25 Winners from the 127th AES Convention
Here, the editorial staff of Pro Audio Review is proud to publish the recipients of its 2009 PAR Excellence Award. This award is presented to professional audio companies that introduced a particularly significant new product at the 127th AES Convention. PAR Excellence Award winning products are nominated and selected by a panel of audio engineers, professional end users, and PAR contributors with the oversight of PAR's editorial staff. These products are chosen based on their potential to enhance the quality of an audio professional's work. Criteria include innovation in design, performance/ value ratio, enhanced features, and performance improvements over previous versions.
And the winners are:
ADAM SX Series studio monitors
"An already proven line of powered monitors gets more than a simple makeover, with more control and a significantly upgraded ribbon tweeter (with extended frequency response and improved efficiency) ... New monitors from ADAM?
Judging from across-the-board high performance of the company's entire speaker line, audio pros should be intrigued."
API 527 compressor module
"With features from its 225L and 2500 compressor modules, the API 527 is a remarkably full-featured 500 series module, packing a broad range of control and capability ... having API's Thrust circuit available in a 500 Series rack is a great thing, indeed — API fans rejoice!"
ADAM SX Series API 527 Audient Zen Audient Zen analog console
"The Zen is an alluring combination of analog signal path, DAW interface, I/O and price point ... pro-level end users and the manufacturers just won't allow analog mixing to fade into history; for a litany of reasons, engineers and mixers continue to make the effort to break 'out of the box.' Zen will likely be the most successful product Audient product yet, as users yearn to reach further into their DAWs with flexible, great-sounding analog gear."
Audio Precision APX Ultra-High Bandwidth Analysis system
"Analog audio can be vulnerable to spurious signals well outside the 100 kHz bandwidth capability typical of audio test equipment (signals induced from sources such as switching power supplies, digital amplifiers and clocking), including harmonics and intermodulation distortion byproducts of such undesirable content. AP's Ultra-High Bandwidth Analysis (up to a 1 MHz bandwidth with 24-bitdynamic range and 2.38 Hz bin width at maximum FFT length) allows precision FFT inspection of an analog signal for unwanted content and its secondary effects, and brings unprecedented detail to square wave analysis."
Audio-Technica AT4080/AT4081 ribbon microphones
"These new ribbon mics offer an extended highfrequency response that should make them particularly applicable to today's digital recording. They promise to produce a new, more natural sonic character that does not over-emphasize high frequencies ... A-T has 18 patents pending for aspects of its new ribbon microphone designs, including the MicroLinear imprinting of the ribbon membrane for improved resiliency and performance. Additional features include extended and more natural frequency response, high output and SPL handling, and extended dynamic range. Not a 'me-too' product line by any measure."
CAD Au dio 1600VP remote condenser microphone system
"Common problems with fixed install overhead mics are the inability to easily adjust the mics once installed and the limitation to a single polar pattern. The 1600VP allows remote and continuously variable polar pattern control, from omni through cardioid and supercardioid to figure-of-eight. Flexibility and adaptability with a single knob."
Focal Professional CMS Series powered monitors
"Focal brings its well-deserved reputation to the desktop ... as already proven in recent PAR-published evaluations, the CMS Series allows even more engineers to utilize the useful benefits of Focal monitoring: non-fatiguing top end, linear mids, and the most translatable of mixes."
Focal Professional CMS Series Genelec 8260A iZotope Alloy Genelec 8260A powered monitor
"A three-way design that breaks ground with a dual-concentric, midrange/tweeter configuration, with the midrange driver comprising an integral part of the HF waveguide. Clever. Genelec stays faithful to its design philosophy while upgrading nearly every component in the signal path."
Grace Design m103 channel strip
"With its prowess in designing highly functional, sonically pure, transparent amplification for microphones and headphones, a channel strip from Grace Design was destined to attract attention. Grace keeps true to form by adding low distortion processing, a simple EQ path and optical compression, to the company's world-class preamplification."
Hosa Da-Cappo DA15 micro microphone
"Melding a high-quality headworn mic with an in-ear monitor, practical for stage, broadcast and production personnel ... this may prove to be quite popular amongst house-ofworship audio pros, where getting audio to and from talent should be a literally transparent act."
iZotope Alloy software channel strip
"More than a soft channel strip, the Alloy package of six fundamental processing functions is controlled through a single, configurable interface with a host of presets and configurations to get you on your way. The iZotope team isthinking outside the box about how to work smarter inside the box ... with a lot of power at a good price, this plug in is basically a useful mega-channel strip for mixing applications. The harmonic scaling exciter is especially cool."
JBL MSC1 studio monitor controller system
"Add JBL's Room Mode Correction algorithms, three stereo inputs and two stereo outputs, mute, volume control and a headphone jack to your speaker system for a street price of about $300. This one's going to be popular."
JoeCo Blackbox Recorder JBL MSC1 JoeCo Blackbox Recorder
"Capturing live performance simply and affordably — purpose-designed for its application in a 1U chassis with no computer required. Smack yourself in the forehead and say, 'Why didn't I think of that?' ... CPUless digital recording with no movingparts is an exciting solution for capturing audio while on tour, and everywhere else!"
Lectrosonics SMV/SMQV Series transmitters
"Lectrosonics takes its diminutive, stellar performing 'Hybrid Digital' belt-pack transmitters a step further with selectable power levels allowing the user to trade off range and battery life. The SMV is a single-battery version with two power output levels, and the SMQV a dual-battery model with three power levels. As with the rest of the proven SM line, features include remote control and 256 synthesized UHF operating frequencies. The SMV and SMQV also include an acoustically transparent DSP-controlled analog limiter."
Mackie Onyx-i Series analog mixers
"The popular Onyx series of consoles is now directly compatible with all major DAW platforms with the inclusion of Pro Tools MPowered. And, there's up to 16 x 16 FireWire I/O capability. Freedom of choice is a good thing, especially coupled with performance ... just when it seems as if analog mixers have been pushed out of the project/personal studio world, Mackie reminds many of us why we prefer to have our hands on a fader."
Miktek CV4 large-diaphragm tube condenser microphone
"Miktek is a new microphone company that's rapidly building a reputation for performance and value among discriminating engineers. The CV4 is a flexible and full-featured tube mic, crafted with attention to detail and musicality, built in the U.S. with parts sourced internationally ... a heavy-duty, well-built, multi-pattern condenser with a nice little EF800 Telefunken tube for warmth ... big sound."
Neumann TLM 102 large-diaphragm condenser microphone
Neumann TLM 102 "Designed with vocal capture in mind, the compact TLM 102 is also capable of handling punishing SPLs and is priced to compete — kind of a 'my first Neumann' product, but still a mic that promises staying power even in an extended mic collection."
Radial Workhorse 500 Series module chassis/summing box
"The Workhorse 500 can accommodate conventional 500 series modules, but to legacy compatibilitydirect and summing connections, a beefy power supply and support for additional I/O withRadial modules, including twochannel, monitor, and headphone mixing. And, the specifications are openly published for thirdparty manufacturers. A good idea 'one louder.' ... Nice all-around design."
Rupert Neve Designs Portico II channel strip
"Take all the elements that have made the Portico series an unqualified hit — mic preamplification, EQ, and dynamics — and combine them with additional features in a 2U package that incorporates the discrete, high-voltage, single-sided op-amps developed for the RND 5088 console. Sweet!"
Solid State Logic Duality SE large-format analog mixer
"SSL's flagship Duality console gets even better with its SE upgrade, adding an Ethernet connection for console and DAW interface (leaving the console MIDI ports for other uses), a second DAW control layer (control twoDAWs at once), an improved user interface, new LCD screens replacing the Solo/Cut tiles (more informational). There's another 25 feature additions to the analog sideof the console including andAutocue system (greater visualand control interface with transport and record commands), offline trim for the automation, additional switch automation, improved volume control and monitor calibration, and more. SSL has a reputation for listening to its customers and improving its products based on that feedback, as is the casehere with the SE edition of Duality."
Sonnox Restore audio restoration software
"Sonnox spent 18 months improving on its previous audio restoration products. The result is a suite of plug-ins to combat buzz, click, and noise. The trio was designed to provide optimum audio quality while saving time and effort for the end-user ... A well-designed suite of 'clean-up' plug-ins, it features an amazing graphical interface and the ability to easily get out what you don't want while leaving in what you do want."
Sony PCM-M10 handheld digital recorder
"Sony keeps extending its line of handheld digital recorders, each time also extending the potential user pool. Along with a familiar range of features like 96 kHz/24-bit recording and built-in mics, the M is for Musician; the feature set is musician-friendly and Sony Creative Software's Sound Forge Audio Studio Recorder Edition software is included."
TASCAM HS-P82 portable multichannel recorder
"Eight portable channels of mic pre and 96 kHz/24-bit recording are just the start. Very user-friendly is the dual Compact Flash capability, which allows in unit backup, media mirroring, and seamless A/B recording Very nice. Flexible power options are another major plus."
TASCAM HS-P82 Waves Vocal Rider Waves Vocal Rider plug-in
"Waves promises that Vocal Rider 'is the first of Waves' pioneering new series of mixing tools.' Vocal Rider can makeshort work of the tedious task of fader riding an inconsistent vocal track. As scary as turning this task over to a computer might be, the actual performance of Vocal Rider is very enticing ... An easy-to-use, intelligent vocal level automated plug-in that seems perfect for voiceover dialog work in films/media and record production."
Yamaha AD8HR 8-channel A/D converter
"Eight mic pres with circuitry from the Yamaha PM5000, with digital control for stage placement; gain, HPF (including adjustable roll-off frequency) and phantom power can all be controlled remotely, directly from Yamaha digital consoles. Digital output (at up to 96 kHz sampling) allows long runs with no signal degradation. All in 1U!"