Posts Tagged ‘gear announcements’

I was looking around for new gear to talk about and ran across this video at Guitar World:

All I can say is… interesting. As said in the video, the power wire has a tiny amplifier built into the jack that connects to your guitar powered by two long-life batteries.

Not sure how I feel about it, which is why my reaction was a lot more mild. It’s certainly cool, adding more gain to your input signal. According to the R&M Tone Technology web site, the cable comes in 0-6dB gain options. I guess the thinking is that more gain gives you more dynamics, but it also changes the overdrive point of whatever drive pedals you’re using, or if you’re going straight into the amp, where your amp breaks up.

I would actually see this as a benefit for single-coil, or low-output humbucker-equipped guitars, where that extra gain will get you overdrive earlier on. Not sure how I’d like it with hotter pickups such as the ones that are in my Gibson Nighthawk Reissue.

But at $39.00 for a 20 footer and $43 and $47 for 30- and 40- foot cables, it might be worth it to try out. For more information, visit the R&M Tone Technology site.

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No, this ain’t an April Fools joke. Fender has just announced a new line of guitars called the “Pawn Shop” line of guitars under the tag of: “Guitars that never were but should have been…” What a cool concept, and the coolest concept I’ve heard from the Fullerton company in a long long time. Essentially, these are “official” parts casters, borrowing from a base model but putting new twists on them. I won’t bore you with details because they’ve just released a new site dedicated to the three new Pawn Shop guitars. Here it is:


The one I like is the “Pawn Shop Fender ’72.” This has a semi-hollow Strat body, a Tele neck with rosewood fretboard, and two humbuckers. YOWZA!!! I totally love the concept! In any case, check it out.

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Meh. Nothing really new, just a new attenuator to enter the market. It’s a bit funny the claim he made about the Rock Crusher being the only switchable impedance attenuator on the market today. He obviously didn’t research the Aracom or Faustine attenuators. Another thing he mentioned about an impedance mismatch with an 8 ohm output hitting a 20 ohm load blowing a transformer I found amusing. Possibly the other way around could do it, or a blown tube, but that kind of mismatch wouldn’t do any harm to your amp. From what I understand, all an impedance mismatch like that would do is reduce the output power of your amp. Can you say Ultimate Attenuator, which a lot of people use? 🙂 It attenuates by using a 30 ohm resistor.

I do like some of the features on his attenuator like the balanced line out. That’s pretty cool. But overall, since I already have a couple of fantastic Aracom attenuators, I’m just not too excited.

But I have no doubt that Rivera will have success with this as they already have a dealer chain, plus the price is $499, which is half as much as the Faustine, and not much more than the Alex which is a single impedance device. Even if it only has two impedance settings, you’d have to get two Alex’s to get that capability. It is less than the Aracom, which is $649 for the Pro, but with the Aracom’s input and output impedance matching, plus its technology, I’ll stick to my Aracom.

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You gotta dig the folks over at EHX. They take classic designs then put their own unique twist on them. I’ve been considering getting one of their envelope filter pedals for  awhile, but then they recently released a harmonizer pedal called the Voice Box that is very intriguing. I myself have been using DigiTech’s Vocalist Live 4 for a few years, and it has served and continues to serve me well. But after a few years of gigging, things are starting to wear down, and some buttons are just plain broken.

As such, I’ve been looking at either getting a new VL4 or going with a completely different unit altogether. The TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch seems pretty cool, but this new entry by EHX warrants a deep investigation; especially as it is priced at under $220 street, where the VL4 and VoiceLive Touch run about $500.

Granted, the Voice Box doesn’t have many tweaking features, and it doesn’t have nearly the amount of presets as the VL4 or VoiceLive. However, from what I could gather from watching a couple of videos, the sound quality of the harmonies is great, and it includes a vocoder! Now THAT is cool!

For me as a solo gigging musician, a harmonizer has been an important part of my rig. And after years of use of my VL4, I have to admit that I only use four of the 100 presets of my VL4 – just four! So with the EHX’s nine presets, if I can get the harmonies that I use most often, then I may just have to get it. Besides, at around $220, it’s not going to run me broke. It also means that as a pedal, I can mount it on my pedal board, and not have a big unit that I have to run separately into my board. As I only use three effects on my board, there’ll be plenty of real estate to take this pedal!

Here’s a video:

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At Winter NAMM 2011, under the “Compact” line of pedals, TC Electronic released seven new pedals in a more standard footprint. I spoke about about the Corona Chorus in my previous article, and it is very promising. Now you might say, “So what? There were lots of pedals release at NAMM.” True, but from my standpoint, this is a major departure for TC Electronic; not in terms of engineering and quality, but of its movement into the mainstream.

Think about it: For years TC Electronic has been producing incredible effects that are always highly rated, and known for their high quality. The only problem for me, and while it might not seem like a big thing to others, but it is a big thing to me, was the form-factor of TC pedals. I have always had a problem with their size and shape.

People might say that it’s the tone that should matter and not the form-factor, and I would agree to a point. But from a practical perspective, because of their size and shape, I’d have to sacrifice too much real estate on my board to accommodate an original TC pedal. So though I’ve loved the pedals for their tones, I’ve always passed on them purely because of I’d have to change my board. That is definitely changed with TC Electronic’s new Compact Line.

The Compact Line in a Nutshell

As I mentioned above, the Compact line includes seven pedals. It’s great that TC came out with all of them at once as opposed to staging the releases. It definitely makes a bigger splash. One thing that I can say about the Compact line is that TC had versatility in mind with these pedals. All the modulation effects include TC’s new TonePrint feature, which lets you load settings by major artists into the pedal directly via a USB connection. How cool is that?

Anyway, here are video clips I found on YouTube that really demonstrate the pedals’ capabilities:

Flashback Delay

Corona Chorus

Vortex Flanger

Hall of Fame Reverb

Shaker Vibrato

Mojo Mojo Overdrive

Dark Matter Distortion

The pedals that really catch my ear are the Corona Chorus and the Vibrato, which is VERY cool. Unlike tremolo, vibrato is a pitch modulation, where tremolo is a volume modulation. That could really come in handy!

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TC Electronic comes out with the Corona Chorus (announced at Winter NAMM 2011). From what I’ve been reading and watching about this chorus pedal, it’s a winner! Very tweakable, with three different modes including their classic SCF chorus, Tri-Chorus, and TonePrint, which allows you to download settings directly into the pedal via a USB connection to your computer.

I have never owned a TC Electronic device; though I’ve tested a few of the Nova line pedals, and they sound great, one thing that has turned me off in the past is the size of the pedals I tested. Now with TC Electronic’s new compact pedal line, all that tonal goodness TC Electronic is known for can be had in a more standard form factor!

I don’t have a lot of chorus pedals; in fact, I only have two (BOSS CE-2 and a Homebrew THC), and I love them both. I use the THC for acoustic guitar, and use the CE-2 for electric. But I was just thinking that I’d like to have a more tweakable chorus to accompany my CE-2, as it’s kind of on the bright side, and sometimes I want something much darker, plus the versatility of the Corona would be awesome to accompany the CE-2 on my board. And no, I wouldn’t remove the CE-2 because it has a very distinctive tone that I have not been able to duplicate with any other pedal – ever.

From the techie side of things, the Corona is true bypass, and as TC Electronic puts it, Analog-Dry-Through, which simply means that the dry signal through the pedal stays dry and the effect is blended in. Very nice. That would definitely make it easy to put in front of an amp.

In any case, as usual Andy at ProGuitarShop.com has created a demo video. It’s pretty sweet:

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For years I was on an Overdrive kick. I still kind of am. I love dirt pedals despite the fact that I don’t use them nearly as much as I used to, and am patiently waiting for my Timmy to arrive. 🙂 But ever since I went on my quest to get an original BOSS CE-2 chorus, I’ve kind of gotten on a chorus kick as well; not as bad as my overdrive kick, but every time I see a new chorus, I have to at least listen to it. And if I REALLY  like it, I might just buy it. That’s how it was with my Homebrew THC. It just came along at the right place at the right time.

Truth be told though, while I’m not currently in the market for another chorus pedal, the Sea Machine Chorus from Earthquaker devices does give me pause. One thing that always turns me on with respect to gear is versatility, and the Sea Machine certainly cannot be blamed for lack of it. In addition to the tradition, Rate, Depth, and Intensity knobs, the Sea Machine also boasts three other knobs:

  • Animate – adjusts the width of the chorus pitch shift
  • Shape – adjusts the shape of the LFO
  • Dimension – which adds reverb/delay-like ambience to the tone.

This is impressive because from demos I’ve seen, this pedal is capable of producing TONS of different tones from your traditional chorus to leslie to vibe to all-out tweaked!

The pedal retails for $215 online. Here are some demos for your viewing/listening pleasure:

I totally dig Andy at ProGuitarShop.com’s demo as he demonstrates AND explains what the pedal can do, which is a lot. The Dimension feature is absolutely awesome!

If I had to do it over again, and I hadn’t purchased the Homebrew THC, I probably would’ve picked up the Sea Machine. Great chorus!

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I’m not too sure how to actually describe this “pedal.” It’s a dual looper, but could be used as a switch box, or a DI box. You could use it to direct your signal to two different effects loops and with the crossfade knob, mix in just the right amount of signal from each loop. As an impedance matching DI box, you can use it to go directly into a board or DAW. Or you could keep things very simple and use the box to go from one guitar to two amps, or two guitars to one amp. The possibilities for using this box are immense! Very interesting.

Here’s a copy of the press release I got from Pigtronix:

Pigtronix introduces the Keymaster – Impedance Matching Effects DI

Pigtronix Keymaster is an impedance matching, effects mixing direct box that allows musicians to do more with the gear they already own. Without loss of tone, the Keymaster routes any sound source (XLR mic, line level or instruments) into effects via two, true-bypass loops and then optimizes the mixed effects signal for your instrument amplifier, mixing console or DAW.

The Keymaster’s unique and intuitive arrangement provides musicians of all types with an elegant solution for routing their sound through effects in a creative fashion and then out into any device without losing signal integrity. The two loops can be switched between series and parallel, with a CROSSFADE function for on-board or expression pedal controlled blending of different effects. Input and Output boost controls add up to 10db of gain both before and after the loops.

The Keymaster lets musicians easily blend their instrument’s natural tone with a floor processor or even cell phone and laptop computer based effects using a standard expression pedal. Vocalists and horn players can use the Keymaster to control their effects mix from the stage. Guitar players can now mix pedals like a DJ does two turntables.

Already in use by some of the world’s top producers and FOH mix engineer’s, the Keymaster elegantly answers the unmet needs of musicians at every level, opening up endless realms of possibility for combining the effects you already own.

“I use the Keymaster to run the Piano mic through my Leslie Cabinet, drum mics into spring reverb and to get vocals into guitar amps. This pedal kills. You need it, I can’t live without it.”
Hector Castillo – Producer / Engineer for David Bowie, Bjork, Roger Waters, Brazilian Girls

I get lots of press releases, and there are just a few that I’ll forward to my readers. The gear simply has to be interesting enough for me to publish. This is definitely something I could put to use in the studio – or even on stage. It’s definitely worth a look! In any case, check out this video describing the pedal:

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When I first heard about this pedal, which EH calls a “sound retainer,” I have to admit, I was rather incredulous. I asked, “What the hell would I use THAT for?” But after seeing a demonstration of it, I seeing some real possibilities; especially for my solo acoustic gigs. But rather than bore you with a bunch of features, take a look at this video:

That dude is a great guitar player! Don’t know who he is, but I do know he’s from Mexico as that demo comes from guitargear.com.mx. No affiliation to this site, but it’s a cool name just the same! And of course, at least for me, I have to appreciate his choice of guitar. 🙂 Nice Tea Burst Les Paul!

In any case, that demo sparked off an idea in me for when I play my solo acoustic gigs. I could strum a chord, then play a short lead over it. But I can also see how it could actually be used to introduce a whole new way of approaching music. It’s wild! I’m seeing all sorts of possibilities now with this pedal, once I saw a demo. And at under $120, it’s not expensive at all.

For more information, check out the EH FREEZE site!

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People have asked me to do more videos, especially after I did the Doppler on the Dumble series. But the problem with doing video reviews is that I needed to set up a separate sound source to replace the video’s sound track, as it’s not all that good. So I’ve been looking at alternatives that had decent built-in sound, and a really inexpensive alternative I found was the Alesis VideoTrack. Mind you, I wouldn’t buy this one at full price. I got it for $80 today at Guitar Center during their Black Friday sale.

On the positive, it had great audio quality, which I’d expect from an audio company like Alesis. On the negative, the video quality is poor. But for gear reviews, it’s more important to have great sound than great video. That said, this will work for the time being until I get the Zoom Q3HD which has great audio and HD video. But it’s also almost four times what I paid for the Alesis, so I probably won’t be getting one anytime soon.

In any case, I did a test video. Check it out:

Not bad. Not bad at all. The sound quality is amazingly good, so I think we have a winner here!

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