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Hot News, Cool Products

TC Electronic ( news: The company is joining up with IVL Technologies Ltd. ( to create Helicon Vocal Technologies, which

TC Electronic ( news: The company is joining up with IVL Technologies Ltd. ( to create Helicon Vocal Technologies, which will develop vocal processing tools. The first product, a voice-formant and pitch processor, will be released in the third quarter of 2000. Helicon will be based in Victoria, B.C., and is made up of a team of engineers from TC and IVL. TC Works (, TC Electronics’ software division, introduced Spark|Modular ($99), which adds synthesis to the Spark environment with a group of building-block plug-ins. The open-ended, modular construction-patterned after analog sequencers-has three modules: TCO is a monophonic dual oscillator offering a variety of waveforms, pulse width modulation, an additional sub-oscillator, oscillator sync, ring modulation and LFO; the waveforms are generated, as opposed to being played back from sample memory. The TCF filter module provides lowpass and highpass filtering, envelope, key follow and single and multi triggering.TCA is an amp module with ADSR curve and analog emulation circuitry. Spark|Modular includes a VST version of the FXmachine, allowing use with any sequencer supporting VST instruments.

There was always a crowd ringing CreamWare’s ( prototype of its Stage Frame One, a synthesizer built around a complete PC with CreamWare’s DSP cards, housed in a banana-yellow keyboard chassis, with a huge, full-color 14-inch LCD touch-screen and 14 parameter control knobs. Rather than being fixed to a single architecture, the synthesizer is designed to load a variety of configurations. Although the gear at Musikmesse was being used to house Pulsar and Scope systems, CreamWare says Stage Frame will ultimately incorporate synthesis, sequencing, mixing and recording. A production unit is slated to appear by the end of the year. CreamWare was also showing Pulsar II, which offers a 50% boost in DSP power, new effects and modules, a revamped interface, and a new stated ASIO latency of 2 ms. List price is $1,398.

Sequoia is the newest audio editing system from SEK’D ( Highlights include a “4-point” operating mode, in which source material is visible in the lower half of the screen, destination tracks in the upper half, with independent navigation between parts. (Cuts can even be made between project windows.) Asymmetrical and symmetrical crossfades are possible and can be performed during playback; the system is able to move audio material and fades together or separately. SEK’D’s new Comparisonics color-coded audio content representation mode is also integrated. A host-based workstation, Sequoia offers 32-bit floating-point processing, support for sample rates up to 196 kHz and network integration. Retail is $5,000.

Steinberg ( made a splash with Cubase VST 5. This new version, available this month, offers scalable recording modes with up to 32-bit floating-point resolution on 128 channels in the flagship Cubase VST/32, which also has Apogee UV22 dithering technology, eight effects sends, four channel inserts and four master inserts. A new FX rack hosts new controls, and channel EQs can now be edited graphically or with virtual pots. Other features include folder tracks, which “fold away” an infinite number of MIDI and audio tracks, and a TrueTape mode that offers the choice of recording digitally or with analog emulation. The new MIDI Track Mixer offers VST-style MIDI control, system resolution up to 15,360 ppq, and more than 300 new scoring functions. The upgrade from any previous version of Cubase is $129.

Speaking of VST, the B4 from Native Instruments (www.native-instruments .com) is a VST tone-wheel organ combo designed to completely emulate-you guessed it-the Hammond B3 organ. The B4’s sample-based software model is based on analysis of electromechanical sound generation and tube circuitry of organ and speaker cabinet combinations. The software interface reproduces the vintage keyboard, with upper-manual and lower-manual keyboards, pedal keyboard, expression pedal, draw bars, vibrato and velocity switches, and preset selectors. Of course, a rotary speaker control is built in. Other features include key-click adjustment, “tube distortion,” and a “rear panel” for additional parameter adjustment.

The C 2000 B is a new cardioid condenser mic from AKG Acoustics (www. Housed in a silver-gray metal casing with a large wire mesh grille, the microphone is described as having a flat response with a slight high-frequency boost, and boasts a frequency response down to 10 Hz. Features include a switchable bass roll-off and 10dB pad. The C 2000 B comes with the AKG SA41 stand adapter; an optional H100 spider shockmount is available. List price is $378.

SPL ( showed Area 5.1, a new miking and mixing system for 5.1 recordings. Area 5.1 is a rackmount unit comprising five mic preamps that can be coupled with motorized controls. Each preamp delivers up to 70 dB of gain and has pad, phase reverse and phantom power controls, plus a stereo downmix section enabling simultaneous recording of both 5.1 and stereo. The Sub/LFE channel creates the sub signal from a selection of front, surround and center microphone signals. Area 5.1 combines with SPL’s new Atmos 5.1 compact location recording and mixing/premastering console and Dirk Brauner’s ASM 5 5-channel Adjustable Surround Microphone for a complete surround recording front end.

Novation ( introduced rack versions of its Super-Nova II series. The Rack has all the new features of the SuperNova II keyboard except the master controller functions; it offers a dot-matrix display screen, front panel inputs and controls; optional 12 and 24 Voice Polyphony expander cards and an ADAT/SPDIF card for the SuperNova II Keyboard can be added. Three versions are available, ranging from 24 to 48 voices.

The Nord Lead 3 is the latest version of Clavia’s (www.clavia .com) popular virtual analog synth. The Nord Lead 3 is a 20-voice synthesizer; the two oscillators per voice now offer six waveforms. Two multimode filters are built in, and the modulation section now offers three LFOs and envelope generators.

Sibelius ( was showing an Internet version of its notation package. Sibelius Internet Edition lets publishers create sheet music and turn it into a Web page; Scorch is Sibelius’ free plug-in for playing, viewing, customizing and printing Sibelius scores on the Internet.

These are just a few of the hot products we saw at Musikmesse; look for more debuts in upcoming product columns. In the meantime, book your tickets now for the new Russian Musikmesse/ProLight + Sound, which will take place in St. Petersburg, June 20- 23, 2001. And on the subject of next year, the 22nd Frankfurt Musikmesse takes place March 7-11, 2001.