Epiphone, Warwick + more: our top five music gear releases of the week
26.11.2020

Epiphone, Warwick + 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 gleefully diving into the return of the Epiphone Casino and Riviera, as well as scoping out new pieces of kit from Sennheiser, M-Audio, Warwick and Victory. Let’s go!

1. Epiphone Riviera + Casino 

Just a week after they launched a whopping eight new models – including reissues of the cult-classic Coronet, Wilshire and Crestwood guitars – Epiphone are back at today with the relaunch of the Riviera, one of their most acclaimed hollowbody models, as well as introducing new finishes for their longstanding Casino.

Made famous by players like The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, the Epiphone Riviera boasts a hollow maple construction with a maple centre block to minimise feedback, while a pair of Epiphone Pro mini humbuckers sit in the neck and bridge position. That cool ’30s style Frequensator split tailpiece is also back for an immediate visual flair, while players can choose between a Royal Tan and Sparkling Burgundy finish.

On the other hand, the specs of the new Casinos are pretty much what you’d expect: there’s a five-ply hollow maple body and C-profile mahogany neck with Indian laurel fretboard, while two P-90 pickups and CTS pots ensure for a consistently clean tone. These new Casinos are available in a range of three different finishes: Olive Drab, Ebony and Denim Blue.

2. Warwick Alien Deluxe Hybrid Thinline Bass Range 

German-based instrument firm Warwick has unleashed eight new RockBass variants of their funky Alien acoustic bass, with the Alien Deluxe Hybrid Thinline series being presented as the ideal instrument for any kind of player. These new models feature Sitka spruce tops with walnut backs and sides, while a mahogany neck and wenge fretboard with 24 jumbo frets round out each instrument.

Each bass also features a Shadow NanoMag pickup underneath the fretboard and a Shadow piezo beneath the bridge, with a Shadow NFX preamp allowing for subtle tone tweaking. In the hardware department, all basses boast chrome hardware and a Just-a-Nut III Tedur nut, as well as a wenge thumbrest for a comfortable, ergonomic playing experience.

With eight different variations – including left and right-handed models, four and five-string models and even fretless types, there’s something for everyone with the Alien Deluxe Hybrid Thinline series.

3. Sennheiser MD435 + MD445

If you’re in the market for a premium live mic to make your vocals pop – whenever gigs make their return – these ones could be right up your alley. Sennheiser have debuted the MD435 and MD445, two versatile new dynamic microphones with unparalleled feedback suppression and exceptional clarity.

While the MD435 isn’t exactly brand new – you might recognise it shares the same capsule as the wireless MD9235 – it’s nice to see Sennheiser offer a new wired variant, with a super-cardioid pickup pattern and wide frequency response (40Hz – 20 kH) making it a no-brainer for any demanding live vocalist.

The MD445, on the other hand, is tailor made to suit modern stage set-ups with runways and B stages in front of the PA, with a high-rejection super-cardioid pattern and huge sound pressure levels of 163 dB withstanding enormous amounts of gain before feedback. A newly developed aluminium-copper voice coil also provides a nuanced, highly detailed sound with a rich mid-range and bass, suitable for use with all stages and vocalists.

4. M-Audio Oxygen Pro MIDI Controllers

Introduced way back in 2002, the M-Audio Oxygen MIDI keyboard range has been a long-standing force in the world of home audio production, with the series seeing countless revisions as the sector has evolved into what it is today. Now, M-Audio have debuted their latest entries into the series with the Oxygen Pro range, giving the controllers a major spruce up to cement their status as mainstays in the home studio.

With 25, 32, 49 and 61 velocity sensitive keyboard offerings, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro controllers should cater for all kinds of production setups, with OLED displays, auto-mapping and DAW control buttons allowing for a streamlined workflow. An inbuilt arpeggiator and note repeat function lets you get wild with experimental rhythmic textures, while an array of assignable knobs, faders and 16 RGB pads allow for even further customisation.

What’s more, all Oxygen Pro models should automatically map their controls to major DAWs such as Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Studio One, with each controller coming bundled with a bunch of software expansion packs to get you started on your production journey.

5. Victory V4 The Copper Preamp

Porting their V35 amplifier into an ultra-portable package, Victory’s new V4 The Copper Preamp delivers chimey ’50s Vox sounds in a bulletproof preamp pedal that’s perfect for lugging around to gigs.  Packing a three CV4014 tubes and a single EC900, The Copper can be plugged straight into the front of an amp or interface for instant valve hotness, while users can also roll straight into the FX Loop of an amp to use its power amp section to amplify its preamp.

A three-band EQ and controls for Gain, Tone and Master Volume allow for extensive tone sculpting, while a foot-switchable treble boost and a bass mode can also inject some extra frequencies into your sound should you need. The back of the unit also features plenty of ins and outs to suit a huge range of set-ups, which you can check out in the video below.

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