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Monday, November 8, 2010

AES 2010 Report Part 2 - Mics And Pres

For Part 2 of my AES 2010 Report, we'll be looking exclusively at microphones, mic preamps and speakers. To be clear, these are some of the things that caught my eye, and weren't necessarily the most talked about items at the show. After all these years going to these shows, the quirky things excite me more than anything, so take what you see with a grain of salt because they may be interesting to only me.



Shure
had a number of rather small mics aimed at recording drums or fitting into small places. Among these are some side addressable models, which I don't ever remember seeing from Shure before.

I overheard the Shure sales guy telling an attendee that the gooseneck of the mic on the right was specially made so it wouldn't make noise. I'll believe it when I hear it.






And speaking of small mics, Shure also had some of the smallest "face mics" I've seen for vocalists or on-air personalties. These things should blend in so well you'll never see them, unlike some of the popular models in use today.







One of the cooler mic introductions came from AEA, the company that specializes in RCA ribbon mic reproductions. This one is a repro of the ultra-rare RCA KU3A (sometimes known as the "shoebox mic"), which was a cardioid ribbon mic, which you almost never see (except for the Beyer M160).

This is supposed to be a phenomenal mic. Can't wait to try it.













2009 was the year for the 500 series Lunchbox modules but there was always something missing in that of the major console companies, only API was represented. This year AMS-Neve jumps in the game and released an official 1073 module for the lunchbox named the 1073LB.

The Lunchbox is one of the best audio ideas in years, and it's great to see that almost every manufacturer thinks so too.





Hard to see here, but this is a Neumann speaker. Yes, Neumann the mic company is now also Neumann the speaker company. Makes sense since they're into transducers, but these aren't internally developed by the company, as it turns out. These are actually rebranded Klein & Hummel speakers, a company that the Neumann parent company recently purchased.

K&H speakers have always sounded great, but they never really got much exposure in the US. Now maybe they will.







Here's an interesting mic preamp from Studio Blade Electronics. It's based around some exotic (yet supposedly easy to find) tubes, but what made this jump out at me is the fact that it puts out so much voltage (almost 1 watt!!) that you didn't even need a amplifier to hear what it sounded like. The headphones were connected right to a transformer on the output. I don't know why you'd need that much output unless you were feeding a DAW a couple miles away, but it's there if you needed it. The preamp also had a level control of both gain stages, just like a guitar amp with a master volume control, so you could easily control the color of the sound.

Much more tomorrow in part 3.

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