Tools of the Trade - Mixonline

Tools of the Trade

TC ELECTRONIC VOLTRONICS FOR POWERCORE Guitar tweakers (or anyone looking for that special effect) will be interested in TC Electronic's Voltronics guitar amp simulator plug-in,
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TC ELECTRONIC VOLTRONICS FORPOWERCORE

Guitar tweakers (or anyone looking for that special effect) will beinterested in TC Electronic's Voltronics guitar amp simulator plug-in,the tenth virtual processor to be included with the PowerCore card.Voltronics includes three tube stages that model classic 12AX7s;individual “tubes” can be independently adjusted for avariety of tones. A speaker simulator is derived from the impulsemeasurements of a 2×12 cabinet, and a virtual microphone placementcontrol simulates tonal variations resulting from different mictechniques. Voltronics includes a fingerprint-based noise-reductionfilter that allows settings to be saved independently from the ampsettings. An expander is also built in. PowerCore users can downloadVoltronics as part of a free 1.8 update at www.tcelectronic.com.

SONY C-38B

The Sony C-38B (www.sony.com/professional) mic is now available inthe U.S. When it was first introduced in 1965, the original C-38 wasthe world's first Field Effects Transistor (FET) microphone. The micwas then updated in 1969 to the model C-38A with a change in thewindscreen design, and again in 1971 to the C-38B by adding phantompower (9-volt battery or external DC 24V to 48V). The C-38B features30-18k Hz frequency response, selectable pattern (cardioid or omni) anda dynamic range of 116 dB. Price: $2,200.

SMART LOOPS PHAT TO PHREAKY

Smart Loops (www.smartloops.com), the Acid-format loop-basedmusic content and creation tools company, has released the Phat toPhreaky collection of hip hop loops. The new collection features urbanbeats, breakdowns and fills created by a number of award-winningproducers and musicians, with more than 800 grooves in a wide array ofstyles. Price: $69.

PENDULUM AUDIO QUARTET II

New from Pendulum Audio (www.pendulumaudio.com) is Quartet II whichsupplants the company's popular Quartet, offering a new unit with“attitude.” Offered in a Mercenary Edition (with feedbackfrom Mercenary's Fletcher), this all-tube recording channel combines anenhanced tube mic/DI preamp from the MDP-1; delta-mu (Fairchild 660/670sounding) tube comp/limiter from the ES-8 (with more sidechain modes);a three-band, passive tube EQ (with selectable active“aggressive” mode) HF peak/MF cut/LF cut-boost); andswitchable JFET/MOSFET brickwall analog limiter — all of whichcan be patched in/out for independent use.

HERCULES 16/12 FW

In a bundle sure to please the gods, Hercules Technologies (www.hercules.com)released the Hercules 16/12 FW, a 24-bit 96kHz, 16-in/12-out FireWireaudio and MIDI interface for PC and Mac. The single-space rack-unitallows up to 16-in/12-out simultaneous multitrack recording and iscompatible with most popular audio software apps. Inputs include 12analog inputs, one coaxial input (stereo) and one optical input(stereo). Outputs comprise eight analog outputs, one coaxial output(stereo) and one optical output (stereo). There are two mic/instrumentpre's with switchable 48-volt phantom power on Neutrik XLR/TRS comboconnectors, as well as hi-Z instrument inputs. MIDI I/O comes on twodual DIN jacks for a total of 32 channels in/out. Drivers are availablefor Mac OS X (Core Audio) and Windows (ASIO 2.0, GSIF, .WAV,DirectSound). The 16/12 is bundled with Arturia STORM Special EditionVersion 2.0 and Ableton Live Special Edition, both for Mac or PC. Bothpackages come with 900 MB of sounds. Price: $599.

CREAMWARE PRODYSSEY

In what it claims is an “absolutely accurate” model ofthe ARP Odyssey III, CreamWare (www.creamware.com) has traveled back in time tomodel a timeless piece of synthesizer history in the form of a plug-in.The Prodyssey is available for the various systems of the SCOPE FusionPlatform, as well as for the new Noah hardware synthesizer. CreamWaretook some liberties and improved on the original by allowing the synthto be played polyphonically and integrating a multi-effects section.Price: $225.

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NEUMANN BCM 104

Neumann (www.neumannusa.com) launched a new line ofbroadcast microphones with the BCM 104. The K 104 large-diaphragmcondenser capsule used in the BCM 104 has a cardioid directionalpattern with switchable proximity-effect compensation, and includes ahighpass filter that reduces frequencies below 100 Hz by 12 dB/octave.A second pre-attenuation switch reduces sensitivity by 14 dB tooptimize for circuits designed for dynamic microphones. Both switchesare internally mounted. Price: $999.

GREAT RIVER EQ-2NV

Great River Electronics (www.greatriverelectronics.com) released the EQ-2NV,a companion equalizer to the Mercenary Edition series of products. TheEQ-2NV is loosely based on the topology of vintage 1081/1083 models andfeatures a transformer-coupled bridging-type line input withsensitivity options ranging from elevated line-level (+8 dBm) down tokeyboard and semi-pro levels (-20 dBm). The equalizer is designed towork with Great River's NV Series microphone amplifiers' patch loop,providing greater headroom at one end and a lower overall noise floor.When connected via the MP-2NV's patch point, the mic and DI inputs arefully functional, as are the level control and metering. The equalizeralso features a discrete Class-A balanced output stage, allowing it tofunction as a complete stand-alone device. It is available in eithersingle- or dual-channel models. Price: $3,495.

MINNETONKA DISCWELDER VERSION 2

Minnetonka Audio Software (www.minnetonkaaudio.com) announced Version 2 of itsflagship DVD-A authoring application, discWelder CHROME. New featuresinclude the ability to create a universal DVD-A/V disc, DSD import andconversion, the ability to play back video from the audio menu andmore. Upgrades from V. 1 will be available from dealers or from thediscWelder Website (www.discwelder.com) for $500, or new for$2,495.

CM LABS MOTOR MATE

Motor Mate, the newest controller from CM Labs (www.cmlabs.net), issupported by most popular DAW apps and features eight touch-sensitive,100mm motorized faders, eight endless high-res rotary pots, full-sizetransport switches and jog/shuttle wheel. Also included are dedicatedmute and solo switches, an eight-character SMPTE timecode display,80-character backlit display to view various functions and a dedicatedmonitor section. Motor Mate can be expanded by adding any number ofCM's Motor Mix fader modules and will also act as a remote commandstation for CM's 64 studio router. Price: $1,499.95.

SMC EZ CONNECT ETHERNET KIT

Perfect for those home studio situations where running CAT-5 is animpossibility, the SMC Networks (www.smc.com) Ethernet Starter Kit connects to anavailable LAN port and then into a power outlet, enabling all of thepower outlets in a home to act as network connection points. The kitincludes two HomePlug-to-Ethernet desktop adapters; both adapters areHomePlug 1.0-certified to ensure compatibility with various types ofhome wiring. According to the manufacturer, data transfer speeds of upto 14 Mbps are possible. The kit also includes the EZ ConfigurationManager utility (Mac and PC) that lets users view connection status,monitor throughput and manage the system via a naming function for eachHomePlug device in the network. Price: $149.99.

CYCLING ‘74 PLUGGO 3.1 FOR MAC OS X

Cycling '74's (www.cycling74.com) Pluggo 3.1 is the newest versionof its popular native audio processing plug-in software. Pluggo 3.1 iscompatible with Mac OS X and adds Audio Units to the list of supportedplug-in formats. The introduction of Audio Units to the existing VSTand RTAS support allows Pluggo to work with Emagic Logic Audio, MOTUDigital Performer 4, and Apple Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack. Pluggo 3.1is also compatible with multiple processors. A free runtime plug-inenvironment installer can be downloaded from the Cycling '74Website.

TERRATEC PHASE 22

Terratec's Phase 22 (www.terratec.com) is a dual-channel PCI I/O thatallows recording at up to 24 bits/96 kHz via ¼-inch TRS jacks(balanced). Drivers are available for Windows 98SE/ME/2000 and XP, withCore Audio and Core MIDI support for Mac OS X. Windows users can alsoexpect support for ASIO 2.0, GigaStudio, WDM Kernel Streaming (Sonar)and MME DirectSound. Up to four units can be cascaded, providing ascalable I/O solution. Price: $99.

E-MU X-LEAD V2

E-mu Systems (www.emu.com) introduced the X-Lead V2 Expansion ROMfor its Proteus line of sound modules, Command Stations and keyboards.The X-Lead V2 ROM delivers all of the sounds and presets of thelegendary Xtreme Lead-1 sound module, plus an additional bank of 127presets originally only available in the XL-7 Command Station and XK-6keyboard. The 32MB soundset delivers 640 dance presets that includeleads, pads, analog synths, deep basses and drum kits — alloptimized for E-mu's synthesis engine and mapped to a host of real-timecontrollers. Price: $129.

THERMIONIC EFFECTS BOXES

Thermionic Culture (www.thermionicculture.com) of the UK announcedstateside availability of the Phoenix ($3,750) stereo tube compressorand the Culture Vulture ($1,695) stereo tube distortion unit. The2-channel “vari-mu” Phoenix compressor features a variableratio that starts low and gradually increases, designed to createsubtle and natural compression effects. The unit also featurescontinuously variable controls for gain, attack (0.004 to 0.12seconds), release (0.06 to 2.2 seconds), threshold and output level,along with stereo-linking capability. With the Culture Vulture, userscan add from 0.2% to 99.9% of distortion to the signal path. The unitfeatures 4kHz and 7kHz filters, overdrive and bypass switches, and theability to change distortion from even to odd harmonics at the flip ofa switch.

RIOT ACT DOWNLOADS

Through an affiliation with the UK's Tape Gallery, Riot Act nowoffers more than 200,000 sound effects, samples and loops from 55world-famous libraries. All sounds can be auditioned for free at www.riotact.com/riotactdownloads.htm. In addition,each library may be auditioned in its entirety by going to www.riotact.com/affiliates.htm. All sounds areavailable in 16-bit, 44.1- and 48kHz sample rates, and may bedownloaded in .WAV and .AIFF stereo formats.

A DESIGNS ATTY

Usually, an Atty means legal trouble, but in this case, it's alow-cost compact device designed for in-line level controller formono/stereo audio signals. I/O is provided for on two Neutrik comboinput jacks (¼-inch XLRs) and two balanced output XLRs. Simple indesign, the Atty offers a level control knob and a “panicbutton” mute switch that will short the signal until full controlis regained. Price: $95. Visit www.adesignsaudio.com.

TASCAM GIGAPULSE

GigaPulse, the first VST plug-in from Tascam (Windows only), usesconvolving technology to sample a room or acoustic body. Through thisprocess, GigaPulse can emulate any room, vintage EQ or microphone.Impulse libraries will be available from Tascam, or users can downloadnumerous freeware impulses at www.tascam.com. Price: $299.

SELCO SOFT TOUCH BULLET KNOBS

Selco Products (www.selcoproducts.com) introduced the Soft TouchBullet Knob Series. The rotary knobs feature a built-in pointer foreasy and quick reference, and are available in a variety of diametersthat fit spline shafts or industry-standard “D” shafts.Knobs include a choice of either thermoplastic elastomer material thatprovides a rubberized, soft-touch feel, or a polypropylene material fora hard-finish feel. Price: $0.43 (quantities of 1,000).

UPGRADES AND UPDATES
PreSonus (www.presonus.com) offers its FIREstationinterface for a limited time at a special price of $499. TheFireWire-compatible unit features eight channels of balanced/unbalancedanalog and ADAT I/O, as well as S/PDIF and MIDI I/O. Also, PreSonusis now shipping Eureka, a single-channel Class-Atransformer-coupled mic preamp, compressor andequalizer…KRK (www.krksys.com) is now shipping the newmagnetically shielded, passive ST6 ($199) and ST8 ($249)monitors. The ST Series is an all-new design that incorporatesthe latest in driver and crossover technology that KRK claims offersexceptionally accurate, smooth response and high power handling,without producing ear fatigue…MOTU (www.motu.com) postedMac OS X 10.3 (Panther) updates for all MOTU FireWire and PCIaudio interfaces. New features include input and output names andcontrol surface support for CueMix DSP. DP 4 Version 4.11, alsoavailable, brings the flagship app up to Pantherspeed…Event (www.event1.com) announced that its newest monitor,the Studio Precision 6, is now shipping. The self-powered,bi-amplified monitor features a 6.5-inch low-frequency driver and a1-inch high-frequency tweeter and sells for $1,299 perpair…M-Audio announced that the Audiophile 2496, Delta1010, Delta 44, Delta 66 and Delta 1010LT are being upgraded for G53.3V PCI-X compatibility, and the Revolution 7.1 consumer surroundsound card is already PCI-X-compatible. All revised M-Audio cards willalso be compatible with current and next-generation Windows machines.The upgrade program works as follows: For those who purchased a Deltacard on or after August 1, 2003, there is no charge to upgrade. Forusers who purchased their Delta cards prior to August 1, the price is$50 plus $5 shipping. Get more info at www.m-audio.com…Although RME recentlyannounced that all currently sold RME interface cards are fullycompatible with Apple's new G5 computers, older cards can cause severedamage to both the card and the G5. The following cards cannot beupdated and/or contain PCB errors, making them incompatible andfatal if used: Hammerfall (DIGI9636 and DIGI9652) revision 1.1,manufactured from 1999 to April 2001; Hammerfall (DIGI9636 andDIGI9652) revision 1.5/1.6, shipped since June 2000 until the end of2002; and the DIGI96 series. The revision is printed on the PCB, andthe date and time of manufacture is coded as week/year on the back ofthe cards within the copper area. For more info, visit www.rme-audio.comDigital MusicDoctor'sSONAR 3 — Know It All!CD-ROMtutorial, based on the SONAR 3 Producer Edition, contains almosttwo hours of screen videos and sample projects covering all aspects ofaudio and MIDI recording, editing and mixing in Cakewalk SONAR.For moreinformation, visit www.digitalmusicdoctor.comTascam (www.tascam.com)released a major software upgrade to the SX-1 and SX-1LE DigitalProduction Workstations, adding more than 100 new features andenhancements. Included is a new FTP feature, which allows the SX-1 toact as an FTP server, facilitating file sharing with other computersthrough an Ethernet connection…Sonic Studio LLC announcedthe availability of its first major software revision sincetaking over the Sonic Studio workstation products from Sonic Solutions.Version 1.9 is the culmination of more than a year of development andresolves numerous longstanding issues with stability, synchronizationand CD imaging. The upgrade is available to all Sonic Studio HD ownersat no charge as a download from the support section of Sonic Studio'sWebsite, www.sonicstudio.com.