks, 64 MIDI tracks and 24-track simultaneous audio recording capability, it serves wider applications from band recording to production of dance tracks.

They provide more than 550 voices produced with 3 VST instruments of HALion Sonic SE, Prologue analog modeling synthesizer and Droove Agent One drum engine co-developed with Yamaha, and over 30 high-quality effect plug-ins. MediaBay is built in for efficient file location and management.
It works on Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.6.

Portico 5033 plug-in (photo top) 
Portico 5043 plug-in (photo bottom)
Portico 5033 & 5043 plug-ins
Utilizing Yamaha's VCM technology, they are digital version equalizer and compressor of Portico analog processor designed by Rupert Neve Designs. (U.S.)

The 5033 provides LF/HF shelf filters plus LMF/MF/HMF parametric equalizers. It delivers characteristic tone control feature on entire tone range with tight low and comfortable boost. The equalizers have discrete power on and off control for individual bands. All Bypass button is provided for sound comparison.

The 5043 has Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release and Gain parameters for intuitive control of Neve Sound. Feed Back mode provides sweet and smooth compression, while Feed Forward mode gives accurate compression without changing tonal color.

They support VST3, VST24 (Windows), AU format (Macintosh) and most DAW software distributed in the market.

It works on Window XP Professional SP2/XP Home Edition SP2, Vista (32bit/64bit)/7 (32bit/64bit), Mac OS X 10.5.8/10.6 (32bit/64bit).

USB-eLicenser/Steinberg Key is sold separately to activate them.

Further details are available from:
http://japan.steinberg.net/

Roland USB Audio Interface

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QUAD-CAPTURE
The USB 2.0 audio interface with 4 individual inputs and outputs provides 24bit/192kHz audio quality for professional-level recording. The analog inputs come with built-in VS PREAMP mic preamplifier.

Roland's exclusive VS STREAMING technology has combined driver and hardware into one package to achieve extra low latency and stable operation. AUTO-SENSE function automatically selects optimal input levels for the preamp by one single click. It supports PC connection allowing remote on and off controls. All parameters including sampling rate, digital compressor and direct monitoring are graphically shown on the control panel.

It comes packaged with SONAR X1 LE, DAW software to start recording right out of the box.

Further details are available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Boss Digital Recorder

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MICRO BR BR-80
The pocket size digital recorder can meet every requirement of musicians of all levels from practice to stereo recording and professional music production simply by plugging with guitar and headphone.

It offers 3 modes: MTR Mode with 2-track simultaneous recording/8-track simultaneous playback capabilities and 8 tracks with 8 V tracks, which come in 64 V tracks, stereo rhythm track, 3-band equalizer and mastering effect including reverb, eBand Mode for session play with 400 backing patterns and imported music, solo and phrase training capabilities using Center Cancel and speed and pitch control, and Live Rec Mode for stereo recording with the built-in stereo condenser microphone.

It supports WAV and MP3 formats and up to 32GB SDHC memory card for data storage. Plugging with PC, it works as an audio interface for import and export of WAV files with help of provided BR Series Wave Converter, edit and music production on SONAR X1 LE.

It operates on AC power (adapter is sold separately), 2 AAA batteries or USB bus power.

Further details are available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Roland Digital Mixer & Portable Amplifier

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M-480 ¥1,160,000
The top model of the V-Mixer line utilizing REAC digital audio transmission technology features a new mixing engine for freer and integrated audio processing with 48 mixing channels plus 6 stereo returns, Main LCR outputs, 16 AUX buses, 8 matrices, 4-band parametric EQ, gate/compressor on all channels, all input and output channels equipped with delay, 6 built-in multi-effects and 12 graphic equalizers.
The audio processing capability has been nearly doubled over the sister models, providing delicate and precise audio mixing with enhanced tonal controls on input and output channels, and 6 built-in effects. The M-480 can be expanded to a larger system with 96 input channels linked with a second unit by a REAC CAT5e LAN cable.

A set-up of two S-1608 digital snake and an M-480 makes a simple digital mixing system on live stage. Since it has 3 REAC ports, recording functions and extra input and output channels can be easily added with LAN cables.

It supports diversified applications from compact live stage, large halls to live TV broadcasting.

BA-55 (in black finish)
BA-55 (in white finish)
The self-contained portable type amp in compact structure with wireless microphone system serves as a high quality PA system at various venues and outdoor events.

Operates on AC power or 8 AA batteries, it provides 108dB sound pressure level suitable for halls for up to 80 people. It operates on batteries for about 6 hours.

It comes with one 2.4GHz wireless microphone (DR-WM55 photo above) with anti-feedback function, and additional microphone can be purchased separately for dual mic system.

Two 6.5″ speakers are built-in. In vertical set-up it delivers sound in monaural mode which is suitable for speeches and talk sessions, but when horizontally positioned, onboard accelerometer sensor works to turn it into stereo mode ideal for musical applications.

In addition to 2 mic inputs, it provides 3-channel built-in mixer with 2-band equalizer, line output for recording or expanding the system, echo and reverb effects for microphone.

Further details are available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Pearl Musical Instruments unveiled recently Custom Classic "March" snare drum specially developed for marches under consultation with Toshiaki Ishiuchi, principal percussion for Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. It's common that school bands perform marches extensively in their programs. Why and how has the company designed the new snare drum? JMT interviewed three key personnel at Pearl to know its features and background of the development project. (Photo above: CL1440SNM/C (14″ by 4″) Custom Classic designed for "March" ¥94,500)

To set a standard for marching snare drum
Kazuo Sohma, assistant manager, Product Development/Marketing Division, explains, "Snare drum plays a significant role in marches. But what do percussionists want for their snare drum? It's difficult to generalize. We know that five prepared programs for All Japan Band Competition designated by All Japan Band Association include two marches every year. Judges increasingly comment on tonal characters of snare drum at competition these days. The point is that favored tonal color greatly differs from individual music and band style in marches. Marching band directors and percussionists face difficulty in choosing snare drum that fits their diversified performance. We wanted to set up a standard for snare drum played in marches." (photo: from l. to r., Kazuo Sohma, Takayuki Kuramoto, and Akihito Takekawa.)

Pearl has provided so far three types of concert snare drum: 3″ deep piccolo, 5-?″ and 6-?″ models. The 3″ model lacks power to play marches. Though they have sufficient power, the 5-?″ and 6-?″ models don't have desired crispness in sound.

After extensive studies and talks, the Pearl engineering staff and Ishiuchi decided to build a 4″ model made of dense solid 7.5mm thick maple for substantial power and crispy sound. The price point was another key. The retail price under \90,000 has increased its value in combination with high quality materials in use and established craftsmanship.

Having carefully selected parts and detailed specifications, they started making a prototype 18 months ago. Using Remo Skintone for the top head highly acclaimed for its genuine leather-like touch, tonal color and response, it employed 8 tension bolts as a result of comparative examination test with 10 bolts.

Akihito Takekawa, assistant manager of Engineering Dept. says, "We concentrated most in the design of snappy in every detail from metal material, wire processing to coating substance. Having extensively tried out every combination, we came up with corrosion-free bronze, a unique wire layout of 3 groups with 6 wires each, subtle adjustment of wire length, and patented Type C end plates for the new model. We have also inspected sonority and best conceivable combination of top and bottom hoops at such top class venues as Suntory Hall, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, etc. Finally, we found die-casting hoops the best."

Takayuki Kuramoto, assistant manager, Product Planning Dept. explains about distribution of the new snare drum, "According to the market analysis we conducted in development of the new model, marching bands have several types of snare drum applicable to various music genre more than ever these days. Music directors of top bands well recognize the role of percussion instruments and schools support their purchase plans. In addition to school budget, they can expect backup from parents of students. On the other hand, not a few schools can't afford to buy additional snare drum for marches, and what they have is the snare drum outfitted with drum kit. The snare drum specially developed for marches may alter recognition and understanding of school authorities. We plan to carry Skintone Give-away Campaign for purchasers during the school season from April through summer. To increase awareness of the "March" snare drum and its characters, we invite music directors and students to experience it at the coming percussion festivals and events."
 
Pearl has promoted percussion instruments and that they need maintenance as wind instruments to school market dealers with The Percussionist booklet published in April every year since 20 years ago. Every issue includes valuable information and interviews of name school bands. Kuramoto and Sohma are kept busy making interviews and reporting for the publication. They expect the special publication that percussionists can get exclusively at music store sends music directors and students their thoughts and messages and promote communication.

The Custom Classic Snare Drum for "March" well reflects the Pearl's philosophy since its foundation that to develop and support customers with high quality products.  

Pearl has also introduced SensiTone Elite "Classic" brass shell snare drum equipped with new Fat Tone hoops developed for enhanced durability, and two CRPL Series snare drums featuring SR-100 strainer specially developed for concert. (photos: STE14575BRC SensiTone Elite "Classic" (14″ by 5.75″) ¥52,500, left, and 1450S/C CRPL Series (14″ by 5″) ¥52,500)  

Yamaha Grand Piano & Digital Pianos

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GB1K ¥1,100,000
The most competitive model among the Yamaha grand pianos features 151cm deep size, 10cm shorter than the smallest C1, and perfectly fits cozy living room and children's room.

Providing excellent repetitive notes, wide dynamic range, and rich sounds produced with delicate key touch remarkable for this compact size, it is recommended for intermediate level children, amateur pianists, and piano teachers as an upgraded instrument.

In pursuit of cost efficient production, the GB1K is built at Yamaha's manufacturing base in Indonesia under the same quality control in Japan. Yamaha has already been successfully distributing grand pianos made in Indonesia in North America and European markets.

Yamaha does not accept orders for custom-built models of GB1K installing Silent System, automatic playing and other systems. A bench is sold separately.

CLP-480PE ¥430,000
CLP-480R ¥370,000
CLP-470PE ¥300,000
CLP-470R ¥270,000
CLP-440PE ¥245,000
CLP-440R/440C/440M ¥215,000
CLP-430PE ¥195,000
CLP-430R/430C/430M ¥165,000
CLP-S408PE ¥310,000
CLP-S406B ¥245,000
(Photos: CLP-480PE, left, and CLP-408PE)

Yamaha has refined the CLP Clavinovas and introduced 14 new models in 6 types. Built with Real Grand Expression concept, they have much improved expression capability well comparable to grand piano, and excellent balance of sounds, keyboard and pedals.

They feature new RGE piano engine sampled sounds with a selected Yamaha concert grand piano, continuously variable tonal color responding to the player's key touch, Smooth Release effect to efficiently control decay level, and 256-note polyphonic capability (128-note polyphonic capability for the CLP-430).

The Linear Grade Hammer action employs industry's first 88 keys in all different weights to make the player experience exactly the same feeling as striking thin, short wires on treble range and thick, longer wires on bass range. Using solid wood, Natural Wood (NW) hammer action supports the player's musical expression with reliable key touch and improved durability.

GP Response damper pedal incorporated in the CLP-480, 470 and S408 provides half pedal effect in soft response at the beginning, and heavy resistance when deeply pressed.

IAC (Intelligent Acoustic Control) function is standard to all models to make the treble and bass sounds better audible to the ears of the player in low volume of sound. They also have USB audio recording function.

All models come with legs for greater look and improved stability in play, keyboard cover to conceal front panel controls when necessary, and a matched bench.(Photo right) 

Those codes associated with the model numbers stand for : PE- black, high luster polish for the 480PE and black, polished for other PE models, R- new dark rosewood type, C- light cherry type、M- warm mahogany type and B- blackwood type.

Further information is available from:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/

Yamaha Data Recorder

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MDR-5 ¥24,000
USB memory function is now available for the Electone EL Series. This is to support owners of the 350,000 Electones with a built-in floppy disk drive sold from 1991 (EL-90/70) to 2004 (STAGEA). As USB memory has become a standard data storage unit, the MDR-5 serves as a substitute to floppy disk drive for writing and reading registration data, and recording/playback performance.

It can be built easily into the Electone with a screw driver and plugging with the provided MIDI cable. Yamaha Music Media starts distribution of music data developed for individual EL models compatible to MDR-5, and support song books sold on the market and provided by magazine Monthly Electone through Muma data base installed at Yamaha dealers in June. The company also plans distribution of these music data on the Internet.

The STAGEA equipped with a UD-FD01 floppy disk drive will convert EL data saved in floppy disk to be used on MDR-5. Electone Station (http://electone.jp/) provides detailed information on data conversion.

Further information is available from:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/

H. S. Anderson Electric Guitar

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HS-9
A new addition to the H.S Anderson electric guitar features fine maple on body top and headstock, ash body, mahogany neck, 22 frets rosewood fingerboard, 648mm scale, white pearly pick guard, and body and headstock bindings. The tilted headstock keeps excellent tension of the strings.   
          
Two Bill Lawrence L-500 pickups are mounted for sharp, well contoured sound. Graph Tech BLACK TUSQ nuts hold correct tuning in chalking and arming play.

It is finished either in brown sunburst or see-through green. It is a limited production model using carefully selected materials, and 5 units are built for individual finishes. Suggested retail price is ¥210,000.

Further information is available from:
http://www.moridaira.com/