Tools of the Trade, July 2008UNIVERSAL AUDIO 710 TWIN-FINITY Dual-path, single-channel, tube/solid-state preamps are nothing new, but the ability to continuously vary the amount of
Dual-path, single-channel, tube/solid-state preamps are nothing new, but the ability to continuously vary the amount of either path in your “mix” is a handy new innovation. Universal Audio's (www.uaudio.com) 710 Twin-Finity ($999) tone-blending preamp features a knob that's continuously variable from 100 percent tube to 100 percent solid-state, offering myriad tonal options. The unit offers Class-A design, boasting high headroom, more than 70 dB of gain, a phantom-powered mic preamp and a DI input. It comes in a single-rackspace metal chassis and includes a rack kit.
Wanting to be your monitoring “everything,” SPL's (www.spl-usa.com) Phonitor ($2,149) is a high-end headphone-monitoring amplifier based on the 120-volt rail technology initially developed for SPL's Mastering Series. The Phonitor offers new parameters such as crossfeed, speaker angle and center level to control sound impressions in a way that compares to using speakers in a room.
Genelec (www.genelec.com) has announced its smallest speaker system to date (prices TBA): The 6010A is just 7×4.75×4.5 inches and is designed for computer sound systems, workstations and other close-proximity listening applications requiring a low-profile monitoring solution. The two-way active monitors resemble the cabinet geometry of the company's other recent builds, using a die-cast, all-aluminum Minimum Diffraction Enclosure
Holophone (www.holophone.com) has brought Dolby Pro Logic II encoding technology to its larger mic models with the release of the N-CODE ($1,499) portable multichannel companion encoder. The low-profile box takes six channels of audio from the Holophone H2-PRO or H3-D mics and, using Dolby Pro Logic II technology, converts them to two channels. This allows the user to capture or transmit full 5.1-channel surround sound audio to be captured or transmitted to virtually any stereo recoding device or broadcast over an existing stereo infrastructure. The N-CODE provides 48V phantom power through six mic preamps and is battery-powered. The Holophone D-CODE multichannel decoder ($599) converts the two channels encoded by the N-CODE into six discrete channels of decoded audio, which are then delivered via six RCA outputs or multichannel USB directly to a computer.
The MKH 800 Twin ($3,356) microphone from Sennheiser (www.sennheiserusa.com) lives up to its name by offering a dual capsule comprising two symmetrical push-pull transducers. The signals of both transducers are available separately as two channels at the microphone output, which allows remote adjustment of the mic's pickup pattern. The signals can be combined in any desired way in the mixing console to create polar patterns ranging from omnidirectional to figure-8, with an infinite number of intermediate stages — even after recording. The mic ships with a stand clamp, shock-mount, breakout adapter cable and aluminum transport case.
The 788T ($5,995) is the latest portable multitrack location production recorder from Sound Devices (www.sounddevices.com), offering eight mic inputs that record to a 160GB internal SATA hard disk providing up to 30 hours of uncompressed 24-bit, 8-track recording. CompactFlash cards with UDMA support and external FireWire mass-storage volumes can also be used for recording and playback, with all three storage media selectable for simultaneous, redundant recording. Other features include a timecode generator, selectable word clock sync source and more. The unit's LCD is viewable in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. Additionally, the LEDs are dimmer-adjustable for any lighting condition, including a lights-out setting for blacked-out sets.
KRK's (www.krksys.com) Rokit G2 speakers are the second generation of the company's Rokit speakers, and replace the current 5, 6 and 8-inch Rokit models. The Rokit G2 speaker incorporates several technologies from the company's flagship VXT and E8B lines, including radically radiused edges along the front of the cabinet. The Rokit G2's curved front baffle was engineered to minimize diffraction of high frequencies for a larger sweet spot. The baffle also houses a molded front-facing bass port that minimizes low-frequency phase distortion and the unwanted frequency emphasis that is common in rear-ported designs. Rokit G2 models have MAP prices of $149, $199 and $249 for the 5, 6 and 8-inch versions, respectively.
The 2-channel ANR-B ($4,995) real-time noise-reduction box from iZotope (www.izotope.com) intelligently identifies and then suppresses environmental broadband noise, hum, phone line artifacts and more. The ANR-B features analog and digital I/O, LAN for advanced parameter control (using a Windows/Mac host) and remote automation capability. Presets are available for common applications, while dedicated controls and meters allow the user to customize settings quickly for unique situations. ANR-B is designed to determine a noise print automatically, and its manual-learn function enables the unit to reduce noise of a specific trained profile.
Focal Professional's (www.focalprofessional.com) new CMS 65 ($995) and CMS 50 ($695) monitors feature die-cast aluminum cabinets housing inverted-dome aluminium/magnesium tweeters boasting lightweight mass and superb damping. The Polyglass bass driver combines hollow microscopic balls of glass to a pulp cellulose cone with an impressive rigidity vs. mass ratio. The CMS 65 is powered by 165 watts while the CMS 50 is powered by 130W, and each model benefits from the smoother sound of two high-end, Class-A/B amps. Other features include separate HF and LF shelving adjustments, a Desktop Notch correction filter for controlling first reflections in applications where the speakers are located over the mixing board, a rubber decoupling stand, and spikes for tilting the speakers and adjusting soundstage height.
Blue Cat's (www.bluecataudio.com0) Triple EQ Series is a set of three hybrid parametric EQ/filter plug-ins that feature a streamlined user interface, zooming, frequency response measurement, window-opacity management, noiseless bypass and undo/redo. Blue Cat's Triple EQ is free; the EQ Pack is $55.66, the Stereo Triple EQ is $35 and the Widening Triple EQ is $47.07.
This small-format, USB-equipped mixer from Allen & Heath (www.allen-heath.com) offers 23 independent sources to the mix, 10 independent outputs, four aux sends (two pre/two post-fader), a USB send and return (for recording, playback and effects on a PC or Mac), dual-stereo input capability and advanced monitoring facilities. The 16 mono channel strips on the Zed-24 ($799) are complemented by four stereo channels, each with a main stereo input on jack sockets, and with the ability to take additional stereo inputs from phono sockets or from the USB audio input, enabling the engineer to control and route any source. Other features include a 3-band swept-mid EQ, DuoPre
Lawo (www.lawo.de) has released a new addition to its mc
FL Studio 8 from Image Line Software (www.flstudio.com) offers a pedigree stretching back to the company's original FruityLoops. The latest version has an improved interface and sound engine, and a revised mixer. It adds pattern clips to the playlist, and includes a suite of new plug-ins and updates to many others. Plug-ins include SynthMaker, which lets users create their own virtual instruments; Slicex, a drum-loop slicer/re-arranging tool; Fruity Limiter; Maximus maximizer; Wave Candy audio analyzer; and the Poizone 2 subtractive performance synth. FL Studio 8 supports VST/VSTi/VST2, DXi, DXi2, MP3, WAV, OGG, MIDI, ASIO and ASIO 2 formats, and is additionally supported through DirectWave Editor. It's available in four editions: Express ($49, download only), FruityLoops ($99 download, $139 boxed), Producer ($199 download, $269 boxed) and XXL ($299 download, $399 boxed).
Looking like R2D2's square cousin, the 12-rackspace Gear Pod ($399) from Sterling (www.sterlingmodular.com) is set on heavy-duty, powder-coated steel legs that support a Thermofoil-treated cabinet that's vented for ample air flow and slotted for cable management, and can be set at angles of 0 to 20 degrees. Casters are optional.