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Tech: AES 2010 New Products


The Audio Engineering Society returns to San Francisco next month, from November 4 to 7, 2010, for its annual U.S. convention, and it’s looking to be a great show, with hundreds of manufacturers showing the latest in new toys for audio professionals. With that in mind, here’s a preview of some of the new products that will be on display. If you get a chance, stop by the Mix booth (#1037) during AES and say hello. See you there!

The new HD Series interfaces—HD I/O, HD Omni and HD MADI—from Avid ( pack more functionality into smaller spaces. Avid HD I/O brings high-quality audio record/playback in three two-rackspace configurations: 8x8x8 analog/digital ($3,995), 16×16 analog ($4,995) and 16×16 digital ($2,495) versions. The $4,995 HD MADI opens workflows and speeds production for broadcast, live sound and post pros with its ability to connect Pro Tools HD systems to MADI infrastructures, without the need for a format converter. The 4-in/8-out HD Omni ($2,995) features two world-class mic preamps, headphone outs, a full-featured surround monitor section and a 14×26 channel mixer that functions even when the computer is off. AES booth #1018 and Room 110.


Chameleon Labs offers the TS-1 MKII small-diaphragm tube microphone, which features a U.S.-made, mil-spec 5840 NOS pentode that is said to offer sparkle and warmth without the overly bright sonic qualities of other pencil condensers. Features include an outboard power supply with a control that lets users adjust the tube’s heater voltage for a variety of tonal variations, and a mic body with interchangeable cardioid and omni capsules. Retail is $559, including mic, capsules, power supply, shock-mount, cables, windscreen and carry case. Options include a switchable cardioid/omni large-diaphragm capsule ($249), a $49 adapter for mounting AKG CK capsules to the TS-1 body, and a $65 small-diaphragm hypercardioid capsule. AES booth #605.

Swedish-based software developer Softube is in the final stage of developing a plug-in version of Summit Audio’s popular TLA-100A tube limiting amplifier (pricing TBA). Scheduled for launch at AES, the software painstakingly models the warmth and compression nuances of the two-rackspace device, and maintains the unit’s simple two-knob interface, making it easy to achieve the right amount of limiting quickly. It will be available on the VST/AU/RTAS/TDM platforms (Mac and Windows) and for VENUE, and is scheduled for release in December. AES booth #812.

Royer Labs’ R-101 ($895 MSRP) features a 2.5-micron, 99.9-percent-pure aluminum ribbon motor that is based on the company’s R-121 model, but in a 1.5-inch diameter cylindrical body with no protruding pole pieces. The ribbon transducer’s flux-frame and rare Earth Neodymium magnets create a powerful magnetic field that increases sensitivity while reducing stray magnetic radiation. Its offset-ribbon design positions the ribbon element toward the front of the microphone body, allowing for higher SPL handling on the front (logo) side of the microphone and the option of a brighter response when recording lower SPL sound sources on the microphone’s back side. This approach also results in the R-101’s ability to withstand high SPL sources (135dB @ 30 Hz). Shock-mount and carry case are included. AES booth #613.

For AES, Purple Audio has announced shipping for the next generation of its Sweet 10 rack housing, with 10 slots for API 500 Series–compatible signal processing modules. Priced at $800, the new Sweet 10 employs a cool-running, low-noise switching power supply that operates at 150 kHz—well out of the audio range—and with auto-sensing to any voltage worldwide, it’s ideal for the traveling or touring engineer. The new unit also improves on the original with four I/O connections per channel for more versatility. A new option is Purple Audio’s Moiyn ($725), an all-discrete 8×2 mixer module/summing amp in a single-slot format. AES booth #514.

Sennheiser announces the next generation of its top-of-the-line wireless handheld transmitter, the SKM 5200-II. The new unit extends its switching bandwidth nearly five times the performance of the original, from 36 MHz up to 184 MHz. Other features include adjustable sensitivity (40 to 0 dB in 1dB steps) and a 3-position low-frequency filter, while selectable output power (10mW or 50mW) and a new Low Intermodulation mode provides a minimum of seven hours operating time. It’s available in black, nickel and steel blue, and can be fitted with a wide range of premium capsules, including Sennheiser’s MD 5235, and Neumann’s KK104 and KK105. Available frequency ranges include 470 to 638 MHz and 614 to 697.9 MHz. AES booth #920.

The latest near-field Advanced Transmission Line monitor from PMC, the AML2 powered studio monitors ($10,499 pair) supersede the AML1 model with many internal improvements, such as an upgraded power supply and an enhanced cabinet structure. The AML2 combines a flat-piston, 6.5-inch carbon-fiber/Nomex™ honeycomb woofer capable of extreme 33mm excursion with a 1.5-inch soft-dome tweeter on an acoustic lens, routed through all-discrete 24dB/octave crossovers to Bryston-designed Class-A/B (100W/80W) analog amps. Each 15.75×7.9×12.5-inch (HxWxD) unit weighs 35 pounds; a matching subwoofer for 2.1/5.1/7.1 arrays is optional. AES booth #1307.

Scheduled to ship by the time of the AES show, the MicMAID ($TBA) from Manley Labs lets users easily audition and select between four microphones and four microphone preamplifiers, with instant level-matched switching between various combinations. Other features include recall settings for gain, mic and preamp combinations; selectable phantom-power generation; front panel DI input (with variable phase and ground lift); and sealed, gold-contact relays for silent, lossless switching between sources. AES booth #602.

The M1030 ($1,942) studio condenser mic from Microtech Gefell features a cardioid pattern and a smooth frequency response with a slight presence boost in the 8 to 14k Hz range. Under the grille, the large-diameter capsule feeds an electronic impedance converter based on a newly designed solid-state circuit topology. This transformerless design reduces the noise floor to a low 7 dBA while raising the maximum output capacity, resulting in a 135dB dynamic range. The mic ships with a wooden case and swivel stand mount. An elastic suspension is optional. AES booth #641.

Telefunken Elektroakustik celebrates the 50th anniversary of the ELA M 250/251, 250E/251E and 270 mics with commemorative mic reissues in leather-bound, anniversary logo flight cases. The ELA M 250 is the two-pattern (cardioid/omni) version of the three-pattern ELA M 251 (cardioid/omni/figure-8). The stereo ELA M 270 has all three pickup patterns on the top and bottom capsules, and only two original units were produced; Telefunken Elektroakustik purchased an original to use as a benchmark for the re-creations. Each model features a dual-backplate CK-12 capsule hand-built from parts that are constructed from the original AKG blueprints. The amplifier in the ELA M 250E/251E/270 Series has a GE 6072 tube and Haufe T14/1 transformer. All ship with vintage-style power supplies, 10-meter Gotham Audio cables, leather-bound flight cases, wooden boxes, spare 6072/ECC81 tube (for 250E/251E and 270 models only) and five-year warranties. AES booth #525