Tools of the Trade

Sep 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.

The latest additions to Yamaha's ( AW line of desktop multitracks offer faster processing, more effects, internal CD recorders and 40GB hard drives. The AW1600 ($1,495) features eight phantom-powered combo inputs, a USB 2 port for drag-and-drop file transfer to a computer and the new SH3 CPU processor. Other features include a 16-channel mixer (eight mono and four stereo channels), Quick Loop Sample function, hi-Z connection, guitar and mastering effects and sample pads. The AW2400 ($2,499) features motorized 100mm faders, a 12-channel mixer, 24 simultaneous tracks of playback (each with up to eight associated virtual tracks), sampling, editing, automation/snapshot and mastering capabilities — all at 24-bit resolution. The AW2400 is expandable via a range of optional I/O interface cards from Yamaha and third-party developers.

The Alphaton MPV-43P from Lawo (, $519) offers a simple way to split mic or line-level signals (1 in/3 out). The 4-channel unit features individually switchable phantom power for each channel, transformer-balanced outs, low inertial loss and nearly flat frequency response. The Alphaton product line includes professional active and passive microphone and line-level splitting systems for P.A. and installed sound and studio applications, high-quality DI boxes, test and measurement equipment for stage and installed sound systems, and transformers, adapters and accessories.

Bursting with pro features, the new single-rackspace CDP-88 CD player from HHB (dist. by Sennheiser, is compatible with 8- and 12cm discs and will play CD and MP3-CD audio from CD, CD-R and CD-RW discs. It will also play unfinalized CD-R/RW discs and indicate error rates via the front panel display. The unit will sync to word clock at any frequency from 32 to 96 kHz (even in varispeed at ±12.5%), and offers a RAM buffer for instant start, a playback shock buffer and a digital output attenuator. Output is on balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA connectors, with digital output in AES/EBU and S/PDIF formats. Remote control is provided on RS232 and parallel remote connections. An infrared remote control is convertible into a wired remote via the supplied cable.

Five new collections from Music 2 Hues ( each feature five audio CDs and one DVD-ROM with music beds based on the same style. The files come in standard audio CD format, and MP3 and .WAV files on DVD-ROM. Each Theme Pack package also includes 100 sound effects. The musical themes range from High Energy & Sports to Hot Grooves (pop, hip hop, dance and rave), Rock Guitar (powerhouse electric guitar backed by bass, drums and keyboards), Orchestral (solo violin to full orchestra) and Acoustic Guitar (six- and 12-string guitars in solo and band-backed accompaniments). Prices: $149 each, or $599 for all five packs.

“Shhhhhh!” is something you never want to say to your computer in the audio environment, and Zalman ( agrees. Its TNN 500AF ($1,499) computer case promises to be a truly noiseless high-end computer case that won't eat up valuable studio space. The fanless box uses heat pipes and high-thermal — capacity aluminium heat sinks for efficient cooling. Other features include a high-efficiency 400W power supply, electromagnetic interference shielding, a wireless remote, antitheft lock, casters and foldable handles. The Website features a how-to install movie that will help make it a breeze to incorporate the case into any setup.

Desktop control of Apple's GarageBand just got easier with M-Audio's ( iControl ($179), which communicates with a Mac via USB and offers dedicated transport buttons, a jog wheel for scrubbing playback and a master volume fader. The unit can control eight tracks at a time with dedicated buttons for solo, mute and record, as well as eight rotary encoders that users can easily assign to control volume and pan and other functions. Pressing the Up/Down buttons assigns the eight sets of track controls to the higher or lower groupings of tracks. The unit is bus-powered and includes a standard MIDI input, allowing GarageBand instruments to be played by an external keyboard. The iControl control surface will be supported in upcoming updates of Logic Express 7 and Logic Pro 7.

Partnering with Tascam, Sonic Implants ( has created the first symphonic library designed specifically for GigaStudio 3.1. The Complete Symphonic Collection ($2,995) takes advantage of new features in GigaStudio 3.1 to bring new realism to sample-based string performance. Truly a load-and-go library, the collection uses GigaStudio's iMIDI functionality to create intricate programming for a new legato function, repetition programs and many other unique programs — all in a behind-the-scenes fashion, letting users spend more time creatively and less on setup. Workflow enhancements include the Stack Instrument Selection feature, which lets users assign keyswitches to swap sounds on a MIDI channel during a performance; drag-and-drop creation of GigaPulse presets; user interface enhancements; and comprehensive keyboard shortcuts.

Ever wanted a bit more oomph from your Mac or PC's laptop speakers when you're editing on-the-go, but power and space restrictions kept you from being satisfied? Then Edirol's ( MA-1EX ($80) speakers just might be the ticket. The plug-and-play, bus-powered speakers feature a bass enhancer, front-mounted volume control, ⅛-inch headphone jack and S/PDIF output. To keep everything tidy, an integrated USB cord wrap is provided for portable cable management.

The BR-1200CD multitrack from BOSS (, $1,299) is a 12-track recorder packed with effects from Roland and Boss, including COSM amp and mic models, the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus and a bevy of BOSS compact pedals. A true producer's studio-in-a-box, the unit offers pitch correction, a mastering tool kit and onboard bass and drum programmer with instruments and patterns included. The box interfaces via USB with either a Mac (OS X) or PC, and includes an onboard CD burner and an internal hard drive.

Adding a tactile face to the Pyramix software and VCube and VCube HD-2K video player/recorders, Merging Technologies' ( Isis Remote Controller features large dedicated machine control keys, high-resolution jog/shuttle/scrub functionality and advanced jogwheel editing capabilities. Other features include user-assignable keys positioned around a large LCD, a master fader section and 24 additional user-definable keys. The keys comprise two layers that can be used as 48 direct-access solo/mute/track-arming keys, locators, cue triggers or any other chosen function. A separate and optional eight-fader expansion unit (FE) offers eight rotary encoders and 100mm touch-sensitive moving faders with dedicated Solo, Mute, Read and Write automation keys, and connects to Pyramix's Ethernet port or any Ethernet switch in a networked environment. Price: Isis Remote Controller, $3,040; FE expansion unit, $3,040.

Promising to do “everything you've ever wanted to do to a piano but were afraid to try,” the folks at Soundlabel (, $249) are offering a unique sample collection of a hammered, prepared and abused piano (destroying a piano during the recording process). The collection is targeted for composers, musicians and sound designers looking for audio clips from a simple brush of the hand over the strings to very complex-sounding beats, phrases and soundscapes. Audio formats include .WAV, REX2 and Apple Loops. Supported samplers include EXS24, HALion, Reason Refill and Kontakt 2. Logic Pro 7 users can take advantage of 390 channel strip presets.

Billed as the “lite” version of its OctoPre, Focusrite's ( OctoPre LE ($695) offers eight channels of Focusrite preamps, including two Super Channels featuring mic impedance matching and instrument DI inputs. An optional AD/DA board ($250) lets users make the most of free ADAT inputs and outputs for tracking and monitoring. The AD/DA option also includes word clock I/O and 256x clock for Pro Tools Legacy users. The single-rackspace unit boasts analog THD at 0.003% with 0dBu input (maximum gain), frequency response that is 3 dB down at 200 kHz and a signal-to-noise ratio of 124 dB. Digital dynamic range is 110 dB.

Startling and enticing Reason 3 users with the “F” word (free!), Propellerhead Software ( is offering its ElectroMechanical 2 ReFill gratis. The collection offers sound patches and files of vintage keyboard classics, such as the Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond organ and Hohner Clavinet and Pianet that plug into Reason 3. The ReFill takes advantage of the Combinator and MClass Mastering effects and Reason 3's new Remote technology, offering plug-and-play integration with hardware controllers.

Celemony's ( Melodyne Uno Version 1.1.2 fixes bugs and offers ReWire integration and a new recognition function. In addition, the new version will handle split-stereo — format audio files and better integration with Pro Tools using the Spot to Pro Tools function…Cakewalk ( has released the 2.0.1 update for Project5 V. 2 as a free download. The upgrade offers sticky Now Time (restart Now Time from previous start position), display automation values in a tool tip while editing, vertical clip zoom, bounce to track, display automation values in a tool tip while editing and more…M-Audio ( has shipped GForce's virtual models of four vintage synthesizer classics: Oddity, Minimonsta, impOSCar and M-Tron. All four are Mac- and Windows-compatible, and can operate in either stand-alone mode or with VST 2 (including VSTi), RTAS or AudioUnits hosts…Yamaha is starting to flex the muscle of its new acquisition, Steinberg Media Technologies, through an upgrade program for Cubase LE, a new e-store for U.S. upgrades ( and special upgrade incentives for Yamaha customers. Customers who currently own or purchase hardware products bundled with Cubase LE or Cubasis can inexpensively upgrade to Cubase SL or SX; customers who purchase Yamaha Studio Connections — compatible hardware products (Motif ES, Motif ES Rack, i88x, 01x, 01V96, 02R96, SPX2000) until September 30, 2005, qualify for the same special upgrade packages. See Website for details…Alienware ( has announced the availability of the new Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 operating system on the Alienware MJ-12 7550, a workstation promising faster performance and greater reliability while delivering a seamless migration to cutting-edge 64-bit applications. Windows x64 will soon be available on Alienware's other desktop workstations…MOTU has posted a free V. 4.6 upgrade to its Digital Performer audio workstation software. Digital Performer 4.5 users can download V. 4.6 from and begin using it immediately under Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) or 10.4 (Tiger)…Eventide is offering a $200 limited-time rebate for its Anthology bundle of plug-ins. To claim the rebate, the purchaser must submit a completed rebate form, the original Eventide UPC barcode label and original sales receipts for the Anthology bundle and the Digidesign MassivePack or other Eventide plug-in. Visit for more details…Native Instruments ( has announced that demo versions of Guitar Combos are now available as free downloads for Windows and Mac OS X. All three combos are based on its Dynamic Tube Response technology from Guitar Rig, comprising a classic tube amplifier with a speaker box and several integrated effects…Tire kickers rejoice! Open Labs ( is offering a no-obligation, seven-day try-before-you-buy program for the NeKo 64, NeKo GS, NeKo LE and OMX/OMX64 keyboard workstations. The products can be auditioned for up to seven days from the time of receipt, and a return label with prepaid postage is included for the item to be shipped back to Open Labs.

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