FICS Congress 2006 in Ossendrecht, NL

Report of the FICS Representative for Sound

Uwe Mehlhaff

Uwe Mehlhaff
Photo: Hartmut Tiborra, Asbach (Westerwald)

Uwe Mehlhaff
- Representive of the FICS for sound -
D-50823 Cologne,
Ehrenfeldgürtel 155
0049-221 / 552486 + 0171 / 4409320 0049-221 / 5028722

For the FICS-convention in october 2006 in Ossendrecht in the Netherlands

1. Contents

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Technical Trends
    1. Preface
    2. Recorders
    3. Microphones
    4. Mixers
    5. Loudspeakers
    6. Headphones
  3. Technical Trends (text and illustration)
    1. Digital Recorders
    2. Software for Sound Processing
  4. Literature for Sound, High Fidelity and Sound Engineering
  5. Diary 2006/2007
  6. Visits to the Fairs


2. Technical Trends

2.1 Preface

Droping this lines I leaf through the Frankfurt daily, the journal of Musikmesse/Prolight + Sound. This journal comes out every day of the duration of the fair. I'm looking for news and trends, shown in this journal. To see and to know the trends, it's very important to visit this fair with international (worldwide) producers and dealers. Contrary to the past I spend two days at the fair. The first day, I picked up informations, the second day I made records with my flashcard recorder. I used the records (mainly interviews and music) for an own sound production (nearly 42 minutes, only in German), shared out to German and Swiss soundhunters (page 16, chapter 6). The digital technology replaces more and more the anlogue. The slogan of this year was "analog is getting digital". I wrote about this development already last year. In Frankfurt, I didn't find worldshaking news. Most of the interviewed producers told me something about servicing the existing products. I had also been in Munich at the High End, this year 4 days. I also took along my flashcard recorder for records, interviews and music. I also made a sound-production (nearly 52 minutes, only in German) about this fair ( page 16, chapter 6). In the next chapters we have a view to the different species of sound-equipment.

2.2 Recorders

Analogue equipment is dying. Digital tape recorders (DAT) and minidisc-recorders do the same. Tascam is still the only producer from home minidisc-equipment. The question is: How many years does Tascam produce minidisc-equipment? Sony offers portable HI-minidisc-recorder, but these products are ignored in Germany. The big rivalry are mobile flashcard-recorders with a lot of more features and nearly the same price, e. g. phantom-supply. CD-recorders as stand-alone equipment scrape a bare living, because if no new products. A lot of mobile recording equipment has USB-connection. So copies from mobile recorders to computers are possible and very easy. The future belongs to two-channel-records on flashcard- and/or SD-card-recorders. Powerful chips make the equipment smaller and lighter. More-channel-recording is possible by use of mobile harddisc-recorder, also called as multitracker. Microphone-inputs with phantom-supply, USB-interface (USB 2.0) and digital sound effects are already integrated.

2.3 Microphones

All wellknown producers (e. g. AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Rode) didn't show new development. Noone talks today about digital microphones, years ago shown by Beyerdynamic.

2.4 Mixers

New development is achieved at digital and half-digital mixers. Half-digital mixers are still working analogue, but they have digital features as sound effects (created by digital sound processors). Looking to pure analogue mixer, a few producers presented new development, e.g. imq/Monacor. The same is to higher priced mixers as e. g. "clubixer".

2.5 Loudspeakers

Loudspeakers are getting "digital". This means, they include digital processors. The future will bring more and more radio controlled loudspeakers. Some loudspeaker producers habe shown equipment for home cinema.

2.6 Headphones

Digital headphones (radio controlled headphones) have future and are meanwhile shown by different producers. The radio controlled technic is working well and without problems.But the prices for good "digital" headphones are still high.


3. Technical Trends (text and illustration)

3.1 Trends

The following overview contains a personal estimation from sound carriers und their chances for the future. Following symbols are existing: sound carrier without future and without any developments sound carrier with low available in the market phase-out technology with low or no chances for the future with sporadically developments sound carrier with future The estimations from the author to the future of these 11 sound carriers:

  1. Audio-CD-R/CD-RW (only for sound)
  2. Digital Audio Tape (DAT)
  3. Harddisc
  4. flashcard
  5. Hi-MD1
  6. Cassette
  7. Minidisc (MD)
  8. Minidisc-Data (MDD)
  9. MP3 and further developments
  10. Tape (reels)
  11. USB-Stick (MP3)

3.2 Digital Recorders

This chapter contains ­ without claiming to completeness ­ a list of recording equipment for the soundhunter. Who wants to know more about the shown equipment, has to look for manuals in internet. A lot of producers have put the manuals into internet, which can be downloaded (e. g. as .pdf-File). On the following pages you'll find actual digital stand-alone-recorder for out- and indoor-use. Most of the recorders are for mobile use:
Edirol R1 Edirol R-1 (flashcard-recorder)

Small 2 channel-flashcard-recorder for WAV und MP3-records word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24-bit/48 kHz (uncompressed) several sound-effects by DSP (Digital Sound Processor) as e. g. noisereduction, echo and so on. two integrated bullet-microphones input for "line in" and stereophonic microphones USB2.0- and optical digital outputs size: 99,25 (w) x 134 (d) x 30,2 (h) mm, 205g weight.

Edirol R4 Edirol R-4 (HD-recorder)

Integrated 40 GB-harddisc word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24bit/96 kHz (WAV), no MP3 simultan record on 4 channels integrated limiter integrated phantom-supply USB2.0- and optical digital outputs integrated parametric and grafic equalizer integrated loudspeakers one ditigal coax-in- and output size: 254 (w) x 221,8 (d) x 72,2 (h) mm, 1.7kg weight.

Edirol R-09 Edirol R-09 (SD-Card-Recorder)

Small two-channel flashcard-recorder for WAV- and MP3records word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24-bit/48 kHz (uncompressed) records on SD-cards with memory-capacity to 2GB integrated stereo-condenser-mikrofon USB2.0- and optical digital outputs.

Fostex CR500 Fostex CR500 (CD-recorder)

Word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24 bit/96 kHz (uncompressed) several analog/digital in-/outputs USB-connection for PC-keyboard level- and peak-indicator.

Fostex FR-2 Fostex FR-2 (flashcard-/HD-recorder)

word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24 bit/192 kHz (uncompressed) record with flashcard or integrated harddisc 2 symmetrical microphone-inputs pre-record-buffer to 10 seconds LCD-display line to external (PC-)keyboard (USBconnection) softwareupdate by download from internet.

Microtrack 24/96 M-Audio Microtrack 24/96 (flashcard-recorder)

Word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24-bit/96 kHz (uncompressed) MP3-records possible several accessories as software, stereomicrophone, earphones und charger with adapters for travels in foreign countries integrated phantom-supply separate inputs for microphones with/without phantomsupply softwareupdate by download from internet USB 2.0-output handling is a little bit unusual size: 55 (w) x 105 (d) x 25 (h) mm, 140g weight.

Marantz PMD-570 Marantz PMD-570 (flashcard-recorder)

Stationary flashcard-recorder word-clock/sampling-frequency to 48 bit/384 kHz (uncompressed) RS-232 interface symmetrical inputs, analog (asymmetrical) and digital in-/outputs USB 2.0-connection.

Marantz PMD-660 Marantz PMD-660 (flashcard-recorder)

Word-clock/sampling-frequency to 16 bit/48 kHz (uncompressed) MP3-records possible integrated stereophonic microphones integrated loudspeakers integrated phantom-supply separate inputs for microphones with/without phantom-supply USB 1.0-output size: 105 (w) x 46 (h) x 175 (d), 700g weight.

Marantz PMD670 Marantz PMD-670/671 (flashcard- Recorder)

The same features features as PMD-660 compared to PMD-660 more extensive features USB 2.0-output compared to PMD-660/670, the PMD-671 offers 24 Bit/96 kHz records and monitor controll size: 264 (w) x 55 (h) x 185 (d) mm bei 1.3kg weight.

Sony MZ-RH1 Sony HI-MD MZ-RH1 (MD-recorder)

HI-MD-recorder are working compressed (ATRAC3-plus-technology) and uncompressed (Line PCM) compatible to older MD-standards (only play) 1 GB-disc can save to 45 CDs (roundabout 675 music-titles) comaptibale to MP3-, WMA- und WAV-size USB-, microphone-, analog- and digital inputs up to now, no stationary HI-MD-equipment available in Germany.

Tascam DV-RA 1000 Tascam DV-RA 1000 (CD-recorder)

Word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24bit/192 kHz (uncompressed) fade in/out several ways for edits several analogue/digital in-/outputs PS2-input for PC-keyboard level- und peakmeter USB 2.0-output RS-232C-interface.

Tascam HD-P 2 Tascam HD-P 2 (flashcard-recorder)

Word-clock/sampling-frequency to 24bit/192 kHz (uncompressed) several ways for edits several analog/digital in-/outputs phantom-supply PS2-input for PC-keyboard professional display fire-wire-connections size: 245 (w) x 60 (h) x 188 (d) mm; 1.2kg weight.

Vestax CDR-07 Vestax CDR-07 (CD-recorder)

CD-recorder from the DJ-section with "table top-design" One-button-operation for record analogue/digital in-/outputs variable speed for playback input for footswitch.

Quickburn Unsuitable in this chapter, but necessary to show, because it's very useful:
Quickburn (CD-duplicator)

Stand-alone-duplicator for CDs (also for DVDs available) copies from one to 7 or 14 CDs (DVD at most 7) possible automatically identification of data medium (CD/DVD) check of data medium for errors automatically identification of copy-speed (at most to 52 times of normal speed) easy handling option: USB-output.

3.3 Software for Sound Processing

This chapter is about soundprocessing-software, which can be used by

  • Apple computers (operating system MacOS X) and/or
  • Windows computers (operating system Windows 98, NT, XP).

This topic can only be raised shortly, because it's to extensive. You need a good sound card. The prices for good soundcards vary from two-digit to three-digit. Following some wellknown and at specialized trade available soundprocessing-software:

  • WaveLab (by Steinberg),
  • Sound Forge (by Sonic Foundry),
  • Cubase Audio (by Steinberg),
  • Logic Audio (by Emagic).

The mentioned software is working similar, the features are different. Other software-products:

  • Red Roaster or
  • Hohner Midia

A complete listing is not possible, because there is too much software in the market. Following exemplary some features of WaveLab (by Steinberg) are mentioned: WaveLab is a sample-editor, a software, which shows diagramms as fader, keys, controllers on the monitor of the computer. You can compare it with a mixer with a lot of effects, sound effects and equalizer, but not as stand-alone equipment. It's offered on computer-CD, which has to be copied on a pc. WaveLab is a tool, which allows to work on soundfiles by clicking the mouse. Tracks and sampling-frequencies can be set by record-function. The level can be controlled by a peaklevel-meter while making the records. You can choose between different time-informations. Fade-in, fade-out, cross-fade are also installed.

The processing of high signals (e.g. 24 bit/192 kHz sampling-frequency) is standard. Echo and delays to 50 milliseconds are inside. Meanwhile Steinberg presented another version from WaveLab Version2 with less functions and without possibility for making records on DVD. A little bit lower in price: Magix music maker 2005 deLuxe or Magix music studio 2005 deLuxe. The last-mentioned software is, if you beleive to the trade press, the most sold sound-software worldwide. In summary all the named soundprocessing-software replace a lot of normally expensive equipment as mixer, equalizers, expanders...; but it can't replace additional external eqipment as e.g. tape-machines, -recorders and so on.


4. Literature for Sound, High Fidelity and Sound Engineering

Following in parts an overview of new journals and books. All the named prices are German prices.
Stellavox Schellin, Roland: Stellavox ­ Voice of the Stars / Die Stimme der Sterne
language: German English
price: 35,00 EUR

Frank Pieper:Das Effektebuch
language: German
price: 26,50 EUR

Recording Basics Hömberg, Martin: Recording Basics
language: German
price: 28,00 EUR

Ederhoff, Andreas: Das Mikrofonbuch ­ optimaler Einsatz in Studio und auf der Bühne
language: German
price: 26,50 EUR

Thorens Weichler, Gerhard: Thorens - Faszination einer lebenden Legende / The fascination of a living legend
language: German English
price: 48,00 EUR

HUB Uitgevers B.V.: Playlist ­ Alles über MP3 und iPod
language: German
price: 7,90 EUR

Thorens Professional audio Music Recording Tests Technik Monthly appearing test magazine ­ not only for the professional user!
language: German
price: 4,90 EUR


5. Diary 2006/2007

The following overview with dates from 2006 (november/december) and 2007 gives a worldwide overview with meetings of video and audio systems. (All the listened dates are from internet and without guarantee.)
DateCountryCityLocationFurther Information
03./05.11.2006CHChurHifi 3 d churQuelle: Image hifi 6/2006
10./12.11.2006AWienKlangbilder 06 (Hilton Vienna Danube)Quelle: Image hifi 6/2006
16.­19.11.2006DLeipzigCongress Centrum
25./26.11.2006DNeussWorld of Hifi (Tagungshotel Telecom)
10./11.02.2007DFuldaWorld of Hifi (Hotel Esperanto)
15.­21.03.2007DHannoverCebit (exhibition center Hannover)
17./18.03.2007DEschborn (bei Frankfurt)Analogforum (Hotel Mercure)
24./25.03.2007DBerlinHotel Berliner Ring Van der Walk,
28.­31.03.2007DFrankfurt / Mainprolight + sound / Musikmesse (exhibition center Frankfurt)
17.-20.05.2007DMunichHigh End (M,O,C,)
31.08.-05.09.2007DBerlinInternationale Funkausstellung (MCC Berlin)
29./30.09.2007DHannoverWorld of Hifi (Hannover Congress Centrum)
24./25.11.2007DDortmundWorld of Hifi (Drtmund Westfalenhalle)


6. Visits to the Fairs

prolight + sound / Musikmesse and High End The last years I wrote about the fairs in this report. In 2006 I produced CDs with music and interviews from each fair, but only in German. The CDs have been distributed two several soundhunters in Germany and Switzerland.


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Last updated 14th December, 2006