Archive of the Workstations Category

Microsoft at NAMM 2007

Hey, our friend Dan Moore from Microsoft is here to check in with old NAMM friends, spread the word about Vista, and overall, help make Microsoft easier for developers to work with…in his words:

I had the pleasure of enjoying my first NAMM in nine years not having to demo anything, sell anything, yell over the din of guitar amps and control room monitors…and yet my voice is still shot! To make things more fun, I was joined by two NAMM first-timers and they soaked it all up. Overall we had a great time, walked the floor and reached out to our partners, listened to what our partners need from Microsoft, and eventually will turn that feedback into a tighter worknig relationship between Microsoft and the audio/music development community.

After developing recording and computer audio products for Mackie for last eight years of my life, I really enjoyed having an objective perspective on the needs and wants of our partners as it applies to the Windows platform. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a position where I can apply the years of experience in pro audio to bear on what I perceive to be some of the biggest undiscovered business opportunities we have yet to realize.

There are so many compelling stories to tell around creativity and technology, and NAMM is great place to capture those. With Vista hitting the streets shortly, there will undoubtedly be more. I was amazed when I first learned about the new audio stack in Vista, the fact it was completely re-written to be more efficient, powerful, and reliable, and overall easier with which to work for the audio/music developer community. The launch of the Crossfader web site (http://www.crossfader.com) at CES provides a channel to tell those user stories, and highlight some of the great video content our partners have been doing for years.

Overall you get to the larger goal by hitting the smaller goals along the way. Having a presence and visibility at NAMM, reaching out to the partner community, and building these relationships was a necessary first step in reaching the larger goal of bringing the audio/music communtiy closer to what Microsoft has to offer. I am incredibly proud and grateful to be a part of that effort.

Bob Moog Foundation

We have the pleasure of welcoming Michelle Moog-Koussa, daughter of the legendary Bob Moog. Since her father’s passing, she and her family have established the Bob Moog Memorial Foundation for Electronic Music. She tells us that her dad never really let the family in on what he was up to, but that when she hit the NAMM floor with him in 1990, it was completely surreal, with at least one man bowing down before him. Quite an eye-opener. Well, she’s back and letting the world know about the foundation and the plans for a museum in his beloved home of Asheville, N.C. Plans include endowed scholarships, an electronic music outreach program for disadvantaged youth and a series of concerts and competitions. The outpouring from the floor has been overwhelming, she says. Now let’s the rest of us pitch in and honor the man who did as much for the sounds of today as any man who walked these floors. The foundation is starting from the ground up, unfunded and reliant on donations from people whose life Bob touched, either through his instruments or his humble and giving spirit. After all, his legacy lives on. Let’s all be a part of it. Visit the website, www.moogfoundation.org, to make a contruibution. Any amount is appreciated.

SSL Has You Covered

We’re here with Fadi Hayek, new to SSL, but you may remember him from his days at Yamaha/Steinberg. SSL is showing FIVE new products! At a NAMM show! My, how our world is changing. Fadi, whaddya got?

Quite a bit actually. We’re rolling out a series of three 48 channel A/D and D/A converters. The Alpha-Link is a two space 24 Channel 24bit 96khz Analog to digital converter with an additional 24 channels of digital I/O for a total of 48 channels. There are 3 varieties. The MADI SX ($3595.00) includes 24 of AES/EBU, the MADI AX ($3595.00) includes 24 of ADAT light pipe and the AX ($2695.00) excludes the MADI I/O option. All versions come with word clock I/O, MIDI I/O and a 64 channel buss connector.

The next product is the SSL Mixpander ($1295.00). The Mixpander is a PCI card that mates with the 64 channel buss connector on the Alpha-Link providing a complete I/O solution for all Windows based native DAW systems. The mixpander includes full DSP capabilities that allow the user to host Soundscape Plugins inside their favorite Software workstation.

Our final MADI product is the the cost effective Delta-Link ($3595) which provides 128 channels of Pro Tools HD to MADI conversion. Th Delta-Link is ideal for any one using a MADI based console. Also, if you connect it via MADI to the Alpha-Link SX or AX, a Pro Tools user can get 48 channels of SSL I/O at $7200.00

The Xrack is getting a new 8 channel line mixer ($850.00). This new addition to the Xrack lineup provides 8 channels of summing with insert point on the first 4 channels and mono or stereo panning. The 8 channel module along with the rest of the Xrack modules provides a fantastic front and back end to any DAW. Utilizing SSL acclaimed Super Analog technology, it’s like having the best part of an SSL console right in your digital audio workstation.

Lastly during the next quarter we’ll be releasing a new Plugin for Duende called Drum Strip ($299). With this powerful SSL channel strip , DAW users can attain increased presence, clarity and detail in their drum tracks; reduce spill in individual tracks; restore natural brightness and achieve greater perceived loudness.

UAD XPander Ready to Roll

Just got back from the Universal Audio booth and got a run through the highly anticipated UAD-Xpander, an ExpressCard DSP system intended for the mobile music producer/engineer who wants to carry along all their UA plugs, with project transfers to desktop systems. It will ship in March, we’re told, and will come in three versions, from the Xpress at $999 (with $500 plug-in voucher) to the Xpert at $1399 to the Xtreme at $2199. The latter comes with all UAD plugs up to version 4.5, which is worth the price alone. Key features? 44.1-192 DSP audio accelerator for laptops, 2.5 Gbps ExpressCard 34 interface, and optional Xtenda kit with PCIe desktop adapter. In other news, the DCS remote pre will be shipping in February, and we’re told it will come in at $999. That should do well at that price point. And finally, the UAD-1E Extreme Pak, inc luding 32 plugs and the PCI Express DSP accelerator, is shipping this month. Oh! One more thing. They hired Brent Elder, formerly of E-mu and Apogee, as VP of engineering. We’ll leave it up to you to guess what that might mean for future products…

Native is HOT!

If there was a word to sum up the show so far, it would be “Native”. I just saw Apogee’s new portable Symphony system written exclusively for Apple’s Logic Pro 7. Using a $595 PCIe card into Apple’s 17″ Mac Book Pro, you can get up to 32 tracks with 1.6 ms of latency. Right after that, I went to the Sony booth and heard that their Oxford plug-ins are now available in Audio Units. Native has arrived. Be sure to check out our March issue for more Native news.

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Sony Plug-Ins Go Native

Just brought Nathan Eames back from the Sony booth, where the big news from the Oxford plug-in world is the fact that the first three of the range of seven have now gone native. Seems to be an emerging theme at this show. Nathan, I understand that there’s a lot happening in Oxford Town?

It’s certainly been a busy time for us Tom. In the last month, we’ve released Universal Binary versions of all our Pro Tools plugs, launched the Oxford Limiter for the Powercore platform and most exciting I think for the
NAMM show is the launch of our Native range. People have been talking to us for a while now about – when are you guys gonna be compatible with Logic and Digital Performer etc? And the truth is, they have been, but
you needed a Powercore card for them to run. Now though with Apple’s Intel based machines running at lightning speeds – we think its a good time to bring them out for Logic etc. So the first three plugs that are AU
compatible are the Oxford EQ, Oxford Dynamics and Oxford Limiter. The remaining four (Inflator, TransMod, Reverb and Restoration Tools bundle) will come early in 2007.
We’re all really excited at Oxford about opening up to a whole new world of users, and hope that Logic users will appreciate having us on the platform. Just to give a very quick background on where we came from – we made a really expensive digital console, the Oxford OXF-R3 (cost around $1m !) in the nineties, and now that Sony Oxford has stopped manufacturing consoles, we took the same technology , algorithms etc and applied them to plugins. So unlike a lot of emulation software, you’re actually getting the exact same EQ and Dynamics sections from OXF-R3, right inside your computer.. its the same code. If you want to check out
our plugs, or see some video demos from last year’s NAMM show, come visit us at www.sonyplugins.com.

Open Labs Updates Its Workstations to Generation 3

Just checked the Open Labs booth, where they’re showing the brand new Gen 3 NeKo and MiKo keyboard workstations. Among the many enhancements, the biggie was the use of Intel CoreDuo2 processors. The NeKo SE ($3,999) stashes a 2.1 GHz processor inside, while the Neko LX ($5,999) and NeKo 76 ($7,399) have 2.4 GHz processors. The MiKo LX ($3,499) also as a 2.1 GHz unit, while the MiKo SE ($2,999) includes a 1.8 GHz CoreDuo 2. These workstations are available now. www.openlabs.com

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