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AES 129: If you’ve been to San Francisco…

...then the chances are that you will have encountered new product launches from Avid, CEDAR Audio and PMC, among many others. AES 129 took place last week in San Francisco, combining an exhibition floor with a full conference programme.

…then the chances are that you will have encountered new product launches from Avid, CEDAR Audio and PMC, among many others. AES 129 took place last week in San Francisco, combining an exhibition floor with a full conference programme.

Undoubtedly one of the most high-profile launches of the week, Avid’s Pro Tools 9 heralds the first-ever software-only option for the music creation and audio production software. Enabling users to work with Avid audio interfaces, third-party audio interfaces or no hardware at all when using the built-in audio capabilities of a Mac or PC, the new release also heralds the expansion of control surface options to include Avid’s Artist Series and Pro Series audio consoles and controllers (formerly known as Euphonix consoles and controllers) thanks to support for the Avid EUCON open Ethernet protocol. The software will be available worldwide from 12 November.

New from Allen & Heath was the GS-R24 analogue studio recording console. Based on the ZED R-16 FireWire recording mixer concept with influences from the GS3000, the new desk is available with a choice of interface modules, motorised faders and MIDI controllers for interfacing with software DAWs.

Elsewhere on the showfloor, CEDAR Audio exhibited its new Forensic Audio Starter System. Designed to complement the company’s existing range of tools used worldwide by national police forces and security agencies, the Audio Starter System includes the NR-4 broadband noise reduction system, a precision EQ, the 0.2Hz resolution spectrum analysers, a high quality limiter, and the full range of CEDAR’s core tools. Power comes from the latest CEDAR Cambridge Series III system, supplied complete with multi-channel I/O, a large LCD monitor, and all software and drivers.

Fostex showcased its PM0.4n studio monitors. Based on the PM0.4, the new launch includes a renewed cosmetic design, high efficiency bi-amp design and distinctive colours. Features include: exclusively designed aromatic LF driver and UFLC HF driver; high efficiency bi-amplifier drive with 18W each for LF and HF drivers; a glossy front baffle with gently papered top; a silk-screen printed Fostex logo with blue LED; and packaging in a four-colour ‘beauty box’ for better in-store presence.

Phoenix Audio showed a new mic pre on show, the eight-channel, Class A DRS8. Each channel is equipped with level control, -30dB pad, phantom power, phase reverse, high-pass filter and mute buttons. The unit has an output monitoring facility allowing all eight channels to be sent directly to a monitor controller or a patchbay, as well as having individual channel outputs.

PMC brought visitors’ interest to the new AML2 powered studio monitors. The nearfields employ an advanced transmission line design incorporating 6.5” flat-piston, carbon fibre/Nomex woofers capable of up to 3.3cm excursion, and 1.5’ soft-dome tweeters mounted on acoustic lens. Power is supplied by Class A/B 100W/80W analogue amps.

Rupert Neve Designs, meanwhile, turned the spotlight on the new Portico 5024 Quad Mic Amp. Billed as a “workhorse” fit to enhance the front-end of any digital or analogue recording system, the 5024 includes four channels of Portico Series pre-amplification, independent Silk controls, two channels of DI inputs and an M-S decoder. Founder Rupert Neve remarked: “Transformers have always been a signature component of my designs, and the implementation of custom transformers with the Class A circuit topologies developed for the Portico Series have drawn on countless years of knowledge. As the result of countless hours of experimentation, these preamplifier designs greatly enhance sonic performance, and make listening a more enjoyable experience.”

Sound Devices highlighted a new version of its USBPre computer interface, USBPre 2. Described as a powerful, easy-to-use portable interface to interconnect audio sources to Mac OS and Windows computers over USB, the two-channel USBPre 2 features the same extended bandwidth, low noise microphone preamplifiers and digital converters as Sound Devices’ 7-Series Digital Recorders. Applications include voiceover recording, reference playback and monitoring, and test and measurement.

TC Electronic presented its LM2 stereo loudness and true-peak level meter. One of the first products on the market to comply with the European R128 loudness standard as well as US standards, the LM2 analyses any audio – be it speech, music or other sources – assigning it an ATSC A/85- or EBU R128-compliant loudness number. Numbers may be used to normalise programmes, commercials and music tracks, and to set metadata in AC3 transmission.

For more AES reviews, see the November issue of Pro Sound News Europe.