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AES 2015

Product Hits From New York City

The 139th AES Convention rolled into the Javits Center in New York City over Halloween weekend, and the mood and energy were upbeat from morning press conferences on through to late night Afterglow parties. Panels were filled, downstairs demo rooms showed off a range of monitoring options, and the exhibit hall was busy. Here are a few of the many new product introductions that caught our eyes and ears.

Avid Pro Tools 12.3 and Dock

Straight on the heels of Pro Tools 12.2 comes Pro Tools 12.3, featuring powerful new workflow and editing enhancements including Track Commit and Track Bounce workflows, Clip Transparency while editing or moving clips or fades, batch fade enhancements and shortcuts, AudioSuite Pitch II. The EUCON control surface called Pro Tools | Dock enhances and integrates the Pro Tools | Control free iOS app experience as well as with the Pro Tools | S3 surface and Artist Mix. The Dock’s eight soft knobs can be used to control parameters like EQ, Dynamics, Panning, and Sends on the Attentioned (focused) channel— à la the S6 Master Touch Module. “Attentioning” a track is as easy as touching the track tile on the screen and it brings it to the fader. This new “super” Channel view on Pro Tools | Control is unlocked while using the Dock or S3.

Argosy Console HALO Workstation

HALO from Agosy ($1,499) is a streamlined and affordable workstation designed to be customized with accessories to specifically suit any audio or video studio’s requirements. Features include a sculptured armrest design, fingerprint-resistant laminated desk surface, extruded aluminum chassis rail, 11-gauge steel leg assemblies with cable-pass-through leg posts, twin 8RU bays with unrestricted depth with easy access to cable connections, steel rack frame supports, and a lowered monitor platform with cable grommets. Optional accessories include IsoAcoustics near-field monitor attachments, 4 RU rackmount accessory shelves, monitor arms and a pullout desk/accessory drawer.

DACS Ltd Test Lab

DACS showed a professional tool that provides swift but rigorous common fault investigation for studio, installation and live sound engineers. Test Lab is packed with necessary test features—various analog cable and signal testing routines—but no unnecessary cosmetics, so it can be offered at a moderate cost and is small enough to fit into a tool bag. The box includes an LED flashlight for testing in tight, dark spaces plus LED illumination of the testing surface. I/O includes XLR, Speakon, RCA, BNC, TRS and more.

Audeze LCD-4 Headphones

The LCD-4, open back, circumaural headphones from Audeze ($3,995) features thin nano-grade diaphragms and unique Double Fluxor magnet arrays. Other features include extended frequency response out to 50 kHz, a comfortable suspension-type carbon fiber and leather headband, ¼-inch to dual 4-pin mini-XLR Premium LCD cable, and a professional travel case.

Ocean Way Audio HR4 and Pro2A Monitors

Allen Sides was showing off two new lines of pro monitors, with new president Rick Plushner and mic designer Cliff Henrickson on hand. Based on the legendary sonic performance of the Ocean Way HR2 speaker, the HR4 is a two-way, self-powered monitor that is at home on a console’s meter bridge or free-standing speaker stands. The large horn-based wave guide design delivers 100 degree dispersion. The Pro2A has been adapted from the hi-fi designs of Bruce Marien and refocused for the studio mixing environment. It offers a unique trapezoid design and reproduces frequencies from 38 Hz to 22 kHz delivering an SPL of 110 dB.

Lauten Eden LT-386 Microphone

The new Eden LT-386 tube microphone from Lauten ($2,499) features a multivoicing switch (G, N and F) offering three distinct timbres, vocal-shaping highpass filter, kickdrum-shaping highpass filter, and three switchable patterns (omni, cardioid, figure-8.) The multivoicing functions are specifically designed and tuned for this microphone and are not the same as Lauten’s Atlantis. The Gentle position provides maximum control of bright or peaky sources, Neutral offers an even response with good control over S’s, and Forward opens up the microphone for that familiar “air” of classic microphones from the past.

Radial McBoost

McBoost from Radial Engineering ($199.99) is a 100 percent discrete, Class-A dual FET signal booster for low-output dynamic and ribbon microphones. The McBoost features Radial’s trademark all-steel construction, with bookends that create protective zones around the switches and controls. Other features include hand-matched transistors, a dual FET Class-A circuit and 25 dB of boost via a fully variable front-panel level control. Also onboard is a three-position highpass filter, a three-position impedance selector and powering by standard 48V phantom, eliminating the need for batteries or external power supply.

SSL Sigma δelta Summing System

A significant upgrade to the acclaimed Sigma Remote Controlled Analogue Summing System, the Sigma δelta introduces new features that facilitate full simultaneous tri-directional control of the Sigma analog hardware. A completely new cross-platform (iOS, Mac or PC) Remote Control App expands on the feature set of Sigma’s V1 Browser with the addition of direct Level and Pan control, making the Sigma SuperAnalogue mix engine and monitor switcher fully remote controllable via software running on a range of networked devices.

Waves eMo D5 Plug-in

The first plug-in to use Waves’ groundbreaking Parallel Detection technology, Waves eMo D5 delivers the power of five state-of-the-art dynamics processors—Gate, Leveler, DeEsser, Compressor and Limiter—in one easy-to-use interface. Each of the five processors responds to the original signal and to each of the other processed signals simultaneously, allowing the user to instantly control the total dynamic change introduced by the different processors, ensuring that the final sound achieves maximum clarity without overcompression.

DPA d:screet Slim

DPA showed the d:screet Slim Microphone featuring the company’s 4061 capsule with low sensitivity and low self-noise. The microphone’s new button-hole mount, which comes as an enclosed accessory, provides a 90-degree sound input angle, allowing the cable to lay flat against a surface rather than sticking straight out. It is also designed to fit into a space as small as 2 millimeters. The combination of the size and available accessories increases the number of mounting solutions, as it can be placed virtually anywhere without being seen.

Neumann KH 805 Subwoofer

The KH 805 from Neumann features a remotely controllable 2.0/0.1 Bass Manager that enables it to be used in many different applications, such as extending the loudspeaker bass down to 18 Hz, for increasing the maximum SPL of a loudspeaker setup by up to 8 dB or for reproducing the LFE channel. The active subwoofer is also an ideal tool to decrease the harmonic and intermodulation distortion of a loudspeaker setup or to reproduce the “Sub” signal of a bass-managed multichannel source, and works as an extension for KH 810, KH 870 and KH 805 subwoofer systems.

Sonifex AVN-GMC PTPv2 Grandmaster Clock

Sonifex joined the Ravenna (audio over IP) group three years ago and the AVN-GMC is its first product for use in Ravenna networks. IEEE 1588 PTP (precision time protocol) is used to synchronize all the nodes within a network. To achieve this one of the nodes must become the master clock and distribute time packets to the others. The AVN-GMC is designed to perform this role simply and accurately, acting as a GPS receiver and enabling sub-microsecond synchronization between all nodes.

Audio Precision Version 4.2 Software

Capabilities being introduced with version 4.2 of APx500 test software are primarily focused on electro-acoustic testing—loudspeakers, headphones and microphones—and production test scenarios. APx’s built-in automation engine, the Sequencer, has been enhanced to support multiple sequences in a single project and sequence looping. The new release also permits the creation of customizable sub-sequences for applications such as “golden unit” testing or microphone calibration.

Barefoot Sound MicroMain26 Monitor

Based on the renowned MicroMain27 Gen2 platform, the MicroMain26 is a 4-way active system with six drive units housed in sealed enclosures spanning 30 Hz to 45 kHz with vanishingly low distortion, remarkable dynamic range and ultra-fast transient response. The ring radiator tweeter is exceptionally detailed and produces very wide dispersion out to its highest frequencies. MM26 provides four modes: a revealing «Flat» response, a warmer and sweeter “Hi-Fi” setting, an “Old School” setting that emulates an NS10M nearfield, and a “Cube” setting that emulates the mid-centric sound of classic mix cubes.

Genelec 7040A Subwoofer

The 7040A Subwoofer features Genelec’s acclaimed Laminar Spiral Enclosure technology. This unique enclosure design allows the 7040 to achieve a high sound pressure level (an essential property for a subwoofer) and move high volumes of air without distortion. With external dimensions of 16.125 x 13.75 x 8.125 inches, the 7040A has a footprint that is smaller than that of a small practice guitar amplifier. Calibration of the Genelec 7040A subwoofer to the listening environment is done using DIP switches located on the subwoofer connector panel.

Audio Technica BP40 Large Diaphragm Microphone

The BP40 is a dynamic vocal microphone with rich, clear, natural condenser-like sound for a variety of applications including radio, overdubs, post-production and more. The mic’s hypercardioid polar pattern provides isolation of the desired sound source, and maximum off-axis rejection when working in close production environments. Its optimized capsule placement helps maintain a commanding vocal presence even at a distance, while the multistage windscreen provides superior internal pop filtering. It also includes a switchable 100Hz highpass filter to provide even more pop protection.

Antelope Audio 10MX Clock

The 10MX combines the atomic precision of the legendary 10M with the sophisticated Acoustically Focused Clocking algorithms of the Trinity into a 1U enclosure. The Antelope 10MX is perfectly suited to recording, mixing and mastering environments and is an ideal companion to a variety of live sound applications in delivering refined clarity and three-dimensionality. The new, smaller and more efficient Rubidium oscillator demands less power consumption and therefore emits less heat radiation.

Burl Audio B26 ORCA Studio Monitor

Burl’s B26 ORCA features direct coupled, discrete, Class-A signal path, three stereo mix inputs, two stereo tape return inputs, RCA stereo input, and two stereo speaker outputs. Features include audiophile 0.1 percent matched resistors, stepped attenuator for control room level, independent studio/phones send and level, external meter output, and control room and Studio headphone outputs.

PMC QB1-XBD-A Monitor

To create the QB1-XBD-A, PMC has re-engineered its flagship QB1-A Active main studio monitor adding a further cabinet (the XBD) per channel. This contains four identical piston drivers, each driven by four 1,000W independent, Class-D power amplifiers, which gives a total of a staggering 8,825W of ultra-clean power per channel. In keeping with the QB1-A, the QB1-XBD-A features wired RJ45 desktop control, which provides user-friendly access to EQ settings via its backlit display and jog wheel, and the ability to store up to four user setup presets.

RTW Loudness and Mastering Tools 

RTW unveiled its new plug-in version 3 for its popular Masterclass Plug-ins, Mastering Tools and Loudness Tools. RTW’s Masterclass Plug-ins provide RTW meters as standard-format plug-ins for Windows and Mac OS. With this new update, the software now adheres to SAWA and TASA cinema loudness standards, and its window and instruments are modified to be freely scalable. In addition, Mastering Tools now supports a 12th octave RTA. Version 3 also comes with RTW’s newly developed USB connect software, which allows users to feed audio directly out of a DAW application via USB from any channel to a TM3-Primus hardware device.

Yamaha TF Mixer

The TF series (which stands for TouchFlow Operation) comprises three compact, performance-packed digital mixing consoles, the TF5, TF3 and TF1, which feature 33, 25, or 17 motor faders, respectively, along with 32, 24, or 16 rear-panel analog inputs. Each console includes recallable Yamaha D-PRE preamplifiers for the first time in a digital console, which facilitates support for live music and events where full-setup changes need to be made on the fly.