Anaheim, CA (January 16, 2009)–The 2009 Winter NAMM show is in full swing out in Anaheim, and in recent years, it’s become quite the hot bed of activity for the Pro Audio industry. While there’s still plenty of instrument, lighting and sheet music companies on hand (not to mention mullets), there’s lots of new Pro Audio products gracing the aisles. For those who couldn’t make it to the show, here’s just a smattering (in no particular order) of new gear that may soon be finding a space in your workspace–and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s being shown in Anaheim this weekend:
Audio-Technica’s ATH-M35 Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica has introduced its ATH-M35 dynamic stereo monitor headphones. Employing the company’s latest transducer technology, the ATH-M35’s key features include a foldable design for storage and a storage pouch. The phones are targeted for professional studio and home recording use and more portable situations such as live sound, broadcast audio-for-video and field recording.
The ATH-M35 employs a low-profile, closed-back design, with a neodymium magnet structure and a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz. In addition, it features a gold-plated, stereo, 1/8-inch (3.5mm) connector with strain relief and professional screw-on 1/4-inch (6.3mm) adapter, and an 11-foot (3.4m) cable with single-side exit.
Heil Sound’s Drum Mic Kits
Heil Sound has premiered three drum microphone kits–the HDK-8 Primo, the HDK-7 and the HDK-5. All of the HDK drum kits feature microphones from the Heil Sound product line as well as several new mics designed specifically for drummers.
The HDK-8 Primo kit consists of two PR 22s, three PR 28s for toms, two PR 38s for overheads and one PR 48 for kick. In addition, a new tom mount called the HH-1 is included.
Sennheiser’s HD 800 Headphones
Sennheiser has debuted its HD 800 headphones. This audiophile model is said to offer “brilliant sound imaging and impressive spatiality” through the use of a 56mm sound transducer and an ear-cup design that directs sound waves to the ear at a slight angle.
The vibrating part of the diaphragm is not a circular surface area but a ring, which is able to set the entire air volume over the transducer into motion. This annular design, patented by Sennheiser, reportedly solves the problems relating to dynamic transducer principles.
Primacoustic’s Machine Room Computer Silencer
Primacoustic’s Machine Room is a compact enclosure designed to quiet down computers for recording studios. It combines natural energy flow with forced air by providing the cool air intake at the bottom and allowing the hot air to rise and exit at the top. This is supplemented with a variable speed fan that “sucks” the warm air out from the top and forces it through a foam-lined manifold to ensure exit fan turbulence noise is subdued.
Both the filtered intake vent and outtake port are positioned at the rear of the enclosure to minimize noise in the front working zone. A full-view front window with an access door allows the user to access the computer quickly. A foam-rubber surround seal and positive latch ensures the door will close tight. To reduce inner reflections, the side walls of the Machine Room are treated with high-density, open-cell foam which is embedded with a fire retardant to meet the C-117 safety specification. The variable-speed fan and optional thermometer provide the user with control over airflow and desired cooling level.
Auralex’s SonicPrint Acoustic Panels
Auralex Acoustics has launched SonicPrint, a gallery of custom-printed acoustical panels. The line includes fabric-covered, acoustic, absorptive panels designed as artwork.
According to the company, users are no longer limited to single color fabric choices, and can now outfit any space with paintings and drawings of any kind. SonicPrint is also available for Auralex’s ELiTE Custom Fabric System (CFS), a full-room treatment approach that blends an engineered acoustical environment with a finished appearance.
Waves Audio’s Center Processor
Waves Audio has introduced its Waves Center, a processor that is said to separate phantom center audio from side (L/R panned) content. Targeted for final mixes and mastering, Center lets users zero in on the phantom center and bring out or bring down the vocals without affecting everything else. Center allows users to reposition, isolate and even eliminate elements of a mix.
Utilizing an engine that considers the amplitude, frequency and time envelope of stereo sources, Center reportedly gives users the power to radically re-balance their spatial imagery. Adjustable punch, high- and low-frequency controls let users enhance detail with maximum impact.
TC Electronic’s Level Pilot Monitor Control
TC Electronic has debuted Level Pilot, a high-resolution volume solution that fits into any active speaker setup with a minimum of clutter and wires. It is an analog, stereo volume control that works independently of the computer or audio interface, so users have control over their volume levels in all situations and at all times.
According to the company, Level Pilot features a compact design that fits into any active desktop (or even live setup) without the need for an extra power supply, and employs quad-core cabling to minimize untidy cabling.
Furman’s Prestige Series Power Conditioners, Voltage Regulators
Furman Sound has unveiled its new Prestige Series for AV professionals with the P-1800 PF R power conditioner, P-1800 AR voltage regulator, and P-1400 AR E export voltage regulator.
A successor to Furman’s PF-Pro R, the P-1800 PF R has been engineered specifically for musicians and utilizes the company’s Power Factor and Clear Tone technologies. The P-1800 AR succeeds Furman’s AR-15 II voltage regulator, providing 120 V output (±5 V) from input voltages ranging from 97 V to 137 V AC. The P-1400 AR E provides the same technology of the P-1800 AR to overseas markets, offering voltage output selectable between 220 VAC and 240 VAC, IEC outlets and detachable Shucko power cord.
Novation’s Plug-in FX Suite
Novation has unveiled its first independent collection of VST/AU plug-ins, the Plug-in Suite. Included are five effects from Novation’s synth heritage, including signature effects derived from the SuperNova II. The VST/AU plug-ins include Chorus, Delay, Tremelo, Phaser and the filter featuring overdrive.
The filter also features a “Q-Norm” dial, a resonance normalizer that reportedly reduces the signal level in relation to the resonance level, mimicking filters like those found on Moog and Oberheim synthesisers, or the Roland TB303.
Radial’s H-Amp Headphone Amplifier
According to the company, Radial Engineering’s H-Amp is not really an amplifier, but a headphone device that takes any amplified signal and coverts it so that it can be monitored through headphones. A typical live stage application would be to take a feed from a passive stage wedge monitor to feed headphones for the drummer. In the studio, one could take the output from a power amplifier and feed a host of headphones.
Features include a Neutrik Speakon input connector, headphone impedance range select, lo-cut filter, tone control and headphone volume control. Choice of mono 1/4-inch TRS out for standard headphones and mini 3.5mm jack for ear buds. As with all Radial products, the H-Amp is housed in a 14-gauge welded I-beam steel enclosure for durability. The bookend design reportedly provides a protective zone around the switches and knobs while the full-bottom no-slip pad assures plenty of “stay-put” while providing mechanical and electrical isolation.
McDSP’s Retro Pack Plug-in Line
McDSP has presented its Retro Pack plug-in line, which includes the 4020 Retro EQ, the 4030 Retro compressor and the 4040 Retro limiter.
The 4020 Retro EQ is a 4-band EQ and complementary filter set. The HF and LF bands are shelving EQ, with two additional parametric EQs at the HMF and LMF bands. The 4030 Retro compressor is a range-control topology coupled with a wet/dry mix control to balance compressed and uncompressed signals. The 4040 Retro limiter combines a look-ahead brick-wall limiter function with several subjective treatments to, according to the company, “make the limiting action subtle, and yet vintage.”
Behringer’s U-CONTROL UMA25S Keyboard Controller
Behringer’s U-CONTROL UMA25S keyboard controller combines a MIDI controller with onboard USB audio interface and complete software package aimed at the personal-production market.
A total of 25 velocity-sensitive keys and continuous controllers offer performance control. The onboard USB audio interface accepts mic or line signals; headphones with boom microphone included. The UMA25S operates on DC, battery or USB power. In addition, it ships with energy/XT2 compact Behringer Edition DAW software plus more than 100 plug-ins. An ultra-low latency ASIO driver compatible with Mac or PC (Windows XP and Vista) is also provided.
JBL’s LSR2300 Series Studio Monitors
JBL Professional has introduced its LSR2300 Series studio monitor system. The series includes the LSR2328P biamplified 8-inch studio monitor; the LSR2315P biamplified 5-inch studio monitor; the LSR2310SP powered, 10-inch studio subwoofer; and the MSC1 monitor system controller with RMC (Room Mode Correction).
In developing the LSR2300 Series, JBL applied the same Linear Spatial Reference criteria used in the design of its LSR6300 and LSR4300 series. Linear Spatial Reference design criteria requires 72 measurements, reportedly yielding more than 1,200 times more data, enabling the company to engineer a system that produces neutral frequency response at the mix position.
Audio Impressions’ DVZ Strings 2.0
Audio Impressions has released a new version of its virtual-instrument, high-definition, 70-piece DVZ Strings 2.0 sample library. DVZ Strings 2.0 reportedly allows users to produce the real-world balance of live musicians in real time without loading or unloading different samples. It is organized into sections that translate directly to MIDI mockups as well as immediately playable scores with parts that the company points out “don’t need exhaustive manual correction and annotation for articulations.”
Enhancements in the latest version include re-mastered Strings; microtonal scaling for world music, key-switching options, three Decca Tree room mic selections, individual stereo outputs for each string section and AudioPort–a digital audio over LAN process which links PCs to Mac, eliminating the need for soundcards.
Yellow Matter’s Steven Slate Drum Software
Yellow Matter Entertainment has updated its Steven Slate drum software with version 2.5. It features the SSD Drum Player, a MIDI virtual instrument (VST, RTAS, AU) featuring 40 customizable drum kits recorded and mixed by Steven Slate.
Other new features include a new cymbal pack of Paiste cymbals, all new enhanced snare drums, room samples from NRG Recording room A, optional support for FXPansion’s BFD2 software, complete support for the whole line of Roland VDrums, and an optional Bricasti snare drum expansion pack which adds two patches from the Bricasti digital reverb to all the snare drums.
Steven Slate Drums
Solid State Logic’s AWS 900+ SE Console
Solid State Logic has revamped its AWS 900+ SE console. The upgraded feature set includes the MIDI over Ethernet system introduced in 2008 with the company’s Matrix console. MIDI over Ethernet replaces existing MIDI connectivity with a single Ethernet connection that reportedly enables the console to communicate directly with the user’s DAW host computer, thus simplifying installation and removing the need for a separate MIDI interface.
AWS 900+ SE also includes SSL’s Logictivity browser software, a DAW host computer-based project management browser application, which was originally introduced on Duality. According to the company, Logictivity facilitates TR and AWSomation data storage and streamlined offline configuration capabilities including scribble strip naming.
Solid State Logic
Alesis’ ProTrack Digital Recorder
Alesis has introduced ProTrack, a handheld digital stereo recorder for iPod. It provides direct-to-iPod stereo digital recording to iPod in a portable, handheld form factor. Users can capture live audio anywhere and anytime with their iPod or iPod nano. ProTrack’s design integrates the iPod into the recorder, with included sleds to securely mount supported iPod models to the recorder.
Two high-quality condenser microphones are built-in, fixed in XY stereo configuration for field recording (44.1 kHz/16-bit max resolution). ProTrack also offers users a pair of combination XLR or 1/4-inch inputs for connection for external microphones and line sources. When running on plug-in power using the included AC adapter, ProTrack supplies 48V phantom power so that it can power condenser microphones.
ARX’s USB-DI VC D/A Direct Box
ARX has added the USB-DI VC digital-to-analog direct box to its AudiBox range. It is a plug-and-play, digital-to-analog pro audio interface, reportedly removing the need to use any existing sound card outputs, but now the output level can be modified external to the computer. The product features full transformer balanced output isolation aimed to eliminate earth loops/ground hum and other extraneous interaction noise and distortion.
The addition of the volume control allows the USB DI-VC to be used without a mixer. This is said to be a useful option when driving active loudspeakers from a laptop, since the level control lets users reduce the level instantly to suit the required SPL, while still retaining a top-notch signal-to-noise ratio.
Small enough to fit on a pedalboard or in a gigbag, Eventide’s TimeFactor and ModFactor are full-featured Eventide studio-quality stompboxes. TimeFactor features 10 delay effects; ModFactor features 10 modulation effects.
The stompboxes afford users the ability to customize up to 27 presets (or an unlimited number via MIDI) and immediately access them via three metal footswitches. With instantaneous program change, true analog bypass, tap tempo for tweakable beat matching, and full parameter real-time editing via 10 onboard knobs, TimeFactor and ModFactor reportedly combine studio sound quality with the speed and convenience of a stompbox.