Makers of sound equipment and accessories — from guitar pickups and tuners to effects devices and amplifiers — have been as actively taking advantage of technical advances as have the makers of electric guitars and keyboards.
Starting at the guitar itself, Seymour Duncan Pickups has introduced The Stack for some models of electric guitars and also a new acoustic pickup. The Stack, which features a noise cancelling design for Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazz Bass pickups, is available in two versions for each model — The Classic, which faithfully reproduces the vintage tonal and output qualities, and the Hot version, which has increased output and a more effective sustain and tonal response without being muddy. Prices are $65 for all versions of the Strat Stack and $68 for all versions of the Telecaster and Jazz Bass models.
Duncan's new acoustic pickup adjusts the magnetic field for an even response between the bare steel and the wrapped steel strings and for a natural acoustic tone. The two coil humbucking design cancels 60 cycle hum while the tube design allows minimum interference with the guitar's acoustic properties. List price is $78.
Any acoustic or electric guitar can be automatically tuned with the Korg AT-12 which also will automatically give a visual indication of what note is being played, what octave the note is being played in and how much the note may be either flat or sharp. The Korg AT-12 has seven octave automatic chromatic tuning and four octave sound output, all of which can be changed instantly with the use of up and down buttons.
The AT-12 also includes soft and loud sound output settings and fast and slow meter calibration settings, with the performer using the fast meter calibration for instantaneous calibration of notes while playing. Other features of the Korg AT-12 include a lighted meter, battery check, power LED, in out and output jacks, earphone jack and DC6V in. With a measurement of about 7.5 inches in width, 3.9 inches in depth and 1.4 inches in height, and 15 ounces in weight, the AT-12 is very portable. Its suggested list price is $179.95.
To handle other types of amplification Shure Brothers has expanded its moderately priced Professional Entertainer microphone series, and modified its SM57 microphone for use inside drums in a system developed by Randy May, and available on all Slinger-land drums.
The new PE86 and PE66 mics, patterned after the SM58 and SM57, are unidirectional (cardioid), dual low impedance models with fixed bass roll-off, upper midrange presence peak and shock-mounted cartridges. The PE66's frequency response is 40 to 15,000 Hz; the PE86, which also features a built-in spherical windscreen to minimise wind and breath noise has a frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz. Suggested retail prices are $109 for the PE66 and $125 for the PE86.
The "magic" of the May EA drum amplication system is "not so much in the mic as in the remote radial rotation," Randy May explained at the National Association of Music Merchants show in Chicago in June. The mic connects, through a shielded cable, to a cannon plug mounted in the side of the drum. A shock mount eliminates mechanical vibration while tone and volume can be balanced for each drum, and equalised between different drums. A wide range of internal frequencies isolated by means of an external turning knob allows the mic to be rotated a full 180 degrees.
"Amplifying drums always has been a problem," pointed out May, whose background includes much studio work. "I've mounted the mic inside for two reasons — acoustic phase cancellation and minimisation of the sound leakage. The right angle connections also eliminates interference between mics," he added.
May said that when he approached Shure about modifying and using one of their microphones for his system, the company was overly co-operative. "They'd been searching for the ultimate drum mic," May pointed out. The SM57 was modified by taking out some of the hardware, including the transformer.
The May EA system is sold separately for mounting within any drums already owned and can also be ordered included on any new Slingerland catalogue drums. Pros already using the system, according to May, include Carmine Appice with Ted Nugent, Danny Seraphine with Chicago and Chad Wackerman, who's with Frank Zappa's band.
New mixers, stage speakers and loudspeakers have been introduced by Electro-Voice. The new mixers are two additions to their Series 52 mixer line — the 8-channel EVT 5208 and the 16-channel EVT 5216, with suggested prices of $825 and $1,275 respectively.
These two, and their predecessor, the EVT 5212, employ individual plug-in printed circuit boards for each channel that incorporate additional gain, the proper gain structure and a built-in connector for a plugin high intensity mini-light. Controls and panel graphics are colour-coded and complete hook-up diagrams are silk-screened on rear panels. Each input channel accepts a balanced low-impedance mic level or unbalanced high-impedance line level source and also has a channel effects insert. The output sections, which include mono, stereo and monitor outputs, also feature effects return master, aux input master and reverb return master; each pannable to the stereo subgroups, and also effects send master and meter assign switch controls. Three band EQ sections consisting of +/-15 dB bass (100 Hz), +/-12 dB range (3 kHz) and +/-15 dB treble (10 kHz) controls, provide for a wide range of musical equalisation.
Electro-Voice's Stage System 200, can be used with or without an external equaliser, is designed as a stage monitor, a permanent sound reinforcement speaker and as part of a small club system. The S-200 employs a high-output version of Electro-Voice's Super Dome tweeter coupled to a high-frequency Direktor that is moulded as an integral part of the cabinet. The low-frequency section employs the new EVM Pro-Line Model 12S which can handle 300 watts continuous power. The speaker lists for $589 and an optional active equaliser lists for $149.
The EVM Pro-Line Model 12S, whose low-frequency section is employed in the Stage System 200, is one of three speakers in Electro-Voice's new EVM Pro-Line Series which is designed for professional, extra high-level, high-performance sound reinforcement systems. In addition to the 12-inch Model 12S and Model 12L with a 300 watt rating, there are 15-inch and 18-inch models, the 15B, 15L and 18B, which can handle 400 watts continuous power and short duration program peaks of up to 1600 watts. The B designation indicates speakers designed for low-frequency performance, including heavy fundamentals in the 30 to 40 Hz range, and are best for organ, synthesisers and other keyboard systems where both clarity and high power capacity are critical requirements. The speakers with S and L designations are designed for more emphasis on the higher range and provide more brilliance and punch in full-range uses. List prices are $240 for the 12-inch models, $264 for the 15-inch models and $395 for the 18-inch model.
In addition to these new speakers Electro-Voice has also lowered the prices on its EVM Series II speakers, to which it also has added a 10-inch speaker, the EVM-10M Series II, which is specially tailored for midbass performance and has a long term power handling capacity rated at 200 watts. At $155, it's the least expensive speaker in the series. Prices on the series 12-inch, 15-inch and 18-inch speakers now range from $188 to $330.
A less costly, more compact version of the Nova amplifier, the Super Nova, has been introduced by Canada-based Vibration Technology Ltd. The Super Nova, which delivers 60 watts rms power into a 12-inch heavy duty speaker features normal, overdrive, main amplifier, reverb footswitch and overdrive footswitch inputs and also speaker, headphones, preamp and recording outputs. Controls include gain, bass, mid-range, treble, reverb, master volume, bass expander and mid-range frequency selector.
Vibration Technology's Dirty Thirty is a stripped down low power head with reverb that can be carried under the arm. The adjustment of gain and master volume controls will make the sound as dirty as any performer wishes. The Dirty Thirty also can be used as an instrument preamp and the headphone jack enables it to be used as a silent practice amplifier.
The Dirty Thirty, which weighs only five pounds, features normal, overdrive, main amplifier, reverb footswitch and overdrive footswitch inputs and also speaker, headphones, preamp and recording outputs. Controls include gain, bass, middle, treble, reverb and master volume.
An audio processor that will correct time offset, the TOC 23 time offset correction system, has been introduced by Professional Audio Systems. The TOC 23 provides an active delay that creates an identical acoustic source for the low, mid and high frequency components and combines component loudspeakers into a phase coherent, high definition sound reinforcement system. The processor's delay section can provide 900 microseconds of low frequency delay, switchable in three 300 microsecond increments; up to 1,000 microseconds of midfrequency delay (low frequency delay in the two-way mode), switchable in one 500 microsecond increment and ten 50 microsecond increments; and an in/out switch for both low-frequency and mid-frequency delays.
The TOC 23 also features special filters for flat group delay through the crossover points, equal group delay in all outputs in both two-way and three-way modes, adjustable time offset correction in low and midrange outputs, subsonic and supersonic filters, limiter on input, additional limiter on high-frequency output for sensing amplifier output power and high frequency EQ for constant coverage horns.
A variety of effects pedals have been introduced by Morley, MXR and EXR. Morley's Analog Echo Reverb or AER-6 has a range of 20 to 600 milliseconds. It features separate controls for desired length of delay, mix or adjustment of echo loudness and number of repeats from one to infinity. Two LEDs indicate when power is on and when effect is on. The suggested retail price is a relatively low $279.95.
The new EXR Projector provides three functions in one foot pedal. The Exciter Psychoacoustic Processor will project the instrument into the foreground without cranking the volume or equalisation. A full frequency direct box provides a continuously variable input/output of up to 40 dB gain and XLR connector output. The volume pedal function features a fully adjustable EXR Process Preset. A 12-segment, three-colour bar graph and four function LEDs allow easy visual monitoring at a glance.
MXR Innovations has unveiled a complete new line of six effects pedals, its Series 2000 — Distortion +, Dyna Comp, Phaser, Stereo Flanger, Stereo Chorus and Time Delay. Common features include in/out indicating LEDs, dual outputs, FET switching for silent operation and a multiple function interface connector that provides capabilities such as remote switching, remote status indication and selection of the highest voltage power source available when used with an AC adaptor.
The Distortion +, which has an output level variable from -9 dBV to + dBV, allows the user to insert a variable amount of distortion into the effects chain, from a warm tube amp sound to 'fuzz' with long sustain. Dyna Comp is a limiter that automatically varies the internal gain so the output level remains constant regardless of the input level. Its Sustain control permits long sustain effects without distortion. The Phaser provides a wide range of phasing effects, with both sweep and regeneration variable with the front panel controls. The Stereo Flanger provides a wide range of effects from flanging to vibrato to shorter time delay effects. The Stereo Chorus provides vibrato, chorus and true simulated stereo outputs. Both the amount of sweep and the rate at which the delay is swept can be varied while a depth control varies the output mix from full dry to approximately half dry and half effect.
Finally the new MXR Series 2000 Time Delay provides a continuously variable delay from 30 milliseconds to 300 milliseconds. Delay, mix and regeneration controls on the front panel allow creation of a variety of delay effects, including hard reverb and multiple echoes.
Manufacturers and companies mentioned:
Electro-Voice, Inc., (Contact Details).
EXR Corporation, (Contact Details).
Korg/Rose Morris, (Contact Details).
Unicord, (Contact Details).
May EA, (Contact Details).
Morley, (Contact Details).
Rosetti & Co., (Contact Details).
MXR Innovations Inc., (Contact Details).
Atlantex Ltd., (Contact Details).
Professional Audio Systems, (Contact Details).
Seymour Duncan Pickups, (Contact Details).
Shure Brothers, (Contact Details).
Vibration Technology Ltd., (Contact Details).