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Archive for the ‘gear announcements’ Category

Goldie’s ready for her clear coat! OMG! I just can’t believe it! We are so close now! Had a bit of a setback because Adam, in addition to being a luthier is also a professional forest firefighter. What a guy! Anyway, enjoy the pics!

To see all the progress pictures, see my “Goldie” dedication page.

For more information about Saint Guitar Company, see their site! FYI, Adam’s come up with a Vintage series. I believe this is going to be a semi-hollowbody, with real classic styling.

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Elite Tone Smooth BoostIf I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. The market cannot have too many overdrive pedals. 🙂 As you know if you read this blog with regularity, I just love ’em. I know… there’s nothing like the sound of a cranked amp, yada-yada-yada… But to get to the type of amp drive that I like; that is, with both pre-amp and power tubes contributing to the distorted sound, the volume levels will make your ears bleed. Enter the overdrive pedal, which gives you that breakup tone at any volume level! And the reason I love OD pedals so much is because I personally haven’t come across any two from different makers that sound exactly alike. Sure, many cop the tone of some original design – can you say Tube Screamer – but even the “clones” have voices all their own as their manufacturers add features or make the original circuits more efficient.

The brand-new Smooth Boost from Elite Tone promises to be a VERY interesting take on the overdrive pedal. Don’t let the name fool you: This is not a pure booster pedal. Even Elite Tone categorizes it as a distortion/overdrive pedal. Here’s the description from their site:

Brand new offering from Elite Tone a simple subtle unique boost effect pedal. The Smooth Boost features a circuit architecture that supports, enhances and optimizes your existing tone with delicate transparency. This simple yet multifaceted effect, achieves hi fidelity tube like signal boost, compression, sustain, overdrive and even mild distortion. The smooth boost can also be adjusted remotely with guitar volume and produce a lush twangy tube like sound as the volume is rolled back. With the signal maxed it adds mild harmonic overdrive and a touch of distortion.

What really intrigues me about the pedal from the description is the phrase “The smooth boost can also be adjusted remotely with guitar volume…” Wonder if that’s actual mechanical control through a specific input, or it’s functioning like other OD pedals that respond to input gain. I’m going to have to do more research.

Holy GAS Attack, Batman!!! This handmade pedal only costs $99 direct!!!

Dammit! I wish I hadn’t gotten wind of this pedal. It’s bad enough that my natural curiosity makes me want to check this pedal out, especially with that “remote adjustment” bit. But that combined with the price is giving me a serious case of GAS! Crap! 🙂

Anyway, the Smooth Boost includes the following features (from the Elite Tone site):

  • Engineered and constructed all by hand
  • True bypass
  • Battery Included
  • 2.1 mm diameter DC jack adapter (like boss style, etc…)
  • Extremely low ambient noise ( Not audible with effect full on and strings muted in many cases)
  • LED On/Off indicator

Okay… I’m sold. Sight unseen, sound unheard. Well… I am a bit more reasonable than that, but this is VERY COOL! At the very least, I need to find out more about this pedal!

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!
fenderstudio
IK Multimedia Amplitube Fender Studio

Summary: Need a quick, portable way to get your guitar ideas down on track, with an incredibly easy-to-use USB interface for performing live through software models? Look no further. Amplitube Fender Studio will get you rocking in minutes!

Pros: The inclusion of Fender Studio SE, RiffWorks T4 and Amplitube X-Gear, provide you with a full-featured experience to develop and track your song ideas, and are well worth the price of admission!

Cons: None.

Amplitube Fender Studio Package:

StealthPlug Features:

  • 9’/2,5m length cable with integrated audio interface
  • 1/4” jack connector MONO IN
  • 1/8” mini-jack Headphone STEREO OUT (suitable also for Amp/Powered Speaker OUT)
  • USB 1.0/2.0 connector
  • Activity LED
  • Volume UP/DOWN buttons
  • USB bus powered
  • 16 bit A/D -D/A converter
  • 44KHz/48KHz Sampling Frequency
  • Ultra-low latency ASIO and Core Audio Drivers
  • Hi-Z direct Guitar and Bass-IN (suitable for any instrument with line out also)

Price: $99.99 (street)

Tone Bone Score: 5.0. Being constantly on the go as I am it can get frustrating having to wait all day to get a riff or song idea down. With the Amplitube Fender Studio, I can quickly hook up my axe, switch on my laptop, and get an idea down before I lose it!

I’ve been getting some pretty cool gear and software from IK Multimedia as of late, and so far, I’ve been nothing short of impressed with what I’ve evaluated. I totally dug AmpliTube Fender, and the StealthPedal blew me away with its high-fidelity signal processing. So it was with great anticipation that I’d do a review of Amplitube Fender Studio with the StealthPlug. I wasn’t disappointed in the least!

Amplitube Fender Studio: Be Anywhere, Record Your Axe Anywhere

I received AmpliTube Fender Studio with the included StealthPlug a few days ago (it’s always nice to come home to find a delivery box), immediately opened the box, plugged the StealthPlug into the USB port of my laptop, plugged my headset into the StealthPlug, fired up AmpliTube X-Gear, chose an amp, and started to play. Just as I expected, the device worked as advertised; and also as I expected, it worked with practically no latency. I immediately thought, “Man, I could gig with this…” But I’m jumping ahead… As fortune would have it, I could only spend a few minutes playing as I had to leave, so I unhooked everything and placed the StealthPlug in the pocket of my gig bag.

This morning, I loaded up my axe into my car, wanting to practice a little at lunchtime, as my work has kept me from playing regularly for the last several days. As I was driving into work, just letting my mind wander as I traveled down the freeway, out of nowhere I got a song idea. I played it over in my head for a few minutes, then anguished a bit because like many song ideas I’ve had in the past, I would have to wait until I got home to get the idea tracked; more often than not, by the time I got home, I’d lose the idea. Then I remembered that I had put the StealthPlug in my gig bag!

I immediately exited at the next exit and found a good place to park. I jumped out of the car, with laptop in hand, opened up my rear hatch, pulled my axe and the StealthPlug out of my gig bag, hooked up to my laptop, opened up GarageBand, created a new track, and hit record. I had the song idea down in less than five minutes. Sorry, I’m still working on the song, so I don’t have a clip. But the point of this is that the StealthPlug enabled me to get my song idea down soon after I got the idea. It meant that the idea didn’t get relegated to another “one that got away.”

Performance

I needn’t go into any diatribe of the StealthPlug’s fit and finish nor how it sounds. How it sounds is based upon what amp and effect models you apply in your software. But here’s one thing I did notice, and it’s a huge thing: I could barely detect any latency at all while I played through the StealthPlug, even when recording in GarageBand, which can be a real resource pig. That kind of instantaneous response is absolutely to die for! I suppose the near-zero latency of the StealthPlug probably has a lot to do with the simplicity of the signal route. It’s a USB cable, for goodness’ sake! But that bodes well for using the StealthPlug in a live situation. I’ve often wanted to use my computer in a live situation using nothing but software models for amps; especially in my church gig where controlling output volume is essential. The only thing that has kept me from doing this is latency. Even tiny amounts of latency can throw you off while you’re playing. But with the StealthPlug’s near-zero latency, I think I’m going to have to give it a go.

Funny thing, I perused the web for other reviews, and all seemed to have a much more tepid response to this wonderful piece of gear; especially with respect to latency. Mind you, I have 4 GB RAM in my Mac, so that probably has a lot to do with my lack of latency, since the computer rarely has to go to the hard drive once things are loaded.

Another thing I tried with the StealthPlug was running it from my pedal board, to see how it would react, and see how the amp models I have on my laptop would react. After tweaking some levels, I was amazed at how well it worked! Admittedly, the tone produced seemed a little thin in the highs, but a little EQ to boost the highs remedied that right quick. But there are other ways to employ the StealthPlug. Here a few ways you can use it.

Amplitube Fender Studio: It Simply KICKS ASS!

So I’ve established that I dig the StealthPlug… On a standalone basis, I’d give it a 5.0 Tone Bone score by itself because of the effect it had on my songwriting, but used within the context of the included Fender Studio software well, the whole package gets a 5.0! And it’s due to a little software package called Riffworks T4 that’s included with Fender Studio. I had heard of Riffworks by following Todd Rundgren who recorded his latest “Arena” album using the full version of this software.

Basically, Riffworks, as the name implies, is a software where you can create layered riff loops. Unlike programs like GarageBand or Ableton or the like, you construct songs in Riffworks by linking together riff loops that you can create. I won’t go into a lot of detail about it here, but I will say that it makes songwriting very very easy. For those of you familiar with digital recording, riffs are built using a “loop recording” methodology; that is, a phrase is played over and over again with a new “layer” added with each iteration of the loop. It’Add to the fact that Fender Studio and X-Gear or whatever amp plug-in you have on your computer is readily available in the software, and creating music is absolute freakin’ breeze. Here’s a clip that I recorded just a few minutes ago using Riffworks with Fender Studio:

For the rhythm part, I used ’59 Bassman model, then applied a Riffworks Filter and Shaper to it to give it that “vibey” sound. For the lead, I used driven ’57 Deluxe model. But for this, I ran my guitar into my pedalboard first, then into the StealthPlug. I only used a single pedal, and that’s my beloved Tone Freak Effects Abunai 2 to add some slightly compressed and sustaining overdrive to the signal. The result was magnificent!

Once I was done with recording in RiffWorks, I outputted the clip to a WAV file, then imported it into GarageBand, so I could add a bassline. If I had a bass handy, I could’ve done everything in RiffWorks, but alas, I can only use MIDI for now. But here’s the cool thing: The StealthPlug was my only audio interface into my computer! How incredible is that? And I just had my headphone attached to the StealthPlug, and it all worked amazingly well. Talk about having a portable studio! All I need is a couple of guitars, the StealthPlug and my laptop! Save the guitars, all I need will fit into my laptop bag. Granted, I wouldn’t have access to my pedalboard if I was on the road, but adding effect plug-ins to Amplitube if I need them is not a problem.

Overall Impressions

Amazingly enough, response to the StealthPlug has been just okay… Not sure what that’s all about. But for me, I have a recording solution wherever I go. I don’t need to bring amps, just my laptop and a couple of guitars when I want to get away for a remote songwriting adventure. And RiffWorks plus Amplitube gives me everything I need!

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Fender Champion 600 Re-issueAs much as I have been ranting about Fender gear pricing as of late, and their latest “supposed” price drop (who knows for how long), my Champ 600 has been a tried and true companion in my studio ever since I got it. I’ve even used it at small venue gigs hooked to a 1 X12 cab, and it has performed wonderfully! This is a great amp!

Anyway, As I was doing a bit of research on the Fender price drop, I happened to go to GuitarCenter.com and couldn’t believe the pricing of the Champ 600 there! At $149, this is even cheaper than what I got it for two years ago!

Folks, this is phenomenal! While diminutive in size, this amp packs tone! You want classic Fender tone at a lower volume for home recording or just futzing around, this is the amp to get! And because it’s a low wattage amp, you can push it and not worry that your eardrums will start to bleed.

For my own purposes, this has been one of most pedal-friendly amps I’ve ever owned, so I retubed it with a NOS JAN-Philips 12AT7 and a JJ 6V6 to get maximum clean headroom out of the amp. Now, I have to open up the amp full to get even mild breakup. But that’s why I have my OD pedals. My thought behind this is that I want to get as pure character out of my OD’s as possible, so playing through a really clean amp will accomplish that.

So what’s the point of all this? As I mentioned above, this is a GREAT amp, and at $149, it’s a steal. Go get one at GC today!

Here’s a sample I recorded with the amp hooked up to my 1 X 12 extension cab:

Disclaimer: I’m not in any affiliate program with GC, so I get nothing out of announcing this. 🙂

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Fender-'57-Champ-Reissue

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Fender over the years. When I’ve loved Fender, I’ve really loved them, and when I’ve hated them, I’ve really hated them. Right now, I’m really hating them. I’m just aghast at the prices they’re charging for their new gear! This Champ ’57 Reissue from the Fender Custom Shop lists at $1295 with a street price of $999! This for a 5 Watt amp with a diminutive 8″ speaker.

Make no mistake: The parts for this cost less than $400! This pricing is absolutely outrageous. Yeah, I’m familiar with its history, blah, blah, blah. And even though I’m no electronics dude, and couldn’t possibly construct an amp myself, I know a few manufacturers who build hand-wired amps with more power and GREAT sound for even less!

Take for instance, the Aracom VRX22. This is a hand-wired, 22 Watt amp that simply kicks freakin’ ass, and the head sells for $895! Then, there’s the upcoming release of the Reason Bambino. This is an 8 Watt amp that will sport that distinctive Reason sound. This head costs $699! It’s my next amp.

I’m sorry folks, this is the same issue that I had with the Fender Roadworn series of guitars. I’m not really in to reliced guitars, but there’s no way I could justify paying $999 for a freakin’ MIM guitar, especially when I paid less than $400 a couple of years back for my MIM Strat.

MAYBE Fender’s production costs are much higher than the smaller run manufacturers (not likely), which is how they justify the price-point for this amp. But this amp is nothing special from my point of view, and as I mentioned above, the parts for this cost less than $400. Lots of people have built 5F1-based amps. Look at the Valve Train Amps Concord. This is a 6 Watt point-to-point, hand-wired combo with a 10″ speaker. It sells for less than $500.

Go ahead, you can argue all you want about the classic sound and history of the Fender ’57 Champ reissue. But to me, Fender’s just again trying to trade on nostalgia. If that’s what floats your boat, more power to you – and mind you – I’m not questioning the quality or the tone of this classic. It has done much to contribute to the sounds of rock and roll. I just want to make it very clear that there are clear alternatives out there that may not have the name but undoubtedly have great tone, and watt-for-watt, and dollar-for-dollar have A LOT more value.

Note that I have the Champ 600 and it is one of my all-time favorite amps. But it has limited usability outside of my home studio. And that’s another thing that bugs me about the ’57 re-issue. It’s a hefty price to pay for an amp that would see limited if any use outside of my studio.

Like I said, if this floats your boat, and the price of this classic reissue, more power to you. For me, I demand a lot more value for the money I pay.

Recent Update

I’m still not sold on this amp, even though I have indeed played it, and it has some real vintage mojo. The sounds it produces are fantastic, but I still can’t justify buying it for the price Fender wants for it. Besides, I’ve seen some late-50’s originals that sell for the same price on EBay! I would buy one of those before I’d buy the re-issue.

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Tone Freak Effects Severe High Gain Distortion PedalReleased in May (how did I miss this?), the Severe is “Tone Freak Effects’ answer to high gain distortion.” Oh man… This looks like a incredibly mean pedal. Set up like the Abunai 2 with a 3-way clipping switch, with level, gain, and tone, the Severe also sports a 3-way bright switch so it can be used with different amps. Very cool.

As Derek Tabata mentions on his site, the Severe will never turn your tone into a compressed mushy mess. The distortion can be laid on thick but, remains open. I can attest to this with the Abunai 2. You can lay on thick overdrive with that pedal, but it’ll never turn super thick.

With the Severe, Derek has taken high-gain distortion to another level! I’m amazed at how it sounds in the sound clips! Check ’em out!

Severe Demo Clip

Les Paul

Les Paul

Tom Anderson

Personally, I’m not a high-gain type of player, however, as I’ve gotten more and more comfortable soloing, I’ve found that I’m pushing more and more into high-gain territory. The only problem is that to achieve that with an amp means it has to be LOUD. That’s why I love pedals like this! You get the effect you need at far lower sound levels.

And you can’t go wrong with Tone Freak Effects! You just can’t! For more information, visit the Tone Freak Effects web site!

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What’s handmade, black and gold, and has the potential to catapult you into tonal heaven without breaking the bank and more importantly busting your eardrums? Simple: The soon-to-be-released Reason Amps Bambino! This article is the first news glimpse of this brand-new 7 Watt amp from the Reason guys that has all the tonal goodness you expect from a Reason amp but at volume level that won’t make your ears bleed, and almost as importantly, is easily within the financial reach of most cash-strapped gear sluts.

Reason Amps Bambino
When I first reviewed the Reason SM25 and the Reason SM40, I knew that what I was hearing was something special. These amps weren’t clone designs, and didn’t sound like anything that I had played before. Yes, they were based on classic 6V6 and EL84 power tubes, but the thing with those amps was that the power handling was magic, and either of these amps sounded way louder than you would expect with low to medium wattage amplifiers. Make no bones about it, what Obeid Kahn has figured out in the power transformer section of his amps is totally proprietary and SICK! Even as well as I’ve gotten to know Anthony and Obeid, that’s a subject they hold close to their chests.

So imagine my excitement when they shared with me several months ago that they were coming out with a brand-new low wattage amp. I wasn’t allowed to say anything about it at the time because Obeid was still working out the design, and hadn’t decided on the power tube he was going to use. All they would tell me was that it would be a sub-$700 amp that would have all the tonal goodness you’d expect from a Reason amplifier. Yeah, really definitive… ☺

But as luck would have it, I happened to give the Reason guys a call to see how they were doing, and much to my extreme pleasure, Anthony mentioned that they were almost ready to release the new amp, and that they were calling it the Bambino. After Anthony described the amp’s features, I started salivating. I LOVE LOW-WATTAGE AMPS! And this amp’s features totally kick the shit out of a lot of the low-wattage amps on the market, boutique and production alike. So let’s go over the features, shall we?

Reason Bambino Specs

Preamp Tubes: Three 12AX7’s

Power Tubes : Two 6AQ5’s in a push-pull configuration.

Output Power: 7 Watts, switchable to 1 Watt

Channels:
Normal – British cleans to Vox-like top-end. Includes a “thick” setting via pull-switch to get thick “Beano-like” grind.

Bright – Very American, SoCal type of bright and scooped tone, with smooth overdrive when pushed. Bass knob scoops the mids when you dime it, and the pull switch will add extra shimmer to the top end.

StackModeTM – As with all amps in the Reason Amps family, the Bambino also sports StackMode, which runs Channel 1 into Channel 2 plus an extra gain stage in a series. Want to get over-the-top grind? StackMode is it!

Sounds basic enough, but wait! There’s more!

Built-in Speaker Load Box Simulated Line Output with Level Control – The line output is not just another line output.  It starts with a fully inductive speaker impedance simulator, which then goes onto a complex frequency shaping network that simulates the sound of a classic 2×12 speaker cabinet.  The fully balanced TRS ¼” connection allows for connection to any recording devices or slave amplifiers. Can you say “re-amp” anyone? ☺ You can also use this output to perform true silent recording. Of course, nothing beats a speaker moving air, but when you need a straight guitar sound to record, now you have it.

Separate Headphone Output – Want to practice and not wake up the significant other? No problem, mahn!

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know how much I love Reason Amps! They don’t pay me anything for telling their story – all you have to do is play a Reason Amp and you’ll be hooked! And at the price-point that the Bambino is coming in at, there is NO reason (excuse the pun) that you shouldn’t seriously consider this amp when it’s ready for shipping!

Not Your Daddy’s Oldsmobile

It would be so easy to dismiss this amp as yet another boutique amp. But you’d be wrong. One of the reasons I dig Reason amps so much is because they have a sound all their own. It’s also the reason I dig Aracom Amps so much. Manufacturers like these don’t settle for making copies of classic designs. They’re true innovators, taking the classic designs, improving on them, and adding their own special touches. The net result is that you get amps that have tones that are uniquely theirs.

And on top of that, Obeid Kahn is one of the leading amp designers around, the meticulous care and innovative spirit he has put into his designs is evident in the amps he has produced over the years, and with Reason Amps, that skill and innovation are at their paramount. These amps are special!

Stay tuned for more! I hope to get a test amp when they have one available! But for now, check out the Reason Amps site for any updates.

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Just announced today, Stage Ninja (http://www.stageninja.net) has just released a line of guitar straps made from 100% recycled material. No, it’s not paper, folks. 🙂 Actually the specific materials are recycled bicycle tubes, racing tires, and hemp. Because the straps are made of rubber, they stretch a little – up to 1/8″ – which is kind of like having built-in shock absorption. That’s kind of cool, and starting at $49.99, that’s not a price that’ll break the bank.

Now the company claims that the natural tackiness of the rubber makes it like having strap locks. But I’ve learned my lesson: Never leave home without strap locks! I don’t care how “sticky” something might be. Unless it’s locked on, it will eventually come off. But that’s just an aside… 🙂

Considering that Stage Ninja is located in Indianapolis, it’s no small surprise that they would take advantage of the used racing tires that must be piled up outside of the Indy speedway. What a way to capitalize on throw-aways! But it’s also responsible manufacturing. On principle I have to get one of these.

Why get so excited about a guitar strap? Simply because I dig product that are the result of thinking out of the box. Yes, it’s just a guitar strap, but made out of material that was never even envisioned to be used this way!

There’s not much information on these as of yet, and retailers do not have them in stock just yet. But they should be arriving soon!

For more information, check out their web site: http://www.stageninja.net.

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Nova Repeater

The Nova Repeater news is a tad old, as it started shipping a couple of weeks ago, but retailers are still only taking pre-orders on it. I’ve been waiting for the Nova Repeater to come out for awhile, ever since I heard about it from Winter NAMM news. As TC Electronic puts it, this pedal is “No frills, with a sound that kills.” It truly is no-frills. There’s no programming of the pedal. It has a few features and that’s it. But what it has that I’ve not seen with other pedals is a feature TC calls, “Audio Tapping.” Essentially, you hold the tap tempo button down, then strum your guitar, and the delay is set based upon the strum. I can’t wait to try out this delay pedal! Here’s a demo video:

Nova Drive

Next up is the Nova Drive, which is an analog overdrive and distortion pedal that is controlled with a digital interface. Not sure how that works, but it does sound very cool. This is the same drive/distortion circuit that is in the Nova System, so if you know about that tone, you know it’s very nice. There are a couple of things that stand out about this pedal for me. First, you can change the order of the drive and distortion, making drive first, distortion second; and vice-versa. Second, you can also run the effects in parallel, which is totally – it provides a completely different dimension in the tone this pedal produces. It also has a MIDI input that you can hook up to a G Major system to program it. Not bad. Anyway, here’s another demo video:

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!
stroborack
Peterson VS-R StroboRack

Summary: Super-accurate, super-sophisticated, yet super-easy-to-use. With point-one cent accuracy and built-in temperament and sweeteners, plus a huge display, accurate tuning is a breeze with this unit!

Pros: The big display makes tuning extremely easy, and the built-in sweeteners (I’ll get into that in a bit) ensure that once you’re tuned you sound great.

Cons: None, at least from the standpoint of features and capabilities. But as I’m not really a rackmount guy, lugging this around would mean having to get an enclosure. But in the studio, IT IS THE BOMB!!!

Features:

  • 0.1 Cent Accuracy
  • Large, Backlit Virtual Strobe™ Display
  • Exclusive Sweetened™ Tunings For Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Dobro®, Baritone, Steel Guitar, Electric Violin- total of 34
  • Buzz Feiten Tuning System® Presets
  • 8 User-Programmable Sweeteners
  • 25 Presets
  • Built-In Mic
  • Mute Button & Remote Jack
  • Tone Out Jack
  • All Metal Construction
  • Neutrik® Jacks
  • 12V BNC Output For Gooseneck Light (not included)
  • Built-In Power Supply (No Wall Wart.)

Price: $359 (street)

Tone Bone Score: 5.0. I’ve used a lot of tuners, and this by far is the most accurate I’ve ever used. Despite it being a rackmount, my use of it in the studio has proven

I used to never be into rackmount gear, let alone sophisticated tuning equipment. But the Peterson StroboRack has me reconsidering both those things, especially in my workshop/studio where tuning accuracy is incredibly important.

I received the StroboRack a few days ago, and since I set it up (which required all of two minutes to plug in the cords), I can see why so many people love these tuners. It’s a completely different way to tune an instrument. Instead of lining up a needle or LED, or even using the “strobe” effect on a TU-2, you tune by making the “checkerboard” pattern on the LCD stop moving. If it moves the left, you’re flat. If it moves to the right, you’re sharp.

Tuning with one of these things does take a little getting used to. First off, I had to really lighten my touch with the tuning keys, and also had to make sure I didn’t put any pressure on the neck. At .1 cent accuracy, even a slight pressure throws off the tuning. But once I got used to it, tuning was a breeze!

Do you take sugar with that?

The StroboRack includes what are called “sweeteners” for specific types of instruments. I’m not sure I understand this idea completely, but it has to do with setting the right intervals between notes – compensating for the type of instrument – so that the tuned instrument doesn’t just sound great tuned up, but when you actually chords, the chords are much more tonally accurate. Apparently a lot of math goes into calculating these sweeteners.

All I can say is that my guitars tuned up with the StroboRack, actually sound better than when tuned up with my little TU-2. It probably has a lot to do with the high degree of accuracy, but I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the “GTR” sweetener. For instance, I did an A/B comparison of tuning with the StroboRack vs. my TU-2. I took my time to get the most accurate tuning I could with both tuners. When I struck an E chord after tuning up with my TU-2, I had to make a couple of minor adjustments to my G and B strings – it wasn’t that the chord sounded bad, it just seemed to sound a bit “off.”

On the other hand, the E chord struck after tuning with the StroboRack with the GTR sweetener engaged sounded absolutely right on!

Fit and Finish

The StroboRack is encased in a nice, heavy-duty aluminum casing. It is really built like a tank, so I have no doubts that it could survive the rigors of the road. But I do advise getting an enclosure for it. It’s still a precision instrument, and should be handled with some care.

Overall Impressions

To say The Dawg digs this unit is an absolute understatement! Last night, I used it to set the intonation on a new guitar I got, and I have to tell you, the big display and scrolling checkerboard really made it easy. I know, a lot of folks would say, “But it’s just a tuner.” Well yeah… but the accuracy it affords you – especially you tone freaks out there – just can’t be beat. This is a unit that I will definitely be adding to my rig!

At $359 street, it’s not a cheap proposition by any means, but hell! We gear sluts spend tons of money each year on gadgets to make us sound better. One would think that sounding better also means being in tune. Of course, Peterson has several other tuners, like the StroboStomp that doesn’t have all the features of the rack unit, but it uses the same “Virtual Strobe Technology” as the StroboRack, so you know you’ll get the accuracy you need.

Mind you, I didn’t try out all the other features like outputting to two outputs, which is pretty cool, or using the XLR jack to go into a board. Those are great features, but frankly, they’re secondary to what’s important with this unit: Accurate tuning.

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