Sweetwater's Review of the 99th AES Show

Several of us from Sweetwater Sound attended the 99th AES (Audio Engineering Society) show that was held in New York on October 6-9, 1995. Held in the Jacob-Javitz Center, and as usual there was no shortage of new products and technologies for the recording and live sound industry. There were over 300 exhibitors and over 20,000 attendees. This year's visit to NY was particularly interesting because the Pope was also visiting New York at the same time.

Needless to say, security was incredibly intense and accommodations were frustrating at best.

Here are some quick thoughts regarding the show. We took a few pictures with our Apple QuickTake camera and provided this quick "live" report as a service to you, our loyal supporters. Please feel free to call any of the Sweetwater sales engineers for more information.

New Products:

AKAI debuted several new products, including the new S2000 sampler. With 32 voices, expandability to 32 megs of RAM (using 72 pin simms), the capability to load Akai, Roland and EMU libraries and priced at ONLY $1195.00 - these are going to fly out of here. Available around the end of the year.
Also shown was the new DR-16 16 track hard disk recorder and the price on the DR-8 has been lowered to $3495.00.

Alesis showed their new ADAT-XT. At $3499.00 the XT is the next evolution of the incredibly popular ADAT.

See our related story. They should be available in VERY limited quantities in December.

Amek showed their new Angela II console and the new Rembrandt (priced $50,000 - $125,000).

Aphex showed their new 108, 2 Channel "EasyRider" Compressor - $349.00 list.

They also showed their very cool 661 Tubessence "Expressor" Tube compressor/limiter - single channel $749.00. Available in November.

Cakewalk Music Software (used to be Twelve Tone Systems) showed their new upgrade to Cakewalk, Cakewalk Pro Audio, which now works with Session 8 PC.

Digidesign showed several new products and with the support of many of their third party developers probably had the largest booth of the show. Space does not permit every new item or vendor, but here are few highlights. Digidesign announced Pro Tools Project,essentially a replacement for Session 8, but now includes the Pro Tools software. $2495.00 (plus requires 882 interface) Very cool and available in December. (Here is a tip: buy Session 8 now and you can upgrade to Pro Tools project for only $295.00 - this will save you a couple of hundred dollars, plus you can use it right away.)
Digidesign also announced Pro Tools PowerMix - software with support for Audiomedia or PPC built-in audio. Available second quarter 1996.
Also announced is support for networking with Pro Tools - second quarter 1996
DINR noise reduction will soon work with PTIII and TDM.
Audiomedia III - with Session software for Windows - 2nd quarter 1996
ProControl - modular control surface - Modular design, (control unit and Fader unit- expandable to 32 faders.) It looked very good with motorized faders, machine control, and complete control room monitoring and talkback circuitry. Available third quarter 1996 for less than $10,000.

Other cool 3rd party stuff at Digidesign's booth:

TC Electronics showed TC Tools - A TDM plug-in that features the world famous TC Electronic's M5000 reverb and the TC1210 Spatial Expander. $995 and available in December.

Focusrite showed a new TDM plug-in based on the Red 2 Parametric Equalizer.

Steinberg showed 3 new plug-ins: Spectralizer, TimeGuard and Tun-A and their Pro Tools III and TDM compatible sequencer CuBase Audio.

Another really hot program by Intelligent Devices, Pro Audio Analyzer, was being shown. It is billed as the ultimate real time audio monitoring program. Using any Digidesign hardware or the native audio of a PowerMac (including PPC Powerbooks), you have a spectrum analyzer, Phase scope, waveform monitor, high resolution peak metering (with clip indication) and much more. Every studio will have to have this! Only $395.00 and it is available now.

DBX showed 3 new products: The model 1046 is a Quad compressor/limiter that features 4 channels of "OverEasy" and hard-knee compression in a 1 rack space box featuring XLR and 1/4" connectors-very flexible at $549.00 retail.

Also shown was the 1066. The 1066 is a very high quality 2 channel compressor/limiter featuring a brand new DBX VCA. It features OverEasy style compression as well as a user adjustable parameters. It also has a new PeakStopPlus Limiter and a very high quality expander gate with side-chain monitoring. It features balanced XLR and 1/4" connectors with a switch to choose between -10 and +4 operation. It looks great cosmetically and features great metering. This unit is so powerful and sounds so good - It WILL be a hit for DBX (and Sweetwater) at only $549.00 retail.

Finally, from DBX is a new single channel, very high end, tube based, mic preamp, compressor/limiter. The 1650T was designed by the legendary New York studio installer Greg Hanks. It is a very cool, retro looking piece which includes emulations of many of the most popular compressors, i.e SSL, Neve, etc.

Very, Very cool!!!! Available in VERY limited quantities in the spring for about $3000. I want one!

Digitech showed their new StudioQuad, 4 in - 4 out multi-effects device.

Emagic - Logic Audio now supports Pro Tools III and TDM.

EMU Systems showed their new Darwin 8 Track recorder. At only $3195.00, this unit is designed to fit perfectly into your ADAT system or work all by itself. Very powerful and great interface. I am sure this will be a very popular item. Also showing was the E4, E64, and the very popular ESI-32.

Fostex debuted their successor to their popular RD8 8 track recorder. The new multi-channel digital audio tape recorder is called the CX-8. The CX-8 is based on the new Alesis ADAT-XT and it includes DB-25 pin style connectors (same as Tascam's DA88) for +4 operation and RCA's for -10. The price is $3495.00 ($4 less than Alesis!) Available at the first of the year.
Fostex also showed their Foundation 2000RE and a brand new, 8 track-digital, hard disk based, "personal" recorder. The DMT-8 includes a 16 channel mixer, jog/shuttle wheel and built-in 540 mb hard drive good for about 12 minutes of recording time. Priced at $2495.00, the DMT-8 will be a nice product for the entry level customer who wants better quality and still maintain ease of use.

Mackie showed a new mixer. The VLZ-1202 is a whole new design based on the incredibly popular MS1202 mixer. The VLZ-1202 features 3 band EQ and 4 microphone inputs, it also features the ALT 3/4 feature (like the CR1604) and it features XLR outputs (as well as 1/4"). The XLR outputs can be switched between line and mic level. It features a brand new mechanical design that looks like a baby 8-Bus console - very cool.

The price was not finalized at the AES show but we have been promised that it will be less than $449.00. Maybe $429? or $399? Everyone will have to have one as an audio tool/workhorse.
Mackie also announced they had started shipping their Ultra automation system- call us for more details.

Marantz showed their new CDR-620 CD Recorder. It looks like it will be the CD recorder to own. It is the first CD recorder to have both audio and SCSI connections. The SCSI port will work with computers and it should work with Masterlist CD and most of the other authoring programs. The audio inputs allow you to record audio directly into the 620 (digital and analog) without having to use a computer. It also can convert DAT indexes into CD start ids. This is one hot machine... at less than $5000.00 and it should be available at the first of the year.

Marantz was also showing the Phillips Sound Enhancer which now retails for $2495.00. We have it in stock and it definitely is a good sounding A to D converter and a lot more.

Mark of the Unicorn was giving out audio CDs demonstrating a new, improved feature that will be available in their next release of Digital Performer. Their new Digital audio transposition algorithm transposed audio more accurately than I have EVER heard done before. The audio quality is incredible. Honest!!! Check it out... If you want a copy of this free CD, give us a call and we will send it right out to you. You can now add harmonies or correct pitches without rerecording a new part. Very, very cool... every serious studio will need Digital Performer just to use as a studio fix-it tool.

Neumann showed their new large diaphragm M149 condenser microphone. The first Tube mic by Neumann in over 30 years... it is bound to be a hit. It uses the K47 capsule from the famous U47 microphone. It also features the transformerless circuitry found in the award winning TLM-50 Microphone.

With 5 patterns and a 9 position high pass filter, this is bound to be a very popular mic for the elite few who can afford it. Available in limited quantities in December for about $4500.00.

A new company, OZ Audio, was handing out literature on their new headphone matrix amp/mixer, Q-Mix HM6. The Q-Mix HM6 is rumored to be designed by a very well-known designer of other popular mixers. It actually is a very small, block like product, similar to the Mackie MS1202. It is designed to interface with your existing mixer and provides up to 6 different mixes and amplification to drive 6 sets of headphones. It would allow your performers to make the mixes they want to hear, so you can concentrate on getting good signals recorded. Price or availability not announced... but I would guess about $400.00

Opcode was showing and shipping StudioVision 3.0 - The pitch to MIDI and back again has to be seen to be understood. It blows my mind every time I see it. The booth was VERY crowded with people standing in line to watch Gerry Basserman doing a killer demo of Studio Vision 3.0. His demo was especially impressive since the word on the street is that he only picked up the saxophone a few weeks before!

Otari showed their very popular Status and Concept consoles as well as the Radar hard disk recording system.

The coolest product had to be their new PicMix surround sound mixing system. It works with ALL consoles. PicMix was even being used and endorsed by Euphonix. I am convinced with the advent of home theaters, that over the next few years every successful audio engineer will have to be able to mix in surround sound. Starting at under $5000, PicMix will help get you there.

Panasonic debuted their new multi-channel digital audio tape recorder, the MDA-1. The MDA-1 is based on the new Alesis ADAT-XT with 2 unique features. First, it includes XLR, 3 pin connectors (as well as RCA's) for inputs and outputs. Also the MDA-1 incorporates muting relays on the outputs. This improves the signal to noise ratio while in the stop mode. Pricing is not final yet, but it should be less than $4000.00. Available at the first of the year.

Rode was showing their NT-2 large diaphragm microphone.

It looked very good and I understand is sounds like the big league. Available in November. List price is $749.00.

Samson showed their new Mixpad 9, a 9 channel, incredibly small mixer. Featuring 3 XLR inputs, 3 stereo inputs, 2 band EQ, 2 aux sends, phantom power, 2 stereo effects returns, headphone jack, peak LEDs and balanced connectors on the outputs... whew... need I say more? Only $249.00!! Available around the first of the year.

Tascam showed several new products including two Mini-disk products. The MDR801R is a recorder player at $2499, while the MDR801P is a player only version for a couple of hundred dollars less. Available March/April 1996. Also showing was the Porta 3 mkII, 4 track cassette based recording system, sporting all new internal electronics for only $259.00.

Tascam also debuted their newly redesigned M2600 mkII.

It includes all of the features of the original M2600 and now includes even better electronics and sports an optional meter bridge. It looked very good and should be available by the end of the year.

Well, there you have it, Sweetwater's quick overview of AES 1995. Next year's 100th AES show is in San Francisco next October and is open to the public. If you can, plan to attend. If you have questions about this year's show, please feel free to ask us.

Chuck Surack
Sweetwater Sound