Can I Ring You?
HD 800 Headphones
A novel ring-type transducer and innovative ear-cup design make the new Sennheiser HD 800 ($1,395) headphones unique in their class. The 56mm transducer claims to minimize distortion, offering THD of 0.02% (at 1 kHz and 100dB SPL) and a frequency response of 6-51k Hz. The ear-cup aims the transducer at the ear at an angle, mimicking key factors in spatial perception and in the localization of the sound offered when listening to speakers. The open-back transducer is mounted in high-precision gauze made of stainless steel, and the ear-cups are made of plastic with particularly good attenuation characteristics. Its headband uses a patented multilayer design comprising metal and plastic to attenuate headband vibrations, eliminating any dips in SPL at low frequencies. The cables are four-strand, high-performance wires made of silver-plated, low-oxygen copper and shielded against electromagnetic disturbance. The two plugs and the ¼-inch (6.3mm) jack plug are gold-plated for optimum contact.
Power up Your Portable
Universal Audio has developed an ExpressCard version of its UAD-2 SOLO DSP Accelerator card for producers on the go. The new SOLO/Laptop™ ($499) DSP card brings the company’s analog emulations — authenticated by Neve, Roland, SPL, Moog and more — to laptop DAW users. The plug-in card boosts the plug-in power on laptop DAWs without the need for cabling or power supply. The UAD-2 SOLO/Laptop supports VST, Audio Units and RTAS plug-in formats on Mac and PC. The UAD-2 SOLO/The SOLO/Laptop includes the company’s 1176SE compressor/limiter, Pultec EQP-1A equalizer and RealVerb Pro Room Modeler and CS-1 channel strip, and provides access to the entire Powered Plug-In library.
Active Monitor Gain Cop
Keeping desktop speaker levels under control can be a challenge, but not with the new Level Pilot ($119) from TC Electronic. This dedicated and good-looking, high-resolution, balanced, analog, stereo volume controller works simply and independently of the computer or audio interface. It features a solid and compact “slip-free” design employing XLR connectors and quad-core cabling and doesn’t need an external power supply. Digitally controlling gain prior to the last D/A conversion reduces the resolution of the conversion, thus degrading the final signal quality. Level Pilot’s design circumvents this error in gain control by offering the user the ability to alter volume after the conversion, ensuring maximum resolution without sacrificing audio quality.
Boom in the Room
Sub7 Powered Subwoofer
The new Sub7 from ADAM has been designed to complement the A5 and A7 monitors, and features a small footprint, three finishes and two motorized controls for input level and crossover for dialing in the optimal frequency settings for each environment. These knobs can also be controlled with an included wireless remote, letting users optimize sound reproduction without leaving the listening position. The Sub7 is equipped with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA I/O connectors and numerous controls. A 0/180-degree phase switch and a switchable 85Hz highpass filter help match the sub to the speakers and the room. The Sub7 comes in matte-black ($479) or black/white “piano-gloss” finish ($529) to complement the A5’s finishes.
Plug in Via Vinyl
MIO Console Upgrades
Metric Halo‘s new MIO Console Version 5.1 software adds RIAA decoding to all of the integrated EQ plug-ins available on Mobile I/O. With the new RIAA decoding filter, users can connect a turntable RIAA output directly to a high-gain, low-noise input of a Mobile I/O and apply precision RIAA decoding to the signal to recover the original material. This process promises a marked improvement in decoding accuracy over the approximate analog filters employed in standard phono preamps. Also new to the package and available in mono, multi-mono and stereo configurations, the new TransientController signal processing plug-in for Mobile I/O +DSP provides zero-latency, independent modification of the transient and sustain characteristics of the signal being processed. TransientController presents three levels of user interface complexity, ranging from a simple UI with three basic controls to a more complex one with detailed process metering and advanced processing controls. The plug-in is excellent for contouring and controlling the transient properties of everything from individual tracks to full mixes. The new release is shipping with new products and is available via free download to all current Mobile I/O users.
DAW in Your Backpack
The Traveler-mk3 ($895) from MOTU is a mobile FireWire audio interface for Mac and Windows offering eight channels of 192kHz analog recording and playback, combined with 20 channels of digital I/O in ADAT optical, AES/EBU and S/PDIF formats. The unit can be powered from the computer via FireWire, or for extended remote sessions can be juiced by an industry-standard field battery pack. It offers 28 inputs and 30 outputs operating simultaneously, including four XLR/TRS combo mic inputs equipped with preamps. Other features include V-Limit™ signal-overload protection, true hi-Z guitar inputs, 32-bit floating-point DSP for onboard effects and mixing, two banks of configurable optical I/O, word clock I/O and more. At 3.8 pounds and 14.75×9 inches (W×D), the Traveler-mk3 is housed in a strong, lightweight aluminum-alloy case that fits beneath any 15-inch laptop or can be rackmounted with the included kit.