Reviewed: HeadRush FRFR-112 Cabinet
HeadRush jumped into the market a few years back as a serious competitor in the digital modeling effects market with its popular HeadRush Pedalboard. Utilising technology from Avid’s Eleven Rack, and indeed some of the personnel behind the unit, the pedalboard can be used for both live and studio work giving you tons of sounds, parameters and processing.
Reviewed: Line 6 Powercab 112 and Powercab 112 Plus
Line 6 take their modeling very seriously. The Helix (and original POD) offer amps, cabs and effects tones to use in the studio and on stage to give you a huge sonic palette with a myriad of tweaking options. Further developing this concept, Line 6 has introduced the Powercab range of active guitar cabinets designed as a live sound reinforcement device. Yes, it takes on the FRFR ethos that many modelers utilise, but it also incorporates specific cab sounds for added tonal flexibility.
Reviewed: Line 6 Spider V Practice Amp
Every time I sit down at my crowded little desk to write I am accompanied faithfully by one of my oldest and most prized possessions. When I was around 12 years old I was given my first electric guitar package for a birthday. While the cable, strap, picks, pitch pipe and even the axe itself have all fallen foul of the intervening years, my first ten-watt practice amp remains plugged into the wall at all times. Although practically worthless as amps go, it has always been my go-to for quick access to ideas or a cheeky shred before leaving the house. I’ve even used its terribly low headroom to record a number of times as it lends a ferocious amount of colour to guitar, bass and snare alike. Loosed of many of the trimmings of its more powerful counterparts yet not at all limited in doing so, the Line 6 Spider V 20 seems custom built for exactly this purpose.
Reviewed: Kemper Amplification Profiler
Modeling effects are hardly a new idea. Companies have been trying to replicate the nuances of tonal triumphs for decades, a case in point being the swelling market for clones of prized overdrive pedals. For years the use of professional digital imitators carried a stigma of philistinism around with it, largely due to manufacturers’ inability to overcome the indelible effect that digitisation has on fidelity. It seems like players are realising the potential inherent in some of the more top of the line examples and utilising them in live touring rigs. Cue the rise of Axe-FX as one of the most divisive names in today’s riff game, and the engineers at Kemper have certainly come nipping at its binary heels.
Reviewed: Vox MVX150C1 Combo and MVX150H Head and Cab
Is there a way to be everything to everyone? Is it possible to please every comer no matter what his or her particular predilection may be? Is there even a point trying or is it simply too much to ask? These are the basic questions behind much of the research and development that has poured into the design and manufacture of most, if not all of the musical instrument, effect and amplification products available on the market today.
Reviewed: Vox AC30 S1 Amplifier
As it’s defined by the Oxford Dictionary, in physics singularity is the “point at which a function takes an infinite value, especially in space–time when matter is infinitely dense, such as at the center of a black hole.” Taken more figuratively it is the position that a thing takes of absolute self hood, where any given object is the most condensed version of itself, leaving little to no room for accoutrements, addendum or paraphernalia; the one and only source of its own characteristic.
Reviewed: Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge Amplifier
If sales of battery powered amps and loop pedals are any indication, Bourke Street Mall must be nearing a 1:1 ratio of buskers to change-throwers by now. With the high voltage guitar heroes of yesteryear giving way to their spongier, more sensitive Sheeran-esque descendants, it seems like every player and their dog wants to take to the streets to profess undying love for a childhood sweetheart through song. For the longest time, Roland’s CUBE Street range has been the go-to for those not able to live off the grid, but these days there are more contenders to the throne than ever before. Fishman has been the pickup and preamp choice for discerning acoustic players almost since their genesis. Its line of Loudbox acoustic amplifiers has risen through the ranks thanks mainly to its unprecedented attention to sound quality, and throwing the Loudbox Mini Charge hat into the busking ring could well see them knock the black, angled box off the top spot.
Reviewed: Vox MV50 High Gain and Boutique Mini Heads
It almost feels like a magic trick. You feel deceived. God, it even has the Vox logo emblazoned on the front panel. But how could it be? That logo is the frontispiece atop one of the heaviest, British, class A tube amps in history. This runt is the distant cousin of an AC30? Gobbledygook. How could one fathom that something so tiny could emanate from the same spring of power and glory, envisioned by the same minds that ear-splittingly amplified some of the biggest names in rock history? It just should not be, but it is. Oh, but it is!