Tools of the Trade

DK-TECHNOLOGIES STARFISH DISPLAY Designed for surround applications, DK-Technologies' ( StarFish display is based on its JellyFish
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Designed for surround applications, DK-Technologies' ( StarFish display is based on its JellyFish display. Providing an image of the acoustic audio levels experienced by the listener, StarFish shows audio levels supplied to the center, Lt/Rt and Lt/Rt rear speakers. Colors in the StarFish contour reflect the correlation between neighboring audio channels in the surround signal. The display changes color to indicate positive, neutral and negative correlation, so users can see any unwanted effects in the surround sound signal. The StarFish and JellyFish displays are incorporated into DK-Technologies' Version 5.1 software for the MSD600M Series of audio meters.

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The E-mu 0404 USB ($249, is a compact USB 2 audio/MIDI interface featuring 24-bit/192kHz, AD/DA converters, XTC mic/line/hi-Z preamps with phantom power and an onboard clock. Other features include digital I/O with optical and coaxial S/PDIF (switchable to AES/EBU), MIDI I/O, Windows XP and x64 USB 2 drivers, and zero-latency direct monitoring via hardware. The unit ships with the E-mu Production Tools software bundle, which includes E-mu's Proteus VX and software from Cakewalk, Steinberg, Ableton, IK Multimedia and more.


An affordable yet surprisingly full-featured DAW, Cakewalk's ( SONAR Home Studio XL ($209) offers the Boost 11 peak limiter with look-ahead design, program-dependent release, dynamic waveform displays of input vs. output, stereo peak and RMS I/O meters, operation up to 192 kHz and a 64-bit double-precision signal path. It also includes Dimension LE synthesis capable of multisample rendering, wavetable and waveguide synthesis and REX playback/manipulation. Other features include the Garritan Pocket Orchestra, Session Drummer 2, plug-and-play operation and powerful editing tools.


Developed with Smart AV, Merging Technologies ( unveils the Ramses (priced per configuration) MSC digital console featuring 256 channel/tracks. A Pyramix system running the MassCore engine lets users control up to five workstations from a single surface. Essentially a digital console integrated into a large multitrack recorder/editor, MSC offers modes for post and live multitracking. It's scalable from 16 to 256 channels with up to 256 buses, and offers an integrated 48-channel DSD/DXD system. Ramses will still use Merging's Mykerinos and I/O hardware and will be offered as a stand-alone workstation or as an upgrade for existing users.

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Updating its M 51 miniature active control monitors, Klein + Hummel ( has introduced the M 52 ($825 each) and M 52 D ($1,150 each). The 5.7-pound desktop units feature a 3-inch neodymium driver and an upgraded 24-watt amp, and can be AC- or DC-powered. The speakers are shielded for use near a computer or picture monitors. The M 52 D adds S/PDIF and AES/EBU digital inputs operating from 32 to 48 kHz at 24-bit resolution. Users can switch the M 52 D input between analog, digital-left and digital-right, or combine both digital channels using the front panel input-selection knob.


Minnetonka Audio's ( Batch Pro™ is a pro-quality batch-processing utility. Available for Mac and PC platforms, Batch Pro is a tool for editing, signal processing, encoding and converting audio files in a batch mode. Automatable editing functions include fade-in/out, cut (with the ability to send in/out points via timecode or manually in “punch” style), mute, trim, insert silence, concatenate, mix, channel merge, gain change and normalize. Onboard DSP includes EQ, compression, gating, sample rate conversion, bit-depth conversion and time compression/expansion. Batch Pro also supports VST plug-ins (stereo and surround).


The three-rackspace RackPack from SPL ( can be loaded with the company's Transient Designer, SPL De-Esser or DynaMaxx compressor. These upright modules come with updated features not found on their predecessors. Also new and compatible with the RackPack is the Prefrence Mic Pre, featuring a transformerless IC preamp, and the Premium Mic Pre module, featuring a triple-stage solid-state design with Lundahl input transformer and discrete transistor circuitry.

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The latest Metric Halo ( ChannelStrip plug-in features 48-bit resolution EQ, support for plug-in clip-light and system-wide clip indicator reset, support for Accel chips and 192kHz sampling rates on TDM Accel systems, complete page table support for all supported control surfaces, Universal Binary support for TDM and RTAS, and 16/8/4 mono instances per Accel chip at 1x/2x/4x rates. The upgrade supports Pro Tools V. 6.4 through 7.3 on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. It also supports HD Accel DSP cards and PCIe cards on all Mac platforms. ChannelStrip continues to support Pro Tools Mix and HD systems, and is available as a free download to all registered OS X users from the company's site.

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Showing some of the genius that put Alesis ( on the map, the company has released the iMultiMix 8 USB Mixer ($499) with professional mixing and direct-to-iPod recording. The compact unit features four balanced phantom-powered mic/line preamps (XLR/TRS), a built-in limiter, 44.1/48kHz 16-bit conversion, aux send/returns, 100 onboard digital effects and three EQ bands per channel. The mixer has an integrated iPod dock for recording WAV files directly to any second- through fifth-generation iPod. It also features iPod transport controls and a control wheel built into its surface, and is bundled with Steinberg Cubase LE recording software.


This new time-stretcher/compressor from Digidesign (, the X-Form ($495) is an AudioSuite plug-in that can alter an audio file from 12.5 to 800 percent of its original length, which allows shrinking it to ⅛ or expanding it to 8x its original duration. It can also alter the formant and pitch-shift the audio up or down by three octaves. Its minimal controls and support for Pro Tools TCE Trim Tool promises easy operation. X-Form works on both monophonic and polyphonic material, and supports Pro Tools HD, LE and M-Powered, and Avid DNA systems.


Boasting a bevy of new offline features, CEDAR's ( latest version of the Cambridge restoration tools includes a new version of Retouch with unlimited file lengths, improved transport capabilities, time markers and more. Other members of the suite include Manual Declick, which lets users identify and remove impulsive noises on optical soundtracks and audio files, and Dethump, a process for eliminating low-frequency problems. The core improvements are free to existing owners at the company's site.


Debuting at Musikmesse, the PF-1 ($44.95) pop filters are designed to work with CharterOak's ( SA538, SA538B and E700 models, and boast acoustic transparency featuring SaatiTech Hyphobe Acoustex fiber. The units attach via a Velcro strap, eliminating the need for bulky gooseneck mounts or secondary mic stands.


Fresh from NAB, the AR-DM rackmount monitors from Marshall Electronics ( come in five configurations; two single-rackspace and three two-rackspace models. All five support 16 channels in addition to four slots for optional input modules. Input modules include SDI/HDSDI with re-clocked loopthrough (eight stereo de-embedded channels), quad-unbalanced BNC AES/EBU with loopthrough and quad-balanced AES/XLR to DB-25 with loopthrough. All units also feature Class-D digital amplification, digital processing, a RS-485 port on the rear panel for firmware upgrades, VU and peak metering, Dolby Digital/Dolby E decoding capability (with optional Dolby E module) and a ¼-inch headphone jack with level control. Single-rackspace units offer twin speakers, while the larger models provide larger transducers and a subwoofer.

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Replacing Mackie's ( HR824 and HR624 monitors are the new THX-approved HR824mk2 ($779 each) and HR624mk2 ($579 each). Each has a cast-aluminum enclusure with a Zero Edge Baffle design. Both have 1-inch titanium-dome tweeters paired with 6.7-inch (HR624mk2) or 8.75-inch (HR824mk2) woofers and a 1-inch titanium-dome tweeter.