Archives for 2006

Native Instruments Releases a Slew of New and Updated Software with a Massive Deal

The latest round of software instrument updates from virtual instrument maker Native Instruments (NI) includes upgraded versions of Battery (drums and percussion), FM8 (fm synthesis), Absynth (modular synth), and Komplete (big software bundle), along with the brand new Massive wave-scanning synth.

The best news for completists who want to own everything NI makes is a limited time offer: buy Komplete 4, along with the Kore hardware/software bundle, and you get a free copy of Massive (special deal runs until December 31st 2006).

Native Instruments says that Massive ($339 US) uses a new high-resolution audio engine, and combines advanced Wave-Scanning synthesis with a wealth of sophisticated sound-shaping and modulation options.

The result: a charismatic high-end sound full of warmth, punch, character and definition. Massive is “a true next-generation software synthesizer with unique sonic character, outstanding audio fidelity, vast flexibility and an innovative, highly accessible interface.”

Absynth 4 ($339 US) is the 4th generation of NI’s award-winning semi-modular software synthesizer. Absynth is well-known for its unique evolving sounds and textures. The new version offers a new customizable signal flow that allows for extended sound design and performance capabilities.

It also brings additional oscillator, waveform and envelope features, and a completely revised modulation concept. Native Instruments also points out numerous usability improvements, including a new KORE-compatible sound browser, that will provide a more convenient creative workflow.

FM8 ($339 US) is the long-awaited successor to the popular FM7 software synthesizer, which has become a classic in its own time as a deluxe emulation of the Yamaha DX-7 synthesis architecture. The new FM8 comes with an enhanced high-resolution audio engine, intelligent sound morphing, added performance features and a new KORE-compatible preset manager.

“The FM8 makes the timeless and highly expressive musical potential of FM synthesis available in a thoroughly modernized instrument that fits perfectly into today’s studio and stage setups,” says Native Instruments.

Battery 3 ($229 US) offers a significant revision of the popular drum and percussion sampler. New features include time-stretching and advanced loop capabilities, innovative “play parameters,” a powerful master effects section and an integrated wave editor. Battery 3 also comes with an enormous library of more than 100 high-quality drum kits providing a wealth of studio-quality material for all styles and genres.

Last, and by no means least, Komplete 4 ($1,499 US) is the new version of the powerful software bundle that has become a mainstay with professional musicians and producers around the world. With a universal selection of state-of-the-art instruments and effects, reinforced through several powerful updates to some of its key components, Komplete 4 continues to mark the cutting edge in software synthesis and to provide an invaluable resource for all areas of modern music production and performance.

Native Instruments Website (U.S.)

Tascam’s New DM-4800 Digital Console Is Perfect for the Computer-Based Professional Studio

Tascam’s new DM-4800 ($5,999 US) digital mixing console, launched this week at the AES convention in San Francisco, is designed to integrate with a computer-based DAW.

The DM-4800 provides 48 channels and 16 returns for a total of 64 inputs. Also onboard are 24 analog mic/line inputs with phantom power for condenser mics and analog inserts. Users can add mic preamps by using expansion cards with external preamps. Four expansion card slots support optional FireWire, ADAT, AES/EBU, Analog, TDIF and Surround Monitoring cards.

Tascam says that the DM-4800 feature list offers mixing specs that equal or surpass digital consoles over twice its price. The company positions the DM-4800 as a digital console for professional users who demand a flexible, 64-channel mix platform that can be configured to fit their needs, especially in a computer-based environment.

A “fat channel” strip in the center of the board provides instant access to 4-band parametric EQ, dynamics and auxiliary controls available for the first 48 channels. Twenty-four studio-grade mic preamps provide enough inputs for a live event, and more can be added using expansion cards with external preamps. The standard compliment of analog and digital I/O is more than you’ll find on consoles costing three times as much, and a completely configurable 24-buss routing system allows you to re-patch the board at the flick of a switch.

TASCAM’s DM-4800 fits seamlessly into the modern recording environment based around a computer DAW. With a single button press, the Remote layer provides a 24-fader control surface for control of premiere workstations such as Pro Tools, Logic, SONAR, DP, Cubase and Nuendo.

Options available for the DM-4800 digital mixer include the IF-FW/DMmkII FireWire interface card, which provides 32 channels to and from a computer at up to 96kHz over a single FireWire cable; and a surround monitoring card that provides down-mixing, bass management and level control for mixing in up to 6.1 surround.

More features:

  • 48 channels and 16 returns for 64 total inputs
  • 24 busses
  • 12 Aux Sends
  • 24 mic/line inputs with analog inserts and phantom power for condenser mics
  • 24 channels of TDIF and 8 channels of ADAT built in
  • 4 expansion card slots support optional FireWire, ADAT, AES/EBU, Analog, TDIF and Surround Monitoring cards
  • Dedicated cascade port -supports cascade of two DM-4800s
  • Channel Strip section for EQ, Dynamics and Aux control of selected channel
  • Per channel LED ring encoders for pan, aux sends and EQ
  • Built-in DAW control layer compatible with Pro Tools®, Logic Pro™, SONAR™, Cubase™, Nuendo™, and Digital Performer™
  • Transport buttons control DAW software or RS-422 devices
  • Powerful automation with touch-sensitive motorized faders
  • 4-band EQ, compression and gating on each channel
  • Compression for each aux, buss and main output
  • Two built-in effects processors, each able to run TC Reverb programs
  • Flexible routing allows any input to be routed to any channel or output
  • Offload data to convenient Compact Flash media using built-in CF slot
  • Optional MU-1000 meter bridge
  • Stylish, professional design with rear panel I/O connections

Neyrinck Audio Updates Soundcode Plug-Ins for ProTools, Adding DTS Surround Encode and Decode

Neyrinck Audio has begun delivering its new SoundCode for DTS plug-in suite for Digidesign® Pro Tools systems to pro audio dealers. List price is $995 (US).

SoundCode for DTS is the newest addition to the Neyrinck SoundCode product family of professional surround sound encoder/decoders. The line first appeared in 2005 with the release of the SoundCode for Dolby Digital plug-in.

The SoundCode for DTS plug-in suite is tightly integrated with Pro Tools software. It provides mastering-quality workflow tools that enable encoding and decoding of DTS Digital Surround, 96/24, and ES audio directly within Pro Tools HD, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered systems.

“SoundCode for DTS is a must–have for post production professionals delivering high-quality audio for DVD-Video and DVD-Audio,” comments Paul Neyrinck.

Neyrinck Audio's SoundCode for DTS Encoder Plug-In

The SoundCode for DTS Encoder, which operates as an AudioSuite™ plug-in, offers a faster-than-real-time way to encode audio from a Pro Tools session – ready for use with DVD audio and video authoring applications. The time-saving Punch In/Out encoding feature allows users to punch in fixes to an existing DTS file. If the audio for a two-hour program has already been encoded, but a single line of dialog needs to be replaced, SoundCode can encode just that line, without having to re-encode the entire two-hour soundtrack. In addition to DTS 5.1 Digital Surround, DTS 6.1ES Discrete mode can be used to encode a rear center channel for increased surround localization and spatialization. DTS 96/24 mode can be used to encode 96 kHz, 24-bit audio up to 5.1 channels for applications requiring the highest fidelity possible.

The SoundCode for DTS Decoder functions as a real-time RTAS® plug-in or a non-real-time AudioSuite plug-in. The real-time decoder features Sample-Accurate Direct File Decode to decode a DTS file in real-time synchronized to the Pro Tools timeline and video. Simply point SoundCode to the DTS file and press play for mastering-quality confidence monitoring. The decoder also features a legacy monitor so a user can hear how 96/24, 5.1 ES, and 6.1 ES streams will decode on a legacy 5.1, 48 kHz system. Using the AudioSuite decoder, users can decode all or a portion of an audio file faster than real time, or view the metadata of a DTS file.

SoundCode for DTS is compatible with Pro Tools LE and M-Powered systems so that low-cost encoding/decoding workstations can be configured in post production and DVD authoring facilities. The fully functional encoder can encode a surround mix from a set of imported mono tracks. The decoder stereo can output a DTS bitstream over SPDIF to an external home theater decoder for surround monitoring.

Neyrinck Audio

Crestron’s Adagio Entertainment System With New AMS Processor Wins Awards at CEDIA

Crestron’s Adagio Entertainment System (AES), an integrated audio distribution system for multiroom and whole-house audio installations, has been awarded CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles Award as one of the year’s 5 top new products.

At the CEDIA show, held earlier this month in Denver, CO, Crestron introduced the newest addition to the Adagio line, the Adagio Media System (AMS). AMS is a processor/controller that adds sophisticated surround sound processing and video for home theater, alongside complete whole house audio distribution. The AMS-AIP model goes a step further, to provide professional-quality video scaling up to 1080p and on-screen display.

Crestron's new AMS controller/processor brings home theater surround sound processing and pro-quality video scaling to the multi-room Adagio Entertainment System (AES) line.

Crestron describes Adagio Entertainment System as the first fully-integrated audio distribution system with plug-and-play connectivity. System components already available include Adagio Audio Expander (AAE), Adagio Audio Server (AAS), CEN-IDOC iPod® interface, 12-button keypads and APAD LCD room controllers. Adagio is the only audio distribution system that provides seamless expansion to whole house automation including lighting, HVAC and shade control.

Along with the prestigious top-5 product recognition, Crestron won three Excite Awards at this year’s CEDIA show. Adagio was honored as the “Most Exciting Product,” and Crestron was named “Most Exciting Home Automation System.”

The new AMS component features Adagio’s signature integrated architecture including built-in tuners, amplifier, multi-room processors, Crestron 2-Series control system, e-Control web browser, Ethernet connectivity and front panel control.

It also offers the plug-and-play connectivity, out-of-the-box functionality, and seamless expansion options that makes Adagio the easiest home entertainment system to install and the most versatile to expand.

The AMS features a state-of-the-art surround sound processor and powerful 100w 7-channel amplifier designed to drive any 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 theater speaker system. DTS 96/24 decoding achieves superlative sound quality from the latest generation of DVD titles. Audyssey MultEQ equalization corrects time and frequency response problems, effectively removing sound distortion at every listening position, to create the optimum listening experience.

The AMS accommodates a full range of audio and video sources. It has 10 analog stereo inputs, and one analog 7.1 surround input. Built-in high-definition video switching handles 3 HDMI, 6 HDTV/component, 4 S-Video, and 4 composite sources.

AMS also includes stereo audio distribution to support 4 to 6 rooms. The integrated multi-room amplifier delivers a robust 45 watts per channel to each of 4 rooms, while a fifth stereo room or up to 2 mono rooms can be supported using one or two of the surround amplifier channels. Each room includes independent volume, bass, and treble controls. The AMS may be expanded to accommodate additional rooms simply via Adagio Audio Expanders (AAE).

The enhanced AMS-AIP model adds the latest generation high-definition scaling and de-interlacing. True 10-bit video processing in the AIP supports displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 and HDMI, DVI, RGB, or component connectivity. AMS-AIP also offers DVI for connecting multimedia computers and a wide range of professional video source components. With PIP and PBP, the AMS-AIP enables dual video source display or video and graphics, simultaneously.

The AMS front panel with backlit LCD display provides a powerful, yet simple user-interface for system set-up, or to control a home theater or distributed whole house AV system. Plug-and-play connectivity with Crestron 12-button keypads or the advanced APAD Wall Mount LCD Controller enables versatile control of the AMS in every room. The APAD extends the many functions of the AMS front panel to each room, providing true feedback display of audio sources, CD titles, artists, and songs, plus audio settings and many other parameters. The optional TPMC-4X Handheld WiFi Touchpanel provides an enhanced user interface to control the AMS home entertainment system. Out of the box, the TPMC-4X includes numerous control screens for setting up and controlling the AMS, AAS and Apple® iPod®.

Plug-and-play compatibility with Crestron’s Adagio Audio Server (AAS), CEN-IDOC iPod® interface, and plug-in dual-tuner cards for AM/FM, XM and Sirius delivers instant access to additional music sources and entire libraries of music from any room in the house with full capability for browsing by album, artist, and song title.

At the heart of the AMS is the powerful 2-Series control engine featuring both Cresnet and Ethernet connectivity. The AMS allows nearly limitless expansion and customization using Crestron’s entire line of products such as touchpanels, infiNET™ dimmers and thermostats. The built-in Web server with native e-Control®2 XPanel support enables remote control over IP.

Crestron Website

U.S. Automakers Play Catch-Up With iPod In-Car Integration

Germany’s BMW did it two years ago. Acura, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen and other import car-makers followed suit in 2005. Now Ford and General Motors plan to get with the program. Apple Computer is teaming up with GM, Ford, and Mazda, to add built-in integration of its iPod digital audio player to most American-made car models in 2007.

The new alliances with North America’s No. 1 (GM) and No. 2 (Ford) automakers mean the wildly popular iPod will now be compatible with more than 70 per cent of all new 2007 model vehicles sold in the United States, Apple announced today.

According to Apple, GM and Mazda will offer built-in iPod options on all new models, and Ford will offer it on many of its Ford and Lincoln Mercury models later this year.

The partnership with Apple is part of a growing effort by Ford and other car companies to make it easier on drivers to access a variety of gadgets, such as cellphones, GPS navigation systems and digital audio players, while on the road.

“Consumers are listening to music, they’re messaging each other, and they want to engage in all those activities in their vehicles,” says Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s product and business development in the electronics group.

Ford says it will offer the iPod integration as a dealer-installed option called TripTunes Advanced. List price will be $200 (US) plus installation. An adapter that doubles as a battery-charging station will go in either the glove compartment or the center storage console. Users will be able to control the iPod through buttons on the steering wheel or the radio. Playlists, artists, and other song information will also show on the car audio deck’s display screen.

Ford also plans to add auxiliary audio input jacks on nearly half of its lineup, starting this fall, to accommodate additional audio playback devices.

GM says it will offer its iPod-only setup called Personal Audio Link (PAL) at dealerships for all 56 of its models. The PAL will sell for less than $160 (US) plus installation.

“We know our music-loving customers have been clamouring for a system like this, but we were determined not to go into the market with one unless it was truly integrated, easy to use and affordable,” comments Nancy Philippart, executive director of GM accessories. “I think this system will be music to our customers’ ears.”

Both GM and Ford hope the iPod integration will help bolster their mindshare with younger car buyers. Both carmakers have struggled to attract young consumers in recent years.