The AES show and surrounding events, as usual, provided no shortage of mind-bending and productivity enhancing widgets for me to lust after. Make that LUST after, since my primary music production work is composing, recording, and mixing music and sound design for commercials, where lust figures heavily. In my world, things need to happen crazy fast, and yet sound like you’ve had a luxurious production schedule and an actual budget. So when I happened upon PreSonus’s ADL600, I immediately added it to my “Must Audition” list.
The ADL600 is a 2-channel Class A tube mic preamp designed by Anthony DeMaria, who’s widely known for his high-end tube compressors. But what got me was the fact that the ADL600 offers variable impedance settings, so you can tailor the sound of your microphones, or shade stereo DI’d keyboards, for example. This opens up a wealth of options for getting the “right” tone. And for those with passive summing mixers such as the Rolls Music Folcrom (reviewed on pg. 84), the ADL600 becomes even more attractive. Pair it with a high-quality stereo EQ and compressor and you have an impressive DAW front end.www.presonus.com
On the productivity front, I was finally able to get an up-close and personal look at SoundMiner, which is billed as an “asset management system” for Mac OS 9 and OS X. Basically, SM3 combines a sophisticated searchable database engine with a multichannel ReWire compatible audio engine, allowing you to organize and catalog samples on any number of drives. From within SoundMiner you can audition sounds, process them with VST effects, and directly export them into a variety of host programs such as Pro Tools, Digital Performer, and Logic. In addition to on-the-fly sample rate conversion, Version 3 features support for REX SDII, AIF, broadcast WAV, AAC, and MP3 files, as well as CoreAudio compatibility and much more. Given SoundMiner’s comprehensive management tools, I suspect I’ll be able to cut my production times considerably. www.soundminer.com
On a related note, I was pleasantly surprised by Mackie’s latest control surface, the C4. I always wondered whatever happened to Emagic’s Phat Channel, which was previewed a couple years ago. When Emagic and Mackie parted ways on their joint development of Logic-specific control surfaces, it seemed this knob-laden controller was destined to live in the limbo of “Cool Gear That Never Saw the Light of Day.” Well, fortunately for those of us who prefer hands-on tactile control over our virtual recording environment (and who doesn’t?), the PC has been re-released under the Mackie brand as the C4. It features four banks of eight V-Pots each, and four full-size displays that provide instant access to as many as 32 software parameters, virtually eliminating the need to constantly “bank switch” in order to access parameter-packed software instruments and effects. The C4 can be used alongside Mackie Control Universal and Logic Control surfaces, as well as Mackie Control Universal and Logic Control Extenders. www.mackie.com