Tech: New Products, December 2008Mix magazine December 2008 tools of the trade article features new pro audio products in December 2008 Mix magazine pro audio product section
5-ZERO-7 Tube Microphone
Designers David Bock and George Cardas have patented a new elliptical mic capsule design, and the new Bock Audio 5-ZERO-7 mic ($6,995) is the first to bring it to market. Distributed in the U.S. by TransAudio Group (www.transaudiogroup.com), the mic has a large body with fully discrete tube electronics, audio transformers and a custom power supply modeled after those found in 1947-era microphones. The elliptical-capsule design strives to resolve chronic in-band resonance issues of both large- and small-diaphragm microphones. Round capsules have a relatively low frequency in band resonance — typically around 1 kHz — while small-diaphragm mics usually have much higher in-band resonances, typically about 15 kHz or higher. The elliptical capsule offers the best of both, avoiding the constant “edge-to-center” distance of round capsules, dramatically reducing in-band resonances and expanding the application possibilities.
The mic also features a hand-built, 6-micron, gold-sputtered diaphragm used in the Bock 251 and edge-termination design, and a three-layer head grille to prevent moisture and dirt from reaching the capsule. The power supply has an inductor-based design and promises a combination of long-term power, low noise floor and high-end sonic performance. The fixed-cardioid pattern targets this mic for vocal applications where proximity effect can be used to add a variety of color at various distances. The capsule can also be custom-tuned for orchestral or other uses.
Lawo (www.lawo.de), the German console company, has released a new generation of digital audio consoles designed for radio on-air and edit suite applications. The unit comes as two pieces: The first is an easy-to-use desktop surface promising a short learning curve for frequently alternating users; the second piece, connected via CAN bus (Cat-5 cable), is a 19-inch chassis housing I/Os, signal processing and the control system. Crystal (price TBA) is delivered with a choice of ready-to-use configurations for standard application, but adds the possibility of unique configurations adapted to user workflows. Available with four to 16 faders, Crystal also features an integrated matrix of up to 288 I/Os and intelligent networking with other consoles and matrices.
Waves (www.waves.com) unveils the MV2 and MV360°, two new dynamics processors for stereo and surround applications. The MV2's dual-fader interface lets users dial up optimal volume levels and is now included in Waves Mercury, Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and Broadcast & Production bundles. A dual-function dynamics processor for 5.0 and 5.1 surround applications, MV360° features six channels of low-level and high-level compression, with five versatile Link modes, making it a simple, flexible way to control volume levels in surround production environments. The MV360° is being added to the 360° Surround Tools and Mercury bundles. Both plug-ins are available at no charge to existing users covered by the Waves Update Plan.
A faithful remake of the Stanley Church/MGM microphone from the 1950s, the Church Microphone from Pearlman (www.pearlmanmicrophones.com) was built using the original schematics, and features a refurbished vintage Neumann K47 or M7 capsule, hand-selected 6072 dual-triode (12AY7) vacuum tube and the original Triad transformer — made specifically for Pearlman, after 50 years of not being available. This two-pattern (cardioid/omni) condenser mic is built in the same housing as the company's popular TM-1. The mic is offered as a $4,500 limited edition and ships with power supply, shock-mount, hand-built Mogami cable and aluminum carrying case.
SoundSeed (price TBA) from Audiokinetic (www.audiokinetic.com) is a family of interactive sound generators for game audio. SoundSeed lets sound designers create an unlimited quantity of variations from a single “footprint” sound, enabling them to create varied — hence, highly immersive — audio environments while keeping run-time memory usage and recording and production costs at a minimum. SoundSeed will gather a series of modules, all aiming at generating sound variations, with each using a specific technology adapted to a specific type of sound. The first available module, SoundSeed Impact, can create variations of most resonant impact sounds, such as sword clings, footsteps, bells and more.
Tascam's (www.tascam.com) 24-track/24-bit workstation has been upgraded to the 2488neo ($1,199). The neo sports a bold new look, new mastering effects and an 80GB hard drive, enough for hours of 44.1kHz/24-bit recording. Like its predecessor, the 2488neo has eight phantom-powered mic inputs, seven effects processors and the same user interface common to all Tascam Portastudios. Other effects include a reverb, multi-effect with guitar amp simulation and up to nine compressors. Mixes can be burned to CD or transferred to computer via the USB 2 jack.
The Kickbox 4×4 ($1,495) from Drawmer (www.drawmer.com) is designed to provide pro-grade mic/line inputs with multiple outs for live sound, location recording and broadcast. This portable, active splitter is housed in a rugged carry case and accepts up to four XLR mic/line inputs, delivering them to up to 16 line-level XLR outputs. The Kickbox 4×4 configures to four practical routing schemes: one input to 16 outs; two ins each to eight outs; four ins each to four outs; and one input to 12 outs, while handling another single input to four outs. The 4×4 comes standard in a road-proof case with a removable lid for unhindered access to all controls and connections. An onboard, selectable-source headphone amp allows quick setup and monitoring.
A new addition to the 788T digital recorder, the CL-8 ($995) controller from Sound Devices (www.sounddevices.com) adds capabilities without significantly increasing weight, making the 788T adaptable to a variety of field productions. It features eight large rotary faders to control the 788T's eight inputs, plus command over input settings such as highpass filter, limiter, polarity and mute. To ensure accurate, clear track marking, the CL-8 can manage the 788T's built-in slate mic. For rapid setups in the field, the CL-8 lets users quickly assign inputs to the main left and right record tracks. With a push of the input knob, users can also solo an input in headphones for concentrating on a specific track within a recording.
Oceanus, Clarion and Torch Mics
Lauten Audio (www.lautenaudio.com) expands its mic offerings. The Oceanus LT-381 ($1,599) has a large dual-diaphragm capsule, NOS military-grade pentode input, transformerless triode output, and omni, cardioid and figure-8 (and six intermediate) polar patterns. The $1,499 Torch ST-221 is a pair of small-diaphragm tube mics featuring interchangeable cardioid and omni capsules, NOS mil-spec tubes and premium high-resolution electronics. The $799 Clarion FC-357 is a solid-state, multipattern, large-diaphragm condenser mic offering Class-A electronics and a dual-diaphragm capsule capable of omni, cardioid and figure-8 patterns.
The Redcloud 8810U8ERS ($400) from Little Labs (www.littlelabs.com) is a compact, 8-channel balanced attenuator pack with I/O on a DB-25 connector. The unit can be configured as eight balanced mono attenuators or up to four balanced stereo attenuators, or even externally wired as eight stereo unbalanced attenuators. The special attenuators used are a 5k-ohm impedance, allowing devices to drive the attenuator easily but also drive relatively long cables without high-frequency loss. The Redcloud 8810U8ERS can be rackmounted, making it possible to have up to 32 channels of attenuation in a 1U rackspace.