MOTU 896MK3 FIREWIRE INTERFACE
MIXING IT UP
MOTU (motu.com) has introduced the third generation of its 896 series of FireWire audio interfaces with the 896MK3 (Mac/Win, $1,295). The unit has onboard effects and 16-bus digital mixing, and you can use it without a computer as a 2U rackmount standalone mixing solution. Included in its total of 28 inputs and 32 outputs, you'll find 8 XLR/RTS combo inputs with mic preamps, high-impedance guitar inputs, and 2 banks of optical I/O. The interface supports 192 kHz operation and 32-bit floating-point DSP. The onboard effects (reverb, 7-band parametric EQ, and compression/limiting) provide no-latency effects processing and monitoring. CueMix FX control software gives you access to all functions from your computer.
CAKEWALK SONAR HOME STUDIO 7
TAKE IT HOME
Cakewalk (cakewalk.com) has just released version 7 of Sonar Home Studio (Win, $99; upgrade, $39). The program sports a completely redesigned user interface stressing ease of use. New Track and Console views put many of Sonar's pro-level tools for music creation at your fingertips. In addition, you get assistant tools to help with everything from track setup to advanced signal routing. A new Loop Explorer view takes the guesswork out of integrating sounds from your loop collection into your music. The XL version ($159) adds more instruments, effects, and content.
BAG END PM6 POWERED MONITOR
IT'S IN THE BAG
With nearly 30 years' experience, Bag End (bagend.com) has earned a reputation for manufacturing high-quality professional monitors. The new PM6 ($898 [MSRP]) is a powered version of the company's popular M6 close-field monitor. Weighing in at 18 pounds, this 9 × 14 × 9-inch unit features a 100W amp, a 6-inch coaxial driver, and a 1-inch neodymium tweeter. Bag End claims flat response in both the frequency and time domains, with ±3 dB frequency response from 60 Hz to 20 kHz. Maximum output is rated at 107 dB SPL.
AUDIO-TECHNICA AT2035 AND AT2050 MICROPHONES
SIDE BY SIDE
Audio-Technica (audio-technica.com) has expanded its line of 20-series side-address condenser microphones with the cardioid AT2035 ($249) and the multipattern AT2050 ($369). Both mics offer flat frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, high-SPL handling capability (148 dB, or 158 dB with built-in 10 dB pad), and low self-noise. The AT2050 offers omni, cardioid, and figure-8 polar patterns. Both mics feature a switchable 80 Hz highpass filter for low-end rolloff, low-impedance balanced XLRM connectors, a shockmount, and a protective pouch.
IK MULTIMEDIA TOTAL WORKSTATION RACK
MUSE AT WORK
IK Multimedia (ikmultimedia.com) has teamed up with Muse Research (museresearch.com) to package the Powered By SampleTank virtual instruments series in the Muse Receptor plug-in-hosting hardware workstation. Total Workstation Rack ($1,999; cross-grade, $1,699) has SampleTank 2.5, Sonik Synth 2, Miroslav Philharmonik, SampleMoog, and SampleTron — all installed in Receptor and authorized. You get more than 10,000 sample-based sounds covering acoustic and electric pianos; orchestral strings, brass, and woodwinds; vocals, organs, guitars, basses, and synths; and drums and ethnic percussion. You can use Receptor as a standalone instrument on the gig and as a DAW plug-in in the studio.
BLUE CAT AUDIO REMOTE CONTROL 2.0
Blue Cat Audio (bluecataudio.com) has come up with an unusual approach to MIDI remote control. Remote Control 2.0 (Win, $59) is a VST effects plug-in that puts a skinnable control surface on your PC desktop. Depending on the skin, you might have onscreen knobs, sliders, numericals, buttons, or x-y graphics for generating MIDI Control Change messages. Various kinds of meters and graphs monitor and relay incoming MIDI. The primary purpose of the plug-in is to simultaneously access the controls of several other plug-ins (using their MIDI Learn capability) from Remote Control's panel, thereby reducing desktop clutter.
APPLIED ACOUSTICS SYSTEMS STRUM ACOUSTIC GS-1
Applied Acoustics Systems (applied-acoustics.com) is renowned for the quality and realism of its physical-modeled virtual instruments. With Strum Acoustic GS-1 (Mac/Win, $229), the company has outdone itself by modeling not only the sound but also the voicings and playing techniques of acoustic guitar. You choose a guitar model or create your own using global and individual string parameters, and then play chords on your MIDI keyboard controller. Strum chooses guitar-chord voicings based on settings you make, then either strums automatically or lets you trigger individual strings and strum styles by playing MIDI notes.
Groovebox Corp.'s Designing Electronic Drums
The latest in Groovebox Corp.'s (grooveboxmusic.com) series of Power PAK tutorials is devoted to creating electronic drum sounds in Ableton Live 7. Designing Electronic Drums (Mac/Win; boxed, $39.99; online viewing, $14.99) consists of 15 tutorials, running more than 3 hours, by Craig McCullough. The tutorials cover all aspects of creating and processing individual drum sounds from samples and waveforms, and then combining them in complete kits using Live's Drum Racks.
St. Martin's The Indie Band Survival Guide
The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do-It-Yourself Musician ($14.95), by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan, reveals how to successfully get your music out to the public based on the authors' experience with their band Beatnik Turtle. Topics include selling your music online; getting airplay on radio, TV, movies, and Podcasts; press relations; and Web-site design. You'll also find tips on how to protect your music and how to make money without being a jerk. Check out St. Martin's Press (indiebandsurvivalguide.com) for details.
HowAudio's Cubase 4: Essential Training
Cubase 4: Essential Training ($34.95) is an 8-hour tutorial hosted by independent Steinberg product specialist Matthew Loel T. Hepworth. The DVD's QuickStart Overview gets beginners up to speed with Cubase fundamentals. Other sections for veterans and beginners alike cover external hardware, surround sound, VST3 instruments and effects plug-ins, the Universal Sound Manager, and scoring. As an alternative to the DVD, HowAudio (howaudio.com) offers subscriptions ($19 monthly, $199 annually) for 24/7 online access to the more than 1,100 video tutorials in the company's catalog.
Impact Soundworks' Impact: Steel
Impact: Steel (Mac/Win, $79) is the first product from Impact Soundworks (impactsoundworks.com), a collaboration between sound designers Andrew Aversa and Wilbert Roget II. Produced by Roget, this sound library for Native Instruments Kontakt, Steinberg HALion 3, and Tascam GigaStudio 3 features multisampled recordings of five metal objects: steel frame, metal cylinders (two sizes), metal spring, and metal cone. Articulations include hits, scrapes, rolls, and other textures. They are provided as separate instruments but are mapped so as to all be playable from a single keyboard. You also get 16 highly processed, pitch-mapped FX Patches.
Evolve (Mac/Win, $399 [MSRP]) from Heavyocity Media (heavyocity.com) is a collection of Native Instruments Kontakt Player 2 presets designed primarily for TV and video-game production. Noted producers Dave Fraser and Neil Goldberg (NFL, GE, Sony, and others) organized the collection for quick production. Categories include Rhythmic Suites (tuned and untuned percussion loops and arps), Percussive Kits (standard and found sounds), Stings and Transitions (sweeps, builds, and mangled instruments), and Tonality and FX (bass, melody, and pads). Mix and match instruments yourself, or start with one of 25 8-channel Multis designed for maximum compatibility.
If your percussion tracks lack that human feel, Anatomy (Mac/Win, $199) from Sonivox might be just the thing for you. This collection of roughly 800 presets for Native Instruments Kontakt 2 and 3 is produced entirely from melodic and percussive sounds created using parts of the human anatomy. The library is divided into two categories: Man (little processing beyond filter and reverb) and Machine (severely dealt with). Both categories contain drum kits, Foley and special effects, leads and basses, and pads. You'll find MP3 audio examples and Kontakt 2 demo instruments at sonivoxmi.com.