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REVIEWED: VOX MV50 AMPLIFIER SERIES
VOX’s new MV50 line of amps is designed to give you a unique voicing in a teeny tiny configuration blasting out 50 watts of power. There are three amplifiers in the line: MV50 AC, which is based on the venerable VOX AC 30, MV50 Clean, which is ‘inspired by classic American amplifiers’, which usually means Bassman or Twin unless indicated otherwise, and MV50 Rock, which is based on ‘more aggressive tones reminiscent of high gain British amplifiers’, often code for ‘a JCM800’.
REVIEWED: GUILD GUITARS CE100D CAPRI WITH BIGSBY
Guild may not have had an overly strong presence in the Australian market of the last decade, but that doesn’t mean their guitars haven’t continued to deliver in tone, looks and build quality. It is only recently that we have started to see them finding their way back into discerning guitar stores around the country and it is with good reason, too. The range on offer from Guild and the quality at every price point means you can find that special guitar that you might have been struggling to find elsewhere. This month I got to put my hands on the first Guild I’ve come across in a number of years, and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed. It was worth the wait.
REVIEWED: MATCHLESS AMPLIFIERS HOTBOX III PREAMP PEDAL
The Hotbox III is Matchless Amplifiers’ latest incarnation of their popular tube preamp pedal – locked and loaded with two channels and housed in a solid mirror-polished stainless steel enclosure that looks a treat. Like the British amps the sound is based upon, the controls are set up simply with an emphasis on driving your amp and locking into that sweet spot of cascading gain as opposed to endlessly tweaking the EQ. In an added bonus, the Hotbox III is kitted out with true bypass switching to keep your original signal intact, a detachable power cord, and a reinvigorated enclosure that'd work well on either a pedalboard or as a standalone unit.
REVIEWED: DV MARK 212 GH CABINET
In order to find out what’s going on behind the black tolex we must first hit the spec sheet. Weighing in around a modest 13kgs, the closed back of the enclosure hides two of Mark World’s patented neodymium speakers. I’ve reviewed these before and remember being impressed by the distinct absence of abject heft without sacrificing an ounce of power or throw. I carried it in its cardboard box from my car all the way into the house on one shoulder like a case of beer, a feat that no other 2x12 owner would dare attempt lest they stare a lifetime of chiropractic work dead in the face.
REVIEWED: EXPRESSIVE E TOUCHE EXPRESSION CONTROLLER
You can be forgiven for not knowing about Expressive E, the brand behind this product, as they are a fairly new company that has been in development of their first product for several years now. Based in France, they have come out guns blazing with their first product release at this year’s NAMM show in January. The product is Touché, a new idea in expressive controllers for synthesisers. The concept was that one should be able to control a digital or analogue synthesiser with the feeling, emotion and expressiveness that one would be able to do with a traditional acoustic instrument. It brings a whole new ‘hands on’ approach to how you control your sound. Forget everything you know about drum pads, pots and faders; this is going to blow your mind.
REVIEWED: BOGNER GOLDFINGER 54 PHI HEAD
With many classics in their range including the Ecstacy, Uberschall and Shiva, Bogner have also received plenty of attention over the last few years with their Goldfinger range of amps. Harmonically rich for cleans and dirty tones, they really are gigging tone monsters capable of sounding juicy and big at usable volume levels. Adding a twist to the Goldfinger design Bogner have released the 54 Phi onto the guitar playing public – let’s see if it keeps up the Goldfinger name.
REVIEWED: AVID Pro Tools Eleven Rack
This is not the first time I have gotten my hands on the Eleven Rack. My first foray with it was back when it existed only as a plugin for guitar amp modelling within Pro Tools, but since then I have been able to use one a number of times as a recording tool for quality guitar tones. But I haven’t overlooked the treasures this holds as a live guitar tool too. AVID’s Pro Tools Eleven Rack ties it all together to give users not only the flexibility they have demanded, but the quality and stability that they need both in the studio and on stage.
REVIEWED: FENDER AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL PRECISION BASS
The mood in the Fender factory in the year 1951 must’ve been absolutely electric. With the popularity of Leo and co.’s builds skyrocketing and one of the most profound shifts in popular culture blossoming all around them, I can only imagine what it was like for the people on the tools that gave rise to such mythic instruments as those that we now know to be the gold standard in four and six string design. If ever the question, ‘What does a bass guitar sound like?’ is asked, more likely than not the beast that springs to mind is that year’s deadliest weapon, the Precision Bass. 60 years and countless technological advancements later and still nothing quite compares to that tough, solid monolith of low-end.