There has definitely been a resurgence of hardware in recording studios. I’ve personally been building an arsenal of kit from the past such as an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and new pieces such as a Jomox Mbrane and Doepfer Dark Time. Possible proof of this hardware comeback is the fact that Motu has rereleased a new version of a very classic Midi interface the MIDI Express XT. It has lots of I/O, routing, special timing tricks and more.
“Built with MOTU’s award-winning MIDI interface technology, the MIDI Express XT is a professional MIDI interface and SMPTE synchronizer that provides plug-and-play connectivity to any USB-equipped Mac or Windows computer. The Express XT provides 8 MIDI IN, 9 MIDI OUT, 128 MIDI channels and compatibility with all Mac and Windows software. Sixteen convenient, one-touch presets (8 factory and 8 user programmable) give you instant front-panel access to multiple operational configurations. The included ClockWorks™ console software for Mac OS X and Windows provides comprehensive MIDI routing, merging and muting.” – motu.com
We often take for granted the technology that helps us interact with computer databases, cash machines and thousands of other electronic systems. You have to remember that each system we use was designed. The screen graphics, buttons we touch and audio we hear is all planned out by designers. The Talk to Me exhibit at MoMA is showing 194 installations (see them now: click here). Some pieces stand as they were created and used in our current world. Other works are mashups or futuristic dream devices. Coinciding with the exhibit are scheduled talks, tours and family workshops. I know I am definitely going to check it out.
“Talk to Me explores the communication between people and things. All objects contain information that goes well beyond their immediate use or appearance. In some cases, objects like cell phones and computers exist to provide us with access to complex systems and networks, behaving as gateways and interpreters. The exhibition focuses on objects that involve a direct interaction, such as interfaces, information systems, visualization design, and communication devices, and on projects that establish an emotional, sensual, or intellectual connection with their users. Examples range from a few iconic products of the late 1960s to several projects currently in development—including computer and machine interfaces, websites, video games, devices and tools, furniture and physical products, and extending to installations and whole environments.” – moma.org
I recently bought a new Macbook Pro. The new Thunderbolt port wasn’t a feature that had me excited. The only reason was I had no idea how fast it was. I was listening to Andy Ihnatko speak on the Macbreak Weekly podcast and in passing he mentioned it was 15 times faster than Firewire 800. It’s so fast it’s similar to having a PCI card or chip directly inserted into the motherboard of your computer. I know we don’t need more power but now I am looking forward to a new UAD, RME and large external SSD all with Thunderbolt.
“Thunderbolt I/O technology gives you two channels on the same connector with 10 Gbps of throughput in both directions.” – apple.com
I’ve always found Motu interfaces to have super solid drivers. In fact I still use a Motu 828 from 1996! They have a new interface called the MicroBook that could be a great box for new musicians and for those of us who want a small interface next to their home laptop. It’s defintely shooting a bit at the Apogee One and Duet and the Mac Market. I like that they include the XLR mic adapter and have micro stereo inputs and outputs for iPhones/iPads and computer speakers. I also like that it’s tiny. It will be less than $270 when it hits the street next month.
“With professional analog stereo outputs, digital output, and stereo-mini output jacks for both headphones and desktop speakers, you can monitor your live audio and recorded tracks any way you like.” – motu.com/products/microbook.html
Here’s an interesting way to show off the portability of a product. Have you ever heard of “Parkour” or the people who do it often called “traceur’s”? Stephane Vigroux make it look easier than it seems. Wikipedia: “Parkour (sometimes also abbreviated to PK) or l’art du déplacement (English: the art of movement) is a discipline that appeared first in France, more similar to a martial art than to a sport, focused on moving from one point to another as smoothly, efficiently and quickly as possible using the abilities of the human body.”.
I used to run all over the mountain near my house growing up. Would that count? In the end it all leads us to the small Native Instruments audio interface for DJ’s the Audio 2 DJ. It seems to fit the bill nicely if your mixing solely off a laptop.
“Renowned traceur Stephane Vigroux demonstrates the portability of the new Audio 2 DJ interface by free-running through London. A film by Julie Angel” – www.native-instruments.com
I was one of the first owners of the M-Audio Firewire410. It’s been on the road with me for a few years and never gave me any problems. When a tiny screw fell out of the front of the unit I emailed M-Audio to see if they would send me a new one. Two days later I receive a package of new screws, a hat and a shirt (I know I told this story before). M-Audio you were nice to me so back at you! Here’s some free press for your new toy. I remember when M-Audio was called Midiman. They were a little outfit with ads in the back of Keyboard Magazine. How did you get so big? I’ll tell you one thing, they sure know how to style consumer electronics. I don’t even need this and I want one. Remember this is also an inexpensive way in to Pro-tools.
Designed by the company that revolutionized mobile music production with the industry-standard FireWire 410, the ProFire™ 610 FireWire audio/MIDI interface transforms your Mac or PC into a powerful 6-in/10-out recording studio. Premium digital converters deliver high-definition, 24-bit/192kHz audio throughout the signal path. Two preamps with award-winning Octane™ technology offer clean, transparent sound with low noise and exceptional headroom. Onboard DSP mixing provides a totally flexible recording experience—perfect for creating multiple, independent monitor mixes. The user-assignable master volume knob gives you flexible control over output levels. MIDI I/O allows you to connect keyboards and other outboard MIDI hardware. The half-rack-space unit also doubles as a standalone two-channel microphone preamp and A/D-D/A converter. ProFire 610 is compatible with most major audio software, making it an unbeatable choice for personal, high-definition recording.