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Tech: New Products, January 2011

Promising to streamline DAW workflow through a major redesign, Cakewalk’s SONAR X1 touts a completely revamped toolset. Most functions are now performed with a single implement that switches automatically, based on context. This dramatically speeds editing and arranging by reducing the need to switch tools constantly.

Promising to streamline DAW workflow through a major redesign, Cakewalk’s SONAR X1 touts a completely revamped toolset. Most functions are now performed with a single implement that switches automatically, based on context. This dramatically speeds editing and arranging by reducing the need to switch tools constantly. The new ProChannel features console-like mixing controls, including EQ and compression, a variable tube stage and flexible routing. Upgrade, crossgrade and version feature set information is available on the Website. Prices: SONAR X1 Producer, $399; SONAR X1 Studio, $199; the 32-bit-only SONAR X1 Essential is $99.

Burl Audio’s B80 Mothership ($2,499) is a completely configurable AD/DA converter with up to 80-channel capacity. Using a card-based system in a heavy-duty 4U chassis, the B80 has 10 card slots with 2/4/8-channel AD/DA cards (purchased separately). Every ADC channel features Burl’s BX1 transformer and every DAC channel has the company’s latest BOPA2 discrete op amp technology. Digital interconnect is configurable and controlled by a swappable motherboard. The BMB1 motherboard comes standard with two DigiLink connectors for direct connection to Pro Tools, allowing 64 DAC channels straight out of the DAW with one unit run off of an internal master clock. Other digital add-on cards include BMADI and BAES/EBU.


With direct involvement from SSL, Universal Audio has released its Solid State Logic E Series Channel Strip ($299) and G Series Bus Compressor ($249) plug-ins for the UAD-2 platform. The circuit emulation of the SSL 4000 console comes complete with both the Type E “black knob” and “brown knob” 4-band EQs, including high- and low-cut filters, and independent expander/gate and compressor/limiter. The SSL G Series Bus Compressor emulates the center-section console dynamics from the SSL 4000 and features the same simple control set and transparent compression characteristics of the hardware version.

The Focusrite Midnight plug-in suite offers models of the ISA110 EQ and ISA130 compressor from its legacy Forté console. The plug-ins (EQ, $129; compressor, $99) are compatible across VST, AU and RTAS formats, and feature attractive and easy-to-read GUIs. The EQ offers variable high- and lowpass filters, sweepable high- and low-shelving bands (±16 dB) and fully parametric high and low mid-bands. The compressor provides the expected threshold, ratio, attack, release and makeup-gain controls, plus a variable wet/dry control for parallel compression effects.

The Lynx LT-USB card ($395) is an LSlot interface for the Aurora 8 and Aurora 16 AD/DA converters that provides digital input and output to desktop and portable computers (Mac/PC) using USB 2 ports. The LT-USB features up to 16 input and output channels at up to 96 kHz, and eight channels at 192 kHz. Other features include Lynx Studio Technology’s proprietary SynchroLock™ technology to virtually eliminate USB bus jitter when slaving Aurora to USB. Control is provided via the Aurora Remote Control (ARC) application that ships with LT-USB.

Arturia’s Analog Laboratory ($299) combines a dedicated MIDI controller keyboard with a collection of 3,500 tweakable preset sounds from its software emulations of classic synthesizers, such as the Minimoog V, Moog Modular V, CS-80 V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet 5, Prophet VS and Jupiter-8V. It can be used as a stand-alone app or as a plug-in within popular sequencers such as Cubase, Pro Tools, Live, Logic Audio, Digital Performer and SONAR. Analog Laboratory is also offered as a $249 software-only version.

High-performance PC supplier Rain Computers debuts its next-generation Nimbus Multimedia Workstation designed for professional production applications. Rain Computers states it has tested and certified Nimbus for optimum performance and stability with software (such as Steinberg Cubase, Adobe CS5 and Sony Vegas) and hardware. The sleek, all-aluminum enclosure features swing-out front doors that protect access to the optical drive, media panel and optional removable drives. Priced from $1,799, Nimbus is built around AMD’s recently released 6-core processor architecture, and memory and storage can be expanded to 16 GB and 8 TB, respectively. The system is controlled by a version of Windows 7 Pro 64-bit that is specially tuned by Rain for audio and video production.

Millennia’s AD-596 ($1,500) is an audiophile-quality proprietary converter design in an API 500 Series–compatible, single-slot module. The converter is based on the company’s AD-R96 design, and features analog inputs and digital AES outputs on Tascam-format DB25. The HV-35 mic preamp ($800) is based on Millennia’s HV-3 Series mic preamps, and offers a front panel DI, DC-coupled +10dB gain boost for ribbon mics, 80Hz roll-off, 15dB pad, polarity flip and continuously variable gain control.

PluralEyes ($119) from Singluar Software automates media synchronization for multicamera, multitake, dual-system audio editing. Available for Final Cut Pro and now Sony Vegas Pro, the PluralEyes plug-in for Vegas Pro provides an array of features for managing multicamera, multitake and dual-system audio productions, including a level audio option—preserving the order of clips—and clip locking for seamless integration into existing workflows. The plug-in automates the entire sync process with frame accuracy, regardless of project complexity or camera quality.

New from iZotope, the Nectar plug-in suite provides 11 vocal production effects, including breath control, compression, de-essing, doubler, EQ, noise gate, limiter, delay, reverb, saturation and pitch correction. A manual Note Editor also lets users capture a segment of audio into its editor, with piano-roll-style editing of pitch and timing. Onboard presets offer quick access to 110 Style settings in 12 genres, such as ’60s Motown sound, early ’90s grunge rock, a radio-ready Podcasting template, jazz vocals or a modern pop sound, ranging from delicate improvements to highly produced robotic effects. The suite is PC/Mac-compatible, supporting Pro Tools 7 or higher (RTAS/AudioSuite), VST, MAS, AU and DirectX hosts.

Tascam expands its recording products line with three new multichannel USB 2 interfaces. The $249 US-800 has eight inputs, six outs (including six XLR mic channels with phantom power), two headphone outs and MIDI in/out. The $299 US-1800 (pictured) has 16 inputs, including eight XLR ins, six balanced line ins (two are switchable to instrument level), two digital ins and four simultaneous outputs. The top-end US-2000 ($499) also features 16 inputs and four outs, but offers improved audio specs and a 100 LED Meter Bridge. All are bundled with Steinberg’s 48-track Cubase LE 5 software.