Tools of the Trade

BLUE SKY SAT 12, SUB 15 In addition to being quite the mouthfuls, the SAT 12 three-way, 500-watt, tri-amplified mid-field monitor and the SUB 15 Universal
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In addition to being quite the mouthfuls, the SAT 12 three-way, 500-watt, tri-amplified mid-field monitor and the SUB 15 Universal 1,000W subwoofer are the latest products out of the box from Blue Sky International ( The SAT 12 features a 12-inch high-excursion hemispherical woofer; a 4-inch hemispherical, midrange driver; and a 1-inch dual-concentric diaphragm tweeter. The three drivers are powered by two 200W amplifiers and a 100W amplifier, respectively. To integrate with the SUB 15 Universal and Blue Sky's BMC (Bass Management Controller), an 80Hz highpass network with phase-correction filter is included. The SUB is a sealed box using a 1-inch forward-firing driver, and offers a switchable low-frequency response characteristic. The rear panel carries dual inputs: one for bass-managed operation and the other for use without the SUB. Rear panel controls also feature switching for “full-space” or “half-space” operation, along with individual HF, MF and LF level trims, two switchable input attenuators and a variable gain control. Prices: $7,500 (2.1) and $15,795 (5.1).

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Are your stray cables getting under your skin? One solution is to put them inside the new AudioSkin (, $16.99) cable organizer, which takes your recalcitrant cables and zippers them into a flexible plastic tube. The organizer comes in 5-foot lengths that can be used head-to-tail to create the desired overall length. Each set comes with a handy doo-dad (that's a technical term) that lets you quickly zip your cables inside the “skin.” If you want to get one or more out, then just grip and rip it out of the organizer.

Charter Oak's first small-diaphragm microphone, the M900 (; $569, single, $1,099, matched pair) features a two-step sensitivity switch (-10 dB and -20 dB) and a two-position bass roll-off (15 Hz/75 Hz). The mic ships with cardioid, hypercardioid and omni capsules that can be quickly swapped for the desired polar pattern. As an interesting extra service, the company's Adapt service lets users create their own desired mic characteristics: Within 30 days of purchase, customers can ship the microphone back to the company for desired modifications based on studio environment and professional taste.

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Digidesign's Mbox 2 Pro (, $799) offers many key new features, including support for 24-bit/96kHz, MIDI time stamping, word clock I/O (BNC), studio monitor outputs with volume control and a built-in phono preamp input. The FireWire bus-powered unit also comes in a Factory configuration ($899), which includes an additional five Digidesign and Bomb Factory plug-ins (worth more than $1,000) and an iLok USB Smart Key.

Feelin' lucky? You should with this in-your-face group of drum samples from Beta Monkey Music (, $29.99). The 662 license-free loops are sonically matched, making it easy to match any one sound to any other on the disc. The samples range from 100 to 280 bpm, and are available in 16- or 24-bit WAV (44.1 kHz) and Apple Loops, with REX2 format support soon to be released.

Prominy's ( LPC guitar libraries can let the “air” out of your guitar-god dreams and make you the real deal. The collection comes in either clean or distorted versions, and ships with 60 GB of 44.1kHz/16-bit samples on six DVD-ROMs. The set supports Native Instruments Kontakt and Tascam GigaStudio 3/2 players, allowing the user to arrange the guitar parts from a MIDI keyboard. The guitars are sampled with a wide variety of styles, trills, slides, harmonics and more, making the finished product sound very realistic. You've got to see the video demo on the Website to get the full impact of how spot-on this thing is. Prices: $599 (clean and distorted) and $349 (clean or distorted).

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Cakewalk's ( SONAR, the ever- and quickly evolving DAW, has morphed again into Version 6, featuring completely redesigned Track and Console views, workflow innovations and the VC-64 Vintage Channel, promising to sound like a “big desk” analog channel strip. Other features include Active Controller Technology (ACT) that dynamically remaps effect, mix and instrument parameters to hardware controllers; AudioSnap, a nondestructive audio timing/manipulation toolset; automation and clip editing enhancements; crash recovery safeguards; and automatic file versioning, making it easy to back up projects with a time/date stamp. Prices: $619, Producer's Edition, and $369, Studio Edition.

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From the mind of Rupert Neve ( comes the Portico 5033 5-band EQ and line driver. The unit features custom input and output transformers, ±12dB input level adjustment and five filter bypasses, and is available in either horizontal or vertical formats. The outer bands are high (2.5 to 25k Hz) and low (30 to 300 Hz) shelving filters, while the LMF band is continuously variable from 50 to 400 Hz, the MF band is continuously variable from 330 to 2.5k Hz, and the HMF range is continuously variable from 2 to 16 kHz. The mid-bands offer fully variable “Q” control between 0.7 and 5.

Designed for the DAW user who wants to put that final analog touch on the mix, this new, surprisingly affordable passive summer from SM Pro Audio (, $569) will mix down eight audio channels into two stereo output pairs. The dual-rackspace box offers eight combo TRS/XLR inputs, eight mute switches, eight rotary panners and two stereo mix volume controls. The box also features a 25-pin D-sub input (Pro Tools/Tascam format) and an internal power supply.

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The Trion 8000 from CAD (, $599) is a multipattern, large dual-diaphragm (1.12-inch) tube condenser mic. The 8000 is switchable between omni, cardioid and figure-8; features Class-A electronics; offers a transformer-coupled output; and features a rugged metal housing and construction. Able to get upclose and personal with SPL, the mic will take up to 133dB SPL and has 21 dBA of self-noise. It comes supplied with a shock-mount, heavy-duty aluminum carrying case, 25-foot 6-pin connector cable and power supply.