NAMM 2017: Slate Digital reckons it's come up with the world's first truly viable native alternative to DSP-based systems in the shape of Virtual Recording Studio, comprising an impressively low-latency audio interface, a new addition to the Virtual Microphone System, and the company's established preamp, outboard and effects modelling plugins.
The interface, called VRS-8, is an eight-channel box with a VMS-One preamp (as used in Virtual Microphone System's hardware interface) on every channel, feeding all-new AKM5578 A/D converters with a reported 124dB dynamic range, as well as an XTC clock for what we're told is super-stable, jitter-free timing, JFET instrument preamps, and two headphone outputs with discrete amps.
What could make it a serious rival to DSP-based solutions, though, is Slate's custom Low-Latency Native (LLN) chipset, which is said to yield round-trip latency as low as 0.7ms at 96kHz sample rate. The VRS-8 hooks up to Macs via Thunderbolt and PCs via PCIe.
The VMS-One mic pre gives an ultra-linear response, serving as a 'blank canvas' for the software mic modelling of Slate's Virtual Microphone System - which brings us to the second element of Virtual Recording Studio: the ML-2 modelling mic, essentially a much cheaper, small-diaphragm alternative to the large-diaphragm ML-1.
Like the VMS-One, the ML-2 outputs a perfectly neutral signal for transformation into any of almost 20 emulated vintage and modern microphones in the VMS plugin, and processing with one of Slate's (currently only two) virtual preamps and/or, of course, any other plugins you like.
Both the VRS-8 and ML-2 are intriguing, and we can't wait to get our hands on them. A release date has yet to be announced, but the VRS-8 will cost $1999, including a year's subscription to Slate's Everything Bundle and a permanent license for Virtual Preamp Collection.
The ML-2 comes in at $150, and you'll be able to buy a VRS-8 with five ML-2s for $2499, and throw in an ML-1 for another $500 (usual price $999). Find out more on the Slate Digital website.