What’s New

Byline: Geary Yelton


The newest condenser from Rode is the NT2000 ($899), which features a top-of-the-line HF1 capsule with a 1-inch dual diaphragm. The NT2000 is the first mic ever to offer three continuously variable controls for pad, highpass filter, and polar pattern. Especially well-suited for recording, the NT2000 is a phantom-powered FET mic designed to be versatile and avoid coloration and distortion. Its diaphragms are 24K gold sputtered on mylar and then hand-tensioned and aged before the mic’s final assembly and testing.

You choose the NT2000’s pickup pattern (omnidirectional, cardioid, or bidirectional) with the turn of a small knob located on the casing. Similar knobs let you vary the pad from 0 to -10 dB and the highpass filter from 20 to 150 Hz. The mic has an output impedance of 200A3/4 and a maximum output of +15 dBu at 1 percent THD into 1 kA3/4. The signal-to-noise ratio is 84 dB and the dynamic range is 136 dB. Maximum SPL is 147 dBA before the pad, and self-noise is 7 dBA.

The NT2000 comes with a shockmount and a hard-shell carrying case. Rode Microphones; tel. (310) 328-7456; Web www.rodemic.com.


Lexicon now offers an all-in-one, computer-based multitrack recording system. The integrated Omega Desktop Recording Studio (Win, $349.99) system includes USB audio and MIDI I/O; audio-sequencing software; Lexicon’s reverb plug-in, Pantheon; a scaled-down version of Applied Acoustics Tassman; and a suite of effects plug-ins.

The Omega I/O hardware is based on a mixer paradigm and features 24-bit A/D/A converters. The unit has eight inputs that you can assign in pairs to four simultaneous record channels. The two XLR inputs have dbx mic preamps, phantom power, and TRS insert points. Four TRS inputs handle balanced or unbalanced signals as hot as +22 dBu, and a high-impedance instrument input is mounted on the front panel. Stereo S/PDIF and MIDI I/O are also provided. An assignable stereo meter monitors signal levels.

ProTracks Plus, developed in collaboration with Cakewalk, features 32 stereo audio tracks with unlimited takes per track and as many MIDI tracks as your CPU can handle. ProTracks Plus supports nonlinear editing, full automation, custom screen layouts, and 32 simultaneous DirectX plug-ins. The Pantheon plug-in supplies 35 presets and 6 reverb types, each with 16 editable parameters. Lexicon Pro (Harman); tel. (781) 280-0300; e-mail info@lexicon.com; Web www.lexicon.com.


Next up in the loop-sampler wars is Intakt (Mac/Win, $199), from Native Instruments. Intakt combines three sample-playback engines: Beat Machine, Time Machine, and standard sampling. Beat Machine uses a peak-detection algorithm to divide imported audio files into individual slices. For each slice, you can specify parameters such as playback direction, pitch, pan, and effects. Loops can be synchronized to MIDI tempo. Beat Machine can also export a Standard MIDI File so you can manipulate groove, accent, and feel in a host sequencer.

The Time Machine algorithm stretches and compresses a sound’s duration in real time without affecting its pitch. Sampler mode allows extreme pitch shifting while maintaining sound quality, according to Native Instruments. Intakt’s modulation section provides an AHDSR envelope generator; two syncable LFOs with multiple waveforms; six types of filtering; and lo-fi, distortion, and tempo-synced delay effects. An additional Master Filter offers low-, high-, and bandpass modes or 3-band EQ. Intakt plays as many as 128 stereo voices with sample rates up to 96 kHz.

Intakt comes with a 1.2 GB loop library, by soundware developers Zero-G and East-West, and it supports a huge variety of sampler-instrument and audio-interface formats. Minimum system requirements on the PC are a Pentium III or Athlon/400 MHz, 256 MB of RAM, and Windows ME or XP. On the Mac, it needs a G3/500 MHz, 256 MB of RAM, and Mac OS X 10.2.6. Native Instruments USA; tel. (866) 556-6488; e-mail info@native-instruments.com; Web www.native-instruments.com.


From the company whose plug-ins already process audio in almost every way imaginable comes the Waves Transform Bundle (Mac/Win; $1,200 native, $1,800 TDM). Its four new sound-design plug-ins support TDM, RTAS, AudioSuite, VST, MAS, Audio Units, and DirectX formats.

SoundShifter manipulates pitch and time independently. Waves says the plug-in can preserve the source material’s audio quality while shifting pitch over an octave and while doubling or halving duration. SoundShifter has three modes: Parametric and Graphic modes manipulate pitch and duration offline; Real Time mode affects pitch only.

Waves’ first vocoder plug-in, Morphoder offers useful features such as formant shifting. Morphoder includes a stereo, 8-note polyphonic soft synth; a noise generator; and a 5-band, postvocoder EQ.

TransX, a transient processor, shapes the attack and release of processed sounds. Waves says it’s most effective on sounds with a sharp attack, such as percussion or sax. Wide-band and multiband variations accommodate different types of material. For controlling dynamics on recorded tracks, TransX offers a useful alternative to traditional compression.

To add dimension to your recorded tracks, Doubler creates the illusion of over-dubbing by applying delay and pitch modulation. Doubler provides 2- and 4-voice doubling, and each part can be detuned as much as a semitone. Each voice has controls for gain, pan, delay, feedback, detune, and modulation. Waves; tel. (865) 546-6115; e-mail info@waves.com; Web www.waves.com.


Arturia’s CS-80V (Mac/Win, $249) is a software emulation of the Yamaha CS-80, one of the first polyphonic analog synths and the first production model with polyphonic aftertouch. The CS-80 was notorious for its tuning instability, weighed 220 pounds, and in 1976 cost $6,900. Nonetheless, thanks in part to devoted users such as Vangelis, Stevie Wonder, and Toto’s Steve Porcaro, its gorgeous sound and impressive capabilities were so in demand that Yamaha produced and sold around 2,000 of these instruments. When Arturia surveyed its customers to determine which emulation to build next, the CS-80 was high on the list.

CS-80V retains all the features of its namesake, including 8-note polyphony, built-in chorus and ring modulation, and a virtual ribbon controller. It adds an arpeggiator, 8-part multitimbral performance, and a modulation matrix with 12 sources and 38 destinations. Its synthesis architecture offers two anti-aliasing oscillators, four filters, four ADSR envelopes, two LFOs, and two amplifiers per voice. CS-80V supports 32-bit, 96 kHz audio and ships with more than 400 presets.

CS-80V runs standalone in Mac OS X using CoreAudio and in Windows using ASIO or DirectSound. It also operates as a DirectX, RTAS, HTDM, MAS, Audio Units, or VST instrument plug-in. Windows users will need at least a Pentium II/500 MHz, 128 MB of RAM, and Windows 98, 2000, ME, or XP. Mac users will need a minimum G3/500 MHz, 128 MB of RAM, and Mac OS 9.1 or OS X 10.2. Arturia; e-mail info@arturia.com; Web www.arturia.com.


An impressive buy, the new Hercules 16/12 FW (Mac/Win, $599) is a FireWire-based audio and MIDI interface with 16 audio inputs and 12 audio outputs. Mounted on the rear panel are 12 analog inputs, 8 analog outputs, coaxial stereo S/PDIF I/O, and optical stereo S/PDIF I/O, all of which may be used simultaneously for recording and playback. On the front panel, two analog inputs feature Neutrik combo connectors with switches to select from line-, guitar-, or mic-level inputs. The built-in stereo mic preamp offers 48V phantom power, and both front-panel audio inputs have individual Gain controls. The 1U rackmountable unit supports 24-bit, 96 kHz audio, and is compatible with most audio applications.

The 16/12 FW also serves as a 2-In, 2-Out MIDI interface that handles 32 MIDI channels. One pair of MIDI ports is mounted on the front, the other on the rear. Also on the rear are connectors for word-clock I/O and FireWire.

The 16/12 FW is bundled with special editions of Arturia Storm and Ableton Live, which include over 900 MB of sound files. Also included are drivers for CoreAudio on the Mac, and ASIO 2.0, GSIF, and WDM on the PC. Hercules Technologies/Kaysound (distributor); tel. (800) 343-0353 or (514) 633-8877; Web http://us.hercules.com.


JBL Professional recently unveiled the LSR6300 series of monitor speakers, which includes the LSR6328P ($1,339), a biamplified model with an 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. According to JBL, the hallmark of the series is that it minimizes the acoustic properties of the room. The system has a built-in parametric equalizer that helps to eliminate standing waves and other problems caused by the listening environment, making the speaker ideal for project studios of any size. (An optional RMC Calibration Kit is available to measure room response and make adjustments.) Boundary compensation circuitry assists in overcoming the position-dependent spectral shift that occurs when a monitor is mounted on a wall, in a corner, or on a surface. JBL’s Linear Spatial Reference technology also contributes to a flat off-axis response in the mix position and at any distance.

The LSR6328P drives low frequencies with 250W into 2A3/4 and high frequencies with 120W into 4A3/4. The woofer has a carbon-fiber composite cone, dual 1.5-inch voice coils, and a third coil that acts as a dynamic brake. The magnetically shielded tweeter is made of a titanium composite with an elliptical oblate spheroid waveguide. A high-density baffle reduces enclosure resonance, and built-in handles and mounting points make transporting and positioning easier. The LSR6328P’s frequency response is stated at 50 Hz to 20 kHz, +1/-1.5 dB, but low frequencies extend down to 36 Hz, -10 dB. JBL Professional; tel. (818) 894-8850; e-mail info@jblpro.com; Web www.jblpro.com.


Tascam’s first VST plug-in, GigaPulse (Win, $299), is a real-time convolution reverb processor for Windows, and the first that includes mic modeling. GigaPulse can sample a room, a mic, even another signal processor, and apply their acoustical properties to your DAW recordings. With GigaPulse’s Perspective slider, you can move the location of the mic or sound source through virtual space while maintaining phase and stereo imaging.

You can create and import your own impulse recordings to create new models; sample a room from up to 18 locations, and GigaPulse can re-create them during your recording session. A graphic display simplifies placement within the virtual room, and a Cascade function lets you combine impulse recordings to create a new impulse.

A tail-extension algorithm conserves your computer’s processing cycles so you can use multiple instances in the same project. You can apply mic modeling independently or in an acoustical-environment emulation that lets you adjust the perceived distance of the mic from the source. In addition to sampled rooms and reverb plates, GigaPulse ships with a collection of studio mic models. Tascam; tel. (323) 726-0303; Web www.tascam.com.


Broadjam’s Metajam (Mac/Win, $199) is comprehensive career-management software for musicians. To help you promote and distribute your music, Metajam supplies tools such as a top-tier membership in Broadjam’s online community, which gives you an Artist Profile page and other exclusive benefits.

Metajam lets musicians organize their online songs and embed metadata into their music. The metadata contains information such as composer, genre, and label, making it easier for potential licensors to find music for film, ads, or other purposes. Metajam’s Contact List Manager supplies information about 1,500 record labels, publishers, venues, and other industry connections; it’s also an ideal way to keep track of your fan list. Metajam provides templates for creating press kits, flyers, and other materials without a graphic designer.

Metajam collects and displays your publicity photos, album covers, and logos for print and Web publishing. It can keep track of your performances and events, including detailed information about venues, and publish that information on your Broadjam Artist Profile page. Simply follow step-by-step instructions to enter your data into Metajam, and it will organize and upload it to your Web site. Metajam requires at least a Pentium/466 MHz, 64 MB of RAM, and Windows 98 SE, 2000, ME, or XP. For Mac users, minimum requirements are a G4/233 MHz, 64 MB of RAM, and Mac OS 9. Broadjam; tel. (608) 271-3633; Web www.broadjam.com.


The Multi Z Professional Instrument Preamp 3.0 ($600) is Little Labs’ successor to its Multi Z Direct Box. It has so many updated features that it’s being touted as an instrument preamp, a re-amplifier, a direct box, and even a mini instrument mixer – all at the same time. Thanks to source-impedance-optimized circuitry, the compact Multi Z PIP offers the same clarity and punch that made the previous model popular, according to the manufacturer. Incorporating ten years’s worth of custom modifications to its predecessor, the new unit offers a choice of balanced line-level transformerless output, line-level transformer-isolated output, or mic-level transformer-isolated output. It has a special instrument-pickup emulation transformer output with an insert upstream of the transformers.

The Multi Z PIP serves as a high-fidelity mixer by summing four inputs to the output. In addition, an independent re-amplifier circuit facilitates interfacing with vintage effects. On the front panel, a four-position Input Circuit Select knob lets you choose Hi-Z, Mid-Z, Lo-Z, or Speaker input levels. Rear-mounted XLR and TRS jacks serve as balanced and unbalanced outputs. A rackmount multichannel version is also available for stage or studio installations. Little Labs; tel. (323) 851-6860; e-mail littlelabs@littlelabs.com; Web www.littlelabs.com.

COPYRIGHT 2004 PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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