Digidesign Marks Guitar Market Entry With Avid's Eleven Rack

By Lisa Johnston On Oct 12 2009 - 6:00am

Avid recently introduced the Digidesign Eleven Rack, a stand-alone hardware unit that combines a “hyper-realistic” guitar amp and effects processor with a computer recording audio interface. The result is what the company hails as the “ultimate recording and performance solution for guitar players.”

Mark Williams, PR manager for professional audio solutions at Avid, spoke with TWICE just after the product's launch in late September.

“This is Digidesign's first foray into the guitar market,” said Williams, “and they have just hit a home run.” The Digidesign brand was purchased by parent company Avid in 1995.

The Eleven Rack, which comes with Avid's Pro Tools LE, is engineered to replicate 12 different amps via “tone cloning,” Williams said.

“Engineers went and took old classic guitar amps and didn't try to create software that makes them sound like these amps. They did point-to-point testing, and were able to have sounds produce an emulation of that that is better than anything anyone has come up with,” he said.

The Eleven Rack is also designed to create the ability to record a guitar tone without needing to re-record a performance due to bad tone, as well as reproduce tones captured in the studio in live performances.

Williams used the example of a musician recording a guitar solo who ends up with one mistake in there.

“For a guitar solo with one clunker note, a month later it's really hard to get that same sound even with the same amplifier with the same stomp boxes. It will always sound a little funny.

“But by using the Eleven Rack, you're using the exact same parameters — those are embedded in that track. The guitarist can rerecord the one stinky note, and it will be exactly the same guitar sound. Not close — exactly the same.”

Eleven Rack is also a high-resolution USB 2.0, eight-channel recording interface. It directly interfaces with Pro Tools, allowing a guitarist to record both dry and processed guitar tracks while simultaneously allowing for re-amping later, without re-patching a single cable, according to the company.

Other features include built-in DSP processing, which means there is no audible latency, Williams said. “The thought of using the sounds the software had without any latency was very big.”

When used as a stand-alone effects processor, the Eleven Rack features several I/O connections that lets users incorporate it into their live setup or use it as a replacement for their live rig by running it directly into a PA/live sound system, the company said.

Also, Williams said, “If you're using it in a recording studio, it will work with recording software. It works identically with all recording software.”

Currently available, the Eleven Rack will feature a $1,259 suggested retail. Williams said it will be sold through a variety of CE and music retailers, including Sam Ash and Guitar Center.

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