New Gear, April 2012

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title


WaveMachine Labs
iPad multitrack recorder

Highlights 48 tracks of playback with iPad 2 • record up to 24 tracks simultaneously with optional camera connection kit adapter • channel strip from PSP Audioware • optional plug-ins available • 64-bit double-precision engine, path delay compensation
Target Market On-the-go recording, desktop recording replacement
Analysis This was a huge hit at NAMM, as it sealed the deal on portable recording being in the same league as desktop recording—and for some recordists, Auria will replace standard recording setups. Although using the original iPad halves Auria’s track count, its capabilities (especially given the price) are outstanding.

Image placeholder title


Keyboard synthesizer

Highlights 8-oscillator monophonic solo synth and standard PCM playback engines • drawbar organ mode • advanced step sequencer • 16-step arpeggiator • USB and MIDI ports • mic and line inputs for external signals • four realtime controller knobs
Target Market Recording and performing musicians; the XWG1 companion synth is similar, but optimized for groove and DJ-oriented applications
Analysis Casio’s comeback as a serious synth manufacturer has been rapid and well-deserved. The multiple audio engines, step sequencer, and arpeggiator scream “live performance,” but the XWP1 is also a great fit for recording. Keep your eye on these.

Image placeholder title


iPad-based mixer

Highlights 16 channels, each with Onyx preamp and plug-ins (EQ, dynamics, effects, etc.) • 12 XLR, four combo mic/line inputs • 6 aux sends with graphic EQ and limiter • undock iPad from base and control the mix remotely (wi-fi router required) • snapshot automation recall • record the mix to your iPad • integrate music from other apps • save, load, and share channel presets
Target Market Live performance, but also studio crossover
Analysis Integrating iPads was a recurring theme at NAMM, but the DL1608 garnered a lot of attention for using the iPad for control, particularly remote control from up to ten iPads.

Image placeholder title


Line 6
StageScape M20d
Digital mixer
$2,499 MAP

Highlights Touchscreen, imagedriven visual mixing environment with X-Y interface • 20 inputs • records 16 channels+main mix to SD card, USB drive, or computer • iPad remote control • complements the Line 6 StageSource speaker systems via digital networking, but can be used independently • autosensing inputs and outputs • dynamics, EQ, and effects for each channel • multi-band feedback suppression
Target Market Live performance
Analysis While the NAMM attention was focused on Line 6’s integrated system, the M20d mixer component re-invents live sound mixing and can work standalone with non-Line 6 amps and powered speakers. Impressive.

Image placeholder title


Akai Pro
Keyboard controller

Highlights USB MIDI, 5-pin DIN MIDI, and control voltage/gate interfacing • Mackie Control and HUI protocols • four banks of eight backlit LED touch faders • 12 backlit/velocity MPC pads with swing and note repeat • 49 semiweighted keys with aftertouch • expanded arpeggiator • transport controls • rubberized pitch and mod wheels • AkaiConnect mapping software
Target Audience Virtual instrument control in studio or on stage
Analysis Akai has taken a different tack compared to other keyboards, offering multiple control options including LED touch faders, step sequencing, and interfacing with vintage analog synthesizers.

Image placeholder title


Universal Audio
Audio interface with UAD-2
$2,999 Quad, $2,499 Duo

Highlights Includes UAD-2 processor (Duo or Quad) • ins: analog 4 XLR, 8 TRS, 2 TS, digital 8 via ADAT, stereo S/PDIF • outs: analog 10 TRS, digital 8 via ADAT, stereo S/PDIF • less than 2ms latency with FireWire 800, optional Thunderbolt interface card • expand DSP with UA’s Satellite • cross-platform
Target Market Studios that want to combine interfacing and processing, live performance
Analysis While Apollo is an obvious candidate for studios, being able to process signals through UA’s powered plug-ins with near-zero latency—and the plentiful I/O—also make this a logical option for computer-based live acts.

Image placeholder title


Radial Engineering
500 Series frame

Highlights Holds three 500 Series modules • includes 800-milliamp, external global (100–240V) power supply • offers standard XLR connectors, supplemented by 1/4" TRS types • feed switch provides inter-module signal path • 14 gauge steel enclosure • unique Omniport takes advantage of unused pins in the API spec
Target Market Those who want a cost-effective, portable home for 500 Series modules
Analysis Radial’s Workhorse was the first of three 500 Series frames from the company. The PowerStrip mounts three 500 Series modules horizontally in a single rack space, while the Cube is easily transportable and mounts them vertically.

Image placeholder title


USB/iOS microphone

Highlights For use with iPhone 4/4S, iPad with iOS 4.3 or higher, Intel Mac with OS 10.6.4 or higher • gain control knob • all-metal construction • clip/status LED on front of mic • onboard A/D conversion interfaces with iOS device’s digital, not analog, input • bus-powered, no batteries required • includes cables and desktop tripod
Target Market Vocal and instrument recording, as well as podcasts and interviews
Analysis iOS-compatible mics are plentiful, but few have the Apogee pedigree for A/D conversion, and MiC also works as a USB mic with Macintosh computers.