Tools of the Trade

ULTRASONE PRO HEADPHONES Fresh from NAMM are UltraSone's ( new headphone lines. The UltraSone HFI line now includes the HFI 580 and


Fresh from NAMM are UltraSone's ( new headphone lines. The UltraSone HFI line now includes the HFI 580 and 780 models with new S-Logic- Plus™, an enhanced version of S-Logic™ based on the ear cup design of the company's limited-run Edition 9 headphones. HFI features include MU metal shielding, Logic-Plus, an aluminum nameplate and velvet transportation bag. Also, the Elite PRO 550, 650, 750 and 2500 models now all offer an aluminum nameplate, and semi-hard case for storage and transport of headphones and accessories.

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Digidesign's ( new guitar amp — emulation plug-in promises to provide access to a connoisseur's collection of vintage and modern amp sounds. The set offers selected emulations of modern amplifiers and speaker cabinets from Vox, Fender, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie and Soldano, as well as several custom Digidesign creations inspired by some of the most revered amplifier designs. Designers used a variety of techniques to capture cabinet resonance unique to each amp and speaker combination, and modeled speaker load and coupling with the power amp emulating the natural cabinet resonance produced when driving a speaker at different volumes. It is available in TDM ($595) and LE ($395) versions in RTAS and AudioSuite formats.

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Featuring a compact, 8-channel junction box for inputs and terminated with eight Hosa XLR connectors in both 25- and 50-foot lengths, this new sub snake from Hosa ( is targeted for performing and studio musicians. The SH-8X0 is available in both 25-foot ($115) and 50-foot lengths ($150). In addition to the new SH-8X0, the SH Series encompasses the “Little Bro” SH-6X2 sub snake that features six XLR sends and two TRS returns, which may be used as a headphone out and a line out, as well as two separate stereo monitor feeds. Hosa XLR-to-TRS cables may also be used to convert one of the returns to an additional send, creating a 7×1 configuration. The SH-6X2 sub snake is available in 20, 30 and 50-foot lengths. Additionally, the company's SH Series stage boxes include 8, 12, 16, 24 and 32-channel configurations available in lengths ranging from 25 to 150 feet.

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This handheld recorder from Marantz ( offers 24- and 16-bit recording, and features two built-in condenser microphones, stereo or mono recording modes, and a choice of uncompressed 44.1kHz WAV files or three levels of MP3 file compression. The PMD620 ($499) uses an SD Flash memory card for data storage and can accept memory cards up to 2 terabytes. The unit features one-touch recording, familiar transport controls, a thumb-operated scroll wheel and a vivid organic LED (OLED) screen featuring two font sizes. Two AA batteries power the PMD620. Other features include Copy Segment editing, which uses nondestructive cut-and-paste — style editing to create a new sound file; and Skip Back, allowing transcribers to review recorded audio from 1 to 60 previous seconds. Files can be downloaded via the unit's USB 2 port.

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The M-16DX digital production console from Edirol ( features 18 inputs, mixing, 24/96 processing, a 3-band sweepable EQ and three pro-quality effects. When run with the free V. 2 software upgrade, the unit can be used with Cakewalk SONAR and Apple Logic, allowing these DAWs to be controlled out of the box, with the knobs on the hardware mixer assigning to their equivalent software controllers. In Logic, for example, the M-16DX appears in the software's list of compatible controllers and the equivalent controls are tied together automatically once it's selected. The application can also be used to control other software such as Reason and Ableton Live through its MIDI Learn facility. This feature enables any user to make full use of the 54 hardware knobs and numerous assignable buttons on the mixer surface to control the functions of a variety of DAWs and virtual instruments.


The Cedar (dist. by Independent Audio, DNS1000 ($6,974) made its mark by saving otherwise unusable audio for film and TV and audio forensic investigation, saving costs in ADR and looping. Taking the DNS1000 to the next level, the DNS1500 offers an improved chassis and updated processors, coupling the practical ergonomics of the DNS1000 with improved 2-channel performance and up to 100kHz capabilities for increased compatibility in today's audio environments.


MXL's ( new flagship microphone, Genesis ($799) exhibits the clarity and warmth typically associated with tube mics. Designed primarily for vocals, this large-diaphragm cardioid condenser features a 1.2-inch diameter capsule with a 6-micron, gold-sputtered diaphragm and a hand-selected Mullard 12AT7 tube — known for its clean, rich tone and a silky high- end. The mic has a -10dB pad; a 100Hz, 6dB/octave roll-off switch; and operates with 48-volt phantom power. Genesis will be supplied with a power supply, heavy-duty shockmount, and Mogami mic and tube cables housed in a high-quality flight case. Each Genesis mic has a serial number and is supplied with QC verification of excellence documentation.

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This cross-platform (Mac/PC) software solution for hosting Vienna Instruments from Vienna Symphonic Library ( is a free download for all registered users. The application features a mixer-like GUI and supports RTAS, Audio Units and VST plug-in standards. Features include total recall of orchestra setups, definable play ranges for multi-instrument setups, inserts for Audio Units and VST effects plug-ins, and flexible routing. Other features include eight ports with 16 MIDI channels each, panning and Power Panning for precise positioning and instrument naming. For efficient operation, the software offers a separated server solution that uses additional free memory, leaving host sequencer memory or memory used by additional Vienna Instruments plug-ins unaddressed.


Promising lower latency than ever and a mound of new features, this scalable processing card from Fairlight (www.fairlightau .com) offers 8.5 GFLOPS of processing power from a single PCIe card, promising to reduce power consumption from 600 to 12 watts with a 98% reduction in heat generated. The CC-1 leverages advances in FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)-powered processing to execute a vast number of operations in parallel, requiring far fewer cycles when compared to serial processing devices such as CPUs. The unit also boasts FPGA reconfigure on the fly, a technology development that enables its application to reconfigure the hardware during run time. The first released CC-1 engines are capable of delivering 230 channel paths, each with eight bands of EQ, three-stage dynamics processing, floating insert point with return, onboard HD video, 12 auxiliary sends and up to 72 user-definable mix buses.

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Using the AES-42 standard, this 8-channel digital microphone controller from RME ( acts as a power supply and control device for digital microphones using the new standard currently supported by Sennheiser, Neumann and Schoeps, among others. DMC-842 ($3,999) I/O includes AES-42 8x, analog 8x, AES/EBU eight channels at 192k, ADAT eight channels at 96k, MIDI I/O, word clock I/O and optional MADI I/O. Mode 1 permits asynchronous operation via the use of sample rate converters built into the unit. Mode 2 allows microphones to be synchronized. In both modes, control data for adjusting gain, polar patterns, highpass filter and compression settings can be sent to the microphones; further functions are available depending on the individual product. To adjust the various microphone parameters, RME includes a Windows-based software application that communicates with the DMC-842 via MIDI and supports the transfer of MIDI data over MADI and AES/EBU signals. All the main microphone parameters are also directly accessible on the unit.


Optimized for use with Leopard (Mac OS 7.5), FuzzMeasure ( Pro 3 ($150) is an acoustical measurement application featuring a live SPL meter that can be calibrated in the field and then used to produce accurate Sound Pressure vs. frequency graphs. Users can add, average, convolve and correlate measurements to illustrate interactions between multiple systems such as speakers and crossovers. In addition, the software includes the ability to produce group delay and harmonic-distortion graphs for exploring nonlinear behavior in audio systems. Current registered users can upgrade for $75, and users who purchased since June 1, 2007, will receive a free upgrade.

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Featuring onboard D/A conversion using Burr-Brown op amps, these new monitors from SIMS Audio ( feature room-compensation controls and a low-frequency response switch, letting the user adjust the monitors to the listening space. The speakers ($550) support up to a 24-bit/192kHz sample rate, and can accept a wide range of inputs including S/PDIF, RCA, AES/EBU, XLR, TRS or TS. The 14-pound, front-ported monitors feature a 5.25-inch LF driver and 0.75-inch silk-dome tweeter with waveguide and measure approximately 7.5×12×10 inches.

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The new 15-drive Reflex15 from Disc Makers ( features the latest 20x DVD±R/48x CD-R/8x DVD±R DL drives and new load and copy features that greatly speed up the duplication process. The 250GB hard drives with Dynamic Smart Partitioning (DSP) offer hard drive optimization and are housed in a new case that includes strategic air vents to maintain optimized temperatures while duplication is in progress. The tower is scalable from one up to 15 drives and can duplicate 225 CDs or 120 DVDs per hour. Prices: $249 to $1,399.

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These beefy workstations from Systemax ( come standard with an Intel 5000x chipset motherboard and quad-core Intel Xeon processor E5310 1.6GHz CPU; it can be upgraded to the quad-core Intel Xeon processor E5335 at 2.0GHz 1333. The case offers hot-swap drive bays and can be upgraded to 4 GB of fully RAM. Game production types will love the optional NVidia Quardro and ATI Fire GL video cards. Both models will also feature a 20z DVD±RW dual-layer drive, Microsoft Windows XP Professional 32-vit and a 750W SLI-certified power supply. There is also a 15k SAS hard drive solution. Prices: $2,199 to $2,299.