What's New, November 2010 - EMusician

What's New, November 2010

If you''ve yearned for the power of Pro Tools HD but have found the price of entry too high, you''ll be heartened to hear about Avid''s new Pro Tools HD Native system (Mac/Win).
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AVID PRO TOOLS HD NATIVE
If you''ve yearned for the power of Pro Tools HD but have found the price of entry too high, you''ll be heartened to hear about Avid''s new Pro Tools HD Native system (Mac/Win). Based on a PCIe card and using a native driver instead of outboard DSP, HD Native gives you the same feature set as Pro Tools HD, with the exception of TDM support (all plug-ins on HD Native systems are RTAS), for a considerably lower price. Available starting Nov. 5, 2010, HD Native offers 192 tracks, 128 buses, delay compensation, an integrated low-latency mixer, and up to 64 channels of I/O. Pricing starts at $3,495 for the card and software, but you''ll also need a Pro Tools HD audio interface. HD Native supports the new Avid interfaces such as the HD Omni and HD I/O, as well as legacy Blue models like the 192. Avid is also offering bundle pricing if you buy HD Native and an interface together.

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MUSE RESEARCH MUSEBOX
Shipping this month, MuseBox ($899) from Muse Research lets musicians and engineers take software-based synths, sounds, and effects with them wherever they go. MuseBox''s compact half-rack design is portable and built for the road, and is made specifically to run software plug-ins at pro-quality 24-bit/48kHz. A CF card slot provides instant access to new software synths and effects. MuseBox comes with 1GB of RAM (expandable to 2GB) and has a fast-loading 4GB solid-state system disc module (expandable to 8GB). An optional 250GB laptop hard drive offers added storage.

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OVERLOUD SPRINGAGE
Overloud''s SpringAge ($108, direct download) uses convolution and algorithmic technology to create emulations of modern and classic spring reverb effects. Three presets are provided, plus the user has control over Drive (to saturate a tube stage), Spring Tone, Spring Boing (response to sharp transients), 2-band parametric EQ, and a stereo wet/dry control. The plug-in is available in VST, RTAS, and AU format for Mac OS X (10.5 or higher) and Windows (XP or higher) in both 32-bit and 64-bit.

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IZOTOPE RX 2/RX 2 ADVANCED
Offered in standalone form for Windows (XP/x64/Vista/7) or Mac (Universal Binary OS X 10.5 or later), or as plug-ins for Pro Tools 7-plus (RTAS/AudioSuite), VST, MAS, AU, or DirectX, iZotope''s RX 2 ($349) and RX 2 Advanced ($1,199) are designed to repair common and uncommon audio problems. These include tonal and broadband noise, hiss, buzz, hum, clicks/crackle, and clipping distortion, as well as interfering sounds like cell phone rings, dog barks, string squeaks, and dropped drumsticks. RX 2 includes Denoise, Spectral Repair, Declick, Decrackle, Declip, and Remove Hum modules. RX 2 Advanced adds an adaptive Denoiser, Deconstruct, third-party plug-in hosting, iZotope 64-bit SRC resampling, MBIT+ dither, iZotope Radius time/pitch control, multi-resolution Spectral Repair, and automatic azimuth correction. Introductory pricing is offered before Oct. 31.

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KORG WAVEDRUM BLACK
Combining an organic interface with an arsenal of onboard synth and percussion sounds, Korg''s Wavedrum is now offered in a limited black color edition ($699) with a Remo Black Suede drumhead. The unit can be used as a standalone percussion instrument or with an existing drum kit/percussion rig. Its drumhead playing surface and rim triggering let performers use sticks, brushes, mallets, and/or hand-drum techniques (mute, slap, bend, etc.) to play its 36 advanced DSP synthesis algorithms with 200 PCM samples (100 for the head; 100 for the rim) with onboard reverb/delay effects. Options include a floor stand and custom case.

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UNIVERSAL AUDIO EP-34 TAPE ECHO
Based on meticulous modeling of the classic Echoplex EP-3 and EP-4 mechanical tape echo units is the EP-34 plug-in ($199) for Universal Audio''s UAD-2 platform for Mac and PC. Controls include a movable record head design that creates a warm, rich sound with full user control over echo delay time, repeats, treble and bass, volume, panning, and more. The EP-34 Tape Echo plug-in is part of UAD''s new software version 5.7.0 package and is also available separately.

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PRIMACOUSTIC TELEPAD 4
With so many apps and storage uses for iPhones, more musicians have incorporated these into their performance routines. Designed for Apple''s newest iPhone 4, the TelePad ($35) from Primacoustic lets players mount their unit on a mic stand, music stand, or hi-hat for easy viewing of chord charts, backing tracks, guitar tuner, lyrics, remote control, or recording apps. TelePad 4 has an adjustable clamp with a ball joint for 360-degree rotation for easy display at any angle, in either portrait or landscape modes.

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SOUND ADVICE
Soniccouture Array Mbira

The Array Mbira, built by Bill Wesley and Patrick Hadley of Array Instruments, is a highly evolved and much larger offshoot of the ancient African instrument also commonly known as a Kalimba, Sanza, or Thumb Piano. The largest model is a 5-octave instrument and comes in a variety of proprietary layouts that map harmonically related notes to adjacent tines to accommodate strumming and doubling. Array Mbiras have been used by artists as diverse as Imogen Heap, Ry Cooder, and Pharaoh Sanders. True to form, the folks at Soniccouture have meticulously sampled one of the instruments, both with mics and with the instrument''s 2-channel pickup. Array Mbira ($89, 4GB download) is cleverly laid-out and scripted for Native Instruments Kontakt 4 and Kontakt 4 Player. The notes are mapped chromatically to your MIDI keyboard, but a Strummer script, which you can assign to any MIDI controller, will strum the currently held notes (see Web Clip 1). Three control panels let you manage performance parameters such as strumming; the mix setup including mic/pickup balance, filtering, and amp and filter envelopes; and effects, which include tape saturation, phaser, delay, and reverb. The result is a versatile but very playable instrument with 40 presets divided between Natural and Sound Design categories.

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Producer Loops Supalife Dubstep: Smooth Edition
Producer Eddy Beneteau continues his Supalife collection of construction kits with Supalife Dubstep: Smooth Edition. Versions of the download library, available from Producer Loops, range in cost from approximately $10 for a single kit''s WAV and MIDI clips to $40 for all five kits in your choice of WAV, MIDI, and REX2; Apple Loops, MIDI, and REX2; or Propellerhead Reason ReFill formats.

The kits combine the characteristic dubstep elements of wobble and reese basses, half-time drums, and chaotic tops with vocal hooks, synth arpeggios, pads, and effects. All the kits and files are named and tagged by key and tempo, and the included MIDI files are a real plus in transcending the kits'' sounds (see Web Clip 2). The kits also include unlooped release versions of many of the clips (useful for endings) and dry versions more suitable for applying your own effects processing. Everything is royalty-free for private and commercial use.

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Bitword Fuse
Bitword Sound Design and Synthesis augments its series of ReFills for Propellerhead Reason with Fuse ($69, download). Fuse starts with a 2GB library of sampled synth sounds representing diverse techniques. These are available as AIF files, as well as assembled in roughly 150 NNXT sampler patches categorized by their attack (slow or fast). That provides maximum flexibility, but to get you up and running quickly, you''ll find three collections of Combinator patches (Slow Attack, Fast Attack, and Multi) that wrap the NNXTs with effects (see Web Clip 3). The Combinators in the Multi collection host two NNXT patches with effects. Swapping out the NNXT patches in those Combinators is a quick way to expand on this collection. Fuse delivers a substantial library of synthy pads, leads, basses, and effects to augment your collection of beats and loops.

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Big Fish Audio R&B Swagga
Either you''ve got it or you don''t, and Big Fish Audio wants to make sure you do. R&B Swagga ($99.95, download or DVD) is a collection of 38 R&B- and hip-hop-oriented construction kits with lots of attitude. Tempos range from 54bpm to 105bpm with the emphasis on minor keys. Its 2.4GB of 24-bit, 44.1kHz loops come in ACIDized WAV, Apple Loops AIF, and REX formats, and in addition to drum loops, you''ll find an assortment of single hits with which to augment their loops or create your own. Parts include drums, bass, guitars, synths, strings, flutes, harp, and, of course, a good helping of Rhodes, organ, and piano (see Web Clip 4). Each kit includes a substantial demo to point the way, and the material will weave easily into your tracks.