The weather couldn’t have been better for mid-October in New York City, which might help explain the buoyant mood among both exhibitors and visitors at AES 2013. Though the annual AES convention remains relatively small, the aisles were densely packed and the energy seemed more vibrant than it has in years. While booths and product launches are the main focus, exhibitors are trying new things, old things and having some fun. Audio-Technica provided a three-camera live stream of various sessions from the likes of Jimmy Douglass and Frank Wells, while Focusrite pulled in Chris Lord-Alge to showcase RedNet and partnered with Ocean Way and others in a killer demo room. But our favorite was end-of-day at the Millennia Media booth, where owner and winemaker John LaGrou was pouring his Grenache as guest winemaker Leslie Ann Jones poured the 2012 Cole Ridge Sauvignon Blanc from her very first barrel.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of product introductions, with a few of the hits here and much more to follow online and in coming issues.
API The Box
API opened the show with a 10:30 press conference announcing THE BOX (see the review from Mix's November 2013 issue on page 68). THE BOX boasts four mic/line input channels, two of which come with their famed 550A equalizer, two extra empty 500 series slots, two assignable 527 compressors, and 16 summing channels for mixing in The Box when you’re mixing outside the box.
Avid had consistent crowds around the S6, a modular, EuCon-compatible control surface born on the foundation of the ICON and System 5 product families. The multipoint touchscreen quickly accesses plug-ins, large track counts, surround panning and more; also top-lit status knobs and high-resolution OLEDs.
Tree Audio offers The Roots 8- and 16-channel 2-bus mixing consoles. Input channels use a vacuum tube-based signal path for mic, line or direct inputs, and provide EQ and limiter on every input channel.
SSL Live console
For live sound visitors, one of the most highly anticipated debuts came from SSL. The company's Live mixing system can be configured with a variety of I/O options, including AES/EBU, MADI and the Analogue Stagebox, which features SSL’s SuperAnalogue microphone preamps. A centrally located, multi-gesture touchscreen provides fast access to EQ, dynamics, mute groups, VCAs and routing functions for 192 (!) audio paths.
And though it has been shown throughout the year, the Nuage Integrated Audio Production System made a splash at its AES debut. Nuage is a Dante-enabled, networkable recording system and controller from Yamaha and Steinberg. It comprises hardware work surface components, a sleek interface, comprehensive visual feedback, networkable audio interface units, and a software-based digital audio workstation.
MICS AND MONITORS
AEA introduced its first active ribbon, the N22 NUVO Series ribbon microphone, a phantom-powered ribbon which features the same Big Ribbon technology found in other AEA microphones.
Neumann TLM 107
The new multipattern Neumann TLM 107, listed at $1,699, features a transformerless design and the D-01 capsule. The mic’s pad, roll-off and patterns are backlit via LED and set with a joystick found on the back of the microphone.
Coles Microphones bowed the 4030L lollipop ribbon mic. It features a wide frequency response and comes in a foam-lined case with an adjustable universal mic stand mount.
The Schoeps V4 U, small-diaphragm microphone offers a stylish design and a 33mm, beveled capsule collar producing a steady increase of directivity at high frequencies. The capsule can be swiveled front to back and comes with a static mic stand mount.
Advanced Audio CM414 microphone
The Advanced Audio CM414 is a large dual-diaphragm, 3-pattern FET microphone based on the design of AKG’s famous C414. The CM414 response is very smooth up to 8 kHz, then rises to about 4dB at 15 kHz and features a 34mm, 6-micron-thick German mylar capsule. The microphone has a -10dB pad, a low-frequency roll-off switch, and 3-way pattern switch on the body.
Meanwhile, Big Monitors are back!
Genelec showed off its relatively new near-field M Series, then turned attention to the 1237A and 1238A monitors, which offer a new “smart” design, adding DSP and AutoCal technology to the 1237 and 1238 mid-field monitors.
The ATC SCM110ASL Pro features twin, full SL spec 9-inch/234mm bass drivers, 5mm soft dome tweeter and ATC’s 75mm Super Dome mid-driver. The onboard 350-watt Tri-amp pack LF contour control, clip indication, and a six- year warranty.
Waves J37 Tape Saturation plug-in
The Waves J37 Tape Saturation plug-in was modeled after Abbey Road’s iconic tape machine. Features include user-adjustable controls such as Tape Speed, Bias, Noise, Saturation, and Wow and Flutter. It follows The King’s Mic, REDD and RS56 in the ongoing collaboration between manufacturer and studio. No doubt there will be more to come.
Joemeek meC compressor
Joemeek introduced three new 500 Series modules, each with an MSRP of $299. The meC Compressor recreates the classic sound of photocell compression. The meQ Meequalizer features four bands with adjustable Q on the mid bands and a switch for shelf or bell curves on the LF and HF bands. The preQ Preamplifier provides up to 60 dB of gain, plus switches for pad and polarity invert.
Fresh off the assembly line from Dangerous Music is the Dangerous Compressor, a 2-channel bus compressor employing internal sidechain circuitry with Bass Cut and Sibilance Boost contours, auto/manual attack and release, and Smart Dyn Dual Slope Detection, which automatically limits peaks while maintaining average compression characteristics.
Cartec Audio THC
The Cartec THC is a 2-channel hybrid compressor with eight valve stages and four discrete amplifiers giving you control over dynamic range, harmonic distortion content, and tonal balance. The audio is split into two parallel processing paths. The first stage operates in a push-pull configuration. Varying the input and output alters the character from fast, transparent compression, to a more aggressive crushing-type with added distortion. The second stage blends the compressed signal with the dry signal passing though a set of passive filters, which allow three different bass and treble shelving frequencies to be boosted.
Charter Oak’s K500 EQ features three bands with a bell and shelf selection switch on high and low bands, 12dB of cut and boost in 2dB steps, -24dB Cut Selection on each band for corrective wide bandwidth cut or corrective notch filter, and a high and lowpass filter.
Prism Sound Titan
Prism Sound showed the Titan professional USB audio interface with MDIO expansion. It features four mic preamps, two DI inputs, plenty of I/O on the back and twin headphone outputs with independent gain controls.
Moog Music's The Ladder
Moog Music's The Ladder is a Dynamic Transistor Ladder Filter providing detailed and powerful sound sculpting tools. The all-analog lowpass and highpass filter is housed in a 500 Series module, and its Variable Attack and Release times, Resonance control and 2-Pole/4-Pole switch allow you to turn this unit into more of a compressor than just a filter.
Lavry Engineering showed the LK Solo latency killer for desktop use, and the new DA-N5 D/A converter.
The Maselec MLA-4 Compressor/Expander is based around the MLA-3 multiband compressor. It features expansion on all bands, with ratios from 6:1 compression to 1:2 expansion.
Ronin Applied Sciences debuted three products handmade in the U.S., all featuring serious construction and massive power supplies. The Archangel mic preamp could be the world’s first mic preamp that achieves amplification through totally passive means.
Acme Audio showed an upgraded Opticom XLA-2 featuring high-speed cadmium-selenide (CdSe) photocells, all-tube circuitry, and military-style point-to-point wiring. The upgrade comprises a push-pull knob that adds a gain stage allowing users to drive the front end.
The SKnote Vastaso is a three-rackspace analog box loaded with 12 stereo compression models, ranging from Opto to vintage to modern-style compression. The Vastaso delivers 12 saturation modes. The unit comes with balanced ins and outs, internal and external side chain inputs, limiting capabilities, peak and RMS detection and one big-ass needle meter.
Sonnox bowed the Codec Toolbox, a $49.99 plug-in for encoding music for the Web. Released as a partnership with Fraunhofer, the toolbox comprises two applications, the Toolbox plug-in for real-time auditions and the Toolbox manager for encoding offline and adding metadata.
The iZotope Nectar 2 vocal processor features a large range of controls including harmony generation, a plate reverb, delay, saturation, a de-esser, compressor, gate, EQ and limiter.
Radial USB Pro
Radial Engineering USB Pro DI is a high performance 24-bit/96kHz stereo direct box featuring driver-free installation for Mac OS X, Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Other features include a built-in headphone amplifier for monitoring and balanced Lo-Z outputs with switchable isolation.
Antelope Audio’s Orion 32 is a sleek single-rackspace interface that provides 32 channels of high quality, low latency AD/DA, Antelope’s 64-bit AFC (Acoustically Focused Clocking), four word clock outputs, one word clock input and I/O on eight D-Sub connectors, including 1x fiber-optic MADI, 2x fiber-optic ADAT, 1x S/PDIF and USB connectivity.
Lynx Studio Technology showed its LT-TB, 2-port Thunderbolt expansion card that supports daisy-chaining Aurora and Hilo converters, and any other certified Thunderbolt device on both Apple and Windows computers.
The Drawmer MC 2.1 monitor controller controls up to three pairs of speakers and a subwoofer. I/O includes a talkback input, four XLR inputs, two RCA inputs, a mini-jack, six XLR outputs, a mono XLR output for the subwoofer and two headphone outputs.
The MUTEC MC-3+ Smart Clock is an ultra-low jitter digital audio master clock and USB interface based on the company's 1G-Clock technology. Features include the generation of Word Clocks, Super Clocks, and AES3 + S/PDIF blanks simultaneously.
Magma unveiled the Roben Series of Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Chassis. Each model connects to a host computer via Thurderbolt, and features three PCIe slots and a high-capacity power supply.
The Triad-Orbit Advanced Microphone Stand System features a modular approach making it easy to mount microphones in a stable system that’s easily articulated. Also in the booth were GB-3 Grav Bags Ballast Bags, which can be grouped in 10-pound configurations via Velcro, or used separately on the legs of the stand.
Little Labs Pepper
The Little Labs Pepper is a guitar pedal and instrument DI blender. And it does more than that: You can step your pedal levels up to +4dB in order to use the pedals in the console chain. It allows you to blend signals to varying degrees and you can use the Pepper as a re-amp box as well.
And finally, we can’t forget about physical recorders!
New from Sony is the PCM-D100, a portable, compact, high-res recorder with onboard stereo X-Y mics, 32GB of internal flash memory and an SD-XC card slot. It can record in a variety of formats, including linear PCM (up to 192kHz sample rate), DSD and MP3.
Zoom H6 Handy Recorder
Zoom displayed its H6 Handy Recorder, a handheld unit capable of recording up to six tracks simultaneously. The H6 includes detachable X/Y and M/S mic pair “heads,” which can be swapped for optional shotgun or XLR/TRS attachments.
Visit the Audio Engineering Society at www.aes.org.