Hot New Gear And Trade Shows (ex-What's going on at NAMM?) : LUSENET : 3D Audio's Music Business Forum (SSS Temp) : One Thread

Don't keep us in suspense. There has to be lots of cool new toys around. What's ringing your bells?

-- Lynn Fuston (, January 30, 1998


Response to What's going on at NAMM?

David Coffin just posted a very elaborate overview of a few new pieces of gear that were showing at NAMM on the Ask 3D Message Board. The link to it is . Check it out.


-- Lynn Fuston (, February 01, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

That link would be

And from now on, don't do like I do. No brackets around anything or it will disappear. Aargh! A whole new set of rules.


-- Lynn Fuston (, February 01, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Mike, David and Ken,

Who needs Roger Nichols when you three are on the beat? Man! Thanks for all the valuable input, and the time to compile it and post it here.

By the way, did anybody see anything about the new Alesis PCI card? I am very interested in that one. Did they show it at all or was it rumorware? Does it come bundled with any software? Is Alesis planning on authoring any software or bundling someone elses? So many questions.

-- Lynn Fuston (, February 03, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Did anybody see the RAMSA digital console? I just saw the big 2-page ad in the new MIX and it look like it might be a contender. What did you see and what did you think?

-- Lynn Fuston (, February 03, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

>>I'll be sending the info to Lynn for your perusal within the next 48 hours. <<

Craig's Winter NAMM Highlights are posted now at 3D Audio's website. You can access them from the front page. -Lynn

-- Lynn Fuston (, February 20, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

I'm not actually there, but I saw a spread on Sweetwtaer's site listing 2 new 20 bit ADAT's, a 20 Bit Alesis drum machine (how long have I been waiting for that?), and of course the killer entry of the Roland VS-1680, 16 24-bit tracks, 2 expansion slots for effects, all in one design, etc all for $3199!!!!!!! There is a press release and picture at Roland's web site. Another great Roland intro is the SP-808 sampler which (as far as I can tell) records all audio (samples as well as 4 tracks of digital audio) onto it's internal zip drive. Multiple outputs, built in effects, looks like a VS-880 but made to be a remixers dream. No price yet that I have seen, but this is the one I am dying for, so any info would be much appreciated. I must say that Roland hasn't done much wrong in the past few years. Also, does anyone know of any news from Motu in regards to support for new audio boards

-- Bobby Cramer (, January 30, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

This could be one of the best things I've seen at the show.

Foundry has an amazing new product called ACID. This is an extremely unique digital audio program for windows. It works with digital audio loops unlike anything I've ever seen. It comes packaged with over 500 megs of sample loops and no matter what their original tempo or key, they automatically work together. The timecompression algorithms are outstanding....I listened to some 160bpm drums loops (on headphones) dropped below 90 and they still sounded very good.

The way it works seems really simple. Grab your audio loops from the CD library or from your own library and simply drag them onto the track grid. There isn't any limit to the number of tracks that you have going. Set your tempo and blew my mind when they grabbed the tempo slider and changed it while it was playing, not glitching or pausing, but all the loops stayed together. There is extensive control for drawing volume and panning fades and apparently there are four effects busses for running DirectX effects.

ACID can record and run linear tracks so you can record vocals or other tracks along side your loops. ACID is also supposed to provide sync options so you can run sequencers and other digital audio programs along side. Retail price is supposed to be $395 and should be available March or April.

-- Mike Martin (, February 01, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

ACID is a Sonic Foundry product.....sorry for the typo

-- Mike Martin (, February 01, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Kurzweil showed the Kurzweil Percussion System, Expression Mate and the KDFX.

The Kurzweil Percussion System (KPS) has 7 pads (4 single trigger 3 dual trigger), kick and high hat pedal. It comes complete with all of the mounting hardware. Its a really solid kit and is a new design by Dan Dauz. It doesn't come with a trigger to MIDI interface though Kurzweil will be releasing one at a later time. As is you can package it with any of the existing modules

The Expression Mate is a MIDI control device that can be connected to any MIDI keyboard. It comes with a large Ribbon controller just like the one on the K2500. The box itself provides 2 pedal inputs, 2 MIDI in and out (complex MIDI merging and filtering and re-routing capabilities) a breath controller input and 2 assignable switches. It also features 3 arpegiators...

The KDFX is the long awaited effects processor option for the K2500. It is due to ship in March. Needless to say it is the highest quality, most comprehensive and powerful effects processor ever put in a keyboard. This piece was definitly worth the wait.

-- Mike Martin (, February 01, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Be sure to drop in at for an apparently growing list of press releases from NAMM...Roland has extensive info there that's the same as what attendees picked up in their new products lit. I watched the SP-808 demo twice it was so cool--the dual Dimension Beam thing is far from being a gimmick; very musical, or perhaps I should say dance-able!--it's supposed to even send MIDI info; see this and you'll want it. The sampling features are idiot-proof: just blow in a whole string of CD hits and the 808 will chop 'em up and distribute them to adjacent pads. The 4-(stereo)-track audio recorder has a looping-type sequencer format and you can resample anything it's doing to a single pad. dpc

-- David Coffin (, February 02, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Some of the cool stuff that I saw included Sonic Foundry's ACID, which allows the user to preview any loop before adding it to your mix. The cool thing is that in real time, it automatically matches the tempo and key by scanning ahead for waveforms, as I thinly understand it. It also can change the pitch and tempo in real-time. Also compatible with the DirectX plug-ins. Retail is about $400.

For a scant $69, Groovemaker seems to be a cool tool. What it does is provide a sound library on CD-ROM, with thousands of groove combinations. Once in the program, you may call up a bank of these groove combinations, punching up loops that each have eight tracks to them. You may click to shut off any combination of these tracks, change the pitch and tempo in real time...and also hit Randomize, which will -- you guessed it -- continue with endless permutations of grooves that are at the same tempo and key. If you like these, you may save them by simply clicking on "Save". Later, you may sequence the grooves that you like by flipping to another window. It seems really easy to use, always a double-edged sword. The bonus is that everyone can use it. The drawback, of course, is that everyone does! Still, though, better to have it than not.

Peavey had a prototype of an upcoming synthesizer, the Pandora monophonic analog valve synthesizer. You read that right -- it has a 12AX7 tube in the output stage to color the sound a little on the way out, although curiously, the rep said that it wasn't designed to distort the tube, saying that the harmonics and control inherent in the synth were enough. In either case, the prototype sounds F-A-T (if you want it to sound that way), interesting, and versatile. Very cool. The one I saw was the same blue color as their new keyboard controller -- a sort of electric blue, I suppose -- and was a single-space rackmount unit. Also on the drawing boards is an accompanying keyboard controller, so you can manually do all the tweaks of the filters, envelopes, etc. Included with this controller was, believe it or not, a theremin-type antennae, which will be able to control pitch, envelopes, or whatever, depending on what you assign it to control. The Peavey synth could also be manipulated via computer (PC -- Mac stuff still on the drawing board). Synth will probably go for about $800 list, controller for about $400. Nice! Great sound!!!!!! Maybe summer, with the controller coming a bit later????

Lexicon is coming out with the MPX100 reverb/effects unit, probably in April, according to the rep. It lists for $249, uses one Lexichip (the same as the MPX1!), and is NOT programmable at all, although it seems to have fairly extensive MIDI functions, especially for the price point. 20-bit converters, 24-bit internal processing. I'm sure that this will stomp all over the Alex. It also has tremolo, chorus, and I think delay.

Alesis unveiled their ADAT Type II systems, all with 20-bit converters. Most of you already know that the M20 is out, but also in their plans is the ADAT-XT 20, which is allegedly shipping NOW for $3000 list, and the LX20, shipping in April (according to the rep) for $2249 list. Both are eight-track as usual with 20-bit converters (although the XT has apparently nicer converters). The LX20 has eight unbalanced rca I/O, and ADAT Optical Digital I/O, and five onboard locate points. The XT20 expands on this by also having balanced 56-pin I/O connectors, onboard digital editing, track copy, track delay, tape offset, and ten-point autolocation. 20 bit converters theoretically offer sixteen times more detailed than 16-bit converters, which should result in not only greater detail, but also a lower noise floor and increased dynamic range.

The Mackie digital mixer's Surround Sound seemed to be extremely functional, with one thousand points in the surround field, and quite a host of other features. It looks like it is shaping up to be quite a mixer, although time will tell for certain. Shipping in April (don't hold your breath). NAMM = Not Available, Maybe May? (sorry, old joke...)

OLDER STUFF: The Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor ruuuuuuules. I auditioned it again. This is such a cool compressor, capable of emulating a number of vintage tube compressors. It's really incredible-sounding.

Line 6 amplifiers: I finally heard these. The Fender amplifier simulation is incredible, stunning beyond words. The Marshall and Mesa Boogie amplifier simulations are also incredible, but I was particularly taken with the Fender imitations. The engineers here must have a good sense of humor, as they designed the amplifier to power up slowly, just like a real tube amplifier! This amplifier imitates the clear bell-like tones that Fender amplifiers have all the way to ripsnortin' Marshall stuff, but also seem to be quite adept at getting the sorta-clean, sorta-dirty guitar sound (think Fogerty-type sounds).

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, February 02, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

I should mention that Roland had some cool toys, although I didn't spend much time in there at all. The MC-505, a drum machine/groovebox thingy that could be controlled in part by waving your hand over it. Their D-Beam Controller allows you to manipulate effects and sound/note control by moving your hand over the infra-red beam. I didn't spend much time there, so I don't know what else it does.

Roland also unveiled their VS-1680, which as you may guess is a 16-track version of the VS-880/ It has 16 tracks with 256 virtual tracks and a much larger graphic LCD, and 20-bit A/D and D/A converters.

In addition, Roland has now fully embraced the whole Rave font/graphic design and look in their Massive Showroom. There. I think I've typed enough!!!

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, February 02, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Speaking of Roland toys, I wanted to know the real skinny on thier new synths and samplers. Anyone had a chance to look in the Roland booth in depth?

-- (, February 03, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

I was not in the Roland booth for very long, to be perfectly honest. If there is a particular synthesizer, I do have the new Roland products manual, so I can probably give you general specs on something you are looking for. There is a module called the SC-880, some workstations, and their grooveboxes and broovesamplers. Oh, yeah, and the JX-305, a dance-oriented "GrooveSynth" that has preset patterns, a sequencer, and all sorts of other stuff. Roland is really embracing the whole dance/rave genre in look, feel, and product.

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, February 04, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

I see Korg finally showed the TR-Rack (Trinity in a rack) this time around. Any opinions on this unit? I'm thinking about getting one whenever it hits the market.

-- Sui (, February 09, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Craig just notified me that his observations of new equipment at the NAMM show were just about ready to post. They are lengthy and will probably be posted on a subpage at the 3D site. I will make them linked from the "Homeless Shelter" page. I will notify you here when they are posted.


-- Lynn Fuston (, February 10, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Lynn's right, I'll be sending a full NAMM report soon. But some other items of interest not mentioned:

Korg D8. For $1250, it's similar to the VS-880 but no compression. SCSI etc. are built-in, not extras, which is unexpected at the price.

Yamaha DSP Factory looks very promising; it's basically an O2R on a board, already with lots of software support. They also showed an 8-track MD (don't laugh, it's cool for the bucks) and the EX series synths, which have lots o' voices and a variety of synthesis algorithms.

There were a ton of software synthesizers. These seems to be blunting the analog revival a bit by doing analog in digital for cheap. Speaking of virtual stuff, if you have ReBirth, go to the Steinberg site and download some of the free mods!! Very cool.

OK guitarists, Earvana had a nut tuning system that really improves intonation with open strings and 1st position cords. It's about $40 plus installation and really makes a difference. And Greg Heet has a new E-Bow with a dual position switch. One operates normally, the other jumps immediately to the octave when sustaining.

Lexicon had a guitar amp specifically for recording and some guitar-oriented signal processors.

Lag has a strap-on MIDI keyboard that's really nice -- built like an instrument, and ergonomic.

Bob Moog was there with a MIDI theremin, and there was another theremin company too.

16 bits is on the way out. Lots of 20 and 24-bit gear, it will be interesting for the folks with the AP-1s to find out how many bits the "24-bit" gear is REALLY delivering. You're going to have to have incredible shielding and grounding technique to get that kind of dynamic range.

Well there's a lot more, that's just scratching the surface. I'll be sending the info to Lynn for your perusal within the next 48 hours.

-- Craig Anderton (, February 13, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Spirit by Soundcraft reports to have a digital mixer, the "328", which is seemingly comparable to the Ramsa WR-DA7 just announced. It has 16 XLR inputs compared to Ramsa's 8, along with high quality A/D and D/A spec's, but otherwise there hasn't been much posted about this. The Web Site hasn't any "news" in 10 months, but is supposed to be updated this week. Keep your eyes on this contender!

-- Scott Adair (, February 13, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Ken/Eleven Shadows writes: "Roland also unveiled their VS-1680, which as you may guess is a 16-track version of the VS-880/ It has 16 tracks with 256 virtual tracks and a much larger graphic LCD, and 20-bit A/D and D/A converters."

Sounds great! I'm a reasonably satisfied VS-880 owner planning on expanding or upgrading down the road and was hoping to avoid having to chain two units together to accomplish this. Important questions to anyone who can answer: One, is the "larger graphic LCD" actually backlit and/or slightly angled up from the rest of the unit, I ask with eyestrained anticipation!!??? Two, am I going to actually notice the difference between the VS-880's 18 bit A/D D/A converters and the VS-1680's 20 bit variety, or is that mostly advertising rhetoric? Three, any new operating software or hardware wrinkles (i.e. support for surround-sound style panning, more inputs/outputs, new effects, etc.)? Immediately started searching the Net for an in-depth description after hearing about the Roland 16 track on this very board (thanks everyone!), but there is regrettably, a definite lack of info at the moment.

-- A.M. (, February 13, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?


First of all, there's a ton of info and discussion about the new unit on the VS880 users list ( or net, I think). But to answer your queries as best i can: yes, the display is both backlit and angled. No one knows how it will sound yet, and there is lots of new softeare. Off the top, I remember data archiving to CD usuing a new Roland burner, EZ Routing software for pretty slick signal routing, and other features. My mind just went blank, sorry!


-- Doug Robinson (, February 16, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

1. The VS-1680 is a backlit (!) 320 x 240 dot full graphic LCD that is slanted!!! There!

2. This would be largely dependent on your hearing, sense of perception, monitor/amp setup, room, and whether there is a discernible difference to begin with.

3. New software. Um. I don't know. It allows you to route signals, mix and bounce tracks without regard to audio busses. Is that different? It has a 10-input/12-output 26-channel automated digital mixer. It has 26 channels of two-band parrametric or 16 channels of 3-band parametric EQ. Eight mono channels of independent effects. It has an EZ Routing function which allows users to create and save various recording, mixing, track bouncing, and other comprehensive mixer templates for instant recall. It can record 8 tracks simultaneously.

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, February 18, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

I see someone's been reading a little promotional literature, Ken...

-- Doug Robinson (, February 18, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Thanks Ken/Eleven Shadows and Doug/Jazzooo for the VS-1680 updates (love that promotional lit!) Was able to access Harmony Central's spec page on the new Roland unit and I have to say I'm pleased. New, brighter, bigger display was a must! EZ routing and more inputs/outputs, good..good. I must have missed originally that, along with the 20 bit A/D D/A converters, it's now a 24 bit I'll really have to remember to turn off my computer's hard drive and take the loose change out of my pockets when I'm tracking! (That is, when I've saved up enough "loose change" to upgrade).

A.M. EasyBee Mgt.

-- A.M. (, February 19, 1998.

Response to What's going on at NAMM?

Reading the promotional literature, yes. You don't think I actually memorize half of that stuff, do you????

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, February 22, 1998.

I just found this on the RecAudioPro BB and thought you all should know about it. This is the first I've heard of it and it seemed to be well written and very informative. I cannot corroborate the source or the accuracy of the information, but I thought you would find it interesting. I have included the credit for the author.


Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 13:33:23 +0100 From: Eelco Grimm Subject: [ProAud] Super Audio CD You've probably all read it in the news papers; Philips and Sony now are very serious with their Super Audio CD. Last Tuesday I visited Abbey Road Studio's where they showed the prototypes to the press and held some demonstrations. I'd like to present some facts and some thoughts on this development. Demanded by the record companies was 'backwards compatibility'. The Super Audio CD will therefore be a hybrid disc: the lower layer containing a 44.1 k / 16 bits Red book layer, the upper layer containing both a two channel DSD area and a 6 channel ('surround') DSD area and also an 'extra data' area, useful for an MPEG videoclip or alike. The DSD data will be encoded using a Philips 1-bit lossless datareduction algorithm. The upper HD layer is almost translucent for the 780 nm CD-player laser, the reflection layer shall be silver stead of alumium to compensate the minor loss. Due to the hybrid construction the (650 nm) reflectivity of the HD layer will however only be 15-30% stead of 60-85% for a non-hybrid disc. This should be within tolerance. Another demand of the record companies was extensive anti-piracy and copyright measures. The format for Super Audio CD is not yet completed, but the idea is to offer a three-stage approach. First, there will be a visual 'watermark' by modulating the pit width in such a way that some icon is visible. The pit length is said to be compensated. Second, there will be a kind of 'fingerprint' of the glass mastering machine. It's not in the data, but in some 'non-data part' of the disc. The fingerprint is totally dependant of the typical qualities of the glass mastering machine and can't be copied by any other glass master machine. (this feature was very vague, I couldn't find anyone that would go into detail). The third stage are tones that will be inserted in the audio data in such a way that they can be derived from broadcasting, but shouldn't be audible (now that's a tough challenge..., I thought this was about a new high-end medium. BTW, one of the DSD developers we met at Abbey Road couldn't beleive his ears when he heard the marketing guys had thought this one out). This third stage is presently being evaluated here in Holland at research institute TNO. If it will be implemented, it will be a tough challenge for the 1-bit processing wizzards to come up with a 1-bit psycho-acoustic codec that can insert the tones inaudibly. I'm afraid they will not get it right in time, so an extra PCM-stage will be necessary, throwing away DSD's advantage of digital filter-less sound. The timeschedule for release is the following: licencing starts in March and the first Super Audio CDE player will be introduced in Japan in spring next year. The licencing is one of the major chances for this format. Philips and Sony announced they will offer licenses for the Super Audio CD to licensees of the current CD format _with the same royalty levels as currently being paid for CD Audio_. This is a very important point for which Super Audio CD could gain the love of the record companies! For example, if the DVD Audio consortium would also like to offer a hybrid disc, record companies would have to pay double royalties. Concerning the already not state-of-the-art 'oversamping factor' of 64x, a Sony DSD developer said he could imagine a superiour professional format running at 128x (my goodness, what tape-consume would that give...). Thus the professional standard would be better again than the consumer standard. BTW, I realised DSD would be the first pro-format in years to become consumer. Most of the time it's been the other way around (like with DAT, Betamax, etc). Evaluating everything, I am very afraid the 'child will be thrown away with the bathing water' (Old Dutch Saying). One thing so far no-one seems to worry about is jitter. The demonstrations have all been performed using a hard disk source. Now what would be the influence of the proposed disc format? What's the influence of having only 25% reflectivity? And of pit width modulation? And of the master machine's 'fingerprint'? During the demonstration at Abbey Road the first 'Super Audio CD' disc was played through a prototype SACD player (unbelievably they were able to make it yet, btw!). I had the impression it didn't sound as good as the demo's coming from HD. What if jitter is a more important factor to the sound quality than the digital filters are? Maybe then the Red Book CD layer of the Super Audio CD could sound BETTER than the DSD layer!? Surprise surprise. And some other thoughts: - - What would a FIFO-RAM flying wheel for DSD cost? - - Maybe DSD sounds better because there are less digital (noise-inducing) ports involved, which gives better (chip-internal) jitter figures. - - I'm afraid a single-variable test with DSD will be extremely difficult to perform. Please join the discussion... Eelco Grimm Editor of Pro-Audio magazine, Holland

-- Lynn Fuston (, February 23, 1998.

Maybe I'm just cranky, but I don't particularly want this new format to succeed.

-- dOUG rOBINSON (, February 24, 1998.

The Super Audio CD sounds intriguing enough (thank goodness they're planning to make it backwards compatible) but the musician/songwriter part of me is having an ongoing debate with the engineer/music fan part of me about this "copy protection tone" issue. I'm planning, for instance, to buy one of those Philips CD recorders at some point but I still don't see myself copying friends' CDs in bulk for my listening pleasure (nor my own for their listening pleasure) I naive or are there fewer people out there currently DAT taping (or recording to blank CDs) friends' CDs versus those people who "borrow" software and then copy it onto their computer (I personally see much more of the latter). Could it be that it's much more desirable to copy a $90 software program than to copy a $12 CD and be forced to spend $2 to $6 on a blank CD and jewel case anyway? Why then is the industry potentially compromising the audio quality of this new medium in order to protect against product copying that may not be widespread enough to cause significant economic backlash in the first place! Let's hear some opinions on this....

A.M. EasyBee Mgt.

-- A.M. (, February 25, 1998.

Craig's in Europe. I wonder what he's seeing. Hmmm.

-- Lynn Fuston (, March 12, 1998.

I don't think this was at NAMM, but... Panasonic has released a DVD recorder, SCSI based, that will hold 4.5 gigs of info for less than $800. Blank media is $30. This is far better than a Jaz drive or CD rewritable, for archiving multiple tracks of music. At this point, who can tell if this technology will go the way of Betamax video, but it looks pretty nice. Any other products out there similar?

-- Scott AdairScott Adair (, March 17, 1998.

DVD has truly arrived. I use certain stores to judge whether or not something is becoming commonplace. One of my benchmark stores is Sam's Club. Cheap merchandise for the masses. So Sunday, I'm in there and I see a Compaq Presario with full motion video on the 17" monitor. Sure enough it is an internal second generation DVD player, in a 333 mHz Pentium II with 64M of RAM and a 12G hard drive. The 17" monitor is included as well as a 56K modem. The asking price? The clerk says this is the last one they have. It's $2899. But he expects the replacement model in next week and thinks it will be cheaper. Youch! These are good times when it comes to buying computers. So when do we start seeing $250 DVD-authoring software? I've already heard rumors about $800 DVD-R recorders.

Lynn Fuston

-- Lynn Fuston (, March 17, 1998.

So Craig, when are you going to spill the beans about the new streaming audio technology that will be used on the Infinite Music site? (Thought I'd forgotten, huh?)

-Lynn Fuston

-- Lynn Fuston (, March 19, 1998.

I recently heard murmurs about a new DAT format that was capable of recording 24/96k data. I'm digging around to see what I can find out. If anyone else has any news, let me know.

-Lynn Fuston

-- Lynn Fuston (, March 19, 1998.

Anyone have the lastest word on the Yamaha DSP Factory? I was wondering if it is still expected to ship in the next month and a half or so. How about the multi-channel ADAT interface for the DSP Factory - sometime in June? If you're in the know, please share the wealth. This looks like an exciting product, especially if paired with the 16 channel ADAT card ($299 list?) which more than makes up for it's lack of balanced I/O's.

It looks like Steinbergs Caubase VST/24 (as in 24bit) will support the Factory and allow for software plug ins and additional tracks to be combined with the incredible DSP horsepower the Factory already has on board. This, combined with converters from something like the new 20 bit ADAT's will make a killer hard-disc recording system. I am ready to order! The wait is on...

-- Lance Gibbon (, April 08, 1998.

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