PreSonus, Neural DSP + more: our top 5 gear releases of the week

Check out everything that's new in the world of gear

Missed everything that's gone on in the gear world this week? Never fear - we've got you covered. This week, we're checking a trio of announcements from PreSonus, as well as as funky new plugin from Neural DSP, some rough and ready models from Dean and more. Let's dig in.

1. PreSonus Studio One 5 DAW + Atmosphere + ATOM SQ 

PreSonus have undeniably stolen the spotlight in the gear world this week, launching three new releases that look to appeal to those tech heads making music in the box. 

 

First, there's the latest version of their flagship DAW with Studio One 5, a comprehensive update which brings a bunch of useful tools to the forefront of the program. PreSonus have totally overhauled the Native FX included in the DAW, bringing a new look Pro EQ2 and State-Space Modelled Drive stages as well as adding a new sidechain input for all dynamic plug-ins.

 

There's also a new dedicated Listen Bus and new Aux Channels for integrating external hardware or MIDI synths into your setup, new MPE support for polyphonic expression via MIDI, Clip Gain Envelopes to tidy up blemishes in your audio stems, support for Melodyne 5 and score editing elements from Notion, letting you tap into your inner Hans Zimmer and notate masterpieces within the box.

 

 

PreSonus have also introduced Sphere; a new subscription based bundle that gives users access to the entirety of their acclaimed software suite at a low monthly cost. It includes Studio One Professional and Notion, plus all of the company's content libraries, collaboration tools, cloud storage, expert chat, and much more. Find out all about it here.

 

Finally - the ATOM SQ. This mighty performance and production controller features 32 pressure-sensitive pads, which can be used as both a keyboard or a TR-style step sequencer and support polyphonic aftertouch. There's an innovative touch strip and eight assignable rotary encoders which can control everything from ADSR to filter cutoff and tuning, as well as an onboard arpeggiator, Constrain to Scale mode and more.

 

For electronic and hip-hop producers using Ableton Live or Studio One, the ATOM SQ looks like an essential tool to help free up your workflow, and we can't wait to get our mitts on one when they land in Australia later next month. 

 

 

2. Neural DSP Archetype Cory Wong

Has anyone else been getting absolutely bombarded by YouTube adverts from these dudes recently? At any rate, Neural DSP have certainly made their mark in the guitar tone emulation sphere, and their latest plug-in is one of their most exciting to date, offering a suite of amps, cabinets and effects to emulate the tones of Vulfpeck's funky man Cory Wong. 

 

With three amps, inbuilt cab sims (with 108 impulse responses per cab) and seven effects that range from Wong's trademark compressor to wahs, filters and overdrives, Neural DSP Archetype Cory Wong offers everything you could ever want to nail clean, funky tones within your DAW. It's interesting to see Neural DSP Archetype break free from the heavy tone emulations we're used to seeing from them, and it looks like this plug-in is definitely worth the investment for anyone dabbling in the funk. 

 

 

3. Dean Icon Select Guitars

Dean continue to bounce back from last year's Gibson fiasco in style, today debuting two new double cut models under the Icon Select range. Boasting tight-grained mahogany bodies with carved top contours, three-piece mahogany set-through necks and 22 fret ebony fretboards, these new Icon Select models aim to give players a PRS-style design that's perfect for chugging and shredding alike. 

 

Other appointments included on these new models include a Tune-O-Matic style bridge, Grover tuners and Seymour Duncan APH-1 neck and SH-5 bridge humbuckers, ensuring that the Icon Select models sound and feel just as good as they look. You've also got the choice of having a mahogany top with a Classic Black finish or a flame maple top with an Ocean Burst finish, ultimately making for quite a tantalising new offering from the Dean team. 

 

 

4. Blackstar Debut Practice Amps

The new debut range from Blackstar aims to give first-time players or budget savvy pundits a compact and affordable solution to bedroom practice. Available in either 10w or 15w varieties, these new practice amps feature Blackstar's acclaimed ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control to let you sweep between classic US and British amp models, as well as nifty new inbuilt tape delay feature.

 

Elsewhere, the Debut range looks like it offers everything you'd expect from a practice amp of this calibre: there's two channels for clean and overdriven tones, a single EQ control, a headphone/speaker emulated output and a line input for MP3/Aux. Both 15w and 10w models feature two 3" speakers, and feature a very cool oxblood / cream finish - classy stuff. 

 

 

5. Electro-Harmonix Cntl Knob Static Expression Pedal

Electro-Harmonix are no strangers to creating innovative pedals, but this one certainly stands out from the bunch. The Cntl Knob is a 'static expression pedal' that aims to save space on your pedalboard by offering a single switch pedal with two knobs to mimic cocked expression pedals, letting you tap into the sweet spot of your chosen effect without having a bulky heel-toe expression pedal on your board. 

 

It's a relatively simple concept, and definitely seems like an interesting product for those players looking to get the most out of their pedals all while saving on board space. Hear how it works in action below - it'll be interesting to see whether these take off with players!

 

 

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