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E-mu Systems had all of their existing products (like the E-Synth) out and ready to demo. As for their new products, the simple fact that their tent was always full should be a good indication of things to come! Jumping into the Windows 95-based hard disk recording world is the E-mu Audio Production Studio ($995 list) with a 64-voice/32 channel MIDI synth, real-time effects and audio processing, sample based voicing (up to 32 MB of RAM), and a new audio connector panel that mounts up front in any empty drive bay in your computer. Also on display was the Audity 2000 Digital Modular Rhythmic Synthesizer ($1795 list). With 12th order filters, 24-bit stereo effects, a unique Arpeggiator/Rhythmic Pattern Generator, six audio outs, 32-voice polyphony, and digital outs, this could well be the next red-hot synth module!
Event Electronics. We know all of you are looking for answers about the shipping status of the Layla hard disk recording system - everyone wanted to know! We actually saw new working
Fostex. On hand in the Fostex booth were some interesting new directions in hard disk recording: Their FD-4 4-track digital recorder ships without any hard disk installed. The unit is based on the premise that users can add any SCSI device for recording, and it's compatible with all of the popular drives out there already: Zip, EZ flyer, Jaz, or SCSI-based. An internal IDE drive can also be installed.
Generalmusic has been making incredible strides in their keyboards - and it shows! They were demonstrating their new Equinox 61/76 keyboards: 64 voice polyphony, 16 MB ROM sounds, up to 40 MB of sample RAM, and the ability to read samples from E-mu, Ensoniq, Roland, Kurzweil, Akai, WAV, AIFF, SMP, SND and more! With an optional port for SCSI, the ability to create "Grooves," an Organ Drawbar simulator and more, great things are just about to arrive! Just as a side note: Keith Emerson performed in concert for Generalmusic and blew all of us away! The Theremin solo with Bob Moog was quite a showstopper!
JBL introduced some new powered studio monitors at NAMM this year. The LSR28P ($995 each list) sounded terrific in the JBL demo room. They contain an 8" woofer based on JBL's patented Differential Drive Technology, a 1" composite diaphragm high frequency driver and an integrated 270-watt amp. XLRs (for balanced signals) and
Kurzweil. Big news was the brand new K2500AES ($20000 list), the flagship of Kurzweil's keyboard synth/sampler line. The feature list is long and amazingly complete: K2500XS keyboard with sampling option included, all three ROM Blocks (Piano, Orchestral & Contemporary), PRAM-2, 128 Mb sample RAM, 2 gig internal hard drive, KDFX option, two DMTi digital multitrack interfaces (one with TASCAM card and one with Alesis card), CD-ROM drive, SCSI connector, 40 native Kurzweil CD-ROMs (including two from Sweetwater!) and an extended 3-year "bumper to bumper" warranty. It's also finished in a gorgeous "champagne" color and the end caps are mahogany instead of plastic. Wow! A surprise showing was the Kurzweil Percussion System. While still very much in development, this electronic drum system might well have a leg up on the competition in the near future.
Mackie. Like many other exhibitors, digital was the name of the game for Mackie. On display (and working incredibly) was the eagerly-anticipated Digital 8 Mixer ($9995 list). Official word at the show was that the mixer will be shipping very soon - and we know you can't wait! More updates to the superb Mackie line include the new and improved Mackie Amplifiers, the M1200i and M1400i. For those of you looking forward to receiving your HUI ($3499 list) - Mackie's Human User Interface for Pro Tools - the wait is almost over! Extensive demos were showing off its cool new possibilities. This one's a winner! And as a follow up to our AES show report in October, Mackie's incredible HR824s were in almost every booth at the show!
Mark of the Unicorn. MOTU is still turning up the heat on all of their competitors with Version 2.3 of Digital Performer for the Macintosh with a number of very cool new features. Check out Page 6 for more information.
Opcode. New versions of Opcode's software were on display in their booth this year. Studio Vision Pro has upped the digital recording/sequencing ante with many enhanced features in version 4.0 ($995 list). Now shipping, the Studio 64XTC ($499 list) had lots of people taking notice since sync options are crucial to many of today's studios. Other additions to Opcode's outstanding line of plug-ins (which includes the widely-acclaimed fusion:VOCODE) are fusion:FILTER ($199.99 list DirectX/$495.00 list TDM) and fusion:VINYL ($99.95 list DirectX).
PreSonus. For all of you using Pro Tools, the PreSonus M80 ($1899.95 list) 8- channel mic preamp is sure to warm up your thin, cold digital sound! Its back panel include XLR and TRS line input/outputs
Roland. One word: Groove. While taking up what seemed like an acre of show space, Roland is taking the groove/dance/hip-hop market head-on! Leading the pack is the MC-505 Groovebox ($1595 list), which is built upon the success of the MC-303. New fat sounds, new dance patterns, a D-Beam light sensing controller and more powerful effects make the MC-505 any DJ, techno or dance artist's next "must have" box! Also on the new groove list is the SP-808 Groove Sampler ($1695 list). It's one half sampling workstation and one half hard disk recorder, and it uses its built in Zip drive to mix and remix all of your samples and grooves with eight tracks of digital audio! Add Roland's famous effects processing and you're set to make the fattest sounding grooves and pro-quality remixes to be heard anywhere. Roland also introduced their new "Groove" based Web site.
A highlight of Roland's new keyboard selection is the XP-60 ($1995 list). 61 weighted keys, 64-voice polyphony, General MIDI, 4 expansion slots for SR-JV80 expansion boards, a powerful new arpeggiator and an advanced sequencer with "Realtime Phrase Sequencing" make the XP-60 the most easy to use performance keyboard yet! Saving the biggest news for last, the coolest new piece of recording equipment to hit NAMM has to be the Roland VS-1680 (from $3195 list) 24-bit, 16-track Digital Studio Workstation. This 16-track beast has some of the hippest features around: 24-bit MT Pro Mode for
Sonic Foundry. From the company that brought you Sound Forge, the practically "defacto" standard in computer digital audio editing for Windows, Sonic Foundry unveiled more high level, high quality plug-ins. A new 5.1 Surround Sound Encoder ($1995 list) is in the works as well as a smaller scaled 2-channel version ($695 list). Also on hand was a new set of six plug-ins for software based dynamics processing called XFX 2.
Sony was making some improvements on some "old" favorites. The MDM-X4 MKII MiniDisc Recorder ($895 list) adds the ability to group multiple units together or chase lock to an external MTC source, expanded song/disc name capacity, jog/shuttle, and more! The new multi-effects processor DPS-V55 ($550 list) was also on hand featuring 4-channel inputs configurable as four mono or two stereo pairs.
Spirit. Digital is still the name of the game as Spirit brought out their new Digital 328 Mixer. Great features abound as the 328 comes ready to interface right out of the box with two TASCAM TDIF and two ADAT optical interfaces. AES/EBU and S/PDIF are standard as well. The mixer also contains two separate studio effects units from Lexicon.
t.c. electronic. Another one of the many awesome products at the show was t.c. electronic's FireworX ($2195 list). With 80 MIPS DSP, 24-bit digital and analog inputs and outputs, and effects algorithms that have never been seen before, FireworX is more than just an explosive new multi-effects box -
TASCAM. Several new products made their way into the TASCAM booth this year like the one-of-a-kind DA-302 Dual DAT Recorder ($1999 list - see page 2 for more information). Also introduced was the new MM-RC Remote Control Unit ($2599 list) with its ability to control up to 100 MMR-8 or MMP-16 recorders at once. For those of you needing control of up to four DA-98s, 88s, or 38s, TASCAM unveiled the new RC-828 Remote Control ($699 list). Several new MiniDisc recorders were on hand as well: the MD-301 ($899 list) and the MD-501 ($1299 list). But the big news was the arrival of the TM-D8000 Digital Mixer ($9999 list). We told you about it last issue, but believe me, this thing is a must see (and hear)! With a slew of inputs, both analog and digital, incredible dynamic effects, an easy to read 24-channel meter bridge and a highly ergonomic layout, this is the console for today's digital recording artist!
Waves has gone straight to the bottom with their MaxxBass plug-in for the Mac ($300 list), which adds a series of harmonics to any audio signal that stimulate a psychoacoustic effect which enhances bass perception without traditional EQ or bass compression. Waves also unveiled dramatic new pricing: TDM Bundle ($1000 list), Native Power Pack (Mac/PC, $495 list) and EasyWaves Bundle (Mac/PC, $150 list).
Yamaha. After spending a few hours in Y-Brand's show room, I can say from personal experience that it's going to be quite an exciting year for both Y-Brand and Sweetwater! The new "very super cool" WX5 MIDI Wind Controller ($749.95 list) made all of us come back at least six times to take a look at it! (Chuck was already trying to find a way to bring a few of them home!) With two types of mouthpieces - sax (with reed) and recorder (no reed), several fingering modes, high resolution breath and lip sensors, and a direct MIDI Out onboard - you will want one of these! For the rest of us, Y-Brand had several keyboards ready to trigger our "want" reflex, like the EX5 ($2695 list) and EX7 ($2195 list) with just about every feature you ever want: six realtime control knobs, three wheels, ribbon and breath control and four types of synthesis (including sampling). Wow! For more on Y-Brand products, see our front cover story.
Well, that just about wraps up this personal report from the Winter L.A. NAMM Show. Watch these pages in months to come and stay tuned to our inSync Internet News Daily for more updates on these and other products as they become available. Contact your Sweetwater Sales Engineer for more information and availability.