AES IconSweetwater Sound's Special AES Report

They had their new MP-20, two channel mic amp up and running. This is basically a two channel version of the awesome M-80 unit that has just begun shipping.

Orange Vocoder is their new VST compatible plug-in, and guess what? It's very orange. Actually it is a very sophisticated multi-band unit and sounds fantastic. I heard it do every modern vocoder trick and then some.

Formerly Ampex, they debuted a new formulation of ADAT tape that they claim has higher and more consistent output than any other. They also claim that it is virtually debris free, which means more reliable operation over extended use. Helping to keep analog alive they have come out with GP9 tape. This new formulation is a +9 type that is basically compatible with 499, but is "transport friendly." After buying out 3M a few years ago they learned that 996 tape had some amazing binding properties. These have now been incorporated into GP9 for a shed resistant high output tape. Currently available only in 2" and 1/2" sizes the price is about 5% more than 499. Oh, and the reels are a striking fire engine red color.

They have a new stand and matching rack gear that are designed for mixing station. Shown with a Mackie 40•8 on the stand it looks to be more than capable of handling some seriously heavy mixers. They also had some very contemporary new speaker stands for studio monitors. The BS-342 ($160) are 42" high and the BS-336 are 36" high. Both are based on a triangular base with three tubes rising to a square surface that holds the speakers.

Their new SRM-66 programmable router/mixer ($999) was up and running, as well as the new MA-3, three channel amplifier ($699). These new models maintain their constantly high attention to detail and robust design. The amp, for example, has built in limiting so you can get the most out of the three 40 watt channels without distortion.

Rode debuted a new tube microphone called the NTV ($1199). It comes with a separate power supply unit, cable, and shock mount. It has an edge connected diaphragm like the legendary AKG C12. It seemed to have a very warm and punchy sound while being very low noise for a tube. It should be available in December.

Nothing new in the pro division, but their consumer division has some new USB products that look good. The UA-100 is touted as a USB do-it-all with two audio and two MIDI ins and outs it makes a nice overall interface. Plus it has built in audio effects processing and an optical digital output. The S-MPU64 ($225) is a four in and out (64 channel) MIDI interface. Interestingly, they even have USB speakers. The MA-150U monitors are multimedia size (and sound), but connect via analog, digital, or USB.

These feedback eliminators have introduced a new line of equalizers. The Graphi-Q is an all digital (24-bit) EQ, FBX Compressor, and delay all in one. It is available in single channel and dual channel models as well as blank front panel "slave" models that can be controlled via Windows software.

SEKD has enhanced their Samplitude software by providing a total hardware solution. The ADDA 2496 rack mount converter and PCI card support (you guessed it) 24-bit, 96k sampling, which of course is captured by Samplitude's 24/96 capabilities. This system claims a very impressive Ð132 dB signal to noise ratio.

Shure has entered the side entry microphone market with the KSM32. The cardioid microphone features Class A transformerless preamp circuitry, an ultra low mass 2.2 micron diaphragm, and a self noise spec of 13 dB. Obviously Shure knows how to build microphones.

They are leading the way with development of mastering tools for DVD. Their SonicStudio HD system is designed for the emerging DVD Audio and DSD (Direct Stream Digital) formats (inSync will be covering this in more detail in the future).

It's not for everyone, but they have a real interesting portable two track hard disk recorder called Courier. It comes complete with built in waveform editing capabilities and built in ISDN and modem transfer capabilities. It can record .wav files or MP2 compressed files. The whole unit is hardly bigger than a typical portable DAT machine.

Sonorus had their new 24-bit, 96k interfaces about ready to go and they also were sporting some eight channel units that are being developed by Mytek Digital which are capable of doing multichannel DAW or CD/DVD mastering.

These monsters of audio showed an awesome looking new reverb. The DRE-S777 ($5500 for a base machine) is listed as a sampling reverb, but is built on an engine many times more powerful than anything Sony (and maybe anyone) has ever done. Data and algorithms are loaded in through a built in CD ROM drive. The unit is specifically designed to produce the most stunning digital reverbs possible - and in full surround. It's a thing of beauty to look at too. A nice, big LCD surrounded by very few controls and a wood finished front panel. Sort of the Lexus of reverbs if you will. The DADR (Digital Audio Disk Recorder) System 5000 is their digital answer to analog film dubbers. Recording on two Jaz disks, its 16 channels of 20- or 24-bit audio can be fully integrated with their Oxford console and their PCM-3348 DASH recorder.

Did I already say surround sound was the buzz of the show? Soundfield introduced a new 5.1 microphone. It is designed to allow engineers to record a full 5.1 signal from one multi-element microphone. It is comprised of their ST250 and MKV microphone systems with a new surround sound decoder.

As one would expect there were many amazing things in their booth. Likely of most interest to our readers are the
The Studer V-24 ADAT System
The Studer V-24 ADAT System • Larger Image Available (78 kb)
new V-8 machines and V-24 system. This S-VHS machine is based on the Alesis M20 ADAT, but has a different look and slightly different feature set. The V-24 system is comprised of three V-8 machines and a really sexy looking controller on a roll around stand. It is basically positioned as a 24-track tape machine.

One of the most attractive new products at the show was their MPE-200 (under $5000) mic preamp. This Rupert Neve designed unit offers discrete solid state components running Class A with transformer inputs and outputs. It is under digital control and has MIDI with SysEx capability. There will be blank units that can be slaved to one master for a total array of up to 32 channels. This one really needs to be seen close up to be fully appreciated.

Symetrix showed their new half rack series (which we've written about previously) and a new 5-band parametric EQ called the 551E ($449) that looks real nice.

As usual they showed a variety of new products. The CD-RW5000 ($1299) is their new CD burner. It supports all types of media, including rewritable, and has all of the common digital I/O connections. They also have imported a SCSI CD burning package based on a drive from their parent Teac line. The CD Burner 4 x 12 is available in Mac and PC versions (with appropriate software for each) for $630. It also comes with the CD Stomper package, which will allow you to even do your CD graphics. The CD-450 ($760) will replace the CD-401 and adds several new features, including a front panel number pad for direct recall of tracks. Finishing up their new CD solutions is the CD-D4000 CD duplicator ($1299). Amazingly, this unit has no I/O whatsoever. It's simple. There is a CD reader and a CD writer. It will duplicate any CD in real time, 2x speed, or 4x speed. Still in early development is the TM-D4000 digital mixer ($4299). This unit is currently positioned as a slightly scaled down TM-D8000, but will have 24-bit I/O throughout, built-in effects and all moving fader automation. Digital I/O will be largely via optional plug-in cards. It is not expected to ship until mid 1999.

An active version of their successful Reveal monitors was shown. Active Reveal ($449 each), as they are called, are bi-amped with 50 watts on both low and high frequency transducers. Also shown were the new 800 dual concentric active monitors ($1999) with 90 watts on low and high end. A new smaller active sub woofer called PS-110 ($499) is designed to go with the Reveals and brings up the bottom with a 100 watt driven 10-inch woofer.

This newcomer has some very elegant studio furniture offerings. Their Oval Workstation (around $3000 fully configured), while based on the traditional workstation kind of concept, is beautiful and more functional in some unique ways. For example the speaker platforms not only swivel and are adjustable in height, but they also tilt. Finally a workstation where your speakers can be positioned where YOU want them. They also have a variety of slant or straight front racks to choose from. Everything is built using high quality, beautiful woods (no pressboard). They also showed a novel gobo system. Their modular, stackable gobo's are available in several colors and finishing styles (wood, plexiglass, etc.). They can even be configured to make an isolation both, complete with window and door.

TC blew us away with the new M3000 ($2495) reverb unit. The user interface is a lot like their recent products, but this one represents years of intensive research they've done on the properties of sound in acoustic spaces (reverb). According to them this is the first new pure research that has been done on this since the mid eighties. The results of the research have been known for a while, but they actually had to wait until there was a processor powerful enough to efficiently run the algorithms before they could build this box. It's here and it does sound incredible. They are supposed to ship in late November. Of course it is full 24-bit architecture. Also, their M2000 got an upgrade to 24-bit. Those units should be shipping soon. In the software domain they now have MegaReverb ($795), a plug-in based on this same ground breaking research. As mentioned elsewhere this plug-in is included with new Pro Tools Mix systems for a limited time. And finally (pun intended), the Finalizer Express is their budget entry into the final stage limiting/EQ market. With a street price of under $1400 it will be a great addition to any project studio looking to make pro sounding masters.

The Precision-8 ($2695) is an 8 channel microphone preamp being distributed by Neumann. It is designed to compete with high end models like Grace, Milinia and so forth. The first two of the eight inputs can be linked in a MS configuration and inputs 7 and 8 can be used as a direct box for line level signals. The outputs are balanced TRS and a DB25 wired like a TASCAM DA-88. The front panel sports level controls, metering, 48v switch, polarity switch and a rotary control that defines the range of the metering. The sound quality is superb.

When so many companies who've made hardware for years jumped into the plug-in software ring, Waves decided to fight back by jumping into the hardware ring. Their first product, the L2 - Ultramaximizer debuted here, looks and sounds great. It incorporates the software functionality and intuitive metering of their famous L1 plug-in into an easy to use hardware interface with 96k, 48-bit internal resolution and IDR dithering. Look for more hardware from them in the future.

MainPage 1Page 2 • Page 3