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NAB 2009 Show Report

Upsides and Downsides in a Tough Market

NAB 2009 Lower South Hall

NAB 2009 had a lot of the old feel from years past and some new things you’d expect from a down economy. For instance, the usual craziness of the South Lower hall was in evidence again this year with packed booths and lots of buzz around the more glitzy video-oriented demos and gear. Some audio companies—Tascam, Smartsound, MOTU, Fairlight, Samson and others—were spread throughout the SL hall basking in the overflow. Upstairs in SU it was less busy but still not as sleepy as the North and Central halls across East Desert Inn Road. Over there, traffic was down considerably, some estimating as much as 40 percent.

More than one vendor flatly chose to stay home. For example, Yamaha’s booth was flanked by two empty spaces left vacant by exhibitors who backed out at the last minute, choosing to lose their deposits rather than spend the extra it would take to bring their goods and staff to Las Vegas.

On the upside, hotels were blowing out rooms, with many attendees taking advantage of the bargain rates, while the airport, monorail and cab lines seemed lighter than usual. However, most manufacturers seemed unfazed by the economic situation, as there was no shortage of new gear debuts, most stressing cost-saving solutions for broadcast and post users.

Solid State Logic C10 HD digital audio console

Solid State Logic had a strong showing. Its C10 HD digital audio console comes in two frame sizes—24×8 and 32×8—with scalable DSP and I/O options. For mixing inside the box, SSL’s new MX4 combines three central system elements: high channel count/high quality audio interface, a versatile software mixer and DSP powered plug-ins that provide console-grade precision processing with legendary SSL audio characteristics. SSL also unveiled the X-Desk, a desktop/rackmount unit featuring 16 mixdown channels, 8 channel inserts, stereo and mono aux sends, talkback, two monitor outs, two stereo effects returns, inserts on the stereo bus and more.

New broadcast enhancements available for the Euphonix System 5-B/BP and Max Air Digital Audio Mixing Systems include the new SH624 router, which uses the ES-Switch Protocol to integrate those digital consoles with facility routers. The SH624 has 24 MADI ins and outs for a maximum of 1536×1536 signal paths at 48 kHz, doubling the size of the current SH612 router.

Calrec Audio Apollo console

Calrec Audio unveiled the new Apollo console, which provides more than twice as much processing power as the company’s Alpha platform—a channel count that sets a new industry benchmark—and an all new, highly responsive, user-configurable control surface. Apollo relies on Bluefin2, which at 48 kHz, gives Apollo up to 1,020 channel processing paths, 128 program buses, 96 IFB/Track outputs and 48 auxiliaries. At 96 kHz, Apollo affords 510 channel processing paths, 64 program buses, 48 IFB/Track outputs and 24 auxiliaries.

Studer announced the availability of its new RELINK (Resource Linking) I/O sharing system. The new system extends audio capabilities and can link numerous consoles in various locations of a broadcast facility to allow audio source and control data sharing across a wide network.

TASCAM M-164UF analog mixer

introduced its slick, miniature M-164UF analog mixer, featuring six mic
inputs, EQ, and built-in meter bridge plus digital reverb, delay and
chorus. The sister to the 164, the M-164UF is said to be the first
compact mixer with built-in USB 2 to deliver all 16 outputs to a
computer for live or studio recording (Mac/PC). Other features include
16-channel mixing, RIAA phono preamp on channels 9-10, sub and main
output buses plus two aux sends.

Intended for broadcast applications, Yamaha’s
MY8-SDI-D enables the input of HD-SDI embedded audio signals directly
to a host Yamaha digital console or DME (Digital Mix Engine). It
features one HD-SDI input with one HD-SDI-thru output and can replace
the need for conventional converters used to directly feed Yamaha
digital mixing products.

Genelec 1038CF Tri-Amplified Active Monitoring System

new 1038CF Tri-Amplified Active Monitoring System features a slim enclosure (only 9.25 inches deep!), dual long-throw 8-inch woofers, 5-inch midrange and 1-inch dome tweeter. The 1038CF features a limited bass response, with a -2.5 dB point at 57 Hz, as the focus is on mid/high performance.

JBL Professional’s
LSR2300 series monitors offer the Linear Spatial Reference criteria of
its award-winning LSR6300 and LSR4300 Series in more affordable
systems. The new speakers come in 5-inch (LSR2325P) or 8-inch
(LSR2328P) versions—plus, there is a matching 10-inch sub to take the
system down to 28 Hz (LSR2310SP).

Studio Technologies StudioComm 76DB/77B Surround Monitoring System

The all-digital StudioComm 76DB/77B Surround Monitoring System from Studio Technologies
offers simple, effective monitoring of 5.1 surround and stereo audio
material. Comprised of a Model 76DB Central Controller and a Model 77B
Control Console, the system is especially well suited for broadcast
master control and post-production applications with digital-input

released the Reference Monitor, a single-rackspace audio monitor with
Dolby decoding. The RM-4C8-HDE1 can decode a Dolby E or Dolby Digital
audio stream, letting users visually monitor eight (or 5.1) audio
channels and select any two for listening.

Beyerdynamic Headzone PRO XT

Headzone PRO XT is an updated version of the innovative Headzone
portable surround sound mixing system. It uses current DSP technology
to provide headphone-based 5.1 surround sound reproduction using a
patented ultrasonic-headtracking system, which locates the orientation
of the listener’s head with respect to the source material and adjusts
the audio accordingly.

showed the new RH-PM5 in-ear monitors. These sharp-looking buds are
tuned for live stage and studio monitoring and are perfectly matched to
use with the new RSS Personal Mixing System featuring M-48 Live
Personal Mixers. The in-ears come with different types of ear adapters
to fit a variety of ear canals.

Mics, Mics, Mics
brought new life to the classic C 747 and C 3000 microphones. The
updated C 747 V11 brings a new form of premium microphone quality to
conference applications and maintains its predecessor’s operational
excellence. The new C 3000 maintains the popular characteristics of the
original but sports a new sleek finish.

introduced the 2000 Series, a professional, entry-level wireless
microphone system. The 2000 Series includes handheld and bodypack
transmitters with single or twin receivers. For monitoring, users can
combine the diversity receivers of the series with single or twin
monitor transmitters.

Audio-Technica BP896 subminiature omnidirectional condenser

smallest lavalier mic offering to date, the BP896 subminiature
omnidirectional condenser, has a capsule measuring a mere 2.5mm in
diameter, making it ideal for applications requiring minimum
visibility. The microphone includes a complete accessory kit.

For live recording, DPA
showed the 4099 mini cardioid mic. It attaches gently to the
instrument, offers superior gain-before-feedback and is wireless
compatible and can also be used as a standard 48-volt phantom powered
microphone via the included XLR connector.

is distributing the Da-Cappo line of shotgun mics from Australia. The
soon-to-be-released inaugural product, the Location Pack, bundles three
shotgun mics, a mini for camera top (360 mm), a medium (443 mm) and
large size (563 mm) for boom use all in a handy travel case with power

Sound Devices CL-2 Boom Pole Remote Fader

The CL-2 Boom Pole Remote Fader from Sound Devices
offers another measure of control over the popular 788T multitrack
field recorder. Connecting to the 788T’s proprietary C.Link port
(Control Link), the CL-2 offers a single, 30mm fader that can be
programmed to control any input or track on the 788T. Two
user-programmable switches on the remote control unit can operate
several critical functions on the 788T, including remote record

Studio Essentials
bowed Dolby Pulse, the newest solution for online, mobile and broadcast
markets. This lets broadcasters deliver stereo and 5.1-channel audio at
the lowest bandwidth rates, while maintaining high audio quality. As it
includes Dolby metadata, Dolby Pulse is also the one HE AAC solution
that eliminates the need for a stereo simulcast within a 5.1 broadcast,
further reducing bandwidth.

Sony Creative Software Vegas Pro 9

Sony Creative Software
showed Vegas Pro 9 software, the latest version of its nonlinear HD
video and audio editing application. Vegas Pro 9 features a new
customizable interface for optimized viewing and enhanced usability, as
well as significant improvements for professional video editors,
including direct browsing and import of Sony XDCAM EX footage, native
file support for the Red One camera, compress to MXF file format during
capture from SD/HD-SDI sources, a scalable 4K workflow, and powerful
new effects and editing enhancements.

SurCode for DTS-HD, from Minnetonka Audio Software,
comprises an encoder and decoder plug-in pair: SurCode™ Encoder for
DTS-HD™ for Compressor and SurCode Decoder for DTS-HD for QuickTime.

Lexicon PCM96 Surround Reverb/Effects Processor

demoed its PCM96 Surround Reverb/Effects Processor. The Surround
version delivers 50 new Lexicon reverbs, delays and modulation effects,
while at the same time offering more presets, configuration options and
additional inputs and outputs. Designed for the modern studio, the
PCM96 Surround can function as a control-only insert or FireWire
streaming audio plug-in inside any Mac VST or Audio Units software.

The FCP (Final Cut Plug-in) is the latest release from the folks at SmartSound,
the creators of Sonicfire Pro 5. The plug-in provides interoperability
between Final Cut Pro and Sonicfire Pro 5, featuring the ability to set
markers in Final Cut, which in turn enables Sonicfire to calculate the
exact amount of music needed.

Mac networking experts Small Tree Communications
offered scalable hard drive solutions for facilities running Final Cut
Pro and Pro Tools. The company’s affordable new 600MB/s GraniteStor
solution works with the Apple Xserve and offers editing of FCP video
across the network in DV24, DV50, DVCProHD and ProRes formats.

D&M Professional
unveiled the PMD661 Compact Digital Recorder. This handheld unit offers
a streamlined form factor, upgraded feature set and the use of SD flash
media. Features include stereo speakers, optional wired remote,
improved mic preamps, digital in, mic/line in on XLRss, RCA line outs
and included editing software.

touted its VB Mobile Studios™. The largest one, the 53-foot VB Mobile
Studio, is housed in a full 18-wheeler truck trailer with a slide-out
feature that includes a VocalBooth, mini bar, lounge, restroom, control
room and performance space.

Zoom R16 recorder/interface/controller

The R16 recorder/interface/controller from Zoom
generated a lot of booth bling at NAB. This compact unit offers
24-bit/48kHz linear PCM recording, built-in stereo condenser mics,
support for up to 32 GB of recording storage via inexpensive SDHC cards
and simultaneous recording of up to eight tracks. If that isn’t enough,
it also features battery operation for remote recording, eight mic
inputs (two with phantom power), more than 100 built-in effects, Mackie
control emulation and much more. Street price is estimated at $399.

More to Come
There was more from NAB and we’ll present other products and updates (including video coverage from the show floor) on Meanwhile, NAB returns to Las Vegas next year from April 10 to 15, 2010.


Mix’s Top-10 Product Picks From NAB
Even with a somewhat more
subdued NAB expo this year, there were a lot of interesting new
products for audio pros. Selecting the show’s Top-10 product debuts
wasn’t easy. Here are our Mix Certified Hits from NAB, listed

Audio-Technica BP896 subminiature lavalier mic
Calrec Audio Apollo console
Dolby Laboratories Dolby Pulse
Genelec 1038CF Tri-Amplified Active Monitoring System
JBL Professional LSR2300 Series monitors
SmartSound FCP (Final Cut Plug-in)
Solid State Logic C10 HD
digital audio console
Sony Creative Software Vegas Pro 9
Studio Technologies StudioComm 76DB/77B
surround monitoring system
Zoom R16 recorder/interface/controller