In mid-October, a bunch of us from Tape Op attended the new-products exhibition at the AES Convention. I'll mention some of the items on display that captivated me the most. ••• New to Pro Tools 10 ( is Clip Gain, which allows you to assign volume levels and curves to a Clip (a Region in previous versions of PT) so that when you move, edit, or copy a clip, the volume curve goes with it. Other DAWs have had this kind of capability for years; Samplitude, for example, has supported clip-based controls and effects for over a decade. This was one of my few remaining gripes about PT, and I'm glad that Avid is continuing to address where PT has fallen behind the leaders in the native DAW space. It's also great to see Avid taking a major leap forward with new accelerator-card and plug-in architectures. ••• Another DAW that received a major upgrade is PreSonus Studio One 2 ( If you read our review of Studio One 1 (Tape Op #76), you know that this DAW was designed by Wolfgang Kundrus and Matthias Juwan, who were responsible for much of what you see in Cubase/Nuendo and VST 3. I like Studio One because of its "clean slate" implementation that isn't handicapped by legacy UIs. Hundreds of new features, including tight integration with Celemony Melodyne pitch correction, multi-lane editing/comping, transient/groove-based editing, and built-in mastering tools make Studio One an even stronger candidate for replacing your current DAW. ••• KuSh Audio ( showed off its new UBK-1 sound- bending plug-in. Much like KuSh's UBK FATSO (Tape Op #79) and Clariphonic EQ (review coming soon), both of which are powerful, extremely musical processors with more sound- tweaking power than their simple controls suggest, this plug- in has to be heard to understand its full capabilities. Download the free 10-day trial. ••• Like a vintage guitar amp, the Black Box Analog Design Tube Pre ( is hand-wired point-to-point, with many of the components soldered to terminal strips to facilitate experimentation. Pentode and triode tube stages are independently controllable, and input impedance is switchable between transformer taps. All this results in a wide range of tonal responses right out of the box (and more if you start swapping the components inside). ••• Cloud Microphones (, maker of the Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator (Tape Op #85), unveiled the Cloudlifter CL-Z, a version with variable input impedance and a variable high-pass filter, which allow you to change the "color" of some mics (primarily ribbons and dynamics) while feeding your preamp of choice. ••• Ronin Applied Sciences ( showed off its Pegasus, a zero-compromise, made-completely-in-USA tube mic. After hearing co-founder Dimitri Wolfwood's eloquent pitch, I grabbed senior contributor Joel Hamilton. Joel was as immediately intrigued as I was, and he now has a Pegasus on loan; I'm looking forward to his review. ••• I'm also excited to see reviews of the many new 500-series preamps and processors from Neve, Empirical Labs, Radial, Moog, Chandler, and Elysia. ••• And lastly, I want to call out Clip-A-Lator, a feature of ZenPro Audio's website ( ZenPro owner Warren Dent was at AES demo'ing Clip-A- Lator, an ongoing series of reference recordings and videos produced using documented, carefully-controlled, repeatable techniques (utilizing lasers, control recordings, master soundfiles, single-lug-tunable drums, and such). I dare any skeptics to pick three processors that you know well, and listen to them in Clip-A-Lator. Sure, your Clip-A- Lator session won't tell you everything you need to know about those units, but if you had no other way to demo them, you'll now have some tangible evidence of what each processor is capable of doing. -AH

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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