Neumann, Dreadbox + more: our top five gear releases of the week

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Neumann, Dreadbox + more: our top five gear releases of the week

1. Neumann V402 Dual Channel Microphone Preamp

Neumann are expanding their audio empire even further with the launch of the V402, their first ever standalone microphone preamp. Boasting two channels with state-of-the-art transformerless microphone preamps and studio-grade instrument inputs, the V402 delivers incredibly transparent signal reproduction to bring the best out of your microphones or DI’d insturments, with the company touting it as ‘a preamplifier worthy of the Neumann name’. 


The 2RU Neumann V402 features a switchable low-cut that eliminates rumble without decreasing the quality of your signal, and also functions as a premium headphone amplifier, letting you monitor your audio throughout all aspects of the recording or mixing process. A switchable 20 dB pad allows the unit to be used with high-level instruments up to 28 dBu without distorting, while a high-pass is also included to remove pops and other artifacts.  We reckon there’ll be a lot of fuss over this new product, and we’ve got to admit, it does look pretty excellent. 



2. Dreadbox Typhon Analogue Monophonic Synthesiser

As synth nuts will know, Dreadbox are currently one of the coolest manufacturers in the business, carving out a tidy little niche for themselves with their quirky, incredible sounding analogue synths. They’ve recently launched the all-new Typhon, a USB-powered, ultra-portable analogue mono synth with 12 DSP effects powered by Sinevibes, including Distortion, Chorus, Delay, Bit-Crush, Reverb and Flanger. 


With two VCOs, a 4-pole low pass filter and a bunch of VCAs, the Typhon lets you hone in on everything from buzzy retro leads to squelchy acid stabs, while two envelope generators and three additional modulators for LFOs, envelopes, random generators or step sequencers let you further shape the sound to your choosing. There’s also a 32 step sequencer, and you can even use the Typhon as an external effects unit – if you’ve been looking for a good excuse to explore analogue synthesis in the COVID era, this is it!



3. Darkglass Electronics Element Cab Sim & Headphone Amp

Finnish bass wizards Darkglass Electronics have debuted the Element, a sophisticated new cabinet simulator and headphone amplifier with a bunch of great features. It’s inspired by the company’s use of touch sensor technology in their Hyper Luminal Compressor, boasting a minimal design with no knobs and three touch slider potentiometers with LEDs, making for a classy, no-frills piece of gear.


The Element features a bank of five cabinet simulations, with the option for more to be added through the Darkglass Suite, as well as Bluetooth playback, two headphone outputs and an XLR output. The unit is compatible with all bass, guitars or 1/4″ input instruments, and looks like a pretty nifty solution for jamming with a duo or rehearsing silently in solitude. 



4. NUX MG-300 Modelling Guitar Processor

NUX have had a widespread reputation for making extremely pragmatic and affordable gear for years now, and the new MG-300 looks only to solidify that legacy further. Utilising a True Simulation of Analogue Circuit algorithm for its amp and effects modelling technology, there’s a whole bunch of awesome amp models and effects, including overdrive, distortion, rotary, vibrato, delay, chorus and reverb, as well as a 60 second looper, 56 drum beats, a tuner and a global three-band EQ


The MG-300 boasts 25 inbuilt cabinet impulse responses, as well as four vintage microphone models which can be selected in three different positions. You can also create your own custom Impulse Responses using NUX’s QuickTone editing software, offering a lot of flexibility for not a lot of dollars. Check it out below. 



5. Joyo XL-Zombie II Amplifier

After launching the Jackman II BantAmp a fortnight ago, Joyo have doubled down on the lunchbox amp craze with the XL-Zombie II, a miniature 20 watt amplifier with plenty of high-gain tones on tap. Modelled in the style of those classic American high-gain amps of the ’80s, the XL-Zombie II features two foot-switchable Clean and Overdrive channels, as well as independent Tone, Gain and Volume controls for each channel. 


The XL-Zombie II also boasts Bluetooth functionality, an FX loop and a headphone output, and looks to be the perfect option for rehearsals and shows where you don’t want to lug around a bulky setup. Hear how it sounds below. 



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