The Cheetah range grows by the minute, first the SpecDrum, now the Sound Sampler and MIDI interface. The SpecDrum was the first cheap digital drumbox on the entire Earth, and has cleaned up in both the financial and critical acclaim stakes. You can sequence real drum sounds, playing them up to three at a time, in any pattern you like. As well as the sounds you get with the SpecDrum, Cheetah regularly releases new 'kits' of different drum sounds; currently there are two, the Latin/African set and the new Electro (Simmons style) kit.
At the PCW show it released the Sound Sampler. Although you can't sequence your sounds, or play them through MIDI (because you can't have MIDI and quality sampling in a Z80) the quality of the sounds you get is quite good. Although not as versatile as the Ram Music Machine, when Cheetah has worked out the bugs in the system it should be a fine little sampler. The bandwidth is a startling 17.5Khz, which considering that a Compact Disc player has a bandwidth of 22Khz, is pretty good quality. Also included are a number of useful sound processing programs like Echo, Harmoniser, Fuzz, Reverb, Chopper and Bubbleiser.
Mike: Hmm. Yeah... very nice... it's very good quality, but what can you do with it? Not very well thought out as a musicians tool, I'd say. You can sample a sound. Fine. It sounds pretty good. Great. You can play it up and down the rubber keyboard of the Speccy. Yeah. But what do you do then? There's no retrig so it's unusable as a 'keyboard' instrument. You can't MIDI it so you can't sequence it either, not even in conjunction with the SpecDrum, which is a real shame, 'cos it's such a brilliant drumbox.
Kay: I expected better from Cheetah, but no, I don't like it. Just a sampling engine, really, and definitely for fun use only. The Utilities program is really funny. Most of the sounds are like a helicopter taking off in your amplifier. Good for fun I s'pose. I liked the Electro Kit for the SpecDrum though. Just like a Simmons Kit for the SpecDrum, although I'm probably not allowed to say that. (No you're not. Ed).