Tools of the Trade

SONAR 4 PRODUCER EDITION With a feature list as long as your arm, Cakewalk's ( Sonar 4 Producer Edition grows ever closer to being your
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With a feature list as long as your arm, Cakewalk's ( Sonar 4 Producer Edition grows ever closer to being your “everything” audio production tool. Features include multiformat surround mixing/editing (30 configurations supported), intuitive surround panning, Lexicon Pantheon Surround Reverb, Sonitus Surround Compressor and FX Suite processors, SurroundBridge (for using stereo plug-ins in multichannel environments), Video Thumbnail track, POW-r dithering and more. Price: $959 (new), with upgrades available from previous Sonar products.


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In the wake of the L1 and L2 limiters, Waves ( releases the L3 peak limiter. The new plug-in divides program material into five bands using a user-definable crossover. Waves Peak Limiter Mixer then maxes headroom by analyzing the attenuation needs of each band. The mixer also controls the gain relationship between the bands, eliminating the need for an overall wideband limiter to catch overshoots. Other features include a priority control to adjust the relative amount of limiting in each band and 12dB boost per band that effectively turns the L3 into a linear phase EQ. Two versions of the L3 are packaged together: The Multimaximizer offers full functionality and the Ultramaximizer has a more basic feature set. Prices: $1,200, TDM; $600, native. Diamond Bundle users covered by the Waves Update Plan will receive both Ultramaximizer and Multimaximizer free of charge; registered Platinum Bundle users on the plan get the L3 Ultramaximizer at no charge.


Voxengo's (, $59) Transmodder PC VST plug-in is a transient-driven filtering system that processes narrow or broadband program material with 64-bit internal precision and then controls transients via five dynamic filters. The plug supports numerous sample rates and will work in either mono-to-stereo or stereo-to-stereo modes. Other features include mid-side channel processing, transient detection meters, a real-time spectrum analyzer and a library of factory presets.


Winning this month's Mix Acronym Award (MAA), the URS BLT EQ from Unique Recording Software ( was originally designed as an entry-level EQ for Digidesign's Mbox, Digi 002, Digi 002R and Digi 001 users, but quickly became a requested item at the TDM level because of its easy-on-the-system footprint. The plug offers fixed low- and high-shelving bands at 100 Hz and 5 kHz, overall level control, input and output meters, in/out button and polarity reverse. OS 9, OS X and Windows XP are supported (HD, HD Accel and 24|Mix) at up to 192 kHz, as are the ProControl and ICON controllers. Prices: $199 (TDM, RTAS, AudioSuite) and $99 (Native, RTAS, AudioSuite).


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The latest techie box from NT (, $904) is a palm-sized unit that can be purchased as a separate instrument (AL1) or as a firmware upgrade for current ML1 owners. New features include sound level metering with LEQ, SEL and short-time LEQ; real-time frequency analysis in 1/1, ⅓-octave bands; FFT analysis down to 1Hz resolution; reverberation time measurements (RT60); delay measurements; and complete STI-PA speech-intelligibility implementation.


Never has a resounding Smack! ever sounded so good. Digidesign's ( striking compressor/limiter plug-in for Pro Tools features three compression modes, unique compression ratios and harmonic distortion suited for achieving a wide variety of sonic variations. The new plug operates at the full range of Pro Tools sample rates in AudioSuite, RTAS and TDM plug-in formats. A “lighter” version, Smack! LE, includes AudioSuite and RTAS versions and supports Pro Tools LE and Avid software. Prices: $595 (TDM) and $395 (LE).


Got low frequencies to conquer? MondoTraps boom-tamers are nearly twice as effective below 100 Hz as RealTraps' (, $279) MiniTraps and are only 24×57×4 inches. The easy-install baffles are made of rigid Fiberglas and metal, are Class-A fire-rated and hang easily with standard picture frame wire or on a microphone stand. MondoTraps are available factory-direct from RealTraps.


The red-hot REDDI all-tube direct box from A Designs (, $850) features a combo XLR and ¼-inch input, balanced XLR output, LED power indicator, level control knob, ground lift, EIN power connector, Toroid power transformer, custom output transformer and a 6N1P tube.


Who says there's nothing new? Orphan Audio's ( 925 Kits are aimed at D.I.Y. audio hobbyists by letting them convert a wide range of modules from classic recording consoles to pro-quality mic preamps using factory designs and original parts. The first release converts Quad Eight CA Series modules from classic recording and film consoles to the CA-227 mic pre. All necessary parts are provided, including front panel, schematics and complete assembly, application and use instructions. The kit comes with the QE line amp board ($299) and without the board ($199).


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A mad audio scientist's dream, this combo box from Drawmer (distributed by TransAudio Group, www.transaudio, $1,365) combines the gate design of the company's DS404 with the compressor/limiters of the DL441 into a single rackspace. Features include hard- and soft-knee operation, Program Adaptive circuitry, zero overshoot mode and frequency-dependent gating. The unit is configurable as four separate processors or twin-chained compressor/limiter/gates. I/O is provided on balanced XLRs with ¼-inch key inputs. A high-resolution bar graph displays meter gain reduction and output level simultaneously.


Dynaudio's (, $1,250) compact, mid-priced monitor is a two-way active speaker powered by two 50W amps. Drivers comprise a 6.7-inch woofer and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter. Its small footprint makes it well-suited for project studios, edit suites, broadcast trucks and other situations where space is an issue. The BM 5A can be successfully grouped with the BM 10S and BM 12S subwoofers for 5.1 setups.


Popless Voice Screens (, $63) has come up with a new twist on an old filter. The new VAC-s3.5 and VAC-s6 (3.5 and 6 inches, respectively) attach to a microphone's shock-mount using an adjustable clamp that opens up to 4 inches wide. This ensures that the filter will fit even the most daunting spider-type shock-mounts. The new models feature Popless' Variable Acoustic Compression, providing user-adjustable control of pop and sibilance filtering through twin adjustable screens that can be set up at varying distances from each other.


With Mercenary Audio, Little Labs (, $140) has created the STD (Signal Transmission Device), a studio/live problem-solver. This guitar/instrument cable line driver lets users extend guitar or instrument cables using long mic cables or tielines without losing tone or adding noise. STD has two outputs for splitting between amps or amp/DI and a selectable ground lift on one output. A single-transistor unity gain buffer circuit is mounted inside a special copper-tipped phone plug and loads the instrument pickup properly for a natural frequency response regardless of cable length. With regular use, two 9VDC batteries will power the base unit for more than one year.


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This low-profile and extremely affordable monitoring solution from Tascam (, $129) offers two NXT flat-panel speakers and a ported, powered subwoofer (15W). The resonant modes of the panels, which are powered through the subwoofer (5W/side), are each excited by a single transducer and offer a diffuse soundfield over a wide audio frequency bandwidth. According to NXT, the design reduces destructive interaction with the boundaries of the listening space and lessens fall-off in sound pressure with distance.


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Aimed at those who take their digital recording studios/multitrack CD recorders on the road, the RRDRC from Road Ready Cases (, $159) features double-anchor industrial rivets, recessed latches/handles, ⅜-inch vinyl-laminated plywood, tongue-and-groove locking fit and a lifetime limited warranty. It's designed to accommodate any piece of gear that measures 23×16×7 inches (L×W×H) and comes with Pick & Fit foam, allowing users to create custom storage space for their gear.


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This 2-channel power supply from Neumann (, $850) supplies one stereo microphone or two mono condenser microphones with 48V phantom power. In addition, it also pulls double-duty by allowing the remote control of the TLM127 and TLM170R's five directional patterns by varying the nominal 48V phantom voltage over a range of ±3V. Mixed operation is possible, with one channel controlling patterns while the second supplies a conventional mic. Cable runs up to 900 feet are permissible.


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George Massenburg Labs is shipping the GML 2032 mic preamp/parametric EQ. The Class-A unit can be purchased from www.transaudio group.comAcoustics Systems Tassman FX Pack is a collection of effect patches, presets and performances designed to expand Tassman's arsenal of sound design tools. It is available for free to registered Tassman 4 users at www.applied-acoustics.comPreSonus ( is shipping FIREPOD, a 10-in/10-out, 24-bit/96k FireWire recording system. FIREPOD features eight PreSonus Class-A custom mic pre's and Cubase LE, a 48 audio/96 MIDI track recording software…SSL ( intros V. 2 software upgrade for its C200 digital console. The upgrade extends the possible total channels to 128, and adds support for new sampling rates and new busing/panning options…Edirol ( is shipping its UA-25 USB audio/MIDI interface. The bus-powered UA-25 offers phantom-powered mic pre's and hi-Z inputs, and transports audio and MIDI signals to/from the computer via a single USB connection…Phonic ( has upgraded the PAA2, its handheld audio analyzer. New features include quick-touch shut-down, simplified scroll menu, improved battery life (up to seven hours) and a soft-start on low batteries…Universal Audio has released the Cambridge EQ and V. 1.3 TDM update for Digidesign TDM systems. The update can be downloaded free to existing TDM customers at www.uaudio.comGreat River Electronics ( is shipping the EQ-2NV, the companion EQ to NV Series mic preamps. The 2NV is Class-A, discrete and loosely based on the vintage 1081/1083 model EQs…Pro Drum Works Volume One ($249) from Smart Loops ( is a six-CD collection of drum loops for use with ACID and compatible music and audio software. The entire collection includes more than 3,000 grooves and fills, each performed on all three kits, for a total of more than 9,000 loops and samples…The $138 MDPBP is a robust NiMH battery pack that powers the HHB Portadisk for approximately three-and-a-half hours. The ASC110 ($125) is a microprocessor-controlled charger providing intelligent monitoring and quick three-hour charging. The ACS110 features a discharge function and comprehensive LED metering of the charging functions. Distributed by Sennheiser at www.sennheiserusa.comNative Instruments' online Absynth 2 Library features a category system, convenient search/sorting, a user-rating system, automatic e-mail notification and more. The tools let Absynth 2 users swap their own sonic creations, individual oscillator channels and complex envelopes and effects settings. The collection is free to registered Absynth users at


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The Princeton Digital SP2016 plug-in version of the legendary Eventide SP2016 reverb was inadvertantly left out of the “Are You Plugged In” new reverb plug-ins article in our October issue. Now available in V. 1.3, the $699 plug-in bundle includes the stereo room, room reverb and high-density plate algorithms from the original hardware unit. The set requires a Pro Tools|HD or Accel system running under Mac OS 10.2 or newer, and supports 44.1/48/96kHz sample rates. A functional 30-day demo version is available at