Precision Time Piece
Trinity Isochrone Master Clock
Based on the same technology used in its OCX and OCX-V master clocks, Antelope Audio’s (www.antelopeaudio.com) Trinity ($4,000) presents a choice of 16 formats with three independent audio generators up to 384 kHz (DXD) with varispeed control; another three independent SD generators (simultaneously offering PAL and NTSC); and a third set of independent HD generators. Other features include Antelope’s fourth-generation Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC), which now employs 64-bit DSP, and the Triple Display showing the frequencies of all nine independent generators. Current Antelope clock users will appreciate that Trinity maintains all of the features from the company’s current OCX-V A/V master clock, like the Jitter-Management module, blackburst generator, and full audio and video gearboxing with simultaneous 0.1- and 4-percent pull-up/pull-downs.
As with the OCX and OCX-V, the Trinity can accept input from the 10M Rubidium Atomic Clock. Using the Atomic Clock with any of Antelope’s master clocks (Trinity, OCX or OCX-V) will in effect bypass the Oven-Controlled Crystal in these devices and resolve to Atomic for reference, boasting sample-accurate operation for eight days. The Trinity can also be user-recalibrated in the field to maintain stability in light of aging components. The unit features an intuitive menu-free user interface, dual-redundant power supplies, USB input for remote Mac/PC operation and an always-on Superclock for use with Pro Tools systems. Inputs include AES/EBU, word clock, S/PDIF, video and Atomic clock, while three independent outputs total four AES/EBU, four S/PDIF and 15 word clock outs.
DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio
The Tascam (www.tascam.com) DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio ($199) is a portable 4-track digital recorder that promises to retain the ease-of-use of its classic cassette-based 4-tracks but with CD-quality recording. The recorder uses dedicated knobs and buttons for easy operation, and features two unbalanced ¼-inch inputs accepting mic or line signals, plus a built-in stereo microphone. A stereo mixdown track is also included, and tracks or mixes can be transferred to a computer using USB 2. The DP-004 records to SD cards, and a 1GB card is included. A metronome and tuner are built-in, and input A accepts a guitar-level signal for direct recording.
These stylish new headphones from Phiaton (www.phiaton.com) feature 40mm electrodynamic drivers, 98dB sensitivity, 32-ohm impedance and a maximum input power of 1,000 mW. Made with carbon-graphite fiber, the lightweight (6.5-ounce) ‘phones are easy to transport and have flexible joints allowing them to fold in two. The $249 price includes compact carry case and a ¼-inch gold-plated plug adapter.
USB Microphone Preamplifier
The Icicle ($79.99) from Blue Microphones (www.bluemic.com) lets users connect any XLR mic directly to their computers via USB. This Mac/PC-compatible interface features phantom power, a fully balanced front end, analog gain control and driverless operation. Other features include a phantom-active power light and 44.1kHz/16-bit resolution. Icicle supports USB 1 or 2 on Mac OS X or PC (Windows XP Home/XP Pro or Vista).
Plug-Ins to Go
SM Pro Audio
V-Machine VST Player
The V-Machine ($599) from SM Pro Audio (www.smproaudio.com) is a compact VST/VSTi hardware playback module designed to take plug-ins anywhere and access them directly without a computer. Multiple plug-ins can be loaded into bank/preset memories of the V-Machine for immediate availability and combined into chains, splits and layers to create rich and unique sounds. Full external MIDI controller support lets users work with available parameter controls such as virtual dials, switches and faders. Features include a metal chassis, stereo I/O and headphone out with volume control. Three USB connections handle computer transfers of VST applications, streaming of sample content from external hard drives, connection of USB controllers and copy-protection dongles. The box is Mac/PC-compatible and ships with IK Multimedia’s SampleTank SE and a set of sound samples.
Luna II Condenser Microphone
Building on the feature set of the original Luna mic, the Luna II ($399.99) from M-Audio (www.m-audio.com) features solid-state, Class-A electronics and a 1.1-inch, 3-micron, gold-evaporated diaphragm with brass capsule assembly. Additional features include a -10dB pad and LF roll-off filter switch. The fixed-pattern cardioid condenser handles 130dB SPLs (140dB with pad) and weighs 1.4 pounds. Luna II ships in a wooden case and includes a heavy-duty shock-mount.
Master of Your Masters
The Vienna Symphonic Library (www.vsl.co.at) team has ventured into new territory with the Vienna Suite, a bundle of audio processing tools for mixing and mastering. The package includes a 5-band master EQ, limiter/compressor, multiband limiter, panner, exciter and analyzer — all with 64-bit audio processing on major 64-bit and 32-bit host platforms supporting Audio Units (OS X), VST (OS X, Win) and RTAS (OS X). The tools can be used with any DAW on any tracks, or on Vienna Ensemble and Vienna Instruments via the included tailor-made presets. The Vienna Suite is available only as a download for 395 Euros; prospective owners can get a 30-day test-drive demo license and video tutorials on the company’s Website.
Modeling the Bottom End
Markbass Mark Studio 1
Bass Amp Plug-In
The Italian bass amp manufacturer Markbass (www.markbass.it) debuts Mark Studio 1 ($399.99), a bass amp-modeling plug-in based on three Markbass amp heads and six Markbass cabinets. It incorporates six mic choices, plus control over compression, mic position, tweeter level, room ambience and more. Users can mix/match and adjust any combination of heads, cabs and mics and store settings as user presets or check out the 64 factory presets designed by project engineers and top Markbass artists. Mark Studio 1 can be applied to a bass track during or after recording. Also included is a stand-alone version, which operates on its own without recording software. Both OS X and Windows versions are offered in RTAS/Audio Units/VST formats.
Two Tracks in Your Pocket
PMD661 Field Recorder
A svelte new portable recorder from D&M Professional (www.d-mpro.com), the PMD661 ($599) improves on its PMD660, offering a streamlined form factor, built-in stereo mics, 44.1/48/96kHz recording and SD card media. Measuring just 6.5×3.7×1.4 inches, the PMD661 has switchable XLR mic/line inputs; a secondary unbalanced, 1/8-inch mini-jack line input; S/PDIF digital input; and stereo RCA analog line outs. The PMD661 is compatible with SDHC cards (currently up to 32GB capacity), offering up to five-plus hours of recording time from four AA alkaline or NiMH batteries (not included). The USB 2 port supports simple drag-and-drop file transfers, and the included Mark Editor software allows marker points on the recorded file to be adjusted post-recording, creating a new file so that basic editing can be carried out on a PC or Mac if desired.
From Here to There, Digitally
ASI5402 CobraNet PCI Soundcard
The AudioScience (www.audio science.com) ASI5402 ($495) is a PCM-only soundcard providing CobraNet audio networking coupled with audio processing. The card can simultaneously record/play two channels of 24-bit audio over a 100Mbps Ethernet network, and includes AudioScience’s MRX technology for routing/mixing of streams in different sample rates and formats. Drivers are provided for Windows XP, Server 2003 and Vista, as well as for Linux, with 64-bit drivers available for Vista and Linux. AudioScience’s ASIControl app allows for making CobraNet routing connections between the ASI5402 and any other CobraNet-compliant device on the network. SDKs are available for Windows and Linux using either standard APIs such as DirectSound or ALSA, or the proprietary AudioScience HPI and ASX interfaces.