Friedman, Tone King + more: our top five gear releases of this week
06.05.2021

Friedman, Tone King + more: our top five gear releases of this week

Words by Will Brewster

Plus Antelope Audio, Aguilar and Wampler.

With so many brands to keep up to date with, it can be easy to lose track of all the latest equipment launched into the gear-sphere each week.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the best product releases that you might’ve missed over the week, with this wrap-up featuring new lunchbox-sized amps from the likes of Friedman and Tone King as well as two cool releases from Antelope Audio and a pair of pedals from Aguilar and Wampler.

This week’s top picks:

  • Friedman BE-Mini
  • Tone King Gremlin
  • Antelope Axino Modelling Mic / Zen Q Interface
  • Aguilar Amplification DB 599 Bass Compressor
  • Wampler Andy Wood Gearbox Signature Overdrive

Check out all the latest Product News here.

Friedman BE-Mini

Few boutique amplifiers feature a preamp circuit than that of Dave Friedman’s famous BE design sound within the BE-100. However, as we all know, using a 100w head isn’t always the most viable gear solution, which makes the arrival of Friedman’s new BE-Mini all the more exciting for us here.

Packing 30w of power and weighing just under 2kg, the Friedman BE-Mini takes the famous BE circuit’s UK-voiced high gain tones and squeezes it into a compact, lunchbox-sized amplifier head to suit the requirements of space conscious guitarists. Controls for Bass, Mid and Treble as well as Volume, Gain and Presence allow for simple tone shaping, while Cut and Tight mini toggle switches help unlock further sonic versatility and let you tap into the true potential of the amplifier’s circuitry.

Perhaps most enticing, however, is the fact that the BE-Mini runs off a universal 24V power supply. That means you can leave that step-down transformer at home when the world is open to tour again, and focus on achieving the primary task at hand: rocking out.

Tone King Gremlin

Another pint-sized boutique amplifier! Crafted in the US, Tone King’s new Gremlin is a retro-styled 5w tube amp with controls reminiscent to that of the famed Fender Champ. It’s powered by a pair of 12AX7 tubes in the preamp section and a lone 5881 in the power section, features simple controls for Volume and Tone, and boasts two channels for Rhythm and Lead – each of which are voiced to replicate classic Fender Blackface and Tweed tones.

Although you should already be able to garner some pretty tough tones with ease, Tone King have also integrated an Ironman II attenuator into the Gremlin, letting you dial the output of the amp down even further for late-night recording purposes. It’s also available to order in a range of cool vintage-inspired colour schemes, including Black, Cream, Brown, Red and Turquoise.

Antelope Axino Modelling Mic / Zen Q Interface

Antelope Audio have unveiled two new products to flesh out their Synergy Core range in the form of the Zen Q Thunderbolt 3 audio interface and the Axino USB modelling microphone.

The Zen Q interface essentially converts the previously announced Zen Go Synergy Core into a Thunderbolt-ready studio weapon with room for ADAT expansion, plus dual XLR/TRS inputs, two headphones outs and S/PDIF, while 192kHz and 127dB of headroom make recording quality tracks from the bedroom all too easy.

Meanwhile, the Axino USB modelling microphone is a cardioid condenser that makes good use of Antelope Audio’s discrete preamp design and Synergy Core effects processing, with 64-bit clocking and up to 124dB of dynamic range on offer. Alongside Synergy Core processing, there’s also ten analogue effects models to let you emulate classic tools from Urei, Neve and Teletronix, while 18 virtual mic models are also bundled to make for a pretty impressive solution for bedroom producers.

Aguilar Amplification DB 599 Bass Compressor

We all know Aguilar are considered as royalty among bassists and low-end operators, and that’s not just exclusive to their amplifiers and speaker cabs: as it so happens, they’re also pretty damn good at making effects pedals too. This is made apparent yet again through the launch of the new DB 599 Bass Compressor, a super-intuitive little stompbox that allows you to tame your dynamics with ease.

With only two knobs to control Compression and Gain, the DB 599 excels in its simplicity, with Aguilar describing the unit as being ‘for bassists seeking a no-fuss, easy-to-dial-in way to add compression to their signal chain without altering the character of their bass or sacrificing their low-end’. By all accounts, it does exactly that – and we’re pretty keen on that yellow finish too.

Wampler Andy Wood Gearbox Signature Overdrive

There’s nothing quite as convenient and desirable as a pedal that combines two other famous pedal circuits into one chassis. That’s exactly what Wampler have done with their new Andy Wood Gearbox Signature Overdrive, fusing their Tumnus Klon-style overdrive with a Plexi-themed Pinnacle drive with a three-band EQ and noise gate to suit the requirements of country shred-head Andy Wood.

With the Tumnus on channel one and the Pinnacle on channel two, both sides of the Gearbox can be used independently or stacked together, and there’s also individual inputs and outputs for each circuit should you want to dabble with that. Additionally,  a switch lets you switch the order of each circuit in the signal chain for enhanced tonal versatility, resulting in an overdrive that looks to be ticking all the boxes.

Catch last week’s gear wrap-up here.