A Few More NAB Show Quickies

Since this is a largely a show for the broadcast industry, it’s appropriate that Audio-Technica introduced the BP40, a large diaphragm dynamic mice intended for broadcast studio use. It looks a good bit like the versatile E-V RE20. It’s a hypercardioid with about a 10 dB rise between starting at 1 kHz and peaking at 4 kHz, then dropping back to normal at 5 kHz.

Sennheiser partnered up with Apogee to make a few new mics that interface digially with iOS devices through the Lightning connector. The pro version uses their MKE2 miniature clip-on omni capsule mated with an Apogee preamp and A/D converter providing a digital stream of up to 96 kHz sample rate at 24 bit resolution. The ClipMic Digital is a similar system with a lower grade capsule. Also from Sennheiser is the AVX wireless mic system designed to work with a video camera. The receiver is an XLR plug with a little lump behind it that’s phantom powered. There are various matching mics, both clip-on and hand-held. The wireless technology is similar to the performer’s mic system that they introduced at the NAMM show that does all the setup work on its own – finds a good frequency, sets the mic to that frequency, and it’s ready to go.

RME previewed (not much of a preview as it was introduced at Music Messe the day after the NAB show) the Babyface Pro, a large facelift of the long running Babyface desktop audio interface. The Pro has updated preamps and converters for better fidelity and the analog mic/instrument inputs are now on XLR combo jacks on the box rather than using a breakout cable.

Several years back when we first started using field recorders that store data on flash memory cards, I wished for a gadget that you could plug a card into, push a button, and it would dump all the files to a hard drive quickly. That was important back in the day when we were recording low budget weekend-long festivals and a 1 GB memory card was about $50. Nowadays a single card can handle a weekend’s programs for about $10 so a transfer box is not so important, but I finally saw a good one at this show. The NEXTODI ND2901 is battery powered (rechargeable) and can back up more than 200 GB of SD/SCHC cards to its internal 500 GB drive. For the photographers, there’s an LCD screen for picture preview, and for real backup, it will dump its internal drive to an external USB drive.

A couple of updates/corrections from yesterday’s quickie:
The TASCAM 64-channel recorders’s model number is DA-6400. Its “internal” drive is a removable SSD drive, and its multi-channel digital I/O option cards include MADI, Dante, AVB, and AES/EBU.
The proper name for the Yamaha “Bento Box” is RSio64D. No wonder the engineers there gave it an easier name to remember. Appropiate, too, as that’s the name for the Japanese worker’s lunch box, which containes a variety of treats.

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Quickies from the NAB Show

Boxes –

“Bento Box” from Yamaha – A format converter and router for every multi-channel digital audio format imaginable.

“Field Box” from Calrec – Eight mic preamps and A/D converters with an assortment of digital outputs. I see a trend here – you don’t know what you’re going to have to connect to next, so the more possibilities, the better.

TASCAM previewed a single rack space 64-channel recorder which, following the trend, has four card slots for just about any input source. This is aimed at capture from a large format live sound console. I also picked up a DR-44WL handheld recorder from them for a review, so stay tuned.

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Free Quirky Plug-In From Sound Toys

4/1 – Free offer extended until April 3 (no fooling)

Every now and then Sound Toys offers up a free plug-in in exchange for putting you on their mailing list. This time around it’s once called Little Alter Boy, a pitch modification tool with among other things a “robot voice” (so year-before-last). If you’re not already signed up with Sound Toys, you’ll need to do that (and if you are, you probably already know about this offer). Although you don’t need an iLok key, you need an iLok account (also free) because that’s how they distribute the authorization codes.

To get your free Little Alter Boy, go to the Sound Toys web page where you’ll find the registration form and a demo video if you want to see what you’re getting first. You’ll need a redemption code. There are a bunch floating around the ‘net. Here’s one:



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News From The Bob Moog Foundation

The Bob Moog Foundation has announced a raffle for a vintage Moog Liberation synthesizer. This is a fundraiser to support the Foundation’s projects and runs through April 20, 2015 or until all 2,000 tickets are sold. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased through the Foundation’s website. Included with the synthesizer is an original owner’s manual for the Liberation, written by Rock Wehrmann in 1980. The Moog Liberation is a guitar-shaped synthesizer, sometimes known as a Key-tar. It was introduced in 1980, and provided freedom to move around stage while playing.

For more about the Moog Liberation and information on how to participate in the raffle, visit the Moog Spring Raffle web page.

In other news, back in August 2014, in the interest in preserving vinatage instruments and to celebrate their 8th anniversary, the Bob Moog Foundation released a series of technical drawings and schematic diagrams from their technical library, some hand drawn by Bob himself. They’re making this effeort in the interest of preserving and repairing vintage instruments. This month they dusted off another batch. The most recent collection can be found here.   There’s a link near the top of that web page to the first set of drawings.

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Vinyl Camp – May 30-31 in Nashville Tennessee

I suppose it had to happen. Welcome To 1979 Studio in Nashville is hosting a two day workshop on the process of recording a phonograph record. The event will begin with a tour of their all-analog studio and lacquer cutting room a well as the nearby United Record Pressing plant, followed an in-depth technical look at and demonstration of the lacquer cutting process. The second day will focus on a live recording session direct-to-disk with a band, cutting two sides of a 7″ single. Attendees will get a copy of the record (presumably a pressing, so it’ll arrive later).

It could be an interesting way to spend a weekend. The event is limited to 10 people, so get your reservation in early. Cost is $250. They also host a “Tape Camp” a few times a year, which, as the name suggests, is a weekend all about recording on tape, with an optional day devoted to analog recorder alignment and maintenance.

Further info is at the Welcome to 1979 web page with additional information about the Vinyl Camp at their Facebook page.

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2015 NAMM Show Report – Updated 2/9/2015

I’ve updated the report with some info that I received from Focusrite over the weekend. The link on the Show Reports page takes you to the updated version. No need to download the whole thing again if you’ve downloaded it previously.

In my initial report, I pondered about the possible lack of a built-in monitor mixer and its associated application for the Focusrite Claret series since neither the literature nor the web page mentioned it. I’ve been assured that there will be one, though there’s still some work going on and we won’t see these trickle out at least until June.

Also, in the original report, I mused that a Claret mated to an iPad would probably make a nice portable recording setup. Turns out, though, that when I went looking for an adapter or cable to go between the Claret’s Thunderbolt port and the iPad’s Lightning port, I couldn’t find one. When the Lightning port first came out, I was told that it was just a physically smaller version of Thunderbolt, but apparently this is not so, and they don’t talk to each other. Too bad. Forgive me if I got anyone’s hopes up. I’m not an Apple user.

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2015 Winter NAMM Show Report Posted

My report from the 2015 Winter NAMM show is now up. It’s a PDF with pictures and links to product web pages.

No sooner do I post one of these things that someone doesn’t point out an error. Sometimes I fix it, sometimes I let it go if it’s not important. I’ve been waiting several days for a response from Focusrite on an imortant (to me, anyway) feature of their new Clarett series of interfaces, and I figure that the best way to get that answer to arrive is to post the report. So there most certainly be a revision to the Clarett section in the near future, and I’ll post it here.

If a direct link to the show report file gets spread around, it won’t take long for that to be obsolete, so please go to the Trade Show Reports page here where the link to the 2015 NAMM report will be updatated to point to the latest version. I should have thought of this a long time ago.

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