Gear Reviews


Value Oriented Microphones


With the cost of professional audio gear continuing to become more and more affordable, it was only a matter of time before a quality microphone would be available that would shatter the price-performance barrier. Leave it to venerable microphone maker Shure to perform just that bit of manufacturing magic. Shure has just announced the release of four new mics that check in at an amazing price. Three of the microphones, the 14A, 12A, and 10A, are cardioid dynamic units featuring neodymium magnets and locking on/off switches. The fourth mic in the series is the 16A, which is a battery powered condenser unit designed for live vocals and as an instrument mic. The 16A is the most expensive unit in the line and lists for $101. The three dynamic microphones range in price from $37 to $66, and all-in-all offer a tremendous value for your hard-earned dollar. Shure Brothers, Inc., 222 Hartrey Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202; 847.866.2200, Fax: 847.866.2279


Multi Effects Processor


Are you looking for a GREAT effects unit for your home studio, 4-track, P.A. system, or guitar rig? Does your current reverb effect muddy or color your voice too much? Then go out and buy the Lexicon Alex and solve your problems. Lexicon is the company that pioneered digital effects processors, and they still set the standard for quality reverberation.

The Lexicon Alex is semi-programable 16-bit multi-effects processor. There are 16 presets, each having three adjustable parameters. The effects in the units are: Reverbs (obviously) such as Halls, Rooms, Plates, Gated, and Inverse; Chorus and Flange; Echoes and Delay. The manual has a chart of the various reverb decays as well as flange and chorus rates and delay times.

The Lexicon Alex is truly the most transparent sound effects unit in its class and a retail price of a measly $399.99 makes it a must-have! Lexicon, 3 Oak Park, Bedford, MA 01730-1441;

Amp Can

Guitar Amplifier


So, you’re a musician who plays tiki bars and coffee houses. Perhaps you may even noodle with a buddy. Or, you may just need to practice singing while strumming your favorite six string. If you find yourself saying yes to any of the above and you’re tired of breaking your back, then the Fender Amp Can is for you.

This is as portable as it gets. The unit can be powered by battery (charger included) or by A.C.. As well, the Amp Can boasts 15 watts of power through a “Special Design” Fender 6” speaker. There are two fully independent channels. Channel One, for guitars, features volume, tone, and even a distortion switch. Channel Two, for microphones or other instruments, such as a drum machine, also has both volume and tone controls. The unit sounds great, and retailing for $250.00, it’s a real bargain.

Bolt 45

Guitar Amp


Matchless is known for manufacturing quality, award-winning guitar amps with a signature vintage tube sound. This reputation has been built on solid engineering featuring all hand-built, Class A circuit designs and quality construction through and through. New to the Matchless line is the unique Bolt 45 ($2,399), which sports a separate head unit that actually packs upside down into the cabinet for easy transport. The Bolt 45 is a closed-back system and is the first Matchless product to feature a switchable tube or solid state rectifier which permits a broad array of timbral possibilities.

Available in a 1×12” or a 1×15” model, the Bolt 45 is a solidly constructed unit with an attractive look, with its lit Matchless logo and control panel. The head unit is protected by a perforated steel cage, which is extra heavy chromed, like all other Matchless products. When the head folds down into the cabinet during transport, it is secured into place via four heavy-duty metal pressure clamps which can be adjusted over time as needed. The sound from the Bolt 45 is everything you would expect from Matchless, with the switchable rectifier allowing you to dial in a loose and spongy or a tight and loud sound quickly and easily from a front panel control toggle. This is a monster amp that is sure to please even the most critical of players. Matchless LLC, 9129 East Perkins, Pico Rivera, CA 90660; 562.801.4840, Fax: 562-801-4828

Fusion: Effects

DSP Software Plug-In



DSP Software Plug-In


So many products, so little time. That seems to be the mantra these days as the MI market continues to be flooded with wonderful new technologies that make our job of making music all the more fun and exciting. Starting off in the world of software, we have the launch of a new series of cross-platform DSP (Digital Signal Processors) plug-ins from Opcode called Fusion: Effects. The Fusion: Effects series is debuting with its first product called VOCODE ($149.95), a processor that emulates the classic analog vocoder effect made popular with a variety of products from Bose, Korg, and others in the 1970s and ’80s. Vocoders are basically comb filters that augment the original sound source (usually voice) to sound sort of “robot-like,” but in a musical way. Bands like Kraftwerk and Weather Report were big users of the vocoder in years past. The Opcode VOCODE product is designed to work on any Macintosh or PC computer and is being targeted for a variety of users including DJs, producers, engineers and sound designers. With VOCODE, users will be able to get very distinctive sounds, including the emulation of effects like guitar talkboxes plus a variety of unique sounds only possible through this type of software package. VOCODE supports a wide variety of plug-in platforms including Adobe Premiere, Audiosuite and Direct X Media, and a TDM version is currently in the design stage. This promises to be a real powerful series of plug-ins with the next product from Opcode, VINYLIZE, being scheduled for almost immediate release. Contact Opcode for more information at 650.856.3333.

Another DSP product now shipping from Waves is called MaxxBass, a virtual subwoofer that utilizes proprietary algorithms based on psychoacoustic research that allows bass sounds to be reproduced more clearly. Designed for a variety of applications including disc mastering and mixing environments, the MaxxBass system actually gives the perception of extending bass frequencies an additional two octaves by adding in a series of harmonic overtones. MaxxBass is designed to work on both Macintosh and PC platforms and supports almost every major software platform on the market. Waves has also inked a deal with Galim, Ltd. to distribute the Galim AP24 PCI audio card, which will be sold with a variety of Waves plug-in modules, including Paragraphic EQ, L1 Ultramaximizer, C1 Compressor/Gate, S1 Stereo Imager, TrueVerb, and the new PAZ psychoacoustic. Contact Waves for more information at 423.689.5395.

XT-2 Xtrortion

Guitar Effect Pedal


Boss, the daughter company to Roland, has manage to entice guitar players on all levels with a full line of distortion pedals. But the XT-2 has a unique characteristic and tonal quality.

In its fire truck red shell, this distortion pedal gives you many options at an affordable price. The layout of the controls is quite logical. From left to right “Level,” “Contour,” “Punch,” and “Dist.” “Level” adjusts the volume of the pedal and can be used as a boost if needed. “Contour” is the tone knob. This knob truly gives the XT-2 its unique flavor. “Punch” appears to be another E.Q. knob that adds a smoothness or roughness to your sound. “Dist,” as you might have guessed, adjusts how much distortion the XT-2 will allow. The manual explains the sequence in which it adjust the knobs to create your own custom tone, but if you need an example or two, you could find 4 on page 13.

If you’re fond of Tom Scholz tone set “Level” to 11:00, “Dist” to the max, “Punch” to about 3:00 and “Contour” to 11:00. The Boss XT-2 lists for $149.99, but has been seen as low as $49.99 at some local Super stores. Check it out soon. It makes a swell gift. Roland Corporation U.S., 7200 Dominion Circle, Los Angeles, CA 90040-3696; 213.685.5141, Fax: 213-722-0911

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