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New from M-Audio is the Black Box--a creative tool for guitarists that combines amp modeling, beat-synced effects, guitar/mic preamps and drum tracks with an audio interface for computer-based recording.
The Black Box can be used in either standalone mode or hosted via most popular music software. The unit has separate preamp channels for 1/4" guitar and XLR microphone inputs--both with status and clip LEDs. The Black Box features models of 12 of the greatest guitar amps of all time including Fender Bassman, Fender Deluxe, Fender Twin, Vox AC 30, Marshall JTM-45, Marshall Plexi, Marshall JCM-2000, Hiwatt DR-103, Mesa Boogie Maverick, Soldano SLO-100, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Bogner Uberschall.
The Black Box also delivers 99 drum patterns in a variety of styles, making it easy to jam and write with instantly available grooves. Tempo can be set manually, via tap tempo or synchronized to external MIDI clock.
M-Audio has also partnered with Roger Linn to endow the Black Box with Linn's AdrenaLinn technology. As a result, the Black Box incorporates a palette of 43 unique effects designed specifically for the unit and that automatically beat-sync to the drum patterns or master clock. These include tremolo, flanger, chorus, random filters (1/8, 1/8th triplets and 1/16), tremolo sequences, filter sequences, wah wah, auto wah, talk box, arpeggiators and MIDI effects. Either the mic input, guitar input or drums can be processed through the internal beat-synced DSP effects at any given time.
The Black Box also serves as a USB audio interface. One simple USB connection sends the output to a Mac or PC--and syncs the Black Box's drums and effects to sequenced tracks. Analog outputs include 1/4" stereo headphone and a pair of balanced 1/4" TRS connectors. The DSP signal can also be sent to other digital recording gear via the unit's S/PDIF output at 24-bit/44.1kHz.
The Black Box ships with 99 factory presets that make it easy to access inspiring sounds instantly. 99 user program locations are also provided. The simple, intuitive user interface incorporates a large LCD, dedicated buttons for the major functions and multi-function rotary encoders for controlling parameters such as amp drive and tone. The expression pedal input can be programmed for a variety of functions such as amp gain, wah, delay volume, delay repeats, effect depth, wet/dry and more. Two momentary pedal inputs accommodate programmable functions such as tap tempo, tuner activation, preset selection and more. The Black Box is also designed to be field upgradeable for future firmware revisions.
For convenience, the Black Box features an integral guitar tuner as well. The unit also includes a mic stand adapter, making it easy to place the unit ergonomically both on stage and in the studio. A Kensington lock slot is built in for security. Power is via an included 9VAC power supply.
The Black Box has WDM, ASIO and Core Audio drivers, making it compatible with most popular electronic music software. The unit also has minimal functionality as a class-compliant device with Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.3.5. Windows minimum system requirements are Pentium III 500 MHz, 128MB RAM, Windows XP (SP2) with DirectX 9.0b, and USB connection (onboard or PCI). (No support under Windows 98, Windows ME or Windows 2000.) Macintosh minimum requirements are G3/G4 500 MHz, OS X 10.3.5, 512MB RAM, and USB connection (onboard or PCI). (G3/G4 accelerator cards are not supported.)
The Black Box will ship at the end of January at USD $299.95 MRSP.