Tools of the Trade

STUDER 42-FADER VISTA 5 Studer ( has released a larger version of its Vista 5 console ($150k to $200k). An additional bay of 10 input faders
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Studer ( has released a larger version of its Vista 5 console ($150k to $200k). An additional bay of 10 input faders lets an operator control 42 input channels simultaneously and permits true two-user operation of the surface. The bucket is situated to the right of the output/master section and can be isolated from any global adjustments made on the left side of the desk using the Lock mode. The right fader section features its own control panel to switch the EQ and processing in/out, so two operators always have direct access within their own sections without having to do any unnecessary moves across the console. Two new options for the D21m I/O systems that function with the Vista 5-42 include a Dolby E card for directly decoding an AES/EBU stream into eight discrete channels and the SDI card, which can de-embed the audio stream from an SDI signal connected to the card via coaxial cable.

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The first front-address model in AKG's ( Perception Series, the all-metal Perception 150 ($279) offers a cardioid polar pattern and a switchable -10dB pad for handling SPLs of up to 145 dB. This externally biased condenser mic has a ½-inch diaphragm providing a 20-20k Hz frequency range, and it ships with a mic clip.

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Named after the musician of Greek mythology whose songs were so beautiful that they could charm wild beasts, the Orpheus ($4,995) high-end interface from Prism Sound ( has eight analog I/Os and S/PDIF (co-ax and optical) digital I/O. The optical ports can also be used as 8-channel ADAT I/O, giving Orpheus a maximum capacity of 18 concurrent input/output channels. It comes with controller software with a digital mixer and drivers for Windows XP or Vista while Mac OS 10.4 interfaces through Core Audio. The unit also features four digitally controlled preamps and two instrument inputs. There is also a large assignable rotary control for monitoring or output level control that can be applied to one channel, a pair of channels or a larger selection. Dual headphone outputs are included, each with its own volume control.

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TC-Helicon's ( Harmony4 ($995) plug-in for Pro Tools HD can be used to generate up to four-part harmonies, fatten existing harmony tracks and design special vocal effects. Users can create up to four virtual singers with individual gender, vibrato and levels, and various humanization controls can be created from a single vocal track. The interface offers several schemes to simplify the choice of harmony, from automatic scale-based harmony that intelligently follows melismatic singing to MIDI note control, allowing any possible melody to complement the lead vocal. The Pro Tools HD version supports Universal Binary and Windows XP, and runs seamlessly on Digidesign's VENUE live sound console.

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Dirk Brauner Microphones ( are now distributed in North America by Network Pro Marketing (, including the affordable new Phantera ($2,129). This solid-state (FET), German-made studio condenser has a cardioid response, low 11dBA noise spec and a max SPL handling of 142 dB.


This out-of-the-ordinary collection of drum samples from MoReVoX ( bridges the world between loops and real drums by providing both. Elektromorph ($149) offers 32 kicks, 44 snares, 14 tom sets, 94 cymbals, and several other multilayer percussion and effects. The 24-bit samples span styles from pop to hard rock, hip hop to extreme and electronica.

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Designed specifically to fit in tight spots, SSL's ( C100 HD-S (priced per configuration) digital broadcast console promises an enhanced feature set and a significant boost in processing power. The “S” and its larger brother, the C100 HD, also feature the Centuri HD-S, a new, smaller front-loading processor option. The C100 HD-S supports direct control of a DAW via HUI protocol, and features a new low-cost MADI interface and up to 512 fader inputs. The new Version 4 software package supports a high-density processing engine and control surfaces, with access to up to 256 fully featured input channels with full processing capabilities and up to 256 additional short-channel “premix” inputs with fader control, pan capabilities, and access to mono, stereo and 5.1 submix (utility) buses. The C100 HD-S comes in 24+8 fader to 64+8 fader sizes that are expandable in 8-fader increments.

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The Linux-based, fanless Trinity ($999) field recorder from Trinity Audio ( features a 520MHz ARM9 CPU, 128 MB of RAM, two phantom-powered mic preamps (¼-inch/XLR combo inputs), ¼-inch TRS outputs, ¼-inch headphone jack and a 6.5-inch TFT LCD monitor. It operates at up to 24-bit/96kHz, and offers a touch pad-type mouse, four hours of battery life(recording at 24-bit/44.1kHz), a 20GB hard drive, integrated 802.11b/g WiFi and onscreen alpha keyboard.

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The new VXT Series monitors from KRK ( feature proprietary drivers; a curved faceplate; low-resonance, ABS structural foam cabinet designs; extended low end; and slotted ports to reduce port turbulence. All are two-way designs with a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter. Weighing in at 28 pounds, the VXT8 ($799) has an 8-inch Kevlar woofer and 180-watt amp; the VXT6 (25 pounds, $599) features a 6-inch Kevlar woofer and 120W amp, while the VXT4 (11 pounds, $399) has a 4-inch Kevlar woofer and 90W amp. Standard are integrated Omni Mount supports for wall mounting, XLR/TRS combo inputs, shielded cabinets, and high- and low-frequency adjust switches on the VXT6 and VXT8.

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voXover ($375) is a new voice-over automation tool and batch recorder for Mac OS X from Audiofile Engineering ( It's designed for projects such as videogames, speaking dictionary and broadcast work that require a lot of individual audio files to be recorded where a typical multitrack recorder is not feasible. voXover lets users write or import a written script and rapidly automate the recording of that script. The script can be displayed on voXover's teleprompter to the voice talent via a wired or wireless network. Features include the ability to allow users to specify any number of takes per line, create takes based on silence, export takes based on ratings and automatically trim and pad takes when exporting. Supported export formats include AIFF, WAV, Wave Editor, SDII or CAF.

MXL 190

The MXL 190 ($149) cardioid condenser microphone from MXL ( features a 6-micron condenser, pressure-gradient capsule; switchable -10dB pad; 20-20k Hz frequency response; and a champagne-colored finish. It ships with a high-isolation shock-mount and protective metal case. It is available exclusively through Musician's Friend.

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With a name that never stops, the EZQuest ( Thunder Pro RAID Triple Interface external drive is the latest large-capacity storage solution for A/V pros. Ports include two FireWire 800s, one USB 2 and a front-access FireWire 400. It uses the latest Oxford 924 chip set and has three high-performance, 7,200 rpm SATA II drives with up to 16MB cache buffer. It comes pre-configured as RAID 0 and supports multistream video playback with real-time effects and audio. Also standard are a MegLev Smart Fan and thermostat to regulate drive temperature, as well as a smart on/off power switch that automatically turns the drive on/off when it is plugged or unplugged. There's also a warning buzzer for overheating or fan failure. Drives range from 640GB capacity up to 2 terabytes.

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Yamaha digital console owners will want to check out this new mini-YDGAI interface from FiberPlex ( A pair of VIM-MY32 ($1,550) mini-YDGAI interfaces lets users connect directly via fiber to the LightViper fiber-optic audio snake system with 32 audio sends and eight returns (24-bit/48kHz). Various combinations of LightViper MY-32 cards can be used with Yamaha's PM5D, M7CL, DM2000, DM1000 and LS9. Yamaha's control protocol for its AD8HR remote mic preamplifiers is provided through a LightViper “MY card-enabled” fiber connection. The VIM-MY32 interface card modules are available in four configurations: TAC-4FR military-style connectors, non-tactical LC connectors, non-tactical ST connectors and Neutrik OptiCon connectors.


The nio 2|4 interface from Novation ( offers four inputs (XLR mic input, instrument and two RCA line), four RCA outputs, MIDI I/O and a low-latency environment, allowing its effects to be used in real time. The effects include a guitar amp simulator, filters, delay, chorus, phaser, flanger, distortion, EQ, reverb, tremolo and more. The unit connects to any PC or Mac (OS X) via USB, and features two headphone outs and dual 7-segment LED meters.

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Named for its acoustically sensible shape that reduces standing waves,'s new 14 Carat Diamond Series booth is a five-sided enclosure engineered to fit in the corner of a room. The largest booth has the approximate volume of a square 7×7-foot room and comes in single- or double-wall design. Designed with portability in mind, the booth can be assembled and taken down an unlimited number of times, and offers active ventilation, lighting, windows and cable passage. Custom options include a choice in colors, foams, fabrics, windows, wood floors and more. Standard and custom sizes range from 4×4 up to 16×16 feet, with pricing starting at $2,799 (shipping included).


Zaolla (, Hosa's high-end cable line, now features a single and dual ICR RCA-to-RCA audio interconnect ($80/five feet) using the company's solid-silver center conductor. If you've ever had a problem with RCA cables losing their grip on your gear, the ICR can help because there is a turnable ring at each tip that contracts the ring, making for a tighter grip on any RCA connection.