Tools of the Trade

DIGIDESIGN PRO TOOLS VERSION 7.4 Pro Tools V. 7.4 from Digidesign ( offers numerous music, post-production and workflow enhancements
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Pro Tools V. 7.4 from Digidesign ( offers numerous music, post-production and workflow enhancements for the Pro Tools HD, LE and M-Powered platforms. Elastic Time lets users easily change the timing and tempo of loops, music, dialog and other sound files in real time without cutting up audio tracks. Also included are improved networking compatibility with Avid Unity ISIS™ shared-storage systems and new support for HD video workflows. A Video Satellite option lets operators easily play Avid video sequences in sync with Pro Tools HD. This eliminates time-consuming video exports and removes all video-processing burdens from the Pro Tools HD system by synchronizing playback with Media Station|PT on a separate, dedicated computer. Upgrades are $49 to $199, depending on the system.

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Designed to upgrade a DAW or studio's front end, the ISA828 ($2,999.99) from Focusrite ( has eight original ISA transformer-based preamps, boasting the same design as the original ISA110 module from the company's Forte console — including the original Lundahl L1538 transformer and custom Zobel network. The two-rackspace unit also features eight line inputs, four instrument inputs and an optional 8-channel, 192kHz A/D converter. I/O is on 25-pin D-type connectors for easy integration with Pro Tools HD, hard disk recorders and mixing desks. Also standard are variable-impedance switches for the preamps, along with insert switches and highpass filters on every channel. LED input channel meters with precise meter trim use the same reference points as Digidesign's HD system and provide clear and accurate input metering independent of the DAW.

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For security-conscious users, the Corsair ( Flash Padlock USB 2 Flash drive offers an auto-locking feature that automatically locks and protects itself after removal from the computer. The affordable unit comes in either 1GB ($29.99) or 2GB ($39.99) versions, and has a 10-digit, user-customizable security PIN via a direct keypad on the front of the unit. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms without the use of additional software.

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M-Audio ( is now shipping its Fast Track™ Ultra ($499.95) high-speed 8x8 audio and MIDI interface. Designed for mobile and desktop production, the unit features USB 2 connectivity, the MX Core™ DSP mixer and four preamps with award-winning Octane™ technology. USB 2 delivers the bandwidth for 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution and is Mac/PC compatible. The MX Core mixer uses eight DSP cores to deliver near-zero latency, effects, up to a 16×8 configuration and sophisticated channel routing matrixing — accessible via an intuitive control panel. Audio connections include six channels of analog I/Os (including four mic preamps and two instrument inputs), inserts on the first two inputs for connecting outboard gear, headphone out and 2-channel digital S/PDIF I/O.


The MM96 ($4,500) programmable switch array and dubbing interface from Brandon McHale Designs ( is placed in the signal path between two 24-track recording/playback devices, a mixing console and patchbay. It allows for instant recall of selected channels from either device to be sent to and returned from the mixing console with the remaining channels from either device being sent to the user points on the patchbay. A Dub feature allows audio to be transfered from one recording device to the other without using a console, with programmable level control of the dub recallable at the touch of a button. A relay matrix handles audio switching with no circuitry in the signal path unless the Dub feature is activated. Eight fixed and eight user memories store favorite settings.

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Promising lower CPU loads while delivering high-quality reverb plug-in performance, Overloud's (dist. by Ilio, Breverb ($399) plug-in for Mac and Windows features hall, room, plate and inverse algorithms. Breverb is available in Audio Units, RTAS and VST formats. Its ambience is modeled after top-notch hardware units with a Motion Control function that promises to add life and musicality to a mix. Also included is a full EQ section to customize Breverb's frequency response, full automation capability through host apps, six fully assignable virtual faders and two different user interface modes titled Compact and Hardware-Like.

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Those seeking low-cost monitors should check out iKEY Audio's ( M Series, which includes the 5-inch, 75-watt M-505 ($219.99); 6.5-inch, 90W M-606 ($269.99); and 8-inch, 125W M-808 ($319.99). All are bi-amplified and mag- shielded, and feature an MDF cabinet with radiused edges, red woven-glass aramid fiber-composite woofer and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter. It has XLR, TRS and RCA I/O connectors, and each monitor features volume control and adjustable HF cut/boost. An optional M-10s subwoofer (10-inch, 175W) is $419.99, and features a built-in crossover, pass-through capability for direct connection to the monitors, TRS/XLR/RCA inputs and a 35-150Hz response.


db audioware ( offers a free online tutorial on sidechain compression, presenting a step-by-step introduction to two of the most popular applications of this useful technique, often used for de-essing, voice ducking or in dance-music production to open up space for drum loops and let the mix breathe. The video features db audioware's latest Sidechain Compressor plug-in, which operates in the same way as any other sidechain, whether or not the software offers native sidechain support.

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Netgear's ( Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a dedicated hard disk-based storage system for connection directly to a computer network, providing centralized data access to multiple network clients. It features automated RAID management with volume expansion, letting users easily scale from one to four disks and beyond. Also onboard is a Gigabit Ethernet interface with native support for Windows, Mac and Linux/Unix clients, as well as FTP and HTTP support. Built-in system monitoring with SNMP, e-mail alerts and automatic online firmware updates provide system confidence (on- or off-site). The compact, 8x6-inch desktop unit comes bundled with five-client EMC Retrospect backup/recovery software for Windows and ReadyNAS for Macintosh. The cost for 1 TB (4x 250 GB) of storage is $1,099.


In today's studio, clean clocking is a good thing, and the $425 MicroClock from Black Lion Audio ( may be just the ticket. The MicroClock uses discrete, Class-A MOSFET inverters to maintain clock signal purity and drive cable loads, and is just 4x1x3 inches (WxHxD). It works with any interface that has a 75-ohm BNC word clock input, and is capable of driving three 75-ohm BNC cables and generating sampling frequencies from 44.1-192k Hz.


Guitar Rack Volume 2 from Puremagnetik ( is immediately playable out of the box and offers more than 60 high-quality loops, riffs and phrases of acoustic guitar, customized for Ableton Sampler, Kontakt 2 and EXS-24. Ableton Live users can take advantage of Live Clips with integrated macro controls. Kontakt users can instantly load loops in .nki format with full KSP editing functions, while Logic and GarageBand users can take advantage of these sounds in Apple Loops format. Basic access to Puremagnetik's Micropak catalog is $5.75/month or $150/year.

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SONIFEX RB-SC2 converter

Sonifex (dist. by Independent Audio, expands its Redbox range with the RB-SC2 single-rackspace, dual-sample rate converter, a $1,150 unit with S/PDIF (co-ax and optical) and balanced AES/EBU digital I/Os. It can clock internally or externally at up to 192 kHz/24-bit, and run two independent sample rate conversion circuits that use a common clock source to set the output sample rate. A special X-Lock mode allows the unit to function as a fully bi-directional sample rate converter with the output of the first sample rate converter synchronizing the input of the second, and vice versa, so they follow each other.


For getting your digital ducks in a row, there's nothing more elegant than a digital snake. I/ONE Connects ( offers multichannel audio transportation up to 1,640 feet along a single, lightweight fiber-optic cable. The mLAN-compatible snake ($9,996) operates from 44.1-192 kHz, and comes with four stereo AES or S/PDIF I/Os, eight channels of ADAT I/O, 16 channels of analog I/O (externally switchable +4/-10 dBu) and word clock I/O. The snake features the DICE II Fire Wire chip with JetPLL jitter-elimination technology from TC Applied Technologies. Latency is only 0.35 ms, regardless of the number of devices connected. Other features include RS-232 control, fiber-optic and dual 9-pin Fire Wire connectors, and patchbay software for Windows XP.


Metal drummer John Tempesta (Testament, Rob Zombie, Helmet) has released a new heavy metal/rock/alt/industrial set for Submersible Music ( DrumCore/DrumCore LT. The DrumCore search engine provides quick access to grooves, fills, variations and individual drum sounds with search content based on feel (straight, shuffle, etc.), time signature and tempo. Users can even add their own search criteria, such as new styles or comments. All audio loops and drum kit content are 48 kHz/24-bit. The set is priced at $79.99, and requires DrumCore (V. 2 or higher) or the free DrumCore LT, downloadable from the company's site.

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Cue 5 from Hosa ( is an $899 monitoring system designed for the desktop recordist. These 30W powered speakers combine a 5.25-inch woofer and 1.5-inch silk-dome tweeter with analog (RCA or XLR) or digital I/O at 24-bit/96 kHz via optical or coaxial S/PDIF inputs. The included Mac/PC control software offers 6-band parametric EQ with bypass, independent volume, bass, treble, mute, left/right balance and programmable auto-fade-in/out. Eight user memories can store configurations and provisions for system access via Ethernet or RS-232. Frequency response is stated as 65-20k Hz.


Several entries were inadvertently omitted from the large studio monitor article (“Livin' Large”) in the November 2007 Mix. Here's what you missed.

Offered on a built-to-order basis, the High Output Series from Hot House Audio ( lives up to its name, with available configurations having up to 20,000W of power for max SPLs in the 150dB range. The SD312 system combines a 12-inch Dual-Concentric driver with three 12-inch woofers, with the SB412 sub adding another four 12-inch woofers per side. Passive, bi/tri/quad-amped versions are possible, as are optional 2×15 or 2×18 subwoofers. System pricing begins around $40,000. Also available is the HOS 115, featuring a 15-inch midrange driver, a wide-dispersion horn/HF compression driver, and a single-15, double-15 or double-18 subwoofer — all offered on a custom basis.

Part of the Linear Spatial Reference monitor line from JBL Professional (, the LSR6332 is a passive, three-way design with a 12-inch Differential Drive neodymium woofer, 5-inch cone neodymium midrange and titanium-dome tweeter on an Elliptical Oblate Spheroidal waveguide. The MF/HF sub-baffle is rotatable for horizontal or vertical orientation, and the drivers are mag-shielded. Response is stated as 60-22k Hz, but paired with JBL's LSR6312P powered subwoofer bandwidth extends to 28 Hz. The LSR6312P also includes RMC (Room Mode Correction) and integral bass management for surround use. For more LF, several LSR6312Ps can be combined or the 4645C 18-inch woofer is offered.