Reviewed: Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio
Focusrite are the makers of some of the world’s most revered preamps and channel strips. Their Red series and ISA rack models can be found in top studios the world over. So, it goes without saying that they know a thing or two about great front end audio equipment. This puts them ahead of the pack when it comes to building audio interfaces, as they already have a stable front end to build off. And of course, the reputation of the Red series is what Focusrite have banked on with their Scarlett range of budget audio interfaces. Targeted at home studio to intermediate users, the Scarlett series offers a wide range of recording solutions. The most versatile for a musician looking to start recording would probably be the Scarlett Solo Studio bundle.
REVIEWED: FENDER CLASSIC DESIGN ACOUSTIC SERIES
Fender doesn’t mess around when it comes to acoustic guitars, as anyone who caught Phil Manning at the Melbourne Guitar Show will attest. The acoustic world is very competitive and while Fender doesn’t try to be a Martin or a Taylor, their acoustic range has a lot going for it beyond name recognition and affordability. The four instruments reviewed here represent just a fraction of Fender’s Classic Design series, which is based on a philosophy of solid wood tops, rolled fingerboard edges and ‘easy-to-play’ neck shapes. The care put into the feel of the neck means this is a guitar that will feel great out of the box, while solid tops are known for sounding better and better as they age. So these are guitars that are designed to grow with you.
Reviewed: Zoom LiveTrak L-12 Digital Mixer and Interface
One of the most intimidating and confusing events in the life of the budding young musician is that tentative first step into an actual, semi-professional rehearsal studio. The dim-lit, dank, decades old grime on the walls sets the mood as you approach the ancient PA system and its gummed up faders. The task defeats many but once you do get the ‘test one-two’s to emanate from the charred speakers, then comes that lasting feeling that maybe this music thing does suit you after all. That first amplified victory is enough for many to maintain a hunger for mixing and recording via channel strips and preamps to varying degrees of success for decades thereafter. Zoom has, for a long time, been the go-to company for portable devices that aid and abet this addiction. Their latest creation, the LiveTrak L-12, sees them expand this logical approach to everything-to-everyone status.
Mixdown's Pedal Special: Delay, Reverb & Modulation
Here at Mixdown we wholeheartedly believe that there’s a pedal out there for every guitarist. A stompbox soul mate, if you will. That’s why we have fought tooth and nail – day in and day out – to put to together the most comprehensive, toe-tingling and tone rich pedal effects special for this month’s issue. From pummeling distortion that leaves you gasping for air, to the purest of sweet delays, our writers have sourced the cream of the crop. So go forth, find your perfect match, and head down to your local distributor.
Reviewed: Gretsch Electromatic Limited Edition G5420TG, G5422TG and G5435TG
What is it about the phrase ‘limited edition’ that has us reaching so hastily for our wallets? Is it the promise of otherness, of newness and never before seen exclusivity? Or are we just Pavlovian suckers for an entry-level marketing ploy? As a company, Gretsch is no slouch when it comes to a certain level of prestige at the best of times. However, every so often they square their collective shoulders, take a deep breath and pour their work-worn hands all over a virgin block of wood, taking a little extra time and care to create some actual magic. The three bounteous Electromatics I see before me today – the G5420TG, G5422TG and G5435TG – are prime examples of what can happen when luthiers really care about what they’re doing.
Reviewed: Focusrite Red 8Pre Thunderbolt Interface
It’s been a while since I have had my hands on some of the higher-end Focusrite interfaces. I see and use Scarlett models all the time, so it makes for a pleasant change to get this beauty on my desk this month. Allow me to introduce the new Red 8Pre from Focusrite. For those of you looking for a serious track count, Focusrite quality microphone preamps with digital control and ProTools HD compatibility, you can find it all in this one very sleek and very stylish unit. This is a little bit of a number of Focusrite units from recent years all brought together with some clever engineering to create a single rack space or I/O heaven.
REVIEWED: CHARVEL JOE DUPLANTIER SIGNATURE PRO-MOD SAN DIMAS STYLE 2 HH
Gojira’s Joe Duplantier has an identifiable style built on groove-laden riffs, unusual chord choices and percussive harmonic jabs. He needs a guitar that can handle all of these things in the studio while also getting out of his way when it comes to actually performing. You don’t want to be messing with a bunch of controls when you’re commanding an audience of thousands. Duplantier has a USA-made Charvel model, but now there’s an Indonesian-made, more affordable version too.
Reviewed: Ernie Ball Music Man James Valentine ‘Valentine’ Guitar
Ernie Ball Music Man has long been regarded for making ‘players’ guitars. They are a guitar manufacturer that never shies away from breaking new ground, always tapped into the way people play and the guitarists that matter. With a history of pioneering, player-endorsed design that spans over 40 years, Music Man has developed signature models for the likes of Steve Morse, Eddie Van Halen, Albert Lee, John Petrucci and St. Vincent. With the James Valentine ‘Valentine’ guitar – an instrument made to meet the playing demands and design brief of the modern Maroon 5 guitarist – this proud lineage of Music Man signature guitars continues.