New amps, effects and mikes from the States
A bass does more than just provide a rhythmic line, it completes a group's sound, adding fullness, richness and depth. The Who would certainly be thin and weak sounding without John Entwhistle's bass. But, of course, the instrument has to be heard and felt and Gallien-Krueger, Randall Instruments, Sunn and Crate all have recently come out with new equipment to achieve just that.
Gallen-Krueger's new 800RB bass biamp combines a preamp, an electronic crossover and dual poweramps in one unit which takes only 5¼ inches of rack space and weighs 20 pounds. The low end power amp is rated at 300 watts RMS into 4 ohms, the high end at 100 watts RMS into 8 ohms. Each power amp has its own level control for precise balance of low and high frequency power.
The internal electronic crossover on the 800RB has a crossover point that's continuously variable between 100 and 1000Hz. Preamp controls are input attenuation (-10dB); volume; voicing filters for low, midrange and high frequencies; four bands of active equalisation; and footswitchable boost. A low impedance direct output (XLR) and effects loop are included on the rear panel. The suggested retail price of the 800RB is $899.
Randall Instruments' R-118S is a bass reflex enclosure with shelved port, rated at 250 watts. It features a special die cast frame bass speaker with a 95 ounce high density ferrite magnet and measures approximately 29 inches high, 30 inches wide and 18 inches deep. Randall's R-215 BH is a bass horn enclosure rated at 250 watts. Its two 15-inch special bass speakers are rated at 125 watts each and the horn has a three and a half foot continuous flair. The unit measures 39½ inches high, 32 inches wide and 16 inches deep. Randall also has introduced a new extended range horn, the RH-1, which is die cast with a 40 watt driver, built in crossover and attenuator.
Sunn's SPL 8028 is a two-way bass and mid-bass speaker enclosure that was designed for use as an extended range bass guitar enclosure and for use as the bottom end of a two-way or three-way PA system. It uses a Sunn SPL 918R 18-inch low frequency loudspeaker for a tight, punchy bottom and a Sunn SPL912E 12-inch extended range loudspeaker loaded into a directional baffle for presence and top end clarity. The suggested retail price is $750.
Crate's CR285-18 150 watt bass amp features one 18-inch and two 10-inch speakers. The preamp section features a primary EQ section with separate low, mid and high frequency controls and a final EQ section with warmth and presence controls. A limiter is also included with a threshold control and a LED indicator to allow the musician to dial out any unwanted distortion. Other features include master volume, line in and line out jacks, external and internal speaker jacks and a convenience outlet.
For keyboard and PA application, Crate also has introduced the PS1510H enclosure which features a 15-inch bass reflex type speaker with a folded port, a 10-inch midrange speaker in a separate internal enclosure and a 4-inch by 10%-inch horn. The unit, which measures 32 inches high by 22 inches wide by 16 inches deep and weighs 80 pounds, is bi-ampable and features a six position high frequency attenuator switch. The suggested retail price of the PS1510H is $450.
Two new flat-front bi-radial horns, the 2380 and 2385, and a new addition to its Cabaret Series, the 4612, have been introduced by JBL. The nominal coverage angles of the 2380 and 2385 are 90° by 40° and 60° by 40°, respectively. Both provide uniform on and off axis frequency response from 500 Hz to beyond 16 kHz in the vertical.
The JBL 4612 is the most compact unit in the Cabaret Series, measuring 18½ inches high, 21½ inches wide and 10¼ inches deep and weighing 45 pounds. The frequency range is 60 Hz to 21.5 kHz and the power capacity is 200 watts continuous sine wave, 400 watts continuous program into 8 ohms. The 4612's high frequency driver is equipped with a miniature bi-radial horn mounted on a ring radiator which provides a flat response from 3 kHz to 21.5 kHz and maintains a tight 100° by 100° dispersion pattern. For low frequency and mid-range reproduction, the system incorporates two newly developed eight-inch low frequency speakers, each capable of handling 100 watts continuous sine wave power. The 4612 will function as either a full-range sound reinforcement system or as a component in more complex multi-way designs.
All of those sound units from Gallen-Krueger, Randall, Sunn, Crate and JBL are new, but sometimes the old sounds are best. With that in mind, Fender, which reintroduced its classic Stratocaster and other guitars last year, has brought back its Concert amp line, but with the use of modern technology so that state-of-the-art circuitry is combined with traditional tube sound. All of the new Fender Concert amps feature an all-tube circuit rated at 60 watts RMS at 5 per cent THD.
An external effects patching loop on all of the new Concert amps provides separate controls for both send and return levels. In addition there are presence and midrange controls, reverb in both normal and lead channels, a two-button footswitch to control channel selection and reverb and a low level line recording output.
"The original Concert was one of the most highly regarded of Fender's early amps so we thought it was appropriate to revive the name for this innovative new series," explained Paul Rivera, Fender's amp designer and marketing manager. "We've given the guitarist a clean channel for rhythm work, plus a switchable lead channel that provides total control of the amp's gain structure. Front-end overload is adjusted with the volume control, and there's a separate gain knob for intermediate stage drive. Finally, the master control sets the signal level delivered to the output stage and speakers."
The external effects patching loop on the new Concert amps provides separate controls for both send and return levels. "The effects loop," points out Rivera, "lets you 'pre-distort' the guitar signal in the amp's front end before sending it to the effects devices. This makes effects much more dramatic and versatile."
At the other end of the sound system, new microphones have been introduced by Ibanez, Swintek and Pearl. The Ibanez IM76 is a percussion microphone especially designed for such low frequency drums as floor toms and the bass drum. Ibanez's new IM70 is a cardioid dynamic microphone with a lightweight cartridge diaphragm for fast transient response and accurate reproduction under high sound pressure levels. This, plus its 40 to 16,000 Hz frequency response, makes the IM70 well suited for snare drum, mounted toms and brass instrument applications. Also new from Ibanez is the IM80, a cardioid condenser microphone with a broad frequency response of 30 to 22,000 Hz. Its flat response, according to Ibanez, makes it ideal for overhead cymbals, hi-hat, acoustic guitar, piano and woodwinds while its use of a 9 volt battery provides greater battery life and greater dynamic range than conventional 1.5 volt condenser microphones.
A new line of wireless handheld microphones from Swintek Enterprises offers a choice of the Beyer M500 ribbon capsule, the Shure SM57, SM58 or SM78 dynamic capsules or the Shure SM85 electret condenser capsule. The microphones use the VHF/UHF high band to avoid interference from CB and business radio and to prevent the microphone from interfering with video equipment. Use of narrow band transmission enables the use of more microphones on adjacent frequencies without interference. Battery life is typically 10 hours and range is about 1,000 feet. Each microphone features a power on-off switch and a modulation level control.
A new line of four phantom powered electret condenser microphones has been introduced by Pearl International. The four — CR25, CR45, CR55 and CR57 — feature internal amplifiers, 3.5 volts at maximum SPL for the output voltage, less than 3ma for current drain, 0.5 per cent total harmonic distortion at high levels and an internal attenuator switch which increases the maximum sensitivity level. Frequency response extends from 15 to 22,000 Hz. Two of the microphones, the CR55 and CR57, also have a condenser element isolation system minimising both stand and hand held noise.
Pearl also has a new programmable mixing processor, the PM-66, which features four complete sets of volume knobs for mixing a solo or background accompaniment. In addition, the PM-66 provides a means of sophisticated manipulation and assignment of sound processors.
Also for musicians who want to manipulate their own or their group's sounds is a new multi-effects rack unit, the MXR Omni, from MXR Innovations. The unit includes six of the most popular effects — sustain, distortion, equalizer, delay, flanger and chorus — plus external loop capability in a standard 19-inch rack-mount configuration. Two front panel external loop switches allow the user to insert a single external effect or an entire chain of external effects into the MXR Omni at any point, with this function also controllable from the footswitch. The MXR Omni also allows the musician — guitarist, bassist or keyboard player — to select the signal path through the distortion and equalizer sections of the unit, positioning either effect before the other with the push of a single front panel button.
Suggested retail list price of the MXR Omni, including footswitch and 12-foot fully shielded guitar cord, is $725.
A new generation of performance oriented digital delay lines has been introduced by Electro-Harmonix. The first model is an 8 second digital delay with 16 second option and magna storage. The long delay time and a built-in click track permits musicians to lay down multiple tracks and hold them in memory with the infinite hold/repeat function, and already recorded lines can be reversed with a special reverse function. Forward and backward tracks can even be mixed together and lines of differing delay speed can also be mixed together. Other features include digital echo, digital chorusing, digital flanging, double tracking and status indicator LEDs.
The Electro-Harmonix 16 second digital delay is packaged in a foot-controlled floor design for performing convenience and works with all musical instruments in any combination, even with vocals.
Also new for effects devices is the Sanox 98SX Pedal Driver which will power up to four 9 volt effects devices which have AC adapter jacks. The Sanox Pedal Driver, priced at $45, provides a maximum of 200mA current with less than 50mV ripple.
Two new percussion synthesisers, the 71SX Synthe I and the 72SX Synthe II, also come from Sanox. The units clamp directly to any drum rim or practice pad and an internal transducer picks up the vibration caused by striking the drum, pad or the cast metal synth case itself and the vibration triggers the synthesiser. Both units feature controls for master volume, voltage oscillator, frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, decay, sweep and intensity — the degree of vibration needed to trigger the synth. Suggested prices are $99 for the 71SX and $129 for the 72SX.
A new low impedance/high output pickup system from T. W. Doyle Co. offers guitarists 36 different tonal qualities. The Doyle D-1 system utilises dual pickups and a unique Doyle-designed rotary capacitance switch. Either pickup, or a mixture of both, can be used by guitarists to achieve subtle nuances of sound. The D-1 system, which fits any guitar with a standard humbucker configuration, includes two pickups, master volume control, master tone control, ohm selector switch, rotary capacitance switch, output jack and wiring harness.