TC Electronic is rapidly becoming a household name for audio gear and not just a high-end plug-in maker. The lead item in their newest lineup is a drool-worthy new audio interface loaded with some of their best built-in effects, plus PowerCore for PCI express and some treats for guitarists and hardware effects lovers. Here’s a quick preview.
Interface with Benefits
There are plenty of fine boxes to get audio in and out of your computer, so now it’s a matter of finding that key element that sells you one device instead of another. The major selling point of TC Electronic’s new Konnekt D audio interface is integrated effects that run on the interface itself, via built-in DSP hardware. That in itself is nothing new, but TC hasn’t just tossed in a reverb and called it done: instead, they’ve added their top-class reverb and channel strip (for dynamics processing). You can access the Fabrik R reverb and Fabrik C channel strip from your computer software, or even use the effects when the interface is in standalone mode.
I looked at the new Fabrik software user interface last month. It’s a fascinating idea for making it easier to change multiple parameters at once while focusing on sound results, and should appeal to sound newcomers and pros alike, even if I still think it looks like a screen from a Klingon Bird of Pray. (Not necessarily a bad thing, though it makes me hungry for a nice plate of Gagh.)
There are plenty of other features on the Konnekt to like. It’s FireWire bus-powered with the ability to combine more interfaces for more I/O, now or in the future, with a twist: hook up two Konnekts, and you can direct-monitor signal from either one. There’s also plenty of I/O included balanced ins and outs and MIDI, Hi-Z inputs for connecting guitars and other instruments with pickups without the need for a separate direct box, S/PDIF and ADAT, 24-bit / 192 kHz operation, and pretty much everything you could want. If it performs up to the standards set by other TC stuff, I think it’s fair to set expectations high. No pricing available, but stay tuned, as this is right at the top of my list.
More Hardware Treats
GC also introduced other hardware at Messe a few weeks ago:
The Vintage Tube Primer simulates a tube amp with optional overdrive. It could be just the thing if you don’t like the idea of performing onstage with a laptop, or don’t need quite that many options. It also continues TC’s preference for vague labels for its sound voodoo, like the “body” switch.
TC has other effects hardware out, too: the M350 multi-effects and C300 dynamics units. So who said hardware effects were dead? These units are rack-mountable, and the M350 is editable via software plug-in, so it’s not hard to imagine someone integrating them into a computer setup, even those performing with laptops. (You could process your voice or guitar with these, for isntance, and leave your computer to deal with soft synths and accompaniment.)
PowerCore for PCIe
Lastly, our PCI Express watch continues: those of you with new Macs and PCs who want to add hardware-accelerated audio processing will be glad to know that PowerCore is now available for the new PCI format. We’ve heard the odd complaint about PCIe and whether it offers any real benefits, but at least the good news is you don’t have to give up on the idea of adding cards for more sound-processing power.
Maybe people are cleaning out their studios in the spring, but for whatever reason, we’ve been talking about picking audio interfaces and effects on the CDM forums. Latest discussion: which reverbs everyone likes (and this new Konnekt + Fabrik R could be a strong candidate). Drop by and let us know what’s on your mind.