NAMM Three: Mackie, MOTU, JMX, ALESIS

From Mike Peake
Sent Tue, Jan 21st 1997, 00:55

MACKIE:

The digital eight-buss mixer is here. It is a compact unit, with 24 100mm 
motorized faders. It is half of a true 48 channel unit; push a shift 
button, and the front panel becomes channels 25-48. (There will be other 
configurations.) There is a four-band EQ per channel, which is accessed 
by four pots at the upper right side of the unit. Each channel has:

Motorized fader
Mute button
Solo button
Select button (hit this, then the EQ etc is active for that channel)
A 'Virtual Pot' with an illuminated dial
Write button (record-enables UltraMix 11 automation on the current fader
Bounce button (to send a record-enabled track to a preassigned internal 
bus, with level, pan and DSP setting intact. This allows you to send the 
signal to any tape input.)
Rec/Ready button ( allows remote arming of the selected digital recorder 
track. Very cool...)
Mic/Line button (channels 1-12 have mic pres.)
Trim level pot (right there at the top of the channel strip, where you 
can reach it every time.)

A 24-channel LED meter bridge is built into the unit, including the 
master stereo levels. The meter bridge also can show the effects buss 
send levels for all channels, by pressing each effects send buttons! A 
two digit LED indicates the mix channel selected. A dedicated display 
offers text and numeric EQ info.

There is a SMPTE or Bars/Beats/Ticks LED display, as well as tape 
transport controls above the large alpha wheel.

The Basics:

8 buss configuration
24 tape return/line input channels
5.1/7.1 surround sound capability with a rear port for any PC compatable 
input device, like trackballs and cheap video game joysticks!
Analog bus output (digital I/O available)
Extra stereo 'bounce' buss
Ships with 24 channels of analog tape I/O in place (optional digital I/O 
available)

Channel Strip:

100mm motorized faders with touch write feature
12 aux sends per channel
4 band EQ with switchable variable high/low shelving and 5th variable 
high pass filter band
Digital compressor/limiter and gate
8 seperate group bus outputs with fader/mute automation

Convenience:

Direct assign of any channel to any bus- in effect, an internal digital 
patch bay.
Tape transport section for automation and external machine control of MMC 
studio equipment
Record ready on every channel
Multifunction rotary Virtual Pot on every channel
Instant A/B comparison of DSP/EQ/dynamics processors
Clipboard copy/paste of automation and DSP settings (instead of having to 
enter values for each channel [frikin' hooray!!!])

Digital Goodies:

24 bit, 64x oversampling D/A
20 bit, 64x oversampling A/D
1000-MIPS CPU (a 586 with eight meg of RAM is installed for automation 
ONLY, allowing snapshot reset WITHIN A FRAME!)
SVGA display port for display of automation and DSP features (not 
included)
Ports for user-provided PC-compatable mouse and keyboard
Serial expansion port
Internal 500 megabyte hard drive for storage of automation, OS, on-line 
help (every button and knob will have text explaining it's purpose and 
use), and DSP libraries (they said there will be a lot of cool presets 
available for the EQ, compressors, and other DSP)
Built in HD DOS-compatable floppy drive (on the front of the unit, with a 
hinged cover. It reminded me of an ash tray in a car) for mix back up
Get this: Built-in 33.6kB modem with automatic dial-up to Mackie's 
Digital 8-buss control center. Automatically update DSP files and OS, run 
diagnostics and receive info bulletins! Send your mixes and DSP to your 
friends/them to you!

Automation:

Dual DSP memory caches per channel for instant A/B comparison of effects 
and EQ
Dedicated UltraMix 11 automation system with storage and recall of either 
scene/snapshot or dynamic automation-including fader, EQ, dynamics, 
effects, pan and mute parameters
Console reads standard MIDI tempo maps

Communications/Control Room:

Built-in talkback mic
Talk to Slate
Three stereo inputs for external sources can be routed to console or Cue 
mixes
Two seperate, automatable Cue/Mix sections (with individual V-Pots) can 
source auxes, control room feeds, or internal effects
Automatable Talkback and studio level V-Pots
Separate Big and Little speaker outputs with independent volume control 
via shared V-Pot, plus Control Room Output

Plus:

Built-in multilingual help function
Built-in power supply
9-pin port for connection to ESAM 11 video equipment (requires optional 
software)



The DSP is 32 bit, for 190dB dynamic range, the ins and outs are linear 
encoding.
Analog outs on masters and busses range from +22dBu to +28dBu
Freq response is 20Hz to 22Hz, +/- 0.5dB
Crosstalk@1k, 0dBu, 20-20k: adjacent channels, aux sends feed through, 
and main outputs: -90dBu
Mic input: -129.5dBm, 150 ohm source
EQ bandwidth: 1/12 to 3 octaves




The DSP does reverb, but the demo guy said they are under non-disclosure 
and can't reveal what major company designed it for them. He DID say that 
seasoned pros (for instance, people from Trident) helped design things 
like the EQ's, etc. When 20-bit becomes the standard, this board will 
accept digital inputs from tape and hard disk systems. 

The demo was very interesting. Using the unit will require a few button 
pushes to get at what you want, but like with any piece, it's just a 
matter of practice. It's a friendlier machine than what I've related here 
might make you imagine. 

All specs are subject to change. Projected list price is 8k for the 48-ch 
configuration.



MARK OF THE UNICORN:

Showed Digital Performer 2.0, which is a very powerful system, now 
incorporating synced, random access quicktime support (film and video 
composers, take note!) It features 16 tracks of audio playback on power 
Macs with no additional hardware. There is a new sample-rate shifting 
algo that allows error-free conversion from 48k to 44.1, for you CD 
releases. If you play into the MIDI section without listening to the 
metronome, no problem. You can slide the bar lines around in the notation 
window to allow quantization, etc. What I like about Performer the most 
is the real-time slider for groove amount, from zero to 100% to 200%. 
Very cool.



JMX:

A small booth held the JMX display, which featured a new four-voice drum 
machine by the German manufacturer. The XBase 09 is the box, which is 909 
inspired with new features. There are Bass drum, Snare drum, Hi hat (6 
samples and noise selectable). There are 23 pots on the table-top box, 
with 17 sound parameters, 3 accents, 3 levels. 100 performance (kit) 
memories. 64 pattern memories, 10 song memories. 16 illuminated button 
step sequencer, 5 instrument buttons, 10 illuminated control buttons. The 
display is 3 digits and 7 segments, red LEDs. Outputs are about +4dVu at 
full master volume. There is one mono mix out, 3 indie outs, and a DIN 
sync out. Midi in, out, thru. Transmits Midi Clock, DIN trigger clock 
24/ppq. Recieves internal, and Midi Clock. An external 12v AC supply is 
avaiable for each international voltage. 

You can play different pitches on the sustain portion of the kick, while 
the punchy attack stays where you set it. Other samples allow this as 
well. All parameters are adjustable via Midi. The brochure seems to say 
that the kick and snare are generated by analog circuits like the 909, 
but are fully controllable by Midi. 

Bass Drum Parameters:

-tune--same as original, range improved
-pitch--alteration of the bottom tuning, sub basses down to 25 Hz or 
piccolo flute tones are possible. This should not be mistaken for the 
original tune.
-decay--same as original, range improved
-harmonics--alteration of the upper tones of the VCO's. Become a 909 
drummer! (this is what their literature says, not me!)
-pulse--alteration in the pure pulse part of the attack-extreme kicks are 
possible
-noise--alteration in the pure noise part of the attack
-attack--same as original
-accent--same as original
-EQ--filters the bass drum output, good for soft 808 basses

Snare Drum Parameters:

-tune--same as the original, range improved
-XSnapp--a bit like the 909 snappy but is far more intensive in volume
-decay--same as original, range improved
-detune--detune the two osc's
-noise tune--the noise filter of the snare is tuned with this

Hihat Parameters:

-OH decay--same ao
-OH/CH balance--controls the volume between the open and closed hats
-tune--ranging from the saucepan lid to the tinkle bell
-4 samples--909 Open/Close hat, 909 Rim/Clap, 909 Crash, 909 Ride (other 
HH-ROMs can be produced later when requested
-Crash and Ride sample--can be played with the short closed HH envelope
-Noise--can be routed to the VCA instead of the samples


Contact: 

J. Michaelis
Mittnwalder Strasse 24
10961 Berlin-Germany
FON:  ++49 30 6 93 35 14
FAX:  ++49 30 6 93 38 62



ALESIS: 

Yes, I currently work for Alesis. You might be interested to know about a 
couple of things Alesis just released:

The QSR single space rack module with two card slots. It's a QS7 in a 
rack. FYI, the QS7 is not just a larger version of the QS6, as it has 
many different samples in it. I believe the price was going to be around 
$800.00, but I'm not making an official statement.

The NanoSynth is a 1/3rd rack space synth, basically a QS6 in a very tiny 
box. You can edit it from a computer, as it has a user bank in it. I 
believe it's going to cost about $550.00.

The NanoPiano- rolls off the lips nicely. 

The NanoBass-this will be out later in the year. It is a bass-only 
module, featuring the best of the Alesis bass ROM, and many, many new 
samples of acoustic, electric, and synthetic basses (I did some of these, 
they are rather nice). Some huge bass stacks are possible! Projected 
price is $350.00.

The Wedge master reverb. It's a table-top unit with four real-time 
control sliders. It has some dual and triple effects, but is essentially 
a master reverb, the finest reverb Alesis has offered. It will list for 
$500.00.

There are several PCM cards headed for release. Of note to AH'ers is the 
Eurodance card, due out in Feb, I believe. Lots of the vintage drums we 
love, and tons of synths. The demo tracks are well worth hearing! Ask for 
them!

I hope no one takes this as a conflict of interest with AH. I sure don't! 





Okay Synthgods, that's it. I hope you've enjoyed the sneak peek, so you 
won't have to wait three months for the magazine reviews to come out. I 
used to hate that!

Approching self-oscillation, 

EMPeake









________

Specifications:

Source of Uncertainty/Stack Collision with Heap/Condemned to Freedom