MOTU, Orange Amplification + more: our top five gear releases of the week
08.04.2021

MOTU, Orange Amplification + more: our top five gear releases of the week

Words by Will Brewster

Check out all the latest releases to land this week.

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 releases that might’ve flown under the radar recently, with this week featuring an updated take on the classic MOTU UltraLite, a new acoustic stompbox from Orange Amplification, Jared James Nichols’ new signature Epiphone and two monstrous analogue synth rigs.

This week’s top picks:

  • MOTU UltraLite MK5
  • Orange Amplification Acoustic Pedal
  • Epiphone Jared James Nichols Gold Glory Signature
  • Erica Synths Black System III
  • Vermona DRM1 MkIV

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MOTU UltraLite MK5

The latest update to the tried-and-true UltraLite audio interface range, MOTU’s new UltraLite MK5 features internal and external design revisions alongside new converters, a white OLED display, new steel chassis and more.

Packing 40 ins and outs with two front panel XLR/TRS combo inputs, six analogue line inputs, ten 1/4″ line outputs and eight channels of ADAT optical inputs, plus stereo RCA and MIDI I/O.

The UltraLite MK5’s new AD/DA converters provide up to 125dB of dynamic range with a sample rate of 192kHz, with each analogue inputs now measuring at 120dB to ‘vastly outperform’ older models. Other new features include Loopback live streaming functionality, iOS compatibility and CueMix 5 software functionality, making for one of the most comprehensive audio interfaces in this market today.

Orange Amplification Acoustic Pedal

The latest launch from Orange Amplification comes in the unsuspecting form of an acoustic preamp. Dubbed the Acoustic Pedal – no points for imaginative names here – the pedal features 1/4″ inputs and outputs with a balanced XLR output to hook up to mixing desks or audio interfaces.

The Acoustic Pedal boasts controls for volume, bass, treble and midrange, and there’s also a notch filter to bust out any feedback woes. An internal JFET circuit allows for super high headroom to minimise any potential clipping issues, with the unit also being void of a traditional footswitch – simply plug it into an 18v power supply, hook up your guitar, and you’re ready to rock and/or roll.

Epiphone Jared James Nichols Gold Glory Signature

Revealed earlier last year, the Epiphone Jared James Nichols Gold Glory Signature Les Paul is now shipping. This illustrious matte Goldtop model expands on the blueprint set by the original Old Glory model, and offers a single P-90 pickup in addition to a simplified wrap-around bridge, volume and tone controls and sweet double body binding.

Other appointments included on the Gold Glory include a mahogany body and set neck, ebony fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, a revised headstock shape and a back-painted headstock, which also features Jared James Nichols’ signature. Hear it in action below.

Erica Synths Black System III

Here’s one for all you mad modular freaks: Erica Synths have introduced the third version of their enormous System rig, decking it out in a menacing black finish to offer an all-encompassing modular performance system unlike anything else available on the market today.

Powered by the Black Sequencer, the Black System III boasts modules to provide both digital and analogue waveforms, as well as a myriad of VCAs, modulation capabilities, a joystick controller and much more.

Of course, some might consider it cheating to use a prebuilt modular performance rig of this nature, but if you’ve got a keen interest in things that go bleep and bloop and have the cash to splash, there’s probably no better option to explore than this.

Vermona DRM1 MkIV

A new update for one of the most revered analogue percussion synths of the modern era, the Vermona DRM1 has now been taken up to its fourth generation.

Although Vermona have retained most of the sounds from the original unit, there are a few new tweaks to the DRM1 MkIV.

They’ve revamped some of the internal circuits by expanding frequency range, redesigning sub-circuits and adjusting levels to beef up some of the machine’s tones, as well as fitting it with USB-MIDI, upgraded trigger inputs and a new universal power supply, allowing you to plug it into power ports all over the world without needing to worry about changing the mains voltage.

Missed out on last week’s gear wrap-up? Fret less – check it out here.