New Avid products at NAMM: Venom synthesizer, upgrade for Eleven Rack, Torq 2.0 and Mbox bundles

Avid is presenting four new products at this years NAMM show, a M-Audio synthesizer called Venom, an upgrade for Eleven Rack, a new version of the DJ software Torq, as well as Mbox bundles, or rather unbundled Mboxes.

Venom

Despite not being much of a website for hardware synthesizers, lets start with Venom, which actually has some interesting features. Venom is a virtual analog synthesizer (who likes pure digital nowadays huh?) and is an – and I quote – “aggressive take on the emulation of classic analog synthesis—combining the warm sound and character of vintage keyboards with the intuitive control and workflow advantages of modern digital processing“.

Extensive sound design capabilities—allow customers to create distinctive sounds using 41 oscillator waves and 53 drum sounds sampled from renowned vintage keyboards. Users can add realism to their mixes with a DSP-induced oscillator drift, and additional sound complexity with a 12-voice polyphony with three oscillators per voice, as well as 16 modulation routings.

Full-sized keyboard and ergonomic design—enables customers to comfortably create music and play using a 49-note, full-size, synth-action keybed and intuitive top-panel controls.

Included Vyzex Venom software editor—provides a clear visual representation of all synth settings and parameters so users can arrange sounds into banks, rename patches, save backups on their computers and collaborate with other users. Users can also mash up multiple patches and create new hybrid sounds with the built-in patch collider.

Built-in USB audio/MIDI interface—gives customers the ability to record audio from instruments, mics or other sound sources, or process external audio using Venom onboard effects and filters, without the need for additional audio interface hardware.

Not to be a downer, but so far I’m kind of yawning. Sure, it’s probably interesting to some but not really what I would get hot over. Too few knobs and [insert other synth snob remarks here]. But this is interesting:

Compatibility with Pro Tools and third-party recording solutions—opens up workflows so customers can work directly with Pro Tools®, Pro Tools M-Powered™, Pro Tools SE and or third-party DAWs, including Ableton Live, Propellerhead Reason, Apple Logic and GarageBand, forming a powerful, all-in-one music creation, mixing and recording solution.

Tell me more Avid and M-Audio! Show me what it does! If there’s actually a clever integration with Pro Tools here then I’m interested.

Torq 2.0

A new version of Torq has also been announced. I’m not a DJ, or even remotely into it, so I won’t pretend. Instead I’ll just quote the press release. Here are some of the new features in Torq 2.0:

Four virtual decks with EQ, level control, headphone cueing and crossfade—enable customers to play four tracks at once to create unique, complex and dynamic mixes.

Traq Morph™ technology—patent pending innovation blends music tracks in exciting new ways by intelligently applying audio effects during crossfade.
Open, flexible workflows—provide DJs with the flexibility to use the software with M-Audio Xponent® and Conectiv® DJ and third-party hardware, or stand-alone without any hardware at all.

Updated user interface and database—gives users the ability to sort through tens of thousands of tracks, including Apple iTunes Store libraries, to quickly create distinctive mixes.

13 built-in effects and VST effect support—enable customers to reinvent sound by stacking up to four simultaneous built-in effects and one VST effect per deck, allowing for up to 20 effects at once.

Advanced recording options—empower DJs with the ability to capture their entire performance with an integrated performance recorder for distribution or editing. As a result of ReWire, they can also create, mix and record with Pro Tools or third-party DAWs, bringing their DJ performance to the studio environment.

Eleven Rack Expansion Pack

Now this is what I, and I’m sure many with me, have been waiting for. I’m going to play my bitter Martini drunk card and claim that I didn’t see this one coming. Unfortunately Avid has a track record of releasing promising products that doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of support by the company that they deserve (Structure anyone?). But this… Hat’s off.

New guitar and bass amp effects emulations—deliver users an expanded sonic palette with 19 new guitar amp and effects emulations, including an all-new bass amp/cabinet simulation that invokes the sounds of legendary bass tones.

Parametric EQ and studio compressor channel strip effects—allow customers to easily capture vocal and instrument performances using new channel strip-style signal processing.

Dynamic stereo delay—provides customers more options to enhance their sound, create custom effects and widen their guitar tone with full ducking, panning and filtering control on delay feedback.

Speaker break-up emulation—re-creates the natural distortion characteristics heard when turning up an analog amp with speaker breakup emulation added to all amps.

I don’t work with Eleven Rack myself but I do find it to be an excellent product and I think many are happy to see the additions here. I really hope Avid won’t stop here but instead continue to develop the software for Eleven Rack.

Mbox now available with or without Pro Tools

This was bound to happen. If Pro Tools is going to cost money, and be available as a separate product, Avid has to offer their hardware without Pro Tools. And, remember, Avid is making kind of bold claims about the technology in their latest generation of hardware. If the products are that good, then maybe someone running Logic at least want to buy the hardware.

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