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USB CONTROL SURFACES

June 1, 2000
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TASCAM US-428Designed to present a familiar face to Portastudio users, Tascam's US-428 24-bit digital audio workstation controller ($599) combines a control surface, MIDI interface, and computer audio interface for Mac and Windows computers equipped with USB connections.

The unit provides mixing and transport controls for digital audio workstations and sequencers. The audio interface provides four 24-bit analog input channels: channels A and B have mic-level balanced XLR jacks and line-level balanced 1/4-inch inputs.

Channels C and D offer switchable analog or digital I/O. The analog inputs are on two unbalanced 1/4-inch jacks with a guitar-input switch.

You also get stereo S/PDIF coax digital input and can record up to four channels simultaneously, with 24- or 16-bit resolution. Sampling rates of 48 kHz and 44.1 kHz are supported. Inputs C and D are switchable between analog and digital input.

Analog outputs are on unbalanced RCA line-out jacks; digital outputs are coaxial S/PDIF. Two MIDI inputs and outputs provide 32 channels of MIDI control.

Eight hardware faders allow control of multiple MIDI channels and multiple groups or banks of software faders. EQ controls support up to four bands of parametric EQ. You also get controls for aux sends, pan, and the recorder transport. A set of programmable keys and a data wheel allow you to control your choice of software functions. Tascam/ TEAC; tel. (323) 726-0303; fax (323) 727-7635; faxback (800) 827-2268; Web www.tascam.com.

EDIROL U-8Edirol is now shipping its U-8 USB Digital Studio ($795), a 24-bit, 44.1 kHz hard disk recording system for Windows. The U-8 is available bundled with either Steinberg Cubasis or Cakewalk Home Studio 9 software.

The U-8 integrates analog and digital I/O with built-in 24-bit DSP and a control surface. The control surface features assignable sliders, faders, pan pots, and transport controls that offer direct control of the software's mixing functions. An interactive setup procedure guides you through the recording setup process, from choice of input to adjustment of recording levels.

The U-8 comes with more than 130 onboard, 24-bit DSP effects, including reverb, amp simulation, compression EQ, distortion, and noise suppression. You can adjust every individual parameter through the U-8's three assignable effects knobs.

The unit provides an unbalanced XLR mic input, unbalanced 1/4-inch guitar and line inputs, two RCA inputs, and two RCA outputs. Optical S/PDIF digital I/O is provided, and you get one MIDI In and one MIDI Out jack. You'll need at least a Pentium II/300 MHz with 64 MB of RAM, Windows 98 or 98 SE, and a USB port. Edirol North America; tel. (800) 380-2580 or (360) 332-4211; fax (360) 332-4405; e-mail edirol@edirol.com; Web www.edirol.com.

RADIKAL TECHNOLOGIES SAC-2KThe Radikal Technologies SAC-2K ($1,795) offers a control surface for the computer-based digital audio workstation that goes beyond the standard mixing-surface metaphor. The touch of a button turns the SAC-2K into a remote synthesizer-programming surface, either as a stand-alone editor or in conjunction with editor/librarian software. Real-time synth-parameter changes can be recorded into a sequencer using the unit's programming interface.

The SAC-2K accomplishes its tasks with rotary encoders whose assigned parameters are displayed on a large, 2-line LCD. A dedicated set of LED-illuminated switches controls track arming and solo or mute functions. Nine 100-millimeter motorized faders can be assigned and grouped in any combination, and you can control them individually or in groups (up to eight at once). A central array of buttons controls effects, EQ settings, sends, returns, busing assignments, panning, and selection of groups. The Musical Instrument button converts the SAC-2K into a System Exclusive editor for synthesizers.

The transport controls (forward, reverse stop, play, and record) are centrally located. You can store and recall markers, select ranges for editing, enter numerical values, and control typical computer functions such as undo and file saving. Radikal Technologies; tel. (201) 836-5116; fax (201) 836-0661; e-mail jsk1@gramercy.ios.com; Web www.radikaltechnologies.com.

FOSTEX D1624 AND D824Fostex has entered the arena of 24-bit, 96 kHz multitrack hard disk recording with two new models. The D1624 ($3,095 with hard drive, $2,795 without) is a 16-track modular hard disk recorder, and the D824 ($2,095 with hard drive, $1,795 without) records 8 tracks. Both units can record uncompressed 24-bit or 16-bit audio at 96, 48, or 44.1 kHz. The recorders sport an internal caddy that can hold a standard EIDE hard drive.

You can load songs in WAV file format, and each song can use up to 16 virtual tracks (with the D1624) or 8 tracks (with the D824). Audio editing is nondestructive, and material can be copied and pasted from one song to another. The editor features as many levels of undo as hard disk space permits, and you get 6 edit points and 99 location points. Multiple time signatures and tempos are supported for each song.

Both units send and can sync to MIDI Clock. An RS-422 remote-control connector is included, as is SCSI. Digital I/O is via S/PDIF and ADAT optical connections.

The analog inputs and outputs are on RCA connectors. Time code, AES/EBU, and balanced I/O are available as options. Fostex of America; tel. (562) 921-1112; fax (562) 802-1964; e-mail info@fostex.com; Web www.fostex.com.

STEINBERG PPG WAVE 2.VThe PPG Wave 2 was the first digital synthesizer that could create extremely animated timbres by sweeping through a series of waveforms (which PPG called wavetables). A physically modeled software version of this vintage synthesizer is now available with Steinberg's release of PPG Wave 2.V ($199).

A software synthesizer integrated into the VST environment, PPG Wave 2.V can be processed through the VST mixer, so that effects, EQ, and other VST plug-ins can be applied to the synth's outputs, and you can save all settings within Cubase song files. MIDI tracks are internally routed to the synthesizer. Up to eight synths can be open simultaneously, and each can play up to eight multitimbral parts. Polyphony is dependent on your computer's processor speed.

PPG Wave 2.V features 32 wavetables (with up to 64 waveforms per wavetable), two oscillators per voice, and a lowpass filter with emphasis (resonance). Envelope generators, as well as filter cutoff and emphasis parameters, can be edited with a graphical interface.

The cross-platform program requires a VST 2.0-compatible host program. PC users need a Pentium II/266 MHz or faster processor (400 MHz recommended), 64 MB of free RAM, and Windows 95 or 98. Macintosh users must have at least a 604e/250 MHz processor (G3 recommended), 64 MB of free RAM, and Mac OS 8.0 or higher. Steinberg North America; tel. (818) 678-5100; fax (818) 678-5199; e-mail info@steinberg-na.com; Web www.us.steinberg.net; www.cubase.net.

BitHeadz has released a version of Steve Reid's Percussion Kit ($199) for the company's Unity DS-1 software sampler and Voodoo software drum machine. The collection provides more than 200 MB of percussion samples . . . Sonic Foundry's Acid Music 2.0 ($99.95) now features CD burning capability and supports MP3, RealMedia G2, and Windows Media formats. New effects include reverb, chorus, delay, and EQ. Acid Pro 2.0 ($399.95) now comes with the Sonic Foundry XFX1 DirectX plug-in, and is bundled with Sound Forge XP 4.5 . . . Creative Technology has released a Mac version of the Sound Blaster Live audio card ($199.99) . . . Cakewalk's Pro Suite ($829) bundles Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 with NemeSys's GigaSampler LE software sampler and Cakewalk's Audio FX 1 Dynamics Processor, Audio FX 2 Vintage Analog Simulator, and Audio FX 3 SoundStage Designer DirectX plug-ins. The included 2-CD Musician's Toolbox provides more than 1 GB of audio and MIDI loops, DNA groove templates, banks of SoundFonts, digital video libraries, and more . . . Spirit by Soundcraft has released version 1.5 software for its Digital 328 mixer. Among its new features, the upgrade lets you send MIDI Control Change messages and has 64 memory slots for naming and storing MIDI control setups. It can be downloaded free from the company's Web site (www.spirit-by-soundcraft.co.uk) . . . Korg USA has released new operating systems for its I-series synths. OS 2.13 for the I30 operating system can sort and search for Standard MIDI Files by name, edit the ROM bank, provide real-time slider control of the mixer during playback, and more. OS 3.0 for the IS40 and IS50 lets you preview arrangements and programs before selection and offers drum remapping options, compatibility with Arabic scales, and more. OS 3.0 for the I40M includes all of these features and adds automatic vocal- and guitar-input setup using an A1 keyboard set.

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