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Tech: New Products, May 2011

Mix magazine May 2011 tools of the trade article features new pro audio products in May 2011 Mix magazine pro audio product section

The A77X monitor ($1,400 each) from ADAM is equipped with the same advanced technologies as its counterpart, the A7X, but promises much higher, compression-free maximum sound pressure levels and dynamics. It features the company’s proprietary X-ART tweeter, which now extends up to 50 kHz, and two 7-inch woofers featuring 1.5-inch large voice coils. The woofers cover different frequency bands, with one handling the bass frequencies to approximately 400 Hz while the other reproduces most of the midrange.

The new Duet 2 ($595) desktop interface from Apogee features redesigned mic preamps and converters (44.1 to 192 kHz) and a full-color OLED. Duet 2 offers independent speaker and headphone outputs, configurable touchpads and a redesigned breakout cable. Other features include the ability to dim or sum-to-mono the speaker, headphone or all outputs; selectable phantom power; soft limit; and polarity invert. The Duet 2 also adds balanced speaker outputs and an optional breakout box accessory, which features two ¼-inch instrument inputs and two XLR microphone inputs. The Duet 2 comes bundled with Apogee’s redesigned Maestro 2 control software.

Built in the image of the Neve 1073 console, the 1073LBEQ ($1,295) 500 Series EQ module from AMS-Neve retains the unique sonic characteristics of its original predecessor by using the same architecture, matching components and 3-band EQ design. Features include a signal-presence LED and Neve’s Audio Processing Insert design, which allows the audio to/from the EQ module to be inserted into the audio path of an existing 1073LB, the 500 Series mic preamp that AMS-Neve released this past fall.

The ADC16 ($3,995) from Benchmark offers 16-channels of transformerless, balanced analog inputs with a 20dB gain range via a trim pot. At 0 dB of gain, it can accept 28 dBu at the input without clipping, while at maximum gain an 8dB input signal will drive the converters to full-scale. The unit’s rear panel I/O includes analog, AES/EBU, S/PDIF (RCA), optical (x8), word clock in/out and optional FireWire (x2). The control panel allows the user to dictate the source (A/D or DAW) for each of the AES, coaxial and optical digital outputs. The eight optical outputs can be operated in S/PDIF or ADAT mode at sample-rates up to 192 kHz. (ADAT has SMUX2 and SMUX4 functionality.) Other features include Benchmark’s jitter-immune UltraLockDDS™ clock system and 9-segment metering for each channel.

Along with extensive audio editing and advanced processing—including pitch correction, pitch shifting, harmonization, time-stretching, beat-detection and slicing, and audio warping—Image Line’s FL Studio 10 ($399, boxed; $299, download) includes hundreds of improvements, additions and bug fixes. Version 10 offers 64-bit plug-in support, improved memory management, improved ASIO performance, a larger Mixer view and waveform metering, and optional new plug-ins, including the “pay what you’d like” Newtone and Pitch processors.

Designed in response to customer requests for midrange/high-frequency performance in a more-compact package, Genelec’s 1238CF ($7,800) is a three-way DSP monitoring loudspeaker with a slim enclosure, two 8-inch (210mm) long-throw bass drivers, a 5-inch (130mm) proprietary Genelec midrange driver and a 1-inch (25mm) metal-dome tweeter, multiple power amplifiers, DSP circuitry and active, low-level crossovers. The 1238CF is compatible with the company’s GLM™ control software, V. 1.4, and users can combine it with Genelec 8200/7200 Series products in the same control network. The 1238CF features a bass response down to 57 Hz as the focus is on mid/high-directivity characteristics. The system can optionally be used with a subwoofer in either stereo or multichannel applications.

Waves has released the new OneKnob Series, a set of seven plug-ins, each of which provides a particular effect controlled by a single knob. OneKnob plug-ins promise high-quality, quick results, providing outstanding go-to solutions for studio and live sound work. Processors include OneKnob Brighter EQ, OneKnob Phatter bass booster, OneKnob Filter, OneKnob Pressure dynamics processor, OneKnob Louder peak limiter/compressor with auto-makeup gain, OneKnob Driver overdrive/distortion processor and OneKnob Wetter ambience/reverb. OneKnob plug-ins can be bought as a bundle ($400) or individually ($80 each).

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 ($399) is an 18-input, 6-output, 24-bit/96kHz USB 2 audio interface featuring two preamps, six line inputs, ADAT optical input, stereo S/PDIF and MIDI I/O. Included with the Scarlett 18i6 is Scarlett MixControl, an 18×6 DSP mixer offering the ability to create six low-latency mixes that can be easily routed and recalled. Other features include a dedicated headphone bus with level control, LED analog input metering and bundled Scarlett plug-ins including EQ, compression, reverb and gating processors. Also included are a host of royalty-free loops and samples, a full-fledged soft-synth and Ableton Live Lite 8, which provides an affordable upgrade path to Ableton Live.

The new MOTU Express ($449) is a 6×6 hybrid FireWire/USB 2 audio interface and mixer offering front panel control of four stereo mix buses, stand-alone mixing, digitally controlled analog trim, DDS (Direct Digital Synthesis) audio clocking for low-jitter performance and an instrument tuner. Other features include two XLR/TRS combo jacks, individual 48V phantom power for each input, two additional ¼-inch (TRS) analog hi-Z inputs and four ¼-inch (TRS) analog outputs for powered monitors, stage wedges or other destinations. All ¼-inch analog connectors are balanced, while other rear panel connections include S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O and a footswitch port for hands-free punch-in recording.

Audiokinetic has released the latest version of Wwise (2011.1; free to registered users of Wwise), which focuses on performance and offers workflow enhancements, new features and bug fixes. The update supports portable systems such as iOS (iPhone and iPad) and the previously announced Nintendo 3DS™. Other features include an enhanced voice-limiting system, the addition of Solo and Mute buttons, convolution reverb EQ, multi-editor improvements, List view, configurable sound-bank log severities, run-time authoring and more.

SmartSound Software
introduces an innovative Cloud-based music-customization service. The first Web service to provide music track customization online, Quicktracks gives SmartSound users complete creative control over the company’s extensive royalty-free music library directly from the Website. Any user can quickly and easily adjust the length, arrangement and mix of the music to fit their needs in just seconds, right at the Website, and then simply download the finished track for their project.

Offering a production, collaboration and back-end sales pipeline, Indaba Music is an all-in solution featuring the Mantis online DAW, a library comprising 10,000 clips and networked sessions. The Website’s social-networking component offers connectivity for individuals, groups and artists-in-residence who may be contacted for collaboration across a range of projects and contests. Pricing is free for limited features and storage; $5 per month for the Pro level, which gives you your own iTunes store, 5GB storage, partner discounts and unlimited contests and opportunities; or $25 per month for the Platinum level, which includes 50 songs on iTunes, 50GB storage and more.

Burn Studios features a simple drag-and-drop online production interface called Audiotool. It offers the ability to create a studio environment with mixers, drums, synths, effects and processors. Users can browse and collaborate with other registered creators who have dropped their compositions on the site or post their own tracks from scratch. Social-networking components include Burn-Studios Radio and a blog, plus Twitter and Facebook sites.

Soundnation is an online music-creation application featuring a loop library, virtual instruments, real-time effects, automation, and audio recording and editing. Users can upload personal sounds into their Soundnation “cloud account” and network with others via the blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Prices range from free to $99 per year.