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Editors' Blogs

AES 2010: Day One

November 6, 2010

It's well after midnight as I type this, at the end of a very long and successful day at AES 2010. Check out Lorenz Rychner's blog entry for today; he roamed the show with a camera and caught a lot of cool stuff. For my part, I spent almost the whole day meeting with manufacturers and being introduced to new products that will be appearing in our show report in the magazine, many of which will be reviewed in future months. In no particular order:

Shure has released a new set of Beta mics for drum and other instrument miking applications. The Beta 98 has been rereleased in a compact form with a gooseneck mount and quick-adjust clamp for use almost anywhere, and the new Beta 181 is a compact side-address mic with four interchangeable capsules in omni, wide cardioid, cardioid, and figure-8... an entirely new design unlike previous Betas with a unique sound.

PMI Audio was showing a brand-new console with the Trident name, demoed by Malcolm Toft himself; a new Tonelux all-in-one analog console; and new versions of the Toft ATB console with 4 and 8 channels. The 4-channel model is very cute for its tiny size and is primarily sold as a special-purpose sidecar or for product demos in stores; it only has 2 aux sends rather than 6, but is otherwise fully featured. The 8-channel model does everything its larger siblings do, and is now on the third revision of the hardware; look for more in the magazine soon.

Audio-Technica was showing its AT4080 and AT4081 ribbon mics (reviews coming very soon!), and the new ATH-M10 headphones, which had amazingly good sound and isolation for their tiny price (under 30 bucks).

Korg announced that its very powerful AudioGate software, which does high-quality conversion of audio files in many different formats, including 1-bit DSD files, will be available as a free download as of November 15. This marvelous piece of software was previously available only with the company's DSD recorders, and is being made available to everyone. The hope is that recordists will get in the habit of archiving the best-quality audio they possibly can, and using AudioGate to render it down into compressed formats for distribution as needed.

TASCAM has a new USB 2.0 interface, the US-1800, a 1U rack with 16 inputs, 4 outputs, and a street price under $300.

Focusrite celebrated its 25th anniversary, and announced the end of the production run of the Red Range, with the very last unit, a Red 3, being taken around the world to tradeshows and signed by famous engineers before being auctioned off for charity.

Remember the very powerful Lexicon Native Reverb plug-in bundle we reviewed recently? They've added a Native Effects Bundle to that, with nonreverb effects that Lexicon's LXP and MPX Series hardware are famous for. 

Beyerdynamic announced the world's first wireless ribbon mic, using a special capsule with a cardioid pickup pattern and a specially tailored frequency response for voices, ruggedized for road use.

Neumann making monitors? Well, that shouldn't be too surprising considering the company's acquisition of Klein + Hummel, the fantastic German monitor maker, some time ago. The new Neumann monitors start with a rock-solid K+H design and add uniquely Neumann tweaks for a new monitoring experience.

DW Fearn has a new product! Doug Fearn happily hand-builds amazingly beautiful signal processors in his small shop in Pocopson, PA, and his latest design is the VT12, a preamp especially designed for ribbon mics, providing gobs of clean gain with worthwhile extras all through the audio chain.

AEA showed the KU4, a modern take on the very rare KU3 ribbon mic, a cardioid design with a unique construction and sound.

Grace Design has upgraded the specs and features of the m902 headphone/monitor controller and D/A in a new model called the m903.

Creative Edge offers a new take on getting educated in audio -- a monthly subscription service providing access online to educational materials from respected publishers like Cengage and Focal Press. Think of it as a membership to a lending library full of useful audio texts.

StreamOn offers another subscription service: plug-and-play internet streaming with the ability to combine ads and clickable objects to make streams available in a variety of ways, with the stream provided by a self-contained appliance: stereo in, streaming audio on Ethernet out.

There was lots more where that came from, and we'll see lots more tomorrow. And of course our Show Report will fill in a lot of details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, though, it's time for me to crash. Another long day full of cool new products tomorrow...!

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