Sontronics launches ARIA valve condenser microphone

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Sontronics ARIA

Sontronics has announced the launch of its new ARIA valve condenser microphone with a fixed cardioid pattern, designed by Sontronics founder Trevor Coley specifically for getting the best from your vocals.

The Sontronics ARIA will give you stunning results on every male or female vocal recording, thanks to its silky-smooth characteristics, its accurate response and Sontronics’ trademark smooth high-frequency roll-off. Housed inside the chromed grille is a large, 1.07-inch, edge-terminated capsule that captures all the detail and subtleties of any male or female vocal, while the hand-selected European 12AX7/ECC83 tube lends a character that you’d expect to find in a classic vintage valve mic costing many times more. For that extra level of control, the accompanying SPS-2 power supply unit boasts pad (0, -10dB) and filter (linear, 75Hz) switches as well as a tube-ready LED, letting you know when the mic is warmed up and at its best to record.

“I’ve been working on the concept of a vocal-specific valve mic for a long time,” explains designer Trevor Coley, “and the ARIA is the culmination of months of research and beta-testing, which I’ve been lucky enough to do with some incredibly talented musicians and producers. The result is a go-to microphone that really is a must-have for anyone serious about achieving the best, smoothest, warmest possible results from any vocal recording. Sontronics ARIA really will take your breath away!”

During the past 12 months of ARIA’s development, the mic has been beta-tested by top artists and musicians including Oscar- and Grammy-winning producer/writer Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence & The Machine, Paul McCartney), Mercury award-winning singer/songwriter PJ Harvey, and also several engineers at Abbey Road Studios, all of whom now admit they can’t live without their ARIAs! These and other users have all told us that ARIA’s sound and quality is easily matched to mics (both modern and vintage) that cost ten times more.

The ARIA microphone is supplied in its own velvet-lined wooden box, which comes in an aluminium flightcase together with its elastic spider-style shockmount, a ring mount and the SPS-2 power supply and connecting cable. Like all Sontronics mics, the ARIA is covered by Sontronics’ LIFETIME WARRANTY.

The Sontronics ARIA is available to purchase for £899 GBP (inc. VAT) / 899 EUR (plus tax) / $1,199 USD.

More information: Sontronics / ARIA

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Alesis announces CORE Series USB audio interfaces

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Alesis has announced the new CORE Series of 24-bit USB Audio Interfaces providing complete, fully integrated recording solutions.

Alesis CORE Series

CORE Series interfaces offer a full range of recording solutions including XLR+1/4″ combo inputs, Mic/Line or Guitar level switching, headphone outputs with level controls for efficient monitoring, and each model ships with a Cubase® 7 LE.

CORE 1, a single input/dual output inline interface, is ideal for on-the-go recording or the budget-conscious producer. CORE 2 offers both audio and MIDI connections for full studio integration. Topping out the series is the CORE 8, an eight-channel rack mount interface suited for live or studio applications.

CORE Series features

  • CORE 1 – 1-Channel In-Line USB Audio Interface:
    • 2-channel mini USB, 24-bit/48 kHz output.
    • 1 XLR+1/4″ TRS combo input with gain knob.
    • Mic/Line or Guitar level switch.
    • Stereo headphone out with level control.
    • Modern sand-blasted aluminum housing.
  • CORE 2 – 2-Channel Desktop USB 2.0 Audio+MIDI Interface:
    • 2-channel USB 2.0 24-bit/96 kHz output.
    • 2 XLR+1/4″ TRS combo input with gain knobs.
    • 2 Mic/Line or Guitar level switches; phantom power.
    • Stereo headphone out with level and input/USB monitoring.
    • 2 Powered USB hub ports; MIDI In and MIDI out.
    • Stereo 1/4″ outs.
    • LED segment metering.
    • Sand-blasted aluminum housing.
    • ERP Compliant – Auto off.
  • CORE 8 – 8-Channel Rack Mount USB 2.0 Audio Interface:
    • 8-channel USB 2.0, 24-bit/96 kHz output.
    • 8 XLR+1/4″ TRS combo input with gain knobs.
    • 2 Mic/Line or Guitar level switches; phantom power.
    • Dual stereo headphone out with level and input/USB monitoring.
    • Stereo main + monitor outs.
    • LED segment metering.
    • 2U metal rack mount enclosure.
    • ERP Compliant – Auto off.

The CORE Series will be available to purchase for $49.99 USD (CORE 1), $149.99 USD (CORE 2), and $299.99 USD (CORE 8).

Alesis will present the CORE interface lineup at the 2014 NAMM Show in Hall A, Booth 6700, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California.

More information: Alesis

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M-Audio announces M-Track Eight audio interface

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M-Audio has announced M-Track Eight, an eightchannel, 24-bit USB audio interface designed for expanded recording capabilities with an ultralow-noise signal path, 112 dB signal-to-noise ratio, and zero-latency monitoring.

M-Track Eight
M-Track Eight will include Avid® Pro Tools Express with an iLok® USB key.

“The M-Track line is all about equipping recording musicians at every level with professional capability,” said JC Sutherland, M-Audio Product Manager. “It has the best-quality microphone preamps on the market for the cost and it comes with Pro Tools, so, right away, musicians are equipped with pro-level hardware and software.”

M-Track Eight has 24-bit / 96 kHz (max.) digital audio for recording audio higher than CD quality and, as its name implies, M-Track Eight includes eight XLR+1/4-inch combo inputs to accommodate any source. All inputs are combo jacks with mic/line auto-sensing capabilities, and Channels 1 and 2 add an instrument level switch in addition to being front-facing, which allows for easy access when the unit is rack-mounted.

Two banks of 48V phantom power are onboard for use with condenser microphones. Outputs include eight 1/4-inch TRS, two pairs of 1/4-inch monitor outputs with A/B control, and two 1/4-inch headphone outputs, which are switchable between Outputs 1 and 2 or 3 and 4. M-Track Eight is class-compliant with Mac and a driver is included for PC.

M-Audio will exhibit M-Track Eight for the first time in Hall A, Booth 6700 at the 2014 NAMM Show, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California.

More information: M-Audio

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Akai Pro announces new models in MPK line of keyboard controllers

Akai Professional has announced four additions to its MPK USB keyboard/pad controller series— the 25-key MPK225, 49-key MPK249, 61-key MPK261 and an update to the ultra-portable MPK Mini.

Akai Pro MPK49
Akai Pro MPK249 USB/MIDI Performance Keyboard.

Housed in a slimmer, all-new design, each full-size model features RGB backlit trigger pads lifted straight from the MPC Renaissance and a 20-character LCD screen with comprehensive parameter feedback. Designed to erase the line between hardware control and software performance, the new MPK family also includes the ability to send QWERTY-style commands using soft-controls, a low-power mode for iOS connectivity via the Camera Connection Kit and enhanced response from the refined keybed.

The latest members of the full-size MPK series also come with advanced music production software titles including Ableton™ Live Lite and MPC Essentials – a powerful sample-based groove production application – and spectral morphing synth Twist from SONiVOX. Owners of the MPK249 and MPK261 will also receive AIR Music Tech’s high-definition Hybrid 3 virtual synth, while MPK261 owners also receive SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble.

MPK (full-size models) features

  • New full-size, semi-weighted keybed in 25-, 49- and 61-key models.
  • Backlit, velocity-sensitive RGB trigger pads derived from the MPC Renaissance.
  • Includes industry-leading music creation software from Ableton™, Akai Professional, AIR and SONiVOX.
  • New layout with LCD screen for faster access to essential DAW-based functions.
  • 8 assignable control knobs; 8 assignable faders on 49- and 61-key models.
  • USB-MIDI with 5-pin MIDI input & output; sustain and expression pedal inputs.
  • Hyper-responsive pitch bend & modulation wheels; octave controls.

The refreshed MPK Mini Laptop Production Keyboard remains true to its name as the ultimate portable keyboard controller.

Akai Pro MPK Mini
The new MPK Mini Laptop Production Keyboard.

It’s comprised with an impressive array of controls in the small 25 mini-key frame including an all-new joystick control for pitch and modulation functionality, trigger pads ported from the MPC Renaissance, famed Note Repeat, a full-size USB connector, and an improved keybed.

MPK Mini features

  • Ultra-compact design lets you create anywhere; 25 synth-action mini keys.
  • 8 backlit, velocity-sensitive trigger pads derived from the MPC Renaissance.
  • New 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch/modulation control.
  • 8 assignable control knobs for mixing, tweaking plug-ins and more.
  • USB-powered; no power adapter required.

The new range of full-size MPK controllers will cost $249.99 USD (MPK225) / $399.99 USD (MPK249) / $499.99 USD (MPK261), and the MPK Mini will be $99.99 USD.

Akai Professional will unveil the MPK keyboard controllers at the 2014 NAMM Show in Hall A, Booth 6700, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California.

More information: Akai Pro

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TC Group announces nine new products at NAMM 2014

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TC-Helicon, TC Electronic and Tannoy, all members of the TC Group family of companies, will premier nine new products at this year’s NAMM Show.

TC Group at NAMM 2014

Spanning from vocal processing and monitoring, guitar looping, studio monitoring and last but not least a book release on all aspects of vocal performance, a lot of ground is covered.

Kevin Alexander, VP of Business Management, adds “We are coming into NAMM hot off the release of a family of four Bass Combos, a new version of the game-changing PolyTune pedal tuner, mini reverb and boost pedals, and the TonePrint Editor for iPad – all since the summer. But musicians don’t stop inspiring us to spend more time in the office bashing out new gear. To have major new product and products ranges debuted at NAMM speaks to the coffee-fueled ingenuity of our musician-focused development teams.”

TC Group will be exhibiting all of the new products at booth 5932, and all NAMM attendees are invited to stop by for a demonstration, a hands-on experience and a chat with the product managers and specialists.

More information: TC Group

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