The first offering from Unity Audio, The Rock ($1,000 each) studio monitor features a sealed cabinet and is made from top-grade, 12mm, 9-ply Baltic birch. Its folded-ribbon tweeter features a new neodymium magnet system promising higher efficiency, and superior linear frequency and phase response. The 7-inch woofer is constructed of 0.2mm aluminum foil that's chemically bonded to a rigid pulp-fiber cone, permitting ±15mm of woofer travel for accurate low bass frequencies. Amplification is via a 100-watt, discrete, bipolar, low-feedback amplifier with custom-wound transformers, and dedicated LF and HF sections with overload/clip protection.
After much feedback from the field, Marantz Professional has released the PMD661 ($599) 24-bit/96kHz compact recorder. The unit measures 6.5×3.7×1.4 inches, and features balanced mic/line XLR inputs, an S/PDIF digital input, a secondary unbalanced line in (3.5mm) and stereo RCA outs. Other features include built-in stereo condenser microphones, optional wired remote, OLED display, ¼-inch headphone jack, stereo speakers and USB data port. The PMD661 records to SD Flash or SDHC media (32GB max), and is powered by four AA or off-the-shelf rechargeable NiMH batteries.
Mixing It Up
M-164 Series Mixer
Tascam has created a new series of mixers offering an analog base and options for digital effects and computer integration. The M-164 ($349) is a 16-channel mixer with six mic inputs, EQ and a built-in meter bridge. The M-164FX ($399) adds digital effects like reverb, delay and chorus. The M-164UF ($699) has built-in USB 2 that delivers all 16 outputs to a computer for live or studio recording (96kHz/24-bit). Common features include six XLR microphone inputs with phantom power and highpass filter, five stereo line inputs, 3-band EQ on mic channels, RIAA phono preamp on channels 9/10, sub and main output buses, and two aux sends.
SSL Inside the Box
Solid State Logic
The new MX4 ($1,999) from SSL comprises a MADI interface card offering 128 channels of I/O, Software Mixer and DSP-powered plug-ins providing console-grade processing with SSL audio characteristics. The system offers Mac/PC-compatible SSL “PCIe-Core Audio Pipeline” drivers, 1x word clock connector, four samples of latency and fully automatic delay compensation for VST plug-ins, I/Os and external processing/conversion delays. The software mixer can be used stand-alone or as a front end for any native DAW. It offers an open mixing environment with flexible routing, plus SSL's Channel EQ plug-in with 4-band parametric EQ (“E” and “G”), SSL Channel Dynamics plug-in and its G Series stereo bus compressor.
Six Cool Cats
Analysis Pack Plug-Ins
These six new audio-analysis plug-ins ($299) in Audio Units format from Blue Cat Audio feature an audio level meter, spectrum and stereo-field analyzers, as well as a multitrack oscilloscope. The DirectX and VST for PC and VST for Mac versions of the six plug-ins have also been updated for this release, including several fixes and improvements. While the Multi Series plugs propose simultaneous multiple track analysis with multiple instances linking support, the Pro Series products let users extract parameters from the incoming audio signal and record them as automation curves or send them as MIDI CC messages. Typical applications include creating unique sidechain effects or external signal-based hardware control.
It's a Tube…Summer
The Little Bustard ($2,670) from Thermionic Culture is the company's second tube-summing mixer that can be used independently as a stand-alone mixer or for adding more channels to a Fat Bustard. Features include 16 input channels with fixed gain, on/off switches, four mono inputs with mute switches and pan pots that can be defeated by another switch, adding an extra 6 dB of gain. Tubes include a pair of ECC83s/12AX7s on the gain stage, and two PC86s in the output stage. The master output section has independent left/right 31-position output pots and a simple output level indicator.
Soundmaster has released a wearable wireless remote that can be slipped on your index finger like a ring. Digimote (priced by quote only) is designed for one-hand operation, allowing the user to keep his/her hands on the faders while issuing commands to the Soundmaster ION® system.
Virtually Rock 'n' Rollin'
IK Multimedia and Fender Musical Instruments Corporation have collaborated on AmpliTube Fender ($139.99), the only official Fender amp and FX software suite. The collection features a selection of 45 Fender guitar and bass amps, cabinets, stompboxes and rack effects, including the '64 Vibroverb Custom, '65 Deluxe Reverb, Vibratone, Super-Sonic, Metalhead, Fender Blender, Phaser, Fuzz-Wah and many others. The VST/Audio Units/RTAS collection features mix-and-match amps, cabinets and mics, a digital tuner, stomp pedal board, rack effects and two fully configurable rigs with up to 32 simultaneous effects. Amplitube Fender can be controlled live with StompIO, StealthPedal or any other MIDI controller, and comes with hundreds of presets with more online in the AmpliTube Preset XChange area.