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AUSTRALIA’S ONLY NATIONAL STREETPRESS. MADE BY MUSICIANS FOR MUSICIANS.

ISSUE 215 MAR 2012

FREE

%$5167250,1*%/8(6)(67

GIVEAW STRAUS AY: S

SRT 15

INTERVIEWED: BEN KWELLER JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE UNEARTH EVANESCENCE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS TAYLOR GUITAR FEATURE

ROAD TESTED:

ZILDJIAN K CONSTANTINOPLE CYMBALS YAMAHA PSR-S650 KEYBOARD TC ELECTRONIC POLY TUNE MINI TUNER ESP OVERSEAS HORIZON 27 ELECTRIC GUITAR PLANETWAVES GUITAR ACCESSORIES DUOPLEC PLECTRUM

DIRTY THREE

ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA

AMPLIFIER SPECIAL

NOW IN FULL COLOUR! VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE WWW.MIXDOWNMAG.COM.AU

Go to www.musiclink.com.au for Authorised Dealers

om

www.mackie.c

MUSICLINK AUSTRALIA 29 South Corporate Ave. Rowville VIC 3178 P: 03 9765 6565 F: 03 9765 6566 www.musiclink.com.au


W W W . V I C F I R T H . C O M Proudly distributed by: MUSICLINK AUSTRALIA 29 South Corporate Ave. Rowville VIC 3178 P: +3 9765 6565 F: +3 9765 6566 W: www.musiclink.com.au

www.fxpansion.com

MARCH SPECIAL $149 RRP More than 50% OFF current retail!

Distributed by: MUSICLINK AUSTRALIA 29 South Corporate Ave. Rowville VIC 3178 P: 03 9765 6565 F: 03 9765 6566 www.musiclink.com.au

PG. 2

MIXDOWN NO. 215

MARCH 2012


S E R I E S

am peg.com

HEAVYWEIGHT HISTORY. LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN. Portable, powerful and affordable, Ampeg’s Portaflex Series combines the vintage styling of Ampeg’s iconic flip-top cabinet design with a selection of modern, powerful heads. The lightweight PF-350 and PF-500 heads match perfectly with either the PF-115HE or PF-210HE cabinets. The flip-top design allows you to store your head, cables, etc. right inside the enclosure for ultimate portability. Covered in sleek black diamond tolex and featuring premium Eminence® speakers, the genuine Ampeg look and tone are unmistakable. Plus, modern features like the onboard compressor/limiter and switching power supplies are sure to please any professional. Heavyweight history in a lightweight design — Ampeg Portaflex Series.

Proudly distributed by: MUSICLINK AUSTRALIA 29 South Corporate Ave. Rowville VIC 3178 P: +3 9765 6565 F: +3 9765 6566 W: www.musiclink.com.au


a f l e s r u o Y e v a H and great sounding , versatile, feature-packed le ab ay pl st mo the e At Yamaha, we know we mak you to take our word us, but we wouldn’t want h wit ee agr ’ll you nk the world. We thi can walk in and electronic drum kits in Australia to make sure you r ove all res sto ic mus e been working with . for it. That’s why we hav yourself a DTXperience yourself. So do it. Have for ms dru DTX aha Yam y out the full range of

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PG. 4 MIXDOWN NO. 215 MARCH 2012 dtxdrums.yamaha.com

au.yamaha.com


In my many years as a working guitarist, I’ve used just about every amp on the market. Nothing comes close to the awesome grunt, tone and look of the Vox Night Train. It’s pure magic!

50 YEARS OF GOLDEN TONE The Vox Night Train series gives you powerful all-tube tone, from classic Vox chime through to off-the-rails modern high gain. The stunning mirrored chrome design is rock solid and reveals the inspiring tube glow that dwells within. Three models are available for incredible Vox tone to take you from home to superdome!

Trizo Bouillaut (1000 Needles In Red) uses Vox Night Train

NT50H $1099.99RRP

V212NT $699.99RRP

NT2H Lil’ Night Train $349.99RRP Matching Cabinet Vox V110NT $199.99RRP

NT15H $699.99RRP

Matching Cabinet Vox V112NT $299.99RRP

Yamaha Australia proudly distributes Vox Products. For your nearest dealer visit au.yamaha.com For further product information, please visit voxamps.com

1000 Needles In Red Debut Album

For events and promotional offers, visit yamahabackstage.com.au

‘Empires’

RRP is the recommended retail price as set by Yamaha Music Australia and is subject to change at any time without notice.

Available now on iTunes


FORE

WORD

CONTENTS 8

GIVEAWAYS

10 NEWS & TOURS 14 PRODUCT NEWS 22 COLD CHISEL 24 DIRTY THREE ZAPPA 26 BEN KWELLER

As we bid a fond farewell to summer, the sun also sets on an incredible festival season. Harvest, Falls, Pyramid, Summadayze, Peats Ridge, Laneway, Big Day Out, Soundwave, and many, many more awesome festivals – it’s been real. But guess what? The party will not stop here at Mixdown as we still have many more events to look forward to, especially with cover stars and certified Aussie legends Cold Chisel headlining the upcoming Bluesfest, plus plenty of international acts hitting our shores for WOMADelaide and alike. We can’t wait! Of course, all these sweet gigs couldn’t happen without a multitude of the latest and greatest gear. Amplifiers especially. And if it’s amps you’re after, we’ve got you covered this issue with our massive 2012 Amp Special. No matter what your tonal, power, bass, electric or acoustic needs are, we have you covered. As well as that, we have the usual array of interviews with big name stars, all the latest product news, and plenty of road tests of the nonamp variety.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE 28 EVANECENCE UNEARTH 30 FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS TAYLOR GUITAR FEATURE UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD 34 WHATS THAT SOUND? - KEYS CLASSIC KEYS 36 HOME STUDIO HINTS

Tune In, Drop Out, Read On - Mixdown.

38 AMP SPECIAL

BANGIN’ THE TUBS 50 ROAD TESTS

PUBLISHER Furst Media

COVER ART Patrick O’Neill

GRAPHIC ARTISTS Luke Benge, Gill Tucker

EDITOR IN CHIEF Aleksei Plinte mixdown@beat.com.au

MIXDOWN OFFICE 3 Newton Street Richmond VIC 3121 Phone: (03) 9428 3600 Fax: (03) 9428 3611

LOGO DESIGN www.furstmedia.com.au

EDITORIAL CO-ORDINATOR Lachlan Kanoniuk PRODUCTION MANAGER: Patrick O’Neill

PAGE 22

32 WHAT’S THAT SOUND? - GUITAR

If you want breaking news, giveaway exclusives and all the latest in the industry, join us online at www.facebook.com/mixdownmagazine and check out our website www.mixdownmag.com.au for more.

Aleksei Plinte Editor In Chief

COLD CHISEL

ADVERTISING Aleksei Plinte, Ronnit Sternfein

CONTRIBUTORS Peter Hodgson, Rob Gee, Nick Brown, Adrian Viol, Matt Petherbridge, Tim Clarke

DIRTY THREE

PAGE 24

BEN KWELLER

PAGE 26

AMP SPECIAL

PAGE 38


MIXDOWN GIVEAWAYS MARCH GIVEAWAY

LAST MONTH’S WINNER

STRAUSS SRT-15 As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve gone a little bit amp crazy for our massive March issue. Rightly so, I say! Nestled in amongst the smorgasbord of amps featured in our special is the tidy little combo called the Strauss SRT-15. And guess what? We’re lucky enough to have one to give away thanks to Jade Australia! For your chance to win, simply head along to www.straussamps. com, click your way to the artists page and see if you can spot an artist/band who also happen to feature in this month’s Mixdown. When you’ve figured it out, email mixdown@beat.com.au with your answer along with your full name, full address and contact telephone number. Good luck!

PRESONUS AUDIOBOX STUDIO USB BUNDLE We had a massive response to our February giveaway. And why wouldn’t we, the PreSonus Bundle we had up for grabs contains everything you need to delve into the world of home recording. We asked for the name of PreSonus’s rad new mixer control iPhone app, and the answer is the PreSonus Qmix. Massive congratulations to Melissa Stanton from Kingsley, WA, who answered correctly. You will be recording in no time with thanks to National Audio Systems. Enjoy!

*Competition disclaimer* All Mixdown Magazine competition winners agree to having their loacation, name and photo with themselves and their prize published in Mixdown Magazine and online. All entrants must be residents of Australia.

tuning distilled TC’s PolyTune® was a multiple-patents-pending, total tuning turnaround that has guitarists everywhere wondering how they ever got by without it. Now there’s PolyTune® Mini - the world’s smallest polyphonic tuner. Just strum your guitar and PolyTune® Mini shows the tuning of all strings simultaneously. So you can tune up and get back playing in seconds!

polytune® mini PolyTune® Mini is perfect for when size really matters. No other tuner takes up so little space on a pedal board (…so more room for more pedals!)

STRUM

TUNE

ROCK

Check out the new PolyTune® Mini at your nearest Authorised TC Dealer Tel: 1800 251 367 sales@ambertech.com.au

PG. 8

MIXDOWN NO. 215

www.ambertech.com.au/polytune-mini

MARCH 2012


The new Standard

THE NEW STANDARD The H2n is Zoom’s most innovative handheld recorder to date. We’ve packed groundbreaking features into an ultra-portable device that allows you to record pristine audio anywhere you go. From film and broadcast, to journalism, podcasting, musical performance, songwriting and rehearsal. The H2n: the very best in stereo recording in a user-friendly package that fits in your pocket.

THE FIRST PORTABLE MID-SIDE RECORDER Mid-Side recording combines a uni-directional Mid mic that captures sound directly in front and a bi-directional Side mic that captures sound from your left and right. Increasing or decreasing the level of the Side mic, you can control the width of the stereo field, giving you incredible flexibility over your recordings. Record in RAW mode & you can adjust stereo width after recording.

CREATE STUNNING SURROUND SOUND Using the Mid-Side and X/Y mics together, you can create stunning 360° surround sound recordings. Choose between 2-channel mode (combines the Mid-Side and X/Y mics), and 4-channel mode (records two separate stereo files), allowing you even more post-production capability. No matter which mode you use, you’ll get perfectly balanced, surround sound recordings.

ANALOGUE GAIN CONTROL & MORE Digital volume controls offer too much or too little gain, with no middle ground. The H2n’s analog Mic Gain wheel allows you to dial-in the perfect amount of gain for any given application. Other handy new features include larger 4.5cm LCD screen, onboard reference speaker, USB2.0 & data recovery functions. Plus the H2n can run on two AA batteries for over 20hours.

Available now with Two Years Warranty from your Authorised Australian Zoom dealer

zoom.co.jp

dynamicmusic.com.au

facebook.com/ZoomAustralia

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 9


NEWS & TOURS

BIG SCARY

CITY AND COLOUR

RADIOHEAD

Well this is the one you’ve all been waiting for folks. You read right, arguably one of the greatest bands to emerge from the 1990s has announced their long overdue return to Australia. Last in the country nearly a decade ago, Radiohead caused much heartbreak when lead singer Thom Yorke lost his voice, forcing the cancellation of a second

Melbourne show. Now, after so many years of unfounded festival rumours, the band have announced a massive east coast tour. Dunno about you, but we’re pretty bloody excited. Tickets have all sold out – but do what you can to get along to one of the following dates.

TOUR DATES:

November 9 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane QLD November 12 – Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney NSW November 13 – Sydney Entertainment Centre.

Sydney NSW November 16 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne VIC November 17 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne VIC

XAVIER RUDD

Much-adored Melbourne duo Big Scary will be taking their unique blend of indie pop to all corners of the country this April, in support of their critically acclaimed debut LP ‘Vacation’ – named one of Richard Kingsmill’s top 10 albums of 2011. Having played a small run of sold-out intimate performances in October, the Vacation Tour sees Tom Iansek and Jo Syme return to the stage in all their genre-bending glory. Off the back of this local success, 2012 looks set to be the year that Big Scary makes their mark on the international stage. In March the two-piece will perform at SXSW and Canadian Music Week, before embarking on an East Coast and West Coast run of dates in North America.

For the uninitiated, City and Colour is the alias of Dallas Green whose name is, magically, the city Dallas and the colour Green - neat huh? He was also the guitarist and vocalist of the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. He’s down here for Groovin The Moo but has announced an adjoining run of sideshows, so fans of all ages can catch him as he plays his blend of melodic acoustic and folk come early May.

TOUR DATES:

April 19 – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin NT April 20 – Amplifier Bar, Perth WA April 21 – Uni Bar, Adelaide SA April 24 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC April 27 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW April 28 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD

TOUR DATE:

May 2 – The Palais, Melbourne VIC May 8 – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD May 14 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW May 18 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide SA May 20 – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle WA

CHILDREN COLLIDE

One of Australia’s most-loved folk sons has announced a massive national tour, with Xavier Rudd celebrating the launch of his new album, Follow The Sun. One of the most hotly anticipated local releases of the year, Follow The Sun marks the culmination of Xavier’s decade-long career, one which has seen the Torquay-raised performer gain a worldwide reputation. This March will see the ever-chill songwriter wind his way around the country to catch up with friends, catch a few waves,

and reconnect with his fans in person, from the stage, where he belongs.

ANDREW W.K.

BEN SOLLEE

TOUR DATES:

March 21 – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC March 23 – The Hi-Fi, Sydney NSW March 25 – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane QLD March 30 – The Gov, Adelaide SA April 5 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA

Giants of modern Australian rock, Children Collide will be hitting the road throughout March and April, hitting up more than a few regional locations

in the process. The tour celebrates the launch of their much-anticipated new record, Monument.

TOUR DATES:

March 9 - Ferntree Gully Hotel, Ferntree Gully VIC March 10 - Pelly Bar, Frankston VIC March 11 - Breath Of Life, Launceston TAS March 15 - Hotel Great Northern, Byron Bay NSW March 16 - Elsewhere Bar, Gold Coast QLD March 17 - The Zoo, Brisbane QLD March 21 - The Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour NSW March 22 – The Cambridge, Newcastle NSW

March 23 – The Patch, Wollongong NSW March 24 – The Metro, Sydney NSW March 29 – The Gov, Adelaide SA March 30 – Capitol, Perth WA March 31 – Players Bar, Mandurah WA April 1 – Mojos, Fremantle WA April 12 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC April 13 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC

DEEP SEA ARCADE

Following his much celebrated national tour in January last year alongside his Big Day Out appearance, Manhattan based marvel Andrew W.K. returns with his one-man-party band this May. Already announced for the traveling Groovin The Moo spectacular, Andrew W.K. has announced headline dates right across the country. TOUR DATES:

May 2 – Pier Live, Frankston VIC May 4 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC May 9 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD May 10 – The Standard, Sydney NSW May 17 – The Bakery, Perth WA

PG. 10

MIXDOWN NO. 215

Kentucky-based, twenty-something Ben is set to visit Australia to perform a string of concerts including shows in Sydney and Melbourne in March 2012 – he’s here on the back of his most recent 2011 album, Inclusions. Make sure you catch this young acoustic folk artist on the rise - especially for fans of Jose Gonzales, Avett Brothers and Band Of Horses. Ben Sollee is just as capable of whipping an audience into a frenzy as he is stilling a room with stunned awe and respect. Ben Sollee will be touring alongside festival performances across the country this March and April. Visit www.gaynorcrawford.com/ artists/ben-sollee for full details.

MARCH 2012

Sydney outfit Deep Sea Arcade are letting off a bit of ‘Steam’ in the form of their new single – the first taste from the soon-to-be-released debut album Outlands. Fresh from supporting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Deep Sea Arcade will also be setting out on a national tour

in support of Melbourne grunge lords Children Collide throughout March and April. Deep Sea Arcade will support Children Collide on their national tour (dates listed this page).


NEWS & TOURS

HUSKY

DZ DEATHRAYS

MY DISCO

After a relatively brief respite (one which included guitarist Ben Andrews evolving into a forest-borne demigod at New Zealand’s recent Camp A Low Hum festival), Melbourne’s premier three-piece My Disco have announced their return to the live setting. The band kicked off the year by belatedly

releasing their first ever video for Turn, taken from their stellar LP of 2010 Little Joy. The band suffered a setback in early 2011, with the band forced to cancel shows due to a traffic accident involving bassist Liam. The band then soldiered on to tour the globe. This is their story.

TOUR DATES:

April 7 – The Nash, Geelong VIC April 13 – Good God Small Club, Sydney NSW

WAVVES

April 14 – The Toff In Town, Melbourne VIC April 15 – The Toff In Town, Melbourne VIC

SET SAIL

Excellent news for local fellas Husky: Liberation Music have announced that the band have signed a worldwide record deal with famed American label Sub Pop as well as the announcement of an Australian headline tour. Furthermore, the crew will also head overseas for a run of international gigs. Husky will be the first ever Australian band to be signed to Sub Pop, joining talented and highlyregarded acts such as Fleet Foxes, Beach House and Soundgarden. To celebrate the news, the band will head out across Australia this April and May. TOUR DATES:

April 1 – West Coast Blues N Roots Festival, Perth WA April 14 – Republic Bar, Hobart TAS April 19 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC April 20 – Barwon Club, Geelong VIC April 21 – Jive Bar, Adelaide SA April 26 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD April 27 – The Sound Lounge, Gold Coast QLD April 28 – Woombye Hotel, Woombye QLD May 3 – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney NSW May 4 – The Bakery, Perth WA

Mixdown favourites DZ Deathrays are made up of two main components. They were designed to play at house parties in the shady parts of Australia but of more recent times expanded their horizons (and perhaps said “shady parts”) to stretch across the globe. Now they’re ready to present the world with their debut LP, a 13 track-assault titled Bloodstreams. To celebrate, DZ Deathrays will set off on their first national headline tour since April 2011. DZ Deathrays will take their massive tour around the country this April and May. Hit their Facebook page for full details.

WOMADELAIDE

The Groovin The Moo sideshows keep rolling in, with slacker-rock kings Wavves announcing a run of sideshows. Making their Australian debut last year with a blistering Golden Plains appearance, the brainchild of San Diego native Nathan Williams is returning down under to ravage Australian audiences with songs about beaches, blunts and wanting to meet/be Dave Grohl. TOUR DATES:

May 8 - The Zoo, Brisbane QLD May 9 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC May 15 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW May 16 – Fowler’s Live, Adelaide SA May 18 – Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA

ERIC BIBB

Following a month-long tussle with the Department Of Immigration And Citizenship, Sydney trio Set Sail are pleased to announce the return of their lead singer Brandon Hoogenboom. Brandon, who had been deported to the United States after mistakenly playing shows on the wrong visa in January, has now been allowed to re-enter Australia. Unsurprisingly, the band are itching to hit the road again. CLINIC DATE:

March 10 – Forest Edge Music Festival, Neerim East VIC March 11 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC March 15 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW March 16 – Secret Garden Festival, Camden NSW March 18 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla NSW March 25 – 34 Degree South, Bondi NSW April 12 – Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland NSW

DEUS

Over the past 20 years WOMADelaide has hosted an eclectic array of over 560 of the world’s most extraordinary artists from every corner of the globe and 2012 will see some crowd favorites return. Baaba Maal, who last mesmerised audiences in 1999 as did Shivkumar Sharma and Lo’Jo, returns for the third time since 1999 and the Master Drummers of Burundi, the first ‘world music’ group to cross into the mainstream via Joni Mitchell’s ‘The Jungle Line’ – return after 13 years.

WOMADelaide’s New Zealand ‘family friend’, Neil Finn, will step on stage for the third time with his brand new group, Pajama Club with his wife Sharon – the first time he was with Crowded House in ‘92 and the last time in 2009 it was with his sons. All these acts plus many, many more will perform at this year’s WOMADelaide. TOUR DATES:

March 9-12 – WOMADELAIDE, Adelaide SA

MUTEMATH

A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience – both musically and spiritually. Purveying a beautifully realised and deftly accomplished, soulful and gospel infused, folkblues, Eric has no problem melding a traditional rootsy American style with a subtle contemporary sensibility. In duo mode, Eric will be accompanied by beautiful Swedish guitarist Staffan Astner, who is also featured on the live CD Troubadour Live! Eric performs with matchless ease and a poet’s sensibility. He has criss-crossed the world paying his dues and absorbing musical influences, picking up countless awards and nominations, and mesmerising audiences along the way. Eric Bibb serves up some powerful tunes – aimed as much at the brain as well as the heart and soul. Eric will showcase his wares at various headline performances, as well as appearances at several folk festivals. Check out www.ericbibb.com for full tour dates.

PG. 12

MIXDOWN NO. 215

Hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, dEUS is spearheaded by original members Tom Barman on vocals and guitars and Klaas Janzoons on keyboards and violin, who are joined by drummer Stéphane Misseghers, bassist Alan Gevaert and guitarist/backing vocalist Mauro Pawlowski. dEUS have enjoyed a remarkable 20 year career thus far, with their star growing bigger by the day. The upcoming tour marks their first ever run of headline shows across Australia.

After being announced for Groovin’ The Moo, a sideshow has been announced for Grammy nominated New Orleans three-piece Mutemath. It’ll be their very first time in Australia. Since 2004 the genre bending trio have taken it upon themselves to deliver music that is unequivocally and defiantly their own. Since releasing their first EP in late 2004, Mutemath’s inherent nature has challenged limitations and expanded parameters.

TOUR DATES:

TOUR DATES:

May 10 - Manning Bar, Sydney NSW May 12 - The Corner, Melbourne VIC

May 10 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD May 16 – The Hi-Fi, Sydney NSW

MARCH 2012

By the time they released their 2006 self-titled debut, their blending of adverse genres into its own innovative sonically adventurous creation earned them a reputation as one of modern music’s most daring young groups. Rooted in New Orleans R&B, fusing elements from psychedelia to traditional gospel to modern electronica, their new record Odd Soul is constructed to live up to its title.

May 17 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC May 20 – Amplifier, Perth WA


MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 13


PRODUCT NEWS

RADIAL FIREFLY TUBE DI BOX discrete class-A unity gain amplifier designed for both studio and live performance applications. The Firefly begins with two inputs, each featuring separate level controls enabling optimal gain settings for each instrument. The inputs can be switched from either the front panel or via the optional JR2 footswitch and the instrument signal is immediately routed to a tuner output that is always on.

D:FINE DUAL EAR HEADSET MICROPHONE performance standard when it was released late last year. Now DPA engineers have developed an enhanced dual-ear version of the already-acclaimed d:fine headset system. Designed to meet the needs of the most active live theatre, music video production & concert sound productions, the d:fine series dualear headset mic is designed to take on the most rigorous & energetic performance applications, whilst delivering the world-class sound quality expected of a DPA microphone. Named to reflect its stunningly accurate audio definition and natural sonic characteristics, DPA’s d:fine single-ear headset microphone set a new

For more information on the DPA range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au

KEITH MCMILLAN INSTRUMENTS QUNEO The Keith McMillan product line lets musicians familiar with traditional instruments use the computer as an extension of their playing ability and allows electronic musicians, guitarists and DJs add expressive control to their DJ applications, hardware and keyboards. QuNeo is a different species of pad controller for electronic musicians, DJs, VJs and DIY hackers. While it covers all of the functionality of other pad controllers, QuNeo adds the power of touch recognition in other dimensions.

Canada’s Radial Engineering has announced the release of their new Firefly tube direct box, a fully

For more information on the Radial Engineering range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au

TONEBONE PZ DELUXE The Tonebone PZ DELUXE is a high performance combination preamp & direct box designed for use with acoustic instruments. The original Tonebone PZ-Pre has long been heralded as the world’s finest pedal-style preamp and is used by many leading artists including James Taylor, Lawrence Juber and Jerry Douglas. The new PZ-DELUXE offers similar performance quality as the PZ-Pre but at a much lower price point, making Tonebone quality available to so many more players. For more information on the Tonebone range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au

LANEY L50H & L412

ACE FREHLEY BUDOKAN LES PAUL

For more information on the Keith McMillan range of products, contact CMI on 03 9315 2244 or visit www.cmi.com.au

DREAMSCAPE JOHN PETRUCCI SIGNATURE PEDAL

THE CUBE 500 SERIES FRAME

Denmark’s TC Electronic has announced the release of their new TonePrint-enabled Dreamscape John Petrucci Signature Pedal. John Petrucci of Dream Theater is already a long-time user of TC guitar effects systems but now their collaboration has been taken to a whole new level. The Dreamscape even includes a TonePrint setting for uploading or beaming other TonePrints to the pedal. In short, for all the John Petrucci and Dream Theater fans out there, this pedal is a must-have.

Radial Engineering has announced the Cube, a 500 Series desk-top power supply designed to house three of Radial’s continuously expanding range of processing modules. Unlike other 500 Series enclosures that are usually rack mounted, the Cube is designed to conveniently sit on a desktop, be carried around the studio or be recessed into the work surface. Two sets of flanges are supplied to either fully recess the Cube into the desktop or angle it at 30 degrees for optimal viewing. The Radial Cube brings the power of 500 Series modules to desktops in an affordable, easyto- use format and, as with all Radial products, is ultra roadworthy with a 14 gauge steel enclosure and top-ofthe-line connectors throughout. Nice.

The L50H amplifier head uses pure Class A Single ended technology with no less than five specifically selected and matched EL34B-STR tubes, arranged in parallel. Each delivers 10 watts RMS, giving you a previously unattainable, totally unique sound. The L50H chrome front panel features two channels, Clean and Drive, each with independent volume controls and a shared EQ, Bite Switch, Reverb, overall Tone and a Dynamics control. The L50H’s preamp & power amp package delivers a totally unique, airy, almost three dimensional, truly intoxicating valve tone. The L412 speaker cabinet is as outstanding as the L50H is unique. Designed and engineered to compliment the L50H’s sonic output, each L412 is manufactured from high-grade premium marine plywood and loaded with 4x12” Celestion G12 Heritage drivers which together can handle 120 Watts RMS of great vintage tone.

Gibson Custom, a division of Gibson Guitar, have announced the release of the Signature Series Ace Frehley Budokan Les Paul. For the new recreation of this one-of-a-kind instrument, Gibson Custom worked directly with the current owner to analyze the guitar and replicate it down to the tiniest detail. Making its debut in 1977, the Budokan Les Paul became Ace’s main guitar when KISS’s fame was exploding around the world due to prime-time television appearances, a sold-out debut at Madison Square Garden and the release of their classic album, Love Gun.

For more information on the TC Electronic range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au

For more information on the Radial Engineering range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au

For more information on the Ibanez range of products, phone Australis Music Group on 02 9698 4444 or visit www.australismusic.com.au

For more information, contact Australian Musical Imports on 03 8696 4699 or visit www.gibsonami.com

PG. 14

MIXDOWN NO. 215

MARCH 2012


PERFECT TONE... IT’S ALL IN THE HEAD

ValveKing

$899RRP

With built-in spring reverb and separate tonestacks, the ValveKing delivers tones ranging from bluesy clean to crunchy and classic rock. Featuring global resonance, presence and reverb controls.

VYPYR 120

$1,199RRP

Featuring 24 amp channel models – both the clean and distorted channels of 12 popular amps – plus 11 editable preamp “stomp box” effects and 11 editable post-amp “rack” effects with dual-parameter control

3120

$2,299RRP

The Ultimate tone machine. The amp is controlled by a master volume pot and independent volume knobs for each of its three channels.

NEW

6505

$1,999RRP

Loud, mean and built for the road, the 6505 was named in celebration of Peavey’s first 40 years, 1965 to 2005. Features three-band EQ for taming its notorious tone.

6505+

$2,499RRP

The 6505 Series amps are the undisputed go-to Guitar amps for scores of rock, hardcore and metal bands due to their raw tone, relentless power and road-proven reliability.

6534+

$2,499RRP

The 6534+ is a two-channel, 120-watt amplifier designed to give this American legend a British flavour. The amp’s Rhythm channel is voiced to clean up nicely while still retaining its raw saturation.

NEW

BUTCHER

$2,599RRP

This UK-voiced amp offers tones in the vein of hard and classic rock, blues and everything in between. The master section features 2 foot switchable master volumes.

Innovation. Amplified.™

TOUR 700

$999RRP

Tour 700 offers crushing power and relentless reliability in a bass amplifier that truly goes “one lower!” Winner of Bass Player magazine’s prestigious Editors’ Award.

5

For more info and your nearest authorised Peavey dealer: Call 1300 13 44 00 visit: www.peavey.com.au

YEAR

WARRANTY


PRODUCT NEWS MC3 STUDIO MONITOR CONTROLLER

ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN GILDED WHITE CLASSIC STINGRAY

DUOPLEC

Radial Engineering has announced the release of their latest MC3 Studio Monitor Controller – one of several new products which the respected Canadian manufacturer debuted at the recent NAMM Show in Los Angeles. The new MC3 is a “straight wire” passive monitor switcher & headphone amp designed to provide smaller production studios with a cost-effective yet high performance monitor, sub and headphone management system. For more information on the Radial Engineering range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au

SAMSON XP150 PORTABLE PA

The old saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, so Norm started cutting and shaping plectrums by hand for his own use. He showed a few other musos, who were quite impressed with the design, how easy the pick was to use and the light and shade they could infuse into their guitar work by using it. Norm got sick of the hand shaping and decided there was a market for the pick, so with his two daughters Emma and Liz, Duoplec Industries was formed. The design was registered and Duoplec is now precision plastic moulded in Nylon, in three gauges and available both in selected stores and on the web. The Duoplec pick is a totally new and revolutionary design, which will open up many different possibilities for guitar players, from beginners to pros.

Ernie Ball Music Man proudly presents the second global release from The Premier Dealer Network - The Gilded White Classic Stingray. Available in 4 and 5 string models, and limited to just 300 instruments worldwide, a small number of these basses has been procured for Australian release and can be seen on the walls of Premier Australian Music Man dealers from mid February.

The Gilded White Classic Stingray features a one-off finish - Gilded White – white with subtle gold fleck throughout, complemented by gold hardware. For more information on the Gilded White Classic Stingray, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au

ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN LUKE III

For more information on Duoplec, visit www. duoplecguitarpicks.com.au

ROGER WATERS ROCKS AUSTRALIA WITH SAMSON

Ernie Ball Music Man and guitarist Steve Lukather are proud to introduce the new Luke III signature guitar. New for 2012, the Luke III features a larger Alder body, (3% larger profile than the standard model Luke guitar), 22 fret full rosewood neck and new passive Dimarzio pickups with custom Music Man active preamp. New electronics include a dual Humbucking or H-S-S pickup configuration, volume control and a passive tone

control with a new Push/Push switch for an adjustable 12 db Volume boost. Similar in style, the Luke III exhibits a broader, more defined tone while retaining the familiar shape and feel as the original Luke model. For more information on the Ernie Ball Music Man range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au

SAMSON GRAPHITE 49 KEY USB MIDI CONTROLLER

The Expedition XP150 offers a PA solution that combines powerful stereo sound with portability and simplicity. With its clever design, the XP150 packs up into a single unit that weighs only 24 pounds. Perfect for schools, conferences and presentations, as well as musicians and singer-songwriters, the XP150 is the ultimate in portable sound. A removable 5-channel mixer powers the XP150 with a 150-watt (2 x 75) Class D amplifier. The mixer features three Mic/Line channels with XLR and 1/4-inch inputs, allowing you to connect microphones or line signals. It also includes one stereo 1/4-inch and 3.5mm input channel for connecting external devices like MP3 players, keyboards and more. There’s also a built-in digital effects processor to add Digital Reverb to your voice or instrument. Each channel features 2-band (bass and treble) controls.

Roger Waters, best known as the bass player, co-lead vocalist, lyricist and the principal songwriter in the iconic rock band Pink Floyd, has taken his The Wall Live tour to audiences around the Australia. “In the past two years we’ve had over 120 shows in 23 countries running both Samson audio and wireless every show. They’re so reliable, it would be nearly impossible to imagine a tour without them.”

For more information on the Samson range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au

For more information on the Samson range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au

PG. 16

MIXDOWN NO. 215

MARCH 2012

Samson’s Graphite 49 USB MIDI Controller gives you all the performance and production control you need to get the most out of your music software. Combining an intuitive 49-key semi-weighted keyboard with a feature set that is both useful and accessible, the Graphite 49 is a sleek, powerful tool that allows you to express your most dynamic musical ideas. The Graphite 49’s semi-weighted keyboard provides musicians with a responsive and expressive platform that is designed to feel more like an instrument than a controller. It comes equipped with velocity-sensitive keys that accurately

capture the dynamics of a performance. Aftertouch offers customisable control over a variety of effects and parameters, for example the addition of growl to a saxophone or vibrato to strings. With 49 keys, the Graphite 49’s pitch range is perfect for performing, while remaining highly portable. For more information on the Samson range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au


GET READY TO FALL IN LOVE

WITH YOUR VOICE

Whether you’re at the top of the charts – or just a dreamer with a microphone, singing with VoiceLive Play is like having the best producers in the world dedicated to making you sound amazing. Song & Artist Presets for immediate inspiration Killer Effects for every genre RoomSense to set auto key harmonies VLOOP™ performance vocal looping USB | Aux In | Headphones Experience the magic at your nearest Authorised TC-Helicon Dealer

www.ambertech.com.au/voicelive-play

Tel: 1800 251 367 sales@ambertech.com.au


PRODUCT NEWS APHEX ELECTRONICS

JBL PRX400 SERIES The new JBL PRX400 passive portable and/or fixed installation loudspeakers are close cousins of the very successful JBL PRX600 series of self powered speakers. Essentially, these speakers are targeted at small to medium sized installation operations, where the costs of deploying multiple power points around a venue and then distributing balanced audio cable around to self powered speakers whilst avoiding picking up any noise along the way, could make for an expensive installation.

LEWITT MICROPHONES

For more information on the JBL range of products, phone Jands on (02) 9582 0909 or visit www.jands.com.au

ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN JP12

The fine folks at Galactic Music are more than a little bit happy to announce that they have the pleasure of distributing the ace Aphex Electronics range in Australia. For over 35 years, Aphex has been at the heart of professional audio, recording, broadcast, M.I., live and installed sound. It’s a legacy to be proud of, a legacy which will be built upon as they launch new products and technologies and expand into new market segments. For more information on the Aphex Electronics range of products, contact Galactic Music on (08) 9204 7555 or visit www.galacticmusic.com.au

EASTWOOD CLASSIC 6

We are pretty excited about the all new Eastwood Classic 6. Based on the famous ‘60s Country Classic look, Eastwood have developed an instrument with great balance and feel you, made for that everyday player that can stand and twang for hours! Exclusively available from 555 Music, 555 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC. For more details phone (03) 9818 5040 or visit www.555music.com.au

PG. 18

MIXDOWN NO. 215

IBANEZ LTD EDITION 25TH ANNIVERSARY RG

National Audio Systems is proud to announce they are now distributing Lewitt Microphones in Australia. Lewitt stands for cutting-edge, high-performance microphones designed to deliver unaltered, crystal clear sound and excel in a variety of demanding studio and live applications. Their guiding principle is to build microphones for people whose standards for audio work and performances are just as high as their own, and to enthuse even the most discerning users with their products. For more information on Lewitt Microphones phone National Audio Systems on 1800 441 440 or visit www.nationalaudio.com.au

HAME SPEAKER CABINETS

The best thing to come out of Wagga Wagga since a bloke called Wayne Carey (his non-football transgressions aside), Hame Speaker Cabinets provide top quality speaker cabinets customised to your needs at great prices. You choose the tolex and grillcloth, you choose the piping, corners and handles, you choose which speakers suit your needs, you get the cab you want. The speaker cabinets are made from void free 19mm Baltic Birch ply to any size and speaker configuration you desire, and are constructed using dovetail joinery for superior strength and durability. Hame can supply your speaker cab loaded with your choice of speakers or unloaded ready for you to install your own speakers into.

The tantalising stream of announcements from NAMM just keeps on coming, with Ernie Ball Music Man continuing on from the success of the JPX and JPXI with the next instalment in the John Petrucci signature line. The JPX12 features a combination of top appointments from the JPX, JPXI and BFR Petrucci signature instruments. Most notably, the JP12 neck has been streamlined to a symmetric, extra slim profile featuring a flatter 20” radius, medium jumbo stainless steel frets with a finished mahogany neck and an ebony fingerboard. The JP12 guitars will be available in 6 and 7-string versions, adorned with chrome hardware, mother of pearl inlays and a new Cherry Sugar finish, due for delivery June 2012.

25 years ago Ibanez created a guitar that would become iconic in the musical instrument pantheon. To celebrate the continued success of this guitar icon, Ibanez have released the RG1XXV, a special 25TH anniversary limited edition of the RG. Manufactured in the Ibanez Premium factory, and featuring a blinding flourescent finish, this RG is definitely one for the collection. The RG Premium is built to Japanese Prestige quality standards and is the ultimate workhorse guitar for today’s hardworking musician. These guitars are for players who push their guitars to the fullest every night on stage and who demand real professional quality instruments, that are both functional, and look amazing. The combination of Ibanez Edge-Zero II tremolo with ZPS and elaborated crafting processes, promises you perfect tuning stability and playing comfort, while the Wizard Premium neck has the same construction and thickness as Prestige Wizard. Di Marzio pickups are featured to help you to maximise the potential of the gear to produce the tone that you desire.

For more information about Hame Speaker Cabinets, phone 0417 484 115 or visit www.hame.com.au

For more information on the Ernie Ball Music Man range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au

For more information on the Ibanez range of products, phone Australis Music Group on 02 9698 4444 or visit www.australismusic.com.au

MARCH 2012


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NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 19


PRODUCT NEWS REVEREND SENSEI JR The new Sensei Jr is exclusivley available at 555 Music Co. This is a stripped down, one pickup, lean and mean version of the Sensei 290. One bridge P90 in a resonant slab of korina, a full set of tone controls including the Bass Contour that voices the pickup from clean twang to raw rock. What more could you possibly need? Simple, but deadly! Available in Vintage Clear & Wine Red.

Exclusively available from 555 Music, 555 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC. For more details phone 03 9818 5040 or visit www.555music.com.au

PROMARK’S PRODUCT QUALITY SKYROCKETS. At the recent NAMM show in Anaheim California, it was announced that D’Addario who recently purchased ProMark has significantly improved the quality of Pro Mark products with manufacturing training and $1 million of capital investments in infrastructure and new state-of-the-art machinery. Dealers, artists, and consumers have already been commenting on the improved quality of ProMark products with enhanced quality standards at the wood source and dowel sorting processes at the mill and factory. So, for more information on the range of ProMark products visit www.promark.com

For more information on product and distribution contact D’addario Australia on (03) 8761 6293 or email : sales@daddario.com.au

SHURE ULX-D The “D� in ULX-D stands for DIGITAL. Essentially this is a digital version of the ever popular ULX series, which enables audio quality beyond anything we have seen (heard) previously, but there are many other really cool features incorporated into to ULX-D which together makes this an extremely appealing package. Before you ask – no, the ULX-D is not intended as a replacement for the ULX series. ULX will continue for the foreseeable future. ULX-D is designed to sit both features and price wise in between ULX and UHF-R.

For more information on the Shure range of products, phone Jands on (02) 9582 0909 or visit www.jands.com.au

JET CITY AMPLIFICATION PEDALS

Jet City Amplification have been working hard on bringing guitarists a range of affordable and well coordinated stomp boxes that will set most pedal boards alight. The Jet City range covers an Overdrive, Afterburner Overdrive (two stage overdrive), High Gain Boost, Distortion, Analog Delay and A/B Boost. Each pedal is a collaboration of fine craftsmanship, boutique sounds housed within an indestructible chassis. PG. 20

MIXDOWN NO. 215

Not to be overlooked by their price point you will w be firmly converted with these pedals underneath your feet. For more information on the range of Jet City Pedals and Amps contact Intermusic Distribution on (03) 9765 6565 or visit www.imd.com.au

MARCH 2012

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NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 21


COLD CHISEL WORKING CLASS HEROES Cold Chisel are truly Australian icons. From humble beginnings on the Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney pub scene through to massive success Australia wide and overseas the band has always related to the aussie public through their songs, stories and observations of Australian life. Couple this with an energetic live show and rock based sound and you get all the honesty, integrity and rawness they could muster. Now on the tail end of a hugely successful Australian tour and with their new album (their first in 10 years) Cold Chisel are about to headline Byron Bay’s Bluesfest - making them the first Australian band to do so - looks like Cold Chisel are back in a big way and the newfound success couldn’t be more deserving. We catch up with the main man, Jimmy Barnes, to tell us more. Your Light The Nitro tour was a huge success. You’ve done some massive tours in the past but did the success of this surprise you? You know what it has and it hasn’t. People have been hounding us for years and everywhere I go people ask when are you going to put on some Cold Chisel shows. So we knew it was going to do well but to sell 250,000 tickets in an hour was a shock by anyone’s terms you know, for any band so we were pleasantly surprised and happy. And it really set the whole tour off on a great note. We started up on a really up vibe and that carried on throughout the whole tour. What are the crowds like –a mix of old and new fans? There was older people that had been to shows a million times when we were in our heyday that were big fans but there were also people that were big fans who never had actually gone and seen us play live and had been kicking themselves cos we broke up and them thinking ‘why didn’t we ever go and see them?’. I remember when we came out to do Ringside in 2005 and my son was in high school and all his mates were in their final year and they were huge Cold Chisel fans. You know, 17 year old boys and I just couldn’t work out, A – how they got onto it and B – whether it was their parents that had brain washed them. But Jackie said it was just one of the bands that was still cool cos they played real rock and they played live and there wasn’t anything poncy as it was more about grunt. So, it’s 17 year olds to 70 year olds and everything in between! Do you find it funny that now with your back catalogue being released digitally you’re all over the charts again, with songs like ‘Khe Sanh’ finally charting into the top 40 almost 30-plus years on? We sort of held out on all that stuff. We wanted to make sure we had a lot to offer on it and not just PG. 22

MIXDOWN NO. 215

rehash the same songs, so we researched it and found a lot of old stuff to put on it and we wanted to get the right deal for the band and make it all work. And I think cos we held out so long, that made it a little more special as fans that wanted this extra stuff and people that hadn’t bought our music before had access to it all. It really gave us exposure to a whole new group of fans. And like with ‘Khe Sanh’ it reached higher in the charts now than it ever did as an actual single. [Just the fact that ‘Khe Sanh’ can get back in the charts when it’s not a pop single, I mean it’s got more words than War And Peace but the other good thing is that it’s as an important lyric now as it was then.] You know we’ve got a lot of soldiers now that have gone out of the country perhaps not with the backing or belief of the public or of the cause they’re fighting for so the lyric today might be just as poignant as it was when it first came out.

would know as bands who get older often they’ll drop the keys of songs a little, but we didn’t do that. I remember when we had a big string of shows at one stage and I said ‘look this is going to get pretty hard slotting more shows in’ and I think one of the management suggested we drop some of the keys and I looked at him point blank and said ‘we’re never gonna do that’. I’m used to the songs in this key and harmonically they’ve got an edge that way. When we looked through them all the only two songs that have ever changed were ‘Star Hotel’ which was originally written in F but we took it down a semitone to E which was next to nothing and the only reason we did it was so when we hit the chorus we had the guitars in the better open chord which sounded fatter and bigger. And the same thing with ‘Saturday Night’, there’s a whole intricate chord progression that lead into the solo and it seemed to work better down a semitone so it wasn’t out of laziness it was actually out of making them better.

for Steve’s legacy - we just wanted to get out and have fun and that was the only good thing that came out of Steve’s death by the way it made us appreciate each other and him more. So we had to look for a positive out of the situation and we just got out there and started touring. As much as we were all saddened by playing the section for Steve towards the middle of the set, by the end of the tour it had turned around and it wasn’t a sad memorial it was a celebration of his life. It was great that something positive came out of something so bad.

The decision to get back into recording a few years back how did that unfold? We got together before Steve died and we thought about doing some stuff then. And his death then obviously cut that short and up to that point we were getting along well and writing some good songs and then we had the rug pulled out from under us. We were all so shattered. After a few months though we thought we hadn’t played together much over the last 20 years and we realised that we were having such a great time playing together as a band and we realised that you’re only in this world for a short time and if it’s something that brings you joy and playing with the band brings us joy. Ian and I work so well together working off each other, Don’s songs are great and the rhythm section is awesome so we just thought we’re here for too short of a time let’s get out and enjoy each other’s company and do it. We didn’t want to be childish or prima donnas holding out

Headlining Bluesfest, evidently you’re the first Aussie band to do that? It’s one of those gigs I’ve played at before, it’s a great gig but we wanted to make sure it wasn’t just about pay it was also about attitude and the right billing and honouring Australian bands. We wanted not only to be promoted as well as any overseas bands but for people to know that Australian bands are just as good as anything that comes from overseas and the Bluesfest have honoured that and used it as a major selling point because Australian bands are as good as any. So we’re really happy to be doing that and really happy that it comes around about the same time as the album coming out, so we’ll be out there tearing the place apart!

I remember when we had a big string of shows at one stage and I said ‘look this is going to get pretty hard slotting more shows in’ and I think one of the management suggested we drop some of the keys and I looked at him point blank and said ‘we’re never gonna do that’.

Going back to some of those songs like ‘Khe Sanh’, ‘Flame Trees’, ‘Bow River’... both Ian Moss and yourself have got a high range vocally. Were keys ever changed early on or now? In the old days I’m sure that when Don would write a tune he’d push it up a few keys and see how far he could go with it! When we went out on this tour and as you’d know and lot of people

MARCH 2012

Do the song arrangements change at all now? There’s a couple of little touch ups here and there but mostly it’s the same. A lot of bands get out there and they’re sick to death of the songs cos they’ve been playing them for 30 years and they rearrange them, I remember going to see Bob Dylan and I was sitting there thinking ‘this must be a new song’ and then after 5 minutes or so I realised it was ‘The times they are a changing’ and I couldn’t even recognise it. I like to know the songs and honour the way people like them and bought them and listened to them so we didn’t change the arrangements too much at all. So they’re as pure and as honest as they were when they were written.

By Nick Brown No Plans is out April 6 through Warner. Cold Chisel will headline the 2012 Byron Bay Bluesfest, as well as performing album launches across the country. April 5 – Byron Bay Bluesfest, Byron Bay NSW April 7 – Sandalford Estate, Swan Valley WA April 12 – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC Arpil 18 – Horden Pavilion, Sydney NSW


DIRTY THREE STORIES AND SONGS Few international acts, let alone Australian, can lay claim to the gravitas established by pioneering instrumental trio Dirty Three. One could attribute such esteem to the group’s somewhat nebulous two-decade long existence. This year has seen the revered outfit release Toward The Low Sun - their long-anticipated eighth studio album, and first in seven years. Speaking from his home in France, violinist Warren Ellis speaks to us about the motivation behind his signature tenor guitar, his filmic collaborations with Nick Cave, and the fortuitous resolve which led to Toward The Low Sun’s creation. First up, let’s talk about your signature tenor. How did you come across the strange world of tenor guitars? I first started playing a mandolin, then a mate of mine found a Mandocaster in Brighton in the UK. He found it in a shop and thought that I might be interested in it. I went down and bought this four string mandolin and wasn’t sure if I’d ever really play it – it was around the time we were doing the Jesse James soundtrack, and I was just playing it all the time. It was a whole new thing for me. It was getting really damaged around the time Grinderman started up. I was looking for another one, and I happened to find a tenor guitar for sale on eBay, my little brother found it for me. It was made in Adelaide. I didn’t even know they existed. I started playing that, then I started looking for another one, but they were all kind of pricey and collectible. I called this company because this guy gave me his card at a festival and said “if you want anything give me a call” or something like that. So I called him up saying he should make a four string Mandocaster, because they did an eight string one. Then he bumped into me at a festival and said “I couldn’t understand your number, did you find what you wanted?” and I said yeah I did. But I said “Well you should make a tenor guitar, and he said no-one would buy it. And I said that’s because no-one is making them. Then anyway we had a chat, then ten minutes later he said, “Yeah you’re right, you wanna design one?” Then I designed it and that’s it. You’re just released a cherry edition, anything in mind for any future versions? Well there’s those two, the cherry and the cream one. I believe we might be doing an acoustic one, like a

kind of Resonator-style one – we’re looking into that. The feedback has been really good, it’s won awards, it was called an innovation in the guitar world – whatever that means. I’m happy it’s out there. Your pedal work is fairly prominent on the Grinderman material, is that to flesh out the four strings of the tenor? Not really, I just use effects like anyone would. It’s not really to fill it out, just like anyone who bangs a pedal to get something different going on. I just use basic pedals. Loops play a big part in your recent output. When did you start experimenting with that sort of effect? Since the late ‘90s. I think the real breakthrough was The Proposition soundtrack, I used a lot for that. I used them all the time for everything – from Jesse James to whatever I did yesterday – a soundtrack in London. I find them to be a really great creative tool. It feels like they take you off the obvious path. If you learn a bunch of chords, then you find yourself following the same path. I like the random nature of loops, and I use different instruments to create them. I probably owe my last ten years of making music for a living to them, if I’m totally honest. I find it one of the most creative tools that I have, actually. With all three members of Dirty Three residing in disparate corners of the globe, how does it come about to decide to record again? It has to be about seizing an opportunity when we’re all available, usually that’s when we’ve decided to play a concert or do a bunch of dates – then it makes

sense because we all get together and we try to make some time to work some ideas out. We’ve done this a couple of times in the past, in France and didn’t come up with anything or feel like it moved anywhere. Then the last bunch of dates we did in Japan and America, we knew we were sort of struggling a bit. We were doing these shows and started talking a bit, and realising what was exciting when we played live and when we played together, then it was just looking at that as a way to getting back in and how to approach this new recording with new ideas – what we felt was missing from the other stuff and the last few records. Once we had that discussion and worked out that, it seemed to unfold much easier. Much has been made of your claim that Toward The Low Sun feels like the “definitive” Dirty Three album. It’s a fairly large call, considering the band’s canon. It feels to me like it covers a lot of areas we’ve been trying to in a more efficient or confident way. When we were putting it together, it just felt to me that it felt like a really strong statement from us. It had a lot of the aspirations that the other albums had – each album we’ve tried to do something different. We felt like this was a really strong statement of all those things. I don’t line them all up and listen to them, it was just a kind of feeling I had about it, that there was something as challenging about this as the first record we made, when we just wanted the first record out there. At the time that came out, it was pretty much flying in the face of anything. In the early ‘90s

there weren’t really any instrumental bands – nothing like Mogwai, nothing like Godspeed You! [Black Emperor] or whatever. We just had stuff flying at us left right and centre, it was the wildest time when we were playing. It was just wild, fantastic. By Lachlan Kanoniuk

Toward The Low Sun is out now through Anchor And Hope/Remote Control. The band will be touring alongside their appearance at WOMADelaide. March 9 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA March 10 – WOMADelaide, Adelaide SA March 12 – The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie NSW March 16 – The Palace, Melbourne VIC March 17 – One Perfect Day Festival, Gippsland VIC March 18 – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine VIC March 21 – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall NSW March 22 – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD March 23 – Starcourt Theatre, Lismore NSW For more information on the Warren Ellis Signature Tenor from Eastwood, contact 555 Music on 03 9818 5040 or visit www.555music.com.au

ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA FRANK ASSESSMENT It’s been a while since Mixdown caught up with the one and only Dweezil Zappa. The last time we spoke, he was just about to embark on his first Antipodean Zappa Plays Zappa tour. Now he’s returning for his third tour of duty spreading the word of Frank Zappa’s music, including a set at Bluesfest as well as several sideshows. The Zappa Plays Zappa concept is constantly evolving and exploring different eras and facets of Frank’s incredible catalogue. And this year’s tour is no exception. The last time I saw Zappa Plays Zappa, you played a lot of material from the Roxy & Elsewhere album. Are you focusing on any one particular era or album this time around? The thing is, there’s so much to choose from. I definitely will be looking at what we played last time to make sure we give everybody a completely different show. But what I think my main focus is for this year, and certainly Australia is really early in the year for us so you guys are getting a look at it before anybody, really - is the depth and variety of Frank’s music across multiple decades. We’re really trying to look at some of the stuff right from the very beginning, like the Freak Out and We’re Only In It For The Money records, and get right up into some more obscure things through the ‘70s that people don’t expect to hear. We’ve been doing ‘Debra Cadaver’ from Bongo Fury, some really obscure things, to give people a chance to hear them for the first time. We’ve been doing a song called ‘Wedding Dress/Handsome Cabin Boy’, and every time we do that song I’ve asked the audience how many people are familiar with this song. There are literally two to four people who raise their hand! So the thing about stuff like that is, the good news is you get a chance to hear it in a live situation and have it make an impact and it is a really cool little song with a sea shanty thrown into the middle of it - but the overall PG. 24

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message, what I really want to do, is to give people a very diverse assortment of stuff that texturally changes and represents the decades pretty specifically. So when we play a song from the ‘60s it really sounds like a song from the ‘60s. The production details are as important as the rhythms and notes of the songs themselves, and that’s really the character of the songs. That’s been an interesting challenge. The early ‘80s had some really distinctive sounds too. We do everything we can to try to recreate that stuff. Where I may differ slightly on the timbre of the instruments is when stuff in some of the 80s things sounds like a factory preset from like a Yamaha DX7 or something. It was new at the time, but it has a very dated sound later on. So, sometimes when there’s material that has some of those kinds of sounds, I try to gravitate to something that’s a little more traditional or authentic to a piano sound or something else. Because in those kinds of situations it has more of an overall organic feel to it. I was thrilled to see that you’ve been playing ‘Any Kind Of Pain’. That song contains one of my favourite Frank solos ever. Yeah! It’s a great sound that he uses. That ended up being a trickier one to play over because you

MARCH 2012

can’t hide behind the sound. It’s like, there it is! The thing about that sound is, he’s not playing through anything particularly special there. On that tour he was using a Roland GP8 that I programmed a bunch of sounds on, and that was like a $200 thing back in the ‘80s. But his guitar had that onboard preamp and equalisation and stuff, so he had extra gain from his guitar so it would allow him to really utilise that sound differently than a guitar with different impedance and everything, because it’s hard to get that kind of sustain from a clean sound and compression without getting a tonne of noise. His guitar was set up very differently to a normal guitar so he was able to achieve that sound without a tonne of extra hiss and noise. So it sounds good! You had to rebuild your guitar technique from the ground up when you started planning ZPZ. Are you still running into challenges from Frank’s music today? Yeah! We started touring in 2006 but I was actually working on it two years before that, so I’m almost a decade into this stuff! I’m learning new tricks all the time. One of the things that’s been cool lately is that some of the things I’ve always

admired in other players, like Allan Holdsworth, for instance - he has these fluid runs, this kind of tension and release around what he’s doing. And Frank built his own tension and release in a way that was even more angular than Allan Holdsworth. And as I grow as a guitarist some of the influences I’ve always had have a chance to be expressed more specifically. We recently did a couple of shows where Allan Holdsworth sat in, and it was fun to play off of him and to pick up on the idioms he was using, and to say “I can use some of this musical language to have this conversation, but I’ll also say my own thing with it.” By Peter Hodgson

Dweezil performs Zappa Plays Zappa at Byron Bay Bluesfest as well as select sideshows. April 6 - Melbourne, Palace Theatre April 7 - Sydney, Metro April 8 - Panthers, Newcastle NSW April 9 - Byron Bay Bluesfest, Byron Bay NSW


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NO. 215 MIXDOWN

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BEN KWELLER IN FULL FLIGHT American singer/songwriter (and lovable guy) Ben Kweller is back with his latest album, Go Fly A Kite. We caught up with Ben to chat about the mythical, hieroglyphic proportions of the E chord and the possibility of making a strange, new lifelong friend due to his crazy album marketing schemes. Assuming the guitar is in standard tuning, why did you put the guitar tabulature for the E chord on the cover of your latest album, Go Fly A Kite” Well the album starts with a big E chord – E was the first chord that I learned when I was 10 years old. There’s a song on the album called ‘Full Circle’, there’s a lot of full circles happening in my life at the moment. I knew early on, that I wanted the lyric book to have the chords written above the words. I was putting the chords in and I blew up the E chord, you know, scaled the picture really big, by accident, and I thought, wow, that’s really awesome! It’s like one of those stupid images, if you’re a guitar player, you’ve seen it a million times, it’s totally generic. It’s almost like a stop sign. But, when you turn it hot pink! [Laughs] That’s all you need man, just turn it hot pink. It’s quite a striking image on it’s own, without any prior knowledge of music. When you look at it for long enough, trust me, I have! Staring at it and working on it, it’s kinda like a modern art piece, a strange hieroglyphic from some ancient civilisation! It’s really cool that the vinyl comes with the CD, as well as different pricing options depending on the level of quality you want for the downloadable album. I’m an audio geek, so at the end of the day, I like high quality audio, LP’s are my favourite. I love MP3’s, they’re a smaller file size, it’s a quick fix, it’s like the fast food version of music. But at the same time, the sound quality is a lot worse. But I liked having the WAV files as an option, because

it’s a higher quality audio than the CD version. It’s a closer resolution to what comes out in the studio. I could talk about this all night. Tell us about ‘The Hideout’? My friend had a professional studio in his backyard, it was an amazing studio and I met him three years ago when I moved to Austin, he lived three blocks away and I went over to look at it and it was just this empty professional recording studio in the back of his house. One day he said, “Dude, you have all this gear, and I have this empty studio. Why don’t we just partner up and you can move all your stuff over here and record here?” We called it The Hideout. the website might still be up... The Hideout in Austin, TX. We had a recording console, my 2” tape machines, mics, all the guitars and amps, but then, we recorded Go Fly A Kite right there at The Hideout. Sadly, it’s the only record that’s ever been made there. Two months after I finished the record, my friend said, “Man, we need to move, our house is too big, we need to downsize”. Luckily we have this office, where I’ve stored the console, it’s an 1973 Electrodyne... it’s an amazing recording console. We recorded the album on 2”, 24-track tape, it’s got a great sound. Was it an option to buy your friends house and keep the studio? Well... sure... it was an option. But it was a million dollar house and that’s not an option for me (laughs), it’s just one of those things. My friend’s house was really nice, he’s an interior designer, he designs really high-end apartment condos but, we’ve got our house, our record label, we’re happy.

That would be interesting, if every record you ever made from now on was recorded in a studio that you closed down, so it’s the only record made in that place. Haha yeah! Just like set up a studio and tear it down, that’s it, no one can go back! I love that! What gear did you use to make Go Fly A Kite? I used my Gibson SG Specials a lot. I’m more of a single coil pickup guy. Only because my first guitar was a Strat. I had a Les Paul for a few years, I loved it but the obvious complaint for those guitars is that they’re always so heavy. I used my old ‘60s Fender Jag, my Rickenbacker 12-string on ‘Time Will Save The Day’. I used my JCM-800, 2210 model, 100-watt, dual channel head, it’s my favourite, they made it in the early ‘80s. Then they came up with the JCM-900’s and ruined everything. It’s really annoying for me, because I have to fly out to many gigs. We request the 800 dual channel amp and usually get supplied the 900. The 800s are great, because each channel as it’s own EQ’s. I used my Fender Twin Reverb and my Blackface Vibrolux Reverb.

You’ve got a competition going, the Golden Laminate, that anyone can win by buying your album, which lets them into a lifetime’s worth of Ben Kweller gigs (literally). Are you resigned to the fact that this person will become your new BFF... and what will you do if they turn out to be a nutjob? Oh my... I guess, I’ll let them come to my shows for free, I just don’t have to let them into my dressing room! [Laughs] I clearly state, you can’t come back stage unless we become friends... It’ll be interesting, I love things that are so over the top, that you can’t even predict what the outcomes going to be, it could be a big disaster. Or it could be really cool. But whatever it is, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I just hope that it’s not someone I know, I hope it’s not my mum. If I draw my mum’s out of it, and I know she’ll buy a CD, even though I give them a copy of it. If I pull Mum’s name out, I’m just going to have to re-draw. Sorry Mum! By Matt Petherbridge Go Fly A Kite is out now on The Noise Company.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ It seems like renowned country troubadour Justin Townes Earle cannot get enough of Australia, and the adoration is more than a little bit reciprocated. Last in the country for a boot-worthy (that’s a good thing, for the uninitiated) Golden Plains performance, Justin returns with Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now – his refreshingly soulful new LP. Before touching down for Bluesfest, Justin runs us through the creation of the record, as well as a slightly hesitant development of a full live band outfit. The gospel elements of Harlem River Blues seem to have evolved into something more soulful on Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. Do you consider it a soul record as such? No, I don’t feel that it’s a soul record. I feel that it’s a record with a lot of songs that lend themselves to soul, that we could have done in an outright soul way, but we kind of held back and kept it a little more simple than that and a little more primitive than what I would call the full soul sound. You’ve dabbled a lot more with horns this time around. I wrote a lot of the songs and wrote them to have horns on them. I thought that it was a good way to show that soul element. A lot of Stax recordings, especially those early ones, they did like a twohorns sound that was just trumpet and alto-sax. That’s pretty much what we did, trumpet and alto, with really simple parts. I’ve always loved that sound form the early to mid ‘60s. Your vocal takes are a little more fully formed on the record, was that something you set out to achieve? I think this record did lend itself to something a little bit smoother, I made the conscious effort to not strain when I sang. I just got the mic really hot and got really close to it when I sang – kind of taking a cue from Chet Baker, he sang really soft with the

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mic really close. I found a different place to sing from, which I needed to for the live performance. It was getting to the point where I was forgetting how to sing and just straining myself live. I kind of found a better place in stomach to sing, it’s a lot softer at least. And I think that will continue from this record onward. You have a knack for storytelling, do you classify yourself as a songwriter above all else? I think I’m a songwriter first and foremost. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be, all the people that I look up to – that’s what they are. I think every parts vital – the melody is vital, the instrumentation is vital, everything’s vital. But I do believe that without the songwriting you have no reason for the rest of it. I definitely hold songwriting in a higher regard, I don’t think that just anyone can do it. Even people that do know how to do it still have to practice all the time, otherwise it won’t be any good. You’ve made it into your 30s after what you would call a tumultuous 20s, do you feel like a survivor in the sense of the whole ‘27 club’ thing? I think that it was only out of sheer stupidity that made making it out of my 20s a challenge, and making it out of my teens. I’m a young man in most of the world’s eyes, but I do think I’m too old to die young [laughs]. It’s not cool once you’re 30.

MARCH 2012

You last visited with just you and a violinist, what’s your current touring outfit like? It’s constantly changing. This time when I come to Australia I’ll have a guitar player and a bass player with me. I’m at a point in my career now where all the labels and promoters and everything are pushing me to head out with a full band. That’s actually going to start in May, when we’ll be going out with the first full band I’ve ever toured with. We’ll try and get that to Australia soon, I don’t know when, but hopefully soon. What range of guitars are you taking on the road currently? I have several guitars, the one I’ve been carrying recently is a Martin. I’ve been playing one of those, I have a couple of Gibsons and a few other things. I have a Gibson, one of the J series, a Southern Jumbo. Then I have a medium-sized concert Martin. There’s an overwhelming reaction each time you visit Australia, are you seeing similar responses worldwide? A few years ago I was getting that reaction just in Australia, like everything got really exciting really fast there. Here in the States it was only very recently, like in the past year, where it got to

the point where I was really stable in the music business, whatever that means – starting to see bigger crowds and more excited crowds, like the Aussies knew all the words. These days it is more widespread, but I’ll always love coming to Australia because it always will be the biggest crowds I play in front of, that will still stand. It’s a tonne of fun and the crowds are great.

By Lachlan Kanoniuk Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now is out March 23 through Bloodshot Records/Inertia. Justin will be touring nationally alongside his appearances at Byron Bay Bluesfest. April 4 – The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW April 5 – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan VIC April 6 – Boogie 6, Tallarook VIC April 7,9 – Byron Bay Bluesfest, Byron Bay NSW April 11 – Regal Ballroom, Melbourne VIC April 12 – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne VIC April 13 – Estonian House, Adelaide SA April 14 – Fly By Night Club, Fremantle WA April 15 – The Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA


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EVANESCENCE ANSWERING THE CALL Evanescence are one of those rare bands who have the riffs and attitude to appeal to a metal crowd while also displaying the production and songwriting chops to cross over into mega chart territory. Since 2007, the heart of Evanescence’s rhythmic foundation has been Will Hunt, a talented drummer who has also hit the skins for Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, Static-X, Skrape and Tommy Lee’s solo band - in fact, Hunt even sat in for Lee with Motley Crue when the drummer was sidelined by tendonitis. After some time away from the spotlight, Evanescence is back with a self-titled album (released late last year). They hit Australia with Blaqk Audio - the side project of AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget - later this month. So let’s start with the obvious: Evanescence are about to tour Australia. Excited? Yeah! Troy and I came into the band in about May of 2007, so it was right after Evanescence had played there. I haven’t even been to Australia. This will be my first time there. Cool! What are you expecting? I don’t know. Good waves? (laughs). Nah, amazing fans, is what I hear, so I’m looking forward to that. And we’re playing with Blaqk Audio, who I’ve never played with before, so I’m looking forward to that too. So what’s your background as a drummer? Wow, well let’s see. My father is a guitar player - a really good guitar player, actually. He actually went to high school with Tom Petty, and Don Felder from The Eagles. He came from this crazy musical pot, this tiny town in Florida. So he’s a guitar player, then I got into KISS when I was about four and I wanted to play guitar. So he got me a guitar but I just couldn’t make that damn thing work, man! I couldn’t do it! So then I just thought, well shit, drums look easier because you just beat things, so I’ll do that! Because I knew I wanted to be in a band even at four, but I didn’t really know what

instrument I wanted to play. So I naturally gravitated towards the drums and I was naturally good at it. And I just felt that I was naturally getting better, even at five. I was like, “ Man, I’m getting good, I can play these rolls now,” and that sort of stuff. And that’s kinda what happened, man. Then everything else has just been about the love of being able to play music, to write, to create, to play shows and do all the things that I watched my heroes do when I was growing up. Those early experiences are so important. I have a five-year-old and he’s already decided he wants to be in a band because of Van Halen. Last night man, we went to this little tiny place, a rehearsal studio, and me, Troy and Terry were there, and it was Van Halen’s rehearsal. And Wolfgang, man, he’s a badass! And Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang, they were tight, man. And those fast shuffles like in “Hot For Teacher” …Alex owns that, man, that’s where he lives. You played in Black Label Society for a while when Evanescence was on hiatus. How do these gigs differ from each other as a drummer? Well, going back to just being Tommy Lee’s drummer in his band, he’s considered to be one

of the best rock drummers ever. Then moving into Black Label, Zakk Wylde has been probably my favourite guitar player ever, since the first Ozzy record he was on. He just plays the guitar in a way that’s so aggressive. I could just relate to it. If I was going to be a guitar player, that’s who I’d be. But the one thing that’s constant with him or Tommy and them moving into working with Amy is that they’re so good at their craft. On a musical level, because I listen to so much stuff and I’m so diverse within the rock spectrum, we just get along musically and it works. The chemistry’s there. I can say to Zakk “This thing reminds me of a Cars song called ‘Drive,” and you would never think that Zakk would listen to The Cars, but great music is great music and he loves it. You can speak the language to one another. And with Amy you can say “I’m kinda feeling this thing that reminds me of this

Radiohead tune, ‘Airbag,’” and you can speak the language.

Are you much of a pedal guy? I just use the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor and the Ibanez Tube Screamer.

two 1X12s for my bedroom for one 12” in one corner of the room and another one in the other one, and just riff out on them.

And amps? The EVH 5150III.

By Peter Hodgson

By Peter Hodgson

Evanescence and Blaqk Audio 2012 Australian Tour Dates: March 23rd – Royal Theatre, Canberra [AA] March 24th – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne [AA] March 26th – Convention Centre, Brisbane [AA] March 28th – Entertainment Centre, Newcastle [AA] March 29th – Entertainment Centre, Sydney [AA]

UNEARTH SHREDDING UP A STORM Unearth were recently in Australia for Soundwave, and guitarist Buz McGrath was rocking a pretty unique guitar for the shows. A longtime Ibanez endorser (and still an Ibanez fan), McGrath recently decided it was time for a change. So he took his cool custom ideas and gave them a new home at ESP. Mixdown caught up with Buz on the eve of the Soundwave festival to ask, what’s the big idea? You were an Ibanez guy for a million years. What happened? It was about a year ago that I felt like I couldn’t really do much with them. They were very good to me the whole time I was there. They made me some amazing custom guitars. Mike Taft, he was awesome. he would give me whatever I asked for. But I just felt like I needed a change. Part of my motivation was a signature model - not that that should be the be all and end all of a company, but that was part of it, and I saw that with ESP I would at least have a chance to get to that point. Whereas Ibanez has so many great players in much bigger bands than me who don’t even have that on the horizon. I thought that if Oli Herbert from All That Remains doesn’t get one then I don’t think they’re going to give me one. Or Chris Broderick [Megadeth], who ended up leaving for Jackson. But I love Ibanez guitars. They were always good to me, but ESP made some goals of mine happen, and that’s rad. Not to mention I was always a fan of those guitars too, so it was always an easy choice. The new signature model is really cool. It reminds me of your old Ibanez silverburst custom. I wanted to do something white but not just white. It’s actually a whiteburst. It looks silver, but it’s a little bit more white. Maple fretboard, which I think is a bit of a rarity on seven strings. I made it similar to the Ibanez S Series body. It is an ESP Horizon shape but I wanted to make it more thin

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and streamlined. That was always my motivation when I had a custom made. I wanted to make it like a Horizon because I love that body shape, but I wanted to make it super-thin, because ESP didn’t have anything like that. I thought it would be unique to not just take a body style and mix and match headstocks and options but to kind of make my own body style. It has some really interesting features, like the tremolo rout which goes off at an angle. Yeah, it does it right on the edge of the Allen screws. That was something they did anyway. I saw that on one of my customs and I said “Can you make it like that?” Because that’s a nice little option. It looks kind of cool. Have you gotten into the 8-string ESPs yet? No. Y’know what, those 8-strings are standard scale, so I’m not going to mess with that. An 8-string’s got to be at least 27 inches. The Stef Carpenter 8-string is that, so I’m hopefully going to get one of those, but the regular LTD ones, I don’t know why they made them standard scale for 8-string. I have no idea why they would do that. My guess is that it’s easier for kids who walk into music stores and pick one up to relate to it and not feel completely lost. So what pickups are you using? Just EMG 707s.

MARCH 2012

Oh boy. I checked out the mini version at NAMM. Yeah! I’m waiting for my guy to send me out one of those. I’m going to get one of those and, like,

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NO. 215 MIXDOWN

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THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS MANIACS ON THE LOOSE Young Melbourne-based surf-rock’n’roll quartet The Fearless Vampire Killers take The Who’s ‘I Can’t Explain’, mix it with some of the crazy-eyed goodtime vibe of Brian Jonestown Massacre, then stir in their own signature twist. Mixdown spoke with TFVK vocalist and rhythm guitarist Sean Aitchison about their debut album Batmania, with features new single ‘I Won’t Stay Too Long’. For someone who’s not too familiar with the band, can you give us a bit of a potted history? We started in 2005 at the start of year 11. Back then it was just a high-school band having fun, playing covers. I think the first song we ever recorded was The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ and the first song we ever played live was ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. That was the beginning and how we got our sound. We all loved that era of music. It evolved from there. Has it always just been the four of you (Aitchison plus Al Marx on lead guitar, Jacob McGuffie on bass and Justin Olsson on drums)? We started off as a three piece and we slowly got people in and people left. Me and Al were in the original line-up, and our bass player and drummer joined in the last couple of years. How was your sound changed from when you were jamming out covers at high school to recording your debut album? Back in high school every song would be about seven minutes long and have guitar solos. Then we made the songs shorter and catchier. Also, we used to cover everything in reverb. Listening to our early demos, it sounded like we were in a tunnel! We’ve changed since working on the record. We started recording that over two years ago, so by the time it was released last October, we were already moving on to something a bit different. At the moment we’re trying to write another album and we’ve got a couple of tracks we’re going to try out on tour. In terms of the capturing your sound on record, was it just a question of catching good takes in the studio? We always have the problem when we go into a studio that we want it to sound live. Different

producers have different methods of doing things, which is why it’s important to find the right person. We just tried to get everyone playing in the same room at the same time. It’s really just a question of playing a few takes and picking the best one. But if you’ve done three takes and haven’t nailed it, you’re probably not going to get it on that day because the energy’s gone. It’s all about the live energy. That’s how we did the album. With the recording, was it the same gear you take out on the road, or did you bring in some extra stuff? We just used our normal gear. I’m playing a Rickenbacker 12-string through a Fender Twin Reverb. On the floor I’ve got the cheapest Boss delay pedal, an old Visual Sound Route 66 overdrive and compressor, a tuning pedal – and that’s it. Al plays a Gibson Les Paul that he’s put a Bigsby on, like Neil Young, plus a mini Firebird pick-up, which is a bit more wild. For pedals he uses an Ibanez Tubescreamer, an analogue delay pedal, a Boss Blues Driver, and a tuner. He plays through a reissue Fender Deville from the ’90s with four 10-inch speakers. It goes up to 12! Haven’t you guys also got a relationship with Strauss amps? Yeah, we got an amp from Strauss, which we’ve used a bit in rehearsals and smaller gigs. It gets a bit dirty, which sounds good, but with the Rickenbacker I prefer the cleaner, jangly sound. It’s more about the guitar than the amp, which is why I went for the Twin Reverb – it’s just such a warm, loud amp. Whereabouts was the album recorded? We recorded the album at Soundpark on St Georges Road in Northcote with Michael Badger. We were

looking for someone to mix the album and we had no idea who to go with. We just needed someone who knew ProTools in and out. Our manager asked us to name someone, so we just picked a record we liked – Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave. The guy who did that is Australian, but he was somewhere in America working with Arcade Fire. We don’t have the money to work with someone who works with Arcade Fire, but their management company also manages Lars, which is how we got in touch. Lars apparently loved the record. We heard he’d worked with The Mars Volta, but that wasn’t really the selling point. He did a mix of one of the tracks and it sounded amazing compared to what other producers had done. What did he bring to the mixes that made you think, ‘This guys got to do it’? Every other mix we heard just sounded flat. When Lars mixed it, it sounded so rocky and loud. I don’t know what he did with it, but it just sounded like he got the sound and really cared. We wanted someone who was enthusiastic and wanted to do it. So, it worked out. The hardest thing is that he’s

based in LA and we’re in Melbourne, so we had to do it all over the internet. That’s why the mix took so long. But it’s done, it’s out there and it sounds great. By Tim Clarke Batmania is out now through Shock. The Fearless Vampire Killers are touring nationally throughout March. March 2 – Spectrum, Sydney NSW March 3 – The Great Northern, Newcastle NSW March 4 – The Cornish Arms, Melbourne VIC March 10 – The Ed Castle, Adelaide SA March 16 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane QLD March 17 – The Toff In Town, Melbourne VIC March 30 – The Bended Elbow, Geelong VIC March 31 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC

TAYLOR SOLIDBODY CONFIGURATOR CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE Recently, Taylor Guitars and Australian distributor Audio Products Group offered me an incredible opportunity: to design my own guitar via the Solidbody Configurator at taylorguitars.com then have the guitar built, then use it for reviews and videos on my guitar blog. After thinking about it for about a millisecond I of course said yes and started designing. I’ve been in love with the Taylor Solidbody since the first time I reviewed one (in Mixdown a few years ago), and if you dig around on YouTube you can even find a Share My Guitar video from NAMM 2011 which has about five seconds of me jamming with some random dudes in the background. So I was familiar with the general layout and qualities of the various Solidbody models, and I took this into account in designing my guitar. My first choice was to decide between the SolidBody Classic (swamp ash body with satin-finish maple neck and Indian rosewood fretboard) or Standard (chambered mahogany body, quilted maple top, gloss-finish mahogany neck, ebony fretboard). I decided on the Standard. The next choice was cutaway: single or double? I selected the double cutaway version just because it feels more ‘me.’ The Configurator gives you the option of tremolo or fixed bridge versions. I selected the tremolo version - it’s a non-locking unit with a low fulcrum point which gives it extra smooth operation, and the intonation setup work is done through the back of the guitar, keeping the playing surface smooth and screw-free. I decided to go for a pickguard rather than direct mount pickups, so I could later take advantage of Taylor’s interchangeable solderless pickguards. I

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selected three of Taylor’s mini humbuckers, which I fell in love with when I reviewed that first SolidBody back in the day. To my ears, these pickups are voiced somewhere between a P90 and a Gretsch FilterTron, with maybe a bit of overwound Strat thrown in. But they’re very low noise and are uniquely Taylor in construction and tone. Taylor’s tone knob is specially voiced to produce a wah-like midrange kick when it’s turned all the way down, and their guitars feature a fuse to protect you from unwanted zaps onstage. Finally it was time to select colours. My five-year-old and I sat down at the computer and went through a few options before I settled on Doheny Green with a black pickguard. My choice was inspired by Brian May’s green backup of his Red Special guitar. I never really listened to that much Queen but I always thought that ‘Green Special’ was cool.

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Then the build began, and Taylor sent me a few photos of the build process. It was exciting to see my guitar begin to take shape. But what was even more exciting was to go to the Taylor factory in El Cajon, California a few weeks ago when I was in the USA for the NAMM show, and to pick up my SolidBody at the very factory where it was built. I even got to wander around the factory and watch other SolidBodys being built. And I had the amazing opportunity of getting to show my brand new Taylor to Bob Taylor himself, in the very factory where it was built. The guitar sounds incredible - almost like a heavy-duty Stratocaster with more treble - and it plays like a dream. And it’s surreal to look over and see something that began life as pixels on

a screen while my son and I tried out different colour combinations. I can’t wait to start using the guitar in reviews and videos, and it’s already inspired quite a few song ideas. Taylor may not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think of electric guitars, but this is a very high quality, distinctive instrument which bares all the craftsmanship and design originality that makes Taylor acoustics so revered. By Peter Hodgson For more information on Taylor Guitars, phone Audio Products Group on (02) 9669 3477 or visit www.audioproducts.com.au


WHAT’S THAT SOUND? BRIAN SETZER The legendary Brian Setzer is about to hit town for some side shows as part of the Bluesfest at Byron Bay. Setzer’s influence on guitar is almost immeasurable. He took the rockabilly and swing sounds of the 50s, punked them up, and inspired a generation of guitarists to strap on a big Gretsch, slick back their hair and play the hell out of the guitar. In terms of guitars, you will of course get much closer to Setzer’s signature sound with a Gretsch, especially his Hot Rod signature model. But even if you don’t have a Gretsch you can get somewhere in the ballpark with Gretsch FilterTron pickups or the excellent replacements by TV Jones (some of his pickups are even used in actual Gretsch models). But there’s another option that not many players know about: the DiMarzio EJ Custom. This standard size humbucker pickup is actually a signature model for Eric Johnson, who requested that DiMarzio help him find a way to make his Gibson Les Paul sound like his Gretsch Country Gentleman. This is a great way of getting that glassy tone with any humbucker-routed guitar without having to change your look. Whichever pickup you choose, try setting your pickup selector to the middle position. There are plenty of amps that will get you in the ballpark of Setzer tone, but only one that will get you there: a Fender Bassman with a 2X12 cabinet. Setzer isn’t exactly known as a distortion pedal guy, so let those power tubes really go to work to get the sustain, liveliness and tone you need. If you can’t get your hands on a Bassman, try a Peavey Classic series amp or one of the fine offerings by 65amps or Jackson Ampworks. Don’t give in to the temptation to add preamp distortion or pedal overdrive - that’s just not where the sound comes from. Setzer is also known for his use of the Roland Space Echo, a tape-driven unit, for slapback delay.

If you can’t get your hands on this exceedingly rare piece of kit, check out the Boss RE-20 Roland Space Echo, modern pedal version of the effect. Most modern digital delays have analog and tape modes which will help you get the vibe if not the exact sound, with varying degrees of authenticity. The MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay is also worth a try if you can’t get your hands on a Space Echo. Designed by Jorge Tripps of Way Huge Electronics, the Carbon Copy is generally acknowledged as the best modern analog delay pedal ever. But really, when it all comes down to it, if you want to sound like Setzer, you have to play like Setzer. And a big part of that is confidence. It can be quite confronting to get up on the stage with such a direct, clean (by modern standards) sound with nowhere to hide, but if you approach the notes with timidity you just won’t get it. You have to mean it and believe it or it just won’t work. And that can take some practice, especially when you consider the practical implications of using such a high-volume method of tone generation as cranked power tubes. The way the guitar responds at that volume (especially a hollowbody guitar) is very different to how it will react at low volume or through digital modelling in headphones, and you’ll need to learn to control the guitar’s idiosyncrasies in terms of feedback and sustain, which can take a little bit of work. By Peter Hodgson

UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD ICONIC CHORDS There are certain chords that are just plain iconic. Chords that are so definitive, so distinctive that the second you hear them, you know exactly what artist you’re hearing. Or when you hear someone else play them, exactly which artist they’re ripping off. These chords can be a great way of inserting some literature-style intertextuality into your music: reference a particular chord, and you instantly link your music back to some classic track or artist in the listener’s mind. If you can do it while avoiding sounding like a rip-off of the artist, it can really add to your cache of songwriting tricks. So this month we’re going to look at a few of these legendary chords. First up is The Hendrix Chord. In the key of E it’s a Dsus4(b5)/E, which is a pretty long way of saying it’s a D with a raised fourth and a flatted fifth, but with an E as the root note. Strum it and you’ll immediately think “Purple Haze.” It’s a big dramatic chord which is not quite major, not quite minor, so it can work in a lot of different musical contexts. It works especially well with the blues scale due to the flatted fifth. And for some real Hendrixian bounce, try alternating between the open E string and the rest of the chord. This chord sounds great with fuzz or light overdrive, but it really blossoms when you play it with a clean tone and single coil pickups - maybe a little spring reverb. Next up we have The Pumpkin Chord. Ironically, this one was used by Jimi Hendrix too, but it became such an integral part of the early Smashing Pumpkins that Billy Corgan claimed it for himself. Actually, funny story - he referred to it as the

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Pumpkin Chord in a guitar magazine once and faced a barrage of hate mail from Hendrix fans. But the fact remains: play this chord on a Strat through a Big Muff fuzz pedal and you’re more likely to think of Corgan than Hendrix. Now we come to the Andy Summers Chord. Presented in the key of A (just move it to any other sixth-string bass note to change to another key), this is an add9 chord, so named for the interval added on the D string. Another way to think of it is as the traditional E chord shape but with the D string’s E note shifted up two semitones. This chord has a real ethereal quality which makes it sound great when arpeggiated, especially through effects like chorus, delay and phaser, but because it contains a bunch of stacked fifths - that is, it looks like two power chords piggybacking on each other - it works really well with distortion too. Even rigs that have a hard time with complex chord voicings

MARCH 2012

at high gain are usually able to overlook the clash between the third and fourth string notes. That brings us to the ultimate distortion chord, which I’ll call The Petrucci Chord. Dream Theater’s John Petrucci often uses this monster truck of a chord to add weight to a riff. Although at first glance it appears that the A note is the root of this chord, it’s actually a D5 power chord with the ‘5’ doubled an octave lower. So when you’re playing

this with a band, have your bass player hit a low D instead of an A, and watch some teeth rattle. This chord is especially cool when slid around the neck, and it’s a great way of faking the sound of a detuned guitar without having to put on a fatter set of strings and futzing around with your intonation. By Peter Hodgson


PeTe RobiNsOn

“NOW I HAVE AN AMP THAT GIVES ME JUST ABOUT EVERY MARSHALL SOUND FROM 1962 TO 2010. AND WITH FULL EL34 VALVE POWER”

a SELECT THE MARSHALL AMPLIFIER OF YOUR CHOICE. SET THE GAIN, EQ, PRESENCE AND CHANNEL VOLUME.

b CHOOSE REQUIRED EFFECTS. TAPE, ANALOGUE OR DIGITAL DELAY. MODULATION. GATE. REVERB.

c SAVE THE SOUND TO A PATCH. SAVES ALL SETTINGS EXCEPT MASTER VOLUME.

d CONTROL IT ALL WITH YOUR FOOT. FOOT-SWITCH CONNECTS WITH A STANDARD GUITAR LEAD.

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CLASSIC KEYS KORG MICROKORG In today’s modern computer driven world of music production, there are so many options when it comes to electronic instruments. What makes this so appealing is that most of these options are available in software format, offering cheaper, space saving alternatives to getting the great sounds of yesterday. But, unfortunately the sound of many hardware synths can never truly be emulated by a piece of software and, when all is said and done, there is nothing like getting your hands on the real thing. So, let’s take a look at some of the classic keyboards and synths that some of us still own and many only dream about. This month, let’s take a wander back to 2002 and have a look at the microKorg, produced by Korg. It may only be ten years old now, but the success and continued growth of the microKorg definitely seats it amongst the classic keyboards of all time. This is the keyboard that saved hardware synths in an era when everything seemed to be heading towards software and hardware synthesizers just weren’t selling enough to warrant the R&D dollars that were spent on them. Korg took the world by storm with its microKorg, giving users an extremely portable and lightweight keyboard that had a cool

retro look to it and had some great sounds under the hood. Essentially, this is the engine from the earlier MS2000 keyboard that was big, bulky, and expensive and a real favourite of mine. Korg did away with the giant framework and all loads of knobs and buttons that allowed you to sculpt the sound and packaged it all in a little unit that could happily sit atop of any keyboard rig on stage or squeeze into any gap in a studio. And that it did. Before long, the microKorg was popping up on just about every stage with its tell-tale goose neck microphone standing tall so everyone knew it was there.

Underneath, the microKorg featured a dual oscillator analogue modelling synth engine that basically took preset sounds from the MS2000 and allowed the user to browse through them quickly and easily with one big knob and a selection of buttons. There were some additional controls to allow you the tweak the sounds in real time and a matrix style editing system if you could be bother digging about in the architecture to build you one sounds. This was (and still is) a great dance machine that had users jumping all over the arpeggiator right from the get go making all sorts of sounds until they eventually discovered the vocoder function and connected the included microphone. Then,

the microKorg took on a whole new level of fun and paved the way for a lot of electronic sounds we have heard in music over the last ten years. This list of famous artists to have used the microKorg is just about endless. Everywhere you look, there seems to be one on most stages and in many studios and it just keeps selling. Anyone who said that the keys were too small to make it useful, when it first came out (just like I did), was so far off the mark. I thought it would be a passing fad that would last six months, but the microKorg is a keyboard that we still have a lot to see and hear from in the future. By Rob Gee

WHAT’S THAT SOUND? KEYBOARD MIDI GUITAR SYSTEMS This is an interesting one. I am sure there has been a time when many of you have watched a guitarist perform and heard not the typical tones you would expect from a guitar coming through the PA system, but instead rich string sounds, or a luscious piano, or grinding synthesiser bass tones. Generally speaking, this does not mean said guitarist is miming to poorly chosen backing tracks, but more like they have a MIDI pickup system installed on the guitar allowing them to play and control a synthesiser module without the need of a keyboard. It seems like wild futuristic stuff, but in reality it has been around for longer than you may think. THE DIVIDED PICKUP This system forms its backbone with a divided MIDI pickup that is installed onto a guitar or bass. It picks up the velocity and note value of each string individually so that information can be interpreted by a control device and fed into a synthesiser. This enables the artist to use each string of the instrument to control a different sound if they so wish, allowing the guitar to become a very powerful MIDI control device. It also means that guitar players who are more comfortable with their fretted instrument over a keyboard, can contribute keyboard sounds to a band’s total image without having to change instruments. THE SETUP With the pickup installed, the analogue sound from the guitar, along with the MIDI data from the divided pickup are both sent to a head unit that translates the data and sends it to the relevant target. The tone from the guitars magnetic pickups is fed through to the guitar amp and the MIDI data is fed through to a synth engine, whether it be a keyboard or rack mounted synthesiser. The guitarist can the select from the divided pickup’s

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control section to have the guitar’s tone, the MIDI signal or both when they play. TECHNICAL NIGHTMARE This system means that those guitarists who want to take their playing to the next level can really do so without restraint. With all six strings of the guitar able to be sent to a different synth engine, it is possible for the guitarist to play six different sounds from the one guitar neck. It can even be set up so that drum loops can be triggered from each fret of the guitar, allowing those who like a little more than a challenge to put together a complete ensemble from just one instrument. But, be weary of wild ideas. I have seen and experienced guitar and bass rigs that leave the mind boggling when it comes to signal flow. This really is one way to take a beautifully simple instrument and blow it way out of proportion. If it isn’t enough for a guitarist to have to lug a guitar, amp, cabinet and effects pedals, it really gets out of hand when a rack of synthesisers and a few keyboards gets added to the gear list.

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The MIDI guitar system is a lot of fun and a great way to experiment with your guitar playing, but it also often ends up becoming a trap that has you trying to do too much for so little. That said, if you like a challenge and want to get your guitar

sounding like a grand piano, go right ahead, you’ll have hours of fun and make your audience wonder. By Rob Gee


BIG VOICE With the capability to generate substantial sound pressure levels when the music and clients demand it, yet maintain the clarity and transparency of a professional studio monitor – the new KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 offers an unprecedented level of precision, power and value. Professional and commercial facilities will appreciate the RP10-3’s ability to deliver compelling mid-field performance. Private, project and home studio environments will embrace having a singular system that can handle challenging high dynamic tracks for all genres of music. With space and placement of mid-fields virtually always a concern in recording, mobile and broadcast facilities, the Rokit RP10-3 offers location flexibility by placing the tweeter and midrange in a unique rotatable housing. Whether they are vertical, placed on their side or wall mounted – the proper orientation of the acoustic axis can be maintained!

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HOME STUDIO HINTS FINDING THE RIGHT AMP I know many guitarists have their rig all sorted for live use after many years of searching for the tone they are after but then find this to be too big and often too loud for use in their studios at home. It may be all well and good to run two quad boxes on stage with a 100 watt valve monster driving them, but when you are working in the confines of a small studio, especially at home where neighbours like to complain, this does not always work too well. So, what can be done to find the perfect guitar tone for you home studio? MODELLING HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE There are all sorts of products on the market that offer amplifier modelling to suit the needs of many guitarists. Either in hardware or software form, you can find that a great number of amp models can be made available to you in just one product that gives you almost endless variety and tonal control over your sound whilst running at nothing above line level. This is perfect for home studios when you want to experiment with different sounds and not blast the room all night. LOW WATTAGE AMPLIFIERS It seems that over the last four or five years, we have been inundated with a wealth of low wattage valve guitar amplifiers that are perfect for this purpose. The best part about these is that you do not suffer tonal loss from a digital emulation of the sound, you have the real thing. I have known

plenty of people who have kitted out their home studios with a few small heads and a few cabinets so they can mix and match between them to get a tone they are looking for. This can get expensive if you can’t make up your mind, but can result in excellent recordings, especially if you record your guitar clean and then re-amp the signal so you can tweak the tone to sit within your mix. AMP PROFILING The newest technology on the market that gives you versatility, real amp tone and low volume operation when needed is coming out of Germany from manufacturers Kemper who have developed an amplifier that allows you to profile the characteristics of an amp you can stick a microphone in front of. Once the Kemper has run and recorded some test signals through it, it knows exactly how that amp will respond to

a guitar signal at any note or velocity and so can reproduce its sound from the recording tones. This is a very exciting option that is going to see amp tone sharing around the world take off and allow users not only on stage but in their studios to pull up any amps tone they have profiled for later use. For those who don’t quite buy it, find one of these and hear it for yourself. They truly are a piece of

work and afford you the opportunity to have not only the versatility of amp modelling, but the tone and dynamics of a real valve amp, after all, that is where the unit took it’s sound from to begin with. By Rob Gee

BANGIN’ THE TUBS

GET MOVING ON THE DRUMS As a teacher, I encounter all types of standards of players and learners. Everyone is different and everyone responds differently to being shown how to play fills around the drums. When I’m playing fills on the drums, I can’t really tell you what I’m about to do or even just did, as it is always just a spur of the moment thing. If you play drums and have done so for a long time, you’ll know what I mean. This amazing brain of ours allows us to almost subconsciously play patterns of the drums at will – one idea flowing into another. How? Muscle memory. Think about walking. The fact is you don’t think about it. You just walk yes? But I guarantee you that there was a time in your life when you did think about walking. As a baby, you would have thought about each foot going in front of the other until you knew it so well that you just took off. I think of playing the drums in the same way. At the start it’s a very different thing that the brain needs to learn. Eventually though, it becomes like kicking a ball or as I mentioned – walking. So how do you develop this muscle memory? Easy – repetition. But that means that if you just do the one fill over and over you’ll only play that one fill. One common problem area with all my students at the beginning stages of filling is not being at all comfortable on any of the other drums on the set bar the snare drum. This simply means that they will not even think to move to the other drums let alone automatically use they other drums in their muscle memory. They usually get good at moving single strokes (RLRL) around the each of the drums and then use that fill for the next six months.

more familiar with your drums. Let’s take the three basic rudiments – Single Stroke (RLRL RLRL), Double Stroke (RRLL RRLL) and Single Paradiddle (RLRR LRLL). The plan is to use the rudiments to create ideas on the drums. I have found in my teaching that the double stroke and the paradiddle are the best rudiments for this exercise. The idea is that you play the rudiment at a slow tempo (comfortable tempo) all over the drums including cymbals, rims etc in the following order: A) Left hand stays on snare drum | Right hand moves all over the drums B) Right hand stays on floor tom | Left hand moves all over the drums C) Both hands move independently carefully maintaining the rudiment This allows your brain to not only memorize the rudiment but also know what it is like to move all over the drum set at a moments notice. More experienced players will get to know their drums better and beginners will stumble on some interesting ideas. More than that – you might just intuitively move to fill on the drums with out knowing what you’re going to do. Just play a rudiment anywhere! That’s cooler than the same single stroke fill you’ve been using for the last six months. By Adrian Violi

I have a way I think can help to stimulate new ideas at the early level – and for some drummers, this process can still be practiced to be even

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W

ith our new free iPad app, “front-of-house” can be anywhere in a venue! Up to ten musicians can control their own monitor mixes1 from the stage. Introducing StudioLive Remote, our free iPad app that works with any PreSonus digital mixer2. It gives you hands-on control of channel levels, mutes, panning, EQ and more for multiple channels at once. Click for a closeup Fat Channel view. Tweak monitor

mix levels, panning and processing. Adjust the graphic EQs, well…graphically. Combine StudioLive Remote with Capture (2-click multitrack recording program), VSL plus Studio One Artist DAW, and you have the most versatile, affordable live mixing and recording solution ever. Get the whole story on our web site. And then get a StudioLive.

1 The 24.4.2 provides ten aux mixes; the 16.4.2 give you six. 2 Requires a laptop with wireless, running Virtual StudioLive, and connected to the StudioLive via FireWire. ©2011 PreSonus Audio Electronics, all rights reserved. StudioLive is a trademark of PreSonus Audio Electronics. Studio One is a trademark of PreSonus Software, Ltd. iPad is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. Freecall 1800 441 440

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AMP SPECIAL T

here comes a time in every guitarist, bass player and musician’s life when you simply need to either sound louder and have more tone, warmth and sustain from your instrument, or you just need to satisfy that deep seeded desire to emulate the sound of [insert your favourite guitar/bass player here]. Rather than bore you to deaf with the history of the amplifier, one of the most defining electronic inventions not only of modern music but of the 21st century, we thought we’d introduce you to the plethora of amplifiers on the market and available to purchase in Australia today. Use this amps special as a point in the right direction, a buyers guide if you will to help you choose the amp that will best suit your playing needs, ability and style of music. These reviews were done by our team of expert guitar and bass players who between them have plugged into countless amplifiers over the years, everything from solid state and tube, vintage and new, off the shelf and boutique. In saying this, after you read our guide, make sure you do yourself the biggest favor you can and go visit all those stores and distributors in your city. Visit your local retailers who are trained in each model they stock, ask them all the questions you need answered, turn all the knobs, plug into as many as you can and see for yourself - as your ears will truly determine what amplifier is right for you. Volume dials to the right players...enjoy!

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65 AMPS LIL’ELVIS

DISTRIBUTOR: ATLANTIS ASIA

DISTRIBUTOR: ATLANTIS ASIA

RECOMMENDED FOR: Rockabilly, blues, fusion, classic rock, hard rock, country. Players who need a decent treble cut and who need a little sparkle in their lives. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: I ncredibly versatile with a three dimensional clean sound and incredible bright overdrive. Even distorted power chords have great note separation and clarity, while complex chords are brilliant and clear. As great at rhythm as it is at lead sounds. USABILITY: Simple to operate, easy to dial in a killer tone, and the controls are easier to see than they appear in photos of the unique sparkly crushed glass front panel. The master volume will please those who had their head taken off by the original version. CONSTRUCTION: Flawlessly constructed from a structural point of view but also intriguing from an industrial design perspective. There are no right angles, and the front panel makes you feel compelled to really get down to tone-tweakin’. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: An expensive boutique amp but if this sound is right for you - and it probably is as long as you’re not looking for scoopedmid death tone - it’s well worth it. Sounds like a million bucks. OVERALL: From smooth lead to jangly rhythm to punchy hard rock, this amp can do it all. It would be as good in a Foo Fighters style rock band as a blues, country or rockabilly act. And it looks like nothing else out there.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Classic rock, guitar pop, indie, rockabilly, blues, grunge this happens to be Elvis Costello’s main stage amp and it’s capable of covering a lot of sonic ground. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Boutique clear clean sounds are uncluttered and expressive with great note separation and projection. But hit the Bump switch and you’ll get a lot of growl and roar for darker, harder tones. But not a high-gain type of hard rock amp. USABILITY: Very easy to use, with minimal controls. It’s easy to dial in just the right level of drive or ring. The tremolo’s range seems to go from ‘pleasantly subtle’ to ‘helicopter chop’ pretty quickly so be careful. CONSTRUCTION: A little weighty but certainly manageable. All 65amps amplifiers are built to a very high structural standard befitting the tones they make, and they get extra points for great ventilation. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A great amp for those who don’t need all-out distortion tones but are happiest at clean or warmly driven settings. But there’s no denying that high price tag. OVERALL: A very musical amp that will suit “players’ players” just as comfortably as it suits more textural guitarists such as Mr Costello. Lots of range in those otherwise simple controls.

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SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 30 watts OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Black Tolex (Custom Colours & Suede

available) WEIGHT: 7kg TUBES: 4xEL84’s, 3x12AX7’s FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: USA

Phone: (03) 9818 5040 Website: www.555music.com.au

MARCH 2012

RRP: $3500

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 12 watts OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Tolex

WEIGHT: 13kg TUBES: 3x12AX7’s, 2xEL84’s, 1xEZ81 FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: USA

Phone: (03) 9818 5040 Website: www.555music.com.au


AMP SPECIAL SUPRO DUAL TONE

RRP: $2245

SWART ATOMIC SPACE TONE

DISTRIBUTOR: ATLANTIS ASIA

DISTRIBUTOR: ATLANTIS ASIA

RECOMMENDED FOR: This amp can easily handle country, blues, rock, rockabilly, even hard rock and maybe even some vintage metal styles, although you might not think so on first glance. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Cleans range from ‘pretty’ to ‘angry’ with lots of body and life. Flip on the overdrive channel and things get much hairier, up to and including hard rock and vintage metal tones. A surprisingly flexible amp for something that looks so traditional. USABILITY: The single tone knob on each channel really makes life easy. Each channel has a boost/cut switch for the mids, and the overdrive channel has a separate Gain control as well as the tone and volume. Simple, efficient and powerful. CONSTRUCTION: Easy enough to lift. There are certainly more cumbersome combos out there. Everything is easy to see and to access, and the construction quality is quite fine indeed. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: One of the more financially accessible true boutique amps - it’ll still cost you a pretty penny, but maybe not your prettiest one. A great entry to real boutique mystique. OVERALL: Clear ringing cleans are just part of the story. The overdrive sounds are so useful and flexible, and the onboard reverb is quite nice.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Rockabilly, surf, blues, roots rock, soul, indie, classic rock. Anyone who needs a punchy tone with a little bit of hair to it. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: An almost eerie-sounding reverb and a smooth, throbbing tremolo effect are great tricks for this little monster to have up its sleeve, but its greatest asset is its volume control. From clean and clear to dirty and singing, this soulful boutique amp can do it all. USABILITY: Ridiculously simple to use. Just a volume and a tone control let you dial in everything from jangle to mangle, and it thrives on guitar control changes. Versatile yet bonehead simple. CONSTRUCTION: Heavy and robust, and although I wouldn’t want to turf it about I’m sure it could take a knocking. The tweed feels really durable too. A little bit hard to access the controls though. This is a professional-quality boutique amp with tone to match, so be prepared to pay for it. OVERALL: Never before have so few controls given such variety of tone. A very powerful, articulate amplifier with lots of personality, sonically and visually. Amazing.

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 25 watts OHMS: 4,8,16 COVERING: Black/Tan Tolex

WEIGHT: 19kg TUBES: 3x12AX7’s, 1x12AT7, 2xEL84’s FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: USA

Phone: (03) 9818 5040 Website: www.555music.com.au

PEAVEY CLASSIC 30

RECOMMENDED FOR: Country, blues, blues rock, jazz, hard rock, instrumental rock, classic rock, surf. Famous for its clean tones but also with a mean overdrive channel. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Great three-dimensional clean sounds with plenty of real tube depth and dimension, augmented by a rather nice reverb. One of the nicest clean amps ever. The overdrive channel is a lot more compressed and thick-sounding with less dynamics, but great for soloing. USABILITY: Very logical, simple control layout, and quite easy to get a great tone quickly. The clean and overdrive channels are so different to each other that it’s almost like two completely different amps in one. CONSTRUCTION: Very well built. Many players think of this as Peavey’s best amp, and it shows in the look and feel. The control panel seems to get very hot though, so don’t rest your Mars Bar on it. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Very high-class tone for high class players. It looks like a piece of classic ‘50s furniture (this is a good thing) and it’ll give you decades of loyal use. Classic in reputation as well as name. OVERALL: An utter no-brainer of a purchase for blues rock players in particular, but also a great option for country, classic rock, hard rock and pop players. But the overdrive voicing won’t work for every guitarist.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock and Metal guitarists. Players liking multi-channel heads with plenty of volume and some switching options. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Leaning towards the heavier side of things the 3120 really excels with its gain and darker tones but can also do the pristine clean thing too. Adds some extra capability with the 3 channels but I’d still see it working best in louder rock and metal settings. USABILITY: A good range of features that seem well laid out and easy enough to get your head around. CONSTRUCTION: The 3120 is a tough looking amp with black tolex, metal grille and solid features it won’t fall apart anytime soon. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: If rock or metal is your thing and you want a multi-channel switcher that has loads of gain you’re on the right track. Not the cheapest amp of this type on the market but definitely not the most expensive and with just as many features as some of its much pricier counterparts she’s definitely worth a look. OVERALL: Another rocking head from Peavey with plenty of gain in a solid package.

SPECS: WEIGHT: 18kg TUBES: 4 x EL84’s and 3 x 12AX7’s FOOTSWITCH: Optional MADE IN: USA

Phone: (02) 9669 3477 Website: www.audioproducts.com.au

RRP: $999

RECOMMENDED FOR: Guitar players. It’s really as broad as that. The Vypyr has a vast range of sounds, any handful of which will suit any genre of player. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: As versatile as they come. Pristine cleans, chunky crunch, rich leads, powerful death rhythms and everywhere in between. Each mode feels reactive and interactive, and the included effects are thoughtfully voiced and laid out. A killer live or recording amp. USABILITY: Any amp with digital modelling will have a certain degree of learning curve, but the Vypyr is one of the easiest to get your head around. And the optional Sanpera I or II foot controller is an essential performance tool and highly recommended. CONSTRUCTION: The controls feel slightly plasticy, but I’ve reviewed a lot of Vypyr series amps and have never had a problem with any of them being strong enough. I’m sure these amps will do a brilliant job on the road. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Off the chart. Plenty of easily accessible sounds for recording and stage work, a great tool for practicing at home, and there are dozens of available tones you could base your entire sound off. OVERALL: The Vypyr is great for recording in a studio or at home, it’s great for practicing and rehearsal, it’s killer for live. Peavey’s most versatile amp and with the effects to back up the tones.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Bass players needing plenty of volume and EQ versatility without breaking the bank. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Tonnes of volume, graphic EQ, gain controls and an inbuilt subharmonic generator gives you a wide range of tones - clean, round and funky or edgy. Thanks to the 700 watts you could see this Tour model sitting in almost any style too. USABILITY: Graphic EQ is very visual and makes it easy to really zero in on specific frequencies whilst the front panel as a whole is clear and logically laid out. CONSTRUCTION: Coming in the 2 space rack styled look, the Tour 700 feels (and looks) tough and could take quite a beating. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: You get a lot of watts for your dollars here and as a solid rack mountable amp you’ve got the ability to set it up in the modular type deal if you want. OVERALL: The layout and use of a graphic EQ is great, plus you’ve got a good range of ins/outs and lots of headroom. A genuine offering from Peavey that could feel at home in a range of styles and rigs.

WEIGHT: 22 kg TUBES: 1 x 12AX7, 2 x 6L6GC’s FOOTSWITCH: SANPERA I or SANPERA II (sold seperately) MADE IN: China

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 120 watts OHMS: 4,8,16 COVERING: Black Vinyl

WEIGHT: 23 kg TUBES: 4 x EL34’s, 4 x 112AX7’s FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: USA

Phone: (02) 9669 3477 Website: www.audioproducts.com.au

RRP: $999

DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP

SPECS:

SPECS:

PEAVEY TOUR 700

DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP

Phone: (02) 9669 3477 Website: www.audioproducts.com.au

WEIGHT: 13kg TUBES: 2x12AX7’s, 2x6V6’s, 1x12DW7, 1x5Y3/5AR4 FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: USA

RRP: $2299

DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP

AMP TYPE: Guitar Modelling Combo OUTPUT: 60 watts OHMS: 8 COVERING: Black Vinyl

AMP TYPE: Valve GuitarCombo OUTPUT: 20 watts OHMS: 8 COVERING: Tweed

PEAVEY 3120

DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP

PEAVEY VYPYR TUBE 60

SPECS:

Phone: (03) 9818 5040 Website: www.555music.com.au

RRP: $999

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 30 watts OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Classic Tweed

RRP: $2899

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Bass Head OUTPUT: 700 watts OHMS: 4 COVERING: Metal

WEIGHT: 11 kg TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

Phone: (02) 9669 3477 Website: www.audioproducts.com.au

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 39


AMP SPECIAL LANEY CUB 12H LANEY CUBHEAD CUB 12H & CUBCAB

$ RRP: $948 COMBINED (CUBHEADRRP: $549, $ CUBCABRRP: $399)

DISTRIBUTOR: DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALIS MUSIC GROUP Recommended for: Blues and rock guitarists when gained RECOMMENDED FOR:and Recommended for: Blues rock up guitarists when gained up, jazz enthusiasts when cleaned and any player who Blues and rock guitarists when gained up, jazz enthusiasts up, jazz enthusiasts when cleaned up and player who wants a shredding little amp with punch andany light in weight. when uplittle andamp anywith player who’s looking for a wants acleaned shredding punch and light in weight. solid rounder andVersatility: some classic Britishoverall valve clean tone. Soundalland Musical A sharp SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Sound and Musical Versatility: sharp hi/lo overallwattage clean tone, fantastic reverb and a Aclever This head and were defiand nitely designed eachflwattage other, it tone, fantastic reverb clever for hi/lo setting thatcabprovides a amuch-needed exibility creates some really nice clean includes a sweet setting that provides a tones, much-needed flexibility in sound especially when looking to dirty it retro up. reverb and aespecially clever hi/lo wattage input choice in sound when looking to which dirty isitripper up. when you want to dirty things up or dial in some real bite. Usability: It’s very easy to work your way around with USABILITY: Usability: very Middle, easy to Treble work your the classicIt’sBass, and way Tonearound settingswith as It’s to work your way around with the classic Bass, the classic Bass, Middle, Treble and Tone settings as wellvery as easy a Gain and Volume control. You’re guaranteed Middle, as well as guaranteed a Gain and well as ease aTreble Gain and Volume You’re to find ofand use Tone here settings andcontrol. a great accessible sound. Volume control. guaranteed to find ease of use here to find ease of You’re use here and a great accessible sound. and a great accessible sound. This tough is goingwith to goa down a Construction: Light and built classic treat for recording and and also great for a guitarist wants Construction: builttolex tough with who a isclassic looking and Light thick feeling covering just to start with a classic British and colour it from looking and thick feeling tolex covering is there. just awesome. The knobs are sound at exactly the right level of CONSTRUCTION: awesome. knobsforarenotable at exactly the right level of sensitivity, The allowing changes in dynamics. Light and built tough for withnotable a vintagechanges grille andinyet modern sensitivity, allowing dynamics. lines this Buck: feel and look simply to awesome. The knobs Bangmake For Your You’ll struggle find a guitarist that have been setCub at 12H exactly the right level sensitivity, Bang Buck: You’ll struggle toengaging find a of guitarist that won’tFor findYour the immediately and fun to allowing for smooth notable changes in dynamics which won’t fi nd the Cub 12H immediately engaging and fun to use. Relatively cheap and notably efficient. is handy. Laneycheap are built so effi take it the world over. use. Relatively andtough notably cient. BANG YOUR BUCK: Overall:FOR A fantastic all-rounder that, although small, You’ll to as findbig a guitarist won’t find thesmall, Cub Overall: fantastic all-rounder that, although packs struggle a Apunch as any that mid-range stack when Head and Cub Cab andstack fun towhen use. packs a punch as immediately big as any engaging mid-range cranked. Highly recommended. It’s got bang for it’s buck alright, a whole cannons worth. cranked. Highly recommended. OVERALL: A fantastic all-rounder that, is relatively small, packs a punch as big as any mid-range stack when cranked and is highly recommended.

LANEY IRONHEART IRI20H LANEY IRONHEART IRT60 IRI20H DISTRIBUTOR: DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALIS MUSIC GROUP

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 15 and 1 watt switchable OHMS: 8 ohm (CAB) COVERING: Black Tolex

WEIGHT: 9KG (Head), 15Kg (Cab) TUBES: 3xECC83’s, 2xEL84’s FOOTSWITCH: FS1 (not included) MADE IN: China

Phone: Phone: (02) 9698 4444 Website: Website: www.australismusic.com.au

LANEY IRONHEART IRT60 LANEY LX120RT IRONHEART IRT60

RRP: $ RRP:RRP: $799 $

RECOMMENDED FOR: A guitarist with an inclination towards the heavier side of things that knows exactly what they want out of a big sounding, ball breaking combo. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: This has been designed for the Metal, Hardcore and Heavy Rock player in mind with complete control in the master section and complete channel control. It has the ability to dial in some massive hair raising lead tones while also doing it at bedroom levels which is ripper. It houses three distinctive channels of Clean, Rythym and Lead, each with independent level controls and the Lead channel has it’s own 3-band EQ with an intuitive pull-push shift feature. Couple this with the Pre-Boost feature and watch out! USABILITY: The set-up will be really accessible for the player who knows what they are after and despite it’s heavier inclinations, it was designed to really provide the player with a range of playing styles all with the option of a real low end kick. The Clean and Rythym section really makes this a versatile little shredder and the included footswitch enables Pre Boost and channel selection. CONSTRUCTION: This is one finely built unit, rock solid and has some bad-ass aesthetics going on. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: If you know exactly what you are after when it comes to your guitar sound, then you’ll get an excellent deal with the IRT60 combo. It just screams great value! OVERALL: This black beauty has got some grit and you can tell will be reliable. An unquestionably powerful amp. We’re not going to lie here, the Iron Heart series are lethal weapons.

DISTRIBUTOR: DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALIS MUSIC GROUP

RECOMMENDED FOR: Heavier rock players that want a beast of a combo with that dynamic king of the jungle type roar with both their clean and distortion sounds. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Two channel options (clean and distortion), totally tweakable which makes this one versatile and portable combo. Intuitive in design this allows for some sweet dynamics when dialling in your sound. Dialling in a lead gain sound is easy and is big, brutal and a definite winner here. Scarily powerful when cranked and most definitely making an impact on the sound barrier at higher levels. FX loops, line socket speaker output and even a CD input provides numerous options. USABILITY: This is not for the faint hearted, it has some really cool drive and gain-stage settings that will open up your ears and imagination when dialling in that killer tone. The reverb is really cool here too and this amp is a strong contender with what it offers. CONSTRUCTION: This is built to last an atomic bomb. No denying it, this is solid, strong, has some weight to it and with such a badass aesthetic will work really well in your touring arsenal. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This combo provides a variety of options that if most amps in this league provided would charge double the price. This is not due to any quality control issues, it’s rather the awesome bang for buck that Laney is notorious for. OVERALL: If you want a solid combo that can withstand a solid amount of thrashing, shredding and big bold lead tones all in a portable unit, then this will blow your socks off!

RECOMMENDED FOR: Advanced guitarists that are looking to take their sound to that next all encompassing professional level, pure Class A here and amazing tone. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: It presents a strong front for most styles of playing. The clean channel has some real vintage tonal characteristics being, big and bold, yet clear and resonating. The options of getting a really nice dirty lead tone with the Drive channel is simply where it’s at and it really sings from here. The Bright and Drive switches really add to the tonal dynamics and the bonus of a well placed reverb option sits perfectly giving an all encompassing classic British vibe. You can really single out notes and lead lines with precision and it’s particularly efficient when powering out big chords too. USABILITY: The set-up is really laid out nicely and will suit someone who wants access to the amps functionality straight away. The EQ options and a Clean, Drive, Drive Volume and Bright switch to add that little bit more spark to your playing, is really appealing. CONSTRUCTION: It’s fairly big, but puts emphasis on its solid build quality. It houses all Class A components, so you want it built tough and the tweed panelling with a classic retro looking design is simply cool as. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This is a solid investment for your budding purist and guitarist aiming for something bigger and better in sound. OVERALL: An all-round classic in the making, The Lionheart series is really taking Laney to the next level. No matter what your poison is the L50H is a smart, rock-solid Class A amp that can hold its own against the very best.

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 120 watts OHMS: 8 COVERING: Metal Grilled, Black Vinyl.

WEIGHT: 22.7KG TUBES: N/A FOOTSWITCH: FS2 (sold separately) MADE IN: China

Phone: Phone: (02) 9698 4444 Website: Website: www.australismusic.com.au

DV MARK BAD BOY 120 DV MARK BAD BOY 120

RRP: $2995 RRP: $2995

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED RECOMMENDED FOR: The gigging musicianFOR: who really wants to make a statement The gigging musician who really wants make a The gigging musician whoand really wants make to a will statement on stage. It is big, bold loud, as Ito imagine be the statement on stage. It big, bold and loud, aswill I imagine on stage. It is big, bold and loud, as I imagine be the guitarists looking at the isBad Boy 120. will be the guitarists at120. the Bad Boy 120. guitarists looking at thelooking Bad Boy SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: SOUND SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The BadAND Boy MUSICAL 120 offersVERSATILITY: three distinct channels, all The offers three all The Boy 120 offers three distinct distinct channels, with Bad their Boy own120 tonal characteristics and channels, separate EQ with their your own tonal EQ with own sounds. tonal characteristics characteristics separate to sculpt Back by it’s and KT88separate power amp to sculpt Back it’s KT88 to sculpt your sounds. byyou it’sloads KT88ofpower power amp valves, theyour Bad sounds. Boy 120Back givesby clean amp head valves, the Bad Bad Boy gives of head valves, the Boyof120 120 givesinyou you loads of clean clean head room and heaps punch its loads overdrive channels. room and heaps of punch in its overdrive channels. room and heaps of punch in its overdrive channels. USABILITY: USABILITY: USABILITY: This is not a bedroom amp, let’s face it the This is a bedroom amp, let’s face it the functionality This isnotnot bedroom amp, the functionality isa designed so youlet’s takeface thisit amp is so take on tour, the functionality is you designed soamp you take thisup ondesigned tour, turn up the this gain stage and turn let it amp rip. gain stage and let it rip. on tour, turn up the gain stage and let it rip. CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: There isn’t much to fault in any DV Mark amplifier There isn’t much toto fault in any Mark amplifi er when There muchto fault in DV any amplifi er when itisn’t comes construction and DV the Mark Bad Boy 120 it comes to construction and the Badthe Boy 120Boy is built when it comes construction Bad 120 is built to thetosame amazingand build quality. Better to the same amazing build quality. Better still, it may isstill,built to look the same quality. it may like it amazing is going build to break your Better back, look like it is going to break your back, but it weighs still, look surprisingly like it is going back, but itit may weighs little to for break what your it offers. surprisingly little for what it offers. but it FOR weighs surprisingly BANG YOUR BUCK: little for what it offers. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: BANG FOR Italian YOURdesign BUCK: You know and construction is goingistogoing attract You knowthat that Italian design and construction You know thattag, Italian andhave construction is going tothat attract a solid price butdesign what to understand you to attract a solid priceyou tag, but what you ishave to aunderstand soliddo price but what you understand that you really gettag, what you payreally for, have quality in sound edge. is that you doto get what with youisan pay for, really do get what you pay for, quality in sound with an edge. OVERALL: quality in sound with an edge. OVERALL: There is so much going on in this amp, it is lightweight, Overall: There so much much goingofon on in this this amp, lightweight, offers ais selection tones andamp, features intuitive There isgreat so going in itit isissome lightweight, offers aagreat selection tones and features intuitive software integration forof valve data. Thisfeatures issome the next step offers great selection ofbias tones and some software integration for valve bias data. This is the next step in stage amplifi ers,integration giving the user the control they need intuitive software for valve bias data. This in stage amplifi ers, giving the user the control they need over is thetheir nextsound. step in stage amplifiers, giving the user the over theirthey sound. control need over their sound.

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED RECOMMENDED FOR: Players looking forFOR: a portable, quality low wattage Players Players looking a portable, portable, quality quality lowand wattage wattage head - looking primarilyforsuited to rock, blues funk. head primarily primarily suited suited toVERSATILITY: rock, to rock, bluesblues and funk. and funk. SOUND AND MUSICAL SOUND SOUND AND MUSICAL MUSICAL VERSATILITY: VERSATILITY: Don’t letAND the little size and appearance fool you - fat Don’t Don’t let the little size through and appearance appearance fool fool you you - fat and warm clean tones to spankier/funky/edgy and warm warm clean clean tones tones through to spankier/funky/edgy to spankier/funky/ tones and gain. Can dothrough fairly saturated gain sounds and tones edgy tones and Can gain. do in fairly Can saturated doforfairly gain saturated sounds and worksand wellgain. with pedals front a versatile little gain unit. works sounds well andwith works pedals wellinwith frontpedals for a versatile in front making little unit. it USABILITY: USABILITY: a versatileforward little unit. Straight control layout and EQ section Straight USABILITY: layout switch and EQ section with the forward additioncontrol of a bright if needed. with Straight theforward addition control ofplay alayout bright and switch EQ section ifof needed. with Essentially plug and with a couple different Essentially the of aand bright playswitch with favourite ifa needed. couple cab of Essentially different ohmaddition outs plug to match your setup. ohm plug and outsplay towith match a couple yourof favourite different ohm cab outs setup. to CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: match yourBass favourite setup. The Mark line ofcab gear has been a winner in the The CONSTRUCTION: Mark Bass line of gear has been a winner in the durability stakes and from what I can tell the DV Mark durability The stakes Bass build line andof from gear what Ibeen can tell a winner the DVinMark the looksMark of similar quality -has solid. looks durability similar stakes build and quality fromAwhat - solid. I canstraight tell the DV Bang ofFor Your Buck: fairly up Mark amp Bang looks For similar build Buck: quality A -fairly straight amp that of has aYour good range ofsolid. tones. A up portable, that BANG has FOR a YOUR good range fairly tones. straight A portable, upspend. amp durable unit thatBUCK: will Aofsatisfy your durable that has a unit good range that of willtones. satisfy A portable, your durable spend. OVERALL: OVERALL: unit thatlittle willhead satisfy your spend. A tasty with enough EQ control to suit a host A OVERALL: little with enough EQ control to suit oftasty styles andhead players. Perfect where massive 100a host watt of A tasty styles little and head players. with Perfect enough where EQaren’t control massive to suit 100aand host watt heads and multiple quad boxes needed is heads of styles and and multiple players. Perfect boxes where aren’t massive needed 100and watt is another great stringquad to DV Mark’s amplifi cation bow! anotherand heads great multiple stringquad to DV boxes Mark’s aren’t amplifi needed cationand bow! is another great string to DV Mark’s amplification bow!

MIXDOWN NO. 215

AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: All Valve All Tube Tube Guitar Head Head Head For For Guitar Guitar OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 120 120 watts watts OHMS: OHMS: 4,8,16 4,8,16 COVERING: COVERING: Leather Leather and and Steel Steel WEIGHT: WEIGHT:

WEIGHT: 9.8kg 9.8kg TUBES: 9.8kg TUBES: ECC83,KT88 TUBES: ECC83,KT88 FOOTSWITCH: ECC83, FOOTSWITCH: KT88 Included FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE Included MADE IN: IN: Italy MADE Italy IN: Italy

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

MARCH 2012

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 60 watts OHMS: 16 COVERING: Black Vinyl.

WEIGHT: 36.5KG TUBES: 4xECC83’s, 2x6L6’s FOOTSWITCH: Included FS4IRT MADE IN: China

Phone: Phone: (02) 9698 4444 Website: Website: www.australismusic.com.au

RRP: $ RRP: $4490 combined (L50 Head $ $2495, L412 CabRRP: $1995)

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 50 Watt (Single Ended Class A) OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Birch Plywood Cabinet

WEIGHT: 21.5KG Tubes: 3xECC83/12AX7, 5xEL34’s FOOTSWITCH: FS2 Included MADE IN: UK

Phone: Phone: (02) 9698 4444 Website: Website: www.australismusic.com.au

DV MARK GALILEO DV MARK GALILEO

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

SPECS:

SPECS:

LANEY IRONHEART LH50 LANEY LIONHEART LANEY IRONHEART L50H LH50 & L412 CABINET

DISTRIBUTOR: DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALIS MUSIC GROUP

PG. 40

RRP: $ RRP: RRP: $1495 $

RRP: $1150 RRP: $1150

SPECS: AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: All Valve All Tube Tube Guitar Head Head Head For For Guitar Guitar OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 15 15 watts watts OHMS: OHMS: 4,8 4,8 COVERING: COVERING: Leather Leather and and Steel Steel WEIGHT: WEIGHT:

WEIGHT: 4.7kg 4.7kg 4.7kg TUBES: TUBES: TUBES: ECC83, ECC83, ECC84, ECC84, EL84 EL84 ECC83, ECC84, EL84 FOOTSWITCH: FOOTSWITCH: FOOTSWITCH: No No N/A MADE MADE IN: IN: MADE Italy Italy IN: Italy

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au


AMP SPECIAL EGNATER TWEAKER 88 EGNATER TWEAKER 88

RRP: $1850 RRP: $1850

EGNATER VENGEANCE EGNATER VENGEANCE

RRP: $2450 RRP: $2450

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, rock, country, fusion, hard rock, stoner metal, Blues, country, fusion, hard stoner metal, grungerock, - pretty much anything that rock, requires a tone with grunge - pretty much anything that lots of dynamics and clarity, clean orrequires dirty. a tone with lots of dynamics and clarity, clean or dirty. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: SOUND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The KT88AND power tubes give the Tweaker 88 a tight low The tubes give the Tweaker Egnater’s 88 a tightarray low end KT88 and apower pleasant musical midrange. end and a pleasant musical Egnater’s array of tone-shifting switches meanmidrange. you can go from sparkly of tone-shifting switches mean you can go from sparkly clean to warm jangle to heavy crunch to screaming lead clean to warm jangle to heavy crunch to screaming lead with ease. with ease. USABILITY: USABILITY: The wealth of tone shifting switches, compartmentalised The tonesingle shifting knobwealth layoutofand EQswitches, section compartmentalised make take a bit of knob layout and single single EQ section make may take take aa bit of getting used and to, but onceEQ yousection figure out what does what, getting used butsense. once you figure out what does what, it all starts to to, make itCONSTRUCTION: all starts to make sense. CONSTRUCTION: Egnater amps are famously roadworthy and the Tweaker Egnater amps are famously roadworthy the Tweaker 88 is no exception. It feels like it can takeand a knock, It’s light 88 is no exception. It feelsand like the it can take aisknock, It’s light enough to heft upstairs, weight distributed in enough to heftway. upstairs, and the weight is distributed in a comfortable aBANG comfortable way. BUCK: FOR YOUR BANG YOUR BUCK: BecauseFOR it’s so versatile, the Tweaker 88 can comfortably Because it’s so versatile, theplace Tweaker 88 canamps comfortably and authentically take the of several in your and authentically takearsenal, the place of several amps in your recording or touring which gives you incredible recording or touring arsenal, gives you incredible value for money. Easily worth which twice the price. value for money. Easily worth twice the price.like a dozen OVERALL: The Tweaker 88 feels and sounds OVERALL: The Tweaker 88 feels sounds like a for dozen amps in one, and this makes it aand great candidate pro amps in who one, need and this makesaitlot a great candidate for pro players to cover of styles from one gig players who need to cover a lot of styles from one gig to the next. to the next.

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED Heavy to extreme FOR: metal players, especially those who Heavy extreme especially those who like to to tune down metal or useplayers, extended range guitars, and like tune down or useeffects extended whoto like to use external units.range guitars, and who like to useMUSICAL external effects units. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: SOUND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: rhythm, and a Plenty ofAND roar for low, scooped-midrange Plenty of roar screaming for low, scooped-midrange rhythm, and a compressed, lead tone for shredders. Tight compressed, lead tone forwell shredders. Tight clean soundsscreaming which work especially with external clean sounds which work especially well with external effects. Not quite warm enough for hard rock but great effects. Not quite warm enoughplayers. for hard rock but great for metal, especially for rhythm for metal, especially for rhythm players. USABILITY: USABILITY: Plenty of controls to fine-tune the amp’s response to Plenty of controls to whether fine-tuneit the amp’s response to your guitar’s output, be dark and low-tuned your guitar’s and output, whether ittuning. be darkThe andtwo low-tuned or brighter in standard master or brighter and are in standard two master volume controls very handytuning. for liveThe work. volume controls are very handy for live work. CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: Bulletproof, roadworthy construction, heavy but not too Bulletproof, roadworthy construction, heavy but too heavy. The layout is thoughtfully designed, thenot tubes heavy. The thoughtfully the tubes are easy to layout get to is when you needdesigned, to, and they’re well are easy to get to when you need to, and they’re well ventilated. ventilated. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: BANG YOUR BUCK: A greatFOR investment for metal rhythm players because it A great investment rhythm players it has plenty of punchfor andmetal cut for live work, andbecause versatility has plenty punchspectrum and cut for work, andThe versatility within the ofmetal forlive recording. reverb within metal spectrum Thetoo. reverb soundsthe good enough to savefor yourecording. some bucks sounds good enough to save you some bucks too. OVERALL: OVERALL: More gain than you’ll ever need for thrash, progressive More than ever need forwith thrash, progressive metal,gain djent andyou’ll metalcore styles, a nicely voiced metal, and metalcore styles, with a nicely voiced reverb djent and compressed, singing lead tone. The perfect reverb compressed, lead tone. The perfect amp forand those who need singing to scream. amp for those who need to scream.

SPECS: AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: All Valve All Tube Tube Guitar Head Head Head For For Guitar Guitar OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 88 88 watts watts OHMS: OHMS: 4,8,16 4,8,16 COVERING: COVERING: Vinyl Vinyl WEIGHT: WEIGHT:

WEIGHT: 18kg 18kg TUBES: 18kg TUBES: 12AX7, TUBES: 12AX7, KT88 KT88 FOOTSWITCH: 12AX7, FOOTSWITCH: KT88 Included FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE Included MADE IN: IN: China MADE China IN: China

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

HIWATT T40 HEAD HIWATT T40 HEAD

RRP: $750 RRP: $750

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED RECOMMENDED FOR: FOR: rock, blues, country, indie. Classic rock, psychedelic Classic Classic rock, psychedelic psychedelic rock, blues, country, Any style that requires punchy-yet-airy cleansindie. and Any that thatcrunch requires requires punchy-yet-airy punchy-yet-airy cleans and brightstyle ringing tones. bright bright ringing ringing crunch tones. tones. SOUND ANDcrunch MUSICAL VERSATILITY: SOUND SOUND AND MUSICAL MUSICAL VERSATILITY: VERSATILITY: There’s aAND reason Pink Floyd and The Who based their There’s There’s a reason Pink Floyd tones around Hiwatt amplifiand ers. The TheWho cleanbased voicetheir is a tones around around Hiwatt Hiwatt amplifi amplifi ers. ers.The Theclean clean voice is isa great platform for pedals or really laying barevoice the clean great a great platform platform forguitar, for pedals pedals or really or really layinglaying the bareclean the character of the and the crunch isbare bright, clear, character clean character of powerful. the of guitar, the guitar, and the and crunch the crunch is bright, is bright, clear, punchy and punchy clear, punchy and powerful. and powerful. USABILITY: USABILITY: USABILITY: At only 20 watts in half power mode it’s much easier to At only 20 20 watts watts ininhalf half power power mode mode it’stones, it’s much much easier easier to dialonly in those classic Hiwatt overdrive while the dial to dial in those in frequency those classic classic Hiwatt Hiwatt tones, tones, while while the push-pull shift on overdrive the overdrive midrange control helps push-pull the push-pull frequency frequency shift on shift the on midrange the midrange control control helps to fine-tune the guitar/amp relationship. to helps fine-tune to fine-tune the guitar/amp the guitar/amp relationship. relationship. CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: Extremely durable. One of the most tank-like amps I’ve Extremely Extremely durable. One of thethe most most tank-like tank-like amps amps I’ve ever used.durable. It’s heavyOne butof practically indestructible. ever I’ve ever used. used. It’sYOUR heavy It’s heavy but practically but practically indestructible. indestructible. BANG FOR BUCK: BANG BANG FOR FORare YOUR YOUR BUCK: Sure, there moreBUCK: versatile amps out there, but if you Sure, there there are aremore more versatile versatile amps amps outout there, butAnd but if you if want the Hiwatt sound you really need athere, Hiwatt. it’s want you want the Hiwatt the soundsound you really you need reallyaneed Hiwatt. a Hiwatt. And it’s worth it for theHiwatt classic Hiwatt tone. worth And it’s it for worth theitclassic for the Hiwatt classic tone. Hiwatt tone. OVERALL: OVERALL: OVERALL: A great platform for effects or to simply show off how A great platform platform for effects effects or you to simply offlower how great your guitar sounds. And can doshow it all at great your your guitar guitar sounds. And And youswitching. you can can do itdo all at it lower all at volume thanks tosounds. the 40/20 watt volumevolume lower thanks thanks to the 40/20 to thewatt 40/20 switching. watt switching.

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED FOR: rock players. Markbass based Anyone, but especially Anyone, players. based this ampbut on especially their Littlerock Mark amp Markbass but with added this amp on amp but with added aggression fortheir thoseLittle who Mark need more grunt, growl and aggression for those who need more grunt, growl and fuzz. fuzz. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: SOUND ANDdoMUSICAL VERSATILITY: Sure, it can clean, but the Little Mark Rocker 500 Sure, it can do preamp clean, but the Little Mark Rocker grit, 500 is about tube overdrive and distortion, is about overdrive grit, dirt, fuzz,tube hair preamp and power. Use itand for distortion, a little warmth dirt, fuzz, hair and power. Use on it for littleforwarmth and vintage roundness, or pile the again all-out and vintage roundness, or pile on the gain for all-out overdrive. overdrive. USABILITY: USABILITY: Markbass excels at making amps with a huge range of Markbass excels at makingofamps witharound, a huge so range of control with a minimum fiddling much control with a 500’s minimum of isfiddling around, so much of the Rocker power in its gain and midrange of the Rocker 500’s power is in its gain andgood midrange controls. Very simple but very deadly. In the way. controls. Very simple but very deadly. In the good way. CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: The Little Mark Rocker 500 certainly isn’t going to break The Rocker certainly break yourLittle back.Mark In fact, you500 could easily isn’t cart going it to ato show in your In fact, cart it to a show in your back. backpack andyou not could break easily a sweat. your backpack and not break a sweat. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: BANG FOR players YOUR BUCK: Rock bass can spend a fortune looking for Rock players spend a right fortune for great bass distortion in a can pedal, but it’s herelooking in an amp great distortion in a pedal, it’s right amp especially designed for it. Itbut would seemhere that in theansearch especially ends here!designed for it. It would seem that the search ends here! OVERALL: OVERALL: It’s versatile enough to sit in on a number of cleaner It’s versatile enough to sitRocker in on 500 a number of machine cleaner styles, but the Little Mark is a rock styles, butand the Little Markwith Rocker 500 isofa stage-friendly rock machine through through, plenty through andgigging through, with plenty of stage-friendly features for bassists. features for gigging bassists.

AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: All Valve All Tube Tube Guitar Head Head Head For For Guitar Guitar OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 40/20 20/40 40/20 watts watts switchable switchable OHMS: OHMS: 88 COVERING: COVERING: Vinyl Vinyl WEIGHT: WEIGHT:

WEIGHT: 13kgs 13kgs TUBES: 13kg TUBES: 12AX7, TUBES: 12AX7, 12Auz, 12Auz, EL84 EL84 FOOTSWITCH: 12AX7, FOOTSWITCH: 12AUZ, EL84 No FOOTSWITCH: No MADE No MADE IN: IN: China MADE China IN: WARRANTY: China WARRANTY: 12 12 Months Months

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

Markacoustic AC 601 Markacoustic MARKACOUSTIC AC 601 AC 601

RRP: $1995 RRP: $1995

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED FOR: songwriters, players who use Acoustic players, singer Acoustic players, singer songwriters, who use multiple acoustic instruments during players a set, and those multiple acoustic instruments a set,sources and those who wish to separately amplifyduring two sound for who wish to separately amplify two sound sources for the same instrument. the sameAND instrument. SOUND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: SOUND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The AC AND 601 excels at clear, loud, hi-fi reproduction The ACacoustic 601 excels at clear, loud, of an instrument’s pickuphi-fi or reproduction microphone of an acoustic instrument’s pickupat or microphone system, and it really feels geared presenting the system, and itofreally feels geared at presenting the best version the guitar’s own sound rather than best of the tryingversion to change it. guitar’s own sound rather than trying to change it. USABILITY: USABILITY: With two channels, you can amplify two guitars With two channels, you can amplify two guitars simultaneously, or separately EQ a preamp and simultaneously, separately EQ a Great preamp and internal mic, or or a guitar and vocals. ambient internal mic, or a guitar and vocals. Great ambient and modulation effects too. and modulation effects too. CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: Very light and compact, but don’t let that fool you: Very light601 andis compact, buta don’t that fool you: the AC capable of huge let amount of clear, the AC 601 ispartly capable amount of clear, clean volume, dueof to aitshuge efficient enclosure. clean partlyBUCK: due to its efficient enclosure. BANGvolume, FOR YOUR BANG FOR BUCK: Depends onYOUR what you want your acoustic amp to do. Depends on what want yourfor acoustic do. If you need it to you compensate a badamp raw to guitar Ifsound, you need toacompensate bad rawa guitar investit in preamp too.for If a you have great sound, in a preamp guitar, itinvest will sound amazing.too. If you have a great guitar, it will sound amazing. OVERALL: OVERALL: Brilliantly clear reproduction of the guitar’s best Brilliantly clearplenty reproduction guitar’s Really best qualities, with of volume of andthe projection. qualities, with high plenty of volume and projection. Really great for very quality guitars. great for very high quality guitars.

RECOMMENDED FOR: RECOMMENDED FOR: FOR: Monster bass players who need thick low end and Monster players whostyles needand thick end and incrediblebass highs for funk thelow flexibility to incredible highs for funk andholding the flexibility to take a solo then go rightstyles back to down the take soloend then right back to holding down the entirea low in go a rock setting. entire lowAND end MUSICAL in a rock rock setting. setting. SOUND VERSATILITY: SOUND ANDamp MUSICAL MUSICAL VERSATILITY: VERSATILITY: An incredible for flexible bass players, especially An incredible amp for of flexible players, especially those who use a lot activebass electronics to control those wholive, usebecause a lot of the active electronics to control their tone preamp is so reactive, yet their tone live, own because the preampisis plenty so reactive, yet the preamp’s sound-shaping versatile the too.preamp’s own sound-shaping is plenty versatile too. USABILITY: USABILITY: One of the best inbuilt compressors ever and an One of the best inbuilt compressors and The an amazing tube-driven ‘Colour’ contour ever control. amazing tube-driven ‘Colour’ contour control.gives The combination of tube and solid state technology combination of tube and solid state technology gives you lots of punch and growl, definition and warmth. you lots of punch and growl, growl, defi definition nition and and warmth. warmth. CONSTRUCTION: CONSTRUCTION: Light, well laid out and perhaps most importantly of Light, laid out perhaps most importantly of all for well gigging bassand players, especially easy to carry all for gigging bass players, especially easy tohandle carry around and stow thanks to its side-mounted around and stow thanks feet. to its side-mounted handle and extra side-mounted and extra side-mounted side-mounted feet. feet. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: BUCK: Flawless construction and with great user-friendly Flawless construction with great user-friendly features from a practicaland standpoint too. Bass players, features from practical standpoint players, engineers anda audiences will love it,too. andBass that’s worth engineers audiences will love it, and that’s worth whatever itand costs! whatever it costs! OVERALL: OVERALL: One of the best bass amps out there, every bit One of the bassonamps bit deserving of best its place stageout withthere, Randyevery Jackson, deserving its place place on stage stagewith with RandyJackson. Jackson, who is oneofofits the moston talented andRandy versatile session who is one of the most talented and versatile session

AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: Solid Combo Solid State State (Acoustic Combo Combo Guitar) for for Acoustic Acoustic Guitar Guitar OUTPUT: OUTPUT: OUTPUT:watt switchable 150/250 150w 150w or or 250w 250w with with OHMS: extension extension speaker speaker 4,8 OHMS: OHMS: COVERING: 4,8 4,8 Vinyl COVERING: COVERING: Vinyl

WEIGHT: Vinyl 8.8kgs 8.8kg WEIGHT: 8.8kgs TUBES: N/A TUBES: N/A FOOTSWITCH: N/A FOOTSWITCH: MADE N/A IN: Italy MADE IN: WARRANTY: Italy 12 Months

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

WEIGHT: 21kg 21kg TUBES: 21kg TUBES: 12AX7, TUBES: 12AX7, 6L6 6L6 FOOTSWITCH: 12AX7, FOOTSWITCH: 6L6 Included FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE Included MADE IN: IN: China MADE China IN: China

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

RRP: $1595 RRP: $1595

SPECS: AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: Tube/Solid Tube/Solid State State Head Head For For Bass Bass OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 500 500 watts watts OHMS: OHMS: 4, 4, 88 COVERING: COVERING: Steel Steel

WEIGHT: WEIGHT: 6.5kgs 6.5kgs 6.5kg TUBES: TUBES: TUBES: solid-state N/A N/A FOOTSWITCH: FOOTSWITCH: FOOTSWITCH: No No No MADE IN: MADE IN: IN: MADE Italy Italy Italy

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

Markbass TTE 500 Randy Jackson Signature Markbass MARKBASS TTE TTE 500 500 Randy RANDY Jackson JACKSON Signature SIGNATURE

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

SPECS:

AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: All Valve All Tube Tube Guitar Head Head Head For For Guitar Guitar OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 60/120 60/120 watts watts switchable switchable OHMS: OHMS: 4,8,16 4,8,16 COVERING: COVERING: Vinyl Vinyl WEIGHT: WEIGHT:

MARKBASS LITTLE MARK ROCKER 500 MARKBASS LITTLE MARK ROCKER 500

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L

SPECS:

SPECS:

RRP: $1795 RRP: $1795

SPECS: AMP AMP TYPE: TYPE: Tube Bass TubeHead Head Head Vlave for for Bass Bass OUTPUT: OUTPUT: OUTPUT: 500 500 watts watts OHMS: OHMS: OHMS: 4,8 4,8 COVERING: COVERING: COVERING: Leather Leather Leather and and Steel Steel Steel WEIGHT: WEIGHT:

WEIGHT: 6kgs 6kgs 6kg TUBES: TUBES: TUBES: ECC83, ECC83, ECC81 ECC81 ECC83, ECC81 FOOTSWITCH: FOOTSWITCH: FOOTSWITCH: No No No MADE MADE IN: IN: MADE Italy Italy IN: Italy

Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 41


AMP SPECIAL SR TECHNOLOGY BASS FIDELITY 10

RRP: $1699

SR TECHNOLOGY BASS FIDELITY H 1000

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

RECOMMENDED FOR: Bass players (both double and electric) looking for a compact, clean combo amp. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: With a 10” woofer and tweeter the Bass Fidelity 10 is clear and concise - giving a good reproduction of your fundamental tone. Being a combo it’s portable and has decent volume making it great for a variety of uses. USABILITY: A good selection of ins/outs and EQ makes for a great quick setup and the control panel is easy to navigate. Quite a transparent tone, you won’t have to work and work to get your bass sounding like it should. CONSTRUCTION: Solid and a manageable size. The Fidelity 10 is handy for lugging round (with a handle cleverly positioned on the top) and comes with a padded slip cover which is a nice touch. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Combos are often overlooked in favour of bigger modular rigs but there’s something to be said about carrying a combo - straight in to your gig, plug in and you’re away. OVERALL: Good tone and headroom, easy to operate, portable and suitable for a range of settings. Another great unit from SR Technology.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Semi Pro, Pro and anyone looking for a serious head with plenty of wattage and features. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Woah! Serious tone and tone shaping, onboard compressor, a host of ins/outs and 1000 watts of power. From super clean funk to edgy and low and nearly everything in between the H 1000 could sit almost anywhere. USABILITY: The control panel will take a quick minute to understand fully but it’s all logical and laid out nicely. Coloured LEDs make it easy to follow everything too! CONSTRUCTION: It’s a tank. Tough, high quality, robust - get the picture? Made for gigs, recording and plenty of use the H 1000 should still be around for years and years to come. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Not the cheapest amp on the market by any means but a serious machine and comparable and competitive in relation to others of this ilk. OVERALL: Sounds great, lots of EQ options, direct, dry, headphone and multiple speaker outs all in a manageable two rack sized rig. If you need a pro level amp then the Bass Fidelity H1000 might be right up your alley.

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Bass combo OUTPUT: 300 watts OHMS: 8 COVERING: Black vinyl

WEIGHT: 15.5kg TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: Italy

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

SR TECHNOLOGY JAM 150 PLUS

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

RECOMMENDED FOR: Solo artists or duos needing a portable, all in one type live sound solution for small to medium gigs SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Clear and clean for vocals and acoustic guitar. Can also work with keys and has connectivity for CD player/iPod etc. The EQ section has enough scope to dial in/out tones for live use and it’s capable of handling a few different sources. USABILITY: With a mixer type interface, it’s very straightforward. Arranged in channel strips you just plug in, EQ that channel then set your volume. Onboard effects are a nice bonus for adding some depth to your dry sound too. CONSTRUCTION: Classy wooden cabinet and slick, clean controls make the Jam 150 look more like a hi-fi piece as opposed to an amp. It is reasonably heavy but comparable to a powered speaker which is what this baby might replace for you. Bonus is that it’s all in one - no need to carry an additional mixer! BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Amp, speaker and mixer all in one. Good value with good tone and usable features. OVERALL: I can definitely see the Jam 150 being useful for smaller solo or duo gigs but realistically it has a range of uses. A nice take on the mixer, speaker, amp live sound solution.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Solo, duo and small band setups using a range of inputs, public address situations or CD/iPod playback. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Plenty of versatility in terms of uses and input options - all with good, clean tone reproduction. Intended for vocals, acoustic guitar, keys, CD/iPod mainly, although other uses are possible. USABILITY: Like it’s little brother the Jam 150 Plus, its mixer type setup is easy to follow and the fact that it’s an all in one unit it’s perfect for gigs, rehearsals, practice where quick setup is important. Logical and clear without the need for a uni degree to get it up and running. CONSTRUCTION: Compact and clean yet tough. The Jam 400 is portable enough to chuck in the backseat to take to practice or a gig but looks classy and tasteful so won’t look out of place sitting on a stand or shelf at say a restaurant, wedding ceremony or in your lounge/bedroom. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Covers a few bases and delivers well. Means you’ve got your speaker, amp and mixer all in one unit. The added volume and speakers of the 400 gives you some extra oomph if needed too - handy if a little more juice is needed. OVERALL: A great continuation of the Jam series from SR technology. Perfect for a range of uses, the idea that it’s also a classy looking unit too is a nice departure from the standard muso black (although that is available too!).

SPECS: WEIGHT: 13kg TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: No MADE IN: Italy

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

RRP: $519

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

RECOMMENDED FOR: Classic rock, 60s rock, old school punk, hard rock, indie, blues, garage, roots music. Styles that require fat warm overdrive with complex high end clarity. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Think of it as a Special 6 that comes pre-modded. Capable of an addictive, fat, crunchy overdrive with progressively clearer high end available on tap. Great clear ringing tones with single coils but really comes alive with humbucker, an awesome blues amp. USABILITY: Relatively minimal control layout but with plenty of scope for tailoring the sound to get the most out of your guitar or effects. The tone retains its basic character but gets more refined as you tweak further. CONSTRUCTION: Well built with consideration given to making the amp modification-friendly, like its little brother the Special 6. Everything is easily accessible - although there’s less space to fit extra controls compared to the Special 6. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A low cost tube amp that sounds great, with enough muscle to really be heard and with a fine degree of tone shaping power built right in? Yes please! OVERALL: There’s a lot of love for this amp in my household. It looks great, it’s easy to use, it’s louder than it looks and most importantly it sounds incredible for its target musical styles.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginners, bedroom players or those bassists needing a compact, portable practice amp. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Volume, bass and treble controls make for a basic control section but enough volume to bash along to at home. The tilt back base lets you be heard even more and if you are annoying anyone you’ve also got the headphones out. USABILITY: Simple to use, the ability to plug in headphones or an external music source (CD/Mp3 etc) and on/off easy. The fact that it weighs next to nothing means you can take it anywhere too. CONSTRUCTION: Light in terms of weight but with a neat covering, tough corners and cool metal knobs it’s definitely built to last. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Won’t hurt your wallet and is a solid little bass amp for the new player or bedroom enthusiast. OVERALL: At this size and wattage the Rampage 10 would fit into the practice amp category and with headphone out and CD/Mp3 in you’ve got everything you need to keep you practicing, playing and bashing along to your favourite tunes at all hours of the day, and into the night.

PG. 42

MIXDOWN NO. 215

SPECS: WEIGHT: 10kg TUBES: 1 x 6V6, 1 x 12AX7 FOOTSWITCH: Boost Included MADE IN: China

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

MARCH 2012

WEIGHT: 7.5kg TUBES: Solid state FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: Italy

RRP: $2399

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Acoustic Combo OUTPUT: 400 watts OHMS: Sealed COVERING: Varnished Timber

WEIGHT: 21kg TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: Italy

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

ROCKTRON RAMPAGE BASS 10

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 6 watts OHMS: 4, 8, 16 COVERING: Black tolex

AMP TYPE: Bass Head OUTPUT: 1000 watts OHMS: 2,4,8 COVERING: Painted Metal

SR TECHNOLOGY JAM 400

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

VHT SPECIAL 6 ULTRA

SPECS:

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

RRP: $1399

AMP TYPE: Acoustic Combo (Guitar and Vocals) OUTPUT: 150 watts OHMS: Sealed COVERING: Varnished timber

RRP: $1799

RRP: $139

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Bass Combo OUTPUT: 10 watts OHMS: Sealed COVERING: Black Tolex

WEIGHT: 12kg TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au


NOW PLAYED BY PAT SMEAR, GUITARIST OF FOO FIGHTERS

MEET THE HEAD OF THE PACK, THE LANEY L50H! 50W CLASS A TUBE AMPLIFICATION, MADE IN THE UK.

The L50H amplifier uses pure Class A Single ended topology with no less than five specifically selected and matched EL34B-STR tubes, arranged in parallel. Each delivers 10 watts RMS, giving you a previously unattainable, totally unique and unprecedented vintage valve sound. Total that with the L412 Quad box, decked out with Celestion G12 heritage drivers (capable of handling up to 120W RMS) and you’ve got yourself the ultimate amplification setup. L50H HEAD $2495 • Power RMS: 50 Watts • Preamp Valves: 3 ECC83/12AX7 • Output Valves: 5 x EL34 Power Tubes • Class: Pure Single Ended Class A Valve Tone • Birch Plywood Cabinet • Great Equalisation Usability and FX Loop Options L412 QUAD BOX $1995 • 4 x 12” G12H Heritage Celestion UK Made Speakers • 16 Ohm Impedance • Plywood Construction and Fitted Castors/Cups • Capable of Handling up to 120W of Tone

OOO&D9F=Q&;G&MC

Producing 120 watts of valve tone, the IRT120H possess masses of gain, hitting you hard between the eyes like a power hammer from hell! The IRT120H preamp houses three channels: Clean, Rhythm & Lead all with independent level controls. Add the IRT412 cabinet for maximum power! IRT120H HEAD $1595 • Power RMS: 120 Watts • Preamp Valves: 4 ECC83 • Output Valves: 4 x 6L6 • Class: ClassAB • 3 Channels: Clean, Rhythm and Lead • 3-Band-EQ with Pull-Push Switch on Each Channel • Presence Control, Laney Designed Digital Reverb IRT412 QUAD BOX $895 • 230 Watts RMS • 4 x HH Custom Designed 12” Drivers • 16 Ohm Impedance • Rugged Plywood Construction

THE HIGH GAIN ROCK BEAST!

120W HARDCORE TUBE AMPLIFICATION, DESIGNED IN THE UK.

OOO&D9F=Q&;G&MC

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 43


AMP SPECIAL ROCKTRON VELOCITY V10

RRP: $129

VHT CLASSIC 18

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginners, bedroom players or guitarists wanting a compact, portable practice amp. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: You’d be surprised how much volume the Velocity and 6” speaker pumps out and with clean tones and a switchable distortion you can really ramp things up for your dirty sounds. USABILITY: Getting started on the V10 couldn’t be easier - plug, tweak, play. No hidden tricks or features here. CONSTRUCTION: Although light (in a good way) the V10 looks and feels like quite a tough little beast. Black tolexed type covering, steel corners and a solid handle give you some reassurance that you can keep lugging it between rooms, houses, parties at will. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Good price, good little amp, good tones. OVERALL: Rocktron make a range of products for everything and everyone from the small bedroom user to big time touring pros. You get the feeling that you’re still being covered though, even when it comes to something relatively small (on a global stage) such as the Velocity V10. A good choice if you need a practice amp type deal that won’t drain your bank account.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Britpop, indie, country, classic rock, punk, certain breeds of hard rock, blues, blues rock. A vintagetoned amp for those who don’t need hi-fi sounds. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Surprisingly dark compared to the brilliant treble of the Special 6 Ultra, it sounds fat with humbuckers and it adds fullness to single coils. It does fat warmth rather than buzzy high gain, and it’s great for 60s rhythm tones. USABILITY: Two channels - USA clean and UK crunch. Plenty of versatility and easy to figure out. The included vintage-style spring reverb and the switchable seriesparallel FX loops are great bonuses. CONSTRUCTION: Lighter than it looks and quite reliably constructed. The top mounted controls are easy to see and the rear-mounted FX loop connections and footswitch jack are equally accessible. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A great value amp for players who prefer to do it all from the amplifier. A little extra gain from the clean channel for crunch tones would make it better value. OVERALL: A brilliant amp for players who need tones that pay tribute to the past rather than look to the future, yet, with a few modern conveniences in the form of channel switching and the FX loop.

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 10 watts OHMS: Sealed COVERING: Black Tolex

WEIGHT: 10kg TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

HARTKE HYDRIVE HX112C

RRP: $1099

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

RECOMMENDED FOR: R&B, metal, jazz, blues, hard rock, progressive rock. Although it’s got plenty of great recording features, the kick-back design and efficient 12” speaker are especially great for stage use. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Great low-end punch and attack which will especially please five and six string bassists, while the HyDrive speaker pushes enough volume and definition to keep jazz soloists happy. And great pick attack for metal players. USABILITY: Ridiculously easy to set up, yet if you have a temperamental bass that only plays nice with certain amps, this will definitely tame it. The compressor is easy to use and hard to misuse. CONSTRUCTION: Clever kick-back construction is great for live use - it makes it much easier to monitor what you’re doing. The graphic EQ is easy enough to see from a distance and the speaker is incredibly efficient. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Like the HyDrive 210C, the option to kick it back helps to cover your onstage monitor needs too, and it has great inbuilt EQ, distortion and compression effects. OVERALL: Big bassy attack, great for deep R&B, progressive rock and severely low-end metal, but with enough dynamic and tonal range for slap and pop too. And killer distortion.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Bass players who demand a lot of flexibility from slap and pop funk to rock and metal, and who need a useful overdrive sound from the amp rather than pedals. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Very versatile and with incredibly powerful sound projection thanks to the special HyDrive speakers, but for all its great clean tone, the most pleasant surprise is its fuzzy Bass Attack Overdrive circuit, which does killer Billy Sheehan and Geddy Lee tones. USABILITY: There’s a lot of control power on hand but unlike some bass amps with lots of tone shaping, the HyDrive 210c isn’t complicated to use. The compressor is especially useful and musical. CONSTRUCTION: About medium weight, not too heavy but not so light that it feels flimsy. The controls feel nice and secure and the graphic EQ is spaced just right so you don’t hit the wrong slider. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Bass players who have spent a fortune trying to find the right compressor, overdrive or fuzz pedal will definitely appreciate the cost savings offered by this amp by covering those sounds so well. OVERALL: Great for pop, funk and R&B styles but great for rock and metal as well. Classic rock players will especially love the on-the-edge fat warm overdrive sounds, but everyone will appreciate the compressor.

AMP TYPE: Bass Combo OUTPUT: 250 Watts OHMS: N/A COVERING: Vinyl

WEIGHT: 26 Kgs TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: Yes (Shape and Bass Attack) MADE IN: China

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

HARTKE A 100

RRP: $799

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

RECOMMENDED FOR: Live players, thanks to its kickback design, especially those playing in smaller venues. Especially handy for players who typically play clean or who get overdrive from pedals. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: With a big 15” aluminum bass speaker, the A100 pushes out plenty of low end, and there are separate inputs for active and passive basses for greater control. The onboard limiter does a great job and there’s plenty of treble cut. USABILITY: A great workhorse amp with simple controls and some user-friendly features like an effects loop, an auxiliary input, and XLR balanced outputs. CONSTRUCTION: The kickback construction means you can tilt the A100 back for greater sound dispersion on stage, and it also gives you a clearer idea of what’s actually coming out in the studio. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A good all-round amp for those who need a deep or punchy clean tone with the option to use the effect loop as required. A great platform for front-end effects too. OVERALL: Not the most versatile Hartke out there but it does what it does very well and without a lot of fuss. A particularly good ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of amp.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, roots, country and classic rock styles, especially for those players who like to ride their guitar’s volume, tone and pickup controls for sonic variety. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Offering 16 watts of cathode-based 6V6 power, the Sweet 16 is incredibly reactive to the input signal. Switch pickups and it almost feels like you’ve changed amp channels. Pick lighter and it cleans up nicely. Grit and dirt or sweet cleans and a nice reverb. USABILITY: One of those amps that makes it really hard to find a bad tone, and its clarity and re-activeness definitely reward you for using top-quality cables. And the control layout is simple and logical. CONSTRUCTION: Quite light for a combo amp, and balanced well enough to not topple over, thankfully! The construction quality itself is outstanding and the visual element is classy and engaging. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This is a tricky one because with minimal controls but a reactive circuit this amp is only as flexible and versatile as the player is. Highly recommended if you’re into light and shade, whisper and roar. OVERALL: This is the kind of amp that you play, rather than simply play through. If your style and technique can support that kind of immediacy and interactivity, the Sweet 16 is one of the finest amps of its type. amp rather than pedals.

PG. 44

MIXDOWN NO. 215

AMP TYPE: Bass Combo OUTPUT: 100 Watts OHMS: N/A COVERING: Vinyl

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

MARCH 2012

WEIGHT: 23 Kgs TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: No MADE IN: China

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 18 watts OHMS: 8 COVERING: Black Tolex

WEIGHT: 24kg TUBES: 2 x 12AX7, 2 x EL84 FOOTSWITCH: Reverb included MADE IN: China

Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au

RRP: $1199

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Bass Combo OUTPUT: 250 Watts OHMS: N/A COVERING: Vinyl

WEIGHT: 28 Kgs TUBES: solid-state FOOTSWITCH: Included (Shape and Bass Attack) MADE IN: China

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

PRS SWEET 16

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

SPECS:

SPECS:

HARTKE HYDRIVE HX210C

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

SPECS:

RRP: $865

RRP: $2499

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 16 Watt COVERING: Tolex WEIGHT: 23.18 Kg

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

TUBES: 6V6 Power FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: United Kingdom


Distributed by: Intermusic Australia 29 South Corporate Ave Rowville VIC 3178 IMD Toll free Telephone - 1300 005 319 IMD Toll free Fax - 1800 184 044 www.imd.com.au

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 45


AMP SPECIAL MARSHALL CLASS 5 (1X10 COMBO)

RRP: $899

MARSHALL C5H (CLASS 5 HEAD)

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

RECOMMENDED FOR: Classic rock, blues rock, old school 70s style metal, country rock, roots styles, slide. Would be a great option for harmonica players too. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: With 5 watts of all-valve EL84 Class A power, the Class 5 aims to give you Plexi tone at a low volume, but the experience is a little different to playing a Plexi because you can get that simultaneous crunch and fuzz at much lower volumes. USABILITY: A very simple and direct amp, and great for players who like to get all their tone from their hands and guitar, but it plays very nicely with boost, fuzz and overdrive pedals as well. CONSTRUCTION: Typical Marshall solid quality, and very simply laid out. It’s nice and light, of course, and it looks and feels like a Marshall should. I want a wall of them. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Plenty of Marshall tone at lower volumes - it will save you money in noise pollution fines because you don’t have to crank it to 110 dB to get that classic Marshall Plexi sound at home OVERALL: In combo form with the stock speaker, the Class 5 is a little warmer and fatter in sound than its head version, which opens it up a little more for one-guitar bands and lead guitarists.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Classic rock, blues rock, certain strains of old school 70s style metal, roots styles - Players who need cleans and edgy dirt with minimal fuss. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The circuit is quite simple but this means you get a lot of directness, which is great for bold, punchy styles, clean or dirty. Perhaps Marshall’s jangliest amp, and it fattens up a Stratocaster quite nicely for sweaty blues rock tones. USABILITY: Definitely not a channel changing multi tone monster - just volume and a three band EQ. But it can drive a 4x12 cabinet like nobody’s business and it loves fuzz pedals and analogue delay. CONSTRUCTION: It’s small and it’s light, and it has that typically Marshall solid construction. The layout is very simple and intuitive, and it sits proudly on top of any sized speaker cabinet. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Because it’s a head, you’re really encouraged to pair it with the best cabinet for your particular musical situation, and this extends its usefulness greatly. Plenty of tone and projection despite the low wattage. OVERALL: A really great blues rock amp but also great for slightly heavier rhythm styles like vintage metal or greasy Sunset Strip hard rock of the G’n’R variety. And overdrive pedals bring out killer lead sounds.

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 5 Watt OHMS: N/A COVERING: Tolex

WEIGHT: 12 Kg TUBES: 2xECC83, 1xEL84 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: United Kingdom

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

MARSHALL JVM205C

RRP: $2699

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

RECOMMENDED FOR: Modern country, blues rock, hard rock, fusion, classic metal, thrash, death metal, metalcore, extreme metal, shred… anything that requires a lot of punch and power. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Unmistakably Marshall in its attack, the JVM210C runs the gamut from punchy cleans to chunky overdrives to all-out oversaturated metal mayhem. Three channels each offer three voices, each of which gets progressively dirtier, so there’s plenty of tone to be had. USABILITY: The three voices on each of the three channels are logically accessed: just press the channel button to cycle through the three options for that channel. And each mode remembers if you selected reverb for it. CONSTRUCTION: It’s a Marshall so it can surely take a beating (my personal Marshall has demonstrated this many times), but like most Marshalls it’s quite heavy, so bring a buddy if you need to hoist it up high. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: The JVM series is the most versatile Marshall design ever, so put this in the category of ‘amps that can take the place of a room full of other amps’ and that means exceptional value. OVERALL: The JVM platform has done it for Joe Satriani, Trivium and Megadeth to name just a few, and it’s a great way of getting true Marshall warmth and cut with the flexibility of MIDI control.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Best for single-sound styles that don’t require a lot of fundamental tone shifts within songs. Blues, Stoner, Hard Rock, 60s Classic Rock, 70s style Country Rock, Indie. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: At lower volumes this is one of Marshall’s great clean amps. Great tremolo for The Clientele-type clean sounds. Turn it up though and you’ll get classic Malcolm Young clean-but-dirty crunch. Go further and it roars in a QOTSA kind of way. USABILITY: Very simple layout: high and low inputs, a volume and tone control on each of two channels, and a basic tremolo circuit. Versatile within the clean/edgy realm, but always a very ‘Marshall’ sound. CONSTRUCTION: The simple circuit means it’s not as heavy as it looks, and as a hand wired amp the build quality is impressive. Also incredibly quiet when you’re not playing. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Depends on what you’ll use it for. If you want classic Marshall tone with great build quality it’s a killer buy. If you want the versatility to play every conceivable style through it, look elsewhere. OVERALL: Not Marshall’s most versatile amp if you’re into the heavier, louder, screamier tones, but if you’re into clean or respectably dirty, and you crave that heavenly tremolo wobble, this amp is a real keeper and simply awesome!

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 50 Watt OHMS: N/A COVERING: Tolex

WEIGHT: 29.5 Kg TUBES: 4xECC83, 1xECC83, 2xEL34 FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: United Kingdom

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

ENGL FIREBALL 100

RRP: $3199.99

DISTRIBUTOR: INTERMUSIC PTY. LTD.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock and Metal players needing lots of volume and darker, tight tones. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: This is pretty much a rock/metal amp that shreds. Tight low end, focussed mids and dark, thick overall tones give you some real power for huge gain sounds. USABILITY: Always one to include extra features the FB 100 has a few channels on offer and then adds in features like bright switch, mid boost, bottom switch and various master levels for power amp settings. A little to get your head around but once you’re set you are set! CONSTRUCTION: Tough grille and corners, heavy duty black tolex, solid chassis - a serious amp. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: There’s a lot built in to the Fireball 100 and the ability to footswitch channels and features makes for a pretty complete package. You also get a range of outs and features on the back panel. OVERALL: Dark chugging riffs, thick sharp lead tones and room to dial in anything in between. Plus there’s a clean channel with good headroom making this one serious amp for the rock/metal player.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock and Metal players wanting multiple channels, added features and tones from clean through to brutal. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The Powerball II has 4 channels and can do loud and clean but gain sounds are really where it excels. And for that kind of tone it really does spark up with tight, fat, razor sharp lows and attack. USABILITY: Quite an involved front panel and a lot of built in features but once you’ve got your head around it you’ll be fine. With plenty of switching options and footswitch you can really manoeuvre without much fuss. CONSTRUCTION: A tough, solid beast. Not the lightest amp on the market but nothing out of the ordinary for a multi channel switcher. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: In the rock and metal vein there is a bit of competition but the Powerball II has a tonne of features, delivers on the gain front and is probably all you’ll need in terms of amps for that sort of style. OVERALL: A pumping boutique feeling rock/metal amp - that is all about the gain and does it incredibly well. Rock Gods will love this.

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 100 Watts OHMS: 4,8,16 COVERING: Black Tolex

Phone: 1300 005 319 Website: www.imd.com.au

PG. 46

MIXDOWN NO. 215

MARCH 2012

WEIGHT: 21kg TUBES: 4x12AX7, 4x6L6GC FOOTSWITCH: Engl Dual Z4 Footswitch Included MADE IN: Germany

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 5 Watt OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Tolex

WEIGHT: 6.75 Kg TUBES: 2xECC83, 1x EL84 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: United Kingdom

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

RRP: $3299

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 18 Watt OHMS: N/A COVERING: Tolex

WEIGHT: 19 Kg TUBES: 3xECC83, 2xEL84, 1xEZ81 FOOTSWITCH: Yes (Tremolo) MADE IN: United Kingdom

Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website: www.elfa.com.au

ENGL POWERBALL II

DISTRIBUTOR: INTERMUSIC PTY. LTD.

SPECS:

SPECS:

MARSHALL HANDWIRED 1974X (1X12 COMBO)

DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY

SPECS:

RRP: $799

RRP: $4199.99

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 100 Watts OHMS: 4,8,16 COVERING: Black Tolex

Phone: 1300 005 319 Website: www.imd.com.au

WEIGHT: 21kg TUBES: 4x12AX7, 4x6L6GC FOOTSWITCH: Included Engl Custom Z9 Pedal MADE IN: Germany


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www.jands.com.au

Perfecting loudspeakers for over 80 years... Still working on the hair. As one of the oldest established loudspeaker companies in the world, Tannoy knows a thing or two about studio monitor design. In fact, they pioneered the use of compact monitor systems in the 1970’s with the famous Tannoy Super Red. Tannoy have continued to be leaders in the art of precision sound reproduction ever since and you can hear how 80 years of research and expertise sounds in the new Tannoy Reveal range. Tannoy’s quest for sonic perfection has never changed... but thankfully the haircuts have!

Reveal 501A Active $599 Pair RRP

Reveal 601A Active $949 Pair RRP

Hear the REVEAL Series at these Authorised Tannoy Monitor Dealers: NSW

Turramurra Music DJ Warehouse Sound Devices Guitar Factory Tel: 1800 251 367 sales@ambertech.com.au

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VIC

02 9449 8487 02 9564 1791 02 9283 2077 02 9635 5552

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08 9381 2277 SA 08 9470 1020 Derringers Music

08 8371 4030

www.tannoymonitors.com.au

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 47


AMP SPECIAL JET CITY JCA100H

RRP: $1299.99

AGUILAR TONE HAMMER 500

DISTRIBUTOR: INTERMUSIC PTY. LTD.

DISTRIBUTOR: INTERMUSIC PTY. LTD.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Those after some clean and predominantly dirty rock tones along the SLO vibe in a 100 watt head SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Good headroom, solid without being too sparkly, nice clean tones that you could push with pedals and some cool SLO100 esque dirty tones to boot. Would suit Rock and Metal primarily but could sit in elsewhere too. USABILITY: Clear and easy to operate with two channels to choose from you’ll be belting it out in no time. CONSTRUCTION: Tough and steely no problems gigging the JCAH100. No heavier than any number of similar heads on the market this one seems built to go the distance. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Some other amps are 3, 4 or 5 times the price of these amps and this still holds it own with a great set of tones at a good price. OVERALL: Mike Soldano’s foray into more cost friendly amps features some pretty smoking sounds and plenty of volume making for a rocking head.

RECOMMENDED FOR: It could suit anyone from an amateur player about to start gigging to a pro with the sound, tone and features covering a lot of ground. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Seriously good tones, old school honk to clean modern tones. The gain section makes it a go’er for the player that wants a little edge or some boost for fat lines and solos and the EQ section gives you plenty of scope for tweaking. USABILITY: Straight forward, easy to use controls and clear, well laid out settings and features. Being small in size makes it great for fitting into little spaces and carrying with ease. CONSTRUCTION: Seems rock solid to me. Small in size and light in weight but I’d think it’d handle anything you throw at it gig wise. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Damn good. A solid range of tones and features, easy to use and portable all at a more than reasonable price. OVERALL: Aguilar has long been out of reach for a lot of players but its recent foray into pedals and now continuing with the Tone Hammer range of amps sees it becoming a reality - a great amp!

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 100 Watts OHMS: 2,8,16 COVERING: Black Tolex

WEIGHT: 19.8kg TUBES: 5x12AX7, 4x6L6GC FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: China

Phone: 1300 005 319 Website: www.imd.com.au

RRP: $599

DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA

RECOMMENDED FOR: Those looking for a small, portable valve amp. Ideal for bedroom, rehearsals and recording. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The reappearance of Strauss has seen a host of folks revisiting this Aussie brand and SV-TNT-A adds to its existing line with warm, round tones through to more rock sounds. Although a simple EQ section you can still coax quite a bit from it and the volume and gain knobs. USABILITY: Three knobs and two switches – clearly labelled and to say, “it’s easy to use” is an understatement CONSTRUCTION: A small, portable amp the SV-TNT-A is still robust. I’d imagine it could withstand up to whatever you’re willing to throw at it. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: You’re getting a nifty little valve amp that you can carry round in one hand with ease. Furthermore you get a range of tones and the ability to switch between 8 and 15 watts. OVERALL: These ‘lunchbox’ styled amps seem to be popping up more and more and its great to this impressive little offering. As a small wattage valve amp it seems perfect for practicing, recording or small band situations!

RECOMMENDED FOR: Those looking for a small, portable valve amp. Ideal for bedroom, rehearsals, recording and small gigs SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Stepping it up from the little brother TNT-A, the B has some added features with an extended EQ section. This coupled with the switchable wattage makes for some really nice tones and dynamic capabilities USABILITY: Portable and easy to handle. Amp wise it’s super easy to use with clear controls and a well laid out faceplate CONSTRUCTION: I like the feel that it’s easy enough to grab with one hand yet still feels tough enough to stand up to some punishment. The handle is solid and the rest of the amp follows suit. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Definitely good value here! Most of the big boys are doing these styled amps and it’s good to see another Aussie brand on the same page. OVERALL: A bit more flexibility than it’s little brother with the Deep switch adding another element again to the more ‘in depth’ EQ. The TNT - B is going to work brilliantly in either rehersals or recordings where switching wattage will enable to pump out that extra bit of bite.

SPECS: WEIGHT: 7.8 Kg TUBES: 2xEL 84 2x12AX7 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au

STRAUSS SRT-15

RRP: $699

RECOMMENDED FOR: Indie, psychedelic, blues, blues rock, soul, rockabilly, psychedelic players. Definitely one for those who prefer vintage tone and attack rather than modern sparkle. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The SRT-15 is capable of a fairly surprising range of tones, from bell-like ringing cleans to sharp, biting, overdriven blues bark. After about 6, the volume knob stops governing the output level and instead increases the gain and fullness of the tone. Great range of clean and dirty tones. USABILITY: A great interactive amp which plays especially well with P90 pickups. Great for those ‘ride the volume knob’ gain changes. Nice but dark on board reverb and a really addictive tremolo effect. CONSTRUCTION: It is tiny but by no means flimsy either. Sounds like a small point but the chunky handle really helps to boost the roadworthy vibe. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Nice clean and edgy tones for the rootsier, more organic side of music but if you’re buying it to cover a cover set’s worth of songs, maybe look elsewhere. OVERALL: Great warm blues and early rock tones, cool blues and hot rockabilly sounds. Doesn’t really do ‘modern’ very well but excels at authentic, vintage-style ‘old tone.’

RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, soul, rhythm & blues, country, blues rock, psychedelic players. Maybe even some hard rock guitarists. Anyone who wants boutique sound on a budget. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Plenty of boutique vibe, almost like a Dumble without the price tag and exclusionary waiting list. Gorgeous clean sounds, thick sustaining overdrive and a great SRV-like lead voice. Perfectly voiced and highly addictive. USABILITY: Very simple. The Boost function re-voices the amp in a very musical, solo-friendly way and takes it from a Hendrixy clean sound to roaring lead instantly. CONSTRUCTION: Well constructed and within expectations for the price point. The front basketweave looks a bit rough but gives it that real vintage vibe. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Authentic feeling boutique style tone but at a ridiculously low price. A great entry point for those wanting to break away from digital models and try a real tube amp. OVERALL: The price to tone ratio is ridiculous. Simply sounds way better than you would expect at this price point. Definitely worth a test-drive, preferably up loud.

SPECS: WEIGHT: 12.6 Kg TUBES: 2xEL84, 2x12 AX7 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au

MARCH 2012

RRP: $649

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 8 or 15 watt (switchable) OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Valve Cage Head

WEIGHT: 7.8 KGS TUBES: 2xEL 84, 2x12AX7 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

STRAUSS SVT-H50R DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA

MIXDOWN NO. 215

WEIGHT: 1.8kg TUBES: N/A FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: New York City

Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au

DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA

PG. 48

AMP TYPE: Bass Head OUTPUT: 500 Watts OHMS: 500 watts into 4 ohms, 250 watts into 8 ohms COVERING: Metal

STRAUSS SV-TNT-B

DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Amp OUTPUT: 15 Watt OHMS: 4 COVERING: Vinyl

SPECS:

Phone: 1300 005 319 Website: www.imd.com.au

STRAUSS SV-TNT-A

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 8 or 15 watt switchable OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Valve Cage Head

RRP: $1099.99

RRP: $799

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 50 watts OHMS: 4,8 COVERING: Vinyl

WEIGHT: N/A TUBES: 3x12ax7, 2x6L6 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: China

Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au


AMP SPECIAL BLACKSTAR HT-5RS

RRP: $999

BLACKSTAR HT 1RH

RRP: $315

DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS

DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS

RECOMMENDED FOR: At only a few years old the Blackstar HT5 is already an amp classic. As a low-watt screamer it’s great for recording, especially rock, blues and metal tones. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The lower wattage of the HT5 makes for great clean tones with plenty of attack and liveliness and a nice compressed airiness when pushed. Distorted tones rage with harmonics and power amp crunch, making it a great recording or a mic’d up stage amp. USABILITY: With its mini stack layout, the HT5RS is simply fun to use, but it’s also sonically flexible. The added height makes for great controlled feedback, and the footswitchable channels are stage-friendly too. CONSTRUCTION: Reliable and solid, and although the packaging is a bit cumbersome the amp and cabs are easy to transport, set up and tear down in a live situation. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This isn’t Blackstar’s most versatile amp design and there’s a bit of a trade-off between convenience and control, but there are several tonal ‘sweet spots’ which make it all worth it. OVERALL: A great way of adding some visual flair and sonic projection to a minimal stage rig, and a killer option for home recording. And hey, stereo reverb in an amp this size is a great bonus.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Home recorders, bedroom jammers, bands who play in small venues. Plenty of crunch for overdrive tones but nice cleans as well. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: A real gamut-runner. With two channels, reverb, a push-pull power design and true valve tone it can cover a lot more sonic territory than an amp of this size has any right to. Clean jangle, fat overdriven roar and more, with killer harmonics. USABILITY: More of a home or studio amp than a stage one. Mp3/line in, emulated recording/headphone out, reverb, and only a single ISF tone control. Easy and effective. CONSTRUCTION: It’s much smaller than the big Blackstar heads but still has a similar feel. It’s so light that you could probably fit it in a generous gig bag, and it’ll definitely fit on a computer desk. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: As a recording or practice tool it’s unbeatable. Pair it with a big cabinet and get surprising volume, but it really works best at home or in the studio. OVERALL: A surprisingly versatile little amplifier with true tube tone and lots of user-friendly features for practicing and home recording. It’s won plenty of awards and for very good reason.

SPECS: AMP TYPE: 2 Channel, Valve 2 x12” Mini-stack. OUTPUT: 5 watts OHMS: 8,16 COVERING: Black Tolex

WEIGHT: Head 7Kg, 12” Cabs 10.7 Kg (x2) TUBES: 1 x (EEC83), 1 x (12BH7) FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: Korea

Phone: (03) 9761 5577 Website: www.nationalaudio.com.au

BLACKSTAR HT CLUB 50

RRP:$949

RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, hard rock, metal, country, blues rock. Not as versatile as the HT Stage 100 but with everything you need to rock a club stage. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: With two channels, the HT Club 50 can handle clean, dirty, crunchy and full-on saturated distortion. It’s a great metal rhythm amp but can also kick it AC/DC style, and the digital reverb is incredibly versatile, from ambience to outright ‘effect’ vibe. USABILITY: Although it’s capable of a huge range of tones thanks to the ISF control, this is more of a ‘set and forget’ type of amp in a live situation. This makes it great for high-energy bands and blues-rockers. CONSTRUCTION: Typically chunky Blackstar build quality. Heavy enough to feel confident in, but not so heavy that you’ll snap your spine getting it out of the box. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Think of it as about eight different two-channel amps in a single box and which can be configured at a moment’s notice. Much more expensive amps have done much less just as well. OVERALL: A great straightforward rock amp. Or straightforward blues amp. Or straightforward metal amp. Or straightforward country amp. It’s whatever you turn it into, and it sounds great.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Country, hard rock, thrash, shred. Especially for pro players on a budget who need several distinct sounds from one amp. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: One of Blackstar’s most versatile amps. The three channels have six modes which cover everything from brilliant shimmering boutique-like cleans to distorto mega-rage. Set up a fat UK or bright USA clean sound, crunchy hot rhythm and screaming lead and you’re set. USABILITY: Lots of options to sculpt the sound, with Blackstar’s famed ISF control on two of the three channels for even further tone-shaping ability. The two clean options are also great. CONSTRUCTION: Let’s just admit it: Blackstar amps kinda smell funny. But they sound great and if they can handle an Ozzy Osbourne show with Gus G, they can handle anything. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Because it’s so versatile, the HT Stage 100 offers great value. It’s a metal amp, a rock amp, a country amp, a blues rock amp, a fusion amp, all in one. OVERALL: Whether you need crystalline clean, warm crunch or cold brittle brutal metal grind - or all three in one song - the HT Stage 100 can give it to you. And how.

WEIGHT: 15 Kg TUBES: 2 x ECC83, 2 x EL34 FOOTSWITCH: 2 way, Included MADE IN: Korea

Phone: (03) 9761 5577 Website: www.nationalaudio.com.au

VOX NIGHT TRAIN NT50H

SPECS: WEIGHT: 21 Kg TUBES: 4 x EL34, 2 x ECC83, 1 x ECC82 FOOTSWITCH: Included MADE IN: Korea

AMP TYPE: Guitar Valve Head OUTPUT: 100 watts OHMS: 4-16 COVERING: Black Tolex

VOX TONY BRUNO TB35C2

RRP: $1999

DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA AUSTRALIA

DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA AUSTRALIA

RECOMMENDED FOR: Musicians who want enough power and versatility on stage without having to worry about turning the volume down or breaking their back with a big, heavy rig. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: The NT50H gives you plenty of tonal variety. It expands on the already versatile NT15H and brings a second channel for even more grunt. You can go anywhere from classic Vox clean sounds, to bluesy overdrives and right into higher gain rock sounds. USABILITY: There are not a lot of musicians who wouldn’t get something out of this amp. It brings a lot to the plate and is easy to dial in a tone that will suit your needs CONSTRUCTION: Put simply, the NT50H is built like a tank. It may look like a retro toaster on steroids, but its solid build and big transformers deliver what you would hope from it. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This is a great value amp for the money. It gives you plenty of variety and loads of headroom without carrying a price tag that will have you weeping at first sight. OVERALL: Since they first came out last year, I have always been impressed with the NT50H. It offers more than it’s smaller counterparts making it far more versatile and has that rich tone that Vox is known for.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Vox lovers, pro, semi pro those after a loud, punchy combo. SOUND AND MUSICAL VERSATILITY: Tony Bruno has long been considered a guru of amp design and this collaboration with Vox brings a slightly American flavour to the typical Vox tone. Loud with tonnes of headroom the ability to drive the amp, the ‘Macho’ switch and the Master Vol bypass make for great tweaking options. USABILITY: Easy to get started, a little more digging and you’ll really flesh out the extra switches and features beauty. CONSTRUCTION: Tough and weighty the TB35C2 could just about stop a car I reckon. You might want to look at a trolley (or a mate) for lugging this baby around but she’s one tough combo! BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: The combination of classic Vox flavours and stylings with the extra zing of some Tony Bruno magic and you’ve got yourself a great amp. Bruno’s designs might be out of the realm for some players but this Vox offering is a little more in reach. OVERALL: Clean, loud, a real players amp. In fact the Editor commented along the lines that there’s nowhere to hide with this Vox - toneful and clear, you’ll want to keep playing and playing and playing.

SPECS:

Phone: (03) 9693 5111 Website: au.yamaha.com

Phone: (03) 9761 5577 Website: www.nationalaudio.com.au

Phone: (03) 9761 5577 Website: www.nationalaudio.com.au

RRP: $1099

AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Head OUTPUT: 50 watts OHMS: 8, 16 COVERING: Metal

WEIGHT: 4 Kg TUBES: 1 x ECC83, 1 x ECC82 FOOTSWITCH: N/A MADE IN: Korea

RRP:$1249

DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS

AMP TYPE: Guitar Valve Head OUTPUT: 50 Watts OHMS: 8, 16 COVERING: Black Tolex

AMP TYPE: Guitar Valve Head OUTPUT: 1 Watt OHMS: 4-16 COVERING: Black Tolex

Blackstar HT Stage 100

DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS

SPECS:

SPECS:

WEIGHT: 12.2kg TUBES: 4x12AX7, 2xEL34 FOOTSWITCH: Optional VFS2A MADE IN: Vietnam

SPECS: AMP TYPE: Valve Guitar Combo OUTPUT: 35 watts OHMS: 8 COVERING: N/A WEIGHT: 33.5kg

TUBES: 3x12AX7/ECC83, 1x12AT7, 1x12AX7, 4x6V6 FOOTSWITCH: VFS-1 MADE IN: Vietnam

Phone: (03) 9693 5111 Website: au.yamaha.com

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 49


ROAD TESTED TC ELECTRONIC POLYTUNE MINI TUNER TC Electronic recently introduced their Polyphonic tuning to the world stage. With the ability to register all 6 strings at once, the idea is you can see which strings are out of tune quicker and address those – rather than having to go through all strings one at a time. Continuing the Polytune line, TC have gone with an ultra compact mini casing for the aptly named Polytune Mini. WHAT A CRACKER With people doing and wanting things faster these days it perhaps makes sense that tuners were going to cop an overhaul at some stage too. For me tuning is something that definitely shouldn’t be rushed or overlooked (nothing worse than out of tune guitars!!!!) but the fact that it can be used as an indicator first and then operated normally to go in and fine tune each string individually sounds like a goer. The whole premise is that you can quickly see which strings (if any) need attention and then tweak as much as needed. For those number cruncher/tech stat people amongst us TC have designed the Polytune tuners to operate to +/- 1 cent accuracy in Poly mode and then +/- 0.5 cent accuracy in chromatic mode - up there with most standard tuners and yes, the unit automatically switches between poly and chromatic depending on how many strings have been played.

and the led display is bright and colourful. A bit of tinkering and you’ll see that red dots above or below indicate the string is out of tune and that green is in tune. If you then want to explore the further powers of the Polytune Mini you can press the tuner button on the side of the pedal and work through the various modes - standard, polyphonic and then dropped tuning modes (up to 5 semi tones) and capo modes (capable up to the 7th fret) and finally dropped d for those of you that drop the top E string down to low D. Again, quite conclusive but if you don’t need all the extras just use it as a clear and accurate chromatic tuner.

I’ve always been a fan of the Polytune, and now I’m a fan of the Polytune Mini. The poly functionality might be lost on some (as well as the capo and alternate tunings functions), but besides that the mini is still a great, small footprint chromatic tuner even if you want to just use it in its most basic form. TC have made a name for themselves with quality, useful music gear and the Polytune Mini adds to that extensive list.

By Nick Brown TUNE IT UP It’s essentially the functionality of the standard Polytune in a smaller footprint and the Mini will be a winner for a lot of people. Plenty of people out there value pedal board real estate and the fact they can squash this in and free up space possibly for something else is gold. In use, the screen although mini is still big enough to read clearly

RRP $149

Website: www.ambertech.com.au

GRABBED BY THE GOOLIES There are a lot of myths about scalloped fretboards: do they make you play faster? Do they change the tone of the guitar? Do you get haunted by the ghosts of the chunks of wood they carve out? The truth is, a scalloped fretboard doesn’t help your fretboard speed at all. In fact, it could even slow you down if you’re used to low frets and light strings. What it really does is it allows you go grab every note by the goolies, whether you’re laying into a five-semitone bend or playing a blazing flurry of 64th notes. The Horizon 27 is particularly playable because the scallops start up where you really need them, where fret spacing starts to mush your fingers together, so you can really get the most out of each note. And they really help you to get a grip on those extra 25th, 26th and 27th frets. It’s safe to say that these frets wouldn’t be anywhere near as blazable if the fretboard was unscalloped.

JUMBO SERVING The neck features 27 - yes, 27 - extra jumbo frets, although the last one doesn’t quite extend all the way up to the low E string thanks to the curved fretboard edge. The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan SHR-1n single coilsized humbucker which slants along with the fretboard, while the bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan TB-14 ‘Custom’ model. There’s a three way pickup selector switch, a master volume control, and a master tone pot which doubles as a pushpush coil split. Oh and the fretboard is scalloped from the 12th fret to the 24th, which makes a huge difference to playability but is a subtle enough modification that you might not even notice it if you see the guitar hanging on the wall in a store.

MIXDOWN NO. 215

15” CRASH The new 15” crash is an interesting one. The example I played had a real ‘splash’ like character with a distinct note through the sound. The cymbal speaks and decays rather quickly. The more I played it along side the other crashes, the more I tended to use it more primarily as an effect rather than main crash in the usual sense. It would be cool above your hi-hats for example for the odd sound change. It sounded different to the others. Not bad at all, just different – not as dark. 16” CRASH This updated version crash was surprising too but for a different reason. It was the quietest of the lot for me. Very warm and dark but I really had to lay into it a bit to get it to open up. That said, it has a sweet sound and a very light feel that could be very useful for a lot of situations, for example, smaller gigs etc. You could play the way you normally do and not fear of the cymbal being inappropriate. 17” CRASH My favourite of the lot actually. This cymbal has the best blend of dark, warm and cut. The crash sound is just so damn useable. It would be nice live or recorded and I could see it being a regular in

my set up. Not just for Jazz but as a bit of an all rounder. It speaks quickly at all velocities. It appears to be heavy but is actually lighter in the way it plays. 18” CRASH The 18” crash was the most old school for me. I actually own an older version of this crash and have loved it for a while now. This one still resembles the one I own being dark with a long decay. It feels a little heavier but has a thin weight, yet requires a bit of force to get it going. That said, it then responds reasonably well to riding it with the tip of the stick too with a bright bell. It would be versatile to cut a variety of situations as well. 19” CRASH/RIDE The new 19”, as the name suggests is an all-rounder. It features a larger bell for riding and an old school, trashy wash. It crashes very, very well and has the same quality as the 18” crash when you do so. It opens up easily and would be really useable on the gig. In fact, I’d even go as far to say that you could sub this cymbal in instead of the 18” and you would be very happy. The crash is a bit louder too but it’s lower in pitch and a bit darker. Loved it. All these K Constantinople’s have a distinct character – dark. For some, they won’t be appropriate but for drummers like myself that have to be versatile in sound, I reckon they’re cool and won’t disappoint. Besides, Zildjian made them to cater for the ongoing search for that vintage sound. Reckon they did a good thing. By Adrian Violi

Call for prices Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au

Phone: 1800 251 367

Part of the Japanese-made Standard Series, the Horizon FR 27 is an alder-bodied superstrat with a three piece maple neck, neck thru construction with super-comfortable neck/ body carve, snappy 25.5” scale length, and smoky-looking black nickel hardware. The fretboard is ebony with offset inlays, and the bridge is an original Floyd Rose.

PG. 50

Zildjian’s popular K Constantinople line of high-end cymbals has been very popular ever since they were launched a few years ago. The aim is to offer the player an ‘old school’ jazz sound and the manufacturing techniques used for these cymbals reflect that of the old days. The response has been good and I’ve played many good variants under the Constantinople name. Here we have a whole bunch of new crashes to discuss. Most interestingly are the 15” and 17” crashes Zildjian have now introduced along the current, now updated 16” and 18” crashes as well as an all-new 19” crash/ride. They all have some minor changes in hammering techniques featuring a new pin lathe and vintage cups.

Distributor : Amber Technology

ESP HORIZON FR 27

IN A PINCH Tonally, the Horizon FR 27 is fat and full of attitude. The bridge pickup screams with harmonics and pick attack, with a respectable low end which will certainly please the downtuning crowd, but it works great for standard tuning too. Pinch harmonics fly off this thing. And the neck pickup is very articulate and clear even at high gain levels, again with plenty of pick attack and great sustain. Hit that coil split though and you’ll get a thinner, grittier, rougher, almost vintage feel from the guitar. With the right amp you could almost use the coil split as a faux channel switch.

ZILDJIAN K CONSTANTINOPLE CRASHES

What I like most about the Horizon 27 is that it’s almost like a custom shop guitar. It has plenty of features that are unusual and unique - the scalloped fretboard, 27 frets - yet it’s a production guitar that you don’t have to wait months for. Construction quality is flawless and even the factory setup is great. I think it’s a testament to growing quality control standards across the guitar industry that over the past year I’ve reviewed more ‘I wish I owned this’ guitars than ever before. By Peter Hodgson

RRP $4499 Distributor: CMI Music & Audio Phone: (03) 9315 2244 Website: www.cmi.com.au

MARCH 2012

TC HELICON VOICELIVE PLAY & VOICELIVE PLAY GTX I have seen and tried a number of products over the last couple of years from TC Helicon as they further develop their range of VoiceLive effects units and I think these two that have landed on my desk this month are by far the most exciting. Both these pedals take the now legendary vocal processing that TC Helicon is renowned for and packs it into an intuitively design floor pedal ready for use on stage or in the studio and the VoiceLive Play GTX brings something really special into play as well. VOICELIVE PLAY This unit is really made for anyone who wants to get the most out of the vocals and doesn’t have a degree in audio engineering, nor a full rack of gear to support it. It really is so simple to plug it in and get browsing through more than 200 presets to see what you can achieve with your vocals. Although this is barely the start of what is built into the unit. I got carried away playing around with the presets, but I soon started to dig deeper and find all sorts of neat tricks in this compact and well built box. There is an option to run an MP3 player though the unit with voice cancelling technology that allows you to sing along with your favourite tracks and add harmonies and effects to your voice at the same time. I have never really bought the whole voice cancelling thing, it never really seems to work for me, but TC Helicon have improved this feature to be one of the best I have heard. Furthermore, there are two room microphones built into either side of the unit so the VoiceLive Play can hear what is going on with backing tracks or other instruments and it intuitively adapts the effects or harmonies to fit with the performance. This is a really clever idea and one that I really wasn’t expecting to find in a pedal style effects unit. The quick browsing system in the VoiceLive Play

allows you to pick a genre or effect style and go from there straight away. You can then choose from the presets that best work within this category. Two of the three silent switches on the front panel allow you to scroll through the settings, while the third one initiates the “Hit” feature which adds an extra level of brilliance to the setting you are using. Holding this button down clears any effect and gives you a clean voice for talking to your audience between songs. VOICELIVE PLAY GTX The VoiceLive Play GTX takes all the goodness of its counterpart and includes the ability to run your guitar through the pedal so you can add effects to your guitar sound as well. But furthermore, the GTX listens to the guitar and analyses the notes being played so that it can set the harmonies to work with the guitar. You don’t need to worry about pre-programming your harmonies for the key of any song, just let the GTX listen as you play and it automatically adjusts from the last note played. This means you harmonies will always work with your music, no matter what key you are playing in. All the hard work of getting vocal harmonies to sound right just got taken away. It seems too easy and too simple, and that is basically because it is. Now you can get great sounding effects for your guitar, whether it is an acoustic or an electric, with a number of classic amp tones modelled within the GTX, and you can let you vocal harmonies just fall into place without a worry! By Rob Gee

RRP $399 (Play Live), $569 (Play GTX) Distributor : Amber Technology Phone: 1800 251 367 Website: www.ambertech.com.au


ROAD TESTED ZILDJIAN K CONSTANTINOPLE 22” RENAISSANCE / 20”BOUNCE RIDE CYMBALS Zildjian have recently released some new additions to the K Constantinople family. There are new Crashes and Hi-Hats but here we have two new Ride cymbals that are worth a mention. Keeping with the Constantinople motto of maintaining the ‘old school’ sound, these new rides are made with techniques reflecting the early days. 22” CONSTANTINOPLE RENAISSANCE RIDE This ride is actually a collaboration with jazz drummer Adam Nussnbaum. The cymbal features smooth lathing on both sides and an unlathed bell underneath. Some cool looking hammerings adorn the Ride with perhaps in the most interesting being the four distinct hammer clusters evenly spaced around the cymbal. It certainly looks like a vintage K and is medium-thin in weight. The sound of this ride is interesting indeed. It is definitely more a Jazz ride due to the large wash. I actually found there to be very little stick definition at all but a useable wash that would kind of ‘coat’ the sound of the band and give you a constant texture. I did find changing my stick from a ball tip to an oval tip created more definition in the stick sound. It was very light and resembles early Jazz sounds. Quite nice. The hammerings on this cymbal create a very dark tonality and just a little bit of ‘trash’ to the sound on crashes. It suits the cymbal though and compliments it’s light feel and low pitch. The crash is very loud though and in some ways, it was my favourite part of the cymbal. The bell is also very clear and cuts very well. Overall, I’d call the Renaissance a ‘Ride with character’. 20” CONSTANTINOPLE BOUNCE RIDE The new Bounce ride is actually the sibling of the original 22” Bounce ride introduced two years

ago. Drummer Kenny Washington is responsible for having input in the conception of this cymbal. It features the now standard Constantinople hammering techniques by Zildjian including traditional hammer clusters – eight actually – around the cymbal that add a bit of dirtiness to the sound. In addition to this the 20” Bounce ride has all sorts of tonal grooves and marks on it. It’s a good-looking cymbal. Being a 20” rather than 22”, the pitch is higher than the Renaissance. It’s also more ‘sticky’ too but in no way is it a dry cymbal. There’s just more definition overall for those faster patterns. Those hammer clusters do indeed deliver a bit of trash but it’s pretty cool. Not a ‘clean’ sound by any means but that’s a good thing for this cymbal. That said, there was an underlying ‘gong’ vibe that I didn’t like so much but you’d really need to hear it for yourself and I wasn’t factoring in any other instruments in the mix. There’s a big crash sound but not overpowering in the way the Renaissance can be if hit too hard and unlike the ‘Ren’ a ball tip stick was my preference on the Bounce ride. It has a medium-thin weight and a slightly heavier feel but an overall dark tone that would really suit some players. Zildjian really hold the bar high when it comes to cymbal making. There is something for everyone and some drummers out there are really going to like these new rides. Some won’t of course and that my friends is the best thing about drumming – everyone has a different sound. These two are worth checking out if you’re in the market. By Adrian Violi RRP $819 (22” Constantinople Renaissance Ride), $699 (20” Constantinople Bounce Ride)

21” AND 22” DARK COMPLEX RIDES This pair of cymbals will really turn heads in the shops I’d say. I noticed them immediately and was so keen to hear them. The reason for their looks is their finish. They are unlathed with a ‘satin’ type brilliant finish. So they’re not dark and burnt looking but bright with no scoring. Hammering is a different thing and they’re covered in that. Add that famous K branding and they look great. The sound is interesting and ‘complex’ is a good word to start describing them actually. Both have a trashy vibe and a dryness about them. Not as much as say a Special Dry ride but still dry with a lot of stick definition. This also means they have a shorter decay in their sound. It’s almost as if the combination of hammerings and finish have a control on the cymbal’s volume. You can ride really hard on them and they don’t get too carried away but there’s a degree of trashy wash that accompanies. They can be crashed and it’s an angry sound when you do. The 22” is fundamentally lower in pitch than the 21” but there are some other differences between the two. I found the 21” to be ‘angrier’ overall and the 22” to be dryer, more ‘sticky’ with a shorter crash. So the 21” could be louder and slightly more alive. Both feature softish bells that don’t have a whole lot of definition or cut. Overall, these are some really interesting cymbals that do need to be heard. They are indeed complex

READY

Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au

ZILDJIAN K CUSTOM – 21”/22” DARK COMPLEX RIDES / 19” HYBRID TRASH SMASH CYMBALS The Zildjian K Custom line is stuff young, up and coming drummers look to for the future. Bit like a Ferrari on your wall. This was the way for me growing up. I always wanted to play K-Customs. Nowadays, it’s still the same and with new models coming out there’s even more reasons to want to. Here we have three cymbals to discuss – two rides and one effect cymbal and I can tell you they’d sell just on looks alone.

D I G I TA L D I V I D E N D

in their sound and it would be up to the individual to decide where this complexity was appropriate. That said, the Dark Complex rides could be versatile if used right. 19” HYBRID TRASH SMASH When Zildjian gets together with a master drummer they often produce cool things. Crash of Doom with Dennis Chambers comes to mind. Akira Jimbo that has his finger in the pie in 2006 with the Hybrid series cymbal line. He’s back at it in 2012 with the new 19” K Custom Hybrid Trash Smash. This cymbal is really cool. It features half the cymbal from the outer edge being lathed and the rest of the cymbal to the bell being unlathed with a brilliant finish. Speaking of the bell – it really needs mention here as it is actually what Zildjian call their ‘volcano’ bell that dips in the middle of itself as seen on the Z3 Ultra Hammered Chinas. The last unique feature on the Trash Smash is the unique line hammerings that make the cymbal look like it’s bent in four corners. These give the trash quality I expected. Overall, this cymbal is great blend of china and crash. The unlathed section of the cymbal is useful for riding and obviously the crash is there. Hit the ‘smash’ hard and you get all the china-like qualities you’d like. But it’s not anywhere near as hardcore or as short as a normal china meaning it’s very useable for lot of gigs and situations. Ideal replacement for your current china or as another effect or crash. By Adrian Violi

XS WIRELESS is your entry to the wireless world. No matter if you are a speaker, singer or musician these wireless all-in-one packages provide you with reliable transmission and excellent sound quality. Featuring: • True dual diversity antenna system • 960 frequencies tuneable in 25kHz steps • 8 frequency bands with 12 factory presets • Automatic free frequency search • Wireless frequency transmitter synchronisation • Award winning Sennheiser capsule technology

From Only $529 For more information: Syntec International Australia: Free Call 1800 648 628 New Zealand: Free Call 0800 100 755 www.sennheiser.com.au

RRP: $629 (21” Dark Complex), $659 (22” Dark Complex), $529 (19” Hybrid Trash Smash) Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 51


ROAD TESTED PLANET WAVES INSTRUMENT ACCESSORIES When I picked up this box of Planet Waves goodies at the Mixdown office to review for this issue, I couldn’t help but laugh: I already owned several of them. I’ve put them through their paces on stage and at home for years now, in some cases. So let’s take a look at this carton of guitar goodness.

PLANET WAVES CIRCUIT BREAKER INSTRUMENT CABLE I’ve been using the 10 foot version this cable on stage for about five years now. It’s a 20 foot instrument cable. The cable itself is loaded with some very high quality features: oxygenfree copper conductors, foamed polyethylene insulation, conductive PVC jacked and, for even further noise-stifling, a foil shield and a dense braided shield. The outer coating is a durable polymer jacket which prevents that annoying tangled binding effect that a lot of cables exhibit. The cable is very noise-free, to the point where I eventually chopped my original cable down to about a foot and a half long for use as the cord for my wireless, since there was no annoying handling noise when rocking out on stage. But wait, there’s more! The jack on one end features an on/off switch which serves as a circuit breaker so you can mute your signal during guitar changes. When I kept my own cord at full length this was very handy, cutting out the horrible buzz factor when changing axes on stage. But now that I’m using the wireless, it’s extra handy. I can only afford one wireless transmitter, but I need to change guitars every now and then during a gig, and if I turn my wireless transmitter off to do this it can take a while to ‘find’ the receiver station again. Hitting the Circuit Breaker button cuts out the signal to the wireless without breaking the connection between the transmitter and receiver and just makes life generally easier.

PRO-WINDER The Pro Winder is an elegantly simple solution to the problem of cutting down the frustration of string changes. It’s a combined string winder, cutting tool and bridge pin puller. There are plenty of combined winder-pullers out there but we all know the kind: they’re flimsy and the plastic wears out after just a few acoustic string changes. The ProWinder is guaranteed for life so this is certainly not a worry. The cutting mechanism is reassuringly safe - there’s pretty much zero chance that you could accidentally snip a finger or something, because you need to apply a certain amount of pressure to open and close the snipping mechanism. The winding mechanism turns smoothly and securely, and the tuning machine grip is nice and solid.

PG. 52

MIXDOWN NO. 215

GUITAR REST Oh man, I need one of these. The Guitar Rest is a handy little device which serves one purpose: to allow you to rest your guitar against any flat surface without it falling over. Planet Waves doesn’t specify what material the Guitar Rest is made of but it feels like some kind of rubber. It uses its own surface friction to resist movement. Just sit it on the edge of a table, desk, bookcase or whatever, and lean your guitar against it. It won’t move (within reason). It’s such an unbelievably simple device yet it works so well.

DUOPLEC PLECTRUM I like to think I have seen just about everything when it comes to innovation in pick designs. After all, it is just a piece of plastic used to strike the strings of your guitar, so how complicated could it be? I have seen different shapes, different grips, different points and even different materials that can push the price of one single pick up to fifty dollars or more. Madness, I know. But, then, just when I thought I had seen it all, an Australian company has come along and offered us a new idea that could well meet the needs of a lot of guitarists out there, and without a ridiculous price tag either. WHAT’S IN A NAME The Duoplec is quite simply that. Two plectrums in one precision moulding that gives you variety in thickness and shape without having to change between picks. The idea is really quite simple and so is the purpose driving it. Many guitar players like to use a softer pick for strumming and generally a firmer, pointier pick for intricate solo work. So, rather than having to settle for one pick that kind of meets your needs in both areas, or changing picks between or during songs, the Duoplec puts both of these in your hand at once. DOUBLE THE FUN At first, it does feel a little odd holding the large plectrum that features two points and I found myself not knowing which way to go with it, but it doesn’t take long to realise this little gem’s potential and gain a feel for it within the hand.

The mixed gauged promo pack features three different thicknesses for the strumming pick, giving you the choice of .38mm, .46mm and .54mm. These are all gauges that many guitarists would tend to stay away from when choosing just one pick to suit all their needs, but ones that many would gladly strum with if that was its sole purpose. It feels nice being able to quickly switch from a stiffer 1.2mm pick to a softer one allowing more delicate control in certain sections of a song by simply rotating the pick in your fingers. VERSATILITY PLUS The Duoplec is really going to give you greater tonal and dynamic control over your instrument by allowing you to use the right gauge of pick for whatever style of music you move through. Being made of a precision moulded nylon, it is hard wearing and doesn’t round off quickly with heavy playing. But best of all, because of the size, you are unlikely to drop it or ever lose one even if you do; they stand out from across the room! By Rob Gee

RRP $10 (6 pack) Distributor: Duoplec Website: www.duoplecguitarpicks.com.au

YAMAHA PSRS650 KEYBOARD

VARI-GRIP The other Planet Waves gadget that I own and use regularly (actually I use the Cable Station pedalboard cable and a pedal tuner). The Varigrip is a hand exerciser that you can use when you need to practice but you’re not near a guitar. There are individual pistons one for each finger, and you can use it to exercise either hand. There’s a reversemolded comfort grip to make things easier on your palm, but you can remove this from the base of the unit and place it over the finger exercisers instead, exposing a bumpy lined surface designed to emulate guitar strings so that you can turn the unit upside down and work on maintaining your callouses. I love my Varigrip and I use it a lot to keep my fingers nimble when I know I might not get a chance to play guitar for a few days.

MANDOLIN AND BANJO STRAP I also checked out Planet Waves’ banjo and mandolin straps. They look and feel very comfortable, are neatly and cleanly constructed, and they feel neither too rigid nor too flexible. The mandolin strap is 3/4” wide and made with premium leathers that are safe for all finishes. The Classic Leather banjo strap is 2” wide and adjustable in length. Check out Planet Waves’ classical guitar straps too.

RRP: $59.99 (cable), $24.99 (Pro-Winder), $19.99 (guitar rest), $24.99 (Vari-Grip), Call for prices (straps) Distributor: D’Addario Australia Phone: (03) 8761 6293 Email: sales@daddario.com.au

MARCH 2012

It has been a couple of years now since the release of the PSRS550 and it was coming to that time when Yamaha were due to upgrade this model and they have done so quite handsomely. The introduction of the PSRS650 sees a real overhaul of the older model and brings to life a whole new keyboard that is more than just a cosmetic upgrade or expanded sound set. The PSRS650 now represents what I consider to be the best value arranger keyboard Yamaha have ever presented us with and one that will be very welcome to those who are looking to upgrade from a beginners keyboard into a more serious machine without being slogged at the checkout. FAMILIAR FRIEND At first glance, the front facing of the PSRS650 does look fairly similar to its predecessor, but there are differences when you have a closer look. The LCD display has been moved up the panel to sit between the speakers and allows the controls to be spaced out across the front panel in a more logical manner, improving your workflow when running through the features. The front ported bass reflex speakers on either side of the front panel deliver a power sound that really took me by surprise. Firing the keyboard up and having it load into the “Live! Grand Piano” voice, I was very surprised at how good they sounded. When I turned the volume up it got even better. NEW VOICES It seems that as Yamaha develops more voices and richer sounds for its flagship Tyros workstation, they slowly filter down the range so that even the keyboards in the lower price points get to enjoy these sounds. This is no different here. The expanded voices in the PSRS650 are a great leap from earlier models with new “MegaVoices” that really bring your performance to life. The “Live!” voices also are really quite astounding and have to

be heard to know what I am getting at. The velocity sensitivity in these voices not only increases the volume of the notes, but also the characteristics as would be expected when using the real instrument it is portraying. Yamaha have put a lot of work into these new voice styles and it really shows, especially in the guitar voices, something that has never really been right in any keyboard until recently. Yamaha’s “MegaVoice” and Live! Voice” guitar sounds give you all the subtle nuances you would expect from the real thing. There is a change in the note character and dynamics with velocity adjustment, string noise when sliding from notes or even subtle fret buzz when a note is hit too hard on an acoustic guitar voice. These elements really bring the new voices to life and make the PSRS650 that much more of a contender for those looking for a serious arranger keyboard on a budget. THE LIST GOES ON There is, as is often the case with Yamaha keyboards, just too much to talk about. With 181 preset accompaniment styles, hundreds of effects, dual and split keyboard functions and recording capabilities, the PSRS650 is a whole lot of keyboard. This is where it starts to get serious when it comes to putting together a complete sound with just one instrument. If you are looking to take your love of the keyboard further, have a look and a listen to the new PSRS650 from Yamaha and hear for yourself. By Rob Gee

RRP: $1099 Distributor: Yamaha Australia Phone: (03) 9693 5111 Website: au.yamaha.com


KSeries_Respect_MixDown_40x28cm_.indd 1

17/12/2011 12:24:52 PM


ROAD TESTED LTD B-335 BASS GUITAR ESP are justifiably well known for their guitars, which are especially popular in the hard rock and metal communities, but more and more, ESP and LTD basses can be found holding down the low end of modern rock and metal bands. And as bass techniques begin to merge more and more with guitar ones, it makes a lot of sense. ESP knows exactly how to make a super-speedy instrument for aggressive playing styles, and the B-335 is a great example of such a bass.

ESP ASB-5 active bridge and neck pickups as well as an ESP ABQ-3 three band active EQ with treble, mid and bass boost and cut as well as a master volume control and a balance pot. The ESP pickups aren’t quite as distinctive as the EMG active pickups found in many ESP basses, but they do a fine job of translating the lows and highs, essential for any metal tone. They’re nicely noiseless, which is very important as a lot of players will be plugging this baby into a distorted or at least biamped rig. The blend pot lets you dial in the perfect ratio of attack and body, and the EQ is particularly useful at hitting the sweet spot in your amp or effect rig for the most musical distortion. The midrange pot is great for either scooping the centre out of your tone or cranking it up for more cut for solo sections. And playability is great. The B-335 doesn’t seem to favour either picking or fingerstyle, rather it works perfectly well for either, but I really noticed that when playing with a pick I was really able to blaze on the neck. ESP has definitely taken some cues from its super fast guitar necks when designing the B-335, making it very playable for fast thrash or metalcore riffage.

B-SHARP The B-335 is made of ash - not an overly common wood for a bass - and it’s finished in Stain Black (brown and red are also available) to shot off the grain of the wood, which almost has a tigerstripe effect as it alternates between closed and open grain sections. The body is bevelled for comfort and style, and the treble side cutaway offers flawless upper fret access. ALL FOR U The neck is bolted to the body by an extremely secure six bolt system which seem to offer really great vibrational transfer between the two components. There are 24 extra jumbo frets on the five piece maple neck. The rosewood fretboard carries abalone inlays with the exception of a 12th fret block inlay featuring the model number. The back of the neck is an extra thin U contour, and the factory action is extremely low. The neck feels great, although the fret slots are a little messy and there are some tooling marks particularly around the bass side of the 24th fret area. But these are purely cosmetic and won’t impede playability in any way.

The B-335’s active preamp and comfortable neck give it enough sonic flexibility to be much more than a metal bass, but it definitely excels at that style. Very minor finishing issues aside, it’s a high quality yet affordable bass that covers a lot of ground and plays brilliantly. By Peter Hodgson

PROPELLERHEAD BALANCE AUDIO INTERFACE I remember when I first got to use ReBirth some time back when a 40 GB hard drive was huge. That was amazing. Then I was blown away by this new product called Reason that had a cool tab function that allowed you to get to the back of the virtual rack and move around the patch cables until you had no idea of what was going on. That was cool. Now, I am sitting here with another development from Propellerhead that I never expected to see – Balance, a dedicated desktop audio interface for use with their latest software (or just about any other software really). LET’S GO FOR A SPIN So, now that I have the latest Propellerhead innovation in front of me, it is nice to be ‘wowed’ by them yet again, more than fifteen years after my first introduction to the Swedish software manufacturer that has redefined the way many people write and produce their music. So, Balance. What exactly is it? Propellerhead have stepped it up a little more this time with the latest launch of the Reason range and brought us Balance, an audio interface to use with our favourite software. It has a certain Swedish charm in the design. You could be forgiven for mistaking it for an item from the IKEA catalogue, but that is all part of the charm. It is form and function all together in a unique design and clever layout. THERE’S A REASON The rear of the unit has all the connections (except the headphone output that is located on the side for easy access). There are four line level inputs, two guitar inputs with pad switching and two microphone inputs on XLR connections both with independent phantom power buttons. There are also two line level outputs on 6.5mm jacks and a USB connection hidden under a sticker warning you to install Reason Essentials before connecting the unit. So, that answers the next question. Yes, it

does come with bundled software. Bundled with Reason Essentials, Balance is ready to go right out of the box. This is obviously a cut down version of Reason 6, but do not let that discourage you. You still get audio recording capabilities and a whole array of effects and virtual instruments to get you started and if you find that is not enough, you can easily upgrade to the full version without paying the full price. EVEN FLOW The top panel of the unit makes it all really easy. There are two large knobs for main output levels and headphone levels with a Mute/Direct Monitoring switch to dictate what is heard. Above this is the gain controls for the two inputs and two rows of buttons to select the inputs you want to run from. This makes it possible to connect up to eight separate devices to the Balance hardware and leave them connected. Then, when you want to record from any two of these eight, you just tap the appropriate button and the signal flow is routed for you. It makes it very easy to streamline you studio and not have to constantly change you connections around for different parts. In all, this is a really trendy little interface. It looks great to behold. It feels great to operate. It is bundled with a serious software package and even the box it comes in looks like it should take pride of place on a shelf in your studio. The Swedes don’t leave anything to chance. By Rob Gee Price: RRP $499 Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au

RRP $1019

FRESH POTS The tuners and bridge are ESP originals, as are the pickups and electronics. You’ll get a pair of

Distributor: CMI Music & Audio Phone: (03) 9315 2244

KORG MONOTRIBE ANALOGUE RIBBON STATION

Website: www.cmi.com.au

SHURE SRH1440 OPEN BACK HEADPHONES Well, these are it. That is what I first thought when I listened to some tracks on the Shure SRH1440 headphones. The newest product in Shure’s range of professional headphones has really set the standard for listening comfort and quality.

pressure is not backing up behind the drivers and doubling into your ears. It is all due to this design that the SRH1440 headphones are able to deliver such an articulate transient response and a full bottom end that does not become overbearing. Shure have really raised the bar with headphone design with the SRH1440s, so much so that it is going to be hard to listen to any other headphones after these and get a full enjoyment form the experience.

COMFORT IN DESIGN The SHR1440 are a lightweight headphone that sits over your ears and are barely noticeable they are so comfortable. The velour ear pads, of which you get a spare pair for when you manage to wear the first ones out, cup the ears gently and provide a comfortable medium for hearing everything you want from your music. I had not problems wearing these for over an hour without discomfort and could quite easily see myself running long listening sessions with these headphones without the need to take them off to let my ears breath or worry about the units pinching my head. I often find that my ears tend to get hot after ten or fifteen minutes with most headphones, but this was definitely not the case with the SRH1440s. OPEN BACK DYNAMICS The brilliance of your music, whether it is for mixing and mastering, or just for casual listening, is really allowed to come out thanks to the open back design of the SRH1440s. The 400mm drivers deliver a rich, dynamic sound that lets you hear every subtle nuance of the music. The open backed design does not restrict the drivers, like in so many other headphones, so they are free to move the air as the sound passes through them. This creates a far more natural response and doesn’t leave you with a forced feeling as the air

PG. 54

MIXDOWN NO. 215

FULLY EQUIPPED As I have come to expect with all Shure headphones, you get everything you could want included when you purchase a pair of the SRH1440s. There is no need to go out and buy accessories to complete the unit, it all comes included. Packaged with the headphones is an extremely sturdy zippered case with an internal foam mounting to protect your new headphones. You get not one, but two removable cables, a thread adaptor and a spare pair of velour pads, to ensure that you can enjoy the benefits of these amazing headphones for many years after you purchase them. Shure have thought of everything with the SRH1440 professional open back headphones. You get exceptional comfort, unbelievable audio quality and all the added extras in one complete package. But be warned, if you do try these headphones out, it will ruin your listening experience on just about any other headphones you try after that. By Rob Gee Price: RRP $495 Distributor: Jands Phone: (02) 9582 0909 Website: www.jands.com.au

MARCH 2012

OK, so this one wins my ‘cooler than cool’ award. Every once in a while, a piece of gear comes along that makes me go “wow” and the Monotribe from Korg has definitely done just that. For those of you who have seen the smaller Monotron kicking around for the last year or so, you will know Korg is onto a winner bringing back analogue synths in a small format that is low budget but heaps of fun. Well, the Monotribe has just gone that extra step further. This little machine is all analogue and builds on technology that Korg has been developing for the last forty years. And it is so affordable, everyone really should pop out and buy one. Now, you get even more analogue power in a compact package. The Monotribe still has the same ribbon control as the Monotron, but you get a drum machine (albeit a very basic one) thrown in and an 8 step, 4 part sequencer as well. The three part drum machine gives you a snare, kick and hi-hats, all created with the internal analogue circuitry, so they sound like something out of a classic drum machine of the 80s. Brilliant! On top of this, there are loads of additional controls that were not available on the Monotribe’s smaller counterpart. There is a knob to select the octave of the VCO as well as your choice of Square, Saw or Triangle waveforms. The VCF is the same 12 dB/ Oct as that which is found in the Monotron, and is the same design as those used by Korg in their Original MS-10 and MS-20 synthesizers. The LFO is more complex too as can modulate the VCO, VCF or both with a new target switch. It has a selection

of waveform shapes, with controls for intensity and rate as well as a speed control (separate to the Rate) to select between Fast, Slow and 1-Shot. The Monotribe takes the fun and excitement of the Monotron and turns it into a real little beast. It gives you the ability to take control of your sounds and really build on the basics with the drums and step sequencer. The eight part step sequencer can be doubled to give you more creative options for the synth, kick, snare and hats. You can couple multiple units together to really develop incredible sounds and even sync them with other analogue hardware for full studio integration. The Korg Monotribe could well be the most fun you could have with a modern synth and reinvigorate your love with vintage gear. And for all those keyboard players out there that never really got into it when analogue was all there was, the dark days before digital, I think you too will find this a heap of fun and a very creative tool as it allows the user to go about the music creation process in a different way and so opens up new ideas. To top it off, this little bomb shell is in a box that can fit in your laptop bag, runs on batteries and has it’s own built in speaker! By Rob Gee

Price: Call for pricing. Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au


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www.majormusic.com.au

1300 30 66 70

MARCH 2012

NO. 215 MIXDOWN

PG. 55


Blackbird singing in the dead of night take these sunken eyes and learn to see all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free

BLACKBIRD Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney ©1968, ® 1996 Sony/ATV Tunes LLC. ©2011 C.F. Martin & Co. martinguitar.com

C F Martin Guitars & Strings Proudly Distributed & Supported by Electric Factory Pty Ltd 188 Plenty Road Preston VIC 3072 cfmartin@elfa.com.au


MIxdown Magazine #215