On the last day of the 139th AES Convention, just like most music-related conferences, our brains and bodies wanted to check for earlier flights to get on out of JFK, but our spirits wanted more audio innovations! Luckily, there were still more to be had—more than were even fit to print. So here are our final six companies we thought deserved some cheese from the final day of AES 2015. (Want more gear? Read our Quick Hits from Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.)
iZotope Ozone 7 Standard ($249) and Ozone 7 Advanced ($499) mastering software – Shipping "soon"
One of the most popular mastering tools received yet another upgrade, as iZotope is updating Ozone and Ozone Advanced at break-neck speed. Yet this is not a "soft" update. There are new tools in both the standard version advanced versions. For starters, the Maximizer has a new IRC IV algorithm for transparent limiting and multiple Intelligent Release Control (IRC) modes. The big fun comes in with new vintage modules: Vintage Limiter, Vintage Tape (Advanced only), Vintage Compressor (Advanced only) and Vintage EQ (Advanced only), a Pultec-style EQ with mid-side functionality, except that it has a frequency-range view. Also new are audio file export formats, Codec Preview (Advanced only) and more. See the Ozone 7 page for more nitty gritty details.
MOTU Stage-B16 AVB/USB audio/MIDI interface - $1,695 street – Shipping now
Another option for your Mac’s Ethernet port: the MOTU Stage-B16 provides flexible audio I/O and MIDI I/O with onboard digital mixing and DSP, including compression, EQ and reverb. It has 16 channels of XLR/TRS combo inputs, 8 channels of analog XLR output, 4 channels of AES/EBU output, headphone out and MIDI I/O. It can also connect to an extended AVB networking over CAT5 or CAT6 (Ethernet) cables. The Stage-B16 could be great on stage to pass your inputs to the FOH, or in the studio for a recording room.
Little Labs Monotor headphone amp – approx. $400 – Shipping January 2016
The ever-clever Little Labs titled its new headphone amp the Monotor because of its unique mono-mode features. For audio engineers who need detailed source analysis, Monotor has L and R mono modes as well as modes like L minus R, for checking phase cancellation and analyzing compressed audio file artifacts.
Tascam Celesonic US-20x20 USB audio interface - $499 street – Shipping November 2015
One affordable 1U rack space audio interface, 20 audio ins and out over USB 3/USB 2 for Mac, Windows and iOS. The Celesonic US-20x20 has eight Ultra-HDDA low-noise mic preamps with 20dB of headroom and a built-in digital patchbay and DSP for EQ, compression and reverb. The unit supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution and also has ADAT and S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O, two balanced line inputs and two headphone outs. You can also use it as a stand-alone mic preamp or digital mixer with savable Scenes.
Softube Fix Flanger and Fix Doubler - $149 – Shipping November 9
The man behind the legendary API and Tonelux brans, Paul Wolff, has teamed up with Softube on what they aim to be the best software flanger and doubler ever. The Fix Flanger and Fix Double package includes two separate plug-ins at an introductory price of $110 until November 26.
This plug-in duo recreates the classic flanging and vocal doubling of the 1960s with all the conveniences of the plug-in format. Fix Flanger strives for versatility; it can do automatic sweeping guitar pedal-style flanging and flexible hands-on effects. Fix Doubler delivers lush chorusing and rich texture to vocals and polyphonic instruments.
Primacoustic Paintables London 8 and London 10 Room Kits and new mounting tools – Shipping now
Studios, vocal booths, post-production suites and other sound-sensitive spaces really should have some good acoustical treatment on the walls to help control primary reflections, flutter echo and excessive bass. However, such accessories can often look like eyesores in aesthetically-minded spaces.
Primacoustic Paintables room kits address that concern. They come in an Absolute White color that can be lightly spray painted without affecting the panels' acoustic properties. The Paintables versions of the independently-tested fiberglass London 8 ($229) and London 10 ($499) room kits are now shipping. They come with all the necessary installation hardware: wall anchors, screws and a drill bit.
And speaking of acoustic treatment hardware, Primacoustic is now also shipping new hanging hardware to simplify the installation of acoustic baffles and clouds. The Corkscrew helps make a vertical baffle out of any Primacoustic Broadway or Paintable panels. The Slipknot steel rope suspension system helps suspend Primacoustic clouds and baffles at adjustable heights. When used with the Helix—which can twist into Primacoustic panels—the Slipknot can transform those panels into acoustic clouds.