Black Friday Specials on Sony Wireless Mic/Instrument Systems – Extended

I don’t usually relay these deals, but this one is really good and Sony knows how to make good wireless systems.

Guitar/Bass Wireless System DWZ-B30GB $195.99

Vocal Wireless System (including a mic with interchangeable heads) DWZ-M50 $275.99

Check with your favorite dealer, but it’s possible that these prices are only available on Black Friday direct from Sony, from the links above.

I got another announcement of this price reduction today (December 15) so apparently the offer has been extended. Free shipping, too.

And if you’re not ready to buy yet, there’s a rebate going on through March 31, 2014, $30 for the instrument system, $50 for the vocal system.

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TC Electronic LM2 Loudness Meter Plug In On Sale One Week Only

This one might be too good to pass up. Between November 18 and 24, TC is offering their “radar” loudness meter plug-in for $49. That’s 1/4 the regular price. If you’re working with broadcast audio, measuring loudness to the contemporary standards is important, and it’s useful for any other music production, particularly if you’re mastering for iTunes or the new iTunes Radio.

This is a stereo native plug-in that supports AAX Native, RTAS, Audio Suite, AU and VST formats. The only hitch is that it requires an iLok 2 to support the license.

No turkey, to learn more about the LM2, click here.

Can’t wait to order one? Click here

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Avid S6 Mixing Webinar – November 5, 2013

I wrote about the new Avid S6 modular control surface in my recent AES show report. If you’re curious about it and would like to see it in action, check out this upcoming  mixing webinar presented by Avid and featuring the S6 (and not doubt Pro Tools 11).

November 5, 2013  – 1 PM Eastern time, 10 AM Pacific time

Click here to register and get the secret handshake to log in.

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NTi Audio Webinar on Sound Level Measurements November 20-21 2013

NTi Audio, maker of a broad line of test equipment for audio measurements, is offering a free, interactive webinar which discusses the theoretical basis and basic rules for practical and useful sound level measurements.

Sound level measurements are greatly influenced by the environment, so in order to make meaningful measurements, it’s important to understand the basics of sound propagation, reflection and absorption. For example, participants in this webinar will learn which sound disturbances may occur in closed rooms and what can be done about them, or how to determine the noise exposure of a concert audience.

The webinar lasts approximately 1/2 hour

Times (Eastern time zone) for the webinar in English:
Nov 20 – 12:30 AM (for the nightowls), 9:00 AM
Nov 21 – 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM

In German – Nov 20 8:00 AM

Details and registration: click here (scroll down to the schedule at the bottom of the page)

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AES 2013 Show Report Posted

Check out the things I found interesting at the AES Convention October 17-20 2013. It was a good show, quite busy, lots of new stuff. Download the PDF here

If you’ve missed some of my other show reports, swing by the Show Reports page

[later] A reader pointed out to me that there’s another new handheld recorder in addition to the Sony PCM-D100 I mentioned in the report that has digital I/O, the TASCAM DM-100 mkII. Maybe the idea is catching on.

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AES 2013 – Day 2

(Exhibit day 2, actually show day 3)

Apparently analog consoles are still alive and breeding, though these new entries aren’t inexpensive. Malcom Tolf, who brought the Trident name and Trident designs to PMI in the US several years back now has his own company, Ocean Audio in the UK, and was at this show with his new console, The Ark. The basic model has 16 main input channels, 8 subgroup buses, and a handful of auxiliary buses. The 16 input channels are set up for in-line monitoring and there’s an additional “sidecar” mixing section for an additional 8 tracks. That sidecar/subgroup section has eight additional inputs for recorder returns which can be controlled by swapping the function with the subgroup faders.

Here’s its schtick: Basically, it’s a line level input console, but there are two 500-series module slots above each of the 16 input channels plus another eight in the subgroup/master section. Everything, including the 500 modules’ I/O is accessed through DB-25 connectors on the rear panel. The idea is that you can create your own channel strips using 500s, then set up a patch bay with normals set up for a standard configuration, typically a mic preamp normalled to an equalizer installed below it, and the EQ normalled to the bus selector, pan, auxiliary sends, and fader below the EQ. The patch bay allows access to any module for any channel – think of it as inboard outboards, and of course you can use any other outboard processors in addition to what you stuff in the console slots.

Yamaha was showing their new Nuage control surface for Steinberg DAWs (Cubase and Nuendo). This is on a similar order to the Avid S6 but unlike the S6, Nuage is an integrated design, not an assembly of modules. The basic channel controls start with 16 channel fader+knob sections, with additional 16 channel sections available as expanders. A unique feature is a “touch slider” at the top of the faders to slide the group of 16 sets of controls to what amounts to another bank of DAW tracks. The master section includes a touch screen display for direct control of plug-ins as well as other utility functions such as insert routing, automation contol, and auto-locator,

There were plenty of new mics on hand, many of them ribbons. Samar showed a new model in the final tweaking stage that will be available probably around Spring 2014 at about $900. It’s a slim design similar to the Royer ribbon mics, with some changes from their MF65 that reduce manufacturing cost and yield a more conventional ribbon mic sound but with an extended top end. AEA showed their Nuvo N22 springs from the RCA ribbon design that’s been standard fare in the AEA line. This model is tuned to the needs of the singer/songwriter, having equally good performance on voice and acoustic string instruments. There’s a built-in phantom powered pre-preamp to assure a good match for the input sensitivity typical of modern modestly priced computer audio interfaces. Street price is targeted at $900.

Cloud introduced the 44-A, an active ribbon mic with electronics lifted from their Cloudlifter pre-preamp, The ribbon element is a modern re-creation of the RCA 44, with the electronics bringing its output level up to that of a typical high output condenser mic. A switchable low cut filter reduces proximity effect for close work. And speaking of the Cloudlifter, there’s a new model, the CL-4 which is a four channel rack mount version of their popular in-line pocket sized ribbon pre-preamp.

Resident Audio is a new company offering a line of modestly priced Thunderbolt-connected audio interfaces. There are currently three sizes, a 2, 4, and 10 input model. All include XLR combo connectors with instrument/line switching for the ¼” jack, phantom power on all mic inputs, 2, 4 or 10 outputs with a volume control for monitoring. The 10-channel model has 8 combo inputs plus coax S/PDIF in and out. All also have MIDI I/O. Though it didn’t seem clear to the guy who showed me these interfaces, according to the poop sheet, the two smaller ones have “smart monitoring” which I suspect blends the inputs with the stereo DAW return. The 10 input unit has a “Full digital mixer” which is likely controlled via a software application. Nice price, particularly for the big one, $400, $600, and $900.

Also in Thunderbolt news, Lynx introduced the LT-TB Thunderbolt expansion card for the L-Slot interface for the Hilo and Aurora converters.

I think that mic stands might be my highlight of the show. Triad-Orbit is another maker of seriously engineered mic stands. They’re very heavy duty, and only just fairly heavy. There’s a tripod base with a new kick. The legs can lock in multiple positions, not just fully opened. This allows the stand to be used on non-level surfaces, or to reduce the footprint as long as there’s enough base area to keep it from toppling over. The boom has a ball swivel and very smooth working and very positive clutches and latches. A boom stand will go for about $275-300.

A couple of business items which may be of interest. Early this year, Gibson bought a big chunk of TASCAM, and following that up just a couple of weeks ago, Gibson acquired Cakewalk which they’re handing over to TASCAM to form a new audio software division. The only hint of this was that Cakewalk was on display at the TASCAM booth, but my usual contact had no news as to where it’s going. Gibson is looking forward to the opportunity. They haven’t done too well by software companies in the past, but now that industry veteran Craig Anderton is working for Gibson (he helped put together the Cakewalk deal) hopefully they’ll have a better handle on the pro audio side of the business.

Of interest primarily to the large touring and installed sound folks, Harman has acquired Duran Audio, makers of the AXYS line of steerable array speaker systems. They expect there to be a lot of Duran’s technology moving into the JBL speaker line as well as, at least for a while, retaining the existing Duran line. My question to them was whether this merger is likely to result in bringing the technology into products that are within the price range that small venues and traveling musicians can afford. The answer (as expected) was “it could happen.” If it does, and certainly it’s still a couple of years out, this could go a long way to improving sound at those gigs in acoustically challenging rooms.

I saw a couple of interesting software programs, but I’ll leave that for the full report.

I was a member of a lively panel entitled “Lies, Damn Lies, and Specifications” on Satuurday that was well attended. Our fearless leader, Ethan Winer, will be posting a video of it when he gets time to edit things. I’ll announce it here when it happens.

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AES 2013 Day 1 Highlights

Well, actually Day 2. As has been the custom for AES conventions in recent years, the first day is reserved for technical sessions and booth setup. Exhibits don’t open until Day 2. I did hear a couple of interesting sessions, one on microphone specifications and another on different approaches to DSP room correction.

Details will follow in a complete report, but here are some highlights from the first day’s exhibits. As has become a custom for me (not entirely by choice, it just happens this way) my first day with exhibits involves going to a few press conferences and a lot of aimless wandering on the show floor to see who’s there, who isn’t, and meeting people in the aisles and stopping to talk. Here are some highlights from Day 1

Avid’s new S6 control surface allows you to build your own control surface from modules that work with Pro Tools as well as other applications. The S6 comes in two flavors, one that accommodates up to 24 faders and a larger one that handles up to 64 faders. There’s a fader module, a knob module, a “process” module that selects what the knobs do, and an automation management section. There’s a “center section” that has a touch screen, plus an optional meter display.

Neumann has a new moderately priced (probably around $1500 on the street) multi-patter mic, the TLM-107. It’s similar in appearance to the TLM-102/103 but both the capsule and electronics are newly designed.

The Antelope Orion is a 32 input, 32-output USB audio interface that costs $3,000. In terms  of cost per channel, that’s pretty amazing. And of course it has plenty of prize winning endorsers – and I don’t take that too lightly since Antelope has a reputation for designing very high quality products. They were one of the earliest to jump into the extremely low jitter clock generator field and the Orion takes advantage of that experience.

Latch Lake Music has been making seriously heavy duty mic stands for a few years now, and this year they introduced a new model that’s a bit like a K&M tripod base boom stand on steroids. It’s collapsible for easier transport, but with a boom that can extend 8 feet and sturdy enough to hang a microphone about as heavy as a small Thanksgiving turkey. Expected price is around $250-$300.

Sony has a new high resolution hand held recorder to replace everything in the line but the PCM-M10 which is still available. The new one records PCM up to 192 kHz, DSD at 2.8 MHz, has optical S/PDIF digital I/O, but still no XLR mic inputs.

The API Box is not a box at all, but rather a small format analog console with four mic/line input channels with 550A EQ, 16 recorder returns, and a couple of slots for 500 series modules in two of the four input channels.

Stay tuned.

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