Tools of the Trade

Dec 1, 2003 12:00 PM


This new 12-bay InfoStation from Storcase ( lets you store data on inexpensive and fast SATA or PATA drives and communicate it via a U160 SCSI port to the host. It includes a high-performance RAID controller that supports levels 0, 1, 0+1, 3 and 5. There is also a 5.25-inch peripheral bay that can accommodate a tape drive for backups. The unit exceeds today's drive manufacturers' power, cooling and rotational vibration requirements. Price: $5,421.


Aviom's ( flexible, modular system uses a trio of products to build a 24-bit/48kHz (fixed) multichannel digital distribution line across a single standard Cat-5 cable. The AN-16/i Input Module, the AN-16/o Output Module and the A-16SB System Bridge use Aviom's proprietary A-Net protocol, which boasts less than one millisecond of latency from analog input to analog output. A maximum 64-channel audio transfer is possible in either direction and can be arranged in a number of creative configurations. Cable lengths between each system component can be up to 500 feet long, and the snake can be integrated into Aviom's A-16 Personal Monitor Mixing System. Price: AN-16/i Input Module, $899.95; AN-16/o Output Module, $899.95; A-16SB System Bridge, $249.95.


Just in time for holiday gift-giving, the best-selling The Tube Amp Book by Groove Tubes founder Aspen Pittman is now available in an expanded edition. The 4-color, oversized hardback book has 400 pages of specs and info on classic tube amps, a section of tech articles on nearly every aspect of tube amp design and operation, and hundreds of classic and modern amp schematics. Also included is a bonus CD-ROM with a database of 800-plus amp schematics in PDF format. Retail is $49.95. For more info, visit


This newly upgraded software package from NewTech Infosystems ( claims that the Backup 3 Deluxe Suite is currently the only software package providing full image and individual file/folder backup using virtually all CD or DVD recordable devices, as well as internal/external hard drives. Dynamic drive support lets the software confirm support for any CD or DVD burner, even if the device isn't registered in NTI's drive support database. NTI's Live Update automatically optimizes the backup and recovery software to complement the device. To save space when backing up, NTI's on-the-fly data compression capability allows storage of up to 1.4 GB of vital data on a single CD or up to 9.4 GB on a single-sided DVD. The software also features a new, improved GUI; disaster recovery support for Windows NT, 2000 and XP; and many other new features. Platforms supported include Windows 9x/NT/Me/2000/XP. Price: $79.99.


Developed for the DIYer or contractor seeking to soundproof their audio workspace, the Iso-Wall system from Acoustic Sciences Corp. ( uses construction-grade, vibration-absorbing, visco-elastic WallDamp polymer tiles and isolation strips. Additional components include damped resilient channels, perimeter gaskets, wall-bearing felt and construction-grade acoustic sealant. The Iso-Wall system is available at $4 per square foot of surface area, and various kits are available to accommodate a wide range of room sizes. The Iso-Wall components can be shipped via UPS anywhere in the U.S. or internationally.


At the recent AES Convention, Calrec ( unveiled an advanced networking and mic preamp system enabling I/O resources to be shared throughout the company's entire digital console line. Built on gigabit Ethernet technology, the Hydra audio network boasts a highly reliable, user-friendly system across a very high bandwidth. Connections between the digital I/O rack and the Gigabit Interface Unit allows up to 128 bi-directional channels between Calrec's Zeta, Sigma and Alpha 100 consoles.


Emagic ( recently unveiled the Space Designer plug-in for Logic 6, which features a real-time convolution process using reverberation samples to model any space's acoustic signature. In addition, Space Designer is equipped with a synthesis engine used to create custom impulse responses and can further alter the reverberation using envelopes for volume, filter and density. Space Designer ships with more than 1,000 impulse responses and synthesized settings, including real rooms and halls, as well as legendary classic and contemporary reverb units. Space Designer requires Logic Platinum, Logic Gold and Logic Audio 6.3 or higher.


The absence of noisy CPUs in today's audio workspace is a good thing, and Gefen's ( affordable, low-profile extender helps make the quiet possible. Designed to be used with Apple's flat-panel display line, the extender relies on an active circuit cable to transmit power, as well as ADC display and USB signals, up to 16 feet. Adding another extender cable can double that distance. The extender requires no additional power supply or hardware to operate. Price: $249.


Mackie ( now offers DreamVerb, Universal Audio's flagship stereo reverb for the Mackie UAD-1, which allows users to build a virtual acoustic space from a list of different materials and room shapes. Features include a 5-band parametric EQ and level ramping for early and late reflections, creating sounds ranging from extremely realistic dynamic room simulations to lush reverb effects. Acoustic spaces can be further customized by blending different room shapes and surface materials and even varying the density of the air to simulate different room ambience. Price: $149.


Stefan AudioArt ( introduces the Equinox HD600/580, a user-installable cable that replaces the stock cable for the Sennheiser HD600 and HD580 headphones. The handmade Equinox cable uses a proprietary process to ensure maximum flexibility and offers superior durability over the stock cable. The manufacturer claims that the cable provides improved audio performance, including enhanced transparency and significant extension in the high and low frequencies. It is available in custom lengths with a variety of connector options. Price: $189.


The Studio Case from Steinberg ( bundles together five creative virtual instruments and Cubase SE, a streamlined version of the latest Cubase SL and SX digital audio sequencers. Apart from Cubase SE, the Studio Case includes Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition SE, Groove Agent SE Virtual Drummer, the Grand SE Piano, D'cota SE Synthesizer and the HALion SE Sampler. The package contains more than 700 MB of sounds, is upward file compatible with Cubase SL, SX and Nuendo, works on Mac OS X and Windows 2000/XP, and operates at 24-bit/96 kHz. Price: $299.


Lexicon ( released the Pantheon reverb for Sonar 3 by Cakewalk. Pantheon includes 35 factory presets featuring six reverb types: hall, chamber, plate, room, ambience and custom. Pantheon is being offered as a standard embedded feature of Cakewalk's new Sonar 3 Producer Edition software, as well as an LE version in the Sonar 3 Studio Edition.


Several CreamWare ( products are now available as attractively priced Christmas deals from dealers worldwide, valid through December 31, 2003. The hardware synthesizer Noah and its expanded version, Noah EX, are available at reduced prices of $1,395 and $1,795, respectively. When you buy a Pulsar II at $995, you will receive the Mix 'n' Master Pack and the Synths 'n' Sampler Pack at no additional cost. For $1,995, the PowerPulsar system comes with both of these plug-in packs until year's end. Pulsar XTC retails at only $695, and includes the new plug-ins OptiMaster, Vinco, PSY Q and MasterVerb Pro. The two software bundles — Mix 'n' Master Pack and Synths 'n' Sampler Pack — are available at $595 each for existing Scope Fusion Platform users.


Geoffrey Daking (dist. by Transamerica Audio Group, introduced the FET Compressor II at this year's New York AES convention. The compressor, an updated version of the renowned Daking FET Compressor, features a new internal switch, allowing either a complete hard bypass of the unit or the compressor, while maintaining the ability to use the final gain stage. The unit embodies all-discrete transistor circuitry, transformer-balanced inputs/outputs and Class-A amplifiers. Attack times can be set from 250 microseconds to 64 milliseconds, while the unit's customized Neve 33609 Auto, A/D Compex Auto and Fairchild 670 #5 and #6 release settings are faithful to their vintage namesakes.


MBR Design Group ( now offers a long-distance turnkey solution to acoustical design. The process involves three steps: MBR receives CAD schematics or digital photographs of the proposed space; MBR custom-engineers the correct room treatment; and then MBR provides a complete list of required products and installation schematics. In addition, there are more than 40 types of acoustically transparent fabric choices, letting users match their interiors and color designs.


Re-engineered to incorporate optical technology, improved reliability and increased functionality, the Perfit Mouse Optical from Contour Design ( retains all of the ergonomic benefits that have made the original Perfit Mouse so popular, with an 800 dpi optical sensor providing increased cursor performance. The Perfit Mouse Optical comes in medium and large right-hand models, and sells for $109.


Antares ( released two new plug-in bundles for Mac TDM and DirectX users. Each bundle includes Auto-Tune 3, Microphone Modeler, kantos 1.0 and Tube, and costs 40% less than purchasing all plug-ins individually. Price: Mac Pro, $999; DirectX, $599.


Smart Loops is offering a tantalizing package of free loops lifted from its most popular retail titles. The Acid-compatible loops are optimized for programs that change audio tempo and pitch, such as Cakewalk's Sonar, Home Studio 2002, Project5, Plasma, Music Creator and Guitar Tracks Pro, as well as all Sonic Foundry Acid programs. A wide variety of drum, percussion, electric guitar and bass guitar loops may be downloaded at


Created from contemporary studio recordings, Drums on Demand ( offers nearly 900 stereo, royalty-free loops (almost 700 MB) organized into 41 easy-to-use song sets. Multiple sets of verse, chorus, fill and bridge sections allow the user to create a believable drum track. The loops are offered in multiple time signatures, tempos (72 to 170 bpm) and styles including rock, pop, rim-based and brush loops. The package runs cross-platform (PC/Mac), is optimized for Acid and Cakewalk programs and is compatible with all programs that read 24-bit .WAV files, such as Pro Tools and Digital Performer. Price: $49.95.


SRS Labs' ( SRS Circle Surround® VST Pro is a new surround encode/decode plug-in suite for Mac OS X or Windows XP VST-powered software apps, such as Nuendo 1.5 or Cubase VST 5.0 (or higher). Based upon patented Circle Surround technology, the plug-in encodes pro-quality, full-bandwidth (44.1/48/96kHz), 6.1-channel surround onto any 2-channel medium, with full stereo and mono compatibility. The package also includes a decoding plug-in for monitoring playback during production, allowing users to confirm that mixes are exactly what consumers will hear.


SYPHA announced an all-new edition of The DAW Buyers Guide that can be accessed, free of charge, at The DAW Buyers Guide is the most comprehensive database of current professional digital audio workstation technology that exists in any medium. It covers every applicable product and all system types, including turnkey systems, desktop DAWs, audio hardware and software packages, DAW controllers, disk-based multitracks and portable tapeless recorders.


The new TAPCO ( Juice power amps include the J•800, J•1400 and J•2500, featuring power output of 800, 1,400 and 2,500 watts, respectively (@ 4 ohms bridged). The amps include easily switchable mono/stereo/mono-bridged operating modes, as well as a third Speakon output provided for mono-bridged applications. A 30Hz subsonic filter ensures low-frequency speaker protection. All amps are two rack-units tall and include handles for easy transport, plus features such as front-panel control protection, defeatable clip limiter, front-panel signal and overload indication, and XLR and TRS inputs. Price: J•800, $419; J•1400, $549; J•2500, $699.

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