Reviewed: Yamaha HPH MT5 and MT8 Headphones
Headphones have come a long way. The quality, detail, clarity, weight, comfort factor and portability make them usable and appropriate for a range of functions and work as anything from serious studio reference tools to portable music player add-ons and even fashion items. Whilst small bud sized in ear headphones are great for some applications, the over ear enclosed designs have continued to be a mainstay in the professional music arena and had a huge resurgence with the general music playing public. Yamaha are seemingly always at the forefront of music gear design and research, and they’ve released some new models under the HPH range to suit a range of budgets.
Reviewed: Fender Monterey and Newport Bluetooth Speakers
Imagine what it must be like being the biggest instrument manufacturer in the world. Not only are you the progenitor of one of the biggest paradigm shifts in music history, but you’ve also consistently raised the benchmark for quality builds and ingenious design for decades. You’ve just launched yet another successful and sought after series of instruments that smokes the competition and you’re looking for a little fun project to keep things interesting. What’s a huge instrument company to do? The answer lies in the satellite interests that keep your loyal army of propeller heads frothing. Why do these people play guitar? Because of their love of music. What do they do with music other than play it? Listen to it. What’s the newest and most innovative way to listen to music to emerge in recent years? Enter Fender’s new Monterey and Newport Bluetooth Speaker systems.
Reviewed: Mad Professor Amplification Bluebird Overdrive Pedal
There are several words all too often employed by guitar players in order to describe the tone of their dreams. Words like ‘transparent’ and ‘saturated’ get bandied about liberally by people who don’t necessarily know what they mean in general, let alone in relation to the search. One that gets less of a look in but that is equally mercurial is the word ‘sensitive.’ How can the sound of a tube amp being pushed to its very limits be described as anything other than flat out? It seems counterintuitive to anyone who hasn’t tried the Bluebird Overdrive from Mad Professor Amplification.
Reviewed: Dynaudio LYD 48 Studio Monitor Speakers
I think it is safe to say that the new LYD series of studio monitors from Dynaudio is going to be the most usable range of speakers they have ever produced for the home studio. There are a few tricks that are included in these monitors that will make them ideal for many of our readers, especially those recording and mixing in slightly larger rooms. Let’s have a listen to the LYD 48 near to midfield active studio monitors and see what they’re made of.
Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man Ray 34 Bass
When I’m not assailing you, dear reader, with seemingly endless dross in these hallowed pages, I spend my days gainfully employed at your friendly, local guitar store. More often than not when people venture into Bass Corner, down towards the back of the shop, they pick up the P-Bass or Thunderbird that we have safely nestled back there and do their best Flea impersonation. Now, while Leo Fender’s Precision may be one of the most recorded basses in music history, these people are cruelly overlooking a machine that is much more suited to that particular style of playing: the Ernie Ball StingRay, whose honking high mid-range vivacity and balance sits perfectly in the pocket of the more percussive elements of modern music. While they may not sit well with the snobby, classic-rock crowd, there is more than enough colour in the StingRay to render it a welcome addition to any collection. Sterling pays tribute to the mainstay of the So-Cal revolution with their Ray 34.
Reviewed: Fender In Ear Monitor Range
Someone over at Fender HQ clearly has a bee in his or her bonnet. The most universally acknowledged instrument maker on the planet has released several new lines of products in the last six months to a year, all of which harbor allusions to an underlying theme; one of absolute professionalism. Leo’s descendants shelved their Standard and Blacktop series of guitars and basses a few months ago in favour of the new American Professional range, which offers a cleaned up, no nonsense rendering of their most unanimously sought after builds. Last issue I reviewed the P Bass from this line and was struck by how distinctly sturdy and work-ready it felt in my hands. All of their attention lately seems aimed at the modern working musician whose needs do not include many bells and whistles. Aside from the instruments themselves, Fender’s next logical step is to offer some of the most stage friendly designs they’ve ever come up with: the FXA, CXA and DXA series of in-ear monitors.
Reviewed: Cusack Music Tap-A-Delay Pedal
Cusack Music have been building pedals and amps out of Michigan since 2002. Many of you might have seen/tried/heard the Tap-A-Whirl tap tempo Tremolo which has graced more than few pedal boards around the globe. Following the Tap tempo path (and Tap name), the Tap-A-Delay offers up to 750ms of delay with a range of features for some old school analogue sounding goodness. ‘This isn’t your clean studio quality digital delay with perfect repeats,’ reads the Cusack spiel.
REVIEWED: Samson QU2 Recording & Podcasting Pack
It’s been some time since we were introduced to the idea of podcasting, and with the growth of the medium so too has there been growth in the technology. There is now no reason why anyone should be recording YouTube videos, podcasts or web interviews with just the inbuilt microphone on your computer or tablet. In this day and age, when sound quality is so important, you need to use a microphone that will help ensure you are heard clearly, be it just spoken voice or for instrumental and singing uses too. With that in mind the QU2 Recording and Podcasting Pack from Samson is certainly worth considering for anyone with a limited budget that requires a high-quality audio recording.