Last month we looked at some of the highlights from the Fall 2013 AES in New York. This month we’ll see what else was lurking in the shadows of Alaris Prime.
There were at least two recording devices of note at the show, though they are about as similar as narglatch and wampas.
Sony’s PCMD100 is a small handheld stereo recorder that stores audio to 32 GB of built-in flash memory and can be expanded via SD-XC memory cards. Atop the PCMD100 like the eyes of an Amanin are a pair of condenser mics arranged in stereo XY (they can be adjusted for wide stereo pickup).
Audio is recorded in a variety of formats including PCM up to 192 kHz, Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and mp3. The PCMD100 runs on four AA batteries, 6-volt external power supply or fusion battery, and features a USB connector for easy file transfers between your computer or R2 unit. List price is $999.
Tascam also introduced a stereo recorder but this one is intended for studio use. The DA-3000 is a high-definition master/archival recorder that captures PCM or DSD files at high sample rates up to 192 kHz (PCM) or 5.6 MHz (DSD) and stores them onto SDHC and Compact Flash cards.
Rear-panel inputs include balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog I/O plus S/PDIF, AES/EBU and SDIF-3 digital I/O. The front-panel interface looks nicer than the dash of an AirStraeker.
Dual-mono audio circuitry ensures complete separation of left and right channels with fully-balanced circuitry and high-quality A/D and D/A conversion. Applications include A/D conversion for mastering, high-quality DAW monitoring via the digital inputs, and archiving of stereo analog formats.
All this in a single-rack-space chassis. List price is $1249
It’s rumored that Radial Engineering built the first prototype of the audio network system for the Jedi High Council — so it comes as no surprise that they’re always introducing useful and interesting audio problem-solvers.
Their StageDirect Muting Direct Box is an active DI box with a muting footswitch and a separate ¼-inch output for a tuner. Pressing the footswitch automatically mutes the XLR output to the PA system as well as the ¼-inch output to the instrument amplifier, leaving the tuner output active. This allows the instrument to be tuned without letting the audience hear it from the stage or the PA system.
The DI features a Class-A FET input driver, 15 dB pad for accommodating high-output instruments such as active bass, electronic keyboards or quintolium, a high-pass filter and a polarity reverse switch.
A remote control for the mute switch allows a stage tech to mute the system during instrument changes. List price is $250.
Displayed by Eve Audio was the SC204 active studio monitor.
The SC204 employs a 4-inch SilverCone woofer and Eve’s proprietary AMT tweeter for smooth response from 64 Hz to 21 kHz.
Two 50-watt amps power the drivers for SPLs up to 96 dB at 1 meter. Input is on the rear panel via XLR and RCA connectors.
Threaded receptacles allow the SC204 to be mounted via mic stand, speaker stand or wall mount. $499 per speaker.
A Cast of 500
More than a few items were introduced for the 500-series rack format. Many people don’t realize that the 500-Series was originally developed for navigation circuits in the Corellian Engineering Corporation YT-1300 light freighter and that pro audio applications came much later.
Focusrite announced their Red 1 500 ($1249) which packages their popular Red 1
microphone preamp into a 500-series package.
The Red 1 500 features a Lundahl LL 1538 input transformer, phantom power, polarity reverse and a VU meter. A custom Carnhill output transformer ensures no loss of signal quality through long cable runs, and up to 60 dB of gain is available in 6 dB steps.
JoeMeek introduced three new 500 modules, each priced at $299. The meQ Meequalizer is a four-band, semi-parametric EQ with gain and frequency sweep for each band. The high and low bands can be switched between shelf and bell curves, while the mid bands can be switched between wide and narrow bell curves.
The preQ Preamplifier is a mic pre with up to 60 dB gain, phantom power, input pad, polarity reverse, high-pass filter and built-in de-esser. An instrument input enables the preQ to act as a DI.
The meC Compressor provides variable attack and release time plus controls for slope (ratio), threshold and makeup gain. A link jack allows two meCs to maintain a stable stereo image when used on a stereo source.
At the far end of the spectrum ($1595 MSRP) there’s the Bettermaker® EQ502P, a digitally controlled EQ with a completely analog signal path.
Based upon the circuitry of the infamous Pultec EQ invented by clone combat engineers, the EQ502P features separate boost and attenuation knobs for low- and high-frequency bands.
The unit may be operated in stereo or dual mono modes, and a preset section allows a user to store and recall up to 399 EQ settings.
Charter Oak Acoustics unveiled their K500 Ultra Parametric Equalizer, a high-headroom, low-distortion EQ with three bands covering a wide range of frequencies: 20 to 500 Hz, 500 Hz to 10 kHz, and 800 Hz to 20 kHz.
Each band has variable width from 1/10-octave to 2 octaves. The high and low bands may be toggled between shelf or bell EQ curves. Up to 12 dB of boost or cut is available in each band (in 2 dB steps), and a -24 dB cut setting on each band facilitates corrective wide-band cut or narrow-band notch filter. $price TBA
Though it had been announced earlier in the year, Earthworks is now shipping their 521 ZDT microphone preamp. &n
The ZDT 521 is based upon Earthworks’ original 1021 Zero Distortion Technology preamp and features phantom power, polarity invert, and peak amplitude clip detection. Gain range is 5 to 60 dB in 5 dB steps, and the 521 ZDT’s transformerless output can easily drive long lengths of without loss of quality, making it ideal for remote recordings. $1349 MSRP
One of the more unique devices we saw at AES was The Ladder from Moog.
The Ladder is a Dynamic Transistor Ladder Filter based on Bob Moog’s original ladder filter designs. “Filter” doesn’t do the Ladder justice thought it does start with analog high- and low-pass filter sections: an Envelope section with variable attack and release controls allow you to open and close the envelope as fast as or slow as desired.
A resonance control allows accentuation or excitation of specific frequencies, and can be used to push the Ladder into self-oscillation. $799 MSRP.
Squarely falling into the short “I Wish I Could Afford This” list is the SSL Live mixing system. Live has the ability to control up to 976 physical inputs with 192 mix paths assignable as channels, stems, auxes and masters.
Sample rate is 96 kHz and SSL offers a variety of local and stage I/O hardware. Sure it’s out of our ionosphere but it’s nice to dream.
– Darth Fader
Darth Fader is a frequent blogger at L2pnet.com.