Technology

Tech: New Products, February 2009

Mix magazine February 2009 tools of the trade article features new pro audio products in February 2009 Mix magazine pro audio product section 2/01/2009 7:00 AM Eastern
High-End FX for Your DAW

TC Electronic
PowerCore 6000

TC Electronic's (www.tcelectronic.com) System 6000 algorithms, once only the domain of the system with the same name, are now available on the PowerCore 6000 platform for $3,495, a fraction of the 6000's price. The unit features eight FreeScale DSP engines, the same DSPs used in System 6000, and has an SRAM memory design that supports high-performance reverbs and delays. This enables users to run the 6000's reverbs and delay algorithms with popular DAWs, as well as with any other VST- and Audio Units-compatible host. PowerCore 6000 includes three of TC Electronic's best reverbs, starting with the VSS3 stereo source reverb, a genuine and original reverb directly ported from the System 6000. NonLin2 is an effects reverb capable of generating compact vocal ambience, percussive and dramatic drum sounds, reverse reverbs and new “twisted” effects. Completing the reverb section of PowerCore 6000 is DVR 2 digital vintage reverb, which emulates the original EMT250 processor.

PowerCore 6000 is expandable, offering a final audio touch with the MD3 Stereo Mastering Tools. M and S components of a stereo signal can be processed separately and provide even more control, making full use of the Spectral Stereo Enhancer. The mastering options given with the inclusion of the MD3 are supported through two more plug-ins: Brickwall Limiter, the plug-in used to get rid of the signals known to generate distortion in consumer CD players, radio processors and data-reduction codecs; and Unwrap 5.1, the tool that facilitates smooth and fast stereo to 5.1 up-conversion. Rounding out the plug-in package that comes with PowerCore 6000 is TapFactory, a delay/reverb hybrid based on the Reflector algorithm from System 6000. TapFactory features effects that range from reverbs like ambience and early reflections to delay, and allows individual parameter settings for each of its 24 taps within seconds.

Versatile Quick-Change Artist

Focusrite
Liquid Saffire 56 FireWire Interface

The new flagship 2U multichannel FireWire I/O from Focusrite (www.focusrite.com, price TBA) features Liquid technology combined with the Saffire PRO interface to deliver a host of preamp flavors, seamless software integration and routing flexibility. Two of Liquid Saffire 56's eight preamps use the third generation of Focusrite's Liquid Preamp; each provides a choice of 10 different preamp emulations. Models are based on the Neve 1073, Pultec MB-1, Telefunken V72 and more. A harmonics dial on each Liquid preamp lets users compensate for variance in vintage originals of the same model, or to add levels of 2nd, 3rd and 5th-harmonic distortion to shape the preamps' performance creatively. I/O options include 10 analog outputs, 16 channels of ADAT I/O, stereo S/PDIF or AES I/O (on RCA phono), MIDI I/O and two virtual “loopback” inputs for routing digital audio between software applications. Mic, line and instrument inputs all have independent connectors. In addition, onboard word clock I/O allows Liquid Saffire 56 to supply a master clock for your studio or slave to an existing clock.

Analysis Tools for the Mac

Blue Cat Audio
VST Plug-In Bundle

Blue Cat Audio's (www.bluecataudio.com) latest version of its analysis plug-ins (already available for PC) features Mac OS X compatibility, as well as several improvements and fixes. The six VST plug-ins are available as a single bundle (Blue Cat's Analysis Pack) or separately ($299 each). They include an audio level meter, spectrum and stereo field analyzers, and a multitrack oscilloscope. While the Multi Series offers multitrack analysis, the Pro Series lets users extract parameters from the incoming audio signal and record them as automation curves or send them as MIDI CC messages for unique sidechaining effects and external hardware control. The upgrade is free for existing customers, with demo versions available for download.

Vis at Warp Speed

Muse Research
Receptor 2 Pro Max

The dual-rackspace, 18-pound Receptor 2 Pro Max ($3,199) from Muse Research (www.museresearch.com) features a 3GHz dual-core processing engine, 3 GB of RAM, a 1TB drive and an E-SATA port for connecting to external drive arrays. Pro Max's time-saving software features include Muse's Universal Preset Access (UPA), which brings out all of the factory presets of a virtual instrument or effect for easy access from the mixer-like user interface. The new model also has enhanced Ethernet performance benefits with UniWire technology that preserves your CPU, letting users offload processor-intensive tasks to the Receptor. The unit comes with updated factory sounds, including hundreds of presets based on the Plugsound Box collection of virtual instruments with keyboards, synths, GM sounds, drums, urban sounds and loops.

Affordable Directionality

Avlex
Superlux PRA-116B Shotgun Mic

This compact, 7.8-ounce shotgun mic from Avlex (www.avlex.com) features a unidirectional polar pattern, excellent off-axis rejection and an integrated low-frequency roll-off switch set at 80 Hz at 12 dB/octave. The PRA-116B ($210) includes a mic clip, camera shoe shock-mount adapter, windscreen and carry pouch, and it is powered by a single 1.5-volt AA alkaline battery (included), promising 800 hours of use.

Making LE More Like Its Big Brother

Mellowmuse
Auto-Time Adjuster

Auto-Time Adjuster ($49) from Mellowmuse (www.mellowmuse.
com
) is an RTAS plug-in for Pro Tools LE/M-Powered, and is designed to enhance workflow by automatically compensating for plug-in or hardware insert latency. Previously, non-TDM users had to compensate for plug-in latency by moving individual audio tracks backward/forward, or using Digidesign's Time Adjuster, which meant a lot of tweaks whenever a plug-in was changed in a large project. Auto-Time Adjuster uses audio pinging to calculate and compensate for insert latency automatically on audio and/or aux tracks with the click of a button. To add or remove a plug-in on a track, users simply click the Ping button on the master ATA to calculate current latencies and synchronize the tracks, even when using hardware inserts. The plug-in works with Pro Tools LE/M-Powered Version 7.3 or above, Windows XP or Vista and Mac OS 10.4 or higher.

Lotsa Watts for Your Sub

Lab.gruppen
PLM 14000 Power Amp

Built around a 2-channel amplifier platform optimized for high-power requirements, the PLM 14000 ($3,495) from Lab.gruppen (www.labgruppen.com) pumps a massive 7,000 watts/channel into 2 ohms and 4,350W/side into 4 ohms, making it ideal for demanding subwoofer and low-end applications. As with the company's 4-channel PLM 10000Q, the new PLM 14000 integrates Dante networked audio distribution, Dolby Lake drive processing and load verification with real-time performance monitoring. It also offers extreme power density, patented Intercooler cooling, a full suite of protection features and a Power Average Limiter (PAL) to prevent tripping AC breakers. Parallel or redundant input/outputs are provided for analog, AES digital and Dante networked audio signals.

Keepin' It Clean and Simple

Bluelounge
CableBox

This affordable and simple enclosure from Bluelounge (www.bluelounge.com) offers a tidy, practical solution to unsightly AC cable clutter while eliminating fire risk and dust accumulation. The CableBox ($29.95) accommodates power strips and surge protectors of all shapes and sizes with room to spare for surplus cable length and adapters. The unit comes in black or white; it has non-slip rubber feet and is made from flame-retardant plastic.

Hybrid I/O for Your DAW

Lexicon
IONIX FW810S FireWire Interface

The IONIX FW810S ($1,099) from Lexicon (www.lexiconpro.com) steps out of the typical FireWire I/O box to offer integrated channel strip processing, dbx high-voltage mic pre's and the new Pantheon II reverb plug-in. I/Os include two front ¼-inch/XLR combo jacks for mic/line or instrument inputs; six rear mic/line combo inputs; eight analog TRS outs (7.1 surround capable); stereo main outs; stereo S/PDIF digital I/O; MIDI I/O; and headphone out. Operating up to 96k, the IONIX features dbx Type-IV conversion; a software mixer with dbx compressor, limiter, gate and EQ on each channel; the ability to save/load up to five monitor mixes; and output routing to incorporate external effects gear. The Pantheon II reverb has 35 factory presets, and users can change the parameters of six different reverbs. It also includes a hardware monitor reverb for zero-latency monitor mixing. The Windows/Mac-compatible software suite includes Steinberg's Cubase and Toontrack EZdrummer Lite.

Surround Sweetening

Eiosis
AirEQ 5.1

The new multichannel 5.1 EQ plug-in from Eiosis (www.eiosis.com, euro200 native, euro400 TDM) promises an easy-to-use GUI for equalizing 5.1 buses, with simple mouse-click access to the L, C, R, Ls, Rs and LFE channels. Other features: L/R and M/S modes, a display offering frequencies or notes, band naming and Digidesign ICON mapping. AirEQ 5.1 uses double-precision processing for maximum audio resolution. Eiosis has painstakingly matched AirEQ 5.1 with the analog curves, promising natural HF equalization without harshness or artifacts. AirEQ is available for TDM, RTAS, AudioSuite and Audio Units mono, stereo and 5.1 versions.

Compact Field Unit

Audio Developments
AD255 Portable Mixer

The latest small-footprint mixer from Audio Developments (dist. by Independent Audio, www.independentaudio.com), based on the AD245 Pico Mixer, features a phantom or 12V-powered mic preamp, three-band EQ, transformer-balanced inputs and outputs, highpass filter, aux outs with separate rotary controls and limiters across the main outs, which may be linked for stereo operation. The AD255 ($6,094/six inputs, $7,227/eight inputs) also features a twin-LCD-meter display (PPM or VU-switchable), headphone monitor and an electronically balanced stereo tape return, and is powered by eight C cells, fitted internally or from an external 12V-15V source.

Two Capsules, Two Options

KMF
Stereo Microphones

KMF Audio (www.kmfaudio.) is now shipping both tube and solid-state versions of its stereo microphone. Both models employ spaced, small-diaphragm omnidirectional capsules set apart on a crossbar on either side of a custom integrated preamp section, fed from an external power supply to keep noise to an absolute minimum. As shown, the signal from each 249-ohm capsule is fed to separate left and right XLR outputs. Specs include a flat 20 to 20k Hz response. The tube version uses Russian mil-spec tubes and a high/low output gain switch, while the solid-state version features a variable gain knob.

New Series, Same Prices

Bryston
SST2 Amplifiers

Bryston, LTD (www.bryston.ca) has announced the introduction of the SST2 series amplifiers, incorporating several upgrades to all eight models featuring Bryston SST hand-built amplifier topology. The new series offers the same prices as the existing lineup which now ranges from the 2B SST (100 watts per channel/8 ohms, 180 per channel/4 ohms at $2,650) to the 28B SST (1,000 watts mono into 8-ohms at $8,000). New features include a balanced input stage, output chokes promising extended high-frequency bandwidth, soft-start circuitry featuring gradual ramping of power, an extreme-duty push style power switch and a new power supply transformer design.

In Your Ears

Sennheiser
IE Headphone Series

The new IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 ear-canal headphones from Sennheiser (www.sennheiserusa.com) promise reduction of ambient noise and feature dynamic transducers covering a wide frequency range with one system. The silver and black IE 6 ($249.95) offers attenuation up to 20 dB, and a frequency response of 10 to 18k Hz, while the IE 7 ($299.95) boasts 10 to 19k Hz response. The top-of-the-line IE 8 ($449.95) features a low-profile dial on each earphone, enabling fine-tuning of the bass response, with 26 dB of attenuation and frequency response ranging from 10 to 20k Hz. All three models feature cables strengthened with Kevlar™, plus transport case, small cleaning tool and a cable clip.

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