ROB PAPEN PREDATOR
Predator (Mac/Win, $149) is the latest virtual instrument plug-in from Rob Papen (robpapen.com), creator of the well-received synths Albino 3 and Blue. Based on the classic subtractive-synthesis model, Predator's signal path starts with three oscillators packed with analog, additive, and spectral waveforms. Those feed a pair of multimode filters, the first of which has its own envelope and extensive modulation options. Three multi-effects processors end the signal path, and you get the separate Predator FX plug-in for effects processing of audio tracks. A 16-step combination arpeggiator and sequencer, additional envelopes and LFOs, a modulation matrix, a random patch modifier, and preset morphing round out the feature set.
SOLID STATE LOGIC MYNX
The new Mynx 2-module box ($595 [MSRP]) from Solid State Logic (solid-state-logic.com) brings SSL SuperAnalogue X-Rack modules to your desktop. You can configure this rugged 4.13 × 7.48 × 7.28-inch extruded-aluminum chassis with any pair of the eight X-Rack modules (purchased separately): Mic Amp, VHD Input, EQ, Dynamics, Stereo Bus Compressor (fills both spaces), Four Channel Input, Eight Channel Input, and Master Bus. For example, you might combine EQ and Dynamics modules to make a classic channel strip or pair Master Bus and line input modules for an analog monitor and feedback system. External power and audio connections are made directly to the back of the modules.
BLACET RESEARCH HEX ZONE
Blacet Research (blacet.com) develops voltage-controlled analog synthesizer modules, which you purchase directly from its Web site. The new Hex Zone ($328 assembled, $246 kit) is a microprocessor-controlled 16-step sequencer with two 1V-per-octave CV outs. Each step offers variable gate (1 to 99 percent of step width) along with hold, rest, and loop options. A separate bidirectional sequential switch lets you route other sources in sync with the sequence. The memory holds 32 sequences and 60 chains. You can chain sequences or other chains, and you can copy, paste, and edit both sequences and chains on the fly. The Hex Zone has internal and external clock modes and, in either mode, provides a dividable clock output.
PLANET WAVES MODULAR SNAKE SYSTEM
Planet Waves' (planetwaves.com) new Modular Snake System ($59.99 to $159.99 depending on configuration) lets you mix and match a core cable with four breakout options. The DB25 core cable, which comes in 5-, 10-, and 25-foot lengths, has an 8-bus DB25 connector on each end. The breakouts combine a DB25 connector with one of four breakout configurations: eight ¼-inch TRS, eight male XLR, eight female XLR, or four male and four female (AES/EBU) XLR connectors. Construction features proprietary multipair cable, oxygen-free copper conductors, two layers of shielding, and Amphenol gold-plated connectors.
DANGEROUS MUSIC DAC-ST
Dangerous Music (dangerousmusic.com) is shipping the first module for its new 1U rackmountable Additional Switching System ($199), which holds and powers two modules. The DAC-ST module ($949) provides mastering-quality stereo digital-to-analog conversion for the Dangerous Music Monitor ST controller. The four rear-panel inputs on the DAC-ST accept AES and S/PDIF formats and have active Thru outputs for routing their inputs to other devices. Integrated digital source switching lets you monitor all digital sources through the same converter, which is essential in making accurate comparisons to reference material. Other modules for the Additional Switching System, including a 6-channel surround version, the DAC-SR, are in the works.
IK MULTIMEDIA SAMPLETRON
BACK TO THE FUTURE
If vintage is your thing, browse over to IK Multimedia's Web site (ikmultimedia.com) for a look at the new SampleTron (Mac/Win, $329.99). This is a sample-based virtual instrument collaboration with Sonic Reality that is powered by the SampleTank engine and comes in standalone and plug-in formats. It includes 2 GB of chromatically spaced multisamples of Mellotrons, Chamberlins, and other instruments like the Optigan, Novatron, and Stylophone. The SampleTank engine is 16-part multitimbral and each part can hold up to 4 of the 32 built-in effects; the engine also features resampling, pitch-shifting and time-stretching, and Stretch playback. Fifty synthesis controls take you beyond the vintage models.
ABLETON LIVE 7 LE
LIVE ON A BUDGET
Ableton (ableton.com) has just upgraded the budget edition of its flagship sequencing and performance software. Live 7 LE (Mac/Win, $149) has the same user interface and fundamental structure as Live 7, and it offers most of the same features, albeit with some limitations. You get Live's 32-bit, 192 kHz audio engine, multitrack MIDI and audio (64 tracks) sequencing, real-time Scene triggering (8 Scenes), all MIDI and most audio effects, Simpler and Impulse virtual instrument plug-ins, and VST and AU plug-in instrument and effects support with plug-in delay compensation (2 of each per project). When you need support for ReWire, video, automatic beat slicing, or external sync, you can upgrade to the full version of Live 7 for $389.
Atomic (Win, $39.99) from AlgoMusic (algomusic.net) brings a refreshing new look to MIDI step sequencing. You set up the sequence using three concentric rings of knobs. That makes the last and first steps visually as well as musically adjacent. The outer ring of knobs sets pitch offsets relative to incoming MIDI notes, which can also retrigger the sequence. The inner two rings control Velocity and note duration. Atomic is a VST instrument plug-in that can drive its own full-featured built-in synth or, host permitting, other plug-in instruments, external hardware, and software.
ADAM A5 and Sub7 Speakers
BIG SOUND IN A LITTLE BOX
ADAM Professional Audio (adam-audio.com) has expanded its A series with the A5 powered monitors ($699 per pair) and matching Sub7 subwoofer ($479). The A5 is a smaller version of the popular A7 and is well suited to mobile and broadcast applications, desktop recording, and multimedia systems. Each speaker houses a pair of 25W onboard amplifiers, a folded-ribbon tweeter, and a 5-inch carbon-fiber woofer. ADAM claims the low-end frequency response reaches to 55 Hz and is extendable to 30 Hz with the Sub7. Both speakers feature balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs. New Stereolink technology lets you control multiple A5 volumes from one speaker, and an included wireless remote lets you set the Sub7 volume and crossover frequency from the listening position.