Tools of the Trade

TRIDENT AUDIO 5.1 CONSOLE Now available in the U.S., the Series 80-5.1 recording console from Trident Audio Ltd. ( is designed


Now available in the U.S., the Series 80-5.1 recording console from Trident Audio Ltd. ( is designed for full 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixing. The center master section includes a 2-channel hi-def EQ and stereo compressor/limiter for 2-track mastering. Incorporating the mic pre and EQ from the popular Trident Series 80, the Series 80-5.1 offers PPM channel meters, VU master output meters, eight aux sends, plus eight stereo returns with routing, EQ and pan/balance control. The automation-ready console is available in several input configurations and includes an external patchbay, and features such as global mode select and fader and EQ flip. A fully automated, 48-input console with remote patchbay is priced at under $100,000.


Henry Engineering ( has updated the Matchbox level and impedance converter. Featuring direct-coupled active circuitry, a built-in AC power supply and over 100 dB of dynamic range, the Matchbox simplifies interfacing consumer or semi-pro gear in a pro studio. The bidirectional unit has four separate amplifiers to convert stereo inputs and outputs from unbalanced -10dBV levels to +4dBm balanced 600-ohm lines. The front panel offers output-level adjustment, and up to three units can be mounted in an optional rack shelf.


MAGIX (dist. by X Vision Audio, is now shipping its Sequoia 7.0, Samplitude 7.0 Classic and Samplitude 7.0 Professional audio recording/editing environments. Designed for post-production/broadcast applications, Sequoia 7 is a high-definition DAW with specialized functions such as source-destination cutting and professional cross-fade editing for film/video/radio dialog editing and classical production montages. New features in Sequoia 7 include real-time room simulation, batch processing, ASIO and native VST support, low-latency monitoring, VSTi support and enhanced import/direct access to SD2 files. Samplitude is now offered in two different versions: Samplitude 7.0 Classic offers ASIO support, POW-R dithering, batch processing, VST and DirectX plug-in support and more. In addition to the new features in the Classic version, Samplitude 7.0 Professional adds real-time room simulation, native VST instruments, a MIDI editor and more.


BBE Sound Inc. ( offers a new version of the Sonic Maximizer plug-in, which now supports both Mac and PC VST platforms, as well as DirectX. The new plug-in allows unlimited user-definable presets, real-time preset changes, full MIDI implementation and is based on BBE's proprietary fourth-generation Sonic Maximizer processor. New hardware-based 482i and 882i Sonic Maximizers feature 1% metal-film resistors and military-spec PCBs with extra-thick traces.


Applied Research and Technology ( has released the ART dPDB™ Dual-Passive Direct Box. Featuring two high-quality direct boxes in one enclosure, the dPDB features switchable input attenuators (0 dB, -20 dB, -40 dB) and a switchable ground lift for each channel. Inputs are 50k ohm instrument input jacks and outputs are 600-ohm XLRs and link jacks to connect to an instrument amp. Retail is $60.


RealTraps ( has introduced a line of wood-panel membrane absorbers that provide a flexible, affordable acoustic-treatment solution that can be easily moved or rearranged. Less than six inches deep, the highly efficient RealTraps are two feet wide, but are available in 4/6/7.5-foot heights to accommodate different rooms. Models for LF, upper bass and midrange/HF absorption can be combined to tame the entire audible range. Angled front surfaces greatly reduce flutter echoes and ringing. A six-trap basic starter kit (two low bass, two high bass and four soft absorbers) is $2,992.


Steinberg ( is now shipping HALion String Edition — Volume 1, a complete string orchestra for computer-based music production. The included specially developed VST- and DirectX-compatible player provides a direct connection to production systems such as Cubase SX, Cubase SL and Nuendo. This 5GB collection includes complete orchestral strings (double basses, celli, violas and violins), playing styles such as legato, tremolo, pizzicato or spiccato, and is suitable for all forms of music, from classical to pop. The PC (Windows 98/ME/2000/XP)- or Mac (OS 9.x or OS X Version 10.2)-compatible software requires Cubase VST 5.1 or higher, Cubase SX/SL, Nuendo or other VST 2.0 or DXi-compatible host application.


Behringer's ( Ultra-Voice Digital VX2496 signal preamp/voice processor is based on the company's VX2000, but is 24-bit/96kHz-compatible and features an additional AES/EBU output. A discrete ULN mic/line input stage with soft-mute +48V phantom power is followed by an opto compressor with integrated dynamic enhancer. The voice-optimized equalizer offers 3-band EQ, one of them sweepable. Additional features include a true RMS expander, tube-emulation circuitry and an opto de-esser. The AES/EBU output offers selectable 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96kHz sampling rates, and the unit accepts external clocking. MSRP: $199.99.


The BNX3 Bass Guitar Digital Workstation from DigiTech ( combines a powerful, multimodeling bass guitar processor with a digital 8-track recorder. The BNX3 offers a selection of 17 popular bass amp models and 12 popular bass cabinet models. Additional features include mono, stereo and bi-amp output modes; JamMan delay looper; drum machine; chromatic tuner; balanced XLR mic input; and 65 user or factory presets. The BNX3's built-in digital 8-track recorder features hands-free operation, so bassists can record, playback, auto-arm the next track or delete tracks without touching a knob. The BNX3 can import MP3, .WMA and .WAV files, and tracks can be saved to SmartMedia cards or exported to CD via included Cakewalk and Pyro software. Retail: $719.95.


BitHeadz ( offers new Phrazerized loop titles based on the Smart Loops™ collection. Phrazer Smart Loops Electric Guitars has over 950 loops, ranging from clean and wah to heavy distortion. The Drum & Percussion title has 670 “phrazerized” loops with instruments including drum kits, congas, bongos, triangles, wood blocks and many more. Phrazer Bass Guitars provides four different playing styles in the 950 loops. All three titles can be easily brought into Phrazer 2.0, Phrazer LE or any of the Unity 3.0 products. Styles include rock, pop, funk and more. MSRP is $69/title or all three for $120 from BitHeadz' online store.


Popular in Europe, D.A.D.'s line of digital converters is now available in North America via Sascom Marketing ( at factory-direct prices. The 2-channel ADDA 2402 AD/DA converter and the 8-channel ADDA 2408 AD/DA/DD converter are both 24-bit, 96kHz models. The ADDA 2402 has balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog I/O; digital connections include AES/EBU, S/PDIF (optical and co-ax) and Word Clock In/Out. The fully modular, field-expandable ADDA 2408 boasts an impressive array of features: D/D sample rate conversion; AES/EBU, S/PDIF, TDIF, ADAT and Pro Tools I/O available; eight low-noise mic preamps with 0.5dB/step gain control; phantom power; +48V and low-cut filter; a built-in 8-channel digital mixer for convenient monitoring/soloing in L/R or M/S stereo; additional optional D/A outputs for 5.1/7.1 monitoring; selectable dither 16, 18 and 20-bit outputs; 21 LED peak meters; and MIDI or USB remote control.


Cakewalk ( announces that its flagship Sonar audio/MIDI production software for Windows will support Digidesign audio hardware, including the Digi 001, 002, Mbox and Pro Tools|HD products. Digidesign users can now can expand their PC studios with Sonar's integrated audio and MIDI recording software, including DirectX audio effects, DXi software synths, ACID-compatible loop-editing tools and support for ReWire instruments. Cakewalk will support Digidesign hardware using Digidesign's recently announced ASIO drivers for Windows XP. Cakewalk will provide a driver update to all registered Sonar 2.x customers.


To handle the demand for LCRS surround-encoded programming, Digidesign ( releases Dolby Surround Tools, which support the 96kHz sample rate capabilities of Pro Tools|HD. Using these Dolby Surround LCRS encoder and decoder TDM plug-ins, users can produce LCRS Dolby Surround mixes on Mac- and Windows-based Pro Tools TDM systems for videos, TV shows, ad spots, multimedia, CDs and video games. The encoding/decoding processes match those of Dolby's industry-standard SEU4 and DP563 hardware encoders and SDU4 and DP564 hardware decoders. Users who are registered for both Dolby Surround Tools and Pro Tools|HD will be automatically mailed the Dolby Surround Tools update kit. Pro Tools|MIX customers registered for Dolby Surround Tools can upgrade to Dolby Surround Tools Version 3.0 for $95 through Digidesign's customer service.


The C42 and C42H ($480) from Josephson Engineering ( are designed to record acoustic or amplified instruments, instrumental ensembles, choirs, sound effects and vocals. These cardioid condenser mics feature discrete FET electronics and transformerless outputs. Response is rated at 40-20k Hz. The C42's maximum SPL handling is 135 dB; intended for close-miking, the C42H is rated at 155 dB. The mics are housed in stainless steel with a satin finish. The manufacturer also offers a matched pair of black-chrome-finished C42 microphones (C42MP) in a carrying case for $1,060.


Phonic's ( handheld PAA2 packs a 31-band real-time spectrum analyzer, SPL and dBu/dBV/VAC level meter, tone generator, EQ setting program, SPL meter calibration and phase-tester into a compact unit. A peak-hold option lets users store readings in recallable memory locations. Its large, high-resolution graphic LCD offers high-definition spectrum analysis in clear, easy-to-read levels from pull-down menus. An XLR connector enables measurement of line levels, displayed in a choice of dBu, dBV or volts; measurements can be flat or A- or C-weighted. A PC interface allows controlling all functions via a computer or laptop.


Mackie Designs ( announces a major software upgrade for its Digital 8•Bus (D8B) recording console. Version 5.0 improvements include independent surround-monitoring level controls and on-surface surround-monitor control. A HUI (Human User Interface) layer lets the D8B function as an automated control surface — with I/O — for popular DAW platforms. Updated dynamics algorithms offer better-sounding gates and compressors. Onscreen track sheets and channel notes are easily exported as html files to share session data with other users. A completely updated GUI (graphical user interface) provides new views for all EQ and dynamics in a graphical format, and plug-in chaining capability permits daisy-chaining of up to four plug-ins for one send, which allows users to double, triple or quadruple the number of plug-ins assigned to one input. The $299 software upgrade is downloadable from, and is included free with all consoles shipped after December 16, 2002.


Planet Waves ( offers a range of customizable RCA cables in complete kits (12-foot double cable plus 12 plugs; 12-foot single cable plus 12 plugs; 6-foot single cable plus six plugs) that include a free screwdriver, or as individual components (25-foot double or single cable; RCA plug 12-pack or two-pack). The plugs have patented compression springs to guarantee a tight connection with the jack, and are gold-plated for better conductivity.


The $225 PCR-30 from Edirol ( is a 32-key, velocity-sensitive controller with eight knobs, eight sliders and nine buttons — all programmable to send any MIDI message. A USB connection provides a single-cable connection to PCs or Macs, as well as providing power to the unit. MIDI I/O, sustain and expression-pedal inputs and a pitch-bend/modulation lever are standard, as are preset memory locations with templates of leading audio/MIDI sequencers; additional presets are downloadable from Edirol's Website. The company also offers the $295 PCR-50, a similar version with 49 keys.