10/19/2013 12:36 AM
The first exhibition day of AES 2013 in NYC didn't open with a bang: it was a stampede. Despite having fewer then 10 rows of exhibitors, and the feel of a smaller show than ever, the excitement in the Javits Center was palpable. And this was in the near absence of any announcements of major products.
The biggest press conference of the bunch was from API, which unveiled The Box, a "project console" capable of summing 16 channels while packing four inputs (mic, instrument, line), 4 aux sends, a pair of built-in 550A EQ modules, 2 additional 500-series slots, a stereo bus compressor, and many other features. Priced below $18k, it'll appeal to a niche in the market that few other mainstream manufacturers are supporting.
We also got a closer, in-depth look at Nectar 2 and RX3 from iZotope, both of which look quite powerful. As does the newly re-launched System 6000 from Dynaudio, which has separated its processing algorithms into four task-specific packages: Music 6000, Film 6000, Mastering 6000, and Broadcast 6000.
Two new products that I'm looking forward getting into the studio are ribbon mics: Coles has introduced the 4030L ($1,099 MSRP), which they refer to as an "entry level ribbon mic." Don't read that comment to mean that it's inexpensively made off-shore. The 4038L boasts a frequency response of 50Hz - 20kHz, feels solidly built, but is much lighter than the classic 4038. My curiosity is piqued.
I was also happy to have a chance to get my hands on the AEA N22, an active (phantom-powered) ribbon mic with a custom transformer that is priced well under a grand. The N22 is designed for personal studios and will work with the lower-gain preamps you find in low- to mid-priced audio interfaces. Nonetheless, this promises to be a excellent sounding mic.
Among the surprises at the show was a little box in the Little Labs booth called Pepper: although in its early stages of development, it was described by Jonathan Little as a DI/pedal interface that has two output transformers providing discrete processed and dry signal paths, with pro-level send-and-return functionality. It should be perfect for instrumentalists who want to have parallel control over their effects while maintaining a high-level of audio quality that is suitable for recording or gigging. We'll have to wait until NAMM to hear it.
There is so much more to tell, so stay tuned to emusician.com for more details tomorrow!