New venture Carillon Audio Systems USA introduces the world’s first PC to be developed from the ground up for audio and music - the AC1. Carillon say their aim is to bring the predictability & ease of use associated with conventional hardware products (multitrackers, synths, samplers etc) to the exponentially growing number of software based musicians.
Strong but Quiet type
The all aluminum and steel rack-mount design is clearly built to last, won’t rattle and provides considerable sound insulation to some already extremely quiet components, including Carillon’s own Ultramute PSU. The graphs attached are based on independent anechoic chamber tests (data available on request) that showed the AC1 to be 5dB (1.8 times) quieter than a Mac G4 and 8dB (2.6 times) quieter than a Dell Dimension PC. Carillon say several pro users who were asked for a first impression on noise, enquired if the unit had been switched on yet!
Carillon’s patent pending hardware has several audio specific features, like front-mounting Neutrik patching and bays for a range of inexpensive ($99) control panels for real fingertip control. Assignable MIDI knobs (RK8), ‘tape transport’ buttons (RTM1) and a jog-shuttle edit controller (JS1) are the first available.
Application oriented ‘One Box’ systems
Trouble-free setup and operation is the holy grail for computer musicians. Carillon's unique Total System Integration marries the AC1 with leading music software and hardware products in a range of seamless systems, ready to use out of the box. Each of the 23 systems is configured for a particular group of users and includes VST and Sonar Foundation Systems from $1,599, dedicated UltraSynth and Ultrasampler Systems through to the PostRoom editor/batch processor, right up to dedicated Nuendo and Pro Tools Workstations. Total System Integration combines software and hardware as never before. Extensive, illustrated, on screen manuals (Carillonhow) are provided for the system as an entity. - for example, instructions on recording an audio track apply specifically to the multitrack software when used in conjunction with that particular system’s audio card. An extensive trouble shooting section (Carillonhelp) is kept up to the minute with FAQs and solutions via the internet.
(‘Bare-bone’ and ‘Custom’ systems for experienced tech-heads are available from $1,199 with all the proprietary Carillon applications except the configuration-specific aspects of the Carillonhow manual).
Remote control technical support If Carillonhelp doesn’t get you out of trouble, an FOC remote technical support facility (Carillonfix) enables Carillon’s tech support staff to literally take control of your system . A fix session is booked, and owners can watch any problems being fixed with the opportunity to ‘chat’ directly to the engineer about avoiding the problem in future.
Online applications are central to the Carillon concept and all systems have Pyro MP3 software pre-installed. Each computer is also supplied with Carillon’s own Loopstation Sample Jukebox search engine pre-installed. Owners access Carillon’s own E1 connected Sun server to preview and download from a comprehensive range (5,000 now, increasing several fold by the end of 2002) of premium quality, royalty-free samples, completely free of charge.
How much will all this cost?
Carillon intends to be a major music technology brand; to do this it will operate world-wide and market its products at very competitive price points - only 15-20% more than an equivalent ‘plastic box PC’ or significantly less than a comparable Mac package - unparalleled value when you consider everything that’s included.