Recording

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kenton Introduces SYNC-5 Active DIN Sync Splitter Box

Enables connection of several DIN Sync devices to one DIN Sync controlling devices

Kenton has announced availability of the new SYNC-5 Active DIN sync splitter, offering DIN Sync input and five DIN Sync output ports to enable users to connect several DIN Sync devices to one DIN Sync controlling device.

Since Roland popularized the DIN Sync interfacing standard — otherwise known as SYNC 24 — with the likes of the TR-808 and TR-606 drum machines, TB-303 Bass Line, and early digital sequencers (such as the MC-4 and MC-202 MicroComposers).

The new Kenton SYNC-5 is primarily intended for use with such suitably-equipped, pre-MIDI Roland equipment — all of which work at 24 clocks-per-quarter note. The SYNC-5 can also work with any appropriate Korg devices at 48 clocks-per-quarter note. It cannot convert between the two, however.

Housed in an attractively finished, brushed aluminum box with black screen print, the SYNC-5 ships with an energy-efficient, switch-mode PSU appropriate to the destination country — UK, EU, US, and Australian types are available, so no battery changes required.

Operation is simple: plug the supplied PSU into the SYNC-5 (which will illuminate its ‘active’ LED), connect the DIN Sync output port of an appropriate drum machine or sequencer to the single DIN Sync input port, and connect one or more of the DIN Sync output ports to the DIN Sync inputs of any devices to be synchronized; start the DIN Sync controlling device and any connected DIN Sync devices will play along in perfect tempo, as indicated by speed of the now-flashing LED.

Keep in mind that the SYNC-5 is not a MIDI device; neither its input or outputs are capable of handling MIDI data.

SYNC-5 can be purchased directly from Kenton here for £52.80 GBP (including VAT).

Kenton

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/19 at 09:47 AM
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Friday, November 16, 2012

In The Studio: The Battle of Technology Versus Good Music

If you produce the most technologically advanced album, but your music is lifeless, you have failed
This article is provided by Home Studio Corner.

 

I love technology. It is a beautiful thing.

However, while there’s nothing wrong technology itself, we need to consider the role that technology should play in our lives.

I’m mainly referring to technology as it pertains to making music, particularly in the recording world. These days everybody and their dog can have a home recording studio.

Don’t get me wrong, that can be an awesome thing. Thirty years ago it simply wasn’t possible to spend a couple hundred dollars and be able to make high-quality recordings at home. The technology wasn’t there.

Technological advancements of the last few decades have brought a new, massive percentage of the population into the world of studio recording. My life would certainly be dramatically different if I couldn’t record my music (and the music of others).

Without the onset of new technology, the entire recording industry would consist of the select few who could drop $400,000 on a huge recording studio, fully equipped with analog tape machines and massive recording consoles.

Today an average Joe can pick up an interface and a microphone and do a lot of things the big analog studios of the past could do, and a lot of things they couldn’t!

This leads me to my next point — the misuse of technology.

Here’s what has happened. That average Joe with his interface and microphone has been told he can “do a lot of things the big analog studios of the past could do, and a lot of things they couldn’t!” (Where have I heard that before?)

Now what does average Joe do? He interprets this as “you can make a record that sounds JUST as good as the professionals…with a $300 interface…and a $100 microphone.”

What average Joe doesn’t realize is that technology, while playing a huge role in his ability to create, has nothing to do with talent and ability.

Now imagine that we picked up average Joe and plopped him down behind a huge Harrison console in 1982, introduced him to a nice young man named Michael Jackson and said, “Joe, we need you to engineer this young fellow’s next album called Thriller.”

What would happen? Would our fearless hero be able to achieve Bruce Swedien-like results? Would the album still become the best-selling album of all time?

The answer is a resounding NO. But you may say, “Well, he has all the same technology that Bruce had, surely he could make it work.”

That’s like saying, “Hey, here are all the colors and brushes Michelangelo used on the Sistine Chapel. Why don’t you go ahead and paint a version for us, okay?”

Let us not forget the importance of talent and God-given ability. Just because you can record a hundred original songs in your bedroom doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If the songs are bad, or if the recordings sound awful, what’s the point?

I firmly believe that technology was meant to enhance creativity, not replace it.

If your songs aren’t that great, put down the laptop and go work on your songwriting. If your recordings sound consistently bad, stop working on that epic record and work on your microphone placement instead.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying you have to be an insanely amazing engineer or musician before you are allowed to dabble in recording. That’s the beauty of technology. You don’t have to land a record deal before you can record your music. You don’t have to work for a big studio to become a recording engineer.

Becoming a good engineer or musician takes time. Everyone has to start somewhere, and technology has made that a relatively inexpensive endeavor.

Keep in mind, though, that this is all about the music. Be careful not to sacrifice creativity on the altar of technology. If you produce the most technologically advanced album, utilizing all the latest fancy digital trinkets and do-dads, and yet your music is lifeless and lacking any emotion, you have failed. Technology wins.

Don’t let that happen. Viva la musica.

 
Joe Gilder is a Nashville-based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.

 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/16 at 11:34 AM
RecordingFeatureBlogDigital Audio WorkstationsEngineerInstallationStudioPermalink

SAE Institute Opens New Chicago Facility Equipped With Argosy Mirage Workstations

Four production suites identically outfitted with Mirage edit desk and rack, plus accessories

The SAE Institute recently opened its seventh U.S. campus in Chicago, equipping all four production suites at the brand new 19,000-square-foot facility with matching Argosy studio furniture products.

Each of the suites is outfitted with an Argosy Mirage Edit Desk with accompanying Single Monitor Arm, a Mirage R11 Rack and a pair of Classic Speaker Stands.

“I’ve been using Argosy furniture for a long time, including quite a few 70 series and 90 series and a lot of workstation furniture over the years,” reports Bill Smith, SAE Chicago’s Director of Education and the National Curriculum Advisor for SAE Institute in the U.S.

“In an educational environment the studio furniture needs to be pretty tough; it gets constant, heavy use, and things are moving in and out constantly,” he continues. “The Argosy pieces have always held up beautifully.”

Plus, Smith says, “They look great in the room; you walk in and it looks very polished and professional. You want any student or client to walk into the room and feel good about where they’re working.” And as for the assembly process, he adds, “It’s definitely easier than some things from Ikea.”

At SAE Chicago, a newly constructed facility located in the downtown River North neighborhood, the initial program offerings will include Beat Lab Production (BLP) and Electronic Music Production (EMP), which are both 12-week courses.

The learning tools in each of the four Production Suites are essentially computer-based, explains Smith. “Most of it is “in the box.” Each suite has an Apple iMac running Avid Pro Tools LE, Apple Logic Pro, Propellerhead Reason, Ableton Live and Native Instruments Komplete software.”

Each Argosy Mirage desk and rack also houses an M Audio Axiom Pro 49 keyboard controller, Samsung display monitor, a pair of Yamaha HS series studio monitors and a Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 Firewire I/O interface. “The suites are all attached to live rooms, so they have the ability to record as well as production work,” Smith says.

Four full-sized Production Studios will also shortly be brought online at the Chicago facility. The institute has previously announced that it expects to expand its current Creative Media Programs to also include Postproduction, Photography, Music Business, Live Sound, Digital Journalism and Pro Tools classes over the coming months.

Established in Australia in 1976 and introduced in the U.S. in 1999, SAE Institute maintains over 50 campuses around the world and offers a practical and theoretical curriculum for creative media education.

Argosy
SAE Institute

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/16 at 11:16 AM
Live SoundRecordingNewsConsolesDigital Audio WorkstationsStudioPermalink

API Announces New Distributor In Chile, New Dealer In Iceland

Both firms have been supplying their respective regions with professional audio equipment for more than 20 years

API has announced that Tónastöðin will serve as its new dealer in Iceland, and and that VGL will serve as its new distributor in Chile.

Both firms have been supplying their respective regions with professional audio equipment for more than 20 years. The new agreements confirm API’s commitment to satisfying the demand for its unique products in every market where professional recordings are made.

Tónastöðin’s customers originally made the recommendation that the firm start carrying API gear. “With a total population of only just over 300,000, Iceland is a relatively small market,” said Andrés Helgason of Tónastöðin. “So you might say that most, if not all, musicians and audio engineers in Iceland are quite familiar with Tónastöðin. We have great access to the studio world here and are therefore in a good position to promote API.”

Tónastöðin will begin selling API rack equipment and 500 Series modules.

VGL is an audio-visual system integrator, and its audio division specializes in professional, high-end equipment for recording studios, broadcast studios, live sound, and installed sound.

“Like our customers, we are passionate about audio and so we have a deep appreciation for their needs,” says Daniel Vinagre of VGL. “In addition to our sales team, we have a customer support team that is ready to provide after-sale assistance. That helps to earn customer loyalty and repeat sales. We’re excited to work with API because their gear has a unique sound that is full of character and that serves very well in an integrated analog/digital studio.”

VGL will distribute the entire API line, from the smallest 500 Series module to the small-frame 1608 console to the grand API Vision and Legacy consoles.

API

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/16 at 10:39 AM
Live SoundRecordingNewsBusinessManufacturerStudioPermalink

Waves Audio Names Val Gilbert Live Product Specialist

Will act as a resource for engineers throughout the U.K.

Waves Audio has appointed U.K.-based audio engineer Val Gilbert as Waves Live product specialist.

In his new capacity, Gilbert will communicate with other live sound engineers across the U.K., sharing his knowledge of Waves plugins, the SoundGrid system and typical workflows in the live sound arena.

The addition of Gilbert further emphasizes Waves’ ongoing expansion in the live sound sector. For several years, he was based in France, where he gained an extensive background in live sound as a front-of-house engineer for major touring acts, working with artists such as Makali and Really Addictive Sound, and for companies such as Universal and TS Productions, across Europe and to Russia and the USA. He relocated to the U.K. just over two years ago.

Gilbert is a long-time Waves user both live and in-studio. “I’m currently working with French/Belgian Afro-folk band Namogodine, as we prepare the release of their next album for this coming spring and the supporting tour,” he says. “I’m in the process of mixing the album, so it will be great to take the Waves processing I’ll be using in the studio with me on the road, and not have to compromise on dynamics and effects.

“As a Waves Live Product Specialist,” he continues, “I know the ins and outs of the Waves SoundGrid system across all the different platforms for which it is available. I will be conducting demonstrations and training at different locations across the U.K., as well as providing frontline technical support for Waves SoundGrid users.”

Waves Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/16 at 09:17 AM
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chat From The Past: Talking With Rupert Neve

From 2002, the transcript of a ProSoundWeb live chat session with industry legend Rupert Neve, designer of professional audio recording equipment and credited as the inventor of the recording console

From 2002, the transcript of a ProSoundWeb live chat session with industry legend Rupert Neve, designer of professional audio recording equipment and credited as the inventor of the recording console.

Fletcher: Well, this man really needs no introduction. Pretty much anyone who is involved with audio production seems to say his name a few times a day in relation to something.

Be it consoles we would like to work on, or individual modules we would like to own, or equipment that is used as a point of reference for our industry.

I’m probably asked 10-15 times a day if “it sounds like a Neve” [the point of this ‘chat’ is to try to get a bit better definition of just what that means].

So here’s an opportunity to have somewhat of a conversation with the first name we think of when it comes to outstanding sounding audio equipment, a man I am rather proud to call a friend… Mr. Rupert Neve.

Good evening Rupert.

Rupert Neve: Good evening…

Fletcher: Here we go…

chrissugar: In the early days [1073], the use of the output transformer was a technical necessity or you used it to achieve a special sound…

Rupert Neve: This question goes to the heart of my original designs. I used transformers because in those days it was the only professional way of interconnecting equipment. We used balanced lines by default, if you like.

Everything was balanced and worked between 600 ohms termination. This meant that the modules which you are familiar with today would be reconnected, recycled endlessly without the problem of ground loops and so on…. When they sell old modules if doesn’t benefit me in my old age trying to build a retirement fund.

chrissugar: What do you think about the new designs with op-amps [5532] compared to the old transistor designs?

Rupert Neve: Well, to answer these I would start by saying how long have you got? One of the qualities of the original designs is that they were all single ended. This meant that there was no crossover distortion. Every IC, or maybe I should say almost every IC, includes the push-pull output stage and of course, it has very small power capability.

Such a stage will produce small amounts, maybe some of them not so small, of crossover distortion.

Which is to say that there are high order harmonics present which are not in the original music—and I’m even incorrect calling them harmonics. They are spikes, which occur at the repetition rate of the signal frequency.

And, although small in nature, it can be perceived not only by the trained ear, but even by, shall we say, “Joe Public.” The way he would notice it is that it produces sensation of frustration as he listens to music.

Fletcher: How does the “Transformer Like Amplifier” (did I get the name right?) behave in terms of “crossover distortion?”

Rupert Neve: I think the first thing to say is the transformer like amplifier can be configured with discrete transistors and it would be if it were important. In my 9098 console there are, I believe, last count, some 64 buses.

I use transformers on all the main signal buses but, entirely due to space and weight, I use the TLA transformer like amplifier or auxiliary (auxiliaries) which are not as demanding as the main buses.

However, I also use a technique which offsets the DC at the output of the integrated circuits and so removes that crossover distortion from the zero line and places it at a higher level, usually around 0 dBu. That makes a huge difference to the percentage of distortion.

Tom Borthwick: I have a 5106 console and on an Audio Precision test it goes from 5 Hz to over 150 Hz. This extended bandwidth, was it a concerted effort or just the result of good design?

Rupert Neve: Good question. Well Tom, I’m guessing what you meant was 150 kHz not Hz. The transformers and all the amplifiers in these designs were of that order.

The console mentioned, if I remember correctly, was a broadcast console, one of the later ones. We were paying particular attention to bandwidth. Incidentally, that console was designed by Geoff Watts, one of my earliest colleagues on my design team.

Fletcher: There has been some measure of debate about bandwidth including frequencies above 20 kHz, can we hear them, do they make a difference, etc.

Rupert Neve: OK, Fletch, pin your ears back… In 1977, just after I had sold the company, George Martin called me to say that Air Studios had taken delivery of a Neve console, which did not seem to be giving satisfaction to Geoff Emerick.

In fact, he said that Geoff is unhappy…. engineers from the company, bear in mind that at this point I was not primarily involved, had visited the studio and reported that nothing was wrong. They said that the customer is mad and that the problem will go away if we ignore it long enough.

Well I visited the studio and after careful listening with Geoff, I agreed with him that three panels on this 48 panel console sounded slightly different. We discovered that there was a 3 dB peak at 54 kHz Geoff’s golden ears had perceived that there was a difference.

We found that 3 transformers had been incorrectly wired and it was a matter of minutes to correct this. After which Geoff was happy. And I mean that he relaxed and there was a big smile on his face.

As you can imagine a lot of theories were put forward, but even today I couldn’t tell you how an experienced listener can perceive frequencies of the normal range of hearing.

And following on from this, I was visiting Japan and was invited to the laboratories of Professor Oohashi.

He had discovered that when filters were applied to an audio signal cutting off frequencies of 20 kHz, the brain started to emit electric signals which can be measured and quantified.

These signals were at the frequencies and of the pattern which are associated with frustration and anger. Clearly we discussed this at some length and I also would forward the idea that any frequencies which were not part of the original music, such as quantizing noise produced by compact discs and other digital sources, also produced similar brain waves.

Fletcher: What about frequencies below 20 Hz (theoretically, the low-end of the human range of hearing)... how do they affect the tone?

Rupert Neve: OK Fletch, now we get down to the meat and potatoes… I believe it is necessary to not only maintain the frequency response, to well below 20 Hz, but to keep the phase integrity. Failure to do this produces a slight muddiness and again, it is very difficult to quantify.

All of my designs are kept within a phase shift of between 2 and 5 degrees down to 10 Hz

Bink: What are the most important measurement specifications, in your opinion? What specs can be thought of as less important than the resultant ‘sound’?

Rupert Neve: This is almost impossible to answer… because it depends on the function of a particular circuit. I suppose the most significant measurement is to establish that there is virtually no crossover distortion.

We currently in the Pure Path design for harmonics measured on an Audio Precision System 2 less than 130 dB down. This also applies an extremely low noise floor I’m sorry, I meant implies…. and for example, the 9098 console was measured at unity gain has a dynamic range of about 126 dB.

This of course is 6 dB better than any digital system can yet deliver. These two measurements are probably the most significant. Of course, when digital comes of age, we have circuits on the bench now which will deliver better than 140 dB of dynamic range!

Ronny: Speaking of keeping phase shift between 2 and 5 degrees. Do you have any views on linear phase EQ?

Rupert Neve: Ronny, this is a perpetual question we get asked all the time. I take it you would be referring to equalizer and filters.

When you apply equalization to an audio signal you are enhancing or depleting a portion of the spectrum. And, phase shift will always accompany that correction of equalization in the analog domain This is part of nature.

You can experience it by simply cupping your hands around your mouth and your voice will immediately change frequency response due to the resonator you have now applied.

If you did something similar with a musical instrument the same would hold true. The acoustic resonator which you are applying is following laws of nature that include a lot of phase shift.

It sounds sweet and natural of course, some people’s voices benefit more than others!!

loudist: Please excuse me if this was already asked but… regarding phase shift, isn’t this one of the reasons tubes (valves) sound better to most is that the phase shift of tubes is minimal compared to solid state amplification?

Rupert Neve: This is not something I would agree with… Tubes sound better because, for the most part, they are used in single sided configurations or if they are used in push-pull the crossover point is already biased well away from zero.

Solid state amplifiers are much easier to design with extremely low phase shift. Not specifically due to tubes vs. solid state but because the impedances necessary to use in tube circuits make them somewhat more limited.

Harvey: What’s your opinion of “euphonic” (even order) distortion products?

Rupert Neve: Harvey, this is another big subject.

Many years ago I listened to a lecture by Dr. James Moire at the British Institute of Radio Engineers, who had researched human sensitivity to the different orders of harmonics.

Odd harmonics are much more readily perceived and are usually destructive to listening pleasure.

Whereas even harmonics tend to be benign I did some work on this a few years ago and constructed a chart based on James Moire’s findings and of many friends in the industry, which chose that human sensitivity to harmonics is proportional to the frequency.

In fact it is hard to put into words but if I could show you this chart…. I would be happy to publish it. The important point here is once again the incredible sensitivity of humans to small distortions or restrictions in amplifier performance which result in pleasure or frustration.

chrissugar: Considering that people like the classic Neve sound, do you have any plans to remake these devices?

Rupert Neve: No designer wants to put the clock back and indeed, there were many subtle differences in these old designs depending upon the year that they were made and the available components I regard many of these now as “effects units.”

I have concentrated on pure designs which will be, or I should say, which are totally transparent.

I have seen many studios use the old classics in this way to enhance the performance of, shall we say, less satisfactory designs…

But, yes, we are expecting in the next 12 months to issue a range of units which will have a behavior similar to the old classics. The size and price of these is significantly lower than the originals so if you’re thinking of buying any more of my old modules wait and see what is announced in the next few months.

dbock: I believe that the 1081 (class AB, four bands + shelves) modules came after the 1073’s (class A, fewer features).

I’ve long wondered if the dramatic changes that occurred when moving from the 73 to the 81 were primarily engineering driven, market driven (and if it was market driven, what was causing engineers of the time to demand such a very class AB sound), or some combination of the two?

Rupert Neve: Let’s see. Well ,the engineers did not demand an AB sound but there was more component density and consoles were getting bigger all the time, so we had to reduce the current that was drawn by the original circuits. There did not seem to be, at that time, any reason for not doing it.

And, you know, this is progress. We now know what the effect of making those changes is and all I can say is, please, in the next few months, contribute to my pension fund, by purchasing the new stuff which will have taken care of these criticisms, I hope.

jjjj: Is there any advantage in digital audio through a DA and into the AMEK Purepath processed and then out the digital I/O? There has been some discussion that digital recorded samples will benefit from the AMEK processing and re-sampling. What are your thoughts?

Rupert Neve: I’m not quite certain what you mean here. What has been established is that if you mix in the analog domain the integrity of your mixed signals is far more accurate than trying to mix in the digital domain.

The AMEK DIB, which is a driver in a box, incorporates balanced mixing buses. Studios that have used this unit as an analog mixer have been amazed at the way in which the sound comes to life and attains a performance and space which is not available with a digital mix.

Any D/A or A/D places some restrictions on audio performance. One of the significant things that happen when you connect an AMEK Purepath or even one of my old modules (which are transformer modules) is the sonic improvement that seems to be applied to a digital signal.

I’m not sure if that answers the question but at any rate you have given me a platform for my opinion.

loudist: Mr. Neve, I wanted to thank you for your discussion on the web regarding the sampling ‘stairstep’ corner distortions in present day A/D converters.

What would be a solution to this anomaly?

Rupert Neve: OK, simple answer. Higher sampling rates.

Bink: How much do you think IC manufacturers’ unilateral decisions to pull chips out of production will affect your future designs? How do you design in a safety net for these caprices?

Rupert Neve: Bink—you are trying to scare me! All I can say is that solid state devices including very early transistors which were manufactured 30 or 40 years ago are still available.

Provided that they continue to be available for the next 25 years, it doesn’t actually worry me. I’ll then be over 100 years old and maybe able to retire.

Fletcher: A little bird mentioned that you were planning on doing some work with “iz Technologies”... anything you’d care to talk about?

Rupert Neve: The problem is a straight commercial one. There are a number of clients whom we are currently building relationships with and designing products which will be available within the next few months. Until they are ready to make public announcements I can only tickle your sensitivities by speaking mysteriously.

One clue I can give you is that any digital device - and there are some very good ones, now - benefit from extremely high quality analog amplifiers both before and after the digital. In the case of iz, they do have a remarkable hard disc recorder.

I have listened to material recorded on Radar and other hard disk machines and it is now possible to hear imperfections which are caused by inadequate mic or line pres. I won’t mention names but we now have to be very meticulous about the analog source.

RPhilbeck: Mr. Neve, when you say, “we”, are you referring to AMEK?

Rupert Neve: Mr. R Philbeck, AMEK has been my faithful client and friend for about 13 years. And most of what I am saying applies to my relationship with them. But, I do have other clients; one which you might find of interest, is not even in the pro audio business.

Taylor Guitars commissioned me to produce a totally new pickup and amplifier. We collaborated and closed on their implementation of a beautiful linear pickup. We have produced a range of guitars and equalizers which will be shown the first time at the NAMM show in January.

So these, too, will be come the “we” I am talking about. My various clients and I. Life gets more and more interesting as people become more and more aware of the need for a very high quality.

Lee: Do you have an opinion as to why it is so much more imperative to have high quality amplifiers when recording to digital than tape?

Rupert Neve: Lee, we are going back to the recorder. You mention tape. Now let’s bear in mind that even the best of our lovely old tape machines had amplifiers in them which did not measure up to the performance we can achieve today.

The tape medium imposed severe restrictions on the dynamic range and on the frequency response.

There was also a great deal of 3rd harmonic distortion which sounded great with some material but you can have too much of a good thing.

The tape machine would mask imperfections in the source material whereas even CD quality digital can produce dynamic range of 90 dB and a frequency response which may well be greater or at least more reliable than the old tape machine

Therefore you can see that although the distortions inherent in the low-grade digital are extremely distressing one still has to be very careful to maintain accurate source materials. I’ve expressed that rather badly but I hope I’ve conveyed my feelings about it.

Fletcher: OK… a couple more, and we’ll let Mr. Neve have the rest of the evening off…

jason fee: Throughout your career what’s been the best advice that anyone’s ever given you?

Rupert Neve:Probably the best advice came from an old friend now deceased who was our accountant in the early days of the Neve company.

When he showed me that we are, as humans, created and designed, if you like, in the image of our creator - God.

His creativity is in a sense available to us and we recognize it and use it responsibly. Hopefully.

So what we do is beyond ourselves. Perhaps another way of putting it is that we strive, strive, strive knowing that we will never reach the state of perfection in our designs.

There is always another step waiting, to be explored. We could say that there is always room at the top. See you at the top!

Harvey: Would you care to comment on your friendship with Mark McQuilken?

Rupert Neve: Harvey—yes, I first met Mark some years ago when Evelyn and I came to live in Wimberly He is a brilliant designer who has helped me from time to time especially to understand the mysteries of the digital domain. I hold Mark and his family high on my list of friends.

Harvey: Thank you for a delightful evening.

Rupert Neve: Well, thank you folks, too. I’m sure that having corresponded with several with you that may have tuned in. I hope that it has been as interesting for you as it has been for me.

Fletcher: On behalf of the entire PSW crew, I’d like to thank Rupert for sharing his time and knowledge with us.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/15 at 06:36 PM
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Yamaha And Steinberg Launch NUAGE Networkable Recording System

Yamaha control surface offers combination of fader and main control units, working with Steinberg’s Nuendo digital audio workstation software

NUAGE, a joint collaboration between Yamaha and Steinberg, is a new, truly networkable recording system consisting of hardware work surface components, sleek interface, comprehensive visual feedback, networkable audio interface units, and a software-based digital audio workstation.

The Yamaha control surface features a combination of fader and main control units allowing for various system configurations, and the core of NUAGE is Steinberg’s Nuendo digital audio workstation software.

Coupled with the power of Audinate Dante audio networking, this advanced production system provides mix engineers a synergistic studio solution. Dante supplies unrestricted system design and expandability both in the studio and in situations where audio is to be shared with live mixing systems.

A Dante Accelerator audio interface card can be installed in the computer running the Nuendo DAW to provide extra-low latency multi-channel audio data transfer capacity, advantageous when communicating with NUAGE I/O units. A secondary port can be used to provide redundant connections for failsafe reliability. 

“The NUAGE system will provide our customers a quality experience consistent with the Yamaha brand,” states Marc Lopez, marketing manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems. “We’re providing the best of all worlds - a scalable user friendly work surface, the superior workflow of Nuendo, and the power of Dante.”

NUAGE provides intuitive operation and visual organization for enhanced efficiency. Any 24-inch monitor can be used with the system, and it also incorporates computer LCD displays for “Extensive Console View” channel strip extension, customizable Nuendo shortcuts that can be freely assigned to numerous User Assignable Keys, Touch Slider functionality for instant channel navigation, touch sensitive faders and encoders, Channel Name Display, and Channel Color Bar. A precision jog wheel supports accurate, error-free editing on the master section.

NUAGE modular architecture and network audio interface enable broad system flexibility. Two types of control surface units can be used individually or in combination, according to system needs.

Three types of high-end audio interfaces are available, used individually or in combination for up to 128 channels. 16-channel analog, 16-channel digital, and 8-channel analog plus 8-channel digital can be controlled at once with two encoders per channel, or all encoders can be mapped to one or two highlighted channels in the Channel Setting Mode.

NUAGE I/O also includes advanced JetPLL jitter reduction technology for extremely low jitter and superior AD/DA resolution.

NUAGE supports 32-bit/192 kHz for enhanced sonic quality (Nuendo 6 supports sampling rates up to 384 kHz). Advanced audio interface DSP hardware offers “True Integrated Monitoring” for low-latency monitoring.

The DSP surround processing capabilities provide all the essentials for surround sound, including speaker/level display adjustments and base management. The power of native system processing allows a large number of plug-ins to be used simultaneously across multiple channels/tracks. Nuendo Syncstation provides sample-accurate synchronization for audio and video.

The system’s space-saving keyboard/mouse editing capabilities as well as compact rack-mount dimensions round out the unique NUAGE system.                         3

A basic NUAGE system starts at a targeted MSRP of $18,000 and has an expected availability in the second quarter of 2013.

Computers and monitors are not included in the system components.

image

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems
Steinberg

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/15 at 10:18 AM
Live SoundRecordingNewsProductProductionConsolesDigitalDigital Audio WorkstationsEthernetNetworkingSoftwareStudioPermalink

Harman Professional Deploys Regional Approach To U.S. Sales And Support

Emphasizes local engagement, deeper support and advanced training

Harman Professional has deployed a Regional Sales Office (RSO) sales management infrastructure in the Unites States that emphasizes local engagement, deeper support and advanced training. 

The new organization is led by Mark Posgay, senior director, US sales, Harman Professional, who pointed to the market-wide shift towards a systems methodology as a driver for this new tactile approach.

“As the professional audio and systems integration markets have migrated from components, to systems, to application-engineered systems, Harman Professional provides unique value — not simply because we offer best-in-class performance at the component level for each device in the signal chain but because HiQnet makes highly sophisticated systems more uniform, intuitive and easier to configure and control,” Posgay says.

“This seismic shift to deeper integration and software control requires a strong commitment to training and support so that our customers and channel partners can extract maximum value from our offerings,” he continues. “With the addition of new staff Harman Professional is meeting this commitment head-on and, we hope, empowering our customers and partners to capitalize on a compelling technology and market opportunity.

Posgay announced the appointment of seven-year Harman veteran Jim Ure to the position of business development manager, installed sound, Eastern region. Rob Lewis and Tom Der — who previously led North America sales for Studer and Souncraft respectively — also join the new team.

The new RSO organization sees Michael Schoen appointed to serve as senior manager, national accounts, Anton Pukschansky appointed territory sales manager, (Sound Marketing West) and Bill Raimondi named senior manager, U.S. distribution & strategic accounts. Leading the new organization’s training initiative is Chris Vice, another experienced Harman Professional veteran.

“This new organization enables Harman Professional to think globally and act locally,” notes Scott Robbins, Harman Professional executive vice president of worldwide sales. “We have all of the R&D resources, manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies of a global organization and now we have put the right people on the ground to listen to the needs of customers and partners in local and regional markets. I look forward to working with Mark and his team to ensure that Harman Professional provides customers with strong technical and economic value that, in turn, support their business ambitions!”

Harman Professional

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/15 at 05:17 AM
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yamaha & Steinberg Launch NUAGE Networkable Recording System

Allows engineers to choose and combine components to match individual application and workflow requirements

In an international launch of a joint collaboration, Yamaha and Steinberg have debuted NUAGE, a hardware and software system that adds the power of the Dante audio network to high-end recording, post production, live to tape broadcast, and house of worship recording for re-broadcast.

NUAGE is a complete, flexible system that allows engineers to choose and combine components to match individual application and workflow requirements.

NUAGE is the first truly networkable recording system consisting of hardware work surface components, sleek interface, comprehensive visual feedback, networkable audio interface units, and a software-based digital audio workstation.

The Yamaha control surface offers a combination of fader and main control units allowing for various system configurations, and the core of NUAGE is Steinberg’s Nuendo digital audio workstation software.

Dante audio networking provides unrestricted system design and expandability both in the studio and in situations where audio is to be shared with live mixing systems.

A Dante Accelerator audio interface card can be installed in the computer running the Nuendo DAW to provide extra-low latency multi-channel audio data transfer capacity, advantageous when communicating with NUAGE I/O units. A secondary port can be used to provide redundant connections for failsafe reliability.

“The NUAGE system will provide our customers a quality experience consistent with the Yamaha brand,” states Marc Lopez, marketing manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems. “We’re providing the best of all worlds - a scalable user friendly work surface, the superior workflow of Nuendo, and the power of Dante.”

NUAGE provides intuitive operation and visual organization for enhanced efficiency.

Any 24-inch monitor can be used with the system. The system incorporates the computer LCD displays for “Extensive Console View” channel strip extension, customizable Nuendo shortcuts that can be freely assigned to numerous User Assignable Keys, Touch Slider functionality for instant channel navigation, touch sensitive faders and encoders, Channel Name Display, and Channel Color Bar.

A precision jog wheel supports accurate, error-free editing on the master section.

NUAGE modular architecture and network audio interface enable broad system flexibility. Two types of control surface units can be used individually or in combination, according to system needs.

Three types of high-end audio interfaces are available, used individually or in combination for up to 128 channels. 16-channel analog, 16-channel digital, and 8-channel analog + 8-channel digital can be controlled at once with two encoders per channel, or all encoders can be mapped to one or two highlighted channels in the Channel Setting Mode. NUAGE I/O also features proprietary JetPLL jitter reduction technology for extremely low jitter and superior AD/DA resolution.

NUAGE includes 32-bit/192 kHz support for superior sonic quality (Nuendo 6 supports sampling rates up to 384 kHz). Advanced audio interface DSP hardware offers “True Integrated Monitoring” for low-latency monitoring.

The DSP surround processing capabilities provide all the essentials for state-of-the-art surround sound including loudspeaker/level display adjustments and base management.

Native system processing allows a large number of plug-ins to be used simultaneously across multiple channels/tracks. Nuendo Syncstation provides sample-accurate synchronization for audio and video.

The system’s space-saving keyboard/mouse editing capabilities as well as compact rack-mount dimensions round out the package.

A basic NUAGE system starts at a targeted MSRP of $18,000 and has an expected availability of second quarter of 2013.

Computers and monitors are not included in the system components.

Yamaha Commercial Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/14 at 03:07 PM
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In The Studio: A Look At Mixing Listening Levels

Either mixing too loudly or too quietly can fool your ears
This article is provided by Bobby Owsinski.

 

One of the most critical and overlooked parameters when mixing is the monitor level.

Either mixing too loudly or too quietly can fool your ears to the point where you’ll end with a mix that will seem to be missing something later.

Here’s an excerpt from my latest book, The Audio Mixing Bootcamp, that explains a bit more about mixing levels and how to find what works best for you.

——————————————————

One of the greatest misconceptions about music mixers (especially the great ones) is that they mix at high volume levels.

Some do, and at excruciatingly loud levels as well, but most mixers find that they get better balances that translate well to the real listening world by monitoring at conversation level (79dB SPL) or even lower.

High SPL levels for long periods of time are generally not recommended for the following reasons:

(click to enlarge)

1) First the obvious one, exposure to high volume levels over long periods of time my cause long-term physical damage.

2) High volume levels for long periods of time will not only cause the onset of ear fatigue, but physical fatigue as well. This means that you might effectively only be able to work six hours instead of the normal eight (or ten or twelve) that’s possible if listening at lower levels.

3) The ear has different frequency response curves at high volume levels that overcompensate on both the high and low frequencies. This means that your high volume mix will generally sound pretty limp when it’s played at softer levels.

4) Balances tend to blur at higher levels. What sounds great at higher levels won’t necessarily sound that way when played softer. However, balances that are made at softer levels always work when played louder.

Now this isn’t to say that all mixing should be done at the same level and everything should be played quietly.

In fact, music mixers (as opposed to film mixing, which always uses one constant level) tend to work at a variety of levels; up loud for a minute to check the low end, and moderate while checking the EQ and effects.

But the final balances usually will be done quietly.

Sometimes, the only way that you can check how much low-end is on a mix is to turn it up to a moderately loud level for a brief period, so don’t be afraid to do that if needed.

Just remember that keeping it up loud for long periods of time probably won’t help your mix translate to other systems too well.

Listening On Several Loudpeaker Systems
If you don’t have an alternate monitor system yet, then what are you waiting for? Most veteran mixers use at least a couple of systems to get a feel for how everything sounds - the main system where the mixer does all of the major listening work, and an alternate system for a different perspective.

The alternate speaker is used simply as a balance check to make sure that one of the instruments isn’t either too loud or too soft in the mix.

Also, one of the arts of mix balance is getting the kick drum and bass guitar to speak well on a small system, which is why an alternative monitor system is so important.

The second set of monitors doesn’t have to be great. In fact, the crappier they are, the better. Even a set of ten dollar computer speakers can do.

The idea is to have a second set that will give you an idea of what things sound like in that world, since unfortunately, there are a lot more people listening on crappy monitors than good ones these days.

Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. For more information be sure to check out his website and blog.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/14 at 11:17 AM
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

iZotope Releases New Insight Metering Tools Suite

Collection of innovative and customizable meters for post production and broadcast

iZotope has released Insight, which provides a full suite of audio analysis and metering tools for visualizing changes made during the mixing process, troubleshooting problematic mixes, and ensuring compliance with broadcast loudness standards.

Fully customizable and scalable, Insight allows audio engineers to visually monitor all relevant information from a mix in a convenient floating window, empowering users to look deeper into their audio with intelligent analysis tools and real-time monitoring capabilities.

Insight helps ensure adherence to current broadcast standards using advanced metering technology, with meters for immediate loudness calculation and True Peak detection, loudness calculation over time, and faster than real-time offline loudness calculation.

Advanced visualization and spatialization displays further aid in detecting problems that the ears cannot perceive, like the new Surround Scope and the 3D Spectrogram.

Also included are convenient user presets, designed for an array of engineering applications, for quick and easy access to common metering and loudness configurations.

Alternatively, users can define new presets with their own preferred customizations, giving Insight exceptional flexibility in the metering space.

“iZotope is excited to offer broadcast, post and audio engineers an elegant metering solution that can be custom fit to any workspace and workflow,” says Brett Bunting, Insight product manager. “Unlike other metering products, Insight integrates a full collection of state-of-the-art meters into one customizable window, allowing you to easily monitor and visualize all aspects of your audio.”

Key Features:

—Immediately detect potential mix problems through real-time visual monitoring and color-coded alerts.

—Ensure audio is fully compliant with current loudness standards with forward-thinking tools that adhere to standards like BS.1770-1/2/3, then document adherence with an exportable log or graph.

—Perform deep and flexible analysis with zoomable meters and the ability to route audio from any tracks or buses to Insight.

—Design your ideal metering view by choosing the meters you want to see, customizing them, and resizing the Insight window to fit your current workflow.

—Get an extensive suite of metering tools in a single plug-in, including True Peak Meters, Loudness Meters, Loudness History Graph, Stereo Vectorscope, Surround Scope, 2D/3D Spectrogram, and Spectrum Analyzer.

Insight is available for a special price of $399 through November 29, 2012 (Regular MSRP: $499 USD, €449 EUR) or for free to Ozone 5 Advanced Customers. Ozone 5 Standard customers can upgrade to Ozone 5 Advanced for a special price of $399 through November 29, 2012 and receive Insight for free. Customers who already own Ozone 5 Advanced will be notified via email with details to install Insight for free.

iZotope

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/13 at 03:45 PM
Live SoundRecordingNewsProductDigital Audio WorkstationsMonitoringProcessorStudioPermalink

In The Studio: A Primer For The World Of MIDI

MIDI can be harnessed and used to make the impossible possible
This article is provided by Audio Geek Zine.

 

MIDI is, to some, a great complicated mystery that they may never wrap their minds around completely.

However, when understood even in the most basic sense, MIDI can be harnessed and used to make the impossible possible.

I’ve designed this article to basically get you in touch with the basic concepts of the MIDI universe.

First, MIDI is an acronym which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.

It is a digital information protocol developed in 1983. Being a digital information protocol it basically means that MIDI is only 1s and 0s. It is a language that allows communication between musical instruments and related devices that are MIDI capable (sequencers, computers, sound modules, samplers, etc.)

MIDI contains NO actual audio information. It is a digital communication protocol which contains only numerical commands.

Initially, many companies became interested in MIDI and its promises of grandeur, but this in turn created problems, which were remedied through the introduction of General MIDI.

General MIDI

General MIDI is a STANDARD protocol that was implemented in 1993. It is a set of specifications created for the soul purpose of easy communication between all MIDI equipment, regardless of the maker. You might think of it as a sort of universal language of electronic devices.

MIDI Signal

These are the basics of a MIDI signal:

Note ON – Tells the device when it should begin the note.

Note Number – Indicates the note which should be played. (Each and every note that can be played by musical instruments has an assigned number)

Note Velocity – Determines the acoustic intensity or volume of the note to be played. This can be a value anywhere from 0 to 127—0 being the quietest and 127 being the loudest.

Note OFF – Indicates that the note should stop being played.

This is not the only information included in the signal, but the most important. Additional Information contained in a MIDI signal includes timing information, pitch bend, program changes, channel aftertouch, polyphonic key pressure, sustain pedal, running status, etc.

MIDI Channels

A MIDI channel is basically used to send each individual part of your MIDI composition to its own individual place in your MIDI network. Without MIDI channels you could write a whole orchestral arrangement and have it placed through one single MIDI module with a piano patch loaded into its memory. To say the least, this would not be pretty.

Channel 10 will always be a percussion track. And, MIDI is capable of 16 channels.

MIDI Modes

MIDI modes are the different modes in which a MIDI device may operate. They include:

(MODE 1) OMNI ON – POLYPHONY
(MODE 2) OMNI ON – MONO
(MODE 3) OMNI OFF – POLYPHONY
(MODE 4) OMNI OFF – MONO

What does that mean? When in OMNI ON mode, the MIDI device allows the unit to respond to all incoming data regardless of its channel. When in OMNI OFF mode, the MIDI device will respond to incoming data on only one specified channel.

When POLYPHONY is engaged, the MIDI device will allow multiple notes to sound at the same time.When Mono is engaged, The MIDI device will allow only ONE note to sound at a time.

MIDI Ports

What are they and what do they do?

MIDI IN – Allows for the input of MIDI data; in other words, it is the RECEIVING port.
MIDI OUT – Allows for the output of MIDI data; in other words, it is the SENDING port.
MIDI THRU – This one’s different. Simply put, it DUPLICATES the MIDI data going into the MIDI IN port and sends it out.

Jon Tidey is a Producer/Engineer who runs his own studio, EPIC Sounds, and enjoys writing about audio on his blog AudioGeekZine.com. To comment or ask questions about this article go here.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/13 at 03:41 PM
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Blue Microphones Now Shipping Spark Digital Studio Microphone For iPad & USB

Digital version of Blue’s analog Spark microphone

Blue Microphones announces the availability of Spark Digital, a true studio condenser microphone offering both iPad and USB connectivity.

The digital version of Blue’s analog Spark microphone, Spark Digital delivers professional-quality audio to iPad or any computer, laptop or tablet with USB input.

“We are excited to release the first studio microphone for the iPad. With both USB and iPad connections and a wide range of available recording apps like GarageBand, Spark Digital is the missing link for achieving truly professional results on the mobile platform,” says Brian Biggott, CTO of Blue Microphones. “Bridging the gap between analog quality and digital portability, Spark Digital completes the true mobile studio.”

Spark Digital features the same studio-grade condenser capsule and hand-selected components as the analog Spark. It also includes studio controls directly on the microphone, including volume and gain control, and instant mute.

In addition, Spark Digital is the only iPad microphone to offer a zero-latency headphone out for direct monitoring to eliminate distracting delay or for creating professional multi-track recordings where new tracks need to be synced with existing tracks.

Spark Digital also employs a feature found only on the original Spark: the Focus control, providing two different sonic options in one mic. “Focus Off” captures crisp, powerful audio with enhanced low frequency sensitivity for recordings with greater impact and definition, while “Focus On” captures greater clarity and detail for a tighter, more focused sound.

For the recording novice, the Focus control provides the freedom to experiment with different sonic signatures in one mic, while providing the experienced recordist with versatile options.

Spark Digital comes with a custom angle-adjustable desk stand with built-in shockmount that protects against disruptive rumblings and vibrations from a desktop surface and allows users to quickly position the microphone.

For each platform connection (USB and iPad), Spark Digital includes a y-cable with an attached, extended female headphone jack for zero-latency direct monitoring. It is directly compatible with iPad (3rd generation), iPad 2, iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and is instantly recognized for use with any recording app, in addition to driverless connection via USB on both PC and Mac.

For storing and sharing, Spark Digital also includes an exclusive Cloud Production Bundle with free access to production tools for easy organizing, storing and streaming of audio content across the web.

It includes a 25 GB storage and transfer account for six months from Gobbler, a leader in music backup and organization, along with a six month Pro Account from SoundCloud, the leading social sound platform that lets anyone create, record, promote and share their sounds on the web—a $125 total value.

Spark Digital (MSRP $199.99) is now available in-store and online at Apple and Best Buy, and arriving soon at Guitar Center, Amazon and additional consumer electronics and pro audio retailers worldwide.

Blue Microphones

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/13 at 03:33 PM
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Arturia Announces Availability Of SPARK DubStep Software Suite

Sample library plus rhythm track construction kit that includes 960 pre-programmed MIDI patterns

Arturia has announced the availability of SPARK DubStep, a new production and performance software suite dedicated to heavy-duty dubstep rhythm track construction.

SPARK DubStep features a comprehensive library of 30 kits/480 instruments created in partnership with London-based pro audio loops and samples provider Sample Magic.

SPARK DubStep is more than a sample library, also offering a complete rhythm track construction kit, including 960 pre-programmed MIDI patterns of hard-hitting drums, virtual analog synths, and filter-modulated mayhem.

SPARK DubStep’s powerful, inherently user-friendly interface simplifies beat- and bass pattern-creation, especially when using the step sequencer situated at the top of the default center panel.

Advanced looping modes combined with the XY pad’s real-time slicing and filtering controls allows users to produce stunning breaks.

The 480 instruments comes complete with 12 sound-sculpting parameters that allow users to put their own stamp on the resultant sound—modify the noise color of hi-hat, clip basses using various analogue filters, adjust the LFO rate and depth of a wobble bass, and more.

SPARK DubStep’s integrated 16-channel mixer offers 14 high-quality effects and also mapping of each instrument’s stereo output to the host DAW when seamlessly running as a plug-in (RTAS, AU, VST3) with real- time automation available on all parameters.

It’s also possible to export patterns as .wav or MIDI files to the DAW via simple drag and drop.

SPARK DubStep can be used as a stand-alone instrument independently from a software sequencer and played a MIDI keyboard, or as a drumpad-based controller. Either way, all onscreen key knobs and pads are easily assignable via MIDI.

SPARK DubStep can be purchased as a software download for €99 EURO/$99 USD or boxed for €119 EURO/$129 USD from Arturia’s Online Shop here.

Listen to Arturia Director of Sound Design Mike Hosker putting SPARK DubStep through its stylistic paces here.

Arturia

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/13 at 10:12 AM
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Hosa Technology Debuts USB-200FB Series High-Speed USB Cables With Pivoting Connector

Design facilitates space-saving right angle connections

Hosa Technology has announced the introduction of the USB-200FB Series high speed USB cables with pivoting A connector designed to conserve valuable space in tight surroundings.

Available in 3-, 6-, and 10-foot lengths (USB-203FB, USB-206FB, and USB-210FB), the new USB-200FB USB cables feature a pivoting Type A connector—the end that typically connects to a computer—that can be set to either straight or right angle positions.

This enables one to use the cable in its straight orientation when space permits and in a right angle position in cramped quarters.

In its right angle position, the computer would typically be placed on an elevated laptop stand (so the cable can hang off the side) or at the edge of the work surface.

For DJ production rigs commonly consists of a laptop computer, mixer, turntables, and a digital controller, the new USB-200FB USB cables can be a valuable means of making connections in an environment where space is frequently limited.

To ensure interoperability with a wide range of USB peripherals, the new Hosa USB-200FB USB cables are fully compliant with the USB 2.0 serial bus interface standard and are backward compatible with the USB 1.1 standard. They also support burst data transfer rates up to 480 Mbps.

As a result, the new cables are a good option for connecting an audio interface, USB microphone or instrument, or most computer peripherals to a PC.

“The new Hosa USB-200FB USB cables provide DJ’s, musicians, and others with a valuable means of making equipment connections in the cramped spaces they frequently find themselves working in,” says Jose Gonzalez, Hosa Technology product manager. “At Hosa, we’ve been providing the cables musicians and audio pros require for over two decades, and these new USB products address a common challenge we’ve all encountered at one time or another.

“All three cable lengths feature our unique connector pivot design, exhibit superior workmanship throughout, and carry pricing that is comparable to most common USB cables lacking these features. I’m certain these new USB cables will be well received by our industry.”

The new Hosa Technology USB-200FB USB Series cables are expected to become available in January 2013.

MSRP pricing:

• USB-203FB: $8.95
• USB-206FB: $10.95
• USB-210FB: $11.95

Hosa Technology

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/12 at 03:36 PM
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