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.
REVIEWED: TC HELICON PERFORM-VK VOCAL EFFECTS PEDAL
TC Helicon has a large range of useful processing tools for vocalists, with the idea being that just because you’re performing live, it shouldn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of high-quality studio sounds or to simply fine-tune your performance in realtime. Perform-VK joins this series, and it’s aimed at singing keyboard players, or bands with a keyboard player and a vocalist who are not necessarily contained in the same physical body
MERIS MERCURY7 500 SERIES REVERB
This is the second 500 series module from Meris that I have had the pleasure of messing around with and again, these guys have not failed to impress. There are plenty of reverb plug-ins available that will suck the power from your computer and slow down performance greatly, whilst still not offering quite what you want in control and creative input like this unit does. Being a 500 series rack module, you need never worry about the Mercury7 chewing up your RAM and you can use it in a number of ways within your signal path to create some truly ethereal sounds that are more musical than you might have thought a reverb could be.
Meris Ottobit 500 Series Bit Crusher
To be honest, I had not heard of Meris until I received this item earlier this month. But I am now glad to have come across this small audio design company form California. This brand is striving to deliver a difference in their products and bring something new to audio creativity. And I have to say; the Ottobit certainly does just that.