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Winter NAMM 2012 Special Report:
Recording & Live Sound Technology

By: Tony Grund and Jason Buchwald

 
   


BLUE Microphones
BLUE continues to get serious about digital mics with Spark Digital, a new studio-grade condenser microphone. This studio mic can be used with an iPad/iPhone or a computer. It includes both a USB cable and a 30-pin iPad connection cable.

BLUE was also showing a more portable iPhone/iPad mic that connects via the 30-pin dock connection. The BLUE Mikey rotates around so you can capture audio from different directions easily. How useful will it be as a pocket field-recording device? We'll be checking it out when it's released.

Blue Spark Digital Microphone for USB and iOS

 

 

Line 6
If you landed directly on this page instead of our NAMM Special Report overview, then you missed our look at the one truly revolutionary product introduced at Winter NAMM 2012: The Line 6 StageScape family of live sound products. Read the full story about this amazing new gear here.

Line 6 StageScape

PreSonus

Cheap and Free, two words that are music to musicians’ ears. In the free category, PreSonus QMix rocks. For users of the fantastic StudioLive mixing boards (see our review of the StudioLive 24.4.2), QMix expands upon the concepts found in the Virtual StudioLive application, but in this case, the software enables musicians to control their monitor mixes directly from their iPhones or iPod touches. With anywhere from four to ten aux sends depending on the model of mixer, this can really free your sound engineer from having to tweak everyone’s mix to taste.

Almost under the radar compared with many other product announcements, we were very excited to discover the new BlueTube DP v2 microphone and instrument preamp. When we reviewed the original two-channel, 12ax7 tube and solid-state preamp (selectable), we found it to be one of the best sounding low-priced preamps suitable for use in studios of any size. The new v2 ups the quality by including PreSonus Class A XMAX mic preamps (as found in StudioLive). A review unit is already on its way to our studio for testing.

PreSonus BlueTube DP v2 Microphone and Instrument Preamp

More Info: www.Presonus.com

Roland
Aside from their flagship TD-30 electronic drums, Roland also showed off a really interesting mastering program called R-Mix. This standalone software allows control and manipulation of precise elements in a two-track mix. For example, you can capture a frequency range in a specific stereo point (imagine a lasso around a piece of the audio) and then move that captured part around in the stereo field, or adjust the volume of it (including muting it entirely). This can be a great tool for re-mixers as it allows you to basically take the vocals out of tracks (except where the vocals are spread really far across the stereo image). It also allows you to see where the energy is in the stereo and frequency spectrum, and tweak that energy if necessary. Other tools include speed and pitch alteration. In practice it looked easy to use, with a clutter-free UI.

Roland R-Mix Mastering Suite

Sennheiser
Sennheiser, long famous for high quality microphones, told us that they are utilizing a slightly new strategy geared towards the entry-level market. They are looking to building economical, high quality designs to get home studio and gigging musician in “on the ground floor,” who perhaps at a later date will upgrade to some of Sennheiser’s pricier items (and there are plenty!). 

To meet this goal, the XSW wireless mic series was created.  Coming in several variants for speaking, live singing, and instruments, the idea is to let musicians get a taste of Sennheiser’s sound quality for under $500.

Universal Audio

Universal Audio was turning heads with their new audio interface, Apollo, and rightfully so. As audio interfaces go, this one’s quite sexy, as it features both Thunderbolt and Firewire interfaces in a 1U rack unit that is going to give the competition a run for its money. But the fun doesn't stop with just a great interface, though. The real excitement is that included on board is a UAD-2 DSP processor, which enables recordings to be made through UAD-2 powered plugins!  Of course these plugins are also available for mixing and mastering later. We don't see how people who are serious about recording in the home or projects studio can pass up at least looking at this. We're very eager to try it out.

 

 

 

 

   
             
             
             
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