Tools of the Trade

AMS-NEVE8801/8802 PRODUCER PACK Based on the channel strip design of AMS-Neve's 88RS (, the single-rackspace 8801 ($2,295) and 8802 ($2,200)

Based on the channel strip design of AMS-Neve's 88RS (, the single-rackspace 8801 ($2,295) and 8802 ($2,200) processors boast the signature Neve sound, plus recall. The 8801 channel strip features a mic preamp, high- and lowpass filters, insert point, 4-band EQ, gating and compression. The EQ and filters can be routed to the dynamics sidechain, and the components can be swapped in order. An optional A/D converter includes all standard sample rates to 192 kHz and direct-to-DSD conversion. The 8802 is a fully switchable compressor, limiter and gate. The recall features are supported through a USB port that connects the unit to a Mac or PC and is included software.

Adding to its expanding Kosmos, Peavey ( has released Kosmos V2 ($299), which combines the most popular features from the Kosmos Pro and original Kosmos processors. Kosmos is a dynamic phasing technology that manipulates low and high frequencies to deepen bass and widen highs through phasing rather than equalization; it also helps mask the comb-filtering problems common in live sound productions. The new unit features front panel rotary controls of parameters and a special Low Damping button that adjusts the low bass' “tightness.” The subwoofer control sets the level of sub in the mix and features a Crossover Disable switch and a Cut Sub Bass From Mains switch that directs the low-frequency energy to only the subwoofers. The single-rackspace unit also offers a mono sum switch, TRS balanced sub output, dual XLR and ¼-inch I/O, and crossover disable.

Engineer Roger Nichols ( is now offering six new plug-ins — one of them for free. The Dynam-izer ($249) is a compressor that lets the user break audio levels up into zones so they can be controlled as required. The Uniquel-izer ($249) lets users determine their own EQ, putting more bands or filters just a click away. With Frequal-izer ($249), users can build a complex FIR (Finite Impulse Response) filter to their own specs with EQ curves that can be drawn and edited. The Finis Peak Limiter ($249) employs an advanced limiting algorithm. Inspector XL ($299) is a collection of six individual audio analysis tools designed to fulfill a number of familiar analysis tasks. Inspector (free) offers everything from spectral analysis to extensive peak/RMS metering and a balance meter. All plug-ins come in RTAS, VST and Audio Units for Mac OS X, and RTAS and VST for Windows.

Making surround recording even more portable, the Soundfield ST350 (dist. by Las Vegas Pro Audio,, $6,700) unit comprises a lightweight, multicapsule microphone and compact mic pre/control unit that generates surround and stereo simultaneously at balanced line levels. The preamps offer discretely switched 6dB gain steps and composite five-segment LED bar graph meter. Polar patterns are continuously variable, and a width control provides everything from mono to wide image stereo. End-fire and invert controls are provided to correct for 3-D microphone positioning while still maintaining the correct stereo and surround perspective. The unit also offers a highpass filter, switchable M/S output and headphone monitor.

The M350 single-rackspace multi-effects processor from TC Electronic (, $249) marries hardware and software. Not only does it have 256 factory presets and 99 user presets, but a free-for-download Audio Units/VST-compatible software editor allows for seamless control and editing integration with DAW systems. The software lets the user fully automate all of the M350's parameters and presets, or control them in real time. M350 also features a front panel user interface for easy and speedy operation in live performance situations. An auto-sensing, 24-bit S/PDIF input automatically switches to analog when no digital input is detected. It also includes an easy-to-read preset display and offers MIDI I/O, MIDI clock tempo sync, pedal-controlled tap tempo and global bypass. The unit provides five direct-access parameters for quick parameter changes. The adaptive built-in power supply (no wall wart!) ensures seamless operation at any voltage.

Lynx Studio Technology ( introduced the LT-HD ($395) for the Aurora 16 and Aurora 8 converters. The card is an L-Slot interface that provides digital I/O in a format recognizable by Pro Tools HD systems. LT-HD — equipped Auroras can be connected to HD Core or Accel Core cards with standard Digidesign cabling and can operate seamlessly with all Pro Tools HD — compatible versions, enabling Lynx conversion and SynchroLock word clock, which promises low jitter and low distortion of digital signals. The unit offers two DigiLink ports, one primary and one expansion, for up to 32 channels of conversion per HD Core or Accel Core card (using two Aurora 16s). Users can get full channel count at sample rates up to 192 kHz and accurate delay compensation within Pro Tools with no manual delay adjustments required. I/O functions for parameter control can be controlled and monitored within Pro Tools while interfacing with an HD system using standard DigiLink cables.

Attention, remote recorders: The LRX2 from SADiE (, $8,280) combines SADiE's audio input and output modules with a tactile hardware control surface and the ability to use a standard PC laptop as the host computer. The LRX2 takes the original LRX concept a step further by providing more DSP and control surface enhancements than its predecessor. Users can record up to 48 discrete inputs at 48kHz/24-bit (or up to 32 tracks at 96kHz/24-bit) from a variety of dedicated input “slither” cards. For maximum compatibility, these cards are the same as those employed in SADiE's flagship PCM-H64/H128 multitrack editing workstations. In addition to the standard 16-channel ADC/DAC and AES/EBU digital I/O cards, a new switchable 16-channel mic/line card is available with 48-volt phantom power and selectable gain steps. A new MADI interface card makes it easy to facilitate connection of up to 64 tracks to studio or live digital consoles. The LRX2 hardware comprises a small assignable mixer with eight motorized faders; pre-fade listen and dedicated record-enable buttons; a complete editorial interface with fully weighted jog wheel and ergonomic editing buttons; locator memories; transport controls; and a headphone monitor output.

Ableton ( Live users will want to check out Sampler ($199), an advanced sound design and sound-sculpting instrument available as an upgrade within Live 6. When combined within Ableton's instrument and effect racks, multiple Samplers provide depth of control, automation and sonic possibilities. Live users will appreciate the gentle learning curve needed with the familiar GUI. Each instance of Sampler can host any number of sample zones. Key and velocity ranges, as well as crossfades, can be defined using a graphical editor. Users can also set up numerous playback and looping options for each zone. Sampler assists with mapping and helps find appropriate loop points. Sampler avoids RAM shortages and loading wait times by employing Live's disk pre-loading technology. The app also imports common sample formats, including Akai S1000 and S3000; Tascam GigaStudio and EXS; Sound Blaster SoundFont; and (non-encrypted) Native Instruments Kontakt. Sampler can also access and edit Ableton's Essential Instrument Collection, shipping with each boxed version of Live 6.

Yup, you heard it right: API is going digital. The new single-rackspace A2D (, $1,995) integrates two 312 discrete mic preamps with API's new proprietary A/D converters. The slick, white-faced unit offers 20-segment LED metering on both analog and digital sections, an insert between the analog and digital sections, mic and line inputs, polarity, phantom power, input pad and mic/line switches. The digital section features six sample rate choices and external Super Clock input. Multiple A2D units can be slaved together. I/O is provided via XLR, and there is a balanced ¼-inch TRS plug for the insert.

Need 26 channels of I/O on your desktop? Then you'll want to see the Alesis IO|26 (, $599). The box is a FireWire audio/MIDI interface that is compatible with Mac or PC, and features S/PDIF and ADAT digital inputs (44.1 and 48 kHz; eight SMUX ADAT channels at 88.2 and 96 kHz) and 16 channels of MIDI. It also offers eight analog mic/line inputs with phantom power, supports 44.1/48/ 88.2/96/176.4/192kHz sample rates, and provides a switchable high-impedance input for instruments and a switchable phono preamp. The unit offers a five-segment signal/clip LED on each input, two headphone outs with individual level control and dual FireWire ports. For ultimate portability, the IO|26 can be either AC- or bus-powered, and comes with Steinberg's Cubase LE DAW software.

Kjaerhus Audio ( has released an update of Spectra, the synthesizer plug-in that combines multi-stage additive synthesis with subtractive synthesis. Version 1.1 is free for all registered users and includes 318 new presets from sound designers DJ Bach, Claude Climer and Emdot; a German user's manual; and some bug fixes…PreSonus ( is now shipping the DigiMax FS microphone preamplifier. The box offers eight channels of digital optical Lightpipe ADAT and 96k dual-SMUX input and output, balanced analog direct output and TRS inserts on each channel…Synk Audio ( announced a new lower price on its Musicbed DV interactive music software bundled with Season One, a customizable cinematic stock music library. Together, the two products provide custom music beds for video, audio and multimedia productions for $199…McDSP's ( RTAS Project Studio has been expanded to seven plug-ins and now includes the tape saturation modeling of Analog Channel LE and the new ML4000 LE brick wall limiter. In addition to the new plugs, Project Studio supports Windows XP and Intel-based Mac systems…The Sound Guy ( has added VST SDK 2.4 support for its latest Windows updates — SFX Machine RT 1.06 and SFX Machine Pro 1.01 — which now run on 64-bit machines with apps that require VST 2.4 support. In addition, the company added Mac OS X Universal support to its sound design plug-ins: SFX Machine RT and SFX Machine Pro…VirtuosoWorks ( has released five Sound Kits, adding extra sounds and techniques to the standard orchestra that ships with NOTION software. These new samples were recorded in Studio One at Abbey Road Studios using the London Symphony Orchestra players and include expanded strings, percussion, brass, woodwinds and harpsichord…Ueberschall ( has released Liquid Player 1.1, a new VST engine for its Liquid instrument series for Mac and PC. The upgrade offers Universal Binary support, bug fixes and a variety of new features and improvements…Submersible Music's ( DrumCore 2 is out with enhanced sync and drum module features, plus new content and REX2 compatibility. Other features include continuously variable tempo, tempo synchronization with ReWire hosts and separate outputs with pitch, as well as pan controls for MIDI drum sounds. The new version also increases the number of included loops, fills and drum kits…CEntrance ( has released an upgrade for its Universal Driver for FireWire audio interfaces. The Windows audio software enables users to combine FireWire audio interfaces from various manufacturers into one system. Version 2 promises high stability and ultralow-latency (just over 5ms) analog input to analog output…Cakewalk ( now offers a Universal Binary update to the Audio Units version of Rapture, its wavetable synthesizer. The update is available as a free download for registered Rapture customers.

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