Reviewed: TC Electronic SpectraDrive Bass Preamp Pedal
For an instrument with such limited impact on the length and breadth of the frequency spectrum, it never ceases to amaze me how much bass effects pedals hone in on the particulars of any given sound. I guess it stands to reason; essentially, the less you have to play with the more you have to focus on the toys in your toy box in order to have the same amount of fun as your more overstocked counterparts. In a way, the world of music would be a much less wild, muddy and confusing place if guitar players paid as much attention to the minutiae of tonality as bass players are forced to. If every six stringer’s first pedal was a ten-band EQ as opposed to a dirt box, imagine how much more creative they’d have to be to stand out in the throng. But I digress.
Reviewed: Nektar Pacer MIDI DAW Footswitch Controller
Foot controllers are usually something that you associate with guitarists and to be honest, when I first had this unit land on my desk, I thought it was just another MIDI controller for an effects rig. Then I actually looked at the product and saw what was on offer. I am, of course, talking about the Nektar Pacer, a new foot controller that has been brought out by the innovators at Nektar, who originally delivered the Panorama keyboard that changed the way in which Reason users could interact with their software. With the Pacer, the team at Nektar has again changed the way in which musicians, producers and engineers can interact with their DAW of choice.
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!
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Signature Mick Thomson Soloist SL2
Slipknot have been massive players on the metal scene for many years. Highly influential for their combination of brutal riffs and energetic syncopated grooves and rhythms, the band has spawned various signature models and endorsements for many of its members. The latest sees Jackson releasing the Mick Thomson Pro Series signature model. A ‘Soloist’ shape with a few tweaks, let’s have a closer look.
Reviewed: Positive Grid BIAS MINI Bass and Guitar Head
One of the most exquisite experiences known to humankind is the process of having an item of clothing tailored to fit your body. Often subconsciously we express so much of ourselves with the choices we make in our dress before venturing out into the wild each morning. Some people take more pride in their appearance than others that’s for sure, and if the old adage ‘clothes maketh the man’ is anything to go by, those of us who do take that care have a distinct head start over those who lackadaisically slap on any old garb. All ‘what side does sir dress on’ jokes aside, when you don a vestment that fits you and you alone and the fabric and colour suit your mood exactly, you feel it in your soul. You walk taller, address situations more confidently, and you take things in stride that would usually get under your skin. Interestingly enough, this peacock instinct rings just as true in the gear world. From the colour and wear of the finish of your favourite vintage Strat to the height of your stack, there are more variations on the theme of musical self expression than in most other facets of existence.
Reviewed: Aston Microphones SwiftShield & Shield GN
British microphone manufacturers Aston have developed a name for themselves in recent years by delivering microphones that are unique in both design and sound. It’s not just their microphones that are changing the classic design principles in the studio, as seen with accessories like their Halo reflection filter and now, the new line of pop filters, the Aston Shields. There are three combinations available in the range, and I got to test out a couple of them that cover all the options on offer.
Reviewed: Morley DJ Ashba Skeleton Wah
DJ Ashba is perhaps best known for his work with Guns N’ Roses and Sixx:A.M. (alongside ex Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx). A bluesy rock based player, the Skeleton Wah is a common go-to for his solos and fills – and playing guitar based rock and metal there are no doubt plenty of chances to put it on display. Morley has more than a little experience in the world of effects pedals so I’m sure they have extended this know-how into the Ashba Skeleton Wah.
Reviewed: DV Mark AC 801P Acoustic Amp
We all know Markbass and DV Mark by now. Designed by Italian amp guru Marco De Virgiliis, they’ve carved out their own space in lightweight but robust amplifiers known for their clean sound reproduction and high quality speakers. The Mark Acoustic division doesn’t have as many products on the market as their bass and electric guitar counterparts, but the range has recently been joined by the AC 801, which follows on from models like the AC 101 and AC 601, which we reviewed in these pages about a zillion years ago.