Reviewed: TC Helicon Perform-VG Vocal Processor
In stark comparison to bass players and drummers, the singer in the band has by far the easiest job. I mean, sure it’s rough being the centre of attention all the time and keeping your instrument tuned is a veritable hedge maze of guesswork, but relative to lugging 8x10 cabinets up darkened, narrow stairwells, that’s a breeze. When compared to the tap-dancing that a guitar player has to do to keep tone in check, even the most dedicated front person has little to think about other than simple delivery of soul. How easy it would be to eschew all that burdensome physicality and rely on the beat-up Shure 58 at every venue as the be all and end all of your backline needs.
Reviewed: Radial Engineering J33 Phono Preamp DI
You’ve got to hand it to those Canadians; they certainly know how to build a solid DI box. The team at Radial Engineering have come up with so many clever products over the years, but they have certainly revolutionised the DI world with a specific direct box for just about every task at hand. Be it on stage or in the studio, these units are built for the rigours of one and they offer the quality required for the other. You know that no matter where you use a Radial DI, you’ve made the right choice. That is why so many of you will surely want to get your hands on the J33 Turntable Direct Box. This is a great little problem solver that doesn’t compromise on build or audio quality – exactly what Radial is renowned for doing.
Reviewed: Mooer GE-200 Multi-Effects Pedal
Five years ago, multi-effects pedals weren't much more than a viable entry into the world of effects for beginners and hobby guitarists - clunky, chock full of cheesy sounds, and often unreliable. However, the times they are a changing, and the Mooer GE-200 looks set to flip the multi-effects market on its head.
Reviewed: Radial Mix Blender and Direct Drive
Not being an engineer myself, I guess it’s not my place to guess, but I don’t imagine that when most people first pick up a soldering iron they say to themselves ‘I’m gonna make something that no one will ever know is there’. Looking at the extensive Radial Engineering catalogue, it seems they really excel at being the silent partner in the business of sounding good. The Direct Drive and Mix Blender is an unassuming, indispensible, industry standard box that’s easily one of the most trusted conduits available and as a result the Radial name has become synonymous with precision and unflinching transparency.
Reviewed: Pigtronix Disnortion Micro
You think size matters? Think again, guitarists and bassists of Australia. The Disnortion Micro from Pigtronix is small enough to fit in your jacket pocket, but produces a sound large enough to blow the roof off any venue you'll find yourself playing in. And just like the humble barnyard pig itself – this is a pedal that loves dirt, mud, and grime.
REVIEWED: TC-ELECTRONIC POLYTUNE 3 GUITAR TUNER
Once upon a time, tuners were the unsexiest device in a guitarist’s kit bag. Even cables got more glory. “Dude, check out this $200 cable. Listen to all the handling noise you’re not hearing.” But then TC-Electronic came out with the original PolyTune and shook everything up. Here was a tuner that could listen to all six strings at once and tell you exactly how far up or down you needed to adjust each one. It was genius. It still is.
REVIEWED: TRACE ELLIOT TRANSIT A ACOUSTIC PREAMP AND TRANSIT B BASS PREAMP
Sometimes it’s the subtlest of pleasures that are hardest to tame. With buckets of fuzz and searing, high-gain solos spinning around the venue like air-raid sirens, it’s the foundations of sound that all too often get left behind. Bass and acoustic guitar players know this pain all too well and consequently have come to rely on some pretty crafty EQ trickery to carve their niche in a mix. There are already countless bits of kit on the market promising assistance in this endeavour but few with quite the bag of tricks that Trace Elliot have in store with their Transit A and B acoustic and bass friendly preamp systems.
REVIEWED: MATCHLESS AMPLIFIERS HOTBOX III PREAMP PEDAL
The Hotbox III is Matchless Amplifiers’ latest incarnation of their popular tube preamp pedal – locked and loaded with two channels and housed in a solid mirror-polished stainless steel enclosure that looks a treat. Like the British amps the sound is based upon, the controls are set up simply with an emphasis on driving your amp and locking into that sweet spot of cascading gain as opposed to endlessly tweaking the EQ. In an added bonus, the Hotbox III is kitted out with true bypass switching to keep your original signal intact, a detachable power cord, and a reinvigorated enclosure that'd work well on either a pedalboard or as a standalone unit.