IK Multimedia, Sequential + more: our top five gear releases of the week

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IK Multimedia, Sequential + more: our top five gear releases of the week

Words by Will Brewster

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

Been off the gear grid? No stress – we’ve got you. This week, we’re compiling some of the coolest new releases that might’ve flown under the radar among all the other pre-NAMM announcements, featuring items from Sequential, IK Multimedia, Yamaha, Fender and Blackstar.

1. IK Multimedia Uno Synth Pro 

Back in 2019, IK Multimedia took a ginger step forward into the world of analogue synthesis with the Uno: a small, membrane button-equipped unit that packed a surprising amount of versatility. They’ve doubled down on this now with the announcement of the Uno Synth Pro; a paraphonic unit made in conjunction with Soundmachines that looks to provide ‘next-generation analogue for everyone’.

Available as either keyboard model with a 37-key Fatar keybed or a compact desktop module with capacitance-sensing keys and touchstrips for pitch and modulation, the Uno Synth Pro boasts a mighty three syncable oscillators with variable waveshape and pulse-width modulation, with a white noise oscillator, FM and ring modulation offering further depth to the unit. LED-backlit rubber buttons replace the original Uno’s tiresome membrane buttons, with the Pro also featuring a new SSI 2/4-pole low-pass filter which can be used in inheritable phase, parallel or series, resulting in a total of 24 filter modes.

Other features include a 16-slot modulation matrix, ADSR envelopes for both the filter and amplitude sections, four effects blocks – including analogue overdrive, digital delay, modulation and reverb – as well as a ten-mode arpeggiator, chord mode, 64-step sequencer and 256 presets. Needless to say, we’re very excited to get our mitts on this.

2. Sequential Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 desktop modules 

One of our favourite releases from 2020, Sequential’s amazing Prophet-5 reissue (and the expanded Prophet-10) is now available in a nifty desktop module format, proving to be a god-send for any studio operator short on real estate.

Featuring a near-identical layout to their keyboard-equipped siblings, the Sequential Prophet Rev 4 modules squeeze all of the features of the larger unit into a compact desktop format, complete with wooden sides for a striking visual aesthetic. Expect all the analogue goodness of the original’s gooey multi-waveform oscillators, low-pass filters and dual envelopes in a package that’s infinitely easier to cart around – and a whole lot kinder on your bank account to boot.

3. Yamaha MSP3A Studio Monitors

Dubbed a successor to their popular MSP3 speakers, the new MSP3A from Yamaha combines a 4″ woofer, 0.87″ tweeter and a 22-watt power amplifier to offer a sensational solution for bedroom bound producers. It’s also the company’s first studio monitor to feature Twisted Flare Port technology, cleaning up the definition of bass frequencies by minimising turbulent air flow at the front and back of the speaker port.

The monitor’s front panel is fitted with volume controls for the unit’s two line inputs, as well as low and high frequency knobs for simple tone tweaking, while the back of the monitor features RCA connectors and a XLR/TRS combo connector. Other modifications include a superior cabinet design and bracket compatibility, resulting in an affordable approach to monitoring in the home environment. Keep your ear to the ground to hear more about the MSP3A’s availability soon.

4. Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amplifier 

If you’re on the hunt for a super-portable and very affordable headphone amp for use at home, Fender’s latest entry into the Mustang range might just be up your alley.

Packing 12 Mustang GTX amp models and 13 effects into a pocket-sized device with Bluetooth streaming and four hours of continuous battery life, the Mustang Micro certainly sells itself as a killer practise tool. An adjustable EQ allows for easy tone adjustments, while a rotating input plug ensures it’s suitable for use with all kinds of guitars.

Other neat features include a USB-chargeable lithium ion battery and an inbuilt USB audio interface to quickly lay down recordings or instal firmware updates. It seems like a logical progression for the Mustang range, and we’re excited to see how they sound when they land later in 2021.

5. Blackstar ID:Core V3 Amplifier 

A comprehensive update of one of their most trusty practise amps, the Blackstar ID:Core V3 looks to provide a killer bedroom amplifier for guitarists of all calibers, offering three new amplifiers: the ID: Core V3 Stereo 10, Stereo 20 and Stereo 40.

Featuring Super Wide Stereo technology for a wonderful binaural spread and the new addition of Cab Rig Lite to play with virtual mic placement, the full-range ID:Core V3 also adds retuned onboard DSP effects, plus a 3.5mm TRRS input/output for jamming along with backing tracks or live streaming.

Elsewhere, the ID:Core V3 range’s full-range speaker also presents a mean option for simple music playback, while the inbuilt USB audio interface is a handy option for laying down riffs and recording ideas on the fly.

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