Tools of the Trade

RUPERT NEVE DESIGNS 5088 Even after promising his wife he wouldn't, Mr. Rupert Neve ( has returned to console design with the

Even after promising his wife he wouldn't, Mr. Rupert Neve ( has returned to console design with the Rupert Neve Designs 5088 16-channel, 8-bus expandable console. The 5088 uses custom I/O transformers, transformer-coupled direct outs, eight mix buses and eight aux sends. The 5088 is expandable in 16-channel sections up to 64, and comes with a monitor/master section that includes four stereo effects returns, selection of three control room monitor outs, six monitor sources, AFL/PFL solo modes, and talkback and oscillator functions. A meter bridge is optional. Pricing TBA.

You can “pump” up the volume with SAC Pro Audio's ( new 6a and 8a Pump powered monitors. Both rear-ported units feature mag-shielding, front volume control, XLR balanced and ¼-inch unbalanced inputs, and 6- or 8-inch mineral-filled polypropylene cone woofers. The Pump 6a ($449/pair) has an onboard 120-watt amp and a 45 to 20k Hz bandwidth; the Pump 8a ($529/pair) has 150W of power and extends LF response to 40 Hz.

The Marantz CDR310 (, $1,049) portable CD recorder can operate in the field for a limited time on AA batteries or up to four hours using an optional rechargeable battery. Recording in either uncompressed or MP3 formats, it also features built-in mic preamps, XLR connectors and 48V phantom power, as well as a built-in mic. Its burner can create audio CDs or data discs for transfer to a computer for archiving purposes. Background Record mode enables recording to always be active as an ongoing backup, even when the CDR310 is in Pause. Recording can also be active in Pre-Record mode for up to 10 seconds with the recorder stopped for capturing important moments. Analog and S/PDIF I/O ensures connectivity with a wide array of other gear.

Engineer Andy Johns, whose discography reads like the roster from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has released a BFD Expansion Pack collection of drum samples ( Recorded to a Studer analog tape machine through a classic Neve 80 Series console, the drums are sampled at more than 255 velocity levels. The pack requires that BFD be installed and is compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows. BFD supports Digidesign's RTAS format, as well as the VSTi, DirectX, Audio Units and Propellerhead ReWire technologies, and can also run as a stand-alone application.

Literally two mics in one, the U99S from Soundelux (dist. by TransAudio Group,; $3,250) is a new version of the U99 that combines the performance of two condenser mics, giving users the choice of normal or bright sonic signatures. Promising to avoid the 5kHz rise common in some vintage mics, the U99S offers high output and a tamed-down proximity effect. The U99S comes with the P99 true linear power supply, derived from the original vintage technology. Other features include a handmade, German 1-inch diameter, dual-symmetrical backplate and a dual-membrane kk67-type capsule tensioned for warmth and clarity.

For users who have always wanted to use Melodyne from within a DAW, check out the new Melodyne plug-in ( Available for VST, Audio Units and RTAS hosts running under Windows XP and Mac OS X, the single-voice app offers editing of pitch, vibrato, drift, timing, volume and formants of individual notes, as well as the swift editing of any selection of notes with macros for the automatic correction of intonation and timing. Other features include multilevel undo and a selectable scale grid for harmonically correct transposition. In addition, rotary controls for pitch, formants and volume can now be automated from the host. The plug-in is $199 or free to registered Melodyne Studio 3 users.

The NRV10 from M-Audio (, $899.95) is an 8×2 analog mixer with a built-in 10×10 24-bit/96kHz FireWire digital audio interface. Featuring four mono and two stereo channels, the unit is compatible with any DAW, including Pro Tools M-Powered. The unit is also useful in live applications, with its flexible monitor-source assignment, monitoring section and aux section. Channels 1 through 4 provide XLR mic inputs with phantom power and line inputs on TRS connectors. It features ¼-inch inserts (channels 1 through 4), 3-band EQ, monitor send, effect send, pan/balance, Mute/Cue button and independent volume for mix, control room and headphones. Also standard are 16 onboard effects and more outboard power via the Mac/PC interFX software.

The vocal union is gonna love this! Ueberchall's Liquid Instrument Series Vol. 4: The Voice Vol. 1 (, $199) sample package offers total control over every single voice and melody. Focusing on pop, dance and R&B production, this choir collection lets users quickly create vocal harmonies and chord progressions from simple ad libs to complex harmonic structures. Every vocal phrase has been dubbed eight times by two (male and female) singers for a total of eight different tracks per vocal phrase. The recordings were made acoustically dry without effects or filters at 24-bit/44.1kHz, and the 3GB library has 300 phrases cut between two and eight bars for a total of 2,400 loops.

Synk Audio's Musicbed DV 1.6 (, $249) adds new surround music features and more than doubles the amount of royalty-free music content from previous versions. It also simplifies the process for generating custom soundtracks to match the mood and timing of video and audio projects. Users can make quick, real-time adjustments to tweak musical intensity, complexity and dynamics. Control curves are available for adding musical builds and punctuation that underscore and accent the emotional movement of projects. This stand-alone Mac application has extensive import and export options for easy integration with Apple's iMovie, GarageBand, Final Cut Studio and Logic.

Acting as a kind of mediator between Roland R-BUS devices and the rest of the computer world, the PreSonus V-FIRE (, $399.95) converts Roland's R-BUS digital audio format to FireWire. The slim tabletop box features two R-BUS ports and two FireWire ports, allowing 16 channels of digital audio to stream at up to 24-bit/96kHz. The V-FIRE is also equipped with R-BUS 1, R-BUS 2 and master sync LED indicators. The Mac/Windows XP-compatible V-FIRE will also ship with a software control panel, enabling the user to select the latency, buffer size, clock source and sample rate (44.1/48/88.2/96 kHz).

The ExperimentalScene SpatialVerb ($20) is a VST reverb that models early impulse responses using ray-tracing while the late impulse response is created by a feedback delay network for greater smoothness. The entire audio path is 32-bit floating-point format for high precision. Tweakers will love the controls for the room's wall size, the location of two source and two destination nodes, and absorption controls. The GUI shows the early and late impulse response and displays a ray-traced preview of the room at an instant in time with the impulse passing through. Download a 60-second demo at

Known for its audio mastering/restoration/archival products, Cube-Tec (dist. by Sascom, releases its popular AudioCube plug-ins for the Pro Tools Mac OS X RTAS platform, which were previously available exclusively for Cube-Tec's high-end AudioCube, Quadriga and Dobbin systems. The new plug-in line will be released in three stages, starting with DeBuzz, Spectral DeHiss Expert, DeScratcher and DeCrackler, followed later by Azimuth, RepairFilter, DeClipper, DePop and a comprehensive suite of mastering plug-ins.

Said to be the world's first multi-lane SATA storage solution, the EZQuest ( Pro Studio Raid comes in dual multi-lane and single multi-lane PCI-Express and PCI-X models ( They can be purchased in single-channel 1.28TB ($1,999), 2TB ($2,799) and 3TB ($3,749); and dual-channel 2.56TB ($2,999), 4TB ($4,669) and 6TB ($6,629) versions. The dual multi-lane delivers more than 560MBps sustained data throughput, while the single-lane PCI-Express has more than 240MBps and the single-lane PCI-X has more than 200MBps sustained data throughput. Users can easily connect and configure up to 6 TB of desktop storage within minutes for RAID level 0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or JBOD.

The GT 062 drive from Glyph (; 320GB, $475) offers SATA drive technology and more connectivity and configurations than its predecessor, the GT 060BR. The tabletop unit can be configured in JBOD (two drives are seen by the computer as two single volumes), Spanning (multiple drives seen as one large volume) or RAID 0 (reading and writing data from two drives at the same time). Its Seagate SATA drives incorporate Native Command Queuing (NCQ), which reduces rescheduling and reordering commands so the heads travel less over the drive platters, allowing more data to be streamed from the drive. The rear panel houses two FireWire 800 ports, a FireWire 400 port and a USB 2 connector.

The fourth grand piano in Synthogy's Ivory virtual instrument collection is available in the Italian Grand Expansion Pack (dist. by Ilio,; $139). It features 2,000 samples (more than 19 GB) of a 10-foot Italian concert grand piano that was recorded at the SUNY Purchase concert hall in New York. The samples offer 12 velocity layers, as well as soft-pedal samples (una corda) and release samples at multiple time and velocity levels. The Italian Grand Expansion Pack is offered as a separate add-on volume that requires installing Ivory 1.5, providing a new set of programs and key-sets that will appear within the Ivory user interface. It ships on DVD and supports Audio Units, VST (Mac/PC) and RTAS (Mac/PC) formats.

It's a bird, it's a plane — no, it's Avlex's Superlux S241/U3 condenser mic (, $250), featuring interchangeable capsules, a 3-position attenuation pad and a 3-position low-cut filter. The gray-finished S241/U3 offers a bump in the high end, making it optimal for instrument recording. It ships in a sturdy plastic carrying case and comes with the HM-40 shock-mount clip, S-09 foam windscreen and the HM-43 pop filter. An optional phantom power adapter is available for those needing to power the mic in the field.