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March 31, 2010

Best of Musikmesse 2010: The Top 11

They came to Frankfurt, Germany, showed their stuff, we looked, touched and video taped. Now with everybody back home, it’s time to make sense of the best gear presented at Musikmesse 2010.

Wrapping up a trade show like Musikmesse is no easy feat.  The editorial purpose here is not to declare that such and such product is the best, because as we all know it’s comparing apples to oranges in most cases.  For us here at Audiofanzine is it an opportunity to give a congratulatory nod to the products that we felt stood out in the crowd and did something for us.

Audiofanzine’s Top 11 picks from Musikmesse 2010 is presented in no particular order.

1.  RME Babyface:

Equipped with 192 kHz AD- and DA-converters and two microphone preamps the bus-powered Babyface uses the USB 2.0 high-speed bus and has been optimized under Windows and Mac OS. The Babyface combines analog circuit design with AD/DA converter chips of the latest generation. On top RME’s SteadyClock is designed to ensure an AD- and DA-conversion. Both digitally controlled preamps provide individually switchable 48V phantom power.  The Interface allows to record multiple channels and it’s still very simple setup. It is very small and actually fits in a laptop bag. Most other small interfaces are a lot bigger…

2.  Line 6 Variax James Tyler:

james tylerThis new line of guitars is designed to ”deliver the feel of the finest boutique instruments and the optimal tonal performance of Line 6 guitar modeling technology,” the company says.

Variax guitars are designed to reproduce the sounds of a collection of 25 vintage electric and acoustic instruments, and a dozen custom tunings. The modeled instruments include solid-body, semi-hollow guitars and hollow-body electrics with a variety of pickup configurations, six- and twelve-string acoustics, and other guitar-related instruments including a resonator, banjo, and an electric sitar.  This new line of guitars will be available in three styles, said to reflect the designs of James Tyler in each curve, component and control.

3.  Roland GAIA SH-01:

roland gaiaThe triple-stacked engine of this synthesizer features a “fun, friendly and inviting” designed to attract first-timers, according to Roland. The signal flow is said to be simple to grasp, with logically arranged knobs, sliders, and buttons.

This instrument is designed for music students, songwriters, session players, and live performers of all styles and skill levels and features, among others:

  • Three virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO
  • Layer up to five simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
  • 64-voice polyphony for massive sounds without note drop-out

To see the rest of the Top 11 from Musikmesse please see: Best of Musikmesse 2010

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March 26, 2010

[MUSIKMESSE 2010] Line6 James Tyler Variax GTV 69 US Guitar

For all Musikmesse news, videos and coverage see here:  Musikmesse 2010

March 25, 2010

[MUSIK MESSE 2010] – RME – Babyface

For all Musikmesse news, videos and coverage see here:  Musikmesse 2010

March 23, 2010

Musikmesse 2010

Filed under: Musikmesse 2010 — Tags: , , — audiofanzine @ 9:43 am

Along with NAMM, the Frankfurt Musikmesse is the world’s leading trade fair for musical-instruments, music software, computer hardware, sheet music and accessories. Musikmesse has been an important meeting place for the musical-instrument industry for over 25 years. The Audiofanzine team will be reporting live coverage from Frankfurt during Musikmesse. Stick around for exclusive news, videos and photos.

Meet us at Musikmesse 2010 ! Stop by and say Hi at Hall 5.1 Booth D92


Musikmesse 2010 Rumors

Here at Audiofanzine we go to great lengths to give you the latest Musikmesse rumors from around the net.  Disclaimer:  these are rumors, unsubstantiated, not press releases.  Proceed with caution.

  1. Spectralis: Jorg Schaff said on the forums “…at the moment we are working on a new product that will be presented at the Frankfurt Musikmesse.  No – it’s not a Spectralis 3 and it’s not a Spectralis keyboard version. But it is a very special keyboard…”
  2. ART: is said to be unveiling a new eight-channel input / output expander, that they said would be ideal for “any ADAT light-pipe equipped audio interface, direct-to-disc recorder or DAW”.
  3. Steinberg: Wrote on their website that they will be “unveiling two eagerly anticipated applications that will create a lot of buzz”.
  4. Elektron: is rumored to be introducing new gear, having booked a booth at Musikmesse (which they did not for NAMM).
  5. Toontrack: is definitely going to release some software, there are lots of hints and cheeky teases on their site…
  6. Universal Audio: Said on Facebook “getting close to releasing one of the most jaw dropping “tone box” plug-ins (and incredibly complex modeling projects) in UAD history. Excited and tired.”
  7. Gibson: Will the eagerly anticipated Slash Appetite for Destruction Les Paul finally be unveiled?  We hope so!
  8. Taylor: Are rumored to be releasing a 12-Fret guitar as part of their standard model line-up. For the first time, they will be announcing the Dave Matthews Signature Model guitar.

For all Musikmesse news, videos and coverage see here:  Musikmesse 2010

March 19, 2010

Santa Cruz 1929 Series 000 Acoustic Guitar

To see more great guitar gear videos visit us here at our video vault!

March 17, 2010

TC Electronic PolyTune Review

When it comes to guitar tuner pedals innovations don’t come by everyday, so when TC Electronic announced the PolyTune, a pedal that allows you to tune all strings at once, we got curious…

TC Electronic PolyTuneIn the beginning, there was the tuner. It is pretty easy to use: just strum a string and it will show you if it is is too high or too low; tune the string and repeat the same procedure for the rest of the strings. The stompbox format has been readily adopted by live guitar players because it allows them to easily tune their guitar between songs. In fact, when you are playing live on stage the less you spend time tuning your guitar, the more your show gains in intensity. A gig without good mood is like a cake without the icing!

As soon as the new TC Electronic PolyTune stomp box was announced, all guitar players started to imagine how nice it would be to be able to check the tuning of all strings simultaneously. Most of the time, only one or two strings are out of tune and with a standard tuner you always have to check the strings one by one to know which one of them is slightly out of tune. Hence you lose time checking five perfectly in tune strings. With the PolyTune, you only need to strum all open strings just once and you immediately know which one needs to be adjusted. So, in the end, if you think about it – it takes you six times less time to tune your guitar than with a standard tuner. That’s a lot of time saved, especially for those musicians for whom tuning isn’t instinctive…

But let’s check first how this miraculous stompbox works…

Conclusion

TC Electronic PolyTuneTC Electronic incredibly managed to launch a totally new product in the tuner pedal market, which is quite a feat. The polyphonic mode displaying all six strings at once saves guitar players lots of time on stage. The manufacturing quality is impeccable and the product is packed with clever ideas like the auto adjustment of LED intensity, the power output and the dual needle/caterpillar display in monophonic mode. One thing is for sure: all competitors suddenly look a lot older and the PolyTune offers much more for the same price (about $100).

Advantages:

  • Polyphonic mode
  • Two display views in monophonic mode
  • Power output
  • True bypass
  • High-quality footswitch
  • Accurate and easily readable LED display
  • LEDs with automatic intensity adjustment
  • Easily accessible battery
  • Nice design
  • For guitar and bass
  • Drop tuning up to five semitones

Drawback:

  • Not compatible with open tunings in polyphonic mode

To read the full detailed review see:  TC Electronic PolyTune

March 15, 2010

VOX AGA70 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

To see more great guitar gear videos visit us here at our video vault!

March 10, 2010

Presonus Studio One Software Review

Fed up with Cubase? Sick of Logic? Bored by Sonar? PreSonus will take back your software in exchange for Studio One. But, is it really worth it?

Launching a new sequencer in 2010 is a bold venture considering that there are several well-established products out there. We could name at least a dozen top of mind, each one better than the others (Pro Tools, Logic, Sonar, Cubase, Nuendo, Samplitude, Digital Performer, Live, Tracktion, Reaper, Acid, Reason/Record, Fruity Loops, etc.), for all sorts of applications and within all price ranges. Nevertheless, more often than not, it was unexpected outsiders that introduced innovations in the field rather than the established brands (Cubase’s InLine Edition and Reason’s Combinator owe a lot to Tracktion to name only one example). That’s one of the main reasons why we are very pleased to welcome PreSonus’ Studio One – which we hope will bring some fresh air to the sequencer world.

How Long Has PreSonus Been Making Sequencers?

Studio OneWell-known for their FireWire interfaces (FirePod and FireBox, for example), the guys at PreSonus also offer a very comprehensive range of audio products from digital mixers to dual high-quality preamps (conceived by Anthony de Maria), headphones amps, monitoring controllers, etc. In short, almost everything you need to set up a home studio, except for microphones and monitors. In this context, a sequencer seems quite natural, all the more if you think that most leading manufacturers in the pro audio industry have their own sequencer: Cubase and Nuendo belong to Yamaha, Sonar to Roland, Pro Tools to Digidesign/M-Audio, Acid to Sony, Tracktion to Mackie, etc.

However, PreSonus could not become a software developer overnight even though they have lots of experience with DAW hardware solutions. Therefore it was no surprise to find the very experienced Matthias Juwan behind Studio One, a developer who worked six years for Steinberg before founding his own company and developing a free sequencer called Krystal Audio. Matthias had already planned to make V2 a paid upgrade before arriving at PreSonus; it seems his new software ended up being Studio One.  Fine.  Enough with the history lessons…

Is Studio One the One?

Studio OneStudio One is an audio/MIDI sequencer for Mac and PC (it includes Windows 7 and 64-bit support). There are two different versions available, “Artist” and “Pro”. They both share the same functions except for some major details like the audio engine’s internal resolution (32 bit in Artist, 64 bit in Pro), the ability to import/export to MP3 and, above all, AU, VST and Rewire compatibility. I beg your pardon? Did you just say that the Artist version which costs $200 doesn’t allow the use of external plugins? Yes, I did! Even though the Artist version includes about 20 virtual effects and instruments like a sampler, EZdrummer Lite and Kore Player, it’s hard to imagine how it’s supposed to compete in this market without allowing external plugin integration… But that’s none of our business right now because we will only deal with the Pro version in this review, which does support third-part plugins, provides additional effects and offers many samples as well as Kore Player sounds. Now let’s go back to the pretty blue box containing two DVDs…

Installing Studio One and the additional software tools provided is pretty straightforward and easy. Among the printed documentation included there’s a short quick start guide in full color and a leaflet listing all the shortcuts. It’s not much but you will also find a 189 page long PDF under the software’s Help menu, and PreSonus also included a handful of video tutorials to get you started. That was nice of them, even if one the main pros of Studio One is its intuitiveness.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

PreSonus did a good job with Studio One. We have rarely used such an intuitive sequencer: it is always difficult to switch from Cubase to Pro Tools or from Sonar to Digital Performer due to design and layout problems, but that wouldn’t be a problem with Studio One thanks to the great ideas implemented in this respect. Studio One resembles Tracktion in a way: it’s a small sequencer conceived for music creation that can be installed on a notebook to avoid more resource hungry tools like Cubase, Logic or Sonar. It is well thought-out, comprehensive, very stable, and promises a lot even if it’s a bit too expensive compared to similar products. Not taking into consideration the Artist version, which is too limited to be interesting, the Pro version is a bit more expensive than Mackie’s Tracktion 3, which place it in the same price range as all the big names on the market… and it just can’t compete with them, except in design and layout. To wrap it up, Studio One is a bit too expensive but it does offer some nice features so we will keep our eyes open for Studio Two…

Advantages:

  • Excellent design and layout
  • Provides everything to create a song from A to Z
  • Stability
  • Effect plugins quality
  • Well thought-out mastering section

Drawbacks:

  • Improvable virtual instruments
  • Artist version can’t host third-party plugins
  • There are much more powerful tools available for a few more bucks…

To read the full detailed article see:  Presonus Studio One Review

March 9, 2010

Suhr Effects Pedals – Kokoboost – Shiba Drive -Riot

To see more great guitar gear videos visit us here at our video vault!

March 5, 2010

[NAMM 2010] Dar Amps Tuzzia

Filed under: Amps, NAMM 2010 — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 11:56 am

To see more great guitar gear videos visit us here at our video vault!

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