Audio-Technica, Novation + more: our top five gear releases of the week
16.02.2021

Audio-Technica, Novation + more: our top five gear releases of the week

Words by Will Brewster

Our guide to the biggest drops in the gear world this week.

Been off the gear grid? No stress – we’ve compiled some of the coolest new releases that you might have missed amid the news cycle, including a useful content creation bundle from Audio-Technica, Novation’s latest entry into the Circuit groovebox family and an update to Epiphone’s Swingster models, plus new stompboxes from Red Witch and Electro-Harmonix. Dig in.

This week’s top picks:

  • Audio-Technica Creator Pack Pro
  • Novation Circuit Tracks
  • Epiphone 2021 Swingster models
  • Red Witch Binary Star Time Modulator
  • Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker

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Audio-Technica Creator Pack Pro

A year after the massively successful launch of the Creator Pack – a bundle which obviously went bonkers over lockdown – Audio-Technica have doubled down on their winning package with the Creator Pack Pro.

In addition to a pair of ATH-M20X headphones and a desktop boom arm, the Creator Pack Pro now boasts the AT2020USB+ microphone with inbuilt analogue to digital converters. Featuring a sampling rate of 16 bit 44.1/48 kHz, a low-mass diaphragm hand-punched in Tokyo and a cardioid polar pattern to minimise pickup of sounds from the rear and sides of the microphone, the 2020USB+ offer a high-quality upgrade to suit spoken and sung vocals alike.

Users can plug their headphones straight into the back of the microphone for direct monitoring, while a front-placed volume and mix control makes adjusting levels a breeze. Keep your eyes peeled for them on shelves near you!

Novation Circuit Tracks

A successor to the humble Circuit – a simple, yet sorely overlooked groovebox – the Novation Circuit Tracks is a comprehensive update that takes the workflow of the original and overhauls it to make it all the more functional.

While retaining much of the original’s design, the Circuit Tracks does boast a slightly more sleek aesthetic, with its 32 pads taking influence from Novation’s latest generation of Launchpad controllers. The feature set also remains similar to the first run, with two polyphonic synth tracks, four drum tracks, SD card sampling and a bunch of performance effects to colour your sequences.

New features to the Circuit Tracks include two additional MIDI tracks to pair up with external devices, as well as rechargeable battery power and two mono inputs. The workflow of the device is also much more hands-on, allowing for eight separate tracks with eight patterns of up to 32-steps per track, as well as sync rates, quantised/unquantised recording, a new click track, side-chaining, new patch and project modes plus more. Check it all out below – and stay tuned to hear more about the newly announced Circuit Rhythm too.

Epiphone 2021 Swingster models

For those out there who like to explore rockabilly, country and blues stylings, Epiphone’s new run of Swingster models might just tick a few boxes off your hit list. The new 2021 run combines five-ply maple bodies and SlimTaper mahogany necks with Indian laurel fretboards, decked out with block inlays for a classy look.

Loaded with a pair of SwingBucker pickups with push/pull switching to flip from series and parallel switching, the latest run of Swingsters also feature LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridges and funky Bigsby tremolos, plus Grover Rotomatic tuners for supreme performance. There’s three different finishes on offer: Forest Green Metallic, Black Aged Gloss and Delta Blue Metallic, with each guitar featuring crisp binding on the body, neck and headstock to boot.

Red Witch Binary Star Time Modulator

Straight out of New Zealand, the Red Witch Binary Star Time Modulator is a subbed as a ‘celestial time modulator’ that combines delay, chorus, vibrato and pitch-shifting into one compact little package. It’s able to be used in both mono and stereo, with five dials and two rocker switches letting you tap into an array of classic analogue and wild abstract tones alike.

The pedal’s Universe knob handles the delay time of the effect and the Replicate takes control of repeats and resonance, while Mix, Depth and Velocity knobs let you dial in the blend and modulation of the effect. Meanwhile, the left-hand toggle lets you switch from increase to decrease delay time, while right toggle lets you tweak the brightness of the wet signal to flip between warm and brittle delay and chorus sounds.

Each unit is hand-signed by Red Witch maker Ben Fulton, and orders can be placed via their website.

Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker

Emulating the classic slashed speaker fuzz tones employed by players like Link Wray and The Kinks’ Dave Davies, the latest pedal from EHX adds yet another essential fuzz box to their ever-expanding lineup.

The new stompbox features standard Fuzz and Volume knob in addition a Rip control to adjust the bias of the fuzz tone, while an active Tone knob offers a tilt-shift EQ to shape your overall signal. Hear how it sounds in action below, and keep your eyes peeled for them on the market soon.

Find out more about all the latest gear over at our Product News page.