Test Drive: The 360 Systems Short/cut Personal Audio Editor

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Applications

The Short/cut was designed to replace the workhorse 2-track reel-to-reel, the one used to record, edit, and playback phone calls, news actualities, and voice tracks for spots and promos. It does a wonderful job of this, in a much smaller space, with many more functions, with much better quality, and for much less than a decent reel-to-reel costs. In the on-air studio, it's a wonderful tool for recording and editing phone bits, but it also doubles as a sound effects and music bed storage device, enabling instant recall of stored sounds/beds when attached to a Hot Key. And when not assigned to a Hot Key, locating a file by name is done quickly with the Find function or by simply scrolling down the alphabetized list of files in any directory.

As a tool in the production room, the Short/cut has just as many uses, if not more. I most like the ability to record instantly, with the push of one button, and the recording is 16-bit linear at 44.1 or 48kHz. So the recording is CD quality with no data compression. If I'm in the middle of a project and a celebrity walks into the studio ready to read a few liners, the Short/cut is perfect for quickly recording and storing the tracks for later use.

Outside the production room, the Short/cut is just as useful. If a client wants to record some customer testimonials or voice his own spot, this is the perfect box to take to the client's place of business and setup with no more effort than plugging in a microphone. With the internal speakers and headphone jack, all recordings can be checked right on the spot.

Maybe you have a multitrack digital editor that many people end up using just for simple 2-track editing jobs. Free up the big workstation and place the Short/cut in a secondary studio. The learning curve is very short, and you'll find those "part-time" producers spending more time on the Short/cut than on your multitrack. The Short/cut is also perfect for that news work area. If your newspeople are still editing news actualities on analog tape or transferring clips from cassette to cart, you can improve the quality of your newscasts greatly and reduce the time spent putting them together with a Short/cut at their disposal. And if your newsperson is covering stories out of town, the Short/cut can go with them and enable them to record and edit actualities in the field, as long as there's an AC plug to be found. When it comes to applications for the Short/cut, just think of the things you used to do with a 2-track reel-to-reel (or still do, if you're one of the unfortunate). The Short/cut can do them all better, faster, with digital quality, and it throws in a ton of functions you could never perform on reel-to-reel. Plus, you can unplug it and take it with you anywhere.

The Bottom Line

The SC-180-1 used for this review has a suggested retail price of $2,995 and offers 90 minutes of storage. The SC-180-2 doubles the storage time for $500 more. If you don't have a simple 2-track digital recorder/editor in your production studio, give the Short/cut some serious consideration. It is as user friendly as digital recorders get in this computer age, and it offers a slew of editing features that any user will appreciate. The Short/cut is not a multitrack digital audio workstation and won't replace one. But if you want a very easy to use 2-track recorder with some bells and whistles and a reasonable price, you won't be dissatisfied with the Short/cut. 360 Systems continues to provide broadcast friendly digital recording devices unlike any other manufacturer. They are affordable, sturdy, have a short learning curve, and make the tedious tasks of our jobs fun again.

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