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.
Reviewed: Gruv Gear product range
For me, Gruv Gear was a brand that I had heard about but never took the time to deep dive and see what the fuss was all about. I had seen a myriad of players using their FretWraps, but had no clue that the company offered so much more further to those. I was surprised and excited to have a bundle of Gruv Gear’s products arrive at the office this month for me to check out.
Reviewed: JBV Premium String Sets
One of the most widely agreed upon, must-see documentaries of the past decade, where the guitar world is concerned, is without a doubt a little flick by the name of It Might Get Loud. More arguments have started in rehearsal rooms over any of the three protagonists’ involvement than I care to fathom. One of the more pathos-fueled moments in that filmic round table happens in the beginning where Jack White nails a pickup to a plank and cobbles together a rudimentary slide guitar right before our very eyes. This moment, more than any of the grandstanding usually associated with rock and roll, illustrates just how basic our needs are as string slingers. At the end of the day, all we really need is a wooden box and a good set of strings to drag our sorry knuckles over.
REVIEWED: SWITCHCRAFT AUDIOSTIX COMPACT DI RANGE
The name Switchcraft is synonymous with quality connectors. They offer a standard of input and output connectors for professional audio uses as well as guitar and vocal applications. Many of you will most likely be using Switchcraft connectors on your guitar leads, or have switches, pots and output jacks on your guitar all made by Switchcraft. They are such a common brand name when it comes to everyday musicians’ use that most won’t even realise that Switchcraft is actually responsible for a great part of your signal chain, and a very important part, too. It’s not until many of us come across the separate devices that we take note of what they are, so for all of you who use Switchcraft every day, perhaps you might like to apply their devices in other areas of your signal chain when you need a dedicated audio solution.
Reviewed: Zoom Q2n Handy Video Recorder
We live in a time where a smart use of social media can be a working musician’s best friend. There’s never been more ways to get your music and your skills out there to the world, yet copious amounts of players resort to a simple iPhone recording — or maybe even pulling a few loan cameras into the mix for good measure. With Zoom’s ingenious Q2n, musicians are given a one-stop tool to capture pristine audio and video in one easy to use package. For those looking to capture what they do best and share it with the world without breaking the bank, this is for you. We live in a digital world, and it’s time to make the most of it.
REVIEWED: ERNIE BALL CRADLETUNE
Behind every great man is an even greater woman, or so the old adage goes. In touring band circles the saying is more specifically behind every great axe-man/woman is an even greater guitar tech. The black-clad unsung heroes of performance are all too often ignored despite the omnipresent rattle and jangle, battle cry of the densely populated keychain-come-utility belt, especially where product innovation is concerned. Did anyone ever spare a thought for Pete Townsend’s overworked underlings? Where would The Edge be without someone to ensure that the 400 guitar changes that happen every show go as smoothly as possible? Where would Slash be without someone to wipe the Jack Daniels and cigarette ash off his near priceless riff-sticks? So it’s about time that someone paid them some heed and lightened even one small part of their load. In swaggers Ernie Ball with their space-saving, eyestrain relieving CradleTune clip on tuner.