Tools of the Trade

Jul 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.

On-the-go PC-based recording engineers will want to check out this new feature-packed I/O box from Edirol (, $695). The half-rack UA-101 provides 10 ins and outs, up to 24-bit/96kHz full-duplex audio and MIDI I/O. The box also has two mic preamps on XLR/TRS Combo jacks, one with a hi-Z input for instrument recording. There is a switchable analog confidence limiter, as well as six TRS balanced inputs (+4 or -10 dB, switchable) and optical S/PDIF I/O.

Need fast, reliable DVDs for your studio that are guaranteed until 2075? The new 1x to 8x-speed DVD+R and DVD-R recordable discs from HHB ( promise consistently low-block error rates and ultralow-jitter performance. The DVD media's unique azo-dye formulation guarantees complete stability and a secure archival life for more than 70 years. The media is available in inkjet and thermal-printable versions, and offers exceptional whiteness and printing definition, plus compatibility with an extremely wide range of printers.

Yorkville ( releases the YSM2P Active Studio Monitor ($169 each), a powered bi-amplified loudspeaker delivering 70 to 19k Hz from its 5.25-inch woofer (46W) and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter (14W). The active crossover network ensures a smooth transition between the components and accurate source representation without requiring EQ. Input is on XLR and ¼-inch jacks, with an input trim on the back of each shielded cabinet.

Seeking a smaller console solution than Digidesign's ( ICON environment? Check out the medium-format D-Command. The base unit is equipped with eight channel faders and a center section, but is expandable to 24 faders by adding a 16-channel Fader Module. Each channel strip features a touch-sensitive motorized fader, two multipurpose rotary encoders and multiple pushbuttons that provide quick access to key session parameters. Much like ICON, D-Command has dedicated EQ and dynamics editing panels and a monitor control area that uses the X-Mon interface for vital monitoring functions. For now, there is no dedicated surround panner, but the unit will work with third-party panners such as the JLCooper MCS.

The current star of “The Incredible Shrinking USB I/O,” the plug-and-play UAX220 USB bus-powered interface from Digigram (, $490) needs no specific driver, thanks to USB Audio compliance. Features include balanced stereo I/O on XLR connectors, up to 24-bit/48kHz resolution, a ¼-inch headphone out, zero-latency monitoring and a dynamic range spec of less than 103 dB (A-weighted).

As if 1.4 million samples weren't enough, Vienna Symphonic Library (dist. by ILIO, adds OPUS 2 ($495) to its collection of libraries. Expanding the potential of OPUS 1 and the First Edition, the collection offers new articulations, such as quick string runs, flautando string ensembles and muted brass. In addition, it also has marimba, vibraphone and waterphone, along with basic articulations of instruments taken from other Horizon Series titles, such as Solo Strings, Epic Horns, French Oboe or Woodwind Ensembles. OPUS 2 (available in EXS24, GigaStudio, HALion and Kontakt formats) includes 9.3 GB of data on two DVD-ROMs.

Newly tweaked to work with Pro Tools 6.9 on Mac and PC platforms, NetMix Pro 3.3 sound library manager from Creative Network Design ( makes many tasks easier in the post environment. New features include transfer to region list, transfer of metadata, spot sync point to timeline, spot to timeline, spot to timeline using selection and handles, spot multiple audio files to timeline, spot sub-sequence to multiple tracks and spot to absolute timecode.

The tiny and versatile COS-22 from Sanken ( is a dual-capsule lavalier offering redundancy and boasting high-quality audio, but it could also be used for location recording applications. Its phantom-powered twin omni capsules measure just 1.25 inches in length, weigh only 20 grams (including the cable) and take up to 137dB SPL (1% THD). Channel 2 can be flipped in polarity, offering noise cancellation when both channels are summed.

Audio Ease ( pumps up the volume on its Mac-based Altiverb 5 convolution reverb. New features include iLok authorization; stage positioning control, letting users place source sound anywhere onstage; 4-band EQ; internal level meter; I/O controls for front, rear, center bleed and LFE; and separate gain and delays for direct, early reflection and reverb tail. There is also extensive CPU load control and support for Audio Suite, in addition to existing support for HTDM, VST, MAS, RTAS and AudioUnits. Prices: $595, MAS/VST/RTAS/AudioUnits/AudioSuite bundle; and $895, HTDM/RTAS/MAS/VST/AudioUnits/AudioSuite bundle.

Otari's ( next-gen DR-100 recorder features 48-track recording at 24-bit, 44.1/48 kHz, or 24-track at 24-bit, 88.2/96 kHz. Priced at $19,000 (including remote), the unit records directly to a high-performance, 15,000 rpm, 72GB SCSI hot-swappable hard drive, allowing seamless/gapless punch-in/out throughout all 48 — or 24 — tracks (48/24-channel crossfade). In addition to the 48 tracks, the DR-100 offers 208 virtual tracks with five editing layers, totaling 256 tracks including 48 nominal tracks. The system includes MADI digital I/O and a dedicated 48-track direct-access remote control connected to the audio recording engine via standard 100Base/T Ethernet network and TCP/IP protocol.

Prism's ( ADA-8XR offers eight channels of 24-bit, 192kHz, A/D and D/A conversion, or 16 channels of either A/D or D/A. I/O includes AES3 (two-speed or two-wire), S/PDIF, FireWire, direct connection to Pro Tools|HD (32 I/Os per card) and direct connection to Pro Tools|24 MIX (without an 888 I/O). It also converts to DSD for SACD production with SDIF 2/3 and optional Mac-DSD (Cat-5) interface, and allows sample rate conversion between any PCM rates. Built-in processors include Prism Sound SNS noise shapers, MR-X word mapping and the DRE function, providing 24-bit performance on 16-bit media without sacrificing tracks. The stereo monitor section can be switched to either the A/D or D/A path, pre- or post-processing, and has a Monitor Cut, Invert, Mono and Swap buttons and a volume control. The ADA-8XR is priced from $11,000, depending on configuration.

Need lots of storage for your facility? Then check out Studio Network Solutions' ( new globalSAN X-24, the company's latest addition to the globalSAN X Series of products. Just like the X-8 and X-16, the X-24 is a fully configured iSCSI SAN solution supporting Mac and Windows, but the X-24 provides large facilities with a more expandable solution for storage networking needs (up to 9.6 TB). The globalSAN X-24 basic package includes 6 TB of SATA storage and six iSANmp user licenses that can be upgraded to support additional users/storage. Prices start at $28,999.

The affordable, passive BM 5P ($695/pair) monitor from Dynaudio Acoustics ( features components that adhere to the company's rigid quality standards. The two-way unit has a 6.9-inch woofer and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, all manufactured in Denmark. A newly redesigned exterior offers a small footprint, making it perfect for applications where space is tight, such as remote recording vans, editing suites and home studios.

Bringing more choices than ever to Digidesign Pro Tools users at the entry level and above, the new $349 M-Powered Pro Tools software from M-Audio ( works with a variety of interfaces. Similar to Pro Tools LE (but without certain features such as SMPTE timecode), the new software includes more than 30 DigiRack and Bomb Factory plug-ins and supports ReWire. Supported interfaces include M-Audio's top-of-the-line FireWire 1814 ($799), offering 18 in/14 outs; the Ozonic ($599) 37-key audio/MIDI FireWire interface and controller; and down to the extremely affordable Audiophile 2496 PCI interface ($129).

Waves' ( new MaxxBCL ($3,200) processor brings the company's MaxxBass, Renaissance Compressor and the L2 Ultramaximizer limiter plug-ins into a two-rackspace box. MaxxBCL features analog (balanced and unbalanced with Jensen transformers on input) and digital inputs and outputs, the latter including both AES/EBU and S/PDIF capabilities at sample rates up to 96 kHz. Independent input and output level matching is provided in six steps from 9 to 24 dBu, with 12 additional 1dB steps of level trim per channel available on the front panel. Post-requantization processing is supplied by Waves' IDR (Increased Digital Resolution) dither system, which includes ninth-order noise shaping to minimize audible noise while dithering to 16- or 24-bit output.

This instrument preamp/DI from TerraTec (, $79) offers up to 40 dB of gain for either passive or active guitars and basses. The balanced out makes running long line-levels to the recorder a breeze while keeping instrument level runs as short as possible, resulting in a cleaner signal path. The front of the box carries a hi-Z ¼-inch input and gain control, with a ¼-inch TRS jack and DC supply input on the back.

Digital Audio Wave (, maker of custom-built digital audio workstations for multimedia applications, offers a new line of PC-based digital audio workstation systems founded on a proprietary ultra-quiet, high-performance and reliable platform. These custom platforms are built around the new Intel Pentium 4 600 sequence processors that are ready to support 64-bit software using Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology. The processors support 2MB L2 cache, enabling improved performance, enhanced power management and improved virus protection. Customers can choose several different SATA hard drives, up to 4 GB of memory and up to 1.2 TB of storage. The systems also feature the latest in networking technology — integrated Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet — to ensure fast data transfer over network connection.

Tascam's ( new X-48 hard disk recorder/editor boasts 96kHz/24-bit recording across all 48 tracks or 24 tracks at 192 kHz. It supports Broadcast .WAV and OMF import/export for compatibility with other workstations. Other features include support for FireWire hard drives and Gigabit Ethernet, VGA display output, built-in DVD-RW backup drive, word clock and HDTV tri-level sync, built-in 80GB hard drive and more. If that weren't enough, the built-in 48-channel digital mixer offers four VST plug-in inserts per channel, six stereo returns (60 inputs at mixdown), 24 buses, six aux sends, stereo master bus and full dynamic automation.

Featuring the playing of Abe Laboriel Jr. (drummer for Paul McCartney, Sting, Seal, Shakira, Liz Phair, Steve Vai) and mixing of producer Eric Persing, Spectrasonics' (dist. by ILIO, Burning Grooves ($99) is the next release from the S.A.G.E. Xpander library for the Stylus RMX virtual groove instrument. Just like the existing Xpander libraries (Backbeat, Retro Funk, Liquid Grooves and Metamorphosis collections), Burning Grooves features Groove Control, which allows the user to play the audio loops in a wide range of tempos with no loss in audio quality.

Going back to the future again, Universal Audio ( released an exact clone of the classic LA-3A solid-state opto-compressor. The new unit adds some enhancements, including XLR connectors in addition to the barrier strip, IEC power and a rear switch for the popular Gain Mod option that was often soldered into the original LA-3A. Other features include custom re-issue UA transformers and T4 cell and a discrete Class-A amplifier providing up to 50 dB of gain. The unit is finished in brushed-black aluminum and offers gain- and peak-reduction controls on rotary pots. The signature UA analog meter is switchable between gain reduction and output. The LA-3A offers up to 40 dB of gain reduction and boasts a noise floor -80 dB below program at threshold of limiting. Price: $1,499.

BIAS ( announced that current versions of SoundSoap, SoundSoap Pro, Peak and Deck are now compatible with Mac OS 10.4 Tiger. Update info is available on the site…Microboards' CopyWriter Tower supports true 16x disc replication out of the box. More info on the new capability can be found at www.microboards.comSymetrix ( is shipping the AirTools 6200 Digital Voice Processor, intended for on-air and production processing of mics and line-level signals in radio and television…Cakewalk ( and Edirol ( have joined forces to offer SONAR LE bundled with select Edirol products. SONAR LE provides users who are getting started with PC-based recording with a host of recording and MIDI features. More info can be found on each company's Website…Native Instruments ( announced that its Electronic Instruments 2 XT collection — an extended version of the Reaktor instrument collection, offering unique synthesizers, drum machines and effects — is now available…TC Electronic ( released Version 2 software for its flagship EQ Station and MotoFader64 equalization system as a free download. New features include improved fader latency, 0dB detent on the MotoFader64, MIDI implementation and new security lock-out features…Euphonix ( announced that all of its digital audio mixing systems are now capable of fully integrating with most router control systems that use the ES-Switch protocol. Vendors include NVISION, Pesa, Pro-Bel, Sony, Grass Valley and Utah Scientific…PC audio system builder Rain Recording ( received official certification from Cakewalk as a recommended DAW manufacturer for Cakewalk users. Rain's Element desktop and LiveBook laptops were tested to provide optimal user experience when running demanding project sessions…The SonicStudio•DDP V. 2 upgrade to Sonic Studio's ( premastering application for Mac OS X supports ISR codes and PQ subcodes with indexes, plus UPC/EAN, SCMS and digital emphasis flags as part of the standard feature set…Monster Cable's ( new digital line of interconnection products — including Datalink digital co-ax, LightSpeed digital fiber optic, AES/EBU, Firelink, Pro Series Monster USB and Monster word clock cables — are now shipping.

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