Tech: New Products, September 2008Mix magazine September 2008 tools of the trade article features new pro audio products in September 2008 Mix magazine pro audio product section
Preamp and EQs
API has released three products through its affordable new Arsenal (www.arsenalaudio.com) line. The 2-channel Arsenal R 20 ($1,195) mic preamp features low-noise mic and instrument inputs, a 2U chassis with internal power supply and up to 55 dB of gain, plus switches for -20dB pad/phantom power/polarity, analog VU meters with separate peak indicators and balanced I/Os. The Arsenal R 24 ($1,195) is a 2-channel EQ modeled after the classic APSI model 562. All four bands are peak/dipping parametric design with 12 dB of boost/cut per band. It includes a custom transformer-balanced output with extended headroom of +23 dB. The Arsenal V 14 ($695) is a single-channel version of the R 24 housed in a VPR500-format modular chassis.
Jack Joseph Puig Plug-Ins
Designer plug-ins are the latest fashion in audio, and this new set from Waves (www.waves.com) will surely interest anyone seeking a sonic edge in their productions. The JJP collection is based on some of the most sought-after vintage pieces of gear from the studio of producer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig. Based at Hollywood's Ocean Way Recording Studios, Puig has produced hits for artists such as Green Day, U2, Sheryl Crow, the Rolling Stones, Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer and more. The bundle includes models of Puig's Fairchild 660 and 670, and the Pultec EQP-1A and MEQ-5 — some of the most coveted pieces of hardware in audio. Puig has contributed presets for the plug-ins and personally approved the emulations as sonically accurate.
Designed nearly 50 years ago by Rein Narma, the original Fairchild stereo 670 compressor and its 660 mono counterpart are renowned for their advanced compression techniques and incomparable sound. Key features of the PuigChild 670 include Lateral Vertical mode (M/S compression), promising optimal stereo imaging; Linked and Unlinked modes; Digidesign ICON support; and up to 24-bit, 192kHz resolution.
The Pultec EQP-1A is favored for its warm, round low-frequency equalization and its beautiful high-frequency boost; it also has the unique ability to boost and cut the same frequencies simultaneously, thereby creating a resonant shelf. Used primarily for broadband equalization, the original EQP-1A features four low-boost/cut frequencies, three high-cut frequencies and seven HF boost points, along with a bandwidth control for shaping the high-boost curve. Plug-in features include unique resonant low-shelf boost, Digidesign ICON support and up to 24-bit, 96kHz resolution.
The distinctive tonal characteristics of the Pultec MEQ-5 midrange EQ have made it a popular signal chain choice and coveted heirloom piece in the racks of many studios. Key features include Digidesign ICON support and up to 24-bit, 96kHz resolution. All JJP plug-ins are currently available separately or as part of the Waves Mercury bundle, and offer TDM, RTAS, VST and Audio Units support, as well as PC and Mac compatibility. Prices: $1,600, TDM; $800, native.
Compact Powered Monitor
The JBL (www.jblpro.com) Control 2P 5-inch, two-way powered monitors use the same transducers and crossover as the Control 1 Pro. The system includes two speakers, one with onboard power amps and user controls for it and the connected passive speaker. Features include a headphone jack, side-mounted volume control for both speakers and internal peak limiter to protect against overdriving. An HF contour control lets users tailor high-frequency response to application requirements. Price: $249; a $25 wall-mount kit is optional.
FireWire DAW Controller
Yamaha and Steinberg (www.steinberg.net) continue to grow together, and there's no better proof than the co-developed CC121 advanced integration controller. It features a knob with point-and-control support for any visual Cubase 4 parameter, as well as internal FX settings or VSTi parameters using mouse-pointer selection. It's plug-and-play with no additional setup/parameter assigning required. The CC121 has a motorized, 100mm touch-sensitive fader and dedicated control of Cubase channel settings, including solo/mute, record arm, “e” settings button, automation read/write, pan and VSTi editor, as well as a full Cubase EQ section with 12 dedicated rotary encoders with mode selection and bypass switches. A user-assignable section — with Cubase-integrated presets for control room/studio sends and monitoring setup — completes this versatile package. Price: $499.
ATC Labs boasts the introduction of the industry's first automatic, real-time, software-based noise-removal and -reduction product. Features include broadband background noise removal — including impulsive noises and clicks — and automatic continuous tracking/capturing of changing noise profiles. Designed for stringent live audio applications under difficult multichannel circumstances, the AutoAudioDenoizer ($1,499) promises no compromise or distortion of the original audio source during noise removal. Other features include options for tuning and saving user-defined profiles and an intuitive interface. Download a free demo version at www.atc-labs.com.
Condensers for Stage and Studio
The latest condenser mics from Audio-Technica (www.audio-technica.com) are the cardioid AT2035 ($249m pictured) and the multipattern AT2050 ($369). The AT2035 offers flat, extended frequency response (20-20k Hz), 148dB SPL handling and 12dB self-noise. The AT2050 has omni, cardioid and figure-8 patterns; 149dB SPL handling; and 17dB self-noise. Both mics feature a switchable 80Hz highpass filter and a 10dB pad, and ship with a shock-mount and a protective pouch.
Software Meets Hardware
Total Workstation Rack
IK Multimedia and Muse Research (www.museresearch.com) teamed up to offer the Total Workstation Rack ($1,999), a combination of Muse's unique Receptor hardware plug-in player with IK's Total Workstation line of “Powered By SampleTank” instruments: SampleTank 2.5, Sonik Synth 2, Miroslav Philharmonik, SampleMoog and SampleTron. The software comes pre-installed/authorized within Receptor, offering immediate access. The Rack can be integrated with any DAW as a normal instrument plug-in using Muse's UniWire technology without putting extra strain on the computer's CPU. IK registered users can get the Total Workstation Rack crossgrade version for a special $1,699 price.
Pickin' and Grinnin'
Applied Acoustics Systems
Strum Acoustic GS-1
This acoustic guitar software synthesizer from AAS (www.applied-acoustics.com) is based on the latest physical-modeling technology. Strum ($229) ships with a collection of steel and nylon acoustic guitars and includes an elaborate voicing module that automatically voices chords played on the keyboard as a guitar player would on the fretboard. Strumming and picking actions are reproduced by an auto-strum function, special strumming keys or MIDI loops; EQ, multi-effects and reverb modules are also included. GS-1 runs on both Mac OS X and Windows as a stand-alone application, and in host sequencers supporting VST, Audio Units and RTAS plug-in formats.
Modular Snake System
More consoles, converters, patchbays, preamps and other pro devices are moving to the industry-standard DB25 connectors to save time and panel real estate. Now, creating custom studio cabling has never been easier, thanks to the Modular Snake system from Planet Waves (www.planetwaves.com). Users select from 5/10/25-foot “core” cables with DB25 connectors and mix/match various breakouts to suit any application. Available terminations include digital (AES, with four male/four female XLRs) and analog (with eight channels of XLR male, XLR female or ¼-inch TRS). All cables feature oxygen-free copper conductors, two layers of shielding and Amphenol gold-plated connectors. Prices: $59.99 to $159.99.
New Blood for Your Productions
The new Transfuser ($295) VI from Digidesign features 2 GB of loops and phrases, plus a series of modular drum machine/sound generators, dedicated sequencers, loop-manipulation tools and effects — all bundled in an intuitive drag-and-drop composition/editing interface. It also lets users create/tweak/arrange/perform grooves on-the-fly within Pro Tools, and supports WAV, AIFF, ACID, REX 1 and 2, and Apple Loops files. Included are 20 real-time effects and nearly 2 GB of loop/phrases. Download a free 14-day demo at www.digidesign.com.