Heavy Audio Command and Control
Cubase 4.5 Music Production Software
Having released its MR816 CSX/X I/O box and CC121 controller, Steinberg (www.steinberg.net) has stepped up with a new higher-powered version of its Cubase software, which promises better integration with the new hardware units. Version 4.5 ($779.99) works uniquely with the MR816 CSX/X, and its True Integrated Monitoring offers real-time, no-latency mixes with VST3 DSP FX from different audio input sources within Cubase. The software also addresses the MR816's onboard DSP chip, which includes Yamaha's REV-X reverb and the Sweet Spot Morphing channel strip plug-in. Controlling Cubase from the CC121 simply requires moving the mouse over a parameter, after which the AI knob picks up the controls without the need to click, hold or make other moves. Also standard is improved support of Yamaha hardware, including the Motif-Rack XS/XS6/7/8, with integration through FireWire; any Yamaha Motif unit connected via the computer is automatically configured and ready to use as an external VST3 instrument.
Cubase 4.5 also introduces VST Sound™, an improved universal media-management format that's a fundamental part of Steinberg's VST3 standard. This lets you manage any sound from any software or hardware synth under a single, unified user interface and search sounds by category, type, style and more. Using VST Sound to manage VST effects, engineers can organize and categorize presets into an effects library.
Cubase 4.5 comes with 45 new instruments for HALion One, including the S90ES Grand by Yamaha. Other extras are drums, basses, guitars and other instruments by Sonic Reality, and 250 loops by Big Fish Audio. The update also offers full compatibility with Steinberg's entry-level Sequel 2 music creation and performance software, as well as the new Rock, Hip-Hop and Industrial Content Sets.
Version 4.5 is available now as a download for all U.S. registered Cubase 4 and Cubase Studio 4 customers from www.steinbergupgrades.com.
Portable I/O Box Can Take a Pounding
UA-25EX Audio Interface
With a chassis constructed of high-grade aluminum, the Edirol (www.edirol.com) UA-25EX ($279) can withstand hard impacts and is shielded against high-frequency interference from other electrical components. It operates up to 24-bit/96kHz and has twin phantom-power mic preamps fed by a pair of Neutrik combo XLR/TRS jacks, a hi-Z port for DI apps, S/PDIF optical I/O and MIDI I/O. Features include an onboard analog compressor/limiter with variable attack and threshold control, and Cakewalk's Production Plus Pack, a software bundle comprising SONAR LE, Project 5 LE and Dimension LE. It ships with the latest WDM and ASIO 2 drivers for Windows XP and Vista (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions available), and Core Audio (universal binary) drivers for Mac OS X.
Speed and Good Looks, Too
On-the-Go 320GB 7,200 rpm Drive
Hard drive speed, affordability and portability seldom come in the same package — until now. The desktop, bus-powered 2.5-inch Mercury On-the-Go ($239) drive from OWC (www.otherworldcomputing.com) offers models available with USB 2, USB 2/eSATA, FireWire 400/USB 2 and FireWire 800-400/USB 2 interfaces. All combine the latest Hitachi 7K320 mechanism with OWC's custom bridge interfaces, and include full retail versions of the Prosoft DataBackup III for OS X and NovaStor NovaBackup for Windows. The drives include a carrying case, connecting cables and one-year warranty, and are compatible with Mac OS 8.5 through 9.2.x; Mac OS X (including the latest OS 10.5.x); and Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP and Vista.
Got You Covered
Keyboard Layouts for Logic, Pro Tools, Sibelius and More
These ultrathin, comfortable keyboard covers for laptop and desktop applications from KB Covers (www.kbcovers.com) instantly convert your Apple Keyboard for custom use with Logic Pro/Express, Pro Tools, Final Cut, Sibelius and more. Molded to fit the 109-key Apple Keyboard and Apple Wireless Keyboard, we tried one of these durable, 0.5mm silicone covers at Mix and they delivered as advertised. They're comfortable, easy to type on and made to last. The covers promise accelerated workflow, making it easier to write, record, edit and mix. Keyboard shortcuts are color-coded so users know when to use modifier keys like Shift/Command/Option to get the desired result. Prices: $29.95 (MacBook/MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) or $39.95 for desktop keyboards.
Model 10 Controller
For remotely controlling up to eight Bricasti (www.bricasti.com) M7 stereo reverb processors, the Model 10 connects to the first M7 via an included 30-foot, 9-pin RS-422 serial cable. A simple loop-thru connects additional M7s in a daisy-chain, supplying DC power via the serial cable; no external supplies are required for installations of shorter than 100 feet. Eight meters display levels for four stereo audio sources, simultaneously metering four connected Model 7s. A dedicated Setup key provides access to the M10's local memory, configurations and settings.
Gimme Some Space
Fazortan Retro Phaser
The Fazortan controllable space phaser from D16 Group (www.d16.pl) emulates '70s-era analog allpass phase shifters. It features a GUI offering full control over two LFOs, endless contour diversity, consecutive allpass stages and a feedback knob. Other features include presets organized into groups, a MIDI Learn function and 64-bit internal processing. Fazortan is available in VST and Audio Units formats for both PC and Mac, and supports Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS 10.4.3 or later. Price: 29 Euros (Website only; conversion to USD made at time of purchase).
DSP Powerhouse for Your DAW
Mobile I/O 2882 Expanded FireWire Interface
Approximately laptop-sized, the Mobile I/O 2882 ($1,895) 24-bit/96kHz FireWire interface from Metric Halo (www.mhlabs.com) weighs just five pounds. Despite its small footprint, the feature set is large, providing 18 inputs/20 outputs, a bundle of basic production plug-ins and a nearly six-fold increase in DSP power available for processing, routing and mixing over Metric Halo's FireWire audio interfaces. Other features include eight analog mic/line/instrument ins, eight mic preamps with phantom power, eight balanced TRS analog outs, 24-bit/96kHz converters on all channels, eight channels of ADAT I/O (switchable to Toslink) and AES/S/PDIF digital I/O with selectable SRC. The unit's 2d processing architecture features a brand-new customizable mixer, as well as unified control of all mixing and processing resources of all connected Mobile I/O Expanded hardware. Metric Halo's exclusive Character processing selectively adds 15 different flavors of euphonic low-order distortions (found in classic analog devices) to the system's inputs and mix buses.
Converters and Preamps Need Not Apply
TLM 103 D Digital Microphone
Neumann's (www.neumannusa.com) TLM 103 mic is no stranger to the studio, but the digital version takes it to the next level. The TLM 103 D ($2,650) makes the digital conversion inside the mic (up to 192 kHz) and offers all the bells and whistles that you'd expect from an AES42-compliant transducer. These include a bevy of remote-controllable options, including a low-cut filter, pre-attenuation in three steps, silent gain adjustment from 0 to 63 dB, pink- and white-noise generation from the mic, an integrated comp/limiter/de-esser and a peak limiter. The TLM 103 D is offered in nickel and black, with stand mount. Optional starter kits include the mic, elastic suspension and a kit for connecting directly to an AES/EBU or S/PDIF interface.
New Upgrade, New Possibilities
CC-1 Dream II Version 2
Fairlight's (www.fairlightau.com) CC-1 Dream II A/V platform is now powered by Version 2 software ($250 upgrade), which lets the user play and record video in real time (up to uncompressed HD), cut and paste, and copy and conform while playing back 192 audio tracks in perfect sample sync, with up to 96 of them in record. Other features include the instantiation of up to six third-party VST plug-ins per channel, in addition to Dream II's native channel processing, including a 4-band EQ, high- and lowpass filters, and 3-stage dynamics (compressor + limiter + expander/gate). New Fleximap software simplifies assigning surface controls, and more than 200 plug-ins are premapped at the factory. Complex plug-in configurations can be saved in the library for instant use on any channel in the future.
Compact, Affordable Thumper
This updated 10-inch sub from KRK Systems (www.krksys.com) cosmetically matches the company's recently launched RokitG2 monitors, but the upgrade isn't just skin deep. New features include an integrated and adjustable crossover, numerous rear panel connection options, a ground-lift switch and a bypass footswitch that gives users an easy way to switch a mix from stereo or 2.1/5.1 sound environments. Improved amplifier heat sinking results in lower distortion at high power levels. In addition, the KRK 10s ($399) has a lower noise floor than its predecessor and the RP10 speaker that it replaced.