10/22/2013 1:10 PM
Sunday, Day 3 of AES 2013 had some lulls in traffic, but there were still many interesting surprises to be found on the show floor.
To begin with, Dangerous Music brought out the Dangerous Compressor ($2,799 street), a dual compressor with stereo linkable channels, auto attack/release, dual-slope detection, low-cut, and a side-chain input that can be individually monitored.
Cloud Microphones not only showed its 44-A active ribbon with its switchable highpass filter onboard, but it introduced the CL-4—a 1U box that houses four of the company's Cloudlifter modules. The Cloudlifter is a very handy device that adds 25dB of gain to any dynamic or ribbon mic before sending the signal to you preamp, making it perfect for bringing your ribbon mic up to a usable level when you're using low-cost digital interfaces. Now you use four of them in one convenient package!
Slate Digital was demonstrating its Virtual Mix Rack, a software plug-in that resembles a rack of 500-series modules and essentially provides a reconfigurable voice channel within a single plug-in slot: up to 8 modules can be loaded in one virtual rack. Making up the first four modules is a pair of EQs modeled after British console EQs (Neve and SSL, I suspect) and a pair of compressors, both of which sounded very good during the demo. Slate Digital promises more modules will be announced soon.
In the world of hardware 500-series modules, we found the Focusrite Red I mic preamp, which features a stepped input gain control (in 6dB increments), a Lundahl LL1538 input transformer, and a custom Carnhill output transformer. It was also great to see that Earthworks is now shipping its lunchbox-based preamp, the 521 ZDT, which is based on its popular ZDT Zero Distortion Preamplifiers.
Mercury Recording has entered the field of 500-series products with its G810 Rack. Using an external power supply, the G810 has a power regulation system that isolates each channel from the others. The units Chain switches allow you to internally route signals from one module to the next, while the Link switches will link modules that offer that feature. The I/O utilizes XLR connectors and a D-sub port.
One especially useful software tool could be found in the Sonnox pod at the Avid booth: Codec Toolbox is a plug-in that allows you to audition your mix through a variety of data compression formats in real time so you can compare the results to the unprocessed audio. Although it offers fewer features than the Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec, Codec Toolbox costs only $49! And, of course, it can encode and decode audio files, as well as perform batch processing, allow you to edit metadata, and encode iTunes+ files on the Mac.
Keep an eye on Electronic Musician magazine and emusician.com for more information about the products shown at this year's AES convention.
-- Gino Robair