Tools of the Trade

WUNDER AUDIO PAFOUR Just when we thought good things came in threes, Wunder Audio ( proved us wrong with the PAFOUR ($2,795) 4-channel

Just when we thought good things came in threes, Wunder Audio ( proved us wrong with the PAFOUR ($2,795) 4-channel preamp. The 19-inch rackmount unit features a fully Class-A, discrete 1970s-style mic pre using the exact mic pre circuit as the one in the company's PEQ1. The design uses custom mic and output Mu-Metal transformers, and the unit also features a line input stage offering 60 dB of gain and an additional output stage amplifier that adds even more headroom. Each preamp includes a gain knob, phantom-power switch, mic/line switch and a polarity reverse switch.

This high-end and versatile mastering compressor from Elysia ( offers a switchable M/S matrix that allows for separate processing of centered and left/right panned signals. Other features include integrated, sweepable EQ; sidechain gain and frequency control; and complete control over the mix of separately processed elements. The design is based on 100% discrete analog technology and uses oversized power supplies, incremental and encapsulated conductive plastic potentiometers with detents, internal heat sinks for critical components and four high-quality torodial transformers. Signal processing is realized with single transistors in permanent Class-A mode, with the sidechain and power supply comprising fully discrete circuits.

The Reflex Series of duplicators from Disc Makers ( has been re-engineered with NED 16x DVD/48x CD writers, an all-new controller with a 128MB buffer, the ability to rename files stored within the hard disk and separate user accounts with password protection. The prices have also been revamped with the single-drive Reflex 1 now at $299, dual-drive Reflex 2 at $549 and the 10-drive Reflex 10 at $1,290. The Reflex 2 can duplicate up to 16 DVD±Rs per hour or up to 31 CD-Rs per hour, and the Reflex 10 is capable of duping up to 80 DVD±Rs per hour or up to 150 CD-Rs per hour. The units come with 100 free Disc Makers Ultra 52x CDs or 50 16x DVDs, plus discounted pricing on future blank media purchases and free technical support for one year.

Sonic Reality's ( latest loop library, the R.A.W. Universal Groove Kit two-DVD collection, features more than 5,000 stereo loops in 24- and 16-bit formats. The content includes R&B, funk, electronic, hip hop, rock, jazz, country, Latin, blues and TV/film scoring, among others. The library is delivered in REX2 format for total control of the tempo and feel. The collection is ready for Propellerhead Reason/Dr. Rex, Spectrasonics Stylus RMX, Apple Logic/GarageBand, Digidesign Pro Tools 7, Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo, Cakewalk SONAR/Project5, FL Studio 6 and more.

Two new additions to the Switchcraft ( line of patchbays include the 9625 version ($1,200), with 96 patch points to DB25 rear connections, and the 96DL version ($1,200), which offers 96 patch points to Cannon DL rear connections. Both units use the EZ Norm jack, which allows for quick normaling changes from the front of the patchbay, and have bused grounds for phantom power.

This collection of East Coast hip hop and R&B loops and samples from East West ( features more than 1,350 samples and 1.5 GB of beats, keys, basses, guitars, synths, strings, licks, fills, percussion and more. Urban Elementz ($99.95) features 35 full construction kits with bpms ranging from 65 to 114, plus hundreds of scratches and a bonus section of drum hits. Supported formats include Acid WAV, AIFF Apple Loops, Stylus RMX, REX2, Reason ReFill, Kontakt, EXS24 and HALion.

Am I Blu? Not yet, but if Primera ( has its way, we will all be burning 50 GB of data onto a single disc in no time. The XR-Blu Disc Publisher ($5,995) is said to be the world's first automated CD/DVD burn-and-print device to support new high-capacity Blu-ray disc recorders and media. The unit offers built-in robotics and full-color, direct-to-disc inkjet printing, and incorporates Pioneer's new BDR-101A Blu-ray disc/DVD recorder. The included Blu-ray — enabled recording software is based on Sonic Solutions technology. The initial release uses single-layer discs to store up to 25 GB of data, but a soon-to-be available upgrade will allow dual-layer media storing up to twice the data.

The top-of-the-line RM-7400 computer from Spectral ( is available in both an Intel 930 Pentium D Dual Core with 4MB cache (two per core) 800 FSB-based model or an AMD Dual Core 4400+ model. Features include 4 GB of RAM (DDRII 667MHz dual-channel, Intel; DDR 400MHz dual-channel, AMD), a 74GB SATA 10,000 rpm 4.5ms system hard drive, four 250GB (1 Terabyte) SATA II RAID recording hard drives and a 400GB removable SATA II backup drive. In addition, the unit carries an Nvidia PCI Express 6600 16x dual-head video card. Any Spectral system can be upgraded or altered to the user's specifications. All systems are designed, built, tested and then qualified as meeting or exceeding the system requirements of pro audio software.

EZQuest ( offers a simple and affordable way to keep drives organized. The Thunder Pro A/V Studio Rack 8 racks and stacks eight drives side by side and can operate in RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 5 configurations. The unit also offers two separate 4-drive channels, two FireWire 800 ports, one USB 2 port, one FireWire 400 front-access port, two fans with a thermostat and warning buzzer, and a two-year warranty. The rack ships without drives, weighs 28 pounds and is cross-compatible for PC or Mac.

Powered by an advanced and user-friendly search engine, Non Stop Music's ( CUEgle is a music-cue download service for sound-for-picture professionals looking to put the finishing touches on their productions. The collection comprises 1,100 CDs with more than 35,000 tracks marked by easily identifiable names such as “Action Premier 1” or “Suspense 4”; each track can be clicked on to reveal a quick description and length. Each MP3 track can be fully previewed and downloaded straight to the user's desktop, where it can then be inserted into a project. Those who need higher-quality WAV or AIFF files can search online and then pull the files from a CUEgle-supplied hard drive. Non Stop's music consultants are available 24/7 to answer questions and make library suggestions. Visit Non Stop Music's Website for info on licensing and needle-drop pricing.

These two digital wireless mic transceivers from Zaxcom ( are purported to be the first such units with integrated recording and a timecode transmission feature. Users can record up to six hours of audio directly to a Flash memory card and then transfer the WAV files to either a PC or Mac for post-production. Features include tri-level, NTSC and PAL timecode sync (generated during recording); transmission of two channels of audio and timecode to a single receiver on the camera; and built-in IFB, eliminating the need for talent to wear two separate bodypacks. In addition, an RF remote control lets the user change mic gain, highpass filter or selected channel settings from up to 200 feet away. The TRX900 ($1,960) system is designed for use with a lavalier microphone. The TRX990 ($2,995) is engineered as a complete solution for boom pole — type transmitters and offers two audio channels with integrated phantom power.

Sennheiser's ( e912 ($345) boundary mic is targeted for a wide variety of applications, including recording kick drum, speech, acoustic instruments and piano. The pre-polarized condenser features a half-cardioid pickup pattern and has a frequency response from 20-20k Hz and maximum SPL of 136 dB. The handsome 12-ounce unit comes in black or white, and offers integrated preamp electronics and a rubber-coated underside, protecting its gold-plated XLR-3 connector by mounting it flush inside the mic enclosure.