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MAY 2012


PG. 1

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Rokit 5

PG. 2


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PG. 3


CONTENTS 6 8 14 24 26 28

What a month in the MI world! There has certainly been many highlights with new innovative product hitting the Australian market as debuted recently from Musikmesse and a couple of testing times too, one being the passing of legendary electric guitar amp founder, Mr. Jim Marshall. We pay tribute to Jim and his Marshall amplifier, one of the most synonymous brands and pieces of equipment known to rockn’roll music and the numerous guitar legends that employ Marshall for that awe-inspiring sound. We also take a look at the new wave of popularity with the Hawaiian Ukulele, an instrument that is changing the musical landscape and inspiring people from all walks of life to pick up this little four stringed instrument and strum, strum, strum. Stacked to the brim with all the latest Product News, Road Tests, Columns, Q&A’s with some of the country’s leading music education providers and our usual star-studded feature interviews makes for one wholesome read. We catch up with industry legends and cover stars Garbage, homegrown heroes The Temper Trap and Monatoba Hal from the emerging Ukulele stardom to name just a few. Enjoy! Tune in, drop out, read on – Mixdown


32 34 36

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Aleksei Plinte Editor In Chief




COVER ART Luke Benge MIXDOWN OFFICE 3 Newton Street Richmond VIC 3121 Phone: (03) 9428 3600 Fax: (03) 9428 3611 ADVERTISING Aleksei Plinte, Ronnit Sternfein





GRAPHIC ARTISTS Luke Benge, Gill Tucker, Mike Cusack LOGO DESIGN CONTRIBUTORS Peter Hodgson, Rob Gee, Nick Brown, Adrian Violi





APRIL 2012


PG. 5




“There’s a stunning amount of functionality built into it. So much so that it’ s kind of har d to def ne it as any one thing.” That’s how we described the incr edible Zoom B3 Bass Effects & Amp Simulator in our glowing r oad test. And now your lucky day has come – we have one of these beasts up for grabs! For your chance to win, head along to the Mixdown Facebook page ( MixdownMagazine), ‘Like’ the pic of the Zoom B3 we posted on W ednesday May 2, and check out the amp model being emulated in the rightmost LCD scr een. Email the answer along with your name, postal addr ess and contact number to mixdown@ for your chance to win!

LAST MONTH’S WINNER STERLING BY MUSIC MAN SUB SILO 3 Based on classic and r espected Music Man designs including the Silhouette, Axis, Stingray and Stingray 5, and featuring solid tone woods, road tested electronics and eye catching f nishes, the SUB series intr oduces Music Man’s renowned tone and playability to a new generation of musicians. As you remember, last month we had the uber -sweet SUB Silo 3 up for grabs, but as you know, there can only be one winner.

*Competition disclaimer* All Mixdown Magazine competition winners agr ee 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.

Huge congrats to John Smith fr om Geebung, QLD for picking up the SUB Silo 3, and cheers to CMC Music for the sweet giveaway!

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!)




Check out the new PolyTune® Mini at your nearest Authorised TC Dealer Tel: 1800 251 367

PG. 6


MAY 2012

The first portable Mid-Side recorder Newly designed user interface. Bigger and brighter LCD screen. Five new mic capsules. USB 2.0 interface. Analog Mic Gain for precision volume control. Edit audio onboard. Onboard reference speaker and stereo output. New data recovery function. 20 hours of battery life. Create stunning 360째 surround sound recordings. Linear PCM recording at up to 24bit/96kHz quality. Broadcast Wave Format support. 32GB SDHC card support. WaveLab LE software included for editing and mastering. Two Year Warranty when purchased from Authorised Australian dealers

The H2n features our best microphones yet and is the only portable recorder with five mic capsules onboard. The H2n offers four unique recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90째 X/Y stereo, 2-channel and 4-channel surround sound. APRIL 2012


PG. 7




CAIRNS UKULELE FESTIVAL The mighty ukulele is reaching an all-time high in popularity level, permeating a multitude of genres while being used by some of the world’s most respected artists. Cairns Ukulele Festival celebrates all things ukulele, featuring some of the most distinguished players from across the globe – including Herb Ohta Jr. (pictured), Manitoba Hal, Aaron Keim, dynamic Japanese duo fulare_pad, plus heaps more. There are also more activities than you can shake a four-string at, including a world record attempt with Nelly Bomba on July 7th. So pack your uke and head on up to Cairns! Visit for more. FESTIVAL DATES:

July 5-8 – Cairns QLD

Charge Group are hitting the road this June in support of their latest release, bringing former Snowman frontman Joe McKee along for the ride. The long-awaited second album from Sydney’s cinematic art-rock antiheroes has received an abundance of dashing reviews and support, already having been seen as one of the finest Australian releases for 2012. The band have a brand-new video for their single ‘Broken Sunlight’, which was shot in New York City and Sydney with their community of oddball artist friends. TOUR DATES:



June 9 – Street Theatre, Canberra ACT June 10 – Yours + Owls, Wollongong NSW June 15 – Red Rattler, Sydney NSW June 16 – Lass O Gowrie, Newcastle NSW June 21 – Metro, Adelaide SA June 22 – Mojo’s, Fremantle WA June 23 – Dada’s Carpark, Perth June 29 – The Tote, Melbourne VIC June 30 – Alley Cat, Hobart TAS July 6 – BeetleBar, Brisbane QLD

The nation’s hottest guitar talent paying tribute to the undisputed all-time greatest. Experience Jimi Hendrix, the guitar concert event of the year will host Bob Spencer (Skyhooks), Brett Garsed (Nelson), Brett Kingman (James Reyne band), Charlie Owen (The Beasts of Bourbon), Joel Silbersher (Tendrils), Daniel Spencer (Richard Clapton band), Dave Leslie (Baby Animals), Jimi Hocking (The Screaming Jets), Phil Manning (Chain), Steve Edmonds (Jimmy Barnes Band), and Stuart Fraser (Noiseworks). Expect to hear all the Hendrix classics, including ‘All Along the Watchtower’, ‘Fire’, ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Foxy Lady’, ‘Wind Cries Mary’, ‘Castles Made of Sand’, ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Voodoo Chile’. PERFORMANCE DATES:

June 23 – The Forum, Melbourne VIC


After he was announced as the headliner of this year’s Splendour In The Grass, fans have been eagerly anticipating the possibility of a Jack White sideshow tour – especially considering he was one of the select main acts on the poster not to be suffixed with “only Australian show”. We can expect a selection of classics from the Jack White canon, which includes The White Stripes, The Racontuers and The Dead Weather material, as well as tracks form his cracking debut solo LP Blunderbuss. Recent shows have been split into two halves - one with an all-female backing band and one with an all-male. Support comes from our very own Lanie Lane, who of course worked with Jack last year to release a seven-inch. TOUR DATE:

July 25 – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC July 26 – Horden Pavilion, Sydney NSW



May 11 – X&Y, Brisbane QLD May 19 – The Toff, Melbourne VIC May 26 – The National, Geelong VIC May 27 – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne VIC June 2 – FBi Social, Sydney VIC


As hinted earlier in the year, our favourite Kiwi comedy-folk-rap extraordinaires Flight Of The Conchords have announced a massive Australian tour. After making waves at at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival seven years ago, this will mark the first time Bret and Jemaine will be

hitting the road for a full-blown tour. The duo have enjoyed amazing success with their eponymous HBO TV series, and Bret has even gone on to win an Oscar. With Jemaine performing in the upcoming Men In Black III, he could follow suit by gaining attention from the Academy, who knows.


October 1 – Perth Concert Hall, Perth WA October 3 – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane QLD October 5 – State Theatre, Sydney NSW October 7 – Civic Theatre, Newcastle NSW October 9 – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide SA October 11 – The Palais Theatre, Melbourne VIC


Buckley Ward will be launching their new album So Pretend across a number of their favourite venues as they head out on the road this April. Foreshadowed by the single ‘Into the Darkening Blue’ and title track ‘So Pretend’, momentum has been steadily building behind the band and has seen them hand–selected to open for such names as Jungle Giants, San Cisco and Big Scary.

PG. 8

Award-winning blues rock guitar hero and singersongwriter, and former Mixdown cover star, Joe Bonamassa and his ace touring band are returning to Australia for a series of concerts this October. The tour is in support of Bonamassa’s brand new solo album Driving Towards The Daylight as well as the recently released DVD/Blu-Ray Joe Bonamassa: Beacon Theatre– Live From New York. Driving Towards The Daylight is a balanced back-to-basics album that highlights his signature style of roots blues with rock-and-roll guts, while honouring the traditions of the original blues musicians. It features special guests including Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford and our very own Aussie legend (and former Mixdown cover star) Jimmy Barnes.

After stand out shows at SXSW, New York rocker Devin has announced an Australian tour to follow up his latest LP Romancing. Armed with his catchy hit single “Masochist”, Devin is set to show Australian audiences that he’s well and truly worthy of the tidal wave of praise heaped upon him following his performances in Austin SXSW showcases.


July 5 – Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW July 6 – Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney NSW July 7 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane QLD July10 – Newcastle Entertainment Centre., Newcastle NSW July 11 – WIN Entertainment Centre,


After the success of the Alcest/Heirs “Le Secret” Australian tour in October 2011, Heirs are set to tour the East Coast of Australia in this month to support their latest release, Hunter. Heirs’ live show is renowned for its captivating focus and oppressive atmosphere. Their dark artistic noisescapes and gothic aesthetic is heightened through lighting installations and live video projection, culminating in an unsettling and unforgettable experience.



May 23 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW May 24 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC

May 4 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane QLD May 5 – The Bald Daced Stag, Sydney NSW May 11 – The Curtin, Melbourne VIC

MAY 2012

Wollongong NSW July 13 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide SA July 14 – The Plenary, Melbourne VIC July 15 – Rod Laver, Melbourne VIC July 18 – Challenge Stadium, Perth WA July 19 – Challenge Stadium, Perth WA


One of Melbourne’s most shit-hot young bands are gearing up to release their debut full-length, and to celebrate they’re hitting the road for a national tour. Armed with Bloody Ripper, the first taste of the upcoming LP, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard will hit the road for a national tour. Since releasing the corker of an EP Willoughby’s Beach late last year, the seven-piece have managed to kick arse at Meredith Music Festival, Big Day Out and Boogie 6. TOUR DATES:

May 4 – The National Hotel, Geelong VIC May 5 – The Edinburgh Castle, Adelaide SA May 10 – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney NSW May 12 – Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane QLD May 19 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart TAS

APRIL 2012


PG. 9



MISSY HIGGINS One of the nation’s most loved singer-songwriters has announced a massive tour alongside her Splendour In The Grass appearance. The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle Tour will see Missy Higgins hit the road in the lead-up to Splendour. New single Unashamed Desire marks the first release from Missy in over five years, a period of time which included a selfimposed hiatus from music. Missy capped off 2011 with an amazing performance at Falls Music And Arts Festival, and 2012 looks set to consolidate her return to the Australian musical landscape. TOUR DATES:

June 1 – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide SA June 2 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA June 6 – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD June 8 – York Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney NSW June 11 – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong NSW June 13 – Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle NSW

June 14 – Canberra Theatre, Canberra ACT June 15 – Costa Hall, Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Geelong VIC June 16 – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne VIC July 27 – Mackay Entertainment Centre, Mackay QLD July 28 – Th e Pilbeam Theatre, Rockhampton QLD


Well folks, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. After intense speculation and rumour-mongering, the time has come to bask our beady eyes upon the mighty Splendour In The Grass 2012 lineup. And ‘tis a mighty one, indeed. Celebrating the return to the festival’s spiritual home in Byron Bay will be a veritable galaxy of talent, a fine mix of established veterans and red-hot rising talent. Headlining each respective night will be Jack White, Bloc Party and Smashing Pumpkins, with a whole heap of acts such as Dirty Three (pictured), At The Drive-In, Explosions In The Sky and many, many more. Check out for the full lineup. FESTIVAL DATES:

July 27-29 - Belongil Fields, Byron Bay NSW

PG. 10


Taking a short break between writing songs for her debut album, Owl Eyes is set to launch new single ‘Crystalised’ on a short run tour of small, intimate venues on the East Coast and Adelaide. This will be the first chance that Owl Eyes fans will have had to hear some of the new songs, and possibly the last chance to catch the wonder of Owl Eyes in smaller, up-close-and-personal venues – with her star set to explode with the arrival of her debut LP. TOUR DATES:

May 18 – Jive Bar, Adelaide SA May 20 – The Toff In Town, Melbourne VIC May 24 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW May 25 – Oh Hello, Brisbane QLD May 26 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore QLD

MAY 2012

Triple j Unearthed and Song Summit are teaming up again in 2012 for an exciting career opportunity for eight lucky songwriters. One singer-songwriter from each state and territory will be flown into SONG SUMMIT 2012 to participate in an exclusive

songwriting master class with two of Australia’s most inspiring music artists - Gotye and Adalita. For more information on Song Summit and its surrounding events, visit


June 1 – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW June 2 – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC June 3 – Panthers, Newcastle NSW June 6 – UniHall, Wollongong NSW

June 8 – Southport RSL, Gold Coast QLD June 9 – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane QLD June 10 – Caloundra RSL, Sunshine Coast QLD

APRIL 2012


PG. 11



PRINCE His name is Prince but really he is the King, of his very own pop-rock spectacular that has now crossed generations and cultural divides culminating in a show that must be seen to be believed. Hold on to your hats folks, Prince is set to bring his 360 degree arena performance to Australia this May - that’s correct, this very month! Arguably the definitive pop artist of the past three decades, Prince has steadfastly played by his own rules - continuing to release quality material through a variety of unconventional methods. His live performance is stuff of legend, rocking through an immaculate canon of certified classics including ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, ‘Kiss’ and countless more. TOUR DATES:

May 11, 12 – Allphones Arena, Sydney NSW May 14, 15, 30 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne VIC

May 18, 26 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane QLD


The world’s biggest two-piece has announced a grand Australian tour, hitting up some of the nation’s biggest venues for a run of dates this year. Fresh from the release of their stellar new record El Camino, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney will rock Australia this October. Support on all dates comes from red-hot Sydney soul-rockers Royal Headache. FESTIVAL DATES:

October 21 – Entertainment Centre, Newcastle NSW October 22– Entertainment Centre, Sydney NSW October 26 – Entertainment Centre, Brisbane QLD October 28 – Rock It Festival, Perth WA October 30 – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide SA October 31 – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne VIC November 1 – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne VIC

Straight from the horse’s mouth, “For a number of reasons all of us in the band have chosen to close down the project that is Trial Kennedy. We are calling it a day with our heads held high for we have had the most incredible time as Trial Kennedy.” You heard correct, Trial Kennedy are making the final curtain call. But not before they hit the road for a massive farewell tour. Fans can have their say in what will be scribbled down on the band’s final setlists, typifying the Melbourne outfit’s devotion to their fanbase. TOUR DATES:

June 8 – Tempo, Brisbane QLD June 9 – Miami Tavern, Gold Coast June 15 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW June 16 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW June 22 – Jive, Adelaide SA June 23 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC

Often touted as the definitive indie band of the mid-2000s, The Shins have been laying low up until the start of 2012. The rejuvenated outfit had a resurgent start to the year, releasing lead single ‘Simple Song’ to much acclaim, and backing up with the triumphant record Port Of Morrow. Fresh form their announcement on the Splendour In The

Grass lineup, James Mercer will bring his reformed Shins lineup to two special sideshows this July. TOUR DATES:

July 23 – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC July 25 – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW

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MAY 2012

ARE YOU AN “Liquid grooves of fat bass fuzz and syncopated drums anchor scorching guitar and organ lickery… this is the undisputed nd of the year – make it yours” – FHM “Their use of lo-delity recording techniques adds to the rough and earthy texture required for proper execution of the blues” - REVERB

DISCOVER MUTEMATH triple j feature album 2011



APRIL 2012


PG. 13


AVID PRO TOOLS EXPRESS & MBOX Pro Tools has been widely recognized as the industry standard software for professional audio production. Now, Avid is offering more choices to the home recording engineer with Pro Tools Express. In the simplest description, Pro Tools Express is a simplified version of Pro Tools, and is bundled only with the Mbox Mini and Mbox interfaces. Thus becoming a great solution for musicians who don’t need the extensive features of the full version to capture their ideas. Avid has taken great care to ensure the key features of Pro Tools remain in Pro Tools Express. Great value for a great price!


For more information on the Pro Tools Express and Mbox bundle, phone 1300 734 454 or visit

Composition & Music Production is a leading course at AIM that develops the knowledge and skills required to create original music. Emphasis is on creating an individual style and collaborative skills in recording and/or live performance in preparation for a career as a creative songwriter, performer, composer and/ or producer in the real world. Students develop expertise in their area of interest by choosing individual lessons and electives after core classes establish style-independent musical, technical, creative and professional principles. With this choice, students can either specialise or

explore styles ranging across mainstream pop, indie rock, metal, dance, electronic, orchestral, classical and experimental music. To cover such a wide range of interests we have many parttime teachers who have active careers with industry connections in songwriting, electronic music, music for media (film, TV, games), or instrumental music. Trimester 2 begins May 21.


For more information about AIM, phone (02) 9219 5444 or visit

SSL ON TOUR Xlogic I/O. SSL Studio Workshops offer you a unique opportunity to see and hear the improvements SSL ‘big studio’ technology can make in your project studio productions. The Melbourne event is now confirmed at Ginger Studios, a brand new commercial recording studio that hosts the first SSL Duality SE console in Melbourne. This events is free to attend but numbers are limited.

Solid State Logic has announced it will be holding two studio workshops hosted by SSL’s Damien Egan in Melbourne and Brisbane this month. Damien will also be demonstrating SSL’s DAW control & audio processing range including the Nucleus, X-Desk, Duende and

Contact to receive your personal invitation as an RSVP is essential. For more information on Solid State Logic, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit

DV Mark, the manufacturers of a growing range of guitar amps have released a range of support accessories for use by owners of DV Mark heads and combos. The range includes footswitches (which can be relabelled), heavy duty hand stitched amplifier carry bags, combo covers and rackmount kits. Made in Italy to the highest of manufacturing standards, these rugged

accessories are now available from all Australian stockists of DV Mark products.

For more information on the DV Mark range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit


EVENT DATES: 6pm May 24 – Ginger Studios, Melbourne VIC May 29 – Venue TBC, Brisbane QLD


The Armageddon is here, and a ruler of tone has emerged. Plug into this three-channel 120watt goliath and join the new world order. The Armageddon is a 120 watt, 3 channel, fully MIDI capable, metal amp with the ISP Decimator® built-in. Four premium 6L6 power tubes and six hand-selected 12AX7 pre-amp tubes fuel this beast. The independent reverb controls on each channel allow you to dial in just a touch of reverb or soak your tone in it. The 7-button footswitch gives you control over every amp feature. MIDI IN and THRU connections, as well as external setup switches mean no matter what MIDI setup you’re using, Armageddon can integrate into your rig. For more information on the Egnater range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit PG. 14


Once a year Music Man releases an ‘upgrade’ pack through their Premier Dealer Network. You can apply the upgrade to almost any Music Man instrument you order, and this year’s pack was announced last month.Upgrades include a mahogany body with honeyburst finish and matching headstock, a figured roasted maple neck finished with a hand rubbed special wax blend, Pau Ferro fretboard, Stainless Steel frets and mother of pearl inlay. The upgrade is $500 on the standard instrument’s retail price. Orders are being taken now, with stock expected to arrive in the next few months,

For more information on the Music Man range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit

MAY 2012

Your wallets might just be falling in love with CMC Music, as they’ve just announced the release of the most affordable line of Music Man designed guitars yet. Based on classic and respected Music Man designs including the Silhouette, Axis, Stingray and Stingray 5, and featuring solid tone woods, road tested electronics and eye catching finishes, the SUB series introduces

Music Man’s renowned tone and playability to a new generation of musicians. For more information on the Sterling By Music Man range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit



IPR lightweight Class D power amps make these mixers extremely portable. TM

Designed with 12 (XR1212P) or 20 (XR1220P) reference-quality XLR microphone input channels and five operation modes, the XR 1200 Series are extremely versatile mixers. Two power amps delivering 600W each make it easy to configure for: t Left + Right t Left + Right with crossed over output for powered subwoofer t Main + Monitor t Main + Monitor with crossed over output for powered subwoofer t Monitor 1 + Monitor 2

XR 1200 Master Section

XR 1200 RTA

t Auto EQ sets EQ filters to improve sound quality and reduce feedback t Dual 9 band graphic equalisers t Feedback Ferret® digital feedback elimination t Digital effects processor featuring configurable effects such as reverbs, delays and chorus

The built-in Real-Time Analyser analyzes the room and sets your EQ curves automatically when a microphone is connected.

5 Console-style powered mixers, loaded with tools for perfect live sound reinforcement.



XR1212P RRP $1,699 XR1220P $1,999


For your nearest authorised Peavey dealer: Innovation. Amplified.™

Call 1300 13 44 00 visit: APRIL 2012


PG. 15




Sabian’s two new B8 Pro O-Zone Crashes feature similar O-Zone multi-holed design as HHX and AAX models, but their double ring of response enhancing holes guarantees that these radical new models respond rapidly, with brilliant explosion and dirty agitation. Available in 16� and 18� models, the new B8 Pro O-Zone Crashes are a great addition to Sabian’s new B8 Pro line. Already touted as a cymbal for drummers who play with

speed, power and aggression, with the addition of O-Zone Crashes, B8 Pro just got even faster, more powerful, and a whole heap more aggressive!

For more information on the Sabian range of products contact Dynamic Music on (02) 9939 1299 or visit


Big congrats to Sabian for picking up the Best Cymbal award from Germany’s prestigious Drumheads Magazine, with readers selecting the 21� AA Holy China as the best cymbal of the year. Launched in 2011, the Holy China became an instant best-seller, as drummers loved its trashy tone, huge volume potential and unique hole pattern. The 21� Holy China – along with the 19� and NEW 17�

models – were displayed prominently on the SABIAN Musikmesse booth, alongside the spectacular cymbal tower that debuted at the 2012 NAMM show. So keep your eyes peeled as they land here. For more information on the Sabian range of products contact Dynamic Music on (02) 9939 1299 or visit


After over 25 years of experience in the design and manufacture of quality metal stands, Bespeco continues to launch unique musical instrument accessories with award winning designs. The MSF10 is a professional microphone stand featuring excellent stability and user friendly design with the stability of this new series due to the use of high tech materials and technologies. The new ‘push and roll’ system allows an easy and stable regulation of the boom arm by only

pressing a button. The joints, base and all other parts are made in loaded nylon and grants long durability allowing a perfect adjustment thanks to its new inner rubber inserts.

For more information on the Bespeco range of products contact Dynamic Music on (02) 9939 1299 or visit


Traditionally, drum companies spend vast sums of time and money on product development so that they can tell drummers what to like – and what to play. In 2012, Sabian turned this paradigm completely on its head. Players’ Choice provided a forum that allowed drummers from around the world to choose its 2012 product offering – the first time ever an instrument manufacturer has done so. In addition, Sabian brought together a diverse group of its top endorsers to play the new

cymbals so that drummers everywhere can watch, and choose. And now, those top four cymbals have entered the market. Say hello to the 20� HHX Zen China, the 14� HHX Click Hats, the 20� AAX Stadium Ride, and the AAX Aero Crash! For more information on the Sabian range of products contact Dynamic Music on (02) 9939 1299 or visit





PG. 16


MAY 2012

Electric Factory Pty Ltd have been appointed as the exclusive distributor for EVE Audio in Australia. EVE Audio is a new, high-end, studio reference monitor company based in Berlin, Germany. They were established in May 2011 by Roland Stenz (Dip. Eng.). Previously, Roland was the cofounder and CEO of ADAM Audio for 11-years and he brings a wealth of experience

and knowledge to his new endeavour. The EVE Audio brand will be an exclusive dealership line, with product expected to arrive June this year.

For more information on the EVE Audio range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit

APRIL 2012


PG. 17





It’s not too late to launch your creative journey in 2012 as JMC Academy is now enrolling for June intake. They’ve even made it quicker to start your creative career with the introduction of trimesters. Students can now graduate with a degree at JMC Academy in just two years. Celebrating 30 years of education, JMC Academy remains Australia’s leading Creative Industries institution, offering Degrees and Diplomas in Music, Audio Engineering, Entertainment Business Management, Film and Television Production, 3D Animation and Game Design. Your opportunity to get to know JMC Academy a little better comes in the form of some hands on open days, taking place this month. On the day you will take a campus tour, undertake a focused overview on your course of interest, speak first-hand with current students,

scholarship winners and the Heads of JMC’s Music, Audio, Animation, Film & TV and Entertainment Business Management departments. Attendees can also view student work and even see live production in action. Places for June Intake are limited so don’t miss out and apply today to start building your creative future. Call 1300 410 311 to speak to the Student Recruitment Advisors or visit our website to download the registration form. OPEN DAY DATES: May 12 10.30am and 2.30pm – Melbourne VIC May 26 10.30am – Brisbane QLD


After a long absence, acoustic guitar fans will be pleased to hear that SIGMA Guitars are now available in Australia again. SIGMA Guitars were launched in 1970 all over the globe. The first SIGMA Guitars, made in Japan, are still highly soughtafter instruments and are rarely seen in the second-hand market today. Last year, a well-known German guitar distributor, AMI in Munich, acquired the rights to the SIGMA name. AMI have a long and highly regarded reputation for developing successful and widely appreciated guitar products. There are straight acoustics in dreadnought and 000, dreadnought and 000 cutaways with pickups and some highly sought after finger-picking models with wider fingerboards. A range of all the mahogany guitars have been added to the lineup including acoustic basses and some high quality classical guitars. For more information on SIGMA Guitars, contact Jacaranda Music on 08 8363 4613 or visit

Bassists needn’t look on in envy at the tasty range of Timberidge mini electric-acoustics as the Traveller Series welcomes the 625mm Scale Acoustic-Electric Bass to its ranks. The TR-TBNGL bass features a solid spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck. The traveller bass joins the TR family of acoustic-electrics, which includes the TR-M1-NST, with solid spruce top, mahogany back and neck with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The TR-M4SB-NST, with a solid cedar top, mahogany sides, back and neck, as well as the TR-M312-NGL 12 string with solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides and Mahogany neck, Being built for travelling, each of the TR series comes with a heavy duty case and all include the awesome B - Band pick-up tuner for those “on the road” shows.

Pedal freaks are in for a right treat, with a new range of Aphex effects pedals hitting the streets. The Punch Factory takes Aphex’s legendary optical technology – normally only found in expensive rack-mounted studio gear – and puts it at your feet and into your live performance. Punch Factory levels out volume peaks and dips, maintaining a consistent level within your mix. The Aphex Xciter pedal is designed to deliver the sonic enhancement the Aural Exciter and Big Bottom are famous for, taking it out of the studio and onto the stage. The Xciter pedal brings out the character and nuance of your instrument without adding volume and distortion. For more information on the Aphex range of products, phone Galactic Music on (08) 9204 7555 or visit


For more information on the Timberidge rage of products, phone Jade Australia on 1800 144 120 or visit

The Headpod 4 offers musicians and broadcasters a high headroom, low distortion four channel headphone amp with a choice of balanced stereo, unbalanced stereo and S/PDIF coaxial digital inputs. The HeadPod 4 gives you more than just volume. It’s designed to deliver clean, clear, undistorted sound at any level – ideal for long periods of listening without fatigue.



For more information on the Aphex range of products, phone Galactic Music on (08) 9204 7555 or visit


MOTU has unveiled the MicroBook II, an update to its compact, portable audio interface. Whereas the original MicroBook was a 4-in/2-out device, this one is 4-in/6-out. It’s also been totally redesigned, and now features a hands-on volume control, USB 2.0 connectivity, an XLR input and 96kHz recording and playback. The MicroBook II comes in a compact, rugged cast metal case suitable for on-the-go recording, personal studio tracking, laptop-based DJ-ing, and many other recording and playback activities.

Available this autumn, MOTU Digital Performer 8 will ship for both Mac OS X and Windows 7, fulfilling Digital Performer’s destiny as a leading audio workstation platform for Windows-based recording artists, producers, engineers, remixers, composers and anyone looking for advanced desktop music and audio production on a PC. DP8 will operate in 32-bit or 64-bit mode on Mac OS X and Windows 7. On Windows, it will support VST plug-ins and Rewire. Further details will become available closer to release time. Good news for those who recently purchased DP7, if you picked it up on January 19, 2012 or later you can receive the DP8 upgrade at no charge. Choice!

Hand-built and hand-wired in the USA, the Ampeg Heritage B-15 delivers legendary tone in a design that truly lives up to the iconic standard set by inventor Jess Oliver 50 years ago. The Heritage B-15 features the circuit paths of both a 1964 and 1966 B-15, including classic Baxandall EQ controls and premium 6SL7 octal preamp tubes along with a bias switch, recreating each years’ distinctive bias methodology. The extremely high-quality fliptop cabinet features the legendary double-baffle design and houses a highly-researched, customdesigned 15” Eminence driver. The Heritage B-15 is no mere tribute; it meets and exceeds the performance, look and tone of the legendary original, down to each and every component. Limited to 100 units worldwide, the Australian market will be snapping up ten.

For more information on the MOTU range of products, contact Major Music on 1300 30 66 70 or visit

For more information on the MOTU range of products, contact Major Music on 1300 30 66 70 or visit

For more information on the Ampeg range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit

PG. 18


MAY 2012




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PG. 19




Fishman have announced the newly redesigned Loudbox Performer. Continuing with Loudbox tradition, it features two independent channels, both with XLR and 1/4” inputs, 3 band EQ and onboard effects. The Performer pumps out 180 watts through an 8” woofer, 5” midrange speaker and a 1” tweeter, delivering great tone all the way

through from your highs to your lows.

For more information on the Fishman range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit


Let’s face it. You are the type who would happily crank up a full Ampeg SVT stack in your living room. Heck, who needs neighbours anyway? And noise violations are really just a badge of honour, right? For the rest of us, there is the Ampeg Micro-CL Stack, delivering 100 watts of Ampeg tone into any situation. It’s perfect for those just getting into Ampeg tone or for the seasoned bassist looking to practice in far flung locations like the master bathroom. The Micro-CL Stack features a tough, 2x10 cab and tools like a stereo input and output for silent practice, effects loop and direct out for recording. It’s everything you want in a full stack, micro-sized to fit perfectly into your life. For more information on the Ampeg range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit

Recently unveiled at the 2012 Musik Messe show in Frankfurt, Ampeg have just launched two exciting new cabinets to their hugely successful Porta-Flex range. Additions include the PF-115LF, a 400watt ported 1x15 with extended low end and completing the range with the PF-410HLF, a high powered, horn-loaded, full-range 4x10 cabinet. Both cabinets feature Eminence drivers and partner perfectly with Ampeg’s Porta-Flex heads or any other high powered head. Shipping will commence over the next few months. For more information on the Ampeg range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit


The new Fishman TriplePlay is a wireless performance, composing and recording system with an amazing array of features. Boasting an extremely slim and compact design to allow fast and easy setup, the TriplePlay allows guitarists access to a massive selection of instruments and sounds. Release date to be confirmed.

V-MIDI is a compact, easy to use Core MIDI interface for musicians, producers, artists and performers that enables connection between USB MIDI hardware and apps for iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads. Simply connect your iOS device will automatically identify V-MIDI. Next connect any USB MIDI device to V-MIDI and then plug in the power. Run your CoreMIDI compatible app of choice and your set! It’s easy as that. You can play music from apps with drum pads, MIDI synths, DJ controllers and more.

For more information on the Fishman range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit

For more information on the Vestax range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit

PG. 20 MIXDOWN NO. 217

MAY 2012

The Ampeg Heritage R-12R Reverberocket is a stunning recreation of the world’s first guitar amp with reverb. Hand-wired and assembled in the USA, this incredible reissue offers the authentic tube-driven reverb and smooth, sweet tremolo that made the original one of the most revered guitar combos ever. High-grade tubes, including the signature octal preamp tubes, deliver a selectable 15 or 30 watts to the premium Celestion Alnico Gold speaker, chosen only after intensive listening tests to ensure the authentic

vintage tone. Completing the Heritage look, the chrome-plated chassis, Black Diamond tolex and meticulous construction are as high-quality and beautiful as the signature tone of this classic guitar amplifier. Limited to 50 units worldwide, with the Aussie market scoring five of them. For more information on the Ampeg range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit


VCI-380 is a two channel DJ controller with a built-in Digital DJ mixer, powerful and creative, opening the door to limitless possibilities of mixing, scratching, cueing, sampling, triggering, looping, slicing and running effects. Every feature of the VCI-380 is optimised to enhance the DJs performance and take a new approach in manipulating music. Designed hand in hand with

Serato, VCI-380 is bundled with ITCH, providing an arsenal of musical craft tools with perfect integrity, straight out of the box. For more information on the Vestax range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit

Enrol Gig Compose Collaborate Record Launch Tour Get signed What will your creative future look like?

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Degrees and Diplomas in Music, Audio Engineering, Entertainment Business Management, 3D Animation, Game Design and Film and Television Production. Launch your creative journey through collaboration, education and training at JMC Academy.

Your creative future starts today. Visit or call on 1300 410 311. MAY 2012


PG. 21




For 30 years KLOTZ Audio Interface Systems have been considered the music industry standard for professional cable technology. Providing optimal solutions to users from ambitious amateurs to top artists on the stage and in the studio. Manufactured in Germany using premium components such as Amphenol, Switchcraft and Neutrik explains why their La

Grange Series cables are used by artists such as Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Joe Bonamassa .

For more information on the Klotz range of products, phone Music Link on (03) 9765 6565 or visit

Two big news updates for users (or soon to be users) of PreSonus’s Studio One software. First up, Studio One 2.0.5 is now shipping. 2.0.5 is a free update to all versions of the DAW software for Mac and Windows, adding several important new features and fixes, including the ability to assign any command to any MIDI CC message, using any MIDI control surface with Studio One even it it’s not nativel supported. - plus heaps more features and fixes added. Next up, PreSonus have unveiled Studio One Free, a new entry-level version of its popular DAW for Mac and Windows. Intended for beginners who don’t yet need the advanced features in Studio One

Artist, Producer, and Professional, Studio One Free provides all of the recording and editing features needed for basic music production and as its name implies, it’s free. To get Studio One Free, simply download the Studio One installer from the Studio One website, install it, and then choose to run it as Free when the activation dialogue comes up. For more information on the PreSonus range of products, phone National Audio Systems on 1800 441 440 or visit


PENGUIN ELECTRIC STRING WINDER Just because it’s electric doesn’t mean you have to buy it batteries. You can forget about continually forking out dollars to keep this electric string winder spinning, the Penguin is easily recharged via your PC USB port (cable included). As well as this and its motorized restring capabilities, the ‘Penguin’ features a built in string cutter and bridge pin puller too, providing one easy-touse tool for the entire restring process. Inside is a 3.7v Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and an overload protection circuit keeping things running smoothly. For more information on the Penguin Electric String Winder contact F. Payton & Son on (02) 9439 1822 or visit


SAE Institute aims to inspire one’s creativity while at the end of completing one of their exceptional industry-focused courses in audio, film and electronic music production, be a step a head of the rest when it comes to prospective employment. SAE Institute is Australia’s definitive creative media college providing specialist training that is designed to advance your knowledge and technical skills, inspire artistic independence and encourage your creative confidence. A key part of SAE’s degree and diploma courses is setting you up with the newest technology, a hands on approach to learning and a foundation, knowledge and network of like minded creatives so that your education is put into practice once you graduate. QANTM College is the other arm of SAE and PG. 22 MIXDOWN NO. 217

is at the forefront of digital media education in Australia. One of the fastest growing sectors in the country, QANTM College offers specialised industry-focused courses in 2D and 3D animation, games design, games programming, interactive digital media, and graphic design – all aligned with emerging industry trends and technologies. Students are taught by passionate, industryexperienced professionals who are dedicated to providing high quality practical learning and inspiring creative confidence to ensure graduates acquire immediate entry into the workforce. For more information on both SAE and QANTM visit and

MAY 2012

Eddy Finn Ukulele Company are not just makers of great ukes and accessories, it’s a unique lifestyle all it’s own. The company takes pride in building high quality ukes at very affordable prices and offer a wide variety of exotic woods that appeal to players and collectors alike. They also offer a good selection of standard uke tone woods that have been the norm for many years. Offering so many varieties of wood allows them to design each model to have a unique look and

tone of its own. We’re not saying that playing an Eddy Finn will totally change your life, but you might want to invest a pair of sunnies and thongs. Eddy Finn are also proud to be sponsors of this year’s Cairns Ukulele Festival, happeing from the 5th - 8th of July. For more information on Eddy Finn Ukes, contact F. Payton & Son on (02) 9439 1822 or visit


Event Electronics have made the very special announcement of its very first three-way studio monitoring system, the 2030. The Event 20/20 pedigree needs no introduction. As the speaker family that made studio monitoring accessible to countless artists and engineers, it has become a household name and is a staple in studios the world over. The new Event 2030 combines precisely engineered acoustic design, signal

processing and amplifier technology to provide an incredibly detailed and wide soundstage with a bass response that far exceeds what most would expect from a box this size.

For more information on the Rode range of products visit


RØDE ROCKER? THE SEARCH IS ON. Think you’ve got what it takes to make it big? RØDE is looking for the very best unsigned artists around the world in the ‘RØDE Rocks’ talent search. Visit and you could be on your way to Record Plant in Hollywood to record with all-star producer Alain Johnnes (Chris Cornell, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, Them Crooked Vultures)!



M O C . S K C O R RODE MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 23

GARBAGE FOUR OF A KIND When Garbage went into hiatus around 2006, nobody expected the band to be gone forever. It really did seem like more of a ‘recharge the creative batteries’ break than a ‘we hate each other and can’t stand to work together ever again’ thing. So when they announced their plans to return, it was not really a surprise... What is a surprise however, is that their new album, Not Your Kind Of People, sounds like they never missed a day. It does what Garbage - Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson - have always done best, and that’s to sound like themselves. That indefinable quality that makes each Garbage album sound different to the one before it, yet makes them all sound like part of the unified output of those four musicians and the dynamic between them. “We didn’t want to reinvent ourselves,” Vig says. “We wanted to embrace the sensibilities of what we like as the four of us. And just basically try to capture what it is that makes it sound like who we are.” Part of that was the realisation that nobody else sounds like Garbage, and that there’s something about having an identity that’s very hard to define and quantify, but that when you find it, you hang on to it. “I think that’s a huge, valuable asset in today’s world, to have that kind of signature sound. So we decided to simply do what we like to do. And that’s the sound of this record. A lot of people said it reminded them of our first album.” Garbage have never really fit in. They use electronics, but they don’t fit in with electronica. Butch has been involved with legendary grunge albums (after all, he did produce Nevermind) but Garbage never aligned with grunge. They’re not hipsters but they’re popular. They’re not pop but their melodies touch on it. “That’s how we all feel as individuals. We never felt we were too cool for school. Shirley being Scottish, they’re always being beaten down by the Brits. We embrace all these different styles of music when we write a song, and we got radio play when we never had a massive top 40 hit, and we that’s okay. We are who we are. For better or for worse, this record sounds like Garbage, and we’re okay with that.” That’s one of the themes of the record: about embracing the PG. 24 MIXDOWN NO. 217

fact that it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to feel like the outsider and it’s okay to feel like a creep. “We have some crazy misfit fans, and that’s okay!” Think back to when Garbage played the Big Day Out - scary metal dudes like me were standing alongside alternative kids and pop fans, and all were digging it. Even the metalheads. “I’ll say this, there are some moments in songs, where we get - not really metal, but we can get heavy. We were just today running through ‘Why Do You Love Me?’ and ‘Bad Boyfriend’ and ‘Push It’, and we kept trying to dial it up, dial it up, dial it up. I know Duke and Steve were working on some guitar tones to make it heavier and heavier sounding. I think because the nature of who we are as a band, and how we embrace things, and the subtle elements in the arrangements, between heavy, fuzzy guitars and pop melodies and whatever, we do have a pretty big fan base. We have no idea what to expect when the new album comes out. And we feel like by embracing all these different genres, including hard rock and heavy metal, you listen to some Garbage songs and we just want to go there, man. And I think you’re gonna hear some of that on the new tour! We’re dialling up some of the heavy guitar tones for a few of the songs.” Vig is no stranger to the glories of fuzz and the emotional response it evokes. “To me that’s rock and roll. To me rock and roll is the sound of guitars. Really, rock and roll is attitude more than anything, but also for me, personally, it’s the sound of guitars. And there are definitely some fuzzy guitars on the new record.” So how does Garbage create in 2012? This is the first album they’ve recorded in Los Angeles. Not in Hollywood or Beverly Hills but in a small suburb called Atwater Village. It’s a very funky, bohemian neighbourhood about a mile from Vig’s house. “It was done sort of guerilla style,” he says. “We did the first four records at my studio back in Wisconsin.

MAY 2012

I would send my daughter off to school then go up and play drums in my pyjamas, and it’s a really minimal setup. And then I would run it through an old tube preamp to go ahead and saturate the sound. It sounds so fun and so cool! Shirley did at least four or five songs sitting here with a handheld mic and not even headphones, just speakers playing. There’s a sort of playful casual to it, kind of loose, y’know? And it’s a real crucial part of trying to make a record sound vibey. Not getting crazy with editing and quantizing and trying to make it sound perfect.” This was inspired by Vig’s work on the latest Foo Fighters album, Wasting Light, which was recorded to tape. “There’s something about performance that really gets to what makes you excited about a part in a song. So we tried not to make everything sound perfect. So the record to me, it’s not super tight and all focused, but that’s good! I listened to it the other day in someone else’s car and they said ‘Wow, the record sounds

“I think that’s a huge, valuable asset in today’s world, to have that kind of signature sound. So we decided to simply do what we like to do. And that’s the sound of this record. A lot of people said it reminded them of our first album.” weird!’ Because it doesn’t sound like anything else. And all along, the recording, the mixing, it has a vibe to it. And as a band we’re proud of that. One of the things I realised with the Foos, when everybody hits the ‘one,’ no matter how tight it is, if it’s on tape you can’t move it around by a few milliseconds, so what happens is the one, the downbeat, gets wider. Most people will just hear the one and go ‘whatever,’ but there’s a thickness, a width, a heaviness of sound when it’s played for real in real time. It is what it is, and that makes the music bigger, and breathe.” Does Vig have a secret studio weapon? “The Roger Mayer RM58 limiter, man. I use that all the time here. I run drums through it all the time. If he made a plug-in of that he might be able to make a lot of money! If someone could emulate the what it does with sound, the way it compresses… I love my RM58.” Vig’s drum rig for the new album included a few different things initially used to program, before getting into the nitty gritty of playing acoustic drums. “If I was coming up with a song idea I’d use an

M-Audio Trigger Finger which I can run into my Pro Tools. I have BFD emulations of drums, and lots of other software. I have a Drum Workshop kit set up with a couple of mics on it: a kick and snare, a couple of overheads. Sometimes I’ll put a couple of tom mics up if I’m playing a lot of tom parts. Then I have a mono room mic which sounds like a tube 47 and I put that down in the corner by the bathroom in my den and I compress the shit out of it. I run it through a plug-in called Decapitator [by SoundToys], and the second you do that, it’s instant vibe. A lot of the drums sound really big on the record, and my room is so small! Twelve feet by sixteen feet, and the walls are drywall. There’s nothing special about it. It sounds kinda trashy but I was looking for that sound.” So, any Australian tour plans? “We’ve had some of our best tours in Australia, and I’m not just saying that. We’ve always embraced going down under. And I don’t know… maybe early next year. We’re not going to go on an ageslong tour like we used to. We’re about to go on tour and play some festival shows. But we know we’ve got a great fan base there. I love going to Australia. It’s near and dear to all of our hearts. You know, before we signed to a record company in America, we signed with Mushroom. That was such a low-key deal. They had no idea what was going to happen. They just said ‘Sure, we’ll put your record out.’ And that’s how it all unfolded. When the band took off we had no idea that’d happen. So we’re going to come back. We have no illusions about selling a lot of CDs, and we’ve never been a band that made a lot of money touring. I know a lot of bands like the Sex Pistols say they’re only in it for the money. We’re really doing it for a labour of love. We just feel jazzed about making music together. And because we’re on our own label now we can pick and choose what we want to do, when we want to tour, what we want to release and when we want to release it. That’s quite liberating.”

By Peter Hodgson

Not Your Kind Of People will be released via Liberation Music on May 11.

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NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 25

THE DARKNESS HELL HATH NO FURY They came, they saw, they conquered, they went to rehab. There was nothing like the mid-2000s phenomenon of The Darkness, taking over the world with glam-metal riffs and licks with sheer unbridled British cockswagger. Even when you take away the spandex and egos, debut album Permission To Land stands the test of time, staying true to a thermonuclear core of classic rock and roll. But the rock and roll clichés which lay superfluous to the music, ones the band often seemed to parody, became a very real problem for the group. Bassist Frankie Poullain was unceremoniously booted from the group before the recording of follow up One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back, egos clashed to the point of combustion, and lead singer Justin Hawkins was admitted to rehab (before it was cool). But now, like an almighty rock and roll Voltron, the original Darkness lineup has reassembled, and yes, it looks like that former glory has been recaptured. Frankie recalls the meteoric narrative, as well as looking into the future of all things Darkness. You’ve begun work on the third Darkness LP, what stage is it currently at? We did the tracklisting today, so I think we’ll be ready to announce that and the album title very soon, maybe in the next week. I can tell you that it will be an eleven-track album. How does it compare to the first two records? I’d say the energy is a lot like the first album. It kind of makes you feel good – some of the songs are quite triumphant, some are a little bit sad. The melodies are very sweet and uplifting. It’s rock and roll, driving music. Some of the production might be a little bit richer sonically than the first album. I think the songs and the standard are of the same ilk of the first record. Is your bass setup the same as on the first record? On the first album I was using the same Gibson Thunderbird on every song, one of the sunburst ones. I was playing through an Ampeg, and occasionally using a Turbo RAT for a bit more of a distortion sound. This album I’ve been mainly using an Aguilar. I used a

couple of old Ampegs on some songs too. I’ve been using the Aguilar Tone Hammer, which is a very nice piece of equipment with some very good EQ. Then I’ve also been using the Pro Co RAT as well for a nice bit of distortion on the bass for an edgy kind of sound. There’s a chapter in your autobiography entitled ‘How To Be A Bass Player With No Sense Of Rhythm’, do you still believe your bass skills are lacking? I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to be too technically adept. If you’re too comfortable, people don’t want to hear someone that’s just coasting, someone that can coast away with their eyes shut. There’s something about when people play right on the edge of their capabilities. People can feel that sense of spirit. I think we’re all on different technical levels in the band, but we’re all tapping into that same thing that makes it interesting. So I wouldn’t say I am an advanced player by any means, but I’m not particularly interested in being advanced in that way. It’s not about being technical, it’s about the performance. The sense of ridiculousness in this band is very important. If you want to see four session guys

jacking off and displaying their skills, that’s an entirely different gig. The second Darkness record was notoriously divisive. You weren’t a part of it, how did you view it then and how do you view it now? Sometimes it felt like I was blocking it out, then sometimes I was curious. I listened to it, but it was really hard for me to be objective with the album because I was involved, in quite a small way, with the genesis of some of the songs. I was going to record the album with them, but that’s when it all fell out, relationships break down. I became the fall guy, but things took a turn for the worse a year later anyway. But I do like some of the songs on the album, for sure. All of them have some merit. There’s some great musicianship on the album, but maybe there’s a sense of spirit and abandon lacking. Some would say it’s self-indulgent. But there are some good rock and roll songs on the record, the crowd get really into it when we play them live. ‘Hazel Eyes’ is a really fun song. I like ‘English Country Garden’, but I suppose Justin doesn’t really feel like playing tenor at the moment onstage. But I might bring that one back sometime soon, that nice farcical English kind of song, kind of like Gilbert and Sullivan. I think the production on the album was too precise and very exact. That sense of carelessness is nice, which is what you get at our gigs. Sometimes our shows can teeter on the edge, but I think that’s what people like. Reforming with the original lineup, did you lay out any rules as to avoid careering off the rails yet again? We have these unspoken rules. We found that at times in the past, because we’re such different characters, if we talk about things in the open we just piss each other off.

We’re all quite sensitive to each other’s energy and we can sense when we’ve stepped over the line. Hopefully we have this sense of honour and respect between us. It’s going well, it’s a good atmosphere. But when the atmosphere goes a bit wrong we can stray away and fix it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, which helps massively. I suppose I don’t want to mention names or I’ll get in trouble, but everybody knows the kind of people in the heavy rock world who take themselves too seriously and piss people off, hire and fire people constantly. We’re not really into that kind of thing. Although, they did sack me [laughs]. But I suppose that was a misunderstanding, because we were all on different drugs, you see. I wasn’t doing the same drugs that Justin was. But now we’re not really doing that, Justin’s not drinking and we play tennis. We just conserve all energy for the gig. I know you’ve probably heard this from a lot of ‘born-again’ bands, but we feel like we’re much more energetic now than say 2004 – we looked like zombies. We thought it was going to be difficult to do this, but it really is so much more fun. By Lachlan Kanoniuk Expect to hear the third Darkness album sometime this year. The band will be touring nationally this month. May 4 – Eaton Hill, Brisbane QLD May 5 – Newcastle Workers, Newcastle NSW May 6 – Roundhouse, Sydney NSW May 8 – The Palace, Melbourne VIC May 9 – The Palace, Melbourne VIC May 10 – ANU, Canberra ACT May 12 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide SA

DEVILDRIVER UNLEASH THE BEAST DevilDriver are one of the hardest working bands in metal. It seems like they’re always on the road. And it’s paid off. Their most recent album, Beast, was a monster of a record, and they’ve built a reputation as one of the most consistent ‘sure thing’ great gigs in metal. Founder and vocalist Dez Fafara launched DevilDriver after the collapse of Coal Chamber. His old band recently regrouped to play Soundwave, and very soon Dez will be back, this time with DevilDriver. The dude might as well buy a house here. “I like it down under, man. We have a great time. And any time we’re invited, we’re always up for it,” Fafara says. “We’re coming down with a killer main support. I know these shows are going to be great and we’re really looking forward to playing a full set for people.” That killer main support is Six Feet Under featuring the legendary Cannibal Corpse vocalist – and Dez’s buddy – Chris Barnes. In fact, it was Dez who suggested Six Feet Under join the tour, and he helped hook it up between SFU and Soundwave Touring. “I’m just glad it got done and I’m going to be glad to share the stage with him.” Darkest Hour are also on the bill, supporting their seventh album The Human Romance. The experience of reviving Coal Chamber for Soundwave is still fresh in Fafara’s mind. For those who saw it, the energy, power and groove was thick in the air, and the band crushed. “You could feel it on the stage. It was unbelievable,” Fafara says. “To see those guys off of hard drugs and able to do it again, revisit the music and have fans that have never seen us before do it alongside of us, and to go down there and have a good time doing it, that was just great. I can’t say enough about it.” At this point a five-show South American tour is booked for September, but there are no plans beyond that for the band to continue. “Coal Chamber for me, man, it’s like a fine woman. You’ve got to date her a few times to figure out what the fuck’s going on. So that’s what’s happening there. I want to take her out a few times and joyride her, see how it goes before anyone wants to commit to a long drive.” And if you’re wondering, no, none of the reunion shows were recorded.

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For now though, Dez is in DevilDriver mode. The band is working on material for the follow-up to Beast, this time as free agents on the lookout for a new record label. They’re four songs in, with one in particular that has emerged as a very strong contender. The other three are still being tweaked, and the direction of the record is being considered. “I like the band to have evolution but to still keep our signature sound,” he says. “I think we’re on the path to doing that.” After the European summer festival season the band will do something they rarely seem to do: come off the road for up to a year to “write, get ourselves healthy and get ourselves ready for the next run, as well as put all the record label things and business to rest as well.” “I think it’s important to be busy, man,” Fafara continues. “Life is in the work, and I love to work. But that being said, I am going home in July and I’m going to spend some time with my family. I haven’t taken a year off in seventeen years, so it’s going to be important. Now, that being said, when I’m home I also like to work. Somebody calls me and they want me to do a song or whatever, I’ll shoot right out to LA and spend the day in the studio and then come home at night. That’s all good. That’s good stuff.” A recent example is Dez’s contribution to the track ‘Redemption Of Man By God’ on the new Soulfly album, Enslaved. Another is his recent collaboration with Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton, Born Of The Storm. During a month or so off the road, Morton sent some demos to Fafara. The result was around ten or twelve songs, two of which have been released online, which combine hard rock and metal with

MAY 2012

groove and grunge overtones. “I really put myself in Mark’s hands with that, to alleviate myself from any other stress and to just be a singer,” Fafara says. “He gratefully obliged. It’s really on his whim, whenever he wants to release stuff. And I love it. I’m a huge fan of the music. Our influences are everything from Trouble to Soundgarden to Circus Of Power. And hopefully there’ll be a lot more coming from of that project.” By Peter Hodgson

DevilDriver will tour nationally this May with Six Feet Under and Darkest Hour. May May May May May

4 5 6 7 9

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The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD The Hi Fi, Sydney NSW Billboard, Melbourne VIC Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA Captiol, Perth WA

MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 27

BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE RISING ABOVE IT ALL The mega-prolific Brian Jonestown Massacre have attracted a lot of adjectives over the years – whether it be cries of musical genius or the dismissal of being too volatile to function. These days, however, the good ship Brian Jonestown Massacre is sailing on relatively calm seas, a trend which is consolidated by latest record Aufheben – one which continues a surprising run of consistent quality. Though having something of a rotating lineup over the years, uninhibited mastermind of operations Anton Newcombe has maintained a geyserlike rate of output. In the process of conducting a sociological experiment in globalisation, Anton lets us in on the mind of what many call the mind of a genius. What’s that I’m hearing in the background? It’s the last track from the record, I was just messing around. Yeah I was putting it to YouTube and giving it a name from a foreign language, seeing how long it will take that culture to find it on YouTube, using crazy tags in their language. When I did the song in Finnish, it took a day and a half and it had 3000 people, then it was in four blogs in Finland and all of a sudden way more people were listening. It took something like five days for 25,000 spins. Many people seem to be afraid of those avenues. I find myself in a world with many different ways to express myself and entertain myself. Not entertain myself in a Brave New World way with some little distraction. It’s more like Russian Facebook or something, where I make a song in Russian and put it out, use BitTorrent, YouTube – any of this stuff – just as another medium. Do you see yourself as a man of modernity in that sense? I just think I’m acutely aware of these possibilities. I’m not sure if that’s a modern thing at all, to be multi-lingual in this pathological era. Multi-lingual as in I can program things, make my own TV show, run my own studio, make videos – do whatever, Renaissance style. So yeah I am [modern], but I’m also a traditionalist.

Do you see that all-inclusiveness as a burden in any way? I don’t know if that’s like a symptom of disease. I look at the big picture, I definitely consider myself a psychedelic person. Being psychedelic means being mind-expanding, not searching for gnomes and eating mushrooms. To me it’s all inclusive of ideas and techniques. I look at the world pretty much metaphorically – to me everything is like Lego blocks. You can look at the directions and build the pirate ship, or you can build your own thing. So after building all of the sets, I threw away all the instructions. Part of that is based on imagination, part of it is based on the need to do something. But I’m very much interested in the full spectrum of approaches. If I’m doing a record, I like to include the possibility of it being anything other than just rock rhythm and blues with bass guitar and drums. I don’t don’t have a problem with using Mini Moogs. I’m not retro specifically, I believe. I’m guessing we won’t see you become a laptop musician anytime in the future? That’s all utterly disposable, like when a DJ is just into the newest fucking shit. All the music is just disposable. I’m interested in something else that isn’t revolving around that. I was laughing because one of my friends, a very successful photographer in Los Angeles, she had tweeted something about this DJ “killing it right now”, with this photo of some

guy with one hand on his laptop and one hand in the air. Just think, if you stole that laptop and could operate iTunes, you could be “killing it right now” too [laughs]. I’m interested in all kinds of things, I try to touch on those minimalist bases when I’m writing too, but I’m can never be that one-dimensional. That’s why I can’t answer when someone asks what my favourite song is, or what my favourite movie or book is. I’m not a housefly. My favourite things are eating, fucking and shitting. That is a housefly, I can’t do that. Now that they have Beattracker and all that shit, you can match any song to a tempo. So doing a mash-up isn’t even all that clever anymore. But then there’s people that are continuous, like Mixmaster Mike, these DJs who have producer sensibilities – like Flying Lotus or something, they are really interesting. That sensibility trickles down, you can see people saying “oh, I discovered this shit-hot artist Burial, this is my new single.” I wish I had skills like some of these people who are DJs with producer sensibilities, like Chemical Brothers. That’s something I want to get a lot better at, fine-tuning my beats. But I’m not that interested in sampling or production. I’m guessing you’ve amassed quite an array of gear of the years, is it tough to be selective in terms of what goes on an album? Since the late mid-’90s I have basically used anything I can use. But when I started acquiring these things and owning these things, setting up my own studio,

you have like 20 guitars and all these Hammond organs, Mini Moogs, you have the drum sets. The only time it effects me is when I don’t feel like working. You kind of feel like shit when you acquire a bunch of things – like your personality is that of some kind of collector. A collector never feels shitty when they look at the wall and they have Jimi Hendrix’s guitar up on the wall, because they don’t play guitar. There’s something like three albums I’ve put out for other people using my own resources, so I know I’m doing stuff. By Lachlan Kanoniuk

Aufheben is out now through A Records. Brian Jonestown Massacre will be touring with support from The Raveonettes this May. May 17 – The Metro, Sydney NSW May 18 – ANU Reft, Canberra ACT May 19 – The Forum, Melbourne VIC May 20 – The Gov, Adelaide SA May 22 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA May 24 – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane QLD May 25 – Newcastle Leagues Club, Newcastle NSW May 26 – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney NSW

THE TEMPER TRAP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a community radio announcer somewhere in Melbourne cueing up a new single by a rising new local act. “This could be one of the tracks to watch this year,” was the gist of the back-announcement. The year was 2008, the band was The Temper Trap, and the track was ‘Sweet Disposition’. It turns out that back announcement was one of the understatements of the century, with the track going on to spread forth across the globe, becoming the go-to track for film trailer soundtracks (a modern day ‘Solsbury Hill’, if you will. Launched from the success of the single, the band followed through with the stellar debut album Conditions – going on to become one of our biggest musical exports of recent memory. With the release of their self-titled second LP imminent, the band touched down in their hometown of Melbourne (for the first time in nearly two years) for a brief promo visit. We caught up with guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto and bassist Jonny Aherne to chat about crafting the sonics of the latest record. Approaching the follow-up to your stellar debut, was the notion of ‘second album syndrome’ intimidating at all? Lorenzo: Not at all, really. I don’t think we really thought about it. Maybe it was in the back of all our minds thinking where were we going to go and what was going to happen. But once we started writing and doing what we do, all of it kind of just dissipated. Jonny: I felt scared when we first started writing. When you get to the end and look back you think you spent a lot of unnecessary time worrying about it. It was holistic by the end. Lorenzo: There was nervousness because we hadn’t been in a room doing that for so long. Before we started touring, we’d rehearse four times a week then play shows. This time we just toured, done a little bit of writing but not a huge amount, but we hadn’t been in that environment in three years. After the first week we were back in the right headspace.

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Conditions obviously had massive legs, does it feel like you’ve actually had a break since it was released? Lorenzo: Yeah I think it was important for us to take last year off and be grounded, even though we were still writing, it was beneficial to recharge the batteries and rebuild the hunger. Where was the album actually recorded, because you guys are based all over the shop? Lorenzo: Most of the writing was done in London, then we did a short stint in Spain for two weeks. We’d done it in the past where we’d go away for a week in the countryside and ate, breathed and shat music, basically. We always found that was good to get the creative juices going. What was it like working with [producer] Tony Hoffer? Lorenzo: He was great. He was kind of one of the last people we ended up speaking to, we had a long laundry list of people we wanted to work with. We spoke to Tony and he was a fan – he came to one of

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the first shows we did at South By Southwest. From the moment we went into the studio we all got along really well. He has really good ideas, he’s a musician, not just a knob-twiddler. A bit more musicality went into it. There are a lot of times on the record where you can’t really tell if it’s synth bass or Jonny’s bass. Jonny: Myself and the Moog, yeah. We extended a little bit, obviously the Moog takes up a bass frequency. I kind of resented that instrument [laughs], it had this slow movement which Dougy loved and I tried to play a bassline over it but it just wouldn’t work. Then there were songs where we actually played a bassline on it. It’s a bass-heavy album. There’s a lot of low drones or boppier basslines. Lorenzo: There are tracks where it’s a mixture of both, like a verse will have a synth line but Jonny will come in on the chorus and play it on the bass. I think that’s cool having those two elements. How has the actual bass setup evolved since Conditions? Jonny: There’s that evolution that happens purely through how much you’re playing in a rehearsal studio, but after Conditions I decided to take the bass a lot more seriously – I took lessons, I gained insight. I feel quite proud of the basslines, I’m a sucker for a pedal. I look at Lorenzo’s pedals. Now I have a Space Echo, MXR Distortion, a Sansamp, which is like a preamp which has a really nice tone. Then there’s a spot for the Bass Synth Wah, then there’s a digital delay and the TC Electronic Nova Delay. That’s about it at the moment, I actually stripped it back. There

were many a conversation involving me arguing what was necessary. There’s a lot less instances of guitar delays on the new record, was that a reaction to ‘Sweet Disposition’? Lorenzo: I tried to move away from that a lot in the beginning. I was just trying to do things that weren’t delay, more intertwining guitar parts and stuff like that. But then it got to a point where the boys didn’t like the guitar anymore, they wanted other things to make the guitar sound more interesting. I bought a Line6 M9 to work with at home, so I could work at stuff at home without taking my pedalboard. Then I bought it to the studio, and I think I was trying to play ‘Mysterious Ways’ with that amazing flanged wah sort of thing. Then I just started thinking the complete opposite, making the guitar sound nothing like a guitar. By Lachlan Kanoniuk The Temper Trap is out Friday May 18 through Liberation Music. The band will be setting off this May for their first Australian tour since 2009. May 26 – Bass In the Grass, Darwin NT May 29 – Forum Theatre, Melbourne VIC May 30 – Forum Theatre, Melbourne VIC May 31 – Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney NSW June 1 – Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney NSW


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MAY 2012


PG. 29

PENNYWISE A UNITED FRONT Hermosa Beach, California punk rock pioneers Pennywise have just released their tenth studio album, All Or Nothing. It’s the veteran punk band’s first release with new singer Zoli Téglás, from Ignite, who stepped in for already-booked live dates in 2009 when longtime vocalist Jim Lindberg was unable to make the shows due to documentarymaking commitments. A few months later Lindberg announced his resignation and Téglás was brought on board permanently. In addition to continuing to work with Orange County hardcore punk band Ignite, Téglás has filled in on vocals for The Misfits, has collaborated with Motörhead, and acts as head volunteer for Pacific Wildlife Project – rescuing and taking pelicans and other sea birds to rehabilitation hospital. And he’s also the volunteer music and outreach coordinator for Sea Shepherd. It sounds like he’s definitely the man to match the passion, intensity and fire of Pennywise at their finest. And the results are all there on All Or Nothing. We caught up with guitarist Fletcher Dragge to see how the newly revitalised Pennywise is settling in. At what point did the band realise Zoli was the guy? We had a situation where originally we had a couple of shows we were contracted to play. We didn’t want to cancel some shows, and he agreed to come in and do the shows. He was down for it. At that point we knew how things were going to be and we told him we would try some other people out [to be the new singer] But he did those shows, and he got the best try-out because he actually did those shows live with us. And he just brought it. He’s got a great stage presence. He’s got similar political views to what we have. He supports some causes we agree with. And he’s got a great voice. The thing is, you hear Pennywise, you near NOFX, Bad Religion, you think it’s just another punk band, but the fact that this stuff is really, really hard to sing. And although a lot of people we tried out were really good, Zoli was just that much better. He can do the older stuff that has a lot more dynamics and a lot higher register, because he has a higher voice, but he can still do the low stuff. So we just mulled it over, tried

everybody out, and said, well, he’s as crazy as they come, but we all are! So the rest is history. We’ve had a couple of ups and downs, a couple of bumps in the road, but for the most part I think we picked the right guy. It’s a hard style to sing because it’s difficult to do notes that pure without sounding pretty. Yeah, it’s something you don’t really hear in Ignite as much because he’s singing higher, but we wanted to make sure that he wasn’t imitating Jim but he also wasn’t imitating Zoli from Ignite. We worked the songs in keys where he has to drop down into keys that are almost in an uncomfortable range for him, and he was like, ‘move it up a notch,’ and we said ‘no. You learn how to sing it here, and you sing it with some gravel and some grit.’ He really adapted to it, and I think we created a new sound. Obviously with me and Randy [Bradbury, bass] writing and playing music it’s going to sound like Pennywise automatically, but the key was making it sound like Pennywise with Zoli singing, and I think we


accomplished that. Well the fact that it’s called All Or Nothing sums it up really well, in terms of keeping the band going. You must have thought ‘What the hell do we do now?’ Yeah! That song took on a life of its own. That song and the lyric encompass what Pennywise is all about and what we’re all going through in our lives. Obviously that song’s more of your oldschool Pennywise song from yesteryear. Y’know, it wasn’t like we asked Jim to leave the band. He quit and although it wasn’t a surprise, because he’d been threatening to quit for years, it was kind of a shock because we’d bent over backwards to keep him in the band for years. But whatever. Jim went and did his thing, and we can’t say we’re happy about a lot of the things he did and how he conducted himself, but it is what it is. We’re over that. Are you still an Ibanez guy? Yep! Still an Ibanez guy. I’m using the same old RG. I don’t even know the model number any more! They actually make me custom bodies. They take the RG and make the body about an inch and a half bigger overall. Because I’m a big guy and the little regular body looked kind of small on me. Funny story: I actually made a body that was a bigger version of an Ibanez before I trimester, students register for the units they wish to study, depending on their circumstances. What skills can students expect to master from this course? Students will be proficient in the technical skills required to perform various roles relating to audio. These would include areas of recording studio practise, concert and theatre sound, sound design and music programming, as well as specialist film sound areas. Importantly, not only do students acquire the technical skills, they develop the personal and collaborative skills to work in a production environment. AIM Audio projects incorporate students from other departments, such as composers and performers. This helps to develop teamwork and communication skills, an essential part of any production. What kind of projects are students given the opportunity to work on as part of the course? There is a broad range of projects that students become involved in. Audio students complete a range of recording projects in our studios – from recording solo performers, all the way to recording an EP for an artist. Students also undertake many “in the box” projects using digital audio workstations. This includes remixing, voiceover work, mastering skills, and film sound mixing.

About Jason De Wilde (Head of Audio at AIM)

Jason is a senior management professional with Australian and international experience in managing Audio and Creative Media educational facilities. He has been involved in audio education since 1989, and is a freelance music producer/engineer with a wealth of studio experience. He also specialises in recording live performances & has recorded concerts for Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, John Butler Trio, Cat Empire and the Wailers. Jason commenced working for the Australian Institute of Music in 2009 as a lecturer specialising in recording techniques and digital audio workstations. He now heads the Audio Department of AIM, and is in charge of the studio facilities. PG. 30 MIXDOWN NO. 217

Name of Course: Bachelor of Music (Audio) Where are you located? 1-51 Foveaux Street, Sydney, NSW 2010 (Right next to Central Station). With what goal in mind was this Audio course established? Our goal at AIM is to offer the most comprehensive audio engineering program in Australia, allowing graduates to gain the skills required for a demanding audio industry. The course is designed for individuals wanting to follow a career as a sound engineer, music producer or other audio specialist. Graduates provide audio expertise working on sound for major events, productions, live concerts, theatre, film, television, and digital media. How is the study load distributed (number of years, hours per week, full time or part time)? There is a very flexible study program at AIM. Students can choose to undertake this course full-time (duration: two years) or take on a lighter study load, allowing them to fit their study around other commitments. Every

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Students also get to work on other AIM projects including post graduate recordings, live performance recordings, and the annual “Best of AIM” CD - promoting the talent within the student body. Have there been any artists, well known producers or audio engineers AIM students have had the opportunity to work with in the industry recently? Our lecturers! Our students have the opportunity to work with them every day. We have a number of very experienced and high profile engineers who are the main lecturers here at AIM: Glen Phimister – has 2 ARIA awards, worked with members of the Beatles, INXS, Olivia Newton John and has 30 years industry experience. Greg Simmons – 30 years of experience with a passion for recording sound on location. Founder of Audio Technology Magazine – Australia’s most respected audio engineering magazine. Gerry Nixon – extensive background at Studios 301/ EMI, working with many successful Australian artists – Cold Chisel, Icehouse, The Models, Mental As Anything. Guy Gray – also from Studios 301, worked with many international artists – David Bowie, Rolling Stones. His

got sponsored by them, and put all their hardware back on it and their neck. I took it to them and they said ‘We’re not sponsoring any punk bands right now.’ I said ‘Check out my guitar.’ They said ‘You made a custom guitar and put all our hardware back on it?’ I said ‘Yeah. I love the necks and I love the sound of your guitars. I just need a bigger version.’ They said ‘Wait here,’ went upstairs, came back down and said ‘You’re sponsored.’ So that was pretty cool! The guitars are really durable on the road, and they work. I’m using EMGs in my setup, and with those super-fast muffles, if you don’t have a tight punchy guitar it just loses that aggressiveness. You’ve got to find that balance. Ibanez, for recording and live, you’ve got to find that really sweet open tone but also that Panteralike low end for the super-fast muffles. I use a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and a Bogner with two mics on each cab blended down to one, and then doubled. I feel pretty happy. I usually don’t like my guitar tone on record after I’ve done it, but I really like my guitar tone now. By Peter Hodgson

All Or Nothing is out now via Epitaph

recent recording and mixing work on the Taiwanese block-buster movie “Seediq Bale”, won’ Best Original Film Score ‘ award at the 48th Golden Horse awards. What sets this course apart from other institutions offering similar Audio Engineering courses? There are two main areas. Our lecturers are NOT recent graduates. They are highly experienced people who have been working in the industry for many years and have a wealth of industry insight. They are professional, knowledgeable and deeply passionate about sound engineering. The other area where AIM really is different to other audio schools is the inbuilt collaboration with students from all departments. AIM is a “mini music industry”, and students work with performers, composers, actors, and music management students. Students never have trouble finding people to work with them, and there is a huge culture of collaborative effort here. Do you have any systems in place to help graduates with securing employment? Internships with Studios 301 and Trackdown Studios. Frequent external projects get distributed to students so that they forge relationships with the industry. Facilities available for Audio students: Studio 1: SSL G Series analogue console with numerous analogue outboard equipments. Used for tracking and mixing of bands and performers. Studio 2: Tascam M700 analogue console, with analogue outboard equipment. Primarily used as a mixing facility. Studio 3: Digidesign Control 24 digital control surface, primarily used for tracking of solo musicians or ovedubs. Studio 4: Digidesign Icon digital control surface with surround sound monitoring. Primarily used for film sound recording and mixing, as well as mastering. Studio 5: Digidesign C24 with surround monitoring. Used for film sound recording and mixing. Studio 6: Yamaha analogue console. Primarily used for recording live performances (concert recording). All studios have Pro Tools HD, Logic, Reason, and other assorted plug ins. The AIM auditorium has a major concert PA rig for live sound classes. Trimester 1- starts in January Trimester 2- starts in May Trimester 3- starts in September Phone: (02) 9219 5444 Email:

Programmable, loud as valve, your sound, your voice INDIVIDUALITY IS POWER.

Freecall 1800 441 440

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PG. 31

SILVERSUN PICKUPS THE NERVE ENDING STORY In the past half decade or so, there have been few singles more arresting as Silversun Pickups’ breakthrough track ‘Lazy Eye’ – declaring a potent mix of idiosyncratic vocals (“Wait, that’s a dude singing?”) and scorching shoegaze guitar tones. The band proved to have a knack for consistency, following up their debut record with the solid offering of 2009’s Swoon. For their much-anticipated third LP, Silversun Pickups have employed the services of renowned producer Jacknife Lee, going on to forge a sound which creates a tangible tension between their shoegazing tendencies and Jacknife’s signature electronic drum usage. Chipper frontman Brian Aubert speaks to us about the creation of the record, a process which involved turning many of the band’s philosophies on their head. Neck Of The Woods contains that distinctive Silversun Pickups sound. What is it that you think defines that sound? I don’t really know. I do hear people intellectualise that a lot. It’s something that just kind of happens when the four of us get together – we can’t shake it, even if we wanted to shake it. It’ one of things where if you don’t like our band, well, there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s nice because it gives you a confidence knowing that we’re happy being who we are, and this is how it happens. But also, it gives us an opportunity to jump, to move and manipulate it as much as we can in different directions, knowing that we’re hopefully still in there. Did you have these newfound electronica elements in mind when writing the record? I did something that I’d never done before, I kneeled down and I demoed out a lot of these songs for the band so they could listen to it and rehearse it so we didn’t have to stare at each other in a room waiting for them to know what I’m talking about. There were moments on the demos that we inadvertently fell in love with, and Jacknife [Lee, producer] also fell in love with, and we decided to keep certain aspects. A lot of that is Chris [Guanlao, drummer] pressing pads anyway. Our first thought is that we shouldn’t really go there, but our first rule is that we break all our rules [laughs]. So we thought that whatever we’re going to do just won’t sound as cool as it did on the demo, so we kept a lot of it in. So Jacknife clearly enhanced it.

How did working with Jacknife come about? He has a track record with big British bands, when you guys are very much an LA band. He lives in LA and this is how it happened. We knew that we were writing the record in a way that was different for us. We were trying our best to push ourselves. It’s really hard to know how to do that, because we’re very uncalculated. To really make it feel like we can push ourselves further is to do things which makes us feel uncomfortable. So when we were writing the record that way we knew that we needed to work with somebody different, with different arguments and different punches to be thrown. We didn’t know what bands [Jacknife] had recorded with or whatever, to be honest, we didn’t really give a shit. We were just interested in meeting him, and he’s a maniac. He comes from a punk rock, guitar background, then he dipped into this crazy electronic universe by himself. He’s got a lot of knowledge about a lot of things, his reference points were all over the place. His wit and attitude toward working on this record was right on the money. He’s just a wizard. Have you begun translating the new material to the live setting yet? We’re doing our first production rehearsal today. I think with all the albums that we’ve understood the difference between live and studio. The hardest time we had recording, before we made our EP, is when we would just go in live and record. All the things we did live that sounded right just failed in recording. So our first headspace was getting that

same intensity and emotion without doing what we do live, but making it feel like that. That’s when we realised that they’re two different animals. Viceversa, too. When we first started rehearsing Swoon, our second record, we were really depressed because we were trying to do the album [live], but it just didn’t feel like the album. So once we figured out how to make it a little crazier in parts, and softer in parts, we got to feel out the album live. Immediately with this album that’s been our attitude, and I’m glad. No one cares about the little ping pong things going on in the background – those are for albums, those are for headphones. You want to feel like you’re experiencing not just a louder version of the album with the band mimicking. You want it to feel like an event, and so do we. There are certain things on the album, like arpeggiated keys, that you have to keep on lockdown because you can’t move around them. But we’re still going to keep it open, like we did before. I noticed the guitar is a lot further back in the mix throughout much of Neck Of The Woods. I always felt like I dominated a little too much in everything. I always like how Joe [Lester, keyboards] and I swirled things around on previous albums, where you don’t know who’s doing what. That’s one of the rules we still stick to, not knowing who’s

responsible – especially with the melodies. Even with Nikki’s [Monninger, bass] and my voice, you’re not quite sure who’s doing it. Going back to those demos, they presented the idea of negative space – which is something I think I’ve been after for a while. After hearing these silly demos, we fell in love with it. I think it’s time for me to let other people breathe and always have a moment, no matter how crazy the album might get – you can feel like you can sit in the middle of it somewhere. Any plans for another Australian tour? I want to, we’ve done it twice and definitely want to go back there and get drunk at Ding Dong again. Sorry man, Ding Dong is closed indefinitely! Aw man, everything’s shutting down, even The Annandale is shutting down. Fuck! By Lachlan Kanoniuk

Neck Of The Woods is out now through Warner.

EDUCATION PROFILE: SAE SAE Institute is a global innovator providing exceptional specialised courses in audio, film, live sound and electronic music production. Their industry-focused training is designed to advance your knowledge and technical skills, inspire artistic independence and encourage your creative confidence – getting you industry-ready and aligned with a network of creative minds upon graduation. Name of Course: Bachelor of Audio Production (Audio Engineering) At which Australian campuses are you located? Our audio degree was the first course of its kind in Australia and is now recognised as a governmentaccredited Bachelor degree. It is offered at our Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth campuses. We are aiming to offer the degree at our Adelaide and Brisbane campuses in the near future. What learning modules does this course offer? The course covers a diverse range of modules, some of the main ones including music theory, studio production, live sound production, audio post-production, electronic music, mastering, marketing and promotion. How is the study load distributed (number of years, hours per week, full time or part time)? The course is an accelerated two-year full-time program. The year is divided into three trimesters, with students undertaking four units per trimester. In general, each PG. 32 MIXDOWN NO. 217

unit has three hours per week of face-to-face classes. What kind of projects are students given the opportunity to work on as part of the course? In addition to practical assignments undertaken in their coursework, students complete two creative projects, giving them the opportunity to work individually or collaboratively on real-life projects. Have there been any artists SAE Audio Engineering students have had the opportunity to work with in the industry recently? Some of our students have worked with artists such as Powderfinger, The Living End, Angus and Julia Stone, Geoffrey Gurrumal Yunupingu, Grinspoon, Pete Murray, Jeff Martin, Ash Grunwald and more. How were students selected to be involved? To be involved in work experience of this nature, students must display excellence in their academic studies, demonstrate exceptional teamwork skills, and be dedicated and passionate about their work. What sets this course apart from other institutions offering similar Audio Engineering courses? Our strategic industry alliances enable students the opportunity to participate in unprecedented and unique forms of work experience providing them with incredible networking opportunities. In the past, students have worked at events such as Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, Laneway festival, One Movement festival (Perth), and at Studios 301 – one of Australia’s leading recording studios. In addition to the focus on practical skills, our audio degree is government-accredited and can serve as a pathway to post-graduate education. Do you have any systems in place to help graduates

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with securing employment? SAE has a thriving Alumni Association that aims to support its members by providing them with valuable networking, employment and industry opportunities. Facilities available for Audio students: Each campus offers students access to a student services advisor, assistance from higher education tutors, an extensive resource library, student study area and computer labs available after class hours. Students entering the first year of our degree courses can take advantage of our MacBook Pro deal, which offers them a brand new laptop decked out with the latest relevant software for only $800. Studio gear available to students for practice

and learning: SAE’s campuses comprise a variety of high-quality professional recording studios with analogue and digital workstations. This includes an SSL K – the only one of its kind used for educational purposes – at our Byron Bay campus, and other state-of-the-art consoles for students to train on. Intake periods: We have three intakes a year, commencing in March, June and October. The upcoming intake starts on the 25th of June.

Phone: 1800 723 338 (1800 SAE EDU) Web: Email:

MONITOBA HAL UKULELE BLUES Manitoba Hal has created something wholly unique and idiosyncratic out of several elements that already existed. He’s not the first guitarist to switch over to ukulele. Nor is the the first musician to use looping pedals. And he’s certainly not the first guy to play the blues. But the way he approaches the combination of those elements, and mixes it with his own musical sensibilities, is just perfect. A tireless live performer, ambassador for the uke, and all-round great musician, Manitoba Hal is heading to Australia for the Cairns Ukulele Festival in July. This will be the first time Hal has visited Australia, although he hopes it leads to many more trips in the future. “I’m just coming for that festival,” he says. “It’s going to be a tenday visit to Australia. And I’ll play the festival then do the tourist thing.” Festivals are a big part of Hal’s gig schedule, and they take him all over the world. “I think it’s going to be a great line-up. I’m very excited by some of the stuff they’ve put together. The various activities surrounding the festival, like the Great Barrier Reef tour and the bus tour. I think it’s really creative marketing. Usually these kind of events happen in one place and it’s one thing. It’s usually like, you go to go to this resort and you’re going to sit in one place and learn ukulele in this room, then you’re going to go and watch concerts that night in the next room, and that’s it.” The bus tour Hal speaks of is a ukulele mystery tour hosted by local tour guide Luke Walker and ukulele party animal Craig Chee on a 22 tonne double decker bus, taking in the sights of Cairns, ukulele party style. It will take in beaches, rainforests and of course a local pub, with live performances and lunch along the way. The festival even includes a two-day ukulele building workshop with the crew from KoAloha Ukuleles, Hawaii, where attendees - even absolute beginners from age ten and up - can sand, glue and sweat over their own custom KoAloha ukulele. “That’s one of the things I’m talking about, one of the really neat things they’ve got programmed,” Manitoba says. Manitoba’s ukuleles include aNueNue (which he’ll be playing at the festival in Australia), as well as a Germanmade RISA, an Ohana which is in the works, and a custom double-neck ukulele by a builder in Winnipeg. “That’s my go-to for most shows these days because it has a concert and a tenor neck in one, and you can go back and forth in styles, but it’s a little too big to fly with so it’s not coming with me to Australia.” When choosing a new uke, Hal looks primarily for how the sound inspires him. “I think every

instrument is unique, so what sounds great about one instrument won’t necessarily be great on another. That’s true of guitars too. You can’t really just say ‘get these woods.’ The right combination of woods on one guitar might be perfect, but on another it’s like, ‘meh.’ I like softwood tops and hardwood backs and sides. That seems to make the most sense to the sound. I’m not a traditionalist in the normal sense of the word with ukuleles. I don’t think koa is the only wood you should build a uke out of. I’m interested in new sustainable woods. People building out of walnut and myrtle and things like that. And after years of playing soprano I prefer tenor.” So why the ukulele? “It’s always been a battleground for me with the guitar. I played guitar for years, and the most difficult thing with the arrangements was was making sure I wasn’t right where the notes of the guitar were, or if I was, I was harmonising with the notes of the guitar as opposed to clashing. And with the ukulele I find that it sits above me and leaves a lot more room for the vocals. And it also makes the music sound different.” And Monitoba’s choice to play the blues sets him apart even further, and gives his music a link to the sound of old gut-strung parlour guitars compared to the resonators or electric guitars we usually associate with modern blues. “Exactly. The ukulele is possessed of a great melancholy. You know, it’s very easy to make it sound happy, but if you just dig a little deeper it’s got a really bittersweet tone which is very much like when people pluck a fiddle. Or a great example is banjo music, when they play slow and dig in. But it demands a bit of extra focus. It demands you to be a little more… I don’t want to say ‘precise,’ because I’m certainly guilty of being imprecise, but you have to know what you’re going for. By Peter Hodgson Manitoba Hal will be in the country this July 5-8 for Cairns Ukulele Festival.


JMC Academy is one of very few institutions to incorporate a technology stream throughout the undergraduate program, providing graduates with additional opportunities in this industry. What sort of positions are graduates qualified to work in? JMC Academy’s Music Performance course prepares students for the wide range of professional situations they will encounter as contemporary musicians. Specific roles may include: Recording Artist, Music Teacher, Music Journalist, Composer, Songwriter, Music Director, Musical Theatre, Orchestral Performer, Conductor, Music Programmer, Music Publisher, Arranger, Music Therapist, Touring Musician, Licensing Agent, Music Academic, Booking Agent, Tour Promoter, Instrument Technician, Copyright Specialist, Royalty Expert, Producer, E-Marketing Music Consultant and Resident Musician. Do you have any systems in place to help graduates with securing employment? The Contemporary Music and Performance course offered at JMC Academy is unique in combining essential critical thinking and theoretical principles, with the production based work and practical experience critical to the industry. Students obtain a number of real life performance opportunities in venues, as well as have the unique opportunity to collaborate with other students from different courses and build their creative network while studying. All students graduate with a professional portfolio of their work suitable for future employment interviews.

JMC Academy is celebrating 30 years in tertiary education and still remains Australia’s leading Creative Industries institution. The Academy offers a wide range of Degrees and Diplomas including Music Performance, Audio Engineering, Entertainment Business Management, 3D Animation, Game Design and Film & Television Production. We caught up with JMC for some insight into their Music courses. What skills can students hope to acquire from JMC Academy’s Contemporary Music and Performance courses? Whilst many other institutions provide more classically orientated programs that emphasise musicianship alone, JMC Academy also provides graduates with the commercial skills necessary to succeed in the music industry. The curriculum covers an expansive range of musical styles, as well as recording and production techniques. PG. 34 MIXDOWN NO. 217

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How are the courses structured? All units of study for the Diploma, Associate Degree and Degree programmes are delivered on JMC Academy premises. Diploma students complete the programme in two trimesters, Associate degrees are completed over four trimesters and Bachelor degrees are completed over six trimesters. With three trimesters offered in each year, this enables JMC Academy students to complete their Bachelor degree in just two years. What sets JMC Academy apart from other similar training institutions? Our courses have been uniquely designed for interdisciplinary collaboration; a unique advantage of studying at JMC Academy. This enables students to

develop an understanding and appreciation for the interrelated series of networks that impact on the success of a commercial project. Through this inter-campus integration, students begin to grow their creative network of prospective colleagues prior to graduation. As a graduate of the JMC Academy’s Contemporary Music and Performance course, you will have the optimum advantage of being able to work in a diverse range of environments and hit the ground running with any challenge or project faced in your career future. What studio gear is available to students for practice and learning? The JMC Academy’s world class facilities are all housed on-campus providing ease of access and integrated application. These facilities include professional fully fitted rehearsal studios, an on campus auditorium, professional recording studios, post production and editing suits, as well as libraries and research facilities. JMC Academy’s facilities include: • Professional recording studios • 5.1 surround sound mixing • Digital and analogue recording consoles • Post production suites • Digital media and animation labs • Film and television studios • Professional fully fitted rehearsal studios • On-campus auditorium • Green screen studios • Digital editing suites • Professional cameras and lighting Where are your campuses are you located? JMC Academy has three campuses located in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Students are able to transfer between campuses throughout their degree.

JMC Academy is now accepting applications for their 2012 June intake. Contact your nearest campus to speak to a Student Recruitment Advisor today. Phone: 1300 410 311 Web:

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WHAT’S THAT SOUND? GUITAR PRINCE With Prince about to tour Australia it seems like a mighty fine time to look at his contributions to guitar. Sure, he’s known for his funky multilayered studio sound and his soulful high vocals, but Prince has always been a Hendrix-inspired blues rock guitar phenom at heart. Just check out his solo in ‘Purple Rain’, or his psychedelic blues soloing on ‘Peach’. But perhaps Prince’s most daring guitar statement is the unreleased but heavily bootlegged album The Undertaker. It was recorded in a single, continuous live-in-the-studio pass in the early to mid ‘90s with drummer Michael Bland and bass player Sonny T. The original plan was to give the album away for free with 1,000 copies of Guitar Player magazine in 2004, but legend has it that Prince’s label intervened. That didn’t stop it from getting out there somehow, and it’s an incredible document of Prince’s guitar talents. Prince later revisited the idea with his album Planet Earth, which was given away with three million copies of the UK tabloid The Mail in 2007. He repeated the idea a few years later with 2.5 million copies of 20Ten given away with copies of the Daily Mirror and Daily Record. But back to guitar! Let’s look at Prince’s gear. He’s perhaps most closely identified with two instruments: his Hohner TE (an all-maple Telecaster-style guitar with a walnut skunk stripe on the body) and variations on the Cloud guitar, a custom build by luthier David Rusan in 1983. Schecter also built a run of Cloud guitars to sell at Prince’s NPG stores a while back, and some of these are on display in Hard Rock Cafes too. There are some great close-ups of a yellow Cloud in the video for ‘Cream’, but here’s a fun fact: the Clouds are sometimes resprayed different colours, so who knows

if the white one is the same as the yellow and if they’re the same as the purple one? The original clouds were neck-through instruments built to a 24.75” scale length with medium jumbo frets, a 12” radius, an EMG 81 humbucker in the bridge and SA in the neck, a tuneo-matic-style 457 bridge/tailpiece, Jim Dunlop strap locks and brass nut. If you can track down a Schecter version, it will have either a bolt-on or through neck, Duncan Design pickups and Gotoh hardware. Later examples were built with a 25.5” scale length. Prince also has several Love Symbol guitars shaped like the symbol he changed his name to briefly back in the ‘90s. The story goes that his label didn’t want to release all the various albums he was recording (such as The Undertaker), so he protested by doing stuff like writing the word ‘SLAVE’ on his cheek, and changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol, since the contract was with a guy named Prince, not an artist represented by a squiggle. Genius! Anyway, these Symbol guitars were built by German luthier Jerry Auerswald, with 24 frets, 24.75” construction and EMG 81 and SA pickups. Schecter also made some, including one with a Floyd Rose. Prince seems to dig the Floyd lately, often playing a Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster with his favourite EMG configuration and a Floyd. As for the Hohner TE: after Prince made the guitar

famous, the company issued various versions of the model as the cheekily-titled ‘The Prinz’ and later the TE Prinz, the HTA490 The Artist and the Artist Elite. They pop up on the used market from time to time Prince’s lead guitar tones are typically midrange-heavy and nicely saturated, which certainly helps with the Hendrix-like feedback he conjures in live situations. But one of his more unique tones is on ‘Cream’. It’s a bizarre mix of effects, and not an easy one to deconstruct. Try various combinations of auto wah,

phaser and harmonizer (sometimes set for an octave effect). Prince did like to use a Zoom 9030 effect processor around that era, but he’s a very secretive chap so it’s hard to know exactly what he used. But try this: auto wah (envelope filter) into a subtle overdrive effect (with the tone down low for a smooth, creamy sound rather than a hairy one) into a harmonizer, into a stereo phaser. That should get you somewhere close. By Peter Hodgson

UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD R.I.P JIM MARSHALL The rock world lost Jim Marshall, OBE on April 5. It’s impossible to imagine what rock music might be like had Marshall not revolutionised the amplifier. It’d sound a lot different – and a lot more polite, I’m sure! Jim founded Marshall Amplification in 1962, a few years after setting up a music store, and the company’s designs found their feet quickly. Soon they were onstage with the top players of the day - Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton - and it’s still that way to this day. In honour of Marshall’s contribution I thought I’d take a break from our regular programming to pay tribute to his life’s work. I think the first time I saw a Marshall close-up was a JMP Lead 100 Solid State 2078. Have you ever seen these things? They’re combo amps with four 12” speakers, and they were in production from 1973 to 1978. It was one of Marshall’s earliest forays into transistors, and it features two channels and an effects loop. The one I saw was lined up against the wall with some other secondhand amps at a music store in Lavington, and I didn’t know or care that it was one of Marshall’s lesser-loved models - I was 13 and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I had to own one some day. It’s funny how those things can make an impression on you at such a young age. The first amp to put Marshall on the map was the 45 watt JTM45, introduced in 1962. Baring many similarities to the Fender Bassman circuit, the JTM45 diverged via a few factors including its use of (mostly) KT66 output valves. The tone is more compressed and bottom-heavy than later Marshalls or the Fender that inspired it, making it a killer amp for fat, singing single note lines. The JMP series of the 1970s (the 2203 100 watt and 2204 50 watt models) was Marshall’s first amp to offer a Master Volume control, allowing players to crank the preamp for extra distortion while reigning back on the power amp for reduced volume. This created a different distortion character to that which players were previously achieving with pushed power valves or fuzz pedals, and every overdrive pedal that we know and love today owes a little something to the JMP. Famous users include Rush’s Alex Lifeson, Ozzy Osbourne’s Jake E Lee, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt. The influence of the JMP and even cranked-up non-master-volume Plexis led to the development of the JCM800, Marshall’s first amplifier that seemed to just spew brutal, punchy, bottom-heavy metal tones at will. The muscular-sounding JCM800 is a staple of early 80s metal, and it enjoyed a resurgence in the late 90s thanks to renewed focus on JCM800 devotees like Zakk Wylde and Slayer’s Kerry King. There’s something magical about using an Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer overdrive to push the front end of a JCM800. The JCM800 was also a popular basis for modifications back in the day, and this is probably why pristine examples are so hard to find. The most prized variation is the original 2203 100 watt beast. Marshall’s big 1990s amp, the JCM2000, has a special place in my heart: it’s the source of my personal tone and an incredibly reliable rock machine on stage. Think of it as a JCM800 with more preamp gain, or a JCM900 with more of that JCM800 body and grunt. The JCM2000 is available in two flavours: the two-channel Dual Super Lead (DSL) and rougher-sounding three-channel Triple Super Lead (TSL). Players who have beheld the glory of this series over the years include Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith, Jeff Beck, Steve Morse and Nuno Bettencourt. Oh and US instrumental virtuoso Rob Balducci once used mine on a gig too. I’ll never forget the feeling of getting my first Marshall home. I must have just stared

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at that thing for ten minutes before even hooking it up. That amp has even survived several falls from the cabinet and never made so much as a whimper about it. I actually fell in love with that amp when I was doing repair work, there was a certain magic about it, and when it was time to buy a new amp I tried anything and everything out there, but couldn’t forget that Marshall at work. So, I bought that very one and I still use it to this day. In the 2000s Marshall released the JVM series. Perhaps Marshall’s most complex and versatile amp to date, this monster has a whopping twelve channels (three modes of each of four available channels) and MIDI control. It’s capable of pristine, sparkling cleans, muscular crunch tones, screaming lead and incredibly distorted scooped-mid death tones. It was this amp that Joe Satriani fell in love

with when he realised he needed a Marshall sound for Chickenfoot, and the amp was also the basis for Dave Mustaine’s guitar tone on Megadeth’s Endgame album. This year Marshall is releasing 1 watt mini amps inspired by each of the above (one every 11 weeks), and it’s a fitting way to pay tribute to the legacy of the company’s founder and the artists who have used them. By Peter Hodgson For infomation on the Marshall range of amps contact Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit

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MAY 2012

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WHAT’S THAT SOUND? KEYBOARD FRETTED STRINGS I can think back to the very first keyboard I got about 25 years ago and how amazed I was at the sounds that could be reproduced through this instrument. I was introduced to the language of MIDI and shown just how, with the aid of a keyboard as a control device, I could make a keyboard create just about any sound I wanted. It was a couple of orchestra hits and some huge swelling strings from the in store demo and I was hooked. So, the passion with keyboards began and the search for bigger, better and more realistic sounds had started. Then I found guitar sounds within the keyboard. Only one of the impressive 16 sounds this only Yamaha had to offer was an acoustic guitar and hearing it just about put me off ever wanting to play guitar right then and there. SIGN O’ THE TIMES So, that was some years back and admittedly, just about every keyboard manufacturer was presenting us with realistic guitar sounds in their new keyboard models only to leave the user feeling like they were nowhere near the mark. In fact, the idea of even initiating the guitar patches in some units was just not even entertained, they were so bad. There was always something missing; something that didn’t translate well to a single sample being triggered with changes in the velocity doing nothing but changing the volume of the note. Aside from sound often thin and lifeless, there wasn’t any real sense of an acoustic instrument being played. These same keyboard manufacturers had nailed it when it came to fretless strings like the violin and other orchestral instruments, but the guitar seemed to elude them. Perhaps the technology just was not as up to speed as we had all hoped.

real life to them. Best of all, multi-sampling of notes allows for different velocities to truly represent how the instrument sounds when played and not just reflect a volume level. You can get real dynamic control in an acoustic guitar with modern sample based synthesisers and an expressiveness that was previously unattainable with the old engines. I know many guitarists out there will not want to go near an idea like this because it is seen as a cheap emulation, but the only thing nowadays that is keeping a

keyboard apart from a guitar is the player and how they are able to adapt their playing style to further the expressiveness and feel of a guitar through the use of a keyboard. A cool example of keys that emulate strings amazingly well is the Yamaha MOX8 synth. Visit for more. By Rob Gee

THE CHANGING TIDES Well, it isn’t all despair when it comes to guitars and production with a keyboard. I think one of the great developments in synth engines and sampling methods over the last ten years has seen a solid improvement in how an acoustic instrument can be emulated with a digital keyboard. This is not just so in the case of guitars, but in piano, drum and percussion sounds too. With more research and development being put into multi-sampling notes from these instruments, we are now getting so much closer to the real thing it can be hard to pick it at times. All the subtle nuances of an acoustic instrument like the hammer coming off the strings in a piano, or the fingers sliding down the wound strings of a guitar are now finally being captured in sample engines and getting added to the performance sounds to bring a


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. However, 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 1987 and have a look at the D-50, produced by Roland. This solid old black beast will always hold a special place in my heart, as I am sure it will with so many other people who have used them over the years and still use them today. I wrestle with vain attempts to program my D-110, the cut down version of its smaller brother in a rack format, but am usually put off by the labyrinthine process that has you trudging through menus left right and centre to make a sound usable. The D-50 was the flagship in the D series of sample based digital keyboards and although it was released 25 years ago, it still gets used today by many people because it has a certain sound that really captivated the

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market when it first came out. This came out at the same time as Yamaha’s all time classic the DX7 and it offered the market a different take on modern sounds. While the DX7 wowed everyone with it’s FM synthesis, and drove them all nuts with its painstaking programming, the D-50 offered a different take on digital keyboard synthesis with a PCM based sample system used to generate the sound, giving users the attack and natural feel that was missing from so many other keyboards when looking for real instrumental sounds. From here, the sounds could be altered with an almost analogue sounding form of synthesis that had a similar feel to analogue subtractive synthesis, but with a PCM sample in place of the oscillator. This really opened the path of design for many synth manufacturers over the next twenty or so years and shows why the D-50 has remained popular. What the D-50 gave the synth world at the time was a real insight into how sounds were going to

develop in the future. This unit did not rely on an analogue pulse or waveform to build a sound from, but began with a complex (at least for the era) sample and grew from there. With a digital reverb and chorus also included and a joystick style controller to allow for manipulation of the timbre of the sound in real time, the D-50 really opened up all number of avenues that had yet to be explored. Looking at every great Roland synth engine in the last 20 years, and there have been a few, you can hark back to the D-50 and see its influence in the modern designs . The D-50’s original tones are never quite emulated in newer engines and prove why aquiring this original is so popular among synth enthusiasts. By Rob Gee

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HOME STUDIO HINTS RECORDING UKULELE I have no doubt that many of you reading this have set up to record yourself or somebody else with an acoustic guitar before and you are probably aware of many of the different tricks you can use to get rich and interesting tones from that instrument. Well, with so much focus on ukuleles these days, it only seem right to have a look at just how you can best capture their sound in the home studio too, giving your recordings an added depth with an instrument that many people overlook. But, the ukulele offers a beautiful timbre that is quite unlike that of a guitar and can really stand out in a mix and liven up a performance if it is captured correctly. DIRECT IN Obviously, with so many manufacturers producing different ukuleles these days, there are plenty of options for an instrument with a built in pickup. You can very easily grab the sound of your ukulele by going direct in with the pickup, especially if it has an active preamp circuit built in. If your instrument only has a passive system, then the use of an external preamp, like one you would use for a guitar will greatly improve the tone and level that you are able to capture. Even though the ukulele has a fairly soft attack to its notes, when going direct from a pickup mounted under the bridge saddle you get a sharper, more attacking tone from the instrument that defines the notes and helps them stand out in the mix.

MICROPHONE TECHNIQUES Unfortunately, when using just the pickup system, you do tend to miss so much of the warmth of the wood with your ukulele and with so many rich woods being used these days to produce some of these instruments; it can be a real shame to let it go unnoticed. I like to use a variety of microphones for a ukulele, so I can capture all of the body’s resonance, allowing me to choose what sounds I want to use later on in the mix process. I find a large diaphragm condenser microphone works very well up close to the sound hole, usually set off axis slightly to reduce any chuffing from the air emitting from the instrument. How close you place the microphone is going to depend on how much movement the person playing the instrument uses in their playing technique. Getting too close, you may find that they move away from the microphone and you lose definition at time,

but too far away and you don’t get that direct sound and it starts acting like a room microphone. Really, you need to experiment to find what works best with different microphones, ukuleles and musicians. A pair of pencil style condenser microphones about three or four feet back set up in a XY pattern for a stereo room image also works well, allowing you to pick up some natural reverb and hear the decay of the notes from the instrument more clearly.

microphones for each take will not only give you the option to pick and choose what you want to use for the end result, but will enable you to blend the different sounds so you can hear each and every element of the instrument. Don’t be afraid to use too many microphones. If one doesn’t sound right, you don’t have to use it. But if you use just one and you are not happy with the sound after the perfect take, you will wish you had more options.

MIX IT UP Just like with acoustic guitars, the best sound captured from a ukulele is usually a combination of a few elements. Using a pickup and several

By Rob Gee

BANGIN THE TUBS SOLOING – WHERE TO START? Ah yes, the big question. It’s a good one and frankly there’s no one true, easy and right answer. However, I’d like to share a couple of ideas to get you going and if they happen to work for you, then that’s awesome. The question usually comes up for a number of reasons and it all depends on the gig and situation – a little four bar break, and intro to a song, a trading section or a completely free open drum solo where the guys leave the stage and don’t come back! Either way, you gotta do something. Now this column isn’t about the actual fancy licks you should play – that’s another lesson. Today is more about how to structure your solo and how to shape the solo. For me, when I solo, regardless of the situation, I try not to give everything away at once. The audience is already listening when a drum solo starts and they know that there’ll be some flashy stuff coming. I keep them interested and shape the solo so that I build to a real peak at some point. Sometimes, it’s right at the end and the solo ends up being a gradual climb. Or sometimes I peak in the middle and bring the whole vibe back down again. Either way, it involves not just blasting your favourite fill over and over. So, what do I actually play to ensure this doesn’t happen? I like to think I have three main foundations to pull material from; fills and liks, melodies and rhythms alongside my arsenal of grooves. FILLS & LICKS This is the flashy, fancy stuff. Rudiments, stickings, double bass pedalling and what makes up your bag of tricks. MELODIES & RHYTHMS Here you are literally making up melodies on the spot as you go. Pretending the drums are notes.

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It’s not that flash but sets up a great foundation for going into a lick and then having something to come back to. This way of soloing is completely random and can involve any sound source on the kit. It take a little time to get comfortable with at first but the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Think simple and sparse or textural and repetitive. Endless options. Check out guys like Steve Gadd and Dave Weckl for this stuff – they’re masters. GROOVES Sometimes the solo just wants to go a step further and you can use a fat groove to really cap it off or even base the whole solo on. Guys like Keith Carlock are really good at this. He can solo within the groove, being both intense and intricate. I tend to start my solo from either bag two or three and when the moment is right throw in a lick, gradually getting more intense and exciting until the end of the solo where you can go ballistic. Other ideas can include a question/ answer scenario where you state a theme and a response, then repeat the same theme and a different response. Then there’s my favourite – silence. No one expects it. Let it go for a couple of bars and people won’t know what’s going on! Remember to study plenty of drummers, like Butch Vigask from Garbage (pictured) and keep at it! By Adrian Violi

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MAY 2012


PG. 41


loha! This month we’re surfing the incredible wave of interest that has spawned for the ancient 19th century Hawaiian instrument known as the ukulele or “uke” as it’s commonly called. No longer overlooked, around the country dedicated ukulele stores are opening, lessons are booking out, festivals are selling fast, including the International Cairns Ukulele Festival (that is happening this very month) and everyone from the young to the old are getting their hands around this four stringed gem. This Mixdown Special Feature is a buyers guide and introduction to a range of available ukuleles on the market, all styles, makes and models including the Soprano, Concert, Tenor, Baritone and even a banjo uke were tested by our trusted team of writers. We looked at each model and recommended who it would best suit, it’s sound and tone, usability and playability including it’s construction, bang for your buck and an overall summary. We hope you get as much enjoyment and knowledge out of reading this as we did playing each and every one at Mixdown HQ. As always with an acoustic stringed instrument it’s best to visit your local retailer and try the models you like for yourself - where you can ask those extra questions see the differences in size, weight, options such as pre-amps, pickups and most importantly hear how they sound and play live. By and large the ukulele has made a formidable comeback into the ever changing musical landscape. They’re proving to be an incredibly fun, relaxing and easy to play instrument, surprisingly versatile with almost every genre of music now being tackled by all those inspired players looking for something different. So, without further ado, grab yourself a uke, head out into that tide of four-stringed inspiration and most importantly strum that wave all the way to your next song.


RRP: $1129 or $1399 with Pickup.




RECOMMENDED FOR: Guitarists who prefer a Tenor sized uke as less of a jump in size. Otherwise advanced, professionals or players of any level wanting a quality, detailed instrument should be on the list. SOUND AND TONE: A big, bold, round sound thanks to the increased body size and depth of the Jack Tenor. The solid timbers and internal design, carving and bracing give you plenty to work with in terms of volume and tone plus the ability to plug in for bigger gigs and more volume. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Feels great. As mentioned guitarists might feel more at home on this sized uke as opposed to concert and soprano models thanks to the bigger scale, neck and fret spacing but overall she plays like a a dream anyway. With the rechargeable Faceblend pickup system you get some extra points too. CONSTRUCTION: You can see many of the same killer design and build features from the Fat Lady guitar range here and the Jack Tenor feels like a super solid ukulele. Understated and suave, it’s darker timbers, simple binding and select markings come across a treat. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Up the higher side of the uke market but a serious instrument with a pickup means you’re getting plenty of ukulele for your buck. OVERALL: Magic! Best to give it a spin for yourself.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Players after a higher end name brand uke that don’t need the extra glitz of the higher model 2 and 3s. SOUND AND TONE: Resonant and warm with an even, clear tone - Solid Tasmanian Blackwood is the wood of choice for the UL-1 USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Nice body shape, comfy neck and the heel joint is smooth if you want to get into the higher registers. A straight ahead instrument the UL-1 is a piece of cake to get happening and I found the Grover tuners to be responsive and solid too. CONSTRUCTION: I like the fact that you get essentially the same build quality and design as the 2 and 3 models but a little less frills (which some may prefer anyway). A well built instrument, you get a good feeling from just looking at it and knowing the reputation of Cole Clark as an amazing sounding and aesthetically pleasing instrument maker on the whole has shined through here. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Great - you get the Cole Clark brand name, a well built uke with nice woods and tone at a reasonable price for the intermediate and pro player. OVERALL: Check out some serious aussie uke work with the Cole Clark Ukelady 1 (or 2 or 3, if so inclined).

PG. 42 MIXDOWN NO. 217

SPECS: TYPE: Tenor Cutaway Body WOODS: Solid Tasmanian Blackwood Queensland Maple Neck PICK-UP: Optional Cole Clark Rechargeable Faceblend

MAY 2012

TUNERS: Grover Champion Friction Pegs CASE AVAILABLE: Case included

RRP: $699

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano Traditional Body WOODS: Solid Tasmanian Blackwood Queensland Maple Neck PICK-UP: N/A

TUNERS: Grover Champion Friction Pegs CASE AVAILABLE: Included


RRP: $1,299




RECOMMENDED FOR: Advanced, professionals or players of any level wanting a quality, detailed instrument. SOUND AND TONE Rich and warm with great sustain. The combination of woods and design give you the ability to bash out with lots of volume or hear every little nuance. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Beautiful - a light satin finish retains the natural look and feel making for an easy player with a super comfy neck. CONSTRUCTION: A gorgeous looking ukulele the Ukelady 3 is the top of the range for Cole Clark in this model and it’s easy to see why. Solid construction, hand carved soundboard, beautiful inlay work, high quality hardware and a classy look. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: These are not entry level ukes but you get great design, craftsmanship and tone for your money. Comes with a high quality gig bag with moulded insides to really protect your investment too. OVERALL: The higher end of the uke chain in typical high quality Cole Clark fashion with a nice aussie twist. A great ukulele that looks, sounds and feels great - easy to see why they’re the go-to uke for a host of players.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone after an affordable, good quality mahogany soprano uke – especially those with some nautical leanings SOUND AND TONE: Clear and balanced with plenty of mids this Eddy Finn packs plenty of punch for a soprano size whilst remaining natural and rootsy. Even and tasteful with good projection. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Easy to handle, feels nice, even neck and a smooth refined feel. Soprano players, those with small hands, children – just about anyone will dig this. CONSTRUCTION: Looks great, I dig the fin shaped sound hole for something different and the construction seems solid on all counts. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A cool little soprano with plenty of gusto. This size is super compact, portable and still has plenty to offer. OVERALL: Eddy Finn have gone for their own style with their outlook, finishes, packaging and they’ve got a good product with sensibly priced instruments that play well.

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano Traditional Body WOODS: Solid Tasmanian Blackwood or Solid Indian Rosewood, Queensland Maple Neck. PICK-UP: Fitted with Cole Clark’s


Rechargeable Faceblend System. TUNERS: Grover Champion Friction Pegs CASE AVAILABLE: Included

RRP: $285


RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone specifically after a concert sized uke or those leaning towards the smaller size of the uke family that likes a little extra zing in their looks and feel. SOUND AND TONE: Mahogany top, back, sides and neck and a rosewood board and bridge work the warmer, rootsy side of the tonal equation and the satin finish makes for an all over natural, open sound. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Pretty straight up here - comfy neck again of the satin finish. Lightweight and portable means anyone should be able to get a note of it and younger players shouldn’t get frustrated thanks to the smaller frets and neck. CONSTRUCTION: The typical Eddy Finn fin shaped soundhole is again onboard with the Concert EF-15 and Eddy and his gang have added a little extra razzle dazzle with the Fishbone binding which I love. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A good operator, good volume for a concert uke and pretty solid all-rounder. Plus you get that hint of tropical scent and indeed you get that feeling of the tropics. OVERALL: Easy on the eye, easy to play and easy on the wallet is a big win.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Those after a slick looking tenor with some extra touches and the extended range this size offers. SOUND AND TONE: With a gloss finish you get a slightly sharper and cleaner edge with the bigger tenor body resonating through the mids and lower end. Even and open sounding you also get lots of volume. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Plays great! The gloss finish is a nice change and gives you the feeling of being able to slide all over the neck with ease. CONSTRUCTION: Another cool model from Eddy Finn, the combination of gloss finish, darker woods and abalone binding on the top gives a modern take on the Tenor uke. This fella is a little glitzy without being over the top – cool. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A sweet tenor uke that stands out a little from the crowd but still sounds good like a tenor uke should. OVERALL: More individual in style from the Finn brand here, with a great glossy aesthetic. Sharp and crisp with a slick finish this is one to check out if you want to look a little past the standard models.

SPECS: TYPE: Concert WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck PICK-UP: N/A


TUNERS: Chrome Klusion Style CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

RRP: $165


RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginner, introductory players looking for something in a smaller size with bite. SOUND AND TONE: A combination of mahogany and rosewood, the gloss finish in particular adds a little slickness to the mid range and tops here. Even and clear this little concert will be more than enough to get you started. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: To tune and play feels good and sounds like a concert uke should. CONSTRUCTION: Smooth edges, clean joins and fittings and a slick neck. No probs here, should handle many a beach party indeed... or a slightly over zealous uncle with musical aspiration. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Eddy Finn seem to have a good thing going here with their line of Mahogany ukes. Setup and ready to go, they hold their tune, feel good and look the part with a range of finishes and sizes to suit almost anyone. OVERALL: Another nice uke, this time in a gloss. At these prices you can’t go wrong, you get a 3 year warranty and plenty of bang for your buck.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Those wanting a step up from the beginner models in a tenor uke with the ability to plug in thanks to the onboard pickup/preamp system. SOUND AND TONE: Round and warm with nice sustain. The slightly bigger Tenor body size makes for some extra oomph. Solid mids and low end without the harsh top end of some cheaper ukes. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Feels great thanks to the satin type finished neck and comfy body size. Tuners seemed to hold up well and the pickup system is straight forward with controls for bass, treble and volume. CONSTRUCTION: The mother of pearl body inlay and sound hole stylings look great and the majority of the body joins and timber seem great. Felt like it could withstand many a luau. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Pretty darn reasonable with a light cover/slip type carry bag and pitch pipes included. OVERALL: Warm, plenty of volume, the ability to plug in if you really want to shake things up uke style. As mentioned this tenor is a few rungs up the uke food chain and you’ll appreciate the extra tone and features.

TYPE: Concert WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck PICK-UP: N/A

TUNERS: Chrome Diecast CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck PICK-UP: N/A

TUNERS: Geared CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

RRP: $415

SPECS: TYPE: Tenor WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck PICK-UP: N/A







RRP: $75

TUNERS: Chrome Diecast CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

RRP: $179


SPECS: TYPE: Tenor WOODS: Solid Spruce top; Rosewood body; Mahogany neck; Rosewood Fingerboard Abalone Binding.

MAY 2012

PICK-UP: 2-band EQ and Volume TUNERS: Vintage Kluson-Style CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

MIXDOWN NO. 217 PG. 43


RRP: $65




RECOMMENDED FOR: A good quality instrument a few steps up from entry level. The small ‘Concert’ size might be more accessible to small hands and younger players too. SOUND AND TONE: Warm and earthy with a nice pronounced mid range. The solid acacia body resonates well without any strange overtones and I liked the volume and projection from the Palm Beach Concert model. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: The concert ukulele is the second smallest size meaning this is very easy to play – this particular model being super light to boot. Straightforward to navigate and good action should get you on your way in no time. CONSTRUCTION: Build quality seems good in terms of a solid, usable instrument. A few little blemishes in the neck joint but nothing really noticeable and wouldn’t put me off the instrument at all especially for its great price tag. The body, headstock and sound hole binding looks great! BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Comes with a lightweight carry bag and set of pitch pipes for those wanting to have a crack at tuning by ear. OVERALL: You’ll notice the clean, warm tone as a step up from cheaper ‘entry level’ ukes. Those with fat fingers might struggle up the neck a little on Concert Ukes but that’s a size issue nothing to do with Palm Beach. A solid little model.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Those looking for something a little lower in range, bigger in body or maybe in size and not just your beginner instrument. SOUND AND TONE: Round and woody with the combination of nylon and steel strings making for some extra zing and volume. The balance and clarity of this bari’ uke was great and the increased range and neck make for some nice alternatives note wise. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Some will enjoy the longer neck, increased range and bigger feel and sound of the baritone ukulele. As mentioned previously the feel and tone of steel and nylon strings is a different sound again to the soprano and concert shaped instruments but a change is as good as a holiday. CONSTRUCTION: I really dig the rope sorta styled binding around the body, soundhole and headstock and it really sets off nicely against the darker grained back, sides and top. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A good priced bari’ uke with an even and clear tone. Won’t break the bank and can still hold up well against a host of similarly priced instruments. OVERALL: Playing baritone can open up some other ideas with tunings that match the highest four strings on guitar (handy for those with some axe knowledge) and the lower range suits some other styles of music too.

SPECS: TYPE: Concert WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard PICK-UP: N/A TUNERS:


Geared Kluson-Style CASE AVAILABLE: Available Seperately

RRP: $129


RECOMMENDED FOR: Players looking for a little more than your basic beginner uke that won’t break the bank. SOUND AND TONE: Clean and woody thanks to the mahogany body. Mid range focussed this M series has enough volume to be heard yet can handle subtle touches too. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Good feel and small enough for anyone to get their hands around some chord shapes. As easy as tune and play! CONSTRUCTION: Mahogany body with dark styling, for a refined look. Everything seems to be in its right place here with no nasty sharp edges or marks. Ripper! BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: At this price you can’t go wrong and you might enjoy the slightly more natural sound from the stained/ natural wood finish as opposed to a crazy coloured or glossy model. OVERALL: A good instrument from Palm Beach with a 2 year guarantee and an included cover/carry bag. For a very reasonable price you’ll be getting a very natural sounding uke.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginners and dabblers. A good quality ukulele with nice woods, no bells or whistles here suited to a player who’s after a nice entry level model. SOUND AND TONE: The tone sounds a little thin and hollow, but strangely it sounds great with chords. In fact, it sounds better with chords than it does with single notes or arpeggios. You would think it would be the other way around, given the particular tonal emphasis here. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: A very strummable little uke with no flashy features, but made of nice woods and well balanced. Easy to change chords. CONSTRUCTION: Well built, with plenty of natural mahogany and a nice rosewood fretboard and bridge. Comes with a soft case, which doesn’t offer the greatest of protection from knocks but will help to keep the finish nice. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Would rank higher if the case was a little tougher or if it had a preamp, but great for the price point. A very straightforward uke for a wide variety of players. OVERALL: A good uke for chordal players who dabble in the occasional single note line or arpeggiated part. The tone is pretty unique and won’t be to everyones’ taste but some will love it.

SPECS: TYPE: Concert WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard


PICK-UP: N/A TUNERS: Vintage Kluson-Style CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

RRP: $149.99


RECOMMENDED FOR: Soloists and those who need to play uke in a band from time to time. A great choice for guitarists looking for some ukulele vibe but who find sopranos too small. SOUND AND TONE: This one has a very full tone with great sustain. It’s definitely capable of being a solo instrument, presenting plenty of detail and richness. It also projects its volume quite powerfully, and you can achieve a wide range of tones by varying picking techniques. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: As a concert-sized ukulele it’s a little larger, and it has exceptional clearance to reach the higher frets, so it gives you quite an expanded sonic range to move about in. CONSTRUCTION: This uke has a natural matte spruce top and mahogany back and sides - traits you’d typically find on an acoustic guitar. As a result it sounds almost like a nylon string guitar: sweet and complex. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: A well-made and great-sounding instrument that will give you years of use, and very adaptable for different styles and musical situations, so it scores quite highly here. Soft case is included. OVERALL: A great uke for those moving to the instrument from guitar or bass, especially fingerpicking guitarists looking to expand their range of sounds without too much of a physical adjustment.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginner, intermediate and semi-pro players. A high quality uke that doesn’t try to be too flashy, but does ‘simple’ very well. SOUND AND TONE: The US-70S sounds a little fuller than its US-60S sibling, and this translates to more willingness to play melodies and solos. A great all-rounder, whether it’s for solo or uke-plus-vocal work, or in the context of a band. Sounds great with the blues. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: A simple little uke. It’s easy enough to string if you’ve ever restrung a classical guitar. The tuners are easily accessible and fretting is a breeze. And chording is easy and smooth. CONSTRUCTION: Well made, with particularly good work around the tuners, bridge and neck joint. Stays in tune very well, which is a testament to the attention to detail. Natural matte mahogany top, back and sides. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Comes with a soft case, but at this price you’d be forgiven for expecting at least a more padded soft case. No preamp either. Could be better bang for the buck, but you do get a lot of tone for the money OVERALL: A cute little uke with a very Hawaiian vibe thanks to the particular wood colours chosen. A nice all-rounder for those who need a soprano that can handle single notes and complex techniques as well as more simple ones.

PG. 44 MIXDOWN NO. 217

TYPE: Concert WOODS: Solid Spruce Top, Mahogany Body and Nato Neck. PICK-UP: N/A

MAY 2012


TYPE: Baritone WOODS: Mahogany Body and Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard

PICK-UP: N/A TUNERS: Geared Kluson-Style CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

RRP: $49.99

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Mahogany Top, Body and Neck PICK-UP: N/A







RRP: $159


RRP: $79.99

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Mahogany Top, Body and Neck PICK-UP: N/A


Proud sponsor of the Cairns Ukulele Festival 2012 Eddy Finn Payton.indd 1

Distributed in Australia by F. Payton & Son For more info visit Or for details of your nearest dealer contact: MAY 2012

4/23/2012 1:56:07 NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. PM 45


RRP: $199.99




RECOMMENDED FOR: Great for players who do a lot of chording. It’s especially good for beginners, but a good allrounder for accompanists too. Stage-ready thanks to its pickup and preamp. SOUND AND TONE: The A grade mahogany body offers up sweet midrange as well as nice treble definition which helps to enhance note attack. This makes chords sound quite three dimensional, and with great volume projection. A very sweet-sounding uke. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Straightforward from a tech perspective - easy to restring, easy to tune. Very playable, and nice and easy to switch chords or zip around the neck. Nice comfortable tuners. CONSTRUCTION: Mostly good - very sturdy - but the nut is cut a little roughly with sharp edges, and this may become apparent with certain chord shapes at the very bottom of the neck. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: The pickup extends its rating here and makes up for the slight negative of the sharp nut. A good stage or recording uke as well as great for home use. OVERALL: A solid choice for most players. Could use a little refinement, but it’s already most of the way there. Especially great for chordal players rather than melody players.

RECOMMENDED FOR : The trusty traveller needing something small or those after a little soprano uke. SOUND AND TONE: Even with the more slim line body thickness (travel style) this baby sounds clear and clean with an even tone. Surprisingly loud for its size it’s got quite a bit of kick for a little instrument. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: With 12 frets you still get room to move and although it’s a Soprano size this Kala still feels easy to play with no problems bashing out your favourite island version of anything from...The Beatles to Black Sabbath. CONSTRUCTION: More Kala goodness here - clean edges, smooth frets, nice finish, tasteful finish and not a mark to be seen. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Great tone and feel for a little fella and again coming with a solid, padded gigbag you’re getting added protection for your money here. OVERALL: I dig this little Kala uke. Yes it’s small, and yes it’s considered ‘travel’ but more than that it’s a well constructed soprano that sounds and plays like a good soprano uke should.

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Solid A Grade Mahogany Top, Body and Neck PICK-UP: UK-2000 Active


Onboard Preamp w/ 2-band EQ & Volume Control TUNERS: Geared Pegs CASE AVAILABLE: Yes

RRP: $795


RECOMMENDED FOR: Bass players wanting try something portable and uke like or uke players wanting to try something portable and bass like. SOUND AND TONE: Resonant and warm the U Bass has a nice even tone to it thanks to the polyurethane strings and solid spruce top with rich mahogany back and sides. You’d be surprised at the range of tones you can muster from this little beast and then amplify thanks to the genius inbuilt Custom Shadow Electronics pickup system. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Although small in scale you still get the feeling of playing a real bass instrument due to the thicker gauge polyurethane strings. The tension is a little on the loose side but 3 seconds into playing you won’t even notice it and your playing will adjust accordingly. Bends can be done with ease here too. CONSTRUCTION: Feels solid, nice edges and joins, definitely not a toy and as designed will easily hit the stage for all applications of live work. An absolute work horse and from what I can find with it’s quality craftsmanship, one of a kind in design. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Considering it’s a Uke bass you get a ‘bass’ instrument that is has that unique “wow” factor about it and can cut it for both bashing around at home and seriously onstage. Wherever you take this musically, whoever plays it, will love it! . OVERALL: brilliant little instrument that opens up a heap of new possibilities for the low end players. Good tone that’s not just gimmicky and easy enough to navigate for anyone to have a play. Simply awesome!

RECOMMENDED FOR: This baby soprano banjo ukulele is definitely for professional players who need volume, tone and flawless playability. Also a very visually engaging uke, one little fingerpickin shredder. SOUND AND TONE: The banjo style construction plays a huge role in the character of this instrument. It sounds lively, midrangeheavy, vibrant and loud. The loudest uke I’ve ever played, in fact. There’s a beautiful three-dimensional quality to chords, while single notes are almost electric guitar-like. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: One of the most comfortable uke necks ever. It’s very round and large, which helps to balance the hefty body and makes it a pleasure to play. I wish all ukulele necks felt like this. CONSTRUCTION: A really well built instrument with every consideration given to tone and playability. It feels like you could use it to hammer in a nail or fight off wolves without so much as dinging the body. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: For tone, playability and build quality this one would be worth it at twice the price. A hard case (instead of the soft one provided) is all it’d need to really push it over the edge into an essential buy. OVERALL: One of the real standouts of this shootout. The liveliness of the tone, the solid construction, the incredibly comfortable neck - it’s all here and it’s all great.

SPECS: TYPE: Baritone WOODS: Solid Spruce Top, Mahogany Back and Sides.


PICK-UP: Custom Shadow Electronics TUNERS: Chrome Diecast CASE AVAILABLE: Gig Bag

RRP: $149


RECOMMENDED FOR: Intermediate players who want to graduate from the cheaper ukuleles after finding an affinity for the little strumbox. A solid improvement for those starting to get more serious with the instrument. SOUND AND TONE: This little Mojo is surprisingly bassy for such a small instrument, but with a beautiful ring in the treble region too. There’s plenty of fullness for chord work, whether accompanying vocals or playing an instrumental, but the high end maintains plenty of detail too. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Very comfortable to play and a good straightforward, no-nonsense uke. It took a while to get in tune due to tuners that were maybe a little more precise than they needed to be, but once it was in tune it stayed there. CONSTRUCTION: Nicely made, and with an attractive grain in the wood it’s build quality is impresive. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Comes with a deluxe padded ‘Mojo’ gig bag. A wellmade, reliable little uke that maintains tuning well and sounds surprisingly full for the size. OVERALL: This solid mahogany beauty is a great ukulele for strummers and chorders rather than those who play a lot of melodies and arpeggios. It’s easy to play and it sounds big and musical for such a small instrument.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Well-heeled beginners or intermediate to semi-pro players who need to amplify their uke, and those who are ready to step up to a much nicer instrument. Great for advanced techniques. SOUND AND TONE: This uke has a beautiful midrange-heavy ring which makes it especially great for arpeggios and single notes, giving them the same weight and dimension as chordal work. There’s beautiful note separation, which is great for more intricate bass/melody/harmony styles. Simple but effective preamp. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: The preamp has a tuner as well as bass and treble EQ controls, giving you a fair range of control for different styles of playing. The uke itself is well balanced and easy to fret, and it supports advanced styles well. CONSTRUCTION: Killer build quality. It feels uncharacteristically solid for a ukulele, an instrument that usually feels kind of boxy and delicate. Definitely a stage worthy uke. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Comes with a very solid padded softcase, and the preamp certainly extends its usability too. It’s ready to travel and it’s ideal for the stage and studio as well as the campfire or beach. OVERALL: A solid ‘first serious uke’ for stage use. The electronics are easy to control and quite useful, the case is a big plus, and the uke itself sounds and plays great.

PG. 46 MIXDOWN NO. 217

TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Mahogany Top, Back and Sides. PICK-UP: Pick-Up / Built-in Tuner options available in all ‘Mojo’ models.

MAY 2012

TUNERS: Chrome open back with white buttons. CASE AVAILABLE: Included Gig Bag

TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Solid Spruce Top, Mahogany Back and Sides


RRP: $299

SPECS: TYPE: 4-String Baby Soprano Open-Back Banjo-Uke. WOODS: Mahogany Neck and Rim with Rosewood board. Chrome Adjustable Coordinator Rod.







RRP: $225

PICK-UP: N/A TUNERS: Open Geared Tuners. CASE AVAILABLE: Includes Gig Bag.

RRP: $249

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano (also available in Concert and Tenor with Pick-Up / Built-in Tuner options) WOODS: Daowood Top, Back & Sides and Rosewood fingerboard

PICK-UP: Belcat 2-band PreampTuner TUNERS: Chrome open back tuners with black buttons CASE AVAILABLE: Deluxe padded gig bag (introductory offer).

MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 47


RRP: $249




RECOMMENDED FOR: A great all-rounder. A perfect starter uke for beginners willing to spend a bit more or a nice uke for intermediate players looking for great tuning stability. It’s also solid enough for pro players on a budget. SOUND AND TONE: A very musical, pretty-sounding uke with great midrange overtones and a complex high end, and plenty of bass too. It works great for single notes and arpeggios, plus sounds big and supportive for chordal work too. A great all-rounder. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: A very playable ukulele with exceptional tuning stability. Tuning up was a breeze and once it was in tune it simply would not budge. It balances nicely in the hands and that helps make chording very easy. CONSTRUCTION: Simply put, it’s a really well made uke both looking and feeling solid. No preamp in this one. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Comes with a very roadworthy hardcase which almost feels worth the price of the uke alone...brilliant! OVERALL: A nicely made uke which comes with a great case and which also has exceptional tuning stability? Sounds like a winner to me.

RECOMMENDED FOR: The discerning ukulele player who knows great tone and wants quality craftsmanship, or the intermediate player who wants to upgrade. SOUND AND TONE: Acoustically, this uke is lively and features a brilliant full bodied tone. You can hear the wood resonate with every note and the projection creates a sound that is bigger than one would expect. The pickup system reinforces that to complement the overall sound and blasts through your amp and PA. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Being a concert size with large frets, it is very easy to get around the neck. Each uke like most guitars will be slightly different though, so you’ll need to try one out yourself to find the right one for this price. CONSTRUCTION: All solid Blackwood top and sides with beautiful finishing makes this a stunning instrument. It just oozes with the class of Maton guitars. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This uke isn’t a toy, and is priced accordingly. But it is worth every penny for the woods, the quality in sound, it’s built in tuner and high quality hard case that is included. OVERALL: This is one of the nicest ukes I have ever played and I suspect on the market. It’s damn fine looking and sounds even better. Once you hear it, you will completely understand why this instrument deserves five stars.

SPECS: TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Mahogany Top, Back and Sides with Rosewood fingerboard. PICK-UP: Pick-Up / Built-in Tuner options available in all ‘Tiki’


models. TUNERS: Chrome open back tuners with black buttons. CASE AVAILABLE: Current offer - All (5 series) come in a Deluxe “Croc” Skin Tiki case.

RRP: $85


RECOMMENDED FOR: Designed for the intermediate player a solid little uke and potential string burner. A better than “nice” entry level uke. SOUND AND TONE: It has it’s own little voice and a really nice well rounded tone. Great for the typical strum and when finger-picking will really highlight it’s achievable dynamics in sound. Nice and bright when picking notes in the higher registers. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: All round its easy to use, neck feels great and all twelve frets are easily accessible. CONSTRUCTION: Looks a lot more expensive than it is with nice dark Nato wood all around, rosewood fingerboard, matte finish, bronzy frets and solid joins. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Pretty bangin’ for how much you have to hand over. Really dig the simple finish and rich looking woods with the snow white retro looking tuners. OVERALL: A solid little uke that would be an impressive entry level model or one that your intermediate player will love. Go the casual strum.

RECOMMENDED FOR: The all in one perfect introductory kit for a beginner or upgrade for the intermediate player. If you’re interested in the uke and want to start in an easy and affordable way you’ll be strumming in no time with this all inclusive pack. SOUND AND TONE: The chamber of this Concert produces a nice warm resonance with single picking notes and the Hawaiian Koa top is the real deal with it’s tone of voice. Ridiculously good for a so called “pack” uke – I don’t even think it can be called one. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: It has a nice smooth neck and easy access to the frets. Great for chording and single note work. CONSTRUCTION: The neck, body and sound hole inlays highlight the fine craftsmanship and build quality. Thrown back by its attention to detail and tuners, it’s built with longevity in mind. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: This would be a ten out of ten if it came with an inbuilt pre-amp, but even we know that’s wishful thinking for a uke that already comes with a padded soft case, song book and tuner. Absolute bargain here! OVERALL: A ridiculously good value ukelele that comes with almost all the bells and whistles. If you won’t find the need to plug in live and you like the sound, we think we’ve found a winner here.



TUNERS: Chrome/Ivoroid buttons CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

RRP: $279


RECOMMENDED FOR: An intermediate and semi-pro player ready to take their songs to the stage and perform with one versatile well rounded tenor. SOUND AND TONE: A really warm tone and finger picking response can be dialed in here when plugged in, it’s naturally like that with the use of Nato woods but enhanced with the addition of the Belcat 2000 preamp. Being able to adjust the lows, mids and highs allows you to can shape your sound accordingly which is a big bonus here. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Easy to play, relatively fast neck and although not a cutaway, it’s easy access to the higher frets and simple to chord. CONSTRUCTION: Really well built with Nato Top back and sides and a nice rosewood fingerboard. I like the chrome and ivoroid tuners and the fitting of the pickup/preamp is perfect. No complaints here. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Pretty impressive with the additional pickup. Obviously not the most overstated of ukes but for the money you will certainly walk away wanting to sing ‘Under The Rainbow’. OVERALL: A ripper tenor with features well worth the price tag and well worth looking into for taking your playing to that next level.

RECOMMENDED FOR: This Lanikai is designed for the semi and pro player. A uke enthusiast who knows what they want out of their sound and is keen to hit the stage with one gorgeous looking performer. SOUND AND TONE: This uke is the real deal and with a solid spruce top and stunning quilted ash back and sides, it naturally has a deeper sound than most others with a worm tone of voice. The higher end has a nice sparkle to it too making really versatile for all genres of playing. USABILITY/PLAYABILITY: Being a cutaway, this is one lead-mean ukulele shredding machine. Perfect for the player who wants to hit the higher register and solo pick some oh la la notes. Easy to chord too with the neck being quick and obviously made to spec by a specialist. CONSTRUCTION: The quilted ash is jaw droppingly stunning with the back and sides just glistening like velvet and all joins and hardware is of the upper most quality. No faults here. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Included is the Fishman® Sonitone® preamp and pickup and has been designed especially for the uke, which just screams value for money on top of an already ripper ukulele. OVERALL: The perfect addition to the semi-pro to pro player’s uke arsenal and a concert uke that just beams with glistening sound, build and extra features.

PG. 48 MIXDOWN NO. 217

TYPE: Tenor WOODS: Nato Top, Back and Sides with Rosewood Fingerboard

MAY 2012

PICK-UP: Belcat 2000 Pickup and Preamp TUNERS: Chrome/Ivoroid buttons CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately

PICK-UP: B-Band U1.3 TUNERS: Gotoh UK700 CASE AVAILABLE: Comes with plush lined hard case.

RRP: $399

SPECS: TYPE: Concert WOODS: Hawaiian Koa Top and Back. PICK UP: N/A

TUNERS: Included CASE AVAILABLE: Gig Bag, Book, Electronic




SPECS: TYPE: Concert WOODS: Solid Victorian Blackwood body, Queensland Maple neck, Indian Rosewood Fingerboard and Bridge



TYPE: Soprano WOODS: Nato Top, Back and Sides with Rosewood fingerboard PICK-UP : N/A

RRP: $649 (Acoustic), $849 (Electric)

RRP: $469

SPECS: TYPE: Concert Acoustic Electric WOODS: Solid Spruce Top, Quilted Ash Back and Sides, Mahogany Neck

PICK-UP: Fishman® Sonitone® Ukulele Preamp and Pickup TUNERS: Gold Plated CASE AVAILABLE: Available Separately


k u U l e s l e n r F i e a s C t i v e al h T JULY 5TH - 8TH 2012










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Distributed by MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 49


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PG. 50 MIXDOWN NO. 217


MAY 2012


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PG. 51


ERNIE BALL COBALT STRINGS smoother wraps than any non-coated string I’ve ever encountered. Various gauges are available: Extra Slinky, Super Slinky, Hybrid Slinky, Regular Slinky, Skinny Top/ Heavy Bottom, Beefy Slinky, Power Slink and Not Even Slinky. Bass sets are available too in Extra Slinky, Super Slinky, Hybrid Slinky, Regular Slinky, Hower Slinky and Slinky Bass 5 (five string) sets.

AVID MBOX & PRO TOOLS EXPRESS happen in the world of Pro Tools, with compatibility for other interfaces introduced, increased MIDI implementation, advanced plug-ins and audio tools and now, the release of Pro Tools Express. This has been the next logical step from AVID in its software development now that Pro Tools operates with a wider array of interfaces. What Pro Tools Express offers you is not just a teaser or a demo version of Pro Tools 10, but a fully integrated recording and editing software bundle that has some restrictions of features for a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, you are able to upgrade to Pro Tools 10 for a substantial discount.

The humble Mbox has certainly come a long way since I first purchased the old grey and blue unit quite a few years ago now. In its latest built, AVID have presented us with a tough and weighty chassis to house its preamps and digital converters with come added extras that makes this a more comprehensive interface for small studio that wants to the power of Pro Tools and the quality of AVID hardware. Bundled with Pro Tools Express, this new software and hardware combination is really going to get people talking. MBOX Built into a tough new metal chassis, the new Mbox features two quality microphone preamps on combination XLR/TRS connectors that can be run at Mic or Line levels. Each input also has an instrument connection on the front panel for going in direct with a guitar or bass. Add to this two monitor outputs, SP/ DIF in and out on coaxial connectors and MIDI in and out on 5-pin DIN connectors and you have a handy little tool in one box. In a nice touch, each input has a soft limiter that can be engaged from the front panel to smoothly even out your signals on the way in before you even worry about software compression. There is also a Dim and Mono switch on the front panel for changing the listening conditions when mixing and a large, rubber coated volume knob to set the monitor level easily. PRO TOOLS EXPRESS The last few years have seen a lot of changes

With Pro Tools Express and the Mbox, you are still able to record at a maximum of 32 bit/ 96 kHz, giving you the same audio quality you would expect with Pro Tools 10. You are, however, limited to 4 simultaneous audio tracks of recording at one time and 16 audio tracks per session. This is a small price to pay for not having to pay for the software to begin with. It comes bundled with three virtual instruments, Boom, Expand!2 and a sample player based on AVID’s popular instrument structure. In addition to these, you also get more than 20 effects plug-ins included with the software, including a cut down version of Eleven for guitar tones and, my old favourite, the BF76 Compressor, an absolute must for any mix session. For those of your who are not ready to lash out and get yourself Pro Tools 10 just yet, Pro Tools Express offers you superb recording, editing and mixing functionality and quality. It is a great place to start for anyone who has not yet ventured into the world of Pro Tools and with the upgrade option is sure to become a stepping stone for many into a long term relationship with what myself and so many others consider the greatest audio production software there is. By Rob Gee RRP: $549 Distributor : Avid Phone: 1300 734 454 Website:


Ernie Ball’s new Cobalt string series was introduced at the NAMM Show this year - coinciding with the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations (which included a huge concert featuring Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse, Albert Lee, Randy Jackson, Joe Bonamassa, Blues Saraceno and Steve Vai - who even donned a Gibson Les Paul for some Zeppelin jammage). The Cobalts are one of two string sets unveiled at NAMM this year, the other being the Everlast acoustic strings, which use a breakthrough nanotreatment to enhance the metal surface so it repels moisture and oils. This treatment is a thousand times thinner than any other coating on the market, and it’s available in 80/20 and Phosphor Bronze alloys, in all popular gauges. STRING THEORY But the Cobalts are really going to excite a lot of electric players. Ernie Ball says its Cobalt Slinky Guitar Strings are engineered to maximise output and clarity and to provide an extended dynamic range with incredible harmonic response, increased low end, and crisp clear highs. Cobalt, a metal not known for its use in strings before now, provides a stronger magnetic relationship between pickups and strings than any other alloy, which you can expect to translate into stronger, fuller tone. Cobalt Slinkys are made with a cobalt-iron blend, and they’re also soft and silky to the touch: take one out of the packet and run it through your fingers and it glides along, with

AR412A ANGLED 4X12 CABINET The matching speaker cabinet for this amplifier really

PG. 52 MIXDOWN NO. 217

does it justice. The AR412A is an angled cabinet with an X-pattern speaker array. You get two Celestion G12T75 speakers and two Egnater Celestion Elite 100 speakers in there, adding up to a whopping 350 watts of power handling. What this does is give you the characteristics of two different speakers, one louder than the other which has its tone affected by the underlying speakers’ qualities. This is an ideal match for the Armageddon as it brings out the richness of the 6L6 tubes as well as providing plenty of low end punch without getting to muddy in the process. All in all, this is probably the best sounding cabinet to match up with this unique amplifier. By Rob Gee

RRP: $3395 (HEAD) $1895 (CAB) Distributor: CMC Music Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website:

MAY 2012

ALLOY ALLOY, WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE? The Cobalt Slinkys do everything that Ernie Ball promises they’ll do: they play smoothly, they sound great, and they work with your pickups to enhance your tone and the interaction between particular crucial elements of your gear. Whether you personally like the way they feel is a matter of individual opinion but you can’t deny the science with extra string longevity and the boost in tone. By Peter Hodgson RRP: CALL FOR PRICING Distributor: CMC Music Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website:


Bruce Egnater may have been a name many of us didn’t know a few years back, but over recent times we have seen a variety of releases from Egnater that have given guitarists not only a great tone, but all number of options with their amplifiers. Now, Egnater present the Armageddon, this 120 watt all valve amplifier head with matching 4 x 12 cabinet available, taking Egnater from classic rock tones and makes them a real player in the metal market. If you want a well thought out amplifier that has the punch to compete with the big boys, the Armageddon is going to keep you interested. THREE CHANNELS, THREE SOUNDS The Armageddon is a three channel amplifier head that is backed by four 6L6 power tubes to give you plenty of punch and volume with a really sweet mid range and tight low end response. The clean channel has its own dedicated EQ circuit, with channels two and three sharing their EQ. But that still leaves each channel sounding very different in its voicing. The clean is lovely. It is what you would expect of a clean channel in a 6L6 amp with plenty of headroom and a rich midrange that doesn’t leave it sound empty or lifeless. Channel two steps it up to a really great rock crunch. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a rich blues tone out of it either, winding back the gain and pushing the mids really gives this channel a very different response, especially when used with single coil pickups. Channel three however, is a beast. This channel gives you a powerful kick with heaps of gain to back it up. It still remains tight when you push the gain and doesn’t get too saggy when run hard. But, even though it is designed for metal, it too responds brilliantly when run with lower gain and higher master volume settings, saturating the power tubes and making them do all the work. For those that just have to push it that little bit too far, the Armageddon features the wonderful addition of a built in IPS Decimator noise gate. This is one that is very popular for use with metal players as it has such a quick response time and opens and closes without any noticeable decay. You just need to set the threshold and it is ready to clean up you act. Best of all, the included foot switch runs off a standard XLR microphone cable, so when you destroy it with heavy stage use, it an easily be replaced.

STRING ‘EM UP I strung up my Fender American Vintage ‘62 Stratocaster with a set of Regular Slinky strings (1046 gauge) and my ‘80s Fernandes Jazz Bass copy with the 50-105 Regular Slinky set. The first thing to become apparent, even unplugged, was that that my Strat sounded more muscular, like I’d switched to a heavier string gauge but without the more robust string tension. In fact, the smoothness of the strings made bends feel easier to execute, especially on the wound strings, and I found myself exploring bends in regions of the fretboard that I don’t usually employ that technique in. Once I plugged in to my Marshall, the improvement was very noticeable: the guitar’s output became fuller, taking some of the twang out of the bridge pickup and making it more ‘SRV’ than ‘Hank Marvin.’ It was almost like adding some extra winds to the pickup, or stepping on a subtle clean boost pedal, because the magnetic relationship between the two was enhanced so much by the interaction between the cobalt and the alnico of my pickups. Ditto for the Fernandes bass: the increased fullness to the tone of my DiMarzio Area J pickups was almost like throwing on a compressor or limiter, in terms of how well it lifted the fullness of the tone. On bass, the high end content is very musical while the lows have lots of ‘thud.’

I remember the buzz when Cole Clark guitars started popping up everywhere some years ago. Their Fat Lady model offered a take on the bigger dreadnought styled body with a combination of assorted Australian and other high end timbers with some new construction ideas and a refined pickup system combining a bridge and soundboard piezo for the ability to blend this sound to taste. Fast forward a few years and the Fat Lady model has taken the world by storm becoming a workhorse guitar for a myriad of pros, amateurs and bedroom-rockstars alike. Not resting on their laurels, Cole Clark have refined this instrument a little further bringing a new take on the Fat Lady’s pickup system. WHAT’S NEW Cole Clark are still pumping out the Fat Lady in a range of models with various options (finishes, cutaway etc) - it’s the new 3-way pickup that has changed. The Bridge Piezo (under saddle) pickup and Face Piezo (sound board) pickup that were part of the Fat Lady’s initial success are still in action, but you will now find the addition of a new Electret FET Microphone to this setup. Without going into the absolute specifics of the system you have a pickup/preamp combination that harnesses the 3 sources and feeds them into the preamp so you can blend the amount of this new mic with the pickups too. Control wise the Fat Lady now comprises of Blend which mixes the under bridge piezo and face (soundboard) pickup, Volume, Microphone Blend to control the mix of the microphone against your face/ bridge level (no matter where it’s set) and then you have 3 EQ controls for Treble, Mid and Bass.

THREE WAY As a starting point I really like the fundamental acoustic tone of the Fat Lady range. Clean and crisp they have a good response in the mids and low end that really projects but they can also have a soft and subtle feel that works with finger picking. One of their big selling points however is that they then really shine when they are plugged in. Thanks to the combination of bridge and soundboard pickup you can work the mix to get that blend of body resonance and percussiveness with your overall tone. In fact I was reminded how good they do sound when playing one recently at a gig through a decent sized club PA system - the full bodied tone and response of the guitar was awesome. Great for cutting through the mix but also sitting nicely without being harsh or overbearing. Now with the addition of the FET Mic you also get some extra openness and air to play with and this mic source seems to add some top end and space for a very pure acoustic tone and the ability to blend that with your face/soundboard level works a treat. You really can work this pickup/ preamp combination to taste for a rounder, woody, relaxed tone right through to brighter and percussive or anything in between. PICK ME UP Often Acoustic guitars are all thrown into the one ‘acoustic’ basket. Truth be known acoustic guitars have a plenty of variation just like their electric brothers thanks to timbers, shapes, pickups, hardware, designs and so the list goes on. Where does the Fat Lady sit? Acoustically for me I see this guitar as a natural, earthy sounding bigger bodied instrument with a clear, defined mid range making it suited to a range of styles and settings. I then love how good the pickup/preamp system works in a live setting making the Fat Lady 2 a great gigging guitar to boot. Cole Clark have built on their already super musical pickup system with the new Electret FET Microphone now giving players even more control and scope over the beautiful sounding Fat Lady guitars. By Nick Brown RRP: CALL FOR PRICING Distributor: Cole Clark Guitars Phone: (03) 8727 5655 Website:

MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 53



ULTIMATE SUPPORT KEYBOARD STANDS synthesizers. It has a sturdy locking mechanism that allows you to adjust the height and width of the stand quickly and easily and has rubber supports to keep the keyboard from sliding around on top. What I love about this stand is that the crossed legs are actually set back from the centre of the stand so you can use it with a stool and not have you legs knocking up against the supports. IQ-2000 KEYBOARD STAND The IQ-2000 keyboard stand takes off where the IQ-1000 can’t go and offers a similar design, but with a more sturdy double braced design to allow heavier keyboards to be supported atop of it. It too features rubber grips to keep the keyboard in place and recessed legs towards the back of the stand, although you do not get as much clearance due to the fact that there are two legs per side. But, this is a very small price to pay for the added weight this stand can handle. IQ-3000

Ultimate Support offers a wide variety of options when it comes to stands for your musical instruments and the range doesn’t get any slimmer when you are looking for a keyboard stand. They produce more varieties of stands than I own keyboards, and that is saying something. So, whether you have one three or ten keyboards, you are sure to find the right stand for each of them in the Ultimate range with stands to suit all number of applications and varying sizes and weights of different keyboards. This month I got to have a look at some of the models in the IQ range of keyboard stands, but this is only a few of what they have to offer.

IQ-3000 KEYBOARD STAND If you are looking for the ultimate in stability when it comes to having your keyboard on stage, then you would be hard pressed to go past the IQ-3000 keyboard stand. This unit is built incredibly well and is by far a much stronger and more stable unit than anything else in the IQ range. It features three rubber caps per side on the top to ensure you keyboard is firmly contacting the stand even with an uneven surface on the underside of the keyboard. The IQ3000 features a different locking system that allows nine different points of height and can be set to the one you most use so the stand can be quickly set up in the same position and height every time, making stage setup a breeze. By Rob Gee

IQ-1000 KEYBOARD STAND For those of you who are looking for a sturdy stand that is lightweight and suited for keyboards that aren’t too heavy, the IQ-1000 is going to tick all the boxes. It is a single braced X-frame stand, so it isn’t really suited for heavy keyboards with weighted keys, but it is going to appeal to people looking for something that is portable for arranger keyboards and lighter

RRP: $79.99 (IQ-1000), $109.99 (IQ-2000), $159.99 (IQ-3000)

Distributor: D’Addario Australia Phone: (03) 8761 6293 Email:


In the world of jazz guitar there are relatively few guitar options, compared to the billion or so guitars offered to rockers. Generally a jazz guitar has a traditional, vintage look and feel (sometimes with an art deco inspired look, especially once you start to move higher up the price ladder). So it’s refreshing to see Godin come along with the 5th Avenue Jazz, an elegant instrument that definitely says ‘jazz’ - in this case quite literally since it’s the model name - but it doesn’t particularly look like a vintage instrument. And thanks to Godin’s research and experience in crafting player-friendly necks, it’s a lot more playerfriendly than many vintage jazz guitars. GIRLS ON THE AVENUE The 5th Avenue Jazz is available in Piano Black high gloss and Natural Flame high gloss finishes. It arrives in an archtop TRIC case, a foam-covered, moulded affair which seems extremely road-worthy, especially if your guitar ever takes a bump in transit. I wouldn’t even break a sweat if I saw this case come screaming down the ramp at baggage claim because it just gives off an “It’s okay, I got this” vibe. The guitar has a Canadian wild cherry arch top (or flame maple arch top with Canadian wild cherry core on the flame maple version), with Canadian wild cherry back and sides or flame maple back and sides depending on model. The neck is made of Silver Leaf maple (flame maple on the applicable model), with an Ebony Ergocut fretboard. The fretboard radius is 16”, a relatively flat radius which is especially great for lead styles. It’s also a very bending-friendly radius, which you probably won’t do too much of if you’re a traditional jazz player. But those who like to add a bit of fusiony edge to their jazz will love this neck. The adjustable bridge is Tusq by Graphtech. The tuners are high-ratio open-geared models which perform very well indeed. There’s a floating pick guard engraved with the Godin logo, and a custom tailpiece which has a very slight art deco feel. The f holes are slightly stylised compared to traditional designs. There’s a single pickup in the neck position

(attached to the fretboard instead of the top itself so as to allow the top to vibrate as freely as possible. It includes a Godin mini-humbucker jazz pickup, controlled by ebony-topped volume and tone controls. ALL THAT JAZZ The 5th Avenue Jazz sounds beautiful acoustically. It has a very present high end and a nice midrange push which will help you be heard in a totally unplugged environment. The neck is very ‘walking basslinefriendly,’ which will definitely please fingerpickers. It’s really a beautiful sounding guitar to just sit around and noodle on. Plugged in, some of the really shimmering brilliance of the high end is tamed but in its place is a mellow, yet still clear voice. There’s still plenty of treble for definition but it’s rolled off in the most strident frequencies. You can get some really beautiful single-note, sustained solo sounds out of this baby when you play soft, but the pickup tracks very well when you turn up the heat and start to dig in too. Players who require a wide dynamic range for horn-like soloing will love this. It’s not so much of a blues crossover archtop unless you prefer very lowkey, moody blues rather than all-out ‘crank it up and dance’ blues, but it does jazz and similar styles so very well. And so it should! After all, it’s designed for and named after it! S’JAZZY The 5th Avenue Jazz is beautifully made and it sounds great. It’s not the most flexible guitar ever made but it doesn’t aim to be. It aims to be flexible within the world of jazz, and that’s more than enough. By Peter Hodgson RRP: $2799 Distributor: Dynamic Music Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website:

ULTIMATE SUPPORT GUITAR STANDS various applications. The soft rubber pads support the guitar and stop it sliding out of the stand without wearing away at the instrument and a handy pick holder keeps a spare pick at the ready at all times right behind the body of the guitar. Godin’s Multiac family of instruments are a unique collection. Plenty of other companies have attempted to make thin, stage-friendly acoustic guitars, but few have nailed it the way Godin has. And, they do it in a bold and distinctive style which serves to reinforce their own brand identity rather than trying to blend in with other guitar makers. MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE The Duet Ambiance from the Multiac series gets its name from its very clever sound-capturing system. It features a custom undersaddle transducer made by Fishman as well as a blendable sound imaging mic (a condenser) as well, closer to the neck. You can blend between the two for the ultimate mixture of the clarity of the bridge transducer and the body and fullness of the condenser mic, while Fishman Aura imaging gives you four individual high-end studio microphone settings. The Duet Ambiance is a steel string guitar, although it looks like a nylon string from a distance partially thanks to its slotted headstock. It features a chambered mahogany body and a solid spruce top - good traditional acoustic woods - with a roundish, chunky-ish mahogany neck that never seems to get in your way, yet is deep enough to offer plenty of hand support. The fretboard radius is a flat-feeling 16” and the fretboard is a very nice slice of ebony. The nut width is 1 11/16” - great for fingerpicking - and the scale length is 25 1/2”. Controls include master volume, treble (boost or cut 10K), midrange (640Hz), bass (72Hz), the blend control for the mic and bridge, a phase button, and the mic imaging selector. All of the controls are placed on the guitar’s bass side on top of the body where you can see and access them easily. The model is available in two colours: transparent red gloss and sunburst high gloss. I reviewed the sunburst high gloss version. STAY FOR THE AMBIANCE The first thing some purists may notice about the Duet Ambiance is that it doesn’t project that great

PG. 54 MIXDOWN NO. 217

when you play it unplugged. But it’s not designed to. This is a stage instrument, first and foremost (although it records well too), and as such everything about it is optimised to provide a great sound in cooperation with its electronics, rather than using the electronics to capture a natural acoustic sound. The guitar has two internal acoustic chambers joined by a channel, but it’s actually more of a semi-hollow instrument rather than an acoustic guitar, and it’s quite heavy as far as acoustics go. The string tension feels reassuringly taut, and the sustain is great. But the real magic happens when you plug in. The honkiness of the unplugged sound is nowhere to be found once you run some electricity through the guitar. Instead you get four basic sounds which range from deep and commanding - great for lead lines and jazz melodies - to bright and snappy for country flatpicking, and all points in between. The mic adds a noticeable sense of body that you simply can’t get with piezo-only systems, while the piezo adds string detail to the mic sound. In the end the result is the impression of a well-recorded close-mic’d acoustic guitar. And a lot of work has gone into minimising feedback, to the point where you can fully crank the midrange control and not even get a peep. A BEAUTIFUL DUET The electronics wouldn’t mean anything if the guitar itself wasn’t a pleasure to play. But the Duet Ambience is a fun, creativity-inspiring instrument that feels reassuringly robust, and its sounds are stageready for whatever musical situation you might find yourself in. This will be a semi to pro players favourite in no time. By Peter Hodgson RRP: $2499 Distributor: Dynamic Music Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website:

MAY 2012


Ultimate Support is a name that has been offering great things in musical stand design for some years, but often goes unnoticed. They have clever designs and simple ideas that often go outside the box when it comes to conventional musical stand designs. Take this intuitive approach and a lightweight, yet sturdy build to all their products and Ultimate Support might be just what you are looking for, especially with a number of options for keeping your guitar safe and secure either at home or on the stage. GS-55 GUITAR STAND This is the most compact guitar stand in the range form Ultimate Support. The GS-55 is a low profile A-frame style stand that folds up into a compact and easy to carry design, making it perfect for the gigging musician who doesn’t want loads of bulky items to carry around. It will neatly fit into most gig bags when folded up and only takes a moment to assemble and put to use. The two arms that support the guitar have separate indentations in them to accommodate either an acoustic or electric guitar or bass, meaning you can use the same stand for

GS-100 GUITAR STAND This stand is one that gives you the ability to hold just about any guitar, no matter what body shape it is, making it perfect for all those pointy guitars that just don’t what to stay in most other stands properly. It features a yoke style support in which the neck of the guitar is hung at the headstock, leaving the body freely suspended as it rests against two soft foam pads on the front two legs. The GS-100 also features a pick holding device around the top of the yoke and a rubber band that clips over the front to prevent the guitar from becoming dislodged. As with all the stands in the Genesis series, the GS-100 fold up easily and locks firmly and securely into place when assembled. GS-1000 GUITAR STAND If you are looking for the ultimate in guitar stands, then the GS-1000 just might be a good place to start. Similar in design to the GS-100, it features a yoke style support with height adjustment to suit any instrument and the same foam pads to securely rest the instrument’s body against. Where this stand differs is in the yoke itself where the pressure placed on the contact point from the weight of the guitar closes off the yoke to securely keep the neck held in place and stop the guitar from falling forward if knocked. It too folds up easily and locks in place at the based like all the other models in the range, giving your most treasured instrument the ultimate support that it deserves. By Rob Gee RRP: $39.99 (GS-55), $44.99 (GS-100), $54.99 (GS-1000)

Distributor: D’Addario Australia Phone: (03) 8761 6293 Email:







STREET WISE PACK LIMITED PROMOTIONAL PACK PRICING For a limited time you get not only the power and elegance of Australia’s best value 100% Maple drums the VML Series - but also recieve Pearl Pro Throne, Zildjian Cymbals & Sticks, Gator Bags PLUS Free Gear!


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NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 55



ALESIS SAMPLEPAD READY TO ROCK Once the unit is secure and stable, you need only fire it up and scroll through the sounds. The simple browser menu allows you to assign sounds to the pads and a single pot on the top face gives you immediate control over the master volume. The pads are firm and respond well to being hit with sticks. They have a nice rebound that is obviously not the same as a real drum skin, but still responds in a way that will make the unit quite playable, even for drummers incorporating it into their acoustic setup. The pads feel like they will happily take a pounding and respond quite aggressively to velocity changes, so you are able to achieve a very dynamic performance with the unit. I had someone asking me a few weeks ago for an onstage solution to live drums from samples in a compact design that wasn’t going to cost the earth. Then, the Samplepad from Alesis lands on my desk for review, like the gods were listening in on our conversation. So, it looks like I have found the solution for one person, you might find it is just what you are looking for too. A compact, four pad unit that allows you to use onboard sounds or import your own for live drum triggering without the need of an entire kit and with the feel that you just can’t get from many small drum machines. EASY SETUP The Samplepad from Alesis couldn’t get simpler. There are a number of mounting options with various optional brackets so you can have it standing as part of an existing kit, or simply on stage with anyone who can spare a hand to hold a drum stick from time to time. It offers you four pads that are, given the size of the unit, very generous in size indeed as well as the option to run a kick pedal in for added control. A stereo output on 6.5mm jacks gets your sound into the PA and there is also the option for headphones in case you just want to practice quietly. You can also run a MIDI output via the 5-pin DIN connection to access a wider sound library from another drum module or computer software if you want.

If you are not running an additional drum module or a software application for additional sounds and want to bring your own flavour to the Samplepad, you can quickly load sounds into the memory with an SD card and assign them to the four pads and the kick trigger port as well. This means you don’t have to limit the Samplepad to being just a drum machine, but can trigger just about any sound from it, even with the tap of your hand if you would prefer not to use sticks. This little unit is going to find itself mounted on racks within drum kits all over the place, but I think we will see a lot of acoustic duos and smaller acts incorporating the Samplepad into their setups and it offers such a simple and economical method of introducing an added element to their sound. For everyone who was wondering what they were missing in their setup, or for anyone who could find a drum machine that integrated well on stage, the Samplepad from Alesis might just be the answer. By Rob Gee RRP: $389

Distributor: Electric Factory Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website:


The Resonator guitar is a holdover from preamplification days, when players needed to do whatever they could to be heard by an audience - doubly so if they were playing in an ensemble. Initially the idea was to simply go for volume (players in the ‘20s weren’t so particular about flaming each other online for too much midrange) but, as these things often go, that sound attained its own mythological gravity. Resonators sound great for slide and for acoustic blues and country styles in general, and they have a sort of ‘gramophone’ vibe to them. Not everybody loves it (I certainly got a few dirty looks at home when I strummed my first chord on the Recording King), but for those who do, it’s a very special sound that carries a lot of emotional weight within its sonic payload. IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING The Recording King features a classic tricone resonator which hosts three 6” Continental cones which transfer incredibly loud tones through the body of the guitar. Two are positioned on the bass side and one on the treble side - an early concession to creating an EQ balance. As the company explains, “the tricone is made from nickel-plated bell brass and features a screen coverplate and T-shaped bridge with an ebony and maple saddle. The bridge is connected to the centre of each cone so that when the strings are hit, the vibrations run through the saddle and then into the bridge.” It’s basically a very clever way of using the vibrations of the strings and body to create a sort of feedback loop - the strings drive the body which drives the strings. The neck is made from Honduran mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, and it’s quite chunky. I guess it has to be to keep up with the sheer power of the body. I’m sure anything smaller would shake loose under all that vibrational power and hit the floor with a thud. This neck is good for chording and bluesy fingerpicking as well as for slide, but a square back version is also available for those who solely play slide. By the way, I love the retro plated Recording King Logo on the headstock. It’s not like this instrument needs any more vibe than it already has,

but that logo makes it even more …vibey! LET IT SLIDE The 999-3 is loud. It’ll shoot the sound clear across the room and knock over plants if you’re not careful. And it’s very focused. From the playing position it’s powerful but not overly ear-bashing, but if you listen to it direct-on or have somebody across the room play it for you, the sound projection is quite incredible. There’s a great overtone situation happening, especially on the higher frets, where it almost sounds like there’s controlled feedback or an octave-up effect mixed down into the background, and this really helps single notes to speak, whether fretted or played with a slide. And chords sound complex and full. There’s a reason a lot of acoustic blues solo performers love resonators: it’s a very commanding sound, an a very addictive instrument to play. But it is an acquired taste, and you can’t really use it as a regular acoustic. It does its thing very distinctively and there’s no way around it. When you buy a resonator, you buy it to sound like a resonator. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE VIBE The Recording King 999-3 is a great sounding, great playing, very distinctive and utterly cool instrument which sounds like acoustic blues or bluegrass beamed straight out of the past and into your ears. It’s a ridiculous amount of fun to play, and although its use is somewhat limited if you’re after a more fullfeatured acoustic, for what it’s designed to do there’s nothing else like it. By Peter Hodgson

RRP: $699

Distributor: Dynamic Music Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website:

MAPEX BLACK PANTHER RETROSONIC SNARE 14X5.5” Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine is an icon of thrash, a pioneer who helped to form the vocabulary of heavy metal guitar. The rhythm techniques Mustaine and James Hetfield created together form the basis of so much of what we hear today, and Dave’s tones have always been great. The Zoom G2.1DM pays tribute to Dave’s tonal progression over the years. SYMPHONY OF DESTRUCTION The G2.1DM has space for 100 patches, including 50 created by Mustaine and his guitar tech, Willie Gee. The G2.1DM features 83 guitar effect types (including models of the Tube Screamer, Big Muff, DS-1, MXR Distortion+, and Metal Zone), amp modelling (using 96 kHz sampling and 24-bit A/D/A conversion), an on-board chromatic tuner with LED indication, an integrated drum machine with tap tempo control over 40 rhythm patterns including 4-beat, 8-beat, 16-beat and shuffle, and it even doubles as a USB audio interface for recording direct to your computer. You can engage a direct mode within all 30 drive sounds which adds the ideal speaker cab characteristics over a flat response audio system or headphones for recording into DAWs or going straight into the mixing desk live (making this a great backup in case your amp ever goes down mid-gig). There’s also a looper function with up to five seconds of recording - not a huge amount by today’s standards, but at least enough to set up a riff to jam over and maybe even incorporate into a live performance. Zoom’s downloadable Edit & Share software lets you create, edit and save your personal patches and share them with other users. There’s an optional foot switch for accessing extra features like tap tempo input, rhythm pattern start-stop, bank switching, delay input muting and delay hold on/off. Every pedal comes with a Dave Mustaine signature guitar pick, postcard and replica backstage pass from Megadeth’s Peace Sells... But Who’s Buying? tour too - a nice touch. You also get a copy of Cubase LE 4, which is very handy. The G2.1DM runs on AC, batteries

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both sides of the drum too, which is a nice touch. Eitherway, it’s easy to use, feels like butter and does a great job. There.

or USB power. HIDDEN TREAURES I tested this little monster with an Ibanez RG550 loaded with Seymour Duncan Gus G Fire Blackout pickups. What I found was a huge cache of sounds from throughout Dave’s career: the thick distortions of Rust In Peace (I couldn’t resist busting out ‘Take No Prisoners’); the leads of Countdown To Extinction equally useful for playing Dave’s or Marty Friedman’s leads - Dave’s current more distorted rhythm tone (named after the track ‘ Headcrusher’); ‘In My Darkest Hour’ cleans; the clean chorused acoustic tone from ‘Good Mourning/Black Friday’; heavy gated rhythm tone from ‘Symphony Of Destruction’; an approximation of the weird revving sound from ‘Almost Honest’, the ‘Foreclosure Of A Dream’ clean sound, and even the wah wah tone from ‘Something I’m Not’. There’s some real hardcore Mustaine fan stuff here, along with plenty of other non-Mustaine presets based on popular amps like the Peavey 5150, Diezel Herbert, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, Fender Twin, Vox AC30, Marshall JCM2000, Marshall Plexi, Hiwatt Custom and more. HAVE COOL, WILL TRAVEL The G2.1DM is a flexible, portable little unit that’s capable of a lot more than just replicating Mustaine’s favourite tones - although it does that well. It’s not quite the same as having a Bogner Fish preamp and Max Norman chained to a mixing desk, but it’s still a brilliant approximation of many of the greatest thrash tones ever. By Peter Hodgson

RRP: $439

Distributor: Dynamic Music Phone: (02) 9939 1299 Website:

MAY 2012

SOUND Ok, enough about the look. Obviously I like it. The walnut shell produces something nice too – volume. There’s plently on offer and it’s a warm and full sound. Mapex say it offers a vintage style sound and with the Remo Ambassador head, this is somewhat true. It’s very live and open. This said – I wish I could have experimented with a few heads to see how the drum performed. I could imagine a nice dry sound. I did like that you could really have it wide open and indulge with the tone. Mapex Black Panther Series snares are the flagship line of drums from a company going from strength to strength. Today I got to have a crack at one of the latest – The Retrosonic 15x5.5” Walnut. It is on the dearer side of things for these series of drums but when you have something a little special it’s worth spending a little extra coin. BUILD This Retrosonic features a hand crafted 8.1mm walnut shell and honestly, it’s the very thing that makes you a) want to buy the thing and b) wonder how you wanted a steel drum. This shell has a matte finish, letting the gorgeous, dark wood grain do the talking. Mapex is biased and claim it’s a beautiful drum but folks, it really is. Add the striking sculptured lugs and badges and it’s gorgeous to look at. Other things that make this drum worthy is the usability of the hardware. There’s some satisfying about a throw off that feels nice to operate. Mapex make a throw off with micro-lock technology, which basically means that the tension knobs have little teeth that allow you to lock the tension at precise increments. The cylinder-drive strainer that self lubricates helps this. How the hell they do it though I’m yet to find out! You can also tension from

I tried a few tunings and whilst it did perform well at all tunings, the fact that there is that live factor means you have to be a little careful going low. This is true of most drums though. Medium to high tuning yielded a lovely, crisp crack. Helping this along is the Mapex sonic saver die-cast hoop. It’s light and has a rounded top that protects your stick and hands and promotes resonance for the shell. Feels nice when doing rim shots too. Ok, for me the sound of this drum isn’t necessarily world changing but it’s damn good and whatever you look for in a drum is up to you but if you are a lover of snares, and particularly good looking ones, check this Retrosonic out for it’s volume, that gorgeous walnut shell and the fuss free user friendliness. Absolute winner. By Adrian Violi

RRP: $829

Distributor: Electric Factory Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website:


Paul Reed Smith has many gorgeous signature models for artists like Carlos Santana, Alter Bridge/Creed’s Mark Tremonti, David Grissom and Al DiMeola, as well as SE models for Orianthi, Dave Navarro, Bernie Marsden, Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt and many more. The Signature Limited is a signature model too, but you won’t find a specific artist named on the headstock. Instead this model has the backing of multiple artists: Howard Leese (Heart/Bad Company), Davy Knowles (when I told Davy Knowles I was reviewing the Signature Limited, he offered a few words: “It’s the only guitar I’ve played for ages now. So proud to be a part of it!”), Michael Ault, legendary guitar historian Tom Wheeler and Paul Reed Smith himself. The model was launched at the 2011 Winter NAMM show as a 100-piece run through the company’s Private Stock division, but in 2012 the model has been shifted over to the core production line for a 400-piece run. SIGN HERE, PLEASE Compared to the 2011 version, the 2012 Signature Limited features new Signature/408 treble and bass pickups, which look a lot like those on the original but are no doubt informed by an extra year of feedback from the artists. Other features appear very similar to last year’s Private Stock version: Figured Artist-grade maple top, mahogany back, sinker mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, 25” scale length, ‘Pattern’ neck shape, beautiful bird inlays made of paua in the centre and mother of pearl around the outside; and a rosewood veneer headstock with paua Paul Reed Smith signature and mother of pearl ‘Signature Limited’ inlay. The hardware includes the option of either PRS Stoptail or PRS Tremolo bridges, while standard features across both versions include ‘hybrid’ hardware (a combination of gold and chrome looks - very tasty), PRS Phase III locking tuners, and an electronics set incorporating master volume and tone controls, a three-way pickup selector switch and two mini toggles which split each pickup into single coil mode. The pickups are very cleverly designed to maintain the same volume when you switch between humbucker and single coil configurations. How does it do it? When you switch to single coil mode, the circuit turns one coil off and actually adds extra wire turns to the other one, beefing up its output and making it act much more like a ‘regular’ single coil. Also note that for each pickup, the coil closer to the neck is the one that gets activated in single mode. Colour options are

Black Gold Wraparound, Charcoal Burst, Ezira Verde, Faded Abalone and Fire Red Burst. ART AND THE ARTIST After plugging the Signature Limited into my Marshall DSL50, the thing that really became apparent straight away was the sheer usability of the pickup switching system. It’s set out logically, but more importantly every sound is useful. And I’d grown so accustomed to ‘regular’ coil splitting and the volume drop that accompanies it that the beefier single coil sounds here were kind of jarring at first, until I got used to them and started to really see what they were capable of. The bridge humbucker tones are warm and vocal, with that great PRS midrange which works just as well for crunchy power chords as it does for screaming leads. The neck humbucker sounds thick and full of sustain, and it’s great for really digging in with the pick. Each pickup’s single coil mode maintains some of the humbucker mode’s tonal voice but adds grit and zing: each sounds like a fat, overwound but very quiet ‘60s-style Strat single coil. And the combinations are great, my favourite being both pickups together in single coil mode, and both together with the bridge in single mode and the neck as a humbucker. This brings out the string detail while maintaining that full, singing lead quality, and it’s one of the best blues-rock tones I’ve ever heard coming out of my amp. I WANT ONE! The Signature Limited is a guitar that rewards nuanced playing, and which is designed to work with the player and their amplifier in equal measure. It’s capable of an astounding range of tones, yet each sounds like a carefully thought out function of the guitar, rather than a byproduct of a switching system. The pickup concept here is really revolutionary and it’s just one of the reasons I’m going to find it very, very hard to return this guitar after the review! By Peter Hodgson RRP: CONTACT YOUR LOCAL PRS RETAILER FOR PRICING

Distributor: Electric Factory Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website:

ROAD TESTED SAMSON XP150 PORTABLE PA SYSTEM cable. The other speaker houses the powered mixer that forms the heart of the system. This clips out quickly and easily or it can be operated from within the speaker housing to make you setting up even easier.

Again, Samson gives us yet another innovative design to fill a gap in the PA market at a price that really cannot be turned down. For those of you who require a portable PA system that can be carried in one hand, yet still gives you plenty of grunt and enough input options for any application something of this size would require, then their Expedition series has always been a great starting place. Now, with the XP150, you get plenty of options, plenty of power and very little to carry. ALL IN ONE Straight out of the box, the XP150 is one handy little case that can be carried in one hand. The two speakers are actually joined together to make the unit even more portable. These slide apart and become the front of house for your system in a matter of moments, with both speakers capable of accepting a standard pole mount in their base, even with their small shell. From here, the rear of both speakers can be removed. Behind one is a cavity containing all the leads you need to get the XP150 up and running, making sure that everything is kept neatly together so you don’t get to a gig and find out you have forgotten a speaker

ALL MIXED UP The powered mixer is built around a 150 watt power amplifier that supplies 75 watts to each speaker with the included speaker cables. It runs quietly and produces a great sound for the relatively low wattage of the design. There are three mono channels on the mixer, each accepting either a microphone on XLR or line input on 6.5mm jack. Each of these three channels has a reverb switch to add some extra depth to you vocals. An additional stereo channel is included with either two 6.5mm jacks or a single 3.5mm stereo jack, so you can connect a keyboard, computer or MP3 player into the system. All the channels have a simple two band EQ, and let’s face it; this being such a compact system, there just isn’t any room for more. And overall preset EQ switch allows you to set the system for speech or music preference with the mid range pronounced more aggressively on the speech setting and more bottom end for the music setting. This is not a massive line array system. Let’s get that straight. What the XP150 offers is a portable option for solo and duo acts that need clear amplification in small venues but do not want to carry large speakers or spend hours setting up and packing down. It is a clever design and weighs in at about ten kilograms, so it is practical for just about any situation. All the XP150 needs to go with it, is you and your instruments. By Rob Gee

RRP $389

Distributor: Electric Factory Phone: (03) 9474 1000 Website:


SHURE PGX DIGITAL WIRELESS SYSTEMS The precision of 24-bit digital audio. A wide selection of trusted, rugged microphones — including the legendary SM58 ® . Up to a 200-foot range and 10 hours of battery life, plus scan and sync with true digital diversity for easy setup and a rock-solid signal. Welcome to wireless sound as it should be. New microphone head available: Beta 87A. Distributed by

MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 57


GEMINI SR-8 STUDIO MONITORS tweeter. This recessed high frequency driver also employs a purposeful waveguide that directs sound away from the cabinet, so your high frequencies are reproduced with articulate precision and without diffraction. Combined with outstanding bass response, the result is a highly detailed stereo image.

SHURE SRH1840 PROFESSIONAL OPEN BACK HEADPHONES 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, this was not the case with the SRH1440s and too was not the case with the SRH1840 which offer the same comfort and ease of listening.

So, first I got to try the SRH1440 open back headphones from Shure and was more than amazed by the quality feel and sound. But, apparently it just gets better as the folk at Shure were not content with going that far and have now presented me with the SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones to try. Let’s face it; they have only really outdone their own good selves with this one as the SRH1840s take everything that was good in the SRH1440s and make it just that little bit better. COMFORT IN DESIGN The SHR1840 are a lightweight headphone that sits over your ears and are barely noticeable they are so comfortable. They have a slightly different arm structure to the 1440s, with aluminium supports that offer a greater strength, but reduce the overall weight, making them even more comfortable over extended period of wear. 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 no 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

OPEN BACK DYNAMICS The matched 40mm drivers deliver a rich, dynamic sound that lets you hear every subtle nuance of the music. This means that both sides of the headphones deliver the same tonal characteristics due to the individually matched drivers, so you never feel like one side of the mix is off. 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 pressure is not backing up behind the drivers and doubling into your ears. It is all due to this design that the SRH1840 headphones are able to deliver such an articulate transient response and a full bottom end that does not become overbearing. Shure raised the bar with headphone design in the SRH1440s, but they have taken it that extra step further by fully refining the finished product for the SRH1840s. 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 SRH1840s. 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 SRH1840 professional open back headphones. You get exceptional comfort, unbelievable audio quality and all the added extras in one complete package. By Rob Gee RRP: $795

Distributor: Jands Phone: (02) 9582 0909 Website:

WHARFEDALE PRO DELTA 12 SPEAKERS & DW1600 POWER AMP for wall mounting or easy setup in a portable use, the Delta 12 has most applications covered. Its 800w programme power handling means this speaker box can deliver plenty of punch when needed with a calculated maximum SPL of 129dB. The 12 inch cone and wide spread elliptical high frequency driver give the Delta 12 a solid low end response and excellent direct coverage of an area for the critical high frequencies. A pair of Delta 12 speakers would really work well with a sub backing them, but even as just a pair, it delivers a good amount of low end and a sharp transient response, with a natural sounding mid range that allows vocals to stand out clearly and not get lost in the crossover frequencies.

Wharfedale Pro has gone from strength to strength with their range of audio products with an ever developing range of amplifiers and speaker boxes to suit every budget and fulfil the needs of all musicians. Whether it is for portable setups or installation systems, Wharfedale has a range to suit just about any application. The new Delta Series loudspeakers fits into both these categories and backed by the DW Series power amplifiers, you have a powerful combination for getting about or permanently set up in a venue. DELTA 12 LOUDSPEAKERS The Delta 12 is built into a sturdy plywood housing that gives you a more natural resonance than plastic style boxes can often tend to do. It is coated with Wharfedale Pro’s Rhino Rock finish that gives it an almost painted look, but has a tough surface that is more hardwearing, not unlike their carpeted ranges in the past. This means that the Delta 12 will look sleek in an installation and will take the battering that one would expect of it when travelling around from gig to gig. With easy access fly points for venue installation and dual angle pole mounts

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DW1600 POWER AMPLIFIER When looking to power the Delta 12 speakers, there is no better match than the DW1600 power amplifier. This sleek new design from Wharfedale Pro looks the part in its 2 unit rack design, with a satin silver facia and black grille front, providing plenty of airflow to the unit. It is capable of delivery up to 800 watts per side, with audio limiter and overload protection to ensure you don’t damage your speaker system or run the amplifier unnecessarily hard. Inputs are supplied on balanced XLR connections with Speakon outputs and parallel line outputs on XLR for linking additional power amps. Operation of the DW1600 is a breeze. The front panel sports a power switch and volume controls for both sides. Add some LEDs to indicate power, signal level, overload and fault registry, and that is all there is too it. A clear, and loud, reproduction of your mix is what you get with the DW1600 making it ideal to match up with the Delta 12 loudspeakers in a touring rack, or installed in a venue. In short the DW1600 gives you what you put in, only louder. By Rob Gee RRP: $599 (Delta 12), $1199 (DW1600) Distributor: LSW Pty Ltd Phone: 07 9718 4900 Web:

MAY 2012

When it comes to monitors, accuracy is crucial. Let’s be honest, decent monitors can sound great in your project studio, but truly accurate monitors will ensure your mix sounds great everywhere else – whether you’re listening in your car, on your portable media player or on your home stereo. That’s why the cost-effective SR active monitors from Gemini were designed to offer genuinely precise audio that truly reflects the state of your mix. READY, AIM, FIRE Gemini’s SR-8 boasts an 8-inch woven glass aramid composite woofer for tight, accurate low-end response. To complement this custom-designed low frequency driver, the elegant, magnetically shielded enclosure incorporates a front-firing port, which helps deliver clean, accurate bass. While rear-firing ports can throw low-end frequencies into walls and corners, creating an imprecise image, frontfiring ports ensure clear bass response for a mix without coloration, even at high SPLs. For crisp natural highs, the SR-8 houses a 1-inch neodymium driver on its soft-dome

TOTAL CONTROL To reduce distortion, the monitor features a bi-amped design, with 100 watts of Peak power delivered to the low frequency driver and 25 watts of Peak power delivered to the high frequency driver. And because mixing environments vary from one room to another – a large professional studio, a mid-size project studio, a small bedroom, a spacious basement – the SR-8 provides Volume and High Frequency controls, so you can adjust your sound to suit your setting. For flexible connectivity, the SR-8 provides XLR, TRS and RCA connectors. An extensive frequency response between 45Hz and 20kHz also guarantees accurate, well-balanced audio with true sonic clarity. And when it comes to looks, these sleek, black monitors with red woven woofers offer a stylish complement to your mixing space. Ideal for a variety of mixing rooms, Gemini’s SR monitors offer value, power and precision for professional studios, home recording setups and everything in between, giving you the power to create the best mix possible. By Rob Gee RRP: $349 each Distributor: LSW Pty Ltd Phone: 07) 9718 4900 Website:

ART USB DUAL TUBE PRE at either 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, switchable from an external button.

I have used ART hardware for years in both my home recording setup and in live applications. I have always known that products by ART are not only well designed and offer an exceptional signal quality for the price, but they are usually built like an absolute tank. So, taking ART gear on the road was never an issue as it would take anything you threw at it and still keep going. That said, when it comes you studio gear, you know it is going to be absolutely bullet proof given that it should get a lot more care than what it would in live environments. GOT IT GOING ON The rear of the unit features two inputs, both supplied on combination XLR/TRS connectors. Further to this, and something you don’t often see on smaller interfaces, is insert points for both inputs, allowing you to intergrate external hardware into you signal path. This is a very nice touch, especially seeing there is barely enough room to squeeze them in. Outputs are supplied on a pair of TRS connectors and a coaxial SP/DIF for digital connectivity

FROM CHAOS COMES ORDER Yes, this unit has a lot going on. I had to stop and look it over a few times to figure out what all the buttons and knobs did to begin with. It is not just a line input to a computer, but a complex preamp, compressor and interface all squeezed into one. But, the chaos that appears to be ruling the device is quickly deciphered once you get an idea of how it is working with your signal path. It is easy to operate after this. The USB compliance is perfect, so no specific drivers are needed. You can add this to any computer system and have it running in a matter of moments. Take that and the rugged build and it makes an ideal tool for any live engineer’s kit in case you need to include a laptop in any setup. Either on stage, or in the studio, the ART USB Dual Tube Pre gives you more options and a greater quality of sound than just about anything else like it. A microphone preamp, DI, optical compressor and USB interface all rolled into one - brilliant. By Rob Gee RRP: CALL FOR PRICING Distributor: Major Music Phone: 1300 30 66 70 Website:


In a world that is awash with all number of interfaces designed for home studio recording, Electrix have come out with a product aimed solely at those who want to integrate their existing DJ setup with their computer. The Ebox44 is a simple and compact device that doesn’t mess around with studio peripherals that most people buying it would not need. Because of this, the price is kept low and the overall size of the unit is kept to a minimum, making it ideal for DJs who want to travel with their setup. BARE BONES The Eboxx44 is about as simple as it gets, giving you a no fuss interface that will work with your DJ setup and not complicate the arrangement. There are two stereo pairs of inputs on the rear of the unit and two stereo pairs of outputs. All these are supplied on RCA connectors, making it nice and easy to intergrate with most DJ mixing consoles on the market that feature the same connections. The inputs can be run at line level from a DJ mixer, or switched over to become phono inputs for running your turntables directly into your PC. A ground screw is also supplied for connecting the ground wire of the turntables if it is to be used in this manner. On the front of the box you get a headphone output with its own dedicated volume pot and a microphone input with a volume pot too. That is it! Both connections

on the front are on 6.5mm jacks, with the headphones being a stereo connection. You can route your sounds into the headphone send through the supplied virtual mixer software with either of the two outputs, or both combined going to the output. UP AND RUNNING This has got to be one of the simplest audio interfaces out there to get up and running in no time at all. Once the drivers are installed, the connections are made and the USB is fired up, you can assign the included software to work with the Ebox44 as an internal mixer or set it for use with an external mixer, depending on how you wish to use it. Then, you are ready to go. It’s that easy. You can get this running on a Pentium III and even use it on systems that go back as far as Windows 98. So, for those of you with that old computer doing nothing in your setup, the Ebox44 could bring new life to it and increase the power of your setup for very little outlay at all. By Rob Gee RRP: CALL FOR PRICING Distributor: Major Music Phone: 1300 30 66 70 Website:

MATON ER90C visual hint to the ER90C’ s price tag. The tuners ar e Gold Grovers, completing the look. The ER90C featur es a Maton AP5 pickup system, which incorporates a sculpted fr equency curve that Maton has designed to perfectly complement the guitar’ s acoustic tone. It featur es a sweepable mid range between 1 and 2kHz, “Soft Start” cir cuitry and a very helpful low battery indicator, and it’ s powered by exter nally mounted AA batteries. The guitar also comes in an awesome tank-like Hiscox f ight case made exclusively for Maton and designed to f t each particular model.

The ER90 occupies an inter esting niche in Maton’s catalog. There are plenty of models that cost less, and ther e are a few that cost more, like the Messiah line, but the ER90C sits somewhere in between the two. It featur es certain deluxe appointments that elevate it up into a very competitive price bracket , but it’ s not quite as visually showy as the Messiah line. It really lets its sound do the talking. SPEC CHECK The ER90C is a dr eadnaught acoustic guitar with a smooth and curvy tr eble side cutaway for unfetter ed upper fr et access. The back and sides ar e made of solid Indian rosewood and the top is an attractive AA Sitka spruce with scalloped X bars. The body is bound in f ve ply black/white, and the rosette is herringbone with black/white inner and outer rings that match the top binding. Nice touch. There’s a tortoise shell pick guard too, which complements the spruce top nicely. It has an Indian r osewood fretboard, which sits on a select Queensland maple neck. The fr et marker inlays are simple mother of pearl dots. The bridge, too, is Indian rosewood, and it hosts a glass f lled nylon saddle, with matching nut. Matching gold end and strap pins are a small

TAKE IT FOR A STRUM I didn’t even need to ponder for a second how to describe the sound of the ER90C: it’ s the f rst word that jumped immediately to mind upon the very f rst chord: ‘balanced.’ No frequencies are f ghting the others for attention, and nothing is either too cloudy or too strident. And this goes for the string-to-string volume too: the tr eble strings ar e slightly louder than usual and the bass strings seem gently restrained, just enough to let each other stand shoulder to shoulder. Rosewood is a very common, popular and versatile tone wood. It looks gr eat and sounds exceptional. In this case it no doubt helps to give the ER90C its even fr equency spread and tonal war mth. Likewise, Sitka spruce is known for its wide dynamic range, a quality that this guitar has in abundance. You can hear it very clearly when you strum a single open string hard and let it fade naturally. The sustain is impressively long, and it tapers of f very smoothly rather than giving you a sudden impact then fade. The AP5 system is a great workhorse preamp. It doesn’t give you too many bells and whistles - no tuner, for instance - but its sweepable midrange control give you plenty of authority over these crucial frequencies. This is part of what makes the AP5 such a popular pr eamp for live applications: you can really use it to dial the guitar in to the room. ELEGANT AND REFINED The ER90C is a very f ne-playing, exceptional sounding electic acoustic. It has plenty of personality, yet is incredibly adaptable at the same time. It’ s hard to think of a musical style that it wouldn’ t be at home with, nor a stage that it wouldn’t look right and sound on. Great job Maton! By Peter Hodgson RRP: $3199 (INCLUDES CASE) D I G I TA L D I V I D E N D

Distributor: Maton Guitars Phone: 03 9896 9500 Website:


MATON MS T BYRD amplif er. It helps to cr eate an extra layer of interactivity and tactileness for the instrument. The ashtray-style bridge by W ilkinson features three intonation-compensated brass saddles, while the contr ols are the typical master volume, master tone and thr ee-way pickup selector switch. The bridge pickup is a Lolar Super ,T a familar-looking Telecaster-style unit, while the neck single coil is a Lolar Charlie Christian pickup, a very , very early pickup design that you don’t see very often these days. It’s wound with 38 gauge wire like the originals, with a nickelplated blade pole piece and alnico bar magnets. The neck is made of r ock maple and it’ s not overly chunky , but its prof le f ts in the palm nicely. It’s not a particularly vintagefeeling neck but it’s very comfortable. The fretboard radius is a f attish 12”, again a mor e modern rather than vintage appointment, and it makes playability a br eeze. The body is made of Quandong with a r ock maple cap. T uners are Grover minis.

This is a fairly unusual guitar for Maton to make. They have a long legacy of electrics, of course, such as the BB and Mastersound series and various eye-catching vintage models, but the MS T -BYRD is unique in that it seems to bring together Maton and classic T -style design ideas along with an even earlier pickup design and a moder nfeeling fretboard. Let’s have a closer look. TURN, TURN, TURN The most obvious marriage visible in the MS T BYRD is that of the Mastersound and the T elecaster. The biggest giveaways as to the latter are the dot-inlay maple fretboard, the bridge, the single coil pickup and the contr ols. The Mastersound angle is cover ed by the curvaceous body shape, as well as a semi-hollow design which incorporates a sexy soundhole on the bass side body bout. In fact, that soundhole is the source of something incredibly addictive about the MS T BYRD that I haven’ t encountered on any other thinline/semi-hollow guitar: its shape and location means that if you’r e playing it unplugged, you will hear strangely beautiful phase-shift effects as your hand covers and uncovers the sound holes. It’ s a really striking sound, and I wish ther e was a way to captur e it thr ough an

T TIME The f rst thing you’ll notice about the MS T BYRD is how clear and musical it sounds. Ther e’s a gr eat treble ring and tight bass, along with a slight bloom to the notes, thanks I’m sur e to the semi-hollow construction. It’ s a great f ngerpicker’s axe, whether you play rhythm or lead, because it of fers great note detail and separation. Complex chords maintain their def nition, double-stops sound gritty, and single notes ar e articulate. The bridge pickup sounds bright and sweet, and stays that way when you add overdrive. The neck pickup sounds very full, with a singing quality and gr eat harmonic overtones. It’s really addictive, and makes you want to play Santana licks or something with stong lead lines. The combination setting predictably presents the best of both worlds: the fullness and vocal quality of the neck pickup, with the top-end sweetness of the bridge one. PLAY A SONG FOR ME Aside from being a very attractive guitar to look at, the MS T BYRD plays great and sounds exceptional. The neck pickup is a real surprise - it’s so damn usable! It’s a real leftf eld decision to use a pickup like that in a guitar like this, but it works spectacularly. By Peter Hodgson

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Distributor: Maton Guitars Phone: 03 9896 9500 Website:

MAY 2012

NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 59




This is a unit that I need no introduction to, having used the Presonus Faderport in my home studio for about five years now, I have become very attached to this device and it is almost like an extension of my left hand when I am working through a mix. For those of you who have not had a look at this compact, but creative, controller, perhaps now might be a good time to stop and consider if you are getting the most out of your mix time. With the Presonus Faderport, you are not only able to give yourself a more hands on feel when working within the box, but you can speed up your edit and mix sessions by reducing the reliance so many of us have on using the mouse for most functions. CLEVER DESIGN From the moment I first came across these units many years back I was impressed with the way in which it was laid out. This unit is set up so you can have plenty of control and functionality all within reach with just one hand. The bottom row of buttons takes care of your transport controls, right where you want them so you can operate these without even looking and reach to the unit by touch to stop, start, record arm or scroll back and forth. Just above these you have a shift key to change up your button features, a punch, user settings and loop marker key too. These do not see as much use, but a still very handy right where they a placed. Then you have a row of buttons to allow you to scroll though the different windows within your DAW as well as an undo/redo button. I love this

button. That takes care of the lower half of the unit, above that there are still more controls crammed into this small interface. You get read, write, touch and off buttons for you fader mode and mute, solo and record enable buttons at the very top. DYNAMIC CONTROLS So, with plenty of buttons to take care of so many functions, there are still a few to mention, and this is where it gets really good. There are two channel scrolling buttons and a bank selecting button just below the mute. These allow you to assign the pan pot and fader that are included on the Faderport to any channel you wish. Sure, it may seem a little underpowered having just one fader and one pan pot, but really, I have found that is all you need. With the channel select buttons, you can skip across you channels onscreen quickly and easily so the fader and pot change their assignments. For such a compact device, there is really so much going on in the Presonus Faderport and I am sure it will become an invaluable tool for you just like it has for me. By Rob Gee RRP: $199 Distributor: National Audio Systems Phone: (03) 9761 5577 Website:

ZILDJIAN GEN16 ACOUSTIC/ELECTRIC CYMBALS specifically designed for this purpose. SPEED OF LIGHT As a result of this unique method, I have never experienced this level of response from an ‘electronic’ cymbal through a set of headphones. In an instant, you realise that no matter how fast you play or how you do it, the sound will be transferred to your ears. A conventional trigger cymbal might have three zones - crash, wash and bell. And while they’re not bad, you can’t play with anywhere near the amount of detail you normally would on a real cymbal. Honestly, it was pretty amazing. I’m converted.

Gen 16 is a division in the Zildjian cymbal company responsible for the Digital Vault - software with samples of the best and benchmarked Zildjian cymbals for digital use. Zildjian wanted to take this new affiliation with the electric world further and so the research and development team came together with the guys from Gen 16 and developed a true hybrid cymbal that is both acoustic and electric for a unique experience and the future of the way we can create music. WAVE OF THE FUTURE Unlike an electronic drum kit’s rubber cymbal triggers, the Gen 16 cymbal pack offers you real cymbals. The pack I tried had 14” hi-hats, 18” crash and 20” ride. When I say the cymbals are real, I mean it. They are made of a unique alloy and when played, feel exactly like a normal cymbal. Except they don’t ‘look’ like a conventional cymbal. Each cymbal is perforated with what appears to be millions of small holes and is a high polished silver look with the trademark ‘Z’ printed in a cool blue. They look very slick and dare I say it - futuritic. PULL THE TRIGGER Now comes the interesting part. Underneath the cymbal, mounted in the bell is what appears to be the ‘trigger’ mechanism for transferring sound to the module. The innovation here is that that trigger is not a trigger at all. It’s a pick up or in other words - a microphone. That’s right, the cymbal’s natural acoustic sound is recorded and multiplied like a normal microphone. Only one that’s

PG. 60 MIXDOWN NO. 217

HOLE LOTTA LOVE The cymbals also sound nice acoustically but the major difference is the volume they output - basically half or more that of a normal cymbal due to those holes. The ultimate practice cymbal ladies and gentleman. The pitch is higher than normal too but the hats are crisp, the ride washy and the crash sharp. Pretty cool. BRAINS TRUST The cymbals come with a module - the Digital Cymbal Processor (DCP) that has five inputs for hats, crash, ride, splash and china. Each channel has 20 presets to play with. But since we’re reproducing the cymbal itself the presets are mainly different pitches rather than out right effects. But this means you can have a set of 13” vintage style hats or 16” rock hats in the same cymbal. I suppose Zildjian does make real cymbals, not effects so this makes sense. Other simple cool features are panning so you can still make the cymbal sound like its coming from where it’s set up on the kit before you send it to front of house, which is neat. You can also adjust your cymbal/ kit mix to your liking and control individual volumes. As I mentioned before, I’m converted. The Gen 16 cymbals look the part, sound the part and more importantly feel the part. Check these out. By Adrian Violi

RRP: CALL FOR PRICING Distributor: Music Link

Dixon makes hardware right? Yes, yes they do but they have also dipped their fingers in the drum kit pie and to some success. Ok, I was a little concerned about what I was going to find with the Predator drum kit – a mid level priced kit made by a company that is often overlooked for it’s budget friendly products. Well folks, I was pleasantly surprised by this little carnivore. BUILD The kit I tried was the newly released Predator in a green sparkle finish, which looks rather intimidating actually and will suit a lot of buyers in this price range market. It features black hoops and fittings that seal the look nicely. The all North-American maple drums themselves are cleverly sized to appeal too – 22x18” kick, 14x6.5” snare, 10x6.5” and 12x7” rack toms and a bigger 16x14” floor tom. Note the short stack toms too – this is the clever part they mount lower and look cool. Should seal the deal for a few folks I reckon. The toms are also mounted using a floating system where the holder is connected from the lugs rather than the shell itself promoting resonance. I like the idea but it means it’s a little harder getting the toms right where you want them. Overall though, it’s a nice looking kit in the sizes I like too and thank Dixon for giving it a 14x6.5 snare – something with balls to battle those Marshall stacks. SOUND & USABILITY As with any kit, I always recommend changing the stock heads for some real names instead and you’d be amazed at how it’ll bring the drums to life or give you the sound you’re after. This Predator was conveniently

already re-skinned with some Remo heads, and honestly, I’m glad cos I liked what I was hearing. The snare drum is a nice thing. I cranked the bottom head a little and played with the top head tension experimenting with low to high tunings. The snare had a Remo Vintage A head and this gives a little natural dampening. Medium to high tension is where this drum likes to sit. Too low yielded some pretty unwanted overtones and gaffa would be needed. That said, just a little higher was basically right and it was sounding good. The 6.5” depth is gold for this drum to add some ‘phat’ to the overall sound. The toms with coated Emperors yielded great depth (surprising, given the sizes) and a very focused tone. No dampening needed at all. Again the medium to low tunings were the go here. Finally, the bass drum with a Powerstroke 3 head was great with nothing in it at all. Fat and full and everything you’d be after. Not a disappointment from me. Overall, this Predator presents a good package. The sound definitely surprised me, making for a worthwhile look if you’re in the price range. By Adrian Violi

RRP: $1199 Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website:


PreSonus have for some time now offered us a long list of interfaces that covers just about every users needs, whether you want two inputs or twenty, they have something for you. Now, the newest toy I have tried out from PreSonus merges a couple of their most popular units to give you the best of both worlds. Think of the packaging of the Audiobox, but lean towards the connectivity of the Firestudio and you will be close to imagining what you get with the new Firestudio Mobile. This is a handy little device that packs plenty of options into a very small unit, so let’s have a look. PLENTY OF INPUT Although housed in a small casing, the Firestudio Mobile is not short of inputs in any fashion. On the front, you get two inputs on combination XLR/TRS connections allowing you to connect microphones, line or instrument level signals straight in. With both these inputs featuring PreSonus’ XMAX preamps, you get a great microphone sound and an easy way to go straight into your DAW with guitars or keyboards. You also get gain controls for these two inputs as well as a headphone output with dedicated volume and master volume control all on the front. Furthermore, you can engage phantom power to the microphone preamps by a switch on the front panel and a small LED meter shows input levels for both.

NICELY FEATURED This unit connects with the included Firewire cable and is ready to go in a matter of moments. Not to be left behind, the Firestudio Mobile offers 24bit/96 kHz digital conversion, so you can capture everything you want in your recordings and keep most of it running through one small and simple to operate box, keeping things nice and simple. Now, if you are just getting set up for the first time, or you are looking for a change from your old DAW, the Firestudio Mobile comes bundled with PreSonus’ own Studio One Artist software. The beauty of running with this complete setup is that is has all been designed to work together, so you don’t need to worry about configuring the software to match the hardware. It is all designed by PreSonus and it all likes to work together. What the Firestudio Mobile represents is an excellent value recording solution that is extremely portable and easily upgradable with external hardware running through the multiple inputs. It put the power of multi-track recording in your laptop bag to take with you anywhere. By Rob Gee RRP: $399 Distributor: National Audio Systems

Phone: (03) 9765 6565

Phone: (03) 9761 5577



MAY 2012

AT4050URUSHI Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

AT4050/LE Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

AE5400/LE Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone


AE6100/LE Hypercardioid AE4100/LE Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphones

ATM25/LE Hypercardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

ATH-M50s/LE Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica celebrates its 50th anniversary with an array of limited edition introductions offering stunningly clear, high-resolution sound and elegant design. Models range from the AT4050URUSHI with hand-painted Japanese maple leaves, to the legendary ATM25 instrument mic brought back for this special occasion. Each microphone is etched with a unique serial number commemorating 50 years of passionate listening.


TAG. Ph. (02) 9519 0900 E.

MAY 2012


PG. 61


RØDE NT55 MATCHED PAIR CONDENSER MICROPHONES is often the biggest point of discussion. But, befor e you even think about how your micr ophones are set up, you need to consider whether they ar e capable of capturing all the sound you want. The gold sputtered 1/2 inch capsules in these f nely designed microphones are used to do just that. The low operating noise and exceptional fr equency response that exhibits a slight incr ease in the higher frequencies gives you just what you would expect from these microphones. Being a matched pair, you can be safe in the knowledge that one micr ophone isn’t going to let the stereo image down by colouring the sound differently to the other.


I’ve tested only one Natal snar e drum befor e and it was a beast, so I was excited to get my hands on this latest offering from the company founded by the recently departed Jim Marshall. The drums are making some noise literally and on the media front at NAMM and the global drum scene is excited. LOOK & BUILD This drum struck me as something pr etty cool upon taking it out of the box. I like metal drums yes and I often like them when they have some detail on the shell – hammerings, cool f ttings or an inter esting colour. Well, the colour is the f rst thing that hits you in the face. Natal call it Old World Bronze and yes, it has that browny-bronze colour but it also featur es a type of grain in the mix. Think of a wood grain. It’ s almost as if the metal had been heated, folded, pr essed and repeated. It’s not shiny, more matte but your eyes get drawn to different parts of the drum constantly . Very cool. Pretty? In its own way , but ther e’s no denying you’re dealing with something that could very well be a loaded gun. There’s a presence to this drum and I dig it. You’ll get some looks and those inevitable couple of people at the end of the gig asking questions about it. The Old W orld is a limed edition snar e with a 1mm thick shell and 2.3mm thick hoops. It’s a solid thing too – not DW heavy but still serious. The simple lug design lets you see mor e of the shell and the details on the badge and throw off is a nice touch. One innovative feature is the throw off itself. It has three settings easily chosen at a moments notice. The obvious ones ar e

SWITCHED ON The people at Røde have put a lot of thought into the NT55. It featur es a high pass f lter that can be set at 0, 75Hz or 150Hz, allowing you to eliminate any low fr equency noise that may emanate fr om vibrations through the microphone stand. It also has a pad switch that allows you to attenuate the signal by 10dB or 20dB when using the pair with high SPL sound sources. But, it doesn’t stop there for options. As well as a stur dy carry case, two micr ophone clips and foam wind socks, you also get a second set of matched capsules for these micr ophones. So, they can be used with a car dioid polar patter n or with an Omni polar patter n, depending on which capsules you use. This means you can also use the two microphones with different capsules for gr eater effect when trying to capture certain sound sources.

‘off’ and ‘on’ but ther e’s another half way setting that lets the snares buzz a bit for a looser type sound. SOUND Those that like metal drums will love this one. It comes with Aquarian heads and combined with that raw bronze shell offer a really focused sound. Ther e was less ring than I expected and a def nite, loud crack at higher tuning. It sounds deep when you’re on top of it too. I was surprised with the dryness though. However, for me, this is great. Leave the drum open and you get full volume and a good solid sound straight of f. As I lowered the tuning, I loved it mor e though. About medium tension and hitting dead centr e is where it’s at for me yielding a gr eat blend of depth and attack – regardless of whether you played a rim shot or not. Seriously cool. I’ll agree that it’s not the most sensitive drum I’ve ever played but ther e’s still plenty ther e. A good, unique looking drum and will tur n heads and ears. Check it out. By Adrian Violi

RRP: CALL FOR PRICING Distributor: Electric Factory Phone: (03) 9474 1000

Over the years, Røde has made a name for themselves in the inter national microphone market. This Australian company continues to go fr om strength to strength with an ever expanding line of products to suit every application you could ever imagine. When it comes to ster eo microphone techniques, you would be hard pressed to look past Røde’s matched pair of NT55 pencil style condenser microphones. This package of fers two sonically matched microphones of exceptional quality that are perfect for drum overhead, piano and acoustic microphone applications.

Røde put themselves on the map with their low priced studio condenser micr ophones many years ago and since then they have developed the range to cover all budgets and all micr ophone applications. Their studio microphones designed for vocal use have proven that you can get a great quality sound without a huge price tag, especially now as they ar e priced better than ever . So, perhaps you ar e looking for your f rst studio microphone, or simply wish to add to your existing arsenal. If so, then one microphone that f ts many budgets and of fers excellent quality is the Røde NT2000, a lar ge diaphragm studio condenser microphone that not only excels with vocals, but works brilliantly with a wide range of instruments as well. REDESIGNING THE IDEA The NT2000 was the frst studio condenser microphone to give you the featur es you would usually expect to f nd on a breakout box all located on the microphone’s

PG. 62 MIXDOWN NO. 217

By Rob Gee

RRP: $1250 Distributor: Røde Australia Phone: 02 9648 5855 Website

MAY 2012

Distributor: Røde Australia Phone: 02 9648 5855 Website

RODE S1 HANDHELD CONDENSER MICROPHONE when a tool like the S1 can really bring your voice to life.

housing for easy adjustment. It is a lar ge diaphragm studio condenser microphone with a dif ference. You have the option of changing fr om cardioid, to f gure of eight to Omni polar patter ns or somewher e in between with a variable control that allows you to dial in the pickup pattern that best suits your environment and application. It is not just a switching device, as is often featured on other micr ophones, but a r otary control for blending between the pickup patterns. Next is the high pass f lter which is also in a rotary style setting. This enables you to not be locked into f xed settings that don’t quite cover the range you want, but to carefully f nd the threshold for your low fr equency needs. You can set the f lter to anywher e between 20Hz and 150Hz. This enables you to decide how just how much low end you want to sacrif ce in order to remove any unwanted rumbling in your signal and fnd the right compr omise for each and every r ecording session. IN PRACTISE The NT2000 comes in a sturdy carry case with probably the most heavy-duty of all plastic suspension cradle mounts. It is a beast and ensur es your microphone is freely suspend on the stand, isolated fr om unwanted noise and vibrations. It has a rich quality to the sound it captures that is quite unlike anything else in the price range and allows the user to tailor their sound to suit the application and envir onment. It does have certain colourations in the sound depending on the polar pattern that are representative of the NT2000’s frequency response, giving it a very def nite tone and one that is very nicely suited to the human voice. This microphone can be used to great effect for instrument application, but its r eal character comes out when capturing vocals. Ideal for the home or pr ofessional studio, the NT2000 is a micr ophone that could well suit your needs perfectly.

By Rob Gee

RRP: $1050 (PAIR)

HEARING IS BELIEVING There are a lot of myths when it comes to ster eo microphone techniques and micr ophone placement



As with any microphone in the Røde range, the NT55 matched pair is Australian made and built to take whatever you can thr ow at them. Røde have come a long way and haven’ t earned their inter national credibility by pr oducing substandard products. You know that when you buy a micr ophone, or a pair in this case, fr om Røde, you ar e getting the best quality for your money . So much attention to detail is put into the design of these micr ophones and their accessories. They look sharp in their satin nickel f nish and feel solid in the hand with a good weight to them. You can know that is you invest in a matched pair of Røde NT55 micr ophones you have got yourself a tool for life.

SOLVING THE PROBLEMS Many singers don’ t want to use hand held condenser microphones on stage because they have been told they cause too much feedback, or they cr eate unnecessary handling noise. What Røde have done with the S1 handheld condenser micr ophone is build it to deal with the pr oblems of stage use whilst still allowing all the clarity and dynamics of your voice to shine thr ough. Careful attention to detail has been taken to ensur e the capsule is freely suspended, but r esistant to the shock and abuse that can come from handheld use. A cleverly sculpture high pass f lter takes out the unwanted lower frequencies that are often amplif ed with handheld use, meaning you don’t have to treat the S1 like an expensive piece of china at the fear of sending a r oom shaking rumble through the PA system.

As I am sur e many of you ar e aware, there seems to always be the old favourites tur ning up on stages time and time again when it comes to vocal micr ophones. And so, we all tend to end up sounding the same, with the same few micr ophones capturing our voices. This is compacted with the fear of using condenser microphones on stage that many perfor mers hold, worried about handling noise and feedback. But, why should you be a sheep and go with the boring option? Why sound like everyone else? W ith the Røde S1 you can take control of your sound and give your voice what it deserves. Ther e is no need to settle for a dynamic microphone that is going to suffocate your performance

IN ACTION The S1 comes with its own micr ophone clip and soft pouch to protect it when not in use. It has a gr eat, nonslip feel in the hand with a good, solid weight to it that really lets you know you ar e holding a quality piece of kit. Its cardioid polar pattern offer good side r ejection, but does tend to have a small weak spot directly behind the capsule as is often found in super -cardioid designs, but that only adds to the colour of the micr ophone and doesn’t affect the risk of feedback in any sever e manner. Its fr equency response does duck a fair bit in the lower r egion, to compensate for handling noise, but has a nice upper range that excels for vocal sounds, without suffering from excessive envir onmental noise. This microphone has been designed to make your voice sound the best it can on stage and it gives you so much more than any dynamic micr ophone can of fer. If you really want the audience to hear your true voice, give the Røde S1 a shot and see what they think. No doubt you’ll suprise the them and yourself. By Rob Gee

RRP: $505 Distributor: Røde Australia Phone: 02 9648 5855 Website

O F N I E R O FOR M www.s AE EDU 0 CALL: 180

MAY 2012


NO. 217 MIXDOWN PG. 63

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.

C F Martin Guitars & Strings Proudly Distributed & Supported by Electric Factory Pty Ltd 188 Plenty Road Preston VIC 3072

PG. 64 MIXDOWN NO. 217

MAY 2012

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Mixdown Magazine May 2012