FOCUSRITE LIQUID SAFFIRE 56
Focusrite's new flagship FireWire audio interface, Liquid Saffire 56 (Mac/Win, $999), offers 24-bit, 192kHz processing with a 28-by-28 I/O count. You get six Focusrite preamps and two additional Liquid preamps marrying an analog front end with convolution DSP. The two Liquid preamps feature emulations of 10 classic mic pre's such as the API 3124+, Neve 1073 and Telefunken V72. Its two headphone buses have independent level controls and customized monitor mixes. Front panel LED metering lets you monitor the levels of the analog, ADAT-1, ADAT-2 and S/PDIF inputs. The unit comes bundled with Saffire Mix Control zero-latency DSP mixer and router software, as well as the Focusrite suite of Audio Units and VST compression, reverb, gating and EQ plug-ins.
PROPELLERHEAD SOFTWARE RECORD
REASON TO CHEER
After years of speculation, Propellerhead Software has stepped up with stand-alone software that adapts Reason's rack-and-track paradigm to audio recording. Record (Mac/Win, $249; $149 for Reason users; $499 bundled with Reason) fully integrates into Reason without using ReWire and will function as a ReWire slave to other DAWs. Standout features include unparalleled time-stretching capability, unlimited track count, faithful emulation of the SSL 9000 K analog mixing desk, and a bounteous array of effects including guitar and bass POD units from Line 6. Record's sequencer offers quick-and-easy comp editing, automation of everything and MIDI sequencing for its built-in ID8 virtual instrument, as well as all Reason modules. Release is slated for September 9, 2009.
LINE 6 JM4 LOOPER
IN THE LOOP
Start with more than 100 Endless Jam tracks performed by notable session players in many styles, add more than 30 minutes of sound-on-sound looping and storage for 100 recorded jams, and you have the Line 6 JM4 Looper ($329.99). Slap a 2GB card into the SD card slot for additional storage and for transferring WAV files between the JM4 and your computer. The unit will transpose and time-stretch both imported and internal song and drum content. Dedicated footswitches for record/overdub, play/stop, half-speed and undo make it perfect for loop-over practicing, songwriting and creating backing tracks on the fly. You can even dub vocals using its balanced XLR mic input. Check out details and the manual at the Line 6 Website.
ROLAND VP-770 VOCAL & ENSEMBLE KEYBOARD
BAND ON A STAND
Roland has positioned the new VP-770 Vocal & Ensemble Keyboard ($2,199 [MSRP]) for pop, hip-hop, dance and worship. It incorporates new vocal-designer effects and a bevy of ensemble sounds powered by SuperNATURAL technology. Roland calls it ideal for solo performers and small bands, as well as for film and TV production with limited time and budget. The unit comes with a high-quality mic/headset combo and accompanying mic preamp, and its built-in vocoder modeling lets you realize signature vocal effects without the hassle of an outboard vocoder. Churches in need of a choir or choir enhancer may also find the VP-770 to be the perfect solution.
APPLIED ACOUSTICS SYSTEMS STRUM ELECTRIC GS-1
A DIFFERENT STRUMMER
brings its guitar virtual-instrument technology to the electric world with the introduction of Strum Electric GS-1 ($229; $149 upgrade for Strum Acoustic GS-1 users; $379 bundle). Strum Electric starts with a physical model of all elements of the electric guitar sound, from the guitar itself through the effects to the amp and cabinet. Combine that with authentic chord voicing and the emulation of a variety of playing techniques — such as down- and up-strokes, slides and bends, hammer-ons and pull-offs, palm muting and muffled strings — and you have a virtual guitarist at your fingertips. You'll find demos and trial versions at the AAS Website.