Tools of the Trade

May 1, 2005 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.

Ready for Windows Longhorn's 64-bit power, the Two-Can64 from Coyote ( builds on its predecessor, the Two-Can. The low-noise, liquid-cooled (optional), two-rackspace PC offers up to 800 GB of internal RAID-able storage and an optional FireWire 800 port. The 14-inch-deep unit comes with Coyote's NetMIDI drivers, offering 256 MIDI ports per machine over a high-speed network (Mac/PC), plus high-speed, low CPU utilization, remote-control software that eliminates the need for a separate monitor, mouse and keyboard. Prices start at $1,695.

Those wanting to transmit digital audio through tight spaces will want to look at the ultra-miniature co-ax cable from Gepco ( It features a 26-gauge solid conductor housed in a broadband foil and braid shield that offers better RF/EMI protection and greater structural integrity than serve-type shields. Also suited for video, VDM260 exceeds the bandwidth required for 1.485Gb/s HD transmission.

This new educational tool from Native Instruments (, $59) demystifies even the most advanced features of the decidedly deep ABSYNTH 3. The comprehensive video workshop, hosted by NI product specialist Brian Smith, gives a systematic and detailed insight into the features and capabilities of the latest ABSYNTH version, including the new surround integration. Other chapters address ABSYNTH's powerful oscillator modes, waveform editing, multi-breakpoint envelopes, effects section and more.

The Desktop Recording Kit (DRK) from MXL (, $99) is squarely aimed at the home recorder looking for an all-in-one solution for desktop recording. The kit comes complete with a desktop microphone stand, microphone clip, XLR cable, XLR-to-Mini-Plug adapter, 3.5mm Mini-Plug-to-¼-inch adapter and power source. The battery-powered mic is a fixed-pattern cardioid condenser that works with a stand-alone preamp or directly connected to a computer's soundcard via provided cables.

Bucking the traditional synth model, Applied Acoustics Systems' String Studio (, $249) replaces the traditional oscillator, filter and envelope stage with real-life stringed instrument components. Rather than using samples and wavetables, String Studio generates sounds employing accurate modeling of the various acoustic components of stringed instruments such as guitars, basses, harps, clavinets, bowed instruments and even percussion. In addition to real-life simulations, String Studio offers many innovative sounds from imaginary instruments. It comes as a stand-alone version or as a plug-in for Mac (VST, AudioUnits, RTAS, MAS) and Windows (VST, DXi).

SPL ( is now offering a more affordable version of its MixDream summing box. The no-frills, 16×2 MixDream XP ($2,195) does away with the inserts and processing options of the MixDream and is trimmed down to a single rackspace. The signal paths are entirely discrete and run on 60V rails in Class-A mode. The box offers an impressive dynamic range of up to 124 dB, with a maximum output level of +27 dBu and a noise level of -97 dB. Controls include mono switches for each of the eight channel pairs and individual output level controls. The rear of the unit carries two D-sub connectors, which provide 16 input channels, master and monitor stereo outputs, and an expansion output for ganging the XP with the MixDream.

HIPNO 1 — a new suite of more than 40 effects and instrument plug-ins for VST, AudioUnits and RTAS Mac OS X-host applications from Cycling '74 (, $199) — offers a mix of granular, spectral and filter/delay-based plugs. The breakthrough Hipnoscope visual interface (below) gives the user an infinite amount of creative ways to bend sound across a group of parameters. Also included are a set of processors that use live video input as a control source and a new set of modulator plug-ins. Plug-in processors include banks of LFO-modulated filters, a quartet of granular processing engines and a pitch-shifter that features quantization, filtering and feedback looping.

Minnetonka's ( latest VST version of SurCode for Dolby Pro Logic II allows users to encode surround sound into stereo delivery formats. The interface accepts 6-channel surround input and then outputs an Lt/Rt-encoded stereo stream that can be recorded and used in any stereo transmission medium, in addition to being compatible with millions of decoders worldwide. The encoder/decoder also works in real time to monitor the results of encoder option changes during the process. The $494 plug-in will work with any compatible VST audio application.

If ethereal pads and soundscapes are on your must-buy list, then check out Atmospherix from Hark Loops ( The collection of royalty-free, fully ACID-ized loops features a diverse set of 24-bit pads that cover every mood — from serene to disturbing. The set was created by Detroit-based sound master Wayne Gerard, and comes with more than 800 loops on two discs. Prices: $49 per volume or $89 for the two-volume set.

Aimed at the post-production engineer, Neve's ( Encore Plus automation system offers a bevy of new features. The latest generation of Encore software works across a range of Neve consoles, including the 88RS, DFC Gemini, Aquarius, MMC and Libra Post. Major features include Re-Conform, which allows change lists to be imported into Encore Plus and the mix automation cut and spliced automatically to reflect picture changes. Automation in Stop allows automation to be written without timecode running and remote control of Pro Tools, Nuendo and Pyramix systems directly from the surface, all simultaneously if necessary.

For those peripherals that are best left in another room, Gefen ( offers its latest product, the FireWire Extender 800 ($799). Working through a sender and receiver system that connects the local computer to the remote device with multimode fiber-optic cables, the FireWire Extender 800 speedily sends large amounts of data at rates up to 800 MB per second. Although FireWire is usually limited to 15 feet or less for fear of degrading the signal, the extender lets peripherals operate anywhere within 300 feet of the CPU.

Reasonheads will rejoice that Propellerhead (, $499) has released Reason 3. The latest version is fat with new features, including the MClass mastering suite of processors and the performance-friendly Combinator that allows users to build elaborate chains of Reason device/instruments, effects, pattern sequencer and more and save them as a Combi patch. The Remote feature allows out-of-the-box integration with most major control surfaces, including support for motorized faders and controller displays. An expanded soundbank and new browser promise faster-than-ever workflow. Visit the Website for a super-slick Reason 3 Flash demo.

These sleek new dupers from Disc Makers ( are enclosed in sleek silver cases that offer a system of vents and powerful fans, keeping the drives running cool. The units offer the latest 52x CD-R and 16x DVD±R/48x CD-R Plextor drives and an optional USB connection package ($139) that allows users to send disc images directly from their PC or Mac to the Reflex duplicator. The ReflexMax line is available in either CD-R or DVD±R/CD-R versions in one ($299/$490), four ($790/$1,290) or seven drives ($990/$1,790). The seven-drive ReflexUltra ($690/$1,290) offers the same features as the Max, but is optimized to burn only Disc Makers' Ultra blank CD-Rs or DVD-Rs.

Tube-Tech's ( latest incarnation of its multiband stereo tube compressor is optimized for mastering. The SMC 2BM ($6,595) adds matched-resistor level controls for precise replication of previously used settings. The 12-step matched-resistor gain controls on the SMC 2BM guarantee channel-to-channel and recall accuracy within 0.1 dB. Sidechain controls employ 31 detent potentiometers. The unit includes variable crossover points for precise control of all three bands of optocompression. Independent band-specific threshold, ratio, attack, release and gain parameters let the user tweak each band's compression to perfection while adding or subtracting that band from the mix with the output control.

Amp Farm 3 from Line 6 (, $595) now gives users selectable microphone models that capture classic cabinet-miking techniques across a gang of new cabinet simulations. The latest version supports Pro Tools 6.7 on Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools|HD Accel systems, plus Digidesign's VENUE live sound environment. Support for 192 kHz is now available on Accel systems (Mac/PC), and Amp Farm is now iLok-compatible, allowing complete portability. Digidesign ( is now the exclusive distributor for Amp Farm; the plug-in can be purchased on Digi's site via download.

Aphex Systems
( is now shipping the Model 230 Master Voice Channel. The unit features a preamp, dynamics processing, S/PDIF and optical digital outputs (up to 96 kHz), and word clock I/O…The Dry Studio Kit and Percussion Kit from Smart Loops ( hit the streets with more than 300 grooves and samples delivered in three loop formats, allowing users of Logic, GarageBand, Reason, ACID, Digital Performer, SONAR, Cubase and any other compatible software to work with the loops…Studio Network Solutions ( announces that the globalSAN iSCSI system, the only complete, multi-user, shared-storage iSCSI SAN available for Mac and PC, now offers Fibre Channel and SCSI support…IK Multimedia ( is offering 11 new SampleTank 2 sounds along with 18 custom-made presets — all free. In addition, SampleTank 2.1 XL is now available for all existing SampleTank 2 XL users, and includes 1.5 GB of new material designed expressly for the new upgrade…Native Instruments ( offers Traktor DJ Studio 2.6 as a free upgrade for 2.5 users. The new version offers compatibility with Stanton's FinalScratch 2 hardware; Internet broadcasting; direct recording to disk; support for AAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files; and playlist history. In addition, the NI Komplete 2 has been expanded to include 11 software synthesizers, samplers and effects, including the Battery 2 drum sampler, Absynth 3 and a Kontakt 2 update; retail is now $1,495…Brauner ( is now shipping the Phantom V, its first non-tube, variable-pattern mic, based on the VM1 capsule design…Steinberg ( is now offering HALion 3.1, featuring new MIDI and parameter-management capabilities and numerous other enhancements. It is available free to all registered users via download at…Sonic Reality ( is now offering updates of its Sonic Refills for Reason 3. The updates include Sonic Refills Volume 11 Retro Keys, Sonic Refills Volume 19 Vocal Textures and Sonic Refills Volume 20 Mello-T. The trio is ready for download from or www.propellerheads.seSpin Audio ( has released V. 1.2 of its Virtual Mixing Console, which offers new plug-in support and improved compatibility with a number of virtual instruments and sample playback applications…MusicLab ( is now offering V. 2.2 of MIDIoverLAN CP and a new Platinum Edition. The application lets you send and receive MIDI data over a LAN or route MIDI data among apps on the same computer (Mac/PC)…Waves ( announces that users can now acquire audio support for Digidesign's ICON through the Waves Update Plan.

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