Recording - December 2010 - 10

with a minimum of hardware. The CI2, bundled with Cubase AI for $199 street, brings a simple and painless recording experience to even the most technophobic beginner. But remembering Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the CI2 may be just right for some folks while it’s too much for others and too little for still others. Answering the need, Steinberg and Yamaha went in both directions at once with two new Cubase-friendly USB interfaces, the simple CI1 and the more feature-rich CI2+. They are both bus-powered USB interfaces offering 24-bit I/O at up to 48 kHz, in the same rugged plastic enclosure as the CI2 but offering different levels of Cubase AI control. The CI1 is essentially the CI2 minus the AI controls and rear-panel footswitch input. The rest remains unchanged; you get the same input/output complement—two Neutrik Combo jacks for XLR or 1/4" TRS inputs, 1/4" TRS line outputs and a stereo 1/4" headphone jack. The front panel has knobs for input gains, master volume, headphone level, and input/DAW mix, plus a mono switch, global phantom power switch for both inputs, and Hi-Z input switching for Input 1. The CI1 sells for a mere $100 and includes “lite” LE versions of Steinberg’s Sequel composition software and Wavelab 7 2track editor. These are great little programs and make the CI1 an even better value, but I think the CI1 will also be of great interest to non-Cubase users who want a very affordable and robust Yamaha-made 2-in/2-out interface minus the AI hardware features. On the other side of the CI2 is the CI2+, which as the name implies is a CI2 with more control added to the AI section. The AI Knob and Action Pad are still there, now supplemented with dedicated Play/Stop, Previous, Next, and Record buttons. The I/O is the same as the CI1 and CI2, and the CI2+ has the CI2’s rear-panel 1/4" footswitch input. Not only do the added buttons run Cubase’s transport controls, but multiple button presses and so on can control other functions such as fast rewind, column navigation in the Cubase Browser, and Cycle mode on/off. Of even more interest to the ambitious Cubase newcomer, the CI2+ is bundled with Cubase Essential 5, a very powerful mid-level version of Cubase that offers a lot more power than Sequel or Cubase AI, and even comes with a required Syncrosoft eLicenser USB key. As with the CI2, the two units define the plug-and-play experience with both software and hardware installation taking less than ten minutes. They sound great, the AI controls work like a charm, and for anywhere from $100 to $300 you can choose a complete recording package that best suits your needs.—PV M-Audio Axiom USB Keyboard Controllers $319.95 to $499.95; www.m-audio.com

The Axiom keyboard series from M-Audio recently received a considerable makeover, and we found the differences between the original Axioms and the current lineup to be worth a quick mention. I had a chance to gig with an Axiom 61; a 49-key version is also available, and a 25-key version that sacrifices some of the front panel controls for the sake of space. The new Axioms are instantly recognizable by the slight downward tilt of the front panel, unlike the original series (and the currently shipping Axiom Pro keyboards, reviewed January 2010) with their flat tops. There’s a new key action on these boards, and the front panel offers nine faders, nine buttons, eight encoders, eight velocity-sensitive drum pads, and transport controls, with four different Zones for multiple control settings. A large backlit LCD provides visual feedback of what parameter’s been selected and what its transmitted value is. The Axiom lacks the numeric keypad and HyperControl smart controller assignment functions of the Axiom Pro; instead, it comes with DirectLink, a set of protocols that allows it to speak directly to the mixer and virtual instrument controls of certain DAWs. Some eight or nine popular packages are supported as of press time, with more being added; my tests of DirectLink in Logic were refreshingly straightforward, with the Axiom easily switching between mixer and virtual-instrument control. DirectLink is installed on a DAW by DAW basis, as opposed to HyperControl, which recognizes the DAW it’s talking to and reconfigures itself on the fly. Many of the convenience features familiar to Axiom Pro users are available on the new Axioms, like a Drawbar mode to flip the travel of the faders for Hammond organ use, or Group buttons to disable DirectLink control for sections of the control surface while leaving others hooked up, so you could (for example) keep DirectLink control of your mixer’s levels with the faders while using the encoders for something else. I recently performed at a music festival where the new Axiom 61 went up against an original Axiom owned by a colleague, and this occasioned a lot of discussion as to which was better. While some players preferred the old Axiom’s rubberized pitch and mod wheels, I felt strongly that the new Axiom’s solid plastic wheels were surer in response and less likely to slip during playing. And almost everyone I polled preferred the new Axiom’s keyboard action, with its snappy but hefty response and smooth aftertouch sensing. While the original Axioms were well-liked controllers, the new versions have added some cool extras for DAW and software instrument control, and the key action has to be played to be appreciated. If you’re in the market for a new keyboard controller this holiday season, don’t pass up a chance to take the Axiom Series out for a spin.—MM

10

RECORDING DECEMBER 2010


http://www.m-audio.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - December 2010

Recording - December 2010
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Primacoustic IsoTools
Avenson Audio IsoDI
Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Readers' Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Recording - December 2010
Recording - December 2010 - Cover2
Recording - December 2010 - 1
Recording - December 2010 - Fade In
Recording - December 2010 - 3
Recording - December 2010 - Contents
Recording - December 2010 - 5
Recording - December 2010 - Talkback
Recording - December 2010 - 7
Recording - December 2010 - Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Recording - December 2010 - 9
Recording - December 2010 - 10
Recording - December 2010 - 11
Recording - December 2010 - 12
Recording - December 2010 - 13
Recording - December 2010 - 14
Recording - December 2010 - 15
Recording - December 2010 - 16
Recording - December 2010 - 17
Recording - December 2010 - 18
Recording - December 2010 - 19
Recording - December 2010 - 20
Recording - December 2010 - 21
Recording - December 2010 - 22
Recording - December 2010 - 23
Recording - December 2010 - 24
Recording - December 2010 - 25
Recording - December 2010 - 26
Recording - December 2010 - 27
Recording - December 2010 - 28
Recording - December 2010 - 29
Recording - December 2010 - 30
Recording - December 2010 - 31
Recording - December 2010 - 32
Recording - December 2010 - 33
Recording - December 2010 - Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Recording - December 2010 - 35
Recording - December 2010 - 36
Recording - December 2010 - 37
Recording - December 2010 - 38
Recording - December 2010 - 39
Recording - December 2010 - Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording - December 2010 - 41
Recording - December 2010 - Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Recording - December 2010 - 43
Recording - December 2010 - Primacoustic IsoTools
Recording - December 2010 - 45
Recording - December 2010 - Avenson Audio IsoDI
Recording - December 2010 - 47
Recording - December 2010 - Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Recording - December 2010 - 49
Recording - December 2010 - 50
Recording - December 2010 - 51
Recording - December 2010 - 52
Recording - December 2010 - 53
Recording - December 2010 - 54
Recording - December 2010 - 55
Recording - December 2010 - Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
Recording - December 2010 - 57
Recording - December 2010 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Recording - December 2010 - 59
Recording - December 2010 - 60
Recording - December 2010 - 61
Recording - December 2010 - Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Recording - December 2010 - 63
Recording - December 2010 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - December 2010 - Advertiser Index
Recording - December 2010 - 66
Recording - December 2010 - 67
Recording - December 2010 - 68
Recording - December 2010 - 69
Recording - December 2010 - 70
Recording - December 2010 - 71
Recording - December 2010 - Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Cover3
Recording - December 2010 - Cover4
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