Tech: New Products, October 2008500 Reasons to a Desk Tree Audio500 Recording Console Audio modules in the 500 Series format are ubiquitous across a range of gear and manufacturers,
500 Recording Console
Audio modules in the 500 Series format are ubiquitous across a range of gear and manufacturers, and the Tree 500 Recording Console (a division of Inward Connections, www.boutiqueaudio.com) lets users “grow” a console by mixing/matching modules on a channel-by-channel basis. The 24-channel desk features all-discrete Inward Connections SPA690 amp blocks, custom output transformers, four group buses and a stereo bus (all with insert points), four pre/post-mono aux sends and one stereo aux send (pre/post). The Tree 500 also features all the master controls and options you'd expect on a pro-level console, including six master aux level controls, mono and dim, stereo-in-place solo, channel mute, two external source choices and three speaker selections with sub, master, and left- and right-mute controls. Empty slots above the center section are ready for EQ and compressor modules for the four groups and stereo bus, while input channel slots accommodate mic preamps, EQs, dynamics modules and other goodies. Built for the long haul, the 500 has two heavy-duty power supplies with double the required current for the input modules and 500 Series buckets. Other extras include a headphone amp, oscillator, 100mm faders and optional meter module with analog VU and peak program LED bar graphs (-30 to +18) that can look at the input or output of each channel. Price: $38,750.
AES Booth: #1426
Its first recording mixer in 10 years, the ZED-R16 from Allen & Heath (www.allen-heath.com) combines an analog mixer with 18 FireWire I/Os, 16 ADAT I/Os, 4-band EQ (with parametric mids), dual-function audio/MIDI faders, onboard MMC transport controls, control room and alternate speaker outs, and two separate artist monitor feeds. Preamps are discrete, low-distortion/low-noise (-128.5dBu EIN). ZED-R16 is bundled with Cakewalk SONAR LE software, and can also operate as a versatile front-of-house mixer. In this mode, the mixer's four aux buses become monitor feeds and FX sends, with the main analog XLR outputs feeding the P.A.
AES Booth: #1114
SONAR 8 Producer Edition
Offering workflow enhancements and new feature/performance optimizations, Cakewalk (www.cakewalk.com) unveils its flagship SONAR 8 Producer Edition sequencing/DAW software for the PC. The new version offers an upgraded Loop Explorer 2 view; dedicated instrument tracks optimized for mono/stereo virtual synths; Send Assign Assistant (wizard); numerous audio engine optimizations; transport, control surface, routing and editing refinements; workflow enhancements; and QuickTime 7 import/export. Among SONAR 8 Producer's new instruments are the Beatscape loop performance instrument, Dimension Pro 1.2 (now with Digital Sound Factory Volume 2 Classic Keys and Hollywood Edge Effects Library) and TruePianos' Amber Module. Its onboard effects are expanded with TL-64 tube leveler, TS-64 transient shaper, Channel Tools stereo enhancement plug-in and Native Instruments' Guitar Rig 3 LE. Also standard are updated ACT preset mappings for popular MIDI device/controllers, production-ready track/project templates, more drum maps and plug-in presets, and integrated step-sequencer drum patterns. SONAR 8 Producer Edition retails at $619 ($499 street) and upgrades are available.
AES Booth: #1020
m101 Mic Preamp
First released in 2000, the half-rack, single-channel Grace (www.gracedesign.com) Model 101 preamp has gotten a facelift. New features include an audio signal path with 0.5% precision metal-film resistors, a 12-position gold-plated rotary gain switch, a built-in universal AC input module and a ribbon mic mode to raise input impedance from 8.1k ohms to 20k ohms. One thing that hasn't changed is the $695 price — the same as its predecessor. The 2.4-pound unit also features a wide 4.5-390k Hz frequency response, peak LED meter, output trim control and hi-Z input.
AES Booth: #1519
K8 Digital Audio Distribution System
Ideal for transporting pro-quality audio across a facility (acting as a multidestination digital hub or for simple point-to-point connections), Klein + Hummel's (www.klein-hummel.com) K8 distribution system expands with four new components. The K8-ESB EtherSound Bridge ($1,908) lets users take any eight or 16 EtherSound audio channels and encode them onto the K8 system. The K8-AO2 ($684) can pull a stereo digital audio pair off of the K8 digital bus and decode it into analog outs. The K8-AESI16 ($1,964) can feed the system from any device with AES-3 outputs, putting 16 audio channels from AES-3 (32 to 192 kHz) onto the K8 bus. The K8AESO16 ($1,964) takes any four or eight AES-3 stereo audio channels and decodes them into analog line outs.
AES Booth: #1210
C 214 Microphone
The C 414 from AKG (www.akg.com) carries a legacy of more than 30 years — a true rock star among microphones. The new C 214 was designed as a budget-friendly alternative to the C 414 family. It uses the same 1-inch, gold-sputtered diaphragm as the C 414, but offers a single, fixed-cardioid pattern, arguably the most widely used in general studio and live sound applications. The C 214 features a switchable -6dB/octave low-cut filter at 160 Hz, switchable 20dB pad and 136dB max SPL handling. Price: $599, with shock-mount, windscreen and metal carry case.
AES Booth: #202
Reflex USB Flash Drive Duplicators
USB “thumb” drives are a popular, renewable data-storage format, especially for sneakernet audio transfers and temporary storage of DAW sessions. To accommodate quick and easy duping of as many as 11 drives, Disc Makers (www.discmakers.com) offers the new Reflex Flash USB, with transfer rates up to 10 mbps. The Reflex Flash line will duplicate at speeds comparable to today's fastest 20x DVD duplicators, up to 330 units (256MB size files) per hour in its largest model. All come with a one-year warranty and “perfect fit” guarantee — if this product doesn't fit your needs, Disc Makers offers full credit toward one that does. Prices: $699 (3-drive), $899 (7-drive), $1,099 (11-drive).
AES Booth: #703
Schoeps (www.schoeps.de) expands its renowned Colette Series of modular condenser mics with the “open-cardioid” MK 22 capsule. Combining the directional effect of its MK 4 cardioid with the sonic character of the MK 21 wide cardioid, the new MK 22 is ideal as a spot or soloist mic. For “quasi-ORTF” stereo recording, the optional STC 22 mounting bar keeps two MK capsules splayed 110 degrees outward at the recommended 21cm spacing. Both the MK 22 ($875) and its CCM 22 ($2,129 complete) counterpart in the Schoeps compact condenser microphone series are now shipping.
AES Booth: #610
Offering a new twist on vacuum-tube preamp/channel strips, Blackmer Sound's (www.blackmersound.com) Tube E has multiple gain stages, allowing control of pushing the signal against several saturation or overload points. Tube E also has a full-featured photonic compressor (with a two-frequency low-cut filter on the detector) and two pads: an Iron pad before the input transformer and a Tube pad after the transformer but before the first gain stage. A unique Dynamic Audio Display (DAD) shows clipping, gain reduction and overall signal at a glance for tweaking distortion or maintaining clean gain. Other features include a hi-Z input and several shaping filters: presence contour for shimmer, a tunable mid-scoop filter and a Phat switch to add punch.
AES Booth: #1409
Model C720 Mic
As part of its 20th-anniversary celebration, Josephson Engineering (www.josephson.com) announces a 20-unit limited-edition run of its C720 condenser mic, a variant of its C700 Series. Each side of the C720's dual-diaphragm capsule feeds its own dedicated XLR audio out so users can mix the two signals to create any desired directional pattern — from omni through wide-cardioid to cardioid, hypercardioid and figure-8 — even after the recording. Its unique open-cell, metal-alloy foam grille provides mechanical support, electrical shielding and pop filtering. Onboard electronics are derived from Josephson's e22S mic, with a cascode front end directly driving a custom Lundahl output transformer.
AES Booth: #1126
The successor to its popular Atmosphere, Spectrasonics' (www.spectrasonics.net) Omnisphere virtual instrument combines a variety of hybrid real-time synthesis techniques, a huge library of “psychoacoustic” sounds and innovative features never seen on any hardware or software synth. Based on the company's new STEAM engine core technology, this $499 cross-platform (Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS 10.4 and higher) synth is now shipping.
AES Booth: Pod #1815