Tools of the Trade

Aug 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.


Just as you'd expect from Apple, the G5 is beyond next-generation. The Apple/IBM-co-designed processor operates at 64 bits, offering 16GB per sec throughput (dual-processor systems) and allows the use of up to 8 GB of RAM. The unit maintains backward-compatibility with current 32-bit code, such as Mac OS X, OS 9 classic environment and existing applications running native at processor speed, which means it will run existing software. The system can be configured with three PCI slots capable of either 64-bit or 32-bit operation and can include PCI-X expansion technology supporting 3.3-volt signaling and 33MHz and 66MHz PCI cards. I/O is impressive, including optical S/PDIF in and out, two USB ports, two FireWire ports (400 and 800) and one 10/100/1,000 BASE-T Ethernet port. There is an extra FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connector on the front of the computer, allowing quick and easy hookup of hard drives and other peripherals without having to crawl behind the unit. To keep things cool, the G5 is sectioned internally into four independently controlled thermal zones. Seven of the nine (!) fans are designed to spin at a low speed for minimum acoustic output. The result is that the new unit runs three times quieter than its predecessor, the G4. Prices start at $1,999. See more at


With the creative production engineer/music-maker in mind, M-Audio ( has shipped a new 14-volume collection of sample CDs. The Sound + Loop Library consists of hip hop, dance, pop, Latin, R&B, rap, drum 'n' bass, techno and world beat sample styles, among others. Each CD delivers more than 400 MB of samples in .AIFF, .WAV, REX2 and ACIDized .WAV formats.


PreSonus ( has released the HP4, a ⅓-rackspace headphone-distribution box for $129.95. The unit can be ganged with other HP4s, and claims a -98dB noise floor with a wide frequency response. It features four discrete headphone outputs on the front panel, accepts ¼-inch TRS balanced or unbalanced inputs, and has dedicated volume controls and a Mono button.


Argosy ( unveiled a new line of hardwood stand-alone rack enclosures that are available in mahogany or black ash. The Spire HS Series top and side panels are made from thick 1¼-inch hardwood and are available in 14- or 28-space bays. Single, double, triple and quad-bay configurations are standard and can include a wide variety of accessories, including front door kits, shelf kits and a dolly system.


Modern production environments can easily become multiplatform computer environments, making monitoring a nightmare. That's where Gefen's ex-tend-it 4×1 DVI/ADC Switcher enters to clear up the picture. It connects four DVI sources to two ADC and/or DVI displays. DVI sources can include any computer equipped with a DVI port. Any DVI- or ADC-equipped display can be used with the Switcher, including Apple's 23-inch Cinema HD Display. The unit is rackmountable, and comes with an infrared remote control. Suggested retail price: $849. Available online at


Disproving the theory that there's no such thing as an ugly baby, the newly born Methods of Mayhem II: Damage Control CD library ( has hit the streets. The evil twin CDs contain numerous disturbing guitar and bass riffs, drum sounds, soundscapes, background noises, squeals, squeaks and more. The set retails for $99, and comes in audio, .WAV and REX formats.


For those who want to swiftly and deeply advance their recording/editing skills, the Digital Music Doctor ( released a new tutorial CD-ROM aimed at Cakewalk Sonar users. The CD targets novice through experienced users, and contains more than 70 minutes of video. The tutorial is broken into nine modules: three on setup; three on MIDI recording/editing; and three covering recording, editing, mixing and loop construction. The CD is priced at $29.95, and is available online.


This modular floor decoupling system is designed to reduce sound and vibration transfer by approximately 6 dB. Using the supplied Velcro strips, several of the 2×2-foot IF2 and/or 1×1-foot IF1 baffles can be quickly assembled into a custom and quiet flooring platform. Units can be stacked and topped with carpet or other flooring products, increasing their effectiveness. Visit for more details.


Digitally challenged broadcasters will be interested in the recently unveiled OctaStream ( family of AES digital audio signal-management products. Designed to cost-effectively address 8-channel audio and the integration of AES and multichannel digital audio into a DTV stream, OctaStream provides unique solutions to the timing, mixing and synchronizing challenges inherent in delivering digital audio. The line consists of the DA5320 Mixer and Subframe Router, the DA5315 Variable-Delay Compensator, the DA5325 Sample-Rate Converter and the SG5605 Audio Reference Generator.


Reaktor Session and Reaktor 4 were unveiled by Native Instruments (, boasting a new look and compatibility with OS X. Reaktor Session gives unlimited access to Reaktor instruments, samplers, effects and live tools. It includes synthesizers and resynthesizers, samplers and beat loopers, groove and drum machines, surround and innovative effects. Reaktor Session also provides access to the ever-growing online library on the Native Instruments Website. Reaktor 4 includes new modules, enhanced functionality, new anti-aliasing oscillators from the Native Instruments PRO-53 and several new filter macros, providing the backbone for a series of samplers and synthesizers.


Aimed at laptop production, this cross-platform, external, audio USB interface operates at up to 24-bit/96 kHz and sports both optical and coaxial S/PDIF connections. I/O includes two analog inputs, six outputs, a MIDI interface, mic input and an amplified headphone output. An unexpected plus is the addition of a phono preamp, allowing a turntable to be connected to the interface. The unit boasts low latency and comes with drivers for Windows XP and Mac OS X. See more at


Applied Acoustics Systems ( announced the release of the RTAS version of the Tassman Sound Synthesis Studio for Pro Tools. Based on AAS' physical-modeling technology, the Tassman is a modular sound-synthesis studio. Included with the software are 50 instruments and over 1,000 presets. Supported platforms include Windows 95/98/2000/XP and Mac OS X and OS 9; drivers include ASIO, DirectX, WDM, Sound Manager and Core Audio. Price: $449 (download).


MOTU ( released the 828mkII, a single-rackspace FireWire audio interface for Macintosh and Windows computers. The new unit operates at 24-bit/96 kHz, and is meant to replace the original 828 at the same price ($795). It offers many improvements including more I/O, 8-bus monitor mixing, stand-alone operation, SMPTE timecode and MIDI I/O.


The phrase “One man's trash is another man's treasure” is definitely true in the case of iZotope's Trash (, a 64-bit effects system provided in the form of a DirectX plug-in. Trash provides over 85 box, cabinet and speaker models, ranging from amp classics to stacks to experimental designs. Features include 45 overdrive and distortion models, 12AX7 tubes, 6L6 tubes, transistors, fuzz, rectifiers and more. Other effects include multiband distortion, sweeping filters and emulations of classic delays that can be used as guitar or general recording effects. System requirements are Pentium II 450 or greater running Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP and a DirectX host application. Price: $199. Head to iZotope's Website to check out the Trash Cookbook, featuring “recipes” for guitar, drum, keyboard and bass presets. A demo version of Trash is also available on the site.

Upgrades and Updates


announced substantial upgrades to its DVD-R product line. Currently only available in Europe, the 1x-4x disc will soon be available in the USA. In addition, the all-new HHB DVD-R4.7GB-G general-type disc claims important performance and operational advantages over conventional DVD-R media. See more at www.hhbusa.comMackie ( announced that APB Tools TH-S Version 2.1 supports the Mackie Control Extender and Baby HUI desktop control surfaces. The Mackie controllers can now act as playlist manager/playback controllers for the Mac-based live broadcast program. For more info on the ABP Tools TH-S program, visit www.apbtools.comE-mu has released V. 2.0 software for its XL-7 and MP-7 Command Stations, as well as the Proteus 2500 Command Module. The new operating system offers nine new performance features, and is immediately available for a free download at www.emu.comLynx Studio Technology has OS X drivers for the LynxTWO and L22 192kHz PCI interface reference audio cards available from its Website, www.lynxstudio.comAMS Neve recently announced the availability of Cedar's Dehiss process for its AudioFile SC platform. Dehiss joins Cedar's Declick and Decrackle, which were ported earlier for the Audio-File platform. For pricing and more details, visit www.ams-neve.comAllen & Heath announced the release of V. 3.1 of its iDR System Manager software. New features include draggable curves for the EQ and dynamics sections, crossover slopes in the output PEQ, and a new cut-and-paste system that allows information to appear on the toolbar. The update is free online at www.allen-heath.comRoland's M-1000 digital line mixer is now OS X-compatible. For more details, visit www.rolandus.comEmagic's Logic Platinum 6.1 is now available for a free download at The newest incarnation of Logic allows it to be used within Pro Tools under OS X. It also provides the full functionality of Emagic's optional ESB TDM and PTHD extensions in Mac OS X…Prosoniq's Orange Vocoder has been upgraded to V. 2.0, providing compatibility with Pro Tools 5.3 and higher and OS X and giving it the ability to receive MIDI. See more at…Latest in a flurry of software updates, TC Works has just shipped Spark XL 2.8. The newest version adds the promised Apple Audio Units support announced in the recent 2.7 upgrade. Other new features provide for user-assignable key commands and support for long file names. Owners of V. 2.7 can download 2.8 for free from

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