1. Mackie Element Podcasting Microphones
Mackie have clambered upon the podcast train with their recent launch of the Element USB microphone range, consisting of three unique units to satisfy amateurs and professionals alike.
There’s the EM-91CU, a USB microphone of the plug-and-play variety with a simple cardioid capsule to act as a simple solution for “content creation, online meetings, voiceover and music”, while the Chromium combines USB functionality with a two-channel mixer to make for an ideal option for live streams.
Meanwhile, the Mackie Carbon packs five selectable polar patterns, including a stereo microphone mode, into its capsule, and comes bundled with its own mic stand. All units function via USB C, and are packed with Onyx preamps for optimised audio quality.
2. MXR M305 Tremolo
Packed with six different waveforms, MXR’s new M305 tremolo pedal is a compact and surprisingly versatile unit that could serve as a formidable device on any pedalboard. Featuring M159 Stereo, Bias, Revo, Opto, SQR and Harmonic tremolo modes and knobs to tweak the Gain, Speed and Depth of the effect, there’s a lot on offer with the M305. Whether you’re looking for choppy breaks or just a splash of subtle wonk, this thing’s got you sorted.
But wait – there’s more! The MXR M305 also features a secret Envelope Mode, which you can access via holding the Gain knob for a few seconds. This unlocks a touch sensitive tremolo effect that interacts with your playing dynamics, making for a feature-packed stompbox that certainly looks hard to beat on paper. Keep your eyes peeled for them in stores soon.
3. NUX Mighty Plug
Featuring 13 amp models, 20 cab impulse responses and 19 effects, the NUX Mighty Plug is the rehearsal tool you’ve been waiting for. With remote Bluetooth operation, a rechargable lithium ion battery with three hours of play time and an app to control it all with, there’s never been a more convenient way to work on your chops on the go – simply plug in, hook up your headphones and you’re off to the races.
Players can access effects such as EQ, tremolo, wah, drive, flanger, chorus, delay, reverb and wah, while the amount of amp and cab models packed into the Mighty Plug should ensure for a decent number of tonal combinations. There’s even ten drum patterns and a metronome to practise to, and NUX have even made the Mighty Plug compatible with bass and acoustic instruments. Hear how it sounds in action below.
4. Akai Force 3.0.5
Akai have introduced a significant update to their Force standalone production controller, with 3.0.5 bringing a bevy of new features to take it up a notch for producers. There’s a new Ableton Live Project Import to make the Force play nicely with other DAWs, while new MIDI Multi with up to 32 devices and Macros help put the icing on the cake of his firmware update.
What’s best about 3.0.5, however, is the enhanced Arranger mode, which lets you stack and sequence all your stems to create entire tracks. This takes the Force from being a songwriting sketchpad into a fully fleshed out, comprehensive studio-in-a-box, and could prove to be a deadly companion to your Ableton Live process. Check it out below, and download the update today.
5. Fender Troy Van Leeuwen Signature Jazzmaster
As Josh Homme’s sidepiece in Queens Of The Stone Age, Troy Van Leeuwen is one of the most consistent guitarists of modern rock, and his affection for Jazzmasters is well documented. After linking up with Fender for a Signature Jazzmaster a few years back, Troy’s gone back for seconds and linked up with the Big F once again for another run of Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmasters with a brand new colour scheme.
Boasting an alder body and maple neck and fretboard, the TVL Jazzmaster also features a new Copper Age finish, contrasing the Oxblood finish that adorned the initial signature production run. There’s also a vintage C-shaped neck with blocks and binding and a 7.25″ fretboard radius, while Pure Vintage ’65 pickups and a modified rhythm circuit allow for a myriad of tones. Hear it in action below.
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