Reviewed: Phil Jones Bass BigHead HA-1 Headphone Amplifier
A dedicated headphone amplifier is something that you don’t realise you need until you try a good one, and the Phil Jones Bass BigHead HA-1 is a perfect example of this. The hand-sized unit is well-built, battery-powered, sturdy, and simple to use. The box contains everything you need to hook it up to any size setup with an array of cables and different connectors. The HA-1 can be used in a few different ways, and it does all with ease, improving any signal path it’s inserted into. Such a simple unit would be hard to get wrong, but Phil Jones Bass hasn't stopped there.
Reviewed: Voodoo Labs Dingbat Large Pedalboard
Voodoo Lab have long been major players in the guitar industry. Effects, power supplies, switchers and more are part of the VL stable with items such as the Sparkle Drive, Pedal Power Micro Vibe and Ground Control Pro all instantly recognisable and widely used. In fact, Voodoo Lab’s Pedal Power line of pedal power supplies was one of the first pro level units to really hit widespread usage and it’s still going strong today. Combining a couple of their items, VL have released the Dingbat Pedalboard packages with this particular model coming loaded with a Pedal Power Mondo and housed in a snazzy padded gigbag. Aimed as an all-in-one, ready to go deal, the Dingbat looks the goods, so let’s take a closer look.
Reviewed: Cioks DC8 Pedalboard Power Supply
A guitarist’s pedalboard is often an ever evolving work. New pedals, different gigs, different patch leads, new signal paths, buffers, wireless, cables and of course, the power supply. This last item, however, doesn’t always receive the attention it properly deserves. You spend so much time researching, trying, buying and playing with pedals to then use them with a $15 power supply and daisy chain from a dodgy online supplier? Doesn’t make much sense to me. Thankfully, there is an ever growing selection of power supplies to cover your needs for boards of all sizes with Cioks being one of the best, in my experience. From its Professional line, let’s check out the DC8.
Reviewed: T-Rex SoulMate Acoustic Pedalboard
Working on the guitar multi-effects design (typically used and aimed at electric players), the T-Rex SoulMate is chock full of effects and tone shaping tools for acoustic guitar. Compressor, boost, delay, modulation, EQ, and reverb are complemented by a chromatic tuner, five-minute stereo looper, stereo DI outputs, a FET preamp (with phase switch) and auto feedback suppression. I/O is all on the back panel with an input jack with Hi/Lo impedance, phase buttons and a gain level control. The middle section has an insert for a volume expression pedal, boost, and level out controls, while the outputs feature a ground lift button and both balanced and unbalanced (jack and XLR) left and right outputs. The unit comes in a cool brushed metallic type look and is around the size of a computer keyboard (if that gives you some reference).
Reviewed: Nektar Pacer MIDI DAW Footswitch Controller
Foot controllers are usually something that you associate with guitarists and to be honest, when I first had this unit land on my desk, I thought it was just another MIDI controller for an effects rig. Then I actually looked at the product and saw what was on offer. I am, of course, talking about the Nektar Pacer, a new foot controller that has been brought out by the innovators at Nektar, who originally delivered the Panorama keyboard that changed the way in which Reason users could interact with their software. With the Pacer, the team at Nektar has again changed the way in which musicians, producers and engineers can interact with their DAW of choice.
Reviewed: Aston Microphones SwiftShield & Shield GN
British microphone manufacturers Aston have developed a name for themselves in recent years by delivering microphones that are unique in both design and sound. It’s not just their microphones that are changing the classic design principles in the studio, as seen with accessories like their Halo reflection filter and now, the new line of pop filters, the Aston Shields. There are three combinations available in the range, and I got to test out a couple of them that cover all the options on offer.
Reviewed: Sfarzo Touchtone electric guitar strings
I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned it in the past, but during the day I work in a guitar shop. Right by the counter is a wall teeming with strings of as many different sizes, colours, materials and combinations as could ever possibly be necessary. In my day-to-day life, few sections of my place of employ bring forth so many questions. Few sections of the store illicit so much heated debate, especially when it comes to the inclusion of a new suitor to the racks. Everybody has their opinion on which set is best for which purpose and just about every opinion holder is so doggedly loyal to their brand as to turn to a quivering mess at the slightest hint of a change in packaging. We’re a bit like smokers in that way I guess. On the occasion a newbie does roll into town all bright and bubbling with intent, this is the audience there to greet them. This is the test that California’s Sfarzo Guitar String Company faces as they launch into the Australian market with Touchtone.
Reviewed: Zoom H1n Handy Recorder
The Zoom Handy Recorder series are nifty little devices that have changed the way in which many of us look at location recording. The full range caters for multitrack options and incorporate external input sources like an additional microphone, but the simplest recorder is often all that is needed. That is where the Zoom H1n shines, and as the newest generation of their popular H1 Handy Recorder, there’s some nice touches that Zoom have included to make this even more usable than before.