M-Audio Adds Vista Fast Track Drivers; More to Come, But Don’t Rush

In a sign that M-Audio’s Vista support may be trickling in, DJ Grobe observes that the Fast Track USB driver has been posted to the M-Audio site. Hopefully for Vista users, this means more support fast. Meanwhile, I’ve quite happily “upgraded” back from Vista to XP, and tweaked my XP system so it’s happy. That equation could change down the road, but given that many of my supposedly compatible drivers either weren’t installing at all (hello, odd USB driver quirk), weren’t fully reliable (hello, chipset-related Blue Screens of Death), or were performing like dogs (hello, NVIDIA graphics), I would strongly …

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Hispasonic Messe Videos: Gear Lust, From Origin to the Modular Superbooth

CDM’s friends at the Spanish-language Hispasonic run one of the best music tech sites on the Interwebs. They’ve been kind enough to share some of their videos from the Messe show, and you won’t have to speak a word of Spanish to follow them. (The Arturia Origin was later overdubbed with Spanish.) Of course, I did just see some discount tickets to Spain, so maybe I should brush up. (Hispasonic links here are naturally in Spanish, but everyone can enjoy the videos.) My favorite: a tour of the Superbooth, an exhaustive mini-expo of modular music tech. Superbooth @ Hispasonic Plus …

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MR-1 and MR-1000: New Portable Digital 1-Bit Hard Drive Recorders from Korg

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since coming on board to help Peter with CDM it’s this: The kids love a portable recorder. The Edirol R09 and Zoom H2/H4 articles are among our most popular ever. Now Korg are supplementing their existing multi-track digital recorders with the 20GB, pocketable MR-1 (US$899 MSRP), and the 40GB, tabletop MR-1000 (US$1499 MSRP). Shipping right now, these are “1-Bit” recorders, recording “DSDIFF, DSF, and WSD 1-bit formats, as well as multi-bit PCM format (BWF) with resolutions up to 24-bit/192 kHz”. If you’re like me and thought that more bits was better, Korg have helpfully …

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Echo Audio’s New 2x, 4x FireWire Audio Interfaces; Echo Vista Driver Update

Echo are the maker of quite affordable, nice audio interfaces; they’re perhaps best known for their ultra-compact PC Card (CardBus) interfaces and, before that, PCI-based interfaces. They’ve gotten into FireWire, but initially in the 10×10 and 12×12 configurations, where there’s plenty of competition. There are far fewer FireWire interfaces that are smaller and less expensive, which is why Echo’s latest could catch some additional attention. The new interfaces are: AudioFire2: 2 x 2 ¼” balanced analog inputs/outputs, an independent stereo headphone output with volume knob, a removable dongle for S/PDIF and MIDI i/o, an 8 foot 6-pin FireWire cable, a …

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Allen & Heath’s New, Smaller Xone:2D

The gradual rise of computer DJing raises questions about just what gear a DJ would want. Mixers were, after all, designed for working with a couple of decks, not a computer that itself can mix. Allen & Heath’s solution has been to cross-breed its popular DJ mixers with MIDI control and computer audio interface functions. If the pricey, large Allen & Heath Xone:3D mixer/controller was more than you needed, it now has a svelter sibling in the form of the Xone:2D. Like the Xone:3D, the Zone:2D integrates a computer audio interface and MIDI controller for DJ software. Unlike the Xone:3D, …

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CME: Plug Mics, Guitars, MIDI Directly into USB

Manufacturers have attempted to make USB connections for audio and MIDI more transparent before. We’ve seen mics with USB cords instead of XLR, and USB cables with little humps in the middle with built-in circuitry for MIDI connections. But new cables announced this week by Chinese manufacturer CME go further: a USB/MIDI cable that’s as thin as a standard USB connection, a USB mic interface with integrated +48V phantom power, and a guitar/bass/keyboard USB interface.

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O’Reilly Reviews Zoom H4 in Hawaii: Good, with Quirks

We’ve been watching Zoom’s upcoming, unannounced $199 H2 recorder, seen at NAMM. The H2 has the advantage of price and flexible mic patterns for its built-in mic. But its shipping, larger sibling, the $299 H4, may be a better choice, depending on your needs. The H4 has basic 4-track operation, built-in effects, X/Y-pattern mics, and — most importantly, unlike the H2 — real XLR jacks for using your normal mic. That alone could make the H4 the killer recorder in this category, especially since it still costs less than competing recorders without good mics or XLR ins from M-Audio, Edirol, …

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Recording@NAMM: sE’s USB2200A Mic Does USB, XLR, and Headphones, Too

Photos: Josh Jancourtz for CDM Have you ever plugged your headphones into your microphone? Well now you can! Besides winning a nomination for longest alphanumeric name, the USB2200A microphone from sE Electronics features a 1/8” headphone output and volume control on its body. This allows zero latency monitoring from the Class A 1” cardioid condenser mic while recording via USB. The mix/monitor level can be adjusted with audio software. But wait! This mic also has a simultaneous XLR output. The capsule can be powered either through USB or XLR phantom power. Add a 100Hz roll off filter and 10dB pad …

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NAMM: Tascam FireOne FireWire/MIDI/Control Interface

Tascam showed a FireWire interface developed with Frontier Design Group that combines a 24/192 stereo audio interface with MIDI I/O in a streamlined design that also features transport buttons and 8 short cut keys (plus a shift key). In the crowded field of stereo interfaces, the FireOne’s added control and ergonomics may provide a welcome solution to many home studios. The FireOne is scheduled to ship in March with a street price of $299 and will include Cubase LE or Ableton Live Lite (TBD).

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Macworld: E-MU Ships Beta Mac Drivers; Proteus for Mac Coming

E-MU was once a beloved moniker in the music gear business. Now owned by Creative Labs, they’ve made a new name for themselves with software versions of their sound modules and value-priced keyboards and interfaces — but Mac users haven’t been invited to the party. So I was surprised when I heard Mac users coming back excited about E-MU gear on the Macworld floor. It seems E-MU is releasing Universal Mac driver support for their full keyboard line and external USB audio interfaces, both of which were previously Windows-only and lacked cross-platform class-compliant compatibility. (PCMCIA and PCI interfaces are evidently …

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