At AES, I tried to see every mic I could find, as well as preamps and related mic gear. Feet hurt. Eyes blurry. Must go on. Must…go…ON. Because, well, because there’s a lot to see, and all in all, it was a very cool show with positive vibes aplenty. (FYI all prices quoted are list prices, and all products should be shipping by the time you read this unless noted otherwise.)
The BIG ($2,095) and BIG-er ($2,895) mics (www.bigmics.com) on display at the Vintech booth looked interesting and sounded pretty good — although a trade show is hardly the best place to audition mics. Vintech (www.vintech-audio.com) also showed the 609CA ($2,995) 2-channel compressor, and the 273 mic pre ($1,995), a 2-channel, 1U version of the 473.
A couple of other mics impressed me, like the AEA R92 ribbon mic ($900) from Wes Dooley, which is similar to the R84 but designed for less proximity effect and use at closer distances (www.wesdooley.com). The other was the Soundelux E250 ($3,000), a cardioid-only version of their ELUX 251, with a bit more mellow top end and some proximity effect adjustments (www.transaudiogroup.com). Nady also had their new RSM-2 ribbon mic ($440) on display, and it sounded pretty good. PMI Audio showed the long awaited Stephen Paul mic, but we still couldn’t hear the thing. They’re shooting for a $2,199 list and March 2005 release date, but that’s subject to change.
Dave Derr showed the Empirical Labs Lil FrEQ ($1,999), an 8-section, single channel EQ that offers a lot of tonal control (www.empiricallabs.com). And Aspen Pittman at Groove Tubes (www.groovetubes.com) gave me a full demo of the new Glory Comp ($2,999), a really cool new compressor with a high “covet factor.”
Off the mic beat, I dug the Under Cover brand of custom made gear covers — how can you not like a variety of styles and materials, custom manufacturing for any gear, and affordable prices (www.undercovernyc.com)?
At $700 per pair, the new Adam ANF10 passive near field monitors bring ADAM sound quality to those on a tight budget. At the opposite end of the price scale, the S6-A Mk IIs are some of the best mains I’ve ever heard, but at $30,800 I won’t be buying a pair anytime soon (www.adam-audio.com). The SMART console created a buzz at the show. Nice concept, but with no Pro Tools support and at $50,000 — $150,000 depending on size and configuration, they face a lot of competition (www.smartav.net).