One of the most exciting products -- a product whose buzz preceded it's appearance at the show -- was the BlackBox from JoeCo.
24-track recording in high resolutionThe BlackBox is a fascinating concept; instead of a traditional hard disk recorder design, the BlackBox takes the storage out of the unit and allows the user to use whatever type of USB2 storage they might want, whether it's a stick drive or a portable hard drive. This allows the user to have as little or as much memory as they need, greatly saving on budget and weight when doing field recordings.
According to Joe Bull, JoeCo's Managing Director (and namesake), the idea was to create a device that would focus on sound quality by including premium converters, rather than wasting valuable space inside the unit for storage -- and in the process, allowing the user to have as much or as little storage as they need, and with the price of storage dropping exponentially as the years go on, the BlackBox is easy to upgrade.
FeaturesQuite simply, the BlackBox records 24 tracks of audio at 24 bit, 96kHz resolution in .WAV format. The BlackBox has some very interesting features that set it apart from other competitors. First, the user interface. While it's intuitive to use, it features one very important element: no moving parts.
All menus and selector knobs are touch-sensitive, and automatically lock, preventing accidental playback and recording stop.
Connectivity is through standard D-Sub connectors, using JoeCo's insert extraction cables. Simply plug the recording cables into the inserts of your mixer, and you'll have a clean feed to send to the recorder.
Using the same cables, you can play back through the channels, in essence allowing you to perform a "virtual soundcheck" using the last night's gig.
One concern is that using the insert jacks for recording takes away the ability to insert processors into the channels you need. I was assured this would be remedied by the time the product hit the streets.
The JoeCo BlackBox is scheduled to ship sometime in Spring 2009, with an end-user price of around $2000.