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.

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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 | Randall Signature Combo Amplifiers

Hey guys it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and today I get to bring you three cool little combo amps from our friends over at Randall. The combos in question are all signature models, which are all patterned after their larger, higher wattage brethren. The three I got to test today are the Kirk Hammett Signature KH15, the George Lynch signature LB15, and the Nuno Bettencourt NB15.

Now lets be honest, these amps are only 15 watts, running through a 6.5 inch Randall Jaguar speaker, these amps are not designed to compete with a band, and they certainly aren’t designed for stage use. These are practice amps, but what I’ve found out over the past few years, is “practice amps” tend to make great recording amps. The point of a practice amp is to get a good sound, but at a very low volume, and while this is great for jamming out in your bedroom, it’s also a great feature to have in the studio. Using a simple set up of a single SM57 and a cheap little USB Mixer, I was able to get what sounded like a giant 4×12 version of these little amps, all with the signature tone of their namesake intact.   

The Randall KH15 Kirk Hammet Signature Series 12 Watt Guitar Amplifer

The Randall KH15 Kirk Hammet Signature Series 12 Watt Guitar Amplifer

First up was the KH15, which to my understanding was based around the swappable preamp modules that were featured in his signature amp head. The KH15, and for that matter all of the amplifiers in today’s review, features a three band EQ, a clean channel, an overdrive channel, a boosted overdrive channel, and lastly a master volume. I was a really big Metallica fan when I first started playing guitar, and as such I have my fair share of Metallica licks memorized, and while the tone of this little amp wasn’t 100% accurate, it was as close as an amp can get that won’t set you back a few hundred, if not a few thousand dollars.

The clean tone was majestic, which I honestly found strange as when you hear Kirk Hammett, the first thing that comes to mind certainly isn’t sparkling Fender like clean tones. All things considered this amp sounded great just as a practice amp, but it also sounded pretty awesome when I had it all mic’d up running into my simple recording rig. This amp starts to have far more of that classic Black album style Metallica vibe once you flip it into the overdrive channel.

The overdriven tone had none of that annoying fizz that you can sometimes get from smaller speaker equipped practice amps, instead you were awarded with lots of tight sounding, barking, Metallica esc grind. Running through a barrage of Metallica riffs, this amp sounded almost perfect, especially through the recording rig, where the tiny 6.5 inch speaker suddenly sounded like a full 4×12 set of roaring speakers. Switching over to the boost channel, and of course cutting back the mids a great deal resulted in an almost exact replication of those classic mid scooped tones from those beloved early Metallica albums. For its ability to react and sound far bigger, and far bolder then you would expect it to, the KH15 earns itself a 10 out of 10.

The Randall LB15 15 Watt George Lynch Combo Guitar Amplifier

The Randall LB15 15 Watt George Lynch Combo Guitar Amplifier

Next up is the LB15, which is based on the Lynch Boxs circuitry, and the result is just amazing. The clean sound was just gigantic, with lots of head room, and sparkling high end, with just then enough mid cut to help you get through the mix. Recording with this amp was great, because tiny little mic tweaks really transform the sound, with all of the tones sounding smooth, and musical.

This held true more so when I switched it to the overdrive setting, as I was able to get what sounded like totally different amplifiers by slight tweaks of the microphone, which I think had to do with the large harmonic content being driven through such a small speaker. This actually was a good things, and pulling the mic back a foot or so, or using two microphones gave me dozens of very useable, very heavy tones.

No matter what you feed this little amp you always get a very Lynch style tone, with those tight lows, thick midrange, and piercing highs which create Dokken esc bite and power. Fans of George Lynch will no doubt love this little amp, but so will fans of recording with littler amps, or people who have to record in a home or apartment as even though it sounds massive, its all at a level that won’t get the cops called on you. For all of this power in such a small box, the LB15 easily scores itself a 10 out of 10.  

The Randall NB15 Nuno Bettencourt Signature Practice Combo

The Randall NB15 Nuno Bettencourt Signature Practice Combo

Last up in today’s rundown, is the NB15 which modeled after Mr. Bettencourts unusually designed, and fantastically voiced line of Randall amplifiers. While its two tone grill cloth might make it seem otherwise at first, this little guy features the same 6.5 inch Randall Jaguar speaker as the other amplifiers in this review. Its voice is a different in many ways from the other amplifiers in today’s review, as its clean channel is far less pristine then the other amps thus far, by this I mean that this amp features a much warmer sound, as opposed to the sparkling clean tones that the LB15 and the KH15 featured, the NB15 had a much warmer, and low end focused sound.

This was great in all honesty, as I was able to comp thicker sounding jazz lines, and warmer sounding country licks, not to mention swirly chorus tones without taking everyone’s head off with a ton of high end, which can sometimes happen with smaller speakers.  Overdriven this little guy had a very 80s sound, with tons of focused, soaring lead tones on tap, and when used in conjunction with Nuno’s signature guitar, this set up sounded almost identical to anything he did with extreme, or solo, which was truly surprising.

On the boost setting the NB15 was just piercing, able to comp a giant roaring lead tone, in a package that fits in a back pack, and isn’t loud enough to wake up the whole neighborhood, so just like its brothers in this little series of signature amps, the NB15 also earns itself a very well deserved 10 out of 10.

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 | Bugera Vintage Amplifiers

Hey guys its Brian here with World Music Supply, and today I’m here to talk to you about the Bugera Vintage series of Amplifiers. Bugera has made it their mission to get classic great sounding tube amplifiers to the world, at a very affordable price. Within the Vintage line of Amplifiers are the V-5, the V-22, and the V-55 combo and head.

The Bugera V-5

The Bugera V-5

First up on the chopping block is the V-5, an amplifier that is close to my heart, as it has been my “secret weapon” so to speak in the studio for a while now. The V-5 is a simple Class A, 5 watt amp driven by one EL84 and one 12AX7. This amp might not be as feature laden as some little practice amps, but what it lacks in technology, it makes up for in amazing tone. Right out of the box, the V-5 is certainly a handsome little devil, and so are the rest in its family, with their two tone cream and black coverings. Mic’d up this little amp is down right amazing, at low gain settings it adds that tube “girth” that even high end solid state amps seem to lack, giving your playing a very warm character, with added harmonics thanks to its hyper simple design.

Running straight into the amp, the guitar has a character all its own, and sure enough, swapping out guitars changes the sound entirely, even when they are very similar guitars. This is in part due to the Class A design, which while I wont go into explaining its benefits, it’s worth reading into. The long and short of it is, Class A amplifiers sound fantastic, even though they are only low power amplifiers. The V-5 also accepts pedals rather well, although you will notice a loss of signal clarity the longer the chain is, and similarly the longer your cable is. The V-5 produces big classic rock tones when you crank the gain and volume up, which are halfway between later Led Zeppelin and early Van Halen. You can hear the Amp distort and feel it pulse and sag with your playing, as well the V-5 is equipped with a power attenuator so you can drop it from 5 watts to 1, to 0.1 watts, meaning you can have awesome tone at any volume. For its ability to be a beast in most studio situations, and for being one awesome practice amp the V-5 scores a nice 9 out of 10.

The Bugera V-22 Combo Amp

The Bugera V-22 Combo Amp

The V-22 is a slightly different beast to its little brother the V-5, in that it is a A/B style amplifier and has a much more versatile and “live friendly” feature set.  The V-22 is a straight forward 22 Watt amp that features two channels, clean and dirty, and two inputs bright and normal much like most vintage amplifiers. The amp has a very different character to the V-5 when it comes to tone, with a much brighter, sweeter sounds with a very, lets say Californian feeling clean section, and a rather British feeling dirty channel.

The clean channel still has that nice girth thanks to the tubes warming them up, although it doesn’t have the guitar to guitar sensitivity of the smaller V-5 it still has a slightly different character from guitar to guitar. The dirt channel has a nice very Queen sounding tone, and thanks to the included mid boost switch, you can even get a very good AC/DC tone out of it. The bass, mid and treble controls are very sensitive and moving them a little does result in some rather dramatic changes, which is good for people who get frustrated with never having enough Bass in their guitar tone. For bedroom practicing there is a Pentode Triode switch on the amp to drop its power threshold to take it to a much friendlier volume, which is great for recording as well. The V-22 also includes a footswitch to switch between the two fantastic channels, and for its ability to have some rather classic tones in an amazingly affordable package the V-22 gets a well deserved 9 out of 10.

The Bugera V-55 Head

The Bugera V-55 Head

Last in the line up are the V-55 head and combo. The V-55 is the most powerful in the line up, with all of the features of the V-22 but far more output and much more headroom in the clean section. The clean tone is still nice and fat, although it does lack some of the tube character of the smaller, lower watt amplifiers, although this is to be expected. The clean channel has a very rock vibe to it, and it is a tad dark, which felt great for jazz and for some rockabilly style country tinged licks. The Dirty channel has a much more distinct sound then the V-22, and a much higher level of gain on tap, which makes this perfect for everything from blues to modern metal.

The Bugera V-55 Combo Amplifier

The Bugera V-55 Combo Amplifier

The tone still has a very classic rock vibe to it, with plenty of over the top saturation and jangly overdriven chords. Out of all of the amplifiers in this review, the V-55 makes you feel like your playing on a real vintage amp the most, with its beefy clean channel, and its super Californian vibe, and its drive channel for all of its British bark and bite. For the price the V-55 has the most complex and convincing vintage amp vibe to it, and this fact snakes it a deserved 10 out of 10.
 

The Bugera Vintage line of amplifiers are amazing rock machines, they feature tones and looks that feel like they were yanked out of the late 60s. They have all of the bark and bite of those classic amps from way back in the day, but at prices that the working guitarist can afford, and you can get them right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!

World Music Supply | Line 6

Hey guys it’s Brian here with World Music Supply, and today I’m here to talk to you about some new stuff coming out from our good friends over at Line 6. For years Line 6 has developed cutting edge digital amplifiers, effects, recording equipment, and guitars, and now they are moving into the realm of sound systems, and professional quality mixers. These new additions to the Line 6 family are designed like all other Line 6 products, meaning they are designed to replace everything else on the market. Once you buy them, Line 6’s design philosophy seems to be, that you will never want to replace any of them. They are designed to be revolutionary, and amazingly simple and straightforward. Lets start with their new mixer, the StageScape M20d.

The Line 6 M20d

The Line 6 M20d

Marketed as a Smart Mixer, the M20d doesn’t disappoint. The first, and most noticeable thing about the mixer, is its lack of traditional mixer controls, no faders, no huge EQ array, just a touch screen, twelve little knobs, one big knob, and seven buttons. The secret is the power that the touch screen allots, from its simple drop-down menus, you can configure whole mixes by simply dragging and dropping icons of what’s on stage. You just plug in the mic, and the M20d knows what’s plugged in and adjusts accordingly. Plug in a guitar, you simply assign it a guitar icon, which comes complete with a corresponding EQ and your guitar tone is set. EQ-ing is even easier, is the guitar too bright? You simply go to the “tweak” button, and using the touch screen as an X Y controller, you move the on screen slider away from the “bright” corner of the pad, to the “dark” or “punchy” corner of the pad, in effect moving several EQ parameters at one time. 

The Line 6 M20d

The Line 6 M20d

 This high level of simplicity is part of Line 6’s new idea about who really uses mixers, as these mixers are designed more towards working bands, who have to run their own sound mixes, as opposed to having a full time sound engineer. However, the simplicity and amazing flexibility is also useful to sound engineers who have to run multiple acts in the same night, or who have to try and juggle mixing and live recording duties. No more having to have a band set up and then worry about if your going to have enough to properly mix and EQ everything, because the M20d has a neat feature where you can record 20 seconds of audio, loop it, and adjust the mix from there. Meaning you can adjust in real time, individually for each different instrument, monitor, and mic. Imagine, just play some of the chorus to a song and within a minute or two, all of the monitor mixes are set, all of the channels are EQ’d, and the sound engineer just saves the mix for next time you play that venue. Recording wise, you can just hook a portable hard drive, or even plug in your laptop and you can record all of the tracks in individual WAV files pre-effect, meaning you have great sounding, crystal clear audio ready to mix at the end of the night.

My favorite part about the M20d is that, like the Mackie from last week, the M20d is compatible with the iPad, and just like the Mackie, you can now walk into the crowd, up on stage, or walking through the room, mixing on the fly. A perfectly tuned mix, with the ease and sensibility even a novice could understand. This isn’t to say though that the M20d is designed with only the novice in mind, as pro engineers can dig in too, and control EQs in a multitude of ways, through the X Y axis control, to 32 band Graphic EQ, or even using the twelve knobs as you would to EQ on a traditional mixer. For the extreme simplicity, and at the same time, rich and in-depth control over your sound, the Line 6 M20d easily gets 10 out of 10.

New From Line 6

New From Line 6

Next up in this round up of new Line 6 products is the companion speaker system for the StageScape mixer, are the incredibly powerful, and amazingly versatile StageSource speakers. The speakers include the L3T main speaker, and L3M monitor speaker, which are both designed around being the most versatile speakers on the market, for use as everything from an acoustic guitar standalone amplifier, to a monitor, to a front of house reference speaker, to a full backline of speakers.  

Line 6 L3T and L3M

Line 6 L3T and L3M

One of the amazing new features is has what’s called the “speaker mode” setting, which digitally re-voices the speakers to better suit what its being required to do. This includes everything from becoming a keyboard amp, a flat reference PA, MP3 playback, to even just being a good old floor monitor. Actually, thanks to its built in accelerometer, it will actually know that if it’s set on its side, it needs to act like a floor monitor, and will immediately retune itself to act as a floor monitor. As well it has L6 connection, meaning when linked to the M20d mixer, it will know where in the room it is in relation to the M20d, and retune itself to suit better, even leveling out the volume of the room, and helping to cancel out feedback in high volume situations automatically. You can even run it in conjunction with any of the POD family of effect modelers and have it sound like everything from a 1400 watt 4×12, to a big, booming acoustic guitar.

The Line 6 L3S

The Line 6 L3S

The other speaker in this new line is the L3S which is the subwoofer of the family, which like the others has the ability to digitally re-voice itself to suit its intended situation. Meaning the L3S is capable of going from reference speaker, to a bright punchy PA, to its D.J settings which feature ultra, and extended bass. Using the L6 link, you are also able to chain the L3T or L3M to the L3S and they will automatically adjust themselves accordingly. This is where the StageSource really shows itself off. Yes, they are great P.A cabinets, and are very flexible and versatile in their own right, but they are also very easily expandable and stackable. Using standard microphone cables, it is possible to chain cabinet after cabinet together and form an intelligent sound system with ever increasing thresholds of power.

The New Line 6 Speakers

The New Line 6 Speakers

So you can wire up a few dozen L3T’s to some L3S’s and put some L3M’s on the floor, and hook it all to a M20d and within a few moments you have an amazing sounding system, no having to adjust acoustics or going speaker to speaker to adjust the sound of the room. You just plug them in, and within a few minutes, you can have great sound at your finger tips. For the easy expandability and extreme versatility every speaker in the StageSource line, easily gets a 10 out of 10.

So what can we take away from this? Well that’s simple; both of these new lines of products are great additions to the already amazing Line 6 family of products. With its ability to quickly interface with all current Line 6 products, and its ability to take mixing in a new and far simpler direction, the M20d out classes and out does anything on the market today, and the StageSource speakers are some of the most intuitive systems available anywhere. So why don’t you head on over to World Music Supply and stop just sounding okay, and start sounding great with these new Line 6 products today.

World Music Supply | New and Improved

Hi guys it’s Brian here with World Music Supply and today I’m here to talk to you about some new and improved pieces of gear coming soon to World Music Supply. For our very first installment of New and Improved I’m going to talk about two innovative mixers that are about to shake up the market.

The Mackie DL1608

The Mackie DL1608

First up to bat is the Mackie DL1608, which is by far one of the most unusual, and innovative mixers I’ve seen in years. First and foremost it should be noted that this isn’t your average mixer, because what it is, is an iPad dock, with the ability to function in tandem with the iPad as a powerful mixing surface. The Mackie handles the input and output sections, while the iPad functions as the controller of the DL1608, by allowing you control over your faders, each complete with a dedicated graphic EQ, Effects and dedicated compressor for each channel.  The DL1608 also has 6 aux sends alongside the standard left and right, each with a graphic EQ and dedicated compressor, meaning this machine can really do it all.

The Mackie DL1608

The Mackie DL1608

The most fascinating thing to me was that you have the ability to plug the mixer into a wireless router, so you can then unplug the iPad, and walk around the venue, using the iPad to wirelessly control the mix from within the crowd.  You can even walk onstage and tune each monitor to the corresponding musician’s personal taste, which is something that is light years ahead of almost every other mixer on the market. You can even run up to 10 iPads per DL1608, meaning that you can have a few friends sitting backstage running a continuous monitor mix, while you and a few more friends walk through the crowd tuning the main mix to perfection. The benefits of a system like this to smaller venues like bars and clubs is immediately appreciable, us musicians might never have to deal with muddy monitor mixes and frustrating sound engineers might finally find some relief from having to run around the venue to see if everything sounds okay.

The Mackie DL1608

The Mackie DL1608

The actual Mackie DL1608 console uses 16 boutique-quality Onyx Mic preamps, and the power and performance of 24 bit Cirrus Logic® AD/DA converters, allowing this mixer unparalleled sound quality. It also includes a PadLock™ feature so you can lock the iPad down for a more permanent installation, as well the DL1608 features a Kensington lock to help protect the iPad from theft, and finally it’s also capable of being mounted on an optional rack mount kit to help keep it in place.

iPad running the Mackie DL1608 control App

iPad running the Mackie DL1608 control App

Overall I think the addition of the iPad connectivity gives the Mackie an edge over almost every other mixer on the market today, and it’s certainly more powerful then any in it’s price range. The ability to mix a live venue while walking through the crowd is unheard of, and being able to mix monitor mixes on stage, this thing could be a real game changer for smaller venues, the days of having to struggle with poor mixes in bars and clubs might be over with the introduction of the Mackie DL1608. For everything it’s worth, the DL1608 is amazing, and its innovative ability to mix while walking through the crowd, on stage, or even both at the same time is really exciting to me. It is for these amazing features that the Mackie DL1608 gets a 10 out of 10 hands down.

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

Next up on the new product list is the Behringer Xenyx UFX1604, and for what the Mackie DL1608 does for live mixing, the Xenyx does for live recording. By now most of us have a mixer or some other interface hooked into our laptops, or our desktops. We probably own some type of recording software, and for the most part, you track one track at a time, like most “bedroom recording studios” do. Now while this is great and all, if you’re like me, you know the hassle of having to try and track a band in a studio like this. The problem comes from the fact that most of these “studios” are made in either a spare room, or a bed room, places you can’t typically fit 4-5 guys, a load of amps, and a drum kit.
 

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The idea behind the Xenyx is to allow all of those cool recording functions, without having to bring along your laptop to either your practice space, or your shows. You simply plug a flash drive or a portable hard drive in the back of the console and it tracks all 16 tracks as individual recordings onto the drive. So you can worry about mixing them later on when you get home, all you have to do is plug the flash drive into your laptop, export the tracks into pro tools or cubase or what have you, and then you just edit and mix your band. Did someone mess up during a song? But other then that the mix is great? Well no problem, just plug the Xenyx into your computer, using either USB or Firewire, and you can just retrack the part that was messed up.

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

        Behringer has made reliable, great sounding, dirt cheap mixers for a long time now, but finally, a firewire/USB analog mixer/recorder with ultra low-noise, high headroom that can export all of your music discretely to a flash drive. The Xenyx also features “Planet Earth” connectivity, which means this mixer can be used world wide. For its amazing flexibility and versatility, walking the line between powerhouse mixer, and amazingly convenient recorder, the Xenyx also gets a 10 out of 10.

So here we have two awesomely powerful mixers, with two very different innovative designs, one is a mixer that you can pick up and carry around, effectively giving you the ability to mix a venue from any area within the venue, while the other allows you to record your whole band from anywhere with the simplicity and reliability of a thumb drive. Now with mixers like these, you finally have the opportunity to perform and enjoy your music the way it was meant to be enjoyed, without all of the hassle and headaches. Now thanks to us here at World Music Supply, you too have this opportunity, because both of these amazing mixers are available for pre-order now at Worldmusicsupply.com.