Music making today involves more than musicians and their instruments and effects devices. The sounds have to be gotten out to audiences and to help do this companies keep coming up with everything from new mikes and pick-ups to an assortment of power amplifiers, mixers, monitors and speakers. And since all this necessary equipment can cost far more than the instruments themselves, more companies are promising affordability with some lines during these economically tight times.
Shure Brothers has introduced an entire new line of nine inexpensively priced dynamic microphones, the Professional Entertainer series. The four new vocal mikes and five new instrumental mikes priced from $62.75 to $175.00 are available with or without cable and include a locking or non-locking on-off switch, a built-in windscreen and a built-in shock mount. In addition, one model, the PE85L-SP, also features an impedance matching transformer to adapt the microphone to lower high impedance equipment.
For those whose movements are crimped by microphone cords, the range of wireless systems has been expanded with the introduction of a series of transwave wireless audio systems by Schell Electronics. They include the self-contained hand-held microphone, the wireless hand-held system, the wireless lavalier microphone and the wireless guitar system. Each system includes a transmitter and a receiver with telescopic antenna which plugs into any Hi Z amplifier input.
The top system, the self-contained hand-held mike, incorporates a Shure SM58 cartridge and FM type transmitter circuitry and is designed for use by any vocal entertainer. The lavalier mike is intended for speakers, and, powered by batteries, can even be used outside, while the wireless handheld system is ideally suited for singers. The wireless guitar system operates with guitars and other electric instruments and includes a custom guitar strap with transmitter mount and antenna guides. Prices for the various Schell systems range from $694.95 down to $449.95.
Various new versions of the standard stringed instrument pickups have been introduced by Seymour Duncan and George L. Lewis for guitars, by Kolstein Music for basses, and by Alvarez for violins.
George L's Pop-In Magnetic Pick-up for flat-top acoustic guitars has an adjustable head that, when moved up, down, or slanted, can provide a wide spectrum of sounds when playing acoustic, bottle neck, jazz or rock. The pick-up, which features humbucking qualities, snaps easily into the sound-hole of any flat-top. It carries a suggested list price of $52.50.
The Stack is Seymour Duncan's noise-cancelling pickup for Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazz Bass. Each model comes in a Classic version which faithfully reproduces the vintage tonal and output qualities and a Hot version which has increased output and more effective sustain and tonal response without being muddy. They all come with a special cover, a four conductor lead wire for optimum wiring combinations and a wiring diagram.
The Kolstein Model K101 dual transducer pickup for bass violin already has been used by Ron Carter, Eddie Gomez, Rufus Reid, Bertram Turetsky and others and is now being made commercially available. The unit draws its bass frequency responses from its lower housing pickup positioned on top of the instrument while drawing tenor frequency responses from the upper housing transducer. But it can be used with a one channel as well as a two channel amplifier, and can even be plugged directly into a mixing board for a more natural acoustic sound. In addition, the compression feature of its filtration system stabilizes the quality of reproduction of tone and volume level to a basic constant during either pizzicato or arco use.
Knilling String Instruments is now marketing the Alvarez "Hot Bar" violin pickup as a separate accessory item. Internally mounted in the centre of a top quality, solid German maple bridge, it creates a well balanced acoustic sound that is neither "hot" or "cold."
A lot of effects heard on records today are studio effects, not easily duplicated during live performances. However, MXR Innovations' Professional Products Group is introducing a pitch shift doubler, a digital time delay and three equalizers which can be used in live performance as well as in the recording studio.
The new Model 174 pitch shift doubler provides "barber pole" flanging, stereo chorus effect, double tracking and unison effects in stereo, feedback suppression, 1.1-0.99-type effects, 12 string sounds and other studio-quality effects. The new Model 175 digital time delay provides studio-quality flanging, doubling, chorusing, simple reverb, echo and slap-back echo.
The new MXR equalizers - Model 170 dual octave, Model 171 Dual two-thirds octave and Model 172 one-third octave - can help eliminate system feedback or be used as a very elaborate tone control device to alter or enhance the sound of instruments and voices. They can also be used to differentiate between relative frequencies throughout the audio spectrum. All three equalizers, plus the other two products, will be priced lower than competitive units, according to MXR.
Sunn Musical Equipment Co. has introduced a power amplifier with graphic equalizer specially designed for heavy road use as well as a bass amp and four new speakers. The Sunn SGA 107 combines a 100 watt amplifier with a seven band graphic equalizer into a single $349 unit that can be used with stage and studio monitors, extension speaker systems, home hi-fi systems, or any biamplified system. The equalizer features 15 dB of cut and boost on octave centers from 125Hz to 8kHz, excellent for feedback suppression and system/environment equalization.
The Sunn SB 160 60 watt portable bass amp has a headphone jack, accessory patch loop, external speaker jack, two C-MOS limiter stages, high and low gain input jacks, preamp input gain and master level controls plus, in the equalizer section, active cut and boost bass, mid and treble controls, variable mid-frequency sweep control and a bright switch. The suggested price is $429.
Sunn's new speakers include the Model SPL 8112E front loaded reflex horn which was designed primarily as a mid-bass/mid-range enclosures but also can be used as the bottom end of a two-way system. Priced at $499, its single driver reproduces the mid-range frequencies of 200 to 2000 Hz.
The $750 Model SPL 8028 is a two-way bass/mid-bass speaker enclosure that uses a Sunn SPL 918R 18-inch low frequency loud speaker and a Sunn SPL 912E 12-inch extended range loud speaker. It can be used as either an extended range bass guitar enclosure or as the bottom end of a two-way or three-way PA system. The low frequency speaker provides reproduction down to 50 Hz while the extended range speaker delivers mid-range response up to 4000 Hz.
Sunn Model 14, which carries a $599 suggested price, is a biampable three-way, full-range speaker enclosure that consists of three Sunn speakers - a 15-inch Model 145 woofer, a Model 014 10-inch mid-bass/mid-range speaker and a Model 8600 tweeter horn. With protective steel corners, Tolex covering, rubber feet, spring loaded handles and removable casters, it is built for years of reliable road use.
Finally, Sunn's new Model 6M is a compact, two-way speaker system that uses a Model 558 extended range 15-inch hard cone woofer with a dampened aluminium dust cap and a foam roll suspension and a Model 5030 tweeter horn with a one-inch phenolic diaphragm coupled to a fast flare rate die cast aluminium horn. Like the Model 14, the Model 6M can be used for either live or recorded performances.
Other new amplifier systems come from Gross-man Music Corp., Electro-Voice, Tusc and Rickenbacker.
The two new amplifiers and one new PA system from GMC are designed for use by small bands on club dates. The guitar and bass amps carry 100 watts RMS with normal, bright inputs and integrated circuit pre-amps, and have volume, bass, treble, middle and master volume controls. The guitar amp, which also has reverb control, has a 12-inch speaker, while the bass amp has a 15-inch speaker.
GMC's new PA system consists of a 100 watt channel power pack and two ported column speakers, each with two 10-inch GMC speakers. Each of four individual high impedance inputs has its own volume, reverb, treble and bass controls. There also are master volume and reverb controls.
Rickenbacker's TR-50GT amp is a compact, lightweight 50 watt guitar amplifier with an external speaker jack, effects channel, distortion, reverb, a front panel footswitch jack and a choice from three 10-inch and 12-inch speaker options.
A "Prestige Series" of tube amplifiers comes from Tusc. Available in 50 or 100 watt RMS units in various speaker configurations, they feature pre-programmable overdrive and a parametric equalization circuit that allows for a wider range of frequency response. Other features include pre and post reverb, master volume, pre-amp line out, stereo input for guitar and keyboard with split keyboard capacity and premium Fane speakers.
More ambitious, and also, with a $2,818 price tag, more distinctive, is Electro-Voice's The Entertainer Model 100 portable club PA system. It features a pair of Model 100S high efficiency speakers which, with a Constant Directivity horn and an optimally vented low frequency driver, cover the 500 to 10,000 Hz frequency range.
But at the heart of The Entertainer system is the Model 100M 36 pound stereo powered mixer which features 10 inputs, a dual eight-band graphic equalizer, a power amp section rated at 150 watts per channel into 4 ohms, reverb colour control, mono/stereo function switch, a fluorescent bar graph display for easy visibility on a dark stage and a powerlock circuit that guards against amplifier clipping.
Electro-Voice also has introduced, at $598, a two-way all horn stage speaker system designed for applications requiring both wide bandwidth and very high sound output. Low frequencies in the Model SH15-2are handled by a 15-inch woofer in a vented-horn enclosure while high frequencies are handled by a Constant Directivity horn. Although rated at 100 watts, E-V says the Model SH15-2 can easily handle instantaneous peak inputs of 400 watts.
For the ears of the musicians themselves, Rickenbacker's Road Electronics Division has introduced a compact, two-way high efficiency vented speaker system, the Model RS-7920. This unit utilizes a specially designed 12-inch Road speaker plus a high performance radial horn and driver system in an 18 by 21 by 18 inch enclosure. Nominal impedance is 8 ohms with a power handling capability of 75 watts. A passive crossover with high frequency level control is included and parallel inputs are provided for ease in interfacing additional speakers. The RS-7920 is designed to allow 30, 60 or 90 degree angle placement for use with any stage set up.
Even more compact is Fostex Corporation's Model 6301 self-powered personal monitor which weighs only six pounds and measures 7-inches by five-inches. Designed specifically for location mix-down, it can be used to monitor almost any signal from mixers to tape recorders to electric guitars to synthesisers to amplifiers. The unit also provides for independent use of the 10 watt amplifier in situations where another power source is needed. Frequency response is from 80 Hz to 13 kHz; distortion is 0.95% at 1W output. Model 6301 carries a suggested price of $149.
Getting back to the where the sounds begin, new effects devices have been introduced by Stick Enterprises and Kramer.
Kramer's Les Trem Tremolo fits any electric guitar with a standard stop tailpiece such as the ones used on all Les Paul style guitars. It requires no special mounting or routing. Rather it simply slides onto the existing posts of any standard stop tailpiece and is held in position with string tension. A floating hinge design enables the player to use the tremolo in both directions and assures that the tuning will remain constant no matter how far the strings are stretched in either direction.
The bridge of the Les Trem Tremolo is made of solid, highly polished brass while the tremolo arm is made of heavy duty, quarter-inch, black anodized stainless steel for superior strength and sensitivity.
Stick Enterprises, which brought out The Stick, now has a new effect device, Patch of Shades, for electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer and electric keyboard. In place of a pedal, it features a pressure pad that operates a volume output for shading echo, flange, etc., into a second amplifier or channel while simultaneously shading a normal direct sound into the bass end of a smooth wah or moving through all the wah frequencies. A send/return loop allows shading of old effects like fuzz and phase as well.
Seymour Duncan Pickups, (Contact Details).
Electro-Voice Ltd, (Contact Details).
Fostex, (Contact Details).
Grossman Music Corps, (Contact Details).
Knilling String Instruments, (Contact Details).
Kolstein Music Inc, (Contact Details).
Kramer Music Products Inc., (Contact Details).
George L. Lewis, (Contact Details).
MXR, Atlantex Music Ltd, (Contact Details).
Schell Electronics Inc, (Contact Details).
Shure Electronics Ltd, (Contact Details).
Stick Enterprises Inc, (Contact Details).
Sunn Musical Equipment Co, (Contact Details).
Tusc Amplification, (Contact Details).
News by Jerry De Muth
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