US: Sonnox's new suite of audio restoration plug-ins leads PSN-e's final selection of highlights from this year's AES (US) Convention, writes David Davies. The 127th AES Convention took place at New York's Javits Center from October 9 to 12.
In development for 18 months, Sonnox Restore (showcased here by Sonnox sales and marketing manager Nathan Eames) is described as a "quantum leap" beyond previous restoration plug-in technology. The collection is compatible with Pro Tools (RTAS), Audio Units and VST platforms, and comprises three plug-ins - Oxford DeBuzzer, Oxford DeClicker and Oxford DeNoiser - designed to accurately restore impaired audio recordings. All three plug-ins provide detailed graphical feedback, while there are also a number of new features, including a specialised dialogue mode in the DeClicker.
According to Sonnox MD Rod Densham, "Sonnox Restore represents a genuine milestone for our company. As with all our products, emphasis on audio quality has been paramount throughout the design phase, and an additional focus has been speed and ease of use, which should be particularly beneficial in saving time for our post-production customers."
Elsewhere on the show-floor, Audio Precision marked its 25th year in business by introducing a new ultra-high bandwidth analyzer option for the APx525 family of audio analyzers. The BW52 High Bandwidth option extends the APx's FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) capability to one megahertz, with 24-bit resolution and 2.38 Hz bin width. This is said to make APx "ideal" for looking at out-of-band noise in Class-D amplifiers, sigma-delta converters and other contemporary audio devices. The BW52 option is supported by APx models APx520, 521, 525 and 526, and will be available in January 2010.
Following the showing of a prototype in Frankfurt earlier this year, CharterOak unveiled the PEQ-1 Stereo Program Equalizer. Introduced at a time of increasing interest in CharterOak outboard, the PEQ-1 is a switchable 16-band program equalizer that is intended for use as a finishing tool on the mix buss or in mastering. According to CharterOak founder Michael Deming, the device "has an incredibly musical sound with a layout that naturally leads you to do the right thing".
Grace Design exhibited its new series of Spacebar mic positioning kits and components designed for audio professionals in the music recording, film scoring, broadcast, live sound and fixed installation markets. Also announced was the forthcoming new 500 series rack preamp module, the m501, which is said to provide the "sonic performance and feature set" of the m101 preamp for customers using 500 series racks; and the m103 channel strip, which is the first product of its kind produced by Grace Design.
Unity Audio/Kush Audio showcased the UBK Fatso, developed to fulfil a vision of "a collection of fixed-setting compressors that, with the turn of a single knob, could shape and tame any sound you throw at it, and be especially adept with those that are the easiest to screw up: vocals, drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, and piano." In addition to all the "tone-sweetening" characteristics and features of the classic Fatso, the UBK Fatso also includes three brand new presets: Splat, Smooth and Glue.
Mackie showcased its Onyx-i Series FireWire Recording Mixers. Comprising four models (820i, 1220i, 1620i and 1640i), the new range is said to deliver premium analogue features, flexibility and built-in 24-bit/96kHz FireWire I/O. Onyx-i FireWire mixers can be used with all major DAWs and is qualified by Mackie for use with Pro Tools M-Powered 8. The flagship Onyx 1640-i incorporates a 16x16 FireWire interface, allowing the user to return up to 16 DAW channels right back into the channel strips for a true tape-style mixdown.
Neumann showed a new studio microphone, the TLM 102. The compact fixture features a newly developed large-diaphragm cardioid capsule with a maximum sound pressure level of 144 dB, which - for example - permits the recording of percussion, drums, amps and other very loud sound sources. However, Neumann says that the most important applications are in the realm of vocals and speech, with "a slight boost above 6 kHz [providing] for excellent presence of the voice in the overall mix". The TLM 102 is available in black and nickel, with a stand mount, at a price of approximately 600 euros.
Radial introduced its new Workhorse 5000 Lunchbox with built-in mixer. The three-rackspace unit accommodates up to eight 500 Series modules and provides _16VDC and 48V phantom power for each of its eight module slots as well as input, direct out and summing connections on 8-channel D-25 sub-jacks. In addition, each module has 1/4" and XLR I/O, mono/stereo link switches and a mix/feed switch for internal patch routing of the output to feed the next module or to the master output section.
Waves previewed a number of new products for post, mixing and live applications. WavesLive MultiRack is described as the first-ever software processing platform conceived and created specifically for live sound, and allows live sound engineers to run multiple instances of compressors, reverbs, equalizers, delays, limiters and more at a "mere fraction" of the cost of comparable hardware. The first in the new line of dedicated Waves Post Production tools, the Waves WNS Noise Suppressor is a real-time multiband processor for fast and effective broadband noise suppression on dialogue tracks. Vocal Rider is the first of Waves' new series of Mixing tools, and is billed as an "extremely useful tool" for mixers and recording engineers, automatically 'riding' the levels of vocal tracks. Finally, LoAir is a sub-harmonic generating plug-in for post which creates LFE content or 'rumble'.
The next AES event on the agenda is the 7th Chile Conference, which takes place from November 5-7.