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What's New, June 2010

May 12, 2010

Indaba Music Mantis
Indaba Music officially debuted Mantis, a web-based DAW software that enables anyone—from anywhere in the world—to record/edit/mix high-
quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) audio for free. Mantis features nondestructive, real-time effects including EQ, compression, flanging, and reverb, and an ever-expanding library of more than 10,000 Creative Commons-licensed clips. While membership to Indaba Music and Mantis use is free to all community members, the company also offers premium memberships, which include an expanded clips library, advanced audio effects, cloud-based storage, and private recording sessions. Pro packages are $5 per month or $50 annually; Platinum rates are $25 per month or $250 annually.

Sontronics Saturn
Saturn ($1,019) is a large-diaphragm studio condenser microphone from Sontronics with a choice of five switchable polar pickup patterns (omni, wide-cardioid, cardioid, hypercardioid, and figure-8). Originally intended for vocal recording, Saturn''s wide response and 130dB SPL handling make it equally at home on guitars (electric and acoustic), piano, horns, brass, percussion, strings, and drums. Features include two-
position switches for bass roll-off (75Hz or 125Hz) and pad (-10dB/-20dB). The mic comes with a custom shock-mount, a protective flight case, and a lifetime warranty.

DigiTech JamMan
Slated to begin shipping this month, the JamMan ($299) stereo-looper pedal from DigiTech offers true stereo loops and reverse playback, as well as up to 35 minutes of internal CD-quality recording, making it perfect for playing backing tracks. Loops can be organized into 99 internal memories, and by using the onboard SDHC slot, users can expand the available record memory out to 16 hours. A USB slot connects the unit to a PC/Mac, and the included JamManager Loop Librarian software can organize/archive loop creations. In addition to the stereo line I/Os, a balanced XLR mic input is also standard.

Euphonix MC Control Version 2
Euphonix''s Artist Series media controllers enter their second generation with the MC Control V. 2 ($1,499), which features a 800x480-pixel backlit LED touchscreen, four touch-sensitive faders, and better tactile control of DAW parameters (everything from panning and gain to editing plug-ins and EQ) via eight new touch-sensitive rotary encoders. MC Control V.2''s layout has dedicated transport controls and a data-entry wheel that''s assignable on the fly to control jog, shuttle, navigation, zooming, and advanced editing functions. MC Control V. 2''s EuCon control protocol enables simultaneous control of multiple applications (or multiple workstations) over an Ethernet cable at 250 times the speed and eight times the resolution of MIDI. Mackie Control and HUI protocols are also supported.

Korg iElectribe
Ater more than a decade of building must-have hardware for dance and electronic-music artists, Korg has ported its still-popular Eelectribe•R to Apple''s iPad as the Korg iElectribe ($19.99) virtual analog beatbox app. The iPad''s 9.7-inch multitouch display has an intuitive layout that''s familiar to existing Electribe users. Just as on the original version, users simply choose one of the eight parts (or sounds) and touch the 16-step sequencer to quickly build patterns and grooves. The app recreates Electribe•R''s analog synthesis modeling, PCM synthesis, and virtual Valve Force tube modeling. Until June 30, 2010, iElectribe is available from Apple''s App Store at a $9.99 introductory price.

Lexicon LXP Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle
Now shipping, the LXP Native Reverb Plug-in Bundle ($599) from Lexicon delivers four Lexicon reverb plug-ins—including Chamber, Hall, Plate, and Room—with some 200 studio presets in all. Each of these VST/AU/RTAS-compatible plug-ins can run in mono, stereo, or mono in/stereo out, and an intuitive interface lets users access the most logical parameters for customization, with the ability to transition deeper into the algorithm to edit a full matrix of parameters. This Native-only bundle requires iLok authorization.

Line 6 Pod Farm 2
Line 6 is shipping its Pod Farm 2 ($99) and Pod Farm 2 Platinum ($299), two AU/RTAS/VST plug-ins that deliver guitar amp, preamp, and effect models to any Mac or PC DAW. Enhanced routing and flexible DSP let users access a broad range of tones, including dual signal chains (with up to 20 effects models in any order) that are playable separately or simultaneously. Both Pod Farm 2 and Pod Farm 2 Platinum include support for any MIDI controller, including Line 6''s FBV MkII Series foot controllers. Available models in Pod Farm 2 Platinum (including 78 guitar amps, 24 cabs, 28 bass amps, 22 bass cabs, 97 effects, and six mic preamps) and the distilled model set of Pod Farm 2 deliver huge tonal varieties. Pod Farm 2 and Pod Farm 2 Platinum require an iLok; versions that operate using Line 6 hardware are $49 and $249, respectively.

Arturia V Collection 2
Now offered in a single reference package, Arturia''s V Collection 2 
($499) bundle features emulations of the Moog Modular, Minimoog, CS-80, Prophet 5, Prophet VS, ARP 2600, and Jupiter-8 synthesizers, with more than 400 high-quality and innovative presets. It also features TAE technology for emulating analog circuits, and it can be set for control by an external MIDI keyboard in just a few clicks. 
V Collection 2 provides full compatibility with major formats and hosts on Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista/7 (VST/AU/RTAS). The street price includes an installation DVD and a Syncrosoft USB key.

Cakewalk V-Studio 20
Designed for the recording guitarist, the one-box V-Studio 20 ($299) system from Cakewalk combines a Mac/PC-compatible control surface/stereo (24-bit/44.1kHz) USB audio interface with onboard Boss-powered COSM DSP guitar and vocals effects, VS-20 Effects Editor (Mac/Win) software, and the Windows-only Guitar Tracks recording application. Supporting all popular DAWs using Mackie Control protocol, the controller has eight faders (in four selectable banks) and dedicated rotary controls; volume knobs for DAW output/VS-20 effects and main outs; a built-in tuner; XLR mic input with phantom power; hi-Z input; line inputs; onboard stereo mics; headphone amp; and a COSM DSP chip for zero-latency direct monitoring.

Voxengo Polysquasher Version 2.2
Voxengo has updated its Polysquasher ($70, direct download) mastering compressor plug-in, available in AU and VST plug-in formats for Mac OS X and Windows. Version 2.2 improves the resolution of the real-time gain-reduction graphs, adds parameter values to automation in the Mac AU format, and implements a preset update function, while retaining the original''s transparent sound, multichannel capability, M/S processing, and simple two-knob (threshold and ratio) operation that makes for fast, easy operation.

Apogee Digital One
New from Apogee Digital is One ($249), a USB mic/micro-sized-digital-recording-interface combo designed for use with Apple''s GarageBand, Logic, or Final Cut, or any Core Audio-compliant application. One features 24-bit, 44.1kHz/48kHz resolution, mic stand mount, onboard optimized Tuned Aperture Microphone condenser mic, and an included breakout cable for plugging in a ¼-inch instrument input or your favorite pro XLR dynamic or condenser mic using the unit''s supplied 48VDC phantom power. One also has 1⁄8-inch stereo outputs for connecting headphones or speakers.

Sound Advice
—By Len Sasso

Heavyocity Evolve Mutations 2
Heavocity has released the second Kontakt Player instrument in the Evolve range of cinematic sounds. Available from Native Instruments, Evolve Mutations 2 ($119, download) takes full advantage of Kontakt 4''s enhanced user interface to deliver a more customizable sound palette. The new Trigger FX engine provides key-switches for instant access to 12 preset effects covering distortion, filtering, pan, and delay, which you gate on and off in any combination by holding notes C6 through B6 (see Web Clip 1).

Evolve Mutations 2 instruments come in four flavors: 225 Rhythmic Suites of beat-sliced, tempo-synched pitched and unpitched percussion loops; 11 Percussive Kits for creating your own beats; 19 Stings and Transitions for adding emotional impact; and 40 pitched instruments. Each instrument features resonant lowpass and highpass filtering, a master effects section, and ADSR amplitude-
envelope controls.

5Pin Media Classic House Pianos
Although collections of keyboard loops and riffs abound, they are mostly limited to the sound of the originally recorded instrument. In Classic House Pianos (about $46, download), 5Pin Media overcomes that limit with 115 MIDI loops, including matches for each of the 50 audio loops in the collection, and with multisampled instruments for each of the 11 keyboards used (see Web Clip 2). The keyboards cover piano, organ, and vintage synths from Korg, Yamaha, and others. The audio loops come in Acidized WAV, REX, and SoundFont (SFX) formats, and along with the multisamples, you get sampler instruments for Apple Logic EXS24, Steinberg Halion, Native Instruments Kontakt, and Propellerhead NN-XT. The library is available from Loopmasters.

Puremagnetik Bodhisphere Micropak
Puremagnetik has tapped an assortment of exotic synths and effects to create its Bodhisphere Micropak ($12 or by subscription, download) of sampled sounds in Ableton Live Pack, Native Instruments Kontakt 4, and Apple Logic EXS24 formats. Sources include Symbolic Sound KYMA X, Moog MURF, and Line 6 Pod X3 Live. Delivering more than 70 evolving textures in four sound sets—Biomental, Environmental, Machineroom, and Industrial—Bodhisphere emulates the spirit of the FM3 Buddha Machine. The sounds are often dramatic and edgy, and the sampler instruments give you automatable controls to create further atmospherics (see Web Clip 3). When you''re looking for background material for your next cinematic score, videogame, or techno track, Bodhisphere may have just what you need.

Soniccouture RMI Rock-Si-Chord
If you''re a fan of vintage keyboards and a Native Instruments Kontakt user, Soniccouture has a deal you can''t pass up: a free, downloadable Kontakt 3 and 4 version of the 1960s-vintage 200 Series RMI Rock-Si-Chord (aka Rocksichord). The sampling project was initiated by Mikael Jorgensen of the band Wilco, who sampled his Rock-Si-Chord and then offered the samples to the folks at Soniccouture to finish the project. The company polished the samples; provided controls for some synth parameters; and added phaser, distortion, and amp/cabinet insert effects.

The Rock-Si-Chord is the most (perhaps only) notable product of Rocky Mount Instruments (RMI). The 200 Series is programmed like an organ, with 4-foot and 8-foot stops labeled Lute, Guitar (A and B), Harpsi, Cembalo, and Tamboura (4 feet only). A short-decay option, called the Accenter, increases the percussiveness of the 4-foot Cembalo, Harpsi, and Tamboura stops. RMI Rock-Si-Chord delivers a refreshing array of electronic keyboard sounds (see Web Clip 4).

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