DIGIDESIGN PRO TOOLS 8
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
Digidesign (digidesign.com) has released Pro Tools 8|HD (Mac/Win, $249.95), LE ($149.95), and M-Powered ($149.95), which boast a redesigned user interface, new effects and virtual instrument plug-ins, scoring, improved MIDI editing, and enhanced mixing capabilities. The new Elastic Pitch complements Elastic Time, letting you repair and manipulate the pitch of audio directly in the Edit window. An improved comping work flow lets you quickly piece together composite takes. Track lanes provide instant access to multiple automation parameters. According to the manufacturer, the program is easier to install, offers deeper controller integration, supports larger track counts for LE and M-Powered users, and lets HD users link up to five Pro Tools|HD systems with the Satellite Link option.
PHONE IT IN
ULTRASONE PRO 900 HEADPHONES
The PRO 900 ($549) is the first headphone in Ultrasone's (ultrasone.com) PRO series. The series incorporates S-Logic Plus, the newest advance in the company's S-Logic Natural Surround System technology. Ultrasone claims that S-Logic Plus reduces sound pressure by as much as 40 percent and achieves true spatial realism by directing the sound to the outer ear for reflection to the auditory canal — it does not simulate spatial characteristics with DSP or delay. The headphones feature 40 mm titanium-plated drivers and Mu-Metal shielding for ultralow radiation. They come with a carrying case and two detachable cables (straight and coiled) with gold-plated Neutrik connectors and adapters.
A BIT IN TIME
Korg (korg.com) expands its MR series of digital recorders with the rackmountable MR-2000S ($2,499 [MSRP]). This follow-up to the MR-1000 retains its 5.6 and 2.8 MHz, 1-bit DSD and 16- and 24-bit PCM recording options in a configuration aimed at studio recording, mastering, archiving, and live-sound recording. The I/O is enhanced with balanced XLR jacks and unbalanced RCA jacks, and there is 24-stage LED metering with a switchable reference level. You also get S/PDIF jacks for PCM sources and word-clock jacks for synchronization. A new version of Korg's AudioGate audio file conversion software improves all of the previous conversion algorithms.
THE ACID TEST
SONY CREATIVE SOFTWARE ACID PRO 7
Sony Creative Software (sonycreativesoftware.com) ups the ante in loop-based music production with this upgrade of its flagship DAW. Noteworthy enhancements in Acid Pro 7 (Win, $399 [MSRP]) include a new audio and MIDI mixing console, input buses and real-time rendering, improved time-stretching and pitch-shifting with Zplane élastique Pro, tempo curves, and enhanced Beatmapping for tracks with tempo changes. You can freeze MIDI tracks for improved CPU efficiency, and you can import and export in the FLAC, AAC, AC-3 Studio, and MPEG-2 audio formats. Acid Pro 7 comes bundled with more than $500 worth of software from outside developers.
Spectrasonics (spectrasonics.net) has launched its new flagship virtual instrument, Omnisphere (Mac/Win, $499 [MSRP]). The hybrid-synthesis engine Steam is at the core of this AU, VST, and RTAS plug-in. It features variable-waveshaping DSP, granular synthesis, timbre shifting, FM, polyphonic ring modulation, and high-resolution streaming sample playback. Omnisphere's core library showcases years of sampling and patching experiments, and the best of Spectrasonics' classic line of sample libraries is also provided. Extensive modulation options include Chaos Envelopes, the Flex-Mod modulation-routing system, and advanced MIDI Learn and automation. Progressive zooming lets you access essential features quickly or burrow deep under the hood.
HEAR AND NOW
ESESSION VIRTUAL GLASS 1.1
ESession (esession.com) has upgraded its worldwide music-networking system with Virtual Glass 1.1 real-time collaboration software (Mac, free download with monthly subscriptions from $19.99). This RTAS, VST, and AU plug-in for your DAW simulates a typical control-room environment with the engineer on one side of the virtual glass partition and the musicians on the other. Armed with your DAW, a USB or FireWire Web camera and mic for video and audio communication, a high-speed Internet connection, and an eSession user account, you're ready to collaborate with musicians anywhere in the world. Virtual Glass offers latency compensation, ReWire synchronization for linking two sessions, and automatic MP4 compression with after-the-fact full-resolution transfer.