Every now and then, a new device comes along that makes us all stop and wonder why no-one has come up with something like that before. And of course, when a new device like this comes along, it usually opens up new channels of creativity and enjoyment. It is often Japan that comes up with these fun little devices that get our attention and intrigue, and that is certainly the case with the latest offering from Yamaha. The esteemed company has delivered a new concept in practise tools for guitar, keyboard, vocals and just about any instrument that you can plug in. In two brightly coloured devices, the SC-01 and the SC-02 offer us a new way to get together with friends, whilst totally separating ourselves from one another at the same time. It’s time we all took a look at the SessionCake, and apparently we’re invited to take a bite.
I know it all sounds a little crazy, yet at the same time it is certainly intriguing, to say the least. When you look a little closer, the SessionCake is quite a nifty little device designed for musicians to play by themselves or with friends just about anywhere. Essentially, these are compact monitoring mixers, designed to be linked up for multiple users to create a hub. You can integrate audio from an iOS device or similar to play along to and then control the volume and balance between your instrument and the playback device. This can then be heard through your own headphones, allowing you to quietly practise just about anywhere. As both the SC-01 and SC-02 are battery powered, there are no excuses for not getting your practise in when the weather is good; you can take the SessionCake with you wherever you want to go. The output allows you to link up multiple SessionCake devices, so a group of friends can jam together. Up to eight SessionCakes can be linked, although I didn’t have that many to test. It does make you wonder what might happen if a ninth SessionCake was brought to the party.
The two models are really very similar, just with different musicians in mind. The SC-01 is intended for guitar and bass players, with a single Hi-Z input ready for your instrument. The SC-02 covers just about everyone else with both an XLR microphone input and a stereo line input, so keyboards, vocals and even percussion can be added. The top panel allows you to adjust the level of your instrument in your headphones, as well as the level of the input signal that is coming from the other SessionCakes in the mix. You can pan the stereo signals and also control your headphone volume here too.
Whilst it looks incredibly simple, and it wants to appear that way for ease of use, it’s really quite a clever little device. Joined with multiple units for a group, it is a very nifty system. You don’t need an iPhone or some other device to make it work. You don’t need an amp to hear yourself over the other players. All you need is your instrument, your headphones and the SessionCake. Of course, you can add to the setup with an iOS app as an effects device or for added playback, but these are not essential, making the SC-01 and SC-02 such likeable little gadgets. They are going to be the new “go anywhere” practise tool that all the cool kids will want to have. I think Yamaha has gone a little left of centre on this one, but it looks like it just might work.
Hits and Misses
Easy solo practise
Clever group jamming
Portable, battery powered
Perhaps a little plastic-looking