Tools of the Trade

Jan 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By Editors


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.


Guitar tweakers (or anyone looking for that special effect) will be interested in TC Electronic's Voltronics guitar amp simulator plug-in, the tenth virtual processor to be included with the PowerCore card. Voltronics includes three tube stages that model classic 12AX7s; individual “tubes” can be independently adjusted for a variety of tones. A speaker simulator is derived from the impulse measurements of a 2×12 cabinet, and a virtual microphone placement control simulates tonal variations resulting from different mic techniques. Voltronics includes a fingerprint-based noise-reduction filter that allows settings to be saved independently from the amp settings. An expander is also built in. PowerCore users can download Voltronics as part of a free 1.8 update at


The Sony C-38B ( mic is now available in the U.S. When it was first introduced in 1965, the original C-38 was the world's first Field Effects Transistor (FET) microphone. The mic was then updated in 1969 to the model C-38A with a change in the windscreen design, and again in 1971 to the C-38B by adding phantom power (9-volt battery or external DC 24V to 48V). The C-38B features 30-18k Hz frequency response, selectable pattern (cardioid or omni) and a dynamic range of 116 dB. Price: $2,200.


Smart Loops (, the Acid-format loop-based music content and creation tools company, has released the Phat to Phreaky collection of hip hop loops. The new collection features urban beats, breakdowns and fills created by a number of award-winning producers and musicians, with more than 800 grooves in a wide array of styles. Price: $69.


New from Pendulum Audio ( is Quartet II which supplants the company's popular Quartet, offering a new unit with “attitude.” Offered in a Mercenary Edition (with feedback from Mercenary's Fletcher), this all-tube recording channel combines an enhanced tube mic/DI preamp from the MDP-1; delta-mu (Fairchild 660/670 sounding) tube comp/limiter from the ES-8 (with more sidechain modes); a three-band, passive tube EQ (with selectable active “aggressive” mode) HF peak/MF cut/LF cut-boost); and switchable JFET/MOSFET brickwall analog limiter — all of which can be patched in/out for independent use.


In a bundle sure to please the gods, Hercules Technologies ( released the Hercules 16/12 FW, a 24-bit 96kHz, 16-in/12-out FireWire audio and MIDI interface for PC and Mac. The single-space rack-unit allows up to 16-in/12-out simultaneous multitrack recording and is compatible with most popular audio software apps. Inputs include 12 analog inputs, one coaxial input (stereo) and one optical input (stereo). Outputs comprise eight analog outputs, one coaxial output (stereo) and one optical output (stereo). There are two mic/instrument pre's with switchable 48-volt phantom power on Neutrik XLR/TRS combo connectors, as well as hi-Z instrument inputs. MIDI I/O comes on two dual DIN jacks for a total of 32 channels in/out. Drivers are available for Mac OS X (Core Audio) and Windows (ASIO 2.0, GSIF, .WAV, DirectSound). The 16/12 is bundled with Arturia STORM Special Edition Version 2.0 and Ableton Live Special Edition, both for Mac or PC. Both packages come with 900 MB of sounds. Price: $599.


In what it claims is an “absolutely accurate” model of the ARP Odyssey III, CreamWare ( has traveled back in time to model a timeless piece of synthesizer history in the form of a plug-in. The Prodyssey is available for the various systems of the SCOPE Fusion Platform, as well as for the new Noah hardware synthesizer. CreamWare took some liberties and improved on the original by allowing the synth to be played polyphonically and integrating a multi-effects section. Price: $225.


Neumann ( launched a new line of broadcast microphones with the BCM 104. The K 104 large-diaphragm condenser capsule used in the BCM 104 has a cardioid directional pattern with switchable proximity-effect compensation, and includes a highpass filter that reduces frequencies below 100 Hz by 12 dB/octave. A second pre-attenuation switch reduces sensitivity by 14 dB to optimize for circuits designed for dynamic microphones. Both switches are internally mounted. Price: $999.


Great River Electronics ( released the EQ-2NV, a companion equalizer to the Mercenary Edition series of products. The EQ-2NV is loosely based on the topology of vintage 1081/1083 models and features a transformer-coupled bridging-type line input with sensitivity options ranging from elevated line-level (+8 dBm) down to keyboard and semi-pro levels (-20 dBm). The equalizer is designed to work with Great River's NV Series microphone amplifiers' patch loop, providing greater headroom at one end and a lower overall noise floor. When connected via the MP-2NV's patch point, the mic and DI inputs are fully functional, as are the level control and metering. The equalizer also features a discrete Class-A balanced output stage, allowing it to function as a complete stand-alone device. It is available in either single- or dual-channel models. Price: $3,495.


Minnetonka Audio Software ( announced Version 2 of its flagship DVD-A authoring application, discWelder CHROME. New features include the ability to create a universal DVD-A/V disc, DSD import and conversion, the ability to play back video from the audio menu and more. Upgrades from V. 1 will be available from dealers or from the discWelder Website ( for $500, or new for $2,495.


Motor Mate, the newest controller from CM Labs (, is supported by most popular DAW apps and features eight touch-sensitive, 100mm motorized faders, eight endless high-res rotary pots, full-size transport switches and jog/shuttle wheel. Also included are dedicated mute and solo switches, an eight-character SMPTE timecode display, 80-character backlit display to view various functions and a dedicated monitor section. Motor Mate can be expanded by adding any number of CM's Motor Mix fader modules and will also act as a remote command station for CM's 64 studio router. Price: $1,499.95.


Perfect for those home studio situations where running CAT-5 is an impossibility, the SMC Networks ( Ethernet Starter Kit connects to an available LAN port and then into a power outlet, enabling all of the power outlets in a home to act as network connection points. The kit includes two HomePlug-to-Ethernet desktop adapters; both adapters are HomePlug 1.0-certified to ensure compatibility with various types of home wiring. According to the manufacturer, data transfer speeds of up to 14 Mbps are possible. The kit also includes the EZ Configuration Manager utility (Mac and PC) that lets users view connection status, monitor throughput and manage the system via a naming function for each HomePlug device in the network. Price: $149.99.


Cycling '74's ( Pluggo 3.1 is the newest version of its popular native audio processing plug-in software. Pluggo 3.1 is compatible with Mac OS X and adds Audio Units to the list of supported plug-in formats. The introduction of Audio Units to the existing VST and RTAS support allows Pluggo to work with Emagic Logic Audio, MOTU Digital Performer 4, and Apple Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack. Pluggo 3.1 is also compatible with multiple processors. A free runtime plug-in environment installer can be downloaded from the Cycling '74 Website.


Terratec's Phase 22 ( is a dual-channel PCI I/O that allows recording at up to 24 bits/96 kHz via ¼-inch TRS jacks (balanced). Drivers are available for Windows 98SE/ME/2000 and XP, with Core Audio and Core MIDI support for Mac OS X. Windows users can also expect support for ASIO 2.0, GigaStudio, WDM Kernel Streaming (Sonar) and MME DirectSound. Up to four units can be cascaded, providing a scalable I/O solution. Price: $99.


E-mu Systems ( introduced the X-Lead V2 Expansion ROM for its Proteus line of sound modules, Command Stations and keyboards. The X-Lead V2 ROM delivers all of the sounds and presets of the legendary Xtreme Lead-1 sound module, plus an additional bank of 127 presets originally only available in the XL-7 Command Station and XK-6 keyboard. The 32MB soundset delivers 640 dance presets that include leads, pads, analog synths, deep basses and drum kits — all optimized for E-mu's synthesis engine and mapped to a host of real-time controllers. Price: $129.


Thermionic Culture ( of the UK announced stateside availability of the Phoenix ($3,750) stereo tube compressor and the Culture Vulture ($1,695) stereo tube distortion unit. The 2-channel “vari-mu” Phoenix compressor features a variable ratio that starts low and gradually increases, designed to create subtle and natural compression effects. The unit also features continuously variable controls for gain, attack (0.004 to 0.12 seconds), release (0.06 to 2.2 seconds), threshold and output level, along with stereo-linking capability. With the Culture Vulture, users can add from 0.2% to 99.9% of distortion to the signal path. The unit features 4kHz and 7kHz filters, overdrive and bypass switches, and the ability to change distortion from even to odd harmonics at the flip of a switch.


Through an affiliation with the UK's Tape Gallery, Riot Act now offers more than 200,000 sound effects, samples and loops from 55 world-famous libraries. All sounds can be auditioned for free at In addition, each library may be auditioned in its entirety by going to All sounds are available in 16-bit, 44.1- and 48kHz sample rates, and may be downloaded in .WAV and .AIFF stereo formats.


Usually, an Atty means legal trouble, but in this case, it's a low-cost compact device designed for in-line level controller for mono/stereo audio signals. I/O is provided for on two Neutrik combo input jacks (¼-inch XLRs) and two balanced output XLRs. Simple in design, the Atty offers a level control knob and a “panic button” mute switch that will short the signal until full control is regained. Price: $95. Visit


GigaPulse, the first VST plug-in from Tascam (Windows only), uses convolving technology to sample a room or acoustic body. Through this process, GigaPulse can emulate any room, vintage EQ or microphone. Impulse libraries will be available from Tascam, or users can download numerous freeware impulses at Price: $299.


Selco Products ( introduced the Soft Touch Bullet Knob Series. The rotary knobs feature a built-in pointer for easy and quick reference, and are available in a variety of diameters that fit spline shafts or industry-standard “D” shafts. Knobs include a choice of either thermoplastic elastomer material that provides a rubberized, soft-touch feel, or a polypropylene material for a hard-finish feel. Price: $0.43 (quantities of 1,000).

PreSonus ( offers its FIREstation interface for a limited time at a special price of $499. The FireWire-compatible unit features eight channels of balanced/unbalanced analog and ADAT I/O, as well as S/PDIF and MIDI I/O. Also, PreSonus is now shipping Eureka, a single-channel Class-A transformer-coupled mic preamp, compressor and equalizer…KRK ( is now shipping the new magnetically shielded, passive ST6 ($199) and ST8 ($249) monitors. The ST Series is an all-new design that incorporates the latest in driver and crossover technology that KRK claims offers exceptionally accurate, smooth response and high power handling, without producing ear fatigue…MOTU ( posted Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) updates for all MOTU FireWire and PCI audio interfaces. New features include input and output names and control surface support for CueMix DSP. DP 4 Version 4.11, also available, brings the flagship app up to Panther speed…Event ( announced that its newest monitor, the Studio Precision 6, is now shipping. The self-powered, bi-amplified monitor features a 6.5-inch low-frequency driver and a 1-inch high-frequency tweeter and sells for $1,299 per pair…M-Audio announced that the Audiophile 2496, Delta 1010, Delta 44, Delta 66 and Delta 1010LT are being upgraded for G5 3.3V PCI-X compatibility, and the Revolution 7.1 consumer surround sound card is already PCI-X-compatible. All revised M-Audio cards will also be compatible with current and next-generation Windows machines. The upgrade program works as follows: For those who purchased a Delta card on or after August 1, 2003, there is no charge to upgrade. For users who purchased their Delta cards prior to August 1, the price is $50 plus $5 shipping. Get more info at…Although RME recently announced that all currently sold RME interface cards are fully compatible with Apple's new G5 computers, older cards can cause severe damage to both the card and the G5. The following cards cannot be updated and/or contain PCB errors, making them incompatible and fatal if used: Hammerfall (DIGI9636 and DIGI9652) revision 1.1, manufactured from 1999 to April 2001; Hammerfall (DIGI9636 and DIGI9652) revision 1.5/1.6, shipped since June 2000 until the end of 2002; and the DIGI96 series. The revision is printed on the PCB, and the date and time of manufacture is coded as week/year on the back of the cards within the copper area. For more info, visit www.rme-audio.comDigital Music Doctor's SONAR 3 — Know It All! CD-ROM tutorial, based on the SONAR 3 Producer Edition, contains almost two hours of screen videos and sample projects covering all aspects of audio and MIDI recording, editing and mixing in Cakewalk SONAR.For more information, visit www.digitalmusicdoctor.comTascam ( released a major software upgrade to the SX-1 and SX-1LE Digital Production Workstations, adding more than 100 new features and enhancements. Included is a new FTP feature, which allows the SX-1 to act as an FTP server, facilitating file sharing with other computers through an Ethernet connection…Sonic Studio LLC announced the availability of its first major software revision since taking over the Sonic Studio workstation products from Sonic Solutions. Version 1.9 is the culmination of more than a year of development and resolves numerous longstanding issues with stability, synchronization and CD imaging. The upgrade is available to all Sonic Studio HD owners at no charge as a download from the support section of Sonic Studio's Website,

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