Reviewed: Mooer Preamp Live
It’s the most dreaded scenario of a serial tone fiend: all of a sudden, after countless hours spent twiddling with your amp and pedal settings, you fall out of love with your guitar tone. In a desperate effort to juice some life back into your beloved rig, you scour the internet and trawl through gear forums for what seems like weeks, trying to justify the purchase of another new pedal which you are absolutely certain holds the key to the divine zone of heavenly tone. In a fever, you drop half your weekly pay cheque on this said box of knobs and circuitry (and probably an obscene amount for shipping, too), waiting anxiously for the postman to deliver your new pedal – the fabled ‘last one’ – only for you to plug it into your amp and find out that after all this effort, your tone still sucks.
Reviewed: T-Rex Effects SoulMate Multi-Effects Pedal
In true guitar fashion, everything seems to go round in stages. Trends and fashions come and go only to resurface years later. Pedals have somewhat followed this path too. With stompboxes being the go-to for many years, rack and multi-effects units soon enjoyed some time in the sun before the focus returned to pedals for much of recent times. Modelers, smaller units and digital gear have all enjoyed success of late, and the multi-effects unit has also seemed to reappear. A few issues ago we played the T-Rex Soulmate Acoustic, which offered an all-in-one effects unit for both gigging and the home, alleviating the need for multiple pedals, messy boards and monster effects rigs. Similarly, the SoulMate offers plenty of options for the electric guitarist.
Reviewed: Radial Engineering AC-Driver
Acoustic guitar live sound can be a very different beast compared to its electric brothers. Yes, you can just plug and play and let the sound guy/FOH operator work his magic, but a little initial control can be a good thing too. Radial is known for its super reliable stage gear offering a range of high quality DIs/pedals/preamps for both live and studio situations. Focusing more on the live acoustic instrumentalist, the AC-Driver should appeal to a range of players in the acoustic domain.
Reviewed: Zoom G5n Multi-Effects Processor
Having seen the development of the Zoom range of guitar effects over the years, it has been great to see the ideas all fall into place one by one to end up with a flagship unit like the one that landed on my studio floor this month. Those of you who have used Zoom products before will know that the effects are always top-notch, delivering quality in audio and modeling at any stage in their current range. What the G5n does is to bring together the best of the best and combine them into a user interface that is designed with picky guitar players in mind. It is not just a set of preset patches, it offers the user the options that individual pedals do, but with far more variety and versatility.
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.