Tools of the Trade

LAUTEN AUDIO HORIZON New to the mic manufacturing game, Lauten Audio ( released the Horizon ($549), a cardioid tube mic sporting an

New to the mic manufacturing game, Lauten Audio ( released the Horizon ($549), a cardioid tube mic sporting an internally shock-mounted, large-diaphragm capsule and a two-step -10/-20dB pad. The mic ships with a case, a hard mount, a power supply and a 20-foot Gotham Audio cable with double-reussen shielding and Neutrik gold-pin connectors.

Now here's an app that can really take you around the world. MOTU's ( Ethno ($295), which can operate as a stand-alone or within a DAW, features 4 GB of expressive ethnic instrument sounds combined with another 4 GB of authentic world music loops and phrases. The slick-looking interface features a spinning world globe and groups instruments and loops by regions and styles of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Celtic, Eastern Europe, India, Middle East, Mediterranean, West Indies and more. You can browse instruments by category — including woodwind, stringed, bell/metal/gong, key, voice and percussion — and then simply drag and drop them into the host application.

A versatile word clock aimed at recording, post and broadcast, the DCD-8 ($1,295) from Brainstorm (dist. by plus24, features two separate generators capable of creating two rates simultaneously. You can then assign them to any of eight word clock outputs. The unit will reference external word clock, AES/EBU, S/PDIF, ADAT, FireWire, video or internal crystal, and offers a low-jitter clock operating at up to 192 kHz. Other features include a high-res input frequency counter and phase comparison between different sources. Multiple units can be linked together while maintaining phase.

The latest I/O box from Focusrite ( features eight Focusrite Green Series preamps, 24-bit/192kHz operation and software control, all in a single rackspace. Saffire Pro's ($699) 26 channels of I/O include eight analog in/outs, dual ADAT Lightpipe I/Os and stereo S/PDIF. The box can be powered by bus or via external DC power, and supplies MIDI I/O alongside highpass filters on every channel; two super-channels add variable impedance and insert points.

E-mu's ( X2 sampler for the PC offers a variety of new tools. Features include the company's 24-bit/192kHz sound engine and pitch interpolation; SynthSwipe for automated hardware sampling; TwistaLoop, a non-destructive audio manipulator; Morph Filter Designer to create custom filters; multifunction generator for advanced LFO/envelope/arpeggiator programming; a Transform Multiply convolution DSP tool; real-time control of multiple loop points; and REX2 and MP3 file import. X2 will run either stand-alone (64 MIDI channels) or as a VST instrument (16 MIDI channels per instantiation). The software ships with a 2-in/2-out USB MIDI interface and more than 3 GB of sounds. Prices: $299.99 (software); $79.99 (upgrade for Emulator X owners); and $249.99 (as an add-on for any E-mu digital audio system or Xboard USB/MIDI controller).

This group of four reverb plug-ins from IK Multimedia ( includes Hall, Room, Ambience and Inverse apps. The plugs feature Easy and Advanced operational modes, more than 100 editing parameters, adjustable input and output reverb width, high-quality filtering, a customizable 8×8 modulation matrix, four assignable macros, parameter morphing, two envelope generators and two LFOs. The applications work on either Mac or PC on VST, RTAS, Audio Units and TDM hosts. Price: $399.

Two new drives from Rain Recording ( cater to the pro user looking for robust and portable modular data storage. The stackable 300GB StormDrive runs at 7,200 rpm and features an 8MB cache, 683Mb/s Seek time, aluminum case, and power and status LED. The 100GB StormDrive Pocket runs at 5,400 rpm, has an 8MB buffer and a 100Mb/s transfer rate. Both drives have FireWire (6- and 4-pin) and USB 2 I/O connectivity, are fanless and are compatible with Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP and Mac OS 9.x and OS X. Price: $489.95 each.

Adobe ( Audition Version 2 ($349; $129 upgrade) offers a wide variety of new features and integration with other Adobe products. The redesigned, low-latency mixing engine supports ASIO drivers, and offers flexible bus/send routing, punch-ins on the fly, unlimited tracks and more. Editors will appreciate V. 2's ability to quickly dock and group workspace panels and preview saved panel arrangements as custom workspaces that can be easily recalled. Broadcast and video pros can save time with included royalty-free music beds and thousands of 32-bit, uncompressed music loops. Other new features include Adobe Bridge for convenient file access and management, Adobe XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) support for embedding metadata into files, and broader video and audio format support. For integration with other Adobe apps, check out the Adobe Production Studio Premium ($1,699) that bundles Audition with After Effects 7 Professional, Premiere Pro 2, Photoshop CS2, Encore DVD 2, Illustrator CS2, Dynamic Link and Bridge.

Sony's ( MDR-7509HD ($265) headphones feature Auranomic circumnaural driver units that are designed to eliminate pressure on the ear during periods of extended use, and can reproduce up to 80 kHz at the top end. Replacing Sony's MDR-7509s, these new closed-type units also feature 3,000mW power capacity and neodymium magnets.

The FeQ-50 ($995) is a single-channel, transformerless, passive parametric EQ from Summit Audio ( Each of the FeQ-50's four bands features six frequencies and ±14 dB of fully variable gain. The low and high bands offer peaking or shelving, while the middle two bands carry wide and narrow switches. In addition, a 6dB-per-octave highpass filter is set at 80 Hz. The half-rack unit has XLR balanced and ¼-inch unbalanced inputs on Neutrik Combo jacks and balanced +4dB XLR and balanced -10dB TRS outputs. The outputs carry solid-state and tube signal paths, both of which are individually buffered and can be used simultaneously.

The PR8E ($199) multichannel mic/line preamp from SM Pro Audio ( features eight discrete microphone preamplifiers, XLR/Combo inputs, TRS outputs, 48V phantom power and polarity reverse on every channel. The unit also features peak LEDs and a -20dB pad built into the ¼-inch line-in jack sockets. Each mic pre produces 60 dB of gain with 23 dB of maximum output.

DOLBY DP600 PROGRAM OPTIMIZERBDebuting at this month's NAB, Dolby's ( DP600 Program Optimizer offers intelligent audio analysis and automated loudness correction for most of today's common broadcast media file/audio formats. Targeted for cable/satellite/IPTV/terrestrial TV broadcasters using a file-based infrastructure and workflow, the DP600 provides a consistent audio experience across all programming. Options include file-based (faster-than-real-time) audio encoding and decoding support for Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E, AC-3) and Dolby E.

KORE ($TBA), Native Instruments' ( new universal sound platform, operates both as a stand-alone instrument host and as a plug-in in every major sequencer. It integrates VST and Audio Units — based software instruments and effects from virtually all manufacturers into a single, unified interface, providing control and ease of use across a range of products. The system is based on KORE's advanced hardware controller, which offers hands-on control of virtual instruments. An integrated database stores the entire library on a computer, allowing searches for musical categories such as genre, articulation or texture. KORE comes with categorization data for the company's 11,000 instrument preset sounds, software instruments and sound libraries.

EastWest ( takes you back in time with its latest sonic release, 60s a GoGo ($119). The collection features authentic retro music arrangements, samples and loops inspired by beat, surf, twist, pulp, rock, lounge, easy listening, and French and Italian film music from the '60s. The samples are played on vintage instruments and amps, and are available in a mixed '60s-style version and a dry unmixed version. The 1.5GB library can be played back on ELASTIK, the brand-new loop player made by Ueberschall (included).

Applied Acoustics Systems ( is now shipping the Modeling Collection bundle. The group comprises Tassman 4, Lounge Lizard EP-3, Ultra Analog VA-1 and String Studio VS-1…MOTU ( has released Intel Mac — compatible drivers for all of its currently shipping FireWire and USB audio and MIDI interfaces, meaning that any user of MOTU's FireWire audio, USB 2 audio and USB MIDI interface products will be able to use the hardware with a new Intel iMac or MacBook Pro…Legendary Audio ( is offering a free DVD demonstrating the capabilities of its Rupert Neve — designed Masterpiece analog mixing and mastering system. The half-hour presentation includes a tour of the system and a step-by-step mastering session with engineer Billy Stull…Ableton has updated Live to V. 5.2, providing users with significant gains in audio performance and bringing native support for Apple's new Intel Macs. See details at…The new V. 2 software update for the Focusrite ( Liquid Channel professional channel strip is now available for free download. It offers LiquidControl V. 2 software, which allows the user to control the unit in real time via MIDI…Apple's Logic Pro 7.2 is now fully compatible with Digidesign Pro Tools|HD systems using V. 7.1 of DAE (Digidesign Audio Engine). All Logic features are supported, including ESB and EXS24TDM. Users must download Pro Tools|HD 7.1cs4 or higher, available as a free update for all Pro Tools|HD 7 owners from the Support section of the Digidesign Website at Logic Pro 7.2 is currently available from the Apple Website at has upgraded its SymNet Network Audio DSP platform to V. 6. The update is available for public download from The new release adds Acoustic Echo Cancelling (AEC) functionality to the SymNet platform…Smart Loops ( is now shipping Pro Drum Works Volume Two (ACID format, DVD-ROM). The collection comprises more than 3,000 unique grooves and samples, and is designed to work seamlessly with Pro Drum Works Volume One's straight-feel loops…Glyph Technologies' ( GT 050Q tabletop hard drive is now available. The unit offers up to 500GB capacity and is designed for high-speed access to audio and video content. The GT 050Q can be used with any Mac or PC with FireWire, USB or eSATA ports.