Reviewed: Soyuz SU-023 Bomblet Handmade Condenser Microphone
Ah Mother Russia, what strange, terrifying and wondrous secrets are hidden behind your borders? We in the western world are snuck glimpses of your treasures every now and then, and truly and more often than not they change the way we think about so many things. Your Big Muffs are thicker and more intimidating than our measly Yankee ones, your vodka more potent and life affirming, and now, with this Soyuz Bomblet SU-023 on a mic stand in front of me, you might just have changed what I expect from a large diaphragm condenser mic.
Reviewed: Valeton Loft Series Mini Analog Pedals
I don’t know who works at Valeton or how they got their info, but there is something funny going on in that secret lab of theirs. Playing through and listening to the three pedals from their Loft series that I see before me, I can only assume that the engineers behind the OD-10, CH-10 and AD-10 are a combination of Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Either they’ve cackled their way through discovering the formulae on some dark, stormy night or they’ve shimmied through a roof and stolen the microfilm containing the secrets behind just about every classic stompbox on the market. Either way they’ve done something right because these are some of the healthiest sounding clones I’ve ever laid ears on.
Reviewed: Loog Pro Acoustic & Pro Electric
Loog officially makes guitars for kids but frankly, their designs are so cool that adults seem to dig ‘em too. The company began as an academic project in 2010 around the idea of a sustainably made guitar that encourages kids to play, and that could be put together with an adult. Everything about Loog is geared towards simplicity and fun from the guitar design itself to a bundled app that gives you everything you need to start playing songs straight away.
Reviewed: Focusrite Clarett 4Pre USB
The Focusrite Clarett range focuses on tour audio interfaces designed to offer the kind of quality and features found in units costing twice the price. The series goes from the desktop Clarett 2Pre (10-in, 4-out) and Clarett 4Pre reviewed here (18-in, 8-out) to the single-rackmount Clarett 8Pre (18-in, 20-out) up to the Thunderbolt-only Clarett 8PreX, with a very respectable 26-in, 28-out. Aside from the consistent visual presentation, the line is also held together by its reliance on Focusrite’s decades of analogue design experience, along with Air-enabled preamps that reproduce the input impedance, clarity, and frequency response curve of the company’s original ISA mic preamp.
Reviewed: Positive Grid Bias 600W modeling amp
We may not eat food in pill form or hoon around in hover-cars just yet, but we are well and truly living on the cusp of, if not smack bang in the belly of the future. There are people making music on computers that sounds like blips and bloops just like The Jetsons guessed, and we’re video calling each other on a regular basis just to tell each other that we’re minutes away on the tram. Fred and Wilma would be quaking in their loincloths if they knew half the things we can do these days. The advent of the internet and its expansion to the seemingly limitless world of hands-free technology has made it so that just about anything and everything you could possibly wish for is a swipe, click or tap away. Positive Grid is a company that has been at the coalface of this technological tin mine for years now. Famous for creating some of the most user friendly and sonically advanced music apps on the market, their new Bias Head sees them take one almighty leap into the physical realm and apply the entirety of their tone-tech prowess in the real world.
Reviewed: Yamaha STAGEPAS 600BT
When Yamaha upgraded their STAGEPAS system to succeed the acclaimed 300 and 500 portable PA solutions, they scored a hit with the 400i and 600i offerings. But Yamaha never rests on their laurels, which brings us to the 400BT and 600BT, which you could consider to be the 2.0 of the 400i and 600i.
Reviewed: DV Mark "Raw Dawg" EG amplifier
Many moons ago I was a starry-eyed, fledgling reviewer for this here magazine. The very first piece of kit I was asked to cast a critical eye over was a low wattage DV Mark guitar combo. Being as dewy as I was back then, I only knew about Marco’s inimitable range of bass gear having seen some of my more discerning four-stringed friends conjure brown sounds with various models as conduit. This little combo opened my eyes to the sheer voracity with which De Virgiliis and co. eek out the corners of guitar tonality, and since then I’ve had a certain soft spot for the company. There is just about every colour of the rainbow in their catalogue, each with its own celebrity signatory, and it seems like every issue since I’ve written about a DV Mark build that differs in degrees from the last.
Reviewed: ART Pro Audio Tube Mix
More and more gear is touchscreen-enabled these days, which is great for many applications. There have also been several successful takes at tablet apps that function as touchscreen interfaces for DAWs; it’s just how a lot of people want to work today. But admit it - it feels like there’s something missing. The accuracy and real-time feedback of a physical knob on a mixer channel still just works. ART has always been about combining technology and practicality, and the Tube Mix audio interface brings mixers back - way back - to a time when they were finished in wood grain and were all about controls you could actually touch.