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AES 2010: Day Two

November 7, 2010

Another late night, another fascinating day at the AES Convention. Check out Lorenz Rychner's blog for today, to see pictures and hear about some of the cool items we've seen. Here are some of the things I got to see, again in no particular order.

As Lorenz has mentioned, we were treated to a pre-show look at Korg's newest technology proof of concept: a multitrack native DAW, running on a laptop, working entirely in the ultra-high-resolution DSD format. We saw and heard 48 tracks of playback, a nice (if early) set of tracking and mixing tools like graphic parametric eq and surround panners, and glorious sound quality. The interface was an 8 x 8 USB 2.0 device, and the DAW, codenamed Clarity, was very clear and pretty as well as being easy to follow. Yeah, Pro Tools 9 is awfully big news, but Clarity may have stolen the show for us.

Novation treated us to a look at its newest keyboard, the UltraNova. It's a 37-key synth with a built-in audio interface, mic input, vocoder, lots of neat performance features, great sound and built-in effects, and the ability to talk to a DAW using Novation's Automap protocol at the touch of a button.

Dangerous Music's Bax EQ isn't brand-new, but it's now shipping in quantity, and we'll be taking a look at this remarkable signal processor in the near future. It's based on the Baxandall eq curves, and provides a very clean and musical contour to tracking and mixing program.

Benchmark Media Systems is showing a multichannel interface, the ADC16, which offers 16 channels of A/D conversion equivalent to the company's ADC1 stereo converter, at a very reasonable price per channel.

TC Electronic was discussing its role in the development of new and consistent loudness standards for HDTV, including a new rackmount loudness meter and an algorithm for the System 6000 audio processor. 

iZotope was showing its newest plug-in, Nectar, a vocal processing effects suite whose programs can be accessed by genre and intended use, like "Pop Male Crooner". An Advanced mode allows direct parameter access to all modules.

Auralex Acoustics has a new line of acoustic treatment panels and diffusors made from Bamboo. The new products work better than their similar predecessors, are light and sturdy, and according to Auralex are made from a fast-growing and very sustainable bamboo species that is also, you'll be relieved to know, not the species that is eaten by pandas and other animals. That's right: panda-safe acoustic treatments!

Solid State Logic showed the Nucleus, a complete compact solution for interfacing and control for in-the-box studios. It has moving faders, an informative "smart" LCD strip, can quickly swap between settings for up to three DAWs on the fly, and can mimic any computer keyboard command a DAW wants to see. It has a built-in audio interface with two preamps, a monitor control section, and lots more.

Sound Devices debuted the USBPre 2, a rugged and high-quality bus-powered stereo interface with high-resolution LED metering and a handy loopback feature for use with calibration microphones and tone generators.

Radial Engineering premiered the Workhorse chassis and mixer/monitor system for 500 Series modules at NAMM last year; now it's ready to ship and should be available within a month or so.

Primacoustic continues to add to its IsoTools line of studio conveniences. In addition to the five products written up in the December RECORDING (out soon), there's an iPad version of the Telehub, a drum mic isolator called the Splashguard, and a special version of the Crashguard cymbal mic isolator for the Sennheiser MD421.

And last but not least, Blue Microphones wasn't at the show but showed the new Spark, an entry-level mic designed to get recordists started in the right way with miking vocals and instruments. It comes with an innovative shockmount, easy-to-attach pop screen, instruction manual with tips and tricks on good miking practices, and is designed with a Focus Control button that changes the mic's gain and frequency response to give the user a very different mic character with ease. 

Another day, another report, and one more day to come. See you all tomorrow!

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