Wow! It was estimated that over 12,000 people were at the Jacob
Javits Convention Center in New York City during the first two days
of this year's 115th 2003 AES Show. Over the course of four very
busy show days I saw so much great gear it was hard to narrow my
list down to these outstanding new products.
Focusrite - The Liquid Channel
One of the most talked about new processors was Focusrite's The
Liquid Channel. Even though there wasn't an actual working unit
to play with, The Liquid Channel promises to make owning and patching
together different mic pre-amps and compressors a thing of the past.
The Liquid Channel is a two-rack space recording channel strip that
uses a unique hardware design and Sintefex's patented Dynamic Convolution
technology. Dynamic Convolution applies a unique level-dependant
impulse response to every sample of audio coming into the unit for
an exact re-synthesis of the 'sound' of the 40 mic pre-amp and 40
compressor replicas included.
Focusrite measured and developed a database of impulse response
characteristics of every worthwhile mic pre and compressor—both
classic vintage as well as popular newer units. Unlike modeling,
Liquid Channel uses hardware to complete the process by adding the
effects of the physical interaction (mic load impedance, transformer
etc.) with the microphone.
The unit also has a new three-band digital equalizer based on the
Focusrite ISA 110 analog stalwart that can be chained before or
after the compressor. It includes 99 user memories for storing your
"tweaks" using the front panel shaft encoders, 192kHz
internal processing, a 192kHz ADC/DAC, adjustable 2nd order distortion,
downloadable replicas and remote control using the USB port.
The Liquid Channel will sell for $3,495 MSRP. There is much more
Great River - EQ-1NV & EQ-2NV
Both the EQ-1NV (single channel and 1/2 rack space) and EQ-2NV
(dual channel and one rack space) equalizers use Class-A discrete
single-ended amplifiers with a topology similar to the Neve 1081
and 1083 modules.
Both models are designed to work with the NV series microphone pre-amp's
patch loop and come with internal 110/220 VAC low-noise power supplies
and balanced inputs and outputs. You also get a very wide input
operating range (+8 dBm to –20 dBm) making them equally at
home in all pro or semi-pro studios. This extra range also allows
for interesting overloading effects if you desire.
The equalizer is a four-band type with three different Q settings
for the hi-mid and low-mid sections and a hardwired bypass for each
section. Also unlike the old Neve modules, both the hi and low bands
have both peaking and shelving choices and the high pass filter
is a 3rd order type.
For me, a great find at the AES show, and there is much more at:
Neumann - TLM 127
you're like me and go for the cardioid only Neumann TLM 103 condenser
mic then you'll love the TLM 127 since it uses a double membrane
capsule based on the K 103 capsule. Double membrane because the
TLM 127 has five switchable directional polar patterns: cardioid,
hypercardioid, wide-angle cardioid, omni-directional, and figure-of-eight—all
selectable by remote control via a standard XLR mic cable. There is the same low self-noise performance as the 103 at 7 dB(A)
and a maximum SPL of 140 dB. The TLM 127 is phantom powered, has
a switchable 150 Hz low cut filter, a switchable -14 dB attenuator
pad, 20 Hz to 20 kHz response and a rated load impedance of 1000
ohms. The TLM 127 ships with the EA1 elastic suspension mount and
More at: www.neumannusa.com/
SSL - XLogic
State Logic has four new XLogic processor units based on the XL
9000 K Series console. All major sections of an SSL board, shown
at the top of the picture are the one rack space XLogic SuperAnalogue
Mic Amps. These are designed to work standalone or remotely with
the remote unit (second from the top) or from any especially equipped
9000 K console using motorized gain knobs.
Third from the top is the XLogic Channel that includes a front panel
XLR mic jack, 1/4-inch instrument jack and all the features of the
9000 K console input module. I like that there's the G Series AND
E Series "Twin-Curve" four-band parametric EQ, Twin-Curve
Dynamics, variable output level and switchable metering, and optional
96kHz A/D converter.
The last one-space unit is the stereo XLogic G Series Stereo Compressor.
This is the very same compressor in the center section of the G
Series console complete with Autofade, side-chain access and a clean
and clear sound.
The two-space unit at the bottom of the stack is the XLogic Multichannel
Compressor with the circular Max display that shows which channel(s)
is driving the compressor action. Actually a dual stereo compressor,
the Multi will allow different compression settings for the surrounds
or use it as separate four-channel or two, stereo compressors.
Prices range from $1,500 to $7,000 for the XLogic Multichannel compressor.
More info at: www.solid-state-logic.com/
Waves - Diamond Bundle
tireless gang at Waves is always up for hard work creating some
of the best software processors around. Their latest is the Diamond
bundle with 35 signal processing tools made up of the Platinum,
Transform, and Restoration Bundles.
I gravitated towards the Transform bundle with Sound Shifter, Doubler,
TransX, and Morphoder plug-ins, all operating at sample rates up
to 96 kHz. I liked TransX for changing the transient nature of instruments
in a way you can't do with EQ and/or compressor. An edgy bass guitar
can be made to sound rounder but not duller like when just rolling
off top with an equalizer. Conversely, you can add "stick"
to any dumpy and dark sounding over-compressed snare drum in seconds.
The Doubler plug-in is a great way to thicken up vocal tracks—it
sounds like your singer is the best double-tracker in the world.
You can control how "wide" the pitch center of the double
track produced is as well as how "tight" (rhythmically)
it is to the original.
Morphoder is a very comprehensive vocoder plug-in that lets you
use any track for either the modulation source or as the modulated
track (carrier). Use a guitar part for the carrier and any vocal
track as the modulator. With lots of parameters to get it just right,
Morphoder is much more stable and adjustable than any hardware vocoder
ever was. All cool beans!
More at: www.waves.com/
StudioPanel - Acoustic Solution
engineer/producer Keith Olsen was very kind to take me through StudioPanel's
"Engineered Acoustic Solution In A Box." When you’ve
mixed in so many bad-sounding, thrown together "control rooms"
as I have, you’ve gotta appreciate that StudioPlanel offers
a no-brainer way to get any room in good acoustic shape at a relatively
There is now no excuse (because of expensive professional architectural
acoustic design, consultation and treatment) not to have a truer
sounding studio workspace. Sold through retailers, StudioPanel starts
with a questionnaire you fill out about the space you'd like to
treat from an acoustic standpoint.
Based on this data and optional additional needs, one of three kits
is shipped directly to you with complete step-by-step instructions,
installation templates, test and setup CD/CD-ROM, and all the absorbing
and diffusion panels and mounting clip system you'll need to fix
You also get a mid-bass absorber, CloudPanel floating ceiling panels
and a spring-loaded Pistonic bass trap. All acoustic components
are covered in FR701 Guilford fabrics and come in six standard colors
or (at additional cost) 42 custom colors. Prices for these do-it-yourself
kits range from $2,649 for 150 to 175 sq. ft rooms to $4,300 for
rooms up to 350 sq. ft.
More at: www.msr-inc.com/studiopanel.html
Neutrik - Two Connectors
showed off two new connectors I thought great for both live sound
and the recording studio. The new three-pole XLR (both female and
male) feature an integrated LC filter to take care of RF (radio
frequency) and LF noise that can cause noise in audio systems required
to work well in close proximity to high-level radio transmission
sources (broadcast, police, cell towers etc.).
There is a 360-degree shield on the female connector with a collar
of compression-fit finger stock. This RF filter is transparent to
Neutrik's other new product is the STX Series of Speakon connector.
These four pole units have metal housings and are specifically designed
for very harsh and wet environments.
The STX will carry 50 amps (40 amps RMS continuous) audio signals,
has only three pieces and is easy to assemble with screw or solder
terminals. Temperature range is –30C to +80C. The weatherproof
gasket meets IP 54 protection class and mates with all currently
available four-pole Speakon products.
More at: www.neutrikusa.com/
Daking - FET Compressor II
Daking's new FET Compressor II certainly caused a rush at his booth
mainly for it's forward sound and very flexible operation. The unit,
an updated version of the renowned Daking FET Compressor, features
an internal switch for using the gain makeup pot for console applications
or for bypass in a line level rig application.
The FET II uses all discrete transistor circuitry, transformer-balanced
Class-A amplifiers. Attack times can be set from 64 to 250 milliseconds
while the unit's customized Neve 33609 Auto, A-D Compex Auto, and
Fairchild 670 #5 and #6 release settings are faithful to their vintage
From clean, clear and unobtrusive to more aggressive and rugged
sounding, this unit does it all and anywhere in between.
More at: www.daking.com/
Eventide - H8000 Processor
is more and the H8000 is an eight-channel processor based on the
There are eight channels of AES/EBU, ADAT and stereo S/PDIF digital
I/O all 24-bit. stereo analog I/O is rated at >110 dB signal-to-noise
and I definitely like the search engine feature for sorting through
the over 1,000 presets included!
You get everything the Orville has including Ultrashifter, a formant-corrected
pitch changer that's optimized for voice and comes with automatic
pitch correction. The H8000 comes ready to work with VSIG, a PC
graphical editor/development tool.
There will much more about this unit soon at: www.eventide.com/.