E-mu Longboard 61 and Shortboard 49
The Longboard 61 ($399) and Shortboard 49 ($349) from E-mu Systems (emu.com) are 61- or 49-note keyboards offering world-class sounds, 128-voice polyphony, onboard effects, and a USB/MIDI controller with aftertouch in one instrument. Sounds include grand pianos, electric pianos, B3s, clavinets, Solina/Moog/OB/Prophet/Juno/TB synth leads and basses, and General MIDI patches. Six controller knobs, pitch and mod wheels, a controller pedal, a footswitch, and octave-transpose buttons provide live control of filters, LFOs, and amplifiers. The units can be powered via USB, external DC, or onboard batteries, and both include E-mu''s new Pipeline wireless stereo audio system.
Camel Audio Alchemy Player
Want the sounds of Alchemy, but don''t need to create your own presets? Alchemy Player (Mac/Win, $59) from Camel Audio is free with the purchase of any Alchemy soundbank, which turns any bank into a standalone instrument. Two new soundbanks—Cinematic and Dance & Trance—expand the company''s current offerings to seven, including sounds from Biolabs, BigTone, and Junkie XL. Alchemy Player has 150 presets and 360MB of samples from the full factory library, including evolving soundscapes, lush pads, and pulsing arpeggios, with additive, spectral, granular, sampling and VA synthesis, as well as 16 performance controls for real-time tweaking and automation. Upgrading to the full version of Alchemy (with 600 presets and 3GB of samples) is $199.
Tannoy Reveal Monitors
Tannoy introduces new versions of its Reveal studio near-field monitors, slated to ship this month. The Reveal 501a ($249 MSRP), the Reveal 601a ($349 MSRP), and the passive Reveal 601p ($179 MSRP) are all compact front-ported designs featuring a wideband tweeter that extends response to 30kHz and a shaped front baffle to minimize diffraction. The 501a has an integrated 60-watt amplifier and a 5-inch woofer for response down to 64Hz; the 601a pairs a 6.5-inch woofer with 90W of amplification for response down to 60Hz. Both have balanced XLR and unbalanced inputs, and rear-mounted volume controls. For users who prefer their own amplifiers, the 601p has a 6.5-inch woofer with the same 1-inch soft-dome tweeter for a response of 63Hz to 30kHz.
Alesis MultiMix 6 USB
Designed for the desktop recording environment, the Alesis MultiMix 6 USB ($99) is a compact 6-channel mixer that outputs line-level analog audio, as well as stereo 16-bit, 44.1kHz digital audio over USB for simple connection to any PC or Mac. All six inputs can accept ¼-inch line signal; channel 1 also has a high-impedance switch for connecting a guitar or bass directly, and channels 1 and 2 have XLR mic inputs with switchable phantom power. The mic inputs also feature switchable highpass filtering at 75Hz to eliminate low-frequency rumble, and handling and wind noise. Each channel has an independent pan control, and channels 1 through 4 provide high- and low-shelving EQs. Channels 1 and 2 have independent gain trims, while channels 3/4 and 5/6 are configured as stereo pairs at the level and pan controls. A stereo headphone output is also standard.
Rain Ion Studio and LiveBook Studio
Optimized for rigorous audio and/or video production are the rackmount Ion Studio (from $1,899) and the LiveBook Studio (from $2,499) laptops—two high-performance PCs from Rain Computers . Offered with three processor choices (up to 2GHz Intel “Clarksfield” Core i7 quad-core), a 500GB hard drive, and up to 8GB of RAM, LiveBook Studio also features a 15.4-inch WXGA HD widescreen display, three FireWire ports, three USB 2 ports, and a PCI Express cardslot. Ion Studio runs on four 2.8GHz or 3.4GHz AMD Phenom II quad-core CPUs, up to 16GB of RAM, and up 8TB of disk storage, and it comes with six USB ports; up to five FireWire ports; five PCIe slots; two PCI-X (legacy) slots; and ATI Radeon HD 4200 or HD 4650, or Nvidia Quadro FX 1700 graphics. Ion Studio options are numerous, ranging from Blu-ray drives to solid-state drives (SSD).
Native Instruments Alicia''s Keys
Now shipping from Native Instruments is Alicia''s Keys (Mac/Win, $119), a software re-creation of the Grammy-winning artist''s own custom Yamaha C3 Neo grand piano in the Kontakt 4 sampler platform. Recorded in Keys'' personal studio by her engineer, Ann Mincieli, and sampling expert Thomas Scarbee using high-end studio gear and vintage mics, the result is 17GB of high-resolution samples with 12 discrete velocity layers per note, and sophisticated emulation of crucial sonic aspects such as key release, sustain pedal functionality, and sympathetic resonance. The software can be used with the included free Kontakt Player or it can be loaded into the full-featured pro Kontakt 4 sampler for in-depth sound editing.
ADAM AX Series Monitors
Boasting redesigned cabinets, new woofers and amps, and the X-ART ribbon tweeter, these four new AX Series monitors from ADAM comprise the ultracompact A3X (4.5-inch LF driver, 25W x2; $299); the high-performance A5X (5.5-inch mid/woofer, 50W x2; $499); the 7X (7-inch mid/woofer, 50W/100W; $599); and the A8X systems (8.5-inch mid/woofer, 50W/150W; $899). AX Series'' woofers feature larger voice-coils and more power for greater linear excursion and higher output. All models have beveled upper corners to minimize reflections and front porting.
JZ Vintage V67
JZ Microphones releases the second in its Vintage Series of mics that emulate the tone of classic models. Modeled to sound like a Neumann U67, the new V67 ($1,999) has a single cardioid pickup pattern and uses transistors instead of tubes so no external power supply is required. Like its sibling V47 model unveiled earlier this year, the V67 has a compact flask-shaped body that allows for tight placements, and an internal shock-mounting system protects its large, double-diaphragm, gold-sputtered condenser capsule. The V67 also features a rotational swivel mount with nearly 360 degrees of rotation. Specs include a maximum sound pressure level handling of 134dB and a low self-noise of 6dBA.
Conceived and designed as an exceptional virtual embodiment of a Steinway CD 327 grand is the Eighty Eight Grand Piano (Mac/Win, $199) virtual instrument from Sonivox. Recorded using high-end A/D converters and preamps, the plug-in features more than 11GB of content with 35 piano and pad presets; onboard EQ, reverb and limiting; up to 16 velocity layers per key; and an easy split editor for setting pad and combination instrument ranges. The instrument can be used standalone or with VST, RTAS, or AU hosts.
Korg MR-2 Handheld DSD Recorder
Korg (korg.com) expands its ultrahigh-fidelity, 2.8MHz sampling rate DSD recorder line with the MR-2 (price TBA), a compact unit with built-in X/Y stereo condenser microphones. An additional jack enables connection to a favorite external mic. The pocket-sized MR-2 writes data directly to removeable SD/SDHC cards (up to 32GB), or data can be transferred to computer via the onboard USB 2 port. Using the included AudioGate software, original DSD recording can be repurposed into nearly any audio format with minimal fidelity loss. For job-specific recording, the MR-2 can also record in any of the popular multi-bit formats, from MP2 and MP3 up to 24-bit/192kHz. The MR-2 ships this summer.
Producer Loops Trance Elevation Volume 2
Trance Elevation Volume 2 ($45.86, download) is the second in Producer Loops'' series of trance-oriented sample collections. The library, which totals 5GB across all formats, comprises 10 construction kits provided as 24-bit, 44.1kHz Acidized WAV, REX, Apple Loops, and Propellerhead Reason ReFill files. Dry and wet versions, along with unlooped clips with long reverb or delay tails, are provided for many of the loops. Synth leads and pads are rendered in up-, down-, and flat-filter versions for constructing build, roll, and decay parts. Users can also incorporate their own virtual instruments using the included MIDI files for many of the lead, pad, and bass parts (see Web Clip 1). Trance Elevation Volume 2 producer Jonathan Blakoe of Static Blue has remixed for the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Sunny Lax, and Adam Szabo. The construction kits of 30 to 50 loops are all 138bpm in C, Bb, Eb, Ab, Gb, or D. They include a demo mix along with bass, drum mixes and parts, straight and arpeggiated leads, and effects.
Big Fish Audio Nashville Sessions
Looking for authentic Country sounds? Big Fish Audio Nashville Sessions ($99.95, DVD) has you covered. The library of 24-bit, 44.1kHz WAV and REX files includes 22 construction kits, along with 148 extra loops, ranging from 85bpm to 150bpm in keys C, G, D, A, and E—7.5GB for all formats. A typical kit contains a preview and from 40 to 60 instrument loops featuring guitar (acoustic, rhythm, lead, and pedal steel), drums, bass, piano, mandolin, and fiddle (see Web Clip 2). Nashville Sessions was written and produced by Steve Sechi, Eric Masse, and Jesse Terry, and features experienced session players Steve Sinatra (drums), Adam Popick (bass), Charlie Hutto (guitars), Jonathan Lawson (mandolin and fiddle), and Tom Camp (pedal steel and piano).
Impact Soundworks Shreddage
Impact Soundworks developed its new electric-guitar library to deliver convincing rock and metal rhythm-guitar parts without resorting to loops, keyswitches, or complicated MIDI controls. Shreddage ($49, download for Native Instruments Kontakt 2 or later) was recorded in 24-bit/44.1kHz resolution through an Avalon DI box from a classic metal guitar played by Sixto Sounds'' Juan Medrano. The library captures a variety of articulations: power chords, open sustains, mutes (palm, fast, half, and power-chord), squeals, chokes, scrapes, slides, squeaks, and fret noise. Most instruments feature up and down strikes and eight round-robin samples to mitigate the machine-gun effect. In addition to individual instruments for the various articulations, you''ll find several multis designed for load-and-play double-tracked performance. For example, one setup puts power chords under your left hand and open sustains under your right, with velocity transitioning from mutes to full sustain (see Web Clip 3). Double-track instruments are routed to two Kontakt outputs for independent amping, and presets for popular amp/cabinet simulators are included.
Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 01
Whether you''re building drum tracks from the ground up or engaging in a little creative drum replacement, Drum Tools 01 (about $60, download) from Wave Alchemy might have just the sounds you''re looking for. This 24- and 16-bit, 44.1kHz techno- and house-oriented sample library delivers 1,950 hand-crafted electronic drum sounds culled from a variety of drum machines, synths, field recordings, and recorded acoustic drum and percussion instruments (see Web Clip 4). Many of the sounds are layered and processed. Electronic sources include modern units such as the Future Retro XS, Nord Lead 3, and Jomox Xbase 999, and vintage analog gear such as the ARP Odyssey, Roland TB and TR Series, and Korg MS-20. Outboard gear used in processing the samples includes the Thermionic Culture Vulture, various Moog filters and envelopes, and SSL E Series EQ and compression. Drum Tools 01 includes patches for most popular samplers and an Ableton Live 8 Pack.