Sanken Microphones at NAB 2017



Sanken is Japan’s oldest and most original microphone manufacturer. They design products for studio and location recording. When it comes to brilliant solutions to the rigorous challenges of action sound, today’s discerning professionals turn to Sanken, with its comprehensive lineup of versatile microphones designed to deliver optimum sound in the real world of broadcast.

Sanken’s lavalier microphones have become a de facto standard throughout the broadcast, film, and live theater industries. Ultra-miniature and boasting the original “vertical diaphragm” design, the COS-11D is easy to conceal and provides a full 20Hz to 20kHz natural sonic spectrum.

Shotgun microphones are a mainstay of field recording and Sanken has designed a model to meet virtually every need.

  • CS-1e: Only 7 inches in length, lightweight and simple to mount on cameras.
  • CS-2: Great sounding long reach microphone
  • CSR-2: Long reach with rear rejection, especially useful for crowds.
  • CS-3e: Flagship industry problem solver, great off axis rejection
  • CSS-5: Introduced as world’s first stereo shotgun, three modes of operation
  • CMS-10: Superior camera mount M-S mic
  • WMS-5: World’s first 5-channel surround mic in one unit

Visit Sanken at NAB 2017 in Central Hall booth #C3851


NASA Will Conduct First Ever Live 4K Video Stream From Space



NASA Logo4K video streaming is definitely here to stay. In fact, 4K streaming is becoming so commonplace, it’s even possible to now stream live 4K video from space. That’s exactly what NASA is going to do during the 2017 NAB show, happening later this month in Las Vegas. NAB recently announced via mass e-mail that the space-vid stream will occur during a panel called Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood:

The panel is co-produced by NAB Show, NASA, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), and will explore how advanced imaging and cloud technologies are taking scientific research and filmmaking to the next level. The live feed from 250 miles above Earth will be encoded AWS Elemental encoding software on board the International Space Station (ISS) and on the ground at Johnson Space Center.

During the NAB Show Super Session, a live 4K stream will enable NASA astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson on the ISS to converse with AWS Elemental CEO and Co-founder Sam Blackman, who will be at the LVCC. In conjunction with the live 4K streaming event, NASA astronaut Dr. Tracy Caldwell Dyson and NASA Imagery Experts Program Manager Rodney Grubbs will take part in an LVCC-based panel discussion featuring Hollywood and technology leaders…

This presentation should appeal to video-production professionals and space/science buffs alike. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 26th from 10:30AM-11:30AM at spaces N249-251 during the NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The presentation will also be live-streamed in 4K (with downscaled versions available for non-4K devices) and made available on-demand after the presentation is over.


Line 6 Variax Shuriken Guitar Now Available



Line 6 ShurikenSince it first introduced the Variax guitar line over a decade ago, Line 6 has been working hard to improve the design and playability of what is often dubbed “the world’s first modeling guitar.” Line 6 took the Variax line to new heights with the JTV (James Tyler Variax) line that marked the first major upgrade to the Variax line. Now, Line 6 is taking Variax even further with the new Variax Shuriken guitar:

Featuring a longer scale length, advanced Variax HD technology and an assertive body shape, the Variax Shuriken guitar is the result of intense collaboration between Line 6, Yamaha Guitar Development, and guitarist Steve “Stevic” MacKay of Twelve Foot Ninja. Designed for heavier or more technical styles of music, Variax Shuriken delivers exceptional playability, clear and tight tone—plus the unrivaled versatility that Variax HD modeling provides.

If you like to perform with heavier strings and lower tunings, Variax Shuriken features a 27” scale length that delivers optimized playability and punchier, more-precise tones. The extended scale length also works in conjunction with Variax alternative tunings—so you can play in any tuning, regardless of the tension and feel of the strings. With Variax Shuriken, you can go far beyond the range of any standard 6, 7 or even 8 string guitar.

Variax Shuriken has all of the features of previous Variax guitars, with the ability to model a number of vintage electric guitars and acoustic stringed instruments. The increased scale length of Shuriken is new to the Variax line, and should be useful to players looking to get deeper, heavier tones. Variax Shuriken has Line 6’s Variax Digital Interface (VDI) built-in, so it works seamlessly with most VDI-equipped products.

Variax Shuriken is currently available for purchase from many musical-instrument vendors with a starting price of $1399.


NewTek Introduces TriCaster TC1



NewTek has announced TriCaster TC1, the culmination of more than a decade of IP video experience for live production, with uncompromising support for 4K UHD switching, live streaming, recording, data-driven graphics, virtual sets, social media publishing, and more.

Continuing innovation around the iconic product that has defined an industry, TriCaster TC1 supports 16 external inputs of 4K UHD 60p resolution without sacrificing functionality. Powered by NewTek’s NDI technology for IP-based workflows, TriCaster TC1 also offers multiple studio-grade Skype TX channels for adding remote video guests to live shows.

NewTek’s software-driven, IP-native approach to 4K eliminated the need for conversion to and from baseband video, allowing all integrated features including video playback, mix/effect busses, keying layers, and streaming 4K-capable without limiting the number of available resources. TriCaster TC1 has 16 inputs available, regardless of video resolution, and New Tek’s top of the line IP Series now offers 44 external inputs in 4K UHD without sacrificing functionality.

With the explosion of online and mobile video, broadcasters and content producers need a way to stream live and encode/publish video to social media quickly and easily. Whether you need to go live for breaking news or post recorded video clips that viewers can see on demand, TriCaster T1 handles it all. Users can stream directly to social media sites right from the TriCaster TC1 interface.

A new feature with TriCaster TC1 and IP Series is integrated multi-channel Skype TX integration. NewTek is the only company to offer this functionality in a live production system in the world. Any one of the TriCaster TC1’s 16 external inputs can be designated for live, broadcast-quality Skype video calling, giving producers the capability to reach any one of the 300 million monthly active users of Skype and deliver a pristine HD video call with balanced audio.

With studio-ready call control from an external laptop or workstation running the Skype TX controller application, calls can be configured and monitored without impacting the TriCaster TC1 operator’s workflow. Other active call channels from NewTek TalkShow systems can be managed from the controller for additional call capacity and streamlined management.

TriCaster TC1 in a 2RU chassis is priced at $14,995 USMSRP. TriCaster TC1R provides optional redundant power in 3RU chassis and is priced at $19,995 USMSRP. TC1LP Control Panels are priced at $11,995 and $6,995 USMSRP respectively. The NewTek Connect NC1 IN and the NC1 I/O Modules are priced at $5,995 and $9995 USMSRP respectively.

NewTek’s TriCaster TC1 and IP Series systems, now also 4K-capable, will be on display at NAB 2017 Booth #SL5016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 24-27, 2017.


Amid April Fools Hype, Line 6 Releases new Helix LT Processor



Helix LTCompanies considering the release of a new product might want to avoid doing so during the first week of April. There’s so much hype during this time of year surrounding April Fools Day jokes that companies shipping new products may have trouble rising above the din created by April Fools pranksters.

I’m a member of a Line 6 Helix-focused group on Facebook. Last Saturday (April 1), images started surfacing on that group of what we’d soon learn is the Line 6 Helix LT processor. The initial reaction by many was that, this must be an April Fools thing. But we learned a couple days later that the new LT is in fact a very real thing. Still, scrolling thru that thread on Facebook and watching the timeline start out with, “April Fools, LOLZ!” and then morph into speculation on potential features of the device, and finally melt into the realty of the situation was pretty amusing.

Line 6 is billing the new LT as a “streamlined” version of the original Helix. This is a marketing-speak way of saying it has fewer features than its predecessor. For example, the LT has no scribble strips above its switches. However, the device itself has the same DSP, amplifier/cabinet simulations, effects, and I/O as its big brother. In this case, you can probably read the LT in the name as “lite.”

Helix LT is available thru most music-equipment vendors for a retail price of $999. This is $500 less than the original Helix. Line 6 is clearly making a play for those who feel the first Helix was too costly of an investment. If you’ve been intrigued by what the Helix line has to offer, but you’ve been put off by the price, this new version may be the entry point you’ve been waiting for.


Line 6 Releases Helix Firmware 2.20



Line 6 LogoLine 6 is proving its commitment to its flagship Helix line of effects processing tools with the recent release of upgraded firmware for Helix hardware devices. Helix firmware 2.20 works with Helix Floor, Helix Rack, and the recently released Helix LT. According to an e-mail from Line 6, the new firmware includes these features:

…offers guitarists an additional suite of HX amp models, including new amps, cabinets and effects, with a special emphasis on models for bass players. The release will also feature a host of functional upgrades and a newly crafted set of impulse responses.
Included in the update are 6 amp models, 7 cabinet models, and 9 effect models. A total of 11 models are designed for bass players. Highlights in the release include models based on* the Pearce BC-1 bass preamp, a Darkglass® Electronics Microtubes® B7K Ultra bass preamp/overdrive/EQ pedal model, and Line 6 Badonk, an original Line 6 amp model inspired by the original high gain Big Bottom model.
Helix 2.20 also introduces the Line 6 Allure IR Pack, a free download of new speaker cabinet impulse responses created by Dan Boul of 65 Amps fame.
The e-mail also noted that the firmware update will allow owners of Line 6 Variax guitars to use the Helix as a bridge between a Variax and a host computer for connecting to Line 6 Workbench software. The firmware update is a free download for owners of all Helix hardware products.

DPA Microphones Shows Off Wireless Capabilities at NAB 2017



DPA Microphones will showcase its GSM 4000 Gooseneck Shock Mount Accessory and MMP-G Modular Active Cable for MicroDot at NAB 2017.  These accessories create a completely wireless microphone setup, while maintaining high-quality audio during live and recorded broadcasts.

The GSM4000 Gooseneck Shock Mount Accessory is designed with an elegant clip at its end where the d:dicate capsule can be easily mounted with a preamp connected to it. It features integrated shock mount technology to ensure the perfect sound is achieved and not affected by handling noise. The GSM4000, which is available in black and is 11.5 cm (4.5 in) long, can be set up in a variety of different positions.

The MMP-G Modular Active Cable is an ultra-transparent preamplifier with active drive for impedance balancing to reject frequency interference. It permits the modular d:dicate capsules, including the d:dicate 4017 Shotgun Capsule or 4018 Supercardiod Capsule for booming applications, to connect to wireless systems with its fixed with MicroDot connector.

Available in two variations, the MMP-GR cable extends from the rear while the MMP-GS cable extends from the side. In addition, users have the option to use the new MMP-G Modular Active Cable for wireless workflows or the existing MMP-E Modular Active Cable for wired productions.

Visit DPA Microphones at NAB 2017 booth #C3336.


Roadie 2 and Roadie Bass Now on Kickstarter



Roadie 2 and Roadie Bass are now on Kickstarter.  They are an improvement upon the original Roadie tuner. At the time I am writing this blog, Roadie 2 and Roadie Bass have 37 days left on Kickstarter.

Roadie 2 is an automated string tuner that is quick and easy to use. It is three times more accurate than the human ear.

Roadie 2 adds new dimensions to music-making by allowing you to freely experiment and save alternate custom tunings. You can change from one custom tuning to another in seconds. Roadie 2 comes with 12 preset alternate and open tunings, and allows musicians to create their own tunings.

Use Roadie 2 to tune all sorts of string instruments, including electric, acoustic, classical, and steel guitars. It can be used to tune 7 and 12-string guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, banjos and more. There is a Roadie Bass tuner that was designed specifically for bass guitars.

In addition to tuning, Roadie 2 can help make restringing quick and easy with its automatic winding feature. The motor rotates at 60 RPM.

Tech Specs:

  • Metallic gearbox – built with a 380:1 gear ratio motor that insures Roadie 2 will turn those rusty pegs for you. The motor can turn in micro-movements to achieve unparalleled precision.
  • Battery: comes with a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery which lasts 1 month on a single charge
  • USB-C: with a charging cable included
  • Built in user interface: for easy selection of instruments and tunings
  • Bluetooth 4.0 low energy
  • Haptic feedback: When a string is in tune, Roadie 2 will give you a little shake to move on to the next string.
  • OLED screen: invisible when off, lights up beautifully as soon as you turn Roadie 2 on
  • Knob interface – intuitive and fast scroll through your instruments and tunings
  • Weight: The product weight is 3.2 ounces. Shipping weight is 9.9 ounces.
  • Product dimensions: 3.4×3.0x1.0 inches
  • Material/Color: Plastic/Black

The Roadie 2 is completely standalone. You can use it to tune your instrument from wherever you are (even without a phone). That being said, Roadie 2 comes with an optional and free mobile app that acts as your upgraded control center.


Cloud Microphones Spring “Z-quinox” Sale



Cloud Microphones started in 2009. The are based in Tucson, Arizona. Cloud Microphone designs and manufactures the industry standard Cloudlifter series of Microphone boosters and hand crafted ribbon microphones. They are having Spring “Z-quinox” Sale now.

Cloud Microphones’s Spring “Z-quinox” Sale will be going on through April 30, 2017. The sale offers the Cloudlifter Z Vari-Z Mic Activator for $249 through April 30.

Spring is officially here and Cloud Microphones invites musicians, recording engineers and live sound technicians to save $50 on the Cloudlifter CL-Z during their Spring “Z-quinox” sale and unleash performance and potential of your dynamic and ribbon microphones. Designed to be a middleman between your microphone and preamp, the CL-Z provides up to +25dB of ultra-clean gain like the basic CL-1 Cloudlifter, but also adds variable input impedance and a variable high-pass filter that makes it capable of doing a whole bunch more to shape and tweak the mic’s performance.

The Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-Z Mic Activator uses phantom power from your preamp to solve an array of common issues with dynamic and ribbon microphones while maximizing your audio quality, making it a must-have box for your studio or live toolset. It’s designed to be a middleman between your mic and preamp, maximizing the signal quality by providing an additional +25dB of ultra-clean gain. This can dramatically improve the sound quality when using preamps that are noisy in their upper gain range, and with long cable runs.

The CL-Z provides a spectrum of new possibilities with its comprehensive feature set. Continuously variable input impedance from 150 ohms to 15k ohms allows for ultimate control over your microphone’s character, while the variable low-cut filter allows for custom tonal shaping and control over the microphone’s natural proximity effect. This is especially useful for voice and other sources where lower frequencies need a gentle or drastic reduction.

The CL-Z, like all Cloudlifters, requires phantom power to operate, yet does not pass phantom power to the input. For this reason, Cloudlifters are an ideal solution for ribbon, dynamic and tube microphones alike.


Panasonic’s LUMIX FZ80 is Available Now



Panasonic’s new LUMIX FZ80 4K Point and Shoot Long Zoom Camera is an “All-Rounder” that everyone can enjoy. It is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast who wants to capture amazing moments near and far. It was first announced in January, and is available now for $399.99.

The LUMIX FZ80 is from the popular FZ series that packs a powerful optical zoom and superior controllability, including manual operation over photo and video recording. The LUMIX FZ80 features the optically stabilized LUMIX DC VARUO 20mm ultra wide angle lens with a 60x optical zoom that makes it possible to capture dynamic landscapes, wild animals and birds from a long distance.

The newly integrated 18.1 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor and advanced image processor Venus Engine also achieve high-speed response and high quality images even in high-sensitivity recording.

Features include:

  • Exclusive 4K Photo combined with 4K video capture performance
  • 18.1MP sensor resolutions
  • Optically stabilized 20-1200mm (60x) LUMIX DC VARIO lens
  • Fast and accurate focusing utilizing LUMIX DFD focusing system
  • Travel ready USB charging
  • Wi-Fi connection to a mobile device
  • High-resolution 1,170k-dot viewfinder, and touch enabled LCD display
  • Actual: 18.9 Megapixel
  • Effective 18.1 Megapixel
  • Still Images: JPEG, RAW
  • Movies: AVCHD Ver. 2.0, MP4
  • Max Resolution: 4896 x 3672
  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
  • Image Stabilization: Optical
  • Mechanical Shutter Speed: 4-1/2000 second
  • Electronic Shutter Speed: 1-16,000 second
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80-3200 (Extended Mode: 80-6400)
  • Built-in Flash
  • External Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
  • Memory Card Type: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Video Clip Length: Up to 29 minutes 59 seconds
  • Audio Recording: Built-in Mic With video, stereo
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 7.2 VDC, 895 mAh