Tools of the Trade

A DESIGNS EM-PEQ This new unit from A-Designs Audio (, $1,500) is meant to mimic the classic all-tube Pultec EQP-1A and fits into

This new unit from A-Designs Audio (, $1,500) is meant to mimic the classic all-tube Pultec EQP-1A and fits into its compact 500 Series module frame. The unit uses the same discrete Class-A/B amplifier found in A-Designs' solid-state Pacifica mic pre, and offers a nickel-core output transformer, gold Grayhill rotary switches and Wima caps. The EM-PEQ uses a custom-wound tapped inductor wound to the original values and has a true hard bypass.

These desktop-friendly, close-field speakers from M-Audio (, $199.95/pair) offer balanced and unbalanced connections, headphone output, additional aux input and video shielding. The cabinets boast a custom design said to eliminate resonances and minimize vibration by using a dense wood construction. The twins feature 4-inch polypropylene-coated drivers and ¾-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeters with OptImage III waveguide technology. They are powered at 20 watts per channel.

New features in the latest version of DrumCore from Submersible Music ( include MIDI stand-alone mode, which allows the user to play DrumCore as a live drum module, plus pad swapping to easily create Frankensteinian hybrid drum kits, drag-and-drop sample assignment, real-time editing and numerous new songwriting features. New content is available for registered users, including a GrooveSet by premier Latin percussionist Luis Conte.

The Woodpecker from Blue Microphones ( features a handsome, polished wooden body and an aluminum-ribbon pressure-gradient transducer. The $1,299 mic is an active ribbon, meaning it requires phantom power to operate. It also means that the usual impedance matching and level requirements needed with a ribbon mic are moot. The mic will take a blistering 136dB SPL, generates internal noise less than 22 dB (A-weighted) and has a dynamic range of 114 dB. The Woodpecker ships with a custom-made, solid-brass shock-mount and wooden storage box.

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Meant to give the Apple MacBook Pro true studio capabilities anywhere, Apogee's ( Symphony Mobile card ($595) fits neatly into the PCIe slot on the MacBook Pro. The mobile user can now achieve up to 32 channels of digital I/O with less than 1.6 ms of latency at 96k. The card is compatible with any Core Audio software applications and uses Apogee's Maestro software for advanced control and routing and VBus for virtual routing between applications. The Symphony Mobile connects with any of Apogee's converters with a single 32-channel PC-32 bidirectional connector.

Storage junkies rejoice! MCE Technologies ( is now offering a Blu-ray SuperDrive disc for Mac ($699), using 25GB single-layer and 50GB dual-layer discs. The unit is preconfigured for operating on either the Mac Pro or G5. Not only can you heap your files onto Blu-ray discs, but for smaller jobs, this unit is also compatible with all DVD and CD recordable media, including DVD±R/RW + Dual/Double Layer, DVD-RAM, and CD-R and CD-RW. The drive ships with Toast 8 Titanium and includes a 25GB Blu-ray rewritable disc.

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Fostex ( takes it to the streets with its FR-2LE field recorder ($599). It records BWF (up to 24-bit/96kHz) or MP3 files to a Type-II Compact Flash card and will operate for up to eight hours with the internal Ni-MH batteries. There are plenty of fail-safe features for the recorder on the go, including one-take equals one-file operation, a prerecord buffer, and auto-file closing and saving. The unit also offers an onboard limiter and highpass filter, and ships with a wired remote.

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The FireOne from Tascam (, $399) is a FireWire audio interface offering edit keys and a weighted, backlit jog wheel, allowing for zippy navigation across your DAW's timeline. It also offers a pair of phantom-powered mic inputs, line inputs and a pad with converters capable of operating up to 24-bit/192kHz. Handy instrument inputs and MIDI I/O make it a natural for desktop DAW production or for use with video editors such as Apple's Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.

SonoSuede is the newest family of all-in-one D.I.Y. room treatment systems from Auralex ( The SonoSuede Pro system comprises four 16×48×2-inch (W×H×D) back-beveled panels used predominantly for corner trapping and eight 16×48×1-inch rectangular back-beveled panels to cover a total of 64 square feet. The SonoSuede HT System comprises four 16×48×2-inch back-beveled panels and eight trapezoidal-shaped 16×48×1-inch square-edge panels for total coverage of 54 square feet. Each system is priced at $1,399. Panels come in black/red and black/tan; other colors can be custom-ordered.

Ultrasone ( has collaborated with RudiStor ( to offer a combo pack of headphones and a custom-matched amplifier: the NX-02 Sistema amp made to operate with the ProLine 2500 headphones. All orders are custom-made and take up to eight weeks. Prices: $1,199 (amp and headphones); $875 (amp only).

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Adding more power to the Duende platform, SSL's ( new Drumstrip drum processing plug-in offers a collection of five audio processing tools, including a transient shaper; a gate with range, attack and release; an HF and LF enhancer; and the classic SSL Listen Mic compressor mimicking the utility hardware compressor originally found on the 4000 E Series consoles. Tools can be put in any order, and a handy input and output level meter offer additional RMS meters. The plug-in is available exclusively on the SSL Website; price $299.

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The first product in Radial's ( new Forest line is the Q6 Counter-Coil EQ. In the past, the Coil EQ was known for a finicky nature and unique sound; however, Radial claims to have made this unit less noisy and more consistent in this 6-band passive coil equalizer, which features 12-position boost/cut switches on each channel, low noise and up to 28 dB of gain. The front panel offers individual bypass switches for each band and a gentle high-cut filter; the back offers +4dB line-level and unbalanced -10dB connectivity. The unit also offers a unique, guitar-oriented front-end DI to connect instruments directly into the box for stage use, plus Drag Control load correction to simulate the relationship between an electric guitar and amplifier. A pair of footswitch-selectable ¼-inch input jacks on the rear facilitate quick instrument changes during live performance. An effects loop can be turned on remotely via a standard footswitch. Price TBA.