Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man Ray24
Since its inception in 1976, Music Man’s StingRay bass has been a doe-eyed dream for young bassists. Its sleek cut outs and ovular pickguard frame a peppy tone, signature growl and pouncy low end. The fantasy for many of us deflated like a school fete balloon as we flipped over the multi-thousand dollar price tag. This year, Music Man have sought to repair hearts with their affordable 2018 range of Sterling by Music Man StingRays, matching the distinctive aesthetic cool with surprising tonal emulation. The Ray24, the mid-range offering wedged between the S.U.B Sterlings and the Ray 34, is a resounding success.
Reviewed: Mackie FreePlay GO
The Mackie FreePlay series offers three speakers of different sizes in the FreePlay GO, FreePlay Home and FreePlay Live. Weighing in at under a kilogram, the FreePlay GO is the smallest of the three speakers, but that doesn’t hold the GO back from packing a punch. The GO pairs very easily with a smart phone or computer, has its own volume and play/pause controls that sync with your sound source, and the offers a crisp, full-spectrum sound from this tiny lithium-ion powered Bluetooth speaker.
Reviewed: Warwick Streamer Stage I 5 Limited Edition Bass
In August of this year, wandering around the Melbourne Guitar Show at Caulfield Racecourse, I spotted a Streamer Stage hanging from the wall in the Warwick booth. The price tag was as eye-catching as the European ash burl top over the swamp ash body, and the gold hardware and bronze frets stood out against the wenge fingerboard and deep, rich burls. Warwick is the bass of choice for some of the biggest names in music, such as Metallica, Pantera, Alice in Chains and U2. The list really does go on. The Warwick Streamer Stage I 5 Ltd is a 34” electric five-string bass. It features dual active Aguilar pickups, a brass Warwick bridge and Warwick tuners.
Reviewed: TC Electronic TC8210-DT and TC1210-DT Plug-ins
Plug-ins have made writing, producing, recording, mixing and mastering music infinitely easier than patching in clunky hardware. They’re generally a software reproduction of a piece of hardware, that are used as either an insert or auxiliary effect depending on your workflow, although many plug-ins do their job without reproducing a specific piece of hardware. TC Electronic have historically produced high-end, studio grade hardware. While they have been producing plug-ins for some time, the TC8210-DT and TC1210-DT bring a tangible piece of hardware to the fold. These plug-ins are both ‘desktop’ versions of their 19” 1U rack counterparts, and make ITB (in the box) mixing even easier. The TC1210-DT is a ‘spatial expander’ that is primarily used to add excitement or thicken up a signal, while the TC8210-DT is a handy little reverb plug-in to heavily effect a signal or help sit different elements into a mix.
Reviewed: Paiste Cymbals PST X Effects Cymbals
Paiste cymbals are synonymous with quality and consistency across all their cymbal lines. From the legendary rock sounds of the 2002 range to the incredible clarity of their Signature line, Paiste continue to occupy a unique spot in the cymbal landscape. The Swiss qualities of precision manufacturing and attention to detail are apparent across all of their products. The PST X line of cymbals is at an entry level price point yet uses the same alloy as Paiste’s 2002 cymbal line, which gives them the warmth and complexity of much more expensive cymbals.