Tools of the Trade

Jun 1, 2003 12:00 PM


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.


Native Instruments' ( new Vokator plug-in bows to both the old and the new, mimicking a retro vocoder while doubling as an advanced synth and granular sampler. Vokator boasts 1,024 frequency bands balanced by an integrated multiband compressor, and loads both .WAV and .AIFF file formats. It works in both Windows (98/2000/ME/XP) and Mac (OS 9.2/OS 10.2.2) formats, and supports VST, MAS, AU, DXi II, Core Audio, DirectSound, SoundManager and OMS. Price: $299.


Harrison ( unveils its new flagship film console, the MPC3-D, which is available as a completely new unit or can be fitted into an existing MPC frame to minimize downtime. The 3-D features many new upgrades, one of the most interesting being the introduction of Harrison's own plug-ins, including a de-esser, camera noise filter, bus limiter, leveled EQ and crossover EQ. Other upgrades include 16-wide panning per channel, full 40-bit signal processing, expanded dynamics, upgraded digital engine capable of up to 192k operation and much more.


Of interest to DAW owners looking to upgrade their AD/DA signal path is Rosetta 800, Apogee Electronics' ( latest multichannel converter. The unit has eight channels of 24-bit AD/DA conversion operating at up to 96 kHz with a 192kHz option available. In addition, there are eight channels of AES and ADAT I/O, a unique channel selector for flexible signal routing and the company's acclaimed Soft Limit and UV22HR processing. An optional FireWire card offers OS X and Windows XP compatibility.


Just like RealTraps' ( top-of-the-line wood panels, the new, more affordable MiniTraps are designed to address acoustic problems in project studios. MiniTraps are 2×4 feet, 3¼ inches thick and weigh only 15 pounds for easy mounting via simple hardware that does not leave permanent wall damage. The company offers free advice on placing the portable Fiberglas traps and claims a combination of its products can achieve superb acoustic performance for under $3,000 per room. Price: $199.95/each.


Offering a midprice solution to DAW control, Tascam's ( expandable FW-1884 Audio/MIDI Interface provides eight 100mm moving faders, one master fader and dedicated controls, as well as eight balanced XLR analog mic/line inputs, phantom power and inserts on every channel. Communicating at FireWire bandwidth, the FW uses 24-bit/96kHz ADCs and DACs for full 96kHz operation on all analog I/O channels with compatible DAW software. An FE-8 expander offers eight more 100mm faders and dedicated control knobs to the FW mother unit. Price: FW-1884, $1,599; FE-8, $1,249.


3D Audio (, creator of mic and preamp shoot-out CDs, releases its latest comparison CD. The DAW SUM Sampler compares 29 DAW and analog mixing platforms using identical source files and levels. A varied, prestigious group of testers, all listening blindly, were sampled for the test using 24-bit, 48kHz stereo .WAV files. The test fell into two groups: one at unity gain and the other with fader volume changes on the individual channels and stereo master fader. Price: $24.95, plus S&H.


Strictly for Mac OS X, Peak 4 from BIAS ( offers a new look and numerous upgrades. Peak 4 now supports Audio Unit plug-ins, multi-processor support, Red Book CD burning from within the Peak application, and a host of new DSP tools, including Squeez, a high-end, dynamic compressor/limiter VST plug-in. Other enhancements include a dynamic envelope control added to the time compression/expansion, add and mix functions, and allowing users to control the effect of these processes over time. The new interface offers expanded customization options and the ability to create a truly custom work surface. Price: $499.


Steinberg's ( new USB Nuendo controller, Steinberg Input Device, offers 24 channels of direct access to the DAW, showing track names and current status of important parameters. The surface has 12 faders in two layers, 40 continuously variable encoders with buttons, a fine-tune function, weighted jog dial, ASCII keyboard, 50mm trackball and 380 backlit buttons. There's also a meter bridge with 30 segment meters for 24 channels and eight master channels, 52 LCDs and nearly 2,000 LEDs. Additional options to consider: an upholstered armrest and mahogany paneling.


Pro Tools LE users who want more features should check out Digidesign's ( DV Toolkit for Pro Tools LE. It features timecode-accurate editing, new file import/export capability and a bundle of new plug-ins, including the popular Synchro Arts Vocalign audio-alignment/lip-sync tool and Digi's DINR AudioSuite Noise Reduction plug-in. In addition, with the bundled DigiTranslator 2.0 software, LE users can now import/export both AAF and OMF files. It's $995, with a limited-time introductory price of $795.


Symetrix intros Studio Matrix, its latest system under the AirTools ( brand. Built on the Symetrix SymNet Audio Matrix technology, systems are configured by networking up to 15 redundant pairs of specialized, single-rackspace, DSP-driven devices into a matrix. This allows maximum flexibility for hundreds of input and output signals to be brought into the systems and routed via mixers, selectors and/or crosspoint matrix/mixers up to 32×32 (stereo). Interconnection between devices is facilitated by robust, low-latency audio bus technology that allows routing between any two (or more) points in the system, completely on demand.


Cycling '74 ( releases radiaL 1.0. This loop-based composition/performance tool for the Mac platform features a unique interface that is optimized for playing live. The program is based on loop channels represented by circular displays, each with its own performable multifilter and pitch shifting/time scaling. This versatile system can be controlled from a variety of sources (control surfaces, MIDI, keyboard or mouse) and is configurable for live performance, studio recording or sound design. radiaL features multichannel audio I/O support and works with all major audio file formats and I/O standards. As a bonus, radiaL includes VST plug-in effects from the Pluggo collection and a tempo-synchronized filter/delay. Price is $249 packaged $239 download.


Now available in the U.S., the Evolution ( UC-33 is a USB controller for use with DAWs, MIDI sequencers and software. User-assignable controls include 24 rotary knobs and nine faders, along with a transport control and LCD screen showing controller assignments. Its 33 presets offer instant control of virtual instruments and host apps, ranging from Cubase SX to Propellerhead Reason to Native Instruments B4; the UC-33 comes with custom overlay skins marked with parameters of popular programs. The Class-compliant UC-33 doesn't require installing drivers with Windows XP or Mac OS X. Price: $329.95.


Minnetonka Audio Software ( announces a major upgrade to its SurCode Dolby Digital (AC-3) software encoder. Significant new features include: Batch mode encoding, which allows groups of audio files to be AC-3-encoded easily, even unattended; timecode, which allows the user to specify the encoded file starting timecode in the file header; auto-naming and auto-destination, which allow the encoder to automatically name files and set destination folders for encoding (including Batch mode); command line encode, which allows other software programs to control the encoder; built-in decoder, which allows confidence playback of the encoded AC-3 files. SurCode Dolby Digital Version 2 remains at the previous MSRP of $995, with upgrades to registered users priced at just $99. Visit for more information.

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