Every year, when October rolls around, I start to get excited – not just for Halloween and all that candy but also for the annual AES trade show and convention. The AES (Audio Engineering Society) show, which alternates between San Francisco and New York as the host city, is where the pro audio manufacturers gather to show off their latest wares. (Of course, much more goes on at AES, including panel discussions, paper presentations, and much more, but it’s the new gear that’s at front and center for many of us!)
This year, though the show was more compact than in past years, I found a bunch of great new products, which we’ll be talking more about in future issues of Select. But this time out, I wanted to introduce you to three products that jumped into the tradeshow aisles and caught my attention.
One of the biggest challenges and time sucks in the recording studio can be choosing which among the various microphones and preamps you have available is the best for your particular source or application. Fortunately, Manley Labs deals with audio pros every day, and they have a firm grasp of what we all need. Case in point: the MicMAID, which was announced at the recent AES trade show and convention. The MicMaid is designed to make matching microphones and preamplifiers easier than ever before. The beauty of the MicMAID is in the simplicity of its design. Plug in up to four different microphones and four different preamplifiers, and swap out each combination with the push of a button. You can control the output level of each signal path and save your favorite settings for instant recall later – all without unplugging a single cable! You can even match the phase of your inputs by using the direct input and adjustment knob right on the MicMAID’s front panel.
Best of all, the MicMAID does its job with the audio accuracy and quality that Manley is well known for. My bet is that every studio is going to need one of these in their arsenal.
Bock Audio AM 50
Microphone designer David Bock has always made stellar mics – you can have my U 99 when you can pry it from my cold dead fingers – and he definitely caught my attention at the AES show with this one. The Bock Audio AM 50 offers a design that continues a tradition dating back to the microphones of the 1950s, when mics were responsible for capturing the subtle ambience of orchestral performances.
Built around low-noise tube circuitry, the small inner diaphragm rests in a spherical capsule that gives the AM 50 unique frequency-dependent directional characteristics. Not only is it ideal for groups of acoustic instruments ranging from small ensembles to full orchestras, but the AM 50 is also particularly well suited for use in Decca tree configurations.
If you’re after astounding recordings of acoustic instruments, then you need to check out one – or two, really – of these mics. You’ll be as blown away as I was.
Dangerous Music BAX EQ
Well known for their summing, mastering, and monitor control boxes, Dangerous Music is now making a foray into the world of actual signal processing. Their first offering is the BAX EQ, which was created in response to demand from the professional studio community. The Dangerous design team took inspiration from the classic Baxandall shelving curves of the ’60s and ’70s and created a unique equalizer with innovative sonic signatures and a 21st-century mastering aesthetic. Features include stepped controls for repeatability and identical stereo tracking, broad Q shelving filters with a Baxandall character, and highpass and lowpass 12dB/octave Butterworth filters. The result is pure musicality.
Keep your eye on Select in the coming months for more information on these and many other cool new products introduced at AES!