If there is an economic recession you couldn’t prove it by attending the 2009 NAMM show this month at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Although most exhibitors felt the general traffic flow around the show floor was less than the 2008 show, the furious business action in the booths more than made up for it.
Manufacturers were well armed with “ready-to-ship” gear promised at the AES Show last October or brand new products ready soon.
Here are a few winners I instantly gravitated toward as I made the rounds.
Announced at last year’s AES Show, PreSonus now delivers the StudioLive 16.4.2 Digital Mixer.
“Digital” could be misleading because there are 16 analog Class A XMAX mic preamps with XLRs on the channel inputs, and each channel has 1/4-inch TRS balanced line inputs and insert points.
The four subgroups outputs, and six aux bus inputs and outputs also are 1/4-inch TRS balanced, and the main outs are on both XLR and 1/4-inch TRS, along with a 1/4-inch mono output.
The console has a four-band semi-parametric EQ, high-pass filter, compressor, limiter, and gate on every channel.
The console’s digital side starts with a dual-port FireWire audio interface that routes all channels and buses to and from any ASIO-compliant audio application running on a Mac or Windows PC, including Logic, Cubase, Live, Digital Performer, Sonar, and Audition.
Latency is low so StudioLive works in real-time for recording and monitoring live performances. For reverb and delay effects, there are two 32-bit stereo effects processors onboard.
StudioLive comes bundled with the especially configured Capture recording software for Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista.
Capture has all the professional tools such as: importation of .WAV files, dropping markers on the fly, basic editing, return recorded tracks to the mixer via FireWire for further processing, and mixing back to Capture for rendering in .WAV and/or Open TL files.
All settings, including Fat Channel settings and individual digital effects, are saved and recalled at the touch of a button.
PreSonus will release a free firmware update that will enable you to use the two FireWire ports to daisy-chain, with sample-accurate synchronization, up to two StudioLive mixers for 32 channels of recording or up to twelve StudioLive mixers for 192 channels in live performance.
Find out more about the PreSonus StudioLive Console.
Chandler Limited Little Devil Compressor
If you own an API (or other manufacturer’s) Series 500 rack know that the list of compatible modules fattens with Chandler’s Little Devil compressor and equalizer.
Chandler Little Devils
Wade Chandler is able to use discrete components, transformers, inductors (in the EQ) and no ribbon cables or surface mounting techniques within the small size of these modules.
My fave was the Little Devil Compressor; an FET (Field Effect Transistor) loosely based on his Germanium Comp and the design of the Neve 2264—notably the transformers used.
You get three ratios, variable attack and release, full hardwired bypass, variable frequency sidechain filter (yowsa!), and Chandler’s THD selector—as if this compressor isn’t colorful enough!
The module finishes with the cutest VU meter I’ve ever seen.
Find out more about the Little Devil Compressor.
Pete’s Place BAC-500 Compressor
Part of A-Designs is Pete’s Place Audio and they now have the BAC-500 compressor for the 500 Series racks.
Pete’s Place BAC-500 Compressor
The BAC or Brad Avenson Compressor is a feedback-style FET compressor built around two discrete op amps and a custom wound output transformer.
Considering the limited real estate on these modules, like the Chandler, it is also a single-space unit featuring large, man-sized silver rotary input and output knobs.
Smaller pots for attack, release and ratio are used and additional features include a three-position sidechain contour switch, eight-LED gain reduction meter, and push-buttons for distortion and bypass.
With five ratio positions ranging from 2:1 to 20:1, you can configure the BAC anywhere from smooth, totally innocuous compression all the way to pumping and breathing limiter effects.
Find out more about the BAC-500 Compressor
Shure PG27 and PG42 Condenser Microphones
Shure has a couple of new side-address large diaphragm condenser mics fitted with both conventional XLR connectors and USB jacks.
Shure PG27USB and PG42USB microphones, as well as the company’s new X2u XLR-to-USB signal adapter
Both the PG27 and PG42 also come as the PG27USB and PG42USB for direct connection to a computer DAW—no mic pre-amp required.
As an unusual feature, both these cardioid condenser microphones have built-in headphone amps with mix controls for zero latency monitoring.
Both mics are said to have a flat, neutral frequency response suited for instruments and vocals.
They come with a low-cut filter and external shock-mount and the USB models have an integrated mic pre-amp with gain control.
Find out more about the Shure PG27usb and PG42usb microphones.
Neutrik Unisex XLRs
Neutrik seems to always come up with the best ideas for connectors—the lowly products they are not. convertCON (NC3FM-C) is the first unisex three-pin XLR connector.
The word unisex and XLR don’t often collide in the same sentence but that’s what these single connectors are. They are a male and female cable connector in a single housing—also available in a black chrome housing and gold contacts (NC3FM-C-B).
I have a pair of 50-foot cables with these at each end and I can’t tell you how many miles of shoe leather I’ve saved by not having to swap ends—no matter what, you’ve always got the right connector at both ends—even for weird setups like amateur-wired home studios that do not follow conventional connector standards.
By simply sliding the housing back and forth, convertCON is transformed from a male to female connector.
Find out more about Neutrik convertCON.
JBL LSR2300 Monitors
One big positive sticker shock was the new line of powered monitors by JBL.
At the demo room I was looking for other speakers hidden behind the curtains because the low frequency reproduction belies these monitors diminutive size.
JBL LSR2300 Monitors
Don’t ask me technically how they can do this but the new LSR2300 Series includes: the 160-watt LSR2328P Bi-Amplified 8-inch Studio Monitor with low frequency extension down to 37Hz; the 85-watt LSR2325P Bi-Amplified 5-inch Studio Monitor goes down to 43Hz; and the 180-watt LSR2310SP 10-inch Studio Subwoofer makes sound below 29Hz.
It all has something to do with new long-excursion low-frequency transducers with high-flux motors and a custom-tuned port.
All use a single one-inch silk-substrate tweeter, and were all developed using the same Linear Spatial Reference technology as JBL’s top of the line monitors.
I also like the new styling with the single blue LED in the center of cabinet and the trademark large waveguide and the elliptical tweeter aperture look better than ever.
Find out more about JBL LSR2300 Monitors.