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Posts Tagged ‘gear reviews’

Summary: If you’re a gigging musician that needs to mount a tablet on their mic stand, at least in my mind, there’s no equal to this. With the 4-way joints, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a position you can’t get your table into. This is a very well-engineered accessory!

Pros: When they say heavy-duty, they mean it! The articulating arms are all made of metal and though the mount itself is plastic, it’s made of that high-velocity plastic that is pretty rugged as are all the plastic knobs. The unit even includes a tripod mounting plate!

Cons: None.

Price: $48.95 on Amazon.

Tone Bones: 5 Tone Bones! Tablet mounts just don’t get better than this!

Features:

  • Compatible with ALL 7″ to 12″ tablets (I got it specifically for my Surface Pro 6)
  • Spring-loaded lock design – The internal spring is pretty heavy-duty as well and is very high tension.
  • Exchangeable slide-in hooks to accommodate all tables. The hooks themselves have ridges to prevent the tablet from slipping.

I’ve spoken about digitizing my charts and sheets in the past, so I won’t belabor that here. The benefits are incredible! But you have to have a way to mount it or use a music stand.

Years ago, when I was using my iPad for my music, I used the IK Multimedia iKlip. But when I switched all my tablet usage to my Microsoft Surface Pro recently, I needed a new mount. IK Multimedia has the “Expand” model that would work, and I was just going to get that. But when I went to Amazon to buy it, I saw the ChargerCity mount in the alternatives. That immediately intrigued me!

So I did a bit of research to see what this tablet mount was all about. A 4-way fully-articulating arm? Holy crap! I thought it was too good to be true, but the reviews on Amazon were incredibly positive. But being naturally skeptical, I checked the product link on ReviewMeta.com to see if the reviews were actually genuine. The rating it got was “WARN” because there seemed to be a lot of fake reviews. BUT that only accounted for 9% of all reviews, which meant that most reviews were genuine. So I pulled the trigger.

Fit and Finish

The first thing that struck me when I opened the package was the weight. All the arm pieces are solid metal. This thing is built like a tank! It arrives in pieces, so you have to assemble it. I took a picture of the assemly that you can see below. But the cool thing is that I realized that I don’t have to use the extension arm, which provides me with tons of flexibility in the setup!

The full arm assembly and the tablet tray are both attached via a ball joint. This allows for easy rotation and tilting. And as far as the clamp is concerned, it was designed to mount not only to a mic stand but to a table as well! How useful is that?

Here are some close-ups I took of the assembled unit:

Sorry about my messy garage… But as you can see in the picture with my Surface Pro mounted, I’ve got it set up for my next gig tomorrow. That clamp holds the tablet very well in place. I was a little concerned that it would do a good job, but as I said, that spring is heavy duty and it takes a bit of effort to place the tablet in the mount. In the picture where I’m holding clamp open, it snapped shut a couple of times and pinched my index finger. Ouch!

Overall Impression

Is a tablet mount rather pedestrian and utilitarian? Sure it is. But compared to other mounts, this beats them all hands-down! Being able to mount it to a mic stand or a table and being able to position it exactly where I want it are simply massive for me! With the ability to mount to a table or even a podium will make this really useful for doing presentations as well. I’m excited!

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Summary: The RS-4 provides all the great sequencing and conditioning as the original and on those two features alone, it’s valuable. But this isn’t just an ordinary power strip. Like the original, it is built like a tank and incredibly reliable. Get your gear powered on in the right order, then condition your power, and you can rely on it to withstand the rigors of the road? What’s not to like?

Pros: The addition of the Port 1 Always On feature is awesome! As I mentioned it is built like a tank. My original is seven years old and shows no signs of failure. The EMI/RFI filtering and 1935 Joules of surge protection provide lots of confidence that the power going into your gear is clean and protected.

Cons: None.

Price: $299.00 ~ More features and cheaper than the original? What’s not to like?

Features:

Power Rating120VAC, 60Hz, 15A 1800W
Safety Agency ApprovalsETL Listed file 4007270 in US and Canada conforms to ANSI/ UL Std. UL 1449-4 UL 1363 and certified to CAN/CSA 22.2 NO. 8
Actuation SwitchPush button foot switch (on- off)
Dimensions13.25”L X 4.25”W X 1.50”H
Chassis ConstructionSteel Welded 20 guage
Receptacles(8) High impact thermoplastic (4) duplex receptacle Nema 5-15R
Power Rating120VAC, 60Hz, 15A 1800W
Power Cord15 foot 14 gauge SJT Nema 5-15p
Surge Suppression(9) MOV’s 1935 Joules L-N L-G N-G Network UL1449-3
Circuit Protection15 AMP main power circuit breaker extreme over voltages over current shutdown with automatic resettable circuit
EMI/EMCElectromagnetic Interference (EMI) Filters-Fourth Edition; General Instruction No 1, 2 and 3;Issue:1982/09/01 (CSA C22.2 No. 8, with T.I.L No 516) 55022
Delay Sequence4-step 0-15 second adjustable delay sequence between receptacles for both on delay and off delay for potentially 0 to 45 second delay
Diagnostic Indicators(4) LEDS one for each duplex receptacle indicating AC power to dedicated receptacle and power to controlling relay (1)LED front panel indicates electronic control module’s switching power supply and surge suppression network is functioning properly

Kimball Magee, inventor of the Rockn Stompn contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me about the RS-4. He mentioned that it had been seven years since my original review of the first version. I thought about it for a second and said to mysef, “Has it really been seven years? The Rockn Stompn is just part of my rig now. Can’t believe it has been this long.

And it’s true. I do NO gig, be it a private party in a home, to a church, to a bar or restaurant, to a hotel, and even well-equipped, modern stages without my Rockn Stompn being the power interface between my gear and the venue.

Truth be told, I’ve never plugged into a power source that experienced a power spike – they’re pretty rare in the Silicon Valley where I live. But I have plugged into dirty power sources occasionally. The filtering built into the Rockn Stompn ensures that I get clean power to my gear. Of course, nothing can be 100% without being incredibly expensive, but the Rockn Stompn provides filtering and conditioning to handle most dirty power.

And as I have used the original probably longer than most folks, I can no longer knock the product for being expensive. The peace of mind it has brought me over the years can’t be measured in dollars.

Think about it. If you’re like me, you have no problem spending much more than $299 on a single pedal. Wouldn’t you want to make a similar investment to ensure that you protect your investment? And if you’re like me, you don’t just have a single pedal that costs in excess of $300. You have a few. Peace of mind, baby. That’s where it’s at.

But what about the power sequencing? I chuckle as I write this because it’s just something has become a part of my gigging life. The last on-first off and vice-versa has become SOP for me; so much so, that I don’t even think about it. But the cool thing is that when I’m working with gear that doesn’t have power sequencing, I now am very conscious of the order in which I power them on.

As for this new version, there’s not much to say other than if you’re serious about protecting your gear, BUY IT.

But Kimball did contact me because he said it would be useful in a home studio because of the ability to set the first port to Always On. I just finished recording my latest album, and sure enough, having my computer/DAW setup connect to the Always On port was awesome. I could power down my amps and still have power to my computer to mix and master.

BUT, I also brought it to my church gig the first weekend I had it. You see, each band is responsible for projecting lyrics, and that requires a computer. So I hooked up my laptop for projecting lyrics and my pedalboard and amp to the Rockn Stompn as a test. I had no doubts it would work. But the cool thing is that my church’s power isn’t all that clean, and I have been concerned about plugging my Macbook Pro into the power receptacle. Now, with the RS-4, I’ll get the surge protection and conditioning that my guitar gear gets!

Fit and Finish

Just like the original version, the RS-4 is built with the gigging musician in mind. It is heavy and well-built, owing to the welded 20 gauge steel. Using steel as opposed to aluminum is an interesting choice. But to me, it’s the right one. Yes, you add more weight using steel, but what you lose in lightness you gain ten-fold in durability.

I’ve dropped my original unit several times over the years. It has been in bags with other crap stacked on top of it. It has been jostled and dragged and has survived over 1000 gigs in a lot of different venues. It has never let me down.

Plus, that extra heft suggests solidity and strength. In more colloquial terms: It’s made of steel, so don’t be a pussy about the weight if you’re gonna use this power strip. I say this a bit tongue in cheek, but a few years ago, someone actually complained to me about its weight when I asked them to carry it for me while setting up for a gig. That same person used a cheap-shit plastic power strip.

Overall Impression

Ever since I got the original unit seven years ago, I’ve gone on to suggest it to hundreds of people. My right-hand man in my church band bought one years ago after I brought it to church. He has a lot of very expensive gear and he immediately saw the value that the Rockn Stompn bring to the table.

Like I mentioned above, you spend lots of money on your gear. Why not spend a bit protecting your gear? Sure, a power strip can easily be perceived as a pedestrian item. But it is so much more than that. If you’re serious about protecting your gear, the Rockn Stompn should be a critical component in that protection!

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Vangoa Ghost Fire Aluminum Pedal Board

Summary: The little brother of the larger and, in my opinion, more versatile board, this nonetheless provides a roomy surface to mount your pedals. It’s a basic board, really meant for using a 1-Spot, but that doesn’t take away from its quality.

Pros: Like its bigger brother, this board is lightweight. It’s roomy to accommodate several pedals. Great, basic fly rig type of bag.

Cons: Like the larger board, my main nit with this kit is the carrying bag, but this time it’s not the material, it’s the height. It is slimmer than the other bag and though it too has a large pocket, don’t count on fitting much in the bag itself. Another small thing is that – and admittedly, this could be an oversight, no patch cables were included in the kit. For me, it’s not a problem. I have patch cables – lots. But for someone who’s starting out, it would be nice to have had those included.

Features:

  • Aluminum alloy construction
  • Dimensions: 19.8″ X 11.5″ (kickstands raise front of board about 3″)
  • Includes everything you need to mount pedals.

This is built to the same quality standards as its bigger brother, but it is geared towards the 1-Spot user as kickstands fold in and the board will lay flat. So if you want to use a power unit like a Voodoo Labs power supply, you’ll have to mount it on top. But that’s not really a downer. If you want a good quality, lightweight grab-and-go board with not a lot of bells and whistles, this bag is for you! Also, if you’re just starting to use pedals, this is an ideal started board.

This is the second of the two units I received as review samples from Vangoa. And again, at least from a quality perspective, it exceeded my expectations. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t include the patch cables as advertised, but I will chalk that up to a simple oversight by the company.

Fit and Finish

No pictures of this because it’s effectively the same board as the larger one but with a smaller footprint and has kickstands as opposed to a solid bar to elevate the front of the board. It is very well-made and as I mentioned in my other review, the build quality is a testament to the quality standards in play in China.

Overall Impression

I’m really impressed by the quality of this board and its larger brother. It’s nice and roomy, and super-lightweight.

In a nutshell, I see a few uses for this board:

  1. It’s a great started board. My first board was a Gator board made of vinyl-covered MDF board that weighed a ton, and it really didn’t have all that much room. This board is much larger and can easily accommodate an expression pedal and a few regular-size pedals.
  2. Another use I see for this – and it’s how I’d probably use it – is as a spare board with a minimal setup; in other words, it would be a great secondary fly rig. I’d place a wah, an overdrive, a digital or analog delay, chorus or vibe, and a reverb. That’s it. My main board has more stuff on it because I need to be versatile (even though I too could use it as a fly rig). But with a smaller board like this, I’d just grab-and-go.
  3. It’s actually just a great, basic board, and frankly, I could see using this board as an acoustic rig board. You don’t need many effect pedals for acoustic. But I use a looper and a preamp and a few effects like an octave (T-Rex Quint Machine), chorus, delay, and reverb. All that will fit on this board.

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Vangoa Ghost Fire Aluminum Pedal Board

Summary: If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, lightweight pedal board, look no further. This is a sturdy board that should do well in any venue.

Pros: Very lightweight, yet super-sturdy. Board height seems specifically made for a Voodoo Labs power supply, but there’s plenty of room to mount one under the board (just don’t get one too wide). Included with the board are two rolls of velcro, cable ties, and stick-on cable mounts. Padded carrying bag includes backpack straps – very convenient.

Cons: The ONLY nit I have is for the carrying bag material. Though the bag is quite roomy and has a netted pocket for cables and other paraphernalia, it’s made of fairly thin nylon, so you’d have to be careful with the bag if you’re going to gig with it often.

Features:

  • Aluminum alloy construction
  • Dimensions: 22” x 12.6” x 2.36”
  • Includes everything you need to mount pedals and a power supply underneath the board.

Price: $109.99

If the carrying case was made of more durable material, I’d give this 5 Tone Bones. It’ll be fine for the weekly performer – which I am right now – but I could see it not withstanding the rigors of more frequent gigging. Other than that, I love it and recommend checking it out.

To be completely honest, I received this as a review unit from a fairly new Chinese distributor and manufacturer of music equipment – Vangoa. They had pointed me to their products on Amazon and I agreed to review their boards with the proviso that if I didn’t like their product(s), I wouldn’t write a review, but I would give them feedback on what I found wrong. That’s the deal I make of any manufacturer who reaches out to me directly. The board I’m reviewing here is the first of two of their Ghost Fire-brand pedal boards.

That out of the way, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much in the way of quality or accouterments. I am SO glad that they blew my expectations away! I’ve been increasingly impressed over the years of the quality Chinese-made gear, and this pedal is really a testament to the care and quality that Chinese manufacturers put into their products.

Fit and Finish

Here’s a little gallery of pictures I took of the board:

Though the welds underneath aren’t totally clean, they’re not cracked, and hold well. Besides, it’s the top of the board that matters and it’s totally clean. The crossbeams are nice and wide and the strips of velcro are cut to the perfect width. There’s enough velcro to cover the entire board! Very cool!

The pedals I mounted on the board are not ones I’m actually using right now, except for my wah-wah pedal. Those are on another board, and I didn’t feel like transferring pedals, so I pulled a few out of my pedal drawers to see how well the pedalboard accommodates different size pedals.

This pedalboard would work great as a fly rig! It’s lightweight and could easily be stowed in an overhead compartment on a plane. And the shoulder straps – which can also be stowed in a zip-up pocket – make it convenient to carry on your back.

Though probably not intended for this use, the inner pocket is big enough to hold a laptop plus my audio interface, so if I have to travel remotely and need to lay down tracks, I could load all my gear recording gear into the bag. Nice!

Overall Impression

Obviously, I can’t write about how it sounds and plays, but I will definitely use the board at my church gig this weekend (yes, I will transfer my pedals and run the wires). I use a 1-Spot, so it’s not going to be an issue making the transfer.

In a nutshell, I love this board! It’s nice and lightweight and super sturdy. The angling and the silicon feet elevate the board nicely, so if I was playing in a bar gig or a backyard party, I wouldn’t have to worry about spills near my board. It’s obvious the designer had the working musician in mind when they designed this board!

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Summary: This has all the classic, balanced mojo of a J-45, but in a thinner, “jumbo” body. And though some might consider it heresy that it’s a cutaway, having reasonably easy access to the upper frets makes it so nice for playing solos.

Pros: Fantastic, classic J-45 tone that’s expectedly just a little brighter than the original Dreadnought – more midrange. This guitar has a full, articulate voice that the Sitka Spruce top projects in a BIG way.

Cons: The ONLY con I have is for the LR Baggs Element piezo pickup that comes installed in the guitar. But I would give negative marks to any guitar that has just a piezo. But that said, the guitar sounds okay plugged into an amp. But as with any piezo, plugged directly into a board or into an interface, the sound is lifeless.

Features:

  • Body Style: J-45
  • Back: Walnut
  • Top: Sitka Spruce
  • Bracing: Traditional Hand-Scalloped X-Bracing
  • Binding: Multi-Ply Top, Single-Ply Back
  • Neck: Two-Piece Maple
  • Neck Profile: Advanced Response
  • Nut Width: 1.725”
  • Neckjoint: Compound Dovetail Neck-To-Body Joint
  • Fingerboard: Richlite
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Nut: Tusq
  • Inlay: Mother-Of-Pearl Dots
  • Bridge: Traditional Belly Up, Richlite
  • Tuners: Mini Grover Rotomatics
  • Plating: Nickel
  • Pickup: LR Baggs Element
  • Controls: 1 Volume  
  • Case: Gibson Hardshell

I have to be completely honest here. If this guitar had no pickup, I’d give it a 5 on its natural voice alone. But I have to be fair and take down marks for the pickup. It’s serviceable in a live situation and plugged into an amp, but directly into a board or interface, you know you’re using a piezo.

Getting a J-45 has literally been a dream come true. Ever since I played one a few years ago, I have had a goal of someday owning a J-45. As I mentioned in a previous post, the J-45 represents the archetype of acoustic tone for me. And to finally have one and play it, well, it’s rather awe-inspiring.

So to address the purists, no, it’s not a traditional J-45. It has a cutaway. The body is made of walnut, not rosewood. The fretboard is Richlite (which feels like ebony). The nut is Tusq, not bone. I DON’T CARE. This is a great guitar regardless of its build materials. Others have brought up that it couldn’t really be a J-45, but I beg to differ. It has the same profile as the J-45. But more importantly, all the tonal balance that I expect out of the J-45 is there, and how it sounds is incredible!

Fit and Finish

I posted these pictures previously, but I’ll post them again:

I snapped those pictures right after I unboxed the guitar. There were no flaws or scratches. No gaps. The walnut back is freaking incredible! It looks like a piece of ultra-fine furniture.

How It Sounds

Again, I posted these previously, but I’ll post them again:

I had to back off the mic for the percussive strumming, so it turned out a little thin on the recording. But in a live situation, this guitar is LOUD! I played it at church over the weekend, and in that volume challenging environment, when I was really strumming hard, I could barely hear my amp! That’s how well the guitar projects. How naturally loud it is is a bit mind-blowing.

And compared to my Simon & Patrick PRO, which is a dreadnought, to my ears at least, it’s easily twice as loud when comparing them both with a light strum.

How It Plays and Feels

It actually took me a few days of regular playing to get used to the neck. The “Advanced Response” neck is both thicker and a touch wider than all my other acoustics. And with my small hands, wrapping my hand around the neck to use my thumb took a little while to figure out. But to be honest, in order for me to do that, I have to put my arm in the correct playing position with my elbow out away from my body. Once I’m in the correct position, I have zero issues playing the guitar.

As for the Richlite fretboard, this is the first time I’ve played a guitar with a fretboard made of this material. I once thought that it would take away from the guitar. But truth be told, it’s as smooth as ebony and makes the guitar an absolute dream to play. I played several solos yesterday and the fretboard felt like butter. Combine that with the absolutely perfect action and I was in solo heaven!

Overall Impression

What can I say? I love this guitar! And because I didn’t dig the piezo pickup, I just installed my Seymour Duncan MagMic into the guitar. Now I have no issues. With that pickup, the Tone Bone score automatically goes to 5.

A Word on Sustainability

No, I’m not a tree-hugger, but one thing that Gibson bills about this guitar is that it’s made from sustainable material. Walnut is absolutely plentiful and Richlite is made from resin-infused paper. The Sitka Spruce is started to get a little less plentiful, but from what I understand, Gibson is part of a coalition to help harvest Sitka in a sustainable way. So while I’m not a tree-hugger, I do appreciate Gibson’s efforts.

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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!

Heil Sound PR-22 UT (Utility) Dynamic Microphone

Summary: The “utility” version of the PR-22, this is the same mic, but with a single mesh (the regular PR-22 comes with three), and comes with a leatherette bag instead of a nice box; hence, the “utility.” Heil cut down on the packaging to provide an affordable tier for their popular PR-22 stage mic.

Pros: Wide frequency response, incredible rear rejection, and tons of overload protection make this an ideal stage mic. Plus, using this mic is much like removing a blanket over other mics. It’s not that the mic is tuned to higher frequencies; there’s just so much more sonic content that this mic picks up! Other mics may claim to have as wide a frequency response, but you actually hear the highs that you normally wouldn’t with mics in this price range and a little higher.

Cons: It is a nit, but not an issue for me as I always have my mic mounted on a stand, but as with other Heil mics, this is pretty sensitive to handling. But this is such a minor issue, I’m reluctant to mention it.

Price: $99.00 – $117.00 Street

Features:

  • Output Connection: 3-pin XLR
  • Element Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 18 kHz
  • Polar Pattern: Cardiod
  • Rear Rejection @ 180 deg off-axis: -30 dB
  • Impedance: 600 ohms balanced
  • Output Level: -55 dB @ 1kHz
  • Weight: 14 oz.
  • Max SPL:  145 dB

Tone Bone Rating: 5.00 ~ I’ve been wanting this particular microphone for a long time, but already had a decent stage mic, so the will to get a new one just wasn’t there. But after my trusty Sennheiser e835 that has probably seen at least a thousand gigs and started to easily overload, it was time to replace it. I’m never going back to Sennheiser or Shure again!

As an active, gigging musician that relies on vocals, having a good mic is crucial to me. For more than a decade, I’ve relied on Sennheiser mics; specifically, the e835 as my main stage mic. It has served me well. But a couple of years ago, I did a gig where the sound guy asked if I wanted to try out a Heil PR-35. Being game for anything, I let him set it up. I didn’t know my voice actually sounded like it did.

From that point on, I resolved to get one. But it didn’t come cheap, as the PR-35 costs $265. However, I did a bit of research on other Heil mics and came across the PR-20, which has since been updated to the PR-22. And after listening to lots of comparisons, I decided to pull the trigger on the PR-22.

Wow! What a difference a mic makes! When I first plugged the mic in, the first thing I noticed was the much fuller sound of the PR-22. At the time, I had nothing to compare it to, but based on experience, there just seemed to be a lot more sonic content present in the Heil compared to my Sennheiser. And from what I could tell with the frequency analyzer in GarageBand, there really was a lot of stuff coming through.

But the proof is in the pudding, so I did a direct comparison between the two. In the following clip, I speak the same testing sequence with both mics. You’ll first hear the Sennheiser, then followed by the Heil, then back to the Sennheiser, then ending with the Heil. I positioned both about an inch from my mouth.

 

Both mics actually sound pretty good. But there’s definitely more going on with the Heil, especially in the lower frequency ranges. It sounds much fuller than the Sennheiser, though the Sennheiser sounds pretty good as well.

As you can see, from the picture of the tracks, while both are generally being picked up at the same level, there are more defined peaks in the Heil, plus some sharp peaks not present on the Sennheiser track. What this amounts to sonically is a lot more content.

The problem with the clip I provided is that GarageBand does a bit of compression despite the fact that I exported it to SoundCloud uncompressed. But irrespective of that, there is definitely more going on with the Heil than with the Sennheiser. The difference between the two mics with my headphones on through my audio interface is marked. The Sennheiser sounds thin, while the Heil sounds rich and full.

Frequency Response 

Take a look at the frequency response chart for each mic:

Heil PR-22

heil_pr22_frequency

Sennheiser e835

e-835-frequency-response

Just looking at the graph, it’s clear to see that overall sensitivity of the PR-22 is slightly higher than the e835. It’s not a significant difference as far as the numbers are concerned; however, especially when comparing the 1 kHz to 10 kHz range of both mics, this is where the PR-22 picks up much more content.

What first attracted me to the e835 years ago was its presence boost: That hump around 4 kHz. Sennheiser specifically called that out in its marketing. To me in actual usage, it made the mic sound so much clearer than the Shure SM-58, which sounded muddy in comparison. But with the Heil, the upper-mid to high-frequency sensitivity provide even more presence. And looking at the overall chart, there’s a lot more being picked up by the Heil in the same conditions.

In the Studio

What this means for recording is that I do a lot less EQ manipulation with the Heil than I do with the Sennheiser. In fact, re-recording a song with the Heil, the only EQ adjustments I made were to roll off the extreme highs (sizzle) and lows (muffles) and reduce a peak at around 220 Hz (it’s a trick I learned to make my vocals sound clearer). Contrast that with the Sennheiser where I actually have to roll off the extreme highs and lows, add a few dB of both lows (around 100Hz) and upper-mids and highs especially highs above 7 kHz because the mic records a bit muddy.

The net result is that I can produce a good vocal track with either mic. It just takes a lot more twiddling and tweaking when doing the EQ for the e835.

On Stage

But because there’s so much content that the Heil picks up, I have to adjust my mic technique and pull back just a bit. Proximity effect with the Heil is actually not as pronounced as I’ve experienced with other mics – especially the Shure SM-58 – but though Heil claims it’s not prone to proximity effect, all mics are prone to it. By pulling back ever so slightly, I allow the mic to pick up more mids, without sacrificing the lows.

Rear Rejection

Probably the best selling point of the mic is its rear sound rejection. While I was recording a test clip earlier, my daughter asked me a question. I had to stop recording, but after listening to what I recorded, I could hardly hear her voice, which means that the sound I was actually hearing from her voice was what bounced off the wall behind me. This makes the mic excellent for stage work and will be much less prone to feedback issues when placed close to a monitor.

Off-Axis

This is a very directional mic. While off-axis pickup is not bad, it’s not advised to stray over an inch from the capsule in any direction. I’ve been playing with the mic for the last couple of days, and for stage positioning. I found that pointing the mic a few degrees up, and placing the top edge the capsule level with my lower lip is the optimal position for me. And though I have good technique controlling my plosives (“b” and “p” sounds), positioning the mic there helps even more, and I don’t sacrifice any content.

But that said, the mic comes with a very nice foam capsule screen. I could sing straight on into the capsule with the screen on, and it protects quite a bit from plosives. It doesn’t eliminate them – nor should any screen do that – but it does help quite a bit.

Overall Impression

All that said, this mic is not for everyone. Because it picks up a lot more, it may not please everyone when they hear their voice through the mic the first time. I remember when I tried out the PR-35. I was blown away! I really didn’t know there was so much more in my voice. The PR-22 is not nearly as sensitive as the PR-35, but it’s pretty sensitive in its own right.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve just had a defining moment with this mic. Mind you, it’s not really a super, high-end mic. But the sound quality rivals much more expensive mics. I’m a happy camper!

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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!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-12-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Aroma AGS8 Instrument Stand

Summary: For me, this is a gigging musician’s wet dream as far as guitar stands go. Not only is it sturdy, well-designed and well-built, it is light AF!

Pros: Did I mention that this stand is light? It doesn’t seem to weigh much more than a pound if that. But don’t be fooled by the lightweight. The aircraft-grade aluminum is tough!

Cons: None.

Price: $16.99 – $17.99 (Amazon, depending on color)

Features (from Amazon, and I assume Aroma):

  • THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FOLDING STAND LASTS LONG. Top aircraft grade aluminum tubes used, with high strength ABS joints, ensure a long lifetime usage. A frame structure, when unfolded, is the most stable design to support your instruments.
  • THE MOST PRACTICAL STAND FOR FRET AND STRING INSTRUMENTS. The ladder designed base arms, length adjustable, let the stand suitable for different thickness instruments. The vertical arms opening degrees adjustable for different sizes of instruments. The rotatable contact surface on the stand top for different instruments leaning angles. (NOT for V-shape or other special shapes instruments)
  • ALL THE WAY ROUND PROTECTING YOUR INSTRUMENT. All contact points where touching your instruments are covered with soft silicone material, which is dull to any chemical reaction with your instrument surface. The 4 landing points are also covered with slip-resistance silicone material.
  • USE YOUR STAND ANYTIME ANYWHERE. The smart adjustable and collapsible design is to fold your stand into one piece. Lightweight. Easy to carry along with your instrument anywhere anytime.
  • SHARE YOUR CREATIVITY. Join Aroma Facebook account, post your using tips, your fun with this stand. Jam your thoughts with others.

Tone Bone Rating: 5.00 ~ Sometimes, even the mundane can get me excited, especially when that mundane thing makes my life so much easier.

It’s a guitar stand for goodness sake! Who the hell cares?

I do, for one. With the number of gigs I do per year, gear weight is a factor, so is compactness when you don’t have the luxury of a road crew. And when I can get those two things plus a great design that’ll protect my investment, well, I flip out!

One of my bandmates purchased one a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was cool with its compact design and adjustable base arms. But I was most impressed with how light it was. I resolved then that I’d get one. I am not disappointed in the slightest!

Fit and Finish

The days of “Made in China” being associated with poor quality are long gone. This stand is absolutely well-built. The aircraft-grade aluminum tubing is super-strong, and the plastic ABS joints should withstand a lot of wear and tear. I got mine in blue, but you can get the stand in black, rose gold, gold, and silver. The latter three will cost you a buck more for some reason. I guess black and blue sell the best. 🙂

The design of this stand is great. It folds up nice and compact. You can see in the pictures above where I placed a quarter next to the folded stand. Nice and small.

As for its sturdiness, I have no issues with it. But if you notice how I’ve set up my acoustic guitar, I have it so it stands fairly upright. This is to make sure that the bottom edge of the guitar abuts against the end stoppers of the base arms. Plus, it will put minimal pressure on the apex pad. With a stand this short, you don’t want a lot of weight at the top of the stand. You’re just asking for trouble.

Either the weight of the guitar will make the stand tip back (not too likely – I put my Les Paul on this stand and set it up to lean back and it stayed in place), or as someone reported on Amazon, the top pad put a slight depression into the back of his ES-335. To me, it’s just common sense to let physics work for you. When you place the guitar in a more upright position, more of the body surface will contact the pads. So stand the freakin’ guitar up! 🙂 Sheesh!

Finally, I dig the bottom footpads. They elevate the entire structure of the frame, so the chance of spilled liquid contacting my guitar is pretty much nullified.

Overall Impression

I love this stand! I’m probably going to get a couple more of these. Well-made, well-designed and lightweight. A perfect combination, even it’s just a lowly stand.

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