Archives for March 2003

Sony Europe Announces 5 New Home-Theater-in-a-Box Systems, Covering Basics to High-End

Sony Europe will add 5 new systems to its WEGA all-in-one home theater range, all scheduled to arrive in stores between May and August of 2003.

The new models cover the full range of consumer options, from entry level to the high end of the “in-a-box” market. There are 2 new single-component Digital Audio Video (DAV) packages – the entry-level DAV-SA30 and high-end DAV-S888 – and 3 twin component (HTP) DVD player/AV receiver packages – the HTP-1100, HTP-1500 and HTP-3100.

Sony's new DAV-SA30 Home-Theater-in-a-Box system will be available in Europe in May 2003

DAV Single-Component Systems Include Multichannel SACD

The entry-level DAV-SA30 offers DVD-Video, CD and multi-channel Super Audio CD (SACD) playback, including support for CD-R/RW and MP3 format discs, as well as JPEG still-image slideshows. The player component integrates an S-master digital amplifier with 5 X 44W RMS power, and an RDS radio tuner. The unit can decode standard surround formats, including Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby ProLogic II. The speaker package consists of five satellite speakers and an 8-cm subwoofer.

The higher-spec DAV-S888 incorporates a 90W active subwoofer to offer richer bottom end reproduction, along with four stylish, slim pillar surround speakers, and a high-quality center-channel speaker. The DAV-S888 A/V component features the S-Master digital amplifier with 5 x 100W RMS power, playback of DVD-Video, multi-channel Super Audio CD, Video CD, DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW, and an RDS tuner.

Both new DAV systems will be available throughout Europe in May 2003.

The Sony HTP-3100 In-a-Box package is aimed at users who prefer the look and feel of full-sized components

HTP Twin-Component Systems Offer Quality, Expansion Possibilities

The latest additions to the Sony HTP family expand user options in terms of functionality thanks to their separate DVD player, A/V processor/receiver and 5.1 multi-channel speaker system with active subwoofer. However, the players in the HTP series do not include SACD capability, presumably leaving that option open for future expansion via a dedicated SACD player.

The HTP-1100 provides playback facilities for standard audio and video disc formats in a new slim-profile aluminium finish style. The A/V processor offers 5 x 35W of power.

A step up the performance scale, the HTP-1500 is Sony’s first home-theater-in-a-box model to include wooden-finish satellite surround and subwoofer speakers. The processor includes a full complement of surround decoders, including Dolby Digital, Dolby Prologic II, DTS, and Sony’s proprietary Digital Cinema Sound EX system.

While the lower-end HTP systems offer slimline components that blend neatly into a living room environment, Sony is offering another option for the user who prefers the look and feel of full-sized components. The HTP-3100 features a generously-proportioned AV receiver with 5 x 80W of amp power, supported by a 100W active subwoofer.

The HTP-3100 DVD player features up-scale Sony technologies such as Precision Drive2, which compensates for disc warp and imperfections to ensure reliable and high quality playback facilities. The player handles a full range of disc formats, including DVD-Video, Video CD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD, CD-R/RW and MP3.

The HTP-3100 also offers a wide range of output and interface options, including coaxial digital, composite video and SCART. Surround decoders include Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic II and DTS.

The HTP 3100 will be available throughout Europe in May 2003, while the HTP-1500 will arrive in July, and the HTP-1100 is due in August.

Sony Europe Web Site

Allen & Heath Adds Un-Powered Models to New PA Mixer Series

Allen & Heath extended its PA series of stereo live sound consoles at the Frankfurt Musikmesse with the introduction of the PA20 and PA28 mixers. The new models are companions to the recently-launched PA-CP powered mixers, without the on-board amps.

The new Allen & Heath PA28 offers 24 mono channels and 2 stereo channels, padless preamps, and 4-band semi-parametric output EQ

The PA series is targeted at live sound customers including PA and AV rental companies operating smaller systems, bands, music venues, churches and schools.

The PA20 has 16 mono plus 2 dual stereo channels, giving a channel count of 20 inputs, while the PA28 has 24 mono plus 2 dual stereo channels. Main features are a new padless preamp, internal FX unit, SPDIF output and parametric output EQ.

The mono channels feature an XLR input with individual +48V phantom power, and a TRS jack input. The TRS input feeds a new two-stage padless preamp which directs line sources to the second stage for improved matching and performance.

4 auxiliary sends are included, with 2 pre-fade sends for foldback, one post-fade for internal or external FX, and another post-fade for additional FX or special feeds. Mute and PFL switches with LEDs, peak metering and a full 100mm fader are also provided.

The 4 band semi-parametric EQ which proved to be such an important feature on the amplifier outputs of the PA-CP powered mixers is also available on the main outputs of PA20 and PA28. The EQ is a specially-designed 4-band type, with shelving LF and HF, a fixed LM band at 250Hz and a swept HM.

The smaller Allen & Heath PA20 has all the same features as the PA28, but with 16 mono and 2 stereo channel inputs

Also included in the mixers’ comprehensive feature set: built-in editable FX, 12-segment LED meters, XLR lamp socket and background music facility.

Allen & Heath Web Site

More News from Musikmesse

Musikmesse ProLight+Sound Web Site

Yamaha DM2000 and 02R96 Digital Consoles Win Press Accolades in 2003 MIPA Awards at Musikmesse

Yamaha consoles made a strong showing in the 2003 MIPA Awards, presented at Musikmesse ProLight+Sound in Frankfurt.

Yamaha’s DM2000 digital console won the Best Mixing Desk (High End) award, ahead of the other category nominees – Solid State Logic’s XL9000K, and Yamaha’s own 02R96.

The Yamaha 02R96 came into its own in the Best Mixing Desk (Project Studio) category, where it won the award and finished ahead of Behringer’s DDX 3216, and the Soundcraft Spirit E.

The Yamaha DM2000 repeated in the Best Mixing Desk (Live) category, where it was up against DiGiCo’s D5 Live, and the InnovaSon SY40.

The MIPA Awards (Musikmesse International Press Awards) are the result of voting by representatives of 55 major music and audio magazines, published in 25 countries including the U.S.A., Canada, U.K, Germany, France and The Netherlands. The 2003 awards were given out in 40 categories, covering recording and live sound equipment; music and audio software; instruments including keyboards, drums, bass and guitar; and dance/groove-gear.

Other notable awards in the audio hardware and software categories included:

  • Line6 Variax (Best Innovative Product)
  • Digidesign Pro Tools HD System (Best Recording Hardware)
  • Emagic Logic 5.5 (Best Recording Software)
  • Lexicon MPX550 (Best Recording Effects – Hardware/Software)
  • Waves 360 Surround Toolkit (Best Surround Tools)
  • Dynaudio Acoustics Air-Series (Best Studio Monitor – Nearfield)
  • Blue Baby Bottle (Best Studio Microphone)
  • Neumann KK105-S (Best Live Microphone)
  • AKG D 440 (Best Drum-Microphone)
  • Nexo Geo (Best Large-Format PA System)
  • Dynacord Cobra (Best Club PA System)
  • Propellerhead Reason 2.0 (Best Software Instrument)
  • Native Instruments Kontakt (Best Sampler – Hardware/Software)
  • Vienna Symphonic Library (Sound Library)
  • Pioneer DJM-3000 (Best DJ-Mixer)
  • Stanton Final Scratch (Best DJ Software/DJ Tools)
  • Numark TTX-1 (Best Turntable/CD-Player)

Complete List of 2003 MIPA Awards Winners & Nominees

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Musikmesse ProLight+Sound Web Site

Propellerhead Software’s Reason Wins MIPA Award for Best Software Instrument for the Second Time

At Musikmesse, Sweden’s Propellerhead Software has been showing a new, updated version of its Reason virtual studio package – Version 2.5 – featuring several new software synth and processing modules.

Now Propellerhead is proud to announce that the current Version 2.0 of Reason has been awarded the Musikmesse International Press Awards (mipa) award for Best Software Instrument – for the second year in a row.

Propellerhead co-founder Ernst Nathorst-Böös accepts the 2003 MIPA Award for Best Software Instrument at Musikmesse in Frankfurt

The mipa awards are voted on and presented by a coalition of over 55 magazines from over 25 different countries. The awards were presented to the winners at a special mipa Party and Awards Ceremony, attended by more than 300 international representatives of manufacturers and distributors of musical instruments and audio equipment.

Reason is an enormously successful software program for both Windows and PC platforms that emulates a rack of electronic synthesizers, samplers, drum machines and recording equipment. Reason has been awarded Editor’s Choice Awards from Electronic Musician, Mac World, Remix, Computer Music magazines and, mipa award for Best Software Instrument and the highly coveted TEC award.

The new Version 2.5 of Reason, which made it’s debut during Musikmesse, will be available in the second quarter of 2003.

Propellerhead Web Site

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Behringer Introduces New Low-Cost Gear for Home Recording and the Project Studio

Following on from an energetic appearance at Winter NAMM in Anaheim in January, where they launched no less than 13 new products for studio and stage applications, German audio equimpment maker Behringer has rolled out even more new gear for the European audience at Musikmesse in Frankfurt.

Along with 4 new guitar and bass amps for stage work, a pair of new DJ mixers, and a 16 x 2 rack-mount line mixer, Behringer’s Musikmesse launches include a couple of extremely affordable units aimed at the project studio and home recording crowd.

Mastering Studio in a Box

Behringer’s Ultra-Curve Pro DEQ2496 ($380 US) is a single rack space module, a mastering processor with dedicated 24-bit/96kHz internal and external processing performance that Behringer says will ‘put the world of professional mastering within reach of every studio.’ It certainly offers a rich set of features for the price.

At the heart of the DEQ2496 are two high-performance 32/40-bit floating-point SHARC® digital signal processors, and AKM® A/D and D/A converters with 113 dB dynamic range. These allow the processor to deliver the kind of clarity, warmth and punch to a mastering mix that you might expect of a high-end professional facility.

New Behringer Ultra-Curve Pro puts the power of professional mastering within reach of every studio

Insert the Ultra-Curve between the stereo output of an analog or digital mixing console and a workstation or master recording media, and it will enhance the dynamics of the recorded material, creating broadcast-ready material previously not available outside a professional mastering studio.

The DEQ2496 features 4 selectable EQ modules with 31-band graphic EQ, 10-band parametric EQ, Feedback Destroyer, plus three Dynamic EQs per stereo channel. A patent pending VPQ (Virtual Paragraphic EQ) option allows parametric control of graphic EQs.

Effects include a flexible compressor/expander function with peak limiter on each stereo channel, as well as an additional stereo imager and stereo delay for delay line applications.

An ultra high-resolution 61-band real-time FFT analyzer with additional auto EQ function makes room and loudspeaker equalization easy. Multi-functional level meters like peak/RMS, VU and SPL meter with dBA/dBC weighting via a RTA mic input provide all the visual control needed. Furthermore, 64 user memories facilitate complete setups and individual module configurations to produce quality masters.

Separate RTA mic/line input with phantom power, professional wordclock input, and MIDI connections enable full remote control, preset dumps and system updates. Balanced inputs and servo-balanced outputs with gold-plated XLR connectors, as well as AES/EBU and S/PDIF ins and outs (XLR and optical) guarantee compatibility in almost any recording and live situation.

The Ultra-Curve Pro’s software can be updated via MIDI, while an internal switch-mode power supply ensures maximum flexibility, noise-free audio and superior transient response at very low power consumption. Shipping is expected in the second quarter of 2003.

High-End, Low-Cost Vacuum Tube Preamp

Also worth a close look and listen, Behringer describes the new Tube Ultragain MIC100 ($50 US) as ‘the ultimate tube-based sound-enhancing tool for studio, live and hard disk recording applications.’

The MIC100 is designed around a 12AX7 vacuum tube, and it features UTC technology for exceptional warmth and low noise. It complements studio-grade condenser mics nicely, and it can also be used as a DI-box.

The Tube Ultragain MIC100 features low-noise mic preamp circuitry that uses discrete components for a highly transparent sound. It has a phase reverse switch, phantom power supply, LED metering and a switchable pad function.

Thanks to Behringer’s proprietary Ultratube (UTC) technology, the Ultragain is said to show excellent low-noise and low-distortion properties, while lending characteristic analog punch to percussion instruments and signals that are rich in high harmonics. As a DI-box, it can eliminate the dull sound of standard digital recorders and sound cards.

Behringer says the MIC100 is ideal for use in home recording or professional project studio situations, as well as live on stage. It will be available in the second quarter of 2003.

Behringer Web Site

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Musikmesse ProLight+Sound Web Site