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Tools of the Trade, August 2008

NEUMANN TLM 67 MICROPHONE Based on Neumann's ( own workhorse mic from the '60s, the TLM 67 incorporates the same K 67 capsule used


Based on Neumann’s ( own workhorse mic from the ’60s, the TLM 67 incorporates the same K 67 capsule used in the original and a new circuit design that promises to closely reproduce the sound characteristics of the classic U67, without the use of tubes. Aesthetically, the mic offers a dual color design and a 3-D emblem embossed with the likeness of Georg Neumann. The mic switches between omni, cardioid and figure-8, and features a selectable 10dB pad and highpass filter. Prices: $3,459 with wooden box; or $3,859 with wooden box, shock-mount, windscreen and cable.


TL Audio’s ( Ebony Series A4 ($1,599) 16:2 summing mixer, housed in a two-rackspace unit, features 16 balanced inputs on TRS jack and D-Sub connectors with individual pan controls and brightly lit stereo analog VU meters. The box features LEDs for stereo peak, tube drive, insert on and power, and high-gloss alloy knobs that contrast with the black-ebony faceplate. All inputs are switchable between +4 and -10; an optional tube stage on the master bus lets users dial in the exact amount of tube effect desired across the mix. Insert points on the stereo master bus section are balanced, expediting the use of stereo processors.


Thomas Baudel, a French researcher in Computer Science and Human Computer Interaction, released HighC (, a new graphical music-creation software tool providing easy access to advanced audio synthesis. In HighC, users draw sounds on a continuous time/frequency diagram that looks like a musical score. The interface uses familiar graphical operations such as move/resize, copy/paste and group to produce rapidly complex audio effects or full compositions. Sounds remain as individual objects that can be edited and transformed with each other at will. A free entry-level version limits playback to 22 kHz; the $46.40 pro version provides access to higher playback rates and standard file-format export options. Be sure to listen to some original sample compositions at


CharterOak Acoustic Devices ( offers this small-diaphragm, front-address vacuum tube condenser, which uses the same cardioid, hypercardioid and omni capsules that ship with the M900 transformerless mic. The M900T ($1,299) features a two-step sensitivity switch (0 dB and -15 dB) and 75Hz bass roll-off (6 dB per octave), and ships in a metal flight case that includes three capsules, Gotham Audio cables, power supply, shock-mount and mic clip.


The latest update of discWelder Steel from Minnetonka Audio (, Version 3 ($595) offers a subset of features from the company’s authoring application, discWelder CHROME II, which was recently used to author the latest DVD-A release from Ringo Starr, Ringo 5.1. New features include DSD import, PCM conversion, Red Book CD burning and Auto-Mirror, which takes audio stored in the DVD-Audio zone and automatically creates or “mirrors” a Dolby Digital-encoded surround program, producing a fully compatible DVD disc that can be played back in any DVD-Video player.


This new multichannel I/O box from PreSonus ( is a 32-input, 32-output, 24-bit/96k Lightpipe-to-FireWire computer recording system. The cross-platform FireStudio ($699) lets users convert up to 32 channels of ADAT or SMUX optical Lightpipe I/O via FireWire. Features include MIDI I/O, balanced TRS main outputs with volume control and headphone out with volume control, and it works with Cubase, Logic, Nuendo, SONAR, Digital Performer and other DAWs. JetPLL jitter-elimination technology allows ultratight synchronization and improved imaging and clarity, along with a 34×4 DSP matrix mixer, enabling dual zero-latency stereo monitor mixes. The front panel sports LED meters for visual monitoring of all signals.


Without raising prices, Yamaha ( updated the 01V96VCM ($2,499) and 02R96VCM ($10,299) digital mixing consoles to include a variety of new processing options. Previously available as add-on effect packages, the VCM Channel Strip processors and REV-X reverb are now standard features on the boards. Processors include classic compression and EQ units from the ’70s, simulations of several legendary analog open-reel tape decks, a complete suite of REV-X reverb effects, a high-quality surround post-production package and a selection of vintage stomp boxes.


The 896mk3 ($1,295) FireWire I/O box from MOTU ( works cross-platform (Mac/PC) and features onboard effects and mixing. Connectivity is via eight mic/line XLR/TRS combo jacks offering hi-Z instrument inputs for a total of 28 inputs and 32 outputs. Other features include operation up to 192 kHz, signal-overload protection, 32-bit floating-point DSP for mixing and effects processing, and two banks of configurable optical I/O. The two-rackspace box lets the user apply no-latency effects processing to inputs, outputs or buses directly in the 896mk3 hardware, independently of the computer. Effects can even be applied when the 896mk3 is operating stand-alone as a complete rackmounted mixer. Effects include reverb, parametric EQ and compression/limiting, and can be applied on every input and output (a total of 60 channels), with enough DSP resources for at least one band of parametric EQ and compression on every channel (48 kHz).


The PD-915R-M ($213.84) is the new, advanced version of Middle Atlantic’s ( 15-amp rackmount power unit, which provides power to nine outlets and monitors eight important parameters. The UL-listed device indicates total system load on a front-mounted LCD screen and is protected by the company’s signature surge and spike protection, which does not pass noise to ground. Real-time power quality information includes voltage, current, watts, VA, frequency, power factor, KWh and run time.


RØDE ( is offering a new suite of products that are designed to work with RØDE’s own NTG-1, NTG-2 and NTG-3 mics, as well as any shotgun mic with a diameter of 19-20 mm or 21-22.5 mm. It includes the PG1 Cold Shoe Pistol Grip and RØDE PG2 Pistol Grip shock-mount. Also for use with shotgun mics, the companion RØDE WS6 and WS7 deluxe windshields are made of an open-cell foam inner core with an artificial fur outer. The WS7 will fit any shotgun with a maximum slot length of 186.5 mm (7¼-inch) and a diameter of 19-20 mm.


Upping the ante in the power department, Bag End ( has added some additional juice to its signature subwoofer. The all-new, digital P-500 ($2,130) amplifier boasts greater power and stability and is based on the Minima One pro digital amp series. Incorporated into both the Infrasub-12 and Infrasub-18 Home and Pro Series versions, the P-500 reduces weight and heat, and promises clarity all the way down to 8 Hz.


Zaxcom’s ( new high-resolution audio mixer and recorder, Fusion ($7,995), is a lightweight and power-efficient unit with no moving parts. The multitrack recorder stores audio on two redundant CompactFlash cards and includes an integrated, lockable touchscreen interface that provides access to all of the system’s mixing and recording functions. Four balanced AES inputs with sample rate conversion allow eight channels of audio to come from four different devices with varying sample rates or unlocked sample rate clocks. Fusion can mix 16 inputs to eight output buses for recording up to eight tracks. The system also works as a FireWire bus master to control and supply power to external hard drives or DVD-RAM drives. An optional effects package features a soft-knee compressor, highpass filter, delay and 3-band EQ with peak or shelving filters. The system includes six filters per channel, with frequency-selectable highpass filters included and optional EQ and notch filters.


Taking off in a more “variable” style where its cardioid-only big brother, Phanthera, leaves off, Brauner ( introduces the Phanthera V, offering cardioid, omni and figure-8 patterns, and a switchable -10dB pad. It ships with a shock-mount and case.


Giving would-be rock gods more opportunities to shred inside the box, Prominy ( offers the SC Electric guitar, a software guitar instrument that replicates the sound of the Fender Stratocaster and includes more than 64 Gigabytes across 123,000 samples. The $399 package includes Kontakt Player 2 and offers real-time playability, reproduction of all five pickup positions, pre-loaded chord samples, auto-stroke detection, feedback, double-tracking and drop-tuned samples (from low C to low D-sharp). For more realism, the sounds are sampled at all fret positions on every string, while picking noises are recorded in multiple forms on all frets and strings.


Promising the first MIDI and audio LAN solution that works universally on Macs and PCs, the Vienna Symphonic Library ( team has released Vienna Ensemble 3 (95 Euros). Developed for exclusive use with Vienna Instruments, VE3 can host numerous Vienna Instruments plug-ins on any number of slave machines and route all of those audio streams back to the main machine via an Ethernet cable. All computing (including GUI rendering) and hard disk streaming is done on the slave machine(s), preserving the master computer’s CPU resources. The software also includes a stand-alone mode allowing the user to run VE3 and the sequencer or notation software on the same computer. Plug-in formats include RTAS (Mac PPC and Intel), Audio Units (Mac PPC and Intel) and VST (PC, Mac PPC and Intel). VE3 has reportedly been tested with Cubase, Digital Performer, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sibelius and SONAR.