New Digital Effects ProcessorsGetting "your sound" involves much more than just what you print to tape, hard disk, MO or some other recording medium. The signal processing tools in your racks play a pivotal role in the overall sound of your finished product. During this past year, some slick, new digital signal processors have been introduced - something for just about everyone.
The digital products included here are those that handle reverb, delay, assorted multi-effects, vocal effects, microphone modeling and intonation processing, rather than mic preamps, mastering tools or dynamics processors. Visit the manufacturers' Web sites for more information.
ALESIS AIRFXGeared toward the DJ market but capable of integrating into any number of production environments, airFX[TM] from Alesis (www.alesis.com) is a thoroughly modern adaptation of the Theremin, whereby the device processes incoming audio or generates sound effects in reaction to the operator's hand movements. Employing the company's new Axyz (pronounced ax-is) technology, airFX incorporates an infrared beam that can be manipulated in three dimensions along X, Y and Z axes. Using triangulation, up to five different parameters can be controlled in real time in each of 50 preset programs. The unit's finish is a bright, anodized blue with a black dome, and a large, silver circular knob. Select your effect, wave your hand over and across the dome, and you're in business. MSRP: $249.99.
ANTARES AMM-1Imagine having access to many of the best studio mics available - without having to rent or borrow them. That's the idea behind the Antares AMM-1 Mic Modeler (www.antarestech.com), a rackmount, hardware version of its popular Mic Modeler plug-ins. Using proprietary Spectral Shaping technology, Antares created a series of digital models from AKG, Audio-Technica, Beyer, Neumann and others. Depending on the selected mic, users can control options such as low-cut filter, proximity, windscreen, etc. A tube saturation parameter is also provided. MSRP: $995.
ART HPFXThe HPFX from ART (www.artroch.com) solves a common problem among computer-based recording systems - it enables performers to locally monitor themselves through digital effects, without having to experience latency delays caused by the computer's soundcard. The unit also lets performers control their monitor mix, including mic, effects and backing tracks, while leaving the recorded signal undisturbed. The HPFX features two monitor mic preamps, four independent and headphone outputs, and dual digital effects. Further, the unit can be racks or stand mounted, provides stereo or mono mix input, and can also be used as a conventional headphone amp/splitter. MSRP: $299.
CARVIN XP2The XP2 from Carvin (www.carvin.com) is a dual-engine, 24-bit digital effects processor designed for professional studio and live sound reinforcement applications. The XP2 includes plate, hall and room reverbs, chorus, delay (with a selectable loop filter, precise delay time selection, and up to one second of delay per effect engine), flanger, phaser and echo. The unit also provides a rotary speaker effect and features the ability to change drum and/or rotor slew rate. Every function of the XP2 is controllable through the unit's extensive MIDI implementation. Additionally, the XP2 provides digital "serial linking" to eliminate noisy external patching. There are also provisions for footswitch access. MSRP: $395.
CRATE SM1-SPThe Crate (www.crateproaudio.com) SM1-SP is part of Crate's Studio Modules lineup, which consists of four additional modules - all of which are half-rack in size. The SM1-SP incorporates 32 programs, including reverb, delay, chorus, flange and rotary. One parameter for each effect can be edited in real time. Applications include sound reinforcement, recording, keyboard, guitar and bass performance, post-production and broadcast. MSRP: $179.99.
DYNATRON 255Distributed by G Prime (www.gprime.com), the Dynatron 255 puts the classic reverb of the EMT 250 into an updated package. The original algorithms have been preserved, and the processor is now in an efficient two-rackspace unit ready for 5.1 Surround. Plus, new settings offer a greater range of creative options. The Dynatron 255 is the rebirth of the benchmark in electronic reverb, ready for the demands of today's studio. Initial delay settings are variable from 0 to 140 ms in 20ms steps. The unit's main reverb decay time setting is variable from 0.4 to 4.5 seconds. The unit's low-frequency decay ratio is adjustable from 0.5x to 2x that of main reverb time. The high-frequency decay ratio is adjustable from 0.25x to max (flat) of main reverb time. All inputs/outputs on the unit are standard AES3 digital audio format with XLR connectors. MSRP: $5,995.
DIGITECH RP100The RP100 Modeling Guitar Processor from DigiTech (www.digitech.com) combines vintage and modern amp models with full-featured studio effects. There are 25 programmable effects to choose from, and up to 10 effects are available simultaneously. Each effect includes up to three adjustable parameters, and other features include a Rhythm Trainer sampled drum beat loop player and a chromatic tuner with four different tuning references. The RP100 has 40 factory presets and 40 user presets. The rear panel features an expression pedal input for real-time control of the RP100's parameters. MSRP: $129.95.
ELECTRIX REPEATERWhile not a signal processor in the traditional sense, the rackmount Repeater loop-based sampler from Electrix (www.electrixpro.com) offers fingertip control over up to four channels of audio loops with independent, real-time manipulation over tempo, key and track offset. Loops can be synched to any source using Repeater's MIDI clock or Audio Beat Detection, and Repeater uses CompactFlash media for easy memory expansion (up to 50 minutes of record time) and Mac/PC compatibility. MSRP: $699.99.
EVENTIDE DSP7000 ULTRA-HARMONIZERWith four times the processing power of the previous generation DSP4000, the DSP7000 from Eventide (www.eventide.com) is a stereo processor featuring 24-bit conversion at 96 kHz. The unit provides both analog and digital I/O with separate gain controls and metering for each domain. It offers the user extensive programmability and remote control capability. Over 150 user presets can be stored internally, and hundreds more can be stored on removable PCMCIA cards. The DSP7000 ships with over 500 factory presets.
The DSP7000 accommodates presets and preset library cards developed for the DSP4000 Series Ultra-Harmonizer units. Eventide's PC-based Vsigfile graphic editor can be used to create new effects for the DSP7000, and factory software upgrades can be downloaded to the unit from an Internet-connected PC. MSRP: $3,695.
JOHNSON J-STATIONThe J-Station from Johnson Amplification (www.johnson-amp.com) puts the modeling technology from the company's "digital" guitar amps into a desktop unit for recording applications. Retailing at $449.95, the J-Station offers bass and acoustic guitar simulation, 30 factory and 30 user presets, compression, modulation, pitch shifting delay and reverb effects, seven gain and tone knobs for tweaking effect parameters, MIDI control (via a sequencer, external controller or included Windows-based editor/librarian software), and stereo analog and S/PDIF coaxial outputs.
KORG AX100GThe latest addition to Korg's (www.korg.com) ToneWorks multi-effects line, the AX100G is equipped with 80 multi-effects programs (40 preset programs and 40 user program locations) and 63 effects, plus a selection of features that include a built-in chromatic tuner, intelligent pitch shifter, phrase trainer, integral Expression Pedal that lets the player control 23 different types of effects in real time, and 50 PCM-based rhythm patterns.
The AX100G employs Korg's REMS technology (Resonant structure and Electronic circuit Modeling System) and allows up to seven effects to be combined per multi-effect program. Each multi-effects program features two changeable drive channels, allowing the player to switch between the clean and distorted mode without having to switch to another program. The Effect Select Mode can be used in conjunction with this feature for instant on/off switching of modulation and ambient effects. A cabinet resonator speaker simulator is provided for recording or P.A. use. MSRP: $250.
LEXICON 960LThe 960L is Lexicon's (www.lexicon.com) newest multichannel digital effects system designed for the high-end professional audio, broadcast, film, live sound and post-production markets. The unit features true multichannel surround sound processing with new algorithms and 3DPM Perceptual Modeling, featuring 24-bit/96kHz processing, expandable 8 in/8 out architecture, plus an all new LARC2 Controller with an intuitive user interface. There are 250 factory programs/1000 registers and a joystick for surround panning and parameters. Just released, Version 2 software for the 960L supports an additional DSP reverb card, provides mappable I/O, support for 16 channels of I/O, additional presets, dual LARC2 controller support and enhanced input metering.
Lexicon has two models: the 960L and the 960L Digital Only, which eliminates the analog I/O capability of the 960L. The standard configuration for the 960L includes eight 24-bit/96kHz balanced XLR analog I/Os, four stereo pairs of 24-bit/96kHz AES/EBU digital I/Os, MIDI, wordclock, a 3.5-inch floppy and a CD-ROM drive for software upgrades. MSRP: $15,000 (960L); $11,995 (digital only model).
LINE 6 POD PROThe POD Pro from Line 6 (www.line6.com) is a guitar effects processor that includes 32 amp models and 16 digital effects in a rackmount package. The unit includes 36 factory presets, 36 user programmable configurations and has a headphone output. Digital I/O includes 24-bit support for both AES/EBU and S/PDIF. There is also a dual-mode XLR direct out. With the optional floorboard (model 99; $330), you can take advantage of remote channel switching, Wah and stomp box-style effects On/Off. You also gain a volume pedal, tap tempo function and tuner. MSRP: $799.
QUANTEC YARDSTICK 2402FNow distributed by HHB (www.hhbusa.com), the Quantec Yardstick takes ambience and room simulation effects into the digital domain. The original QRS (Quantec Room Simulator) algorithm, along with the Room Size and Enhance parameters, are now DSP functions. There is also a constant density mode for special effects. Bar graph meters for input and output levels are available on both the front panel and remote control, and the unit provides full 24-bit stereo I/O for direct signal and delay lines. The QRS algorithm requires a minimum of 16-bits. Saving and loading of user presets is accomplished via RS-232 from a PC or via MIDI message. An optional variable-edge, brickwall, high-cut filter is available for simulating the timbre of the original QRS' 8kHz bandwidth. MSRP: $2,695.
ROLAND EF-303 GROOVE EFFECTSDesigned to bring pro quality effects processing to musicians, DJs and remixers, the Roland (www.rolandus.com) EF-303 Groove Effects provides real-time controls and groove-oriented effects, including a built-in DSP monosynth with Step Modulator, plus extensive MIDI control capabilities. The tabletop unit offers 16 synchronizable effects algorithms, including filters, flanger, phaser, delay, pitch shift, plus "groove" effects like Isolator, Slicer, lo-fi and Voice Transformer. The EF-303's design provides four control knobs, 16 sliders and a Grab switch. There is an automatic BPM counter and MIDI Start/Stop control, along with a Step Modulator for programming complex effect changes over time. There are 16 Patch memories for storing effects settings, and the unit accommodates a variety of input sources. MSRP: $595.
SONY DRE-S777 SAMPLING DIGITAL REVERBWhile available for a year, the DRE-S777 Sampling Digital Reverb from Sony(www.sony.com/proaudio) never actually sampled - until now. The unit uses actual impulse response samples of real acoustic spaces, as opposed to artificially generated algorithms. Until the introduction of the new DASK-S704 Sampling Software, however, users were limited to the existing libraries provided by Sony. The new DASK-S704 Sampling Software allows users to do their own sampling and store their acoustic spaces on Sony Memory Stick media. Key benefits of the DASK-S704 include the ability to upload and download reverb data between Memory Stick media and the DRE-S777. Large-capacity Memory Stick media may be used. A 64MB Memory Stick will accommodate approximately 15 stereo samples. MSRP: $7,650 (base price: DRE-S777; $13,000 fully configured); $930 for DASK-S704 and all CDs of acoustic spaces.
TC ELECTRONIC SYSTEM 6000 VERSION 1.10A software update for TC Electronic's (www.tcelectronic.com) flagship System 6000 adds a variety of useful features. New programs and presets available include: Vienna Hall; Large Warm Hall; VP-8 (a multichannel algorithm with eight channels of simultaneous pitch change with a 200% range); a 4:2:4 version of the M-3000's VSS-SR Studio Reverb, optimized for surround production; and full MIDI support for MIDI SysEx dump/receive and Program Change commands. Two newly developed multichannel reverbs include VSS[TM] 5.1 Source (room simulation with control of source positioning) and VSS[TM] 5.1 Reverb, offering control of up to eight single sources with the ability to dynamically move the sources in the surround field using either the SpacePan[TM] 5.1 algorithm or TC's cascadable optional SP-1 MIDI Joystick controller.
TC-HELICON VOICEPRISMThe VoicePrism from TC-Helicon Vocal Technologies (www.tc-helicon.com) is a Voice Formant and Pitch Processor designed for both stage and studio applications. The unit provides a full range of lead and backing channel vocal processing under preset control. The VoicePrism provides the ability to go directly from a phantom powered mic into its 48V mic preamp to access any of the onboard processes, including compression, gating, dual fully parametric EQ, 4-voice harmony (with individually adjustable gender controls and humanizing parameters) and fifth lead-doubling voice for automatic double-tracking. There are two separate post-effects blocks (including chorus/flange, delay and reverb with pre-delay), effects and harmony libraries, plus a preset browser with context-sensitive help menus. Connections include 1/4-inch analog outs and S/PDIF digital I/O. MSRP: $1,299.
YAMAHA SREV1 SAMPLING REVERBERATORThe SREV1 Sampling Reverberator from Yamaha (www.yamaha.com) employs digital convolution processing to impose an acoustic "fingerprint" of a previously measured environment onto any audio signal, re-creating the original reverberation, with accurate reflection detail identical to that produced had the sound been heard in that environment. The SREV1 is intended for recording studios, audio post, broadcast, concert halls and theaters. In addition to stereo reverb (2-channel mode), the SREV1 offers 4-channel processing for true surround reverb (4-channel mode). Alternatively, the SREV1 can be configured as two fully independent reverberators (2-channel, 2 mode), each with its own inputs, outputs and program settings. The unit provides 4-channel AES/EBU I/O and two mini YGDAI slots, which offer various analog and digital I/O options (AES/EBU, ADAT, Tascam). MSRP: TBA.
ZOOM 505 II GUITAR PROCESSORDistributed by Samson Technologies Corp. (www.samsontech.com), the Zoom 505 II multi-effect guitar pedal combines distortion effects - including Clean, Scream, Wild and Shred - with modulation sounds such as Cry, Tremolo, Ring Modulation, Slow Attack and Echo. The unit includes a total of 33 guitar effects, and up to nine can be used at the same time. The 505 II also features guitar amp sounds created using Zoom's VAMS (Variable Architecture Modeling System) technology. Sounds can be stored in up to 36 patch locations. Other features include: ZNR (Zoom Noise Reduction); a rear panel input for an expression pedal; and an integrated auto-chromatic tuner. MSRP: $144.99.