Made by Musicians for Musicians
#287 — MARCH 2018
TC EL EC PEDAL TRONIC BUND LE & ZOOM H1 HAND Y REC N SEE P ORDER G .6 FO R DET AILS
INTERVIEWS — Mastodon, Korn, Good Charlotte, Mia Dyson, Suicidal Tendencies, Sheryl Crow & Mellissa Etheridge
REVIEWED — Positive Grid 500W Modeling Amp, Fender IEM range, DV Mark Raw Dawg EG Amplifier, Art Pro Audio Tube Mix,
See page 3 for more info
Loog Pro Acoustic & Pro Electric Guitars, Line 6 HX Effects, Yamaha STAGEPAS 600BT, Mad Professor Fire Red Fuzz Pedal + more
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HX Effects features 100+ effects taken from the award-winning Helix hardware and software processors, all in a compact pedalboard-friendly format, and up to nine effects can be run simultaneously. In addition, legacy effects from the acclaimed Line 6 M-Series and Stompbox Modeller pedals are also included. Effortlessly edit effects using the eight capacitive-sensing footswitches, six scribble strip LCDs, and colour-coded LED rings. Simply touch a footswitch with your finger to instantly jump to any effect and quickly adjust its parameters. HX Effects also offers a choice of analogue bypass or DSP bypass with trails, and an industry-leading 123dB of dynamic range delivers tremendous depth and ultra-low noise. Extensive routing and control options provide flexibility in the studio or on stage, and facilitate easy integration with traditional pedalboards and amps. •
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My love for the whammy pedal comes directly from my love for Tom Morello. I think every self-respecting guitarist can remember the first time they heard the guitar solo in ‘Killing In The Name’ and I’m pretty sure we all had the same reaction, ‘What the hell is that damn effect?!” The Whammy just wouldn’t have the legacy it has without Tom Morello and his genre bending, boundary pushing ethos. The guy is an absolute visionary and it is a privilege to have him feature in this month’s cover story talking all things Prophets of Rage ahead of Download Festival. The fun doesn’t stop there as we also have features with Mastodon, Korn, Good Charlotte and many more from the festival line up. Thanks for reading!
Sheryl Crow &
NICHOLAS SIMONSEN - EDITOR
Prophets of Rage 16
Mastodon Good Charlotte
- PG. 16
Mia Dyson - PG. 19
Melissa Etheridge 19
Good Charlotte - PG. 16
Electronic Music Production
Show & Tell
PUBLISHER Furst Media
ART DIRECTOR/GRAPHIC DESIGN Ben Driscoll
EDITOR Nicholas Simonsen email@example.com
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Alex Watts, Jacob Colliver, Will Brewster, Tex Miller
ONLINE EDITOR Jessica Over firstname.lastname@example.org
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APRIL ISSUE #287: STREET AND ONLINE DATE: WEDNESDAY APRIL 4 AD BOOKING DEADLINE: MONDAY MARCH 26 EDITORIAL DEADLINE: TUESDAY MARCH 27 ARTWORK DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY MARCH 28 For more information on Mixdown Magazine contact us at: (03) 9428 3600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Giveaways Last Month’s Giveaway Winners AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M40x GIVEAWAY The M-Series ATH-M40x professional monitor headphones are tuned flat for incredibly accurate audio monitoring across an extended frequency range. Engineered with pro-grade materials and robust construction, the M40x excels in professional studio tracking and mixing, as well as DJ monitoring. Thanks to our friends at AudioTechnica Australia, we had a pair of these bad boys give to you and the winner is:
Logan Stephens of Queensland. Congratulations!
TC Electronic Pedal Bundle Giveaway
Zoom H1n Handy Recorder Giveaway
TC Electronic are renowned for their groundbreaking developments in music technology. Their effects pedals are some of their greatest examples of innovation, and the Tube Pilot Overdrive, Crescendo Auto Swell, and Iron Curtain Noise Gate are no exception. Thanks to Amber Technology, we’re giving away all three of these incredible pedals this month absolutely free.
Designed with musicians in mind, the Zoom H1n Handy Recorder captures high-quality sound like never before. It’s the perfect companion for any creator, with emphasis on simplicity and functionality enhanced by its compact, ultra-portable design. Thanks to our friends at Dynamic Music, we have one of these handy devices to give away.
IK MULTIMEDIA iRIG KEYS GIVEAWAY iRig Keys is the first ultra-slim and highly portable universal MIDI controller keyboard for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android and Mac/ PC. It features 37 velocity-sensitive mini-keys — a full three-octave range plus one note — takes up minimal space on your desktop and can easily fit in a backpack or a carry-on bag. Thanks to our friends at Sound & Music, we had one to giveaway and the winner is:
Odette Anderson from New South Wales. Congratulations!
For your chance to win any of these awesome prizes, head to our giveaways page at mixdownmag.com.au/giveaway and follow the instructions.
*These giveaways are for Australian residents only and one entry per person. For full terms and conditions visit www.mixdownmag.com.au/terms-and-conditions
t A e v i L s m r Perfo
Troy Sanders of Mastadon
The biggest bands using the best gear Hear TC Electronic in action at the Download Festival
Reginald “Fieldy” Arivizu (KoRn)
uses the RH750 Bass Head and Corona Chorus
Brian “Head” Welch (KoRn)
uses Flashback Delay and Sentry Noise Gate
Troy Sanders (mastadon)
uses the RH750 Bass Head and Corona Chorus
Brent Hinds (Mastodon)
uses Flashback Delay and Corona Chorus
For more information on these products visit ambertech.com.au Available through our national MI dealer network Distributed in Australia by Amber Technology ambertech.com.au | 1800 251 367 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Industry News Push (Again) For Pill Testing In Canberra After two last-minute hitches last year, pro-drug testing advocates are pushing for makeshift labs to be set up at next month’s Groovin The Moo festival in Canberra. An official application has been made to the ACT Health Ministry, but approval also needs to come from the University of Canberra on whose land the festival is held.
Nominees For Apra Awards Announced In March The nominees for the 36th APRA Music Awards in Sydney will be announced on Thursday March 15. They are held this year on Tuesday April 10 at the International Convention Centre Grand Ballroom in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Julia Zemiro, host of SBS TV’s RocKwiz, returns as host, while producer Robert Conley is music director. One of the highlights of the APRA awards is that the nominated songs are given a totally reworked live rendition. The categories are: Song of the Year Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year Songwriter of the Year Overseas Recognition Award Most Played Australian Work Most Played Australian Work Overseas Country Work of the Year Blues & Roots Work of the Year Dance Work of the Year Rock Work of the Year Pop Work of the Year Urban Work of the Year International Work of the Year Licensee of the Year
Studio 301 Returns To Action Australia’s oldest and largest commercial recording studio returned to action late last month after a huge renovation with a big bash of musicians, executives, producers, and social celebs. Owner Dr Tom Misner and his guest, multi-Grammy Award winning record producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, The Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel) greeted the guests, who got stuck into the canapés and drinks from the team at Icebergs before the new complex was unveiled. Designed by Misner and master acoustician Jochen Veith, it was set up to be acoustically superior to other studios, and with the sort of facilities to be used not just by Australian artists but also international ones. Among the guests were Isabella Manfredi from The Preatures, Thirsty Merc’s Rai Thistlethwayte, Jakob Delgado from instereo, Emma Pask, Mario Millo, Manu Crooks, and MC Blessed, executives Peter Karpin, Sony Music Head of A&R Paul Harris, Managing Director of Universal Music Australia Michael Taylor, APRA’s Milly Petriella, talent manager Lizzi Morrissey, and record producers Tushar Apte, Mark Opitz, Adam Riley, Tom Diesel, Jhay C and Zig Parker.
The ACT Government is enlightened enough to try pill testing, unlike, say, the NSW and Victorian powers-that-be that say pilltesting only condones drug dealing. The first ACT test was to have been at Moo in 2017, but both the government and festival agreed there wasn’t enough time. It was decided Spilt Milk six months later was a better option, but that got sabotaged by some anti-testing pollies from the Liberal Party who used the fact that the festival was to be staged on Commonwealth land.
on site on Saturday March 17 (11am-3pm) and Saturday April 28 (11am-3pm). The Open Days will feature live demos, studio tours, and information booths. The courses are lead by Head Teacher, Chris Jackson, who has spent a decade as an audio engineer and nine years teaching audio degrees, while working in studios across Sydney. Students will study in an operational studio alongside ARIA Award winning producers including Scott Horscroft (music producer and studio director), Burke Reid (producer) and Andy Mak (producer/engineer/songwriter), Horscroft said, “Launching the Grove Studios Academy means we can provide a hands-on teaching facility in audio engineering that guides students into their music industry career. Hopefully it also means that we’re educating the ARIA Award winning producers and world-class live sound engineers of the future.”
Sony Music Expands Aussie A&R Via Lemon Tree
Shazam’s ‘Next To Know’ Expands To Australia
Sony Music Entertainment Australia has expanded its Australian roster by teaming up with Melbourne-based artist management company Lemon Tree Music. Set up in 2013 by Regan Lethbridge and David Morgan, it guided the global careers for Tash Sultana and Pierce Brothers.
Shazam’s Next To Know platform is now available in Australia. It was launched in the US last December to focus on a group of four artists each month who have been trending on the song recognition app’s 20 million daily users.
Sony has now cut a partnership with the pair with a joint venture called Lemon Tree Records to find and develop Australian acts. Its first signing is Tasmanian singersongwriter Maddy Jane, who will release her debut EP Not Human At All in early March.
Deadline Looms For Josh Pyke Partnership Deadline for the 6 Josh Pyke Partnership is Saturday March 31. The singer-songwriter set up the partnership with APRA AMCOS to award an Australian musician a $7500 grant to kick-start their music career. In addition, the winner will receive mentorship from Pyke himself, artist manager Gregg Donovan (Wonderlick Entertainment), and booking agent and tour promoter Stephen Wade (Select Music). Apply through www. apraamcos.com.au. You must not be signed to a recording or publishing company and must submit a business plan outlining how you would use the $7500. th
Last year’s winner, Melbourne’s Angie McMahon, went on to play festivals such as Secret Garden, Laneway, and NYE On The Hill, and opened on tours for Angus & Julia Stone and Alanis Morissette. McMahon says that opportunities opened up because of her win, and “the vote of confidence from Josh Pyke and APRA helped people believe in my music, which is very powerful. It felt like I’d been passed the relay baton, and then I was off and running.”
The four to be highlighted in March are LA-based songwriter Bazzi, British singer-songwriter Jorja Smith, UK singersongwriter Barns Courtney, and 19 year old Pennsylvania rapper Lil Skies. Courtney would be known to readers who follow the AFL, as his song ‘Glitter & Gold’ was played by Hawthorn over the PA system before their home games last year.
Senator Nick Xenophon Promises $5M To Music As part of his election promise, South Australian senator Nick Xenophon offered the state’s live music industry an extra $5 million over four years if his SA-BEST party gets the balance of power in this month’s state elections. His idea is to get some of the money from pokie machines and provide support for the industry, including gigs at schools for emerging bands, cross-promotion of new bands on social media and music radio stations, and mentoring and training programs for musicians, songwriters and band promoters.
Golden Robot Records Goes Global
Grove Studios Launches Training Academy
Sydney-based Golden Robot Records, set up three years ago by hard rock music fan and former venue owner Mark AlexanderErber, has been signing bands such as Rose Tattoo, Mi-Sex, Steve Kilbey of The Church, The Art, Palace of The King, The Lazys (now based in Canada), Ben Gillies (Silverchair), Steve Balbi (Noiseworks), and Groom Epoch (Richard Ploog).
The Grove Studios in Somersby, NSW has set up a stand-alone registered training organisation called The Grove Studios Academy. Its first Diploma of Music Industry (Sound Production) will begin on Monday June 4, with Open Days being held
The company has now hired former president of global hard rock label Roadrunner Records, Derek Shulman, to oversee its new international offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Hamburg as well as the original Sydney office.
Crackdown On Illegal Nightclub Operators It’s not just illegal “bush doofs” that authorities are cracking down on because they seldom have no safety measures (including evacuation plans in case of fire) or proper toilets - it seems some entrepreneurs are taking out restaurant licences and sneakily turning the upstairs into nightclubs. Two former operators of Newcastle’s Soho on Darby were fined $20,000 when authorities turned up for a spot inspection, and found no one in the downstairs restaurant (and no staff in the kitchen), but up to 100 people upstairs dancing to a DJ.
City Of Sydney Provides Help For Music Venues To offset the damage that the Sydney lockouts have created on much of its nightlife, City of Sydney awarded 18 live music venues and small businesses $360,000 in funding to improve their establishments. The idea is that they will spend it on a number of initiatives which will bring punters back to the city at night. The City will match costs dollar for dollar. Part of the deal is that they will help create a culture where people are enticed to come out – late night eats, poetry readings in laundromats, small plays in bookstores – and have no fear of being assaulted because the focus of these precincts will be to foster entertainment where getting drunk is not the main activity. The latest round of grants has seen the Roosevelt have the money to re-open with jazz sessions, live film score concerts at the Golden Age Cinema, sound equipment upgrades for the Oxford Art Factory (Darlinghurst) and World Bar (Kings Cross), new regular live gigs at the Imperial (Erskineville), an after-midnight live music and dining program at Foundry 616 (Ultimo), small-scale cabaret performances between theatre seasons at the Eternity Playhouse (Darlinghurst), fortnightly ‘in conversation’ evenings with local authors at Ariel Bookshop (Darlinghurst) and new flooring, staging and lighting at the East Sydney Community and Arts Centre (Darlinghurst).
Presets’ Kim Moyes Sets Up Label The Presets’ Kim Moyes has set up his own record label Here To Hell under his techno character K.I.M. with long time collaborator Mike Callander. The first release drops this month from Zero Percent (K.I.M and Callander’s joint project).
Study: 87% Of Aussies Still Listen To Radio In Summer The lack of major on-air presenters over the summer break doesn’t impact much on radio listening habits. GfK’s Radio Insights Summer Listening report found that 87% of those surveyed listen as much, if not more in the summer months. Of this, 89% tune in for the music, 84% for news, 64% for talkback, and 55% for sport. It seems Aussies prefer to listen to media than watch it over the hot months.
The Hills Are Alive Launch 10th Anniversary Celebrations Victorian festival mainstays The Hills Are Alive are hitting the big double digits this year, and to celebrate the occasion, they’ve arranged one of their biggest lineups yet. The milestone festival will boast a diverse range of premium artists including REMI., Kim Churchill, Ali Barter, Luca Brasi, and Saskwatch, as well as a whole heap of other revered live acts from around the country. There’s also a bunch of comedy acts, art installations, yoga classes, free camping, and BYO alcohol - what more could you want? Don’t miss a moment when the festival hits South Gippsland between Friday March 23 – Sunday March 25.
Led Zeppelin Announce Limited Edition 7” For Record Store Day
Download Festival Australia Debuts This Month
Led Zeppelin are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a special limited edition 7” release to be shared exclusively for Record Store Day. Produced by Jimmy Page and pressed on yellow vinyl, the 7” features two previously unreleased recordings chosen by Page himself – the “Sunset Sound Mix” of ‘Rock And Roll’, and the “Olympic Studios Mix” of ‘Friends’. The recordings are so rare that the release of ‘Rock And Roll’ marks just the third time a “Sunset Sound Mix” from Zeppelin’s 1971 album, Led Zeppelin IV, has been shared publicly, following ‘When The Levee Breaks’ appearing on the original album and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ arriving on the 2014 reissue.
Download Festival’s inaugural visit to Melbourne is finally upon us. Get ready to see international heavyweights Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Prophets of Rage alongside appearances from Mastodon, Good Charlotte, NOFX, Gojira, and Amon Amarth. Of course, Australian music hasn’t been forgotten with representation from the likes of Northlane, Trophy Eyes, Clowns, King Parrot and more. It’s all going down at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24.
The Smith Street Band Invites You To Their Pool House Party Melbourne favourites The Smith Street Band are set to launch their inaugural Pool House Party, a festival featuring some of the band’s favourite acts. While the event doesn’t actually have a swimming pool, Pool House Party will feature the Smithies playing a retrospective live set alongside performances from a bunch of their mates including Tropical Fuck Storm, The Bennies, Bec Sandridge, and WAAX. Named after the band’s own record label Pool House Records, the festival will also feature a selection of rides and Melbourne’s best food trucks, promising a party like no other on Saturday March 17 at the Coburg Velodrome.
Lionel Richie And Robert Plant To Headline Bluesfest 2018 Bluesfest returns to Byron Bay this month with a lineup featuring huge names spanning generations, and genres covering the soul/blues/roots microcosm. Robert Plant and The Sensational Spaceshifters are locked in to mark the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s first performance with a tribute touching on many of Plant’s old band’s classics. Lionel Richie will be bringing some big hits and star power, while CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers is bound to have the entire festival on their feet. Bluesfest will celebrate 29 years at the Tygarah Tea Tree Farm just outside of Byron Bay from Thursday March 29 – Monday April 2.
Catch Turnover On Tour Around The Nation US rockers Turnover arrive on our shores this month to treat Australians to seven headline shows in celebration of their criticallyacclaimed third album, Good Nature. The band recently supported Touché Amoré on their 2017 Australian tour, and now Turnover are bringing Baltimore punk rock outfit Turnstile along for the ride on their own headline tour. Monday March 5: Wooly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD Wednesday March 7: Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW Thursday March 8: Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW Friday March 9: Uni Bar, Wollongong, NSW Saturday March 10: Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC Monday March 12: Enigma Bar, Adelaide, SA Tuesday March 13: Amplifier Bar, Perth, WA mixdownmag.com.au
King Parrot Embark On ‘Regional Rampage’ Tour Fresh from their huge tour of Australian capital cities last year and in the midst of preparations for Download Festival, King Parrot are preparing to hit the road again on a 13-date regional tour. Their ‘Regional Rampage’ will continue celebrations for the 2017 release of the band’s third album, Ugly Produce, bolstered by support from Child Bite, one of King Parrot’s “all-time favourite bands.” They’ll be bringing their show to a town near you throughout March and April, kicking off in Albury on Saturday March 28.
Underoath Return With First Album In Eight Years After eight years of speculation and anticipation, Underoath have announced their return with the forthcoming release of their sixth album, Erase Me. The record will be the first LP released by the band since parting ways following the 2010 release of Ø (Disambiguation). Underoath reunited for their Rebirth Tour in 2016, and spent the summer of 2017 writing and recording their new record. The announcement of Erase Me is accompanied by the first glimpse of Underoath’s new material, with the band sharing their first new song in almost ten years, ‘On My Teeth’. 9
Product News Audio-Technica Unveils ATH-PRO7X Professional On-Ear DJ Monitor Headphones Audio-Technica Australia | audio-technica.com.au The ATH-PRO7X professional DJ headphones have recently been introduced by Audio-Technica, combining the comfort of on-ear design with the capabilities of professional monitor headphones. With high-quality technology enabled by powerful 45mm drivers, the ATH-PRO7X headphones provide extremely accurate audio reproduction regardless of volume levels. The headphones come with a pair of interchangeable cables, and are built to be worn comfortably for hours of listening.
Ernie Ball Everlast And Prodigy Picks Are Now Shipping
sE Electronics Reveals Flagship RNT Condenser Microphone
CMC Music | cmcmusic.com.au
Sound & Music | sound-music.com The Everlast and Prodigy picks announced by Ernie Ball at NAMM earlier this year are manufactured in the USA from durable, wear-resistant Derlin material. The picks feature finessed designs to enhance functionality, with the Everlast pick offering a more secure, non-slip surface, and the Prodigy pick incorporating a bevelled edge for greater speed and control. Everlast picks are available in eight different thicknesses, colour-coded in fluorescent shades, while the Prodigy picks can be purchased in both standard and mini sizes.
In collaboration with Rupert Neve Designs, sE Electronics have introduced their new flagship large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the RNT. The microphone is the third offering from the elite partnership and brings a modern take to classic tones with renewed clarity and greater depth. Featuring a nineposition polar pattern switch allowing for precise balancing of sounds, the RNT has been dubbed “the finest capsule sE has ever made”, and is a fitting addition to the collaborative collection.
Samson Launches The G-Track Pro USB Microphone Electric Factory | elfa.com.au Samson’s all-in-one professional USB microphone, the G-Track Pro, is the ultimate companion in the studio or on the road, allowing you to focus more on recording and less on the process. The G-Track Pro is capable of producing high-resolution results by capturing audio at 24-bit/96kHz and includes an instrument input and mixer, ensuring such quality audio can be recorded via two independent channels at once. Flexibility is provided with three pickup patter options of cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional, while the microphone’s versatility is extended through the inclusion of a sub-mixer beneficial to podcasters needing to record additional voices.
Fender Prepares To Roll Out Parallel Universe Collection Framus Announces New D-Series Models Amber Technology | ambertech.com.au The new Framus D-Series offers high quality instruments at an affordable price with premium appointments. All guitars featured in the D-Series are manufactured with solid quality wood, boasting ebony fingerboards and either Seymour Duncan or Fishman pickups. Each guitar is supplied with Framus’ new upgraded StudentLine Plus guitar bags, and all models are equipped with the company’s signature guitar strings. 10
Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au In another massive NAMM announcement, Fender shared the news that they’ve developed a range of hybrid models of some of their most notable guitars and basses in what they’ve dubbed the Parallel Universe Collection. The instruments combine the best aspects of two classic Fender models to form nine new products such as the Elite Nashville Telecaster HSS, the Jazz Tele, the Jaguar Strat, and the ’51 Telecaster PJ Bass. The hybrid models will receive a staggered release throughout the year, with the Strat-Tele Hybrid kicking things off with a launch date set for this April. mixdownmag.com.au
Line 6 Helix Firmware Updates Now Available Yamaha Music Australia | au.yamaha.com
Ernie Ball Releases Huge New Cable Range CMC Music | cmcmusic.com.au Ernie Ball introduced their new range of cable options at this year’s NAMM Show, and have just announced they’ll be arriving in Australian stores this month. The braided instrument cables offer dual-conductors that provide clear and preserved tone protected by multiple shielding materials, while vintage coiled cables have returned with a PVC jacket exterior for increased durability. Ernie Ball have also expanded their patch cable range with new 6” patchers, alongside additions to their range of microphone cables which generate clear signals and a natural frequency response.
Line 6 has announced a host of updates for their popular Helix hardware processors, arriving under the banners of Helix 2.50 and Helix 1.50. Each update features two new amp models, seven HX effects, and 77 legacy effects from the renowned M-Series and pedals such as the DL4. The amp models are reminiscent of their classic predecessors, with the Cali Texas Ch2 paying tribute to the drive channel of the MESA/Boogie Lonestar, and the Placater Dirty functioning similarly to the BE/HBE channel of the Friedman BE-100.
Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au Fender subsidiary Squier has shared details of the new Contemporary Series, a range that seeks to revamp the standard Stratocaster and Telecaster formats with modern upgrades. The series consists of four Strats and two Teles, including two left-handed models, all of which are available in a variety of metallic finishes. Each guitar features updates such as slim necks and revitalised styling to ensure the range is the perfect choice for the modern player.
Teenage Engineering Releases PO-30 Super Set Bundle Introducing The HeadRush FRFR112 Full-Range Speaker Electric Factory | elfa.com.au HeadRush have revealed their new innovation for guitar/FX modeling in the form of the FRFR-112 2000 watt full-range speaker. The FRFR-112 is a flat-response powered cabinet designed to perfectly complement any multi-FX/amp modeler, such as the recent groundbreaking HeadRush Pedalboard. It provides a realistic room-filling sound with a classic design that combines simplicity with functionality for great results.
Squier Revamp Traditional Formats With New Contemporary Series
Innovative Music Australia | innovativemusic.com.au Teenage Engineering are well-known for their highly innovative products, a reputation the company has maintained with their unique Pocket Operators. They’re now offering you the chance to try three models at once with their PO-30 Metal Series Super Set, featuring the PO-32 Tonic drum synth and sequencer, the PO-33 KO sampler and sequencer, and the PO-35 voice synth and sequencer. Each device can also be synced with the included MC-3 sync cables to create a compact system of creation for further musical innovation.
Elektron Reinterprets FM Synthesis With The Digitone Innovative Music Australia | innovativemusic.com.au Digitone is Elektron’s fresh interpretation of FM synthesis in the modern age that is both original and accessible. They’ve combined FM sound generation with a subtractive synthesis signal flow, allowing you to create everything from sounds of chaos to subdued soundscapes in a matter of moments. Elektron’s Digitone provides a multitude of FM algorithms to choose from, each with carefully selected parameters to help you create a phenomenal range of sounds.
PreSonus Studio 1824 Arriving This Month LinkAudio | linkaudio.com.au PreSonus have answered calls for a feature-rich recording solution with the advent of the Studio 1824 Audio/MIDI interface. Studio 1824 boasts the ability to record up to 18 simultaneous inputs at up to 24-bit/192 kHz, while stereo outputs feature a dedicated mute and mono button for increased versatility. Eight balanced DC coupled line outputs, MIDI I/O, and two headphone outputs with independent mix streams round out the device, with the software bundle also including Studio One Artist DAW and Studio Magic Plug-in Suite. 12
3 APRIL RIVERSIDE THEATRE PERTH 4 APRIL ADELAIDE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE THEATRE ADELAIDE 6 APRIL MARGARET COURT ARENA MELBOURNE 7 APRIL ICC THEATRE SYDNEY
THE SOUNDTRACK OF RESISTANCE WITH
PROPHETS OF RAGE
It’s borderline impossible not to call Tom Morello a guitar hero. Whether it’s his radical charisma, Harvard-schooled smarts, or his consistent ability to wrangle obscenely impossible guitar sounds into some of the best rock riffs of the past 25 years, Morello perfectly represents the politically conscious rock star – which, as it turns out, is exactly what we need today.
“We’re all excited to be here and on a mission together to not just make some great rock and roll, but to also attempt to have an impact in these troubled times,” says Morello of Prophets of Rage, the guitarist’s new rap-rock supergroup who will be making their way to Australia to headline the inaugural Download Festival. Fusing the cutthroat lyricism of Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real with P.E. turntablist DJ Lord and the pounding rhythm section of Morello’s long time bandmates Timmy Commerford and Brad Wilk, Prophets of Rage may rub off to some as being a quick festival cash grab; however, Morello stresses that Prophets of Rage’s message is just as important as their name is, underscoring the radical history of the former groups as being a catalyst for political action. “There’s a duality to the band,” says Morello. “On the one hand we have the histories of Rage Against The Machine, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy which are woven into the fabric of Prophets of Rage, but we’re also a new band with a chip on our shoulder and a loud bullhorn in our hands. There’s a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with the status quo in the United States, and we want to present an alternative point of view: an unfiltered, unapologetic way of speaking the truth to power and standing up for the underdogs, as well as taking aim at the racist and corporate villains who are destroying the planet.” Although somewhat lacking the radical impact of previous groups like Rage Against The Machine, Morello’s urgency still oozes through the lifeblood of Prophets of Rage, with the firebrand guitarist detailing the role he hopes his band will play throughout political discourse in 2018. “My hope is that the Trump-Pence regime brings into existence the movement that not only dethrones it, but a movement that redefines American politics and creates a more just and humane nation,” Morello says. “I think people will begin to turn away from the racism and bigotry of Trumpism, create something ostensibly better for the planet – and Prophets of Rage is going to be the soundtrack to that resistance.” While much has changed in the US political landscape between the formation of RATM and Prophets of Rage, some things remain just as they were in 1992 – Morello’s guitar rig being a perfect example of such. Discussing the recording of last year’s Prophets of Rage, Morello mentions that his primary rig was almost identical to that used on Rage Against The Machine’s debut almost 30 years ago.
“I think people will begin to turn away from the racism and bigotry of Trumpism, create something ostensibly better for the planet – and Prophets of Rage is going to be the soundtrack to that resistance.” “I mainly used my standby Arm The Homeless guitar, my Telecaster for Drop D songs, my 50 watt Marshall head and 4x12 Peavey cabinet along with the pedalboard I’ve been using for almost three decades,” Morello says. “I did go outside of my comfort zone by using Brendan O’Brien’s fancy 1950’s Telecaster on a couple songs, as well as digging deep in my own closet to pull out my very first guitar, a $50 Kay axe that remarkably sounded pretty great.”
“Oh, people have approached me pretty regularly through the years, but since my main guitar is a Frankensteined, bits-andpieces, island of misfit toys shambles of a rock axe, it never felt right to align myself with a company who wasn’t making my exact guitar,” says Morello. “It’s possible that if I were to be heavily involved in the design of the guitar then I’d be into it, but nothing to date.” An indiscriminate collaborator in all musical fields, Morello’s work as a session guitarist has seen him play with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Wu-Tang Clan, with recent Instagram photos depicting Morello sitting in on sessions with modern hip-hop heavyweights A$AP Rocky and Post Malone. “The A$AP Rocky tune was for a movie soundtrack and it was a particularly rocking jam so I was happy to do it,” Morello says. “Post Malone has been a huge Rage and Audioslave and guitar fan his whole life, so that was also a natural fit.” And, as it turns out, we can expect to hear a lot more of these collaborations in the future, with Morello teasing news of an upcoming solo album featuring a whole slew of collaborators on the horizon. “I’ve been, over the last couple years, working on a hard rocking collaborative solo record, so reaching out to young artists of diverse genres has been an exciting chapter- lots more on this to come at a later date.”
BY WILL BREWSTER Prophets of Rage will headline the red stage at Download Festival at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24, with sideshows in Sydney and Brisbane.
Although predominantly associated with his iconic ‘Arm the Homeless’ Frankenstrat, it seems bizarre that a guitarist as influential as Morello is doesn’t own a signature guitar of his own – a sentiment reflected by Morello himself, who points a finger to his own DIY ethos as the main reason behind declining various offers over the years.
THE ‘60s JAGUAR. AMERICAN ORIGINAL SERIES. CLASSIC DESIGN MADE NEW.
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Music Interviews “The last time the Winter Olympics were happening we were in Australia. One of the skiers was too close to one of the others, and an announcer on the Australian feed just says, ‘Being a dick. It’s called being a dick.’ And I was, ‘Did I hear that right?’ They would not say that in the US. You would not hear that ever, ever - that a guy was being a dick. So my wife and I say that to this day: ‘It’s called being a dick.’ So thank you, Australia, for keeping it real. Calling people out on being a dick.” It’s a neat coincidence, and makes for a nice segue into the band’s own recent fortunes. Mastodon had been nominated for three Grammys in the past, and as the 2018 Awards rolled around, Dailor and the crew were all geared up for a night of happy nomination and glorious after-party. A month later, he is still clearly reeling from the shock of winning.
Mastodon Keep It Real Brann Dailor, drummer of Atlantan titans of metal, Mastodon, is one seriously entertaining guy. From enthusing about the band’s upcoming Australian tour to the weird fortunes of the Winter Olympics, to his perplexed happiness at the Grammys, Dailor would have made an outstanding bartender; quick with a joke or to light up your smoke, as Billy sang. As we chat, he’s watching the Winter Olympics ice-skating, and his excitement is catching. “You know, I’m from upstate New York,” he says, “Where it’s nothing but snow for ten months a year, so I really do enjoy the Winter Olympics more than the Summer. So many weird sports that you only ever see at the Winter Olympics. Like the biathlon where they cross-country ski, and then they have to stop and shoot something and then continue skating. It’s bizarre!
Good Charlotte On The Little Things “To be honest with you,” Good Charlotte bassist Paul Thomas says, “just getting back to your country means the world to me. We’re playing this Download Festival and I don’t know if I’m more excited about the show that we’re playing, or the bands that we’re playing with, or just being in Australia at that time of year. Download is such an iconic festival and such a blast. I will try to not drink too much, but no promises there.”
“I didn’t even know how much I wanted one of those until I got it! We’d lost a few of them, and I’d gone in completely prepared to lose another one,” he says. “I figured Body Count would win, because they were actually playing there. So I was sitting there, holding my wife’s hand, thinking, 'Please just say Body Count so we can get on with our evening.' It’s nerve-wracking and stressful; you go through the red carpet thing. We don’t do that very often. So when they said ‘Sultan’s Curse’, I said to myself, ‘God, that sounds so familiar. Does Body count have a song called Sultan’s Curse too?’ And my wife looked at me and said, ‘Holy shit!’ And then I realised.
By happenstance, I was in Dailor’s adopted home recently. Stopping by the church and grave of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, I was struck by how empty the city seemed, how many buildings were in disrepair and just how vibrant the city’s music culture might be. Turns out, the Atlanta scene is thriving. “We’re a proud Atlantan band, who honestly worked really hard to work our way up through the scene,” says Dailor. “We started out playing the clubs in town: the Star Bar, the Earl, at the Parasite House. We played the Fox Theatre, this old ‘20s movie house. When you hear about Atlanta, you hear a lot about hip hop, which is a massive scene, but it seems to be almost the only thing people know. So we try to let people know there’s a really healthy rock scene, too, where local bands are playing all the time. We have a killer scene, you know. You can go out any night of the week and see a great rock band, or see some great underground hip hop. It’s two really healthy scenes living side-by-side, and that’s pretty cool.” BY ADAM NORRIS
Mastodon will perform at Download Festival at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24, with sideshows in Sydney and Brisbane. Emperor of Sand is out now via Reprise Records.
“I don’t even remember being up there, I was so surprised. Afterwards, it was such a shock, but I was so happy. My wife was crying. I was all, ‘Oh my God.’ It was a huge moment. Everything that all of us have been through, for twenty years almost of playing music, for all of my family members who are musicians who never got to go up and do that, it just turned into a big celebration for all of that - for our entire lives. It felt fucking awesome.” Good Charlotte are one of those bands with a few generations of fans, and Aussie audiences in particular seem to have the same affection for the lads as the band has for us. So why do Aussies click with Good Charlotte so much? Even going back to their first club tour here, there was a real buzz. “If I knew the answer to that, maybe we’d make that connection happen in every territory,” Thomas laughs. “Maybe it’s because rock music is still a driving thing in your pop culture there. It was one of the first places we went to outside of America and maybe that’s a part of it, too. And I mean, the twins dated people from your country and were on TV there so maybe that’s part of it, too.”
completely digital. I like being able to make a new sound, instead of somebody else’s preset.” So what about non-Good Charlotte stuff? When those cheques roll in, do they tend to go to gear that wouldn’t necessarily be at home at a Good Charlotte gig? “Oh absolutely,” Thomas says. “My house is filled with unnecessary purchases. Oh man. I have a hollow bass, I have a Gibson Thunderbird, I have a Fender P-Bass, I have all these different basses I use for recording. I have a bass made out of a cigar box with deer antlers for control knobs. I have a cello that I don’t even know how to play, but I just like to have it around. Maybe one day my kids will pick it up and learn to play.”
Like any good music-geek chat, the conversation quickly veers to gear. “I play Lakland basses,” Thomas says. “It’s a small company out of Illinois and they make really good five-string basses. They’re a really amazing-sounding bass. I don’t have anything against Fender or Ernie Ball or anyone who makes basses in our genre, but I just felt I couldn’t find a good-sounding five-string bass until I came across the Lakland. So the first paycheck I got with Good Charlotte money, I went out and got a Lakland bass. And that was the only one I’ve ever paid for!”
Thomas also has a bit of an inventor streak. “I’m trying to invent something in the music world,” he says. “I live in the Bay Area and I’ve got all these techy friends and I’m trying to put together a team. Y’know how there are wireless packs that have the receiver but then you have to have a cable from the pack to your ears? I’m trying to have a thing where it’s just Bluetooth in-ears where you just have the thing in your ears with no cables. Just wire-free entirely. But there are so many interference issues with having multiple people so we’re not there yet, but that’s what I’m trying to contribute to music in my older years.”
Thomas plugs his bass into an Eden amp, just as he has since more or less the beginning. “The Lakland through Eden. I’ve been playing that Eden since the first album. I haven’t really changed my gear too much. It’s a solid setup. I play around with pedals and different DIs and stuff like that, but the meat and potatoes - the bass and the amp - are pretty much the same.” An Eden chorus pedal and SansAmp distortion are Thomas’ main pedals right now. “I also use Fulltone overdrives and an EHX Big Muff and Memory Man, but my pedalboard is the thing where I switch around whatever I play with. I’m thinking of switching to the Fractal pedalboard thing, but I haven’t heard a band live that uses all Fractals where I’m like, ‘Man, that sounded amazing,’ so I’m still on the fence. I’m not really sold on going
BY PETER HODGSON Youth Authority is out now via MDDN Records. Good Charlotte will perform as a part of Download Festival at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24. They will also play headline shows in Sydney and Brisbane with Issues and Falling In Reverse.
Music Interviews "When we were told we had the opportunity to headline the very first Download Festival in Australia, we were ecstatic," Welch said. "We think very highly of Australia and we don't tour there as much as we'd like to, so we are looking forward to it so much. I am personally flying out a few days early so I can vacation a bit before the show." One of the largest events of its kind in the world, Download Festival is set to hit Melbourne with the force of a thousand suns, brandishing an arsenal of stellar acts, including Prophets Of Rage, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Clowns, Suicidal Tendencies, and King Parrot. Since first playing here in 1996, Welch has noticed the appreciation Aussies have for music and how passionate their fans have remained for over 20 years. "We first met the promoters of Download Festival through our international agent, Rod, who's been with us forever," Welch explains. "They are good people and have become friends, and they treat their bands very well. It really makes a difference when you can work with great people with great reputations who started out in this crazy music business with one motive: love of music.
The Evolution Of Korn The first Aussie show of a global metal phenomenon needs a legendary headliner - a band that has permanently inspired heavy music with its legacy. With over two decades of music under their belt, a pair of Grammys, and a cool 35 million albums sold worldwide, it’s fair to say that Korn have earned their place amongst the genre’s royalty. Guitarist and songwriter Brian ‘Head’ Welch couldn’t be more stoked to head our way.
"Download has an authenticity that many festivals strive for, and I seriously can't say enough that we are very honoured they allowed us this opportunity." It's been a little while between drinks for Aussie fans, who are no doubt pumped to hear both the band's classic tracks and newer highlights from 2016's The Serenity of Suffering. A powder-keg of Korn's classic numetal stylings, Welch noted one objective during the creative process: "Guitars, guitars and more guitars.” "[Guitarist James 'Munky' Shaffer] and myself, along with producer Nick Raskulinecz, were determined to get the guitar sound and riffs to a heavy place that they hadn't been in a while," Welch says. "I came back to the band in 2012, and me and Munky thought, 'There are two of us guitar players in the band again now - if the guitars are not heavy as balls, then what's the
“We’ve done Download in England, we’ve done Download in Paris and Spain,” Muir says. “Paris was in its second year, Spain in its third, and they’re big and really, really cool. And I know for me personally there were rumours a couple of years ago that Download would be coming to Australia, and I hoped that was true and that we’d be a part of it. And also obviously, with all the festivals that have gone under, there was definitely a need for it.”
Suicidal Tendencies Never Say Die When Suicidal Tendencies first hit the scene, nobody quite knew what to make of them. Too punk for the metal scene, too metal for the punk scene, they didn’t carve their own niche so much as dynamite a hole in the wall to march through. Leading the skate punk movement before bringing more and more thrash into their sound, they’ve influenced generations of bands from Metallica to Limp Bizkit to Slipknot to Body Count. Frontman Mike Muir is the only member of the band to be there from the beginning, and he isn’t going anywhere. In fact, he’s coming here with the inaugural Melbourne Download Festival along with headlining shows in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, and the Gold Coast. We caught up with Muir to talk about the forthcoming tour and what it means to never say die.
Long-time fans can expect a solid set from the band, who have been given an hour at Download - a fair chunk of time for a non-headlining slot at a festival - to do their thing. “That’s the most time other than Korn,” Muir says. “So we’re stoked on that. But an hour for us is narrowing things down quite a bit, so we’ll jam through it. If we can’t make our point in an hour, we never will, and if we don’t leave people exhausted then we didn’t do it right. I consider ourselves very fortunate in our situation and to have the opportunity to play for a lot of people who have never heard Suicidal. They’ve maybe seen the hats and shirts, but never listened, and that’s how we got a lot of our hardcore fans in the first place.” And then, of course, there are the headlining shows where Suicidal can really stretch out. That’s where Muir begins to reflect on the importance of being true and accountable to yourself, and although we can give you only a sample of it here, this little deviation from the planned discussion turns into a great motivational talk, and something I wish every reader going through a hard time could hear. “The thing is, if you live right across the street from a venue you just go ,‘Eh,’ and it doesn’t mean anything. In life it’s too easy to not appreciate, but you can learn from that and learn to appreciate what you have. That’s a hard journey, but a good one. Life happens and
point of having two guitarists?' We are very pleased that we achieved our goal." Both within Korn and his own solo projects (such as Love and Death), Welch has observed the evolution of his work develop in increasingly unique ways over the years. Though he says that creating music in the studio with his "brothers" is his favourite thing to do, Welch cherishes the ability to get back out on the road again. "The intent of my motives with everything in life has changed," Welch says. "Back in the day, creating music was more for selfish reasons I think, and [now] my motives are based on connecting with our fans. There is so much division in the world and music brings so many people together in unity. There's nothing more beautiful than unity when it comes to human interaction. "I think our biggest strength has been that people feel something when they hear us," Welch continues. "Either in the sound, melodies or vocals/lyrics - and when we capture that magic from all of the above, like we did on [The Serenity of Suffering], it is like a tidal wave of power sweeping across the world to our fans that are always rooting for us on every new record. "Every musician is a fan of music first, so being able to influence other musicians and bands out there is a huge honour, because we are just like them: fans of music." BY JACOB COLLIVER Korn will headline the first Australian Download Festival at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24. The Serenity of Suffering is out now via Roadrunner Records.
you get caught up, but things have to have a meaning and value to you, and there’s a difference between just doing things to do it and doing it because it has meaning. I found when I was young, it was music for music’s sake, and what I liked about punk rock was that it was something that made you think. It was to do your thing and do it for a reason. So that’s what we’ve always tried to do with Suicidal: something that makes you get in that moment, but also to not forget that there needs to be a future, and to make every day as good as possible and not just get through it, but make some difficult choices, get the confidence in yourself to make the right decisions, and end up in a place where you want to be. “Maybe some people, when they look back, they find they ended up somewhere they never wanted. There’s a difference between morals for the right reason, and the right reason. When you say, ‘Hey, this is wrong and I don’t ever want to do that,’ or when you have abilities or wants that you want to experience for the right reasons but you don’t put forward the effort to make it possible, that’s hell. We have a lot more control over life than we want to. I understand there’s a certain amount of bad luck - people get cancer, my friend just lost his leg in a motorcycle accident - that’s bad luck, but we have more control over life than we want to have. There are millions of excuses to be a victim, but I don’t want to be a victim, I want to be victorious.” BY PETER HODGSON Suicidal Tendencies will perform as a part of Download Festival at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24. Their headline tour kicks off Wednesday March 21 on the Gold Coast.
Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge Are still surviving in 2018 Between the two careers of Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge, there are 11 Grammy awards and 25 certifications of platinum sales in the US alone. These two accomplishments by themselves would be more than enough to leave both artists comfortably coasting for the rest of their days, never lifting a finger. To the credit of both Crow and Etheridge, however, neither is content simply floating in nostalgia and occasionally showing up at an “I love the 90s” show. Each artist has been on the road extensively in the last few years, with recent albums – Etheridge’s Memphis Rock & Soul in 2016, Crow’s Be Myself in 2017 – charting respectably in their homelands, with critics acknowledging their passion for the craft still being present after all these years. This month will see both artists arrive in Australia to perform at the iconic Bluesfest before the two pair up for some killer co-headlining shows in most capital cities. It will mark the first time the two have toured together, and although they occupy different spectrums – Crow primarily in the pop-rock and country fields, Etheridge more towards blues and roots – both their stories and their continued successes make them more likely a pair than you’d think. At 56, Crow and Etheridge are the same age. Their careers both began in the mid-‘80s – Crow as a backing vocalist who ended up on tour with Michael Jackson, Etheridge as an independent singer-songwriter. In 1993, both had seismic career shifts that would go on to influence the next quarter-century of their lives. The release of Tuesday Night Music Club saw Crow achieve one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed records of the entire decade. ‘All I Wanna Do’, for all of its eccentricities and Talking Heads references, became one of the biggest pop hits on record. Twenty-five years later, the album still holds up considerably – especially in comparison to a lot of the other music making dents on the top-end of the charts at the time, which have become irreparably dated and even kitschy.
“Bold women, smart women, queer women, guitar-slinging women, women of pop, women of rock, women of blues, women of country ... one way or another, many are indebted to the work and the legacy of Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge.” Meanwhile, Etheridge was making waves with her six-times platinum record Yes I Am. The title alludes to what was a massive part of Etheridge’s 1993, the year she publicly came out during a speech at the Triangle Ball. With it, Etheridge became one of the most prominent lesbian figures in popular music – which, at the time, was somewhat of a rare entity; particularly in the context of rock artists. It’s easy to see Etheridge as a trail-blazer for young queer women who felt as though their identity was something to be hidden and
not discussed. That same courage comes through in every Courtney Barnett, every Alex the Astronaut, every Tegan & Sara that proudly makes their orientation known. The good Etheridge has done for the wider LGBT musical community still positively radiates over two decades on. Crow and Etheridge are survivors in their own separate ways. Not only has their music stood the test of time, but both are literal survivors in another sense. In the 2000’s, only a couple of years apart, the two were diagnosed with breast cancer. Since both have gone into remission, each has been open about their experience and hugely supportive of those going through the same thing. Etheridge is a listed advocate and supporter of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, while Crow assisted her surgeon, Dr. Kristi Funk, in opening a new imaging centre at Beverly Hills’ Pink Lotus Breast Centre back in 2010. These encounters with an oft-fatal disease have clearly driven both women to pursue their love of music more than ever before. Bold women, smart women, queer women, guitar-slinging women, women of pop, women of rock, women of blues, women of country ... one way or another, many are indebted to the work and the legacy of Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge. So, when you’re seeing these two live in late March or early April, you’re seeing decades of musical history unfurl on the stage in front of you. And if that makes you happy, then it really can’t be that bad, can it? by David James Young The Make Rock Great Again tour kicks off in Perth on Tuesday April 3 thanks to TEG Live.
Mia Dyson On Risk, Perception & Newfound Inspiration It takes a lot of guts to uproot your life and move across the globe, particularly if, like Mia Dyson, you happen to be an artist that has built up a considerable national profile in your own country. However, that’s exactly what the Victorian singer, songwriter and guitarist did when moving to the US seven years ago, a change she describes as difficult yet liberating. “I loved that everything was new and no one knew my music, and then also the hard reality of not making any money was there too, so it was really challenging,” says Dyson. “In Australia I got put in the blues and roots thing, and even though I’m proud to have that influence, I never really saw myself that way. I just wanted to be a songwriter who plays guitar, and I guess be more under the umbrella of rock’n’roll.”
Dyson’s version of rock’n’roll has always been heavily influenced by the main variants that helped to form the genre in the first place, namely country, gospel, blues, and soul. To record her latest offering, If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back, Dyson travelled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the small town that developed a distinctive sound and reputation thanks to a string of R&B and soul hits out of Rick Hall’s FAME Studios in the early ‘60s.
Linder’s poetic touch had a direct bearing over the feeling of If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back, most noticeably in Dyson’s vocal performance, which has never sounded as natural or confident in its abilities as on these new songs. “For the first years of my career my voice felt like the strongest element that I had, and so I was more focused on the sound that I was making rather than the actual words,” she says.
“I certainly didn’t go into the recording to make a throwback soul record, but I was fascinated by the place,” says Dyson. “I met John Paul White, of The Civil Wars, and he happens to live in Muscle Shoals and invited me down there. It’s not a big city, and it’s even a little bit depressed like a lot of small towns in America are, but there’s this vibrancy because of music that brings people together. So I wasn’t looking to make a Muscle Shoals record, but I jumped at the chance to make a record with Muscle Shoals people in Muscle Shoals and see how it influenced the record.”
“I think I was trying to be something, and now it feels like it’s just a natural expression and I’m not afraid of some of the more vulnerable sounding parts of my voice or what I want to say. Especially being a young woman in the industry, I wanted to protect myself by being ‘I have a big voice and people won’t fuck with me’. It’s strange to be a young woman surrounded by wall-to-wall dudes when you’re 21 and not see other women to look up to.
Another collaboration that informed the direction of the album came from an unexpected source. Although unknown to her when they were first married, Dyson discovered that her husband, Karl Linder, was actually a talented poet, and the two set about combining both of their skills. “When I first met him he wasn’t writing so I didn’t know, and then he started up again and literally left stuff lying around that I found and tried to put to music for my own amusement,” she says. “The way that some of his poems would cause me to write melodies was very different to what I’d written before because the form was different. So I started doing that, just these little bits of songs, and then we tried writing outright together. We just found we have this thing; I tried writing with other people but I never enjoyed it, it always seemed like it dulled down our best qualities because we’re trying to compromise to find something. It’s been this beautiful discovery, and all the songs on this record we wrote together.”
“I remember someone telling me, ‘Oh, you should just put down the guitar and sing’. But I was never put off by that; guitar is just so much fun to play. Voice came easy, but guitar was, and still is, riskier. Like I could try something outside of my comfort zone and if I land it it’s the most fun thing ever, and if I don’t it’s terrifying.”
BY ALEX WATTS
If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back is out on Friday March 9 through Cooking Vinyl/Single Lock. Mia Dyson is touring Australia in late March with tickets available from miadyson.com.
All Timberidge guitars now include a FREE paisley hard case valued at $199 www.timberidgeguitars.com.au Jade MC Australia is the exclusive distributor of Timberidge products in Australia. www.jademcaustralia.com.au
Advice Columns MUSICOLOGY
A Brief History of The Digital Audio Workstation Today’s musical landscape would look completely different without the advent of the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), which is now so commonplace that the majority of artists working today would rarely record with anything else. Not only can the development of computer based recording systems be seen as a technological revolution, but its impact on both the sounds and styles of music that have been made over the last 40 years is undeniable. Put basically, a DAW took the essential components of a recording studio’s control room – the mixing console, outboard gear, and tape machine – and condensed them into a single computer program, allowing engineers and musicians to record, edit and mix all within the box. Digital Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) – the digital representation of a sampled analogue signal – was developed by Bell Labs in the 1930s, and while experimentations in digital recording were carried out over the intervening years, it wasn’t until 1975 that a company called Soundstream began working on their first digital audio recorder. It featured a tape drive and analogue to digital converters, and transferred information to a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11/60 computer for editing. The computer ran a Digital Audio Processor program for ‘random access’ digital editing, with built-in commands for crossfades and splices, and an attached terminal for displaying the waveform.
Allowing high quality multi-track digital recording, with a track count that grew rapidly and a user friendly graphical interface, by the mid-‘90s many mainstream studios and producers had embraced Pro Tools as an innovative platform, with the debut album by Garbage in 1995 being amongst the first major releases to be produced using the program, alongside Odelay by Beck in 1996 and Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ in 1999. Steinberg’s Cubase Audio was released for the Atari Falcon030 computer in 1993, which featured eight tracks of recording and playback using only native hardware as well as its own built-in DSP effects. In 1994 Pro Tools added the ability for third-party software plugins to be used, and consequently several companies, such as Waves and Jupiter Systems, began developing their own custom EQ, reverb, and other DSP options for the program. In the same year, Digidesign released its TDM system, an open-architecture multichannel 24-bit digital audio bus that again opened up what was possible for Pro Tools plugin developers.
THE FAIRLIGHT CMI In 1979, Fairlight released the Computer Musical Instrument (CMI) – a digital synthesiser and sampler with a built-in CRT monitor and an operating system named QDOS. Although not actually a computer itself, the CMI’s technology was highly influential in the development of hard disk recording systems, and its real-time graphic pattern sequencer, known as Page R, is thought to have directly influenced the development of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) sequencing. In the early ‘80s, the idea of software based DAWs became more of a reality thanks to the fact that personal computers, such as the Apple II, Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, had developed processing power that would be able to handle digital audio editing. 1983 saw the first public demonstration of the MIDI format, a standard developed by Roland and Dave Smith, which meant that data could now be scanned, stored and initiated from a computer-based system. Now your musical equipment could talk to each other in ways they never could before, and by 1985 Atari had released the 520 ST computer, which included built-in MIDI ports. In the same year Digidesign released an audio editing software called Sound Designer, which was intended to edit samples from sampler keyboards. Eventually the software would become integrated with Apple compatible hardware and become Sound Tools. Introduced at NAMM 1989, the workstation featured two available tracks for recording, but within two years had evolved into what became the industry standard DAW, Pro Tools.
CUBASE VST Along with the release of Cubase VST in 1996, this opened a new realm of what was possible to achieve within the software itself, eventually meaning that producers could mix within DAWs without outboard gear entirely. Propellerhead’s Rebirth was launched in 1997 and, significantly, featured accurate emulations of the TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synth. This meant that for the first time bedroom producers would be able to recreate some of their favourite sounds without actually having to buy the pieces of hardware in question. The company would make further advancements on this idea with the release of their flagship program, Reason. DAWs have continued to evolve over the subsequent 20 years, but the basic blueprint and functionality had been set by the close of the ‘90s, changing the way in which music could be recorded forever. As personal computers have become both more powerful and affordable, the fact that just about anyone can record and mix high quality audio in their home studio has given birth to a number of distinct genres and production styles, thanks to the limitations and personalities of the systems they were made with. Dance music and modern pop would sound very different without such technology, as would the lo-fi experimentations of the various sub-genres of electronic music that seem to emerge every year. On the other hand, the prevalence of the technology has also fostered nostalgia for the sounds and methods of pre-digital recording, leading to a renewed interest in analogue based recording among artists of certain genres. Ultimately, whatever leads to the creation of great art is what we are all striving for, something that the DAW, whichever is your personal preference as everyone has one, continues to facilitate. BY ALEX WATTS
PRO TOOLS 20
Advice Columns Electronic Music Production
Understanding Binaural Panning Ever listened to a track with headphones on and heard a sound that seems like it’s coming from behind you? This is achieved with binaural panning - a tool that allows you to emulate the origin of a sound in three dimensions. To understand binaural panning, think about the structure of the human head. We hear in stereo – two ears (microphones) plugged into our brain. It doesn’t matter if we’re listening to a 9.1 surround sound system, it’s all being heard via this stereo line-in built into our heads. Incredibly, our brains can still determine the origin of sounds fairly accurately. This is a complicated process, but in simple terms our brains determine the origin of a noise by assessing the differences in the sound as it reaches each ear. This includes the time difference between it reaching your left and right ear, and frequency differences as your body blocks some frequencies from being as prominent on one side as the other. Our brains interpret all this data in an instant and tell us the origin. Pretty cool, huh? And because all sound is condensed down to our stereo ears, it’s theoretically possible to trick our ears and replicate any immersive sound experience via binaural panning. The downside: before we go crazy and create a magical 3D song with instruments surrounding you, it should be noted that this panning method really only works ideally when heard with headphones. Further to that, playing a track that heavily utilises binaural panning through speakers is likely to sound very average as the effect doesn’t work correctly when each of your output channels is heard in both ears, so the levels will be out of whack. Thus, an approach to this technique with some level of forethought is required. One approach is to stick to standard L/R panning for the bulk of your track - the essential bits that you want heard perfectly every time, regardless of what system it’s played back on. Then utilise binaural panning for those extra bits that are likely to only be noticed by headphone listeners anyway – things like ambient textures, subtle percussion, delay trails etc. Those easter eggs can add up to a fantastic immersive experience for your listener.
Some DAWs like Logic Pro have binaural panning built-in; for others there are aftermarket plug-in options, one of which is the new free plug-in from Sennheiser called Ambeo Orbit a professional but exceptionally user friendly introduction to binaural panning. It’s a great time to experiment with playing tricks on one of the many interesting abilities of our brain. By Michael Cusack
Advice Columns guitar
Adding Some Flavour To A Bluesy Funk Jam More voicing ideas this month. Let’s use a typical minor blues type of progression as our starting point (Figure A). I’m sure most of you will know some basic barre chords to get through this example. Try keeping the rhythm simple at first (just four crotchets/down strokes in a bar). This type of progression can be heard in anything from traditional blues to funk, pop, country and more, so get your ear used to the changes (if you’re not already familiar with them).
A couple of simple changes to Figure A can give us a lot more to work with in terms of sound and movement, and adds some additional chords to play with when improvising. Figure B highlights these additional changes. Again, start by keeping the rhythm simple and getting through the progression. Then try changing voicings (different shapes, barre chords, etc.) to get comfy with the sound. The added D7 (V chord) in Bar 2 and Eb7 to D7 in Bars 9 and 10 create additional movement and interest to the ear as well as offering more possibilities for improvisers.
From here let’s change some chord qualities to add a little flavour. Figure C takes our progression from Figure A and starts by adding Gm9, D7#9, Gm7 and Gm6 in the first four bars. In this example I’m trying to keep some consistency with the movement of the top note by avoiding any huge jumps. The A of the Gm9 moves down a major 3rd to F in the D7#9. From there it descends a minor 3rd to D in our Gm7 (Bar 3). The D note then only needs to move up a tone to become the 6th in the Gm6 chord. This top note of E then descends to Eb in Cm7 and down another semitone to become the 9 (D) in our Cm9. Our descending motion continues down to C which becomes the 11 (C) of Gm11. Next is a bit of a jump up to F (the 7th of the Gm7). This is done to create an interesting sound that keeps the top note (F) as the 9th of Eb9. The chord then descends to D7#9 with the top note remaining constant (and becoming the #9). Another jump to A with the highest note creates a Gm9 voicing which then ascends a semitone to A# for the last chord of our progression, a D7#5 with the A# acting as the #5.
To many of you this may not be groundbreaking (and it isn’t), but hopefully it exposes some of you to new sounds/chords/voicings, and highlights added possibilities for a fairly standard minor blues progression. Rhythm makes all the difference here, too, so try playing straight or as a funky swing. Try long notes, muted quaver, and semiquaver rhythms and different tempos – you’re only limited by your imagination and creativity. By Nick Brown 22
More Scale Ideas As the title suggests, we’re going to continue on from our foray into Mixolydian last month and check out Dorian, the second mode from the Major Scale. Using C Major as our starting point, Dorian starts on the second note (D) and runs through until D an octave higher, keeping the key signature from C Major (in this case no sharps or flats). That gives us Figure A, which is D Dorian. Play through the mode and get your ear used to its sound. What do you hear? It kind of sounds minor? But it’s from a major scale? Yep and yep. The 3rd of a scale or chord tells us if something sounds major or minor, and with an F natural as the 3rd (a minor 3rd up from D), it definitely has a minor sound. But it’s not D natural minor (which would have a Bb). This is because it’s the Dorian mode which comes from C Major; it’s not D Natural minor that is related to F Major although it has a minor sound. So the difference is the B note (the raised 6th in the case of the Dorian) and it gives the mode a funky flavour that has consequently been used (and is still used) in everything from funk to rock to jazz to blues and so on.
Figure B could be played as a slow straight funk groove (try 70 – 80bpm). Notice the B natural in the second bar? It seems to take away some of the darker minor sound (of Bb, from D Natural Minor) and adds a funky edge.
Figure C reiterates the sound of the B natural. Starting on C (the dominant 7th of D) the line descends to the minor 3rd and root note in Bar 1. Bar 2 then takes the same opening phrase and descends down to low G and F. Again, this could work as a slow to mid tempo straight funk groove utilising the B natural for some flavour.
Similar to last month’s look at Mixolydian, it’s obviously useful to know these scales and modes all over the neck which allows us to move around the fretboard at will and come up with cool sounds, chords and lines from that particular scale or mode. There are lots of great options in Dorian, but let’s start with a few pairs of notes (Figure D).
Try taking any of these two note chords and incorporating them into a line or comping behind a funky D Dorian bass line. Maybe play a bar of groove and then fill with one or more of these voicings in the next bar, then repeat/loop until you’ve got your hands on some cool ideas. You’d be amazed at how many possibilities there are and how quickly you can incorporate some of these ideas. The rhythm doesn’t have to be complex and you don’t need to know a million voicings; just pick a couple and gradually build your knowledge of D Dorian on the fretboard. I’m sure you can then see how many other possibilities there are when you move this to other keys, strings and areas of the fretboard. All good fun and great for building your vocabulary on the bass. By Nick Brown
Advice Columns PERCUSSION
More Paradiddle Applications Paradiddles are a fantastic way to explore new phrases on the drums, particularly if you’re new to experimenting with fills and need something to make you think a little. Essentially, the paradiddle (RLRR LRLL) is merely a framework for orchestration, and whilst it’s super handy, it’s only the beginning. Here’s a cool way to muck around with some accents over this basic rudiment and how you can apply it in a few musical ways. First, the know-how. Regardless of the framework, or in this case - rudiment, this is an application exercise for accents. Basically, I think of accents as a way of adding some dynamic variation and creating phrases. If you were saying a sentence to someone and had no variation in your voice, you’d basically sound like a) a robot, b) the voice command in your car and c) plain boring. Adding accents gives life to the phrase, creates interest and something for your ear to lock onto. Back to the paradiddle. Since we’re using the same rhythm for each of these examples - four groups of 16th notes - orchestrating the accents around the drums gives our fills some substance. Furthermore, adding accents gives that dynamic lift we need. Each of these examples, however, starts life on the snare. The key here - and no matter how boring it might seem, you must persist - is to maintain the two-level dynamic range. Accents should be solid, full strokes - rim shots, if you like. Think about what dynamic level you’d want when playing live. Practise this way. The non-accented notes should be ghosted and really soft. Like, really soft - think barely a centimetre off the drum. Why the massive difference? Contrast. Variation. Think about the voice command. You’re better than this. Now, the fun begins. When you are confident that your strokes are even - both accents and nonaccents - you can move the accents onto the toms. The general rule, as some of you would know, is the right hand accent moves onto the floor tom and the left hand accent onto the rack tom. All non-accented notes must remain ghosted on the snare drum. It’s really hard at first to keep these strokes soft, but you really must stick to it. Once your brain remembers the idea, it’ll become habit. Don’t practise the wrong way or your brain will remember that instead.
The third and final example of each figure, whilst suitable as a fill, is more groove-based. You can see the paradiddle orchestrated between the hi-hats (right hand) and the snare drum (left hand). You’ll also notice that where a right hand accent occurs, I’ve added a bass drum to thicken the sound and create contrast to the left hand accents that remain on the snare drum. We’re trying to create less predictable grooves that are funky and dynamic. The accents provide this for us. Again, I must stress, the rules of accenting still apply - big, solid accents with soft ghost notes.
Figure A is a simple single paradiddle as it appears in the international rudiment list – a single accent at the beginning of each semiquaver set. From here, we start to add other accents, but only really on the single strokes and not the doubles, for ease of motion. Practise each one steadily and with great care for dynamics on the snare and the toms as written. Listen to the phrases being created and let your ears lock into this, more so than the actual sticking itself. When the time comes, you’ll be playing live and possibly at a fast tempo where you don’t have time to be to thinking RLRR LRLL. You just need to feel it. Hear the accent phrase and let the hands ‘fill in the gaps’. The examples will feel a whole lot more musical this way. Try each example in context, too, by playing a groove (three times, say) and then the fill you’re practising. This is preparing you for a live situation.
At this point it’s worth noting that this is merely an example of a truly massive concept. There are so many different options. From using a different paradiddle, combinations of paradiddles, moving the accents on the cymbals with bass drums, combining the given applications in one bar etc, there are literally stacks of options and directions you could take, but it’s worth experimenting with because these types of phrases will give you some more scope for musical, tasteful ideas to incorporate into grooves and drum solos. Remember to always be musical though and use where appropriate. Have fun!
BY ADRIAN VIOLI
with special guest
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Product Reviews TC ELECTRONIC Crescendo Autoswell, Tube Pilot Overdrive, and Iron Curtain Noise Gate Amber Technology | ambertech.com.au Expect To Pay: $109
Imagine what the world would be like without our ability to see colour. Were the richness and fullness of all creation flattened to duotones as appears in silent movies, would we be so inclined to seek out more of it? In a way, the invention and proliferation of technicolour techniques to the film world reads as a metaphor for what I am asking. Once the full spectrum was loosed upon the unsuspecting public, the rate of change was palpable. It was as if suddenly there was a whole new way for us to describe our world to ourselves. To a point, the guitar world has a similarly poetic paradigm shift in its history, that of the invention and proliferation of the humble effects pedal. Small, sturdy, varyingly affordable and thick with every sound imaginable, pedals are the Pantone or Technicolour of the medium of sound and companies like TC Electronic are continually seeking new ways to help us describe our everything. Buoyed by the success of some flagship models like the Flashback, Hall Of Fame, Helicon series et al, a few years ago TC decided to simultaneously expand and simplify with a barnyard full of one trick ponies. Housed in bullet proof chassis’, builds like the Rusty Fuzz or Cinders Overdrive quickly found homes on pedalboards everywhere as their purified voicings found favour with many tired of the overwhelming burden of choice.
Expanding further to encompass all corners of the effects globe, their time based and modulated builds further filled out the tone rainbow. Here we are a few short years later and we appear to be nearing the narrow end of the bag of tricks. Recent years have seen tone chasers circling like sharks around the burley of transparent, tube-like overdrives. Tube Screamers and Klons can be found for mind-bogglingly extortionate prices on gear share pages across the internet. What would TC’s answer to such a hubbub be other than to simplify? The Tube Pilot takes what is at the core of the sound on everyone’s mind, a searing 12AX7, and plants it firmly in the hands of those who want it. Finding just the right amount of heat is as easy as ever with the two dials allowing you to navigate the combination of input and output gain just like you would on a classic British tube amp. The clip comes on quite strong and early which means there’s no messing around and, as opposed to acting like a standard clean boost, serves up a considerable helping of off-axis artifact that clearly delineates the Tube Pilot from its more stock contemporaries. The other two pedals I have today are interesting in that they live more in the studio than centre stage. The Crescendo is a handy tool to have in the post-rock bag
of tricks as it allows you to volume swell without the use of either pot or pedal. The sensitivity control allows you to dig in if you must while the attack dials in the rate of uptake on your picked note. I didn’t find too much variance in my twiddling, but in front of a long delay or reverb this thing could really come to life. The Iron Curtain is the answer to every high gain fiend’s oldest question: how do I clean up in between djents? A noise gate is an essential tool for those of you looking to stop on a dime, and the minute detail TC have placed on the PCB here is right on the money. I usually find gates a little too present for what I’m trying to do, but this one was delicate enough to ride silently behind my playing as opposed to choking it to death, which I found tempting to say the least.
HITS • Bullet proof, new versions of essential effects MISSES • Crescendo wasn’t as smooth or long as I’d hoped
While it is seemingly safe to assume that having a ‘one of each’ line of pedals is little more than standard practice for a pedal company, TC Electronic have gone to great lengths to ensure that theirs is far from average. Each pedal in this series is a unique take on an archetypal sound, not a clone, and this is what keeps the company ahead of the curve. BY LUKE SHIELDS
Product Reviews M a r s h a l l Am p l i f i c a t i o n DSL1C Combo Amp Electric Factory | elfa.com.au | Expect To Pay: $599
Growing up, the only Marshall amps I ever saw were hefty 100 watt heads sitting atop a plethora of quad boxes. I guess I never thought it was obtainable to get that classic tone in my bedroom. Who wants to buy a JCM900 only to have it sit in the corner of your bedroom with the volume control not even on one? The answer is no one. Thankfully, Marshall have finally caught up with the modern trend of valve driven, low wattage amps for home and rehearsal use. The classic DSL line has been reimagined and reinvigorated in 2018 with amps ranging from as little as one watt through to the 100 watt stalwarts we’re all accustomed to seeing on huge stages across the world. With this new era of DSL, it has never been more obtainable to get the classic Marshall tone at a reasonable volume for the bedroom guitarist. I was given the baby of the range, the one watt combo amp, to review this month. On looks alone, the DSL1C is the most unassuming and harmless looking amp. Simple in its engineering, but with more than enough features to fulfil your rock dreams at home. The Classic Gain channel is the cleaner of the two options, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a clean channel. Whilst certainly cleaner than it’s counterpart, it doesn’t quite give you the crystal clear tones you’re used to hearing.
Marshall DSL that fits on a desk or in a corner with ease. It’s perfect for the bedroom guitarist, teachers who want a great sounding low wattage amp or those who want to channel their rock heroes without breaking the bank or annoying the neighbours. It’s actually quite astounding that it took Marshall this long to jump on the micro wattage train, because it feels like players have been yearning for this for decades. With that said, given that it is only a one watt amplifier, I highly doubt an exceedingly clean tone could be obtained anyway. Where the DSL1C really shines is the Ultra Gain channel. With dedicated gain and volume controls, a three band EQ and Tone Shift control, there is more than enough options needed to shape the tone you require. The amp has bucketloads of gain, so it’s perfect for all of the shredders out
there that love a heavily saturated tone. For me, I really enjoyed rolling the gain back, dialling in a lot of midrange on the EQ and channelling my inner Jimmy Page for some classic rock tones. The addition of inbuilt reverb is a lovely touch and helps give the dry, overdriven tones more room to breathe. All in all, I can’t really fault the DSL1C because it does exactly what you need it to do. It’s a one watt, valve driven
By Nicholas Simonsen HITS • Classic tones at low volumes • The thing is tiny! MISSES • Nope
Fender Eric Johnson Thinline Stratocaster Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au | RRP: $3399
Eric Johnson has been synonymous with the Stratocaster for decades - except when he plays a semi-hollow body Gibson, that is. And so finally in 2018 the two guitar styles have come together in the perfect combination, like peanut butter and chocolate, or coffee and chocolate, or caramel and chocolate. This isn’t the first Stratocaster that Fender has made with an F-hole. There have been previous attempts through the Fender Custom Shop in particular, but where they differ is that they’ve all been missing the crucial Stratocaster comfort contours. Johnson and Fender worked over many different prototypes to nail the perfect way to maintain the Strat’s distinctive tummy cut and rounded body edges, instead of building a boxy Strat with binding or a squared off transition from top to side. Pick this guitar up with your eyes closed and your first thought will be, “How the hell is this Strat so light?” The rest of the specs are pretty standard for an EJ Strat. The body is alder with a quarter-sawn maple neck and a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. There’s a ’57-style parchment pickguard, three single coil pickups wound to Johnson’s specs, and a traditional Stratocaster vibrato. As with the regular solid body EJ model, great mixdownmag.com.au
care has been placed in the selection of the tremolo block, the number of trem springs, the neck shape, the fret type, and the electronics. (Fun fact: Johnson and Fender worked on a few prototype pickups designed for this guitar before realising that his existing pickups already did a great job of capturing this guitar’s unique tone - although at NAMM he told us they may revisit the idea in the future). The neck is a comfortable ’57 Soft V-shape, the fingerboard is a 12” radius (the same as an ES-335, instead of a vintage Stratocaster’s rounder 7.25” radius), and the 21 frets are medium-jumbo. The tremolo block is painted silver, and Fender uses ’57-style string recesses, a thin headstock with vintage-style staggered tuning machines, and an “ashtray” bridge cover if you wish to use it. The two things you’ll notice most about this guitar - other than the resonance, which is something you can directly feel
- is that it has a noticeable bump in the upper midrange, and that it sustains a little more than a Strat typically does at house volumes. It’s almost like playing through a really loud amp in terms of how the vibration of the strings and body work together to influence each other. It gets really addictive, really quickly. There’s also a little bit of a taming of the famous Stratocaster high end. Not enough to make the guitar sound dark though; in fact, the impression is of a more ‘sunny-sounding’ Strat. For the more abstract readers, it sounds like late afternoon sunlight as opposed to the searing midday sun directly overhead.
By Peter Hodgson
HITS • Beautiful tones • Really comfortable neck • Eric Johnson’s perfectionist streak MISSES • None
Eric Johnson has always used a Strat to weave his magic, so it’s only fitting that he be the one to wring this new tonality out of it over 60 years into the model’s existence. It’s still clearly a Strat in sound and style, and yet it does something that no Strat has done before it. 27
Product Reviews EARTHQUAKER DEVICES Westwood Overdrive Global Vintage | globalvintage.com.au Expect To Pay: $275
A word of warning before I dive in: this review will be chock-a-block full of the most mercurial and indefinite adjectives in the thesaurus. This, ladies, gentlemen and others, is a review of… an overdrive pedal. What do SRV, Pearl Jam, Foals, and Periphery all have in common? Reliance, nay, dependence upon the humble yet hotly debated Tube Screamer-style stomp box. These little green meanies have been the secret weapon of enough guitar heroes to put any holy grail amp to shame, as have many of their ilk. Klon clones, TS try-hards, blues drivers, OD oddballs and variations on the pushed amp theme litter the ground in pedal world, and it has officially come to the point where every last pedal manufacturer on the planet has what they deem the one to rule them all. While EQD is the proud progenitor of one of the more flexible and nuanced contenders to the title, the Palisades, they have never been the types to throw their hands in the air and proclaim, ‘Eureka, we’ve done it!’ The Westwood sees them dip their toes in the clear, glassy end of the overdrive pool and, as always, pip the competition at the post in doing so. As ever, EQD have equipped their unit with a simple set of controls with almost unlimited capability. Classically, overdrives need little more than input gain, output level and maybe a bit of tone shaping capability for good measure, and that’s
just what we have here. The 80Hz region is wrangled by the Bass knob with the everyday ease of a foreman on a worksite, while the Treble control dances around 2kHz like a toreador in full and fancy flight. With the former steadying proceedings at 12 o’clock and the latter pushed to its peak, there is an openness and clarity that even the original Maxon and Ibanez versions would be jealous of. If you’ve ever slaughtered a Bassman, even a reissue, with a good Les Paul you’ll be familiar with what I mean. With the Gain knob dimed there is enough juice on tap to satisfy the more leather clad among us without veering into ugly, tight distortion territory. The problem with writing about, and I assume in designing, an overdrive is the arbitrary nature of the descriptors used to hone in on the magic therein. Adjectives like ‘transparent’, ‘glassy’, ‘bell-like’ and ‘clear’ abound and offer deceptively little in the way of light in the tonal pathway. We all know what we’re hearing because we’ve heard it before, either in the recorded works of the aforementioned guitar heroes or when we’ve been cheeky with the floor stock of our favourite vintage gear emporium. We want to hear what Neil Young hears when he tears a ’65 Princeton a new arsehole, but we don’t
want to have to live in a cabin in the woods to achieve said bristling nirvana. In the last few years a subset of smaller companies have become tastemakers thanks to the success of their designs, not the least of whom is the one and only Earthquaker team. While fashionably late to the transparent OD party, the Westwood is by far one of the nicest sounding iterations I’ve come across. Annoyingly fluid adjectives be damned, the proof is in your ears as soon as you kick it on.
HITS • Hits the OD nail right on the head with no mess or fuss MISSES • None
BY LUKE SHIELDS
MOOG Mother-32 Analogue Synth Innovative Music | innovativemusic.com Expect to Pay: $999
Analogue synthesis has been around for about a jillion years, and yet there’s still a seductive mystery to it. Some call it ‘raw,’ some call it ‘funky,’ some call it ‘chaotic’; there’s something that speaks to us all in the magic of knowing that everything you’re hearing is the result of a physical process rather than an algorithm. The Moog Mother-32 is the first tabletop semimodular synthesiser from Moog, designed to be used either by itself or in conjunction with a full electronic or modular system. Handcrafted in Asheville, NC, it has the classic Moog look and feel as though it could have been made 30 years ago. And yet here it is, new and different, and sized to be easily transferred into a Eurorack skiff or case, or in any combination of Mother-32 and Moog DFAM units in Moog’s Three-Tier Rack Kit or Two-Tier Rack Stand. The extruded aluminium enclosure with wood sides features a voltage-controlled 32-step sequencer with 64 sequence locations, low pass and high pass Ladder Filter, two voltage controlled mixers, a classic Moog oscillator with dual outputs, wide-range LFO with audio-rate modulation capability, MIDI input and MIDI to CV conversion, white noise, a modular patchbay with 32 patch-points for extended synthesis complexity, and a CV jack with 16 assignable sources. Moog sells high-quality modular patch cables in packs 28
of five, so you can really go nuts with the inbuilt modular patchbay, and it’s worth listing all the patch points here: inputs for External Audio, Mix CV, VCA CV, VCF Cutoff, VCF Resonance, VCO 1V/Octave, VCO Linear FM, VCO Modulation, LFO Rate, Mix 1, Mix 2, VC Mix Control, Mult, Gate, Tempo, Run/ Stop, Reset and Hold, and outputs for VCA, Noise, VCF, VCO Saw, VCO Pulse, LFO Triangle, LFO Square, VC Mix, Mult 1, Mult 2, Assign, EG, KB and Gate. Back up a bit and note that External Audio input: you can have a lot of fun with that one. The multipurpose control output has 16 available functions: Sequencer Accent, Sequencer Clock, Sequencer Clock /2 Sequencer Clock /4, Decimated “Ramp”, Decimated “Saw”, Decimated “Triangle”, Stepped Random, STEP 1, MIDI Note On
Velocity, MIDI Channel Aftertouch, MIDI Pitch Bend, MIDI CC1 Mod Wheel, MIDI CC2, MIDI CC4 and MIDI CC7. The only rear output is a 1/4” headphone/line out: remember this is an analogue synth and therefore you can’t just hook it up to your laptop via USB and have at it. I plugged the Mother-32 into my audio interface and hooked up a MIDI controller keyboard for some good old-fashioned dirty analogue fun. What I found was that the tonality was distinctively ‘Moog’, and yet there’s enough sound-sculpting power that it’s easy to find sounds that are just as distinctively ‘you’, whether you’re using it as a sound source for a controller keyboard or using the built-in step sequencer. I ran it through some analogue effect pedals and into my Marshall guitar amp too - this
thing loves analogue delay. I also let my 11-year-old son try it out because he’s getting into EDM, and it was cool to see how quickly he took to it. Baby’s first synth!
BY PETER HODGSON
HITS • Huge possibilities via a clever control suite and patchbay • External Audio jack lets you process found sounds like crazy MISSES • Maybe read the manual before tackling the sequencer if you’re new to it mixdownmag.com.au
H OT R O D D E V I L L E ™ 212 I V | H OT R O D D E L U X E ™ I V | BLUES JUNIOR™ IV | P R O J U N I O R ™ I V LT D
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Product Reviews LINE 6 HX Effects Yamaha Music Australia | au.yamaha.com Expect to Pay: $999
Since the early inceptions of the Flextone, AxSys and POD, Line 6 have continued to develop guitar tools that have been eagerly embraced by the greater guitar community. Recent trends with modeling and subsequent success of the Helix range have seen them expand their range. Listening to guitarists’ needs and incorporating high quality effects with plenty of switching and routing options, the HX Effects was recently met with huge anticipation at NAMM. Wonder what all the fuss is about? Yes, the HX is effects only. None of the amp/cab modeling from the Helix and other Line 6 series is included in the HX with the intention being that it is an all-in-one effects package for guitarists that still love running a real amp. This, I would think, is a big portion of the guitar playing population, and a nice change to the multitude of outright modeling/direct options currently available. Furthermore, its size and routing options make it a great tool to integrate into your existing pedalboard. Specs-wise you’re getting over 100 effects, including both new and legacy sounds from the hugely popular four button series (DL4, MM4, etc.) available in a range of mono and stereo settings. From there these can be tweaked, combined, reordered, and accessed in a variety of modes along with expression pedals and even integrated with other stompboxes to really allow creative tone shaping.
I love the aesthetics of the HX: rugged and understated in a tough black steel casing. A combination of buttons and dials at the top of the unit handle your editing and tweaking, and are slightly recessed away meaning a stray foot shouldn’t alter any settings during use. Two rows of four footswitches then take up the majority of the unit with scribble strips accompanying six of them for presets and settings. These all light up in a range of bright colours as indicators during use and allow for extra info and descriptions. I also think the size of the HX is perfect. It’s not much bigger than the M9 and four button stomps so doesn’t have to dominate all of your pedalboard real estate, but it also has enough room to avoid feeling cramped and/or fumbling into unwanted preset changes. Mono or stereo input lets you connect guitar, bass, or keyboard with mono and stereo outs being able to feed other pedals, an amp or multiple amps. MIDI capabilities are handled via the MIDI in and out/ through, and there’s also a USB port for updating firmware, using software, and added connectivity. Two pedal/ext amp jacks work with expression pedals, and can be assigned to a huge range of controls including Wah/Whammy/Pitch Shift/Delay Time and the like. In ext amp mode, they can be used to change channels or switch reverb on and off depending on your amp. With integration, modular systems, and
the sheer range of pedals and effects on the market, I’m sure many players hoped for send/return loops and Line 6 have delivered. Two loops allow you to either run the HX in a four cable method or as inserts for additional pedals/effects. This can be great for adding your favourite, go-to dirt box into the mix or auditioning the latest greatest insert-pedal-name with your rig. I’ve been a big fan of the Line 6 M9 for years, so I was keen to see how the HX stacked up. Straight into a clean US voiced amp, I loved the delays and reverbs. Subtle and vibey with minimalist settings, and of course plenty of big atmospheric tones. For modulation sounds you’re spoilt for chorus and trem with some interesting new vibe and flanger models, too. Dirt and overdrive are most people’s typical slight on modeled/ digital tones, but I feel that the HX really does a fine job. Minotaur and Teemah! (guess what they’re modeled on?) are very usable, and there’s a host of fuzzes and heavier drives if you need more saturation. Additionally, it’s great to see all the legacy effects from the previous stomps included for those wanting to keep their older Line 6 tones alive. All in all, there’s a host of great sounding effects that have way too many possibilities to cover in this short review. As mentioned previously, the ability to integrate the HX with your existing setup
is a real strength. You can still keep a couple of your favourite pedals and run them in the loops, switch MIDI devices or amp channels, and run into your amp with a number of different methods. The scribble strips look great, and the ability to assign/edit/move footswitches and functions really lets you get deep into your setup. I love being able to jump from bypassed clean to heavy gain with delay and EQ to funky filters and mod effects and keep it all in relatively small footprint. MIDI switching and send/return loops open up so many possibilities for guitarists, bass players, and keyboardists; it really is a killer unit. Of course many users will make the HX their sole effects unit, and why wouldn’t you? So many great effects on hand with deep editing possibilities and high quality tones. A serious multi-effects unit that sounds damn good. BY NICK BROWN
HITS • Size and form factor • Tones and editing capabilities • Send/return loops MISSES • None
Product Reviews MAD PROFESSOR Fire Red Fuzz Dunphy Imports | madprofessor.com.au Expect To Pay: $240
Way back when, not long after the dawn of rock and roll, there lived a number of now notorious lunatics. History has since updated their collective noun to genii thanks to the popularity and longevity of their wayward yet profound sonic experimentation. Whether you call them maniacs or masterminds, the fact remains that anyone rampant enough to put a pocketknife through the speaker cone of an amp that these days we covet as a holy relic is at the very least pushing an envelope few would dare to approach. Still, where would we be without these glorious mavens? Hendrix would never have tuned in and fuzzed out; Clapton would’ve never rolled off his entire top end and basked in the sunshine of all of our love. They in turn would never have given birth to latter day torchbearers like Josh Homme et al. whose wild-eyed, fuzzy snarl gives rise for Mad Professor to manufacture the perfectly imperfect Fire Red Fuzz. The world of fuzz is a strange and confusing one at the best of times. For many the flabby, sustaining woof of Russian Big Muffs and their descendants is the only way to melt a face. For others, busted diodes and off bias everything is the way to set the world on fire. The Fire Red Fuzz has an interesting take on this recipe, and it all boils down to what you
do with the tone knob. If you want the creamy clipping sound of the seventies à la the famous Fuzz Face, then ease off on the Fuzz knob and notch in a stitch in the top end. If you’re brave enough to do the opposite though, you are sure to find Brant Bjork beating on your door asking you to join a reformed Fu Manchu with the amount of beefy, ducked saturation on board. As fuzzes go, this is easily one of the more flexible units I’ve throttled in spite of its unassuming yet snappy red uniform. Mad Professor is a grossly underrated company in my view. Their catalogue boasts a smorgasbord of sounds that sidles up to the likes of MXR and Boss in range and scope without lazily treading on their toes. In many ways, their humility is one of their finest qualities as every one of their designs that I’ve plugged into has been a tasteful and ready to run version of the well it is drawn from. When they veer into more exploratory combinations, they do so with a sense of discerning that escapes many others. Their Bluebird OD/ delay combo may not have been the be all and end all of sonic architecture, but it was nonetheless a colourful and fun thing to wail on. More often than not though, their builds hit the nail on the head in one fell swoop and that is exactly what they’ve done here. The Fire Red Fuzz is as close to
a gold standard sound as you could ask for. It has everything from classic rock cream to screaming, black metal seer at its behest. BY Luke shields
HITS • A super versatile, easily controllable addition to any fuzz collection MISSES • None
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Product Reviews CHARVEL GUITARS Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH FR in Natural Ash and Transparent Charcoal Charvel Australia | charvel.com.au Expect To Pay: Ash - $2099 Trans Charcoal - $2299
It was a sunny, late winter afternoon. Two earthy cardboard boxes stood like sentinels in the lounge room of a tiny studio apartment in the city somewhere. The tension was palpable as a box-cutter trembled cautiously along the tapeline that held back the lid of Pandora’s box. Somewhere in the distance, the seagullswooping guitar lines of Don Henley’s ‘The Boys Of Summer’ can be heard. This could very well be San Dimas, California; the mood of unbridled energy nestled quietly inside these two solemn packages belongs solely to that golden period of bleached white beaches, gaudy coloured swimwear and nimble guitar work that is the mid to late ‘80s. Printed bold on the side is the unmistakable guitar shaped Charvel logo that belongs to two PM SD2 shredders.
renaissance. With a renewed energy among younger guitarists for heavy metal’s speed, accuracy and high-gain, the Charvel factory is once again in full swing and churning out some examples that hark right back to the pedigree of their ‘80s heyday. Enter the new iteration of the Pro-Mod San Dimas Style.
Under the rule of the once and future king, one Eddie Van Halen, there were a few axe-grinders building the weapon of choice for professional (and less so) sweeppickers everywhere. Names like Charvel, Hamer, Kramer, BC Rich, Jackson and ESP were emblazoned across many a pointy, reverse headstock. While much bigger, older companies absorbed many of said builders, others sadly crumbled into dust once grunge ruined hairspray for everyone. However, of the ones that survived a select few seem to be in the midst of somewhat of a
All the classic tricks are there. Black hardware on naked maple necks, deeply recessed Floyd Rose tremolo systems, locking nuts and Super-Strat style dual humbuckers scream at you to send your fingers flying across the smooth yet dark rosewood fretboard. The neck is dangerously shallow and the action just about as low as it can get without buzzing away like it’s being sat on, and it’s all aimed at helping you get as close to Malmsteen speed as you can. And it works. I am by no means ready to tackle ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’ as a player (as my
workmates will attest to), but both of these T-birds had me racing up and down the strip. One thing that sets them apart from their contemporaries is the sensitivity of the voicing in the Seymour Duncan JB TB-4s. These are not the usual high output, wax potted pick-ups you’d expect. They are coiltapped for one thing, which makes them more versatile than most, but more importantly they are voiced to let the gain stage of your amp do more of the heavy lifting. Sure, with both rails engaged and a flat out TS808 in front of it, the Pro-Mod is going to djent like the best of them, but wind it back a little way and there is a sensitivity on tap that could make your mama cry. The biggest stars of those glory days may have all succumbed to coke-bloat, and Gordon Gecko may be little more than a
movie premise, but Paul Gilbert still rips his hot pink Iceman up like the ‘90s never happened. There are still people out there flying the flag for screaming solos and technical wizardry everywhere. It’s good to see that Charvel have them covered down to the ground with the historically accurate, sonically sensitive and lightening quick Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2. BY LUKE SHIELDS HITS • Tastefully finished • Featherweight playability • Paramount tuning stability MISSES • Doesn’t come with a Skid Row t-shirt
ART PRO AUDIO Tube Mix Sound & Music | sound-music.com Expect to Pay: $469.99
More and more gear is touchscreenenabled these days, which is great for many applications. There have also been several successful takes at tablet apps that function as touchscreen interfaces for DAWs; it’s just how a lot of people want to work today. But admit it - it feels like there’s something missing. The accuracy and real-time feedback of a physical knob on a mixer channel still just works. ART has always been about combining technology and practicality, and the Tube Mix audio interface brings mixers back - way back - to a time when they were finished in wood grain and were all about controls you could actually touch. That there’s a truly old-school-vibed USB-capable audio interface out there is cool enough, but the ‘Tube’ in Tube Mix refers to a 12AX7 valve which can be shifted around to two different locations in the circuit. You can assign it to act as a dual channel tube mic preamp, or stack it and apply it to the instrument input for extra harmonic juice with guitar, bass or analogue synth. Tube Mix has two mic inputs, one high impedance instrument input, and two line inputs, which can all be used simultaneously. All input channels have a three-band EQ with 15dB of boost or cut at 12kHz, 2.5kHz and 80Hz, two aux sends, pan and level controls, while the 32
high impedance instrument input has an amp simulation function as well. The output section is equally versatile as it allows for a separate stereo monitor mix on the main bus while recording via the aux bus, or vice versa. There’s also a flexible control room/headphone section which allows routing to monitor the main mix plus a USB input and aux sends. There are VU meters to monitor the record level or the aux send level, too. It’s all very practically laid out - even the headphone output is on the user-facing edge of the unit so you won’t have cords draping all over your work surface. It’s funny if not downright annoying that so many devices overlook this. It has a very sturdy metal chassis too, so it really feels like something you could find in a grungy pub - y’know, the kind of mixer that has handled 40 years of abuse without a sweat. Now, the way the tube is integrated in the signal chain means you won’t be able to use it to overdrive the preamp; it’s really there to warm up your tracks rather than be a substitute for a distortion box or anything like that. But it works beautifully on clean guitars (especially with the Amp Simulator engaged) and bass, and adds a lot of vibe to vocals. In fact, it’s hard to think of an application where it doesn’t add a little
extra ‘something,’ and it certainly goes a long way towards putting some analogue atmosphere into digitally recorded tracks. BY PETER HODGSON
HITS • Compact, lightweight design • Bright LCD screen • Great sounding stereo microphone • Easy overdubbing MISSES • None mixdownmag.com.au
Product Reviews DV MARK DV “Raw Dawg” EG Amplifier CMC Music | cmcmusic.com.au | Expect To Pay: $1095
Many moons ago I was a starry-eyed, fledgling reviewer for this here magazine. The very first piece of kit I was asked to cast a critical eye over was a low wattage DV Mark guitar combo. Being as dewy as I was back then, I only knew about Marco’s inimitable range of bass gear having seen some of my more discerning four-stringed friends conjure brown sounds with various models as conduit. This little combo opened my eyes to the sheer voracity with which De Virgiliis and co. eek out the corners of guitar tonality, and since then I’ve had a certain soft spot for the company. There is just about every colour of the rainbow in their catalogue, each with its own celebrity signatory, and it seems like every issue since I’ve written about a DV Mark build that differs in degrees from the last. Most of the time the rubric with a Mark World design seems to be big power in small stature. The “Raw Dawg” EG seeks to apply this sensibility to the tube driven head arena. The overall result is one of the more interesting voicings they’ve come up with. First and foremost it’s a clean amp, as clean as they come, almost to the point of being a blank canvas. The unmistakable warmth and versatility of 12AX7 preamp tubes is plainly on display here, and it affords an extra sense of delicate sensitivity and class relative to the solid-state tightness and grunt of other DV models. Eric Gales, for whom this variant
is named, must have secretly wanted to push the engineers for something they had sorely overlooked in many of their more high gain friendly blueprints, and the result is a pleasant surprise. As guitarists, we all love the idea of relying on a head that has all the character and spunk of ancient tube amps. Everyone who has ever listened to Clapton wants a ’59 Bassman or a ‘70s Plexi, but few among us have the necessary cash nor the lumbar fortitude to utilise one for our many and varied applications. This is where builders like DV are meant to come in. The unfortunate thing until now is that so many designs that skimp on size sacrifice
moxie in the process. I’ve played a few 20 watt head units that come close, but none that tick every box where any live, studio and/or home applications are concerned. It seems that with the “Raw Dawg” EG all of the tireless research that these engineers have done into sheer force finally finds its work station outside of the world of heavy rock and prog, which has been Mark World’s bread and butter for as long as they’ve had soldering irons in hand. It’s been a number of years since I first wrote about a DV Mark product, and I must admit we’ve had a turbulent relationship. Sometimes the aforementioned soft spot is a bruise, others it’s a pang of hope.
However, with its blank canvas simplicity, undeniable versatility, sky-high headroom and tasteful hint of all tube charm, I can finally say that the “Raw Dawg” EG is an amp that I could rely on in just about any situation. BY LUKE SHIELDS HITS • Simple, versatile, small and spunky MISSES • What kind of a name is Raw Dawg?
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Product Reviews Positive Grid Bias 600W Modeling Amp Link Audio | linkaudio.com.au | Expect to Pay: $1999
We may not eat food in pill form or hoon around in hover-cars just yet, but we are well and truly living on the cusp of, if not smack bang in the belly of the future. There are people making music on computers that sounds like blips and bloops just like The Jetsons guessed, and we’re video calling each other on a regular basis just to tell each other that we’re minutes away on the tram. Fred and Wilma would be quaking in their loincloths if they knew half the things we can do these days. The advent of the internet and its expansion to the seemingly limitless world of hands-free technology has made it so that just about anything and everything you could possibly wish for is a swipe, click or tap away. Positive Grid is a company that has been at the coalface of this technological tin mine for years now. Famous for creating some of the most user friendly and sonically advanced music apps on the market, their new Bias Head sees them take one almighty leap into the physical realm and apply the entirety of their tone-tech prowess in the real world. The Bias Head is, at its genesis, a modeling amp - just not like you’ve known before. As opposed to being an engorged menu of presets and optional extras, this unit seeks to put the power in your hands. You choose just about everything except the printed circuit board it is built on, and the unit itself quietly ensures that a) you have easy access to all your choices and b) every last one of them sounds as natural as the real thing. Despite being loaded with features, the unit itself is simple enough to navigate.
The traditional controls are there along the bottom row; input gain, bass, mid, treble, presence and master volume can all be used to chip away at what it is you’re looking for. There’s an output volume for your neighbours’ sake and a vintage/modern switch that changes the era your tone mimics. Along the top row is where it gets interesting. Essentially, you have five banks with five presets per bank, each loaded straight out of the factory to represent a broad sweep of desirable heavy hitters in the amplification hall of fame. Anything from Fender Blackface or JC120 clean to Marshall Plexi and 5150 high-gain are on offer straight out of the box and make for a great place to start. From there the tube stack selection, circuit design type, and power-amp dials offer you a simplified version of the options you can tune in once you hit the digital realm, but more on that later. The back panel is a studio or live engineer’s dream. The speaker out reads and matches impedance to just about any cabinet you can put it in front of. There are balanced and unbalanced XLR and TRS outs in stereo pairs for sending signal to various destinations. Effects loop, headphone out, and pre and post switch for the cabinet simulator mean that the person behind the faders has just as much control over what comes in as the person doing the shredding. Dual footswitch ports offer yet another hall of possibility, and the whole unit is MIDI compatible via the in, out and thru five pin ports. Whether you’re just playing the thing live, recording it patched straight into a desk or using the machine
to trigger lighting rig changes, there is absolutely no limit to what you can do with this sleek, black and silver capsule. Here’s where it gets really incredible. All of what I’ve written above is merely a conduit for the infinite, awe-inspiring possibility you get once you hook your Bias Head up to your Mac, PC or tablet. The companion apps offer you not only the opportunity to render your tone from the library of options available, but you can also render an exact replica of your favourite rock box simply by using a recording into the interface to map its tonal fingerprint. It’s the kind of thing that there are X Files episodes about: upload the consciousness of even the shitty, ancient practice amp that you’ve become accustomed to into the machine and the Bias Head lets you take it anywhere. This means it will never die on you, never conk out at the crucial moment, and always be there when you need it. Kinda spooky really, especially when you actually do it and see just how startlingly accurate it is.
machine in its own right. 600 watts of power and one of the cleverest processors on the market, and close your eyes and you’d never know you were sleeping next to a Replicant. BY Luke shields HITS • Incredibly realistic tone • Literally infinite tone shaping options in a totally portable yet durable package MISSES • None - reverb would have been nice but you can get that elsewhere
One of the fatal flaws of even the frontrunners of the digital modeling amp race is suspension of disbelief. All of the examples I’ve played so far are good, but I’ve always been deathly aware that I am not playing the real thing but shredding inside a simulation. This is where Positive Grid has made a huge leap forward. Not once in the few hours that I played with this amp did I think to myself, “Yeah, but…” and that’s all down to how much care has been given to make the amp feel like a real, humming and whirring
LEVEL SET BUFFER | THE BENDS COMPRESSOR | SANTA ANA OVERDRIVE | PUGILIST DISTORTION | MIRROR IMAGE DEL AY | MARINE L AYER REVERB
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Product Reviews FENDER Acoustic 100 Amplifier Amber Technology | ambertech.com.au | Expect to Pay: $699
Nothing is more intimate than the relationship between a guitar player and their favourite, well-worn acoustic. The two are pressed close at the torso, sewn together by the vibration that one coerces from the strings of the other, the former hunched over the latter like a mother cradling her child. For most of us, this is the image of what it was like to fall in love with the instrument in the first place. Eventually, that romantic entanglement is augmented by the all too human desire to make oneself known, and the idea of performance comes flitting through the window. While there are ways and means of using electric guitar amps for projection purposes, most of which only get you to turd polish territory, the specificity of an acoustic focused amplification system has for a long time been the best option outside of relying on beat up, old house DI boxes. Never ones to shy away from fingering any and every pie, Fender’s engineers cut off a generous slice for themselves with the new Acoustic 100. Many of you may be familiar with Fender’s first successful foray into acoustic amplification territory, the Acoustasonic. Those caramel dream factories have long been the most reliable answer to many performers’ question, ‘How do I make this thing louder?’ Why change the script on
something that has worked for so long is the first thing I wondered, but the rub here seems to be not so much improving an existing design but augmenting the wider catalogue. There are several noticeable differences between the two ranges, so much so that they’re barely worth comparing. The Acoustic 100 is a sleeker, much more modern take on the same rubric. There are two identical channels mirroring each other on either side of the top plate. The inputs facilitate both TRS and XLR inputs, pitching the amp directly at the singer/songwriter set, and both sides are in command of a pitch inverter, simple three-band EQ and a digital effects stage. All of this is housed within a super stylish Scandinavian influenced polished plywood back and sides. Extra flourishes like headphone out, aux in and optional footswitch make the unit not only great to look at but much more versatile than its predecessors. While it is essentially a digital signal processor, the one thing that I noticed upon plugging in is that it does not reduce the natural colour and charisma of your favourite wooden box. If anything, the thorough, zero tolerance nature of the digital brain at play enhances the EQ and phase cancellation capabilities in a much cleaner way than simple circuitry can. The
guitar I gave over to the machine was a parlour sized Takamine that I alternately like and malign for its boxy midrange. Through the Acoustic 100 I was able to tame some of the plonk as well as boost enough of the low end to bring it closer to dreadnought-esque warmth without straying into the arms of imitation. It’s a great tone-shaping tool first and foremost in that it is as tasteful as you’ll ever be. Fender has been one of the biggest tastemakers for the better part of a century. It stands to reason then that they would stand back a minute, stroke their chins and distil the wants and needs of acoustic
performers down to their key elements as they have done here. Pair it with one of the new Paramount range of acoustic guitars and you’ll have your audience forgetting their electrics ever existed. BY LUKE SHIELDS HITS • Stylish Scandinavian design coupled with an incredibly helpful EQ stage MISSES • No tube warmth
YAMAHA STAGEPAS 600BT Yamaha Australia | au.yamaha.com Expect To Pay: $1599
When Yamaha upgraded their STAGEPAS system to succeed the acclaimed 300 and 500 portable PA solutions, they scored a hit with the 400i and 600i offerings. But Yamaha never rests on their laurels, which brings us to the 400BT and 600BT, which you could consider to be the 2.0 of the 400i and 600i. The main selling point to distinguish the ‘i’ and ‘BT’ versions of the 400 and 600 is the inclusion of a Bluetooth wireless audio streaming function. And straight up, it’s one of those no-brainer design inclusions that makes so much sense for how this unit is likely to be used. So kudos to Yamaha for that. On more of a macro level, what we’ve got here is an all-in-one PA system consisting of two lightweight speakers and a detachable mixer, along with a pair of speaker cables and a power cord, all easily stashed into a setup that you can carry to the gig in one trip from the car. The mixer stashes into the back of one speaker, the cords into the other, and off you go (well, you might need to make another trip to the car for some mics or speaker stands and stuff). There’s also a Yamaha BMS10A mic stand adaptor available to mount the mixer to a stand onstage, and the FC5 footswitch for reverb ON/OFF, so if you’re a small act that needs to handle its own mixing while performing, this setup is totally ready for you. 36
The 600BT has ten inputs including a Hi-Z switch on one channel for plugging guitars in direct; feedback supressor and 1-Knob Master EQ on the output channel; 40 mono mic line inputs, six mono/three stereo line inputs, outs for monitor and subwoofer in addition to the speaker outs, Bluetooth version 4.1 with a range of up to 10 metres; and onboard SPX digital reverb with four programs and parameter control. The speakers pack a 10” cone and a 1.4” voice coil compression driver into a very lightweight enclosure with a moulded top handle. This is such an easy rig to set up, and it sounds incredibly clear. For many artists the Bluetooth will be a big selling point, reducing the number of cables and setup time needed, opening up the stage space just that little bit more and making it nice
and simple to get backing tracks into the ears of your audience. And the inbuilt SPX reverbs sound predictably perfect, with Plate, Room, Hall and Echo modes. The 1-Knob Master EQ is super simple. Turn it all the way to the left for speech - ie; if you’re using the PA for some kind of publicspeaking situation. As you turn it up the sound gets progressively more tailored to lead vocals, a simple acoustic-guitar-andvocals setup or a full band. Then the last 20 percent of the knob’s travel introduces virtual bass processing which is tailored for DJs. And the feedback suppressor intelligently removes feedback without fuss, which is great for if you have to mix your own show while playing it. Is this the ultimate Yamaha portable PA? Well… yes! It’s loud, it’s flexible, it can be
augmented easily, it’s portable as all heck, and the layout is so clear that you can easily yell across the room to a complete moron, “Hey can you turn the High control on Channel 4 of my mixer to 2 o’clock?” and they’ll figure it out. BY PETER HODGSON HITS • Awesome reverbs • Super lightweight • No-brainer layout MISSES • A dedicated effect aux channel would be nice
Product Reviews FENDER In Ear Monitor Range Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au RRP: DXA1 - $199 CXA1 - $269 FXA2 - $399 FXA5 - $599 FXA6 - $799 FXA7 - $999 FXA9 - $2499
Someone over at Fender HQ clearly has a bee in his or her bonnet. The most universally acknowledged instrument maker on the planet by far has released several new lines of products in the last six months to a year, all of which harbour allusions to an underlying theme; one of absolute professionalism. Leo’s descendants shelved their Standard and Blacktop series of guitars and basses in favour of the American Professional range, which offers a cleaned up, no nonsense rendering of their most unanimously sought after builds. A while back I reviewed the P Bass from this line and was struck by how distinctly sturdy and work-ready it felt in my hands. All of their attention lately seems aimed at the modern working musician whose needs are much less littered with bells and whistles than many others’ can be. Aside from the instruments themselves, Fender’s next logical conclusion is to offer some of the most stage friendly designs they’ve ever come up with: the FXA, CXA and DXA series of in-ear monitors. First off, let’s examine how an IEM differs from your bog-standard, run-of-the-mill ear bud. For one thing, just as with studio monitoring, there is a very real need for a drastic increase in frequency response. Secondly, the unit needs to be able to block out the outside world in order to make good use of said response. Where even a top tier, hi-fi style headphone might have a considerable enough range, usually between 50Hz and 20kHz with a particular focus around the 10-15kHz mark for the
sake of vocals and melodic instruments, a performing musician will often need to venture a little outside this perimeter and pay more or less attention to the high-mids. Fender’s new IEM designs offer an extended 6Hz to 23kHz of crisp, clear and colourful field with enough headroom in the 9.25mm precision rare-earth or armature drivers (model dependent) that you could just about hear the whole spectrum in one track before any break up occurs. With 22dB of attenuation afforded by the medical-grade silicon form-fit sleeves, there is so little spill that you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the studio even on the loudest of stages. Another key ingredient to the success of any IEM design is how comfortable and unobtrusive any of these units are when perched atop your lobes. I’ve tried a few IEMs of varying qualities in the past and one thing that keeps coming up, particularly at the cheaper end of the spectrum, is the unavoidable seam that is the belly-button of injection moulded, plastic chassis. In some instances, this omnipresent border between pleasure and pain has been the only thing that turned me off a unit insomuch as the irritation was realistically too much to be ignored when performance is paramount. 3D printing solves this problem with ease and grace as each of Fender’s units are printed from hard wearing and extremely lightweight plastics, making them so invisible that you’d forget you’re wired at all save for the clear-as-abell signal sailing down the line.
Designed and hand assembled in Nashville, Tennessee, I had the chance to sit with the whole range. To be perfectly frank, all seven iterations are so impeccably put together that, aside from the differing shapes, sizes and pearloid colour variants, the difference between any of them is negligible. Starting at the entry point to the range, the FXA2, there is an incredibly air filled and clear-asday sonic quality, which increases in nuance and fleetness as you advance up each rung. Simply put, every tier of the Fender IEM ladder will perform the task assigned to them with grace and aplomb, delivering a simple yet entirely functional version of your mix to your skull without impacting your performance in any way other than affording you some much sought after focus.
HITS • Comfortable and durable design • A crystal clear frequency response MISSES • Each tier is too similar to the next to delineate or justify spending extra
BY LUKE SHIELDS
Product Reviews SOYUZ SU-023 Bomblet Handmade Condenser Microphone Studio Connections | studioconnections.com.au Expect To Pay: $1455
Ah Mother Russia, what strange, terrifying and wondrous secrets are hidden behind your borders? We in the western world are snuck glimpses of your treasures every now and then, and truly and more often than not they change the way we think about so many things. Your Big Muffs are thicker and more intimidating than our measly Yankee ones, your vodka more potent and life affirming, and now, with this Soyuz Bomblet SU-023 on a mic stand in front of me, you might just have changed what I expect from a large diaphragm condenser mic. Early on in the course of my research into this odd looking metal artifact, I stumbled across an intimidating list of artists who have used Soyuz mics on recent recordings. Suffice to say if it’s good enough for Radiohead to use on A Moon Shaped Pool, it’s good enough for just about any recordist on the planet. The Bomblet is 100 percent hand tooled by some of Europe’s finest master builders in a facility deep in the heart of Russia, and it is abundantly clear just from holding it that every care has been taken to produce an honest to goodness rarity. The capsule comprises two 33mm membranes, one of which is gold flecked, and it is propelled into absolute clarity by the magic of FET.
There are a number of demos of varying quality of these mics available on the internet, and I must say that I was impressed enough just watching those. At the risk of sounding like I’m some sort of double agent, I was nothing short of dumbfounded when I actually breathed into the thing. I already anticipated greatness, but I was blown away by the subtlety, crispness and detail inherent in even the slightest whisper in the direction of this mic. Now, my rig is by no means up to speed; my humble Focusrite Saffire 6 is a long way from Abbey Road. In spite of this limitation though, I could hear every falling leaf outside my window, every creak in the back of my throat and every glistening harmonic I wrestled out of my acoustic guitar with a musicality and sensitivity I am barely worthy of. There is no question in my mind that the SU-023 is fit to stand in the pantheon of sound capturing devices alongside names like Neumann and Sennheiser. Bear in mind, Dear Reader, that I am but a modest, low-level serf when it comes to the
mic world. My knowledge and experience of most mics is limited to the graces of those that have been kind enough to put me in front of their vintage gear. I may not know the ins and outs of the history of ribbon mic crimpers and all of the physics at play, but by God do I know a next level mic when I hear it. With its charming, wooden box, Sputnik-like construction, and absolute sonic purity, the Bomblet SU-023 by Soyuz is just that: a gold standard sound capture device whose only limitation is the ear that plugs it in.
BY Luke shields
HITS • Its crispness and clarity is only bettered by its original sense of musicality MISSES • None
F o c us r i t e Clarett 4Pre USB Innovative Music | innovativemusic.com.au Expect to Pay: $1049
The Focusrite Clarett range focuses on tour audio interfaces designed to offer the kind of quality and features found in units costing twice the price. The series goes from the desktop Clarett 2Pre (10-in, 4-out) and Clarett 4Pre reviewed here (18in, 8-out) to the single-rackmount Clarett 8Pre (18-in, 20-out) up to the Thunderboltonly Clarett 8PreX, with a very respectable 26-in, 28-out. Aside from the consistent visual presentation, the line is also held together by its reliance on Focusrite’s decades of analogue design experience, along with Air-enabled preamps that reproduce the input impedance, clarity, and frequency response curve of the company’s original ISA mic preamp. Available in Thunderbolt and USB versions, the Clarett 4Pre has four high performance, low-noise (-128dB EIN) mic preamps with a low distortion, ultra-linear design that guarantees a clean, open and transparent sound, giving accurate representation of the original performance. There are 18 inputs including the four mic/line inputs (two of which are also high-impedance instrument inputs), four fixed line inputs, and an ADAT input which supports an additional eight channels when combined with multi-channel mic preamps like Clarett OctoPre. There are two monitor outputs with anti-thump technology, a headphone 40
output with volume control, and two line outputs - and MIDI I/O is also included, of course. You can use the Focusrite Control app on Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to easily configure your routing and monitor mixes, while other bundled software includes XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite and Plug-in Collective, Softube Time and Tone Bundle with four of Softube’s world-class reverb, delay, mastering and distortion plug-ins, Ableton Live Lite, and Loopmasters with 2GB of royalty-free sample libraries. Supported operating systems are Mac OSX 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra or 10.13 High Sierra, and Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, while supported sample rates are 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz.
The key to the Clarett 4Pre’s success is that Air mode, which boosts the high end significantly up to 35kHz. It’s an effect that you feel as much as hear, bringing more intimacy to vocals, more sparkle to guitars, and more swish to hi-hats. It doesn’t work for everything though; if you use it on every track you record, you’re going to have so much treble content to contend with that your mix will start to sound harsh, but use it selectively and it’s like a magic wand for your overall mix. Focusrite also nails it with a very helpful manual that explains the myriad ways to connect this bad boy up. It’s such a potentially complex system that it helps to have a little extra help in planning your signal routing.
HITS • Input gain LEDs handily integrated around the gain controls • Flexible routing options • Great-sounding Air mode on all four mic channels MISSES • A few USB ports for connecting other devices would be nice
By peter hodgson mixdownmag.com.au
Product Reviews ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN 40th Anniversary StingRay Bass CMC Music | cmcmusic.com.au | Expect to Pay: $4795
Picture this: the year is 1976. You’re sitting in a sunken lounge lined with shag pile carpeting listening to your brand new copy of Frampton Comes Alive! or Songs In The Key Of Life, reading about the dissolution of the Viet Cong. Everybody has been talking about this raucous new wave of bands they’re calling ‘punks’, The Ramones have just put out their first 12”, some ugly English kids calling themselves The Sex Pistols have played two shows to less than fifty people (many of whom would go on to change the world themselves), and it all sounds like the second coming of rock and roll Jesus. You swap the newspaper for a catalogue from your local music store and nestled somewhere around the fourth or fifth page is the brand new StingRay Bass. Little do you know the lasting effect just about every detail of that situation is to have on the next forty years.
With this anniversary edition, all the familiar sights are on show; hardened steel tail-piece, active circuitry, and that trademark ovoid, three-ply scratch plate. The neck is silky, blonde maple with walnut skunk stripe down the back whose generous 7.5” radius is one of the smoothest rides I’ve had in a while.
Entering production just two years into the Ball family’s history, the sleek, modern design and notorious mid-range focus have split audiences into two camps and delineated the vintage and modern eras of guitar history. You’re either a StingRay type or you’re not, with countless players relying heavily on the bright, beady jab to add sought-after clarity to their playing and to help their lines sail through the low end.
As anyone who’s ever throttled one of these things knows, the pickup is the real silver bullet here. The ten pole-piece design developed by the Music Man team years ago sees five elongated alnico magnet pairings sit beside each string, as opposed to directly behind it, meaning that they cooperate to pick up more of what you’re putting down. As a result there is more power behind the whole frequency
spectrum and more colour for you to play with. For many, this is the hinge. Not everyone knows what to do with that much poke in the ribs and often accuse the StingRay of being nasal and awkward. On the contrary, played with a bit of finesse and sensitivity there is so much character to work with that sits comfortably in a mix without getting lost and, particularly in this edition, is able to splash around in your dirt pedals without getting too muddy.
HITS • Classic style • Same-old StingRay bite MISSES • Might not be for everyone
Few instruments are so divisive yet so definitive as Ernie Ball Music Man’s iconic StingRay; however, if you are in the mood for that So-Cal sound then there’s absolutely no substitute. BY LUKE SHIELDS
LOOG Pro Acoustic & Pro Electric Dunphy Imports | loogguitars.com.au Expect to Pay: Electric - $249 Acoustic - $229
Loog officially makes guitars for kids but frankly, their designs are so cool that adults seem to dig ‘em too. The company began as an academic project in 2010 around the idea of a sustainably made guitar that encourages kids to play, and that could be put together with an adult. Everything about Loog is geared towards simplicity and fun from the guitar design itself to a bundled app that gives you everything you need to start playing songs straight away. There are several different flavours of Loog. We’re looking at the Loog Pro Acoustic and Loog Pro Electric, but there are a few special offshoots such as the Loog Pro Electric Lucite, Paul Frank editions of the Loog Pro Electric and Loog Mini, and a (now sold out) Third Man Records edition. Both guitars reviewed here share the same basic Airlineinspired outline and a thin neck with three strings, although the strings are thicker on the acoustic than the electric. In 2017 the acoustic was revamped with improved sound, intonation and playing action, a new bridge, new neck, new pickguard and steel strings, and it now comes assembled ready to play. Loog seems to have stepped back from the ‘you assemble it with a grown-up’ aspect, putting the focus instead on the instrument itself and the fun of playing it. It comes with flashcards with chord diagrams, plus full access to the Loog mixdownmag.com.au
Guitar app (which is adorable). Loog also points out that it makes a great slide guitar, even for grown-ups. The tone is surprisingly full for such a little instrument, and it’s very easy to press down on the strings, which is crucial for little kids when getting over those first daunting months of guitardom.
great clean or through overdrive. Distortion gets a little hairy, but if you have a kid who’s into rock, this makes a lot more sense than getting them a full-sized guitar they can’t play yet, or making them start on an acoustic that sounds nothing like the music they want to make.
As for the electric model, it too received an upgrade in 2017 with a new neck, bridge (a three-saddle hardtail Strat-style unit) pickup, and a new cutaway design. The controls are as simple as it gets: just a volume knob and an output jack. It also comes with the flashcards and access to the app, and it’s loud enough that kids don’t need an amp to enjoy it.
Loog is the perfect introduction for kids who want to enter the world of guitar without the daunting aspects. It’s fun, it’s kinda cute and silly, and yet it’s totally serious. As an added bonus, the flash cards don’t just teach the three-stringed Loog chords; they show the full six-string chord with the remaining strings in a fuzzy grey out-of-focus design which prevents them from confusing the little’uns when they’re learning the Loog chords, but makes perfect sense when they’re ready to transition to six-string.
The lipstick pickup is perfectly placed for a sweet yet clear sound. This could easily have been a harsh, overly trebly-sounding guitar that would drive parents nuts if that pickup was placed further back. Instead, it sounds
HITS • Necks are very playable for little hands • Great flash card design MISSES • Tuning keys can be a bit slippery
BY PETER HODGSON 41
Product Reviews VALETON Loft Series Mini Analog Pedals Global Vintage | globalvintage.com.au Expect To Pay: OD-10 - $99 | CH-10 - $110 | AD-10 - $119
I don’t know who works at Valeton or how they got their info, but there is something funny going on in that secret lab of theirs. Playing through and listening to the three pedals from their Loft series that I see before me, I can only assume that the engineers behind the OD-10, CH-10 and AD-10 are a combination of Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Either they’ve cackled their way through discovering the formulae on some dark, stormy night or they’ve shimmied through a roof and stolen the microfilm containing the secrets behind just about every classic stomp box on the market. Either way they’ve done something right because these are some of the healthiest sounding clones I’ve ever laid ears on. First cab off the rank is the simplest, the OD-10 overdrive - and what a classic sounding overdrive it is. It looks oddly familiar in its lemon yellow chassis and sounds as such. Twin controls allow access to Level and Gain, and realistically that is all you need. Dialled down it oozes just a pinch of even order harmonic that makes it a real estate-friendly clean boost with character that belies its size. Hammer up the Gain knob and there is a tonne of warm sustain and grunge era dirt that gives you that loud-quiet-loud dynamic we all know and love. One would assume that the lack of tone control leaves a lot to be
desired, but that is surprisingly not true as the time tested colour on board allows the true characteristic of your guitar to shine through to the speakers aided, not hindered, by the richness of the circuit it runs through. The CH-10 is dangerously close to the pedal it is designed on. The instantly recognisable sky blue ladybug is as classy as a chorus pedal can be. The Rate knob controls the ripples on the surface of your tone, while the Depth knob allows you to see through to the bottom of the lake as much as you’d like. Saturated ‘80s JC120 sounds abound as you wish or lean away from the river and just use it to thicken up your clean tone. I happened to try this one out with an acoustic guitar, as I’ve heard people use the original to great effect, and it did a magical job of creating space where there was none before.
The most successful of the three on offer today, however, was the AD-10. No pussyfooting around, this magic magenta miniature takes the Boss DM2 squarely in its sights, aims and hits bull’s-eye. The DM2 is one of the most sought after pedals that Boss ever put out and is responsible for some of the most creatively simple guitar sounds in recorded history. Songs like ‘Run Like Hell’ by Pink Floyd and ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ by U2 rely on the warmth and subtlety of this unit’s repeats to calcify a let-the-guitar-playitself technique that had never been heard before. The AD-10 is an exact replica of the delay that changed delays in every way, from the layout of the dials to the dusty heat in the tails, to the wild and flailing self-oscillation. I’ve played clones and I’ve played clones of clones, and this is as close as I’ve come to the real thing at a fraction of the cost.
For a while there it seemed like small footprint clones of everybody’s favourite pedals were a very real threat to their original parent companies. Mooer and Hotone came close to knocking the giants off the beanstalk but fell short by varying degrees; however, there is still something to be said for the way lower cost imitation pedals allow the everyman access to some hard to reach places. Valeton’s Loft series goes a long way to closing the gap between high-brow collector and your everyday tone chaser. BY LUKE SHIELDS HITS • Incredibly close to the original and lower to the ground than other minis MISSES • Considerable volume drop when engaged
MARTINEZ Southern Star Series MFPC-7C Jade Australia | jadeaustralia.com.auExpect To Pay: $549
The Martinez Southern Star series is all about the marriage of traditional style and modern production techniques. The MFPC-7C is a good example: it has a small ‘folk-size’ body construction and a smooth, rounded cutaway, giving it a bit of ‘old school’ and a bit of ‘modern boutique luthier’ look all at once. Of course, at this price point you’re not going to get a Breedlove or a Taylor, but it’s clear from even a cursory look that your dollar is going to the structural aspects of the guitar rather than the visual bling. This guitar has a solid spruce top, which means that as the guitar ages it will break in really nicely and get better as it gets older. The back and sides are made of figured ebony with a mango wood centre strip that looks quite classy without being too over-the-top. The neck is mahogany, and the fingerboard and bridge are made of something called TECH wood, a composite with great warp resistance. This guitar also comes fitted with a Martinez Cadic preamp, which features a chromatic tuner, slides for bass, middle and treble, a phase switch and a notch knob for zapping feedback, plus bright and middle frequency knobs - and of course a volume knob. The guitar comes with Timberidge long-life strings and is sold in a quite beautiful Martinez ivory hardcase. Sonically, this is a very sweet guitar. The lows are tight and the mids are present 42
without being too overbearing. The treble profile is of the ‘super-dynamic, hit it hard for extra zing or pick softly to round it off’ variety, and the string separation is great for fingerstyle players. In fact I found myself more likely to play this guitar without a pick, even though it’s a great strummer too, such is the detail, clarity and subtlety available. This is a great-sounding, great looking guitar that is only slightly let down by some production inconsistencies, but nothing that you should really worry about in this price range. The same rough fretboard edges on a $1500 guitar would be a problem, but here, not so much. And the case is a really nice bonus. If you’re in the market for a guitar that will play and sound really nice and aren’t too fussed about the flash, this is a solid choice. BY PETER HODGSON HITS • Nice note separation • Comfortable neck profile • Great case included MISSES • Some rough finishing mixdownmag.com.au
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(Music Instruments Retailer) A | P | E | W|
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84 Nicholson St, Abbotsford VIC (03) 9416 2133 email@example.com aaduplication.com.au facebook.com/AADuplicationServices
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1131 Burke Rd, Kew VIC (03) 9817 7000 firstname.lastname@example.org eastgatemusic.com.au facebook.com/Eastgatemusic
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Shop 2 398 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC (03) 9670 8231 email@example.com jaben.com.au facebook.com/jabenau
HYDRA REHEARSAL STUDIOS
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EASTERN SUBURBS SCHOOL OF MUSIC
(Music Lessons) A | 10 Floriston Road, Boronia VIC 7 Sahra Grove, Carrum Downs VIC P | 0421 705 150 E | email@example.com W | essm.net.au facebook.com/easternsuburbsschoolofmusic
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4/2181 Princes Hwy, Clayton VIC (03) 9546 0188 firstname.lastname@example.org skymusic.com.au facebook.com/skymusiconline
FIVE STAR MUSIC
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102 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood VIC (03) 9870 4143 email@example.com fivestarmusic.com.au facebook.com/fivestarmusicoz
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SOUNDS EASY PTY LTD
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393-399 Macaulay Rd, Melbourne VIC
(03) 8378 2266 firstname.lastname@example.org dexaudio.com.au facebook.com/dexaudioaustralia
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GLADESVILLE GUITAR FACTORY
(Music Instruments Retailer) A | 280 Victoria Rd, Gladesville NSW P | (02) 9817 2173 E | firstname.lastname@example.org W | guitarfactory.net facebook.com/GladesvilleGuitarFactory
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1267 Pacific Hwy, Turramurra NSW (02) 9449 8487 email@example.com turramusic.com.au facebook.com/TurramurraMusic
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(Music Instruments Retailer & Recording Studio) A | 85 Alexander Street, Crows Nest NSW P | 1300 55 24 20 W | bigmusicshop.com.au facebook.com/bigmusicshop
(Music Instruments Retailer & Recording Studio) A | 122â€“124 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee NSW P | (02) 9665 9088 E | email@example.com W | sunburstmusic.com.au facebook.com/SUNBURSTMUSIC. CoogeeAustralia
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Show & Tell Phil Manansala, Guitarist for Of Mice & Men What piece of equipment do you have to show us today? My Hughes & Kettner TriAmp Mark 3. How did you come across this particular item? I came across a band playing H&K in 2002 and I loved their tone. Fast forward many years later, I’m lucky enough to be able to be endorsed by H&K and loving every minute. What is it that you like about it so much? It just sounds better than everything else. Nothing compares to the technology and design of this amp. Like I said, it just sounds better than everything else. How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music? I use the amp live on stage every night. With the writing process, I’m able to use the amp in every way from clean to dirty. It gets me to the exact tone I need every time.
Defy is out now through Rise Records/ BMG. Of Mice & Men will be performing in Melbourne as a part of Download Festival on Saturday March 24 as well as playing sideshows with Limp Bizkit in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.
Jon Deiley, Guitarist for Northlane Quality Since 1946 GUITAR & STUDIO EQUIPMENT
What piece of equipment do you have to show us today? The Strymon El Capistan tape delay pedal.
How did you come across this particular item? I had bought the Strymon blueSky and got hooked instantly on the Strymon stuff. While I was looking for a new delay pedal on their website, I realised they had just announced a new delay pedal, so naturally I checked out the preview videos and I think I bought it that same day. What is it that you like about it so much? It has a knob called wow and flutter which adjusts the modulation of the repeats of your delays producing a very warm, warbling sound that wavers in pitch, creating these easily loveable imperfections that you would expect from a traditional vintage piece of tape gear.
How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music? I mainly use it on guitars and synth sounds. I love the characteristics you get out of old analogue gear, and I’ll try to get as close to that sound with anything I make. The El Capistan allows me to create deep, rich and evolving sounds when paired up with further modulation or reverb, which I will then use to set up the foundation or atmosphere of an idea, whether it’s a pad or guitar line.
Patchbays, Cables, DI Boxes/Splitters AVAILABLE in AUSTRALIA For your nearest stockist Phone: 02 9482 1944
Mesmer is out now through UNFD. Northlane will be performing in Melbourne as a part of Download Festival on Saturday March 24.
Show & Tell AJ Rebollo, Guitarist for Issues What piece of equipment do you have to show us today? My Kemper profiler. How did you come across this particular item? I had a few friends in other bands who were so insanely adamant about using tube amps that they were switching to Kemper and swearing by it. It caught me off guard because these guys were so about keeping the integrity of the tone you could get with tubes that you (apparently) couldn’t with a digital amp, so I did my research, asked a bunch of Kemper owners questions, and picked one up for myself about a year and half ago. I’ve been using it ever since. What is it that you like about it so much? I think my favourite thing about it is the UI and how well it works with the profiler remote. I hardly had to read the manual to get to a point where I basically knew how to navigate my way around it. It’s very user friendly, and the profiler itself will get you a lot closer to the sound of a real amp than pretty much any other plug-in I’ve used in the past. How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music? I mainly use it for our live show. I’ve yet to utilise it for writing purposes, but that’s only because it lives on the other side of the country with the rest of the band’s gear most of the time.
Headspace is out now via Rise Records. Issues will perform in Melbourne as a part of Download Festival on Saturday March 24 as well as playing sideshows in Sydney and Brisbane with Good Charlotte, Neck Deep and Falling In Reverse.
Nick McLernon, Guitarist for Make Them Suffer Quality Since 1946 GUITAR & STUDIO EQUIPMENT
What piece of equipment do you have to show us today? iPad Cubasis 2.1 This is the brain of MTS’ live performance. This is our solution to multi-output playback using limited resources. It is comprised of the latest generation iPad, a PreSonus Audiobox 1818VSL audio interface, and a bunch of cables looped together to send signals to the front of house system. The iPad runs the Cubasis interface, which is used to control and route our audio channels. Our FX samples, click tracks and MIDI controls are all routed through separate channels. The iPad communicates with the audio interface, and then sends a signal for each channel to the front of house system, except the click track which is routed exclusively to the band members in ear monitors on stage.
How did you come across this particular item? Hours were spent on the internet looking for budget solutions to multi-output playback with next to no result, so we had to go outside the box to make things work. We’re probably not the first people to be doing this (using an iPad as a brain instead of a laptop PC). I’m sure a lot of people out there have been thinking the same thing.
What is it that you like about it so much? The gig rig is compact. You can set it up and pack it down in 60 seconds. It weighs less than 10 kilograms. You can wheel it around with you at the airport, all with the convenience of editing tracks on the fly and whenever you want using the iPad interface. How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music? We use it for everything from tracking guitars and programming MIDI in the studio, to live playback during performances.
Patchbays, Cables, DI Boxes/Splitters AVAILABLE in AUSTRALIA For your nearest stockist Phone: 02 9482 1944
Worlds Apart is out now through Roadrunner Records. Make Them Suffer will be performing in Melbourne as a part of Download Festival on Saturday March 24.
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Published on Mar 8, 2018