Dec 15, 2010 11:41 AM, By George Petersen
New live sound products take center stage.
The Audio Engineering Society came into San Francisco from Nov. 4 to 7 for its 129th U.S. convention, which brought hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the latest technologies for pro audio applications.
Besides the show floor, AES 2010 included numerous events with a live sound focus, including technical tours of San Francisco’s Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall and Grace Cathedral, and topical workshops. These included “The Greening of Live Audio for Medium and Small Operators,” “Economics-Driven Change of Touring,” “Selecting and Using Measurement Mics,” “Measurement Systems and Applications,” “Wireless Systems and the Future,” “Subwoofer Directionality,” “Live Sound for Corporate Events,” “Fill Speakers in Sound Reinforcement Systems,” “Networked Audio for Live Sound,” and “Generator Power Issues”.
AES definitely spans the entire world of pro audio, and not just recording. As usual, a lot of the emphasis was on studio gear, but there was an impressive showing of new debuts suited for the live sound and contracting markets as well. Here are some highlights in that area.
First Things First
The big talk at AES was Avid’s release of Pro Tools 9 (PT9). Far more than a simple software update, PT9 users now have the choice of working with the DAW in a $599 software-only standalone configuration or with a choice of Avid or third-party (Core Audio and ASIO) audio interfaces, and with Avid Artist and Pro Series controllers. So if you have a digital board with the appropriate output, recording shows directly to the Pro Tools platform just got a lot easier.
The new software replaces Pro Tools LE and spans upward to Pro Tools 9 HD TDM. Other features include support for 96 mono or stereo voices in the new software-only version of Pro Tools (192 voices with Pro Tools HD systems), 256 internal buses, and 160 aux tracks. After years of operating within a closed environment, this announcement was warmly greeted, not only by interface suppliers at AES (including Apogee, Focusrite, Lynx, RME, and Prism), but also by users who now have more options from which to choose.
Mics and More Mics!
It just wouldn’t be an AES show without lots of new microphones, and this one didn’t disappoint. Beyerdynamic launched its RM 510, an interchangeable ribbon capsule head for its Opus 900 and Opus 600 wireless systems. The cardioid capsule features an ultra-light, 3-micron aluminium ribbon for extended frequency response and excellent transient behavior.
Shure came on strong with several new versions of its Beta microphones, including the Beta 91A boundary mic, Beta 98A miniature instrument mic, and Beta Beta 98AMP miniature drum mic. The Beta 91A is a half-cardioid condenser boundary design intended for kick drum and other LF applications. It has an integrated preamplifier and XLR connector and a low-mid frequency EQ tailoring switch. The Beta 98A is a high-SPL-handling cardioid condenser for acoustic or amplified instruments, including drums, piano, reed, wind, and strings. It’s offered with a gooseneck drum mount (Beta 98AD/C) or with a stand mount (Beta 98A/C). A new variant of the Beta 98A, the Beta 98AMP, combines a new cartridge with a flexible gooseneck, integrated XLR preamplifier, and dual-jaw/quick-release design for easy mounting to drums, percussion, drum hardware, and stands.
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