M A D E
M U S I C I A N S
F O R
M U S I C I A N S
MIXDOWNMAG.COM.AU ISSUE 221
NTH ’ S GIVE O M
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- C O N T E N T S -
NEWS & TOURS
12 PRODUCT NEWS 20 GRIZZLY BEAR CHRIS ROBINSON 22 PROPAGHANDI CANCER BATS 24 OH MERCY
The music industry is forever evolving and while the industry changes we’re staying committed to street press with our unique national and targeted distribution channels whilst providing everything we do each month, online and for free. We’re happy to announce that the mag is now available across even more Australia-wide locations each month whilst also being accessible via all web browsers, digital readers and smart phones. Visit www.mixdownmag.com.au for more! Apart from this aforementioned update, our September issue focuses on everything studio and recording related with reviews of all the latest recording gear available, Q&As with a couple of stellar Australian studios you can record in and universities that can help hone in on your craft. We also touch on some hints and tips through our regular columns with how to create and capture the best recorded sound possible and keep everything in check. We’re also lucky enough to catch up with cover stars and Harvest Festival headliners Grizzly Bear, psych-rockers The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, metal lords Propagandhi, punkproggers Cancer Bats, Aussie pop crooners Oh Mercy and garage rock revivalists King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizzard. Also, we must thank our good friends and long time supporters Amber Technology for giving you the chance to win the amazing Blue Microphones Reactor multi-pattern mic. One seriously dynamic studio mic that will open up your ears to some brand new recording possibilities. Full entry details for this brilliant gGiveaway are found on page 6.
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZZARD WIZZARD 26 THE WICK - Q&A JMC - Q&A 28 PUGHOUSE - Q&A SAE - Q&A 30 UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD WHAT’S THAT SOUND? - KEYS 32 ON THE DOWNLOW BANGIN’ THE TUBS 34 DIGITAL JOCKEY HOME STUDIO HINTS
In the meantime, tune in, drop out, Mixdown.
36 STUDIO SPECIAL
Aleksei Plinte Editor In Chief.
42 ROAD TEST
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZZARD WIZZARD
CANCER BATS PAGE 22
OH MERCY PAGE 24
PAGE 26 PUBLISHER Furst Media
COVER ART Patrick O’Niel
GRAPHIC ARTISTS Michael Cusack, Baly Gaudin
EDITOR IN CHIEF Aleksei Plinte email@example.com
LOGO DESIGN www.furstmedia.com.au
EDITORIAL CO-ORDINATOR Lachlan Kanoniuk
MIXDOWN OFFICE 3 Newton Street Richmond VIC 3121 Phone: (03) 9428 3600 Fax: (03) 9428 3611
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Patrick O’Neill
ADVERTISING Aleksei Plinte, Ronnit Sternfein
CONTRIBUTORS Peter Hodgson, Rob Gee, Nick Brown, Adrian Violi, Willy Teasle
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LAST MONTH’S WINNER
- M I X D O W N G I V E A W AY S BLUE MICROPHONES REACTOR MIC With our Studio Special tucked away in this very issue it only makes sense that we give you the chance to win one of the very awesome Blue Microphones as reviewed and also submitted by good friends Amber Technology. The multi-pattern Reactor mic is up for grabs this time around, so see below how you can take this bad boy home and add this new addition as part of your recording arsenal. Retailing at $649, but worth it’s weight in audio gold it will be well worth entering.
MAPEX BLACK PANTHER CHERRY BOMB SNARE A big thank you to all the entries we had for the awesome Mapex Black Panther Cherry Bomb snare competition. Last month was epic in the drum and percussion world with AUDW and the stack of awesome features and reviews we were able to run.
Like all Giveaway’s there can only be one winner and the lucky drummer who gets to use the Black Panther Cherry Bomb at their next show is...
A massive thank you to Electric Factory, the Australian Mapex Distributor who supplied us with the goods too!
Congratulations! We’ll have that shipped out to shortly and look forward to the pic with your new Mapex Cherry Bomb snare.
Ben Allan from Evandale in South Australia.
Step 1. Head to our Facebook page (www.facebook. com/mixdownmagazine), like our page if you haven’t already, then like and/or share our pic of the Blue Microphones Reactor multi-pattern mic as posted on th September 5 . Step 2. Tell us the pollar pattern options of the microphone as found on the Blue Microphones website at www.bluemic.com/reactor . Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, address and contact telephone number for your chance to win this amazing prize. One entry per person. Australian residents only. Best of luck!
*Competition disclaimer* All Mixdown Magazine competition winners agree to having their loacation, name and photo with themselves and their prize published in Mixdown Magazine and online. All entrants must be residents of Australia.
O y th W re b th B D A S M h fa th
S S o th S e
MIXDOWN NO. 221
Perfectly Angled The Pinnacle of Desktop Monitoring
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Experience the magic at your nearest authorised Dynaudio professional reseller Tel: 1800 251 367 email@example.com
CHICKS WHO LOVE GUNS SASKWATCH
Brash, raucous and disconcerting, Chicks Who Love Guns are here to make the world a little louder and unbind the minds of the masses. The outfit have annoucned an extensive east coast tour this September/October and the release of their third EP, Moon Eater. Chicks Who Love Guns are set to tell the world their story. If you don’t want to be told, frankly my dear – they don’t give a damn. TOUR DATES:
Freshly reformed and announced on the very tasty 2012 Meredith Music Festival lineup, blistering rock and rollers Hot Snakes have announced a supplementary Melbourne date. With band members busy in a myriad of other musical pursuits, a Hot Snakes live experience is a rare
blessing. The Australian shows will feature John Reis, Gar Wood, Rick Froberg and both drummers Jason Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba. Before hitting the Supernatural Amphitheatre, the outfit will hit Sydney and Melbourne for what’s set to be a couple of insane sideshows not to be missed.
September 21 – The Standard, Sydney NSW September 27 – Workers Club, Melbourne VIC September 29 – Yours & Owls, Wollongong NSW October 4 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane QLD October 5 – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba QLD
2012 has well and truly been the year of Saskwatch. The Melbourne-based soul sensations have been one of the most talked about acts in the country, from slaying it at Golden Plains, to supporting certified funk and soul legends, to blowing the roof of Cherry Bar countless times, to their current stint in Edinburgh. Thing is, it seems like it’s only just getting started for Saskwatch. Their debut album Leave It All Behind consolidates the outfit’s remarkable rise. As the initiated are aware, the Saskwatch live show is an experience not to be missed. Later in the year, they’ll be pulling off the rare Golden Plains/Meredith double. Nice. TOUR DATES:
September 13 – Bigsound, Brisbane QLD September 14 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore QLD September 15 – Qpac, Brisbane QLD September 16 – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay NSW September 20 – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney NSW September 21 – Stoke Factory, Wollongong NSW September 22 – Transit Bar, Canberra ACT September 28 – Jive Bar, Adelaide SA September 29 – Wave Rock Festival, Haden WA October 5 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC October 6 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VI October 7 - The Palais, Hepburn Springs VIC
LEE RANALDO BAND
December 6 – The Hi-Fi, Sydney NSW December 7 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne VIC
12 FOOT NINJA
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t see this one coming. In an abrupt strike, Twelve Foot Ninja have unleashed an epic 12-week assault in celebration of their debut album Silent Machine. Dubbing their campaign Project 12, Twelve Foot Ninja will release one digital track along with one digital comic every week for 12 weeks in the lead up to the official release of their debut album. Engaging acclaimed comic artist Keith Draws, Twelve Foot Ninja have produced 12 worldclass comics to accompany each of the 12 tracks from the album. Each comic is inspired by the song’s lyrics and the original fable of Twelve Foot Ninja. Fans who pre-order the album from the band’s website (twelvefootninja.com) will receive every digital track and comic each week until they also receive the physical album with full colour artwork and lyrics mailed out on the day of release. Better yet, the band is giving away the first track and comic for free. TWELVE FOOT NINJA’S DEBUT ALBUM SILENT MACHINE WILL BE RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 2.
Eclectic, intimate and hypnotic Brisbane sextet Founds are proud to announce the release of their debut album, Hadean, this September. The outfit have been steadily winning a loyal fanbase with their experimental, near-post-rock, sounds. Catch the band showcase the hot new tracks when they hit the road supporting Winter People in the coming months. TOUR DATES:
September 29 – The Toff In Town, Melbourne VIC October 4 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD October 5 – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay NSW October 6 – The Loft, Gold Coast QLD October 7 – Livespark @ Powerhouse, Brisbane QLD October 12 – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW October 13 – The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW
JAM WITH PAUL GILBERT
September 13 – The Standard, Sydney NSW September 14 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC September 26 – Indi Bar, Scarborough WA September 28 – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough WA September 29 – Amplifier, Perth WA September 30 – Wave Rock Weekender, Wave Rock Beach WA
October 20 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW October 21 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD October 24 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne VIC
Wanna jam onstage with one of the world’s fastest gutiarists? Here’s your chance to go head-to-head with Paul Gilbert while he is here to carry out his full masterclass Australian tour. To enter, simply record yourself jamming along to a Paul Gilbert song, upload it to your YouTube or Vimeo account and name it “Thump Music Jam With Paul Gilbert Competition”, put your ticket ID, name and state in the info. Easy! The winner will be then chosen by the most amount of likes on the Thump Music Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ THUMPMUSIC). If you haven’t picked up a ticket yet, simply visit www.thumpmusic.com.au.
September 28, 29 – Railway Club, Darwin NT October 4 – The Metro, Sydney NSW October 6 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD October 10 – Republic Bar, Hobart TAS October 12 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC October 13 – Uni Bar, Adelaide SA October 14 – Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
October 8 – Princess Theatre, Brisbane QLD October 10 – C3 Theatre, Sydney NSW October 11 – 360 Theatre, Lower Plenty VIC October 13 – UTAS Conservatorium Of Music, Hobart TAS October 15 – Star Theatre, Adelaide SA October 17 – Hale School, Perth WA
MIXDOWN NO. 221
Fans of iconic alternative rock legends Sonic Youth take note; founding member and guitarist Lee Ranaldo is heading to our shores with his band for two exclusive shows in Brisbane and Sydney. These performances coincide with an appearance at the Melbourne Festival.
To celebrate the recent release of the very ace LP Lake Air, Sydney’s Dappled Cities are hitting the road for their first national headline tour in two years. Some have labelled Lake Air as the highpoint of Australian music in 2012, and rightfully so. The tour will see the band debut their all-new live show, which will no doubt include some of the band’s classic material, as well as lashings of Lake Air goodness.
From a humble, self-released one man project, Sola Rosa has grown to a live collective of international repute. Successfully melding hip hop, reggae, jazz, latin, soul and funk, the group have never sat comfortably in one box, but with Spraggon’s guidance, that restlessness has been channelled into six succinct albums. Join Sola Rosa as they play from coast to coast (including a stop at Big Sound 2012) and don’t miss them as they debut their all new live material as well as playing all of the catalogue favourites.
One of the most buzzworthy acts of 2012, Grimes has been one of the most talked about artists in the world since the release of her standout LP Visions. Already announced on the Meredith Music Festival
lineup, Grimes has announced a run of sideshows surrounding her performance at the Supernatural Amphitheatre
December 5 , 6 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC December 8 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
December 10, 11 – OAF, Sydney NSW
SILVERSUN PICKUPS DEXYS
CRAZY P • LOS CAMPESINOS! RIVER CITY EXTENSION • DARK HORSES WINTER PEOPLE
BECK SIGUR RÓS ie
MONDO CANE GRIZZLY BEAR ’s tton
BEN FOLDS FIVE • BEIRUT • SANTIGOLD CAKE • THE DANDY WARHOLS THE BLACK ANGELS • CHROMATICS • OZOMATLI LIARS • FUCK BUTTONS • THE WAR ON DRUGS DARK DARK DARK eauring BOOTLEG ALLEY • THE SECRET GARDEN THE CAMPFIRE STAGE • GOURMET FOOD & DRINK STALLS HOLISTIC, RETRO & VINTAGE ARTS MARKETS • SIDESHOWS PLUS SURPRISES & DEBAUCHERY GALORE!
SATURDAY 10 NOVEMBER WERRIBEE PARK MELBOURNE SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER WERRIBEE PARK MELBOURNE SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER PARRAMATTA PARK SYDNEY SUNDAY 18 NOVEMBER BOTANIC GARDENS BRISBANE FACEBOOK.COM/HARVESTPRESENTS TWITTER.COM/HARVESTPRESENTS *LINEUP AND VENUES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE 18+ ONLY EVENT - PHOTO ID REQUIRED
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NO. 221 MIXDOWN
It’s a reformation that we thought we’d never see, and a tour we’ve demanded since the band’s triumphant return to the stage at this year’s Coachella. Now Australian audiences can finally witness the glory that
is Refused in the live setting. With reports from the States and beyond making it exceedingly clear that Refused have reclaimed their title as one of the best bands on the planet.
November 9 – Metro, Fremantle WA November 11 – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane QLD November 13 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
November 15 – The Palace, Melbourne VIC November 17 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide SA
SOMETHING FOR KATE Arriving in the country for two shows as part of Melbourne Festival (which sold out in just 48 hours), Shellac will also embark on a national tour hitting up Hobart, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney. Shellac was formed when Bob Weston moved to Chicago and joined drummer Todd Trainer and guitarist Steve
Albini in 1992. They played their first shows in Chicago in 1993, and first out of town shows later that year in Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. This will be the band’s first trip back to Australia since 1993. We’re pretty bloody excited.
October 19, 20 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne VIC October 21 – Republic Bar, Hobart TAS October 23 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
October 25 – Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA October 27 – Fowler’s Live, Adelaide SA October 28 – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
After a string of low-key album preview shows in Ballarat, Melbourne and Sydney, revered outfit Something For Kate have announced a national headline tour – their first in five years. The tour is in
celebration of Leave Your Soul To Science, the band’s stunning new full-length LP. With demand running incredibly high for the preview sets, tickets are sure to sell out quick smart for the album launch tour.
October 6 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC October 12 – The Metro, Sydney NSW October 13 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
KIRIN J CALLINAN
As we speak, Kirin J Callinan is plugging away at producing his debut full-length solo record. But all work and no play makes Kirin an unhappy shit. So to temporarily escape the heat of the recording kitchen, to get back to his natural habitat and to thank those who came out in force to the sold out launches of the ‘W II W’ single, Kirin J Callinan will be back, out o’ the bunker, performing live again in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. TOUR DATES:
September 12 – Bigsound, Brisbane QLD September 15 - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC October 11 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
MIXDOWN NO. 221
October 26 – The Gov, Adelaide SA October 27 – Fly By Night, Fremantle WA
Mystery Jets will return to Australia in support of their latest album Radlands. Mystery Jets have already been announced on the gigantic Fat As Butter Festival lineup, and now have announced a run of headline shows across Perth and the east coast. The quirky UK pop outfit are no strangers to Australian shores, pulling off barnstorming appearances at many of our major festivals many times in the past. TOUR DATES:
September 20 – Capitol, Perth WA September 22 – Fat As Butter Festival, NSW September 23 – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW September 25 – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane QLD September 26 – The Corner, Melbourne VIC
new album out now facebook.com/Propagandhi
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The Sp Gse a soun blues ro lat wi ing a bit h someer hop _ a Melbou d of â€“ an râ€˜73 iďŹ isee oth at theyâ€™re / \[/ afo R[:b` /DC including that with N P UVaR V[V[T] N ei ging wo er the Vietna 0NV[of the _a wituld T_R NQ\\ ]] V aliall dtra electr layed on nicawo of,th ectrum proving th Englawerenâ€™t otsthat theerfestivals core pa Pa\_S\ aN[QfaUrement nghthFoerc rneâ€™s was held ose 1Nc 8V[T4 TR 0N_` a ioned the _ RaR_: a_bZ1 cV[[//\_V_ RP`D \[aN R_S\ ir QV_Rgic mW rub e Ta t to th aUR RNaa__R BObb d[_R and Friendsâ€™ version of Leonard Ian (laterrip ofpllouesRose Tattoo and after Woodstock inrtnAugust wh /Mur o p Co '=N ar 4.Rilen In thoff. accent hig ]\`a N`N_ama ndâ€™s Bed preac e, to de hard da ck to celebrat rld, tthe punnt came fro ership, Roof numbeun =YN[R N T &aYou c com ttooRose%Tattoo, Vanda ?\[ 6A@ 2:60 a\[= @]RP $ÂťÂť8R UR.ga N[QPP VTNaR NTT_R @]aS _NYVNĂ€`\ r seten a testamen music h in the bac often and harm xophone. such ers ebop&De yâ€™s work e more guitaris singer-s tceps a Nb`Y m New ] T ore rs N[Qd YN[RaN[Q UVZ\ba [Ong ?21 YY`2 cR`a 3\__ !Âť 0 ks atbin mpe e king vocals dho , s th sa to It is tM V[ &&&3 bSQab P.b`a . Let th than th sought The Angel onmind n Ze <0 _RQ/N @NQQV[ NTR (=NTR U\_]R : th the su e luxe) chantin . e ie oted P0 he Yf= 0URPX O\vol m ered that the Aztecsâ€™ d M RQ] A A cit VP cc gw ala ike B he ene Cohenâ€™s â€˜Bird On A Wireâ€™, presented expansion and endless soloing. C Australiaâ€™s X) on bass. Band of Lightâ€™s 1969. Launching Place (aka â€˜The NV 0\ elb els to th e : %R og ` es < y h ru & `V e. 1 an & to r rit rgy nd f t l . Ru um o (= b f s d [ of their er ar RJLH s â€“ who sta o e er Of bo and g, boas e ofinearlier dd and enon th em =5 \Y\b R[Q \[f @\[ VYYfA S 6N s ie _Q` OcaZ or R Z [dVV[ bVS/ R_:b $ SJ&' itmen neration \S rted life as / , pian 0 ting, co e be head-ban end of a suproth ues their ca bassplay ?RP\ WO\[QQ Aussie boo B andcourse B aUV` [QB Moonshine re drinking the La De successfun lethe blso gtsoâ€™ e ar d ho â€˜Jean er big inďŹ‚uen %Âť RÂťD 0\\Y@ .[TRY` PN`RÂť b_aR`f 9VP me ing comm their own cluding ERRNOH `][ DN_[ the [Q e urting, organ blues, R& onou ging, ch intriguing reSongâ€™ was a national er Jug and Str â€˜Destiny â€“ of 30gie with rem ACld ru olume was just dopey, eece Das (who l co =af paytrille a` N YYR[N ]QYT `N[Q WLQ D uinteRo y of this ge f course so y sdis ten by =NT 1NQQf TR#Âť _`YV] PRQP\ oftin of In ing wofac ots an GG and becam ds w /DC was the Eas e Z gednth wa cR uldt, ru N_aV` ^. h@ g) ats the jug. freeform danc orus ANXR aand dynam ctiv days -Keschytia M inybe sense of econo es man Lobb g. O `R \R>] S`a(= [NYOb 1=:216 Âť .(=N NPXP\ R]_\Qb soun e the boogie Band o Maori) se Phgilro ing and # 18 , Â˝3Vchit in July â€™73.ebGuitar hero Borich â€œ... the la land of the long white cloud injected By the mid-70ss alsthough, my An alics aUR 7A3: YVN to ate S o, at soe ere playin - Thorpie, ost state thee lofestival scene wa avid La s . Th ing Keyston Re wigu D: N[QO fN[Q_ r teeth over the brutish d ththlar gels before `a_N \ba QYO 0 a stunning successful ancre AC/D solid m ith D th y â€˜70 d veab 5. MAD YHU sa us e t ro d NO O\@] SOb VP.b rlan YNf RQO (w C c [ h rei a le ly ou an n 6[ it sou \ ma e oe d `` ZW aV gining the candlleofdtheiir FR Br Ofisb T[ minasSysiv ste,ill 3RaaR a second tim coan Brow ger w , Ian Rilen il Key, 1 6 spirituality, heavy soul and gutsy, melodic SD _ZN /cab`O Z]]RA _\b`PYN Oc SD urthe n ms 4d0-o er scene was dying out. But the pub continued with La De Das, cutting dn ow el QR`V 2 e-r se elv lo JH S\ n. ey JH w 20DFN es ex 0\[ ss ai th Th o e pu h V[ Je e a_ R [ 0 eir T rs of â€˜Suck more piss!â€™â€? were soon ro s untdof ] Ă€` ands Z ] _R Th onorACpe/D are n Pete Wells Tattoo, P , Ted on $&$ simthilaerly - Jen %RRJLHSJ& E with â€˜Am I u to Z\ ^SRWO YRURN_a `\S[b aZ]bVQ es foll m & _ ow ha m cc a C e 'E a \ Eve us an dwab Sandwich album reicveyde, ds a 3 gQZ] 2[T `bR RRNOHW r Gonna See circuit was thriving, and, with ahsunew searing Rockâ€™nâ€™Roll eg 6.the R&B into Australiaâ€™s more Anglophile tain SID DJH not forgotten eithe Van al Ros ley Strach many Lo Q __Nf _RV` dWQW]c LQGG ds a turn R S \ in of n You 3 u ig theyâ€™re am but â€“ others â€™73 their after b r years ce a 40 _O nearly 2012, In Face ics or N e R ir o BREA : an so atnth ro Das d and \ba PĂ€``b] RSRYYN` of the Spears, Sh ich and to DNYYNPR cts like wahGo-Set singles charts for the LaDe generation of players moving in,idck theOdpitdza cesound: and scoring a ďŹ nal hit with a punchy 7 In 2012, music scene.â€? gaR _fbecame theâ€™73biggest- GG And with successive generations now aU start,.Chisel 0\[a_\Y ie stw s a nearly 40 Q Mlsarkan bpeeunbar dSD15 SD1JH Stew # e Pre $&$!: va cV[fYhomegrown eir WL years aft it k start, Ch e JH discovering this music andd keeping ofOHall rs, chorus in January â€™72. Now they wereJEN arguably inďŹ‚uence of the earlier bands was JEWEL 7. metallic had cover of Chuck Berryâ€™s y â€˜Too grossing y, Stev anâ€™dd er the r th tourists t ths ey isel RRN THUM Mulr rs n either. arhnoesut Boum t- 'E OWN aftecountry ggrossing became the bigge ir â€™73 mroyuBg Fraternity not forgotte BROW alive, the achievements of these greats via with 2 eJs& CAPTAIP their across oth time s m yâ€™re ll their G g th r Ji ers e the G r ho S ); a one of the three top drawcards in here and recorded live at Sunbury in ,othfuzz boxes being felt in a range of new rock styles. Miracleâ€™) followed on NYE 1970 Pooped To Popâ€™ (produced by Rod Coe stbut a â€“ but theyâ€™r megrown LQ s now ers â€“ nrageli Scott in big ts of a eir `RUR_R /VYYfAU\_] ye tour. res.g y e noott ffor Light the40Nitro in HW tim e generation tu tou a NO will resonate for years to come. ?\PX\S.TR g \ d_\aRaUR Yfd_\aR An e U\d R sive h L as ris ac d R on [d ces t is h Li ts of all ross their withh succe E gottenrlyeit idp h suc c \b` RY/_\d Cool dB $ _RcV And &$ 5Nc ththeir and e hear.me tour ith t T] keeping italongside f ke And witor then on demise in May â€™75, he Australia, Daddy â€˜73, is as inspirational and perfectly glass The bands that had played the TF with a great line-up including (from 7R[7Rd co ssi e 9NV[ R[[ a and un Lig L ve re cVQ R[7 9VPR sic try e ge g ht 1N dis st of th mu ne n rattion with the the Nitro \d[aU bl [`RQP\ covering n bec wn ry w /_\d [\aR`dVaU R[[f/ d ir tour. covering this ents of these greats e world thiiss music l w gro unt 8.`KEue 12, nssisno eow UROfYV[R`7 aUR$`N[Q% VIN s si nd20ke Of course, the 80s would change alive, the formed theg.similarly hard-boogieing pdis and down Billy Thorpe and b[Q theR_aAztecs. understated a version as you could Much and Much More Ballrooms in Boogie!) Thorpie, the sweat-raising, e scaled bye BObu YYN_ bTU o heights that mostost We ca h Chisel in the 1\Iâ€™M _ d[aU_\ fU\ I erWhile achieveme an t achievem to come. GOING X`:VYYV\[ th au , pCing R_ /_\ ggithom heir c . ug a e, the aliv tep b[aaR_ b[ â€˜60s, A ght th 5b[ @X U \X` tm c e\_VPPi While Ch [O8/ n of the nts But the predominant soun will reson U _\SÂż@X aU\ featured U nk Fin e Bhis ustr tstase te for years isel ur could onlytsdream Q aURRNbaU tha JEdNreaJEmWeverything. s t here Z]Ua^]bQ] Pa 0\[Kevin Borich Express and solidiďŹ ed strings hope to hear, with De Castroâ€™s vocals Melbourneâ€™s inner city Fitzroy tended ks and big-blowing Carson (â€˜Carson County sartists 3V 3V[QaU oogie EL he ate for ye a_\Y gssinats P$ aul will resona W\UV]]^P tscros itr7R[ oatto7R h BR artists fea scaled heights tha Disease alia got bitt ars to co gofrogre the Pu BTRuttte &$#l6ZN isi of young Australia in the 70s, with all â€“eaigsurprising thedRtop and nly OW ?VĂ˝Ă€NaĂ‹O[ â€“ Y/_\d t tur me 9VPR t N \aR e rďŹ mo rple H ed here co rprN h [duU\ [`RQP\b_aR . im a stayed . Th st elld aR` ld od_ by the R` m `d d Blu d still reputation asďŹ Australiaâ€™s premier solo is slightly the 80s Nevertheless, soaring over BillyesGreenâ€™sen guitar. to be more cerebral and theatrical than Bandâ€™), incendiary rock blues singer d s hethe[\others dVaUle suaU d \aR e lik uuld change searching for his own \[/ of â€“ and ig t t g wo U1N ea uld RUN l ht Of o ic a its_Rear-catching twists and turns, was YS\S around. NcV are t of rt on es number cVQ a R`R co c 1_R ha b[ o ly sta [Q s 9N h ursea,mth â€“]_ 9NV[T av QR_ of the Band. r UR dream RR_aU were ou V T ve be yed at the p] ]_R l scROfYhV[R _RcillV\b inant sound Lig ere`7playing Of course, Of n e 80s wo ee o e en \a `Yffbuilt Th t Lo dom nu y 5b n top t pre mb 1/@A=< is r [aR ev ro a bb foundations. AfricanR[ d_ earthy on d_\ d e d â€“ is 1=:=C@32 s the theyâ€™re gun guitarist. Phil ng riffsryttohing. But sounds,, wit the testosterone-charged Aztecs and Wendy Saddington, Chain, Spectrum erylelthing e Stones uld chanAnd more oftenChwhat er of the _/_\d a d t th [f/_\ year or y Loyd e d[aUe R[ \aRR h allKey left to form the more .dBu others are surprising 3V[ 3V y ge ure [adU_\ , Them b, e eve a bTtoUartheir e was tNb two be 0/::A 7R[[f U aNb ile[QQaaUUR â€™r American sURar$`N And more e pre in the 70s of ongyo-stungey ro fot rthe h?VĂ˝ aU aU\ slave music and twelve bar still aroun Uye_\\SSÂż@ a testament blues or R&B. an ou ? Ittis stralia spiritual hind bu hey [Q% he \\X` Âż@otXfU often wh s feĂ‹O r Clawere, Au bealia via dominant so Band Regular festivals singer/ the like, and they inspired the booming and that supercharged soul blues was of Light in October â€™72. ` ` d. [W und W rtisĂ€Na o young Au of turns, sta V]h]^ at ptonof. course,d at t:VYtam1\ blues or You ner-c . Th adstr t werock blues and folk stories; most pins theg70s, wi genuine electriďŹ ed PZ]U a and \U toofthe commitment t e music YYN__ W ca wha^]bteQ]sYV\[ R&B. It is theyâ€™re playing is da & itsyea ing twists and a B6=@ atc tch o e %R r ug o n>73 -ca r RJ hin t n th ica in â€“ ht ear LH all s s an a tes its Key. f ber ofte areis a [t tOcoften played on two guitars, bass, S p n anilt gry iagl tw up Crowd-pleaser Pete Wells was another Performing massive, exerting a great inďŹ‚uence d Phil so-called â€˜Carltonâ€™ scene in that city. outďŹ t from NZ, Max Merritt and The genuine tions. Afr songs mostly co-written J&'E p qu generation RRNOHW that so many ofo this onn erc ist y ns, wa ick... commitm tament to theitirh Va hanbu um dtiddtur thy founda e n It IAN LQGG lve bar y fou bye s built on ear ent to the t mldd, hu eamrth num d mor R&B. itme drums and harmonica with some le p non that so ma sw Zealand, sic and ND slide king in action with Rose Tattoo with histwe wife Pam, he continued on the music. The ďŹ rst, Ourimbah Of course some Indeed Daddy Coolâ€™s Ross Wilson could Meteors, whose 1966 smash, â€˜Fanny e mu sty ndgati ood hstill out there playing. musicw etter ,Am a d s. Afr ny co eriircaconmslawveis-mu C USLAthe An es or comm f this MccCCA aQR`VT[RQ nAmerican slav and folk stories; most b ngele still out the of this ggeneratio iinc an ke â€˜G ica _ _P\cR_N_aV` o r ksic eac sh ctre Le m lu ine Lobby [aURQNfS\ blues Nb``YN[Q\b re playin 0Nb SD3 ny la organ, piano and saxophone. In those ! roc cks dli twuelv :P0 lddver barare no longer with us -bThorpie, cra n are a loo ing th iďŹ eLdeeblu JH 66N[: a u es s, bass, `aR_`ONPXV [0\Z]N[f t ele e ctriďŹ ed e an tar g. ! Q]\ are n p o a Of d gui _N[ o m t n fol oft no longer w ry yedsh h n tr k sto ge and on two Loyde, Pete Wells, Ian Rilen PYN``VPP\cR gaRP`0N_`\ QaURVP\[VP hit enJerpla e so ere days of blues, R&B and boogie, such pllacourthse e t somost on s o o guand ries; mostoes QQf0\\Y. oft o en played 1NQQ iir f heme Loyde, Pe with usin -aThorp QR`VT[R t th r a with som 0U 0UNVV[1 drtum tha Key, he s o, cra enttw ga\b_ eâ€™â€™, itars, bass,g of theleoriginal Rose Tattoo, Phil UR_`5RNY`\ harmonic te Wells,iied our opie,t.Lo l ou nge solid state sounds would rule suprem those V[RN[[QQQ\a \YYV[T@a\[R`&$< 0 0NV[ d Ian a t en por T bbsyone org pianand gha dru d ms and moonndby eamrm onee.. In th stil no lo t of the ori :A McCAU IAN in ty Spears, UR? _\b[Q]N]R_` me an, piarno 53 e SLANDStrachan, Ted and saxoph gin g al yrd tingRil Shirley an ) Goo ica with soDme -sStewie ]\`aR_S\_a RPa\_S\_b[QR_T ainstn rs upandemo /< su h b`U_\\Z are de, P 6N[:P0N organ, piano B and boogie, suc g ar an Stewie Sp SkynRosse dNNN``N_aQV_ N[RaN[QaUR[: r m rangle thda e ys of blu tarTattos ao,s sPhilhKe riddd saxophonee. d N[QQd b`Y y t bby n N[Q Brownn (with David Lain J Jen Jewel d R& Q=Y many too and o s Prestwich Steve ea Mulry, \b es, r PYN e. aN[ e e rs, r irle go it y,w L ``VPP\cR _P\ N_a es, rem use o = N[R =Y (A eo Na in Inotho 1 1NVYVYYf=Y days of blu N_aV`a Mulryf,LSte yny befoSh V`aQR uld rule sup der _N[&Q]\`aR_`cR_ RPXUVZ\ba [Oc QR` of th iinny StracSm arp rior t soSmlidithstate R&B and b 0UNV[1N bo most Q] sounds wo o rve w un QQfd0\ ?RP\_Q`0U a \Y.grn ONPXV[aUR`VTVT[[RQ ewiDch derick hann,d hTe dry. P rly ie sounds wom og&ie,Ysuch tly Prest sN[ theme with goldenh QQOcaZO\R guitar 0 eV[R 0N slide solid state s % dual e t \[ n o QN Q QNf duesâ€™, t u aying N p â€˜ o aRP of an eWO a f e years t uld g a S\_ t eight S\_ o after h `0 d h Q\ S ee s wit ey, c druale supre cc aR_ of V aUR_` rs maounyn Add boo Meanwhile the guys onstage â€“ and s Br getoo .â€? me. su]\` he5RNY`n\Q d: R`VN_`\[0\Z]]]NNN[ff Laing) l n t Buffalo) id with n (later S\_ Roue r c Norm e t Dav S ďŹ ngered aUR g e e a e u th sung a n M ir ?\ a roa\[ T[RQaURVP U tm st sin this d th erin - Jen Jew is â€˜â€˜Gonna See My Baby Tonightâ€™, n nc `N_aQ Ted Brown (wi he N[Q rb theyy were nearly all male - were adN itz YYV[aT@ n el d &$<ga\ \[VP Va o - Jen Jewel aR` of t g1N Op V_RPea\_n S\_b[ plus a pretty young surďŹ e called fro he be ut of onte blist bee %R uidVYf= Y =YN[ y b_ Ch Brtow h n (withnyDa and written by Borich, hit #13 on the s h QR_T_\ 30 o eticRJLHed ampli ampliďŹ ers, fr with many hts aâ€™s rimenting nitb[Q]N]R_ experimenting ark RaNyâ€™d[Qbe=YN[Ra ? ?RP\_ of t ome heâ€™d d then rne aterR[ ld wi n a vide hLaeiging)uctioonee rali fren aph SJ&'ER Ian Rilen (later of Rose Tattoo and ĂŠeM_Q`0U heRPXUVZBa N[FrQaU :b RN es. R ` s, ust nâ€™s ogr an O\t t QOmy \baNa to cOHW Co ce tha th prod rotĂŠgeeW stur `U_\\Z goeLQGG g A eeso hore caZO\tRQ nd t inQ][ Australiaâ€™s X) on bass. Band of Lightâ€™s p e. Bu [Q a im â€™s a e Aztecsâ€™ in n the in J p that d o e c â€™s h B muttere muttered it N r D i r i Oc c e r t ng cad ge Critics â€œCritics es d que tte ign Doc igi hly Songâ€™ was a national d to n S reene u â€˜Destiny e 17 i intriguing lu in o n o â€™, d s B dopey, Y a r 3 B e was just l e b re tic la lo be SD1 ding volume ah ain maraudi the hisel, ced d to g 7 ly e JH f tas ran n Ag h sing and hit in July â€™73. Guitar hero Borich o 18 # e o n o c d s pla ve -C % % h over the brutish the f hard de. inding their teeth ut fa Prah of grinding â€œA tyle ic wit ge act w. pre ďŹ‚y re n mo continued with the La De Das, cutting ps a e ll b m rha s o dec sta t sho ma el in on s, brie en Bo -s na audience roars of â€˜Suck more piss!â€™â€? the searing Rockâ€™nâ€™Roll Sandwich album , pe term of the of s n Hot were band lt lian y h t n a ligh u o in w r fe n d n t s t t o s ar ain tar and scoring a ďŹ nal hit with a punchy ng tatio g o alia ear ic R&B e Au singles charts for the La De Das Go-Set G b effects like wahakin e S goin str a h ďŹ t C e Ch he s pre-amps, stompable h he Berryâ€™s â€˜Too Bre s at th was at Au lded onom oll. T out lleng s at t ce of t el in January â€™72. Now they were arguably metallic cover of Chuck h over ddrivers, chorus en Chis quen h 2 h phasers, wahs, gigg ll this e gre who fo to ec ckâ€™nâ€™r ource cha es jam Pooped To Popâ€™ (produced by Rod Coe ); lo esm ld in d ro e s one of the three top drawcards in s a ll-tim es, g e lu tat â€™ss Co tyle e and ddistortion, bbuzz boxes, fuzz boxes m a b s h in e t is he o â€™75, r a k May in e c demise m then on their lde elaid oes-s Australia, alongside Daddy Cool and the Ding n lyric ďŹ‚uen hts on y brea ite so es e and ďŹ‚angers. A publicanâ€™s glass or g w d formed the similarly hard-boogieing the stralia try-in ir sig reall (desp g Ston No ne, A d Din Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. b run up and down ld be bottleneckk could e Au coun set th before home Rollin ed Kevin Borich Express and solidiďŹ ed his sce bine t ings l t iďŹ d strings i i electriďŹ ed h sensitive, those and goes of A - e at ess). e sign t they com reputation as Australiaâ€™s premier solo c 1J6H Nevertheless, searching for his own lightly This slightly it Thi lid guitar. d slide to produce Din e US big-tim rt suc Rudg al bu ullet s SD r b guitarist. e gun h sounds, Phil Key left to form the more â€“ t ough g cha Peter ent d me mbe drunken, bluesy quiver sung riffs to fa e thr misin ager agem ional ral m spiritual Band of Light in October â€™72. D Das two singer/ f ffor the La De llife n t o e n pr r ma ma erna sev Crowd-pleaser Pete Wells was another co-written #Performing songs mostly guitarists Kevin Borich and Phil Key. tou m to a he int when slide king in action withh Rose Tattoo with his wife Pam, he continued the Since a late â€˜63 start in New Zealand, the ged t etres GG LQ dod entim W 3 c & NOH by RR E
AUSTRA HEAV Y RLIAN BLUES, R OCK FRO & M B AND INTROD UCTION THE â€˜70s
2 CDS 44 TRACKS.
Includes BILLY THORPE & THE AZTECS â€˜Most People I Know Think That Iâ€™m Crazyâ€™ & â€˜C.C.Riderâ€™, LA DE DAS â€˜Gonna See My Baby Tonightâ€™ & â€˜Too Pooped To Popâ€™, CHAIN â€˜Black And Blueâ€™ & â€˜Gertude Street Bluesâ€™, Blackfeather â€˜Boppinâ€™ The Bluesâ€™, CARSON â€˜Boogie (Part One)â€™, MADDER LAKE â€˜12 lb Tooth Brushâ€™ & â€˜Booze Bluesâ€™, INDELIBLE MURTCEPS â€˜Esmeraldaâ€™, COLD CHISEL â€˜Goodbye (Astrid, Goodbye)â€™ & â€˜Home And Broken Heartedâ€™, SPECTRUM â€˜Iâ€™ll Be Goneâ€™, COLOURED BALLS â€˜Flashâ€™ & â€˜Mama Loves Toâ€™, DADDY COOL â€˜Hi Honey Hoâ€™ (Live at Sunbury â€™74) & â€˜Daddy Rocks Offâ€™, ROSE TATTOO â€˜Bad Boy For Loveâ€™, TED MULRY GANG â€˜Darktown Strutters Ballâ€™, MAX MERRITT & THE METEORS â€˜Fannie Maeâ€™, BAND OF LIGHT â€˜The Destiny Songâ€™, BUFFALO â€˜Sunrise (Come My Way) & â€˜Luckyâ€™, THE ANGELS â€˜Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Againâ€™, MATT TAYLOR & CHAIN â€˜I Remember When I Was Youngâ€™, STEVIE WRIGHT â€˜Guitar Bandâ€™, SKYHOOKS â€˜Saturday Nightâ€™ plus classic tracks from WENDY SADDINGTON, THE DINGOES, JO JO ZEP & THE FALCONS, ARIEL, SPORTS, BUSTER BROWN, MASTERS APPRENTICES, KAHVAS JUTE, RENEE GEYER, SID RUMPO, FRIENDS, THE FERRETS, KEVIN BORICH EXPRESS, MARTIN ARMIGER, THUMPâ€™N PIG & PUFFâ€™N BILLY and CAPTAIN MATCHBOX WHOOPEE BAND! Original artwork by Ian McCausland and liner notes by Jen Jewel Brown. COMING SOON: CHAIN â€˜The History of Chainâ€™ | MADDER LAKE â€˜The Best ofâ€™ | SID RUMPO â€˜First Offenseâ€™ | Remastered reissues of classic albums, all with bonus tracks. WWW.WARNERMUSIC.COM.AU
NO. 221 MIXDOWN
AUSTRALIAN TAYLOR GUITARS DEALERS RECEIVE FACTORY TRAINING
BLUE MICROPHONE MIKEY DIGITAL Providing a mega-convenient solution for protable recording, Blue Microphone have announced Mikey Digital – a plug-and-play stereo microphone that directly connects to iPhone and iPad and is instantly recognized for use with any audio or video application. Whether catching a concert, shooting video, or recording guitar, Mikey Digital captures truly professional recordings on-the-go with two of Blue’s premium condenser capsules and built-in sensitivity control. Mikey Digital also features a multi-source input jack that allows for direct connection of guitars and other sound sources to record with the highest possible fidelity. Mikey Digital will be available in Australia late September 2012. For more information on the Blue Microphone range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
30 of Australia’s leading Taylor Guitars dealers have just returned from a visit to the company’s factory in El Cajon, California, where they received detailed training from the manufacturer’s expert staff through the Taylor Guitars University program. The trip, organised by Audio Products Group (Taylor’s Australian distributor) is part of an ongoing investment in building support for the brand amongst Australian guitar lovers. The factory visit and training sessions were designed to give dealers an understanding of Taylor’s
NMIT UPGRADES AUDIO PROGRAM WITH SSL
DV MARK DV 403 CPC
A Solid State Logic AWS 948 Hybrid Console/ Controller was chosen to upgrade Studio R103, the main audio recording facility on the Fairfield Campus of the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT). The Institute offers in-depth vocational training in all aspects of audio production through its Sound Production certificate program. The AWS 948 provides the sound quality, industry standard ergonomic
The DV 403 CPC is a three-channel 40W all-tube head – inspired by the Little 40 head, which earned fans the world over for its pure tone. Now you can get the same pure tonal attributes with greater flexibility, in a 3-channel version that also includes their patent pending Continuous Power Control technology. The DV 403 CPC offers a complete control compliment for each channel giving access to an array of useful sounds, from clean to crunch rhythm to full-on, high-gain lead tone. And thanks to the the DV Mark patent
layout and DAW control capabilities that make it the perfect fit for an educational setting.
For more information on the SSL range of products, contact phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
manufacturing systems (arguably the most advanced in the guitar-making world), while also providing insight into the development processes employed by Bob Taylor and his team of designers. For more information on the Taylor Guitars range of products, phone Audio Products Group on (02) 9669 3477 or visit www.audioproducts.com.au
pending Continuous Power Control (CPC) you can change the amp’s power incrementally, from the full 40W (class A/B) gradually all the way down to 1W (class A), so you can get the tone you want at the volume you need.
For more information on the DV Mark range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
TC-ELECTRONIC TONEPRINT METAL UP YOUR APP! DV MARK TRIPLE 6
This new 2012 release of the popular threechannel Triple 6 head adds new features to this DV Mark top-of-the-line tube head. Like the previous version, it offers three completely independent channels and 120 watts of pure tube tone from two massive KT88 tubes. The Triple 6 comes with added hi-gain switches on channels 2 and 3 that allow you to toggle the
amp between Bad Boy 120 tonality and the more aggressive Triple 6 gain levels. Rock and metal guitarists need look no further! For more information on the Markbass range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
CHERUB NGB2 IPHONE/IPAD GUITAR INTERFACE Throw up the horns for this package of some of the coolest sounds in metal today, which also gives you access to the legendary ‘Among The Living’ clean tone as dialled in and used live by Anthrax’s Scott Ian on his own Corona Chorus. Scott originally created the iconic intro using a TC Electronic SCF pedal and currently uses the modern descendent Corona Chorus to nail that sound night after night – and now it’s yours to have and mold to suit your needs - completely free of charge, just like all the other sounds in the package. Add the trippy goodness of the TonePrints from Mastodon axe wonder Bill Kelliher, the wide spacious vibes of Bring Me The Horizon with Jona Weinhofens’ Delay and PG. 12
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guitarists are revelling in the increasing benefits the world of ‘digital’ has to offer. It’s not uncommon to see one plugged directly into an iPhone on the floor, no amp on stage, and no competing stage noise as a result. If you are a bedroom guitar hero, the Cherub NGB2 is perfect for rocking away with your guitar and a set of headphones plugged into your iPhone or iPad. Massive advances in the way vintage and new gear is modelled, and bundled into free apps such as Amplitube make the tone in your head a very cheap and easy reality.
Reverb TonePrints, the famous ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ Delay and a rocking Flange sound of Michael ‘Padge’ Padget, of Bullet For My Valentine fame and the twisted chorus and synth delays of Korns’ James ‘Munky’ Shaffer and you’re left with a package equally awesome on clean and distorted sounds that will continue to challenge, inspire, and kick your app!
For more information on the TC-Electnonic range of products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
Not so long ago, the sheer utterance of the word ‘digital’ would cause nostrils to flare, and most purist musos – especially guitarists - to turn up their noses in disgust. Times have changed and
For more information on the Cherub range of products, contact Australasian Music Supplies on (03) 9549 1500 or visit www.austmusic.com.au
The Most Advanced Modelling Amplifiers On The Planet GO
BIG OR GO HOME.
With twice the processing power, models and effects of competitive modelling ampliďŹ ers, the Peavey VYPYR Series dramatically redeďŹ nes the power and scope of modern guitar ampliďŹ cation. VYPYR modelling ampliďŹ ers are loaded with 24 amp channel models featuring clean and distorted channels of 12 popular amps â€“ plus 11 editable post-amp â€œrackâ€? effects with dual-parameter control, recording output, auxiliary input and a built-in chromatic tuner. The VYPYR 30, 75 and 100 models also include an additional editable â€œstomp boxâ€? analoguestyle effects, while the Tube 60, Tube 120 and new Tube 120 Head combine Peaveyâ€™s modelling technology with a 12AX7 preamp tube and 6L6â€™s in the power section.
Matt Tuck - Bullet for my valentine
2010 Award Winning VYPYR 15 $249
Volume/wah/pitch shifter expression pedal
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For your nearest authorised Peavey dealer: Call 1300 134 400 visit: www.peavey.com.au
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A NEW HOME FOR JMC ACADEMY SYDNEY
MARKBASS TTE 800
Randy Jackson’s signature TTE 500 has been such a hit worldwide that it deserves a highpowered follow up. The new TTE 800 will quickly become the amp of choice for those who want a warm vintage tone with stadium-rocking power. As with the 500W version, the TTE 800’s vintage vibe was carefully engineered with features such as a classic-style tube preamp, a tube compressor, a simple 3-band passive EQ section, a “Colour”
filter (a tube adaptation of the famous Markbass VLE control), but gets amplified by a potent 800W power amp that features their innovative Tube Technology Emulator. For more information on the Markbass range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
ERNIE BALL EVERLAST ACOUSTIC STRINGS
ProTools HD3 digital recording system with Mac Pro computers, computer workstations equipped with MBox audio interface and Edirol keyboards, Avid 16 channel audio interfaces, industry standard monitors, 24-track portable digital recording workstations, stereo hand held recorders, extensive range of TDM and RTAS plug-ins, full drumkits, guitar and bass amps and keyboards and stands. For more information on JMC Academy, phone 1300 410 311 or visit www.jmcacademy.edu.au
ROTOSOUND MICHAEL AMOTT SIGNATURE STRINGS
Everlast Acoustic Strings utilise groundbreaking nanotechnology that repels unwanted moisture and oils that negatively impact your tone. 1,000 times thinner than any other acoustic coating on the market, Everlast strings give longer life without compromising tone or feel. Ernie Ball’s new Everlast nanotechnology is applied to both the inner hex core and outer wrap wire, providing ultimate protection from contaminates such as; dirt, grime, acid, sweat, and moisture. Available in 80/20 and Phosphor Bronze alloys, this new acoustic line is available in all popular gauges.
Rotosound Strings are teaming up with Michael Amott for a signature set of strings. Michael Amott is known for his involvement with a number of death metal / hard rock bands – namely Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and now ex-Carcass. These signature strings, influenced by Michael’s own personal style, are excellent for achieving wide vibrato, memorable melodic lead lines and furious sledgehammer riffs. Michael says of the strings, “they have great tone, they stay in tune, they don’t break easily, what more do you want?”
For more information on the Ernie Ball range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
For more information on the Rotosound range of products, contact Intermusic Distribution on (03) 9765 6565 or visit www.imd.com.au
SAMSON GRAPHITE 49 USB MIDI CONTROLLER
Samson’s Graphite 49 USB MIDI Controller gives you all the performance and production control you need to get the most out of your music software. With a feature set that is both useful and accessible, the Graphite 49 is a sleek, powerful tool that allows you to express your most dynamic musical ideas. The Graphite 49 is designed to feel more like an instrument than a controller. It’s semi-weighted keyboard comes equipped with 49 velocity-sensitive keys for capturing the dynamics of a performance,
The rumours are true! JMC Academy is proud to confirm that it will be relocating its Sydney campus into a new purpose-built, state-of-the-art student facility in Ultimo ready for February intake. The new campus is located a short five minute walk from Darling Harbour and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and sits directly opposite the Powerhouse Museum on Harris Street. The new facility complements the recent multi-million dollar upgrade to our Melbourne campus and the Audio Engineering and Sound Production Studios. The new facilities will include: 24-channel analogue recording consoles, 96-channel digital recording consoles, 24-channel control surfaces,
while aftertouch offers customisable control over a variety of effects and parameters. With dedicated Transpose and Octave buttons, as well as classic Pitch and Mod wheels, the Graphite 49 puts a wide range of musical expression at your fingertips. For more information on the Samson range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
SEAGULL NATURAL ELEMENTS ACOUSTIC GUITARS
MiniNova is a powerful mini-keys synth with incredible hands-on performance controls, VocalTune and vocoder effects. MiniNova is a compact, super-cool performance synth with the same sound engine as its big brother: the UltraNova. It comes with 256 incredible onboard sounds which you can tweak with 5 knobs, or totally warp with 8 ‘animate’ buttons. MiniNova also has an onboard VocalTune effect as well as a
classic vocoder so you can recreate iconic vocal sounds from hip hop, urban and electronic music.
For more information on the Novation range of products, contact Innovative Music on (03) 9540 0658 or visit www.innovativemusic.com.au
SAMSON CL7 STUDIO CONDENSER MICROPHONE
Showcasing the best elements of Mother Nature’s own creative talents, the Seagull Natural Elements Acoustic Collection offers players incomparable value for an acoustic guitar series of this calibre. These individually unique pieces combine pure random natural aesthetic beauty, with exceptional craftsmanship, eco-friendly alternative woods PG. 14
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from Northern Quebec and a price tag that the working musician can appreciate, and afford. For more information on the Godin range of products contact Dynamic Music on (02) 9939 1299 or visit www.godindirect.com.au
Like the finest studio mics costing hundreds, even thousands of dollars, the CL7 has a true capacitor condenser mic element. Capacitorbased elements are warmer, brighter and bigger sounding than electret-based elements. The CL7 features a large, 1.1”, ultra thin diaphragm capsule which faithfully reproduces a variety of sound sources including vocals, acoustic instruments and overhead cymbals, to name just a few. For more information on the Samson range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
Enrol Listen Record Mix Master Tour Produce the next big thing What will your creative future look like? Degrees and Diplomas in Audio Engineering, Music, Entertainment Business Management, 3D Animation, Game Design, and Film and Television Production.
Start Oct 2012 or Feb 2013
Launch your creative journey through collaboration, education and training at JMC Academy.
Your creative future starts today. Visit jmcacademy.edu.au or call on 1300 410 311. facebook.com/jmcacademy
PAISTE FORMULA 602 Following the current trend for bigger, warmer, but yet pure sounding cymbals, Paiste expands the legendary Formula 602 series with three new models 15” Medium Hi-Hat, 24” Medium Ride and the 22” Thin Crash. All three models were re-launched in close co-operation with Vinnie Colaiuta, one of the most influential drummers of our time, who tested the cymbals in the studio and on stage. Vinnie currently plays these new models while touring with Sting.
PAISTE BLACK ALPHA HYPER CYMBALS
For more information on the Paiste range of products, phone Yamaha Australia on (03) 9693 5111 or visit au.yamaha.com
JIM DUNLOP UKULELE STRINGS
Slipknot’s Joey Jordinson and Paiste have teamed up to bring you the bright sounding, and rather heavy, Black Alpha Hyper Cymbals – capable of cutting through even the loudest metal music. The 14” Hyper Hats have an articulate stick and chick sound yet when they’re played slightly opened, these aggressive barking hats pierce smoothly through amplified guitars. In all musical styles where either super fast blast beats or extremely powerful bass drum patterns are common, the dense ping and potent bell on the 20” Hyper Ride always dominates. The 16”, 17”, and 18” Hyper Crashes are preferred
for heavy hitting drummers in need of a fiercely loud accent. When a unique and aggressive accent is required for a key musical phrase, the 18” Hyper China shows off its explosive and exotic character. The deceptively small 10” Hyper Splash has a very explosive bite paired with lively brilliance which is ideal for louder musical situations. For more information on the Paiste range of products, phone Yamaha Australia on (03) 9693 5111 or visit au.yamaha.com
SONODYNE REFERENCE MONITORS Sonodyne Reference Monitors are a relatively new Brand to the Australian Studio Market and are set to stand out in this already crowded space. The SM100Ak possess an active 6.5” Kevlar and 1” silk dome tweeter design, with 80w of clean undistorted power being channelled to the midbass and 40w to the high frequency driver. Other models of active near-field and mid-field monitors available are the SM50Ak (5” 2-way), SM200Ak (8” 2-way) and the SM300 (8” 3-way). The SLF210V2 and the SLF312, are the 10” and 12” D-Class active subs and the BMS205 5.1 monitor controller with DSP for bass management, rounds out this impressive range. The SM50Ak and SM100Ak are a solid die-cast aluminium construction, with the SM200Ak and SM300 being a combination of aluminium die-cast and MDF construction. All sides are non-parallel to limit standing waves and the interior walls have been coated with a specially formulated deadening compound to prevent ringing.
Jim Dunlop entered the string business in 2005 with the intention of not only selling strings, but to build a string company. Since then, Jim Dunlop have enjoyed raging success with their strings, and they’re set to continue with their latest release of a range of American-made Ukulele strings shows they have their finger on the pulse. This is exciting news for players who have picked up the ukulele as a serious
instrument. And going by the overwhelmingly positive reaction we received with our recent ukulele special, there are a lot of you out there. For more information on the Jim Dunlop range of products, contact Australasian Music Supplies on (03) 9549 1500 or visit www.austmusic.com.au
MARKBASS MB7 BOOSTER The MB7 Booster pedal has a cool, compact design and offers up to +20 dB boost in addition to a 7-band graphic EQ with controls ranging from 40 Hz to 4kHz. Each band can be boosted or cut by a further 16dB. The perfect combination for activating quick changes in tone and volume – for example a different sound in bass solos! For more information on the Markbass range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
TECHNICAL AUDIO GROUP AT INTEGRATE EXPO Taking place in Sydney near the end of August, the Intergrate Expo is Australia’s largest audio visual, entertainment, information and communications technology event. Over at the TAG stand Allan & Heath, QSC and AudioTechnica products were on full display. TAG are celebrating their 27th anniversary this year as one of Australia’s leading distribution companies. There was palpable buzz around the Audio-Technica stand this year featuring over 80 headphones on display, microphones and the new LP1240 DJ turntable.
For more information on the Sonodyne range of products, contact Sonic Frog on (08) 8354 1115 or visit www.sonicfrog.com.au
THE WICK STUDIOS
For more information, contact TAG on (02) 9519 0900 or visit www.tag.com.au
It’s been a busy couple of months for the boys at The Wick. While Dan has been handling Tour Manager responsibilities, as well as FOH, for Christine Anu and Wick managed artist Shaun Kirk, Glenn has been busy behind the console back at Wick mission control clearing the decks in anticipation of studio renovations. The Wick recently purchased a pristine 56 channel Soundtracs Jade S and plan a full studio renovation along with the desk installation and control room rewiring. The 32/16 Tascam 600 being replaced will become the heart of the planned Studio B. This is to be concurrent PG. 16
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for some of the world’s best musical talents. Music resonates throughout our day-to-day existence and provides the killer soundtrack to our quintessential Aussie culture. If you’re an avid muso, a tech-head with a creative flare or even a newbie to the audio scene looking for a career change, you can be part of shaping Australia’s seminal music culture by following your calling and pursuing a career as a sound engineer. These behind-the-scenes heroes of the entertainment industry work hard to produce the iconic songs that define our generation and capture and create the music that we love. SAE Institute is Australia’s number one creative media college offering accredited degrees, diplomas and certificates in audio
with the construction of a large photographic/ video studio right next door as an extension of The Wick facilities. This studio will feature a 7x5x4.3m cyclorama wall making it one of the largest such facilities on Melbourne’s north. It is anticipated all works to be completed by midOctober, so stay tuned for the grand re-launch of the new look Wick studios. The Wick Studios are located 25 Leslie St, Brunswick VIC. For more information, phone 03 9387 7044 or visit www.thewick.com.au
Australians have always had a prolific love affair with music, and our shores are a stomping ground
For more information on SAE, phone 1800 SAE EDU or visit www.sae.edu.au
Cameron Gilmour Behind Crimson Eyes
Craig Monika Thousand Needles in Red
Darryn Farrugia Session
Dave Matthews Kate Cebrano/Session
Graham Morgan Jazz Great
Gerry Pantazis Session
ENOUGH SAID www.dwdrums.com Jason Heerah Electric Empire
James Ing Calling all Cars
John Salerno Vanessa Amorosi/John Stevens
Gordy Forman Frenzal Rhomb
Karl Ammitzboll KISSCHASY
Lucius Borich Floating Me
Luke Williams Dead Letter Circus
Pete Maslen Colin Hay/Boom Crash Opera
Peter Marin Bertie Blackman/Dan Sultan/Gossling
Tom Larkin Shihad
Distributed by: Intermusic Australia 29 South Corporate Ave Rowville VIC 3178 IMD Toll Free Telephone - 1300 005 319 IMD Toll Free Fax - 1800 184 044 www.imd.com.au
ULTIMATE MS SERIES STUDIO MONITOR STANDS monitor stand that features non-slip, high-density acoustic foam and an angle-adjustable base that allows the end user to fine tune the sweet spot. The MS-90 is a column monitor stand that offers internal cable management channels and 6000 Series aluminum construction while the MS-100 is essentially a combination of the two.
SAMSONS STUDIO GT PRO PACKAGE
For more information on the Ultimate Support range of products, contact D’addario Australia on (03) 8761 6293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The new MS MKII Series studio reference monitor stands from Ultimate Support offer unparalleled innovation and strength for professional, project, and home studios alike. The MS-80 is a desktop
ZOOM MULTISTOMP MS-50G
You get everything you need to turn your computer in to a complete music production studio with Samson’s Studio GT Pro. This package features Studio GT Active Monitors with USB Audio Interface, a C01 Studio Condenser Microphone and Cakewalk Sonar LE Music Production Software. Bundled accessories include a MD1 desktop stand, USB cable, mic
cable and windscreen. It’s never been easier to create professional, studio-quality recordings on your computer.
A multi-effects pedal in stompbox format! That is this Multistomp MS-50G for guitar. This effects pedal houses 8 Amp Simulations and 47 Stompbox effects from Zoom’s new G5 plus an excellent tuner. Six simulations and effects can be used simultaneously and there is room to save 50 patches. It’s the multifx pedal for stompbox users, it doesn’t look out of place amongst vintage and boutique pedals but is able to do all the effects you dont use enough to warrant a fulltime place on your board. Replace your tuner with it and gain some more effects!
For more information on the Samson range of products, phone Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
For more information on the Dynamic range of products contact Dynamic Music on (02) 9939 1299 or visit www.dynamicmusic.com.au
BLACKSTAR BLACKFIRE 200
Blackstar Amplification is proud to announce their first signature amplifier – the Blackfire 200. Blackstar have been working closely with guitar hero Gus G. (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind) to create the ultimate heavy metal amp. Based on Blackstar’s award winning Series One 200 amp design, this 200W, limited edition amplifier features four switchable channels are offered: a Clean channel with Warm and Bright modes, a Crunch channel with Crunch and Super Crunch modes, plus Fire and Fury overdrive channels
PAISTE RUDE WILD CHINAS
specially voiced in partnership with Gus G. for a devastating full metal assault. The Blackfire 200 features a custom cosmetic including a brushed aluminium front panel complete with an Evil G logo and a cast metal Blackstar logo. For more information on the Blackstar range of products, phone National Audio Systems on 1800 441 440 or visit www.nationalaudio.com.au
PAISTE 18” 2002 GIGA BELL RIDE PSYCHOCTOPUS
Once developed for punk and heavy metal, the RUDE series was the first cymbal purposely not lathed generating maximum volume. Their ever increasing popularity continues today, hence Paiste expands the program with three new models which were developed in close collaboration with Metal drumming icon Joey Jordison. The 16”, 18” and 20” RUDE Wild Chinas cut with an extremely aggressive attack thru the loudest environments. The sound
character is raw, metallic and wild. Compared to the classic RUDE Chinas, the roaring crash sound of the Wild models is dryer and even more untamed.
For more information on the Paiste range of products, phone Yamaha Australia on (03) 9693 5111 or visit au.yamaha.com
ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN’S GAME CHANGER APP
As far as titles go, you can’t really go past the 18” 2002 Giga Bell Ride Psychoctopus. The 2002 Giga Bell Ride was created by Paiste’s Sound Development Team in accordance with Aquiles’ sound and visual ideas. The black ColorSound coating and white 2002 silk-screen of Aquiles’ recognizable mask and Psychoctopus logo complete the cymbal’s exceptional visual appeal. Utilizing 2002 bronze alloy, this heavy weighted cymbal is hammered similar to the PG. 18
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style of the 2002 Heavy Ride. The Giga Bell Ride has a concise, dry and glassy clear ping sound and the large cup produces a quick, cutting, powerful, and dark bell-like sound when played with the shoulder of the stick. For more information on the Paiste range of products, phone Yamaha Australia on (03) 9693 5111 or visit au.yamaha.com
Ernie Ball Music Man has completed their iOS app for The Game Changer system, and it is now on preview in Apple’s iTunes store. The combination of Ernie Ball Music Man’s Game Changer technology and their new iPad app gives musicians unlimited tone over their Game Changer Bass or Guitar while remaining totally mobile. The Game Changer app allows players to rewire their analog guitar or bass pickups and discover millions of tonal possibilities. Guitar and bass players alike can now unlock their instruments’ tonal possibilities with the patent-pending pickup switching system, known as The Game Changer by Music Man. Combining any order of pickup coils in series, parallel, forward or reverse phase gives you access to the most extensive library of neverbefore-heard tones. True to form, the audio signal is never digitised or modelled in any way, providing a transparent analog signal path for the absolute purist. Now, with The Game Changer app, musicians can create and share their tonal selections with the world. For more information on the Ernie Ball Music Man range of products, phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511 or visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
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NO. 221 MIXDOWN
GRIZZLY BEAR ARMOURING UP
Rising above as one of the premier outfits from the ridiculously fertile Brooklyn-born indie groundswell during the mid-to-late 2000s, soaring fourpiece Grizzly Bear have honed a distinctive, immaculate aural vocabulary. As anyone who has witnessed the band in the live setting can attest, their meticulous approach to achieving sonic clarity is upheld when taking to the stage. Ahead of the band’s arrival for this year’s Harvest Festival, vocalistsongwriter Ed Droste recounts the nearly sisyphean process of following up the critically acclaimed Veckatimest, traversing from the confines of New York to the scorching Texan desert. With Grizzly Bear the aural tones seem to have this emotional resonance. Is that something you set out to achieve, like you would with melody or lyrics? I feel like there is definitely a tone that happens when we write. There’s a lot of arrangement that goes on in the music. I know that Dan [Rossen] and Chris Taylor took a lot of care with the tone they were using with their guitars or horns whatever they were using, and the chords that they’re playing. When I was writing ‘Yet Again’ with Chris Bear, the exact phrasing of the chords was different than the phrasing that ended up being used. So Dan ended up using the chords in a more Dan-like way, it had a different tone and a bit more of his thumb-print on it. There’s thought behind it, but it’s not like on every song we’re saying, “What is the tone?” Run us through the Shields recording process. It took a while. We took a break after Veckatimest because since the beginning of the band we basically never stopped. Then with Veckatimest we started recording, then we went on tour with Radiohead, then we continued recording. So there wasn’t a break there. Then this time at the end – the last show was October 2010 – no-one did anything from then until February. I think we all pretended that we weren’t in a band. Then I decided to take a trip to Mexico, a writing retreat. I knew Dan had been writing some music on his own. Then we came back and decided to go to Marfa, Texas and go try a new environment because we had done so much writing in New England and New York – that whole northeast corridor. So we thought we’d try the desert
and see what it’s like. So we rented this crazy old army barracks place in June 2011. It was super fucking hot, 105 degrees [Fahrenheit, 40.5 degrees Celcsius]. There were wildfires. It’s actually an amazing town and arts community. If we picked a better time of year to go it would have been perfect. We got there and knew that it wasn’t the right temperature to be there, first off. Secondly, we had taken such a long break away from each other – the four of us hadn’t been in the same room together for eight or nine months – that we needed to take the time to reacquaint ourselves with one another personally, and more so musically. Not that we’d grown apart, but we had definitely grown. As with every album you have to find a common ground with your musical interests, and it took more time because of the break. We recorded 12 songs there. So at the end of it, we had these 12 songs and said, “You know what? This isn’t the album.” We knew that and were a bit deflated. But at the same time we knew we had gotten through something and were on the same page again. But then we hit a bit of a speedbump because Chris Taylor released his solo record [as CANT], I got married and went on a honeymoon, Dan recorded an EP, Chris Bear was off doing other stuff. What happened from that point on? Did anything from those first sessions end up on Shields? We reconvened in December and were so raring to go that we threw all preconceived notions of how we wrote in the past out the window. It used to be Bear and I working on songs together, Dan working on songs by his own. So we said screw
it, Dan and I were taking each other’s melodies, just hands on all over the place and so excited about working on new material. Then all of a sudden we were writing tonnes and tonnes of new material. So the majority of the album was written from January up until late April. A couple of things form the Marfa sessions did make it onto the album, onto the Cape Cod sessions where most of the album was done. I think we just needed that time to figure out again where our crossover was, because we’re four very different people with very different perspectives. How does it feel being on the precipice of another album cycle? I’m overwhelmed. It’s been so long that it’s a little bit scary to jump back into it, because I know what it’s like, I know how intense it is. But I’m excited – I’ve never been so excited about performing an album before. I feel so strongly about it, it’s my favourite thing that we will have put out. I know after a couple of the shows I’ll get back into the swing of things, but as I look
at all the dates stacked up against us in the next couple of months I’m thinking, “Holy shit!” It’s a bit daunting when I think of all the flying that’s going to be happening. But I’m totally excited, it’s gonna be a blast. That’s ultimately the most exciting part, getting to play the shows.. That’s the most rewarding part of all, playing for people. BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
Shields is released Friday September 14. Grizzly Bear return to Australia as part of this year’s Harvest Festival. FESTIVAL DATES: November 10 – Werribee Park, Melbourne VIC November 11 – Werribee Park, Melbourne VIC November 17 – Parramatta Park, Sydney NSW November 18 – Botanic Gardens, Brisbane, QLD
CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD OPENING DOORS
The Black Crowes are currently on hiatus, but that hasn’t stopped them making music. Bass player Johnny Colt is currently playing for Lynyrd Skynyrd, for example, and vocalist Chris Robinson is working super hard with Chris Robinson Brotherhood, a freeform, song-and-jam oriented band which features Black Crowes keyboard player Adam MacDougall, drummer George Sluppick, bass player Mark “Muddy” Dutton of Burnie Tree, and guitarist Neal Casal (The Cardinals). Casal is an acclaimed solo artist in his own right, as well as an accomplished photographer. He’s also one of us: passionate about music and guitar. Mixdown caught up with Casal to talk about the band’s June 2012 album Big Moon Ritual and the impending companion album, The Magic Door, which will be released this month. Big Moon Ritual has only seven songs, and none of them are shorter than seven minutes. Everyone else seems scared to let themselves explore a song for that long these days. Yep, they sure are, but we aren’t! One of Chris’s ideas for the band was to get away from the three to four minute songs. I was very keen to jump on board with him for that idea. He and I, and the rest of the band too, we’ve all been around for a while, we’ve made a lot of records, toured a lot and been through a lot, and we’re all ready to stretch out. We don’t have any fear. We don’t feel held down to your typical song length because we’re not concerned with getting on the radio, or any commercial aspirations. We’re not worried about it at all. The only thing we’re here to do is just make interesting songs and arrangements. It just so happens that our typical way of doing that takes us at least seven or eight minutes to get our ideas across! As a listener I find that everything comes at you so fast these days, it’s kind of nice to just dwell in a moment for a while. PG. 20 MIXDOWN NO. 221
Yeah. That’s a very good point you make. I think for us too, it’s a subconscious reaction to the overwhelming amount of information and the fact that records come and go - it seems like the lifespan of a typical record is like a week. If you can have people pay attention to your album for a fuckin’ week or two nowadays you’re lucky! Records are coming out every minute and you can’t even keep up with them. We’re violently pulling the reigns back and saying ‘No! You’re going to slow down here.’ When you listen to our record or come to our shows you’re going to be forced to just sit here for a while and see where your attention span is at. And you’re about to release The Magic Door was this recorded at the same time? Yeah. I mean, the only reason there’s two is that our songs are so long that there was no way to fit that much music onto one record. So we just decided to break it up into two releases. It ended up being a good idea anyway, because we’re such a hardtouring band that it gave the second half of our touring year an extra kick. It keeps our campaign
alive for a little longer and keeps it more interesting and exciting for us. It’s also cool to have two pieces of vinyl and two CDs in our collection - it’s just a little bit more for our year, y’know? Believe me when I tell ya, we’re not trying to be from some other time period with these two releases. We were only planning on releasing one record. It’s just that when it became clear to us just how much music we had on our hands there was only one way to get it all out. How do you guys record? I understand you work fairly organically. We recorded digitally - it wasn’t recorded on tape - but recording digitally was a good idea for us on these records just because with the sheer amount of music we recorded the tape would have eaten up at least half of our budget! And it also allowed us certain freedoms in mixing and editing which we all embrace. But the organic part of it was in the playing, because we played 120 shows last year and we developed the songs on the road. We developed the sound and identity of the band on the road, so it just made sense for us. We did no demos or anything. We spent zero time in recording studios until we actually went to make our record. We played our first show for 2012 on New Year’s Eve, and on New Year’s Day we loaded
into Sunset Sound and started setting up to make our record. We came straight off the road and right into the studio, and we basically just did our live set in the studio. Several of the final lead vocals were right off the floor. We certainly did some overdubs later, but not a lot. Some background vocals, some keyboards, some guitar bits and stuff like that. But Big Moon Ritual is basically our live show. The new one is an extension of that. The basic tracks were recorded at the same time as Big Moon but we did the overdubs a few months later, and we’d certainly learned some lessons about production and how we wanted our records to sound, so the sound of The Magic Door is maybe a bit more refined, a bit more intense, just because we’d progressed a little bit. You always learn big lessons from your first record, so it felt like we carried those lessons into The Magic Door, even if it’s an extension of Big Moon Ritual, if that makes sense. BY PETER HODGSON
Big Moon Ritual is out now and Magic Door is out Friday September 7 through Warner.
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PROPAGANDHI FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION Drawing on punk rock and heavier metal edged sounds with a lashing of activism and championing of a range of causes Propagandhi play a potent mix of music that combines power with intelligent and thought provoking lyrics. With five prior releases under their belt, Propagandhi have just finished Failed States, an album that continues to push the band into a stance of fully supporting their beliefs and causes whilst still smashing out hardcore tunes with catchy hooks and riffs. We spoke to guitarist and lead vocalist Chris Hannah about the new album and the recording process involved. Failed States was recorded in Winnipeg? Yep, this is the first record that was recorded in our home town and it was quite a different experience. Just being able to go home in between sessions as opposed to being fully immersed in the project and with the personnel twenty four hours a day until the record’s done and you’re under the gun type of thing. And the process was a little different cos the guy we were working with had a different way of working. For instance on the last record they have a very definitive way of recording and they work like that because it works and there’ll be no doubt that you’ll have your record finished and it’s very efficient. Here was a little different and there’s pros and cons to that but we went over time and we were casual about it and it was like, “Oh well that’s ok, we’ll just book another day.”
it with this band. Sometimes you get to point where you think, “Well fuck, this song isn’t going to get any better no matter how many more guitars you put on it!” There was a trend with heavier and harder edged albums to be super tight and precise over the last few years. The album is tight and precise but still feels rocking and live. We tried to get as much work done at practice and when we jam as a band so that we can do it without trickery or click track and we’ll play it and jot a tempo down where it sounded good and then sometimes I’d make a tempo map. So we’re playing together but we’re playing to a map so that it doesn’t take away from the expression of the song. Maybe you use a little bit of magic when you hit some heavier parts and it speeds up or slows down but you also get to lock in with tempos.
“SOMETIMES YOU GET TO POINT WHERE YOU THINK, “WELL FUCK, THIS SONG ISN’T GOING TO GET ANY BETTER NO MATTER HOW MANY MORE GUITARS YOU PUT ON IT! ”
How do you know when a track is finished then? Is that a production thing, or a band decision? It’s a bit of both. There’s a lot of bluffing going on and there are times when you get to a point and say ‘yep let’s leave it at that’ and you pretend you’re ok with it but you change a few things. I tried to stay a little more loose with those things but you know. There’s a great Mick Jagger quote that says, “Records are never finished, they’re only abandoned.” That’s sort of the way I see
It still sounds very live though. That’s part of what we wanted to do - we didn’t want drum triggers and we wanted it to sound like a band jamming and playing live.
Is that something you’ve been consciously adding in? I don’t think we were consciously trying to put those kind of sounds into the songs but having a guy like Space Beaver (second guitarist David ‘Space Beaver’ Guillas) in the band, he’s kind of like a master of creating a little more depth and atmosphere so it’s more like we’ve been exploiting that talent and that sound. So if it wasn’t for having him in the band we probably wouldn’t be able to pull of those parts.
And is there more material from this album that didn’t make it onto the recording? We probably had five more songs that were unfinished. I was determined that we were just going to go in for the recoding and hammer out the songs and there was one more song that we recorded at the last minute which was very unusual because normally we don’t have any songs left over but this album we definitely had the most material to work from! BY NICK BROWN
You mention Rush, NoMeansNoas some influences in the press release - whilst there was definitely some more of that feel on the last album I hear it even more on Failed States.
Failed States is out now through Epitaph.
CANCER BATS DEAD SET ON SOUNDWAVE
It pretty much sucked when Cancer Bats announced the postponement of their planned Australian tour earlier this year. They were supposed to swing by in July in support of their latest album, Dead Set On Living, but it wasn’t to be. Still, the postponement announcement included the news that they’d be playing on Soundwave 2013 instead. And the band’s cool with that! “We’re super-stoked,” vocalist Liam Cormier says of the Soundwave booking. “The whole idea was ‘Soundwave can work and we can do the Sidewave shows.’ We were super-bummed at having to cancel or postpone anything. And when we saw the line-up we were like, ‘This is rad.’ And the Soundwave people were able to honour all the tickets people bought for the headline shows. So we’ll definitely be able to make it up and still have a party. I feel like it’s the best of both worlds, and we’re really lucky that the people from Soundwave are as cool and understanding about all of that.” The band’s wanted to be on Soundwave for a while, and they had to cancel in 2009 when they were initially asked to play. This time around Cormier is looking forward to hanging with other bands and catching up with some buddies. “We just did a whole month of festivals in Europe,” he says. “We got to see so many bands. There are some times where you have to leave early and drive all night but we were definitely able to make up for it. This summer we made a point of staying for the entire weekend at Hellfest, where we just watched every band. We played the Saturday but we showed up to watch all of Friday and stayed for all of Sunday. It’s cool for us getting to see bands we don’t
PG. 22 MIXDOWN NO. 221
normally get to. We’re all fans of indie rock and hip hop and other stuff like that.” This musical diversity is something that sets Cancer Bats apart from many other hardcore bands. It’s pretty obvious from their melodic and rhythmic choices that their influences extend far beyond heavy music. “Sometimes we’ll tour with younger kids who don’t know their history,” he says, “Whereas the four of us are like total music nerds and it’s just how we’ve grown up. It’s been our lives and what we’ve been obsessed with. We definitely take full advantage when we travel as much as we do, being able to learn about a lot of bands that I don’t think I ever would have just staying in Canada.” So what’s Cormier digging at the moment? The brilliant new Baroness double album, Yellow & Green. He’s kinda obsessed now, in fact, A/Bing their new album with his own stuff to see how it measures up, and fetishing the human elements that Baroness lets themselves display. “Those are the more important parts of albums these days: to not try and lose that human quality. You know when you go and see Baroness, that’s how they’re going to sound. That was our same mentality with our record: we want to have an album that literally is like when you go and
see Cancer Bats. We can play Dead Set On Living start to finish, and this is exactly what it would sound like. We try to have that as true as possible.” Aside from allowing themselves to be spontaneous, this philosophy also translates into how the band’s albums are ulimately edited, mixed and mastered. “In this very digital age I think there are a lot of kids who have become familiar with this very autocorrected and Pro Toolsed approach to recording,” Cormier says. “And then they go and see these bands, and unless they’re running through a computer it’s like they realise that the band doesn’t sound the same. It’s almost like they’ve been lied to. And you can see the kids go ‘Alright. I’m over this band.’ But the real bands, especially in the technical metal, Meshuggah or Periphery sense, those bands very quickly weed themselves out
from the rest: you’re left with only a few of these technical bands that can actually play and tour as honestly as they record. And at the looser stoner end of things, you go and see that band and you know exactly what you’re getting into.” BY PETER HODGSON
Cancer Bats will return to Australia as part of the massive 2013 Soundwave Festival lineup. FESTIVAL DATES: February 23 – Brisbane QLD February 24 – Sydney NSW March 1 – Melbourne VIC March 2 – Adelaide SA March 4 – Perth WA
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NO. 221 MIXDOWN PG. 23
BRINGING THE HEAT Alexander Gow, lead singer and progenitor of oft-lauded Melbourne outfit Oh Mercy, is a free man. With Deep Heat, the band’s third full-length record, Gow’s inhibitions have confounded expectations, retaining the championed pedigree songwriting virtues and parlaying them into something imbued with a resounding sense of fun – something decidedly sexier. Noticeably calm on the eve of the LP’s release, Gow recalls the transformative leadup to Deep Heat. “I did find a certain sense of liberation in denying myself any kind of platform to be earnest, and to have kind of sense of obligation to be truthful,” Gow muses. “I wrote fictional songs for this record and that meant that I had an extended vocabulary at my fingertips, and that was super liberating. I could use words that I couldn’t if I were writing autobiographical songs – taking on characters and not having to pour my heart out, for lack of a better term. It was really fun and exciting. Paired with the kind of bombastic, groove-based music, it was a really liberating experience. I didn’t have anyone breathing over my shoulder in the studio in terms of song selection and concepts. The whole thing was very much a privilege. I felt free, I felt like an artist – which is something that not many people get to feel.” While not so much an acute diversion from the Oh Mercy musical trajectory, Deep Heat is emboldened by Gow’s reactionary approach to his perceived reputation. “One of my greatest fears is that people might think that they’ve worked me out, that fear of being defined. Once I caught wind that people had worked me out as this singer-songwriter guy who played acoustic guitar, which is a reasonable assumption given the last record, I just got excited about throwing everyone a curveball and shaking people’s expectations up. Keeping everyone guessing is a satisfying thing for me to do as an artist, as pretentious as that sounds.” This reactionary approach in turn has resulted in somewhat of anomaly on the Australian musical landscape – an embrace of the sexier end of the musical spectrum. “I’m not looking for truth in music,
but I’m not searching for any kind of escapism. It doesn’t excite me. I suppose I just turned the radio off and decided that I wanted to write about the realities of our existence, mainly the primitive, biological urges – desire, and all those things that are real and complex and dark and funny,” Gow muses. The recording of Deep Heat was preceded by an extensive US tour and took place on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Though ostensibly a retreat from Australia, the geography didn’t exactly permeate the final artefact. “I feel like I could have made that record anywhere as long as Burke [Reid, producer], Rohan [Sforcina, drums] and Eliza [Lam, bass] were there,” Gow surmises. “It was very pleasant being in Portland, and we worked really hard so we didn’t get into town much. We were just outside of town in a place called Lake Oswego, which is really beautiful – like most of Oregon, surrounded by dense pine forest. There was wildlife walking around – raccoons, deer and chipmunks. We have snakes, cockroaches, spiders and sharks, while they get all the cute ones,” he laughs. “It was pleasant, but it didn’t have an effect on the music we made. We didn’t make a hippie record.” The first taste of Deep Heat came in the revelation of some arresting cover art, featuring a rather saucy snap from the ‘80s – a rather apt complement to the musical content. “Not many people liked it in terms of the suits,” Gow laughs. “There was talk about pixelating her breasts and all this ridiculous stuff. In hindsight I kind of wish they did it, just because it’s so absurd. The work itself is by Rennie Ellis, a very important Melbourne artist. He was a photographer that did social documentary mostly, and took a lot
of iconic photographs that a lot of people would be familiar with. His estate were kind enough to let us use one of his works as supporters of the arts, especially Melbourne arts. Using that particular photograph, after having that great painting by Ken Done on the last record, I didn’t want to pigeonhole us as an Australiana tribute sort of band. So I decided to look at his photos from abroad and selected this one from [Rio] Carnival in 1985. I immediately knew it had to be the cover because it was so colourful and bombastic, and that’s the kind of record we made.” It’s not long until Oh Mercy once again set off, much like they did in the US earlier in the year, on an imposing run of dates. As Gow reveals, there’s still a little way to go in translating the rich instrumental palette of Deep Heat into the live setting. “I think we’re officially still nutting it out, it’s a whole different way of making music for us and we’re having fun working it out,” he explains. “I don’t have to play the guitar anymore, which is also liberating. The bass guitar is the prime instrument on the record, it’s a driving force, so Eliza is having to step up and she’s doing a great job – same with Annabel Grigg our keyboardist. The girls are doing brilliantly, where mine and Rohan’s jobs got a bit easier,” Gow grins with wry cheekiness.
Deep Heat is out now through EMI. Oh Mercy will launch the record with a national tour. TOUR DATES: September 21 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD September 22 – Joe’s Waterhole, Sunshine Coast QLD September 26 – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong NSW September 27 – Cambridge, Newcastle NSW September 28 – ANU Bar, Canberra ACT September 29 – The Standard, Sydney NSW September 30 – Clarendon Hotel, Katoomba NSW October 4 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River WA October 5 – Norfolk Hotel, Fremantle WA Saturday 6th October 6 – Bakery Artage, Perth WA October 11 – The Gov, Adelaide SA October 13 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC October – Republic Hotel, Hobart TAS October – Bended Elbow, Geelong VIC October 25 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne VIC October 27 – Railway Club, Darwin NT
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
AND THE LIZARD WIZARD
Proving to be one of the most mind-melting live acts to burst onto the Australian scene in recent memory, Victorian seven-piece King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard have been burning up stages, including those belonging to Meredith Music Festival and Big Day Out, with a fervent passion for pure garage rock brilliance. Late last year the populace outfit unleashed a bloody ripper of an EP, and now they’ve followed it up with a tops full-length offering, 12 Bar Bruise. Ahead of the record’s release, we caught up with band members Stu and Eric over a pint to chat about recording with iPhones, running vox through amps, and the next generation of Aussie garage rock. Run us through the journey between your Willoughby’s Beach EP and the album. Stu: I suppose the majority of songs are new, as in written in the month or so before recording. But a few had sprung up in between. It’s definitely different to Willoughby’s Beach. Eric: The way we recorded and approached it was a lot different. Willoughby’s was a lot less thought out. Stu: Willoughby’s was just us going into the studio and smashing it all out as quickly as possible. Which was perfect. But this was a bit more of us going into the studio for a little bit, then do mostly heaps of stuff at home. You called Willoughby’s Beach an EP when it was a pretty decent length. Eric: I think we were a bit more hesitant [with the EP]. There were nine songs and we were really happy with how it turned out, we didn’t think it could be any better or the songs could be any better. But I guess we didn’t want to call it our first album. Stu: Plus it was only like 20 minutes. Eric: The songs were so short that it felt like an EP, even though there were nine tracks. Stu: It was a ten-inch, not a 12-inch. So it was like a big EP. But maybe that’s dumb, in hindsight. Eric: If you called it an album on a ten-inch with nine songs lasting 20 minutes, you’d kind of feel like you’d been cut a bit fuckin’ short.
PG. 24 MIXDOWN NO. 221
How difficult are logistics with seven dudes in the band? Stu: It’s not very hard at all. Eric: It is and it isn’t. We’ve worked out a way where it’s not very hard, but it’s taken us a long time to get to that point. Stu: We make it as easy as possible, basically. We always get questions like that, ‘Oh it must be so hard to have seven people in the band,’ but it’s not at all. We all hang out every day anyway, pretty much. Eric: But as far as the songwriting process, Stu will come up with the idea and jam it as a three-piece and then we’ll build upon those parts. In the past, it’s been impossible to rehearse with all seven of us. It’s been frustrating, but we’ve just had to work it out over the years. It’s developed into what it is – and it’s working, which is good. There have been times at Bakehouse [Studios] and there’s seven of us there trying to write a song and it’s just the worst thing. You’ve got a pretty unique sound happening, run us through your setup. Stu: I just play a Strat, it’s just like a ‘90s Japanese Strat. I bought it for 600 bucks, now I pretty much use it for everything. Actually it’s an ’89, if you wanna get techy. I love it, I think I’m pretty lucky with what I got for 600 bucks. I run it through a Fender Deluxe, but I don’t mind an AC30. But I’ve always pretty much used Fenders. I don’t use anything too crazy for effects, I’ve got a few fuzz pedals. I got a Torn’s Peaker by Devi Ever which is the fuzz pedal I use most of the time. It’s pretty funny, it’s got a volume and a
tone knob but they pretty much don’t do anything. It’s just a brutal thing. Plus I have a Fuzz Factory, which is pretty cool. Dunno what else, a bit of delay and shit. How about your live setup? Stu: We’ve got a pretty brutal setup. I’ve got the worst microphone technique from always singing into an amp. I can’t even sing into a normal mic now, it just seems wrong to me. So I just sing into a 57 and run it through a delay pedal and into my Deluxe and mic the Deluxe up. It sounds hard and kind of annoying for mixers, but it’s kind of easier. You recorded with producer Paul Maybury, what was the process like? Stu: Majority of the tracks we would do live, then go home and do all sorts of shit. I just run ProTools and just sort of fuck with that and have fun with heaps of guitar overdubs. Actually harmonica is the other thing. Not that the tracks are super-layered or anything, we just tried to do as much of it our self this time. Then we’d go in and mix it with Paul. Title track ‘12 Bar Bruise’ was recorded with some iPhones and nothing else. Tell us how you managed that. Stu: We just set up in a room and had four iPhones around the room, and I held one like a mic and sung
into the corner of it. Each of them was using just the voice memo app. So at the start there’s a really strong stick click, so we just put them all into ProTools and lined them all up. Simple as that. There’s pretty much no processing. You’re a part of what seems to be the next generation of Australian garage bands, do you feel like there’s something definitive there? Eric: We all absolutely love Eddy Current and all those bands, so they’ve obviously inspired a lot of bands that are coming up now. It does feel like that in a way, a lot young bands putting out really great music. Stu: It’s pretty strong. BY LACHLAN KANONIUK TOUR DATES: September 8 – Nash, Geelong VIC September 12 – Big Sound, Brisbane QLD September 21 – Castlemaine Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC September 28 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW October 6, 7 – Tote, Melbourne VIC October 12 – Ed Castle, Adelaide SA October 19 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart TAS
THE WICK STUDIO PROFILE
Where are you located? The Wick is located in the heart of Brunswick, Melbourne’s music center, at 10 Russell street, just off Sydney road. How long have you been established? Stage one of the Wick Studio facility was completed in 2008. We are about to commence stage two, building a photographic/video studio and a major renovation of the existing facility which is very exciting. What are some of the artists you have worked with? We have been privileged enough to work with many talented people including Ella and Jesse Hooper with The Verses, local “yacht popsters” The Vaudeville Smash, young blues sensation Shaun Kirk, Coby Grant and most recently gothfolkster Sarah Eida. We even got to track vocals last year with Olivia Newton John which was very cool! Tell us about the tracking room and space you have for artists to work in? The room known as “The Auditorium” hosted rehearsals for the likes of LRB, Billy Thorpe, John Farnham and many more big names over the last 25 years. We took this historic room and turned it into the largest, single space tracking room of it’s type in Australia in 2008. The room is 25m x 10m x 4.3m. It is, without a doubt, one of the best sounding rooms anywhere for tracking “live”. The freedom of recording without the restrictions of a traditional studio can be heard in the music. Musicians absolutely love this room! What digital and/or analogue gear do you have available for tracking? We are about to upgrade our desk from the
36/16 channel Tascam 600, that has been a great desk to track through (with headroom to burn and a lovely, warm tone) to a 56 channel Sountracs Jade S. We normally record to Protools but will be wiring in our Tascam 16 track, 1 inch tape machine as an option with the new desk. Apart from the desk our favourite mic-pre’s are the Avalon 737s that sound great and are the most versatile units one could wish for. So much so that Dan (tracking engineer) lugs one around on his live tours! So, what are your favourite microphones to use and why? Without a doubt our favourite is our original M49. With an incredibly rich tone, it’s low end is awesome and it’s beautifully rounded top end makes almost anything sound great. It’s versatility makes it that invaluable tool. Most instruments benefit from this mic and for vocals it is simply a classic. If you could call one piece of studio gear your favourite what would it be, explain. As a mix engineer who started before the advent of Pro-Tools, my favourite piece of gear is always the desk. I like laying my mix out on a desk and having that visual and tactile interaction with the music. I also love our 737’s as I can do all manner of abusive things to a sound with those things and they just keep on keeping on! Any instruments available to use or hire? We have an extensive collection of guitar/bass heads and cabs, five drum kits and over 25 guitars, acoustics and basses, percussion, keyboards and other instruments. What is not in the studio can be accessed from the hire department of our sister business Wick Rehearsals next door.
Who are your in-house engineers? Dan Corless has been our tracking engineer and Glenn Scott has fulfilled additional engineering, production and mixing duties. However, we will be looking to augment our in-house roster as well as opening to walk-in operators post renovations. Any other services you offer? As mentioned we can offer the full production service if required. We have extensive links with the best session players and arrangers in Melbourne (and around the country). Mixing is part of this service. We also have arrangements with some of the best mastering facilities to benefit our clients.
Any points of difference/extras you’d like to mention: Nobody can offer the recording experience you have at The Wick. With the biggest and best sounding, tracking room available anywhere in the country we encourage anybody considering making a record who thinks they may benefit from tracking in an open, relaxed and unrestricted environment to come on down, meet us and check out the room. Even if it is for initial rhythm beds before overdubbing at home. It is a special place and we feel very lucky and privileged to be able to work in such a creative space. Phone: 03 9387 7044 Website: www.thewick.com.au E-mail: email@example.com
JMC ACADEMY A U DIO EN G IN E E R I N G C O U R S E S JMC Academy is celebrating 30 years in tertiary education and still remains one of Australia’s leading Creative Industries institutions. JMC Academy offers a wide range of Degrees and Diplomas including Audio Engineering, Music Performance, Entertainment Business Management, 3D Animation, Game Design and Film & Television Production. With a vast range of courses on offer, we caught up with JMC to get the inside word on their leading Audio Engineering and Sound Production Courses. Firstly, where are your campuses located? JMC Academy has three campuses located in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with students able to move between campuses throughout the duration of their degree. What skills can students hope to acquire from JMC Academy’s Audio Engineering courses? As a student at JMC Academy, you gain in-depth knowledge into the operational and technical aspects of the audio production industry, with particular emphasis on production, editing, recording and mixing. During your course, you will also undertake studies in analogue and digital recording, studio operation, live PA, post production for television and video, acoustic design, electronics, music editing for picture, and midi sequencing. In addition to the audio specific units, students will also cover the business fundamentals of the industry. Studies in copyright law, music literacy, communication, and music publishing ensure that the skills learned are up to speed with the business principles required in the real world. What positions will graduates be qualified to work in? By combining the fundamental audio principles with practical application and training on a range of equipment styles, students graduate with the ability and flexibility to undertake a wide range of industry projects. Specific roles may include; PG. 26 MIXDOWN NO. 221
Music Producer, Studio Engineer, Production Coordinator, Sound Effects Editor, Music Editor, Recording Engineer, Freelance Engineer, Studio Manager, Programmer, Location Sound Engineer, Mastering Engineer, Stage Technician, AV Specialist and Radio Content Producer. How are the Audio courses structured? All units of study for the Diploma and Degree programs are delivered on JMC Academy premises. Diploma students complete the program in two 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. Any specific projects or productions students will have the opportunity to participate in throughout the duration of the course? Our courses have been uniquely designed for interdisciplinary collaboration which enables students to develop an understanding and appreciation for the processes that impact on the success of a commercial project. Through this intercampus integration, students begin to grow their creative network of prospective colleagues prior to graduation. Students have the opportunity for example to work on an integrated music project where audio engineering students mix and record for the music performance students.
Facilities available for students? Investment in facility upgrades and new technology is a key priority. JMC Academy’s world class facilities include professional recording studios, 5.1 surround sound mixing, digital and analogue recording consoles, post production suites, and professional fully fitted rehearsal studios. Studio gear available for learning and production? During semesters studio facilities are generally open from 8am until late six days a week. Facilities are for the sole use of students and include: 24-channel analogue recording consoles, 96-channel digital recording consoles, 24-channel control surfaces, ProTools HD3 digital recording system with Mac Pro computers, computer workstations equipped with MBox audio interface and Edirol keyboards, Avid 16 channel audio interfaces, industry standard monitors, 24-track portable digital recording workstations, stereo hand held recorders, extensive range of TDM and RTAS plug-ins, full drum kits, guitar and bass amps and keyboards and stands Point of difference between other music education providers? We have an enviable reputation, delivering courses in Audio Engineering for over 30 years, responding
to changes in the industry with a dynamic curriculum and continuous facility upgrades. Our students are often the first to road test a serious new piece of audio technology. We offer amazing collaboration opportunities with true industry legends such as Warner Music and BIGSOUND. Students have worked on audio engineering and sound production for artists such as Temper Trap, Xavier Rudd and Stonefield to name a few. Small class sizes also ensure that every student receives the attention and learning outcomes expected. PAYMENT OPTIONS: JMC Academy’s Higher Education courses are approved for FEE-HELP, a loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay for their tuition fees. INTAKE PERIODS: JMC Academy is now accepting applications for October 1012 and February 2013 intakes. Contact your nearest campus to speak to a Student Recruitment Advisor today. Phone: 1300 410 311 Website: www.jmcacademy.edu.au
Photo credits: P. Ritchie, P. Babare
STUDIO PROFILE Where are you located? 36/3 Matisi St, Thornbury, Melbourne VIC 3071. How long have you been established? Our recording studio opened in February this year (2012), so we’re fresh off the rank with a brilliant collection of new and vintage gear and years of industry experience behind us. Who are some of the artists you have worked with? We have worked with a stellar amount of local talent including Ross Hannaford, Stewart D’Arrietta, Philip Rex, Hamish Stuart, Steve Magnusson, Jex Saarelaht, Tom Strode & The Tour Guides, Dave Johnstone & Summer Blood, Anna Gilkison Quartet, Ken Schroder Trio, Adrian Sherriff Trio, Michelle Nicole & Ronnie Ferella, Paul Grabowsky, Julian Langdon, Ren Walters, the Melbourne Guitar Quartet and engineers Myles Mumford & Blake Stickland. Tell us about the tracking room and space you have for artists to work in? Built July 2011-Feb 2012 to acoustic engineering legend Dave Flett’s design, the tracking room is approximately 30 sqm and can be partitioned by large double glazed doors to create two isolated rooms. The control room is spacious and comfortable (approx. 25 sqm). We also have a vocal booth/amp room, so plenty of comfortable room for both small and larger bands and artists.
EQ’s: Avalon, Gyraf XIV, Filtek, Empirical Labs, Speck, Kush Audio, dbx. Comp’s: Daking, Overstayer, Höf, LA Audio, Charter Oak, dbx. Mic’s: Neumann, Gefell, Royer, Earthworks, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Shure, Heil. Plug-ins: Sonnox, Lexicon, Altiverb, EMI, Waves, Melodyne, and many more. Monitoring: Quested 5.1, Stax headphones, Furman (individual cue mixes)
“BUILT JULY 2011-FEB 2012 TO ACOUSTIC ENGINEERING LEGEND DAVE FLETT’S DESIGN, THE TRACKING ROOM IS APPROXIMATELY 30 SQM AND CAN BE PARTITIONED BY LARGE DOUBLE GLAZED DOORS TO CREATE TWO ISOLATED ROOMS”
What digital and/or analogue gear do you have available for tracking? For tracking we use Pro Tools HD2 with Apogee Symphony AD/DA and a Vintagemaker Neumann Summing Mixer. Mic Pre’s: Neve 51, Gyraf II, D.A.V. BG8, Grace, Earthworks, Empirical Labs, Sebatron, Presonus.
What are your favourite microphones to work with and why? Ted Fletcher TFPRO TM88: I love the way this mic captures the room sound and the ‘air’ around the instruments. Royer R-122V (matched pair): Ribbon mics sound so natural, but can tend to be a bit dull. The Royer R-122V simply doesn’t. It’s almost like a hybrid between a ribbon and a condenser and we love using it. Microtech Gefell M930 (matched pair): My go-
to mic for drum overheads, clear, transparent but in no way thin. Also great for acoustic guitars. If you could call one piece of studio gear your favourite what would it be, explain. It’d have to be our German grand piano. Not only does it sound wonderful, but it also has a great history, having been bought by my grandfather in the 1930’s. Any instruments available to use or hire? Free use: Pfeiffer Grand Piano (only charge is for tuning), Drumkits (free drum tech which is me), Cymbals, Percussion, Farfisa Matador. For hire: We have a great selection of guitar amps, more of which you can find out when we discuss your project.
Any points of difference/extras you’d like to mention: The layout of Pughouse Studios and the large floor to ceiling windows allow for eye contact between all performers which is fantastic and can be overlooked in other spaces. Being a musician myself, I know how important it is to feel comfortable and connected to your fellow performers in order to play well at Puhouse you get that opportunity and vibe. Offers Follow us on our Facebook page to keep informed of our special offers. There are also special rates for Freelance Engineers, but please call for more info.
Who are your in-house engineers? The in house engineer is Niko Schauble. Any other services you offer? We also offer a selection of other services including mixing, mastering, composition, arranging, voice-overs, hire of session musicians, everything you need to make that next hit record.
Phone: 03 9484 9363 or 0417 512 500 Website: www.pughousestudios.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AUDIO ENGINEERING AND SOUND PRODUCTION COURSES SAE is widely regarded as a pioneer in creative media education, with all courses being delivered in an innovative learning environment, using their proven teaching methods that combine sound theoretical knowledge with invaluable hands-on training. The biggest Audio school in the country with facilities located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Adelaide and Perth – we caught up with SAE to find out more about what’s on offer. Being a prospective student, what can I hope to learn from from your Sound Engineering courses? Our students learn and master technical and creative aspects of the audio production process by working on multifaceted projects in professional studios, live sound and postproduction environments. Graduates will leave with a sound knowledge and unparalleled technical and creative proficiency, well equipped to establish themselves within the industry in many audio and production roles. What positions will graduates be qualified to work in? With a proven track record in post graduate employment, students will gain the skills required to work as a sound, mix or mastering engineer, a producer, or in various other professions within the audio and entertainment industries. Explain your main methods for teaching? Our education concept is very simple; learn by doing. Our teaching method combines sound theoretical knowledge with invaluable hands-on training. This hands-on experience with the latest audio engineering equipment in the industry, PG. 28 MIXDOWN NO. 221
ensures students that everything discussed in class and lectures can be applied practically upon graduation. How is the course structured? Students are now offered the opportunity to fast track their degree and finish in two years, completing 3 trimesters per year. What productions will students have the opportunity to participate in throughout the duration of their Audio Engineering course? SAE students have the opportunity to participate in a range of music festivals, theatre projects and activities throughout the year that put what they’ve learned in the labs into real life performances and practice. Facilities available for students? Apart from the range of recording studios each campus provides, the Foley studio and Electronic Music Production studio the Byron Bay campus even provides students with accommodation. There is also a range of different course specific libraries that are available amongst a stack of other university amenities and audio facilities for students to use as well.
Studio gear available for learning and production? Students have access to state of the art facilities and a range of the latest industry standard equipment that is used widely around not only our country but the world. Online course availability? Unlike other Audio and Performance schools, SAE does provide online courses. To find out more visit www.online.sae.edu. Any points of difference between SAE and other music education providers? Our biggest difference is our commitment to quality, ensuring that our facilities, teaching methods and the work our graduating students produce is to the highest quality. Our emphasis is on hands-on education which guarantees students will receive vast access to our worldclass facilities and equipment, providing the extensive opportunity to advance skills to a professional level and giving a competitive edge upon graduation.
Do you have an opportunity to help students find work experience and/or employment? We do help students find work experience and depending on the student and how well they perform and what they’re really after we also have a lot of contacts for future employment opportunities. PAYMENT OPTIONS: FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP are available for domestic students applying for Higher Education courses and selected VET courses. INTAKE PERIODS: Our trimester dates are as follows: Trimester 1: March, Trimester 2: June. Trimester 3: October. Take note, we still have some places available for our October intake. Give us a call to find out more. Phone: 1800 729 338 Website: www.sae.edu.au
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NO. 221 MIXDOWN PG. 29
UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD
TONE VS SOUND If you’ve ever posted on a guitar forum on the internet, you’ve probably joined in one of those debates about the nature and origin of tone. Is it all in the fingers? Is it all about gear? If it’s a combination of the two, what’s the ratio? Can you sound like player X if you get their exact same gear? Is signature gear just an elaborate red herring to make us think we’re buying the same stuff some guitar hero uses, but in reality they’re using one-off custom equipment forged in some far-off village by a guitar-building hermit? Well unless science comes up with some kind of algorithm for quantifying the exact percentage of influence each factor has in tone generation, from the material and gauge of string to the density and pressure of the fingertip pushing it down, to the various gasses and particles in the air between the speaker and the listener, I don’t think this one will ever be resolved. Certainly as long as companies design signature gear with famous axemen, there will always be fans buying that gear so they can tap into some of their hero’s mojo. My theory on this whole matter is that there are two completely separate factors at play: Tone and sound. They both conspire to make a player who they are, but they’re completely different. Even though they sound the same. Confusing? You bet. I’m only on my first coffee of the morning and I think I just gave myself a headache. Here’s how I see it. ‘Tone’ can be summed up as anything and everything that conspires to make up the rawest qualities of the output of the guitar: the type and construction of the pickup, the string gauge, the guitar’s body wood, bridge type, construction (is it bolt-on? Set neck? Neck thru?), the type of cable, any pedals, the type and design of the amp, the settings on that amp, the speaker wire, the speaker, the mic
recording it, the room it’s being recorded in, and on and on and on. Imagine if you could rig up one of those chair-testing machines at Ikea – you know the ones, that simulate a butt plonking down on a cushion 100,000 times over a week – to strum a single openstring note on Joe Satriani’s guitar while plugged into his rig. Then, if you constructed an identical rig, with the exception of tiny variables such as changes in the guitar’s wood over time or differences from plank to plank, and any possible minute variation of circuit component values, the tone of the two rigs should be very much the same, and measurable for frequency content and stuff like that. So why is it so hard to sound like Player X even if you buy their exact same gear? My theory on that is because it’s not just their tone that makes them identifiable, it’s their sound. We’ve all heard the saying ‘tone is in the fingers.’ But I think that’s a bit misleading. While certain picking and fretting techniques can introduce a little more treble to the overall sound, for instance, you can’t exactly simulate a Dimebag-style scooped-midrange EQ curve just by changing the pressure of your fretting hand. So what exactly does ‘tone is in the fingers’ mean? Does it mean there’s an unquantifiable X factor inherent in an individual’s fingertips, separating the
guitarists from the mere guitar-players? To me it refers to the way a guitarist interacts with their rig to influence the interactions between each item within that rig. In a recent posting at a guitar forum I visit, a user said they had Steve Vai’s exact amp, guitar, pickup and pedals, but they didn’t sound like him at all, and wanted to know what piece of gear they were missing. My feeling is that if you’re after Vai’s sound and you already have the amp, guitar, pickup and pedals, then what’s missing is that you’re not playing the way he does, which means the rig isn’t responding to the input of your fingers the way his rig responds to what his fingers are doing. You may have the tone, but not the sound. So perhaps, if my little theory is true, then tone isn’t in the fingers after all: it’s in the ears. Your fingers are guided by what you hear, and if you find that you like the way a certain rig responds when you strike and manipulate a note or chord a particular way, then your fingers will retain the muscle memory to make it happen, and it will become a part of your style. When I was 13 and had been playing guitar for a few years, my teacher taught me Van Halen’s version of ‘You Really Got Me.’ He said something that made a huge impression on me – something like, “The cool thing about Eddie Van Halen (as pictured) is that he’s so in control of everything he does on guitar that he can make every note sound exactly the way he wants it to.” That one sentence (or at least the general content of it, since it was such a long time ago and I don’t remember it word for word) was a more important lesson than my teacher ever could have known, because it made me think about how the string responds to everything a guitarist does. I started experimenting with different fretting pressures,
different types of vibrato, different picks, different pick grips, different ways of applying phrasing after striking a note, and all sorts of timeconsuming stuff like that. I started to notice that if I did something a certain way, it sounded like a certain player, and I got to be a pretty good mimic, to the point where it was kinda my party trick at a regular blues jam I used to play at, that the other guys would call out the names of famous guitarists and I’d have to play like them. It was a handy skill to have, because it taught me to think a bit more about phrasing and just generally interacting with my guitar, although the downside is that perhaps it might have taken me a little longer than I would have liked before I found my own style. Still, I don’t regret being a guitar impressionist for a few years there, because inevitably these little tricks mutated through my own tastes and experiences, and now, for better or worse, I pretty much sound like me. BY PETER HODGSON
SEQUENTIAL CIRCUITS PROPHET 600
There are but a few great synthesizer companies that have left an undeniable mark on the music world over the years. Some are still battling on, offering us new ideas and continual sonic discoveries and some went the way of the dodo, unable to meet the demands of a market that turned to digital and left the analogue world behind. One of these great companies that got left behind was Sequential Circuits, producers of the infamous Prophet series of keyboards, we take a look at Prophet-600. Now, I just had to look back on this amazing keyboard this month because, as it happens, I was fortunate enough to finally add one of these to my collection. Obviously, this is big news for me and sad news for those of you looking to get your hands on one of the few remaining Prohpet-600s going around at the moment, of which they’re extremely hard to find. So, now that I have this little beauty taking pride of place in my collection, the question that needs answering is what made the Prophet-600 such a standout in 1982 and set a precedent for synthesizers there after? Firstly, the Prophet-600 offered 6 voices, one more than the all too famous Prophet-5, with two oscillators per voice. You could easily get these to wander with pitch adjustment to create incredibly rich tones, but had the luxury of syncing the second oscillator to the first at the flick of a switch when it all started to wander too much. Yes, these are temperamental analogue devices that require tuning adjustments when they get working, but what didn’t from that day? With a 61 note keyboard, built into the tough and all too familiar Sequential Circuits black frame with wooden ends, the Prohpet-600 not only looked good, but sounded great too. But it wasn’t just the sound of the Prophet-600 that made it so alluring. It has digitally controlled envelopes that act slightly slower than traditional ones, yet more stable, as well as a basic sequencer and the ability to store, record and load preset sounds into the memory system. This was made all the more impressive by the fact that the Prophet-600 PG. 30 MIXDOWN NO. 221
featured MIDI implementation. Yes, it was the first synthesizer on the market to implement MIDI! Now, given this was early days, the features were not the greatest and somewhat unwieldy at times, but this was one giant leap in the world of keyboards. For those of you who love to mess around with factory settings, the Prophet-600 came loaded with some truly amazing sounds. But, as always, it doesn’t take long to get these all stuffed up with your own tweaked versions, or worse, end up suffering from a failing memory battery. But fear not, the Prophet-600 had the amazing ability to reload the factory sounds from a cassette tape that was fed through an audio input into the unit. This meant that with a somewhat tedious process of playing the data tape in, you could bring back the original lustre of the instrument no matter what you did to the settings. The Prohpet-600 paved the way for a whole new world of instruments, a new world that ultimately led to the demise of Sequential Circuits. So, yes this was a great achievement and a step in the right direction, but at the same time, it really was the first nail in the coffin in many ways. It leaves behind a legacy that will always be remembered by synth lovers and historians and proves to be the iconic and innovative synthesiser of a changing market and early 1980’s generation. Keep your eyes peeled online and in store as this is certainly one piece of synth history you’d be crazy not to purchase if you stumble upon it. BY ROB GEE
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ON THE DOWNLOW
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF BASS DISTORTION
One of the trickiest things about bass tone is nailing a good distorted sound. Unfortunately it’s usually not just a matter of stomping on a distortion pedal and having a usable tone come out of the speaker. So, let’s look at one way of getting some serious grindage along with your rumble. The trick to getting a distorted bass to sound good is usually to run two signals: a clean one and a dirty one. You can do this with two amps if you have them, or with a signal splitter and then a small mixer to recombine the two sounds. If the low frequencies are too distorted you’ll lose the tightness of your attack and the precision with which you lock in with the kick drum. Usually the best way to go is to split the signal into two chains and use each signal for something different. Try using a clean sound for the bass frequencies: roll off the high end, dip the mids and leave behind a big, bassy but clean tone, similar to what a subwoofer might pump out in a home theatre setup (or bitchen car stereo). To really maximise the punch, add some compression with a medium attack time. This signal probably won’t carry much pitch information but the important thing is to really lay a sonic foundation which performs the rhythmic role of what a bass is designed to do. For the other signal, try a fuzz or overdrive pedal. If it has comprehensive tone sculpting controls, dial out the low end and just focus on the mids and treble. If it doesn’t, you might need to use an EQ after the fuzz/overdrive. Generally you’ll want to still be a little bit conservative with the treble. Roll off anything over 5kHz, and don’t be
afraid to get some midrange in there, because that’s where a lot of the harmonic information of the note lives. You don’t necessarily need to compress this signal. In fact sometimes it’s more effective if it has a little extra dynamic range to it. But if you do compress it, go nuts! Bass overdrive can sound really great when it’s used on Rush-style riffs with the bass in centre stage. If you’re playing death metal it’s okay to scoop the midrange out of your distorted tone and boost the treble a bit. You might even find that you like the sound of a chorus pedal added to the distorted chain. My other favourite way of getting some bass distortion happening is to use plugins: go direct into your recording interface or mixing desk (via a DI if you need to, obviously), create two audio tracks, send the signal from the bass to both tracks, and create a suite of plugins for each track: one for the clean, low-end stuff and one for the dirty mids and highs. You can get really creative here and even increase the track count. Try one channel of clean subwoofery bass, one of punchy compressed overdrive and one with an envelope filter. Or apply tremolo and stereo ping pong delay to the high sound to create synth-like textures while still holding down the
low end. And when you throw pitch-shifting plugins into the equation, the sky’s the limit. I’ve had good results from using a Boss floor multi-effects unit to add two harmonies - one an octave up, the other an octave and a fifth up then smothering this with distortion and delay to add guitar-like power chords to a track. It’s the kind of thing that might sound a little bit iffy when listened to by itself, but you can get away
with it when combined with drums, guitar and vocals in a mix.
BY PETER HODGSON Pictured: Rot Trujillo touring with Metallica, Soundwave 2013
BANGIN’ THE TUBS THE 5-STROKE ROLL
It’s a humble rudiment; the five-stroke roll. On paper it doesn’t appear to be much and at first doesn’t strike you with overwhelming excitement. But as some of you will know, the allusion of modern day drumming is that not everything is what it seems and what seems to be complicated can often be very easily explained and usually comes from a basic and simplistic form. Once I saw what Steve Gadd and Dave Weckl could do with a Paradiddle, I was hooked for life. So the humble 5-stroke roll has many applications and uses and these examples will get you going and hopefully spark a little bit of… overwhelming excitement. It’s pretty easy to get the drift with this rudiment as the name covers it all. There are indeed five strokes – but they are double strokes, not singles and it’s usually written in a shortened form for notation. The rudiment should be practiced slowly and evenly, eventually progressing to a fast tempo and with an accent on the last note. For those with a competent double stroke roll, the same technique applies. If your doubles are still on the up, this is a good way to practice as the 5-stroke is a short ‘burst’ of doubles. I also recommend some core exercises to be able to feel the roll on and off the beat. These are played with the bass drum on all four downbeats. By the conclusion of these basic exercises, you could probably start to imagine how the rudiment could start to be applied to the drums. Some easy ways to get started are below. In figure B, the first idea is to play a groove and use the roll as a simple fill on the snare drum, displacing the accent as practiced in the core exercises. The next idea uses the roll with in a rhythm (1 e + a). This rhythm essentially adds PG. 32 MIXDOWN NO. 221
OTHE CORE EXERCISES
another accented note at the start of the fill but the 5-stoke is still there starting on ‘e’ and finishing on the rack tom on ‘a’. Figure C shows the 5-stroke roll in one of its most popular forms. When playing a groove the roll works brilliantly on the hi-hats, starting and finishing on the right hand (or left if you play the hats with your left hand) to create some variation. It’s easy to do and very effective in a heap of situations. Here’s two more ideas – I’ve notated each of the strokes for these as the roll is split up between drums. Being double strokes, it’s easy to separate the hands and get around the drums quickly. The second example uses the ride cymbal and the hi-hats for an idea with real stick definition. This creates huge contrast within a groove or fill. So, by now, you’re probably getting the idea. I’ve found this rudiment to be extremely useful and very rewarding for all sorts of applications – in any genre or style. Have fun with this one. I did. BY ADRIAN VIOLI
(D)IGITAL (J)OCKEY RE M E M B E R Q UALIT Y ?
I can remember not that long ago when I could be found trudging through the streets of Melbourne in the early hours of the morning on any given night of the week carrying a bag loaded with about fifty records and trying to carry a flight case with another hundred and fifty records in it. Tired, exhausted, and wondering whether it was all worth it. And most of all, contemplating what my future chiropractic bills were going to look like. Then it would start raining and I would give up and get a taxi. But that was then, the 1990s. Now, it has all changed. Welcome to the era of digital data and the pocket record collection. So, why was it that we persisted to lug around far too much vinyl and waste just about every penny we earned buying more the next Monday? Well, it was all about the sound. There is that certain something in the dynamic range and depth you get from vinyl that MP3 files just can’t give you. Sure it is easier to bring a laptop to a gig and work about the process of making the dance floor move, but we all need to try to remember what it was all about in the first place - listening to great music. Looking back on the all too many warehouse events I attended, played at or staged all those years back, it was always about the sound. I can remember one event I organised where we trucked in an EAW system for a small
club because the house system just wouldn’t cut it. Standing outside, across the road from the venue, the sound that hit you even there was thunderous. Now, imagine going to the effort of staging an event with 32 speakers in a room that was obviously way too small to need that many in the first place just to listen to some poor quality copied MP3 files. It just doesn’t make any sense. So, I do understand the flexibility and power of modern mixing systems and fully welcome the use of computer based DJ setups as they offer a far superior control over the sound and the ability to integrate more effects that just two 1200s and a battle mixer could ever offer. What I am trying to get at is that as we allow ourselves to step into new eras of technology that should be improving our performance, don’t let them drag your sound down in the process. There is a wide range of software and hardware options on the market, with Serato Scratch, Native Instruments’ Traktor, Vestax’s VCI-400 and Hercules’ 4-Mx to name just a few systems, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find the one that works for you. Consider the interface and software flexibility, but also pay attention to the digital conversion quality and the file formats these packages support. With modern laptops having the power and storage capabilities that could only have been dreamed of ten years ago, why not utilise them to their potential. It is all well and good to have 20,000 tracks at your disposal for a set, but in reality you are only likely to play 20 of them. So, why stuff your hard drive with small sized, poor quality files? You have the ability to use
16 bit/44.1 kHz files at the very least, probably even better. So, get your sets figured out before you leave the house next time and load your hard drive up with the tracks you need, making sure they are of the highest quality. It may seem like a lot of work, but the results will speak for themselves when you hear the tracks through a real system. And, when you think about it, it is
still a lot easier than dragging a road case filled with vinyl about everywhere you go. BY ROB GEE Native Instruments Traktor available through CMI. Ph. (03) 9315 2244 or visit www.cmi.com.au for more.
HOME STUDIO HINTS: CABLE SOLUTIONS
Alright, I think it is about high time that I get onto a cable rant! Obviously there is plenty of great studio gear featured in this issue to keep you all happy, so I am going to look instead at the forgotten piece of the puzzle. The ingredient in the mixture that binds the dough and keeps it all together; your cables. Yes, it sounds boring, yes, it is like your high school maths teacher telling you all that you are going back to basics with algebra and that you must pay attention, but it is important and it can be of great use. Good cables, not algebra, that is. Tied Together So, I am sure many of you out there suffer from the same syndrome in your home studios. Cables running everywhere, creating an unadulterated mess that really demands to be ignored longer than you should. Am I right? As soon as you get a few pieces of equipment added to your setup, the new cables just get tangled in with the old and before long it resembles spaghetti. Obviously, the annual clean out can see these removed and put back into place in some sort of order, and spring is now upon us, so it is a good time to give it a crack. But it rarely lasts and the twisted mess just comes back. So, why not look at getting your cables to join together in the fight against an untidy studio. Let’s talk multicores and cable solutions. PG. 34 MIXDOWN NO. 221
ORGANISE AND PRIORITISE Before you go adding a multicore or cable station into you room, you need to put together some sort of plan that will encompass your needs now and in the future. Every studio set-up is different and therefore it needs that little bit more thought and care when setting it up. You can purchase numerous commercially available cable solutions but obviously finding that perfect piece that suits your requirements may be difficult as every room will be different. So, you either need to compromise, go overboard or put together your own. Obviously the latter is going to be the cheaper and a more flexible option, but it will require a few evenings with the soldering iron and probably a good bottle of red wine at the end of it to help celebrate what has the potential to be an intense project. But please, before you go ripping cables out and putting in a permanent solution, plan it out and make sure your needs are catered for. There is no point putting together a studio cable solution if in two months time it is twisted up with all the other cables you have simply added around it. THE SOLUTION Keep your power cables and the ever growing collection of computer cables, like USB leads, separate for now, deal with them later. Get your audio cables into one or more looms to suit your environment and your equipment. I like to always leave a half a dozen extra cores running through the loom without ends so I can add appropriate connectors later on if an unexpected piece of equipment should be purchased. This way, you are really future proofing your setup and not creating any further unnecessary mess.
This is always the most diffi fficult hurdle when organising your studio cables. Getting it right for the present is easy, but knowing what you may need some way down the track is always tough to guess. So a multicore or cable solution that allows for expansion as you need it will always come in handy later down the track. Never get fooled into thinking that your current setup is perfect and you will never change it. Let’s face it; with all the new and wonderful gear on offer these days, you are not likely to keep the same recording setup for long. A good off the shelf solution is the range of Planet Waves Modular Snake Systems distributed by Daddario Australia and as pictured. A simple and effective space saving cable system perfect for keeping your
studio set-up and cabling neat, tidy and most importantly organised. Remember a little effort now will go a long way later. BY ROB GEE Planet Waves are cabling solutions distributed by Daddario Australia ph. (03) 8261 6293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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SPECIAL There are a few steps in between getting that sound you’ve conjured up in your head out into the ears of the world, and the most important steps are made in a little old place we call the studio. These days, a studio can be defined as a lot of things – from basic bedroom setups to worldclass professional spaces. Either way, you’re going to need quality gear to get your sounds in a tangible format. Our massive Studio Special covers the whole spectrum, whether you need a barebones system to capture demos and ideas, or something to appease your major audiophile tendencies. Whatever your budget or recording needs, there’s sure to be more than enough options in microphones, interfaces, outboard gear, monitors, headphones, hardware and anything else you need to get the best possible sound on record. Our expert team of writers have put a huge range of products to the test, ensuring you have an informed account of what gear best suits your recording needs. If you need inspiration or that little something to help you get closer to capturing that sound, look no further. It doesn’t matter if you do it loud or do it soft, just hit record and do it. Good luck!
For your chance to win the Blue Microphones Multi-Pattern Reactor Condenser Microphone as reviewed visit pg. 6 for entry details
RADIAL ENGINEERING MC3
PRODUCT TYPE: STUDIO MONITOR CONTROLLER DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY
PRODUCT TYPE: CHANNEL STRIP DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY RECOMMENDED FOR: This is just the tool for anyone who understands high quality recording and wants a dedicated front end channel strip that doesn’t compromise on quality, tone or flexibility. Really, everyone should be using one of these.
RECOMMENDED FOR: The project studio in need of some assistance in sorting out monitoring options. If you want to run more than one set of headphones or a couple of pairs of monitor speakers, the MC3 allows you to do this.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The classic SSL console tone is faithfully reproduced in the XLogic Alpha channel for amazing clarity and control over your signal on the way into your DAW. There are plenty of options with the comprehensive EQ and filter section able to be fully removed from the signal path if desired.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The components are of the highest quality giving you an unsurpassed audio path. It is not going to compromise you audio signal, but simply improve the flexibility in which you are able to listen to it. USABILITY: The MC3 is easy to set up and gives you instant access to headphone monitoring and the ability to split your signal between multiple sets of monitor speakers. Some handy features like a dim switch and mono button round off the features nicely. CONSTRUCTION: Being made by Radial, this little unit is an absolute tank. You just can’t fault the build quality of any Radial product. All the controls are recessed for protection within the casing, which is made from tough folded steel.
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SOLID STATE LOGIC ALPHA CHANNEL
USABILITY: So simple, yet so concise. If you have ever used any decent analogue console, this will make complete sense to you in an instant, but getting to know how all the options work allows you to pull an even better sound. OVERALL: This is a great option for increasing your monitor control within the studio without taking up too much space. High quality audio routing doesn’t have to cost the earth and shouldn’t affect your signal. The MC3 gives you all this.
CONSTRUCTION: It’s an SSL. It is made in the UK. It doesn’t spare any expense in construction and quality. You know you are buying some of the best gear in the world when you get the SSL logo into your studio.
OVERALL: Most of us don’t have the space or money to be able to put a K Series console into our studios, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the SSL sound. A neat, single rack unit device, the Alpha Channel goes right to the top of my want list.
PEAVEY XPORT USB GUITAR INTERFACE
ALESIS iO2 EXPRESS
PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP
PRODUCT TYPE: AUDIO INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY
RECOMMENDED FOR: This little box is ideal for guitarists who want a simple and compact way to record their instrument straight into a software package. Complete with amp modelling software you really just need to plug in and play – a lot.
RECOMMENDED FOR: The musician who want a low priced, easy to use interface for recording into a computer system without the hassle of a large setup or the need for any space. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With recording capabilities of up to 24 bit at 48kHz, the iO2 Express ensures you get a good quality recording. You can switch between microphone, line or instrument levels for both of the two inputs making it ideal for a range of uses.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The included ReValver software from Peavey allows you to emulate the tones of some classic amplifiers without the need to make all the noise. Your guitar simply goes straight in and the software does the tonal adjustments you need.
USABILITY: This is a very easy interface to set up and get going with right from the word go. It comes bundled with Cubase LE software to get you started, but will work well with just about any recording package once you adjust the input settings within your software.
USABILITY: Anyone could get this interface up and running; even my grandfather, and he thinks Google is an operating system. Installation is quick and easy and headphone monitoring allows you to hear all your tone straight from the software. CONSTRUCTION: This is a budget product, allowing you an entry into guitar recording. So, costs have been cut in the production, but still, it is a fairly rugged little unit.
OVERALL: Peavey have given us a really simple interface specifically designed for guitarists to get their sounds into a software recorder. Well, it does just that and does it quite well too, without hitting the hip pocket too hard.
RME BABYFACE USB AUDIO INTERFACE
CONSTRUCTION: Built into a compact housing that is solid and sturdy, the inputs connect firmly and the pots all seem to have a smooth action, The switches are not the easiest to operate with their size, but what can you expect for such a brilliant price.
MXL MPAC-01 COMPRESSOR & MIC PREAMP
PRODUCT TYPE: AUDIO INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC
PRODUCT TYPE: COMPRESSOR & MIC PREAMP DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC
RECOMMENDED FOR: Home studios users that simply won’t stand for second rate digital conversion. If you really want the best clocking in your audio conversion with high end microphone preamps, all in a small interface, then the Babyface is the only option.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Home studio users who what a quality front end channel strip with plenty of options and not an insane price tag. Perfect for simplifying your signal path and getting one dedicated device between your microphone and audio interface.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: When you talk about RME you simply must talk about the digital clock. There is nothing else like it on the market, especially for the size or prize. This little baby gives you rock solid digital conversion and perfect clocking, even when slaving external devices.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With all the options available on the MPAC-01, you can tailor your sound to just about any tone you desire. What you get is a rich, yet true representation of your microphone’s sound, one that can be sculpted to sit into any mix.
LINE 6 MOBILE IN
OVERALL: There really is no substitute for quality. You don’t have to buy a big interface to get high end A/D conversion; you simply need to get yourself an RME Babyface.
CONSTRUCTION: Like all MXL units, this is built to last. Internally wired with the highest quality cabling and with sturdy switches and pots, you are going to get years and years of amazing results from this channel strip.
PRODUCT TYPE: USB RECORDING SYSTEM DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is a simple interface for all guitarists wanting to plug into iOS devices and comes bundled with a high-quality 6-foot guitar cable with 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch ends.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Home studio recordings and artists who want to record on their laptop out and about. The small size of the 22VSL makes it ideal for travelling with, but also takes up very little space in a home studio.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: You simply download the free Mobile POD app from the iTunes app store and you’re off and rocking. With 64 amps, cabinets and effects including 32 amp models based on classics by Fender, Marshall, Budda, Vox, Mesa/Boogie, Dumble, Soldano, Roland and of course Line 6’s ‘Insane’ model, and 16 stomp and rack effects including compressor, tremolo, choruses, flangers, reverbs, delay, wah and more... makes this one versatile little unit.
OVERALL: Aside from the knobs being a little hard to grip with the slick brushed aluminium finish, there is very little to fault with this device. It has all the options you could want, it sounds great and it is built well. And it is only going to take up one precious rack space in your studio.
PRESONUS AUDIOBOX STUDIO
PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: MUSIC LINK
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The Audiobox 22VSL offers two of Presonus’s XMAX preamps, so the audio quality is great. Most microphones find an instant improvement when plugged into either of the two inputs. USABILITY: With two analogue inputs allowing microphone, line or instrument levels, you can tackle most projects. With low latency and the added benefit of the VSL effects to run your signals through, you get plenty of versatility in you r recordings. This is not just a plain, boring, lifeless input device.
USEABILITY: May initially seem only for the tech savvy but in actual fact it’s a very simple, easy to use unit that could even be played around with plugging in other instruments, for something a little different of-course. For monitoring, you simple use your iOS device’s inbuilt speaker or its headphone jack. CONSTRUCTION: Mobile In is powered by the iOS device itself, so you don’t need to worry about batteries. And in addition to the guitar input there’s also a stereo Line In input on a 1/8-inch jack. For such a small unit, it’s very robust and is built tough.
USABILITY: The layout of the front panel of this one unit rack strip is well thought out, allowing you to work from left to right to quickly get the unit set up for your needs. The handy VU meter in the centre of the unit shows either gain reduction or output level, making it easy to see just how hard the compressor is squeezing your sound.
USABILITY: This little unit has so much packed in. Two microphone preamps, but can be expanded to ten with the ADAT input, as well as MIDI I/O, headphone and guitar connections. With built in DSP and mixer for interfacing with your DAW, the Babyface does just about everything. CONSTRUCTION: Being such a small unit, there is very little to go wrong with it. It is housed in a tough little casing that can go anywhere with you and the breakout cable for most connections is a quality Alva cable that will stand the test of time.
OVERALL: There is a lot crammed into this little package. Inserts on both channels, headphone output and monitoring options as well as LED metering. If you want a lot of features in a little unit, the iO2 Express is going to be right up your alley.
OVERALL: The Mobile POD app is very much like using POD Farm on a computer, so very cool indeed with all the different variations and if you look “outside the box” creatively speaking, you may soon find this becomes a fantastic tool for sementing all those new licks.
CONSTRUCTION: Like all devices from Presonus, the Audiobox VSL is built into a seriously sturdy casing that is ready for anything you throw at it. Because of this, and its compact size, it is ideal as a portable device for use with laptops anywhere and everywhere.
OVERALL: This is a quality recording setup in a tiny package. The preamps sound great, you get plenty of input/output options for such a small interface and the bundled Studio One Artist software, M7 high-definition condenser microphone, and HD7 headphones means you are ready to record with just the one purchase.
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STEINBERG CI2+ USB AUDIO INTERFACE
RRP: CALL FOR PRICING
STEINBERG UR28M INTERFACE
PRODUCT TYPE: USB AUDIO INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC
PRODUCT TYPE: USB AUDIO INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC
RECOMMENDED FOR: Great for simple recording applications where only a couple of inputs are needed, but more control is wanted over your recording software, whether that be the included Cubase AI6 or another package.
RECOMMENDED FOR: The home studio user that requires more than just a simple 2 in and 2 out interface. It offers four analogue inputs, six analogue outputs and SP/DIF digital in and out to allow for greater compatibility with other devices.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The CI2+ features two microphone preamps that do most microphones justice. You get quality audio conversion for the price and flexible control over your signal path, including mono listening options and a Hi-Z input switch for direct guitar recording.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Steinberg has delivered an interface to work with their software platforms and allow quality digital conversion on both the way in and out. It allows for plenty of signal routing for project studios without being too big a device. USABILITY: The clever layout of the top panel gives you a large master volume control and access to key features like a mono switch and a dim switch for low level monitoring. DSP control monitoring is available so you can route your signals within the machine to suit your needs.
USABILITY: The great thing about the CI2+ is the jog wheel and surrounding buttons. The jog wheel controls any feature in the software that the mouse is hovering over at the time and you get the added ease of use with Record, Play/Stop, Next, Previous and Lock buttons surrounding the wheel. CONSTRUCTION: The lightweight plastic casing keeps the unit very portable, but it is still housed within a solid frame. The jog wheel as well as all pots and buttons feel good in the hand and offer a smooth action and rapid response.
OVERALL: The most feature packed of the three units in the CI range, the CI2+ is a handy little package that offers the user a lot more than just audio interfacing. It doubles as a software controller and allows you to speed up your workflow and use less of the mouse.
BLUE MICROPHONES REACTOR
PRODUCT TYPE: MULTI PATTERN CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY
CONSTRUCTION: Built into a solid casing, the UR28M is not only built to last, but to be functional as well. Its intuitive layout makes navigation of the interface easy and doesn’t distract from the recording process.
OVERALL: Packaged with Cubase AI6, the UR28M represents amazing value and quality in a compact recording interface. With the included REV-X reverb native plug-in, you also get access to classic reverb power for you mix.
AKG PERCEPTION 420 CONDENSER MICROPHONE
PRODUCT TYPE: CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone wanting the best of both worlds for live and studio applications on a range of instruments. Great for percussion/drums, piano, brass, woodwind, voice, ensemble recording and even room mic’ing.
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the microphone you use when you want to make a statement in the studio; for two reasons. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Firstly, it looks like part of a cold war submarine that went missing. Secondly, it sounds like it has been fine tuned so well, it offers an almost surreal audio capture. The signal is so flat and natural it gives you just what you put into it.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With a combination of selectable patterns, bass cut filter and 20dB pad you get extra options for mic placement and use. Sound wise they are quite transparent, even and clear with a hint of warmth.
USABILITY: The casing is somewhat unique, and the shock mount is a beast, you will love what you can do with it. The rotating head containing the capsule allows you to position it as you need to suit your choice of polar pattern, making it a truly diverse microphone indeed. CONSTRUCTION: Let’s face it, Blue have developed a reputation for producing some of the most visually striking and well built microphones on the market. The Reactor is possibly a stand out. This microphone looks like something from another planet and is built like a tank, simply awesome!
USABILITY: No problems here. As a mic it’s a matter of placement preference and user know how for getting good sounds and the extra bells and whistles are easy to get your head around.
OVERALL: This is not only an aesthetically pleasing microphone, but one that sounds brilliant too. Blue are not just about shocking the audience with their looks, they strive to create microphones that sound great and the Reactor does both.
SAMSON CL7 CONDENSER MICROPHONE
CONSTRUCTION: AKG always offer quality gear and it’s interesting to see they’ve still aimed for tasteful yet trendy design and construction even if this mic is a competitor to other brands more ‘budget’ lines. Looks funky but still seems solid and well made, just as AKG is known for.
PRODUCT TYPE: CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC
RECOMMENDED FOR: This microphone is perfect for the musician who is looking for their first condenser microphone to experiment with. It will really open up the tones you are able to capture in your home studio.
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the microphone you go to when you really want to capture something special. It isn’t just any condenser microphone, but one that is to be kept for breathtaking vocal recordings and soulful instrument takes.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The CL7 is fairly simple in design, but it still features a high pass filter and a 10dB pad allowing you to adjust the microphone to suit your environment. For the price, it really does sound great and doesn’t come with a lot of the noise you would expect from a microphone of this price.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The tone of the Revelation is really something special. It has a wonderful warmth to it and an almost delicate response that brings out every element of the performance. This is what a great valve microphone should sound like.
USABILITY: This really is an all rounder. You can capture vocals with it. Record an acoustic guitar and even use it for wind instruments. Position a pair into a piano and achieve some really surprising results here also. It isn’t entirely suited to drums as it can’t really handle extreme SPLs, but you can’t have everything for this price.
USABILITY: With the variable polar pattern control on the preamp, you can get it to sit just right for any voice in just about any room. From Omni to cardioid to figure-of-eight and anywhere in between, you can tweak the controls to get a flawless response every time.
CONSTRUCTION: The CL7 comes with a plastic shell carry case, so it won’t get damaged when not in use. This is a good thing. It may be a little more delicate than I would prefer, but a condenser microphone should be treated gently anyway.
OVERALL: This is a great step up from using dynamic microphones in the home studio and gives you a real idea of what can be achieved with a small upgrade. This is not going to find its way into professional studios too soon, but it will help home recordings achieve a better result in an instant.
OVERALL: A cool foray into the lower end mic market the Perception 420 seems best as a general purpose type condenser with multiple cardioid patterns. Obviously aimed at the home studio user it’s still a solid mic for any application and the included heavy duty cradle and hard case give it some extra pro street cred.
MXL REVELATION TUBE MICROPHONE
PRODUCT TYPE: CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY
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RRP: CALL FOR PRICING
CONSTRUCTION: Like all MXL microphones, the Revelation is built to an exacting standard. It is internally wired with Mogami cable, so you can rest assured that the highest quality audio signal path is available between the capsule and the preamp.
OVERALL: This is somewhat of a showpiece microphone, handling very high SPLs and offers a variety of polar patterns. The real deal.
MXL TEMPO USB MICROPHONE
SOUNDART SM USB CONDENSER MICROPHONE
PRODUCT TYPE: USB MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC
PRODUCT TYPE: USB MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA
RECOMMENDED FOR: Best suited to home recording, mobile users, broadcast and live chat, office and business recordings. Perfect for demo recording with ease of use.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Home studio, broadcast and radio work, mobile recording. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: USB connectivity makes it versatile and portable for live sound, recording on the go and general use such as; recording transcripts into a laptop, capturing effects, quick demos, voice overs and dictation.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Super versatile as the USB connectivity lets you take it and record almost anywhere. Be it vocals on the road, outdoor sounds or board meetings. It’ll also handle radio and broadcast work with the option to monitor via a headphone-out directly from the mic.
USABILITY: Plug and play is all that’s needed to get started. Then it’s just a matter of mic placement depending on the use and you should be up and away! Clean and clear it’ll cover standard voice and sound recording in the studio and as a USB device really opens itself up to mobile uses such as meetings, field recordings or dictation too.
USABILITY: Easy operation, plug in and use. It comes with a tripod stand and mic stand attachment. CONSTRUCTION: There are two different colours to choose from and it’s clean and aesthetically pleasing. The build quality is tough with it’s hardshell casing. A very well built mic that can be applied to numerous mic positions due to its slimline design. OVERALL: MXL have garnered quite a lot of interest over the past few years for inexpensive mics that still perform to high standards. Their TEMPO offering seems to reinforce that reputation with an easy to use USB mic that sounds clean and crisp with enough flexibility to fulfil a range of uses.
SHURE BETA 27 INSTRUMENT MICROPHONE
CONSTRUCTION: A solid mic, the body and capsule construction seem sound and I didn’t have any problems with the USB connection. Condensers should be handled carefully in general, keeping that in mind I’d envisage the Soundart SM easily clocking up plenty of hours.
PRODUCT TYPE: INSTRUMENT MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: JANDS
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is a great microphone for a variety of uses. It really should be a must in all microphone collections; in fact a pair of these would be ideal. Great for drum overheads, instrument applications and some vocal uses.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Perfect for use inside kick drums where low end punch and power needs to be captured. Also works well inside pianos for added depth to a stereo microphone setup.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The BETA91 gives your kick drum sound that added low end that many other microphones cannot. Placed inside the drum, its half cardioid polar pattern grabs the meatiest sounds from the instrument and delivers them with powerful force.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The BETA27 features a super cardioid pickup pattern making it ideal for instrument applications. It offers excellent side rejection, allowing you to target a single instrument and not worry about excessive bleed from other sound sources.
USABILITY: This is a really simple microphone to use. You get great results with just about any placement or position, but as always, it benefits from a little bit of experimentation. The same goes when using it with other instruments, like a piano, or beneath congas.
USABILITY: I can think of a number of applications as it is ideal for targeted percussion uses, like getting a sizzling hi-hat sound from within a crowded kit and gives you the added benefit of a multi stage high pass filter for tailoring the sound. OVERALL: I love the ability to roll off the low frequency with varying degree and the 15dB pad allows you to make use of it in high SPL applications, so its uses are not limited at all. Packaged with a heavily padded, zip lock pouch for protection; you will see many years of excellent use with this microphone.
SHURE BETA 98AD/C MINIATURE CARDIOID CONDENSER DRUM MICROPHONE
CONSTRUCTION: There probably isn’t a more ruggedly built microphone out there. The design of the BETA91 allows it to be abused and never look back. I have seen some of these over the years that look like they have been through a battlefield and they still continue to deliver great results.
OVERALL: The BETA91 is a microphone that continues to get used in recordings and on stages all over the world for the simple reason that it delivers the goods. When your ordinary kick drum microphone doesn’t quite give you what you want on its own, teaming it up with a BEAT91 is going to give you the goods.
SE ELECTRONICS SE2200A IIC
PRODUCT TYPE: CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: MUSIC LINK
PRODUCT TYPE: DRUM CONDENSER DISTRIBUTOR: JANDS
RECOMMENDED FOR: The home or pro studio looking for a budget condenser microphone that offers great clarity and rugged build instead of unnecessary features. Great for use with vocals and acoustic instruments, it will add to any microphone collection nicely.
RECOMMENDED FOR: The perfect condenser microphone for drum applications where you don’t have much space to work with. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: These are a really versatile microphone for drum applications when space is at a premium. They offer an excellent directional pickup, allowing you to narrow down the sound you want and can handle very high SPLs.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This unit is not quite as versatile as others in the sE range, given that it has a fixed cardioid polarity, but don’t let that turn you off. Instead of offering a variety of patterns, it is designed to give you the best results with just the one.
USABILITY: The tiny microphone mounts on a short goose neck clamp allowing you to attach it to a drum and position it perfectly. The break-out cable runs to an XLR connection to feed a regular microphone cable. CONSTRUCTION: For such a minute device, the BETA98AD/C is perfectly constructed to the highest quality. The tiny capsule is fairly tough and the goose neck is sturdy enough to allow for the most extreme positioning.
OVERALL: Inexpensive and easy to operate, the Soundart SM USB mic could be a good option for those on a budget or not needing the bells and whistles of other more advanced models.
SHURE BETA 91A HALF-CARDIOID CONDENSER
PRODUCT TYPE: INTRUMENT MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: JANDS
CONSTRUCTION: It’s a Shure microphone. It’s a BETA. It is built like a bloody brick. Use this microphone and abuse it if you like. It will continue to give you great results after even some of the most undeserving treatment.
USABILITY: Great for use with vocal tracking, the sE2200a IIC gives you a detailed response to transient attacks. In this regard, it is also great for use with acoustic instruments where a slightly wider polar pattern is acceptable, allowing for a more natural sound. OVERALL: There simply isn’t another microphone quite like this one. It is purpose built for a specific job and it does the job so very well. If you really want to define you drum sounds, the BETA98AD/C is the perfect tool for the job.
CONSTRUCTION: Like all microphones from sE, this is built to last. The design team have come up with a very robust housing for the capsule and electronics, the switches are all firmly set and the shock mount is extremely stable, keeping the microphone freely suspended, but solidly locked down.
OVERALL: Packaged with a sturdy shock mount, the sE2200a IIC is a great addition to any studio. A clever design that holds simplicity as its key, this cardioid condenser microphone excels in capturing rich vocals with a low noise floor.
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LEWITT LCT 340 CONDENSER MICROPHONE
LEWITT LCT640 CONDENSER MICROPHONE
PRODUCT TYPE: CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS
PRODUCT TYPE: CONDENSER MICROPHONE DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the microphone you will want to use for all those applications where you can’t quite get it right. It is a small diaphragm, pencil style condenser microphone that offer reference quality detail in its audio capture.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Great for vocal recording in the studio, but also suited to instrument use as well. An excellent addition to any microphone collection when something a little bit different is wanted, both in tone and functionality.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Being able to handle very high SPLs, the LCT 340 is perfect for use when no other microphone will work. It offers a rich and detailed tone with four different pad settings and four different high pass filter settings, making it ideal for a range of uses.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The LCT640 sounds amazing for vocals and for a microphone of its price point. These are a very well designed tool that give you a lot of flexibility in your recording and deliver the goods with a rich timbre and precise response. USABILITY: The light up switching system on the front panel makes it very easy to adjust and set up for you recording session. There are three levels of high pass filters and three levels of attenuation to choose from to name just a few features.
USABILITY: Quite simply, this is the go to microphone when no other will capture your instrument sounds just right. With the wide variety of settings and two interchangeable capsules, there is very little this microphone won’t have a go at. CONSTRUCTION: Like all microphones from Lewitt, the LCT 340 is somewhat of a surprise in its build quality. These have been very well designed and rigorously tested to ensure low operating and handling noise in a casing that is tough and durable.
OVERALL: I am really starting to warm to these Austrian designed microphones. Not just the LCT 340, but their other models too, seem to offer a different take on the traditional options and do so with a willingness to achieve great results.
DYNAUDIO PROFESSIONAL DBM50
CONSTRUCTION: This is quite unlike many other Chinese manufactured microphones that all seem to come from the same design. The LCT640 has been engineered from the ground up to deliver a different approach and the construction sees fit to the ideal, built tough.
ALESIS M1 ACTIVE MKII
PRODUCT TYPE: STUDIO MONITORS DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY
PRODUCT TYPE: STUDIO MONITORS DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Perfect for quality studio monitoring when space is an issue and you require critical positioning for optimum listening.
RECOMMENDED FOR: These have got to be one of the most widely known studio monitors going around in the last ten or so years. They are a great budget alternative to some of the big names and will suit a home recording studio as a main or secondary set of monitors.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: These monitor speakers need to be heard. They give a detailed stereo image with great attention to the sound. There is plenty of low end response, a pronounced mid range and great transient response that is brought out in the high frequencies.
OVERALL: These monitors may look like something out of a Star Wars film, but they sound even better than the soundtrack did. Articulate response, solid build and clever design all make these an excellent option for the studio where space is an issue, but audio quality is a must.
RRP: CALL FOR PRICING
PRODUCT TYPE: STUDIO MONITORS AND USB INTERFACE DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY
EVE SC305 STUDIO MONITORS
OVERALL: I thought I had seen the last of these some years back, but let’s face it, when a product is made this well for the reasonable price tag they now fetch; the M1 Active MkIIs were always going to be a monitor speaker that stuck around.
RECOMMENDED FOR: The SC305 studio monitors from Eve represent a new era in studio monitoring and offer a wider range and clarity in a small near field monitor. They are perfect for the home or project studio where space is an issue, but where quality is essential. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With a pair of five inch drivers and a ribbon tweeter, the SC305s are able to deliver incredible low end accuracy for their size, whilst still maintaining a crystal clear top end. The ribbon tweeters deliver such a fast transient attack that every subtle nuance in your mix can be heard without audible distortion or sagging.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The Studio GT recording solution allows you basic digital conversion and playback through the included speakers. They don’t sound like a million bucks, but they don’t cost that either. The C01 has proven itself as a great microphone for the money too.
PG. 40 MIXDOWN NO. 221
CONSTRUCTION: These have got to be well built. I have seen certain pairs go through all number of atrocities over the years and they just keep on delivering. Smoke, fire, beer spillage and even falling from shelves just doesn’t seem to stop these guys from trucking on.
PRODUCT TYPE: STUDIO MONITORS DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is a great option for anyone who wants to get into computer recording and doesn’t know where to start. The Studio GT Pro bundle has it all in one neat little package. Any musician can become a home recording engineer with this setup.
CONSTRUCTION: Samson put a lot of time into getting their products right and both the speakers and microphone have been around long enough to prove they can stand the test of time.
RRP: $599 (PAIR)
USABILITY: The M1 Active MkIIs are an easy to monitor to listen to. They are not harsh and are fairly forgiving, but you can achieve good results once you know how they respond.
SAMSON STUDIO GT PRO BUNDLE
USABILITY: Combining a pair of Studio GT monitors that double as a USB audio interface and including a C01 condenser microphone, the bundle has it covered. You can record and play back from your computer all in one.
OVERALL: The LCT640 is a very transparent microphone with extremely low self noise. It delivers not only plenty of options, but clarity and dynamic response within those options. It may seem a little ‘out there’ for some at first glance, but its results speak for themselves.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: These monitors have always suffered from what I consider a poorly designed front porting system, but it is in this failing that they excel. Left along, the ports chuff ferociously with excessive low end, but they do allow you to tune the speakers to suit your environment very easily which is great.
USABILITY: With the angles design of the cabinet, these speakers work great for extra close range near field monitoring, angling the audio signal up to your listening position. This allows the DBM50s to be placed on the desktop and not require raised shelves to get them up to the level of your ears. CONSTRUCTION: Dynaudio have thought these speakers through thoroughly in their design. Their outer casing looks elegant, but is functional too. The soft dome tweeter is protected behind a three pointed casing that reduces the harshness of the top end and keeps them safe.
OVERALL: This is not a total studio in one. It is far from that in fact. But it is an excellent starting point for someone who is keen to get their music recorded and doesn’t want to waste money on items they don’t know how to use. It is simple, easy and all in one, a perfect start.
USABILITY: These are very simple and easy to set up. The front panel volume control is an excellent feature, saving you from having to reach around the back of the units to adjust the levels. They work stunningly by themselves or as a pair and don’t really require a sub to define the low end in your mix. CONSTRUCTION: Being German engineered, the SC305s are well and truly over-built. The construction is first class. The cabinet is solid, with dual rear porting to avoid low end chuffing and the ribbon tweeter is well protected.
OVERALL: Ribbon speaker technology is not new, but it is rarely taken advantage of. What Eve has done with this and their entire range is give you the opportunity to listen to the difference in studio monitoring with the combination of ribbons and traditional drivers. The results speak for themselves, stunning!
SAMSON SR850 HEADPHONES
SHURE SRH940 HEADPHONES
PRODUCT TYPE: HEADPHONES DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY
PRODUCT TYPE: HEADPHONES DISTRIBUTOR: JANDS
RECOMMENDED FOR: A wide variety of uses. These headphones will work well in DJ environments, but are probably more suited for uses involving extended listening periods. Great for use with portable music players and even in the home studio when recording and overdubbing.
RECOMMENDED FOR: The SRH940s are designed for critical listening, to be used as a studio reference headphone. Not only can you use them for recording overdubs, but in mixing and mastering applications as well. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Put simply, these headphones sound amazing. Every detail of the track you are listening to is easily audible and any unwanted frequencies jump out, rather than being hidden behind and EQ curve designed to make your music sound pretty. You don’t get sugar coating; you get the truth from these headphones.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The SR850s offer a fairly balanced audio response. They are not too heavily inflated in the lower frequencies, making them ideal for studio use when you really want to hear what you are recording and playback needs to be clear and precise. USABILITY: Like many similar headphones, these shouldn’t be locked into just one category. Their usability far defies them restraints of just one purpose. They are lightweight and very comfortable to wear, so you will find yourself using them in more ways than one. CONSTRUCTION: The lightweight build is as much of an advantage as it is a concern. These are possibly not entirely suitable for use in live environments, but will work well in the studio. Put simply, don’t stand on them and you should be right.
USABILITY: Perfect for getting a different perspective on your mix in the studio. They allow you to better gauge how your mix is sitting on your studio monitors and help you pinpoint critical areas of the EQ that need attention. OVERALL: On a whole, the SR850s are comfortable headphones that don’t stress the ears after extended listening periods. The cable is long enough for most uses, but not so long it becomes a nuisance and the threaded tip adaptor allows them to be used with a variety of devices.
PRIMACOUSTIC RECOIL STABILIZER RX9-HF
CONSTRUCTION: Like all Shure headphones, these are built solid. They are incredibly comfortable and come with two detachable cables (one straight and one curly) with a locking design to ensure they are properly attached to the unit.
PRODUCT TYPE: ACOUSTIC TREATMENT DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Recording studios, home hi-fi enthusiasts and audiophiles.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Available in Beige, Black and Grey this is perfect for sound proofing your recording studios, home studios, mix and broadcast facilities and home theatre rooms.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: These aren’t something that have a ‘sound’ themselves, rather they should be something that lets you hear your speakers with increased clarity and less resonant frequencies. The recoil stabiliser cuts vibration frequencies between the speaker and stand/shelf/base and reduces physical speaker movement from lower frequencies making for clearer bottom end and less transient and resonant frequencies.
OVERALL: I love these headphones. They don’t overheat your ears. They offer you a delicate response that picks up all the elements of your music and they come packaged in a nifty zipper hard case to protect them when not in use, which will be very infrequent occasions.
PRIMACOUSTIC LONDON 8 ROOMKIT
PRODUCT TYPE: ACOUSTIC TREATMENT DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Versatile enough that you can place these panels to maximise your layout without being restricted to a certain format. Designed to address problems such as reflection, echo and standing waves the London 8 comes with a combination of 8 small panels and 4 larger panels to help treat your room.
USABILITY: Couldn’t be easier – place under your speakers which should already be set in their optimal and well balanced position. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
USABILITY: There is a very involved science to acoustic treatment and room design but the London 8 makes getting a start pretty simple. Easy to install and with plenty of recommended layout solutions depending on room shape and size you can start treating your setup very quickly.
CONSTRUCTION: High density urethane foam base with a steel plate and non slip neoprene surface make for a rugged yet light unit that can easily be moved and installed. OVERALL: Having a base that both reduces speaker movement and adds clarity to the lower end, a worthwhile investment for those wanting to get the most out of their speakers and audio experience.
CONSTRUCTION: Designed with sonic capabilities in mind the London 8 panels are made from glass wool with hardened edges with acoustically transparent fabric coverings.
OVERALL: Anyone from bedroom jammers to fully fledged studios can benefit from acoustic treatment to alleviate problem frequencies, extricate reflections and balance a room. Primacoustic’s London packs make this idea affordable and practical for those wanting to treat a room, be able to do this themselves and get a start without having to break the bank.
PRODUCT TYPE: HARDWARE DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who is using a computer for recording. Put simply, it is a must for all. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This handy little device will totally change the way you interface with your computer recording software. You will use the mouse considerably less and it will speed up your workflow. The transport controls are well thought out and the real time control of faders and knobs on screen is brilliant. USABILITY: This is one of the best designed controllers on the market. It integrates perfectly with just about any DAW and is easy to set up with auto mapping features ensuring you don’t spend too much time getting the product installed to suit your system. CONSTRUCTION: This unit is built like a tank. I have been using one for about four years now and the motorised fader still responds like it did when I first fired it up. The casing is solid and it doesn’t mind taking a few bumps when used in live setups either.
OVERALL: Basically, if you use your computer to record, you need one of these. It streamlines your workflow, allows for easy fader and pot automation and best of all, it has a motorised fader that is just damn cool to watch as it jumps around when you change channels.
1800 251 367
AUDIO PRODUCTS GROUP
(02) 9669 3477
(03) 9474 1000
(03) 9540 0658
1800 144 120
(02) 9582 0909
MUSIC LINK AUSTRALIA
(03) 9765 6565
NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS
1800 441 440
(03) 9693 5111
NO. 221 MIXDOWN
LP CAJON makes and it’s cleverly constructed of poplar ply wood. The top of the drum features a rougher, more textured surface to aid grip. This means you can sit a little towards the back of the drum to aid playability.
TIMBERIDGE TRC 4F ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Timberidge have burst onto the scene over the last year or so with a steady roll out of models in various shapes, specs and sizes covering quite a few price points. Their ‘4’ series guitars ‘embody all that is natural in the Timberidge range’ according to their website, let’s have a listen...
Firstly, this TRC 4F comes with a deluxe paisley case free. That’s right, free and its not just a flimsy carry bag it’s a plush lined hard case with funky paisley finish that almost looks like its been etched into the outer of the case. Crack the case open and you’ve got a semi acoustic guitar with cutaway featuring a solid cedar top, bubinga back and sides, mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. I must admit the bubinga looks very swish indeed with all sorts of lovely grain and is a nice contrast to the refined and lighter coloured top. Timberidge’s choice of gold diecast Grover machine heads is a good one also from both an aesthetic and technical view as they look great and feel and work super to boot. Timberidge have been a big fan of the B-Band electronics and again used them on the TRC 4F, this time in the form of the A3T pickup and preamp. A LITTLE TRC Aside from looking good the TRC 4F plays well too. Good intonation and action let you get around the
neck without cringing for those slightly iffy chords in the higher registers and the neck is a comfortable C shape with a nice slight taper towards the 12th fret. I really like the natural satin type finish on the neck as opposed to super glossy which often feels a little sticky to me. This natural satin also seemed to work well on the body combining with the body shape and woods for a woody, natural tone with plenty of lows and mids. Strummers or pickers will enjoy the volume and zing with the TRC 4F coming strung standard with D’Addario EXP long life strings. TIMBER! Timberidge are certainly offering plenty of models and seem more than happy to vary up the specs. As a result they’ve got some very good guitars at very affordable prices be it dreadnaughts, smaller bodied guitars, 12 strings and even minis. Factor in the included hard case, good setup and good playing guitar and they should be at the top of your list of guitars to check out for sure. BY NICK BROWN RRP: $699 Distributor: Jade Australia Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au
FEATURING… Other features on this model include adjustable front legs to provide more or less angle to get the drum where you want it and a sound hole at the rear of the drum to aid bass response. Another really great feature of this Cajon is the two strings that run the length of the drum. These provide the familiar sounds attributed to and they are easily adjustable via a standard drum key to allow the player to vary the sensitivity and provide more or less of the string sound. The playing surface itself is a very striking; smooth feeling burled wood and the outer sides of the drum is painted a matte black.
Sometimes, getting fancy can create too many options, possibilities and scenarios. Often the best way to get the job done to go with the simplest and most fuss free option is the way to go. I had a chance to have a play on this standard LP Cajon and straight up – it’s a pretty good thing. This drum simply just does its thing and gets on with the job. GET A GRIP Unlike the majority of popular Latin percussion instruments, the Cajon is overlooked. It’s a box, yes but no ordinary box. Particular construction ensures that when played correctly, you can mimic a drum set with solid bass and striking treble tones. You play the instrument by sitting on it with your legs apart and strike the front at varied positions based on your preference. Anyone wearing dresses may need to re-think the wardrobe before applying. This LP Cajon is the most basic forms the company
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT There’s actually quite a lot to like about this Cajon. There’s real depth to the bass notes and very easily attained. You can feel it through your body. The more slap sounds are a little harder to get at first but as you experiment, they are crisp and clear. Playing around with adjustable strings will allow the player to find a happy medium. I really enjoyed finding a rhythm and playing this Cajon. Simple idea – lots to love. The only thing is that because the strings run the length of the drum, the string sound is present always – bass or treble. Some players may prefer a Cajon that separates these sounds. I really didn’t mind though. Another attractive thing about the LP Cajon is that because it’s not the most expensive and crazy designed thing from LP, it’s also an affordable thing next to the others in the product range. If you’re getting into the game, this drum isn’t a bad way to go at all. BY ADRIAN VIOLI
RRP: Call for pricing Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
FRACTAL AUDIO SYSTEMS AXE FX II PREAMP AND FX PROCESSOR
Fractal Audio Systems burst onto the scene with the first release Axe FX a few years back and instantly made waves with its design, capabilities and sound. Becoming a high demand unit for bedroom guys to pros alike Fractal built on this processor and have now released the revamped Axe FX II, an all in one preamp/effects processor with a virtual collection of hundreds of vintage and modern amps, stomp box and studio effects and speaker cabs. With twice the processing power of its predecessor the II is fast becoming a favourite of players such as Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa, John Petrucci and Adrian Belew for both studio and live work. TOTAL RECALL Looking modern and slick the faceplate of the Axe FX II seems to have quite a bit going on but for us to get a start it’s just a matter of hitting ‘Recall’ and then spinning the ‘Value’ where you can flick through the factory presets. I found these to both highlight some of the whacky capabilities of the unit but also set you with some great sounding, usable tones as a start. Fat cleans with tasty verb and delays, crunchy thicker drive and more saturated distortions with compression and EQ boosts all sounded pretty darn realistic and the list
PG. 42 MIXDOWN NO. 221
of amps, speaker cabs and effects is super impressive. Fractal’s new ‘Virtual Vacuum Tube’ technology really seems effective here which aims to increase the level of realism, complexity and response to reproduce the depth and detail of a tube amp. It would then seriously take five issues to go into any depth regarding the amount of editing and processing power you have at your fingertips with the Axe FX II but be aware that you have a truck load of options with some of my faves being the Wrecker, 65 Bassguy and Buttery amps, Digital Mod delay, Fat Rat, Pi Fuzz, Crystals and Rotary effects. But to be honest I didn’t come across anything bad sounding at all and its probably more a case of what you’d use or need that’s then going to prick your ears up. Of course I also need to mention that you’ve got a tonne of i/o connectivity for plugging into FOH, incorporating in guitar rigs, recording, editing presets, full range PA setups and plenty more. ANY WAY YOU WANT IT A combination of effects and preamps, I found the Axe FX II to be as complicated or easy as you like (after some initial familiarisation - the manual is very well laid out and logical). Furthermore, with all this processing power
you are open to so many applications and possibilities. Plenty of guys are just using it as an effects processor and even part of a bigger rig incorporating it with other rack effects, preamps and even separate amps whilst others are making it their all in one type rig. The fact that you have modelling onboard means you can use the Axe Fx II direct to FOH eliminating the need for backline amps which can be a plus when big rigs can’t always be transported or you don’t trust the rental amps. So if you’ve spent the time getting your sounds together in the first place you’re still then assured of your tone out front even if you’re monitoring is a little below par. Studio use is another goer with so many effects available and you can set them up straightforward and drop in as needed or really get your hands dirty and edit intricate parameters, use midi signals or change the actual effects chain. AND MY AXE Now with the Axe FX II Fractal have continued their amazing work with a huge selection of sounds. Classic amp types from black and silver face, British grunt, American clean through to hot rodded and a heap of boutique choices give you so much scope to work with
as a base. Then work in your speaker cab and effects and you can literally tweak for days and days. And the best thing is that it sounds great - warm and responsive and quite natural. Yes you miss the speakers thumping, air moving and nuances of valve amps, stomp boxes and everything in between but modelling and its integration is really starting to move in leaps and bounds. So the Axe FX II is one clever, good sounding unit. As mentioned earlier it’s right at home in the studio or on stage, sounds damn good in its own right but then thanks to its combination of sounds and modelling can be a scaled down touring rig or backup to your bigger amp based setup (although it sounds so good you’d probably want to incorporate it into your rig anyway). BY NICK BROWN
RRP: $2679 Distributor: Independent Music Phone: (07) 3852 1116 Website: www.independentmusic.com.au
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HEAR IT NOW AT www.fractalaudio.com | www.fractalaudio.com.au
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HAGSTROM VIKING DELUXE ELECTRIC GUITAR
STERLING BY MUSIC MAN S.U.B. AX3 ELECTRIC
The Sterling By Music Man S.U.B Series family of instruments are designed to provide a new level of quality, features and value for the beginning or intermediate player. Part of this philosophy includes using established (and very player-friendly) Ernie Ball Music Man designs such as the Silhouette and Axis as the basis for budget-priced guitars. AXIS TO GRIND The AX3 is based on the Axis, which itself is based on the original Edward Van Halen signature model made by Music Man for a few years in the early 90s. When Edward departed the company for Peavey, a few changes were made to the guitar’s design and the Axis has been a popular guitar ever since. The S.U.B. Series version uses a solid hardwood body (they don’t specify which hardwood) topped with a bound quilt maple image top. If you inspect it up close you’ll see that it’s not actually quilted maple, but it wouldn’t be fair to expect that at this price range, and most players will be happy with a quilt graphic that gives them most of the look but without the price tag. The neck and body are joined with the same five-bolt neck joint pattern found on the Sterling By Music Man Silo3. It’s an extremely stable system which prevents lateral movement of the neck in the pocket and also maintains greater wood-to-wood contact between the neck and body. Very clever and very functional. And the actual neck joint is sculpted to allow easier upper fret access. The maple neck itself features an asymmetrical carve: more rounded on the bass side, sloping down on the treble side, which orients the fretting hand more ergonomically whether you’re chording, shredding or doing something in between. The fretboard is also maple, and there are 22 medium frets for your noodling pleasure. The scale length is 25.5”. Electronics include two high output
humbuckers with an Axis-correct ‘zebra’ colour pattern, master volume and tone controls and a fiveway pickup selector switch which offers a range of humbucker and single coil tones. The bridge is a vintage-style tremolo with a two-point fulcrum pivot system. The bridge has a small area at the back to rest your palm while picking, although I don’t know of many players who rest their palm that far back on the bridge. MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE The tones aren’t quite as spectacular as the Silo3 (which has surprisingly good pickups) or the Axis (which has the same DiMarzios originally used in the Edward Van Halen model) but the AX3 does a respectably good job regardless, and the different pickup selection options are a great bonus. The EBMM Axis design itself very well to single coil tones, and this carries over very well to the AX3. Humbucker tones are perfectly usable although lacking in a bit of distinctiveness and depth. Playability is exceptional for this price range. All in all this is a very respectable budget guitar indeed. It doesn’t claim to be a $3500 instrument but it definitely punches above its weight and will make a fine first instrument and platform for new pickups down the road. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $495 Distributor: CMC Music
Sweden’s Hagstrom began making electric guitars in 1958, at a time when Europe was desperate for the kind of electric guitar variety available to American musicians. The company was there at the right place at the right time to capitalize on the existing visual style from its successful accordion line, with eyecatching features like sparkly and pearloid celluloid finishes. Hagstrom users over the years include Elvis, Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe, Dusty Hill and the Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Pat Smear from Nirvana and Foo Fighters, Dweezil Zappa, Frank Zappa (who created an advertising campaign for the company), David Bowie, and Franz Ferdinand guitarist Nicholas McCarthy. I AM A VIKING The Viking bears some similarities to certain Gibson and Guild designs, but Hagstrom’s strong visual style and idiosyncratic design features make this far from a copy guitar. But first the basics: the body is a semihollow contoured ply maple. The neck is glued in and is made of Canadian hard maple, and the fretboard is Hagstrom’s Resinator material, a synthetic product which reacts in a similar way to ebony. The neck is fitted with Hagstrom’s proprietary H-Expander truss rod, a very sturdy design which ensures that the thin neck isn’t put under any undue stress by the string tension. Controls consist of a separate volume and tone for each of the two Hagstrom HJ-50 humbucker pickups, and a three-way pickup selector mounted to the treble side cutaway. The finish on the review model is an elegant and plain white, although various other colours are available, as is a lefty version. HOW SWEDE IT IS The HJ-50 humbuckers have a vintage tone and
output which reminds me of Seymour Duncan 59s or Seth Lovers - that airy yet smooth, midrangey tone of classic ‘50s guitars rather than the hotter, thicker sound we associate with modern humbuckers. The bridge pickup has a warm, caramelly kind of character which is great for overdriven open chords or jangly clean rhythms. It never gets harsh, nor does it become muddy. It’s great with higher overdrive levels too, especially if you’re into Larry Carlton fusion. The neck pickup has that ‘juicy’ vibe you often get from Gibson SGs and the like. It responds very differently when you dig in with the pick compared to if you play softly, and again this seems to bring out those jazzpop Carlton-esque soloing styles. Playability is great, and the neck is deceptively fast. It’s a real pleasure to play, whether you’re playing indie arpeggios, classic rock pentatonics, Alex Lifeson style prog or even Foo Fighters hard rock. The Viking Ultra may look and sound traditional, but it plays extraordinarily well like a more modern guitar. Even shredders will feel at home with it. And the pickups sound great. Hagstrom really nails it with this one: a semi-hollow that almost anyone can get something out of. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: Call for pricing Distributor: Australasian Music Supplies Phone: (03) 9549 1500 Website: www.austmusic.com.au
STERLING BY MUSIC MAN S.U.B. SILO3 ELECTRIC
Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au
MARTINEZ MFS-55CE ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Another guitar from the new Martinez ‘Southern Star’ Series is the MFS-55CE. For those wanting something a little smaller than a dreadnaught in body size the MFS-55CE is a thinner solid top acoustic/electric with a more rounded modern body shape. Pickers, strummers, alternate tuning guys and a host of others on a budget should take a look at this inexpensive new cutaway from Martinez. JACKED UP With solid cedar top, mahogany back, sides and neck and a rosewood bridge the MFS-55CE is a good looking guitar and comes in a satin finish which works nicely too. A mention also has to go to the sound hole rosette/inlay which along with the darker back and sides and lighter top gives you the feeling of a guitar much, much pricier. Again coming in one of Martinez’s paisley hard cases (which comes included free!) they have put together a stand out package as a start without playing a note. A semi acoustic guitar the MFS-55CE also comes equipped with the ACUS4TR Preamp, pickup and tuner giving you a stable, easy to use setup electronics wise. The control panel of which has sliders for bass, middle, treble and presence, a volume control, phase button, low battery LED and tuner. You also get both mic and jack inputs on the base of guitar and the whole system runs from a 9 volt battery. WOODEN, IT BE NICE Although a slightly smaller bodied instrument you’ve
PG. 44 MIXDOWN NO. 221
still got plenty of projection and volume with the MFS-55CE. I found the tone to be quite balanced if not a little more mid and tops focussed - as happens with smaller body shapes, often losing a bit of bottom end. For the price it really is a good guitar however with the combination of woods still sounding natural and crisp and the ability to plug in with good EQ possibilities is a big plus. Intonation was good straight out of the case giving you the confidence to move around the neck and use the full range of the instrument without any nasty tuning issues and the standard die cast tuners seemed more than fine making for a solid guitar both build and tuning wise. I like the size and feel of the MFS-55CE and one thing I’ve always noticed is that every Martinez guitar that’s come through this office has been setup beautifully with good intonation, smooth fret edges and looks as though it’s been thoroughly inspected before leaving the factory which isn’t always the deal with other brands. A nice playing smaller bodied semi acoustic with included hard case at a good price. BY NICK BROWN
RRP: $499 (with free deluxe case) Distributor: Jade Australia Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au
The Silo3 is based on the Ernie Ball Music Man Silhouette, a workhorse guitar that has proved itself popular in hard rock and fusion circles for decades. And it’s even been seen in the hands of one Mr. Keith Richards from time to time too. It offers much of the tonal muscle of a really nice Strat but with certain ergonomic tweaks. The Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Silo3 is a budget priced version of the Silhouette. I AM THE MUSIC MAN The Silo3 has a solid hardwood body - they don’t specify what hardwood, but it’s nice to know that it’s not plywood, which has a bad reputation in solidbody electrics - and a solid maple neck with a maple fretboard. The body features the characteristic bevelling of the Silhouette, with all sharp edges eliminated, and the neck has the same 4/2 split tuner design. From a distance you’d be hard pressed to differentiate it from the USA-made, far costlier version. The body and neck are joined via the popular Music Man designed five-bolt neck joint, and the neck heel is contoured and rounded over for easy and comfortable access to the higher frets. The back of the neck is asymmetrical: it’s slimmer on the treble side and thicker on the bass side, for effortless movement as you zip around the neck. It’s surprisingly thick if you’re used to thin Dean, Jackson or Ibanez necks, but the asymmetrical carve keeps it from feeling like a huge club. The frets are medium, and the finishing is okay but not spectacular. They could do with a little rounding. The fretboard width feels pretty narrow, and it’s especially great for small hands. The pickguard features two high output single coils and one overwound humbucker, connected to a five-way pickup selector switch and master volume and tone pots. The bridge is a vintage style (ie: non locking) unit with two-point fulcrum operation.
GET ‘BUCKED The bridge humbucker claims to be overwound on the spec sheet but it feels more like the lower end of ‘medium’ to me. There’s plenty of articulation and detail, and a nice rounding off of the high end which makes it very nice for soloing and for clean tones, but it’s not a very distinctive pickup. The neck pickup is a little flat-sounding too - not bad, but not spectacular. The middle single coil, though, has a nice scooped quality which pairs nicely with either the neck or bridge pickup, and it’s great for really digging in on blues solos or for playing jangly indie riffs. The narrow fretboard width may make certain shredding styles feel a little cramped, but otherwise this is a very ergonomically considerate guitar. Tuning stability is okay, the controls are easy to reach and the weight feels nice - the neck is a little heavier than the body, but not distractingly so. PUT YOUR MONEY ON THIS WORKHORSE Overall this is a pretty fine take on the Silhouette. It recreates many of its charms - the bevelling, the pickup combination, the general neck feel - and does so in a very affordable price bracket. With a pickup swap it’d be a very respectable backup for a more advanced player, but for a beginner or intermediate player it’s pretty much spot on. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $395 Distributor: CMC Music Phone: (02) 9905 2511 Website: www.cmcmusic.com.au
ENGL RETRO TUBE 100 ELECTRIC GUITAR AMP
PLANET WAVES MODULAR SNAKE SYSTEMS
As your home studio grows, you will no doubt have the need for more and more cables running around the room. But, there is nothing worse than having loose cables going all over the place, getting tangled amongst one another and creating unwanted noise with poor cable quality and interference from data and power leads. This is where Planet Waves comes to party to make your life easier, your studio neater and your signal path quieter. With their modular snake system, you can run looms around your studio and fit the right ends to suit your needs and keep your studio functional. THE CABLE The modular snake system starts with a core cable that gives you eight individually shielded channels of pristine quality audio cabling. Each end of the cable is terminated with DB25 connectors to integrate with the rest of the system. The multi-core cable is not only tough and hard wearing, but it still offers plenty of flex throughout its length, allowing it to be fed around your studio equipment neatly and effectively without fear of causing harm to the cable or signal within. These core cables are available in a variety of lengths so you can make use of them in any space. THE OPTIONS The real beauty of this cable system comes when you get to the connectors. There is a wide variety of options that connect to the DB25 terminals and turn these cables into a workable solution for your studio.
You can choose from all sorts of options including the some of the more popular breakouts like XLR, TRS or Bantam connections. Each breakout connector is wired with oxygen free copper conductors to ensure a high quality audio signal and they are all fitted with gold plated Amphenol connectors, a name that is synonymous with quality in the audio world. In the event that you cannot find a connector combination that you require in a pre-prepared breakout cable, Planet Waves even offers a connector free breakout. With extra length on the bare cables, you are able to choose your own connectors and solder them on yourself. This makes the Planet Waves modular system one of the most versatile and easy to use audio snakes for the home studio. With quality cables that offer excellent audio transfer, and a wide range of options to suit any setup, there is now no reason to have you leads running around the floor, getting tangled and attracting interference from unwanted sources. Get your signal path sorted out and get it into a Planet Waves modular snake. BY ROB GEE
RRP: $35-$130 (Breakout), $70 (TRS), $110 (XLR) Distributor: D’Addario Australia Phone: (03) 8761 6293 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ENGL is well known for their metal-friendly amps, which have been used by hard-hitting players like Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, Matt Bachand of Shadows Fall, Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Chris Broderick of Megadeth. They also have their fair share of hard rock users: guys like KISS’s Paul Stanley, Deep Purple’s Steve Morse, Bumblefoot, Duff McKagan, Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell. And of course Australian guitar goddess Orianthi. But with the Retro Tube 100 E765, ENGL is stepping into an area they’re not so known for: vintage-voiced, retroinspired amps. FACE OFF The Retro Tube 100 has two channels: Channel One is designed for clean sounds from sparkly to warm, and extending all the way up to crunchier tones. Channel Two is more of an overdrive channel, but it doesn’t aim to be a high-gain megamonster. There’s a Gain Boost switch for both channels, a Bright switch for the clean channel, Tone switch for the lead channel, separated Gain and Volume controls for each channel, two three-band EQs (Low, Mid and High), Noise Gate with threshold adjust for the lead channel with gain boost on, and an effects loop which can be adjusted to either serial or parallel configuration (ie: it applies effects to the entirety of your signal in serial mode, or splits the signal to go through effects and rejoin the main sound in parallel mode). The 100 watt master section contains four EL34 tubes, which are known for their loose low end and rich midrange quality. The preamp contains four ECC83 tubes (that’s 12AX7s, if you prefer the American labelling). The speaker outputs cater to 1x4, 1x8, 1x16, 2x8 or 2x16 Ohm cabinets. One particularly nice touch is that the Retro Tube 100’s face plate can be replaced for a different look. It’s a little fiddly to replace, but it is doable by the average user - you don’t need a tech to do it. Just make sure you switch the amp off at the mains first or you might get a bit crispy. The
amp arrived with the Rocking Red faceplate installed, although Shadow Black and Vintage Vanilla are also included in the box. RETROACTIVE First up, the Retro Tube is a great ‘clean humbucker’ amp. This isn’t always true of vintage-voiced amps: often they seem much more at home with P-90s or single coils when you want pure clean tone. But the humbucker cleans here are ringing and atmospheric in an almost ‘80s goth/new romantic’ way. And it’s also great for AC/DC rhythm and expressive single note lines. The dirty channel is capable of some pretty damn heavy tones, especially with high output humbuckers (check out YouTube for a killer video of Ola Englund using one for some full-on djent riffage). But it’s happiest when pumping out classic rock, hard rock and blues rock riffs and solos. It drives very nicely with a clean boost in the front end. If you’re a ‘single humbucker and a Floyd Rose’ kind of player who likes to ride the volume knob, you’ll love the Retro Tube 100’s responsiveness. But ditto if you’re after heavy rhythm tones with active EMGs. It’s kind of funny that an amp designed to be a more retro take on tone is still so great at heavy, chunky, aggressive sounds. But the Retro Tube 100 really is capable of some nice vintage cleans, musical crunch tones and expressive solo voices too. But I guess the metal branch doesn’t fall very far from the brutal-tree. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $3600 Distributor: Intermusic Distribution Phone: 1300 005 319 Website: www.imd.com.au
BEHRINGER X32 DIGITAL MIXING CONSOLE Behringer have come a long way since they first began in 1989. I can remember Behringer catalogues form mid ‘90s that were no more than a handful of pages containing just a select number of live and studio mixing consoles and effects processors, all bearing fairly hefty price tags too. Since then, they have developed into a company that offers musicians, engineers and recording artists just about everything at prices that seem almost too low to be sustainable. But with recent market shifts and Behringer acquiring Midas, the well known console manufacturer, there has been a shift in the design and quality of Behringer products in the last twelve months. Many people saw this as the possible demise of the quality in Midas consoles, but what has eventuated is the designers at Midas lifting the quality of Behringer mixers substantially and introducing new concepts into the Behringer range. With that, we have now been presented with the X32, a 32 channel, 16 bus digital mixing console that takes the technology of Midas and the bulk production of Behringer to new realms.
quality reverbs and eight 31 band EQs all at the same time, allowing you to keep your signal within the desk and not need any external equipment to get the mix done in most circumstances. There is just so much going on in this beast, it would take this entire magazine for me to tell you all about it. This represents a new era in design from Behringer and brings them back to being a serious contender for live sound installations and large PA rigs. There is an optional digital snake and stage box as well as monitoring systems to integrate with the X32, making it a total mixing solution. Best of all, as you would expect from Behringer, it comes in at well below the price of similarly spec’ed digital consoles on the market and benefits from Behringer’s new extended warranty terms.
AMAZING CONTROL This is a true digital mixing bus that is reminiscent of previous Midas consoles, but with the Behringer logo and price tag. It features 32 XLR inputs, 25 motorised faders, LCD scribble strips on all channels, a large colour screen, iPhone docking and remote control via iPad with the specially designed app. That is just a few of the features, there is so much going on with this unit, it allows real control over the inputs from the console or
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remotely and acts as a 32 channel audio interface at the same time. It has 16 XLR outputs and a host of other line level ins and outs to integrate with existing hardware. For anyone who knows the microphone preamps on recent Midas console, you will be glad to hear that the Midas team has designed the preamps featured in the X32 as well, so all input channels have the quality of sound that we have all been waiting for in a Behringer desk. Each of these preamps is fully programmable, so you can automate control over all the settings and recall sessions in a snap.
BIG, BOLD AND BRIGHT Once set up, and it takes a couple of people to do it properly as this is no small desktop mixer, the X32 fires up with a flurry of colour as the system initialises and the unit comes to life. All buttons and pots are illuminated for ease of use in dark environments and the motorised faders snap into place with a speedy and silent assurance. Not only do you get the 16 bus mixing capabilities of a digitally routed console, but the X32 also has a fully featured effects section allowing you to run a virtual rack of effects processors to all you channels. You get up to eight stereo effects units, four
Sure, not everyone reading Mixdown is going to jump up and run out to get one of these. It is designed for a very specific market, but for those of you who are contemplating a large format live mixer, you need not be scared off by the price of digital consoles anymore. Get down to your local dealer and have one of the trained staff give you a run through of the X32, that way you too will be able to get an idea of its real potential and get your hands into it so you can feel and hear the quality that Behringer are now delivering. BY ROB GEE
RRP: $4900 Distributor: Galactic Music Phone: (08) 9204 7555 Website: www.galacticmusic.com.au
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URBANEARS ZINKEN HEADPHONES
AMPEG GVT5-110 ELECTRIC GUITAR AMP Baxandall’s original had two capacitors, but the more popular and simplified version only has one. It’s used in hi-fi audio equipment and in amplifiers and effects for musical instruments. Fun fact: an early version of the design in 1950 won Baxandall a $25 watch at the British Sound Recording Association.
Ampeg’s GVT 52-112 and GVT 15-112 combo amps are relatively simple compared to some ultraconfigurable amps out there, but they’re practically Skylab compared to the GVT5-110. This retro-looking little tone box is designed to deliver classic Ampeg tone in a portable combo format for rehearsals or small gigs, and it’s also pretty well situated as a recording amp too. Let’s look closer. BACK TO BASICS The GVT5-110 offers two power modes: 5 watts or 2.5 watts. It’s a 1X10” Celestion-loaded openback combo with a simple little tube setup: a single 12AX7 in the preamp and one 6V6GT in the power amp. Rectification is solid state, and the amp’s also available in a head version. The GVT5-110 features the legendary and highly interactive Baxandall EQ circuitry, which allows for a wider range of possible tones. Controls are simple: Volume, Treble and Bass. There are plenty of speaker output options: 1 x 16 ohm, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 4 ohm. The cabinet itself is an open-back unit made of void-free 15mm plywood. It’s not overly heavy. A little about the Baxandall circuit: this was designed by audio and electronics engineer Peter J Baxandall (1921-1995), and published in Wireless World in 1952. There are two versions:
PUNCH! There’s no effects loop or reverb so you won’t get a hugely ambient sound out of the GVT5-110 unless you use processing at the mixing desk or with pedals, but that’s okay: what it does especially well is deal out very direct, punchy tone. Max everything out (careful - it’s loud despite being only 5 watts) then back the Volume off just a hair so the speaker and cabinet aren’t too taxed, and you’ll get a tone almost like a silicon Fuzz Face: trebly, bitey, barky and punchy, with a chewy, fizzy quality to the high midrange. Bring everything back to halfway and you’ll get a nice clear clean tone with gently attenuated treble, full but not boomy bass and a slightly boxy midrange. It’s actually quite surprising how versatile this little amp can be. Sure, it’s not a multi-featured channel-switcher, but it has plenty to offer, whether you’re looking for sparkly cleans, punchy crunch or fuzzy grit. It’s quite interactive, displaying and enhancing the differences between the low-output mini humbuckers on my Taylor compared to the Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers in my Les Paul, the 57/62 single coils in my Strat and the DiMarzio Gravity Storms in my Ibanez RG550, rather than making every guitar sound the same as with some small amps. YOU DO THE DRIVING The GVT5-110 is a very unassuming but very flexible amplifier, and part of the reason for this flexibility is because it’s so simple: it puts the pressure on the player themselves to coax tonal variation out of their technique and their guitar, rather than putting too much trust in the amplifier to do all the hard work. BY PETER HODGSON RRP: $599 Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
For those of you have not heard of them, yet, let me introduce you to Urbanears. These guys are paving the way for fashionable headphone and earphones that actually sound as good as they look. So, don’t just write these off as a fashion statement, they are actually a really well designed set of headphones. Plus they come in a great array of colours like pumpkin, rust, indigo, mocca, tomato and most definitely teal. BOLD SOUND These headphones are designed with the fashion conscious DJ in mind. Not only do they work well in a DJ environment, but for home listening use and with some handy features, as a day to day MP3 aid. Don’t let the compact design of these headphones fool you. They deliver a powerful bass kick that will keep just about any DJ satisfied and a sparkling top end that brings even MP3 files to life... somehow. I have tried more pairs of headphones this month than most people do in a lifetime and these ones really surprised me. I was not expecting the quality of sound that they delivered to bellow into my ear drums. Being compact in design, the Zinkens are built to a high standard that will see them stand up to the rigours of DJ lifestyle or everyday listening uses and the replaceable cable alleviates any concern for wear and tear. CLEVER DESIGN Just about everyone suffers from never having the right adaptor for their headphones to go with a certain device. Sure, you get supplied with one when you buy them, but that usually gets lost in about a week and can never be
found when you really need it. The Zinken headphones have solved that problem for good with a reversible cable that can be connected into two different fittings on the headphones. One end has a stereo 6.5mm connector and the other has a three way 3.5mm connector for stereo sound and microphone input. This means you will always have the right sized connection for your device without needing an adaptor. Just turn the cable around and you’re set. With the 3.5mm end in use, you can take advantage of the handy microphone built into the cable, making them ideal for use with smartphones. A function button is located on the cable alongside the microphone for use in this instance, but it does not have any effect if accidentally initiated when in use without a microphone wired device. These sound great and look the part too. Obviously, Urbanears are going for a decided aesthetic with the design of these. Their entire range of headphones and earphones has been purpose built to match your lifestyle. You many even want to get a few pairs, that way you will be able to accessorise with your choice of clothing for the day or even find a pair that matches your fixie. BY ROB GEE
RRP: $249 Distributor: Amber Technology Phone: 1800 251 367 Website: www.ambertech.com.au
YAMAHA PSR E433 KEYBOARD
With the entire PSR range from Yamaha getting an overhaul in the last year, it was only a matter of time before they got to the E423 and gave it the facelift it so deserved. With that, Yamaha have now presented us with the PSR-E433, the latest and greatest version of this keyboard that has grown and developed over the last decade to represent not only great value for money in the middle of the PSR range, but also a keyboard that really packs in the extra features that the lower prices ones are lacking. What this reminds me of almost is some of the keyboards Yamaha were producing four or five years back at about twice the price, but the PSR-E433 features even more tricks and newer sounds.
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BLACK IS BACK The most noticeable difference at first glance is that the PSR-E433 has undergone a thorough facelift with a new layout and a black and grey facia that gives it a more menacing look to the previous model. This keyboard now longer wants to be seen as a toy, but as a serious piece of equipment. But, it is not like Yamaha to simply change the colour of a keyboard and release it as a new model. No, they have to give us far more than that or it wouldn’t be worth doing. The sound bank has gotten an overhaul with new sounds added included new voices from their “Cool!” and “Sweet!” sound sets found in higher priced Yamaha models. In all, you get a staggering 731 sound to make use of and 186 varieties of styles for accompaniment, including styles from all parts of the world.
NEW TRICKS To make the most of these new sounds in the PSR-E433, Yamaha have introduces a pattern function that allows you to access all number of loops and beats and trigger them as you play, making the unit behave more like a modern DJ sampling system. You can then make use of the real time control knobs to adjust selectable parameters and bring you performance to life. This keyboard is designed to be a step up from the beginner PSR models and takes you into the realm of live performance, rather than just being designed as a learning tool. The 61 note keyboard is complemented with the addition of a pitch bend wheel to further allow you to improvise with your sounds and make them your own. A USB to device port is included on the rear of the unit which allows you save song settings to a USB
device and load previously store settings back into the keyboard. PC connectivity is also available via USB, with the old standard 5 pin DIN MIDI connection being left behind to make way for new avenues. In all, there are too many features to mention here, so the best option would be to get down to a Yamaha keyboard dealer and give one a test run. BY ROB GEE
RRP: $499 Distributor: Yamaha Australia Phone: (03) 9693 5111 Website: au.yamaha.com
MARTINEZ MS-44CE ACOUSTIC GUITAR
DIMARZIO THE ANGEL PZ DP233 PICKUP
Dimarzio have been a leader in the pickup world for a long while. With a range of models for electric guitar and bass - single coils, humbuckers, soap bars, mini humbuckers, 7 and 8 string, active, passive and acoustic. The Angel pickup system was launched in 2011 and now we see an off shoot of this model and the PZ as a ‘standalone under saddle’ pickup system. This type of pickup/preamp system can be fitted to you existing acoustic guitar leaving your fundamental tone alone and giving you the ability to amplify it when needed and staying out of the way when not in use. IN THE SADDLE Designed with steel string acoustic guitars in mind The Angel combines a few elements being the pickup(s) and the electronics. As the original system was so popular Dimarzio have released just the under saddle pickup in this the format - the ‘PZ’. Mounting in the strap pin end of your guitar and with the Shadow nanoflex under the saddle of the bridge it’s a reasonably unobtrusive system that won’t eat into your guitar to have installed. Via the preamp you then have a volume control that mounts the underside of your sound hole again remaining fairly incognito but easily accessible for quick adjustments.
EASY PZ Thanks to the built in preamp you alleviate the need for an external amp making it great for live work plugging straight into a DI or mixer and recording can too benefit from running a line out of the pickup as well as mic’ing up your guitar for later blending. Dimarzio have really laid their credentials on The Angel and market it as an ‘open, natural’ sound that is perfect for everything from ‘fingerpicked bluegrass to jazzy instrumentals’, and it does exactly this. Nanoflex technology from Shadow is quite significant in itself as it works to pick up the vibration of the strings and the actual instrument making for a high degree of fidelity in sound and operation. Ripper! BY BIG WILLY TEASLE
RRP: $239 Distributor: Australasian Music Supplies Phone: (03) 9549 1500 Website: www.austmusic.com.au
Martinez have well been adding to their range of instruments of late with both steel and nylon string acoustics of all shapes and sizes, mini guitars, lap steels, mandolins and banjos and more. Some further new additions to their acoustic guitar line also include the Southern Star series of solid top acoustic and semi acoustic guitars coming in a host of specs. After a dreadnaught semi acoustic? Read on... LE SPECS A dreadnaught styled instrument the MS-44-CE comprises a solid spruce top, flamed maple back, sides and neck, rosewood bridge, abs binding, gold diecast machine heads with black buttons and comes in a natural satin finish. Martinez have made a big deal of including as much as they can into their packages and this baby comes with their new favourite paisley hard case included in the price for free. Being a semi acoustic instrument the 44 features the ACUS-4TR pickup system which is a piezo pickup, preamp with bass, middle, treble, presence and volume controls as well as a phase switch and built in tuner. You also get the option of mic or jack output if you need more choice on the i/o front. 44 CALIBRE Aesthetically Martinez or on track again with the MS44CE - a good looking instrument that keeps the traditional dreadnaught shape and works it with nice grain timbers, an understated satin finish and a hint of bling with the paisley case. As a player you get the
solid dreadnaught feel that just needs to have a good set of open chords bashed out on it and a guitar with heaps of volume. Clean and clear the MS-44CE has good low end and a warm overall tone. You could sit back and pick, strum some open chords or finger pick to good effect and then have the option of plugging in when extra volume or sound reinforcement is required. Pickup wise you’ve got quite the range of control and should get you through most settings. BIGGIE SMALLS Another good player at a good price from Martinez. Sounds good - check, affordable - check, hardcase included - check, semi acoustic - check, setup and plays well - check. Pretty much speaks for itself there and I think the fact that a hardcase (not a flimsy little carry bag) is included - bonus! Whilst it might not have the absolute depth and harmonic content of a boutique handmade guitar the MS-44CE carves a nice little spot for itself in the factory line budget ended guitars with looks, feel and sound that more than justify its price. BY NICK BROWN
RRP: $499 (with free deluxe case) Distributor: Jade Australia Phone: 1800 144 120 Website: www.jadeaustralia.com.au
PERFECT SOUND. FROM EAR TO EAR.
Professional Quality Headphones
Professional Studio Headphones
Professional Quality DJ Headphones
Professional DJ Headphones
Reference Studio Headphones
Reference Studio Headphones
Professional Headphones From professional monitoring to personal listening, Shure headphones bring together dynamic high-performance audio with the unparalleled build quality. A closed-back design minimises background noise, while the lightweight construction provides sustained comfort that makes them ideal for any listening experience, whether on the street, in the DJ booth, or in the recording studio. Learn more about the series of Shure Professional Headphones at www.jands.com.au
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YOU ROCK MIDI GUITAR
LP ANGLED CAJON WHAT’S THE DEAL? Cajon’s by nature require the player to sit on the top of the instrument and adjust their body to gain access to the sound surface. LP have applied a simple idea to a regular Cajon to combat the ever need to be comfortable. The drum itself has an angled playing surface that allows the player to instantly fall into a more natural playing position from the word go. At first I thought this was just a bit of marketing but it actually worked and felt great. So far so good. Then LP have given us some other cool as features. First there’s the construction with a very cool burled “Takean Tong” wood sound board, sound hole at the rear and a textured seat surface to prevent you slipping off. There’s also the ability to adjust the sound board by changing the tension of the screws. More on this below.
Most percussionists and drummers have come across a Cajon once or twice. There are often a great thing to look at and surprise everyone with how much sound comes out and how playable and versatile they really are. When the odd gig where ‘drums aren’t allowed’ comes up, the majority of players will default to congas and bongos or the like. The Cajon gets somewhat overlooked, which is a shame because here is a good Cajon that can really fill the gap on those gigs if you’re so inclined – the Angled Cajon from percussion gurus LP. PLEASE EXPLAIN In essence, Cajon translates to “crate”; “drawer” or more appropriately “box” in Spanish. Cajons are made from wood (which can vary) and often feature some internal wires or strings to aid in providing more treble or slap sounds (which can also vary). These remarkable instruments can simulate a drum kit better than any other percussion type instrument.
SOUND ANGLE Where this Cajon gets cooler is inside, which features a row of three, short cut snare wires (as in from a snare drum) lining the top of the Cajon. When struck this provides a sharp snap that is perfect for back beat work and accents. Accompany this with the remarkable bass notes from lower down the sound board and you have the perfect recipe for busting out some sick grooves – Flamenco or not. Perhaps the thing I like the most is unlike a conventional Cajon where you might have strings that run the length of the drum and sound for every stroke, the angled Cajon’s snares only really speak when you strike that area. So you can really differentiate between sounds. Very cool. Since there is an angle too, you end up with slightly more drum than normal, which really promotes more depth in the sound. Lastly, that adjustable sound board allows for choosing just how much of that snare you hear making it possible to really find the sound you’re after. Overall, this Cajon is killer. Fat and full with everything you’d need. Definitely worth a look. BY ADRIAN VIOLI
RRP: $289 Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
The first MIDI-capable guitars were giant clunkers with poor tracking and complicated setups. More recent technology is much better, but super-expensive and depending on what route you go down you could find yourself doing irreversible mods to your guitar. Not everyone wants a super tricked-out MIDI guitar for stage use, but it’d be very handy to have something in the studio that would make it easy to lay down keyboard parts without having to actually play keyboards. Enter the You Rock MIDI Guitar. IT’S A GUITAR, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT This is several instruments in one, when you get down to it: it’s a MIDI controller which operates like a guitar, with six strings, 22 frets (not buttons) like some other MIDI guitars) and a whammy bar. It’s also a controller for various guitar-based games out there. And it has its own sounds built in too, so you can plug it straight into an amp, mixer or headphones and hear a guitar, a piano, a sitar - whatever floats your boat and is stored in the instrument’s memory. The six equal-sized steel wires which take the place of strings only extend between the bridge and the base of the neck. From there you press down on one of six strings (actually raised surfaces on the fretboard). The response isn’t the same as a guitar: you can’t perform vibrato (but there’s a bar or a modulation stick for that), and the strings don’t vibrate and sustain the way regular guitar strings do (but the software compensates for that), and you’ll find yourself picking the treble strings way too softly at first (but your muscle memory will soon make up for that too). Outputs include a standard quarter inch guitar output jack, stereo mini headphone output, stereo line-in for MP3 players, iPods and the like, a high-speed USB/MIDI interface, a MIDI output with 5-pin legacy connector, and a GameFlex port which connects it wirelessly to Wii and PS3 consoles (Gameflex cartridge sold separately). It runs off either four AA batteries or USB power.
UNLEASH YOUR INNER KEYBOARD GOD The inbuilt synth sounds are good enough to mess around with through headphones or an amp, and they help to make this into an ideal practice instrument for travellers (it helps that you can take the neck off too for easy stowing). But the real magic comes when you plug it into a computer or MIDI sound module and start exploring. Even if you’re used to working with MIDI via a keyboard or the editing window in Garageband/Pro-Tools/Cubase/Logic/Studio-One etc, the You Rock MIDI Guitar opens up a whole new world of expressive possibilities. Once you’ve become accustomed to the playing quirks you’ll be able to lay down keys, wind and string instruments and even drum parts. And you can even use the You Rock MIDI Guitar to input data into a TAB program like Guitar Pro, which is very handy indeed. In fact, you can improvise something in Guitar Pro to get the TAB down then export that MIDI info to your DAW for further editing or sound reassignment. Very handy. A TOUGH SELL, BUT WORTH IT The You Rock MIDI Guitar will be a hard sell to some guitarists, since we’re so traditional, but it’s very much worth checking out and seeing what it can do, rather than dwelling on what it can’t, or expecting it to be exactly like a conventional guitar. It’s a really handy studio and practice tool, and very inexpensive for what it does. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $299 Distributor: National Audio Systems Phone: (03) 9761 5577 Website: www.nationalaudio.com.au
AMPEG GVT15-112 & GVT52-112 ELECTRIC GUITAR AMPLIFIERS Ampeg is well known for their legendary bass amps like the SVT, but that’s not all they can do. The J-20 guitar amplifier is pretty spectacular, and in the ‘90s they offered a hot rodded high gain amp designed by legendary tech Lee Jackson which actually had an ignition key so nobody else could use your amp. Today Ampeg offers the GVT15-112, a combo amp with a 12” speaker and classic Ampeg styling which will feel instantly familiar to anyone who has so much as glanced at an SVT. WHAT A NICE PAIR The GVT15-112 runs at 15 watts, switchable to 7.5 watts. The power section rocks a pair of 6V6GT tubes, while the preamp has a duo of 12AX7s. The rectifier is solid state. Controls are minimal: Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume and Reverb. There’s only one input (no Hi and Lo inputs here), and while the Power switch is fairly standard, there’s also a three-position Standby switch. The Center position is the Standby mode, but the top option is the full 15 watts and the Half option is 7.5 watts. The single 12” speaker is a Celestion, one of the most respected names in the speaker biz. The two button foot switch controls reverb and effects loop on/off. It’s sold separately or you can use any other compatible device. It’s a TRS jack so a wide range of two-button single-lead foot switches will work. The GVT52112 has two power modes (50 watts and 25 watts), two channels (Channel 1 is low to moderate gain, channel two is moderate to high gain), a solid state rectifier, three 12AX7s in the preamp, two 6L6CGs in the power amp, Baxandall treble, middle and bass controls and spring reverb. The speaker is a single 12” Celestion. The GVT-FS1 foot switch is included for channel switching and gain boost, but you’ll need the separately available GVT-FS2 two-button footswitch if you wish to turn the reverb and effects loop on and off remotely.
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GOT YOU ‘PEGGED The GVT15-112 looks like it might be a good solid state jazz amp - it just has that ‘I do consistent cleans’ vibe about its livery - it is most definitely a tube amp, as you’ll find out pretty quickly when you crank the Gain and Volume controls and lay in. Because it’s a 15 watt amp and can be dropped down to 7.5, you can get some great warm overdrive sounds at relatively neighbour-friendly volumes. And at a certain point these tones start to compress and punch. The treble can be controlled and corralled into a smooth, buttery texture, and the low end is just loose enough for the blues but just tight enough for dirty country. Humbuckers seem to compress a little further, while single coils have that classic vintage blues rock punch.
The reverb does a fairly good job too, and helps to add atmosphere and shimmer when you need to get all jangly. The GVT52-112 is the more flexible of the two, and it’s got plenty of power for live gigs. It also offers more modern tones than the GVT15-112. It won’t do scooped-mid death tones, but it will please plenty of metal players regardless. It’s also a very nice lead guitar amp, although the high end can be a little crisp at higher gain settings. The footswitchable gain boost adds a nice kick to both channels.
territory to what you might expect. They’re both very cool ways to add some classic Ampeg styling to your backline while exploring tones that you might not otherwise associate with the brand. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $1199 (52-112), $949 (15-112)
FRONTLINE BACKLINE These two amps are both very surprising offerings from Ampeg: they look very much like members of the Ampeg family yet they explore different sonic
Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
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LP LAPTOP CONGAS
LP BONGO CAJON sound is achieved by creating two different sized air spaces in the main body of the box. The more space the lower the sound and vice versa. The playing surface itself is smooth and has a nice feel.
Everyone knows what bongos are but Cajons aren’t as familiar. Often referred to as the ‘box’, a Cajon is literally a wooden box type instrument that with clever construction, features different pitches from very low to high, thus replicating the sound of a set of drums (for example bass and snare drums). The versatility of the Cajon has made it increasingly popular over the years and percussion leaders LP have been experimenting, as they do, and have come up with a hybrid instrument that actually mixes a bongo and a cajon. The results are interesting! OVERVIEW LP’s Bongo Cajon is an all wood, hollow construction shaped similar to that of a rectangle box. The idea is to have the playability and sound of a bongo without the weight and a little more convenience. The Bongo Cajon features tapered sides with a textured finish that provides grip so it can be held between the legs (ala regular bongos) and doesn’t slip when you strike it. This is a great idea as sometimes, a good quality set of bongos can be hard to hold properly as they are heavy and slip from your legs under heavy playing. I will say this instrument is easier to hold. The Bongo Cajon has two main playing surfaces at either end of the instrument providing a complimentary two pitches – high and low. The
SOUND The sound this instrument makes is pretty much how you might think given the description. In a nutshell, it really does sound like a bongo but a fraction more ‘boxy’. All the characteristics of a bongo carry over from slaps to pops. If anything, I found it a little softer in volume than your average bongo and slightly harder to extract the best sound immediately. This said; you would have to play around a bit to accustom your hands to the new idea of hitting wood rather than skins. I didn’t have any issues with the idea of this though as usually a correctly tuned bongo has skins that become a very hard playing surface indeed. Hence why they sound the way they do. Now, some of you may be sceptical (as I was at first) but let’s look at the facts. Here we have a very, very simple percussion instrument that requires no maintenance or tuning, is super lightweight, sounds great acoustic or would be great through a microphone. It even features a side handle, which is a cut out allowing you to easily carry it or you can use the complimentary gig bag too. As I said, I was sceptical too, but actually found the Bongo Cajon fun to play and see where it may fit into the world of Latin percussion. Even if you just needed to have something on hand to use whenever and wherever the LP Bongo Cajon could just be it. It’s well worth a look. BY ADRIAN VIOLI
RRP: Call for pricing Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
When musicians think about good percussion instruments, LP usually comes to mind first. Players of the past have used their products and players of today rely on them. As of late, LP have stretched the boundaries and showcased some and exciting innovations. One of these is the new Laptop Cajon. CAJON YOU SAY? More often than none, musicians are familiar with the more popular Latin percussion instruments – Congas and Bongos. Another fantastic instrument often overlooked is the Cajon. This basically translates to ‘box’ in Spanish. Without going into too much detail, the essence of the Cajon is wood and not a skin or head in site. LP has teamed up with Valter Kinbom – experimented and come up with a true hybrid of instruments taking the concept of the box like Cajon and applied it to the Conga. With size and practicality in mind, enter the Laptop Conga. LOOK AT ME The Laptop Conga is constructed entirely of select plywood, shaped as a small, wide but thin rectangular box about the width of your legs with two distinct playing surfaces – as you’d find with a set of congas. In fact the box resembles a shape closer to bongos being quite compact. The upper, playing side features a smooth finish and the underside is more textured to provide grip on the legs. To aid playability, there’s a waist/leg strap that can be attached to the drum and then to the player to prevent slip. This works very well on the legs – not so good around the waist unless you can fit into a size 28 jean.
PLAYABILITY You’d think playing a wooden box on your lap wouldn’t be that exciting but you’d be wrong. This box actually sounds like a set of congas. There’s a surprising amount of depth to the sound – particularly the low pitch side. It requires a slight change in thinking and application of technique but get it right and all the slaps and pops you can do with a normal conga are there. Perhaps the sound is slightly softer than a regular conga but if you lay into it, the Laptop provides with sensitivity and a really musical sound. Overall, I like this thing. At first I admit I was sceptical about the notion of a new approach to a classic instrument but I think LP have nailed it. Some purists will never buy this instrument but that’s probably not a concern for it will be people that really need the practicality and portability of congas that will hand over their coins. Yes, LP has portable ‘absence of shell’ congas already in their range but this Laptop is so light and so easy, it’ll still hold its own for some. Mic it up and it’d really be a winner. BY ADRIAN VIOLI
RRP: Call for pricing Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
SONODYNE SM100AK MIDFIELD STUDIO MONITORS Sonodyne may not be a household name here in Australia, but for audiophiles, hifi enthusiasts and recording engineers in India it is somewhat of a bastion of greatness. This Indian company has proven itself over the years in its local market with its high end audio speakers and now studio monitors. Sonodyne is fast developing a name for itself outside of India as it moves into the world of studio monitors with big name producers and recording engineers taking to these speakers for their clarity and attention to detail. So, now it seems it is Australia’s turn to hear some to the Sonodyne magic as their speakers are now readily available on our shores.
produced by Trevor Horn that really shows you how good a pair of speakers can be. If you are not hearing anything, it is not the fault of the mix, but more likely a failing in your monitors to be able to produce the frequencies clearly and precisely. What I got to hear was just how I like to hear Horn’s production. The low end was tight and did tend to lag at all as it can with monitors that try to create a false bass response from their cabinet’s porting. The vocals jumped out from the mix, with the raspy tone of Seal’s vocals brought right to the forefront of the mix. Snare drums had the sharp attack that you want to hear from them and the cymbals just glistened. The transient response from these monitors is exceptional. All the percussive sounds could be heard in their entirety as the tweeter kept up with the attack of the notes with brilliant precision.
FIRST LOOK I was rather intrigued to get the somewhat large and heavy box home and get out the pair of SM100AK studio monitors I have for review. Immediately I was able to cast aside any aspersions I had about the quality of an Indian made product as I opened the boxes to find the speakers snugly held tight in a soft drawstring pouch for further protection. These guys really value their gear and you can see why when you get them on the desk. The SM100AKs are not the prettiest looking monitors going around, but they don’t need to be. It is all about the sound. But first glances aside, you could see how well these were assembled before even plugging them in. The amp block protrudes out the rear of the case for added cooling and through the vents you could see the inputs all mounted to the steel chassis and kept separate from the PCB for added strength. So, all looks pretty good, now comes the time to have a listen. BI-AMPED BEAUTIES It took a bit to get these set up as they are fairly heavy units, but this can really be seen as a sign of the high build quality. They’re rock solid sitting on the desk, not going anywhere with unwanted vibrations. The SM100AKs feature a 6.5” low frequency driver made from woven Kevlar and a 1” silk dome tweeter. With both drivers receiving 80 watts and 40 watts respectively, there is plenty of power behind them to allow them to be worked without driving the
PG. 52 MIXDOWN NO. 221
These speakers really did Trevor Horn a justice in their reproduction of his work. They didn’t seem to colour the sound at all, with the mid range being delivered just as you would expect it. It almost felt like you were hearing the tracks in the studio as they were being mixed. This clarity and transparent sound comes partly from the very clever cabinet design that sees no two sides running exactly parallel. It is all set at slight angles to reduce standing waves within the cabinet and so produces a more accurate picture of the sound you should be hearing. If this is what they are all using in India, I think I would like to get a gig in a Bollywood studio because these speakers sound fantastic. I was a little bit sceptical at first, but that has all been put to rest now that I have been able to hear the SM100AK monitors. Sonodyne are on a winner with these. I think we will be seeing, and hearing, more of them in the future. BY ROB GEE amplifiers too hard. The front panel includes two slotted style ports either side of the tweeter, allowing them to be positioned closer to the wall than other rear ported monitors of similar spec. These ports did well to relieve the cabinets of airflow when the units were driven without creating any audible chuffing from the lower
frequencies. With the power switch and the volume control on the front panel, it was easy to get them set to a comfortable level without having to dig around behind the housing. So, as is my normal practice, I got out a Seal CD and launched the SM100AKs on their maiden voyage. There is that certain something about any CD
RRP: $1399 (pair) Distributor: Sonic Frog Phone: (08) 8354 1115 Website: www.sonicfrog.com.au
TAYLOR GS MINI MAHOGANY ACOUSTIC
FISHMAN LOUDBOX ARTIST ACOUSTIC AMP also a global master volume, Aux Level for controlling the volume of a backing track, a Channel Mute button, Phantom 24V button, and an adjustable Tweeter volume. Around the back you’ll find a footswitch jack (Channel Mute and Effect B Mute), a pair of stereo auxiliary input jacks (1/4” and 1/8”), a post-mix DI output and a pair of effects loops and Pre-EQ DI outs for each channel.
Fishman’s Loudbox Mini is a cute little amp with a nice clear sound and lots of sonic flexibility. But some plalyers need a bit more oomph out of their acoustic amp, so now there’s the Loudbox Artist. This amp builds on the legacy of previous Loudbox amps like the Loudbox Mini and Loudbox 100, but it kicks it up a notch with more power and more features while still being lightweight and portable. WHAT’S IN THE BOX? The Loudbox Artist features two mic/instrument channels, each of which accepts both 1/4” or XLR input sources. They both have their own 10dB Pads and Clip LEDs. Both channels have their own gain controls, three band EQ and a notch filter and phase switch for feedback elimination. The Loudbox Mini had separate instrument and microphone channels, so it’s nice to see that each channel of the Artist can do both: you can plug in two mics, or two instruments, or two separate input sources such as a magnetic pickup and a piezo one, for example. Or you can use the mic input for vocals or for micing up your guitar while feeding the instrument input with a signal from your guitar’s pickup. Handy! There’s a dual digital effects section: Effect A has two reverbs, a delay and an echo, along with a Time control, while Effect B has two choruses, a flanger and Slap Echo, with a Depth control. Each instrument/mic channel has an Effect A Level control and an Effect B on/off button. There’s
I LIKE IT LOUD Obviously the tone of the Loudbox Artist will depend on the guitar you plug into it, but it certainly gives you plenty of flexibility to shape the tone and ambience of your sound. It’s great that the two effects sections are separate so you can vary the amount of delay while leaving slapback untouched, for example. And the effects are voiced very carefully to not be too overbearing. After all, if you’re using this amp you’re probably an acoustic player who wants maybe the occasional little bit of extra space or shimmer from their effects, rather than a full-out harmonizer-and-envelope-filter-with-backwards-delay freakout. It’s very hand to be able to mic up the guitar for body and ambience while also feeding the Loudbox Artist with a direct sound for attack. And the feedback controls are very clever: the Anti Feedback knob takes care of feedback in the lower range, while the Phase switch zaps it out in the higher range. THE ARTIST The Loudbox Artist is a very professional amplifier with enough volume for some pretty serious stage use, but the DI outputs and various input capabilities mean that even if you’re playing arenas you can get a lot of use out of it as a monitor and a tone shaping device. And the carefully voiced effects make it virtually chump-proof. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $899 Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
HERCULES 4MX DJ CONSOLE
The GS Mini is like the big brother of the legendary Baby Taylor. It’s not quite a small travel guitar in the same way as the Baby Taylor, but it’s not a full-bodied strummer either: it’s a small and portable instrument that gives the feel of a much bigger guitar. Taylor sums it up perfectly on the box: “Real. Small. Taylor.” Taylor describes it as a modern-day parlour guitar for playing around the house but it’s also very portable, and it is indeed the kind of axe you could easily take camping or to the beach. And it’s also stage or studio-friendly thanks to a few special extras. TAYLOR-MADE The GS Mini is built in Mexico in a factory which is a mere hop, skip and a jump away from the company’s US factory in sunny El Cajon in Southern California (and incidentally, if you ever find yourself in San Diego, take the 15 minute drive to El Cajon to visit the Taylor folks and check out the factory and visitor centre. It’s really fun and you might just get to meet Bob). The back and sides are made of Sapele laminate, and the top is Tropical Mahogany. The original GS Mini has a solid Sitka Spruce top. There’s a simple threering rosette around the sound hole and a Tortoise pickguard which follows undeniably Taylor contours. The neck is also Sapele with a Lexan headstock overlay (featuring a painted rather than inlayed Taylor logo), and the fretboard is Ebony with 20 frets. The scale length is 23.5” - not quite full-sized, but long enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a toy. Several clever little add-ons are available for the GS Mini, including the ES-Go magnetic soundhole pickup and the Taylor V-Cable, an ingenious device
which includes a hardwired volume pot as part of the jack assembly on one end, so you can hook it up to the volume-less ES-Go pickup and have easy volume control at your fingertips. DRIVE A MINI The GS Mini sounds warm and rich, with a very musical midrange. It sounds fuller than the original GS Mini, with a more direct attack - a punch, if you will. Mahogany is a harder wood than the Sitka Spruce of the original GS Mini, so it might take a little while longer to break this top in, but even right out of the box there’s a great crispness and impact to the note. This makes it an especially great acoustic for slide or soloing techniques, and it’s an entertainingly aggressive strummer. Playability is great: the shorter scale length makes some tricky chords a little easier to reach, and as a result you’ll probably find yourself taking more chances musically. Also, because of its size the GS Mini also makes for a great lap steel. Just swap the nut out for a higher one and off you go! The GS Mini is a revolutionary little axe, and all the moreso because it’s so unassuming. Don’t let its size fool you: It records well, it plays well and it sounds great. BY PETER HODGSON
RRP: $899 Distributor: Audio Products Group Phone: (02) 9669 3477 Website: www.audioproducts.com.au
GHS BASS BOOMERS BASS GUITAR STRINGS particular set the M3045 come in a standard long scale (34”) but GHS have got you covered for short scale (30”) up to longer scales (36”) and a range of gauges from Piccolo to Light (40 - 95) through to Heavy (50 - 115) so there should be something in there that works for you.
Software-based DJ systems are fast becoming the norm. In fact, they seem to be just about the only way to go at the moment. So, invariably the market is awash with loads of contenders all trying to get their claws into the top spot with a product that outweighs the opponents. Well, Hercules has certainly made their position clear with the new 4-Mx DJ Console, as it goes head to head with the rest. This all steel cased unit is not only solid and well built, but it has plenty of features in both hardware and software to keep even the hungriest DJ satisfied. HEAVYWEIGHT MIXING The first thing you will notice when you get your hands on the 4-Mx is that it isn’t a flimsy piece of plastic. This unit is built tough and ready to stand up to the rigours of live stage use and travelling between gigs. It isn’t so heavy that you will be put off by the weight in transit, it still weighs far less than a bag of records does, so you are on a winner here. Plus, it comes with its own rugged carry bag, so you are set to go right from the moment you open the box. The front panel features a recessed headphone output and microphone input, keeping those jacks out of your way as you lean over the console, but you also get headphone and microphone connections on the top panel too if you prefer to use them. The rear panel houses all the other inputs and outputs allowing two turntables or CD players to be run into the console as well as the software.
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PLENTY OF CONTROL The 4-Mx is a four deck mixing console that integrates with the included VirtualDJ7 LE software perfectly. The two large jog wheels are the same size as you would expect to find on a CD player, even though the unit itself is fairly compact. They have a great feel and fast response, which is exactly what is needed from jog wheels in a unit like this. All the control buttons on the top face of the unit are backlit to allow you to easily see what is going on in dark club environments and they all feel really solid when depressed, giving the user a welcome confidence in the equipment. As well as a stack of function controls and the ability to switch the decks around to the faders and jog wheels, the three band EQ features a kill switch for all three controls on each channel for critical mixing control. So, if you are sick of units that just don’t feel solid under your touch and leave you almost timid when it comes to running them, get your hands in the 4-Mx DJ Console from Hercules. It almost reminded me of having 1200s under my fingertips again, in a strange way. These consoles are built tough and are ready to travel with you where ever you want to go. BY ROB GEE
THE POWER STRINGS Marketed as GHS’ ‘Power Strings’ the Boomers definitely have a full, fat sound leaning towards the brighter side of things. They’re not over the top zingy but definitely have a nice crispness that I could see as being good for both finger style and slap techniques - plenty of mids and top end projection. The beauty with these Boomers is that they’ll also work for a range of styles with rock, country, jazz and metal all falling within the realm of bass possibility. Sitting comfortably in the middle of the tonal spectrum they sound full and spanky giving you the option to shape and amplify your fundamental bass tone as you wish from there and feel wise they seem smooth and even which is comfortable for me. On a Fender Jazz they sat well, held their tune after some random playing and generally did their thing - what else can you ask? Instrument, pickups, effects, leads and amplifiers all have an effect on your tone but one element that is often forgotten about are your strings. Whilst many guitarists and bass players don’t change strings as often as they should we all know the feeling of a fresh set - clear, sharp and full of life. Then accentuating that joy is settling on a set of strings that you also like in both feel and tone. Most players seem to try new amps, pedals, speakers and so on at a huge rate of knots yet how many guys have tried different types and brands of strings? Well GHS have been pumping out strings for longer than a lot of us have been playing and one of their all time favourites are their ‘Boomers’ might be worth a shot if you’re in the market for a new set.
RRP: $699 Distributor: Amber Technology Phone: 1800 251 367 Website: www.ambertech.com.au
STRUNG OUT I dig the feel and tone of the Boomers and can see why they’ve been a fave of many for a long time with users like Flea and P-Nut. Crisp and bright out of the packet the only other test is to see how they fare after time and a string of gigs but for now these GHS Bass Boomers are delivering the goods – cool! BY NICK BROWN
RRP: Call For Pricing
BOOM, BOOM, SHAKE, SHAKE THE ROOM Nickel plated GHS Boomers are known for their ‘brilliance, volume, sustain and strength’. This
Distributor: Music Link Phone: (03) 9765 6565 Website: www.musiclink.com.au
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