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EM News January 2003

January 22, 2003
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EM News - January 16 - 31, 2003

New products, software updates, and more. . .
One of the most talked about items at the show was the Open Labs OpenSyntheKo, which marries a Windows-based Pentium 4 computer, a pianokeyboard, and four control modules (the version on display included anASCII keyboard, a module of knobs, and a module of sliders). OpenSynthoffers a frightening amount of expandability, and a number of thirdparties are interested in creating custom modules for the system. We'llbe keeping an eye on this one.

Alesis showed anumber of new items at the show. The Ion is a 49-key analog-modelingsynth that offers 8-voice polyphony (three oscillators and twomultimode filters per voice), a vocoder, and effects. The ProActive 5.1System is a complete surround monitoring system for the personalstudio. It comes with a digital decoder and digital and analog I/O andis priced under $500. The ProLinear 720DSP active studio referencemonitor includes a serial interface that allows you to use a computerto control up to 16 monitors. The monitors have built-in a digitalcrossover and parametric EQ, so you can tweak the sound of the monitorto fit the monitoring environment.

Audio-Technica introduced the AT3060, aphantom-powered tube microphone at a very low price point. Thelarge-diaphragm AT3060 has a cardioid pattern and a frequency responseof 50 Hz to 16 kHz; it can handle sound-pressure levels up to 134dB.

BlueMicrophones introduced the Ball, the first phantom-powered (48V)dynamic microphone. The attractive, softball-shaped mic has a cardioidpattern, a frequency response of 35 Hz to 16 kHz, and a maximum SPLrating of 146 dB. Blue says that phantom power allows the Ball tomaintain a constant resistance load, which results in a smooth and opensound.

It was exciting to finally see and hear Creamware's Noah at thisyear's show. The 2U device offers synth modeling, effects processing, aUSB interface, and a convenient software editor for Windows (a Macversion is on the way). Noah includes six instruments: Minimax,Creamware's virtual Minimoog; a reproduction of the Sequential CircuitsPro-One; the B-2003 drawbar organ; the Vectron Player, modeled afterthe Sequential Circuits Prophet VS; Lightwave, a wavetable synth; andSix-String, a plucked-string modeling module.

Event unveiledplenty of new monitors, including the Tuned Reference 8XL biampeddirect-field monitor system and powered and unpowered versions of theStudio Precision 8 monitors. The Studio Precision 8s, the higher-endsystem, sounded great on the show floor.

Eventideannounced the Clockworks Legacy plug-in collection for the DigidesignPro Tools HD. Clockworks Legacy includes five reproductions of classicEventide effects: the H910 (its first harmonizer), H949 (a so-calleddeglitched pitch changer), Instant Phaser (a swept filter bank with twooutputs that are 180 degrees out of phase from one another), InstantFlanger (an analog flanger), and Omnipressor (which offered compressionand expansion simultaneously).

Focusritedisplayed the ISA 428 Pre Pack, which puts four Rupert Neve-designedFocusrite ISA-series mic preamps in a single device. Each of thetransformer-based preamps offers switchable impedance, DI inputs, aSoft Limiter circuit, phase button, phantom power, inserts, andmetering. The ISA 428 can be ordered with an optional 8-channel 192 kHzA/D converter.

MOTU unveiled itssoftware sampler plug-in, MachFive, which is dual-platform (Mac/Win)and will be available for MAS, RTAS, VST, AU, HTDM, and DXi. Thecompany says that MachFive will import files in WAV, Acid, AIFF, SDII,REX, Akai, Kurzweil, SampleCell, EXS24, HALion, Roland, Em-u, Giga, andCreamware formats. Whew! It will also offer support for sample rates upto 192 kHz and the ability to import and playback multichannel samplesin surround.

Novationunveiled a few tasty goodies as well. The V-station is a virtual analogVST synth plug-in (Mac/Win), based on the company's K-Station synth,that offers eight voices per instance. Novation also announced the KSRack, a rackmountable (and table-top) version of the KS-4/KS-5 familyof polyphonic synths; and ReMOTE 25, a battery-powered MIDI controllerwith USB connectivity that can be used to control Mac- andWindows-based digital-audio sequencers.

Roland showeda number of excellent new products. The V-synth gathers many ofRoland's proprietary technologies (for example, VariPhrase and COSM)into one keyboard instrument. The instrument's TimeTrip pad was ashowstopper, and EM will be checking it out in greater depth very soon.Roland also showed the Fantom-S and Fantom-S88 workstations, which addsampling and other new features to this popular product; VariOScombines a 1U DSP module with a software complement that can be usedfor audio manipulation or phrase playback; the SPD-S is an electronicdrum pad that offers 9 zones and the ability to sample.

Zvex, a companythat specializes in innovative boutique stomp boxes, released the NanoHead under its new ZVex Amps line. The Nano Headis a diminutive tube guitar amp, approximately the size of a pack ofcards, that you can plug directly into your speaker cabinet. It sportsa pair of tiny tubes but offers a very big sound.

For information about more new products, check out EM's online NAMM-show report.

Calendar
Theannual South by SouthwestMusic and Media Conference (SXSW) will take place March 12 through16, 2003, in Austin, Texas. SXSW consists of a trade show, conference,and music festival with hundreds of bands participating. This year'skeynote speaker at the conference will be producer Daniel Lanois, andother speakers and panelists will include record executives, musicjournalists, and label owners. Performers will include LucindaWilliams, Camper Van Beethoven, Willie Nelson, and many more. Visit theSXSW site for moredetails and registration info.

Shure's Needlz.com is holdingthe DJ Biology contest. The contest will be judged by John Acquaviva,and the prizes include the chance to make a white-label record, ameeting with John Acquaviva, and a trip to the 2003 Winter MusicConference in Miami, Florida. Shure will also outfit the winning artistwith a phono-gear prize package. Begin by filling out the onlineregistration form.

EM News - January 1 - 15, 2003
New products, software updates, and more. . .

Bitheadz hasintroduced Unity Synth Expander 1, a suite of synth plug-ins that willrun with the company's Unity Session, Unity DS-1, and Retro AS-1applications; as a standalone application; or with audio programs suchas Digidesign Pro Tools, MOTU Digital Performer, Steinberg Cubase, andEmagic Logic. The new plug-ins include FM-1, an 8-operator FMsynthesizer; BR-1 for physically modeled brass sounds; EP-1 forphysically modeled piano sounds; GL-1 for physically modeledglottal/vocal sounds; VS-1 Vector synth; and WS-1 Wave Sequencer.

Emagic's CoreAudio drivers for Audiowerk 8 and Audiowerk 2 now run on Mac OS X 10.2Visit the Emagic Web site for a free download.

GmediaMusic is now shipping the Oddity, a VSTi reproduction of the ARPOdyssey duophonic synth. Developed with Ohm Force, the plug-in offers two syncableoscillators (tunable across a 6-octave range), with sawtooth, sine,square, and variable-pulse-width waveforms; white and pink noise;monophonic or duophonic modes; a host-syncable LFO; a ring modulator; aresonant lowpass filter; a highpass filter; sample and hold;portamento; and two envelope generators. The boxed version of theOddity comes with a printed manual and five banks of 64 Presets. Thecompany is also working on AU, MAS, and RTAS versions of theinstrument.

Kid Nepro'sElite-2 Vintage Synths offers sounds from numerous classic synths,including the Moog Minimoog; ARP 2600, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5and Prophet VS; Oberheim OB8, Matrix-12, and Xpander; Roland Jupiter-8;Synclavier; Fairlight; Mellotron; and Yamaha DX7. All of the programsare multisampled and keymapped across the keyboard, and the programset-ups are compatible with any hardware or software sampler that readsAkai S-Series programs.

Line 6 hasintroduced the AM4 Amp Modeler, the latest in its popular line ofmodeling stompboxes. The AM4 lets you dial up models of classicamplifiers, including the Fender Twin Reverb, the Marshall Valvestate,the Roland JC-120, and 13 others. The stompbox features mono in and outoperation, four programmable presets, true bypass switching, anexpression pedal input; and controls for Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, andVolume.

M-Audio willshow three new USB (Mac/Win) interfaces at the NAMM show. The MobilePreUSB is a 2-channel mic/instrument preamp that is powered from the USBbus, making it ideal for field recording and other laptop-based mobilerecording situations. The MobilePre USB offers two balanced XLRmicrophone connectors with switchable +48V phantom power, 1/8-inch ministereo microphone jacks, and two balanced 1/4-inch TRS instrument/lineinputs. The OmniStudio USB is an audio/MIDI studio interface with24-bit, 96 kHz capabilities, an onboard mixer, and numerous connectionsfor auxiliary I/O, effects sends/returns, and monitoring. OmniStudioUSB is designed for both mobile and desktop operation and includesdetachable rack-mount ears. The Audiophile USB is also an audio/MIDIinterface with 24-bit, 96 kHz capabilities that features two analogline-level inputs (unbalanced 1/4-inch and RCA), two line-level analogaudio outputs (RCA), S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O, and a 1/4-inchheadphone output.

Mackie Designshas released a software upgrade for its Digital 8-Bus (d8b) recordingconsole. Version 5.0 includes an updated graphical user interface forimproved navigation, a HUI emulation layer, surround monitoringcontrol, and the ability to daisy chain plug-ins. Version 5.0 is a freeupgrade to anyone who purchased a d8b after November 15, 2002.

MarchandElectronics has released the PM48, a 2x12W stereo amplifieradapter, which fits directly into your computer's unused PC slot andconnects directly to your soundcard with a single cable. The PM48requires an internal 12V power supply and offers connections forstandard home loudspeakers. The company offers a 3-year warranty overparts and labor.

Planet Wavesoffers a cable that allows for noiseless plugging and unplugging ofelectric instruments. The Circuit Breaker Cable includes a button thatshorts the signal to ground, making it possible to unplug and replugthe cable noiselessly. When the button is pushed again, the cablereturns to normal operation.

Steinberg'snew digital audio-editing software for the project studio, WaveLabEssential, is designed for stereo and multitrack editing, mastering,broadcast, multimedia, and sound design. Steinberg will unveil a numberof new products at the NAMM show, including a virtual instrument rackcalled V-Stack; the VSL 2020, which the company describes as anultra-low-latency ASIO soundcard for playing VST instruments; VirtualGuitarist Electric Edition; HALion String Edition; and Nuendo 2.0.

TC Works hasannounced Spark XL 2.7, which supports Mac OS X (and discontinuessupport for Mac OS 9) and adds direct CD-burning capabilities. Thecompany says that support for Apple Audio Unit plug-ins is forthcomingwith a free update to registered Spark XL users. Spark XL 2.6 users canget a free update to version 2.7 from the TC Works Web site.

Universal Audioreleased three new versions of its SmartCode Pro TDM plug-ins, whichare all now compatible with Digidesign's Pro Tools|HD format. TheSurround Encoders for DTS and Dolby DVD have been upgraded along withthe DTS CD version.

Calendar
Those attending this year's NAMM convention in Anaheim on January 16through 19 might be lucky enough to win a C 900 microphone from AKG Acoustics. Themicrophone maker will have drawings twice daily at its booth (except onSunday, January 19, when they'll have only one). Registration for thedrawings will take place at the AKG booth.

The annual South bySouthwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) will take place March12 through 16, 2003, in Austin, Texas. SXSW consists of a trade show,conference, and music festival with hundreds of bands participating.This year's keynote speaker at the conference will be producer DanielLanois, and other speakers and panelists will include recordexecutives, music journalists, and label owners. Performers willinclude Lucinda Williams, Camper Van Beethoven, Willie Nelson, and manymore. Visit the SXSWsite for more details and registration info.

SennheiserElectronic Corporation and Future Sonics are offering free ear impressionsduring Winter NAMM 2003 at the Sennheiser booth, #6555. A licensedaudiologist will be making ear impressions every other hour on Friday,Saturday, and Sunday during regular trade show hours on a first-comefirst-served basis. Once the impression is made, it is sent to a labfor final casting. There is no charge for this service (a $50 value).As a special incentive to those having impressions made, Future Sonicshas assembled "NAMM Show Only" specials for various custom ear productsincluding Sennheiser IE-3 Universal Ear Phones or Future Sonics' CustomEar Plugs or Personal Monitors.

Shure's Needlz.com is holdingthe DJ Biology contest. The contest will be judged by John Acquaviva,and the prizes include the chance to make a white-label record, ameeting with John Acquaviva, and a trip to the 2003 Winter MusicConference in Miami, Florida. Shure will also outfit the winning artistwith a phono-gear prize package. Begin by filling out the onlineregistration form.

The House EarInstitute and Shure will provide free hearing screenings toattendees and exhibitors at the 2003 NAMM Show. The screenings willtake place at the back of Hall E from Thursday, January 16 throughSunday, January 19, beginning one hour before the show opens. Acertified OSHA technician conducts the screenings and a licensedaudiologist from the House Ear Institute is on hand to counselparticipants on their confidential screening results.

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