AVID HD OMNI
Avid has released a new series of recording interfaces for its Pro Tools HD studio production software. The most affordable of the line, the 4-in/8-out HD Omni ($2,995) integrates several functions into a single unit. Features include state-of-the-art conversion, two world-class mic preamps, headphone outputs, a full-featured surround monitor section, and a 14x26 channel mixer that functions even when the computer is off—letting users listen to CDs, MP3 players, keyboards, and drum machines without the need for an additional mixer. Requires Pro Tools HD version 8.1 software.
The battery-powered BR-800 digital recorder ($449) from Boss offers simultaneous 4-track recording/8-track playback to and from SD card media, with an additional stereo track dedicated to the onboard rhythm generator. The unit has four XLR mic inputs (one with phantom powering), two built-in condenser mics for quick, on-the-go tracking, and a DR-880-quality rhythm generator for adding drum and percussion tracks to songs. Effects include vocal models from the VE-20, COSM guitar/bass effects, and modeled acoustic-guitar body effects. Connected to a PC, the unit will function as a USB audio interface that lets you record to your computer with the BR-800''s internal effects. The BR-800 can also act as a control surface for DAW software. Included are a copy of Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 LE software, audio loops, and backing tracks.
AUDIO DAMAGE AXON
Axon ($59) from Audio Damage is an FM plug-in instrument that can trigger seven percussion-tuned FM voices from its Neuron Sequencer. Loosely based on the Artificial Neural Networks concept, Axon creates outré music rhythms and patterns from its seven Neurons, which can be interconnected in limitless ways to trigger each other, the internal voices, and external synth/samplers. It also offers onboard effects/mixing and full MIDI I/O capabilities (in the VSTi version). Supported platforms include Windows 32-/64-bit VSTi, and 32-bit OS X VSTi and AU Instrument.
Zildjian digs into its vast collection with the Gen16 Digital Vault ($179), a two-DVD set with 24-bit samples of its rarest, most coveted reference cymbal holdings, meticulously recorded by sampling guru John Emrich and presented in a custom version of FXpansion''s BFD Eco (Mac/PC) sample playback engine. Also included in the Digital Vault are libraries of drum and percussion groove tracks (in audio and General MIDI formats) from in-demand drummers.
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE 7
Native Instruments'' Komplete 7 ($499) combines 24 instruments and effects and five entirely new products with more than 10,000 sounds and 90GB of samples. It includes Absynth 5, Battery 3.1, FM8, Guitar Rig 4.1, Kontakt 4.1, and Massive. Also included is Reaktor 5.5, which adds modal and additive synthesis, the Lazerbass synth, and many enhancements. Also new is the Reflektor studio convolution reverb; the Reaktor Prism modal synth; the Traktor 12 performance effects suite; and new Vintange Organs.
The MicroBook ($269) from MOTU is a 4x2 audio USB bus-powered interface offering balanced I/O, a single phantom-powered mic preamp, 10-bus digital mixer, and modeled analog EQ and compression. It handles up to four simultaneous inputs and four pairs of outputs: balanced TRS main outs, stereo line outs, S/PDIF digital out, and headphone mini-jack. The 1⁄8-inch analog input can be used to connect an iPod or other stereo line-level signal to be mixed with other inputs and routed to any output pair. Users can connect powered studio monitors to the main outs or stereo mini output jack.
ROYER LABS R-101
Royer Labs unveils its most affordable ribbon microphone. Like all Royer ribbon mics, the new R-101 ($895) has a bidirectional figure-8 pickup pattern. It features a 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon motor based on Royer''s popular R-121 model, but in a 1.5-inch diameter cylindrical body with no protruding pole pieces. The price includes a shockmount and carry case.
UNIVERSAL AUDIO THE BONUS BUNDLE
Universal Audio sweetens the deal for buyers of its UAD-2 Solo (from $399), Solo/Laptop (from $499), Duo (from $899), and Quad (from $1,499) DSP accelerator packages, now offered with the new Analog Classics software bundle at no additional cost. The collection includes emulations of UA''s LA-2A, 1176LN, and 1176SE compressors; the RealVerb reverb; and Pultec''s EQP-1A program equalizer. VST, AU, and RTAS are supported on Mac and Windows.
IKEY-AUDIO M-V2 SERIES
IKey-Audio''s new M-v2 models feature front-firing bass ports, soft-dome tweeters, and glass-aramid composite woofers. Now available are the M-505v2 (5-inch woofer, 50W/25W bi-amped, $129 each); M-606v2 (6-inch, 65W/25W, $149 each); M-808v2 (8-inch, 100W/25W, $199 each); and 175W M-10Sv2 (10-inch subwoofer, $249). All have high-frequency or crossover adjustment and a rear-panel volume control.
Puremagnetik''s Artifact Micropak ($12 or by subscription, download) delivers all manner of computer anomalies and malfunctions to your sonic palette. Think aliasing; poor quantization; clock noise; and digital thwacks, boings, and clunks, and you''ll have a pretty good sense of where this 300MB library starts. The sounds are organized into six drum kits and formatted as Ableton Live 8 Instrument Racks, Native Instruments Kontakt 3 or later instruments, and Apple Logic Pro 8 or later channel strips. You''ll also find a variety of Apple Loops (AIFF) and Live tracks with MIDI clips to demonstrate each kit. In addition, the sampler instruments are programmed with a complement of effects including reverb, feedback delay, and all sorts of sample munging. The kits conform roughly to the GM standard and are equally useful as replacement kits or for layering (see Web Clip 1).
Heavyocity Evolve 1.5
If you''re a Heavyocity Evolve user, the upgrade to version 1.5 ($29.95, download) is a no-brainer. If you don''t yet own Evolve, it might be the time to have a look, especially with its reduced $299 price. Evolve 1.5 is a paid upgrade for new and existing users, and half the proceeds go to cancer research through the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center''s Fred''s Team program (mskcc.convio.net). Evolve 1.5 features an improved user interface (similar to Evolve Mutations 2) and adds three new master effects: Skreamer, LoFi, and Cabinet. Best of all, its new Trigger FX feature adds 12 more effects for most instrument types. These effects are toggled on and off in real time using MIDI notes C6 through B6. They take Evolve''s extensive library of Rhythmic Suites, Percussive Kits, Stings and Transitions, and Tonality and FX kits into whole new territory (see Web Clip 2).
New Atlantis Audio Nightshift
The folks at New Atlantis Audio strapped on their night-vision goggles and set out for nights of abandoned-cityscape recording to create their latest release. Nightshift ($49, download) has 251 24-bit/44.1kHz AIFF recordings ranging in length from a few seconds to nearly three minutes. Cavernous spaces figure prominently as do all manner of industrial sounds, and extensive processing takes it all to the next level. Nothing is easily identifiable, which is the charm of this library, but you''ll swear you hear voices, machines, swamp noises, and distressed creatures. Some of the sounds loop, others fade in and out, and a number have a wide stereo field that invites you to pair channels from different loops. The library includes a Reason ReFill with 13 sampler-based Combinators loaded with effects and configured for easy automation (see Web Clip 3).
Hollywood Edge Pop Rock Grooves
Canadian producer Robb Hutzal teamed with Hollywood Edge to produce Pop Rock Grooves ($99, DVD), a 1.15GB library of loops aimed at pop-rock musicians, DJs, and producers of all stripes. The collection of 333 loops and associated drum hits is organized into 30 construction kits ranging in tempo from 60bpm to 125bpm in a variety of major and minor keys. Kits of similar tempo in the same key mix and match well, and you''ll find plenty of individual drum hits to add variety to the drum loops (see Web Clip 4). All the loops are supplied in WAV, Apple Loops (AIFF), and REX2 format. The drum hits come in WAV format, and they are also organized into Kontakt instruments. You''ll find plenty of material here for song starters, as well as for adding spice to productions of all types.