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New Gear, November 2011

November 1, 2011

Avid Keystation Mini 32
Mobile keyboard controller
32-note, USB bus-powered • ultra-portable, fits in a backpack • low-profile mini-keys • selectable velocity curves with one optimized for drum programming • four assignable controls, including a knob, for realtime DAW and virtual instrument control • iPad compatibility (with iPad Camera Connection Kit)
target market Composers, songwriters, DJs, others into mobile music-making setups
analysis Downsizing isn''t just an economic issue; it sometimes actually involves size. With laptops getting smaller and powerful enough to run quality music software, a portable controller helps bring out a system''s full potential.
Avid Keystation Mini 32 product page

Elysia Xpressor
Rackmount compressor
Sidechain filter and send/return • linear power supply • discrete Class A circuitry • switchable release characteristics • auto fast attack mode • “warm mode” • dry/compressed mix control for parallel compression • negative ratios for special effects • detented potentiometers with 41 steps for easier setting recall
target market Studios seeking dynamics control with more options than usual
analysis The Elysia Xpressor 500 Series module has been well-received, so the company based a rackmount unit on the same general circuitry with added features such as sidechaining. The feature set allows for traditional compression or heavily effected sounds.
Elysia Xpressor product page

V-Moda Crossfade M-80
Metal on-ear headphones
Natural noise isolation • 53% smaller than the Crossfade LP over-ear model • steel frame • replaceable memory foam cushions • 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers • Kevlar-reinforced detachable cables • extremely rugged, survives 70+ drops on concrete from 6 feet • includes 3.5mm fabric cable with three-button remote optimized for Apple products • hard carrying case
target market DJs, producers, mobile musicians who require stylish, high-fidelity, consistent headphones that can withstand mil-spec abuse
analysis Earbuds typically don''t deliver fidelity, and audiophile headphones usually can''t handle heavy road use. The Crossfade M-80 claims durability with sound quality.
V-Moda Crossfade M-80 product page

Griffin Technology StompBox
Pedalboard for iOS devices
Programmable foot controller for iOS devices interfaces with Frontier Group's iShred LIVE amp/effects sim app • recreates the “pedalboard experience” • four assignable footswitches • 1/4" volume/expression pedal input jack • built-in 1-meter heavy-duty dock cable • includes the Griffin GuitarConnect cable to enable simultaneous connection to instruments, headphones, and an iOS device
target market iShred LIVE users who want a physical footswitch/pedal unit for physical control over effects switching
analysis While iOS guitar processors are cost-effective, their Achilles Heel is physical control. StompBox addresses that problem for iShred LIVE and any other software that''s StompBox-enabled.
Griffin Technology StompBox product page

Cakewalk Z3TA+2
Waveshaping synthesizer
$139, $49 upgrade
User interface overhaul • 14 filter modes • graphically-controlled envelopes • graphical arpeggiator • drag-and-drop effects routing • all Waveshapers are accessible via the modulation matrix • Hypertube distortion algorithm • Adaptive Pitch Bend allows bending notes within key and mode • 1,000 new patches
target audience Fans of the original Z3TA+, and synth players looking for something different compared to the usual subtractive virtual analog synths
analysis The original Z3TA+ had a devoted following for its unusual timbral possibilities, courtesy of waveshaping oscillators. While the original remains popular, the timing is right for a second generation.
Cakewalk Z3TA+2 product page

JZ Microphones Michael Wagener Kit
Signature mic kit
Includes two condenser mics (BT-201 small diaphragm cardioid, and limited edition BT-301 medium diaphragm) used by engineer Michael Wagener for acoustic guitar and drum overheads on recent projects • BT-series mics provide interchangeable, magnetically-attached capsules (cardioid, open cardioid, –20dB padded open cardioid, and omni) • BT-301 self-noise spec: 5.5dBA
target market Recordists capturing instruments that benefit from a presence boost (string and percussion sections, acoustic guitar, etc.)
analysis Michael Wagener''s productions are known for bold, clean sounds, so his endorsement of these mics implies their sound. Interchangeable capsules add versatility.
JZ Microphones Michael Wagener Kit product page

Fishman Loudbox Artist
Acoustic instrument amp
120 watts, bi-amplified • two mic/instrument channels with combo XLR+1/4" ins, 3-band EQ, and notch-filter feedback controls • effects include reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, echo, and slap echo • 1/4" and 1/8" aux stereo ins with level control for backing tracks • balanced XLR Mix D.I. out and D.I. outs on each input channel • headphone output
target market Acoustic instrument players who want more than standard amplification, and need reasonable volume levels
analysis The Loudbox Artist continues the trend in live performance for smaller, more easily transportable gear with sophisticated electronics.
Fishman Loudbox Artist product page

Sound Guy Spectral Machine
Frequency-domain audio effects
Mac AU/VST and Windows VST frequency-domain effects plug-in • freeze and sample-and-hold • apply separate delays to different spectral bands with feedback control for each band • multi-band tremolo effects • provides several effects specifically for monophonic sources, including pitch quantization, pitch shift, sine/noise decomposition, harmonization with timbre preservation, pitch isolation, “robotization,” and more
target market Sound design and effects, soundtracks, remixing and DJs, adventurous musicians
analysis There''s more to life than parametric EQ, dynamics, and reverb; frequency-domain effects can add entirely different sounds to a variety of audio sources.
Sound Guy Spectral Machine product page

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