Reviewed: Mad Professor Kosmos Ambient Reverb Pedal
When you’re lying on your back at night and you think about the universe, what do you think it sounds like? Some would imagine a thick, heavy silence like you would hear underground. Science suggests that with nothing for sonic vibrations to reverberate against in The Grand Vacuum that this would be the most accurate assumption. Science be damned though; when I think of the sound of the universe, I hear everything all at once. I hear the unending, catastrophic, caterwauling orchestra of every atom singing simultaneously accompanied by the lilting, effervescent melodic freedom of floating endlessly untouched by time, stave or physical limitation. It seems that the brains behind the Mad Professor brand of pedals tend to agree as somehow they’ve managed to distil this limitless symphony into one modest blue box, the Kosmos Ambient Reverb.
Reviewed: VL12 Prime Direct Drive DJ Turntable
It’s been a long time since the reign of the 1200 ruled over turntable use and the choice was pretty much stitched up before you even thought about which turntable you should buy as a DJ. Nowadays, there are plenty of options, especially with the recent resurgence in vinyl, so it can be a little harder to find the turntable that is right for your needs. But with all the budget options out there, it is good to know that good quality, direct drive turntables are still being built by brands like Denon, specifically designed from the ground up for DJ use.
Reviewed: Squier Contemporary Telecaster HH and Stratocaster HSS
When a person walks into a guitar shop, there are only so many ways that the ensuing conversation will go. Some people venture inside knowing exactly what they want, be it a spare set of strings or ’72 Tele, some are just in for a gawk, and others are barking up the wrong tree altogether (no, we don’t buy vinyl!) One of the most rewarding conversations is the one where a precocious youngster tentatively creeps in ahead of his allowance/parents. That kid is floored by the shiny expensive things and thoroughly distracted in their quest to find their first ever riff stick.
Reviewed: Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay
The Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay bass has come a long way since it was developed by the original Music Man team, which included one Mr. Leo Fender. It’s a classic instrument which has helped to propel the sounds of punk, rock, alternative, funk, R&B and country for decades now and it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon, with regular limited-edition variations on the theme. This particular StingRay is one of eight models in the lineup, which includes the Classic (with the original two-band EQ and various other original appointments), the StingRay Neck Through, and Old Smoothie, a recreation of StingRay prototype #26, designed for Sterling Ball during his time spent testing and developing the original prototypes back in the ‘70s. The model we’re reviewing today, however, is the standard model - the state of the StingRay art.
Reviewed: Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Monarchy
There’s a lot to be said about John Petrucci’s stamp of approval. His list of equipment over the years features some of the most revered guitars, amps and pedals to ever hit the market. Let’s be honest, the guy has pretty impeccable taste and the insane chops to back it up, so basically any gear he attributes his name to is going to turn heads around the world. The newest Petrucci signature model from Ernie Ball Music Man, the Majesty Monarchy is a true testament to that ethos. A sleek, modern guitar that makes a statement the moment you lay eyes on it.
Reviewed: Radial Engineering J33 Phono Preamp DI
You’ve got to hand it to those Canadians; they certainly know how to build a solid DI box. The team at Radial Engineering have come up with so many clever products over the years, but they have certainly revolutionised the DI world with a specific direct box for just about every task at hand. Be it on stage or in the studio, these units are built for the rigours of one and they offer the quality required for the other. You know that no matter where you use a Radial DI, you’ve made the right choice. That is why so many of you will surely want to get your hands on the J33 Turntable Direct Box. This is a great little problem solver that doesn’t compromise on build or audio quality – exactly what Radial is renowned for doing.
Reviewed: sE Electronics V7 BFG Billy Gibbons Dynamic Mic
ZZ Top occupies a strange place in the pantheon of modern music. If you asked the everyman on the street what they thought of the band, nine times out of ten the best reaction you could hope for is to have “SHE’S GOT LEEEEGS…” screeched in your face. Their comical, Muppet-like appearance and oversexed, bikes n’ babes subject matter tends to lead most people to drop them in the box marked ‘novelty’. Unbeknownst to many, however, their influence is a little further reaching than you’d expect. The seemingly simple, fuzzed out guitar wizardry of the one and only Billy Gibbons has garnered a cult following that far outreaches the few songs you know from karaoke bars the world over, and modern rock bad asses like Josh Homme and Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes count him among their key influences. All that being said, even the most avid Top fan would scarcely call him a singer’s singer, so it seems odd that sE Electronics would etch his signature on the side of their V7 dynamic microphones.
Reviewed: Martinez Southern Star Series MFPC-7C
The Martinez Southern Star series is all about the marriage of traditional style and modern production techniques. The MFPC-7C is a good example: it has a small ‘folk-size’ body construction and a smooth, rounded cutaway, giving it a bit of ‘old school’ and a bit of ‘modern boutique luthier’ look all at once. Of course, at this price point you’re not going to get a Breedlove or a Taylor, but it’s clear from even a cursory look that your dollar is going to the structural aspects of the guitar rather than the visual bling.