Gear Spotlight

TWO NOTES AUDIO ENGINEERING TORPEDO LIVE

TWO NOTES AUDIO ENGINEERING TORPEDO LIVE  Pro Loadbox with digital miking As the trend toward in-ear monitoring and amplifier-free “silent” stages continues, guitarists have been desperate to keep their favorite tones. The Two Notes Torpedo Live is the perfect compromise. This 100-watt loadbox lets you run your guitar or bass head direct to the board, without sacrificing tone. Powerful 32-bit DSP provides 32 cabinet models, eight virtual microphones,... 

AEA RPQ500 MIC PREAMP WITH EQ

AEA RPQ500 MIC PREAMP WITH EQ Preamp tailor-made for ribbon mics The RPQ500 packs the mojo of AEA’s original RPQ ribbon preamp into an API 500 Series compatible module. A specially tailored EQ section addresses the proximity issues most commonly associated with ribbon mics, taming excessive buildup in the bottom end. Bypassable high- and low-frequency controls make it easy to clear up muddiness or add space and air. This was particularly useful... 

JAMMIT APP

JAMMIT APP Jam with the masters If you’ve always dreamed of jamming with your favorite rock stars, now’s your chance. Developed by multiplatinum producer-mixer Scott Humphrey (Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Rob Zombie), Jammit lets guitarists, bass players, drummers, keyboardists and vocalists jam along with a hit parade of original master tracks. Mix the provided stem tracks to create your perfect backing track, then loop and slow playback to work... 

NOTION MUSIC NOTATION FOR iPAD

NOTION MUSIC NOTATION FOR iPAD Take note NOTION Music has developed an award-winning line of applications designed to streamline the process of creating, editing and notating music. True to form, the new NOTION for iPad harnesses the popular tablet’s touch-screen capabilities for an impressive end-user experience. The 24-fret interactive guitar fingerboard makes it easy to transcribe nearly anything you’d play on your instrument to tab or music... 

COLLINGS GUITARS SOCO 16 LC

COLLINGS GUITARS SOCO 16 LC Superior craftsmanship, exceptional tone  Austin master luthier Bill Collings has been crafting inspired instruments for decades. While the star power of his international clientele (from Mumford & Sons to Keith Urban) is impressive, the quality of his craftsmanship is obvious to anyone the moment you open the case. The SoCo 16 LC draws its inspiration from a bygone era, blending vintage tones and aesthetics with... 

AMPKIT LiNK

AMPKIT LiNK Big tones that fit in your pocket  Peavey and Agile Partners teamed up to create what may well be the best iOS interface and app combination we’ve come across. AmpKit LiNK connects to the headphone jack of any current iOS device via the hard-wired 1/8-inch cable, while its input and earphone jacks utilize a metal housing to insure a drama-free fit. The free AmpKit app features ultra-fat tones, built-in loops, backing tracks, iTunes... 

FRACTAL AUDIO AXE-FX II

FRACTAL AUDIO AXE-FX II All-in-one preamp and effects processor The Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II has earned kudos from the likes of Steve Vai and John Petrucci based on the staggering depth of the sounds it creates. Powered by dual Analog Devices TigerSHARC Digital Signal Processors, the Axe-Fx II is the most powerful processor of its kind, providing stellar amp, effect, cabinet and microphone modeling in addition to traditional signal processing. The... 

PRESONUS FIRESTUDIO MOBILE

PRESONUS FIRESTUDIO MOBILE Next-generation, studio-quality FireWire interface to go The engineers at PreSonus have been keeping themselves busy developing an array of intelligently crafted audio solutions. FireStudio Mobile comes bundled with Studio One Artist, making it one of the smartest buys on the market. The front panel’s dual combination instrument/mic inputs deliver superior sound thanks to PreSonus’ XMAX Class A preamps. Throw in the... 

DIGITECH iSTOMP

DIGITECH iSTOMP iOS-fueled versatile stompbox Over the past several years Harman-owned DigiTech, HardWire and DOD have released a number of outstanding and innovative guitar products. The iStomp downloads these successes into what DigiTech describes as an e-pedal. While the iStomp functions like a traditional pedal, it can be reconfigured to virtually any guitar effect. Download the free Stomp Shop app and configure the iStomp by connecting DigiTech’s... 

SONOR STEVE SMITH SIGNATURE SNARE

SONOR STEVE SMITH SIGNATURE SNARE  Immediate and effortless response Steve Smith has been a Sonor endorser for 30-plus years, spanning his tenure in Journey and his work with Vital Information. Sonor’s signature Steve Smith snare brilliantly reflects this range of experience with its tonality and playability. For drummers in the studio or live, the snare can make or break a mix—and this beautiful 14”x5.5” steel cast drum sounds every bit... 

PROPELLERHEAD FIGURE

PROPELLERHEAD FIGURE Putting the fun in functionality for iOS devices The concept behind Figure was to inject Reason’s signature sounds into an app designed for the way people actually use their mobile devices—in quick bursts and on the go. Its core functionality centers around two bar loops. Tapping the drum, bass or lead tabs allows you to select your instrument of choice, while sideways swipes on the patch names enable you to select alternate... 

ABLETON LIVE 8

ABLETON LIVE 8 Inspiration at the speed of live Ableton Live 8 adds even more mojo to a loop-centric recording and performance application popular with musicians and DJs alike. Live’s hyperflexible workflow is driven by the Library menu, allowing you to drag and drop elements from multiple folders at any time. Parameter presets from previous Live Sets sessions can easily be repurposed, further reducing repetitive workflow from song to song. While... 

MIKTEK C7 LARGE DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER MIC

MIKTEK C7 LARGE DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER MIC Precision engineered for superior performance Miktek was founded by studio owner and industry vet Michael Ketchell, inventor of MegaMix Automation. Blending vintage character with modern features, the C7 has garnered more than its share of kudos from noted artists, engineers and producers. While the C7 excels at recording vocals, the selectable cardioid, omni and bidirectional patterns make it a real powerhouse... 

TRAYNOR QUARTERHORSE MICROAMP

‘While direct-to-PA setups can sound tinny due to the full-range nature of monitors, the QuarterHorse shines in its ability to harness the actual sound of a guitar cabinet.’ TRAYNOR QUARTERHORSE MICROAMP Big sounds, small footprint While numerous manufacturers have focused efforts on direct-to-PA tone boxes, Traynor decided to think inside the box—the speaker box, that is. Selectable twin channels offer a host of groovy tones, with independent... 

DW 5000AD4 BASS DRUM PEDAL

‘DW has plowed its considerable innovation-driven efforts into the reengineering of its flagship pedal with a series of major improvements that are nothing short of flam-tastic.’ DW 5000AD4 BASS DRUM PEDAL Kicking pedals to the next level The original DW 5000 kick drum pedal is one of the most highly revered and time-tested pieces of drum kit hardware on the planet. Now DW has plowed its considerable innovation-driven efforts into the re-engineering... 

APOGEE ELECTRONICS JAM

‘JAM delivers Apogee’s renowned A/D conversion in a package that’s compatible with the latest iOS and Mac offerings—and will fit in your shirt pocket.’ APOGEE ELECTRONICS JAM Mac interface for guitarists on the go  JAM delivers Apogee’s renowned A/D conversion in a package that’s compatible with the latest iOS and Mac offerings—and will fit in your shirt pocket. After about 30 seconds of setup we were kicking out the jams in GarageBand... 

SHURE SE535

‘Shure’s flagship SE535 earphones deliver pristine clarity in the bass, middle and treble registers without unnatural bass or treble hype.’ SHURE SE535 Romancing the tone Anyone mixing and mastering music these days knows that an ever-increasing audience is listening to the fruits of their labors on teensy earbuds. Thanks to the trio of high-definition MicroDrivers, Shure’s flagship SE535 earphones deliver pristine clarity in the bass, middle... 

ELIXIR STAINLESS STEEL BASS STRINGS

‘The newly reformulated NANOWEB for Bass delivers tone and feel even closer to uncoated strings than Elixir’s original offering.’ ELIXIR STAINLESS STEEL BASS STRINGS Steeling your heart away Elixir invented coated strings to combat the tone-killing grime that accumulates between string windings. The newly reformulated NANOWEB for Bass delivers tone and feel even closer to uncoated strings than Elixir’s original offering. (For reference’s... 

iCONNECTMIDI

‘If you’ve been itching to connect your MIDI or USB controllers to your iOS devices, say hello to iConnectMIDI.’ iCONNECTMIDI MIDI interface for iOS  If you’ve been itching to connect your MIDI or USB controllers to your iOS devices, say hello to iConnectMIDI. This sturdy little box runs off a zone independent power supply and comes with all the wall adapters you’ll need to fire it up anywhere your music takes you. After connecting a couple... 

SONY ACID PRO 7

‘Sony’s ACID Pro 7 features everything you’ll need to turn your PC into a production workhorse for music and post.’ SONY ACID PRO 7 PC recording production made simple Sony’s ACID Pro 7 features everything you’ll need to turn your PC into a production workhorse for music and post. If the included 3,000 loops and 1,000 MIDI files can’t jump-start your creative process, nothing will. With the capacity to import a truly massive range of... 

THAYERS VOCAL POWER PACK

‘This handy pack helps preserve and protect the only instrument that can never be replaced—your voice.’ THAYERS VOCAL POWER PACK Powerful voice protection Founded by Henry Thayer, M.D., Thayers has been in the business of producing all-natural herbal remedies since 1847. Thayers Vocal Power Pack was developed to help defend vocalists against two of their most dreaded natural enemies—fatigue and dryness. Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges provide... 

SENNHEISER MK 4

‘The rock-solid Sennheiser MK 4 is precision German engineering at its finest.’ SENNHEISER MK 4 Superior, affordable condenser mic For more than 60 years Sennheiser has produced the highest quality products in sound recording—its mics can be found in the finest recording studios around the globe. The MK 4 packs all that experience into a package that you don’t need a record-label advance to afford. This large-diaphragm, phantom-powered condenser... 

FARGEN RETRO CLASSIC

‘If retro is your thing, Fargen can help you dial it in.’ FARGEN RETRO CLASSIC Classic retro, cranked Master amp builder Ben Fargen has earned his stripes crafting signature amps for the likes of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Decades of pulling apart amps and putting them back together better have taught Fargen a thing or two—and that experience is on full display here. This 25-watt power amp section sports a pair of KT66s, insuring plenty of... 

PRESONUS STUDIO ONE VERSION 2

PRESONUS STUDIO ONE VERSION 2 Putting the fun in functionality PreSonus has carved its niche by consistently releasing smart, reliable, user-friendly hardware for live and studio applications at prices working musicians can afford. Drawing upon their expertise in workflow, PreSonus launched Studio One just over two years ago. Studio One Version 2 builds upon that success and makes its latest offering even better. Available in three flavors—Artist,... 

PRS SWEET 16

PRS SWEET 16 Uncompromisingly tasty tube tone  When PRS Guitars namesake Paul Reed Smith crossed paths with amplifier guru Doug Sewell through a chance encounter at the Dallas Vintage Guitar Show a few years ago, a fruitful partnership was forged right away. The ultimate result of Sewell’s entry into the PRS family is the Sweet 16, handcrafted in the U.S. and powered by a pair of 6V6 tubes. Like wine tasters confronting a particularly subtle... 

JBL PRX615M LOUDSPEAKER SYSTEM

JBL PRX615M LOUDSPEAKER SYSTEM Big sound without the weight With such a crowded marketplace, it’s important to remember the decades of patents and design ingenuity JBL draws upon with new gear they bring to market. The two-way PRX615M Loudspeaker System is designed to stand on its own or be harnessed as a modular component of JBL’s 600 series. The DuraFlex-covered cabinets are constructed out of poplar plywood and use tongue-and-groove joints... 

AUDIO-TECHNICA AT4080

AUDIO-TECHNICA AT4080  Phantom-powered bidirectional ribbon mic Audio-Technica mics deliver the coveted ribbon mic sound while eliminating fragility and low-output issues. Weighing in at the upper end of the company’s price spectrum, the AT4080 makes for a great addition to any mic vault. This phantom-powered dual ribbon design features plenty of output impedance, making it a great match for your favorite microphone preamp. The figure-eight pattern... 

DEAN GUITARS DAVE MUSTAINE VMNT RUST IN PEACE

DEAN GUITARS DAVE MUSTAINE VMNT RUST IN PEACE Full-metal racket Dean Guitars has been amassing a substantial endorsement roster—including Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, whose VMNT Rust in Peace signature guitar is a shred-fest waiting to happen. The finish is inspired by Ed Repka’s iconic artwork for Megadeth’s classic Rust in Peace album and, true to its inspiration, this guitar unleashes a fury of thrashing rhythms and face-melting solos.... 

FISHMAN BLACKSTACK SOUNDHOLE PICKUP

FISHMAN BLACKSTACK SOUNDHOLE PICKUP Bringing acoustic guitars to life Leave it to Fishman to design a humbucking pickup that’s easily installed into virtually any flat-top steel-string acoustic. Whether onstage or in the studio, the ceramic magnets with adjustable pole pieces allow guitars to cut through the mix with excellent string balance. The face of the pickup features a pair of fastening screws, enabling us to go from box to rock in five... 

DOREMIR SCORECLEANER

DOREMIR SCORECLEANER Score big ScoreCleaner is a time-saving program designed to turn MIDI performances or files into musical notation. From the simplest arrangements to the most complex, this program has a host of features that will enable you to craft tidy scores. For songwriters working with hired musicians, this is an exceptional resource for creating charts, even if you can’t play to a click track. ScoreCleaner is also perfect for music educators... 

RIFFTEK RIFFBANDZ

RIFFTEK RIFFBANDZ Building finger firepower RiffBANDZ are strength and dexterity training devices for building your technique. Each pack includes three bands, plus a code to unlock the instructional video component of the Rifftek training system. After a couple of minutes of practice, we were impressed with how RiffBANDZ helped maintain good hand position while building strength and agility. These are skills that students at all levels struggle with,... 

RAPCOHORIZON I-JAM 3-N-1 BOX

RAPCOHORIZON I-JAM 3-N-1 BOX Interfacing solutions in a portable package RapcoHorizon’s i-JAM app is as compact and convenient to use as it is addicting. This battery-powered interface neatly straps to your belt or guitar strap and offers jacks for your guitar, mobile device and headphones. Starting with guitar and headphones, we were rewarded with crystal-clear tones as we rocked the studio. Connecting to an iPhone with the included mini-cable,... 

SQUIER CLASSIC VIBE PRECISION BASS ’60s

SQUIER CLASSIC VIBE PRECISION BASS ’60s Vintage grooviness With a punchy bottom end, mids that sit just right and a top end that punctuates fingertip or pick attack, the Fender Precision Bass is sonically sumptuous. Not all of us can afford a vintage instrument, which is why Fender has been releasing a number of its most prized designs under its price-friendlier Squier brand—earning kudos from players and critics alike by delivering classic Fender... 

APOGEE DUET2 2X4 USB AUDIO INTERFACE

APOGEE DUET2 2X4 USB AUDIO INTERFACE Mac pro-recording ready to go FOR: Giant tracks from a tiny footprint. Apogee Electronics first turned the recording world on its ear with its brilliantly designed AD/DA converters, and they’ve continued to wrap sonic expertise into a number of smart and affordable products. This second rendition of the ultra-portable Duet is feature-packed and makes for the best USB recording experience we’ve had. The dual... 

TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER LINE COLLECTION

TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER LINE COLLECTION Get your groove on FOR: Killer drum tracks. Toontrack Music has created a Sweetwater-exclusive drum extravaganza, bundling the world’s No. 1 selling drum program and 11 of its best-selling EZX expansion packs. If you’re a songwriter, engineer or producer with a need to craft loops and/or MIDI-based drums across multiple genres, this massive offering will definitely up your groove factor. EZdrummer’s intuitive... 

BOSE L1 MODEL II WITH TONEMATCH AUDIO ENGINE

BOSE L1 MODEL II WITH TONEMATCH AUDIO ENGINE Pro-quality, smooth and portable FOR: Big sound in small and medium venues. The Bose L1 Model II uses Articulated Array speaker technology to apply Bose’s typical outside-the-box logic to portable PAs. Complemented by a lone subwoofer (you can add more), the offset speaker design of the L1 Model II arrays disperse audio nearly 180 degrees on the horizontal axis while projecting little sound toward the... 

REUNION BLUES RB CONTINENTAL GIG BAG

REUNION BLUES RB CONTINENTAL GIG BAG Protection you can carry FOR: Shelter for your axe. While we wouldn’t suggest putting your guitar in a gig bag and tossing it off the roof, the video on Reunion Blues’ website demonstrates that the Continental’s creators are confident enough to do precisely that. The RB Continental offers superior protection for your instrument, as well as design features as smart as they are useful. If you’ve ever struggled... 

MARTIN SP LIFESPAN COATED ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRINGS

MARTIN SP LIFESPAN COATED ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRINGS Strings that last FOR: Superior string life. C.F. Martin & Co. have been crafting world-renowned instruments for more than 175 years, so it comes as no surprise that they take their strings seriously. These strings reflect Martin’s hallmark standards of quality, materials and craftsmanship. Strings react chemically to sweat and grime, which coat windings and can kill tone and string life. But... 

PLANET WAVES AMERICAN STAGE INSTRUMENT CABLES

PLANET WAVES AMERICAN STAGE INSTRUMENT CABLES Get plugged-in right FOR: A solid connection. Noting the lack of manufacturing consistency in the market, Planet Waves set out to design a cable plug that was sure to make a great connection regardless of instrument or manufacturing point. The only part of the cable not manufactured in the United States is the patented plug, which is manufactured for Planet Waves by Neutrik in Liechtenstein. A robotic... 

LINE 6 MOBILE IN iOS INTERFACE

LINE 6 MOBILE IN iOS INTERFACE POD in your pocket FOR: Great tones to go. Line 6 has taken its time entering the iPhone/iPad market, but the wait’s been worth it—this is one of the best iOS interfaces we’ve seen. Mobile In utilizes the 30-pin digital connector on the bottom of your iPhone or iPad while supporting up to 24-bit/48kHz digital audio. Mobile POD is a free Apple Store download that includes 32 guitar amps, 16 guitar cabinets and 16... 

YAMAHA MOTIF XF8 WORKSTATION

YAMAHA MOTIF XF8 WORKSTATION Powerful, mobile and affordable FOR: Killer keys. The MOTIF XF8’s 88-key balanced hammer-effect keyboard puts virtually everything you could possibly want at your fingertips. The massive library of sounds ensures a vast variety of choices, and the built-in 16-track MIDI sequencer is easy to use thanks to the large display. The 128-note polyphony and an auxiliary set of assignable stereo outputs also make the MOTIF XF8... 

CAD AUDIO EQUITEK E100S SUPERCARDIOID CONDENSER MICROPHONE

CAD AUDIO EQUITEK E100S SUPERCARDIOID CONDENSER MICROPHONE High-performance rich vocal tone FOR: Awesome audio. The CAD family of companies has brought innovative microphone designs to a range of markets since the 1930s. The Equitek E100S is the world’s quietest large-diaphragm supercardioid condenser microphone, and boasts a remarkably flat frequency response from 40Hz up to about 4kHz. The end result is a mic that is wonderfully transparent, yet... 

STRING SWING CC01K & CC06 GUITAR HANGERS

STRING SWING CC01K & CC06 GUITAR HANGERS Hang ’em high FOR: Guitar stowage. For the past 25 years the folks at String Swing have been in the business of keeping instruments safe and sound. The wooden base plate of the CC01K mounts flush to your wall with the included screws and plastic toggles, insuring your guitar doesn’t make an unplanned stage dive. And if you’re taking your show on the road (or just to rehearsal), the cast-metal frame... 

FISHMAN LOUDBOX ARTIST AMPLIFIER

FISHMAN LOUDBOX ARTIST AMPLIFIER Big tones in a small box FOR: Amplifying acoustic instruments. The Artist is the latest addition to Fishman’s award-winning Loudbox line. Packed with tons of features, this amp will get you heard loud and clear in small venues and beyond, thanks to the robust direct-out feature set. It’s lightweight and portable, but sports plenty of power. What amazed us was the depth and quality of the tones, which are nothing... 

TC-HELICON VOICELIVE RACK

TC-HELICON VOICELIVE RACK Total vocal magic FOR: Studio-quality vocal processing anywhere. The VoiceLive Rack is the latest addition to TC-Helicon’s line of effects processors built especially for vocalists—all designed to produce any vocal sound you’ve heard or imagined. The ability to store and easily recall 10 user profiles based on I/O, input level and EQ help make the transition from studio to stage seamless, especially with the included... 

JBL EON 210P PORTABLE PA

  JBL EON 210P PORTABLE PA Power to go FOR: Musicians on the move. The 210P is the smallest addition to JBL’s smart EON line. Weighing in at all of 33 pounds, this portable PA packs a mean punch thanks to the 300-watt Crown power amp. The eight-input mixer conveniently detaches from the back of one of the speakers while the other detachable pod holds the power cord and two 15-foot speaker cables, with room left over for mics and cables. The... 

GRIFFIN STOMPBOX

GRIFFIN STOMPBOX A new level of realism to iShred LIVE FOR: Stomping virtual effects. Griffin Technology’s StompBox was designed to function as a four-button pedal-board controller for Frontier Design’s free iShred LIVE guitar app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and comes with all the necessary cables to get you up and shredding in no time. IShred LIVE itself includes an amp, three pedals, tuner, plus a metronome with the option of a number... 

TOONTRACK METAL MACHINE EZX EXPANSION PACK

TOONTRACK METAL MACHINE EZX EXPANSION PACK Full metal packet FOR: In-your-face metal drums. Toontrack’s Metal Machine EZX pairs famed metal producer and engineer Andy Sneap with powerhouse drummer John Tempesta (White Zombie, the Cult), creating a metal mosh pit that’s guaranteed to rock your hard drive and rattle your neighbors’ windows. The EZX is a combination of multilayered audio samples and fully editable drag-and-drop MIDI files that... 

TRAYNOR YGL1 GUITAR AMPLIFIER

TRAYNOR YGL1 GUITAR AMPLIFIER All tube, all the time FOR: Classic guitar tones. Traynor has been making classic tube amps since the early ’60s, and the YGL1 clearly demonstrates the company still has its mojo. The player-friendly design incorporates a number of smart features that immediately jumped at us. The front panel features the traditional array of controls augmented by a three-way switch toggling among the USA, Pure (tone stack bypass)... 

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50 STUDIO HEADPHONES

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50 STUDIO HEADPHONES When clarity matters FOR: Critical listening. Audio-Technica’s flagship ATH-M50 headphones are turning the recording community on its ear, earning kudos from noted producers, engineers and artists thanks to their accuracy and comfort during arduous recording and mix sessions. In the era of earbuds, getting your mixes to translate properly to that in-ear environment is increasingly crucial—and the ATH-M50s... 
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