Many new products coming onto the market do not necessarily herald new advances in technology. Manufacturers will often find a better, more efficient or economical way of incorporating existing technology into new products: the sort of thing which may make you wonder why no one thought of it before. To someone, somewhere, it will be just what they've been looking for.
Electro-Voice have a new microphone, the PL80, intended for vocals. It has a shock mount to reduce handling noise and an Acoustifoam blast filter to reduce popping. Made from aluminium and diecast zinc it is enclosed in a dent-resistant Mema-flex grille screen. Retail price around $199.95.
DeArmond have announced their model 260 Acoustic Guitar Pickup which is designed to be mounted in the soundhole of any flat-top guitar. It is claimed that the sounds reproduced are of recording studio quality that can only be obtained by using a condensor mike. It uses a piezo magnetic sensor and is coated with a scuff-proof epoxy finish. Recommended retail price is $59.95.
Mighty Mite Musical Products, Inc. have the answer for anyone wanting to make their own guitar. They will supply complete guitar kits containing every part necessary to make a custom guitar, including the neck, body and strings. Brass is the dominant feature of the hardware and five different kit packages: 'Strat,' 'Tele,' 'P/Bass,' 'Jazz Bass,' and 'Les Paul' are available.
Tuners seem to be dropping out of manufacturers lists and into the shops as if the ear has gone out of fashion. The Music People have a tuner for acoustic guitars which works on the strobe principle. You can only tune to the standard guitar tuning: E, A, D, G, and B. You place a little window under the string and twang it. If the string is out of tune you will see a double image (lay off the rye) and you tune it until it becomes a single string. Retail price is $41.50.
Acoustyx have their Mark II digital tuner (I never saw their Mark I) which is crystal based and has a LED display. It covers a 4½ octave range with an accuracy of ±0.1Hz. It is activated by the insertion of a jack plug. A carrying case is available but without, it retails at $159.95.
JIG are distributing the Justina Quartz Tuner (made by Zen-On of Japan) which incorporates 'advanced LSI circuitry'. Accuracy is to within 1/100 of a semi-tone. It has a built-in microphone, a stand, an extra large meter and a battery-check switch. Retails at $79.95.
Musico describe their new 'instrument-controlled synthesiser' as being capable of taking any instrument and making it sound like anything else. It is called the Resynator and principally follows the notes you play both tonally and dynamically and uses this information to control various parameters of sound. Front panel controls appear straightforward and are selected to give a wide choice of modulation control from your input sound. Incorporating microcomputers, this could be something keyboard players and guitarists could share.
Ibanez have concocted a package aimed primarily at guitarists but also useful in the studio. It consists of four units linked together and rack mountable. The UE-400 (they must have a computer thinking up names for new products) consists of a compressor, Phaser, distortion unit and a chorus/flanger. Their order in the sequence of effects can be altered and remote switching is possible via a footboard. FET switches ensure clean switching and other effects can be hooked into in the form of a pre-wired pot which is the system. AC powered, the UE-400 retails at $545.
Torres Guitars have a tone control designed for retrofit in electric guitars and allows the guitarist to remove midrange frequencies without affecting highs or lows. It retails at $30.00.
There is a lot of news for guitarists this month. It is amazing how many bits and pieces you can add to your 'axe'. A volume preset unit called the Sly Box is available from the company of the same name. It allows you to preset a softer volume for rhythm passages without altering amp settings. A red LED indicates a signal straight through the Sly Box and a green LED indicates the signal is being attenuated. At a retail price of $29.95, here is yet another button for your floor.
Goldline have a small Real Time Analyzer called the ASA-10 (that computer must be working overtime!) which gives an LED display of the characteristics of a sound to enable you to adjust your parametric equalizer with ease. The display can be frozen to show the characteristics of a sound at any particular time during its duration. At $239.95, this affordable unit could find itself in many places running to a budget.
Next month: one or two more goodies for the guitarist plus a new drum machine which does everything but buy a round. Come to think of it, our drummer doesn't do that either. And he does take up a lot of room on stage. Let me see how much that unit costs...
Companies and manufacturers mentioned:
Electro-Voice, (Contact Details);
DeArmond, (Contact Details);
The Music People, (Contact Details);
Acoustyx from Highland Corporation, (Contact Details);
JTG, (Contact Details);
Musico, (Contact Details);
Ibanez, (Contact Details);
Torres Guitars, (Contact Details);
Sly Box, (Contact Details);
Goldline, (Contact Details).
Mighty Mite Musical Products, (Contact Details)
News by Ian Waugh
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