Tools of the Trade - Mixonline

Tools of the Trade

CHANDLER MINI TG RACK MIXER This style 162 mixer from Chandler (, $5,700) was designed using the original circuit drawings and
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This “old-school” — style 16×2 mixer from Chandler (, $5,700) was designed using the original circuit drawings and design info as the TG12345 MKIV console that made many a hit in the early days of Abbey Road. Each transformer-balanced channel is driven by the TG MKVI amp, while the bus and control room sections are driven by a pair of TG2 modules each, totaling 20 discrete TG amplifiers and 22 transformers. The unit also offers a full-featured control room section with speaker switching, mute, mono, dim, external input, stereo insert and separate control room and stereo bus outs.

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This slick, hands-on keypad is a completely programmable, compact touchscreen that can be directly mounted in Harrison, AMS-Neve and Euphonix consoles. The ION VIRPAD (starting at $4,995, uses LCD soft labels on each switch; an integrated vacuum fluorescent display provides easy access to ION's powerful “solutions engine.” A film panel version of VIRPAD featuring traditional paddle switches for record and monitor control can be installed directly into the Digidesign ICON D-Control or in a variable-rake desktop mount, perfect for script trays including those used by Lawo, Studer and StageTec. Any of Soundmaster ION's 10,000 sequence keys can be invoked, and the currently programmed function is immediately displayed, making the switches truly multipurpose.

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Boasting new, faster robotics that promise maximum speed and throughput, the BravoPro ($3,495, is designed for hands-free, automated production of up to 100 CDs or DVDs per job. The unit features built-in 52x CD-R recorders or optional Pioneer combo DVD/CD-R drives. The integrated printer operates at up to 4800 dpi and features print heads with the industry's smallest ink-droplet size of three picoliters. BravoPro is both Mac and PC compatible, and offers an optional adapter kit to copy and print 80mm round mini-discs, “hockey rink” mini-discs and rectangular business card — shaped CDs.

This blue, two-way bi-amped monitor boasts Emes' (, $649) new BI-Port and ISO-Rails technologies: The 25mm tweeter is integrated in the center of the BI-Port (bass-reflex system), allowing for efficient air cooling and enhanced high-frequency dispersion over long distances. In addition, the cabinet is isolated on silicon ISO-Rails, so there is no coupling to the surface underneath or slipping of the speaker during use. Both drivers are powered by matching 70W amplifiers. Input is via XLR or ¼-inch TRS connectors; a 16-position DIP switch adjusts the monitor listening level from -40 to +10 dB.

These new online libraries from Sweden are based on the PrimeSounds Sound and Online infrastructures and offer free content to members. New offerings include Existential Pimp Loops, which comprise hip hop and R&B loops, and Disco & Funk Horns, which includes 242 “Delicious Disco Lines” in bpms between 110 and 130. The samples are meant to work with applications offering real-time time- and pitch-stretching, such as Cubase 3, Nuendo 3, Logic 7, Live, Acid, SoundTracks, GarageBand and Kontakt. For membership info, visit

Spectrasonics ( released a series of five new expansion libraries for the Stylus RMX virtual groove instrument. The Xpanders are based on the company's existing lines, including the Backbeat, Retro Funk, Liquid Grooves and Metamorphosis collections. Each collection comes on a DVD-ROM and is $99.

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The Charter Oak SA538 ($1,499, large-capsule tube mic is hand-made from solid brass and features a dual 1.07-inch, 6-micron-thick gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragm, has 22 dB of equivalent input noise and will take 128dB SPL with 0.5% total harmonic distortion @ 1 kHz. The mic comes with a dedicated power supply that provides for switching between cardioid, omni and figure-8 patterns. Each tube is given a seven-hour burn-in period, and each mic is tested for half-an-hour in a studio environment prior to sale.

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Aimed at field recording and ENG, the PMD660 ($649.99, is a solid-state recorder that uses either Compact Flash media cards or micro-drives. The unit offers a built-in stereo mic or will phantom power two external condenser mics from its XLR inputs. Stereo line I/Os are provided on ⅛-inch jacks; a USB connector is also included for digital transfers. Using a 1GB Flash card, the PMD660 will record one hour of stereo or three hours of mono (44.1 or 48 kHz uncompressed), 17 hours of mono (MP3 @ 64 kbps) or 36 hours of stereo (MP3 @ 128 kbps). The optional RC600 remote offers basic record/pause control. The svelte 1.5-pound recorder will run for four hours on standard AA batteries.

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The latest version of Nuendo offers many new features for post, surround and high-end recording, including extended import/export facility and integration of Pinnacle's X-send protocol. Other features include Warp-to-Picture (shown), which allows live time-stretching of audio material with simultaneous real-time tracking of the corresponding video track. Surround recording has been improved with linked panners and extended monitoring options. For general recording, the Effect Plug-In allows the direct integration of outboard effects within the Nuendo 3 VST Mixer, including delay compensation. Prices: $1,999; upgrade from Nuendo 1, $699; upgrade from Nuendo 2, $499. Visit

Who says you can only get new toys during the holidays? The new delay tool from SoundToys ( provides a number of effects from smooth delays, warm chorused echoes, tape emulation and lo-fi effects. Fully adjustable, the EchoBoy TDM ($495) lets users change delay rhythms to make the echo swing and jam with the mix. The new toy also includes a tweakable pocket from “rushin'” to “draggin'” so the echo sits right where it sounds best. MIDI tempo-locking sets the delay to the session tempo with the flip of a switch. Supported formats include Digidesign's TDM, RTAS and AudioSuite on Pro Tools|HD, LE and HD Accel platforms.

This new feature brings pro-level recall to SSL's ( AWS 900 console. Total Recall scans all rotary controls and mechanically latching switches, including the channel controls, central bus controls and external returns. All electronically latching switches, such as channel bus and dynamics routing, can be automatically reset, as can the positions of the motorized faders. Recall setups can be stored in the host workstation as MIDI System-Exclusive data, providing maximum integration and compatibility with the host platform, while retaining the project and setup data in a single file system. Price: $4,495.

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This affordable surround system from the folks in Finland comprises five Genelec 8030A two-way/bi-amplified active monitors, one Genelec 7060A LSE Series active subwoofer and a Genelec Acousti/Tape frequency vs. wavelength measuring tape. The compact 8030As (11.25×7×71/16 inches, H×W×D) feature a pair of 40W amplifiers and offer a frequency range of 58-20k Hz (±2 dB), while the sub uses a 10-inch driver with 120W amplifier and a frequency response of 29-85 Hz (120 Hz), ±3 dB. A complete setup guide is included for accurate speaker placement, wiring and fine-tuning. Price: $4,600,

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These new dual-channel, single-rackspace units from Neve ( can be purchased either as a straight analog unit (DPA) or with a digital back end (DPD), making for an enticing package. The 1073 DPA ($2,999) features the classic 1073 design, while the 1073 DPD ($3,750) offers pro-level ADCs working at all standard PCM sampling rates up to 192 kHz. For those seeking to archive at high resolution, the DPD also includes a DSD output. Analog inserts prior to the digital converters allow adding other analog gear to the signal chain. The DPD can be synched by a word clock input or through the AES/EBU outputs. Both units offer stepped gain controls, trim knob, phantom power and polarity shift, and variable impedance input settings.

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New to the U.S. market, Ultrasone ( has released the new PROline 750, 2500, 550 and 650 headphones. The new line features the company's S-Logic technology, offering standard protection from EMF radiation, detachable cables, a replacement pair of ear pads and easily replaceable drivers. Prices: 550, $239; 650, $299; and 2500/750, $399.

This new acoustic material from Soundsuckers (, made of rigid-mass vinyl, can be applied directly to any wall or be used as a sound-isolation partitioning wall by itself. The 2×4-foot sheets are ¼-inch-thick and can be easily cut to size by scoring one side and then bending it along the line, much like drywall. Screws can be used to attach it to an existing wall or stud framework; it can also be painted. Soundblocker 3 carries an STC of 30. Prices start at $253.

Created from the recordings of some of the best drummers on the planet, DrummerPack AL ($49) is a collection of drum loops, fills and grooves taken from the library of Submersible Music's DrumCore ( The loops have been pre-cataloged using AppleLoop search criteria (metadata) for use in Logic Pro 7, Soundtrack and GarageBand. The 44.1kHz/24-bit files are available at three different tempos and include enough basic grooves and fills to fit most song structures.

These two new single-rackspace units from Lynx ( are 8- ($2,195) and 16-channel ($2,195), 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters. Features include 192kHz operation; AES/EBU I/O (single- and dual-wire modes); extensive remote-control capability via Lynx AES16, IrDA and MIDI; LSlot expansion slot for FireWire, ADAT and future interface options; onboard digital mixer for flexible I/O routing; and word clock I/O with Lynx SynchroLock jitter-reduction technology.

Targeted for broadcast and post-production, the Otari DR-10N (, $9,995) comprises a 3RU-high central unit with an optional edit remote controller. The main unit includes a built-in hard disk and one removable MO drive, with provisions for an additional MO drive. Stereo input can be recorded as .WAV files at standard sample rates up to 96k/24-bit. Four-track or dual-stereo output is supported with reverse and ±12.5% varispeed play. Front panel indicators include 2-channel bargraph level meter, and timecode or elapsed time indication. Additional editing functions can be accessed with the optional CB-182 Edit Controller ($1,995). The GUI provides quick and clear visual access to all DR-10N parameters, project information, program time, sample/bit rates, record/playback status and audio waveform display.

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Designed for guitar recording on-the-go, the M-Audio FireWire Solo (, $249) is a bus-powered I/O unit that can be desk- or rack-mounted. I/O is provided on a hi-Z ¼-inch jack on the front and a phantom-powered XLR microphone input on the back of the unit. Both inputs feature gain control and clipping LEDs. There are also dual-line inputs and coaxial S/PDIF I/O providing 2-channel PCM and passthrough of AC-3 and DTS surround-encoded content. The internal converters operate at up to 24-bit/96 kHz with near-zero latency monitoring. The unit can be powered via the FireWire bus or optional power supply.

The company that makes it easy to put noisy gear where it belongs has done it again with its new Apple HD Cinema Display Extension Kits. Gefen's ( devices allow hardware to be sequestered from either 20-inch or 23-inch Apple displays at distances ranging from 10 to 300 feet, sustaining high-definition resolutions up to 1920×1200. The kit includes a DVI Repeater, a small device that sits between two DVI cables regenerating the video signal from one through the other, or a DVI-1000 HD Extender, which uses a sender and receiver connected by cabling to extend the display. Prices range from $217 to $4,065, depending on distance needed.

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TASCAM FW-1082 will turn heads twice: once for features and a second time for its $999 price. The FW-1082 features 10 inputs, including four balanced XLR mic inputs with phantom power, two MIDI I/Os and digital I/O (S/PDIF). The mixer has eight 60mm touch-sensitive moving faders and select/solo/mute buttons, along with a moving master fader. There is a headphone output with level control, assignable footswitch jack, four assignable encoders, transport controls and a jog/shuttle wheel. Bundled software includes Cubasis LE 96kHz/48-track recording software, GigaStudio 3 LE streaming sampler and Nomad Factory plug-in demos.

Elemental Audio (, the company that brought you the Firium and Eqium plug-ins, is now offering an affordable compressor and dynamics processing plug-in called Neodynium ($159). The plug uses a unique visual approach to compression. Instead of the more typical knobs, it is controlled by interacting with a graphical depiction of its compression settings. Neodynium is Mac OS X and Windows compatible, and is available in RTAS, AudioUnits and VST plug-in formats.

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Independent Audio ( is now representing Phoenix Audio and its DRS-1 MONO Mic Pre, DRS-2 Mic Pre/DI and the Nicerizer sweetening tool…IK Multimedia ( announced that AmpliTube Live for Mac OS X and Windows XP is shipping and includes the AmpliTube LE plug-in for most major formats (VST, AudioUnits, DX and RTAS)…Native Instruments ( is now offering Battery 2.1 update, which includes new features such as direct-from-disk streaming, MIDI CC automation and enhanced output configuration facilities…Tassman 4 and Lounge Lizard EP-2 from Applied Acoustics ( are now compatible with the AudioUnits validation test of Logic 7…Cakewalk ( has released the SONAR 4.0.1 maintenance release for SONAR 4 Producer Edition and SONAR 4 Studio Edition. It provides a number of feature enhancements and updates including Prosoniq's MPEX3 superior time-scaling algorithm…Tascam ( is now offering Cubase, GigaStudio 3 LE and Nomad Factory plug-in demos with the US-122, US-224, US-428, FW-1804, FW-1082 and FW-1884 audio interfaces. If that weren't enough, the Nomad Blue Tubes Bundle and Rock Amp Legends plug-ins are now compatible with AudioUnits…Steinberg ( has released a Cubase SX 3.0.1 update that offers many enhancements and the new surround-capable RoomWorks reverb plug-in…Vienna Symphonic Library ( has announced that the Horizon Series is available in four formats including EXS24, GigaStudio, HALion and Kontakt. In addition, the Performance Tool for PC supports GigaStudio, HALion and Kontakt…Minnetonka ( is now shipping its discWelder Bronze DVD authoring software for Mac OS…Sonic Studio ( announced the release of a 1.9.1 software version, bringing improved functionality and stability to its system…Audio Ease upgraded its VST Wrapper 4 for MOTU Digital Performer to V. 4.1. The upgrade is free to any current V. 4 owner from www.audioease.comRedmatica ( upgraded the EsxManager to V. 2.7, making it compatible with Logic Pro 7, adding improved SampleMerge support and optimizing memory usage for large libraries…URS Plug-Ins ( announced AudioUnits support for the URS Classic Console EQ Bundle (A and N Series EQ only). The AudioUnits upgrade is free to registered owners of the URS Classic Console EQ Bundle and URS A Series and N Series EQs…Kjaerhusaudio ( has updated its line of free (yup! that's what we said) Classic Series VST plug-ins. The Classic Series emulates classic effect units typical of the '70s and '80s such as chorus, compressor, delay, equalizer, flanger, master limiter and reverb…Blue Microphone's Bluebird has been released from its bundle deal with Digidesign and is now free to be sold on its own. For more info, visit Fly little bluebird, fly!…Lexicon ( is now shipping its Omega Desktop Recording Studio with Steinberg's Cubase LE multitrack recording software for Mac OS and PC platforms…Unrelated Inventions ( has released Audiotools V. 5, the latest version of its Windows-based software for audio recording and audio file conversion and manipulation.