Tools of the Trade

PSP MASTERCOMP PSP Audioware ( released the PSP MasterComp (VST/DirectX/RTAS format for PC), its latest plug-in for mastering apps.

PSP Audioware ( released the PSP MasterComp (VST/DirectX/RTAS format for PC), its latest plug-in for mastering apps. The stereo dynamics processor features 64-bit floating-point processing, advanced sidechain filtering, channel linking, compression tilting and the ability to mix processed and clean signals. As a bonus, a high-quality brickwall output limiter with automatic release time is included. The GUI features PPM/VU meters with adjustable parameters. MasterComp is available for $249 by itself or $389 in a bundle that also includes PSP VintageWarmer and PSP MasterQ.

Aimed at the high-end user, these compact, active three-way speakers from ATC (dist. by LasVegasProAudio, can be purchased for stereo or multichannel setups that feature a dedicated center channel and subwoofer. The low-profile design offers better sight lines through windows and below obstructions. The cabinet houses twin 9-inch ATC SL bass drivers, an ATC 3-inch soft-dome mid and a soft-dome 1-inch tweeter powered by six MOSFET amplifier blocks that can boost the SPL up to 115 dB. Amp output is 50 watts for HF, 100W for MF and 200W for LF with an LF contour control providing 6 dB of bass boost. Price: $30,000 a pair.

Packing a wealth of features into a single rackspace, the Joemeek ( sixQ ($599.99) features a single recording channel with preamp, EQ and compressor, plus an A/D converter capable of sampling up to 96 kHz. The sixQ can output S/PDIF (optical and RCA) and AES-compatible digital outputs, and there is a BNC word clock input for locking the unit to an external device. Other features include an Iron button that introduces a transformer across the mic input, phantom power, a polarity switch, DI input and pad. The switchable EQ is 3-band, with the low and mid being sweepable, while the high offers 15 dB of boost/cut at either 6 kHz or 12 kHz. The compressor offers threshold, ratio, attack, release and makeup gain controls, and is also switchable. I/O is on balanced XLRs, and an insert and line in are carried on ¼-inch plugs.

In a “flash” of genius, HHB ( released the first professional digital recording microphone: the FlashMic DRM85 ($1,399). Aimed at portable recording for ENG or field voice recording, the unit features a Sennheiser omni condenser capsule and stores audio on 1 GB of Flash memory built into the mic. FlashMic records date/time-stamped audio in either .WAV linear (48k/16-bit) or MPEG 1 Layer 2 — encoded files that can be transferred at up to 90x real time via a computer's USB port (Mac or PC). The mic will operate for six hours and is powered by a pair of AA batteries. It offers operational feedback (remaining battery power, time, level, status information) via a backlit LCD. Onboard DSP provides automatic gain control, a highpass filter and a pre-record buffer. For handy field monitoring, recordings can be played back on headphones connected to the base of the unit.

Redco ( offers an inexpensive solution to keep G5s off the floor and in a rack. Made of 16- and 11-gauge black-powder texture-coated steel, the G5-1210 ($149) allows one (or two) G5s to be rackmounted, standing upright, without having to modify the G5's case. The space to the computer's right or left supports computer peripherals (external hard drives or CD/DVD burners). The G5-1210 includes securing clips to hold the G5 chassis to the bottom of the shelf, allowing safe portage for mobile applications.

Windows users can bring convolution reverb to their DAW by using Tascam's ( GigaPulse ($249) VST plug-in. The plug-in samples a room or acoustic body, allowing the user to create a custom reverb. Features include a parameter that changes the position of the sound source in the room with a 2-D grid. Tail Control technology reduces the processing load on the computer, allowing more instances of the plug-in to be used. If D.I.Y. sampling is not your cuppa tea, GigaPulse comes with a library of impulses taken at various locations, allowing the user to apply these spaces to any track on a VST-compatible DAW.

SONAR 5, the latest version of Cakewalk's ( production tool, adds more effects, the PSYN II subtractive synth, Perfect Space convolution reverb, Roland V-Vocal Variphrase vocal editing technology, enhanced track layers and integrated inline audio and MIDI editing. In addition, SONAR 5 introduces advances in RAM and native processing power on systems running Windows XP x64 Edition. SONAR 5's 64-bit audio engine is accessible even on 32-bit computers, but is available in either a 64- or 32-bit version. Price: $799 or as an upgrade from previous SONAR versions (details on Cakewalk's Website).

MacAudioLab ( released a 12-hour instructional QuickTime video tutorial covering Digital Performer 4.6. The DVD features easy-to-follow chapters, large screen shots, audio narration, and a PDF index and keyboard shortcuts. The DVD can run on any computer with QuickTime 6 or higher, and plays natively on Mac OS X or Windows. As an added bonus, the disc contains chapters on MOTU MachFive, MX4, CueMix, BIAS Peak and TC Electronic PowerCore. The DVD can be purchased directly from the company's Website for $79.95.

Made specifically for use with the Kontakt 2 sampler, Native Instrument's ( Kontakt Experience ($119) features 128 new instruments covering a range of musical categories, including performances, motion and pads, vocalized, harmonized, guitarized, exotic, melodic loops, lead and bass synths, arpeggiated, and drum kits and drum loops. The collection makes use of Kontakt's Script Processor (KSP), a programmable MIDI processing module included in Kontakt 2. Experience ships on a single DVD.

Cubase SE3 ($159.99), the new entry-level version of Cubase from Steinberg (, is available for Mac and PC, and offers 48 audio and unlimited MIDI tracks. The 32-bit audio engine is capable of recording and playback of 96k/24-bit audio with full delay compensation. Other features include a new user interface, drag-and-drop for MIDI files, a redesigned Track Inspector, Hitpoint detection and more. Other features are designed to support a faster, more efficient workflow, including new key commands and editing functions.

Two new libraries from Waves ( and are targeted for use with Waves' convolution reverb plug-ins. The SIRR library offers more than 100 impulse responses created exclusively for the Waves IR-360 Discrete Surround plug-in and boasts a dynamic range of more than 140 dB for the 24-bit versions. The second collection, the Pure Space Series, is geared to be used with Waves' IR-1 and IR-L convolution reverbs and includes IRs from concert halls, cathedrals, monasteries and even the Great Pyramid at Giza. Both are available from Price: $250 to $499.

Octave ( released a new line of Copy Master II Pro Robotic DVD/CD duplicators, all featuring high-quality Plextor PX-716A optical recorders, an auto-loading arm, easy-to-read LCD and a 160GB hard disk drive. The three models feature either four, six or seven optical recorders, and do not require a PC for operation. Depending on the user's needs, 4.7GB DVDs can be copied at up to 16x, 8.5GB dual-layered DVDs at up to 6x and CDs at up to 48x. Prices: $3,600 (4-drive), $4,600 (6-drive) and $5,100 (7-drive).

This new preamp from True Systems (dist. in the U.S. by Sennheiser, features military-grade, hand-matched components and the identical preamp design found in the True Precision 8 and P2 analog products. The P-Solo features balanced, dual-servo, high dynamic range, transformerless design, internal linear AC power supply, high-impedance instrument input, highpass filter, phantom power and dual analog outputs. Price: $749.99.

Re-creating the classic U47 mic, Soundelux (dist. by TransAudio Group, introduced the E47C ($4,250 list). Targeted for vocal use, the E47C offers the signature proximity effect that is characterized by 12 dB of boost at 100 Hz at a distance of 1 inch. The mic features a NOS Telefunken Large Plate EF814k tube, P99E power supply, custom 20-foot Soundelux cable and 47 suspension clamp — type shockmount with wood box.

Need fast and portable storage for audio? Then the StormDrive ($599) or StormDrive Pocket ($499) from Rain Recording ( just might be the ticket. The fast and fanless drives feature one USB 2 and two FireWire ports with an IEEE-1394 repeater built into the FireWire ports for easy daisy-chaining. In addition, there is an 8MB buffer for increased sustained track count without the need for higher rpms and “plug-and-play” operation with instant OS recognition for PC and Mac. The StormDrive features a 3.5-inch, 7,200 rpm, 300GB Seagate drive with SoftSonic technology that eliminates the “whine” sound from the drive for virtually silent operation. The StormDrive Pocket features a 2.5-inch, 5,400 rpm, 100GB Seagate drive and measures a mere 5.25×3×0.75 (L×W×H) inches. The StormDrive Pocket can be bus-powered via FireWire and ships with a power adapter.

Specifically designed for I/O-seeking guitarists on the go, the JamLab ($79.95) from M-Audio ( is a USB interface for both Mac and PC platforms. The simple, low-profile box offers 24-bit fidelity at 44.1 or 48 kHz, and features DSound GT Player Express software that combines the functionality of a guitar amp, effects pedals and standard audio file player. I/O comprises a ¼-inch jack for guitar input and an ⅛-inch jack that can be used as either a line or headphone output for quiet late-night shredding. Volume control is handled using the JamLab driver control panel. The JamLab system also ships with 160 MB of .WAV drum loops from M-Audio's ProSessions Sound and Loops Library. The package can be used stand-alone or with most host software, and is compatible with Core Audio, WDM, ASIO 2, ReWire and VST plug-ins.

Need to capture surround sound in the field but don't want to pack a ton of gear? Then you may want to look at the new portable ST350 ($5,900) microphone from SoundField ( The AC- or battery-powered ST350 comprises a lightweight multi-capsule microphone and fully featured compact mic preamp/control unit that generates surround and stereo simultaneously at balanced line-levels. The mic is capable of driving long cable runs, enabling it to be positioned hundreds of yards away from its control unit or alternatively handheld on a short boom. Control unit features include high-performance mic pre's with discretely switched 6dB gain steps and five-segment LED bar graph for level monitoring. Polar pattern control is continuously variable from omni through figure-8, with a width control providing everything from mono to wide-image stereo. Other features include highpass filtering, switchable M/S output and headphone monitoring.

Those needing high-end audio restoration tools will want to take a look at this 96kHz/24-bit audio restoration and enhancement processor from Weiss Engineering (dist. in the U.S. by LasVegasProAudio, The unit carries a noise-removal section followed by an ambience-recovering and gain control section. Features include a real-time simultaneous de-noiser, de-crackler and de-clicker, as well as the K-Stereo Ambience Processor. The de-noiser features three automatic modes, a manual mode and a semi-auto mode. The de-crackler provides three independent sub-systems — DeCrackle, DeClick and Smooth — while the ambience processor allows the operator to recover lost or amplify hidden ambience, space and imaging by extracting and processing original ambience information in post-production. Price: $8,900.

NeuroTone (, in partnership with UCSF audiologists, has developed a personalized auditory training platform to address the need for measurable auditory training for tinnitus-stricken audio pros and musicians. The company's first product, LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement, $149), is an interactive, computerized program (Mac and PC) designed to train the brain to use skills to improve communication. Just as physical therapy can help rebuild muscles and adjust movements to compensate for physical weakness or injury, LACE is said to assist in developing listening and communication skills and strategies that can help compensate for those situations when hearing is inadequate.

Hot from the show floor at AES, Neve's ( newest digital console is the 88D. The new desk offers 1,000 tracks at 96 kHz, classic Neve preamps, dedicated 8.1 surround monitoring of multiple sources and the latest version of the Encore Plus automation. Integration of Pro Tools and Nuendo is a snap via the HUI protocol, as is Pyramix via Oasis. Also featured are Neve's EQ and dynamics plug-ins, as well as DXD mixing and 40-bit, floating-point processing.

UPGRADES AND UPDATESMicroboards ( is shipping the Print & Burn DVD/CD duplicator, which features a high-speed DVD/CD recorder and industrial printing technology from HP to give users professional publishing in a petite package…The latest version of Pyro from Cakewalk ( adds ring tone creation and delivery, disc-burning enhancements, improved audio editing, enhanced support for portable players and more…Native Instruments ( has released a free 1.08 patch update for all products that use the KOMPAKT interface. New features include RTAS multiple output support, improved RTAS performance, smarter overload detection and various bug fixes…MOTU's ( Symphonic Instrument universal orchestral plug-in is now shipping for Mac and Windows. It features an 8GB sound library, 500 instrument presets, 200 multi-instrument ensembles, 26 built-in convolution reverbs and additional new features…IK Multimedia ( has shipped the Miroslav Philharmonik, a powerful integrated orchestral workstation combining the Miroslav Orchestral and Choir samples with a dedicated plug-in instrument tailored for everything from classical compositions to pop arrangements, film scoring and more…SoundToys Inc. announced the availability of 96k support for its EchoBoy echo and delay plug-in. It is available free of charge to existing EchoBoy users, and supports both TDM and RTAS formats, as well as HTDM. A free 14-day production-ready trial version and upgrade for registered users are available for download at…Spectrasonics ( released new AudioUnits updates of Trilogy, Atmosphere and Classic Stylus. The AudioUnits updates add compatibility for Apple OS 10.4 (Tiger) and AudioUnits validation for Apple Logic 7 and fixes for MOTU Digital Performer 4.52…TC-Helicon announced free downloadable software editors for current and new VoiceWorks, VoiceLive, VoiceOne 2 and VoicePro customers. The Mac/PC editors, designed by PSI Craft, can be loaded as VST plug-ins or as stand-alone applications. The editors require a MIDI device to communicate with TC-Helicon products and feature full control over all parameters, as well as preset/song management. Users can download the editors from's ( Cubase SX/SL 3.1 update offers more than 50 new features. The updated software features integration of external hardware instruments and effects, including Studio Connections Audio integration, support for Steinberg's Dolby Digital and DTS Encoders, and expanded editing and mixing functions…Cycling '74 ( has a pair of upgrades: Jitter 1.5, featuring dramatic performance improvements, and Max/MSP 4.5.5, a free update for Max/MSP 4.5.>