World Music Supply | Winter NAMM Day 1 and 2

Hey guys, its Brian here again with World Music Supply. Today I get to talk about some really cool stuff from Winter NAMM 2013, sadly I can’t really discuss how it sounds or feels, as I didnt get to go due to school. Instead our resident Web Designer, and my Supervisor Mr. Danny Dunn got to go out to California to enjoy everything from hanging out with Rock Stars, checking out new gear, being wined and dined by our sales reps, and the best part (in my eyes) not having to deal with this sudden cold snap here in Indiana. Sure hanging out with rock stars is cool and all, but 70 degrees sounds pretty good when your shoveling snow just to get out of your driveway, but I digress. So here it is folks, some of the cool new stuff you can expect over the course of the next year!

and so it begins

and so it begins

So where to start? Who has come out with the coolest new stuff so far this year? Well while I highly doubt these will production models, that award easily goes to the folks over at ESP. ESP has a habit of coming out with some jaw dropping pieces of gear, usually covered in clever graphics, or in outlandish shapes. I’ve seen everything from a guitar carved like the grim reaper, to guitars sporting graphics that are more at home in a comic book or a tattoo parlor than on the face of a Strat.

The Angel Guitar from ESP, you really can't get much more elaborate than that

The Angel Guitar from ESP, you really can’t get much more elaborate than that

Their graphic work is just amazing.

Their graphic work is just amazing.

Next up are some cool pieces from our buddies over at Charvel, who (much to my excitement) have come out with some new San Dimas, and Pro Mod style guitars, and of course they have gorgeous looking single cuts coming out too, with some very out there looking colors, and bindings, not to mention the cool multi colored humbuckers. 

I want all of them!

I want all of them!

looking fancy

Takamine was there too, and they brought along some of the finest pieces of Japanese luthiery I have ever seen, which is saying something. Granted a few of their finer pieces were kept in glass cases, but from what I was told, these things sounded absolutely amazing, even over the noise of a packed convention hall, these guitars just sounded fantastic.

Just Stunning

Just Stunning

The attention to detail was just amazing

Just amazing Luthiery

Just amazing Luthiery

Ovation brought out a few new things, and a handful of their finer pieces to the show. The carbon fiber topped mandolin was cool, and the new front soundhole design on the guitar right next to it was neat, although the top wood of that guitar caught my eye a little more than the new soundhole design. They also brought out the new versions of the Yngwie Malmsteen Viper, which is a fantastic design, although I wish they would bring back the original Viper myself, this new one looks like it would be a little more comfortable on stage if you play at the speed of sound like Yngwie, less guitar to get in the way of your picking hand.

no one does Carbon Fiber quite like Ovation

no one does Carbon Fiber quite like Ovation

The new soundhole design is almost as eye catching as that Koa top

The new soundhole design is almost as eye catching as that Koa top

Say what you will, but I want that Kaki King model

Say what you will, but I want that Kaki King model

So handsome

So handsome

There was plenty more to see from the show floor, but alas, that will have to wait for Monday, when I can bring you everything from tonight, and Saturday. I’m as excited as you all no doubt are to see what else is being released, and I can’t wait to see what twists and turns are headed our way from California. But for the time being, I hope you guys enjoyed this little glimpse into the weird world that is Winter NAMM, and I cant wait to share the rest with you next week.

one last thing, I really want the Vincent Price guitar from ESP, it’s just perfect.
   

That Gargoyle guitar stand is pretty wicked too

That Gargoyle guitar stand is pretty wicked too

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World Music Supply | New and Improved The Behringer Firepower Interface

Hey guys, Brian here again with World Music Supply bringing you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. In today’s blog, I get to talk about some more new gear from our good friends over at Behringer. It’s almost unheard of for even a beginning musician to not have some software here or there for recording in this day and age. The days of having to rent studio time, or even the days of needing a multi million dollar deal to produce a good record are almost gone. Its thanks to equipment like the piece I am going to review today that this has become our reality, because why spend a few thousand dollars to produce a good album, when for the same price, you can buy all the equipment to make one yourself. Today, I get to take a rather preemptive look at the soon to be released Behringer Firepower. We have gotten to see it previewed at NAMM, and in dozens of videos all over the internet, that’s where World Music Supply and I come in, to whet your appetite for this soon to be released recording titan.

The Behringer FIREPOWER FCA610

The Behringer FIREPOWER FCA610

The soon to be released Behringer Firepower is one of the most straight ahead, and well thought out additions to the home recording market in years. Thanks to Behringers absorption of MIDAS, they have begun including their new, state of the art MIDAs designed mic pre amps complete with phantom power, in many of their upper level equipment. But the Firepower doesn’t stop there, with its multi-channel audio and MIDI operation via Firewire, or USB2.0, as well as being bundled with free software, including a set of 100 virtual instruments and 50 FX plug ins, which all by itself turns your laptop into a mobile recording studio.

The Behringer FIREPOWER FCA610

The Behringer FIREPOWER FCA610

The Firepower comes in two versions, the much easier to carry around FCA610 which features six inputs and ten outputs, two Midas preamps, and it can receive power straight from the 6-pin FireWire bus or via the included power supply. It features built in MIDI I/O which means you can connect a keyboard or sequencer straight into it. The small size means this can travel with you where ever you go, with room to spare. No more shows unrecorded, no more reasons not to write down your ideas.

The Behringer FIREPOWER FCA1616

The Behringer FIREPOWER FCA1616

The other version is the FCA1616, which has much more functionality than its pint sized companion, as it features an expanded 16 I/O interface and ADA8000 ADAT connectivity. Since it is a rack mountable piece of equipment, this is ideal for permanent applications, such as home and professional recording. My favorite application for rackmountable I/O recorders is to take them, place them in my stage rack, and record a show live at the venue. Now while this is a great use for this piece of gear, keep in mind that just like their X32 that was reviewed earlier in the month, this thing is versatile. You can use it for studio work, for live work, it can be the centerpiece of your recording equipment or a very powerful add on.

The Firepower series is named correctly, because it really is going to give you some serious audio fire power. Taking up very little room, giving you tons of options, and a lot of very great sounding, easy to use musical firepower. That is why, even though it has yet to hit the market, I believe it goes without saying that the Behringer Firepower easily deserves a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | New and Improved The Behringer P16 Powerplay System

Hi guys Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I get to take a look at something that complements a previous review quite well, in this addition of New and Improved, I get to talk about the Behringer Powerplay P16 series of personal monitors. Designed to work in conjunction with the X32 mixer, the whole Powerplay series is designed to give each individual their own custom mix, no matter where they are, and no matter what they need.

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

One of selling points of a lot of mixers as of late, was that you could work monitor mixes from on stage via an iPad, but this does something negative as well, it’s only useful if you are using the traditional floor wedge style monitor, if you’re using in ears, then you are way out of luck. The other problem with this is, you can’t just have your sound man run onstage mid show and start tuning your monitors just because you aren’t 100% happy with the way its sounding, it’s just not practical.

The P16 system works by allowing each individual their own private mix that they can adjust to their liking. This is ideal for dozen upon dozens of different mixing situations, and the most commonly advertised one is using it onstage. Just think about it, you can now tune your own in ear mix without having to worry about yelling at the sound guy, or hoping they get it just right, factor in the limiter and gate on the mixer and there is no more worrying about ear damaging sound levels on stage ever again. The Cat 5e cables used to connect the system can be run very long distances without negatively effecting sound quality, so you can still have your mixer way out front so the soundman can do his job, and now you are free to do yours, except now with a perfect monitor mix.

The I/O Section of the Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

The I/O Section of the Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

But let’s not stop at simply using this for stage, because a system like this is as versatile as the X32 mixer it is designed to work with. In my review of the X32 mixer, I mentioned that it is sort of a Jack of all Trades, its great for live work, for studio work, you can use it for theaters and plays, you can use it for houses of worship, it just is designed to do anything you want it to, and the P16 system is designed to do all of that and more. In most professional recording studios, they have had little boxes like these for years, but the problem was the price point was well out of the way of everyday people like you and me. So most of us have had to deal with using splitter jacks to hook multiple sets of headphones up to our computers or mixing boards to try and give everyone the ability to listen back during recording, and that never works because not everyone wants to hear the mix the same way. Suddenly with the Powerplay system, and the X32 mixer, you can now have real, pro level studio equipment, at about the price of renting a studio long enough to make a decent demo.

Imagine using this for theatre work, most people who have ever had to do musical work, know what its like to wear those little skin colored headset mic, and a set of in ears, all wired up to you. I know the annoyance of having to sit and work the mix out on these at the beginning of the night, and hope that no one gets louder, or softer as the night goes on. You could actually set an entire arsenal of these up back stage, and if at any point during a scene change, someone is unhappy with how their mix sounded, they could go back and actually tweak their levels before going back out on stage, pure genius.

The Behringer P16-1 16 Channel Rackmount Personal Monitor

The Behringer P16-1 16 Channel Rackmount Personal Monitor

Or what about houses of worship? Now I’m not talking little four piece youth bands, or a solo singer with an acoustic guitar, they already see how the P16 system could benefit them. Let’s talk about the giant groups, with 15, 20 musicians all up on stage, with a few dozen singers all up there, all at once. What about them? For years they have either had to just listen really hard, and do their best to fall into where they need to be, or just go by muscle memory, and hope it sounds good. Not anymore, you can set the entire P16 system up as a permanent installation, and now everyone can have their own private mix, all of them can hear just what they need to hear to do their job, and when you can hear yourself better, you can perform better.

As you can plainly see, the P16 Powerplay is just like its companion the X32, designed for anything and everything you could throw at it. It does a job that almost every musician needs done, at a price point that isn’t out of the range of possibilities for most working musicians, and the entire system is well within the combined budget of a band, theatre or house of worship. For all of these reasons, from its affordability, its simplicity, and the fact that it does a job many of us have needed done for ages, the P16 Powerplay system earns itself a definitive 10 out of 10.

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

World Music Supply | New and Improved The Behringer X32

Hey guys Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you the usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, sorry for the lack of an update yesterday, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather as of late but luckily that’s all over and done with. To make up for the lateness I figured I would make it up to all of you, with a new addition of New and Improved, feature the Behringer X32 digital mixer. There have been a lot of new digital mixers hitting the market the past few months, from the Line 6 StageScape, or the Mackie DL1608. The key difference between the X32 and these two mixers however, is while the StageScape and DL1608 have taken mixing towards a more touch screen interface, decreasing the reliance on knobs and sliders, aiming on a more live friendly mixing situation; the X32 keeps the giant banks of sliders and knobs, but adds iPad interaction into the traditional mixing format.

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

While talking about mixers might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I know the pain of having to sit behind the board and try my hardest to get a good live mix for all parties involved. This job is never easy, from attempting to mix monitors from 40 feet away, judging what needs turned up and down from a singer whose yelling from across the room. This is why I liked the X32, it has everything you could need for any application, with 16 fully motorized sliders, dozens upon dozens of built in effects, Firewire/USB outputs and of course, iPad support via the remote app and the use of a standard wireless router, you can own a room with this, mixing the stage monitors from on stage, and the room monitors from your perfect little mixing booth, with all of the effects you could ever need.

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

Sitting down with the X32 to try my best to completely understand it in the short amount of time I had to review it, the first thing that needs to be mentioned, is that the new Midas designed preamps sound absolutely fantastic, with a very pristine, very clear sound to them. The motorized board was lightning fast, and was down right fascinating to watch when you control them via an iPad. The next really interesting feature was the scribble strip, which on most mixers is where ever there is enough room to lay down a piece of tape so you can write down what instrument is on which track. On the X32 however, there is a tiny LCD screen for each track, which shows an equally tiny picture of what instrument is on that track, with a little picture of a bass drum, a persons face for vocals, a guitar etc, as well as text to remind you what it is, and color coded lights all to help you keep everything straight. Add in the fact that each individual track features a limiter and gate, as well as a level meter so you can see which tracks are spiking at any one time, and you quickly have one of the most impressive mixing consoles to hit the market in years.

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

There are some features of the X32 that make me think it was designed as the jack of all trades when it comes to mixers, which is a refreshing change of pace. There are dozens of features that make it seem like an amazing live board, from the bright LED lights, the scribble strip and the use of an iPad so you can mix anywhere in the room, but there are also features that make me believe that this mixer was designed with recording in mind, like the USB and Firewire outputs, the dozens of effects, its ability to link up with the P-16 monitoring systems, and last but not least the 32 bit floating point DSP. All this together creates a mixer that is designed from the ground up to do everything, from huge rock concerts, church worship groups, tiny clubs, and even budget conscious recording studios. With the X32, it doesn’t matter what you need a mixer to do, it will get the job done, and that’s why the Behringer X32 gets a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Behringer Pedals

Hey everybody, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again and today I am pleased to bring you some cool stuff from our friends over at Behringer. Behringer has been making quality products at the lowest price point possible since 1989, and they have always done their best to deliver products which satisfy not only your ears, but also your wallet. In today’s gear review I get to discuss three very useful, and surprisingly powerful guitar pedals, the TM300, the EM600, and the US600, and so, without further ado lets get this show on the road.

The Behringer TM300 Tube Amp Modeler

The Behringer TM300 Tube Amp Modeler

First up is the TM300 Tube Amp Modeler, which is a simplified more stomp box styled version of their GDI21, which is more or less the same box, but in a metal enclosure with a DI output. The TM300, like the GDI21 features 27 combinations of Mic positioning (classic, center, or off axis) how hot the simulated tube amp is running, whether its clean, high gain, or just plain flat out, and lastly, what kind of amp is being simulated.

There is the Tweed setting, which is obvious what it stands for, and for what it is, is not a half bad impression. It provides you with plenty of smooth and spanky clean tones, and when you run it in either the high gain mode or the hot mode you get that famous “tweed” amp bark with lots of mid range sizzle and low end thump. Then there is the British model, which yet again, for what this is, is a pretty good impression of its name sake. Running clean you get a slightly scooped out sound, with that boomy, dark clean that has made one famous British amp builder famous for decades. Running the Brit channel in either high gain or hot though, and this thing really does give you that classic plexy roar, which for the price is down right amazing.

Last up on the amp simulator is the California model, which is based on those boutique California amps that started hitting the mainstream towards the late 80’s to the mid 90s. Clean the Cali has a very round, and articulate sound, with just a hint of overdrive. This is great for country style playing, where you want to walk the fine line between overdrive and clean almost constantly. For its ability to do everything a guitarist could ever want an overdrive/distortion pedal to do the TM300 gets a solid 9 out of 10, the reason being is, it is still made of plastic which is off-putting to some people, in which case there always is the GDI21, with its metal enclosure.

The Behringer EM600 Echo Machine

The Behringer EM600 Echo Machine

Next up is the EM600 Echo Machine, which is a sort of do it all style delay pedal. It features more effects and options than you can shake a stick at, with three different global delay styles, Digital, with perfect repeats with a nice shimmering sound, Analog, with a very bucket brigade style sound, and a Tape mode which imitates the inconsistencies and the wow and flutter of vintage Tape delays. The effects that it can produce are varied and many, from a slew of different rhythm patterns, quarter note, triplet and dotted eights to multi tap delays and a few delay effects that most pedals just don’t have. These include things like sweep which slowly feeds in your sound as you keep playing, Ducking, which keeps your repeats from muddying up the signal, and reverse which works best when you either have the mix at full, or flat with the incoming signal, when on full, you really get a reverse delay, and with it flat, your notes ring over into their reverse versions, making the note have a very synth like feeling.

The benefits of a pedal with so many different delay sounds is sort of a double edged sword, as you will have everything you want, but you will likely be crouching down and adjusting it from mode to mode off and on throughout the night. However, a delay like this is a must for anyone doing anything from U2 style rock, Alternative style shoe gaze, experimental rock, or just someone whose fed up with having to truck around two or three delays just to have an effect even remotely like this. For its ability to do everything you want it to the EM600 scores a solid 10 out of 10, even with its plastic enclosure, a pedal like this just doesn’t come around often enough.

The Behringer US600 Ultra Shifter Harmonist

The Behringer US600 Ultra Shifter Harmonist

last up in today’s review, is the US600 Ultra Shifter/Harmonist, which is one of the coolest pedals in such a low price range that I have ever had the chance to mess with. The trick with this is, you have to know a little bit of music theory, like what key are you in, and what harmony will work with which part without sounding too “out” so to speak. Once you cross this tiny threshold you now have a ton of Brian May style harmonies at your finger tips, which is great if you are the lone guitarist in a band, or you have one guitarist who plays rhythm full time and you just need a bit of complex lead work, without the hassle that comes with trying to arrange it all live. There are a few other modes which are all either quirky and unique, or just fun in a different way than the harmonist section. This includes a very handy pitch shifter section that tracks chords very well, so playing full chords with a perfect 5th harmony, or an octave harmony is no problem at all. The other cool feature about this, is you can run an expression pedal into it, and operate this pedal like a whammy pedal, which proved for hours of fun.

There are three other handy modes, detune which is a pretty decent chorus sound, and on the upper level of its settings, a half decent leslie sound, which was great for some cool jazz finger picking runs. The last two effects are a little difficult to figure out how to use properly, there was the trem bar mode, which is like the whammy feature, but you can operate it with just the standard footswitch, and the flutter section which is a sort of vibrato dive bomb, which takes some getting used to, and takes even more getting used to, to find out where to use it. At the end of the day though this pedal has a slew of powerful pitch shifting effects, which will add tons of new content and power to anyone’s playing, and for that, the US600 gets a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | TC Helicon Mic Mechanic and Voice Live Play

Hi everybody, Brian from World Music Supply here again, and today I get to talk to you about three new pedals from TC helicon, the Mic Mechanic, and the Voicelive Play and GTX, all of which are surprisingly affordable, and amazingly versatile. TC Helicon has again and again reinvented the technology that a singer can take into the studio, and most importantly, on stage with them. From their Voicelive 1 and 2 to their voice tone singles I reviewed a few weeks ago, they just know what a singer needs on stage with them, from guitar controlled harmonies, to pitch correction that you can turn on and off with a button mounted on a microphone, they just get singers.

TC Helicon Mic Mechanic

TC Helicon Mic Mechanic

So without further ado, let’s check out the first pedal in today’s round up, the Mic Mechanic which does a lot of different things, but what it does best is makes you sound better. There are a lot of useful little features so I’m going to review them as best I can piece by piece, first there are eight different reverbs and delays, which can all be controlled via tap tempo. They do a great job of just widening your voice, and helping to fill out the audio spectrum. Next, there is of course pitch correction, which is all the rage nowadays. This pedal can do hard tuning to get that robot effect, but I ended up leaving it on a softer tuning setting which did a great job of just picking up the slack for me, when I wasn’t really on pitch, but wasn’t super off either. This setting can sound super natural, but as I mentioned, it can still do that hard tuning thing and anything in between.

 Everything on this pedal can be turned on and off with the TC Helicon MP-75 microphone, just like the singles, although odds are, this pedal will almost always be on. Why you ask? Because this pedal might do a lot of different, useful, and sometimes gimmicky effects, but this pedal also has a button on it that just says “Tone”, and that is a fairly accurate explanation of what it does. It takes your voice, and just makes it more tuneful, it’s a combination adaptive EQ, Compressor, De-esser and noise gate. It takes the rather flat response of a typical dynamic mic, and just makes it a little punchier, a little more sparkly, and just a lot better all around. It’s really one of those duh kind of pedals, like, why didn’t someone make this before? Why is this just now a thing?

So at the end of the day, the Mic Mechanic just does what you really need it to, sure it has some little tricks up its sleeves like reverb, delay, and some pitch correction, but if you use them sparingly with the tone button, you will instantly have better sounding vocals. There really isn’t any way to phrase it but better, sure they’re a little punchier, a little thicker, but at the end of the day, you’ll just sound better, and for that the Mic Mechanic easily snags a 10 out of 10. No bells, no whistles, just better vocals.

TC Helicon Voicelive Play

TC Helicon Voicelive Play

Next up are the Voice live Play pedals, the standard, and the GTX. Both of which feature the same vocal effects engine, the only real difference is the fact that the GTX features amp and cabinet modeling and effects and the color of the housing is white instead of blue. The Voice live play pedals feature all of the effects that I discussed with the voice tone singles, and of the Mic Mechanic. The difference is, is that these can be organized according to songs, and controlled with either the hit function on the pedal housing, or the button on the MP-75 Mic. The abilities that lay inside of the Voice live play would take weeks to properly explain, from its myriad of tone controls, harmonies, auto tuning, reverbs and delays, doubling, and that’s not even scratching the surface.

The pedal also comes loaded with a wide array of presets all based on famous songs, which would be great for anyone from cover bands to people who just want that sound for themselves. This feature is expanded upon when you factor in the fact that the GTX is also loaded with guitar effects, so now your guitar is running through an effects chain to imitate the given song. You can also program your own presets, or download presets from TC helicon to suit literally any musical need you could come up against.

TC Helicon Voicelive Play GTX

TC Helicon Voicelive Play GTX

The Voice live play’a and the Voice live play GTX are also equipped with internal microphones that can be used to track the key, and chords for the vocal harmonies, this is great as now you dont have to just play chords the entire song, so that the pedal can track the chords, instead you can just play your part, and as long as the chords are being suggested by all of the notes of the band, the harmonies will track just fine. These two pedals are easily two of the most versatile little processors I’ve ever seen, they take all of the power and raw brawn of the Voice Live 2, and shoves it in a simple three button package. For this fact alone the Voice Live Plays both get a 10 out of 10, because these are just phenomenal pedals for any gigging vocalist.

World Music Supply | Line 6 Mobile IN and Jammit Combo

Hey everyone, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and I’m here to talk to you guys about a cool new collaboration from our friends over at Line 6, and the company Jammit. In the last few years, we have seen the iPod, iPhone, and iPad grow quite substantially as recording, and musical interface devices. A natural expansion of this was the Line 6 Mobile IN which we have covered previously here on the WMS blog, which allowed you to use your iPod as your entire rig, for practice, or even playing with a band if you were bold enough to show up to practice with just a guitar and an iPod.

The Line 6 Mobile IN

The Line 6 Mobile IN

The next expansion was taken by Jammit, which was released in 2011 and was the first software that allowed you to take master tracks of different songs, and mix out parts, so you can just focus on say the guitar, or the bass part. Meaning you could learn songs twice as fast, because now instead of listening to the harmonic interplay between the guitar and bass, you just hear what the guitar is doing, and none of the cross over of keyboards, bass, or drums, just the part you need to learn. This was a great idea, but it was lacking something, the tone. In comes Line 6, with their Mobile IN attachment, which quickly solved this problem, by recreating the rig required for each song. Meaning you can focus on learning the song, instead of focusing on nailing the tone of each song.

You are also able to slow down the song, which is a great thing for drummers, who for years have had to listen to drum fills and solos at full speed and still attempt to learn them beat for beat, which lets face it, sounds a little daunting. In comes the Jammit, which allows you to slow everything down to an acceptable speed, letting you listen to that solo note for note, and slowly ramping it up to correct speed. This has been a valuable tool that has come bundled with guitar processors for years, and was one of the main selling points of loopers since their inception. The usefulness of this feature can not really be realized until it has been used multiple times on multiple songs, being able to slow a song, and listen to it note by note, without having to deal with pitch fluctuation that tends to happen when you slow a song down through any normal method.

The Line 6 Mobile IN Jammit Combo

The Line 6 Mobile IN Jammit Combo

For what it is, the Jammit and Line 6 Mobile IN combo is an amazing practice tool for both guitarists and bassists, and the Jammit is good for everyone in a normal band, with plenty of songs for dirt cheap, ranging anywhere from .99 to just above 5 dollars. All of the songs have been carefully broken down and setup in a way to make them user friendly and easy to work through. All with guitar tones that change as you move through the song, so in a song like “Closer to the heart” by Rush, you slide from that smooth chorus tone, to Alex Lifesons big distortion tone, all without having to ever once pay attention to anything other than the tabs on your iPads screen. For all it can do, at an amazing price point, the Jammit and Line 6 Mobile IN Combo is an outstanding learning tool for guitarists, bassists, and anyone else who just needs to dissect a song into its relative chunks to be able to really reign in a song, and its for these reasons that I give the Mobile IN Jammit combo a 9 out of 10, because even though, yes over all the package is extremely affordable, you still have to own an iOS device, such as an iPhone, or iPad, which are far less affordable.

The Line 6 Mobile IN and Jammit Combo

The Line 6 Mobile IN and Jammit Combo

World Music Supply | TC Helicon Voice Tone Singles

Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you all your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I have the privilege of reviewing some great products from TC Helicon. These include the six voice tone singles, the T1 Adaptive EQ and Dynamics pedal, the H-1 Harmonist pedal, the C-1 Hard tune and Correction pedal, the D-1 Detune pedal, E-1 Echo Pedal, and the R-1 Voice tuned reverb pedal, and lastly I’m also going to review all of these with the MP-75 Vocal Microphone with Mic Control.

The TC Helicon MP-75

The TC Helicon MP-75

First up, is the Mp-75 Microphone which is a really nice addition to any of these pedals, because it allows you to control tany of the pedals from a button mounted on the microphone, meaning you can control say the H-1 Harmony pedal while your roaming the stage during a song, meaning you can still be the frontman, running around the stage, but still have those big thick tones that you want. As a standard microphone the MP-75 does its job well too, all of the cool switching effects aside,  it is as Super Cardioid mic with excellent pop and breath noise rejection, and it is surprisingly resistant to feedback and background noise. As well the suspended dual shock mounted Lismer dynamic capsule is specifically voiced for the modern singer, who uses a really close mic technique, so that your vocals still have all the warmth and body they need, even when your right on the mic.

Using this mic to record my vocals during a brief practice with my band was pretty impressive, the mic actually sounds like a studio grade mic, but without all of the hassle of trying to use a good studio grade mic around a loud band. I was able to get good tones, and never once had to worry about feedback from the monitors or amplifiers, which was impressive in its own right, not to mention that my voice still sounded full and pure from a dynamic mic. Also, being able to control the H-1 and the C-1 pedals without having to walk over to the hit the button would be a life saver in a live situation. For its ability to control most of the TC helicon pedals and still sound amazing the MP-75 gets a solid 10 out of 10.

The TC Helicon T1 Compressor

The TC Helicon T1 Compressor

Now for the Voice tone singles, these are all single stompbox versions of existing TC Helicon effects from their Voicetone and Voice live effect boxes, so without further ado, lets get down to business. First up is the T1 Adaptive EQ and Dynamics pedal, which is a fancy way of saying it is a compressor, and desser pedal. The T1 actually does have a really useful “Shape” Control that is a wide EQ sweep that while a little simplistic, is extremely musical, taking rather flat sounding vocals and helping to just give them a little bit of extra body and girth. The compressor and de-ess programs in the TC Helicon are equally simplistic and musically useful, with enough control to help squash the plosives out of your vocals, and to bring all of your vocals into tighter dynamic field.

In a band situation, this pedal was honestly really useful, mainly because it allowed the more whispery parts of songs to have the same punch and clarity that say, the chorus, would have. This means your vocals sound a lot smoother and more put together, more like you’re listening to a record, rather than listening to some band through a P.A. This pedal also did a good job of taking those nasty plosives out, which we all do on accident from time to time, and are never nice to a listener’s ears. So having this little guy in any vocal chain wouldn’t be too bad of an idea, as it allows you to have great sounding vocals, with minimal effort of either the singer or the sound man. Now while it does do some things amazing, I have to give the T1  a 9 out of 10 though, because while its EQ is smooth sounding and it does its job wonderfully, it is a tad simplistic.

The TC Helicon H1 Harmonizer

The TC Helicon H1 Harmonizer

Next up is the H1 Vocal Harmonizer pedal, which supplies you those great sounding close country style harmonies that everyone loves.  This pedal has an input for guitar, which tracks your chords, and morphs the harmony key to fit, which is a life saver for anyone who either doesn’t know too much music theory, or whose ever used an older vocal harmonizer that you had to set to a static key and hope that everyone’s instruments are still in tune by the time you need the harmonies. There are plenty of different harmony combinations, so there really are no limits to what this pedal can do for you.

Live, this pedal is a life saver, without a doubt we’ve all had one or two back-up singers, who either could not sing harmony, or just plain couldn’t sing. This pedal solves all of those problems by creating perfect harmonies every time. This means that all of those choruses that you want to pump up with big harmonies but haven’t been able to, well you can now. Also an application that I quickly found useful was routing one guitar signal to multiple H1 pedals, and having your normal back up singer sing their normal harmonies while you sing your normal part, the resulting harmonies were tremendous and almost Queen like in their tonality. For its ability to create tight, perfect harmonies every time, the H1 easily land itself a 10 out of 10.  

The TC Helicon C1 Hard Tuner Pedal

The TC Helicon C1 Hard Tuner Pedal

Next up is the C1 Hardtuner and pitch correction pedal, which as its name says, gives you that sharp, T pain style auto tuner sound. The good thing about this pedal as opposed to many other auto tuner style pedals, is this one features two modes that are not always set to one key, my band had one song that required a auto tuned vocal section, which was immediately followed by a key change, and one more then one occasion the auto tuner didn’t turn off immediately, resulting in me being horribly out of tune once the key change hit. With this pedal however, you can either have the key controlled by your guitar, or keyboard, meaning that key change wouldn’t be a big deal, or you can put it into chromatic mode, which has a more gentle “scoop” into each note to help cover up the fact that it’s an auto tuner. Speaking of helping to cover up the fact that you are “cheating” so to speak at singing, you can also adjust how hard the tuning is, so it can do it ever so gently, just to help you out on those nights when your voice isn’t really up to par so to speak.

I’m sure there are other musicians who would get a lot more mileage out of this pedal than I would, but for my bands songs, this pedal did its job wonderfully. For most of the songs I just had it on a softer setting to help keeping my voice in tune, but on one or two songs I put it on the way heavy setting, which made my band sound less like a cookie cutter garage rock band, and more like daft punk with a lame drummer. The soft setting was amazingly useful, and helped me sound like I really knew what I was doing vocally, always on pitch, even when I was out of breath, or more then once, when I couldn’t hear myself very well. On its harder settings however it was actually almost too easy to stay in tune, meaning I had less and less of that cool auto tune warble happen, which means you get more of that on the hard setting if you actually sing badly, which while that might be a good habit to have while the pedal is on, once you turn off the pedal it quickly turns into a bad habit. Overall though, this pedal does exactly what you want it too, it takes your vocals and fixes them, making them sound like a perfectly adjusted studio track. The C1 easily earns a 10 out of 10 for its ability to take anyone and making them sound perfect.

The TC Helicon D1 Detuner Pedal

The TC Helicon D1 Detuner Pedal

Next up is the D1 Detune pedal is a much more subtle effect then the last two, as it simply detunes your vocals, creating either a light chorus, or a doubled vocal effect. This means that you get those cool doubled vocal sounds that you get on a recording, but in a live situation. In a band situation this is a fantastic effect that surprisingly, rarely gets turned off. It gives you crisp doubled vocals, as if you had two singers at once, which helps thicken up your live vocals without sounding gaudy or flamboyant. For this reason alone, the D1 gets a simply deserved 10 out of 10, because it does all of those cool studio effects you’ve grown to love, but in a live situation.

The TC Helicon E1 Delay Pedal

The TC Helicon E1 Delay Pedal

lastly are the E1 and R1 echo and reverb pedals, which do their jobs fantastically, and both are tuned specifically for vocals, which, while a subtle change, is amazingly musical and useful. The E-1 does its job perfectly, creating everything from subtle slap back, to full out prince style repeats, all of which are useful in basically any situation. The same holds true for the R1, which is a reverb that has been specifically tuned for vocals, in other words, its designed to help saturate vocals without muddying up the signal, which is amazing, as anyone who has ever had way too much reverb, or the wrong kind of reverb (too dark, too bright) poured over there vocals knows, sometimes too much really is too much. The E1 and the R1 however always sound full and musical, no more stale sounding vocals, always crisp reverbs, and sweet sounding repeats. For their ability to bring something unique to a market that is flooded with imitators, the E1 and the R1 both get a 10 out of 10, because they’re both affordable, and indispensable when it comes to a singers live gear.

The TC Helicon R1 Voice Tuned Reverb

The TC Helicon R1 Voice Tuned Reverb

World Music Supply | Yamaha’s New DXR and DXS Series of Active Speakers

Hey guys, Brian again with World Music Supply, and today I’m here with another addition of New and Improved, and today it’s all about an amazing new line of loudspeakers from Yamaha. Yamaha has been producing quality sound products since the 1960’s, and they have made it their continuing goal to stay at the head of the technological curve. They have done this across the board, from their musical instruments which are some of the finest to ever come out of Japan, to their Club series of passive speakers which have dominated the market for years.

The New Yamaha DXR Active Speakers and DXS Active Subwoofers

The New Yamaha DXR Active Speakers and DXS Active Subwoofers

Yamaha unveiled their New DXR and DXS Active Loudspeakers Series at Winter NAMM 2012 with an amazing demonstration of their crystal clear response along every possible frequency range, and at literally any volume level by actually demonstrating them at every possible frequency range, and at every volume level. You can find videos of this demonstration all over youtube, with the whole range of DXR speakers hung from the ceiling, and the DXS subwoofers sitting comfortably below a large flat screen that displayed what it was you were listening to. In the bottom corner of the screen was a DB meter that measured in real time, just how loud these speakers actually were. They covered everything from the sounds of water rolling through a creek, an acoustic guitar, a motor cycle revving up, a stadium sized audience applauding, an electric guitar playing through a standard blues shuffle, and even a clip of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” which actually peaked their DB meter, all without distorting or getting muddy.

Their video then went on to feature all the good techno jargon that you have come to expect from new products at NAMM, companies talking about how their product is so much better than this other product, or how their product is so much cheaper, yet still more effective than some other companies product. The difference is Yamaha was telling the truth! The DXR and DXS actually do produce the highest SPL in their class, and they do produce great crystal clear sound, even when you’re running them full out. So without further ado, let’s move on into the review section of this blog.

The Full Line of Yamaha DXR Active Speakers

The Full Line of Yamaha DXR Active Speakers

The DXR series features the DXR8, the DXR10, the DXR12, and the DXR15 Active speakers, all of which feature the same power and performance ability, all of them come armed with 1100 Watt of power, with a 950 Watt main speaker, and a 150 Watt 1.75 inch titanium compression driver. The only real difference between the four in the DXR family is the size of their main speaker, which means they all have similar abilities, but different strengths.

For instance the DXR8 is versatile, it can be used from anything from a reference monitor, a main speaker for a smaller venue, or just another speaker to help bring up the highs a bit in a larger installation. The DXR10 however is great as your main speakers for most standard sized venues, bars and clubs etc. With its extremely large frequency range, you can even use it without a subwoofer and still have a very full rich sound. With the DXRs built in mixer, the DXR10 would even make a perfect acoustic guitar amplifier or standalone PA for a rehearsal space. The DXR12 and 15 however are different monsters.

The Yamaha DXR15 Active Speaker

The Yamaha DXR15 Active Speaker

The DXR12 is has more than enough power and punch to be used as a mainline speaker in almost any situation, and this is going to be the best choice for a main speaker in most installations, and it would still work as a floor monitor if you need more sound at your feet. With more than enough low end to run sans subwoofer, and enough punch to be down right fantastic when used in conjunction with a sub. However, the DXR15 has the widest range of any in the DXR line, and when running full out is still pristine and crystal clear. Valuable as everything a standalone main speaker, running with a subwoofer, it provided some of the most clear and powerful sounds that I’ve ever experienced.

Overall, the DXR lineup of active speakers are some of the most amazing speakers I have ever heard, and they are easily the cleanest sounding speakers I have ever heard at such high volumes. At the end of the day, I feel like my standard 10 out of 10 maximum, just isn’t enough for these speakers. So let me just say that the DXR speakers really are some of the most impressive speakers that I have heard in a long time, and I hope that more companies follow suit in the years to come. 

The Yamaha DSX12 and DXS15 Series of Active Subwoofers

The Yamaha DSX12 and DXS15 Series of Active Subwoofers

Next up are the Yamaha DXS series of active subwoofers. I’ve spent a lot of time playing in bands, and helping wire up sound installations for local bars and clubs, and in that time, I have learned just how important a good subwoofer is to the feeling of the entire venue. When you have a band on stage, and you can’t hear the bass drum, or let alone the bass guitar, the sound and feeling of the whole room becomes flat and fake sounding. If you have a subwoofer that is too powerful though, to where all you hear is low end mud, and you feel like you’re just being kicked in the chest, it equally ruins the feeling and sound of the venue.

The DXS series solves this problem in the most ingenious way, by releasing two equally powerful

The Yamaha DXS12

The Yamaha DXS12

Subwoofers, with two very different voices. The DXS12 is a 950 Watt subwoofer, with a 12 inch woofer housed in an acoustically optimized band pass enclosure. The DXS12 is ideal for a small to medium sized venues, but it seems more inclined for use with live bands, than it would for a more bass heavy act like a DJ for instance. The DXS12 is immense sounding, with more than enough low-end to satisfy anyone’s needs, and is controlled and tight sounding enough that I never found it over powering, or obnoxious. 

The DXS15 is designed for bass heavier acts, which need a little more bass than the DXS12 can provide. The DXS15 is perfect for DJ’s or bands with very prominent bass players who need that extra power to contribute fully to the overall performance. The DXS15 is the kind of subwoofer that can go from a gentle shake, to a kick in the chest as needed, and just like the DXS12 I never felt that the DXS15 was over the top or uncontrolled, it always felt tight and punchy, even when it was dealing with deep dubstep style bass grooves.

The DXS series of active subwoofers are downright amazing, and you shouldn’t get a DXR speaker without a DXS to join it with, because while it’s not required, when it sounds this good it should be. Just like the DXR speakers, I feel that the DXS series is too good for the 10 out of 10 maximum I can award, and I found them equally amazing, with sound that was crystal clear, never muddy or distorted, and at the end of the day I personally would pick these over any other sub on the market.

So there you have it folks, two amazing new series of active loudspeakers, whose quality and versatility far outshine almost all others on the market today. From everything from simple installations at a bar or night club, to full theatre installations, heck, even big outdoor festivals could use these amazing speakers and would find them outstandingly useful. These amazing speakers are available, and surprisingly affordable, and you can get them right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!