Sweetwater Winter L.A. NAMM Special Report!

Good news for those of you looking for 12-tracks of uncompressed hard disk recording - the DPS12HD ($1849 list) should start to trickle into inventory. Several different versions were on display including built-in hard drive systems and Jaz drive configurations.

Alesis Booth
The Alesis Booth

Alesis made a strong showing with a fancy booth and "Scotty" from Star Trek helping them out with a video explaining their new 20-bit ADAT Type II recorders, the ADAT-XT20 ($2999 list) and the ADAT-LX20 ($2249 list). Alesis builds upon the renowned success of the ADAT-XT with the XT20 - replacing it in their recording lineup. 20-bit A/D, D/A converters, fast tape transport, onboard digital editing, extensive front-panel auto-location capabilities, and numerous other exciting features will make the new Type II ADATs a sure winner in the race for better, higher quality Digital tape based recorders. As a computer addition to the recording/ADAT scene, the ADAT PCR PCI Interface card ($499 list) allows any PCI Windows 95/NT or Macintosh platform to receive or send 8 tracks of up to 24-bit audio with an ADAT recorder. The included software also allows your computer to function as a "Virtual ADAT" being able to receive or send commands from an ADAT or other types of controllers.

The Q20 Professional 20-bit Effects Processor ($999 list) also made its appearance. With features like ADAT and S/PDIF digital connections, XLR and 1/4" analog connections, 24-bit DSP chip, 20-bit digital convertors, and up to 8 programmable effects at once, the Q20 is perfect for any no-compromise studio.

For you MIDI users out there, Alesis unveiled their NanoTracker 16 Channel MIDI Recorder. If you're interested in terrific drums sounds - feast your ears on the DM Pro Expandable 20-bit Drum Module ($899 list). With 64 voices of polyphony, over 1,000 sounds, open expandability, 16 fast trigger inputs and 6 audio outputs, incredible drum sounds couldn't sound any better! And finally, Alesis' introduced the DG8 64 voice Expandable Digital Grand Piano ($1999 list) The DG8's built-in speakers and amplifier provides 100 watts per channel and it sounded great!

AT was displaying a few new series of microphones for the first time. The 30 series contained 3 new condenser mics perfect for their versatility and low prices. The AT3525 ($399 list), AT3527 ($299 list), and AT3528 ($299 list) - all three perfect for vocal and instrumental applications. New microphones from the 40 series were also on hand with the showing of the AT4054 (w/bass roll-off $499 list) and AT4055 (w/out bass roll-off, $499 list) hand held cardioid capacitor microphones.

Cakewalk was sporting their new logo as well as a pretty nice booth with demos of the soon to be released Cakewalk Series Version 7. Now in Alpha testing, Cakewalk version 7 builds upon the newer features in version 6 including 32-bit floating-point audio effects for real-time stereo processing (now in stereo plug-ins instead of two mono plug-ins), improved user interface and transport controls, a virtual mixing console (no need to custom make your own - mixing windows grow, change, and disappear depending on your sequence!), and enhanced notation. Also showing at the booth were their selection of Real-time, 32-bit DirectX audio plug-ins including Compressor/Gate, Limiter, Expander/Gate, and a Dynamics Processor. The new Digital Audio/Sequencer for Mac called Metro 4 was also making a few people take notice. In Concert, a cross-platform MIDI playback program was pretty cool as well. Just start playing any General MIDI file, mute the track that you want to play yourself, and In Concert follows your playing - speeding up, slowing down, increasing and decreasing dynamics, even skipping to different parts of the sequence based on your performance! Start anywhere in the sequence and the "band" recognizes where you are in the sequence! A great practice tool and an easy way to gig solo!

A new, cleaner packaging and restructuring of the Logic Audio line debuted this year. Now in three different software configurations for the Mac OS and Windows - Platinum ($799 list) for the Professional Studio, Gold ($499 list) for the Project Studio, and Silver ($299 list) for the Home Studio. Micrologic AV brings up the Start-up Studio with quite a few features for not a lot of money! Emagic also introduced new Windows 95 and MacOS drivers for the Audiowerk8. And as the standard in keeping up-to-date, SoundDiver, Emagic's editor/librarian now supports more modules, keyboards, and digital mixers.

E-mu had their whole entourage of products out and ready for their demos. As for their new products, the simple fact that their tent was always full should be a great indication of things to come! Jumping into the Windows 95 based hard disk recording genre, the E-mu Audio Production Studio ($995 list) has unique features not yet seen from other vendors: 64 voice/32 channel MIDI synthesizer, real-time effects and audio processing, Sample based voicing (up to 32 MB of computer based RAM), and a new audio access bay that mounts up front in an empty drive bay. Also on display was the Audity 2000 Digital Modular Rhythmic Synthesizer (DMRS) ($1795 list). Using 12th order filters, a 24-bit stereo effects processor, a revolutionary Arpeggiator/Rhythmic Pattern Generator, 6 audio outs, 32 voice polyphony, and digital outputs - the Audity 2000 is the next cool new synth module!

Event Electronics
We know that all of you are looking for answers about the shipping status of the Layla hard disk recording system - and we made no exception in asking! We saw new working versions (read their Presidents Letter for more information on the "new" part) so hopefully it will be on its way to all of our customers soon. (Event has made a new policy in which it will not advertise products until they are less than 60 days out from shipping) Event's 20/20p ($599 list) Powered Monitors and Tria ($849 list) 3-piece monitors are ready to be shipped and should be arriving any day now. As with the 20/20bas - both of these new studio monitors sound great!

Fostex FD4
The Fostex FD-4

On hand in the Fostex booth were some new "directions" in hard disk recording. With the new FD-4 4 track digital recorder, it ships without any hard disk. Based on the premise that users can add any SCSI device to record, it's compatible with all of the popular drives out there already - Zip, EZ flyer, Jaz, or SCSI based hard drives. An internal IDE drive can also be attached.

Generalmusic has been making incredible strides in their keyboards - and it shows! They were demonstrating their new Equinix 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 much more - we know that great things are just about to arrive! Just as a side note - Keith Emerson played a show concert for Generalmusic and blew all of us away! The Theremin solo with Bob Moog was quite the showcase!

JBL introduced a few new powered studio monitors at NAMM this year - and from what my ears were telling me, these JBL monitors will have many followers wanting to get their hands on them! The LSR28P ($995 each list) sounded terrific in their sound-proof demo room. These monitors contain an 8" woofer based on JBL's patented Differential Drive technology, a 1" composite diaphragm high frequency device, and an integrated 270 watt amplifier - 200 watts to the low frequency and 70 watts to the high frequency. XLR and 1/4" connections standard as well as balanced or unbalanced signals. Included in the LSR lineup is the LSR12P ($1095 list) Powered Subwoofer System. Again, based on the patented Differential Drive technology, this subwoofer houses a 12" woofer with a Neodymium structure. The LSR12P also contains a 250 watt continuous power amplifier. Both of these monitors were set up as a 5.1 DVD AC-3 audio demo in JBL's NAMM demo room and the word cool just doesn't give them justice! Another set of monitors using similar technologies also were on stage at the show - the LSR32 Spatial Reference Studio Monitor System ($1995 pair list). These monitors feature 12" woofers and 1" composite diaphragm EOS Waveguide devices.

Big news at Kurzweil as a few new instruments made their way to NAMM this year. As reported earlier, a new K2500 board was on display. Called the K2500AES ($20000 list), you can call it simply the epitome of the K2500. While the list may be long, it is very complete - take a look at what it contains: K2500XS keyboard (Sampling Option included), all 3 ROM Block Options (Piano, Orchestral & Contemporary), PRAM-2 option, 128 Mb Sample RAM, 2 gig internal Hard Drive, KDFX Option, 2 DMTi Digital Multitrack Interface (One with the TASCAM Interface card and one with the Alesis Interface card), external CD-ROM drive, 25 to 50 pin SCSI cable, 40 native Kurzweil CD-ROMs (including 2 from Sweetwater), extended 3 year "bumper to bumper" warranty, and it is painted a "champagne" color and the end caps are made of mahogany instead of plastic. Whew! Also showing as a new surprise was Kurzweil's newest addition - the Kurzweil Percussion System. While still very much in development, this electronic drum system might have a leg up on Yamaha and Roland in the near future.

Digital was the name of the game for Mackie as well. On display (and working fantastically) was the Digital 8 Mixer ($9995 list). Word at the show was that the Digital 8 will be shipping soon! (And we know you can't wait!) More updates to the Mackie line include the new and improved Mackie Amplifiers - M1200i and M1400i. For those of you looking forward to receiving your HUI ($3499 list), Mackie's Interface for Pro Tools, the wait is almost over! Extensive demonstrations at the Mackie booth were showing off the cool new possibilities of the HUI. This one is 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! Kudo's to Greg Mackie again!)

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