by David Albin
Avid Pro Tools HD Series Interfaces
What New line of HD interfaces designed specifically for Pro Tools
Why Next-generation A/D and D/A conversion, filtering, and clocking provide a significant increase in sound quality compared to the previous generation of interfaces.
How The HD I/O, HD OMNI, and HD MADI offer different functionality, and are optimized for different recording and post-production scenarios. HD I/O is available in three configurations: 16 x 16 analog, 16 x 16 digital and 8 x 8 x 8 analog/digital in a 2 RU rack-mountable interface. HD OMNI integrates the functionality of numerous outboard components (dual mic preamps, headphone outs, surround monitor section, 14 x 26 channel mixer, etc.) into an all-in-one solution. HD MADI allows connecting Pro Tools|HD systems to industry-standard MADI infrastructures via a 1U rack-mountable interface, without the need for format conversion.
Price HD I/O starting at $3,995; HD OMNI $2,995; HD MADI $4,995
Josephson C715 Microphone
What Large, single diaphragm, made-in-USA condenser mic with adjustable pickup pattern
Why An adjustable vent allows cardioid or omni operation to accommodate various miking scenarios.
How The backplate has an adjustable vent, reached through an opening in the back of the grille, that allows adjusting the pickup pattern. Furthermore, the C715 includes a patent-pending metal foam housing that eliminates many internal reflecting surfaces, thus minimizing acoustic coloration. The internal circuitry uses a class-A cascode FET front end, driving a large nickel core Lundahl output transformer for compatibility with a wide range of preamps and consoles. The internal high voltage linear supply generates capsule polarization voltage without a switching oscillator, thus reducing noise.
MOTU MasterWorks Collection
What Plug-in bundle for Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 with three signal processors
Why Originally developed for Digital Performer, these plug-ins are now available for any host that supports the RTAS/AU/VST3 plug-in formats.
How The MasterWorks EQ models British analog console EQ with five bands of filtering, each with four EQ types. Two mid bands include shelf filtering, and two outside bands provide variable slope low- and high-pass filtering. A graphic display allows clicking on the filter control points to create EQ curves, while a realtime FFT display shows the effects of EQing on the audio being processed. The MasterWorks Leveler is an LA-2A-style optical leveling amplifier with four different models: slow vintage, fast vintage, slow modern, and fast modern. ProVerb is a CPU-efficient convolution reverb that delivers the ambience of realistic acoustic spaces, but also provides realtime parameter adjustment. ProVerb supports six different channel format variations.
Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
What Ribbon mic with high SPL capabilities and extremely low residual noise
Why Because you want a Royer R-121, can’t afford it, but still want something with exemplary performance and the Royer pedigree.
How Multi-layered wind screening protects against air blasts and plosives, while reducing the proximity effect to facilitate close miking. The patented offset-ribbon design positions the ribbon element toward the front of the mic’s body, allowing for higher SPL handling (up to 135dB SPL @ 30Hz) on the front (logo) side of the microphone or a brighter response when recording lower SPL sound sources on the mic’s back side. What’s more, the ribbon element is unaffected by heat or humidity. The R-101 ships with a protective carrying case, suspension-type shock mount, and mic sock.
Waves W43 Noise- Reduction Plug-In
What Post-production noise-reduction software
Why Reduce ambient noise such as hiss, hum, traffic noise, wind, and air conditioning on dialog and other types of audio.
How Inspired by the classic, long-out-of-production Cat. 43 hardware noise-reduction tool, the W43 delivers the original hardware’s high-quality, minimal-artifact multiband noisereduction while adding the advantages of software. The easy-to-use four-band noise suppression is controlled by four faders, a global threshold, and an engage button. The cross-platform W43 supports multiple simultaneous instances and features true Pro Tools integration, full recall, zero latency, automation, up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, and TDM/RTAS/Audio Suite/VST/AU support.
Price $300 Native/$600 TDM. Mercury V7 owners covered by the Waves Update Plan receive the W43 at no additional charge.
Buzz Audio QSP-20 Quad Studio Preamplifier
What Quad mic preamp with Class A operation
Why Provides multiple mic preamps as well as high-Z instrument inputs.
How Each channel uses two Class A amplifiers at the input, a Lundahl audio transformer at the output to add subtle coloration while preserving transient response, and a hi-Z/lo-Z switch to vary microphone loading. Direct-coupled inputs contribute to low noise, as well as a 92dB dynamic range at the full 70dB of gain. The output headroom is +28dBu.
Propellerhead Reason 5 and Record 1.5 Duo
What Virtual MIDI studio/virtual instrument collection and fullfeatured DAW
Why Reason and Record make a phenomenal combination for music creation.
How Reason 5 provides (among other things) virtual instruments and processors, while Record integrates with Reason to provide a multitracking environment for audio and MIDI tracks. This latest upgrade introduces the Kong Drum Designer, Dr. Octo Rex loop player, redesigned sequencing paradigm, pitch correction for vocals and voice synthesis, realtime sampling, expanded Factory Sound Bank, signature patches, multicore computer optimization, interface improvements, and more. Each program is available separately, as a bundle, or as upgrades from previous versions.
Price $449 (bundle of both programs)