Tools of the Trade

SONALKSIS CQ1 Sonalksis, the tongue-twisting company from the UK, offers its CQ1 Multiband Compander ($279), designed to provide gentle or aggressive


Sonalksis, the tongue-twisting company from the UK, offers its CQ1 Multiband Compander ($279), designed to provide gentle or aggressive shaping of signal dynamics in explicit frequency bands. Features include definable sidechain filtering, zero latency, 64-bit floating point internal processing and support up to 192 kHz. The cross-platform (Mac/PC) plug-in supports VST, DirectX and AudioUnits formats. It's available via download at


Offering a new way to achieve long-distance audio production, Source-Connect 1 (, $1,495) is a fully featured Pro Tools plug-in that allows broadcast-quality audio to be transmitted between remote locations. The simple-to-use interface offers a number of expandable control panels. Once a connection is made, a status panel monitors system performance. Source-Connect supports Pro Tools LE and TDM 6.4 and above. Additional requirements include a high-speed Internet connection and an iLok.


Those needing on-the-go high-resolution audio will love this new I/O box from Marian (, $899). The unit features four mic preamps (which also double as hi-Z inputs), eight line I/Os, headphone outs with separate volume control and digital I/O (S/PDIF). In addition, the box provides ADAT I/O, MIDI in, two MIDI outs, a 32-channel DSP mixer and word clock I/O. The box is powered and communicates via USB 2 and is only 9.5 inches wide.


From the mind of Igor Levin, father of the AardSync line of clocks, the Antelope OCX (, $1,250) uses an oven-controlled crystal that boasts 4 to 10x lower jitter and up to 100x higher stability than competing products. Supported sample rates range from 32 to 192 kHz, with outputs for Digidesign Superclock, eight word clock outputs, two AES/EBU outputs and two S/PDIF outputs. It can also be slaved to the Rubidium Atomic Clock, a first for an audio clocking product.


Meet Your Beat offers a new collection of loops and one-shots from percussionists Doc Gibbs and Larry McDonald. MYB Volume Three features Gibbs (Chef Emeril's personal percussionist) on conga, agogo blocks, conga, shaker, tambourine and the Roland Handsonic. The loops and sounds are royalty-free and available through Sonomic (, where customers can buy individual samples for $1.99 or a $29.99 monthly subscription that allows 30 downloads each month.


Doing a Gladiator or Troy sequel? This new collection of historical sounds from ILIO (, $349) features rare instruments including Greek aulos, Roman war horns, animal horns, flutes, whistles, reed pipes, bone flute, historical harp and lyre, and historical zithers. The multi-samples are presented in a variety of dynamics and articulations, and feature a large number of expressive phrases and performances. The DVD-ROM includes other rarities, including vocal clusters, solo vocal notes and effects; Shamanic circular breathing songs; slave chants; war and celebration; swords and armor; mysterious pads and drones; and sound effects. Origins supports EXS24 and GigaStudio 3 formats.


Letting bad drum sounds surrender control to a higher power, Trillium Lane Labs Drum Rehab has a sample-accurate triggering system that automatically replaces drum hits in existing recordings with pristine samples in real time. The cross-platform, Pro Tools-based software (LE and TDM) offers up to 16 levels of multi-sample support, and includes a powerful browser and converter, a full envelope and tone shaping of drum samples. The software ships on a DVD of more than 4 GB of samples that can be imported, with additional samples promised online from


It's a workstation, it's a keyboard, it's a sample playback unit. No, wait! You're all correct. Open Labs' NeKo GS (, $4,995), the jack-of-all-trades disguised as a keyboard, is designed to work with Tascam's GigaStudio 3 sampler, Pro Tools and the E-mu Proteus X sound module. The unit contains a Pentium 4 computer that's further optimized by Open Labs' mFusion software. mFusion partners with a control panel that lets users easily navigate, access and re-map control surfaces for all Open Labs' control panels and third-party MIDI control devices.


M-Audio ( offers two virtual software instrument packages. The bundles work stand-alone or inside popular apps compatible with AudioUnits (Mac), VST (Win/Mac) and RTAS (Win/Mac). Key Rig includes the SP-1 stage piano module, MS-2 polyphonic synth, MB-3 electromagnetic organ and the GM-4 general MIDI module with 128 General MIDI instruments. The Drum and Bass Rig offers the LC-5 loop creator, BL-6 bass line module, EB-8 electric bass module and RD-7 real drums module. Both collections share the same engine and features, including a MIDI/mixer section and master effects section. Price: $129 each.


Making batch conversion a breeze, Sound Grinder 2.1, the latest version from Monkey Tools (, $39), offers conversion to and from .WAV, .AIFF, Quicktime, AMR Narrow Band, AudioUnits, MP3, OGG and Sound Designer II. The simple GUI offers a one-window mentality that allows the user to run multiple batch operations simultaneously. Features include RMS and peak normalizing, rapid convert, pull-up/down sample rates, 31-character name support and many speed and ease-of-use enhancements.


The unique-looking new mic from SE Electronics (, $1,499) is a transformerless, Class-A FET condenser microphone that offers figure-8, cardioid and omni patterns. The name alludes to the center-terminated titanium diaphragm that boasts enhanced clarity, detail and transient response. The mic also features a -10dB pad and low-frequency roll-off switch.


Native Instruments' über-sampler, KONTAKT 2 (, $579; $169 for the update), is equipped with numerous new features and enhancements that promise to make sampling more versatile and efficient. Improvements include a new user interface, surround capability, unlimited voices, universal import and a RAM-saving Sample Purge function. The player offers a new multi-browser allowing for easier imports, while the multi-effects, custom modules, filters and convolution effects give users new ways to mangle and enhance their audio.


The latest virtual processor from Denmark is a twin-channel plug-in featuring two EQs, two compressors, a noise gate and a de-esser. The effects are interconnected with 10 selectable routings, including normal instrument setups, dual band setups and some interesting extras, such as mid-side processing and filtering for the compressor's sidechain inputs. The unit operates in stereo, stereo with sidechain and mono with sidechain. The plug boasts no latency, and is available from for $198.


Millennia's ( latest proves that good things can come in smaller packages. The HV-3C ($1,995) delivers two of the same preamps used in its HV-3D 8-channel units, but in a single rackspace. The transformerless design outputs up to 60.5 dB of gain (78 dB upon request) on a 36-step gain control with both channels gain-matched within 0.8 dB. Options include 130V mic inputs (B&K/DPA), 192kHz/24-bit POW-r A/D converters and DC input. THD+N measures 0.0005%, and gold-plated switches and connectors are used throughout.


The M600 universal mic mount from Enhanced Audio ( provides an innovative approach to mic mounting with superb isolation. Designed to accommodate most mics, the M600 places the mic within two low-resonance aluminum rings with three mounting screws, supporting Deltrin polymer pads for complete isolation from external vibration and infrasonics.


The LSK170 Series of ultralow-noise JFETs from Linear Integrated Systems ( are a direct pin-for-pin replacement for Toshiba's 2SK170. Available in surface-mount SOT-23 and thru-hole TO-92 packages, the devices are specifically designed for low-noise, high input-impedance applications in which high headroom and transient response are required, such as audio front ends and preamps.


Three new line mixers from Phonic ( offer FireWire computer connectivity, up to 96kHz operation and the Phonic 32/40-bit DFX engine. The Helix Board 12 FireWire is a 12-input FireWire mixer offering an alternate 3-4 stereo bus and 16 high-definition digital multi-effects. The Helix Board FireWire 18 is an 18-input, two-subgroup, tabletop FireWire mixer with S/PDIF out, 10-band graphic EQ and eight mic preamps. The Helix Board FireWire 24 is a 24-in, four-bus console with 16 mic preamps and subwoofer output with variable lowpass filter and source from main mix or aux 4.

MOTU ( is now shipping OS X Tiger — compatible versions of its products. Drivers and software updates can be downloaded from its site…Sony ( is now shipping Sound Forge 8, which now comes with CD Architect 5.2 software, ASIO driver support and VST plug-in support…Eventide ( has shipped Version 4.5 for the H8000 and H8000A Ultra-Harmonizer effects processors. The updated software enables custom-scale pitch-shifting, MIDI virtual racks, effects stacking and new 5.1 algorithms…Octiv's ( Volume Logic digital remastering software for iTunes is now shipping for Windows Media Player, Real Player, Musicmatch Jukebox and Nullsoft Winamp…Kaysound Imports, which distributes Hercules Technologies (, has announced a $100 price drop of the Hercules 16/12 FW audio/MIDI interface…Native Instruments' ABSYNTH 3 demo is now available as a free download for Windows and Mac OS X at www.native-instruments.comPropellerhead Software announced the availability of Sonic Reality Sonic Refills for Reason 3 with Retro Keys, Vocal Textures and Mello T. Get the download from the company PropShop at www.propellerheads.seBeta Monkey Music is now shipping its Alt and Modern Rock III and IV collections. Nearly 1.4 GB of 24-bit drum loops and samples are available only to Beta Monkey users from www.betamonkeymusic.comCycling ‘74 ( released Mode for Windows XP — host applications supporting the VST and RTAS formats. Mode is a package of native audio processing plug-ins, featuring three instruments and two effects units that integrate functions and performance controls typically found in rackmount and workstation hardware…Edirol ( is shipping an improved R-4 4-channel portable digital recorder. The R-4 now supports Broadcast .WAV format files and writes the required metadata to comply with BWF standard…Spin Audio ( has released RoomVerb M2 V. 2.2 with an improved reverb engine that promises more realistic reverberation and better stereo image. The update comes bundled with a redesigned set of 250 ready-to-use factory presets…Muse Research has expanded the number of plug-ins that are compatible with its Receptor plug-in host unit. A complete listing of the available plug-ins is available at