Empress, Moog + more: our top five music gear releases of the week

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Empress, Moog + more: our top five music gear releases of the week

Words by Will Brewster

Missed everything that's gone on in the gear world this week? Never fear - we've got you covered.

This week, we’re checking out some of the best new products to be announced over the past week, including new drops from Moog, Empress, Warm Audio and more.

1. Empress Compressor MkII + Bass Compressor 

Since its introduction, the Empress Compressor has been considered by many in the field as one of the most on the market. Now, the Canadian firm are hedging their bets behind their beloved blue box with a new and improved unit, as well as introducing a version dedicated to bassists.

On top of retaining all the features of the original – and trimming the dimensions significantly to make it friendlier for your pedalboard – the Empress Compressor MkII adds a new tilt EQ control and side-chain high-pass filter, and places the LED strip on the side of the unit to monitor your dynamics.

Meanwhile, the Bass Compressor follows a similar model, and adds a two-spot Tone + Colour circuit to add harmonic distortion into the mix.

2. Moog Werkstatt-01

Ever wanted to try your hand at building your own synth? If so, you’ll want to know about this – Moog have revived the Werkstatt-01, a DIY analogue synthesiser kit that looks to be the perfect stocking stuffer for any electronic music enthusiast.

Featuring a 100% analogue construction and packing a single oscillator with selectable waveforms, a LFO, two-stage envelope generator and ladder filter, the Werkstatt-01 can be assembled without any prior electronics experience, and even comes with a CV expander to hook up to all your drum machines and modular gear.

Check out a demonstration below.

3. Warm Audio WA-67

Continuing their mission to revive the best audio equipment of yesteryear and repackage it for the modern producer, Warm Audio have announced the WA-67: an incredibly affordable clone of the Neumann U67 that’s bound to worm its way into studio set-ups the world over.

Built around an EF86 pentode tube and featuring a specially designed capsule and transformer, the WA-67 offers switchable cardioid, omnidirectional and figure-of-eight polar patterns to deliver the ‘smooth and creamy’ sounds of the original, while a -10dB pad switch and 80 Hz high-pass filter offer further versatility while recording.

4. Tascam US-HR audio interface range

Audio mainstays Tascam have debuted the all-new US-HR series, comprised of the US-1x2HR, US-2x2HR and US-4x4HR audio interfaces.

Featuring angled exteriors with an eye-catching aesthetic that invokes comparisons to Spiderman, each interface makes use of Ultra HDDA preamps and loopback recording, making them suitable to fit the needs of content creators, DJs and live streamers.

Each interface also features 24-bit/192kHz audio conversion and USB-C functionality to pair with tablets or smart devices, with the US-2x2HR and US-4x4HR also featuring MIDI I/O and traditional line outputs. Check out the series below.

5. Recording King Parlour Metal Body Resonator 

As their names suggests, Recording King are considered as royalty within the blues and roots sphere, and with their latest release, the Californian brand are looking to cement that status even further, delivering a parlour-sized take on the classic resonator model.

With a hand-spun 9.5″ cone and a nickel-plated brass body, the Parlour Metal Body Resonator pairs a 24.25″ mahogany neck with a 19 fret rosewood fretboard and 1.75″ nut, allowing for nimble playing up and down the fretboard.

The guitar also features open gear tuners and a maple/ebony biscuit bridge.

If you’re on the hunt for the be-all end-all of blues boxes, you’ll definitely want to consider this one. Hear it in action below, and keep your eyes peeled for them in stores soon.

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