M A D E
M U S I C I A N S
F O R
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INTERVIEWED: THE SINKING TEETH FUCKED UP JEFF LANG COLUMNS + MORE
ROAD TESTED: LAG T80ACE ACOUSTIC GUITAR MARK BASS CMD 102P COMBO AUDIO-TECHNICA IM01IN-EARS 2014 GIBSON LP FUTURA ELECTRIC GUITAR SONY WIRELESS DWZ SYSTEM MAYONES REGIUS PRO7M ELECTRIC GUITAR SENNHEISER EVOLUTION VOCAL MICROPHONES
a t m i e pe t l u da way ivea lg AUTOGRAPHED VOX JOE SATRIANI BIG BAD WAH
P-255 NEW P-105 P-35
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THE AMITY AFFLICTION
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12:$55,9,1* ,1$8675$/,$ TR TRADITIONAL SOUND, LO LOOK & FEEL
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CONTENTS 8 GIVEAWAYS 10 NEWS & TOURS 14 THE INDUSTRIALIST
16 PRODUCT NEWS 24 SOMETHING FOR KATE
ULTIMATE PEDAL SPECIAL
26 THE BRONX, FUCKED UP
ROCK GOD, WHAT’S THAT SOUND KEYS 32 ON THE DOWNLOW, BANGIN THE TUBS 34 (D)IGITAL (J)OCKEY, HOME STUDIO HINTS 35 WHAT’S MY RANGE AGAIN 36 ULTIMATE PEDAL SPECIAL 48 ROAD TESTS
This year’s Ultimate Pedal Special also has our team of foot stomping “effectionados” review over 60 effects pedals of the latest and greatest variety so you can become the ultimate shredder and craft your ultimate tone. We also road test some of the latest six and seven string axes on the market alongside a slew of other great gear that’ll have you playing in no time. News, our ‘how to’ columns and a few other extras thrown in for foot-stomping measure and dare I say it, but you have one hot little issue in your hands and on your screens – read up and enjoy!
PUBLISHER Furst Media
COVER ART Nick Bebbington
EDITOR IN CHIEF Aleksei Plinte firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAPHIC ARTISTS Ruby Furst, Nick Bebbington
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EDUCATION SPECIAL INSIDE
i c Gu ita
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F O R
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• INTERVIEWS WITH THE WORLD’S BIGGEST ARTISTS AND HOME GROWN HEROES • FEATURES ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY • PRODUCT NEWS AND GEAR REVIEWS • EDUCATION COLUMNS • STUDIO Q&A’S • AWESOME MONTHLY GIVEAWAYS + HEAPS MORE
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CH RE ECK VI EW OU IN T TH SI E DE !
30 UNLEASH YOUR INNER
ONTHS GI VE
THE SINKING TEETH
20 years of celebration seems to be a running theme here on recent Mixdown covers, and this issue is no exception with local legends, Something For Kate celebrating their 20th year together. Hitting the road with both a back catalogue reissue on vinyl and book on their career to date, we check in with chief songwriter Paul Dempsey on how they have truly cemented their place in Australian rock’n’roll history. We also get punk as fuck with sextuplet Fucked Up and heavy hitters The Bronx. The pleasure is all ours in talking new albums with The Amity Affliction, local up and comers The Sinking Teeth as well as electronic powerhouse Sohn who will hit our shores for the first time this month. Guitar slayer and troubadour Jeff Lang also drops by for a chat about his new record and eclectic career to date, a true legend in his own right!
27 THE AMITY AFFLICTION,
ED: EW S
G SHU ME
Noise Toys Imports
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(Modulator) RRP: $549
LEX (Rotary) $399
EL CAPISTAN (dTape Echo) RRP: $399 PG. 6 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
OLA (dBucket Chorus and Vibrato) RRP: $399
OB1 (Optical Compressor and Clean Boost) RRP: $299
(Tremolo and Reverb) RRP: $399
(dBucket Flanger) RRP: $399
(dBucket Delay) RRP: $399
(Reverberator) RRP: $399
GRASS Grass is a classic overdrive stompbox for guitarists. It offers a super natural overr drive tone of a costly tube ampliﬁer, great dynamic response and opening tone charr acter, sounds from tasty light overdrive to juicy medium low distortion.
Worlds Smallest Effects Pedals
WHIP is a heavy metal distortion stompbox for guitarists. Are you a cowboy from hell? Live fast and die young? Burning like ﬁre?
FURY is a classic fuzz stompbox for both guitarist and bassist. It can create a smooth and powerful fuzzy tone, the PUSH button offers a special harsh tone character which has been squashed.
LIFTUP is an excellent clean boost stompbox for guitarists. With the blownup boost function and N DISTORTED tone, it provides a perfect solution of VOLUME UP.
TREM is an opto tremolo stompbox for guitarists. It has a range of tone charr acter adjustment from vintage optical tremolo sound to modern stutter tone feature.
EKO is a digital delay stompbox with analog direct signal path which has the classic natural echo tone. The MOD mode will bring a much more spacy feeling.
Blues is an overdrive stompbox for both guitarists and bassists. It has a full range frequency response to create the classic tube-drive-like tone of blues style, clear, transparent, full of details, with the FAT button, you can get a richer tone with much more low end.
KOMP KOMP is an opto compressor stompbox for guitarists. It has a rounded and smooth compressing tone, and keeps the original signal very clean! RRP:
CHOIR Inspired by the legendary Jazz-Chorus ampliﬁer, the circuit is based around the BBD MN3207. All we have done has one ultimate purpose: to create the most natural, purest and warmest chorus sound in this little secret box. RRP: $99
VERB Verb is a digital reverb stompbox for both guitarist and bassist. It stimulates the reverberation of real sound ﬁeld from a small room to a large hall, natural, smooth, and musical.
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Noise Toys Imports
Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/NoiseToysImports Web: www.noisetoysimports.com.au MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 7
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AUTOGRAPHED VOX JOE SATRIANI BIG BAD WAH For your chance to win this one of a kind Joe Satriani Signature VOX pedal actually signed by the legend himself, follow the two easy steps below. STEP 1. Like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mixdownmagazine and share the Joe Satriani Ultimate Giveaway post. STEP 2. Email your full name and postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org with a quick pic of your curr ent pedal boar d set-up — it’ s that easy for your chance to win! TAKE NOTE: Your pedal boar d pics might be posted in the comments thr ead, so make sur e they’re yours! In the meantime, be sure to check out our Ultimate Pedal Special section this month (page 36) where we review Joe Satriani’s Big Bad Wah amongst a plethora of other killer effects pedals.
*This giveaway is for Australian residents only and one entry per person. For more awesome monthly Mixdown Giveaways, be sure to LIKE our Mixdown Magazine facebook page at www.facebook.com/mixdownmagazine and check our Giveaways page on www.mixdownmag.com.au for your chance to win.
TAKE CONTROL OF THE NIGHT The PRX700 Series powered speakers systems are the ﬁrst to integrate JBL's next generation Differential Drive® Technology, delivering 1500 watts of high power, wide bandwidth, low distortion performance in a scalable, ﬂexible format. Perfectly suited for live music, DJ, or ﬁxed installation, they're easy to transport, set up, and control. Versatile connectivity supports simple, one man, speaker-on-a-pole operation, or full-blown systems with mains, subs and monitors. For high quality audio performance and reliability you can trust, the PRX700 series will let you take complete control night after night.
Learn more at jands.com.au/jbl_prx700 Distributed by
PG. 8 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
V I E G A N W W A O YS D X I M
20 YE AR ANNIVERSARY TOUR 2 SETS SPANN
4 1 0 2 ING 1994 –
SOLD OUT FRIDAY JULY 4 ASTOR PERTH SOLD OUT FRIDAY JULY 11 TIVOLI BRISBANE SATURDAY JULY 12 ENMORE SYDNEY SOLD OUT FRIDAY JULY 18 FORUM MELBOURNE SOLD OUT SATURDAY JULY 19 FORUM MELBOURNE SUNDAY JULY 20 FORUM MELBOURNE FRIDAY AUG 15 HQ ADELAIDE
Something For Kate celebrate their 20th year with their entire back catalogue reissued on vinyl, deluxe CD and iTunes and the release of the book ‘Paper Trail: 20 Years of Something for Kate’.
VINYL & DELUXE CD REISSUE AVAILABLE ON JULY 4. AVAILABLE ON ITUNES JULY 4.
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 9
NEWS & TOURS BURIED IN VERONA
2014 has been a big year for Buried in Verona. Album number four, Faceless, debuted at #15 on the ARIA charts and was followed by a national tour in April, with Brisbane and Perth shows selling out. The band are now set to return to Australia, hot on the heels of their European tour for a massive run of shows across July and August to give their fans another chance to catch this fine-tuned heavy machine in all its glory. Support will be provided by Antagonist AD who will be riding along for the full tour providing modern hardcore with an old school ethics approach which has earned them high praise for their honesty and sincerity. Fellow Sydney band Stories will be bringing their uniquely heavy signature sound along for all the dates too, excluding the Western Australian shows.
TOUR DATES July 17 – The Brightside, Brisbane QLD July 18 – The Lab, Brisbane QLD July 19 – Masonic Hall, Blacktown QLD July 20 – Bald Faced Stag, Sydney NSW July 23 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW July 24 – Magpies, Canberra ACT July 25 – Phoenix Youth Centre, Melbourne VIC July 26 – Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne VIC July 27 – Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA August 1 – Prince Of Wales Hotel, Bunbury WA August 2 – Amplifier Bar, Perth WA August 3 – YMCA HQ, Perth WA
NORTHEAST PARTY HOUSE
The debut album by Melbourne’s Northeast Party House, is an ode to partying – the good, the bad and the ugly – and the band members’ gloriously shambolic ride into adulthood. A taste of the newly released album Any Given Weekend is single ‘The Haunted’, which creeps up with mesmeric sparse beats, bass and keys, and smooth vocals before a sonic ambush of searing wall-of-sound keys thumps you into next week. The band will celebrating the release of their catchy and party fuelled album with a massive string of dates across Australia through June and into July.
Aussie duo Dirty Wolves are heading back onstage after the much anticipated ‘Trilogy’ release and album Creation & Chaos . The two piece have had a long career together both hailing from their former well known heavy rock bands Rubikon and Bullethead. Creation & Chaos produced by Grammy nominee Rick Will, will be released this July and the band will return to Sydney to play in the main room of the Sydney Opera House. Although small in
size, this band surprises audiences and listeners alike with a cocktail of Mesa hybrid amps with bass tubes, aluminum cone speakers and the GuitarBaby Patriot Guitar, put simply... these guys are thunderous!
Creation & Chaos will be available this July from Augustus Gloop Records. Tour dates soon to be announced.
THE JACK RABBIT SLIMS
TOUR DATES June 19 – Jive, Adelaide SA June 20 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC June 21 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC June 25 – Beach Road Hotel, Bondi NSW June 26 – Rad, Wollongong NSW June 27 – Transit Bar, Canberra ACT June 28 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW June 29 – The Lair, Sydney NSW June 2 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW July 3 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane QLD July 4 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore QLD July 5 – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba QLD
Melbourne based Garage/Blues Rock outfit The Jack Rabbit Slims have just released their latest single ‘Welcome To The End’ and are kitting up to take the East Coast by storm. Born in the bedroom of a South-East Melbourne hellhole, the lads from The Jack Rabbit Slims have honed in on their high-octane, sleazy rock sound through non-stop gigging, winning fans with their incendiary live show and charismatic performances. Whilst taking names and chewing gum, The Jack Rabbit Slims have earned themselves a great deal of attention,
a considerable amount of radio play and after relentless gigging in their local scene, The Jack Rabbit Slims are ready to be set free. The lads will be celebrating the release of their latest single with a run of East Coast tour dates in July.
TOUR DATES July 10 – The Corner Store, Sydney NSW July 11 – The Square, Sydney, NSW July 12, 13 – Rics Bar, Brisbane, QLD July 19 – TBC, Melbourne, VIC
THE EXPERIENCE JIMI HENDRIX CONCERT JOE BONAMASSA Brett Garsed
After 3 years of sellout shows at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre, ‘Experience Jimi Hendrix’ and has expanded this year to take in Melbourne’s Palms at Crown. The show has proved massively popular to fans and critics alike who have raved about the show proving again how persuasive Hendrix’s influence still is 42 years after his passing. The show is a tribute to the iconic artist’s songs, showmanship and trailblazing technique and that Hendrix’s music is still very much alive and well. The show will feature 10 of our greatest guitar players perform all the biggest hits that
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have made Jimi the legend...’Foxy Lady’, ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Watchtower’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Voodoo Chile’. Culminating in two massive psychedelic fuelled jams. So join Kevin Borich, Jak Housden, Phil Ceberano, Brett Garsed (as pictured) and many more as they pull out their best axes and pay homage to Jimi.
TOUR DATES June 14 – The Palms at Crown, Melbourne VIC July 5 – Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW July 6 – The Concourse, Sydney NSW
Guitar slinger and all round fret slayer Joe Bonamassa will hit Australian shores come this September. Bringing his new live show, audiences will be treated to two stellar band lineups with Bonamassa dividing the show in half, offering audiences both a full acoustic and full electric set. His playing and live performances are renowned the world over, for not only his musicianship and skills on the guitar but as a songwriter too. This will also be Bonamassa’s first time performing a full acoustic set in Australia for local audiences. So make sure you check out his new live show with his amazing band members
(each player highly regarded in their own right) on the following dates. Also, look forward to our upcoming feature with the man himself in our August edition and visit www.jbonamassa.com for all ticketing details
TOUR DATES September 14 – The State Theatre, Sydney NSW September 17 – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide SA September 19 – The Palais Theatre, Melbourne VIC September 21 – Perth Concert Hall, Perth WA
The Eagles are bringing their critically acclaimed ‘History of the Eagles’ world tour to Australia in February/March 2015. Performing a massive run of shows, the tour will include indoor arena dates in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney as well as special outdoor concerts in Hunter Valley and Victoria’s iconic Hanging Rock. The legendary ‘Hotel California’ outfit sees members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmit deliver an incredible three-hour songfest of classic Eagles hits, including tracks the band had never previously performed live. Exclusive ticket sales will begin to Frontier Touring members via a 24hr pre-sale on their website on June 4 and finally the general public will be able to purchase tickets on sale from June 10. Don’t miss the historic event!
TOUR DATES February 18 – Perth Arena, Perth WA February 22 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne VIC February 28 – Hanging Rock, Macedon VIC March 2 – Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney NSW March 4 – Allphones Arena, Sydney NSW March 7 – Hope Estate, Hunter Valley NSW March 10 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane QLD
THE SUPERSUCKERS The Supersuckers are Arizona’s self proclaimed “greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world”. The band have been kicking around stages since 1988 and are probably the favourite band of someone you know and yet they’re still a mystery to you. That’s okay! With the announcement that The Supersuckers are set to tour Australia for Nightmare Music this June, you’ll have the chance to end the mystery behind that signed poster at your local bar, or that t-shirt your favourite guitar player wears and maybe find yourself a new favourite band. Just remember to wear your clean underwear this June, because The Supersuckers promise to “rock the pants right off of you!”
Sydney/London three-piece Seekae have announced the release of their third album and are following up the news with a national tour in August. Over the past six years, the Australian-English outfit have won a hugely loyal following and a swag of awards for their signature blend of electronic pop, EDM, post-dubstep, postrock, house and ambient. The bands previous album +DOME was celebrated with a tour of Europe, Japan and North America and culminated in a sold-out Sydney Opera House show with an 8 piece-orchestra. The band have emerged after two years in the studio armed with The Worry, their most ambitious and intimate work yet. The LP, available for pre-order from June 13, sees percussionist Alex Cameron step up to vocal duties for the first time, exploring themes of nihilism, revenge, and occasionally the redemptive power of love.
TOUR DATES TOUR DATES June 19 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD June 20 – Hermann’s Bar, Sydney NSW June 21 – Ding Dong, Melbourne VIC June 24 – Engima Bar, Adelaide SA June 25 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA
Aug 9 – Darwin Festival, Darwin NT Aug 12 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD Aug 15 – The Gov, Adelaide SA Aug 16 – The Villa, Perth WA Aug 22 – 170 Russell St, Melbourne VIC Aug 23 – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW.
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NEWS & TOURS THE USED AND TAKING BACK SUNDAY THE HARD-ONS The Used
Taking Back Sunday
Having just completed a massive sold out tour of the USA, post-hardcore superstars The Used and Taking Back Sunday have teamed up for a massive double header tour. It’s a rare occurrence when two heavyweights of any genre agree to tour together. One off shows in cities across the US rapidly sold out and became two shows then multiple shows due to the overwhelming demand for tickets. Now it’s Australia’s turn to see Taking Back Sunday and The Used performing full headline sets encompassing their
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entire career with Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide getting to witness firsthand what fans and critics alike have been raving about.
TOUR DATES August 21 – HQ, Adelaide SA August 22 – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane QLD August 23 – UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney NSW August 25 – 170 Russel, Melbourne VIC
Legendary punk / psych hybrid Sydney band the Hard-ons have announced a massive tour of Australia with a range of incredible support acts to celebrate their upcoming 30th anniversary and it all kicks off in Adelaide with very special guests the Cosmic Psycho’s. On the 21st of July 1984 the multiracial band of bare-chested teenage misfits climbed onto a pub stage for the first time and it’s fair to say, they have not looked back. On surface, the Hard-ons were doomed: a Croat, Sri-Lankan and a Korean collectively playing pop, punk and metal music at impossible volume and velocity at a dark prehistoric time when fascist punks and elitist indie snobs ruled the roost. In Sydney, the Hard-ons paradoxically survived and thrived once they crawled out of the primal Punchbowl ooze precisely because of their initially perceived unattractiveness. Their shows were and still are, wildly unpredictable action-packed affairs, providing ear-shredding
volume and an upliftingly beautiful gaggle of melodies in equal measure. One of Australia’s hidden gems!
TOUR DATES May 29 – Enigma Bar , Adelaide SA May 30 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury WA May 31 – Margaret River Football Club, WA June 1 – Railway Hotel, Fremantle WA June 2 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA June 5 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW June 6 – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith NSW June 7 – Manning Bar, Sydney NSW June 12 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC June 13 – The Wool Exchange, Geelong VIC June 14 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC June 15 – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC June 19 – The Northern, Byron Bay NSW June 20 – Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta QLD June 21 – Prince of Wales, Brisbane QLD
New South Wales Indie Rockers The Vanns have outdone expectations with the release of their latest single ‘Guilty Love’. Hailing from the sleepy New South Wales township of Kiama, The Vanns have burst from the shadows of their garage to deliver an infectious mash of Blues and Indie Rock to the people, captured brilliantly in their latest release. Since their conception in early 2012, The Vanns have kept up a truly impressive rate of momentum; enjoying successes such as winning the 2012 Red Bull Bedroom Jam, whilst sharing stages with the likes of Australian heavyweights Sticky Fingers, Kingswood and Jinja Safari. Not shy of hitting the road, The Vanns have taken their live show all across
THE LOVE JUNKIES Fresh off the plane from a national tour with Calling All Cars where they blew away audiences around the country, The Love Junkies will be hitting the road again in June in support of their recently released Flight Test EP which was self-produced, recorded and mixed by the band in singer Mitch McDonald’s old bedroom at his parent’s house. Hailing from the foothills of Perth, Western Australia, The Love Junkies were founded in 2009 between 3 school mates. They released their critically acclaimed debut album Maybelene in 2013 which received six nominations and three wins at the 2013 Western Australian Music Awards for Breakthrough Act, Best Rock Act and Best Drummer, the band haven’t looked back since.
TOUR DATES June 2 – The Astor, Mt Lawley Perth WA June 5 – The Prince Of Wales Hotel, Bunbury WA June 11 – Bead Road Hotel, Bondi, Sydney NSW June 12 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD June 13 – Shebeen Bandroom, Melbourne VIC June 14 – Pirie & Co Social Club, Adelaide SA
the East Coast, capturing hearts and minds of audience members and venue owners. The Vanns are set to hit stages all along the East Coast to launch ‘Guilty Love’ this June.
TOUR DATES June 6 – Washed Out, Wollongong NSW June 7 - Jame Gallery, Bondi NSW June 14 – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith NSW July 21 - Souths, Merewether Newcastle NSW
After an absolutely massive 2013 in which the band played 60 odd shows and received plenty of radio airplay you may now be familiar with the name Nerdlinger. Or you may have caught them supporting some incredible big name acts such as 28 Days, Calling All Cars, Frenzal Rhomb, Guttermouth or Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies. If you don’t know Nerdlinger, this June and July you’ll have the chance to check out the seriously fun punk act as they tour to celebrate the release of their new single ‘Church Of Punk Rock’ by teaming up with Canberra band Revellers and travelling coast to coast on the “Friends with Benefits” National Tour. Singer and guitarist Josh Arentz will also play an acoustic set at Sydney’s ‘Hit’s & Pits’ festival. The lads are currently hard at work with producer Daniel Antix at Lockup Studios in Sutherland recording their debut album and learning Japanese for their Japanese September tour.
TOUR DATES June 14 – Fat Louies, Brisbane QLD June 19 – Magpie City Club, Canberra ACT June 20 – Marriners on the Waterfront, Bateman’s Bay NSW June 21 – Dicey Rileys,Wollongong NSW June 27 – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney NSW June 28 – Hamilton Station, Newcastle NSW July 4 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury WA July 5 – YaYa’s, Perth WA July 6 – Osborne Bowls Club, Osborne WA July 12 – 303, Northcote, Melbourne VIC August 8 – Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney NSW
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THE INDUSTRIALIST MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS WITH CHRISTIE ELIZER
FOR CONTENT SUBMISSIONS TO THIS COLUMN PLEASE EMAIL TO CELIZER@NETSPACE.NET.AU AUSSIE MANAGEMENT TEAMS WITH EMINEM’S MANAGER Australian management company Milton Archer – which handles The Aston Shuffle, Sneaky Sound System, Hook N Sling and 360’s co-producer and co-writer Styalz Fuego – has teamed up with US management firm Deckstar. Set up in 2006 by Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenburg, Deckstar’s roster includes Blink-182, Nervo, Waka Flocka Flamem, Rancid and Fischerspooner. Andrew Jackson, who set up Milton Archer in 2011, has now moved to Los Angeles.
NEW PROJECT TO DEVELOP ABORIGINAL MUSIC CAREERS
VALE MARTIN ERDMAN
Community radio managed to retain its $17.7 million funding in last month’s Commonwealth Government Budget. But arts funding had a hit by $87.1 million over four years, with the Australia Council hit the hardest. This is of particular concern to the contemporary music industry, as the Council’s initiatives to support indie labels, overseas tours and recordings have been paying off. The ABC and SBS also took hits. Film productions through Screen Australia and a grant to help video games developers were affected. Interestingly, some things never change. The ABC broadcast of the Budget drew 967,000 viewers, while The Voice got 1.722 million viewers.
Sydney producer Martin Erdman passed away aged 77. He started out as a teenager cutting demos for local bands at the back of his father’s music store. In 1968 he set up Du Monde Records which signed Harry Young and Sabbath, Flake, Samael Lillith, Clapham Junction, The ‘69ers and Nev Nicholls. In the ‘70s as house producer for Festival Records, two international hits were Sister Janet Mead’s rocked-up ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and Peter Allen’s ‘I Still Call Australia Home’.
This year’s National Jazz Awards focus on young guitarists aged up to 35. First prize $12,000, runner-up $6,000 and third place $3,000. Entries open until June 1. Winner also records in ABC studios for Jazztrack With Mal Stanley and play next year’s Stonnington Jazz festival. The runner up gets a session at Pughouse Studios in Melbourne. The Top 10 entrants will perform at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival Oct 31 to Nov 3. Main judge is pianist Mike Nock with guitarists James Muller and Stephen Magnusson, co-winners of the NJA in 2000. See www.wangarattajazz.com/national-jazz-awards.
Photo (L-R): Leah Flanagan, songwriter/APRA AMCOS Ambassador, NSW Minister for Arts Troy Grant, NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello, Brett Cottle, APRA AMCOS CEO. APRA AMCOS launched a new program to develop and nurture Aboriginal musicians across NSW. Its $65,000 funding comes from the NSW Government as part of its Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy. While buoyed by the success abroad of Gurrumul and Jessica Mauboy, NSW Minister for the Arts Troy Grant admitted, “There are still challenges to overcome for many Indigenous musicians.” APRA AMCOS’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Music Office will develop and manage the program, which will tap Aboriginal musicians from four regional towns and one urban area to develop their skills, promote their work and access mainstream music markets. APRA AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle said the program would help the Music Office’s work across Australia. “Mentoring and developing songwriting skills early on is key for building the knowledge and confidence needed to pursue a sustainable music career.” Lindy Morrison
AUSTRALIA COUNCIL SENDING BEN WRIGHT SMITH TO NASHVILLE Melbourne folk rock musician Ben Wright Smith will spend three months in the United States later this year as part of the Australia Council’s Nashville Songwriter Residency. The initiative is in its second year. The 25-year old will be mentored by Aussie expat producer Mark Moffatt and will work on his third album. Moffatt will team him up with local writers to collaborate with. Moffatt said, “Ben’s music is a perfect fit for the burgeoning Nashville pop/rock scene.” The $15,000 residency covers transport, accommodation and living costs. Smith played Nashville in 2012 at the Americana Music Festival.
SYDNEY PASSES CULTURAL ACTION PLAN The City of Sydney passed its ambitious Cultural Policy and Action Plan, following on from April’s endorsement of the 57-point Live Music Matters action plan. The Cultural Policy and Action Plan features 120 action points, including: working with commercial developers to incorporate 1.6 million square meters of empty commercial and residential spaces for sound-proofed rehearsal rooms and affordable rentals for musos, more outdoor events, funding of up to $2,000 to test out small creative projects, more contemporary music forums in libraries, and a thinkerin-residence to come up with ideas to motivate the music scene, an idea which worked in South Australia.
LINDY MORRISON TO BE HONOURED
MELBOURNE UNVEILS MUSIC STRATEGY DRAFT
Lindy Morrison, drummer with bands as The Go-Betweens and Cleopatra Wong and these days heading Support Act Ltd, is to be given the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. It will be presented to her as part of the APRA Music Awards on Monday June 23 in Brisbane.
The City of Melbourne released a draft of The Melbourne Music Strategy 2014-17 on how it can support and help grow the Melbourne music scene over the next three years. Councilor Rohan Leppert, the City’s Chair of Arts and Culture commented, “Melbourne’s music industry is a vital part of the city’s culture. This three-year plan outlines how we will continue to work with other levels of government and the music industry, to support issues such as access to music, encouraging the creation of music, live music venues, business mentoring and promotion. All of which are fundamental to fostering artistic development, attracting new audiences and expanding live performance across Melbourne.”
UNIVERSAL PUBLISHING TEAMS WITH NITE HIGH Universal Music Publishing has gone into a joint venture with Nite High Publishing. It is run by Lee Danilewitz and Tom Huggett, who set up Astral People and run the Outside-In festival. The JV means global publishing deals for Wave Racer, twin brothers Cosmo’s Midnight (whose ‘The Doffin’ was a most played track on alternate radio last year) and triple j faves Collarbones. As part of the deal, future works with UMPG signing Jonti will come under Nite High Publishing.
FEEDBACK CONFERENCE RETURNS Indent has brought back Feedback, the music conference for 12—25 year olds, as part of Vivid Ideas. Held June 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art it provides info on getting into the music industry with speakers and interactive sessions. More information at www.vividsydney.com/ideas. PG. 14 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
JAZZ AWARDS FOCUS ON GUITARISTS
José Antonio Rodríguez
INTERNATIONAL NAMES FOR ADELAIDE GUITAR FESTIVAL Spanish flamenco guitarist José Antonio Rodríguez and gypsy jazz guitarist Stochelo Rosenberg from the Netherlands are among the names announced for the Adelaide International Guitar Festival which runs from July 17 to 20. Rodríguez and his trio open the festival who’s a firm favourite at the Córdoba Guitar Festival, a sister festival to the AIGF. Curated by classical guitarist Slava Grigoryan, Australian axemen to appear include Simon Hosford who is music director of TV’s Australia’s Got Talent and X Factor, multiinstrumentalist Marcel Yammouni and a team-up of blues veterans Phil Manning and Chris Finnen. Grigoryan and Paul Svoboda front the inaugural Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra which includes 50 guitarists aged 9 to 18 and 25 young players from Svoboda’s Aurora Guitar Ensemble.
HARD ROCK AGENCY LAUNCHES IN BRISBANE Brisbane manager and booker Tim Price launched Underscore Agency to cover hard rock, prog, hardcore and alt-rock acts. Its initial roster includes Sydonia, Forever the Optimist, Bound For Ruin, Guards of May and Spitfireliar. “There isn’t enough resources and help for artists in this area, and it was high time someone did something about it,” said Price, who runs Pricewar Music Management, Collision Course PR and El Grande Festival.
HENDRIX TRIBUTE EXPANDS For the past four years The Experience Jimi Hendrix Concert at the Sydney Enmore Theatre sold out. Next month, promoter Empire Touring is expanding it to five clubs in Sydney and Melbourne between July 11 to 30. Seventeen guitarists take part, including Brett Garsed (Nelson), Randall Waller (Shania Twain), Kevin Borich, Phil Manning, Stuart Fraser of Noiseworks, Phil Ceberano, Jimi Hocking of Screaming Jets, Dave Leslie of Baby Animals and Dai Pritchard of Rose Tattoo.
CLASSICAL GUITAR PIECE The Inaugural Matt Withers Young Australian Music Composition Competition offers $500 and is open to any music degree students (current or graduate) under 30 from any Australian University/Institution. Withers is Head of Guitar University of Canberra Music, member of BREW Guitar Duo and Guitar Trek, and 2012 MAMAs winner for Best ACT Classical Artist. Applicants enter a solo classical guitar piece. Entries close Monday June 30, see www.mattwithers.com.au/ CompositionCompetition/.
THINGS WE HEAR Hilltop Hoods
$50,000 SCHOLARSHIP FOR INDIE MUSICIAN Pacific International Music, JMusic Australia and SoGuru Media are offering a one-year $50,000 music scholarship for independent acts. The Music Career Development Scholarship is set up to cover the cost of making an album, a music video and a business plan. Pacific International Music is a label, production and publishing firm with offices in Hervey Bay, Qld and Nashville, run by producers Rob Mackay and Michael Flanders. Deadline is July 31st, see www.pacificinternationalmusic.com.
• Hilltop Hoods were among diners evacuated from the Kingdom Chinese restaurant in Adelaide when it burst into flames. • The Black Keys plan to return early 2015. • Sales of CDs, DVDs and games are becoming a less important component of JB Hi-Fi’s total sales. According to Business Review Weekly, these rate 20%, while they were 26% of total sales three years ago.
• The ID scanners for 35 Kings Cross-area licensed venues meant to be introduced last December will be installed this month, new Hospitality Minister Troy Grant told Parliament. • Brisbane based record producer Magoo and wife Tylea Croucher have put their studio and home Applewood back on the market for $675,000. They listed the property for sale in 2012 but failed to get a buyer.
TC ELECTRONIC NEW MINI PEDALS
TC-HELICON VOICELIVE PLAY ACOUSTIC
TC Electronic seems deter mined to make more space on your pedal boar d! The r ecent announcement of four new Mini Pedals in their range shows a serious commitment fr om TC Electronic to this wildly popular form-factor. The newest additions are the Flashback Mini Delay , the Corona Mini Chorus, the Vortex Mini Flanger and the Shaker Mini Vibrato Pedals. Although the Mini Pedals have moved to a three-knob design they are fully Toneprint enabled and are capable of the same range of sounds and tones as their larger counterparts, with the exception of being mono-only. As with the r est of TC Electr onic’s guitar pedal range the Mini Pedals ar e housed in a metal casing and featur e True Bypass and Analog Dry Through to preserve your tone.
The new TC-Helicon V oicelive Play Acoustic offers a range of innovative new options that are specif cally aimed at vocalists who play acoustic guitar. It featur es well-loved FX fr om the TC Electronic range as well as an innovative new technology named ‘BodyRez’ that combines f ltering and EQ algorithms and a DI output to restore the acoustic tone to instruments that use piezo under -saddle pickups. It also features a notch-f lter with phase contr ol for taming feedback from the guitar. The Voicelive Play Acoustic includes separate outputs for
the vocal and guitar (or ster eo mix) and now features Toneprint FX fr om the TC Electr onic Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal and Cor ona Chorus Pedals. Like the other V oicelive Play versions, the Acoustic includes a voice-cancelling function for practice as well as VLOOP for intuitive inperformance looping and jamming. For more information on the range of TC Helicon products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
For more information on the range of TC Electronic products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
ZILDJIAN SYMBALS The new 16” K Light Hi-Hats of fer the same dark, light blend of overtones associated with the classic 14” K Light Hats but now with mor e volume and a lot more wash. These versatile hats are good for most musical applications including rock, pop, country and jazz. In r esponse to drummers’ requests for lar ger models, Zildjian is also intr oducing a 20” version of its classic K Dark Thin Crash, known for its complex, fullbodied, and very musical sound quality . Finally, Zildjian is r eleasing a 10” Custom EFX model
with paper thin weight and laser generated cut outs that allow it to produce quick, trashy, white noise effects that ar e great for accenting and punctuating. The new, small size makes it a great addition to any kit, played alone or stacked.
For more information on the range of Zildjian cymbals contact Australasian Music Supplies at www.austmusic.com.au or phone (03) 9549 1500.
SUB RAY 4 AND RAY 5 BASS GUITARS Music Man’s high quality low price take on the iconic USA made StingRay range of active basses, released under the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B banner expands players’ options for 2014 to include some striking new colours. The S.U.B. Ray 4, alr eady available in Gloss White, Gloss Black, Honey Burst Satin and Walnut Satin, will now be available in both T rans Blue Satin and Trans Red Satin, taking to six the number of colours available for the Ray 4. Thanks to the popularity of the Ray 4’s Honey Burst Satin f nish option, the S.U.B. Ray 5, having previously been available in Gloss Black and Satin Walnut, is now also available in Honey Burst Satin. For more information on the entire Sterling by Music Man range contact CMC music at www.cmcmusic.com.au or phone (02) 9905 2511.
MC SYSTEMS LAX GLASS CHORUS PEDAL The LAX Glass Chorus of fers a wide range of studio quality chorus effects, from subtle motion, to heavy detune and on to wilder , heavily modulated tones and of fers a function new to chorus pedals – ‘Glass’. The Glass contr ol returns a variable amount of the sparkling top end that is often lost when chorus is activated in a signal chain. Players can now re-inject lost top end back into their signal by simply incr easing their Glass control. Dual independent modulation rates are also available via the alter nate footswitch, allowing fast switching between dif ferent settings without the need to r esort to digital programming. Performance options ar e further enhanced by the V Switch true bypass system, which gives fast access to two levels of chorus depth. and how hard you step on it deter mines how much additional depth you get.
For more information on the entire MC Systems range visit www.cmcmusic.com.au or phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511.
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MC SYSTEMS BWI DYNAMIC FUZZ PEDAL The The BWI Dynamic Fuzz is based on classic, all transistor fuzz cir cuitry. Built like a tank and able to make a single note sound like a 2 ton bee plugged into Marty McFly’ s amp wall, this pedal is extr emely responsive to input level, while its output will accommodate even the most pedal-unfriendly of amp fr ont ends. The The BWI Dynamic Fuzz tone contr ol helps tame fuzz character with just the right EQ range and performance options are taken to the next step via the V Switch true bypass system, which gives fast access to two independent fuzz levels and how hard you step on the V -Switch determines how much additional fuzz you get.
For more information on the entire MC Systems range visit www.cmcmusic.com.au or phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511.
DV MARK MULTIAMP – VERSION 3 FIRMWARE DV Mark’s popular 500watt power ed modelling amp – the Multiamp - has been upgraded with version 3 f rmware, offering a number of features requested by users worldwide. Multiple effects, not pr eviously available, have been added to the Multiamp’ s growing stomp box arsenal, including a new type of digital delay with dedicated EQ contr ols, and an ultra smooth pitch shifter with exceptionally fast note tracking and two newly developed virtual amps are now available in the amps list – the JcMark and Progressive. Tap Tempo and Tuner functions are now available fr om both the fr ont panel
and MIDI and the Multiamp’s user interface has also been optimized for maximum user friendly interaction. Finally the new Multiamp Remote Control software allows to graphically modify your presets parameters by connecting your Multiamp to a computer.
Multiamp Firware 3 is a free upgrade available for immediate download from www.dvmark.it for more information on the entire DV Mark range visit www.cmcmusic.com.au or phone CMC Music on (02) 9905 2511.
WASHBURN COMFORT SERIES WCG25SCE The new W ashburn WCG25SCE is part of the wildly popular Comfort series. This Grand Auditorium acoustic guitar sports unique mahogany elbow comfort binding on the lower bout, giving you an amazingly comfortable playing experience. This beautifully appointed guitar rocks big, balanced tone, courtesy of its classic Spruce/Rosewood tone-wood combo. And its Fishman Pr esys pickup and pr eamp deliver that same gr eat tone onstage with an under saddle pickup and micr ophone. The WCG25SCE has a Mahogany/Maple body and headstock binding as well as a book-matched Rosewood back with a Maple/Mahogany/Maple strip. If you want smooth playability and rich, fullbodied tone in an elegant, af fordable package this is well worth a try.
For more information on the range of Washburn Guitars, phone Dominant Music on (03) 9873 4333 or visit www.dominantmusic.com.au
ARS WASHBURN PARALLAXE GUITARS Washburn has been a dominant for ce in the creation of some of the most brutal Metal guitars ever produced. This year marks the introduction of their new Parallaxe Series, a series cr eated specif cally for r ock, metal and shr ed guitarists with unique featur es and technology . The Solar Series came fr om widely known artist, Ola Englund, noted guitarist for The Haunted, Feared and for mer Six Feet Under . Together with legendary guitarist and pr oducer Trevor Rabin, Ola is the f rst Washburn artist to have his own Signature Series of Parallaxe guitars, The Solar Series. Parallaxe guitars ar e designed specif cally for modern chops and intensive shr edders. No corners have been cut, no compr omises have been made in design or featur es. The utilise USA made Seymour Duncan and EMG pickups, Genuine Floyd Rose or Evertune bridges, Buzz Feiten tuning and much mor e of what you expect from one of the f nest rock guitars ever made.
The New Neumann KH 310A Three Way Studio Monitor is in a class all of its own. With state of the art technology, the KH310A delivers cutting edge performance and extreme accuracy at surprisingly high reproduction levels. The result is a sweet spot that only Neumann can deliver.
For more information on the Award Winning Neumann Range, or details of your nearest stockist, Freecall 1800 648 628, or visit the Neumann website at www.neumann.com
For more information on the range of Washburn Guitars, phone Dominant Music on (03) 9873 4333 or visit www.dominantmusic.com.au
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 17
ZOOM TAC - 2 AUDIO INTERFACE
SEAGULL S6 MAHOGANY DELUXE ACOUSTIC
In today’s world, speed is everything. The blazingly fast Zoom TAC-2 interface uses the latest Thunderbolt technology for ultra-low latency and the ultimate in high-quality audio, up to 24-bit/192kHz. Lightweight and portable, the TAC-2 is also easy to use, with a single large rotary knob controlling all parameters. Two combo XLR/TRS inputs are provided for the connection of mic and line level signals, and there’s a handy Hi-Z unbalanced input on the front panel. The TAC-2 also offers two balanced TRS output jacks as well as a dedicated ¼ inch stereo headphone jack.
The S6 is perhaps the instrument that best represents the Seagull philosophy. It offers entry level players the opportunity to experience the great feel and superb sound provided by
For more information on the Seagull guitars range contact Dynamic Music by phone on (02) 9939 1299 or visit www.dynamicmusic.com.au
For more information on the Zoom range of products contact Dynamic Music by phone on (02) 9939 1299 or visit www.dynamicmusic.com.au
SAMSON EXPEDITION XP1000 PORTABLE PA SYSTEM The Expedition XP1000 is an all-in-one sound system with loads of features and tons of power that packs into a single compact design. The XP1000 is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to wirelessly stream music from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. A removable 10-channel mixer with an impressive 1000-watt lightweight Class D amplifier powers the XP1000. The mixer features four XLR/TRS Mic/Line input channels and three stereo input channels. Each channel features Bass and Treble controls, and the first two Mic/ Line channels have a selectable compressor. The unit provides 16 presets of high quality DSP effects, perfectly suited for vocals and even has a USB Wireless port for use with Samson’s Stage XPD1 USB Digital Wireless System. For output the unit provides stereo monitor outs to use the system with additional powered speakers.
PG. 18 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
a hand finished neck, select pressure tested solid top and a custom polished finish all 100% made in North America. Also includes a Fishman Sonitone electronics system with internal soundhole volume and tone controls.
Finally the XP1000’s 2-way vented speakers give you a clean, powerful sound. Their 10inch low frequency drivers produce excellent low-end punch, as well as wide dispersion from a 60° x 90° degree horns. The Expedition XP1000 stands out as a complete portable PA system that is perfect for medium to large-sized musical, educational, business and recreational applications.
For more information on the full range of Samson products contact Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
GIBSON CELEBRATES 120TH ANNIVERSARY To commemorate its 120th Anniversary , Gibson rolls out new electric guitar and bass models, pushing forward with dazzling innovations while keeping an eye on tradition. Among the new features are the widespr ead implementation of the Min-ET une automatic tuning unit, four new types of pickups, including the new Sidewinder Humbucker, Supreme Grip speed knobs, undercut fret over binding allowing players to f y over the f ngerboard, a TekToid™ nut, and cryogenic-tr eated fret wire for longer life and corr osion resistance. A host of brilliant new colours and f nishes along with a 120th Anniversary banner inlay at the 12th fr et on all the new models make this one of the most spectacular roll outs in Gibson’s history. For more information on the range of Gibson 2014 Guitars call Australian Music Imports on (03) 8696 4600 or visit www.gibsonami.com
STAGE TRIX PEDAL ACCESSORIES Stage Trix have a number of space saving, smart and inexpensive ways to clean up your pedal boards, f t more in your rig, r emember settings and keep all your pedals secure and in place. PEDAL RISER Most pedalboards have only one level and therefore require an awkward tap dance to access the second row of pedals without stomping on others accidentally. The Pedal Riser raises your second row of pedals to the perfect height, and has drop-in-from-the-top cable routing features that clean up your messy cables. WAH FASTENER Mount your wah pedal f rmly and easily on your board. The W ah Fastener has been designed to f t on any wah that has the traditional classic shape such as the Cry Baby and V ox and the design allows you to use the same scr ews with which the rubber feet ar e secured to attach the wah fastener. PEDAL FASTENER The pedal fastener is a hook fastener designed specif cally for attaching pedals to pedal boards. It features industrial strength adhesive optimised to stick to the rubber on the back of most
pedals and hold fast up to 93 degr ees Celsius. The optionally r emovable center pr eserves the specif cation sticker. Now players can move beyond over-sized rolls of low-quality generic fastener and attach pedals the professional way. SETTING SAVER The setting saver is essential just a marker that applies a clean, bright f uorescent green ink to mark your settings on pedals, desks or any gear with analogue controls. However its the ink that sets it apart from others, it is easily r emoved by wiping it off with your f nger, and will not leave any markings when removed.
True To Your Music Wi-Fidelity
STAGETRIX CABLE WRAPS These cheap and convenient little helpers f ght the spaghetti messes of tangled cables and keep all your cables neat and tidy. Made from a high visibility f orescent material they also help you to f nd and identify your cable in low light conditions.
For more information on the range of Stagetrix products, visit Hot Apple Distribution at www.hotapple.com.au
Epic digital wireless technology, now amazingly affordable
Introducing the DWZ Series with affordable 2.4 GHz technology, so no UHF channel change hassles. You get solid-gold, 24-bit linear PCM digital audio to keep you sounding your best. You get robust transmission and easy channel selection. Even multi-way powering, digital EQ and interchangeable mic heads are available.
RME FIREFACE 802 AUDIO INTERFACE The Fireface 802 renews RME’s reputation built on the legendary Fireface 800. USB and Firewire connectivity, 60 channels of audio 30 in and 30 out, 12 analogue inputs, 4 high-end microphone preamps, reference class converters, a complete effects section and operation at up to 192 kHz ar e the base for many mor e features. TotalMix FX, RME’s digital high-end mixer and signal r outer, driven by two powerful DSPs, with integrated EQ, Dynamics and Reverb/Echo effects at up to 192 kHz, plus a built-in monitoring contr oller. The full-blown feature set also includes optional Class Compliant mode and operation with T otalMix
FX for iPad, RME’ s app to fully contr ol the 802 from the iPad, without any computer . The easy to use app includes metering for all 90 channels plus effects bus, dif ferent setup scr eens, and complete control of all featur es. Once again a milestone interface from RME, including the best of the best and even a bit more.
And Sony has pre-assembled DWZ packages for guitar/bass, vocals, wind instruments, presentation and speech. Sony’s DWZ Series. Sound like a million bucks without spending it. pro.sony.com.au/audio
For more information on the range of RME products, phone Innovative Music on (03) 9540 0658 or visit www.innovativemusic.com.au
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 19
STOMPBLOX MODULAR PEDALBOARDS Stompblox modular pedal boards allow you to customise your pedal board any way you like and are designed to connect to each other, making more room for pedals as you need it. If you run out of space, simply add another unit. You can connect them two deep and as many wide as you can fit on stage and hand tightening thumbscrews are attached to the board, so you donâ€™t have to worry about losing important parts.
Whether you have a small setup, or a monster setup, Stompblox will give you organised access to all your pedals.
For more information on the range of stompbox products, phone Innovative Music on (03) 9540 0658 or visit www.innovativemusic.com.au
THE MATON S60 ACOUSTIC Maton have introduced a new all solid acoustic guitar for the same price as the M225, the S60. Maton have improved the neck geometry, bracing patterns and body construction of their acoustic guitars with stunning results. Improved production methods have made it possible to produce these all solid timber guitars more effectively than ever before while keeping them at the same price as the M225 which has been serving musicians for years. The backs and tops of these guitars are able to resonate more freely and have a huge dynamic range. Improved neck/body geometry produces a neck that is a joy to play. Difficult chord shapes and complex single note runs are much easier to execute and increased tonal response improves acoustic projection. A bone nut and saddle ensure maximum tone and sustain. The S60 is finished in Matonâ€™s tuned Satin pre-catalysed Nitro finish.
MOOER MICRO DI DIRECT INPUT BOX This little DI is a straight forward direct input box, with some extra features and designed to be integrated with your pedal set-up. The unit is straight forward offering input, a choice of outputs balanced XLR or unbalanced TS, a cabinet simulator on/off, a ground lift button and some gain control. Great as a compact DI for acoustic gigs, a DI when the venueâ€™s lost their last one or as a backup to your amp by simply plugging your guitar into the Micro DI with the cab sim on and then straight into the house mixer.
For more information on the range of Mooer Products phone Jade Australia on 1800 144 120 or visit www.jadeaustralia.com.au
For more information contact Maton by phone on (03) 9896 9500 or visit www.maton.com.au
MATON MINI MAHOGANY ACOUSTIC Small, dark and handsome, the new Mahogany Miniâ€™s solid sapele face, back and sides produce a rich, warm tone while the ebony fingerboard and bridge contribute a smooth, glassiness to the overall tone. A mahogany neck generates classic, crisp neck tones tones and is effortless to play. This is a classic sounding small guitar capable of producing a wide variety of sounds from smooth jazz to fingerpicking blues and everywhere in between. The EMM range of Maton Minis if fitted with the brilliant Maton AP5 Pro pickup system giving the player the ability to fully exploit the tonal potential of this little guitar in a live setting.
For more information contact Maton by phone on (03) 9896 9500 or visit www.maton.com.au
SHURE KSM SERIES MICROPHONES Shureâ€™s dedication to innovation continues with the companyâ€™s premium KSM Series microphones. The series currently includes the KSM32, KSM44A, KSM42, KSM9 and KSM9HS, KSM141 and KSM137 microphones, plus the KSM353/ED, KSM313/NE ribbon microphones. Designed for demanding live sound reinforcement and critical studio performance, these products utilise some of the most sophisticated components, electro-acoustical design and technology. Constructed to sound natural and accurately capture and control the
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sound source, the KSM Series is founded on numerous technological advancements and engineering excellence. Whether designed for stage or studio, these microphones represent the very best Shure has to offer in both technology and performance.
For more information of the Shure range of products phone Jands Australia on (02) 9582 0909 or visit www.jands.com.au
Switching Made Simple.
The Ultimate Pedal Accessories
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to 10 loop programmable switching systems with midi control. Simple operation, smart features and quality in craftsmanship guaranteed.
RRP: $880 ONE CONTROL CROCODILE TAIL 10 LOOP
No more tap dancing, no more messy cables
With Midi Control, BJF Buffer, 70 Presets, Easy Push Button Auto Saving System.
RRP: $179 ONE CONTROL DISTRO TINY POWER DISTRIBUTOR
Compact, built tough, 8 x 9V outputs and 1 x 12-18V SAG Output.
Fit any traditional shaped wah from Crybaby to Vox.
ONE CONTROL GRANITH GREY BOOSTER
Easy to clean, no staining, ﬂorescent colour for low lighting.
Designed by legendary circuit designer BJF, 30 db Clean Boost.
Custom Badass ‘78 Distortion
Carbon Copy ® Analog Delay
Custom Badass Overdrive
EVH Phase 90
Super Badass Distortion
Bass Fuzz Deluxe
Bass Chorus Deluxe
Classic 108 Fuzz
Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face
Fuzz Face Distortion
Germanium Silicon Fuzz Face Mini Fuzz Face Mini JFFM1
Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini
95Q Cry Baby® Wah Wah
Cry Baby® Classic
Kirk Hammett Wah
Jerry Cantrell Signature Cry Baby
Zakk Wylde Signature Wah
Green Rhino Overdrive
Pork Loin Overdrive
Red Llama Overdrive
Swollen Pickle Fuzz
Fat Sandwich Distortion
Aqua Puss Analog Delay
Echo Puss Analog Delay
Ring Worm Modulator
Angry Troll Boost
Proudly Distributed By: Australasian Music Supplies www.austmusic.com.au
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 21
TRIAD-ORBIT MICROPHONE STANDS
HOTONE SKYLINE SERIES STOMBOX RANGE Hotone’s incredible range of tiny, innovative and incredibly well engineered guitar pedals continue to grow. Its a great thing they’re micro sized because you’re going to want to collect them all.
Triad-Orbit stands represent a quantum leap in the evolution of the humble mic stand. Every industry-standard component, from stand bases to mic clips, was analysed and reinvented to realise a singular objective: precise mic placement without compromise. The articulating base provides the weight and stability of large diameter cast iron bases and a fully adjustable attitude and footprint, thanks to its ratcheting mechanism. Each leg of the base has four ratcheted positions that provide up to 65 degrees of pitch to accommodate ‘boom-less’ front lines, uneven surfaces and stacking for storage.
The Octa is a digital octave stompbox for both guitarists and bassists. Two octave voices blend with dry level control and support polyphonic processing in the default mode, so playing a chord is absolutely no problem. And there is an additional Dirty mode which simulates the classic analog octave pedals with single note processing and a different tone.
For more information on the range of Triad-Orbit products, phone National Audio Systems on 1800 441 440 or visit www.nationalaudio.com.au
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ideal clean boost, and try the Warm function button to further construct your own Volume Up solution.
The Grass Overdrive will give your guitar an artistic overdrive sound with a great dynamic response and will provide you with sounds ranging from a tasty light overdrive to a juicy medium low distortion. Based on the sound of the legendary Dumble amplifiers, an iconic retro overdrive tone, its sounds warm, smooth, and vital, with great sounding details and a wide range of dynamic response.
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The chromatic tuner is a smart tiny tuner with the Skyline shape, fast pitch detection technology and a big bright LED display. In addition, it provides a volume knob to control the output volume when active (from mute to 12dB volume boost) so you can also use it as a mute box or a clean boost pedal. The Hotone Chunk is all about helping you achieve that vintage British Tone that has endured the test of time. This pedal will give you that classic crunch, while still remaining smooth and clear. As you dial up the gain you will feel as if are adding more and more cabinets to your vintage stack. Chunk is your little friend with that big British sound.
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PG. 22 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
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SOMETHING FOR KATE THAT SWEET SOMETHING Twenty years strong, trio Something For Kate have reigned in alternative rock where others have faded, still burning bright as a preeminent force across Australia’s musical landscape. A good reason to celebrate, and celebrate they will. To coincide with their two decades of existence, the band will reissue each of their six full-length LPs, publish the book Paper Trail, and set off on an ambitious nationwide tour – each night consisting of two Something For Kate sets, preceded by a screening of a short film. Speaking ahead of the landmark celebrations, taller-than-life frontman Paul Dempsey takes a long look back to the beginning. Your biggest tour; vinyl, CD, digital reissues of each album; a short film; and a book.That’s a huge undertaking, are you daunted at all? We’re overwhelmed, to be honest. It’ s all going to get done in due course, but it’ s certainly a lot to do. Ther e’s not many fr ee moments at this time. But it’ s okay, it’s enjoyable work. No complaints. Is it difficult to divorce emotion from that process? Or do you relish in it? I’m probably the least sentimental person you’ll ever meet. Looking back to these things, I f nd it interesting and funny , we wer e at dif ferent points in our car eer and dif ferent points in our lives. Having been in a band for 20 years, you kind of grow up in public a bit. I was 17 when we started, and that’ s pretty young. I guess it’ s more commonplace now, but at the time it was pretty unusual to be 17 and being appr oached by record labels. I certainly felt like I was a very young person in a big industry. It made me really f, it’s nervous. Looking back back at at some some of o fthe thestuf stuff, funny to read interviews when I was 19 and basigrumpy littlebastard, bastard, because cally I was being a grum py little I was scared. I felt vulnerable. But it’s amazing to chart how you change, and how we’ve arrived at the band we ar e today, and the people we ar e today. It’s been an an iinteresting in int eresting process.
I’m guessing there are songs to be included in the upcoming setlist that haven’t been played for a while. Is it easy to pluck the tracks from the memory bank? It is for me, I can pretty much play anything from our back catalogue at the dr op of a hat. I guess that’s because I’m the main songwriter and the songs have had a lot more time gestating in my brain so I don’t forget them too easily. But Clint and Steph had to do some homework. W e’ve been rehearsing already and it’s come together surprisingly well. We’d play the songs a couple of times and they’d became second natur e. There are probably 15 songs that we’ve started rehearsing that possibly haven’t been played this century. You did have that break before Leave Your Soul To Science, what was the mentality like coming back? Was there a sense of fear? Fear is a strong word. We didn’t know what was going to happen. W e certainly didn’ t assume there were a whole lot e dylot of ofpeople peopleout outther there ing for aa new new Something Something For For Kate Kate rr ecord. But luckily it turned out great. I think the best thing about it was out was that that I Iseemed seemedtotohave havecarved carved out a new audience with ecord, this whole with my my solo solo rrecord, new young audience who I’m not sure if they put two and two together and knew knew II was was in in aa band band called put ca led Something For Kate. So then when weput cal out utt Lose Your Soul To Science, our crowd totally changed. e taking the change ng n g d. Clint and and Steph Stephwer were the piss piss outta me when when I did my mysolo solo
record, because Something For Kate’s audience were predominantly guys close to our age, then suddenly after the solo r ecord, the Something For Kate audience was suddenly mor e than 50 percent 20 year -old girls. It’s kind of funny to watch our audience change. The other funny thing about being ar ound for 20 years is that I’ve literally met 18 year -olds at our shows who weren’t born when we started, and their par ents were fans. We now have people coming to shows with their par ents who have been listening to us for 20 years. It’s an amazing and special thing. Earlier this year I saw you perform your cover of Calvin Harris’s ‘Sweet Nothing’ to a Hunters & Collectors crowd. Do you think that breaking down of genre barriers for listeners is a recent phenomenon? Yeah, absolutely! The music industry and culture in general is completely dif ferent. I’m about to say something that makes me seem r eally old: when we started, there were no mobile phones, let alone something you could put in your pocket and contain your entir e record collection and watch music videos on while you’re riding public transport. It’s just ridiculous the stuf f that’s happened in the last 20 years while we’ve been a band. The f rst couple of tours we did, we had to send faxes to conf rm hotel bookings. When you made plans with someone, you had to be there. Culturally, the way people consume music is completely dif ferent as well. Now , people listen to songs, and it doesn’ t matter who its by or what style or genre it is. If you hear something you like, you can get it that very minute. Everything is very different. Do you think Something For Kate could get as big as you are if you started out today instead of 20 years ago? I’m not sure if we could. In a lot of ways, it’s easier to reach an audience these days. It might seem to be easier to get on the radio and get successful. But it seems to me like it’ s harder to hang on to that success and make it last. There are still bands with big albums and long tours and that kind of success. But that longevity seems like a much more diff cult proposition. I don’t know why that is. Attention spans are shorter than they used to be. I think social media makes it easier for people to be judge, jury, executioner and music critic. Social media can be really helpful to promote things, but it’s also a rally nasty place. I don’t know if we could achieve the same sort of things… fuck, I dunno. It’s a tough one.
Photo by Rebecca Houlden PG. 24 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
I suppose another aspect of modernity for you is how your Youtube clips of acoustic covers turned into your solo Shotgun Karaoke album. That whole thing was r eally fun and or ganic, it came together by itself without anyone r eally thinking about it. I made the decision that it’d be a fun thing to do on tour backstage, and invite our fans into that backstage environment. It was a simple idea: bang out a cover at each show after soundcheck. By the time the tour ended and there were all these clips on the inter net, there were a lot of people saying, “Are you gonna record these, put them on a disc?” I thought
about that, but I didn’ t want to go and r ecord perfect versions, I wanted to keep that spontaneous energy. So I booked an after noon at Sing Sing Studio and did it all live like I did originally. That’s what the record is. There are no overdubs, just thrown together in an afternoon as a kind of document. It was fun. With hindsight, how do you think the Something For Kate sound has changed in these two decades? There’s been an evolution. If you play our early records compared to our fourth record, it’s pretty different. It has to do with dif ferent producers you work with. Our early albums were full of seven minute songs, our structures would meander all over the place. I think after a while we got better at getting to the point, not having these long sections, cutting out superf uous parts. Lyrically, I hope I’ve gotten better . It’s also the kind of players we ar e, I’ve lear nt a lot about guitar . Clint has drastically improved on the drums over 20 years. It’s all lear ning and exploring. I know more about ef fects and amps and how to pull different sounds, and I know how to r ecord an album myself now, teaching myself how to engineer and mix along the way . That gives you more conf dence in the studio. Y ou can sit at a desk and start EQing things the way you want to, without explaining it to someone poorly. Was there a moment when you settled on your guitar setup? For years and years I kept changing guitars and I could never be happy . Then about f ve years ago I decided that Jazzmasters wer e it. I tried Teles or SGs or 335s, and I would always come back to the Jazzmaster . It’s a nice long guitar , and I’m 6’6”, so it feels comfortable, not like a little ukulele on me. I didn’t always love the way they sound, but I ended up tearing them apart and putting different pickups in them, dif ferent bridges. Now I have about six Jazzmasters, but they all have dif ferent pickups. Some of them have Lollar pickups, some of them have Curtis Novak pickups, some of them have the original Fender pickups. They all have Mastery bridges on them, because Jazzmaster bridges suck. I just have this weir d collection of mongr el Jazzmasters that all sound quite dif ferent to each other, but I love the way they all feel, they can r eally take a beating. You can send them airborne and they usually end up in one piece. BY LACHLAN KANONIUK Something For Kate celebrate their 20th year with their entire back catalogue reissued on vinyl, deluxe CD and iTunes with the release of book Paper Trail: 20 Years of Something For Kate from July 4. Visit www.somethingforkate.com for tix, shows and full release details.
TOUR DATES July 4 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA July 11 – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD July 12 – The Enmore, Sydney NSW July 18, 19, 20 – The Forum, Melbourne VIC August 15 – HQ, Adelaide SA
THE BRONX RETURN TO OZ It’s often been said that The Bronx have taken brutal party music to a new level. Their fourth album, released last year, is ample evidence that they’ve been able to capture their frantic-yet-precise energy in recorded form but to really feel it, to really live it, you have to see them in the flesh. And this month you’ll be able to, as they return to Australia for about the quadrillionth time for shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney with High Tension. We caught up with guitarist Joby J Ford for a good old-fashioned geek-out. How many times have you been down here now? Oh man… six? Seven? Maybe mor e? Quite a bit! I think as a band, self shly, there are fantastic places to go in the world, and we get to go to Australia a lot. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Germany but I’d rather go to Australia [laughs]. I think Australia has a fantastic scene and fantastic bands, and every time we come down ther e we discover new bands, like DZ Deathrays. Every band we get to play with down ther e is superinspiring and I think ther e’s a calibre, even dating back to bands we never got to play with like the Lime Spiders, all these gr eat garage bands of Australia who ar e unsung heroes. There was a compilation that came out called Do The Pop! which was all the unknown, sort of forgotten underground bands of Australia and it’ s some of the most fantastic music I’ve ever hear d. When we f rst came down there eight or nine years ago we were introduced to it and it’ s still in heavy rotation on all of our iPods. Well there’s nothing else to do here except for be in a band or run from all the poisonous animals. Yeah, but then you travel the world and r ealise that’s not such a bad thing [laughs]. So let’s talk guitar! What are you using? My studio rig varies quite a bit fr om my live rig. My live rig is kinda dogshit, to be honest with
you. I play a new wooden Dan Armstrong, which I know is sacrilege, but I have a lot of back problems, probably from jumping around like an idiot with ten pounds on my neck over the years. That guitar has a maple neck and it weighs about a pound, but I outf tted it with an vintage original Dan Armstrong Rock Treble pickup. The original Dan Armstrong pickups came in the original models that I used to play . They had two pickups, one that was labelled CB which stood for Country Blues, and one labelled RT which stood for Rock Treble. And so I swapped an old original Rock Treble out of my old faithful Dan Armstrong and put it in the new one. And it’s alright, it’s not super-fantastic, but my back feels super-fantastic every night. In the studio I’m a single coil guy . I think a single coil guitar with a high gain amp is the most exciting sound. I absolutely loathe a humbucker Marshall sound. The compr ession and sustain that people love about that sort of setup is super boring to me. I love the slashand-burn, exciting sound of a single coil. It’s just bursting with excitement, for me. Most of the time in the studio I have a Gibson Les Paul Classic with a P90, and then in the bridge position it has a Danelectro lipstick tube single coil pickup. Those pickups were originally intended for a guitar that was made out of Masonite and had no sustain, but in the Les Paul because ther e’s so much sustain you r eally change what they wer e built for and you get a really unique sound. Taking credit for that I can’ t. That was a John Rhys
thing from Rocket From The Crypt. He told me, ‘Throw this in your Les Paul, dude.’ So that’ s been something I favour in the studios. What about amps? I generally do a split tone. I biamp between my Marshall JMP 100 watt from the 70s that I’ve had for 20 years, and a V ox AC30 Top Boost. That’s kinda been my sound. I get my low-end buzz and depth from the JMP and I blend that with the high end from the AC30. And being able to switch between the two pickups I feel I get an exciting variance of sound. Br onx stuff is pretty simple. It’s a point-and-shoot kind of sound, so that’s generally what I do. I think the only trick I really have is that I have a Rickenbacker 330 that I got set up as a baritone guitar in the key of C, and I string it with acoustic strings. That has a really nice sort of throaty, full, non-distorted sound. I’m a huge fan of acoustic strings on electric guitars. It’s a completely dif ferent sound. A lot of people are like “this amp sounds bad,” and I’m like, “change your strings! Think about it backwards: put a different set of strings on your guitar and there’s a whole other world of sounds. I think everybody’s searching for that pedal and that amp, and it’s like, ‘dude, change your strings.’ It’s not as hard as you think!
Well vintage pickups were generally designed for fatter strings and it was only later that people started to use thinner strings and changing what the pickup had to interact with. Exactly. I can r eally geek out. Like 50s-style wir ing or dif ferent caps and pots, those ar e the things that ar e really gonna change the sound of the instrument. The dif ference between vintage and new instruments is not really that much, it’s in the electr onics, in using dif ferent pots in different wirings to what is used nowadays. Y ou don’t have to spend a million dollars on different guitars to get dif ferent sounds. I can talk about this stuff all day. It’s that constant quest to get a different sound, and it’s generally a pretty cheap f x or looking at the instrument backwards. That’s really exciting to me. BY PETER HODGSON
TOUR DATES June 15, 16 – Crowbar, Brisbane QLD June 17–170 Russell, Melbourne VIC June 19 – Dark Mofo, Hobart TAS June 20 – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
FUCKED UP BACK TO REALITY How does a revered hardcore outfit follow up an ambitious, all-encompassing rock opera? After the release of David Comes To Life, it seemed like the answer for Fucked Up was a simple “they don’t”. Despite fears the band would not return, at least in a form with their current lead vocalist. But the Canuck outfit have returned as we have always known them, this time with the more personal LP Glass Boys. Speaking from his Toronto home shortly after putting his kids to bed, frontman Damian Abraham renumerates on what happens when punks grow up. Was the scope of Glass Boys a reaction to the rock opera theatrics of David Comes To Life? I think for Mike [Haliechuk] it was a r eaction to how big David Comes To Life was, I think maybe for Jonah [Falco] too, when they were arranging how big this record was going to be in ter ms of the number of songs. Also I think it was a r eaction, because I could focus a lot mor e on what I wanted to do on the songs. W ith David Comes To Life, it was just so many songs by the end of it. All the seven-inches, all the companion singles, the David’s Town compilation we did. It was too much. I think the r eaction to that was us trying to scale it back so we could focus a lot more, and make individual songs, bring that epicness to the individual songs – pulling back the curtain, to extend the r ock opera metaphor to its most sickening point. Pulling back the curtain to r eveal us. Mike and I wer e writing lyrics about us, who we ar e as people, rather than hiding behind characters to articulate our feelings. 2013 was the quietest year to date in terms of releases for Fucked Up. Was it a sense of having to reset after David Comes To Life? I think by that point we were already working on this record. It was almost like 2012 where things really slowed down. I think we wer e just bur ntout in terms of doing so much content on David Comes To Life. I was r eally serious at the time PG. 26 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
when I was talking about not wanting to do another record. There’s no inspiration in that regard to do that. Then this r ecord started very organically – for me, at least, I think Mike and everyone else wanted to make another r ecord, it was just a matter of time. For me, ther e were a few key moments where I thought ‘yeah, let’ s def nitely do another record’. Was there a shift in mentality? There’s a change of mindset, def nitely. I was more aware of decisions I’ve made in the band, and the decisions the band has made as a band, and what those ar e and where those have led, both positively and negatively . I think it’ s also a change of mindset in r ecognising that you’re older. There was a lot of r esistance to feeling older prior to this record. Even though I changed a lot, like everyone does, ther e’s a point wher e you realise you have gr own up, wher e you acknowledge the passage of time. Maybe it should have happened to me way earlier. Those decisions, by yourself and by the band, are you able to compromise? There’s def nitely compromise. You do sponsored tours. Well, we don’t have individual tour sponsors, but you do festivals that have huge sponsors. That’s the reality of the music industry. It doesn’t have to be the r eality of your band, you can resist it and not be a part of it like we did for a long time. There’s a feeling at a certain
point where you think it’d be cool to play with a certain band, to see what it feels like to play to a huge crowd instead of virtually no one. There’s a point where you say ‘maybe we’ll do this, but we won’t do that’. We’re insulated a bit because of our name. Ther e’s only so deep we can go. That being said, you do make these compromises, f nding yourselves in these positions. W e’ve never had to compr omise what we’ve said yet, but my big fear is that it’s coming. There will be a point where we can’t necessarily control what we want to say. Would that be the end of Fucked Up? I’d like to think ther e’s an endgame. But maybe it’s the boiled frog situation, turning that heat up slowly so they don’t jump out of the boiling water. You start getting comfortable with the idea, ‘Oh, I’m not doing anything that bad, I’m not like that other guy.’ I’d like to think ther e will be a point where I’d say, ‘fuck this, it’ s not worth it’. But it’s weird, when you have kids it changes the point where you’d pr obably say, ‘fuck this I’ve had enough’. But at the same time, I think with a band like ours there’s only so much compromise before it all falls apart. And we’r e trying to walk that line before it falls apart. As a musician, you need to tour to make money, which takes you away from your family. How do you rationalise the balance of providing for your family and spending time with your family?
My eldest at least, likes the music I make, so at the end of the day I know he at least likes what I’m doing. Going away , that’s the worst part, even though you’re making money, all you hope that money will do is buy you mor e time with your kids. Y ou’re pursuing that money at the expense of spending time with your family . I knew if I got a job in T oronto it might not be as glamorous and it certainly wouldn’t be as fun, but I could f nd a job that pays the bills and be home every night after school and never worry about missing anything. Then I start thinking that maybe I’m just addicted to the celebrity of it all – and it’s def nitely minor celebrity in our case, I’m not pretending that I’m getting mobbed in the streets. But that celebrity of people coming to see you play, or taking the time to interview you, or buying your r ecords. Maybe I’m not making the best decisions for my family , I’m only making the best decisions for myself, keeping this 15 year-old fantasy that I’m living. There’s always that in the back of my mind. It’s a constant inner struggle. BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
Glass Boys is out now through Matador/ Remote Control.
THE AMITY AFFLICTION TURNING TIDES The Amity Affliction have been following a steady upward trajectory since the release of debut album Severed Ties in 2008. Prior to that they’d been slogging it out with demoes and shows. With the arrival of 2010’s Youngbloods, the band started to become more confident in their sound and direction, which was further solidified with 2012’s Chasing Ghosts. But it’s with new album Let The Ocean T ake Me that The Amity Affliction really come into their own. This is the album where the band has truly reached the emotional core of its musical statement. The heaviness and aggression of past releases are still there but the melodies and lyrics are more personal and cut deeper than ever before. There’s an undercurrent of anxiety throughout the album–stress, panic attack, the heart-racing aftermath. And as vocalist Joel Birch explains, his lyrics took that turn partly due to a neardeath experience last year. “I’m not the only one in the band with anxiety issues,” Birch says. “Ahren (Stringer-bass/vocals) has been crippled by it once before. He actually fell over and was paralysed, could not move, and they called an ambulance thinking he was dying. It turns out he was actually having a panic attack. Ryan (Burt-drums) also suffers with it as well. It’s a central theme because I’ve dealt with it over the last year, or the year leading up to writing Let The Ocean T ake Me, but I wasn’ t planning on writing about it, it’ s just how it worked out.” When under going a course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to addr ess anxiety issues, doctors often stress that a certain level of anxiety can be conducive to motivation: it’ s only when things get too far that the ‘f ght or f ight’ ref ex is tripped. Is this something Birch has been able to control and consciously har ness? “Well, I’m on medication and accor ding to the doctor I’m chronically depressed… I try, but…” And for anyone who’ s gone thr ough the same thing, there’s a lot to relate to in Let The Ocean Take Me. You don’t need to be in a hugely popular band to feel an aff nity with what Bir ch and his bandmates are going through. It’s the sound of someone who goes through good moments and
bad moments. “W ell that’s cool because I was actually worried that a lot of my lyrics wer e too dark and people would feel almost a disconnect from it. But fr om everything I’ve hear d so far , everyone that experiences the same sort of emotions, have been r esponding in a better way to how they did with Chasing Ghosts. That album had a thir d-person narrative to some of the songs, and this time it’ s like it’s more about what I feel and how I go through it. And I think a lot of people who have the same sort of issues as me are responding much more positively and in a much more emotionally cathartic way. Moreso than an in-your-face topic.” The recording sessions for the album were much more relaxed than pr evious records: Joel was able to be at home and go surf ng in between sessions. Producer Will Putney has worked on enough of the band’ s projects to know how to help them to r ealise their musical vision. “He engineered Youngbloods, he mixed Chasing Ghosts, so he has a pr etty good understanding of our personalities, having worked with the guitars a lot on Youngbloods and also having seen me have a meltdown on Youngbloods also, when I nearly quit the band. And he’ s the same
Photo: Kane Hibberd age as us so the music is r elevant to him. W e really couldn’t have picked a mor e appropriate producer. We’ve always had a very strong sense of ourselves and our music, and we’re never, ever going to buckle to any outside opinion. But W ill approached it in such a dif ferent and positive manner that we took on boar d things that we may have never , ever taken on boar d before. That’s what made it such a gr eat experience. Like, I don’t ever let anyone fuck with my lyrics, ever ever, but Will put some changes to me that I made on the r ecord in such a way that it was far more acceptable for me. He would just point
out things that could be stronger, almost like an essay where you’ve got to outline the meaning in the f rst paragraph, then get to it, and then wrap it up at the end. He would provide me with that kind of input and I would change my lyrics accordingly. It worked out really, really well.” BY PETER HODGSON
Let The Ocean Take Me is released on June 6 via Roadrunner Records.
THE SINKING TEETH GET STUCK IN Dedicated and mischievous, The Sinking Teeth are a puke-punk three-piece from Melbourne, enjoyed by fans for their ripping riffs and voracious live performances. In the next two months they are touring the nation as a headline act for the first time in support of their upcoming EP Stitches & Salt . Lead singer and guitarist Nick Manuell talked to Mixdown about falling in love with guitars, Ryan Adams and his two pet rabbits, Potato and Pear. What’s it like playing with bands like Bodyjar and Calling All Cars? It’s actually been ridiculous. In all the tours we’ve been on the bands have all been the best guys physically possible. Like Calling All Cars on both tours were getting me up to play a song with them. I ended up in the last show in Sydney of the most recent tour completely naked playing in front of their crowd with them. Someone started a chant to take off my shirt so I took of f my shirt but then I was like, “Y ou can’t just take of f your shirt because it’s a bit too Chad Kr oeger,” so I took off my pants as well. Then our bass player Jules dacked me during the bridge. So we’ve been building these friendships with all these amazing bands. I feel lucky about it. Is your sound changing? Def nitely, this EP is darker than the last one. We keep listening to new stuf f and expanding. One of the things that’ s really weird about this band is that all of us are on completely different musical paths. Ben is r eally into stuf f from the 90s right now. But then he also really likes Taylor Swift. Then Jules is going through a massive Title Fight stage and he’s also really into Taking Back Sunday. I’ve been listening to a whole bunch of stuff like Obits and Hot Snakes, a bit mor e grungy, messy punk rock. I also really like Gillian Welch. I really like country stuf f. Ryan Adams is the best. You’ve gotta listen to all the acoustic stuff. His shit with the Car dinals and the full bands I don’t like so much, but when he’s playing acoustic on his own he’ s this dr eam machine. I fall in love with him every time I listen to him.
What kind of gear are you using on Stitches & Salt? My main guitar is a Jaguar but I’ve gutted it and put a telecaster pickup in the neck and a Seymour Duncan Jag in the bridge. I just bought a new guitar – a 1965 Gibson Melody Maker. The double cut version, kind of like what Joan Jett used to play but mine’s full mahogany. It needs to be shielded again; it just hums like a bitch. It’s heaps of fun to play . It’s got this fat as neck, which I’m really into. I’ve got a Fender Twin. I used to play an Orange Rockerverb 50 and use amp distortion but when we started doing tours I couldn’ t take my own amp at all, so I needed a pedal board that would get me through when I was using other people’s gear. I’ve got a Fulltone OCD, which I just leave on all of the time, and when I want to play clean I just roll out volume. Not that I play clean very often. Then I’ve got a Line 6 M9 that I use for looping which we do a fair bit of. I’ve also got a TC Electronix Nova Delay, a Micro Pog, an MXR Micro AMP, an MI Audio Boost n Buf f, which I just leave on all the time to make my Jag not sound like a Jag. We’ve been using some fancy shit for r ecording because Studios In The City , which we’ve been recording at, have a bunch of rad stuf f. On this EP that’s about to come out ther e’s a JMI AC30 and there’s a W izard amp which Chris Chaney uses which is like a r eally Hot Plexi kind of thing but with mods to it and ther e’s a Rockerverb 50 on there. We’re using this r eally cool distortion pedal that looks like a landmine called an Expandora Bixonic. They’r e really hard to f nd
these days. And this whack fuzz called a Shin-ei Companion. Does your throat ever get sore singing puke punk? Not because of singing like that. Mainly because of going out and drinking too much and staying up all night. I used to sing r eal clean and I used to like singing clean. Our drummer Ben hits eally r hard and I bought a Fender Twin and everything became a whole bunch louder but we kept rehearsing in studios with small PA systems. So I just started singing louder and louder and now it sounds the way it does and I can’t sing quiet any more. It’s crap. People keep asking me, “W ould you be inter ested in playing at this acoustic show?” And I’m like “Fuck yeah” because I’ve got this massive thing for Ryan Adams. But then I pick up the acoustic and try and sing at the volume that it creates and I just can’t. I’ve wired by brain to be a drongo idiot that just yells all the time. I’m trying to r ewire it at the moment and clean things up a little bit.
And as for rabbits… Pear’s already lost one eye. She had a disease called e-cuniculi so we had to get her eye removed unfortunately. She doesn’ t seem to mind, she’s happy as running ar ound eating bananas. They love bananas. They lick it off your f ngers they love it so much. BY MAT DROGEMULLER
TOUR DATES Jun 19 - Surfers Paradise Tavern Beer Garden, Surfers Paradise QLD Jun 20 - Tattersalls Hotel, Lismore NSW Jun 21 - Crowbar, Fortitude Valley QLD Jun 27 - Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith NSW Jun 28 - Blackwire Records, Annandale NSW Jul 04 - The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart TAS Jul 05 - The Pav, Launceston TAS Jul 18 - Jade Monkey Adelaide, SA Jul 25 - Barwon Club Hotel, Geelong VIC Jul 26 - The Workers Club, Fitzroy VIC
PG. 27 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
SOHN NEW KID ON THE SYNTH Vienna based music producer and vocalist Christopher Taylor had to go on a journey of self-discovery before he could become Sohn. Sohn is the German word for ‘son’ and is also the moniker under which he produces and releases music. In February this year, Taylor became one of the most talked about names in EDM with the release of his triumphant Tremors album on legendary UK taste-making label 4AD (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Bon Iver and many more). Taylor was in Portland Oregon when we caught up with him about his evolution from a regular teenager playing in bands, to an electronic music doyen about to grace our shores for the first time this June. Both a touring musician and a music pr oducer, Taylor muses over the paradox created between the two roles and how he manages his cr eative output. “For this particular tour I have actually been really grateful that I haven’ t had to write. It has been a r eally nice one and a half month period where I haven’t had to think about creating anything. In the last 18 months I have been so active in the pr oduction of the album, fr om the song writing to the f nal touches on artwork, I have been really grateful for a little period to not have to think about that kind of stuf f. I was able to recharge my batteries,” explains an audibly chilled Taylor. Tremors is an interesting dance album because essentially, it isn’ t a dance album. It manages to balance accessibility with depth and textur e. In order to understand Tremors complexity one needs to understand his jour ney as a musician. “I was always a singer , that was my f rst thing, and then I was in various bands as a teenager and I was always the person that wr ote everything. I am 30 now. Basically throughout being a teenager I was the one pushing the other guys in the band and always wanting to r ecord. So I just started playing around with recording; I had a 4-Track minidisc unit, then eventually a computer. From there it just got easier to make things on the computer than try and r ecord when you didn’t know how to record well. I think that’s often where electronic artists run into tr ouble be-
cause they think ‘oh I’ll just r ecord that drum kit but don’t know where to stick the mic so when they listen back and it sounds terrible but they don’t know why ,” contends Taylor on the two edged sword of computer production. Listening to Taylor’s debut release as Sohn, The Wheel EP, it r eeks of genius but also the limitations of a bedr oom production. Whereas on Tremors the depth and warmth of the sound is all consuming, particularly on the song Artif ce that has resonated with music fans globally . Taylor talks Mixdown through his journey into the world of hardware. “The f rst piece of actual har dware that I connected with [pun not intended] was, just as it came out, a Dave Smith T empest. This was the f rst time I understood, fully, a real analogue unit.” He pauses before delving further into the synths behind Sohn’s sound, “Control wise I just got it straight away and then I got into Jupiter 6s and bought myself a Juno 60. My keyboard player in the band has a massive collection of vintage synthesisers and that was what opened it all up for me and it is a still a very recent thing, as it was only about two years ago.” Having moved to Vienna f ve years ago to get a break from London, Taylor began the evolution from bedroom producer to the live EDM juggernaut that Sohn is today – this may not of happened if he hadn’t met Albin Jonoska. As Taylor the Viennese keyboard player had a huge inf uence on him.
“So I’d already made all of the music and that EP was doing quite well so my manager was talking about putting together a band to play a show . The f rst show was at a showcase event called Eurosonic, which is quite a big showcase where all the European booking agents and labels ar e there. I was alr eady working with Albin my keyboard player who was helping mix some of the record and through him I found W oody [Stefan Fulham] the bass player and we just spent a few months def ning what would be our live show ,”
or 40s jazz recording. It should just work or not. But if someone thinks the songs suck it doesn’ t really matter how it was recorded and mixed!” The same idea f owed into Lang’s approach to guitar tones on the album. “If I’m after a par ticular tonal quality, how am I going to get that? Sometimes it means fuzzing something up a lot, or sometimes it will be wher e it’s actually quite clean but has still got a cool sound to it.” Guitar gear featured on the album include a David Churchill acoustic lap steel, a Rex Mascot amplif er, a Gretsch Electromatic with a Bigsby and some 70s Fender humbuckers, a 30s Dobr o, a Don Morrison Donmo r esonator, and “Lots of fuzz action. An old Shin-ei Fuzz Wah, an old Tone Bender… that real ‘someone coming at you with a pickaxe’ tone. But it’s gotta f t in the track and f t in the context of the story . Something ‘nice’ isn’t going to do it in every song. If you’re aware
of what the electric guitar can do and where you can take it, which is that nasty zone, it’ s right there. There are some quicky little electric guitar parts on the album which are played on this Guyatone electric guitar I’ve got, and it’s a prick of a guitar to play. It’s got high action, a really narrow neck but very deep and rounded, so f tting your f ngers string to string is r eally awkward but it’s also really big in your hand and the action is very high and there are all these dead spots on the neck where if you try to bend they just choke out. But I go to it for a lot of things.”
BY DAN WATT Tremors is out now through 4AD.
TOUR DATES June 24 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW June 25 – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
JEFF LANG HEADING THE RIGHT WAY When recording was first invented, it was simply that: a recording of musicians performing, so that it could be relived. The ability to overdub exploded this dynamic, changing the act of recording from being one of documentation to one of creation. And yet there’s something utterly beautiful about the sounds of instruments playing in a room together. Jeff Lang realises this, and his new album I Live A Lot In My Head These Days is a direct reflection of this realisation. Although not recorded live in the studio, he used a novel technique to capture that same depth of field, that same sense of place, that he was hearing in his headphones when listening to old jazz recordings. “Listening to certain records, hearing the depth of f eld and thinking about it in ter ms of, ‘okay, the records I’m listening to with that palpable depth of f eld have been recorded that way, but there are factors that can inhibit that being done by a r ock band’,” Lang explains. “Something where you’ve got brushes and an acoustic bass, acoustic piano and things like that, the balance of the instruments is made a little bit easier by the more democratic volumes of those instruments.” The ‘a-ha’ moment occurr ed while listening to and comparing dif ferent albums on shuff e mode in headphones during long plane trips: Lang would hear , say, an old Mingus r ecording with that lifelike aura of space, followed by a more modern recording where everything feels like it’s mashed up against your ears, with none of the spatial depth. But how could you capture that feeling with instruments that ar e generally louder and less able to br eathe in the sonic space? Drums played with sticks, electric basses, electric guitar amps blaring away? There are ways you can do that in a lar ger room with minimal micing, but Lang became intrigued about the idea of doing it just with a Blumlein pair of mics. This method is a specif c mic placement that ultimately mimics the thr ee-dimensional space within a r oom, and yet if you have a bunch of electric instruments blaring away in front of a Blumlein pair you’re not going to have much control over the results. “A bunch of things PG. 28 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
presented themselves as obstacles to r ecording it that way,” Lang says. “Mainly to get the vocals with enough presence. How could I possibly be playing and singing live and keep my head in the one place to keep it in the centr e of the ster eo image? As soon as I look down at my hand, my voice will travel from left to right.” The solution was to record the instruments conventionally, on separate tracks with close micing, but then to send each instrument out to its own dedicated monitor speaker placed ar ound the room. In this way the volume of individual instruments and their interaction within the room could be closely contr olled, and yet the r oom itself was allowed to become a part of the f nal sound. “Everything was just interacting with the one space,” Lang says. “Hearing the dry tracks up on the desk and then f ipping it over to what was coming thr ough from the ster eo microphone was amazing–hearing the effect of everything right up close in front of you to having that spatial depth was incredible.” Of course, all the cool r ecording ideas in the world don’t matter if the songs and performances aren’t there, and Lang has populated I Live A Lot In My Head These Days with plenty of great songs and playing. “Ultimately any of that stuff is something where if you’re into that side of things it’s fun–I love it–but it’ s not a gimmicky sound quality thing. It’ s just trying to get something that’s pleasing to you in the same way as a 1930s
BY PETER HODGSON I Live A Lot In My Head These Days is out now via ABC/Universal. For all the tour dates visit www.jefflang.com.au
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facebook.com/FishmanAustralia ďŹ shmanaus.com.au MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 29
UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD INTERACTIVE PEDALS
One of the best things about being a guitarist is collecting pedals. I know that for me every birthday as a teenager meant a “New Pedal Day”. Distor tion, f anger, phaser, wah-wah…whenever a new birthday r olled around I got access to new tones and new modes of expression. “Woohoo, step on a pedal and change my sound,” right? But I soon started to r ealise that there were some effects that took what you played and added something extra to it, while there were others that truly def ned your sound. This month we’r e going to look at some of the latter. The truth is that no matter what you’r e playing through, you’re going to react to it in some way, and that’s a good thing (and it’s also why I personally don’t like to re-amp: the interactivity you enjoy with one amp might be completely different and sucky when the same clean signal is sent to another). But ther e are some pedals that ar e utterly dependent on how you interact with them, either physically or thr ough the way you play. Here are my favourites. WAH-WAH Aah, the wah-wah. Have you ever tried to add wah to an alr eady-recorded guitar track in an amp sim pr ogram? Just doesn’ t work, right? A good wah-wah sound means a good wah-wah performance. Some players pr efer to use the wah-wah in a rhythmic way , rocking the pedal from ‘heel-down’ to ’ toe-down’ in sync with the beat. Others pr efer to use it to outline the ar c of a note: pr ess down slowly along the life of a sustained note, or wham that thing super -quick for faster passages. Others like to hover ar ound harmonic sweet spots. For a gr eat example of the last style, check out Frank Zappa’ s wah-wah work. He always seemed to move the pedal just
a little bit her e and there to emphasise certain harmonic overtones or phrases, but rarely did he ever do something that you would typically think of as traditional wah-wah technique. ENVELOPE FILTER Also known as an auto-wah, an envelope f lter reacts to your playing as it varies the intensity of the effect. Pick softly and the tone will stay very bassy and dark. Dig in har d and it’ll zip right up. This is plenty of fun on its own but one of my favourite tricks is to use another pedal prior to the envelope f lter, such as a wah-wah or volume pedal: something that alters the pr of le of the note in a linear way. Then when the signal hits the
envelope f lter it’ll do some cool stuf f. Wah-wah pedals take on a huge sweep, and volume pedals become sort of volume-wahs. Try it with a phaser too, for a prolonged, synth-like sweep tone. WHAMMY PEDAL Perhaps the ultimate ‘it’ll change the way you play’ pedal, the Whammy r equires you to use your foot as well as your hands in or der to play melodies (or just make fr eaky horse noises, but melodies are probably easier on your audience). Whammy Pedals are fun for huge octave jumps but some really interesting stuff happens when you set them for a narr ower interval, hit a note, hold onto it and then change it with your foot. This can take a bit of coordination and brainwork because at f rst it’s not instinctive to start a note with your hand and f nish it with your foot. But in the end it can become very rewarding.
OCTAVE FUZZ Now, this is an interesting one. A good old-fashioned octave fuzz (like Roger Mayer’s legendary Octavia–think Jimi’s “Purple Haze” solo). The name may be a bit misleading to those who ar e more used to digital effects, because an octave fuzz generates an octave overtone rather than an actual pitch-shifted FULLTONE OCTAFUZZ octave-up rendering of your original note. And the circuit is so input-dependent that you have to make some changes to the guitar signal before the ef fect will be pr operly triggered. For starters, it tends to work best on the neck pickup, especially with the tone rolled back, and you generally have to pick har der than usual to trigger the effect consistently. But when you get it right it’s hugely worth it. Y ou can get some great ‘shifting harmonic’ textures by hammering on from a lower note, and when a guitar sound is coaxed into feedback with an octave fuzz involved, look out!
BY PETER HODGSON
WHAT’S THAT SOUND
THE ODYSSEY CONTINUES
More than 40 years ago, the music world was intr oduced to a synthesizer called the ARP Odyssey , from the makers of the ARP 2600; this was a compact synthesizer that was designed to take on the market shar e that the MiniMoog had cor nered as portable synthesizers wer e becoming more and more popular. Well, the Odyssey mor e than pr oved itself and was delivered in a number of revised forms right up until 1981 when it was sadly discontinued. That said, it still r emains the highest selling ARP synthesizer on the second hand market today. But, for those who are struggling to f nd the sound the ARP Odyssey once brought us, the search is almost over. Korg, hot on the heels of their re-issue of their own classic MS-20, have announced that they are in production of a re-issue of the ARP Odyssey to be available later this year. Yes, that is correct, Korg are making the ARP again. Let’s take a look at this classic and what could be next. EARLY DAYS legend and has stayed there ever since. ARP Instruments came about in 1969 when it was In essence, the Odyssey was like a har d wired founded by Alan Robert Pearlman, placing his 2600, with the most obvious choices for signal initials on the companies branding. Originally , routing decided for you so that it would all f t Pearlman’s designs wer e of a grand natur e, into one compact device. Ther e were plenty of with the 2600 modular synthesizers being still revisions in its 9 years of pr oduction that saw highly regarded to this day . However, units of three distinct colour patterns released, but within this size do not sell in high volumes and the 70’s these, a number of dif ferent options going on saw the development of a market for portable under the hood. So, it is rare these days to come synthesizers that ARP soon got a hold of. The across two Odysseys that are actually the same. ARP Odyssey was r eleased and proved to be a Most will be slightly dif ferent in design and in big driving for ce in the sounds of many artists tone. The wide range of contr ols on the now in the 70’s and 80’s. It was not uncommon to see an Odyssey as part of the onstage line up of bands like ABBA, Tangerine Dream, and Nine Inch Nails all with very dif ferent sounds between them. Even Herbie Hancock and Chic Cor ea were into the sound of the Odyssey. It truly was an electronic instrument that knew no boundaries. V ery quickly, this keyboard found ARP ODYSSEY MK-II its way into synthesizer PG. 30 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
ARP ODYSSEY legendary top panel of this keyboar d is what enables such a diverse range of sounds to be created with the ARP. It chose sliders rather than pots for adjustment of the signal parameters, which led to a larger top plate design that is very much a signatur e of the Odyssey just as much as it’s sound. WHAT NEXT? Korg seem to have been on a mission the last few years to bring back analogue in full. What started with the r elease of the Monotr on a few years back saw a simple, almost toy-like device, build into a tr end that has everyone crying out for more analogue gear again. Next came the Monotribe, a lar ger, more complex device that built on the Monotron’s engine. Then we saw two new variations of the Monotr on released with the Duo and Delay models of fering additional oscillators or delay effects to the basic sound of the Monotron, but, we wer e really in for a tr eat when Korg brought us the MS-20 Mini. This, for those of you who have been living under a rock, was a faithful r ecreation of their original MS-20 synthesizer, except, it was 87% of the size of the f rst unit. Korg went about this in the right way and made sur e that the unit was built the way they and every user wanted it to be built – just like the original. The engineer who frst designed
ARP ODYSSEY MK-III the MS-20 for Kor g was even br ought out of retirement to ensur e that the new version met with his exacting standar ds. So, it is no wonder that what Kor g delivered in the MS-20 Mini was a complete success. A faithful r ecreation of a classic synth with the addition of a MIDI input and a USB output to help it integrate with modern devices. This was a home run as far as Korg were concerned. So, it leads us all to speculate just what Kor g have in store for the ARP Odyssey . If what they have been doing of late is anything to go by , I think we are going to see a very honest homage to the original ARP Odyssey . Exactly which version they will chose to emulate, we cannot be sure at this stage. But, I think it is fairly certain that all the original character of the ARP Odyssey is going to be br ought to life in the moder n recreation, perhaps with a little extra too. This is def nitely one keyboar d to look out for . For those of you who currently enjoy an original ARP Odyssey in your arsenal, verson I, MK-II and MKIII (as pictured), you are about to be joined by a whole lot of new users who will have a powerful recreation at their f ngertips. It looks like the sounds of the ARP Odyssey ar e going to be heard for quite some time yet. BY ROB GEE
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ON THE DOWNLOW ONE BIG RUSH
The other day I was listening to Rush and thinking, “Daaaaaaaamn I wish I could steal me some of Geddy Lee’s bass tone.” But short of actually stealing Geddy Lee’s entire bass rig and also having his ears and f ngertips surgically transplanted over mine, I know that’s never going to happen. What I can do though is fake it with the magic of electr onics. I googled around and found a very convoluted description of Geddy’ s bass rig, which includes several preamps, a tube amp and a softwar e amp simulator (f ve tracks of bassy goodness), and I set about cr eating similar tones with the softwar e amp simulators I have. The r esults were really surprising and this is what I came up with! First, I opened up a new f le in PreSonus Studio One (my recording software of choice) and created two stereo tracks to send the bass through. Next I called up an instance of IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3 on each track. I could have gone for more tracks and more AmpliTubes, but since AmpliT ube allows you to cr eate twin-amp signal str eams I f gured this would probably work okay, and didn’t seem to tax my CPU so much. Geddy’s sound includes plenty of distortion but
it’s also clean at the same time. That’ s because he’s running separate tones that blend together to create his overall sound. Note that this is a trial-and-error process and until you get it right it’s going to sound like ass, because the individual tones aren’t supposed to sound good on their own: they’re meant to work together. I decided that the f rst thing to nail down was the punch of the low end. T o do this I used the Bassman 300 model, which has High and Low
FENDER ‘59 BASSMAN
compressors. I set the Low compr essor to just over 6 and the high one to 10, with the Mid Notch engaged, and this gave me a nice clear tone with plenty of low-end punch but not a lot of ‘boom.’ This model also allows you to blend in a distorted tone, so I used it to cr eate an undercurrent of hair and fuzz. Ah but Geddy’ s tone requires more midrange and dirt than that particular Fender model is able to summon, so I used an Orange Rockerverb model with the treble and bass at zer o, volume at .5 (yes, half of 1) and the gain at 7.5 to get some ugliness in there. By itself this sounds utterly horrible, but when combined with the Bassman 300 it def nitely sounds like it’ s getting ther e. I saved this patch as ‘Geddybass 1’ and then moved over to the next track. Geddybass 1 sounds weir d by itself but Geddybass 2 is utterly ridiculous. For this one I used a similar strategy to the Orange sound, but using a Fender ’59 Bassman model: Presence at 9, middle at 12, bass and tr eble and zero, and volume at just over 10. This gave me a tinny
sound with punch but also a bit of ‘rattle.’ Again it sounded terrible by itself, but when added to the other two models it was nearly ther e. What the sound was missing though was some clean treble. So for this I selected the ‘Jazz Amp 120’ model with bass, middle and treble all at around 3, bright switch on, distortion at 7.5 (it’ s not a very high-gain model, so it’s more like overdrive), and reverb at 1.5 for a tiny bit of dimension. On its own this model sounds twangy, almost brittle. But when blended with the other thr ee models it all came together perfectly . Then it’ s just a matter of blending each model to taste using each amp’s volume control, sending both tracks through a bus, and adding EQ and compression to taste (or not, depending on what the song and mix calls for). And there you go: Geddy Leeesque tone on your desktop, without the need to hijack a rockstar’s truck full of gear.
BY PETER HODGSON
JAZZ AMP 120 AMP-120
BANGIN’ THE TUBS BASS DRUM WORKOUTS In light of this issue of Mixdown’s special on ‘pedals’ I thought I would focus in on something every drummer tackles at one stage or another – bass drum technique. Depending on the style/s of music you play , our feet have varied amounts of attention given to them but ar e regardless, a fundamental component to a well-r ounded drummer. I thought I would share some bass drum exercises that have helped me in the past and still do. These exercises focus on one foot/single pedal at a time and are primarily designed to help develop a quick double stroke. Each exercise can be alternated with either foot. Should you wish to use these exercises with a double pedal, you can simply split the hits between the right and left feet.
DRUMS THE GROOVE STUFF Exercises 1 to 4 are groove based and utilise a double bass drum as 16th notes over a simple hi-hat and snare backbeat. As a rule, it is advised to practice placing the double str oke over different parts of the bar to learn how to feel the strokes on strong and weak beats. You’ll see that whilst the hands r emain static, the bass drum f gure is played on each beat of a four note 16th grouping (1e+a 2e+a). THE FILLS Exercises 5 to 8 are single note combinations in 16th notes between the hands and the feet. These combinations for m the basis of essential bass drum technique and also some killer drum f lls. As with the pr evious exercises, the f gures permutate through each part of the 16th note grouping and you’ll notice just how dif ferent each one feels to play. Exercises 9 to 11 are similar single note combinations but ar e based on triplets. These exercises present new challenges and as the hands are now playing a single str oke, the doubles on the bass drum actually arrive faster each time. As a r esult, these exer cises can be more challenging to play fast – particularly with one foot. THE HARD STUFF Exercises 12 and 13 are the most diff cult but are fantastic for foot development. These ar e simply alternating a single stroke with the hands and a single str oke with the feet. Whilst simple in theory, this technique takes signif cant time to develop quickly as there’s no rest for either limb. Practice slowly and evenly . Take care with the linear exercises to make sur e that the str okes with the hands are the same intensity as the bass drum. This will make the f lls cleaner at faster tempos. Hope you have some fun giving your pedal a workout with these. BY ADRIAN VIOLI
PG. 32 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 33
(D)IGITAL (J)OCKEY YOUR FOLDBACK AND TECHNIQUES TO A GREAT MIX
Most DJs suffer from the uncertainty of how a venue is going to sound when they are playing in it. Just like any band having to deal with poor foldback on stage, most DJs have to put up with poor foldback within the booth. So, it is not uncommon to see bands with their own foldback engineer running a completely separate mix and dedicated foldback speakers for each member of the band. As a DJ, you are but one person, often with a limited area to work with and so bringing in a foldback engineer may be a little over the top. This article will look at the ways in which you can start addressing these foldback issues and improving your overall performance. JBL EON510 THE GEAR LIST The f rst thing you need to consider is what the venue has installed for foldback monitors in the DJ booth. That said, most venues have a different setup and you will mor e than likely be playing in a range of venues, often with very little opportunity to check on the setup befor ehand. I always found it benef cial to try and get some insight before the gig so you know what you are up for. Sometimes the venue will list their inhouse equipment on their website which is super helpful. However, this isn’ t always the case, so getting in touch with the in-house engineer can get you all the answers you need. Or , even better, getting to the venue on an evening prior to when you have to play so you can see and hear the P A and foldback in operation is an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the room and your setup. It can never hurt to be too pr epared and it will make for a better perfor mance once your set comes around. That is why I always br ought a series of cables and leads with me to each and every gig just to cover all situations. If you decide that you need to bring additional foldback, you want to make sur e you have the right cables to integrate these speakers into the current system. Furthermore, you want to make sur e that you have enough length in these cables. So extra
cables for coupling together, or additional ones at longer lengths ar e always handy to have in your kit bag. CHOOSE YOUR SOUND Obviously, your f rst port of call for monitoring is going to be your headphones. And you should never for get your headphones. They are your gateway into the mix and ar e one of the most important tools you use as a DJ. Y ou need headphones that are not only comfortable, but sturdy too, as they ar e going to suf fer a fair bit of abuse fr om one set to another . The last thing you want is a faulty r epresentation of your sound and it’ s also a good idea to take into consideration how you actually mix. Every DJ focuses on a dif ferent sound within the mix when beat matching, so you need to f nd a set of headphones that helps you isolate those sounds. It is no good having loads of bass in you cans when you are trying to listen for the hi-hats. Along with your headphones, the monitor speaker is the other important link in getting your foldback mix right. Y ou’ll soon lear n that not all venues offer the kind of monitor speakers that you may like to use, or ones that even really work within their envir onments. So, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of having your own foldback monitor to bring with you
YAMAHA MSR 250
when needed. Ther e are a range of power ed speakers available that ar e lightweight and powerful. The JBL EON510 (as pictur ed) is a great option that is not only compact but delivers an incredible amount of volume. These are great for a small booth situation or even on an angle from the f oor on a stage setup. The MSR 250 from Yamaha is another gr eat speaker that f ts the bill for this job. Both are really compact with a ten inch driver, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting them set up with an existing rig. Just r emember your gear list. Think about preparation for the gig and make sur e you have the right cables to get your monitor hooked up to any mixer. THE SETUP Firstly, you need to ensur e that the venue will allow you to incorporate your own monitor into the rig for your set. Generally it isn’ t a problem, especially if you keep you gear in good working order and have it tagged and tested r egularly. The in-house engineer should be able to help you connect it to the monitor outputs of the
mixer. Then it’s up to you to ensur e that it gives you what you need. T ry not to place the mixer too close to your position. This is easy when playing on a lar ger stage setup, but in smaller booths it can pose a pr oblem. Consider the space you have to work with and try not to place it anywhere that will get in the way of the DJs playing before and after you too if there is a lineup running for the night. When your monitor is in place, you should be able to hear the monitor mix clearly. The point is to ensure you have a clear representation of the mix without delay so your timing is right. If you are still hearing the mix fr om out front, you are probably behind the beat and you need to get that foldback wound up a little more. It’s all very simple really, but it is something that is often overlooked and so many DJs f nd themselves having to deal with poor foldback, or even worse, none. Get yourself or ganised and get your foldback working with you. Y our mix and your audience will thank you for it. BY ROB GEE
The JBL EON510 as pictured is distributed by Jands, for more information on JBL product visit www.jands.com.au or phone (02) 9582 0909. The Yamaha MSR 250’s as pictured are distributed by Yamaha Music Australia, for more information on Yamaha product visit www.yamahabackstage.com.au
HOME STUDIO HINTS
DIRECT RECORDING FOR GUITAR
Given that we have spent a lot of time looking at guitar pedals in all different varieties this month, I thought we should also look at some pedals and devices that can improve not only your workflow, but your tone when recording in the studio at home. This article will also look at some of the gear available that will help you create a great guitar recording under various environmental or home studio limitations. TAKE A LOAD OFF Many guitarists I speak to use a variety of measures to keep their volume down both on stage and in the studio, but of course, r etaining their tone is the most important factor . So, this leads many guitarists on the long quest for the perfect volume reduction device. The attenuator is the f rst place to start but ther e are very few on the market and they don’ t necessarily come cheap. I was impressed with an attenuator fr om Bad Cat called The Leash that I got to use a few years ago. It was, however , a little r estrictive in a studio environment as the fan created a slight noise and it needed to be cleverly isolated for use in a quiet envir onment. Bad Cat have also released the Unleash which combines a r eamplif er and attenuator in both (and although I haven’t used this yet) the device will take any amplif er from 1 to 100 watts and either attenuate or boost the signal perfect for live and studio environments. The other option to an attenuator is of course, the load box. The idea of a load box is that it takes the load fr om your valve amplif er and disperses the ener gy so that it does not have to run into a speaker cabinet. These come in a variety of styles, but one that is pr oving very popular of late is the Two Notes Torpedo Live. It is a rack mounted digital load box that will suck up 100 watts of power and not require a speaker to carry the load. But then, ‘how do you hear the amp?’ I hear you asking. T wo Notes have been working hard to get their speaker modelling just right so your T orpedo Live has a selection of speaker cabinet emulations built in for you to PG. 34 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
choose from. You select the cabinet and speaker type and the T orpedo gives you a balanced line level signal that sounds like your amp has come through that setup. This then allows you to operate in silence on stage or in the studio if you wish and control the volume you have thr ough your monitors. This idea has been further developed for use with smaller amps that don’ t require a load box but would still benef t from the sound of a big cabinet. The C.A.B. cabinet emulator foot pedal takes the modelling aspect of the Torpedo and puts it at your feet for use alongside a smaller speaker cabinet. BREAKING THE CHAIN Another popular method for getting your amp signal recorded direct, is to get into the audio chain after your power amp tubes have saturated the signal and go dir ect in to your DAW at that point. The problem with breaking into the audio chain at this stage is that you ar e dealing with an amplif ed signal. If you take your direct input from the amplif er before the power amp stage, you will only get the tone of the pr eamp valves and not the big boys, leaving you really only recording half the sound. So, in or der to get the sound you want, without using a micr ophone in front of the speakers themselves, the use of a handy little device called a Red Box will do the trick. Many guitarists will have used these before or seen them around, but many ar e still unsur e of quite what they do. Essentially, the Red Box, built by Hughes & Kettner, is an output router unit that grabs a line level audio signal right at the very last stage with your guitar amp. It goes in between you amplif er
TORPEDO LIVE and your speaker cabinet, allowing the amplif ed signal to go straight thr ough, just like a DI box would for an unbalanced instrument signal. So your cabinet still gets the original signal with all the volume uninterrupted. But the Red Box allows for a direct signal to be taken fr om this, with a slight adjustment of the tone for cabinet emulation. The older versions of the Red Box wer e pretty simple and just had the inputs and outputs with no real options. This has changed slightly though,
with the latest version allowing you to adjust the settings to change how the cabinet emulator behaves. This gives you the option to adjust the cabinet size, the age of the speakers and their responsiveness. It won’t drop your playing volume at all, but it will get you a gr eat direct recording sound that takes away any of the envir onmental noise from within your home studio. BY ROB GEE
Bad Cat ‘The Leash’ and ‘Unleash’ distributed by EGM Distribution, visit www.egm.net.au Two Notes Torpedo Live and Torpedo C.A.B distributed by Innovative Music, visit www.innovativemusic.com.au Hughes & Kettner Red Box distributed by CMI Music, visit www.cmi.com.au
WHAT’S MY RANGE AGAIN? SINGING REALLY HIGH IN TRUE VOICE
Have you ever wanted to sing really high in true voice, but when you attempted to do so, your voice just cracks and breaks and goes into falsetto? Have you ever wondered how the singers in bands like Iron Maiden, The Police, Rush, Karnivool, Sleeping With Sirens, Paramore, Maroon 5 and artists like Bruno Mars, Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson sing so high consistently for long periods of time? Well I’m going to let you into a little secret. Let me introduce you to the mixed or cross over voice. Pictured Kim Benzie
Let’s be frank her e, this is not easy! However everyone is capable of doing this with the pr oper technique, perseverance and persistence. T wo of my students who r egularly use their mixed voice are Kim Benzie fr om Dead Letter Cir cus and Christopher de Cinque fr om Closure in Moscow. Both are great examples of this technique done well. WHAT IS MIXED OR CROSSOVER VOICE? Crossover or mixed voice is not so much a traditional register such as is chest, middle or falsetto registers. Crossover uses both falsetto and true voice vocal folds at the same time to produce a ‘mixed’ sound or cr ossover sound.
In other words crossover can help you sing the same notes in the high end of your middle voice or low end of falsetto that you may nor mally struggle with. Cr ossover voice helps to close or bridge the vocal br eak in your voice (so that it doesn’t sound like a pubescent teenager) as you ascend or descend between false and true voice. It’s the sound the voice makes as it’ s ‘crossing over’ between true voice and falsetto voice. If done well, no one can tell when you have ‘crossed over’ between your registers. WHY SING CROSSOVER? It is fun, invigorating, challenging and once you learn how to do it, it will open up your whole upper register, giving you around a whole octave or more to sing in and use in a true sounding voice. So many more colours, keys and registers are now available for you to use as a singer and artist. The tr ouble is, that this slide-over or crossover sound, when done well, is pr obably one of the har dest vocal techniques to master . But it will open up many mor e opportunities to sing in parts of the voice that may have been neglected or never used at all. IS HEAD VOICE MY CROSSOVER VOICE? No it isn’t. Head voice is a lighter, thinner version of your true voice. So it can be sung anywhere in your true voice register but it often doesn’t carry the same clear tones that the chest or middle registers have. Crossover is located at the higher end of your true voice range and the lower end of your falsetto range.
GETTING STARTED Before you even begin to start doing higher range singing in cr ossover you have to make sure that you have established the corr ect basic singing techniques f rst. You must build yourself up physically, mentally and technically . In other words, get yourself a good teacher that will give you the correct singing techniques to build your voice up f rst before you attempt to lear n crossover voice. Often for beginners, it may take anything from 6 to 18 months befor e they can sing like Kim Benzie fr om Dead Letter Cir cus. It really depends on a range of factors but ther e is a degr ee of patience, practice and a clear goal required. After all if you love singing, you don’t want burn your voice out by singing your heart out to songs that you ar e not yet ready to vocalise. Let’s go through a checklist to build up your voice to sing in crossover. 1. Find a gr eat teacher that teaches mixed or crossed over voice techniques. 2. Expand your vocal range as high as it will go in your true chest voice, pr eferably using crying scale techniques. 3. Expand and str engthen your falsetto range with correct scales and techniques. 4. Properly support all crossover techniques with correct diaphragmatic breath support. 5. Start challenging your voice and try to sing along with artists that use cr ossover or mixed voice. Once you have established a solid foundation for singing, you can begin to start doing higher range singing in your cr ossover voice. Y ou’ll need to expand your vocal range as high as it will go in your true chest voice, preferably using crying scale techniques. In addition, work on expanding and strengthening you falsetto voice and range with the right scales and techniques. Also very importantly , remember to br eathe correctly. When doing the crossover technique it is essential that you draw on your diaphragmatic strength so that you don’t damage your voice.
THE CROSSOVER TECHNIQUE I’m going to shar e with you the secr ets to connecting or blending your true voice seamlessly into your falsetto, every time. T o successfully accomplish this, there are four main points that you need to do to achieve a smooth and consistent sound thr oughout your range. I suggest doing the below techniques on an octave sliding scale (1st, 8th, 1st note) on the piano. 1. Always keep your volume cr escendoing and de-crescendoing through the entir e scale. Do not ever bring your volume down when you hit your falsetto r egister as this will expose your crack in the falsetto r egister and we don’ t want that. 2. Remember that the crying technique is the glue that will connect your 2 r egisters together seamlessly. So keep sobbing and crying throughout the whole scale, right to the very end. 3. Do not stop moving or sliding thr ough the scale especially befor e the transition fr om true voice to falsetto. If you stop or pause before this bridge your voice is sure to crack. Keep moving the entire way through the scale. 4. Finally, keep your neck, thr oat and mouth relaxed at all times. Let your diaphragm and stomach do all the tightening and supporting of the notes. Keep challenging yourself to sing songs that are slightly higher (or lower) in range. Sing songs that have 1 or 2 notes that ar e outside your natural vocal range. Eventually these songs will start to feel like they ar e in your natural range and they won’ t be as much of a challenge. In effect, you’ve actually increased your ability and extended your vocal range. Y ou should now have the conf dence to sing even higher or more diff cult songs. BY PETER VOX
EXCEPTIONAL DIGITAL CLARITY MEETS SEAMLESS OPERATION. GLX-D Wireless Systems Debuting Next Generation Wireless A ground-breaking offering, GLX-D Wireless Systems combine revolutionary LINKFREQ Automatic Frequency Management and battery rechargeability with world-renowned Microphones, and the rst Shure pedal-mounted guitar option. GLX-D Wireless Systems dene the newest standard for seamless ease of operation and exceptional digital audio clarity.
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 35
al giveaw d e p Welcome to yet another foot stomping Mixdown pedal spectacular! This month we have assembled a simply MASSIVE range of pedals from some of the the newest and most innovative companies. We’ve included some of the biggest JOE HED D WAH P and some of the tiniest, some of A BA OGR AUT ANI BIG ENTER the loudest and most importantly O RI SAT EE P8 T the most useful pedals out there. S Whether you’re looking to loop, boost, distort, phase or modulate its simply a jungle of choice out there and that’s why our expert team of top-notch guitar boffins have shredded through the wilderness to make your choice as easy as possible. So take some notes, tick some boxes and then head down to your local retailer to plug in, get stomping and hear exactly what we we’re talking about!
HOTONE BLUES OVERDRIVE
DISTRIBUTION DETAILS: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES (03) 9549 1500 www.austmusic.com.au
YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA (03) 9693 5111 www.yamahabackstage.com.au
ELECTRIC FACTORY (03) 9474 1000 www.elfa.com.au
DOMINANT MUSIC (03) 9873 4333 www.dominantmusic.com.au
JADE AUSTRALIA 1800 144 120 www.jadeaustralia.com.au
HOT APPLE DISTRIBUTION www.hotapple.com.au
AMBER TECHNOLOGY 1800 251 367 www.ambertech.com.au CMC MUSIC (02) 9905 2511 www.cmcmusic.com.au NATIONAL AUDIO SUPPLIES 1800 441 440 www.nationalaudio.com.au
INNOVATIVE MUSIC (03) 9873 4333 www.innovativemusic.com.au NOISE TOYS IMPORTS www.noisetoysimports.com.au UBERSONIC (03) 9580 2060 www.ubersonic.com.au
MOOER BLUES CRAB MICRO SERIES OD
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
RECOMMENDED FOR: Perfect stomp box for guitarists and the odd bass player looking for that classic blues driven spark. It will suit a lot of rock’n’roll genres and any player looking to cut through the mix.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, country, pop and funk. Setups that are pushed for pedalboard real estate or anyone that digs the mini pedal thing.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Really loved the classic tube like drive it emulates with it’s crisp clears and big bass wallop when the FAT button is engaged. Surprising how much bass was in such a small unit and especially loved the control of Gain/overdrive, Tone and Volume that you could blend to find your ultimate sound. USEABILITY: The real bluesy aficionado will love the tweakable options here and even some heavier players will like EQing the right amount of flavour before they engage any heavier distortion pedals and effects. Love it for jamming in a band situation and dialling up some cool solo tones that cut through the mix. CONSTRUCTION: My god! How Hotone built such a small range of pedals, all well constructed is beyond belief. The Blues is built tough for stomping with its metal chassis and metal foot stopper so you don’t touch the dials and if you do, well they won’t break as they’re built tough too! Weighing in at only 190 grams, don’t let this mini tank fool you, it can take a beating. Daisy-chaining and wall plug power only. OVERALL: Built small, built tough, built for anyone looking for simple operation and lots of overdrive control. Great useable tones can be pulled here and it’s built with a small pedal footprint in mind. The players pedal, this is killer and I want one!
PG. 36 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: As an on the edge of breakup and slightly pushed OD the Blues Crab will definitely appeal to rock and blues players. Handy for a range of gigs you could also run the Crab into a dirty amp or stack with other dirt pedals for extra gain. USABILITY: Easy to setup and easy to get a nice light OD tone with minimal fuss. The extreme higher settings of the pedal are a little harsh, but overall it’s simple to get a usable crunch with a range of guitars and amps. CONSTRUCTION: This mini line is small in stature but still feels tough and has no problems with heavier footed stompers. OVERALL: No battery option (due to its small size) might be a drawback for some. Otherwise the Blues Crab is a handy light to medium gain OD pedal that’s great for adding a little juice to your tone. Plus, the Mini size means it’ll squash into a tight pedalbaord or fit in your gigbag/pocket for carrying to rehearsals, gigs and jams.
JET CITY ‘GUITARSLINGER’ OVERDRIVE RRP: $99
MXR FET DRIVER
DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, metal, blues, pop, punk, indie and players needing to add some grit to their clean sound or thicken up an already distorted tone.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Guitarists looking to recreate the feel and response of a cranked tube amp–be it clean or dirty–at a low volume, or those who want some extra character from a loud amp.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Rounded and boosty through to crunchy this pedal is great for adding some edge to your tone or driving a dirty amp. The gain and volume controls work nicely together whilst the bright switch can add some high range definition if you really need to cut through the mix.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: From punchy tube-like cleans to big fat overdriven roar, this pedal can do all sorts of great boutique sounds, with beautiful sustain and a nice interactive response. And when you use it in front of a cranked tube amp you’ll get incredible overtones and clarity. USEABILITY: With dedicated high and low tone controls and a treble cut switch, there’s plenty of soundsculpting capability on offer, and unlike some treble switches out there, this one has a very noticeable and positive effect on your tone.
USABILITY: Suited to a range of uses and easy to get started with. I like to set the pedal close to my original tone (the bypassed signal) and then tweak for a little extra grit and volume when the pedal is engaged. CONSTRUCTION: Keeping in line with the other Jet City range the look this pedal has vintage stylings and a tough casing for plenty of stomping abuse. OVERALL: A warm sounding OD pedal that can do the blues thing or the more classic rock and metal tones with humbuckers and single coils.
CARL MARTIN AC-TONE
CONSTRUCTION: A typically road-worthy MXR pedal. These guys make their pedals to last, and everything from the footswitch to the treble cut button feels reliable. OVERALL: A great pedal for those who appreciate the subtleties in their tone, whether clean or dirty–and a real eye-opener when you’re playing through a really loud amp, because its character remains intact even at extreme volume levels.
CARL MARTIN PLEXI TONE
DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the pedal you need on your board when you want a compact VOX-like tone in your arsenal without the larger version of the pedal or even a VOX amplifier in your rig.
RECOMMENDED FOR: For anyone after a gold coloured pedal, or alternatively the sound of a Marshall Plexi crammed into a little box, then this is the unit for you. That classic Marshall gold colour is matched by the classic Marshall tone, added to any amp you like.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This is a really great VOX style overdrive bundled into a little box. It doesn’t quite give you that VOX chime in a clean sound, but isn’t trying to either. It is all about that pushed AC sound where you get a VOX breaking up nicely. The Cut feature allows you to trim back the high frequencies just like the Tone Cut control on an AC amp, making it a really friendly sound at higher volumes.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The sound is designed to be just like a Plexi in a box. What you get is perhaps something slightly more like a JTM45, with a darker bottom end. The higher frequencies are rolled off a little too, so you don’t quite get that brittle sound that can peel the skin off your face.
USEABILITY: Well, this is one of the easiest pedals to get a great VOX tone out of, as the name suggests. Get the level right to work with your amp, then slowly wind up the drive to the desired amount and you’re good!
USEABILITY: It is pretty easy to get your head around this pedal. Treat it like a simple amp and dial in the gain you want, and then roll back the tone to balance it out with your amp. That said, it sounds great when you run the drive lower and just set the volume flat out, pushing your own amp in the process.
CONSTRUCTION: This compact pedal is housed in a tough little casing that will take just about anything you throw at it. A firm switch and good, smooth pots all suggest you are going to get plenty of years of use from the AC-TONE.
CONSTRUCTION: Like all the other compact pedals available from Carl Martin, this is a simple design that doesn’t offer much to go wrong on the outside. Stand on it all you like and I doubt you will do it any harm.
OVERALL: There are all number of overdrive pedals out there, but few capture a specific sound quite like this one does. For its intended purpose, it is right on the money, plus it carries a smaller footprint than the original Pro Series model.
BLACKSTAR LT DRIVE
OVERALL: I love the colour of this pedal and I love the tone too. The fact that it isn’t quite as aggressive as I originally thought it may be was a real plus, making it more usable in a wider range of setups.
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, metal and indie players wanting a warm, classic type overdrive.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Players who need a lot of variety, from smooth overdrives for blues and rock, to all-out distorted mayhem for whatever else they can conjure up.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Round and warm on lower gain settings through to more shreddy lead tones. I did keep the Tone control below 12 o’clock most of the time but it’s definitely not bright or brittle. Enough gain to please rock players but it can also do the subtle thing for more relaxed sounds. USABILITY: Three knobs–Gain, Level and Tone. Simple to get a usable sound almost instantly, then you can twiddle and really get the LT Drive zoned in for your specific setup. CONSTRUCTION: Part of Blackstar’s LT series the LT drive is a smaller pedal size then some of their other offerings meaning its slightly more pedal board friendly but still built tough! OVERALL: Blackstar now offer quite the range in amps and their pedals are heading the same way. I like the smaller form factor but more importantly the LT Drive sounds good. Light and smoky right through to shred, it’ll satisfy quite a lot of players in quite a lot of styles.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With plenty of low end, this pedal is great for getting some extra oomph out of single coils. And because it has two channels it’s very versatile, from smooth overdrives to harsh, edgy distortion. Probably the best pedal in the LT range. USEABILITY: The control layout can be a bit confusing at first–two gain controls and two channel levels but with shared tone and ISF controls–but it soon starts to make sense. CONSTRUCTION: The layout does feel a little cramped and confusing at first. It looks very clean but perhaps there could have been a more intuitive way to lay out the controls: a gain and level on each side with the tone controls in the middle, for instance. OVERALL: A great all-rounder with plenty of flexibility so you can use it for different types of gigs, or to cover a whole cover band set’s worth of sounds without much fuss.
JUNE 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / PG. 37
OGRE TUBEHOLIC OVERDRIVE
VOX TONE GARAGE STRAIGHT 6 DRIVE RRP: $219
DISTRIBUTOR: UBERSONIC EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: OVERDRIVE
RECOMMENDED FOR: Believe it or not this pedal has a lot of different uses and you could easily find yourself playing blues riffs or alternative rock as well as the heavier genres that you would expect a pedal that looks like this to be suited to. Also recommended for those who believe in aliens, robots, and alien robots.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, funk, rock, pop, country. Players after an overdrive pedal that can do cleanish boosted through to gainier tones. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Love the 12AX7 that really drives the sound and gives it that unique VOX voicing. Really versatile for creating original sounds and finding familiar ones.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This is a surprisingly smooth-sounding overdrive which would definitely please vintage tone hounds, despite its ultra-futuristic look. There’s a simultaneous smoothness and fatness to the tone, and when you use it as a boost on a distorted amp you’ll get a really pleasant midrange ‘honk.’
USABILITY: Easy to dial in a usable broken tone almost instantly. You can then tweak to find that sweet spot thanks to the Bass and Tone controls (and Bright switch) if you’ve got an overly dark sounding setup. CONSTRUCTION: Green in colour, the Straight 6 again emphasises VOX’s tube design with the 12AX7 firmly front and centre. The whole pedal feels solid and it’s an interesting concept adding the ‘standby’ switch on the front of the pedal.
USEABILITY: The controls themselves are easy to use but carefully hidden underneath a sliding cover that forms the forehead of the face, while you step on the lower part of the face to engage the effect. CONSTRUCTION: An extremely well-built pedal, both stylistically and structurally. Everything makes sense, and the controls themselves feel very reliable. In a way it’s a shame it looks so out-there because the looks might turn off some players who would love the tone. OVERALL: A really great overdrive that transcends its love-it-or-hate-it looks to really reveal itself as a powerful sonic tool regardless of your musical style.
RADIAL TONEBONE TRIMODE DISTORTION
OVERALL: There are plenty of boosty/OD pedals in the world ranging from next to nothing to exorbitant prices. The Straight 6 is a tasty little green number that won’t render you broke but will give you some nice bluesy, rocky overdrive tones if you’re still on your OD quest!
MC SYSTEMS LHR DYNAMIC DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY EFFECT: CLASSIC DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: DISTORTION
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, metal, blues, punk, medium to low gain kinda guys and players wanting a tweakable distortion pedal from a high quality company.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Distortion junkies, bluesrockers who want different levels of crunch and scream for rhythm and lead, or pro players who need a lot of tone without a lot of hassle, buttons and LCD screens.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The tone control gives you a really nice range of sounds from smooth to scratchy, and there’s plenty of scope for gain-shaping, from a light Stones-y overdrive to full on hairy distortion.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Clean, pushed, boosted, edgy, chunky, fat and thick gain can be achieved here. The TriMode has a tonne of tones in its arsenal and the scope to tweak to your heart’s content! USABILITY: With quite a few settings, switches and the ability to switch between two distortion channels and your bypassed tone there is some tweaking and setting up involved but once you work it out it’s a cinch. The actual pedal size and 15 volt requirements will be off putting to some.. CONSTRUCTION: Like anything Radial the Trimode is a serious tank. Steely, tough and well laid out it looks like you could run a truck over it for fun. OVERALL: Forget about the size and the power supply and you’ve got a seriously good sounding distortion pedal. The ability to set two independent sounds is great and the ‘Top End’, ‘Mid Boost’ and ‘Drive Gain’ switches make for an impressive range of tones. Killer!
USEABILITY: The V-Switch lets you select different distortion levels according to how hard you stomp on the pedal, and this is a very handy and intuitive feature. Even cooler though is the Alternate switch which lets you select between two different tone settings. Have a bright one for rhythm and a fatter one for lead, for instance. CONSTRUCTION: A nice strong pedal which takes up the perfect amount of space on your board: big enough to deal with the interactive nature of the stomping it requires you to perform, and small enough that you can fit a bunch of other MC Systems pedals on your board too. OVERALL: A really unique, interesting and adaptable pedal, not just for its tone but also for the way it encourages you to access that tone. There are plenty of distortions which let you select between two different levels of gain but switching between different tone settings is so much more rare, and yet so much more important in a lot of cases.
MOOER SPARK SERIES DISTORTION
BLACKSTAR HT DUAL VALVE DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA EFFECT: DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS EFFECT: DISTORTION
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, classic metal, blues and pop. Players after a vintage sounding distortion.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock and metal players wanting some switching flexibility for two dirty settings. Handy for live use or with single channel amps.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Great for clean-ish boost and medium gain. Classic rock tones with some edge that respond well to both single coils and humbuckers. USABILITY: Switch in the dead centre on top and 3 dials and a button on the front edge near the input/output. Simple. CONSTRUCTION: Keeping with the compact theme but using a different shape the Spark series are square in shape, about 5.5 cms on each side and about 3cms high. Still uber compact, the controls on the front can be a touch fiddly but nothing to turn you off the pedal. OVERALL: I was really suprised with the Spark Distortion–nice bite and chime without getting too fizzy or mushy. Low to mid settings were my favourite and it seriously competes with a heap of better known pedals that are three times the price and three times the size!
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Between the two channels you can find your perfect amp tone, use Channel 1 as a clean, boosted or overdriven sound and then add Channel 2 for more saturated tones. Plenty of tweakability and with a real tube in the pedal, the tube enthusiasts will be satisfied. USABILITY: The control setup mirrors most amps so you can’t go wrong getting your initial tones. The stacked Gain and Level knobs cater for both Channel 1 and 2 and the switching setup means Channel 2 takes over from 1 when engaged and vice versa, you don’t have to take off one and engage the other. CONSTRUCTION: Big and tough the HT Dual is one tough pedal. The 22v DC requirements might cause headaches for some pedalboard users but thumbs up to Blackstar for including a power supply in the package at no extra cost. OVERALL: Two extra channels with your existing amp that sound great and have a tonne of tonal flexibility.
PG. 38 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
VOX TONE GARAGE V8 DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS EFFECT: DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: DISTORTION
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who needs a straightforward analog distortion pedal with good soundsculpting capabilities with a minimum of extra features to complicate things.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, classic metal, shredders or those wanting hi gain sounds in a pedal with actual tube tone thanks to a 12AX7 preamp tube.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Like most pedals from this range, the LT-DIST smashes out a huge amount of low end, so you need to factor this in. This pedal skews toward heavier distortion sounds rather than rich overdrives, with an emphasis on powerful mids and lows with plenty of compression and saturation.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Although it cleans up reasonably well the V8 is indeed focussed on higher gain rock tones with plenty of energy and bite. The Gain control takes you from chunk through to saturated distortion for big solo tones, squeally harmonics and burning rhythm sounds.
USEABILITY: The patented ISF control lets you veer from UK to US sounds and anywhere in between, and it’s fun to explore different ISF settings in conjunction with the tone control. Other than that it’s set-and-forget.
USABILITY: Volume, Bass, Tone (with a mid shift on/off toggle switch) and Gain controls are easy to navigate.
CONSTRUCTION: The construction here is very tough and roadworthy, although the ISF control makes such a difference across its whole arc that it’s a shame it doesn’t have numbered increments.
CONSTRUCTION: The black finish is very rock and the back lit tube section and casing seem solid and up to some extended stomping. Slightly bigger than some common pedal sizes but still smaller than a lot of others!
OVERALL: A good distortion for those who need heavier tones but aren’t necessarily concerned about ultrascooped death tone. A good choice for those in singleguitar bands who want to be heard.
OVERALL: Great to see VOX incorporating real tube tone into the V8 Distortion pedal. More angled towards vintage tones you can create on the edge breakup right through to sweet singing sustain.
HOTONE WHIP DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS EFFECT: HEAVY METAL DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: HEAVY METAL DISTORTION
RECOMMENDED FOR: Metal players, pretty much exclusively, especially those who use extended range instruments such as baritone or 7 and 8-string guitars.
RECOMMENDED FOR: You like to shred, slay and leave your audience in ear bleeding dismay? Well, this hardcore Whip heavy metal distortion is for you, perfect for any guitarist wanting skater thrash to aggressive heavy dirty sounds in a small unit.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The sound isn’t very versatile outside of the scope of metal tones, but within it you’ll find thrash, djent, shred and heavy rock tones with a huge amount of low end–in fact this thing pumps out so much bass that you have to work around it with your amp’s bass knob, because the pedal will only let you tame it so much.
USEABILITY: Volume, Tone and Gain. Built by one thrasher for another. Simple, easy to use and controller friendly.
CONSTRUCTION: This is a very tough pedal, and it’s also very compact. The none-more-black construction certainly reinforces its metal pedigree, and you can pack a bunch of these smaller Blackstar pedals onto a board comfortably.
CONSTRUCTION: Well built, looks evil in black and red and although small in appearance, it packs a punch in tone. Good idea having the pedal bar on this one as I can imagine the player of this pedal will like to stomp down often and hard.
OVERALL: A good choice for those who want an aggressive, extremely bass-heavy metal tone, but not for players who need a lot of variety and nuance. Some players will love it but if you don’t spend all your time on 10, there are other Blackstar pedals that will suit you.
OVERALL: Pretty great metal sounds for the price, easily controlled and will really add that spark to your playing. Not at the top of the metal pedal line, but a useable sound and overall evil effect for the price.
MC SYSTEMS BWI DYNAMIC FUZZ
DISTRIBUTOR: UBERSONIC EFFECT: HEAVY METAL DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: FUZZ
RECOMMENDED FOR: Heavier styles. Definitely heavier styles. But not necessarily those where you want to be on 10 all the time. Certainly stuff that’s humbucker-driven and maybe tuned down.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Fuzz fans looking for something that keeps up with their performance, whether you play vintage rock, modern alternative, industrial or stoner rock.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This is a very heavysounding distortion and yet there’s a wide and very noticeable range of different distortion textures found along all points of the gain knob’s travel. It sounds as good on 2 as it does on 10, and it handles low tunings really, really well. It’s capable of some nice overdrive tones too, especially more crunchy ones.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: A truly versatile fuzz with a nice wide range of fat and edgy tones, responding very intuitively to your picking strength or pickup selection, especially with vintage-output single coil pickups.
USEABILITY: The knobs are actually the horns on the top of this demonic little butter’s head, and at first it’s a little bit disorienting trying to turn them, but it very quickly makes sense.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Heavy distorted, metallic tones through to gritty, dark, overtones with balls of steel to match. Can look after pretty much all the harsher genres and when dialled right back be used for great lead lines in your rock bands. Hit the EDGE button and you’ll get a scream of boosted tone and top end.
USEABILITY: Backstar’s patented ISF knob gives you plenty of scope to go from fat and squawking lead tones to jagged, aggressive thrash rhythms, but a little more control over the low end would be good.
OGRE THUNDERCLAP DISTORTION
USEABILITY: You can set up different fuzz levels depending on how hard you stomp this pedal, which is lots of fun, while there are also two separate boost levels which let you hit your amp harder or softer, or select different volume levels for rhythm and lead. Clever!
CONSTRUCTION: It looks like a gimmick pedal but this monster is made very strongly indeed. It’s quite heavy to hold, and it feels like it’ll take a beating.
CONSTRUCTION: A very well-built pedal. Like all pedals in the range which are constructed in basically the same way, the designers know you’re going to be stomping on this bad boy pretty hard.
OVERALL: A really great-sounding overdrive and distortion which has had as much thought and care put into its tonal voicing as its impossibly cool looks.
OVERALL: Unique in all of fuzz-dom, this pedal does all sorts of things that other simply can’t do, by becoming a part of your performance and by encouraging you to play with it rather than through it and it sounds great.
JUNE 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / PG. 39
MOOER TRIANGLE BUFF MICRO FUZZ
HOTONE FURY FUZZ
DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA EFFECT: FUZZ
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: FUZZ
RECOMMENDED FOR: Punk, rock, indie, blues as well as experimental, ambient, soundscape vibes.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ideal for the guitarist or bass player who wants an easy to use fuzz effect that saves space on the pedal board. Blues rock, heavy rock sluggers and garage musos will love the versatility in tone it can dial up.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With plenty of level on tap you’re going to have plenty of volume to be heard with the Triangle Buff. Thick and woolly with hints of creamy sustain, you can do the super sustain thing and work the tone control for harsher raspy tones.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Can pull a classic Jeff Beck/ Yardbirds type fuzz tone while being both powerful when needed and then smooth as silk when desired. Controlling the gain of fuzz you can box it in or let it out and sing which when blended with the tone knob is really inspiring. The PUSH button is super cool and injects a harsher overtone to your signal like that of a ‘2000 Pound Bee’ being unleashed by The Ventures – pioneers of the fuzz tone, check em out!
USABILITY: Great as an alternative to OD and distortion this Mooer Fuzz can thicken lead lines or add some craziness to bigger musical moments. Although it might take a little playing to work out exactly where it’ll fit it’s a nice effect to call on from time to time. CONSTRUCTION: This mini line is small in stature but still feels tough and has no problems with heavier footed stompers.
USEABILITY: Simple three dials and a PUSH button to add all the grit you desire. I think this effect works best in garage rock bands, more so as a rhythm effect than a straight up lead sound. But each to their own and regardless how you use it, it will certainly cut through the mix with its unique and tweakable voicing.
OVERALL: Living on the smoother edge of fuzz town the Triangle Buff could be a good inexpensive option if its your first journey into the Fuzz world. Reacting differently to various pedals, pickups and general setups it’s a fun pedal that can keep you entertained for hours.
CONSTRUCTION: Don’t let the purple colour fool you, it’s bright so stomp on it more. Built tough like the whole Skyline Series range the fury is housed in an all mental casing and weighs an impressive 190 grams. OVERALL: Wax on or wax off, this fuzz pedal will have you slaying d down that h cooll ffuzzy tone llike k a ninja! Lots of useable and quality sounding fuzz effect in a saturated and fuzzy market, makes this version very cool indeed.
VOX TONE GARAGE TRIKE FUZZ
RED WITCH LILY BOOST
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: FUZZ
DISTRIBUTOR: DOMINANT MUSIC EFFECT: BOOST
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, punk, pop, electro, ambient, indy, dance, experimental, soundtracks and those wanting special effects with some added synthy, glitchy goodness.
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the clean boost that everyone is looking for. It’s perfect for the guitar player with very little room to spare on the pedal board. Especially good for those who want long life operation without a power supply.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: More of an octa fuzz pedal the Trike Fuzz can do 70s psychedelic speaker splatter type tones but octave based wildness is really where it excels. Octaves +1 or -1 and -2 mean you can get down dirty for RATM kind of whizzy, buzz saw low end or computer glitch up the octave for anything from Satriani to Radiohead.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With just Pre and Post controls, the Lily Boost tries to do very little to your signal but get it louder for you. There isn’t too much noticeable gain increase, it just gets your level up to make your solo stand out, or allow you to drive your amp a little harder. USEABILITY: These compact pedals from Red Witch feature a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so they can operate without a power supply for a good length of time. You just need to give them a charge every now and then as needed.
USABILITY: Easy to start getting wild with but will take a bit of experimenting to see where the Trike Fuzz will fit into your setup. In fact it’s the kind of pedal that you’d love presets for as there are a number of settings that I really dug wanted to switch between.
CONSTRUCTION: The first thing everyone notices with these pedals is the way the Pre pot makes a cracking sound as you adjust it. This isn’t a fault, but part of the design, so when you think you’ve found something wrong with Lily, you find out she is just fine.
CONSTRUCTION: Orange and vibey the Trike Fuzz will stand out on a board with its bright finish and fat menacing tones.
OVERALL: As a single unit, or as part of a collection of Seven Sisters pedals, the Lily Boost is a great addition to any setup where needed. It is compact, clean and very well priced in a market that really doesn’t have a huge range of quality clean boost pedals these days.
OVERALL: Another seriously cool pedal from this new VOX ‘Tone Garage’ range. Wild, woolly and synthy all in one package.
ONE CONTROL GRANITH GREY BOOSTER
BLACKSTAR LT BOOST
DISTRIBUTOR: HOT APPLE DISTRIBUTION EFFECT: BOOST
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS EFFECT: BOOST
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, jazz, pop, metal, country, funk and indie players–almost any style. Handy for players wanting an easy to use, small sized boost pedal.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, jazz, country, pop and metal player as well as anyone looking for a clean booster with EQ options for adding volume to their fundamental tone or even those just wanting to push their distorted amp a little further.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Clean and punchy this booster will increase your signal by up to 30dB and can push your existing tone or add to a slightly broken or dirty amp for some extra gain. Great for a range of styles thanks to its tone and small size. USABILITY: It doesn’t get much simpler–Input/Output, On/Off switchs and Level control. CONSTRUCTION: In a silvery, grey casing the aptly named ‘Granith Grey’ Booster feels tough as nails and looks hip too. In a micro sized form it’ll fit onto boards with ease and is handy as an extra pedal in the gig bag to call on when needed. OVERALL: Designed by famed pedal guru BJF, the Granith Grey Booster does its job beautifully. Clean and responsive it can add extra oopmh to single coils and just add to your palette when emphasising certain tones or passages.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: I first tried to match my clean/direct tone and got quite close which I could then boost with the Gain control. Depending on your guitar you can then also shape the EQ to cut through a mix during solos or max the Gain control to add some bite and edge. USABILITY: A handy pedal the LT Boost isn’t designed to radically alter your tone but to add some oomph and open up options for louder sections, solos or juicing up your amp that little but further. Added EQ controls give you some tonal control for added flexibility. CONSTRUCTION: Another smaller form factor offering from the LT range this bright blue pedal looks built to last. OVERALL: Boost pedals are often overlooked but can be a real godsend for livening up your rig or adding that hint of extra headroom when you can’t work your volume pot. Clean or edgy the LT Boost sounds good and is much cheaper than a lot of others on the market.
PG. 40 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
VOX TONE GARAGE FLAT 4 BOOST
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: COMPRESSOR AND CLEAN BOOST
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: BOOST
RECOMMENDED FOR: Country, pop, rock, roots, studio or live players.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, funk, jazz, blues, country and acoustic setups.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: As a compressor you can go from subtle tightening to super squish. Good with single coils for funk lines or country twang and humbuckers. It will add some bounce and sponge to clean tones or fatter overdrive sounds. Quite transparent at lighter settings and then more in your face as you ramp up the level of comp.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: I started with trying to match my clean amp tone when engaged (essentially flat) and then just boost a little for which I was very pleasantly suprised. Remaining clean and dynamic it sounded great as a ‘little more volume but keeping my tone’ pedal. There is also the option of maxing the gain and rolling back the volume for some edgy breakup too.
USABILITY: With a two in one type setup you benefit from having a compressor with plenty of flexibility and then a clean boost built in. The Boost Level control and Treble, Mid or Flat switch is also super handy for targeting certain frequencies for some extra enhancement.
USABILITY: Great as a clean boost that does a good job of retaining your fundamental tone firstly. Then you can tweak for more gain, fatter, thinner or even less volume as a tone shaper when swapping between humbuckers and single coils. Plenty of options here.
CONSTRUCTION: Anodized aluminium chassis and super lightweight, Strymon have made these smaller form pedals tough and easy to handle. They look great, have top mounted jacks which makes them smaller than you think (as no patch cables popping out the sides) and use premium components all round.
CONSTRUCTION: Keeping with the VOX ‘Tone Garage’ look but this time in yellow, the Flat 4 is tough and robust like it’s compatriots and the controls and EQ seem well thought out and responsive.
OVERALL: Great as a standalone compressor. Add the boost function and you’ve got a pedal that could replace a couple of your existing pedals with ease.
JIM DUNLOP ECHOPLEX PRE AMP
OVERALL: Clean and punchy through to warm and edgy, an awesome pedal for the kit.
EDEN WTDI WORLD TOUR BASS PREAMP
DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES EFFECT: PREAMP
DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY EFFECT: BASS PREAMP/DI
RECOMMENDED FOR: Boutique tone-hounds looking for a way to add some extra mojo to their sound without spending the equivalent of a new car.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Player of rock, funk and pop at home in the studio or out live as a compact backup rig or for those wanting some extra tonal shaping possibilities for their bass setup.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This pedal is basically the preamp section of the famous Echoplex EP-3 delay unit (note that this is not a delay/echo, it just mimics the distinctive preamp section). It sweetens up your tone and adds more complex harmonic overtones, and will interact with a tube preamp in a truly beautiful way.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With a 3 band EQ and Bass boost and mid shift buttons you get plenty of EQ spectrum to work with. Then the ability to add Gain, Compression, Enhance (which adds low end, upper mids and highs and drops some low mids) and you’ve got a great sounding, super versatile pedal.
USEABILITY: It looks simple but there’s no end to the ways you can use it. There’s just one knob but the range of tones you can use it for – from sweetening your clean sound to punching up your distortion – is limitless. CONSTRUCTION: It’s built in a very sturdy way and the ‘chicken-head’ gain knob makes it easy to see where it’s set when you’re playing a show. It’d be nice to have an easily accessible battery compartment though.
USABILITY: Whilst sharing the Eden bass amp aesthetics the WTDI also lends a familiar amp type layout that most players will relate to instantly. Easy to get up and running and then plenty of features to stretch your imagination.
OVERALL: This thing is suitable for all genres, from adding punch to country licks to smothering death metal with overtone-laden saturated goodness. Whatever you play, you’ll find a way to make this pedal bring out your best.
CONSTRUCTION: Rock solid yet still super compact the WTDI is easy enough to put in a gig bag and won’t take up much pedal board space yet tough enough to handle almost anything. OVERALL: Very much in the Eden look and style the WTDI is a serious pedal that can play a number of roles–tone shaper, DI, preamp, studio tool, live backup rig and much more.
MC SYSTEMS LAX GLASS CHORUS
DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES EFFECT: CHORUS/VIBRATO
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: CHORUS
RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, classic rock, indie, alternative, space-rock, Pink Floyd fans, Hendrix lovers, space cadets… anyone who wants to add a sense of depth, movement and undulation to their guitar sound.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone looking for a way to add some nice chorus to their guitar sound, but moreover also players who like to experiment and aren’t content with ‘set-and-forget’ chorus pedals.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The Uni-Vibe conjures swirling chorus-vibrato effects that are unlike anything that you would think of when someone says the words ‘chorus’ or ‘vibrato.’ It’s an undulating, flickering, moving, living sonic entity. This pedal sounds iconic.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: A nice rich chorus effect which is equally at home on Andy Summersstyle clean tones, Alex Lifeson-esque overdrives or Steve Vai-like leads. And the switchable settings make it very versatile and adaptable to specific songs in a way that other chorus pedals simply aren’t.
USEABILITY: Some Uni-Vibe iterations can be quite feature-heavy and while they give you minute control over the effect, it can be overwhelming. The MXR UniVibe strips the controls down to a very functional set of features–Level, Depth, Speed and a Vibe button–that makes it easy to get a great tone.
USEABILITY: The V-Switch gives you access to two different levels of chorus depth, while the Alternate switch lets you vary between two different modulation rates.
CONSTRUCTION: Typical ‘run it over with a tank and it’ll probably keep working’ MXR construction, and a small pedalboard footprint.
CONSTRUCTION: You can probably hammer a nail into a plank or some sense into your drummer with this very solidly-constructed pedal.
OVERALL: This is one of those great overlooked effects that can add some serious psychedelic beauty to your music, especially if you lean towards vintage or simply weird, left-of-centre sounds.
OVERALL: A cool new take on the way we control chorus effects, taking it from a generally passive ‘turn it on and let it go’ type of effect into an active, real-time-controllable one that can become a part of your composition. Very clever.
JUNE 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / PG. 41
EDEN I-90 BASS CHORUS PEDAL
DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY EFFECT: BASS CHORUS
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: CHORUS AND VIBRATO
RECOMMENDED FOR: Bass players wanting a classic, straight ahead foray into the world of effects.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, metal, funk, indie, roots, live, studio and players after a high quality chorus and vibrato pedal with plenty of power and tweakability.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Push the Depth and Mix controls for a airy, big vibe or increase the Speed to get warbly, watery sounds. The Speed, Depth and Mix work well together and the Low Cut is handy for targeting some extra frequencies.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Strymon really have done well with getting an analog feel and tone here with classic light 80s chorus sounds. Plenty of space and air–great on 2nd and 4th position on a strat. Thicker warbly sounds and big lush over-the-top type effects are also possible. Head into Vibrato world and you’ve got that head spinning, sea sick tone that’s been a favourite in the guitar world for years.
USABILITY: Simple operation and easy to navigate with 4 controls across the front, in/outs on the left and right and an on/ off switch (with status LED) smack bang in the middle. CONSTRUCTION: Another pedal built like a tank from Eden. Great quality from a well regarded Bass brand. The only slight drawback is the 15v requirements. Thumbs up to the included power supply. OVERALL: Classic chorus tones from subtle to the quite crazy. Quiet operation, solid build and good tones. Really can’t fault this intuitive design and build from Eden.
TC ELECTRONIC TRINITY
USABILITY: Another example of lots of power packed into one pedal that doesn’t result in something completely overwhelming. Flick between effect types and mode, set your sound and the effect mix (with your original signal) and you’re away. CONSTRUCTION: The layout is easy to work out and the inclusion of a Favourite switch lets you save a preset which is super handy! OVERALL: A great sounding chorus and vibrato pedal that would stand up to live and studio use for a wide range of sounds and musical settings.
CARL MARTIN HEADROOM
DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY EFFECT: REVERB
DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC EFFECT: REVERB
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, country, funk, experimental, ambient, studio and players wanting the combination of classic reverb settings and some more ethereal ambient tones to boot.
RECOMMENDED FOR: For anyone using an amplifier that lacks a reverb tank, this is the pedal for you. Or, if you just want more variety than what your amp offers you in a single reverb knob, this is going to get you interested.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The standard Room and Hall sounds are really great and perfect for adding some depth to a drier sounding amp or putting some extra space in your tones. Then move onto the extra Toneprints and you get huge, lush verbs with modulation and EQ for a whole heap of sparkly goodness.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This is really something special, in that it is a real spring reverb within a pedal. You actually get two separate reverbs within the unit that allow you a range of spring reverb tones. With the Level control set all the way down, you get a completely clean signal, but as you wind it up you end up with a totally washed out signal that sounds great.
USABILITY: Hours of fun tweaking in the Trinity with plenty of settings, controls and the ability to share and utilise others sounds thanks to the USB connectivity and TC Electronic Toneprint design. CONSTRUCTION: TC Electronic make world class music gear and the Trinity feels every bit a part of that. Tough and rugged with easy to use features and well laid out controls.
USEABILITY: With two reverbs to choose from, both with tonal adjustment to help them sit in with your amp’s sound, it is easy to find the settings that work for you. The Selection switch and Bypass switch are spaced really well, given the case it is built into, so you shouldn’t have any problem controlling the unit with your feet.
OVERALL: Add anything from a hint of verb to big spacey chime. Can be as subtle or in your face as you like and sounds great. Seriously cool.
CONSTRUCTION: The Headroom is housed in a rather large casing, but this is necessary to fit in the springs. The unit itself is really solid and the springs are mounted from four rubber banded points on the side of the housing, keeping them isolated from the floor as best as possible. OVERALL: At first glance you might be left wondering how you could fit this pedal on your board, but after you hear it, you will be thinking about how quickly you can clear some room for it. This is a really unique reverb pedal, something that could compliment most existing setups really well.
STRYMON EL CAPISTAN
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: DIGITAL REVERB
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: TAPE ECHO
RECOMMENDED FOR: Any guitarist or bassist wanting that sweet subtle shimmer to an all out arena rock reverberation. Simple reverb emulation that will suit all genres of music or musical parts in need of this simple yet powerful effect.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Pop, rock, country, rockabilly, roots, funk, vintage enthusiasts and players wanting a super tweakable tape styled echo without the headache of actually carrying a proper tape unit around.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: From a small room, to a very large room it will create a classy smooth and natural sounding reverb effect that is very controllable and musical. Sounds better on lower reverberations and will suit the player who wants to use it as a subtle effect but can dial in something more expressive when needed. USEABILITY: Simple reverb level control, decay time control of the reverb itself and a tone control which looks after the frequency response–it’s simple to use and you’ll love finding your perfect reverb sound. If you want to throw your tone in the deep end I suggest you check out the SHIM button which will add one octave overtone to create an almost dark ambience to your sound. It did with the chords I was playing anyway. CONSTRUCTION: The construction although is almost perfect, however I might have swapped the positioning of the control of the reverb level with the placement of the decay time control. Weighing in at only 190 grams, you will treat this like your favourite shimmering gem and want to take it everywhere – which it can handle. OVERALL: Super cool reverb at a great price point and size. I can see this pedal being incorporated into many mixes and will be a pleasure to explore new sounds with. Be adventurous, connect a mic or even keyboard and see what happens!
PG. 42 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Warm with plenty of saturation the El Capistan really sounds quite authentic. Three tape machine modes and styles that can get from straight up simple echoes to bigger and more saturated sounds. USABILITY: Slap back and roomy type echoes are a cinch, then you can get deeper into the control set for added processing. All in the form and layout of a normal pedal. CONSTRUCTION: I love the layout and look of these smaller Strymon pedals and the design and control sections are super clever. Tap tempo and Bypass (on/off) stomp buttons on the front along with controls for Time, Tape Age, Repeats, Wow & Flutter and Mix. If that’s not enough for you these controls also handle Spring Reverb, Low End Contour, Tape Bias, +/- dB and Tape Crinkle in their secondary control mode. OVERALL: Tape Echo with more tweakability than you thought was possible. Simply awesome!
JET CITY ‘THE FLOOD’ ANALOG DELAY
MC SYSTEMS CGN DYNAMIC DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY EFFECT: ANALOG DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: DELAY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Country, rockabilly, pop, funk, indie, ambient, live or studio players.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone looking for a versatile delay with simple features and yet the ability to switch between different settings easily.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Benefiting from the analog circuitry this lime green, white and black pedal carries the vintage vibe that it’s colour scheme hints at. Shorter fattening and slap back delays ring true whilst longer settings repeat off with a gooey modulated kind of edge. Good for a range of musical settings.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Don’t let the name trick you–it’s not a ducking delay: the dynamics come into it via the V-Switch which gives you different feedback levels depending on how hard you stomp. Otherwise it’s a pretty standard but nice-sounding delay. The magic is in how you interact with it. USEABILITY: There are two selectable delay time/ level settings, but the best usability feature here is the ability to alter the feedback by how hard you stomp. It takes some getting used to (and don’t try it barefoot–ouch) but once you’ve figured it out its a quite intuitive system.
USABILITY: Sleek and efficient ‘The Flood’ sticks with controls for Time, Repeats and Level for simple operation. You can also twiddle on the fly with all kinds of retro whizziness popping up when you spin the knobs mid strum, nice! CONSTRUCTION: A tough folded metal casing with smooth edges, big controls and an easy access thumbscrew battery door underneath if you need to swap batteries quickly. OVERALL: If you’re looking for a straight ahead delay with warm analog tone and vintagey type repeats ‘The Flood’ is worth a look.
RED WITCH VIOLETTA DELAY
CONSTRUCTION: A very well-built pedal. And it’d have to be because you’ll be stomping pretty hard on it sometimes just due to the nature of its control system. OVERALL: It doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of tone, but the Dynamic Delay is a radical new take on how we interact with a delay pedal, turning the simple act of switching on the effect into a part of your performance.
SEYMOUR DUNCAN VAPOR TRAIL
DISTRIBUTOR: DOMINANT MUSIC EFFECT: DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: DOMINANT MUSIC EFFECT: ANALOG DELAY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who wanted more after seeing and trying the Red Witch Violet Delay is going to love this pedal as it allows more control and tonal differences than the original. Red Witch fans and all users of delay will find this pedal intriguing.
RECOMMENDED FOR: When you are sick of the lifelessness of digital delay pedals and are looking for something that has a little more character to it, then the Vapor Trail is going to be the new analogue delay pedal you have been searching for.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This unit offers a really warm, lush delay sound that somehow improves on the tone of the clean signal being passed through it. I couldn’t help but wind the mix all the way up until the mix was more delay than clean and found that this was when it really came to life.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Like the shining case that it comes in, the Violetta brings a bright glow to your delay sound. It really extends your tone as it repeats and with the mix controls set right can be used to deliver a really beautiful delay that can ring out over a good length of time.
USEABILITY: The concept is pretty simple, as is the case with most analogue delays and it doesn’t take too long to find the settings that work for you. Then, digging a little deeper into its functions allows you to create some really great sounds that you just want to hear over and over and over...
USEABILITY: Offering more versatility than the original unit, the Violetta allows you greater control over the mix and modulation features that the delay has to offer. The addition of an expression pedal input makes this a really creative tool indeed.
CONSTRUCTION: If you have ever owned any Seymour Duncan pedal, you’ll know there is no need for this category to be in question. They are all built tough and the Vapor Trail is no exception.
CONSTRUCTION: Housed in the same compact casing as the Seven Sisters pedals, this is a well-built pedal. You do need to take some care to protect the battery life to ensure you’re not eternally charging it, but other than that, it holds itself together nicely.
OVERALL: Basically, this is the best delay I have tried in a long time. And that isn’t just because one of the knobs lights up with a blue LED (although it’s an awesome feature), it’s because it sounds great and has a brilliant array of sounds and control that lets you quickly realise just how great an Analogue delay it is.
OVERALL: This is a really clever extension to the Seven Sisters range and one that offers a good range of features to justify adding it to the existing Violet Delay. You don’t need to own any of the others either, remember, it works just fine with any other pedals too.
CARL MARTIN DELAYLA XL
CARL MARTIN ECHOTONE
DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC EFFECT: DELAY/ECHO
DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC EFFECT: DELAY/ECHO
RECOMMENDED FOR: For anyone who has ever considered a Carl Martin delay, but can’t decide on one, this is it. A classic slapback style echo that will meet your needs for blues, classic rock, surf and rockabilly, but doesn’t discount any other genre either.
RECOMMENDED FOR: When you are looking for plenty of options with your delay pedal, this is going to tick all the boxes for you. It covers a wide range of musical styles and allows you to totally control how the delay works with your playing.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: There is a reason why this is such a well known echo pedal. The DeLayla XL has the same sound as the original DeLayla, but also incorporates a second delay head for that slapback sound that makes it a real stand-out unit. USEABILITY: There is a lot going on within this pedal, with the Slapback control allowing you to blend more towards the first or the second delay head to create a real change in how the effect sounds. Add the tap tempo feature that makes it so easy to blend the echo into any track and it becomes a very usable pedal indeed. CONSTRUCTION: Built into the same sized housing as many other pedals in the series, you get plenty of spacing between the three footswitches and the control knobs too. The input and output jacks feel really nice as your leads go in too, they are fitted with quality connectors that will continue to work time and time again. OVERALL: This is a great echo pedal that really allows you to take control of your sound and go to town with it. Hardwired with an Australian mains power lead, you can run this one right off a power board with no external power supply needed.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: This is a serious echo machine that gives you plenty of delay time to work with. The “Tail Off” switch found on the rear of the unit allows you to control whether the effect continues or stops dead when you disengage the unit. This is a great touch not often included on similar pedals. USEABILITY: This is really easy to control and offers more adjustment from your feet than you might have thought. You can override the delay time control and engage a tap tempo feature at the press of a button to allow you to adjust your echo as is needed throughout your set. CONSTRUCTION: Like all Carl Martin pedals, this is built to last. Being that it draws such a high current, it actually comes with a mains power cord hardwired into the casing with an internal power supply, so there is no chance of batteries going dead on you. OVERALL: This is the sort of pedal that will challenge how you look at delay and echo style effects. I think a lot of people are going to really enjoy experimenting with the sounds you can get from the Echotone. It certainly isn’t your average vintage sounding echo pedal, that’s for sure.
JUNE 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / PG. 43
CARL MARTIN RED REPEAT
MOOER MICRO SERIES ECHOLIZER DELAYRRP: $89
DISTRIBUTOR: INNOVATIVE MUSIC EFFECT: DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA EFFECT: DELAY
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the delay pedal for everyone who wants some character to their effects. Great for blues and classic rock, and really a must for anyone after a rockabilly sound.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Pop, rock, country, indie, ambient, experimental and funk. Players after a warm sounding no fuss delay pedal in a small package. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With warm repeats and almost some slight modulation in the mix the Echolizer definitely goes the vintage style as opposed to super pristine and clean. Slap back, slight echo right up to longer ambient trips with plenty of repeats. Could be used in a variety of musical settings.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Once engaged, the Red Repeat is pleasantly unnoticeable. It doesn’t mess up your guitar tone at all as it passes through. It does, however, add some great colour to the repeated signal that is generates with a certain grittiness that develops as the repeats continue to decay.
USABILITY: Time, Echo and Feedback make the Echolizer easy to get your head around. CONSTRUCTION: Mooer have enjoyed much success with the Micro series of pedals–rugged and tough and small enough to fit into tiny spare spots on boards wanting to add some extra effects. Feels solid!
USEABILITY: As an analogue delay, you get plenty of delay time with the Red Repeat going up to 600ms of delay. It allows you to grab the repeats hard with a rough slap-back style of echo, or drag them out for a more dramatic effect.
OVERALL: For players wanting a straight ahead, warm sounding delay you could definitely squeeze some tones from the Echolizer. The kind of pedal you can set as a go-to tone rather than copious amounts of tweaking–and all in the cool little ‘micro’ casing.
CONSTRUCTION: This is a tough little pedal. The Bypass switch is not of the soft-touch variety as it engages, but it doesn’t send any audible pops through the amp, which is what you want in a pedal. It does chew through the batteries pretty quick, but that is to be expected from any delay pedal really. A Carl Martin Pro Power supply will fix that problem. OVERALL: This is a pedal that is not going to disappoint. It will stand side by side with many higher priced delays and echo pedals and will give them all a run for their money.
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: DIGITAL / ANALOG DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: DELAY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Any player looking for that spacey echo delay effect that is easily tweakable and has that classic natural sounding shape to its tone. Cool Radiohead indie dreamscapes and Dead Meadow psychedelic delay sounds here, very cool indeed.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, funk, roots, indie, experimental and ambient players or anyone after a bucket brigade sounding delay with plenty of tweaking possibilities.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Classic delay with its natural echo vibes the MOD mode will also bring a much more spacey feeling to your overall signal, sound and tone. Loved how it made chords and lead lines sound warm and emphasised the overall tone when played with a light strum hand action or when you dig in.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Clean and pristine you can do short and long delay times. You can then get into dirtier (bucket loss) delays with darker or brighter repeats, modulation and set with Tap Tempo to quarter notes, dotted rhythms or triplets all the while retaining a warm vibe. The Brigadier really gets you into the analog bucket brigade delay world.
USEABILITY: Simple overall Control for the delay time and the Repeat dial that controls the feedback of the delay sound. The Echo dial controls the level of delay altogether so when these three are all blended, you can really work in some cool and different sounding delays. The MOD function punches in some cool chorus like effects too, that whole “I’m lost in space” vibe.
USABILITY: With various length modes and Tap Tempo capabilities it’s not hard to get your desired delay times happening. Then work in the Modulation, Bucket Loss and Repeats and you’re seriously kicking butt delay wise.
CONSTRUCTION: Built tough, small and straight to the point. Like all the effects in this line, I loved the LED lightup function on the lead control dial when engaged. It’s great for highlighting what pedal is in action and when under low lighting.
CONSTRUCTION: More of the same from Strymon (which is a good thing!) with connectivity for an expression pedal and two outs if you wan to go the stereo vibe.
OVERALL: Cool vibes, great sound, well built. It’s a big delay competitor in a tiny package. Some users will want to get on all fours to play with this live, in which case a larger delay pedal might work better – however everything is well laid out and easy to dial in. Top job!
OVERALL: Great for the uninitiated delay user wanting something that sounds great and a little extra power under the hood for the enthusiasts that live for vintage delay sounds. Bring on the Brigadier!
VOX TONE GARAGE DOUBLE DECA DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: DELAY
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: DELAY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, funk, indie, roots, ambient, experimental, live and studio players.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Pop, rock, funk, rockabilly, indy and country as well as analogue delay lovers.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Strymon have really upped the ante in the delay game with the Timeline. Super in-depth processing or easy as you like twiddle and forget. A digital pedal but super warm and tasty with tape delays, echo, lo-fi, filtered, swell and the list goes on. USABILITY: Plug in and cycle through the presets for a tour of the Timeline’s capabilities. Plenty of good stuff albeit somewhat extreme at times, but once you get into programming your own sounds you’ll be blown away. Intuitive to start and then a little extra effort learning and digging before you can get seriously down and dirty. CONSTRUCTION: Looks great, it’s smaller than you think and feels rock solid. The knobs are well spaced, the display is clear and the footswtiches are easy to handle individually yet still accesible for hitting two at once for bank changes and the like. OVERALL: A killer unit, Strymon have seriously hit a winner with the Timeline. Handy as a small delay pedal for just a few settings but also easy to integrate into big rigs and multi switching setups. Most importantly it sounds great, the best in the market at this price point.
PG. 44 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: True bypass, analogue design the Double Deca uses 3205 bucket brigade chips for a vintage delay tone. Killer slap back tones through to bigger lush, ambient sounds (up to 900ms) you can add modulation and flip between the long and short delay settings via a toggle on the control panel. USABILITY: Level, Feedback, Time and Modulation controls will be super useful for some although others might prefer some more precise settings. CONSTRUCTION: A groovy kind of UK double decker bus graphic and ‘Ye Olde England’ font work well with the red and white housing for a pedal that is tough and looks the part. OVERALL: Easy to cop vintage tones from fattening and slapback to longer lush repeats will be right up many player’s alleys. Add in some modulation and you’ve got a tasty pedal that handles the straight ahead delay stuff very nicely indeed.
HOTONE WALLY LOOPER
MC SYSTEMS LYN DYNAMIC PHASER
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: LOOPER PEDAL
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: PHASER
RECOMMENDED FOR: Any guitar, bass, keys or percussion player that wants a singular mono channel of sound looped. It’s ideal for the guitarist or bass player who wants to record live licks on stage solo, with their band or writing in their studio. The Wally Looper is a great tool for creating dense adjustable layers of sound or just working out parts to a new song.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone looking for cool and very controllable phaser textures, from vintage fans who want to get some of that ‘different Leslie speeds’ vibe to modern anarchist texturalists.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Everything from gentle, barely-perceptable phaser warbles to truly alien “No Quarter” style phaser wobbles. Sounds good!
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: It doesn’t create a sound or tone as such, but the tempo variation function is adjustable to slow down your loop by a half speed (one octave down) or speed it up to double speed (one octave up) when engaged. When kept in its original position this pedal won’t colour your tone or disfigure it and the volume control knob will help you boost the overall loop volume to keep your overall sound where you want it.
USEABILITY: The V-Switch allows you to vary the level of phaser depth according to how hard you stomp on the pedal, while the Alternate switch gives you different modulation rates. It takes a little bit of getting used to but it soon feels natural. You can even create rhythms with careful use of the Alternate switch and rate controls.
USEABILITY: The input recording volume function is great when adjusting the volume of each loop you record and as you go or switch between instruments. Really dig the 15mins of recording time you can play with and infinite looping function which is down right crazy fun when you get the hang of it. Easy memory wipes and re-record functionality make it fun and simple to loop. CONSTRUCTION: Built strong with a silent switcher it will have you looping and stomping a lot with ease and peace of mind that it won’t break after heavy use. The STATE LED is helpful to monitor the pedals operating status and loop functions.
CONSTRUCTION: It’s built to be stepped on, that’s for sure.
OVERALL: An awesome compact looper that will save you space on your pedal board in comparison to other larger more involved loop pedals on the market. It’s simple, functional and user friendly, so without further ado, introducing Wally – your new looper.
OVERALL: Phaser is the perfect effect to apply this kind of technology to because it allows you to access the more Leslielike elements of the phaser sound as well as more out-there textures in a truly interactive playing experience.
TC ELECTRONIC THE DREAMSCAPE
RED WITCH SYNTHATRON
DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY EFFECT: MODULATION
DISTRIBUTOR: DOMINANT MUSIC EFFECT: SYNTH/FILTER
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, metal, pop, ambient and experimental players wanting a couple of modulation tones in one pedal and John Petrucci fans of course.
RECOMMENDED FOR: When you are looking for that something a little different in a pedal, especially if you find an envelope filter pedal just doesn’t cut it, this is going to help you find that new sound in a flash.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: I found all the effects usable from slight washes to big warbly chorus and whooshing flanger. Vintage swirl, psychedelic craziness and a host of other tones that can fill out a clean sound or add to your dirty sounds for extra body.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With octave up and octave down synth generation that has adjustable decay lengths to the notes like a synthesizer would, you can create some really bizarre sounds thorough this pedal. Add some tremolo to this for a little bit of shimmer and then really mess it up with the sample and hold function and you end up with a sound that doesn’t resemble anything like a guitar, which is cool.
USABILITY: Chorus, Vibrato, Flanger and a Toneprint setting lets you work through quite a few tones. Speed and Depth controls, FX Level and then a toggle switch for Bright, Normal or Dark. Again featuring TC’s Toneprint for a slot of your choice. CONSTRUCTION: Tough, easy to use and the thumbscrew battery door is great. It’s easy to access without the need for screwdrivers.
USEABILITY: This is a real tweaker’s pedal that just wants you to experiment with it. You will not be able to just plug it in and dial up a sound; you need to spend a little time fine tuning it to get to where you want it to be.
OVERALL: Designed with John Petrucci there are some modern metal kinda tones on board for sure but also some great sounds that aren’t genre specific so don’t be totally fooled by the name on the box. Great for players that want some extra modulation tones but don’t have the budget or pedal board space to handle two or three separate pedals.
CONSTRUCTION: Housed in a sturdy casing, the internals seem well protected except for the eight mini-pots that offer little protection to the board beneath and are not going to take too kindly to being kicked when the unit is engaged, so tread lightly. OVERALL: This is not a pedal for everyone, but saying that, it is going to get a lot of players excited as it fills a lot of tonal gaps that many pedal manufacturers aren’t even trying to get near. It is very much a wild card that needs to be heard to be understood.
JET CITY SHOCKWAVE DISTORTION
DISTRIBUTOR: NOISE TOYS IMPORTS EFFECT: MODULATION
DISTRIBUTOR: AMBER TECHNOLOGY EFFECT: DISTORTION
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, funk, pop, country, roots, live and studio players wanting a high quality all-inone type of modulation pedal.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Metal, rock, hi gain players and shredders.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Chorus, Flanger, Rotary, Vibe, Phaser, Filter, Tremelo and a host of crazier effects the Mobius does an all round fine job of handling modulation duties. Plenty of depth and dynamics seep from the Mobius and the processing and tones are top notch. Some players will have specific favourites from other makers but as a whole the Mobius really covers a lot of ground really well. USABILITY: Inheriting the looks and layout of the Strymon TImeline, the Mobius is the Modulation brother with a tonne of effects onboard. Like the TImeline it can also be as easy or in depth to use as you like for more stomp box type operation or serious switching. CONSTRUCTION: Tough, slick and built to last – Strymon are onto a winner here. OVERALL: It might not replace all your mod pedals but it does do a great job of offering a huge tonal palette with killer features in the one unit at a bargain price.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Picking up where the Guitarslinger OD left off the Shockwave has gain to burn. Crunch and plenty of volume are great for chuggy rhythm players and shredders alike. It still holds quite a lot of body even at more saturated settings without getting overly fizzy. USABILITY: Suited more to heavier styles the Shockwave will essentially be a matter of setting how much gain you want and then getting your levels right. Can clean up but not really what this pedal is intended for I’m guessing! CONSTRUCTION: Like the rest of the Jet City pedals the Shockwave is tough, easy to navigate and setup for playing rather than twiddling with knobs for days on end. OVERALL: Copping some tones reminiscent of the Jet City Amps dirty tones the Shockwave creates the gainy rock and metal vibe with ease and then has some extra level if needed. And priced at a reasonable point (like the Jet City Amps) the Shockwave Distortion makes itself accessible to a whole range of players.
JUNE 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / PG. 45
VOX JOE SATRIANI BIG BAD WAH
MORLEY CLASSIC WAH
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA EFFECT: WAH
DISTRIBUTOR: DOMINANT MUSIC EFFECT: WAH
RECOMMENDED FOR: Joe Satriani fans, of course, but also anyone who likes plenty of control over their wah-wah performance from vintage to modern.
RECOMMENDED FOR: For those of you who are sick of using the same old wah pedal and want to step away from the obvious.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Wah One mode gives you the classic VOX wah sound, with all the vintage, honky goodness that implies. Wah Two gives you Joe’s own tailored voice profile and access to the drive control, giving you much more modern, harmonically technicolour settings to play with as well.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Although it doesn’t cry like a baby, the Classic Wah still has that great traditional wahwah pedal sound that allows it to work in with a huge range of musical genres. What you find with this wah is a different voicing that is really going to set your sound apart from all the others.
USEABILITY: The Voice switch lets you select between two drastically different wah-wah settings, and the Drive knob is a great addition which really lets you knock your solo tone up a notch by giving you up to 10dB of boost to slam your amp. The Wah 1/2 footswitch is a great feature which really increases the stageworthiness of the pedal.
USEABILITY: Unlike some Morley wah pedals that have the spring loaded pedal, this is a more conventional, static pedal that allows you to leave it sitting in one position for tonal control. Where this differs from so many others though, is that you are able to engage the pedal without having to dip the nose and so have it engage with the pedal in any position you like.
CONSTRUCTION: It’s a rather big pedal, almost twice as wide as most other wah-wahs, but it makes good use of that extra space by loading it with interactive features like the ability to select different inductors.
CONSTRUCTION: Solid as a rock. There is no way to describe just how tough these pedals feel under your feet. They have been designed so you can stand on them all night, as you most likely will. With the optical circuit controlling the tone, you are not moving a pot internally, so you get even more consistent and longer lasting use from this wah pedal.
OVERALL: One of the most versatile wah-wah pedals out there, taking advantage of Joe’s ever-the-tinkerer approach to tone in order to give you enough sound-shaping options to find your own tone in there as well as his.
OVERALL: It sounds great, it has a really smooth pedal action and it is built like the proverbial. Really, the only thing holding it back all these years has been the price. Now the Classic Wah is more competitively priced than ever, there is really no reason to not pick one up and enjoy the world of wah!
To win this month’s Joe Satriani autographed Big Bad Wah see page 8 for details.
ONE CONTROL CROCODILE TAIL LOOP RRP: $880 DISTRIBUTOR: HOT APPLE DISTRIBUTION EFFECT: PEDAL LOOP
USABILITY: Yes there is super in-depth programming available for the Croc Tail but you can also get underway with some relatively easy to setup switching also. CONSTRUCTION: Well laid out, tough and slick looking a lot of thought and design has gone into this programmable loop. The angled faceplate does well to keep footswitches out of the way of each other (as well as being wide enough apart to avoid hitting two at once). Clear LEDs, buffer included and the list goes on. OVERALL: More than just a simple true bypass switcher for a few pedals, the Crocodile Tail could well be the pedal board tamer you were looking for!
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is the perfect accompaniment to any high gain amp rig where noise can be an issue. For guitarists looking to go hard and loud, especially after a choppy sound with active pickups, this is going to tame the operating noise in you rig the way you tell it to. SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Well, really this pedal doesn’t have a sound as such, and that is really the point. When the noise gate closes, you get nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. USEABILITY: Designed to give you are really fast attack in its opening and closing of the gate, you just need to find the threshold of your noise floor and set the Decimator just about that. Then, let it do its thing. CONSTRUCTION: For those of you who get worried about how your pedals can look after a little use, the chrome finish on the Decimator is going to drive you mad with the fingerprints that show up on it. Otherwise, it is solid and there is nothing that can really go wrong with it, no matter how you treat it. OVERALL: Although it doesn’t allow you to control the attack and decay of the gate, I love the way this pedal operates. It proposes a task and then it just gets it done. There are no tricks, it just stops the noise getting through and offers you silence as an alternative.
PG. 46 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, funk, serious effect users or those wanting some extra control over the blend of effects.
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The beauty of the Crocodile Tail is that your pedals sound as good as normal but have the increased flexibility of simple on/off switching except that you use the corresponding switch on the Croc rather than hitting the actual pedal. Also good for adding much more complex routing that can handle presets, MIDI and plenty more.
DISTRIBUTOR: DOMINANT MUSIC EFFECT: NOISE GATE
ONE CONTROL MOSQUITE BLENDER EXPRESSIO DISTRIBUTOR: HOT APPLE DISTRIBUTION EFFECT: BLENDER/BUFFER
RECOMMENDED FOR: Players of any style wanting to add switching to a pedal based rig, add some higher level switching (presets and the like) or players wanting to centralise pedal switching.
ISP DECIMATOR 2
SOUND AND VERSATILITY: In one sense the Mosquito Blender Expressio isn’t meant to be heard. Rather, you should hear more or less of the blend of your dry and wet signal. Great for some extra control when blending single pedals or even entire pedal boards. The onboard BJF buffer adds some extra cred to this handy little unit too. USABILITY: Run like an effects loop it’s easy to patch a pedal into the middle and then dial in the amount of effect. Plug in an external expression pedal and you can manually control the amount of effect in your mix. CONSTRUCTION: Tough, sleek and small the Mosquito is a cool little unit that is built for serious use. OVERALL: An interesting design the Mosquito Expressio combines a buffer, loop for blending in effects for more control or to tame a little noise, reverse polarity switch and it’s quite small in size. Its a great pedal that can be put to a number of uses.
ONE CONTROL ‘MICRO DISTRO’ TINY POWER RRP: $179 DISTRIBUTOR ALL IN ONE PACK DISTRIBUTOR: HOT APPLE DISTRIBUTION EFFECT: POWER SUPPLY RECOMMENDED FOR: Smaller pedal boards where space is an issue or players seeking an alternative to a daisy chain setup. USABILITY: Plug in, plug in your pedals and you’re away. Great for small rigs or powering multiple pedals on the fly. CONSTRUCTION: The actual unit is about the size of a micro pedal with the outlets sitting on top. A combination of straight and right angled leads are provided to give you some flexibility when patching in your effects and squeezing into tight spaces. As a ‘distro box’ it needs its power supply plugged in to provide power (this is your typical 9v type power supply) and the Micro Distro then gives you up to 2000mA from 9 outlets. Slick and tiny the unit looks great and will fit into plenty of spots a bigger more conventional power supply wouldn’t. OVERALL: Not as super heavy duty or isolated like some of the big boys, but the inclusion of a 12-18v outlet and a Sag Control expand the Micro Distro’s capabilities. Add the small size and you’ve got a handy ‘tiny’ power distribution option at a decent price.
MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 47
LAG TRAMONTANE T80ACE ACOUSTIC GUITAR Hailing from France and with access to top-notch Chinese construction, LAG is an innovative, stylistic brand which has found favour with guitarists such as Richie Kotzen, Motorhead’s Phil Campbell and one Mr. Dario Lorina, who has just landed the second guitarist gig in Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society. LAG’s designs, be they electric or acoustic, are fiercely individual, with expressive lines and an impressive approach to ergonomics. YOU SPRUCE UP NICE The Tramontane 80 Range offers solid Sitka Spruce top construction and a professional high gloss finish, and available DirectLâg Plus electronics in one affordable model. The T80ACE is a cutaway auditorium-style guitar that, if you’re familiar with the brand’s design aesthetic, immediately screams to you that it’s a LAG. First of all, the solid Sitka Spruce top is augmented by a beautiful sound hole rosette with a cool cross motif and a very dark Indonesian Rosewood bridge which spreads out a little wider than many other companies’ designs. And the absence of inlays on the face of the Indonesian Rosewood fingerboard gives the guitar a further classy visual touch. The back, sides and neck are all made of Mahogany (and the neck is French stained), and the headstock face has a pleasing bi-level effect which places the tuners themselves a little deeper back than the centre portion carrying the LAG logo. There are 20 nickel-silver frets finished quite neatly–not quite ‘super premium ball-end fret finishing’ but certainly nicer than a lot of other guitars in this price range, with no sharp edges. And the black graphite nut is also quite comfortably cut–again in contrast to the rough and sharp nuts often found at this corner of the market. Underneath the bridge is a Shadow Nanoflex piezo system, connected to a DirectLag Plus System preamp
which allows you to sculpt the guitar’s electric tone: there’s a chromatic tuner, a volume slider, rotary controls for treble, middle, bass, and a phase switch for neutralising feedback. PLAY TIME The playability of the T80ACE is reliable and solid. The string tension isn’t too loose, nor is it so firm that you can’t bend a string comfortably. The upper fret access is quite good if you need to migrate to the wild end of the fretboard, and the balance feels just right whether you’re playing with the guitar on your lap or on a strap. Sonically there’s a pronounced upper midrange character which makes this a good fingerpicker or ‘solo acoustic artist’ instrument, although if you soften your pick attack you can reign this in a bit. The electronics give you an entirely different sound though, with everything from bright, hi-fi modern country to a rustic bluesy sound. With any piezo system you’re probably going to want to do something to warm up the tone, whether it’s reverb or a preamp or amplifier, but LAG gives you a great base upon which to build your amplified acoustic sound. I’M A WANDERER This is a great guitar for those who need to wander all over the neck and who want to draw attention to their playing rather than to lurk in the background. It’s very playable and the workmanship is very nice indeed given the price range these go for. A little more onboard control over the amplified sound would be nice (LAG has a great preamp called StudioLag which gives you all sorts of presets to play with), but this system covers a lot of bases without much fuss, so maybe some players will prefer it this way.
BY PETER HODGSON
• Very playable neck. • Nice upper-midrange character. • Excellent upper-fret access. MISSES
• The crown-like design on the tuners feels a little weird. • Preamp could use more control. SPECS
BODY: Auditorium TOP: Solid Sitka Spruce BACK & SIDES: Mahogany NUT & SADDLE: Black TUSQ XL FINISH: Natural High Gloss STRINGS: USA Strings PREAMP: Direct Lag Plus
DISTRIBUTOR: Australasian Music Supplies PHONE: (03) 9549 1500 WEBSITE: www.austmusic.com.au
2014 GIBSON SG SPECIAL ELECTRIC GUITAR Although the Gibson SG is an American design, for many decades it’s resonated particularly closely with Australians. Put this down to one Mr. Angus Young. There’s something about those devilish pointy horns and blues-approved tones that appeals to the Aussie pub rock aesthetic. The SG Special is one of Gibson’s newest designs, adding a few little twists and turns to an otherwise straight forward but badass-looking take on the SG style. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS For starters, the SG Special has a Mahogany body, as you would expect. After all, is an SG without a Mahogany body even an SG? This one has a aple neck, and it’s a ‘60s Slim Profile design (which is different to the ‘60s Slimtaper neck shape found on many other models). It’s a little rounder than you might expect from a neck called ‘slim’ but it’s very comfortable. Colour options include Butterscotch, Heritage Cherry, Desert Burst, Ebony, Fireburst and Walnut. We reviewed the Walnut, and it’s beautiful in an understated kinda way. The pickups are a 490R in the neck position and a 490T at the bridge. These pickups feature Alnico II magnets and are inspired by the original Patent Applied For (PAF) pickups of the 50s, but with modern improvements such as wax potting and four-conductor wiring which allows them to be split to single coil mode, which is effected via push-pull switches on each pickup’s volume control (and there’s also a tone control for each pickup, as you would expect). One interesting touch is the choice of dark cream pickup rings and pickup selector switch plate. They’re almost orange, although when seen against the Walnut finish of the review model they almost look like they’re also made of wood. This is one of those ’taste’ things that will probably turn off some players while simultaneously making others fall utterly in love, but hey, these particular parts are easily changed if you don’t dig the look. Other fun touches include new Supreme Grip Speed Knobs and a 120th anniversary inlay at the 12th fret. And note that because there’s no pickguard, there’s space for a few extra frets, giving you a full 24 frets–quite rare for an SG. Oh and the PG. 48 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
included gig bag is pretty nice! I’M SPECIAL, SO SPECIAL The first thing you’ll notice about the SG Special is that it’s a very direct, rich, bold-sounding guitar. In fact, it’s pretty much screaming “Play stoner rock on me! No, no, play sludge metal on me! No, desert rock!” from the second you plug it in. It has that great clear attack and sustain that those styles demand. And yet it’s also articulate enough for psychedelic rock and jam-band excursions, classic rock, blues-rock and indie/ alternative–especially when you throw in those single coils. Of the three Gibsons reviewed this issue, each of which has single coil capability, this one sounds the most authentically ‘single coil.’ It has the requisite twang and zing in spades. And whichever pickup mode you select, this guitar sounds great for lowered tunings, maintaining the clarity and punch all the way down. I must have played the low riff from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” tuned down to C for a good five minutes straight. And the access to the higher frets is exceptional. You can get right up to the 24th and squeeze it for all it’s worth. I SEE YOUR POINT Gibson is really on a winner with the SG Special– and that’s before you even look at the price tag and realise that it’s one of the most affordable SGs. Sure, some players might prefer trapezoid inlays for this price, but the dots work in the context of the overall look. Everything about this guitar just works, from the looks to the tone to the playability. Whether you play clean, dirty or utterly filthy, the SG Special is packed with usable, expressive tones. BY PETER HODGSON
DISTRIBUTOR: Gibson AMI PHONE: (03) 8696 4600 WEBSITE: www.gibsonami.com.au
• Perfect tones. • Very playable neck. • Gorgeous yet understated finish.
• The output jack placement on an SG ain’t great. • Trapezoid inlays would be nice. SPECS
BODY: Mahogany NECK: Maple FINGERBOARD: Rosewood RADIUS: 12” NUT: White TekToid TUNERS: Vintage w/ Perloid Buttons BRIDGE: Tune-o-Matic PICKUPS: Neck: 490R (Alnico #2), 490T (Alnico #2) ELECTRONICS: 2 Push/Pull Volume Controls, 2 Tone Controls, Three-way Toggle with Black Plastic Tip. CASE: Gigbag Case
2014 GIBSON LES PAUL CLASSIC ELECTRIC GUITAR The Gibson Les Paul is a classic. And the Gibson Les Paul Classic is a classic too. Just know that this is a Gibson, and it’s a Les Paul, and Les Pauls are, you guessed it, classic. Alright, now that’s out of the way, let’s figure out what we’re looking at here. CLASSIC ROCK For starters, all the expected Les Paul woods are present and accounted for. The body is made of Mahogany, and in this instance it’s given Gibson’s Traditional Weight Relief treatment, which involves a series out strategically-located drill holes which take out some of the weight but leave the tone largely intact. Weight has always been a huge issue with Les Pauls, so many players’ backs will thank Gibson for this. The top is a big ‘ol chunk of maple, and while there are various transparent colours available the particular guitar on review has a plain but very classy-looking black top. The ‘60s Slimtaper neck is made of Mahogany, and the fretboard is Rosewood with 22 cryogenically tempered frets. The fretboard radius is a traditional-feeling 12” (compared to, say, the compound radius of the current Les Paul Standard). The fingerboard inlays are classic Gibson trapezoids, with the exception of the 120th anniversary banner logo at the 12th fret. Tuners are TonePros vintage-style with pearloid buttons, and the nut is a special material called TekToid which seems nice and slinky. Ever bend a string and hear a ‘ping’ coming from the nut? That’s caused by the string being momentarily bound up and released by a rough nut (or sometimes one that’s cut for an incompatible string gauge), and this substance is designed to stop stuff like that from happening. Electronics consist of a pair of Gibson humbuckers with Alnico II magnets: the venerable ’57 Classic in the neck position and the hotter Super ’57 at the bridge, each going through their own separate volume controls (with coil splits for single coil
sounds) and a shared master tone knob. In place of where the bridge pickup’s tone control would traditionally be there’s a mini toggle switch to engage a 15dB boost.
Futura reviewed this issue too. So if your tastes lean towards the traditional but with just a little bit more oomph, definitely check out the Les Paul Classic.
A LITTLE VINTAGE, A LITTLE MODERN The first thing I noticed when I plugged the Classic into my Marshall DSL50 was that this is one bright-sounding guitar–much more so than my somewhat similarly constructed Les Paul Traditional. Some Les Pauls are quite dark in tone, while others–particularly 50s-style ones–can be very zippy in the high end. That’s certainly the case with this one. If it’s too much treble for you, well, that’s what your amp’s treble and presence controls are for, isn’t it? But what it means is that you’re getting a lot of clarity to work with: it’s a lot easier to remove extra treble than to add missing treble, after all. The Super ’57 offers powerful, punchy tone with great harmonics, and it fattens up nicely when you switch the boost on. It’s also got a decent amount of punch in single coil mode. The ’57 Classic in the neck position is a little sweeter in tone, and will get you some nice lyrical lead tones, or some rather pretty jangly sounds when switched to single coil mode. Add the boost and you’ll get plenty of sustain, almost like a more organic-sounding version of an EMG 60 humbucker. The boost seems especially effective at getting a little extra kick out of a crunchy amp channel or some extra compression and saturation out of an already distorted lead tone, and of course it works great as a volume boost if you’re running through a very clean sound.
BY PETER HODGSON
LES IS MORE Traditionalists might bemoan the loss of the separate tone controls and the inclusion of an onboard boost, but otherwise this is much more your traditional Les Paul compared to, say, the
• Like a ‘greatest hits’ of Les Paul tones. • Great fretwork. • Mirror-smooth finish. MISSES
• One tone knob? Bummer. • Tone might be too bright for some.
TOP: Maple BACK: Mahogany NECK: Mahogonay FINGERBOARD: Rosewood RADIUS: 12” NUT: TekToid TUNERS: TonePros Vintage-Style with Perloid Buttons BRIDGE: Tune-o-Matic PICKUPS: Neck; ‘57 Classic Zebra Coil (Alnico #2), Bridge; ‘57 Classic Zebra Coil (Alnico #2) Pickups. ELECTRONICS: 2 Coil Split Push/Pull Volume Controls, 1 Master Tone Control. TOGGLE SWITCH Three-way Switchcraft with Cream Plastic Tip and Mini Toggle 15db Boost. CASE: Hard Shell
DISTRIBUTOR: Gibson AMI PHONE: (03) 8696 4600 WEBSITE: www.gibsonami.com.au
GIBSON LES PAUL FUTURA The Gibson Les Paul is an iconic instrument, and in many ways they got it right back in the 1950s. There aren’t many other products that you can buy a newly-made version of which was built to the same specs as 60 years ago. But Les Paul himself was forever tinkering with his namesake guitar, and as great as those classic Les Pauls are, they aren’t for everyone. I get the feeling that’s why Gibson has created models like the Futura, to capture the spirit of the Les Paul while also making something that non-traditionalists can call their own. FUTURAMA At its heart, the Futura has a bunch of specs you would hope to find in a Les Paul: Mahogany body with Maple top, Rosewood fingerboard, Tone-oMatic bridge and Stop Bar tailpiece, two pickups each with individual tone and volume controls and 22 frets. But there are plenty of modern touches, most of them tucked away so you can’t see them. Sure, the available finish colours offer a hint that this is a Les Paul for 2014 (and the 2014 inlay at the 12th fret spells it out quite blatantly), but most of the more modern stuff might totally skip your attention at first. For starters, each pickup (a vintagey-but-hot Burstbucker 3 and a noise-cancelling P-90H Sidewinder) has a coil split on their respective volume controls to pop them into single coil mode–and these are pushpush switches, rather than push-pull, so it’s much easier to engage the split while playing. The body is chambered for weight relief. The neck is Maple rather than Mahogany. And tucked away on the neck pickup’s tone pot is another pushpush switch, this one engaging a 15dB clean boost. Oh yeah and it tunes itself. The Futura is equipped with the Min-E-Tune system developed by Tronical. And unlike Gibson’s Robot Guitar models of years past, this system is unobtrusive and intuitive. It doesn’t feel like the whole guitar was built around this feature. It’s just something really handy for when you want to use it. It gives you access to all sorts of pre-programmed and custom tunings, and it all happens much faster than the old system did. Plus the entire system is
confined to a unit on the back of the headstock. It doesn’t require complicated controls on the guitar body, or wires running through the inside of the neck. It’s totally self-contained. FLEXO Not surprisingly, this is a crazy-flexible guitar. The self-tuning system alone makes it a great workhorse for all sorts of musical situations, but somewhat paradoxically this is a very interactive, hands-on guitar. It encourages you to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. If you plug it into a tube amp set for a crunch tone when your’e in humbucker mode you can clean it up to a nice clear punchy twang by engaging a coil split, or you can send it over the edge by hitting the boost. The Burstbucker 3 has some nice bite to it as well as a midrange thickness that makes it great for modern heavy sounds as well as classic rock, and the P-90H Sidewinder has plenty of sustain and juice, although it seems to lack a little bit of the dirt around the edges of a true single coil P-90–until you switch it to single coil mode and engage the 15dB boost. GOOD NEWS EVERYONE This isn’t a Les Paul for those who want a ’59 on a budget (the Traditional does a pretty good job of hitting some key ’59-style specs, though). Rather it’s a Les Paul for those who want a guitar for now, that allows them maximum sonic flexibility and modern playability. I’m sure some fans will see it and cry ‘Heathen!’ but if you pick it up with an open mind you’ll find a really toneful, flexible and ultimately fun guitar. BY PETER HODGSON
DISTRIBUTER: GIBSON AMI PHONE: (03) 8696 4600 WEBSITE: www.gibsonami.com
• Very flexible tone. • Great playability. • Sexy finish. MISSES
• Binding would be nice. • Min-E-Tune takes a few goes to get used to. • Some players might prefer a more traditional SPECS
BODY: Mahogany NECK: Maple FINGERBOARD: Rosewood RADIUS: 12” NUT: Black TekToid TUNERS: Min-Etune w/Vintage Style Buttons BRIDGE: Tune-o-Matic PICKUPS: Neck: P-90H Sidewinder (Alnico V #2), Bridge: BB3 (Alnico #2) ELECTRONICS: 2 Push/Pull Volume Controls, 2 Tone Controls, Three-way Toggle with Black Plastic Tip CASE: SG Hardshell JUNE 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 PG. 49
MAYONES REGIUS PRO7M ELECTRIC 7 STRING Mayones Guitars have been around for decades but in recent years they’ve really risen to prominence, partly through better distribution, partly through high-profile players such as Periphery’s Misha Mansoor, and partly because the world is finally catching up to their high quality builds and beautiful finishes. The beauty here is that they feel as great as they look, and you get a definite sense of ‘Daaaaaamn that’s a high-quality guitar’ when you pick one up. HAVE IT YOUR WAY The Regius PRO7M adds a low B string for chunky crunchy low-end riffs, but you can get the Regius in 6 and 8 string versions too. Mayones is virtually a custom shop so there are all sorts of options you can specify. In this case the majority of the body is made of Mahogany, although Swamp Ash is also offered. The top is Flame Maple and the neck is a neck-through design made up of 11 ply worth of Maple, Mahogany, Amazakoe and Wenge, with a 16” fretboard radius and 24 medium jumbo Ferd Wagner frets. Two scale lengths are offered: standard 25.4” or optional baritone 27”. The body is outlined in three-ply acrylic pearl binding, as is the Ebony fretboard. There are no inlays on the fretboard face but the side dots are quite nicely visible. And the headstock has an intriguingly distinctive 3+4 headstock design, and the tuners are super high quality Sperzel Trim-Loks. Pickup options include Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz passives or Blackouts actives; DiMarzio Air Norton 7 passives or EMG 707 actives. Other brands, models and configurations are available on request (although an extra fee may be incurred, but it’s worth it for your dream tone, right?). The model on review has a Floyd Rose bridge, but an ABM fixed strings-through-body bridge is also available. Other standard features include a Switchcraft jack, Graph Tech nut for nonFloyd models, Schaller Straplocks and a free
hardcase. Oh and one other thing: this guitar is heavy. Definitely consider some kind of extrasupportive strap. I’m a Les Paul owner so know weighty axes. Again, worth it for your dream tone, but be aware! LUCKY SEVEN The Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz were designed together by Seymour back in the 1970s, and it’s amazing that they’ve managed to hang in there as music has evolved around them. They’re great for classic rock, fusion, pop, blues, blues-rock, hard rock, traditional metal, thrash metal…and they work great as seven-string pickups too. The JB’s famous tone is fat and chunky, with a rich midrange, full bass and just enough treble clarity to sound great in a live environment but not so much that it’ll take your head off. And when you engage the coil split hidden on the volume pot, you’ll get a twangy, almost Telecaster-like tone. The Jazz is a very articulate, detail-packed pickup with great mids, and it tracks very well when you play super-fast. In single coil mode it’s got a bit of a 50s Strat vibe. And whether plugged in or not, you’ll notice the incredible sustain this guitar has. Certainly more than you’d expect from a guitar with a Floyd Rose. The playability is a little more solid than the average metal axe: this isn’t a paper-thin shredders’ neck, and it reinforces the Regius 7’s status as a great all-rounder that just happens to look pretty aggressive which I like! IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING From a construction perspective the Regius PRO7M is flawless. The looks are great too, and the tones are massive. Mayones offers so many options in terms of cosmetics and electronics that if you dig the overall vibe you’ll be able to refine it however you see fit, or Mayones’ Australian distributor have brought in a bunch of really beautiful guitars that are ready to own
SHURE LENSHOPPER CAMERA MICROPHONES The rapid growth of digital SLR cameras and their abilities to now act like video cameras have seen a range of new products emerging onto the market. With the design of most digital video cameras and SLRs focusing their strong points on image capture, quite often the audio side of things is left behind a little and you end up with less than thrilling results when you play back your video. Shure have decided to put an end to this with the release of two microphones that will work well with just about any digital video camera, but will also mount on your digital SLR to really transform its abilities.
BY ROB GEE
VP83 VP83F LENSHOPPER FLASH The LensHopper Flash is a more advanced design that is probably going to appeal to more users over the simpler model. What the VP83F offers is on-board digital audio recording direct to flash memory with the aid of a Micro SD card that is inserted inside the battery housing. You are now able to record a separate audio track aside from that on you camera at 24 bit/48kHz sampling rate. Pretty nifty for such a compact device and very easy to use too. A small LCD screen delivers all the information you need to keep track of your audio recording and with just a three button operation, it is easy to engage this microphone separately to you camera. You can also run audio to your camera from the dual gold plated audio outputs if you so wish.
PG. 50 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
MICROPHONE TYPE: Stereo Condenser PICKUP PATTERN: Super Cardioid FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 50 – 20000 Hz POWER: Battery OUTPUT CONNECTION: 3.5 mm stereo mini jack RRP: $299 (VP83) $499 (VP83F)
DISTRIBUTER: Jands PHONE: (02) 9582 0909 WEBSITE: www.jands.com.au
BY PETER HODGSON HITS
• Great humbucker tones. • Stunning construction and quality all-round. • Supreme sustain for a Floyd Rose guitar. MISSES
• The weight is hefty and takes some getting used to. • Some players might prefer a flatter neck profile. SPECS
BODY: Flamed Maple top, profiled Mahogany body, 3 ply acrylic pearl binding. BODY FINISH: Transparent Graphite (front), natural wood gloss (back). NECK: 11 ply Maple-Mahogany-AmazakoeWenge. FINGERBOARD: Ebony with 3 ply acrylic pearl binding. FRETS: 24 medium jumbo Ferd Wagner 9665. TUNERS: Schaller M6 mini. BRIDGE: Schaller Floyd Rose PRO7. PICKUPS: H-H/Seymour Duncan Jazz7 (neck), JB7 (bridge). ELECTRONICS: 1 x Volume (push-pull for coil splitting), 1 x Tone, 3 way lever switch. CASE: Mayones hard case RRP: $4,999 with FREE delivery to any metro Australian destination.
DISTRIBUTOR: Ubersonic EMAIL: email@example.com WEBSITE: www.ubersonic.com.au and www.mayones.com.au
SENNHEISER EVOLUTION VOCAL MICROPHONES
Being that this unit has a built-in recorder, it does require a little more juice and has two batteries beneath the capsule which increases the size and weight slightly, but the integrated Rycote shock mount accounts for that and it sits comfortable atop of any camera without handling noise being an issue.
VP83 LENSHOPPER Both these microphones get their name the ‘LensHopper’ from the design that sees the microphone capsule mounted in such a manner that it sits up and over the lens, leaving you ample clearance for image capture as well as pop up flashes. The VP83 offers a super-cardioid pickup pattern and feeds its signal directly into your camera for audio recording. This condenser microphone takes its power from a single battery, housed just below the capsule. The entire casing is supported by a Rycote shock mount that keeps it free from unwanted handling noise.
right now and which you can see online.
The Evolution series of microphones offers a great range of high quality microphones especially designed for live use and considering all the needs an engineer may have. Sennheiser have thought of just about everything to complete the range of microphones ensuring just about any instrument is covered and delivering a range of vocal options to suit different singers and different stage setups. This month, I got to see the difference between two 800 Series Evolution vocal microphones and learn how the two can tackle just about any stage you have to work with. E835 This is the go-to microphone when you want a quality cardioid pattern for stage use. It offers a fairly wide pickup pattern that allows it to be used by just about any singer, no matter how badly they control the microphone. This does tend to lead to some feedback risk from the side, but it offers excellent rejection from the rear of the capsule and so works well with a foldback speaker placed directly in front of the vocalist. With a very smooth lower mid-range, you don’t get a whopping bass bump so common in many handheld dynamic microphones that have rolled off the high frequencies in an attempt to combat feedback. These microphones still offer you a crisp top end that is quite unlike what is expected of a dynamic microphone of this price, so you have plenty of scope to EQ the sound and get it working right with just about any voice. E845 The E845 delivers the same electronics and housing as the E835, it even has essentially the same sounding capsule too, but with one big difference, the polar pattern. Designed as a super cardioid pattern, the E845 offers far greater side rejection. This comes with the unwanted side effect of a slight decrease in rear rejection, leaving a minute area directly behind the capsule that can be susceptible to unwanted noise, but it goes almost unnoticed most of the time. When using foldback speakers set on a 45
degree angle to the vocalist, this is going to be the microphone to go to over the E835. Both of these microphones are built into the same tough housing that will allow you to use and abuse them like any great microphone should. Backed by a 2 year warranty, these German made microphones will last a lot longer and continue to deliver results time and time again. Really, it is just a matter of choosing the model that suits the foldback layout for the stage and you are ready to go. BY ROB GEE
• Super tough, solid capsule housing. • Slim design, comfortable grip, light weight. • Extended frequency range to accommodate a range of voices. • Varying polar patterns between models to suit a selection of stages. • German made with a 2 year warranty.
• I can’t really fault either microphone. SPECS
MICROPHONE TYPE: Dynamic POLAR PATTERN: Cardioid FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 40–16000 Hz OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 350 ohms WEIGHT: 331g OUTPUT CONNECTOR: XLR RRP: CALL FOR PRICING
DISTRIBUTOR: Sennheiser Australia WEBSITE: www.sennheiser.com.au
VIC: Drum Power (03) 9720 4581 Factory 2/55 Malvern St, Bayswater, VIC 3153 Mannys (03) 9486 8555 161-163 St Georges Rd, North Fitzroy, VIC 3068 Ron Leigh’s Music Factory (03) 9593 3900 625 Hampton St, Brighton, VIC 3186 Gippsland Music & Sound (03) 5144 7860 395 Raymond St, Sale, VIC 3850 Music Junction (03) 9882 7331 204 Camberwell Rd, East Hawthorn, VIC 3123 The Rock Garage (03) 9753 5093 1/1182 Burwood Hwy, Upper Ferntree Gully, VIC 3156
Coastal Music (02) 6581 3016 5/148 Lake Rd, Port Maquarie, NSW 2444
Music Park (08) 9470 1020 341 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park, WA 6100
Muso’s Corner (02) 4929 2829 1 National Park St, Dangar, NSW 2302
Bam Bam Music (02) 9831 5101 156 Main St, Blacktown, NSW 2148 Icon Music (02) 9809 6700 3 Chatham Rd, West Ryde, NSW 2114 Planet Music – Lismore (02) 6621 7784 25 Molesworth St, Lismore, NSW 2480 Planet Music – Ballina (02) 6681 1125 83 River St, Ballina, NSW 2480
Shake It Up Music (07) 5441 5454 Shop 4/186 Currie St, Nambour, QLD 4560 Gympie Musicland (07) 5482 3226 36 Mary St, Gympie, QLD 4570 Ellaways Music – Kedron (07) 3359 8266 315-337 Gympie Rd, Kedron, QLD 4031 Mooloolaba Music (07) 5444 8889 Shop 2, Cnr Nicklin Way & Kensington Dr, Minyama, QLD 4575
The Guitar Shop (07) 3369 9530 40 Latrobe Ter, Paddington, QLD 4000
Westwood Guitars (03) 9746 6667 Shop 3/44 Smith St, Melton, VIC 3337
Derringers Music (08) 8371 1884 66-72 Leader St, Forestville, SA 5035
Variety Shop N Save (07) 4661 4433 129 Palmerin St, Warwick, QLD 4370
Five Star Music (03) 9870 4143 102 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood, VIC 3134
Twang Central (08) 8231 9255 208 Gilbert St, Adelaide, SA 5000
Margate Music (07) 3284 8143 28 Baynes St, Margate, QLD 4019
Guitars & Things (03) 9770 1765 Shop 3E, 415-417 Nepean Hwy, Frankston, VIC 3199
Ceceres Music (08) 8331 9246 249 Magill Rd, Maylands, SA 5069
Musicians Oasis (07) 4162 4523 Shop 20 Alford St, Kingaroy, QLD 4610
Bass N Blues (02) 6551 5067 Shop 10/20 Albert St, Taree, NSW 2430
Pirana Music (02) 6162 3311 Unit 2, 56 Heffernan St, Mitchell, ACT 2911
Ultra Music (07) 4128 2037 51 Main St, Hervey Bay, QLD 4655
Park Beach Music & Hifi (02) 6652 3725 Shop 57, Park Beach Plaza, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450
DW Music (02) 6260 5626 301 Canberra Ave, Fyshwick, ACT 2609
Turramurra Music (02) 9449 8487 Rear 1267 Pacific Hwy, Turramurra, NSW 2074
Landers Music (02) 6362 6588 286 Summer St, Orange, NSW 2800 Macron Music – Erina (02) 4367 8500 Shop 8, Erina Plaza, 210 Central Coast Hwy, Erina, NSW 2250 Macron Music – Tuggerah (02) 4352 3377 Shop 1006 Westfield Shopping Centre, Tuggerah, NSW 2259
Mega Music (08) 9330 2777 95 North Lake Rd, Myaree, WA 6154 Guitar World (08) 9358 6665 1240A Albany Hwy, Cannington, WA 6107
Anthony Breed Music – Gladstone (07) 4972 1229 1/117 Toolooa St, Gladstone, QLD 4652 Alive Music (07) 4152 7243 15 Walla St, Bundaberg, QLD 4670 Buzz Music (07) 4031 7078 92 Mulgrave Rd, Cairns, QLD 4870 Stewarts Music (07) 5554 5400 2570 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach, QLD 4218
Concept Music (08) 9381 2277 246 Cambridge St, Wembley, WA 6014 The Rock Inn 1300 304 418 762 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley, WA 6050
127 Merrindale Drive, Croydon, Victoria, Australia 3136 T: +61 (0)3 8756 2600 F: +61 2699 MIXDOWN NO.(0)3 2428756 / JUNE 2014 / PG. 51
AUDIO-TECHNICA MB 1K DYNAMIC MIC
AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-IM01 IN-EAR MONITORS
When you are looking for your first vocal microphone, you ideally want a unit that fits within your budget, but is still going to deliver a great audio signal. After all, it is all about making yourself heard and you want to be heard and remembered. So, it is important that when you choose your first microphone you take into consideration not just the price, but the build quality and the audio quality too. That said; let me introduce you to the Audio Technica MB 1K dynamic vocal microphone.
It is becoming more common these days to see artists on all stage sizes wearing in-ear monitors rather than relying on foldback wedges to meet their needs. Because of this, we have been fortunate to have a great range of in-ear headphones available to choose from. One brand that I hadn’t really considered with in-ear buds until this review was Audio-Technica, something I found has been to my own detriment.
SIMPLE, YET SOLID A handheld vocal microphone doesn’t need to be loaded with special features, and nifty devices that claim to improve your performance. It just needs to capture your voice with the level of accuracy that you as a singer deserve. The MB 1K does just that. It is housed in a well weighted casing that feels like it is going to take a beating and just come out with a few bumps and scratches in the end. It fits comfortably within the hand and offers an On/Off switch that is slightly recessed to stop accidental engagement. Best of all, this switch doesn’t emit any audible click or pop when activated, so you don’t need to worry about it coming through the PA system when you flick the switch.
• • • •
Well balanced design for ease of use. High output for a dynamic microphone. Good rear rejection from the capsule. Includes microphone clip and XLR lead.
• Personally, I don’t like switches on vocal microphones. • A carry case or pouch to keep it safe included would be nice. SPECS
ELEMENT: Neodymium Dynamic POLAR PATTERN: Cardioid FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 80-12,000 Hz IMPEDANCE: 600 ohms SWITCH: MagnaLock™ on/off WEIGHT: 337 g OUTPUT CONNECTOR: 3-pin gold-plated XLRM-type
VOLUME APLENTY The IM01’s are capable of some seriously high SPLs with their balanced armature drivers, which will allow you to hear what you need to at crucial moments on a loud stage. I’d always recommend finding the right balance and making sure that you look after your volume control and thus your most important asset, your ear drums. Really crisp sounding highs with nice even mids and a good low bass response made these quite the little package.
IT’S MAGNETIC The basis of this microphone’s audio capture is in its neodymium magnet that has a reduced weight and so a faster transient attack. You get greater output and precise response from this capsule, helping you hear all the articulation in the voice. This also goes a long way for improving the high frequency response of this microphone, so it does sound nice and bright and in no ways dull. MIC UP YO! Its cardioid pickup pattern is perfect for setting it up as an all-rounder for vocal uses. It is designed to be used at very close proximity, as you would expect from a handheld vocal microphone. This helps with rejection of stage noise and keeps the chance of feedback taking off to a minimum. Bundled with a 5 metre XLR cable and clip, the MB 1K is ready for any budding singer to get started on a career of stardom right now. Mic up with MB1K, you will be pleasantly surprised. BY ROB GEE
COMFORT IN DESIGN It didn’t take long to figure out how these ear buds were designed to fit within the ear, and seating them properly is easy to do. They don’t feel like they are constantly going to fall out and the over ear loop design of the cable ensures they won’t. You just need to ensure you find the right sized silicone earpiece to best suit your inner-ear. When properly sized up, these are very comfortable and isolate stage noise from your monitor signal really well. The cable length is perfect and the detachable cable from the ear piece gives this unit extra design points. So, if you happen to break the cables in the moment on stage, they can be easily replaced.
DISTRIBUTOR: Technical Audio Group PHONE: (02) 9519 0900 WEBSITE: www.tag.com.au
IN SOUND SUMMARY Having no expectations and being pleasantly surprised is always enjoyable when testing both headphones and in-ears. The ATH-IM01’s really brought the volume needed and isolation desired here and will no doubt find themselves at home in many musicians arsenal from entry level to pro. I see them fitting into all genres of music, especially where volume is paramount like heavier rock and a lot of instrumentation is in the mix. At an affordable price point, these are really well thought out and designed with all accessories and in-ear fittings needed. Top job Audio-Technica, my hat goes off to you while the IM01’s go in... my ears of course! BY ROB GEE
• Lightweight and comfortable. • More than enough volume for any stage. • Short cable for connecting to belt pack without excess. • Packaged with carry case and a range of insert sizes to suit any ear. MISSES
• Could be seen as too loud for day to day use. SPECS
TYPE: Single Balanced Armature Driver FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20–15,000 Hz MAXIMUM INPUT POWER: 3 mW SENSITIVITY: 106 dB/mW IMPEDANCE: 47 ohms WEIGHT: 5g CABLE: Detachable, 1.2 m, Y-type CONNECTOR: 3.5 mm (1/8”) gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-type ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Case, silicone earpieces (S/M/L), Comply™ foam earpieces.
DISTRIBUTOR: Technical Audio Group PHONE: (02) 9519 0900 WEBSITE: www.tag.com.au
MARKBASS CMD 102P BASS COMBO Italian company Markbass who are rapidly becoming amp legends, say their new CMD 102P combo might be their most versatile yet. That’s really saying something for a company who build really flexible and tweakable amp combos. So what exactly prompted the company to make such an audacious claim? Let’s have a look-see... MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE The most obvious and most practical way that the CMD 102P expresses its versatility is in its physical design: you can either stand it in a regular vertical manner for use as a typical bass amp, or you can nudge it back and use it as a floor monitor thanks to its cleverly constructed wedge-like shape. This is perfect for bass players who really want to hear their sound coming back at them, not a front-of-house sound guy’s interpretation. So what you have here is an amp that’s equally at home pointing at the audience for sound projection, or pointing up at the artist for onstage sound reinforcement while the direct out takes care of sending the sound to the house. Very cool indeed. The speakers are a pair of Markbass 10” neodymium drivers plus a piezo tweeter. THE GUTS There are two inputs here: a balanced XLR input and a regular 1/4” jack with a gain control (and a clipping LED to let you know when you’ve pushed things too far). Tone-shaping is taken care of by low, mid-low, mid-high and high knobs as well as two controls named VLE and PG. 52 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
VPF. Finally there’s a line out level control and a master volume. According to Markbass, the VLE and VPF controls are EQ filters that help you adapt your sound for different styles of music. “The VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) is a shelf EQ that cuts a wider and wider range of high frequencies as you turn it up. Markbass amps are very clear-sounding, and this filter has the effect of drawing you into the mix more, making your sound less present. The VPF (Variable Preshape Filter) boosts lows and highs, and cuts mids. Some call this kind of effect a scoop, a smileyshape EQ, or an enhance knob. It’s very effective for slap bass, pick playing, and driving eighthnote rock.” You can combine these two filters for interesting effects, or just lean on one or the other as you see fit. COMBO JUMBO Ultimately, what the CMD 102P offers is a stage and studio-ready amp which can cover tones from the warmest, muffliest, roundest of old-school R&B styles right through to the most hi-fi, zippy, low-endy modern studio slickness and all points in between. You can get a great rock-style treble grind, killer palm-muted ultra-clean Megadeth chugs, smooth John Paul Jones blues-rock, a thick middle-of-the-neck modern indie/alternative sound, and all sorts of clear, articulate jazz soloing tones. If you’re the kind of player who likes to add a whole slab of distortion to their tone,
consider adding a Markbass MB Mini Dist or (especially) an MB7 Distorsore to your rig: the CMD 102P will be able to handle it with grace and confidence. BAD ASS BASS This is a killer bass amp for pretty much anyone who ever picked up a bass, because Markbass truly delivers on their promise: it’s their most versatile combo yet, starting with their famously flexible VLE and VPF controls and kicking it up a notch–or should that be ‘kicking it back’–with the dual ‘combo or monitor’ nature of the cabinet. BY PETER HODGSON
• Versatile preamp section. • Loud! • Simple controls make it hard to mess up. MISSES
• Could use a dedicated distortion section (beyond the gain control) for rockers. SPECS
SPEAKER: 2 x 10” TWEETER: Piezo IMPEDANCE: 8 ohms SENSITIVITY: 101 dB SPL PREAMP: Solid State SPEAKER POWER HANDLING: 400W RMS (AES Standard) AMP OUTPUT POWER: 500W at 4 ohm / 300W at 8 ohm FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 40 Hz to 18 kHz WEIGHT: 19.9 kg SIZE: 47.9 cm (H) x 59.4 cm (W) x 47.5 cm (D)
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC Music PTY LTD PHONE: (02) 9905 2511 WEBSITE: www.cmcmusic.com.au
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MC SYSTEMS STRING REVIVER & DYNAMIC DRIVE New Australian company MC Systems has created a range of pedals which will change the way you play guitar, once you wrap your head around the huge amount of flexibility and interactivity they have built in. They’re ‘dynamic response’ pedals which are true bypass where when you’re coming out of bypass, the amount of effect you get is dependent upon the velocity with which you switch the pedal on via the V-Switch. That is, when you enable the effect you’ll get whatever preset amount of drive you dialled in on the top control, but when you hit the switch harder you’ll go into another preset level–which is dependent on stuff like, oh, your boot size, your weight, how angry you are at the singer in that very moment. It’s already a truly interactive experience, and that alone would be a feature worth building a pedal around. But the pedals feature a second switch, labelled Alternate, which gives you access to a parameter you’d like to access quickly–for instance, the Dynamic Drive will give you two levels of drive, or the delay will give you two delay times. It’s a system that really encourages you to play with the pedal, rather than just play through it. Let’s look at a pair of pedals from the range–the Dynamic Drive and the String Reviver–which are joined in the range by the Dynamic Delay, Dynamic Fuzz, Glass Chorus, Dynamic Distortion and Dynamic Phaser. SYD STRING REVIVIER Okay, this is genius. As the name might lead you to believe, you can use this pedal to add back
the ‘zip and zing’ that you get with new strings but which fades with time. It’s a way of bringing some clarity back to your tone, sure, but that’s just part of it. You can use this pedal to bring out all sorts of details in your playing and in your guitar’s natural tone that would otherwise go unnoticed. Try it with a dark-sounding guitar to add more clarity, or get some extra ‘air’ out of an electro-acoustic. Use it with single coils to bring out an almost acoustic-like sense of articulation and space. And with the Alternate switch you can bring on two totally different levels of boost, which is as good as adding an extra channel to your amp. What’s really fun is using the pedal to really fine-tune the sharpness and clarity of your guitar within a band mix: it’s almost like tuning in a radio channel or something. This is one of those units (like the venerable BBE Sonic Maximizer) that you really start to miss when you turn it off, because turning it on sounds like removing a pillow from the speaker. But the String Reviver takes that kind of idea so much further, so far beyond, that it’s almost created its own category of effect. You really have to play through this to see what I mean. NKM DYNAMIC DRIVE Okay, so the String Reviver works with your guitar to get the clearest, most expressive sound possible. The Dynamic Drive almost works in a similar way for the relationship between your guitar and amplifier. It can do everything from a simple boost to a big bump in gain, and the Alternate switch gives you two levels of output
boost to choose from. It’s a very thick, warmsounding overdrive, not brittle or harsh in the slightest. This pedal really comes to life when you’re using it to push a tube preamp into overdrive or simply to get a little ‘more’ out of it too: between the Drive and V-Drive levels and the two boost level controls you can create a huge range of sounds with your amp, from tight and punchy to fat and saturated. There isn’t the huge range of adjustable controls (in terms of different frequency ranges) that you might find on other overdrives, but this pedal encourages you to get more out of your playing, your guitar and the interaction between guitar, pedal and amp, so it’s as adaptable as you yourself are. THE SELECTION These pedals–and indeed the rest of the range as reviewed in our Ultimate Pedal Special– really redefine what we can expect a pedal to do. They put the focus right onto you and your performance, which is where it really should be. Innovative and awesome! HITS
BY PETER HODGSON
• Brings dull strings back to life. • Creates beautiful zingy clean tones. • Creates some previously unheard dirty textures.
RRP: $245 EACH
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC Music Australia PHONE: (02) 9905 2511 WEBSITE: www.cmcmusic.com.au
• Steep learning curve. • Confusing layout at first.
DIAGO PEDAL BOARD AND PEDAL ACCESSORIES Pedal Board There are all sorts of pedal boards available from a range of manufacturers that don’t really meet the needs of the user. A pedal board can be a fairly personal piece of real estate that needs to be designed to suit the needs of the owner, so it is hard to assume that a single design will meet everyone’s needs. The development team at Diago realised this and so went about creating more than just a pedal board. Instead, they have come up with a pedal solution, a system that houses and enables your pedals to operate as you need them to. THE BOARD The hard case pedal boards themselves are built into a really sturdy wooden case that is covered with a sleek black cloth for a very minimal look that looks like it means business. I had the Showman PB03 at my disposal this month, but I have seen the other models and understand just how the different sizes will meet different needs. The Showman is the second largest board in the range and allows for a great selection of pedals to be set up on the flat base. Even if you get carried away with a few larger boutique pedals,
you should have plenty of room for most of your effects needs with this unit. On the inner side of the base, a firm Velcro is supplied. This isn’t the cheap stuff, it wants to grip and so hold your pedals where you leave them. STACKING IT UP Diago saw the flaw in using a flat pedal board if you are allowing enough depth for two rows of pedals to be placed on it. So, with that in mind, they have the option of adding risers to you board simply and easily with the velcro surface to raise your second row of pedals and give you easy access to them. But, they don’t stop there as Diago offer the complete solution for your pedal board. The Patch Factory kit allows you to make five patch cables from one kit all to the lengths you need to work around your pedals which is really handy. Combine this with the Diago PowerStation for juicing it all up and you should be able to run just about any pedal you want with 3000mA of power which can roughly translate to 30 individual effects. The PowerStation has a range of adaptor cables too allowing you to change polarity,
use different fittings, change voltage and even work with battery clips in your pedals. All in all, Diago delivers a complete package that can be designed to work with your existing pedals and is able to grow and change as your pedal needs do, simply perfect! BY ROB GEE
• Really tough case, ready for use on the road. • Velcro that actually holds pedals in place and doesn’t slip. • Plenty of space for large pedals. MISSES
• The larger boards can get a little heavy when loaded up, as you will.
RRP: $ 109.95 (Showman Pedal Board), $10.95 (Pedal Riser), $115.95 (Patch Factory Kit), $149.95 (Power Station), $12.95 (Adapters).
DISTRIBUTOR: Dominant Music PHONE: (03) 9873 4333 WEBSITE: www.dominantmusic.com.au
SONY DWZ-B30GB WIRELESS GUITAR SYSTEM There are, of course, plenty of wireless systems available for guitarists to unleash themselves on stage and make the most of their performance. One manufacturer that I didn’t expect to see such a system from is Sony. They haven’t really tackled this side of the market before, but now, with the DWZ digital wireless system, Sony is determined to impress and stamp their name on a big part of the wireless market. THE TRANSMITTER Instantly the belt-pack feels solid. It has a good weight and a slim design. It is simple to set up and get going with only two buttons on the front panel. Once the power button is engaged, you simply use the channel button to match it up with the receiver and you are good to go. The side of the unit offers Mic and Instrument input as well as a pad switch giving you 10 or 20dB reduction on input. On the top of the unit, a recessed Lock switch allows you to ensure everything stays how you want it once set up. Now, I did use the term ‘belt pack” to describe the transmitter, but it doesn’t need to be so. It comes as a compact transmitter that will slip into a pocket or pouch, but doesn’t have the PG. 54 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
typical flimsy belt clip on the rear that will inevitably break on you. Instead, Sony have decided to let you choose whether you want the seriously tough metal belt clip to be attached or not, as it can be screwed in if needed. This is a very nice touch. THE RECEIVER The other part of the equation is the receiver which will fit neatly on any pedal board to integrate it with your current setup. It can be powered with a 9 volt battery if you wish, or you have the option of the included 12 volt power supply. But, it gets even better; you can run it from a negative tip 9 volt power supply on a different connection so you can run it off a pedal board power supply or daisy chain. That is a really clever design idea right there. Three outputs are on offer with a tuner out, a guitar level out and a balanced XLR out to cover just about any guitar or microphone setup you might use with this system. Add a cable tone knob to emulate the sound of whatever length cable you like, up to 25m, and Sony have got this one sealed up. Both Channel and Tone knobs are fully recessed so you don’t damage them when the
unit is on your pedal board. They have thought of everything. And the sound, well, it delivers a clean reproduction of your instrument with a full frequency range that makes this workable with bass guitars too. Just dial in the amount of cable tone you want and you’re ready to go. BY ROB GEE
• • • •
Tough, well designed belt pack. Selection of three different power sources Offers a completely transparent sound Will fit neatly in any pedal board
AUDIO: 24 bit Linear PCM digital audio RADIO FREQUENCY RANGE: 2402.0–2478.5 MHz OCCUPIED RF BANDWIDTH: 2.4GHz ISM Band
DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Professional Solutions PHONE: (02) 9887 6666 WEBSITE: www.pro.sony.com.au
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THAT REFRESHING CLASSIC SOUND
DSL SERIES The DSL (Dual Super Lead) Series is a critically acclaimed best-seller that delivers on tone, affordability and portability. ‘If you’re stepping up to your first all-valve Marshall, then these new DSLs won’t disappoint.’ – Guitarist Magazine See more at elfa.com.au
DSL15C DSL100H DSL5C DSL15C DSL40C M412(A & B) MX212 MX112
15Watt Valve Head * 100 Watt Valve Head * 5W Valve Combo 15Watt Valve Combo * 40 Watt Valve Combo * 4 x 12 Speaker Cabinet 2 x 12 Speaker Cabinet 1 x 12 Speaker Cabinet
$749 $1299 $799 $899 $1099 $599 $449 $299
* switchable to half power output
PG. 56 / MIXDOWN NO. 242 / JUNE 2014
Electric Factory Pty Ltd 188 Plenty Road Preston VIC 3072 03 9474 1000 firstname.lastname@example.org