AES IconSweetwater Sound's Special AES Report

AARDVARK
ASIO drivers are now shipping for the Aark 20/20, their awesome 10 in/10 out hard disk recording system. They claim it is the only no-latency multichannel system available for Cubase VST. TimeSync II ($1295), the long awaited low-jitter do-it-all-sync-box is now shipping. The TimeSync II supports LTC, VITC, MIDI, Video, Word Clock, AES/EBU and Digidesign's 256 Superclock with professional time code readers and Aardvark's low-jitter clock outputs.

AKG
They have a very nice new shock mount for $100. It is capable of holding the C414 and almost any other mic with a shaft or one inch or less. They also showed their modular series line of small condensers. The line consists of a variety of mounts (hanging, podium, table, etc.) with a variety of capsule types that can be fixed to them to make a very wide range of configuration possibilities. Interestingly, the mounts all have a small LED in them to indicate a (phantom) power on condition. Nice touch.

ALESIS
The big news at Alesis is microphones. They have hired the brain behind the Groove Tube microphone line and assimilated them as their own. Current models
Alesis at the show...
Alesis at the show... • Larger Image Available (85 kb)
are the AM51 ($549), AM52 ($699), AM61 ($990), and AM62 ($1299). The 51 and 52 are FET models, with the 51 being cardioid only and the 52 being multi-pattern. Th 61 and 62 look the same, but are Class A tube designs with the 61 being cardioid only. All of these models come with shock mounts and feature 3 micron diaphragms. They get my award for coolest pin of the show. A miniature (allegedly working) tube about one inch long. Also shown, very quietly over in the corner, were their new powered monitors. The M1 ($649 per pair) active monitors have a 75 watt and 25 watt amp and sound incredible for the money.

ALLEN AND HEATH
Their new GS3000 32 x 8 mixer (street price around $6500) was up and running. This board features faders on both input and tape signal paths as well as two patchable tube microphone preamps built in. It also features Q controls on the EQ and a MIDI muting ability, plus a continuation of A & H's MMC technology. This looks to be a great alternative for those who can't, or don't want to make the jump to digital, but who want a higher quality budget analog 8-buss mixer.

AMEK
Rupert Neve was in the house showing off his 9098i console. If any of you have about a million dollars you'd like to throw at one of the most amazing desks ever developed this is the board for you. Also on display was Rupert's RCMA (Remote Controlled Microphone Amplifier) and his 9098 dual preamps and compressors. Amek also has their largest DMS (Digital Mixer System) ever shown on display with its new 3.0 operating system. They are clearly working to define this board as more than a post production console.

ANTARES
Their new ATR-1 pitch correction hardware box was being put to the test. I sang through it and it even made me sound on key. Wow! It really works. I can think of some country singers I'd like to give one of these to. I also got to fiddle with their new Dspider plug-in quite a bit. Not only does it do the work of 20 other plug-ins, but the sound design capabilities are intense. Anyone who every considered Turbo Synth should buy one of these right now.

APHEX
They had a very impressive looking 8-channel remote controlled microphone preamp. The 1788 ($5000) is designed for any application where a robust signal path and controllability are desired, making a great solution in a live sound setting as an alternative to long mic lines. There are a myriad of sophisticated features and a very nice PC based program for control of it all, or it can be operated directly from the front panel. It looks way cool.

APOGEE
Bob Clearmountain gave us a nice demo of their newest stuff. The Rosetta A/D ($1295) is their new budget converter system. It is a two channel unit with built-in ADAT light pipe and TDIF connections. It will do 24-bit conversion or lower bit depths with UV-22 process. For all intents and purposes it replaces the AD-1000, but they plan to keep it around for its portable applications. There will also be a 96k sampling version available ($1995). The PSX-1000 ($2995) is more or less a two channel AD-8000. It is full 24-bit, 96k sampling with built in ADAT and TDIF interfaces. It also has all of the bit splitting stuff so you can use a 16-bit 48k MDM to record full 24-bit 96k signals across multiple tracks. In early 1999 they will be releasing a new Ambuss card for doing S/PDIF transfers. They also announced plans to release an improved version of UV-22 called UV-22HR. Existing AD-8000 units will be able to be upgraded. And with all of that if the AD-8000 STILL isn't good enough, they are going to be making a limited number of AD-8000SE units. These will have the finest op amps and analog components they can find in them, which will add $2000 to the price. In terms of their media they are now supplying a DTRS tape for DA-88 type machines. It's a new metal binding tape that supposedly will not shed.

ART
ART debuted a sexy looking new processor called DMU-Pro ($499), which is based on a dual processor architecture. Each processor has its own dedicated display and control section, but there is also a master section for controlling both. The implementation is sensible and easy to navigate. They also have a new Tube mic preamp and a new dual tube EQ, both for $499.

AUREAL
Most known in the gaming community as the developer of some intensive 3D audio hardware they have a new plug-in called A3D. It is actually based on the concept of the old Crystal River plug-in called ProTron, which they own the rights to. It has been rewritten from the ground up and has vastly improved algorithms. The 3D and ambience effects are nothing short of spectacular. Anyone doing multi-channel audio really needs to take a look at this. It is selling for $399, but any registered users of the old ProTron plug-in can get an upgrade for $99. Current support is only for TDM.

BEYER
Beyerdynamic had a pair of their MCD-100 digital microphones hooked up and they sounded beautiful. There is obviously only so much one can hear at a trade show, but I heard enough to make me want to hear more under more controlled circumstances.

BIAS
Bias has announced ASIO support with Peak 2.0.

CRANE SONG
A new Class-A compressor/limiter, called Trakker, is a mono unit with linking for up to eight units operating in concert. It has the ability to emulate various known compression techniques with its full set of precision analog compression controls and very precise metering.

DENON
A new professional CD player, the DN-C630 ($600) was shown, as well as a dual MD player designed for DJ applications.

DIGIDESIGN
As usual they had the most crowded booth at the show. Amazing since they had one of the largest at the show as well. They are really on top of their game right now and shook the show with their announcements (and working demos) of Pro Tools on Windows NT machines. I will not repeat all of the details since they are in our earlier pre-AES special report. There is one correction from that report. The TC Electronic Mega Reverb plug-in will only come with the new Mix systems for 90 days, after which it will be available from TC for $795.

DK AUDIO
Known worldwide for their world class metering systems, they were showing their new MSD600M, modular metering system. It starts as a two channel device, but can be upgraded with cards to take up to eight simultaneous channels of analog or digital audio and build intelligent displays with them. The example shown was it monitoring a 5.1 surround mix and graphically showing how much relative energy was in each channel on an XY type quadrant graph. These are standard fare in the new SSL and Euphonix consoles. Their line ranges in price from $995 to around $6,000.

EARTHWORKS
The new SR71 ($399) live cardioid microphone was on display. It is housed in a much more rugged case than their studio mics.

EMAGIC
No new products per se', but they are promising ASIO and Digidesign Project II support in November. There will be a free download of the 3.52 software available in about one week that will support the new Pro Tools Mix systems.

EMU•ENSONIQ
Get used to seeing those names together. The merger is almost complete. They probably tie Digidesign for having the busiest booth at the show, and for good reason. The Proteus 2000 ($1495) looks ready to ship. The 32 channel, 128 voice unit has some real nice sounding built-in effects and looks like it will be a great new platform for their future.
Sony and Shure at the show...
Sony and Shure at the show... • Larger Image Available (77 kb)
They also announced EOS 4.0 for the E4 sampler and a software program that provides full editing via computer. An ADAT I/O was also shown for the E4. It was also confirmed that Darwin is evolving to version 2.5, which will support the finally shipping SMPTE card. We previously announced the new, scaled down PARIS systems a week ago, but they were in action and working great at the show. Their big news was the Mantis Modular Digital Mixing System ($2500 - $9000). The central unit is the mainframe, which houses a variety of I/O cards for interfacing to all sorts of equipment. Proposed cards include: Mantis A16 (two ADAT optical I/O ports), Mantis T16 (you guessed it, two TDIF ports), Mantis AES (obvious), Mantis 1394 (Firewire card!!), Mantis TC (SMPTE generator reader), and Mantis EDI, which is their proprietary format for connecting their Mantis Annex, a 16 channel, two rack space analog I/O box with four mic amps. Other EDI hardware is likely to be available in the future. They claim 112 24-bit inputs are available, some of which are built in to the mainframe itself. They also expect to release DSP hardware and support a software plug-in architecture for processing. The software runs on Mac or PC and there is a control surface available. It also supports the Mackie HUI, and will support other tactile surfaces in the future. The whole thing connects to the computer with a simple serial cable leaving your computer to go about whatever else you have it doing. Finally, they were also in the news for a collaboration with Waveframe for whom they plan to build the EMU Post Card, an enhanced version of their Audio Production Suite (a.k.a. E-Card). The card will add RAM-based sampling capabilities to the Waveframe platform, which will make it a more well rounded system for post production.

EQUI=TECH
The balanced power people. They've lowered the size and price of some of their most popular units. The 15 amp unit ($1188) and the 20 amp unit ($1389) are now only two rack spaces.

ETEK
Winning my award for niftiest product at the show is their NoteMix, a notebook style powered mixer. I mean it literally looks like a notebook computer. It opens with the inside lid having all of the mixer controls. The 14 channel unit has 6 mic inputs and 4 stereo inputs each with 3 aux sends and 3 band EQ. It also has 3 built-in digital effects as well as phantom power. Oh! And it also has a two channel 200 watt power amp built in! Again, it is the size and shape of a notebook computer. It also comes with a gig bag. All of this for around $899.


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