Holiday 2010 | Vol. 92
HOLIDAY 2010 Issue | Vol. 92
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inside this issue
from the editor
From the Editor ......................................................... 1
Inside Sweetwater ................................................... 11
Hands On: Propellerhead Reason 5.......................... 1
Hands On: Allen & Heath ZED-10FX ....................... 11
Hands On: Pro Tools 9 & The World of Pro Tools .... 2
Zoom Q3HD ............................................................ 11
Synth Tricks .............................................................. 4
Hands On: Budda Bud-Wah .................................... 11
iZotope RX-2, RX-2 Advanced .................................. 4
Harnessing Technology .......................................... 12
Hands On: Zoom R24 ................................................ 4
Hands On: Universal Audio 4-710d ........................ 13
MOTU MasterWorks .................................................. 5
Hands On: AKAI Professional SynthStation 25 ...... 13
Fender Mustang Amps ............................................. 5
Sweetwater Welcomes Godin................................. 13
Moog Slim Phatty ..................................................... 5
Inside the Sweetwater Difference.......................... 14
Sweetwater Welcomes Gallien-Krueger .................. 5
Hands On: Gen16 Digital Vault Z-Pack ................... 14
Hands On: Korg MR-2000S ....................................... 6
Hands On: Orange TH30 .......................................... 14
Hands On: BOSS Power Stack ST-2........................... 6
Hands On: Line 6 POD HD500 ................................. 15
Cakewalk SONAR X1................................................. 6
Meet Trent Thompson ............................................. 15
SWEETWATER GIFT GUIDE PULL-OUT............... 7–10
Mitch Gallagher
Editorial Director
[email protected]
It’s that time of year — hard to believe
that another 12 months have passed and
that the holidays are here again. Now’s the
time when we look back over the year that
passed and ahead to the year that’s to come.
What happened? How did it go? What do we
want to happen in the next year? Of course,
I’m speaking in musical terms here. Did you
play out as much as you wanted? Did you
put in the hours of practice and study necessary to learn the skills and concepts needed
to move your music or recordings ahead? Did your rig improve,
or did you learn better ways to use what you have? By looking
back at where you succeeded musically over the past year, you
can gauge what needs to be done over the next 12 months — to
either continue moving forward or to catch up to where you had
hoped to be this year.
But this time of year is about more than celebrating the successes or bemoaning the “almost got around to getting it dones.” It’s a time to plan and project
what we hope the next year will bring — be it better gear, more gigs, increased
practice time, improved skills, or whatever else we might hope to achieve. Write
it down, make a list, and check it twice. Make 2011 your best musical year yet!
Hands On
Propellerhead Software Reason 5
By Mitch Gallagher
Propellerhead Software’s Reason has had a huge presence as both a collection
of software instruments and as a complete music creation platform. Over the
years, the “Prop heads” have added new instruments and features, expanding
the program’s capabilities while maintaining its ease of use, CPU efficiency, and
friendly appeal. So it’s no surprise that Reason has found a home in studios of all
levels, all over the world. Now the program has ratcheted up to version 5, with a
cadre of new features, enhancements, and new instruments.
First up are the new instruments. The Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player picks up where
Dr. Rex left off. Doc Oc can load up to eight different loops at the same time,
with easy switching between loops. There are also new loop slice parameters
that allow you to reverse, filter, alternate, or even send individual loop slices to
different outputs for further processing. To say you can get wild effects using
those new capabilities is a major understatement!
The Kong Drum Designer is the second new instrument. It’s a “semi-modular”
drum sampler, drum synthesizer, and REX loop player with powerful sounddesign capabilities for creating the sounds you want. There are 16 pads, each of
which can have its own sound. Each sound has two insert effects slots for adding
processing. Nine different effects, specifically designed for drums, are included.
Everything can be automated, individual outputs are provided, and there’s an
audio input. You can even change the look using your own skins.
Speaking of samples, all of Reason’s sample players (Redrum, NN19, NN-XT, and
Kong) are now full-fledged samplers! You can sample from any audio input or resample the output of any Reason device. You can even save your custom samples
as part of your song, for easy portability.
New Page 01.indd 1
> > Propellerhead Reason 5
Sweetwater Price $299.00
www.sweetwater.com/reason5
The Sequencer
now has two views.
“Song” view is
the traditional Reason sequencer mode. “Block” view allows
you to create up to 32 different chunks of multitrack music
containing any combination of tracks. Blocks can be freely
moved or repeated in a sequence to compose or try different
arrangements. Blocks can be combined with regular note
and automation clips, allowing Reason to bridge the worlds of
linear and nonlinear arranging. The Sequencer has a variety of
other enhancements, such as the capability to record notes on
multiple tracks, a mute tool, a new song navigator pane, new
note-editing functions, loop functions, and much more. The Transport has also
been improved. You now have tap tempo, the capability to set the pre-count bars,
and Transport keyboard shortcuts that work on laptops with no numeric keypad.
And there are so many more new features and enhancements, including
onscreen piano keys, faster sample loading, device groups, improved cable
management in the rack, full multicore/multiprocessor support, and much more.
Needless to say, Reason 5 is a must-have upgrade for any Reason owner. Don’t
think twice; just call your Sales Engineer to order it. For those new to Reason,
version 5 is still one of the easiest ways to get into computer music production
without having to deal with heavy hardware demands or a steep learning curve.
It works on just about anything and is simple to install and use. Reason 4 was
great, but Reason 5 is even better. How do
they keep doing it?
11/11/10 9:12:02 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 2
The World of Pro Tools
Our friends at Avid have been very busy! This fall has seen more product introductions
from a DAW hardware and software manufacturer than I can ever remember in a single
year, let alone a single season. In fact, the entire Pro Tools landscape has changed, from
the entry level to the maxed-out pro rig. And it’s not just one aspect that has changed;
both the hardware and software sides of the Pro Tools equation have undergone major
changes. Let’s take a look at the current state of Pro Tools.
Hands On
$
1519.00
MC Control
Pro Tools 9
$
599.00
By Mitch Gallagher
Pro Tools 9
48kHz)! There are 256 internal
buses. In other words, the
track count is the same as
that for Pro Tools|HD, even
without the HD hardware.
The maximum simultaneous I/O for non-HD Pro Tools 9
systems is 32 channels.
It’s been on the most-requested list for years: the ability to run Pro
Tools without proprietary Avid or Digidesign hardware. Well, the wait
is over! Though Pro Tools 9 is filled with new features, the big news
is that Pro Tools software will now run with other manufacturers’
audio interface hardware — or on Macs, with no hardware at all!
In fact, as I type these words, I’m sitting in the café of a Barnes &
Noble bookstore in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, running pre-release Pro
Tools 9 software on my MacBook Pro while using the Mac’s built-in
headphone output for playback. There’s no audio interface — Avid or
otherwise — in sight. (Of course, you’ll still get improved reliability,
performance, and integration when you do use an AVID interface.)
How cool is that? It’s been a long time coming, and at the risk of a
redundancy violation, it’s cool!
The Pro Tools engine can run on Core Audio or ASIO drivers; on a
Mac you can even use a Core Audio aggregate I/O driver to combine
different audio interfaces (even from different manufacturers) into
a single system. The number of voiceable audio tracks has been
increased to 128 (playback of 96 simultaneous tracks at 44.1 or
48kHz). With the Complete Production Toolkit 2, that number
jumps to 512 (playback of 192 simultaneous tracks at 44.1 or
At this point, there really is only one flavor of Pro Tools software. In
fact, with the addition of the optional Complete Production Toolkit
2, even a Pro Tools system running without any additional hardware
will have nearly all the capabilities as Pro Tools|HD, (along with tons
of other features and additions — see sidebar “The Breakdown”).
In many cases, you’ll even be able to use the same plug-ins. Many
TDM-format plug-ins will run under RTAS in the new software, and
many of those that won’t are being rewritten so that they will run
under RTAS. Of course, existing RTAS plug-ins should work fine in
PT9. Pro Tools 9 also offers multitrack Beat Detective.
Want some more big news? How about a most-requested feature
for non-HD Pro Tools software? We’re talking Automatic Delay
Compensation! Pro Tools will now maintain phase-coherent
time alignment between tracks with or without plug-ins, or with
different plug-ins instantiated. MIDI virtual instruments will also be
automatically time aligned. Just this feature alone is going to make a
lot of Pro Tools users ecstatic!
• Pro Tools|HD — As before, Pro Tools|HD uses Core and Accel
processing cards in the computer for DSP power for mixing and
plug-in processing, along with the computer’s native CPU power for
additional processing capability. The new HD I/O, OMNI, and MADI
interfaces connect to the Core and Accel cards for expandable,
configurable I/O options and up to 96 channels of I/O. (Older Pro
Tools|HD interfaces, such as the 192I/O, are also compatible.) Pro
Tools|HD systems run the included Pro Tools 9 HD software. PT|HD
also supports the amazing HEAT analog mixer emulation. It remains
the hardware-based, power-on-demand flagship of the PT family.
• Pro Tools|HD Native — This brand-new system uses the Pro
Tools|HD Native card, which goes into the computer and supports
latency-free audio input and output using the new HD interfaces
for up to 64 channels of I/O. Mixing and plug-in processing is all
handled using the computer’s CPU power. PT|HD Native runs the
included Pro Tools 9 HD software and offers all of the features of
Pro Tools|HD, without the dedicated DSP processing cards — and
at a significantly lower price.
MC Mix
$
1119.00
Want to get totally hands on with Pro Tools 9? Then you want the
Euphonix MC Control and/or MC Mix control surface! The good
news is that the MC controllers now offer full support for Pro Tools.
We’re not talking HUI emulation; we’re talking complete
integration between the controller and the software. I tested
pre-release EuCon software and an MC Control with PT9 running
under CoreAudio on my MacBook Pro, and found that the MC and
PT are a perfect match! With the touchscreen in the MC, you can
control just about any function in PT; you rarely have to ever look
at the computer screen. They’re a match made in heaven!
those names, you know I’m talking about a long time ago!), I think
this may be the most important new version of Pro Tools yet. I can’t
imagine how many musicians and engineers who’ve been wanting
Pro Tools, but who wanted to use their own interface (or no interface),
will make the switch to PT9. For me, since I have a Pro Tools|HD rig
in my studio and often use my laptop to get work done on location or
on the road, the compatibility and feature equality between PT9 and
PT9 HD has me thrilled. In my case, even large sessions from my HD
rig easily moved right over to PT9 11/11/10on my laptop.
All I can say is, happy holidays, Avid! Thank you very much for getting
me what I really wanted in my stocking this year!
Super Buy!
Thanks to our special relationship
with Avid, we’re able to offer you
amazing bundle deals:
There are a ton of great new features in Pro Tools 9. I wish I had
space to get into them all. In fact, as a devotee of PT since way back
in the days of four voices and ProDeck and ProEdit (if you recognize
The Breakdown
Recognizing that all the new releases from Avid could be sort of
overwhelming, here’s a guide to how it all breaks down:
MC C
Control
t l & MC Mi
Mix
Mbox 2 + PT9 = $498
Mbox 2 Mini + PT9 = $448
Call now for complete details!
• Pro Tools 9 — PT9 is the latest version of Pro Tools software. It
breaks the mold by supporting Core Audio and ASIO drivers for use
with nearly any audio interface for up to 32 channels of I/O — or
no hardware at all for completely untethered, portable laptop
use. Let the rejoicing begin, as Pro Tools is now an open platform
as far as audio interfaces are concerned. Plus, automatic delay
compensation for plug-ins is included!
• Complete Toolkit 2 — This optional software for Pro Tools 9
adds Pro Tools 9 HD features, such as up to 512 voiceable tracks,
QuickPunch for up to 64 channels, up to 160 aux input tracks,
advanced track grouping, autofades, up to 7.1 surround mixing,
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or e-mail us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
New Page 02-03_alt2.indd 2
11/11/10 11:22:30 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 3
HD OMNI
$2995.00
HD MADI
$4995.00
HD I/O
$3995.00
$
495.00
HEAT
Let’s not forget another
big announcement that
was made at the same
time the new HD interfaces were revealed:
HEAT (Harmonically Enhanced Algorithm
Technology) for Pro Tools|HD. Developed
in collaboration with engineer Dave Hill of
Cranesong, HEAT is a software emulation
of the euphonic analog harmonic distortion
qualities imparted to audio by tubes and
mixing consoles, as well as the nonlinear
sonic aspects of magnetic tape. Once
activated, HEAT can be bypassed on a perchannel basis in the Pro Tools mixer, with
master Tone and Drive controls for dialing in
the effect. It provides the analog-like sound
we’ve been craving from the digital world.
Pro Tools
Mbox Mini
$
PRO TOOLS|HD NATIVE
HD HARDWARE
The first of Avid’s many unveilings took place in August, with the announcement of
all-new interfaces for Pro Tools|HD. New features include advances in design, filtering,
clocking, and connectivity. Also new are built-in Curv soft-knee analog limiting, 0.25ms
latency specs, redesigned A/D and D/A converters, and more. The new interface lineup
includes the following:
HD I/O — Three versions of this interface were announced, all aimed at the highestquality recording and playback. The configurations include 16 x 16 analog, 16 x 16
digital, and 8 x 8 x 8 analog and digital. Stereo S/PDIF and AES/EBU I/O are standard, as
are ADAT and S/MUX optical. An expansion slot can support eight channels of AES/EBU or
TDIF I/O.
HD OMNI — This is the all-in-one, centerpiece-of-the-studio interface that many of us
have been waiting for. The HD OMNI is a single-rackspace unit with four analog inputs
and eight analog outputs. It also includes two mic preamps, headphone outputs, stereo
and surround monitor control/control room functions, a built-in 14 x 26 mixer that
functions even when the computer is off, and much more. Stereo AES/EBU and S/PDIF
digital I/O are standard, as is 8-channel ADAT-format optical I/O.
HD MADI — Here’s a single-rackspace unit capable of 64 channels of MADI I/O,
with sample rate conversion on either input or output over an optical or coaxial cable
connection. Up to 56 channels can be transmitted in Varispeed mode.
There’s no question that Pro Tools|HD is the undisputed
state-of-the-art standard for professional studio use. But Avid
recognizes that not every studio needs the full-on hardwarebased power-on-demand capability that Pro Tools|HD
offers — especially with all the processing power today’s
incredible Macs and PCs provide. That’s why, in October, Avid
announced a whole new Pro Tools: Pro Tools|HD Native! The
new PT|HD Native utilizes the PCIe-format HD Native Core
Card, which drops into your computer and provides support
for up to 64 channels of latency-free input and output using
your choice of the HD interfaces described at left. While the
HD Native Core Card is making sure all the audio gets in and
out properly, the actual Pro Tools software and all the plugins are running “native” on the computer, taking advantage of
your CPU’s DSP power.
Pro Tools|HD Native provides up to 192 tracks with automatic
delay compensation for plug-ins; support for Pre, Sync I/O,
Video Satellite, and Icon; 7.1 surround mixing; and all the
other great features of Pro Tools|HD, but at a substantially
lower price than a full Pro Tools|HD rig.
329.00 PRO TOOLS MBOX
The Mbox has been around for several generations now in various
incarnations, and it’s served admirably as the portable and
affordable side of the Pro Tools hardware family. In September,
the Mbox family was redesigned and upgraded by the same
$
.00
engineering team that worked on the new HD I/O interfaces,
Pro Tools
Mbox
resulting in the all-new Pro Tools Mbox family. The new Mboxes
feature vastly improved converters, a number of enhancements and powerful new features (including a new
software control panel that allows access to all the Mbox features, even when using non-Pro Tools DAW
software), and even tighter integration with Pro Tools software. There are three members of the Pro Tools
Mbox family:
5499
54
support for up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution; built-in Softclip limiter (same as in the 192I/O); built-in guitar
tuner; onboard DSP for cue mixing and reverb effects; assignable Pro Tools multifunction button; and
support for ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME, and multiclient drivers.
• Pro Tools Mbox Pro — Desktop 8-in/8-out interface with four XLR mic preamps with phantom power;
four balanced 1/4" line inputs; unbalanced RCA and 1/8" inputs; two stereo headphone outputs with
separate volume controls; stereo S/PDIF digital I/O; MIDI I/O; word clock I/O; support for up to three
stereo monitor outputs or 5.1 monitor output; monitor volume, dim, mono, and speaker-switching
controls; FireWire connectivity; support for up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution; built-in Softclip limiter; builtin guitar tuner; onboard DSP for cue mixing and reverb effects; assignable Pro Tools multifunction button;
and support for ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME, and multiclient drivers.
• Pro Tools Mbox Mini — Super-compact 2-in/2-out interface with one XLR mic preamp with phantom
power, DI and DI/line inputs, stereo headphone output, stereo monitor outputs, dedicated monitor volume
control, bus-powered USB 2.0 connectivity, and support for up to 24-bit/48kHz resolution. There’s also
support for ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME, and multiclient drivers.
• Pro Tools Mbox — Compact 4-in/4-out interface with two XLR mic preamps with phantom power; two
front-panel DI inputs; stereo headphone output with volume control; stereo S/PDIF digital I/O; MIDI I/O;
stereo monitor outputs; monitor volume, dim, and mono controls; bus-powered USB 2.0 connectivity;
D-Control/D-Command support, advanced editing, scrubbing/scrolling, advanced automation, multiple video tracks and playlists, video
editing, the MP3 option, DigiTranslator, and tons more.
• Plug-ins and Virtual Instruments — RTAS and AudioSuite plugins and instruments should all be compatible with Pro Tools 9 and
Pro Tools 9 HD. “No-resource” TDM plug-ins will run in Pro Tools 9
— even with no additional hardware! Other TDM plug-ins will need
to be rewritten as RTAS plug-ins in order to function in Pro Tools 9.
Of course, any TDM plug-in should work fine in Pro Tools 9 HD.
• Pro Tools Mbox — This is a new family of compact, portable
audio interfaces optimized for use with the Pro Tools 9 software.
$
749.00
Pro Tools Mbox Pro
Choose among the Pro Tools Mbox, the Pro Tools Mbox Mini, or the
Pro Tools Mbox Pro for the correct I/O complement you need.
• Eleven Rack, 003, and 003 Rack — These interfaces will remain
in the lineup and are compatible with the new Pro Tools 9 software.
• Command 8, C|24, D-Command, and D-Control — These
control surfaces are unchanged and are compatible with Pro Tools
9. In fact, Pro Tools 9 running on a laptop, with no interface, is
compatible all the way up to a fully expanded D-Control!
• Euphonix MC Control and MC Mix — These control surfaces are
now 100% compatible and tightly integrated with PT9.
• Sync I/O and Pre — These devices are unchanged.
• Pro Tools LE — Development of Pro Tools LE will cease, since Pro
Tools 9 takes over that niche and offers far, far more capability.
• M-Audio — M-Audio interfaces will be bundled with Pro Tools 8
M-Powered software for the foreseeable future. M-Audio interfaces
will be compatible with the optional Pro Tools 9 software.
Contact your Sales Engineer for more information on upgrade
programs as well as compatibility and other questions. He or she has
been totally trained on all the ins and outs of the new Pro Tools world!
Exclusive videos, features, and hands-on reviews at www.sweetwater.com/expert-center.
New Page 02-03_alt2.indd 3
11/11/10 11:22:50 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 4
By Daniel Fisher
As the holidays
approach, my family
always asks me what
I’d like in my stocking.
This year the answer
is easy. The new
Korg microSTATION
($599) would fit quite
comfortably in the
stocking hanging over
my fireplace — and I’d still have plenty of room left over for candy. And weighing in at less than 6 pounds, it won’t even
strain the thumbtack holding it up.
SYNTH
TRICKS
You may be thinking a keyboard this small and light would have to be more of a toy than a serious musical instrument,
but I’m here to tell you otherwise. Inside this micro marvel beats the heart of a professional Korg synthesizer/
workstation. It has 360 multi-sampled instruments and 484 drum samples (all recorded at 48kHz), with room for
512 programs, 384 combis, and 48 drum kits. It also has an additional 256 GM programs and nine GM drum kits.
All of these samples are played through Korg’s EDS-I (Enhanced Definition Synthesis – Integrated) engine and can
play a staggering 120 notes of polyphony! And the effects section is incredible. For each program, you can use five
simultaneous insert effects (stereo in/stereo out) and still have two
master effects (stereo in/stereo out). There are 134 types available,
from the expected chorus, flanger, phaser, Leslie, reverb, and delay
effects to the otherworldly grain shifter, ring modulator, pitch
shifter, Decimator, Doppler, and auto-reverse effects. There are
even six guitar and bass amp models, each with parametric EQs.
But it wouldn’t have the word “STATION” on it unless it was also a full-blooded workstation. Combis can have up to 16
programs, each with their own MIDI channel, and dual polyphonic arpeggiators let you create drum/bass/chord grooves
on the fly. A high-performance 16-track MIDI sequencer allows you to record up to 128 songs, for a total of 210,000
notes! You can even save your sequences and programs to an SD card.
At this point, some of you may still be wondering why you would need a microSTATION. Here are some of my reasons:
1) It’s the ultimate emergency backup keyboard. There’s nothing worse than driving an hour and a half to a gig only to
discover that your main keyboard has died since the last time you played it. Now you can just reach under your car
seat and pull out a fully functioning spare.
2) It’s a killer keyboard to connect to your computer. I’d much rather have a full five octaves of slightly smaller keys
than only two or three octaves of regular-sized keys. Connect a USB cable, and the microSTATION’s editor becomes
a powerful plug-in that supports VST, Audio Units, and RTAS formats. That’s 120 notes plus effects, with no additional
strain on your computer’s CPU!
3) You can pack a serious-sounding instrument every time you leave the house. Sure, it drives my wife crazy, but I
define myself as a musician. It kills me when we go on a trip and there’s a jam session but no keyboards. I can tuck
a microSTATION in my suitcase and be ready for any musical opportunity that awaits.
4) It’s so convenient to set the microSTATION on top of your favorite stage piano (or even a real piano) to add both
modern and classic sounds to your arsenal.
Call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer today for more information on
this compact miracle of the modern age.
Korg microSTATION
Sweetwater Price $599.00
www.sweetwater.com/microSTATION
Hands On
Zoom R24
By Mitch Gallagher
The Doctor Is In!
Noise. It’s everywhere. And in the audio world, it can be a huge problem, especially
if the noise went down to tape in the middle of a track. Luckily, our friends at
iZotope have the prescription for all noise-related ailments, and it comes in the
form of RX 2. This second-generation audio-restoration suite does virtually
everything the original version of RX did, but iZotope added a few more tricks to its
arsenal. Among the new features are new denoiser algorithms, which improve the
smoothing by reducing the artifacts introduced by many noise-reduction plug-ins;
upgraded declick and decrackle functions, which are custom-designed to clean
up vinyl and other analog media; and improved freehand audio tools, which make
doctoring audio faster than ever.
But if you demand even more powerful noise-reduction tools, step up to RX 2
Advanced, which gives you everything you need to manage nearly any noiserelated snafu. Leading the charge is Adaptive Denoiser Mode, which lets RX 2
Advanced automatically adapt to a changing noise profile — a great tool for video
post, where background noise can ruin a take. Plus, you get Radius, iZotope’s timestretching and pitch-shifting algorithm. It’s very helpful for correcting errant hits
and botched attacks without
impacting the rest of the tracks.
> > iZotope RX 2
You also get top-notch sample
Price Starting at $314.95
rate conversion and dithering,
www.sweetwater.com/rx2
along with a whole host of other
> > iZotope RX 2 Advanced
rockin’ features that will simplify
Price Starting at $1099.00
your life.
www.sweetwater.com/rx2Adv
We all know that a computer makes a great studio tool,
right? The flexibility, the power, the expandability, the
ability to load up whatever software tools you want, having
everything in one place... plus you can use it to surf the
Web and balance your checkbook! But here’s something
interesting. Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten several
calls and e-mails from friends asking about “all-in-one”
multitrack recorders/mixers — the digital equivalent of the
4-track cassette “studios” many of us grew up with. These people are looking for a simple-to-operate, one-stop solution
that they can pick up and take to a rehearsal, a gig, a songwriting session, or a remote location for tracking. (See the article
on page 12 for one example of how an all-in-one recorder can figure into these applications.)
There are a number of great units on the market that satisfy these needs, but the one that has caught my eye recently is the Zoom R24. We’re talking 24 tracks
on SD card (no hard drive noise or mechanical worries; instantly add a fresh card for more record time), eight microphone inputs (up to six can have phantom
power), built-in effects, built-in stereo mics for quick sound capture, nine faders, and easy operation. Just arm the tracks, hit record, and make music — no boot
time, no mousing. I, for one, had forgotten how nice it was to really keep the focus on making music. And the R24 lets you make music anywhere. It will run for
over four hours on six AA batteries. The only other things you need are mics and a set of headphones.
But if you want to go further, you definitely can! There are a built-in pad sampler (eight pads, 24 voices) and a built-in drum machine with 400 patterns, plus you
can sync two R24s for up to 48 tracks. If you do want to bring a computer into the mix, the R24 is happy to play along. You can transfer files to the computer
for storage or editing in a DAW, use the R24 as a hands-on control surface for your DAW software, or even use it as an 8-in/2-out USB audio interface for your
computer! It even comes with a copy of Cubase 4 LE.
So it’s simple to operate, has more features than you’ll probably need, fits into many laptop bags, and can run on batteries. But how does it sound? To put it to
the test, Mike Ross (see article on page 12) recorded demo tracks using the R24, then we compared the results to the “real” tracks that were recorded in a wellequipped Nashville studio. Am I going to tell you that the raw tracks sounded the same? Well, no. But I am going to tell you that the R24 tracks held up really well
— especially given that Mike used budget mics and wasn’t in a true “studio” space. With some massaging, the R24 tracks would definitely be in the ballpark.
The R24 is compact, lightweight, battery-powerable, laden with a stunningly long list of capabilities, easy
to operate, and great sounding. That’s definitely a winning combination for bands, songwriters, and anyone
looking for a high-quality portable all-in-one digital recording studio!
> > Zoom R24
Sweetwater Price $499.00
www.sweetwater.com/r24
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or e-mail us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
New Page 04.indd 4
11/11/10 11:25:09 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 5
Light Up Your Holidays with an Amazing
3-pack from MOTU!
The MOTU MasterWorks Collection is the perfect gift for the Mac
user on your list (even if that person happens to be you). Upgrade
your DAW with three wonderful plug-ins, for less than the cost of
a single high-end plug-in! First, there’s the MasterWorks Leveler,
the perfect tool for smoothing sound and adding a vintage vibe to
your mix. The MasterWorks Leveler is an accurate re-creation of the
world-famous Teletronix LA-2A optical leveling amplifier — a muchloved and often poorly mimicked dynamics processor. Applying the
MasterWorks Leveler to vocals and guitars is an excellent way to
give your tracks a polished and professional sheen.
Speaking of polish and sheen, the MasterWorks EQ gives your tracks a sweet, rich, and bold sound. More than just a
classic British console EQ, the MasterWorks EQ lets you make dramatic adjustments to your tracks without mangling their
basic character. Those professionals who have been using the MasterWorks EQ for years simply rave about the results —
and we’re sure you will too. The third heavy hitter is the MOTU ProVerb, a superb convolution reverb that won’t drain your
CPU. You get a vast selection of reverb styles plus tons of real-time parameters that let you tweak your sound to perfection.
There’s even a unique Dynamic Mix function that automatically
balances the ProVerb’s wet/dry mix. Very cool! All told, the MOTU
> > MOTU MasterWorks Collection
MasterWorks Collection is more than an amazing value; it’s a great
Sweetwater Price $279.00
way to spread holiday cheer to your favorite audio engineer!
www.sweetwater.com/masterworks
Meet the Phantastic Slimmed-down Phatty!
We’re huge Moog fans. So imagine our excitement when we found out about the Slim Phatty, Moog’s ultra-portable (and affordable) analog synth
module. Moog managed to pack the architecture of their renowned Little Phatty into a compact tabletop chassis that’s also rackmountable. You
get a pair of Moog’s amazing oscillators, an arpeggiator, two ADSR envelope generators, and a complete set of modulation tools. If you’re a Moog
aficionado, then you know what you can get from these building blocks. If you’re not, then be prepared for mind-blowing analog synth sounds!
While you can easily create sounds on the Slim Phatty, you’ll definitely
appreciate how Moog put 100 of them right at your fingertips. Whether you
take the Slim Phatty onstage or want to dial up studio sounds in a hurry,
you’ll love what’s onboard and ready to go.
On its own, the Slim Phatty gives you plenty of sound-shaping
potential. But take advantage of its CV inputs and you have the perfect
add-on to your Little Phatty or Minimoog Voyager rig. Because
it’s rackmountable, the Slim Phatty is ready-made for your
> > MOOG Slim Phatty
live or studio setup. Call your Sales Engineer to experience the
Sweetwater Price $795.00
Slim Phatty for yourself this holiday season!
www.sweetwater.com/slimphatty
Put a
Mustang Amp
Under Your Tree!
Big-time amp tones and features,
stocking-stuffer prices! Get
legendary Fender amp tones (and
then some) at practice — and
inject those tones straight into your
recordings. You’ll absolutely love
Fender’s new Mustang combo
amps. They’re compact enough to
take anywhere, powerful enough to
use for band rehearsals, chock-full
of amp models and effects, and
perfect for making great-sounding guitar tracks. Plug into the 20-watt
Mustang I or its 40-watt sibling, the Mustang II, and you’re greeted
with that unmistakable Fender amp tone and vibe. The Mustangs feature
a stereo headphone/line-out for silent practice. An auxiliary input lets you
plug in your favorite music player and jam along. You even get a built-in
chromatic tuner! But here’s the kicker: you can plug either of these amps
straight into your computer! Both Mustangs come complete with USB
connections, so you can record amazing guitar parts, with no need for a
microphone.
The 1 x 8" Mustang I and the 1 x 12" Mustang II each come loaded with
eight different amp models; it’s like having a roomful of great amps in one
very portable and incredibly affordable package. Fender also added 24
effects and two dozen fantastic presets. You won’t believe how easy it is
to dial in big-time clean, distorted, and in-between tones! The Mustangs
include Fender FUSE software, which makes editing, storing presets, and
swapping patches easy. The FUSE application also gives you access to free
artist content. But Fender didn’t stop there. They even threw in Amplitube
Fender LE and Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition software, turning these
mighty practice amps into
> > Fender Mustang I Amp
full-blown recording rigs.
Sweetwater Price $99.99
Call your Sales Engineer
www.sweetwater.com/MustangI
today to find out more
A Sweetwater Welcome to Gallien-Krueger!
The story of Bob Gallien and Gallien-Krueger amplifiers is one of integrity and grass-roots determination, one which we at Sweetwater (a company with a similarly humble beginning) deeply appreciate. It begins in
the ‘60s, when the teenaged Bob Gallien worked at Webb’s Music in Antioch, California, building speaker cabinets and honing his interest in electronics. Gallien eventually went to work for Hewlett-Packard, where he
learned about the “totem pole” transistor arrangement that became the heart of his first amplifiers. The 226A amplifier Gallien built in his garage produced 226 watts (virtually unheard of for a transistor amp in 1967).
Carlos Santana took one of these amazing guitar amplifiers onstage at Woodstock, and his performance of “Soul Sacrifice” showcased the clear and punchy sound that GK amplifiers would become known for.
By the early ‘70s, Gallien was focusing entirely on bass amplifiers. In fact, the demand for them was so great that he couldn’t keep up with production. This inspired him to team up with Rich Krueger and form GallienKrueger. In 1982, the original all-metal 800RB rackmountable bass amplifier launched GK into the mainstream. This amplifier featured musical tone controls, a built-in DI, bi-amp capabilities, industrial durability, and
more — all of which set the standard for modern GK amps. Today, bassists touring with GK amps include Flea ((Red Hot Chili Peppers),) Tony Kanal ((Gwen Stephani),) Gregg Lake ((ELP/Asia),) Duff Mckagan
g ((Velvet Revolver),)
Justin Chancellor (Tool), and many more.
Thanks to GK’s affordable lineup of bass amplifiers and cabinets, you, too, can take this same
great sound onstage. We’re delighted to welcome Gallien-Krueger to the Sweetwater family. Order
one of these fine amps for yourself, or give the gift of amazing bass tone to the bassist on your
holiday gift list. Call your Sales Engineer for more information about GK amplifiers!
Discover the Sweetwater Difference — call (800) 222–4700 or visit www.sweetwater.com.
NEW Page 05.indd 5
11/11/10 11:16:35 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 6
Hands On
Hands On
Korg MR-2000S
BOSS Power Stack ST-2
By Mitch Gallagher
By Mitch Gallagher
Korg has been flying the flag for DSD/1-bit recording for several years now. With DSD (Direct Stream Digital), a single
bit is used each time a sample is taken to represent the change from sample to sample. Samples are taken at very high rates (2.8MHz or
5.6MHz). With these high rates, extreme filtering of the audio isn’t necessary. Many expert listeners feel that this results in a more natural,
“analog” sound in the recording. Regardless of the technology, everyone agrees that the DSD/1-bit format sounds really good.
The first generation of Korg’s DSD recorders, the MR-1 and the MR-1000, were excellent recorders, offering outstanding sound quality and a
good selection of features. Their second-generation recorders, the MR-2 and the MR-2000S, have taken that quality to an even higher level.
The MR-2000S, which is our focus here, is the first Korg DSD/1-bit recorder in rackmount format. It can also record/play standard PCM
formats and includes free AudioGate software for converting different flavors of DSD to PCM.
The MR-2000S is a single-rackspace unit with XLR and RCA stereo inputs and outputs. There are S/PDIF digital connections for PCM use, as
well as word clock for synchronization. A USB 2.0 port allows fast transfers to computer. The MR-2000S has a built-in 80GB hard drive for
storage. The front panel is easy to navigate, 24-stage LED meters indicate level, and a headphone jack with volume control is provided.
The MR-2000S is a stereo recorder aimed at live stereo recording, stereo mixdown, and mastering. But if you want to go for the ultimate
multitrack, you can sync four MR-2000S units together for eight tracks of recording. I’ve been relying on the MR-1000 for stereo mixdown for
some time now, but I like the MR-2000S even better for a number of reasons. The hard drive is bigger, the rack format is convenient, and the
user interface is clearer. But here’s the biggest reason: On the MR-1000, the signal always went through a mic preamp stage when recording
line-level signals. With the MR-2000S, line-level signals don’t go through that extra stage, so the audio is arguably purer. The MR-2000S is
especially cool if you’re mixing through a summing box or a mixer from your DAW, as I am.
The MR-2000S is also a better fit for me as a location recorder. I mounted it in a 3U rack with a 1U Millennia Media stereo preamp and a rack
power strip. That rack, along with a pair of mics, two cables, two stands, and headphones comprise my complete stereo recording rig. I used
the MR-2000S for classical guitar recordings and got excellent results.
> > Korg MR-2000S
Sweetwater Price $1799.00
www.sweetwater.com/mr2000s
In short, the MR-2000S rocks for all its intended applications. Definitely a worthy successor
to the MR-1000, it’s an outstanding addition to any studio or live recording rig.
I normally play through a 1x12" tube combo
amp set up for a clean tone. I use various pedalss
to achieve overdrive sounds. I’m happy with thee
tones I get, but I’ve never been able to get the
sound of a British tube amp stack from my rig.
So when I heard BOSS was coming out with
a pedal that modeled stacks, I was intrigued.
Could they be the first to get it right?
Needless to say, I was eager to put the Power
Stack ST-2 pedal to the test. My verdict?
They nailed it. The modeling is excellent, with
convincing tones and plenty of that 4x12style chunk and thump. Better yet, the pedal feels right, and it responds
dynamically to your touch. Amazing!
The Power Stack has just four knobs: Level (output volume), Bass, Treble,
and Sound (adjusts both the gain and the model being used). With the Sound
knob to the left, you get a vintage-style low-gain amplifier — crunchy,
punchy, and dynamic. As you approach 12 o’clock, you get a blend of vintage
and modern, with medium gain and full tone. Crank all the way up, and you
have a modern British stack with gobs of gain and sustain. But no matter
what position you’re in on the Sound knob, if you just roll back your guitar’s
volume control, the sound cleans right up.
Les Paul, Strat, Tele, PRS — they all sound great through the Power Stack. In
fact, they sound familiar. These are the cranked tube stack tones we all grew
up listening to. I’ll say it
again: BOSS nailed it.
> > BOSS Power Stack ST-2
Crank it up!
Sweetwater Price $99.00
www.sweetwater.com/powerstack
SONAR X1:
Ready to Improve Your Workflow!
Making music on a PC? Whether you’re a long-time SONAR devotee or someone choosing your first (or next) recording
software environment, you’ll want to check out Cakewalk’s SONAR X1. This significantly updated version of SONAR
comes in three flavors: X1 Producer, X1 Studio, and X1 Essential. Each one features a tailored feature set to meet your
recording/producing needs, at a price that’s right for your budget.
Across the board, you’ll find a thoughtfully redesigned layout to maximize your efficiency. You’ll especially appreciate
the Skylight system that lets you easily hide, dock, collapse, or expand any of SONAR X1’s views. Plus, you can
instantly recall any Skylight window configuration, so it’ll be just the way you left it. Cakewalk has even revamped
SONAR’s tools, adding a Smart Tool system that switches your tool based on context. What’s more, additional keyboard
shortcuts/key clusters are also primed to improve your workflow.
In the flagship SONAR X1 Producer, Cakewalk has included a powerful ProChannel software signal chain that makes
it easy to punch up your tracks without having to launch and manage separate plug-ins. Based on the sounds of
renowned analog hardware, ProChannel includes separate EQ, compression, and tube-saturation sections, with
flexible drag-and-drop routing of the processing order.
With its thoughtfully retooled layout, SONAR X1 is the perfect choice for musicians, engineers, and producers who want to develop a rapid, fluid workflow.
It offers a new take on the modern DAW, offering a high level of flexibility and adaptability, and putting the controls you want right where you need them.
Ultimately, whether you’re a high-level professional, an owner of a growing home studio, or a recording enthusiast just starting out, you’ll find a software
recording environment that supports your workflow — and offers rock-solid PC stability — with SONAR X1.
> > Cakewalk SONAR X1 Producer
Sweetwater Price $399.00
www.sweetwater.com/SonarX1Pro
View online versions of our print publications at www.sweetwater.com/publications/.
New Page 06.indd 6
11/11/10 9:51:16 AM
F
List $869.00
$
List $1023.00
0
649.00
A
$
List $1399.00
$
.99
9
1199
List $423.00
0
664.00
$
0
199.00
List $499.99
$
C
9
349.99
G
B
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List $1000.00
List $278.00
$
D
.00
0
199
$
List $599.00
9
649.99
$
0
499.00
A. Wechter Triple-O Select
C. PRS 25th Ann. SE Custom 24
E. Vox LTD Edition AC15
G. Traveler Guitar Speedster
Packed with vintage vibe and extraordinary
playability, the Wechter Triple-O Select puts that
nostalgic “12-fret” feel into your hands at a price
that won’t break the budget!
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of PRS in high style!
This incredible guitar offers the acclaimed PRS feel,
sound, and look (complete with bird inlays) at a price
that’s right inside holiday “wish list” territory!
Add that British “chime” to your tonal arsenal and get
a LTD Edition collectible amp while you’re at it! This
red-clad Vox makes a bold statement on both the sonic
and visual fronts!
When you’re on the go, you need a Speedster! This
travel-friendly axe features a full-length neck for a
no-compromise playing feel. Factor in the high-output humbucker, and you’ve got a great go-sized axe!
B. Fender American Standard Tele
D. Roland CUBE 40 XL
F. Epiphone Special II Player Pack
H. Kala U-BASS
Offering up an essential flavor of “twang,” the Tele
is the axe of choice for guitarists across a wide
range of styles — from straight-up country to
absolute avant-garde!
Every guitarist needs a super-flexible practice amp
for anytime jamming with a wide range of tones. And
you get it all with this portable combo from Roland —
loads of tones, effects, and more!
Perfect for any beginner! This complete package gets
you a guitar that looks great and sounds even better,
plus an amp, a strap, a gig bag, picks, and even an
instructional DVD. It’s the total starter set!
Unbelievable “upright”-style tone, from a bass you
can take anywhere! With an all-mahogany body and
standard EADG tuning, this great-sounding bass is a
gotta-have! A fretless model is also available.
New Page 07.indd 7
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Give the gift
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11/11/10 11:40:45 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 8
List $1259.00
$
99
899.99
A
B
D
C
List $160.00
List $133.00
$
$
List $259.99
99.75
$
199.99
A. Avid Eleven Rack
C. Morpheus DropTune
It’s the all-in-one stage and studio box for the modern guitarist! Packed
with a dream collection of amp and effects models, the Eleven Rack
doubles as a USB interface with included Pro Tools LE recording software.
Forget floppy string buzz! When you want to tune down your whole
guitar, just stomp on the DropTune! You can drop in half steps, all the
way down to 3.5 steps — and there’s even an octaver onboard too!
B. Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi
D. Vox Ice 9
Who can resist the fuzzy bite of the Big Muff Pi? Here, you get that classic
tone stacked on top of an overdrive circuit, with a quartet of germanium
transistors to help you summon a wild range of distortion flavors!
Here’s Joe Satriani’s favorite overdrive! The Ice 9 offers both Vintagee an
andd
Modern modes, giving you loads of shapable overdrive tones. Use the
More switch to cut right through the mix when it’s time to solo!
E
129.99
Create your
own wish list!
st!
ift ideas!
Find more gift
Visit sweetwater.com/giftguide.
G
List $799.00
$
LIMITED-TIME
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Purchase
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urcha
chase
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Casio
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Sweetwater
weettwat
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now and
d
December 31, 2010, and get a free Privia Gig Bag from Casio!
To register, visit http://www.priviagigbag.com.
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List $849.99
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$
New Page 08.indd 8
$
.99
9
999
E. Casio PX-3
G. Roland GAIA SH-01
With an incredible 88-key “Ivory Touch” keyboard, a fantastic grand piano sound, 64
onboard effects, a back-friendly 23.6-lb. weight, and a nice price, the Casio PX-3 is just
the instrument gigging keyboardists have been calling for!
A beast of sheer synth power! The Roland GAIA SH-01 can take you into both vintage
and modern sonic landscapes. And with an analog-style control approach (forget about
complicated menus!), this battery-powered baby is easy for all synth fiends to enjoy!
F. Roland JUNO-Gi
H. Novation UltraNova
This killer synth is loaded with 1,300 sounds and a full-blown 8-track recorder! The
onboard USB connection makes way for easy recording, and you’ll love running your
JUNO-Gi on batteries for total on-the-go music creation and production.
With this blue monster in your corner, you’ll be armed for practically anything! This
37-key synth makes way for easy sound creation, and the built-in vocoder and included
mic are perfect for all kinds of performance and studio fun!
9
699.99
11/11/10 9:03:50 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 9
C
B
D
A
$
$
.00
499
$
.00
499
$
.00
499
319.00
A. Apple Logic Studio 9
B. MOTU Digital Performer 7
C. Native Instruments Komplete 7
D. Antares Auto-Tune 7 Native
Made for Mac! Load up on an incredible software
suite that’s packed with amazing virtual instruments,
scores of plug-ins, and tons of production power!
Newly packed with a suite of virtual guitar amps and
effects, this DAW is primed for full-on music creation,
production, editing, and more!
Get an avalanche of first-class virtual instruments at a
truly awesome price! Explore this 60GB synth/guitar/
drum library and set your creativity on fire!
Whether you’re after subtle correction or all-out
modern hard-tuned effects, you’ll have just the tools
you need in this famous pitch-correction plug-in!
Create your
st!
own wish list!
ift ideas!
Find more gift
A
STARTING AT
$
.97
9
999
STARTING AT
Visit sweetwater.com/giftguide.
$
Apple iPad
0
499.00
This year’s gotta-have gadget! Musicians far and
wide are turning to the Apple iPad for its awesome
creative possibilities. Make music on the go, share
your songs and viral videos, send an e-mail to
book a gig… you’ve got a one-stop creative and
productive partner with the iPad. Call now to get
your iPad in time for the holiday season, and start
exploring the musical possibilities!
B
Sweetwater Custom Computing
A. Tower Audio PC
B. Rackmount Audio PC
The Creation Station Tower is plenty powerful for
the biggest desktop music productions — and it’s
also ultra-quiet for your critical studio sessions.
Whether you need a rock-solid studio computer or
a rugged PC for your mobile rig, Creation Station
Racks are component-optimized to handle audio!
$
STARTING AT
.00
249
$
0
999.00
MOTU MicroBook
Apple MacBook Air
This super-portable audio interface puts the right I/O on your desktop, backed up with MOTU’s DSP mixer/
effects, including their famous console-style EQ and classic compressor. Nice!
When you’re on the move, there’s no better travel companion than the MacBook Air. This practically
weightless laptop gives you a simplified set of connections to meet your basic on-the-go needs!
New Page 09.indd 9
11/11/10 2:57:34 PM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 10
Shure SRH440
Get comfort and accuracy, just what you
need from your primary headphones!
List $374.00
List $495.00
$
$
.00
0
395
List $349.00
0
299.00
$
00
00
179.00
List $125.00
$
99
99
99.99
B
D
A
$
Focal CMS 40
There’s good reason why Focal monitors are flying
into pro and project studios across the globe: they’re
extraordinarily accurate! Here’s your chance to get
all that accuracy rolled into a monitor that’s perfectly
sized for desktop production. This is a steal!
C
List $369.00
.00
199
$
0
229.00
A. Blue Spark
B. Shure SM27
C. RØDE NT1-A
D. AKG Perception 220
Your affordable entry into the
renowned Blue Microphones
sound — ideal for vocal and
instrument recording!
Park this mic in front of vocalists,
drum kits, bass cabs, and more.
It’s an extremely versatile mic
and a great value!
The perfect first microphone! You
won’t believe the professional vocal
sound you get out of this budgetfriendly microphone!
This versatile mic can handle
extraordinarily loud sources! It’s
equally at home in front of a vocalist
as it is in front of a drum kit.
Create your
own wish list!
Find more gift ideas!
Visit sweetwater.com/giftguide.
List $199.99
$
List $125.99
$
List $159.99
.99
99
98
$
TASCAM DR-03
Zoom H1
Head out on the town “spy style” and capture great
recordings while you’re at it. With onboard mics
and a handy USB connection, it’s super easy to
record and archive your song ideas and more.
This portable recorder sounds incredible,
and it’s sized for the on-the-move artist!
Use the built-in mics to capture your sound
and easily transfer files to your computer!
00
99.00
99
99.99
Novation Dicer
Vox AC1 Rhythm Mini Amp
The DJ’s gotta-have gadget! Use the
Dicer to set cue points, loops, and more.
It conveniently fits right on the corner of
your turntable. You get two for $99.99.
The amp you can really take anywhere! You
won’t believe the big Vox sound you get out
of this pocket-sized playing partner. It even
features onboard rhythm patterns!
List $85.00
$
9999
59.99
Planet Waves Headstock Tuner
IK Multimedia AmpliTube iRig
Turn your iPhone or iPod touch into a mobile
music-making machine for guitar! You’ll love
the tones in the AmpliTube app too!
$
The super-convenient tuner! Just clip this on and
tune away. It senses vibrations, so you can even
tune in loud environments!
39.99
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Korg Monotron
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$
.99
9999
59
New Page 10.indd 10
Get a real-deal analog synth, at a great
price! This inspiring little instrument
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List $149.00
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00
99
TC Electronic PolyTune
$
99
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The tuner that can actually save you time! Just strum your
guitar strings and the PolyTune will you tell you exactly
which ones needed to be tuned. A pedalboard must-have!
11/11/10 11:57:16 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 11
Inside
By Chuck Surack
As I’m writing this, we’re moving into late fall. It’s the time of year when we all
count our blessings. Though the world has faced — and continues to face —
serious challenges, we’re seeing signs of improvement and hope. And despite
the challenges, we have a great deal to be thankful for!
Personally, I’d like to express my thanks and appreciation for everyone here at
Sweetwater. I’ve referred to our staff and employees as a “Super Bowl Team”
many times in this space, and for good reason. The team we have here at
Sweetwater, from the warehouse to tech support, service to reception, sales
to studio, really can’t be rivaled. They’re the most dedicated and talented
team anywhere, and I’m very proud and humbled to be associated with such
an amazing group of individuals. It really is a joy to come to work each day
and to be surrounded by such an asstonishing group of people.
Hands On
Allen & Heath ZED-10FX
By Danielle Teagarden
Respected console makers Allen & Heath have
been hard at work developing a lineup of
unapologetically affordable mixers with
“big board” features, the ZED series.
The latest member of the family, the
guitar-friendly ZED-10FX, features
four preamps and two stereo channels, with a
straightforward layout, a nice selection of effects, and a USB
connection for easy recording. Its guitar-centric spin begins with the
two hi-Z instrument inputs on channels three and four, and the bundled
AmpliTube X-Gear amp/effects software. The hi-Z inputs sport special
FET circuitry that lends itself to a warmer, richer tube-inspired sound, and
there’s even a Boost switch, which caters to instruments with low-level outputs.
If you’re in need of a small-format mixer for gigging, desktop use, or basic recording, the ZED-10FX is hard to
beat, especially if you play guitar. And if you need additional
I/O, the rest of the ZED series has you covered. Each mixer
> > Allen & Heath ZED-10FX
in the series retains the sturdy design and classy woodSweetwater Price $299.00
hued endcaps that give the family an expensive look and a
www.sweetwater.com/zed10fx
solid feel.
Budda Bud-Wah
By Mitch Gallagher
From Clapton and Hendrix in the late ‘60s to Kirk Hammett and Zakk Wylde today, guitar
players have always loved wah-wah pedals. Whether you go for vocal expressiveness or the
piercing filter effect of a wah pedal fixed in one position (à la Michael Schenker), a great wah
pedal is a must-have for every guitar rig.
Speaking of great wahs (pretty slick tie-in there, eh?), I was recently sent the latest version of
the Budda Wah for testing. The Bud-Wah has undergone an upgrade, resulting in even higher
quality and durability. Improvements include a military-grade sealed potentiometer, a heavyduty switch, superior wiring, heavy-duty RF shielding, hand-soldered connections, a heavier
case, and a new battery compartment with a door and a battery cradle.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank you! Without you, our friends and customers,
there would be no Sweetwater, and we are grateful for your support every
minute of every day. You’re the reason we do what we do, and we are honored
each time you trust us with your gear purchases.
Finally, I’d like to give thanks for the gift of music, which brings us all together.
May your new year be joyous, healthy, prosperous, fun, exciting, and filled
with music!
Your Favorite Handy
Video Recorder —
in High Def!
In use, I found the ZED-10FX to hold up to the Allen & Heath standard. The 3-band EQ was musical, offering
plenty of room for shaping. The effects were also tasteful and useful, especially with the addition of tap tempo.
In rehearsal with another acoustic guitarist, I appreciated being able to skip connecting my two DI boxes — with
no sonic compromise either. And when the electronic drummer showed up later, I easily patched her in and was
able to capture the entire rehearsal over USB. It was really easy, and the sound had much more clarity than the
PA-broadcasted sound I typically get with my handheld recorder.
Hands On
I’d also like to thank our family of manufacturers, reps, and vendors. Literally
hundreds of people from the multitude of companies we partner with work
“behind the scenes” to ensure that the products you need are in stock in our
warehouse — to say nothing of those people who are constantly coming up
with all the great new products we see introduced throughout the year!
This holiday season, capture every precious moment in
breathtaking stereo sound and high-definition video, with your
new Zoom Q3HD handy video recorder. Ever since the Q3
came out, Sweetwater customers have been raving about its
phenomenal sound quality. That’s because Zoom gave it a pair
of the same excellent condensers microphones featured in their
top-selling H4n portable recorder. In the new and improved Q3HD,
Zoom upgraded the optics and the video capabilities to meet the
bar set by these mics. Record in either 720p or 1080p resolution
— the same high-definition standard used by your flat-screen TV!
But that’s not all. The Q3HD also features a 4x digital zoom, so you
can get close and personal as you record, capturing every detail of
every moment.
Another great feature of the Q3HD is its capability to handle multiple lighting modes. No
matter what lighting situation you’re in — out in the woods, at a show at the club, or
gathered around the hearth as your family opens presents — the Q3HD is ready. You can
even set it to automatically adjust for any condition; you’ll never need
to touch a thing. A new icon-based menu makes it easy to access
> > Zoom Q3HD
the Q3HD’s settings. Plus, sharing your videos is easy too, thanks to
Sweetwater Price $299.00
NTSC/PAL TV and HDMI outputs as well as a built-in USB uplink cable.
www.sweetwater.com/q3hd
And here’s one last wonderful thing about the Zoom Q3HD (in case
you haven’t noticed): it fits perfectly in just about any stocking.
g.
> > Budda Bud-Wah Pedal
Price Starting at $169.99
www.sweetwater.com/budwah
The result is a pedal that’s built
like a tank and that operates
super smoothly. But the sound is the thing. The Bud-Wah has been voiced
using an enhanced version of the vintage Fazel inductor to maintain tight
low end and avoiding shrieky high end. The action of the pedal is firm
enough for the treadle to stay in whatever position you park it in, but it’s
supple enough to easily work for funky rhythm parts. Hardwire bypass switching
hing
keeps your tone true.
The Budda Wah has always been a stellar boutique wah, but now, with the recent
improvements, the Bud-Wah has reached an even higher level. Give this one a serious look.
Exclusive videos, features, and hands-on reviews at www.sweetwater.com/expert-center.
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11/11/10 11:45:07 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 12
Choosing the
Right Technology
to Support
Your Creative
Goals
Albert Einstein
Michael Ross
with friends
(right) collaborates
As a technology lover and self-described
ribed gearhead, I’m amazed by
ity of today’s music software
softwa and
the power and near-limitless flexibility
e e been a better time to be a
hardware. I truly believe there has never
recording musician. Yet, recently, I found myself incapable of getting
a project off the ground — let alone completed. For a while, I was
blaming the technology. I’d cry “option overload.” However, today I’m
willing to take full blame for my disappointing lack of output. Why?
Well, I was complicating what should’ve been simple. I was choosing
the wrong technology for my needs, and that, in turn, made my
music — my creative output — a process-belabored task.
I know I’m not the only musician out there who has felt these
frustrations. But rather than commiserate with you, I want to share
my story, since the things I learned may help you find the gear and
the workflow that clear the way for your own creativity.
First Things First: Defining Your Purpose and Specialty
We all get into music gear for different reasons. Your musical talents
may have sparked an interest in recording early on, or you may have
discovered a real knack for mixing after helping out with a friend’s
project. For me, songwriting became my inlet. And while I’d love
to have enough time to become a fantastic recording, mixing, and
mastering engineer, I realize now that writing is my primary musical
purpose. I encourage you to identify your musical purpose. What
skills do you want to learn, and what’s your timeline for learning
them? Do you want to be a better guitarist or a better engineer? If
you want both, are you willing to forego polished, finished creative
output in order to dedicate the time it takes to learn the necessary
techniques and technology?
These days, I’m okay with having a
ng,
“specialty.” I’ll leave the engineering,
recording, mixing, and mastering to those
elves in
who’ve chosen to immerse themselves
s. As the
those parts of the creative process.
ter, I’m
director of marketing at Sweetwater,
nted
fortunate to be surrounded by talented
people who are more experienced at those
or help.
things. And I’m okay with asking for
ove:
I’d rather stay focused on what I love:
songwriting.
As I thought through my needs as a songwriter, I realized that during the initial
stage of trying out ideas, I didn’t need a computer at all. In fact, based on my
ne
needs for an “always on” system with fewer options and potential distractions,
a ccomputer could be counterproductive! With that in mind, I set out to design,
pie
pi
e by piece, my ideal rehearsal space and idea-capturing room. And now,
piece
aafte
after spending a few weeks being more productive than I have been in years, I
ccan finally say that my product manuals — and not my potential songs — are
tthe oones collecting dust. Take a look.
JJamHub Green Room My JamHub is one of the central parts of my new setup.
JamH
IItt offers
offe dedicated sections for up to seven musicians to easily dial in custom
hheadp
headphone mixes. Now, “more me” doesn’t mean a volume war. It’s elegantly
ssimple and intuitive to use, and there’s a USB
ooutput for easy recording if I ever want
tto go th
that route.
“Any intelligent fool can make things
bigger, more complex... It takes a touch
of genius — and a lot of couragee — to
move in the opposite direction.”
By Michael Ross
Where I Landed:
My Home “Idea Center”
tted songwriting
in his freshly outfi
space.
Identifying Yo
Your Ideal Workflow
Once you know your direction, it’s much easier to equip yourself with
the tools you need to get there. Still, it’s too early to talk gear just yet.
Sure, your type of work will help determine the gear you need. But
what I know now is that the way you want to work should determine
how you choose your gear. It’s easy to get swept into “button envy”
— believe me, I’ve been there. But if you want to get to the heart
of your work right away, intentionally limiting your options can be
a self-created blessing. For example, I don’t need 200 — or even
20 — piano sounds to choose from. As a songwriter, I just need a
great piano part. I need to be as close as possible to creation,
with little-to-no processing, boot-up time, menu opening,
clicking, and wiring standing between me and the capturing of
my ideas. It might sound simple, and, in fact, it is. But when you’re
hankering for a new piece of gear or listening to someone tell you
about their latest whiz-bang this or that, it’s easy to lose focus on
what you really need.
So, the most important question you can ask yourself is, “How do I
prefer to work?” Think through your workflow and determine what
pieces of gear are essential to your creative process. You’ll be well
on your way to making yourself more productive.
Choosing the Gear That Takes Care of Your Needs
This is where the real fun begins for us gearheads. And here’s
where today’s abundance of amazing-sounding, reasonably priced
technology is really on your side. The trick is in wading through the
many options out there. And as someone who once tried (and failed)
to really connect with the gear I thought was right for my workflow,
I can say that working with a Sweetwat
Sweetwater Sales Engineer can be
ext
trem beneficial. Just talking
extremely
thro
through your goals and workflow
visio
vision is invaluable — especially
whe the person on the other
w
when
e of the phone is up to speed
end
o the
th gear options that address
on
y needs. This way, you can
your
k
keep
the joy in the creativity and
leet the
th technology be a help, not a
let
hiindr
hindrance,
along the way.
Dire
Di
D
ctt S
Direct
Sound EX-29
JJamHub Headphone Kit
7-pack
7
k TTo complement my
JJamHub, I added this Direct Sound
hheadphon
headphone kit. The headphones are color coded to
work right with my JamHub Green Room model, so
w
tthere’s no chasing down tangles of cables to figure
oout what’s plugged where — it’s a definite time saver. I’m also impressed with
tthe EX-29’s combination of isolation, comfort, and sound. I can use them for long
w
writing sessions, with no problems or headaches.
Switchcraft RMAS8Pro I’m using
this to split my inputs. One set goes
to the JamHub for “more me” as we
play; the other set goes to my R16 for
recording everything. It’s a splurge, for
sure, but this splitter helps me eliminate ground loops, and I love the convenient
DB-25 connectors, which cut down on individual cable runs and keep things
neat and tidy.
Zoom R16 All the signals that go into my JamHub for
monitoring simultaneously go to my Zoom R16 for
recording. Everything records straight to an SD
card, and I can get up to eight tracks at once. I
especially like that I can see the meters from anywhere
in the room. Plus, it has onboard stereo microphones, so I
can easily capture a lyric idea or
an acoustic guitar part if inspiration strikes.
BOSS DR-880 Since I’m not using a computer in the
room, I need a fast and easy way to bring up simple
drum patterns to work with. I love the dedicated
button on this unit (fast and intuitive to use), and it
sounds great. Also, since the DR-880 has MIDI, I can
run my Roland HD-1 kit into it and get tons of new
sounds for the kit. It even has a BOSS guitar processor
built in that gives me another option for guitar or bass processing when I need it.
BOSS eBand JS-8 This may be the most
productive piece of gear I’ve acquired this year.
The eBand JS-8 is a standalone guitar trainer with
effects, pitch/tempo controls, and loop phrases. It’s
amazingly easy to use,
and I rely on it constantly
for both writing and
practicing — it sounds
unbelievably good as a
guitar processor too.
Roland HD-1 For me, this electronic kit is the perfect size.
It’s small enough to put in a corner, but big enough to really
play. And through the JamHub, the drums sound huge in the
headphones. Best of all, I don’t have to call it quits just
because it’s too late at night or too early in the morning.
Moving?
oving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call
Call, ffax, or e-mail us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
New Page 12.indd 12
11/11/10 11:53:51 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 13
Hands On
Universal Audio 4-710d
By Mitch Gallagher
Four channels of Universal Audio goodness in one 2-rackspace unit? You better believe it! But the new
4-710d is more than just four preamps crammed into one case — a lot more!
The 4-710d starts where the original 710 Twin-Finity preamp left off. The original 710 combines phase-aligned
tube and Class A FET solid-state signal paths into a single preamp, with a rotary control for blending the two
paths together. The result is a highly flexible preamp that can conjure myriad tones, from pristine solid-state
to warm tube, and everything in between. Run the input gain low for a nice, clean tone; crank it up for rich
coloration. A direct input, 70dB of gain, 48-volt phantom power, polarity invert, and a 75Hz low-cut filter round
out the feature list.
That’s the existing 710 preamp. Now, kindly shift your focus to the brand-new 4-710d. The 4-710d has all the
features of the 710, but it adds some mouth-watering extras. First up is an 1176-style compressor on each
channel. Each compressor offers two preset settings: fast and slow (plus a bypass setting). Having a compressor
onboard makes the 4-710d useful on all sorts of sources, including vocals and bass guitar. There’s also a
bypassable send/return insert loop on each channel. You can use it to add an external EQ, a compressor/limiter,
or another processor into the signal path.
But for many users, the big news is the 4-710d’s built-in 8-channel analog-to-digital converter, which can
operate at resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz. Digital output is available on dual ADAT optical outputs or in AES/
EBU format on a DB-25 connector. Since only four channels on the converter are
needed for the 4-710d itself, Universal Audio included four more input jacks that
can be used to route other external preamps or line-level gear to the remaining
four converter channels. This makes the 4-710d an ideal input expander/front end
for the many computer audio interfaces out there that offer ADAT optical inputs
for additional channels. Word clock input and output (with switchable 75-ohm
termination) are provided for syncing the 4-710d with your other digital gear. Plus,
an 8-channel limiter can be switched on or off to prevent accidental overs.
In other words, UA thought of pretty much everything when they put the 4-710d together! When you combine
all those features with the great sound and flexible tonality of the 710 preamp’s blendable tube and FET circuits,
you get a compact, Swiss Army knife front end for your rig that will find constant use. I was a big fan of the
710 when I reviewed it for SweetNotes not long ago, and I’m an even
bigger fan of the 4-710d. No matter what your application, 4-710d
> > Universal Audio 4-710d
simply excels, and because of that, it would be a wonderful addition to
Sweetwater Price $1999.00
pretty much any studio. I highly recommend checking this one out!
Hands On
AKAI SynthStation 25
Sweetwater
Welcomes
Godin!
Priced
Under
$
100
When most of us think about guitars, we conjure images of wood
and strings, with a magnet or three managing the conversion of
vibrations into the voltage that feeds your amp. It’s pretty much
as straight-up analog as you can get, right? Well, occasionally an
innovator comes along and re-imagines the potential of the guitar,
as Godin — a recent addition to the Sweetwater roster — has done.
By Mitch Gallagher
It’s getting crazy out there! What do
I mean? Well, I just plugged my iPod Touch into my
keyboard to create a synthesizer — and it was easy to play and sounded
great! Sheesh, what will they think of next? (Said in my best “old geezer” voice.)
The AKAI Professional SynthStation 25 is a keyboard controller featuring 25 velocitysensitive mini keys as well as pitch bend and modulation wheels. In fact, you can plug it
into your computer via USB and use it as a controller keyboard for your virtual instruments.
I hooked it up to my MacBook and instantly jammed with the Propellerhead Reason/Record instruments — no drivers and
no set up required.
But the “wow” factor comes when you slip an iPhone or an iPod Touch into the cradle on the front of the keyboard. By
downloading and installing the AKAI Professional SynthStation app from the iTunes store, you can turn your phone or
MP3 player into a surprisingly powerful digital synthesizer. And we’re talking more than a toy here. The SynthStation 25
has a stereo headphone output and also stereo RCA audio outputs that you can route into your mixer, amp, or computer
interface. You can even use the USB connection to turn the SynthStation 25 into a sound module for your computer.
The SynthStation app can also run just on your iPhone/iPod, but it’s tough to actually play the little touchscreen. With
the SynthStation 25 keyboard though, you have the keys you need right at hand, as well as buttons for scrolling through
programs, changing octaves, and selecting different synth/drum parts.
> > AKAI Professional SynthStation 25
Sweetwater Price $99.00
www.sweetwater.com/SynthST25
www.sweetwater.com/4710d
The SynthStation 25 cranks out good synth and drum sounds,
is compact and portable, and is priced under $100 (add around
$10 for the app download). Total it all up, and this is the perfect
stocking stuffer for every iPhone/iPod owner!
Merging classic looks with fantastic functionality, Godin builds
guitars that don’t look terribly different from other guitars. Under the
hood, however, there’s a whole lot going on! Many of these beauties
are loaded with USB, piezo bridges, and 13-pin outputs (great
when paired with Roland GR series and Axon AX100 guitar synths),
along with traditional magnetic pickups. Needless to say,
you can create a good deal of magic with all those
options. These multitalented instruments are just
the ticket for an adventurous guitarist. Electric and
thinline acoustic models are available, as is a nylonstring model. Built to the highest standards, these
instruments are a joy to play.
If your tastes fall a bit more on the conventional side,
Godin also has guitars that come without 13-pin
outputs. Not only are these jazzbox-style guitars
gorgeous, but they’re affordable too. Godin has a
guitar for virtually any guitarist, and they’re all
built right here in North America. We couldn’t
be happier to have them onboard!
Exclusive videos, features, and hands-on reviews at www.sweetwater.com/expert-center.
New Page 13.indd 13
11/11/10 11:38:07 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 14
Inside the
Jeff Radke
The holiday season is here again. For me, it’s
a time of both celebration and reflection. I
have this fantasy every year that I’ll have time
to really step back and relax and enjoy the
holiday season. Inevitably, though, it winds up
being a sprint to keep my head above water.
(How’s that for a fun mixed metaphor?)
a lot to be said for making the effort to develop a long-term, mutually beneficial business relationship. We
are honored to be serving you and to be helping you find ways to make music, despite the less-than-healthy
condition of the economy. We are very grateful to you for helping us continue to grow during the recession.
Speaking of keeping heads above water,
the entire nation has gone through very
challenging times in recent years. This isn’t
the time or place for a recap of the negativity
we’ve been, and continue to be, bombarded
with. Rather, it’s an opportunity to cover some
of the good stuff that can help put things in
proper perspective.
In the larger picture, after a somewhat slow time in terms of new product introductions, we’ve seen truly
exciting and even game-changing products hit the market in the past 12 months. These include new
interfaces from AVID as well as PT 9, HD Native, and much more. (Holy cow, what an amazing series of
product introductions they had this year!) And check out these other awesome releases: Akai Professional
SynthStation 25 (keyboard controller for iPhone), iPad, Line 6 Digital Wireless, BOSS Power Stack, new
Fender American Deluxes, Fishman Loudbox Mini, iRig, iZotope RX2, Lexicon LXP Native Reverb, James Tyler
Variax, POD HD, Voyager XL, myMix, Traktor Kontrol S4, Dicer, Pearl E-Pro Live, StudioLive 24, Reason 5,
Komplete 7, QSC KW series, M-300 V-Mixer, Roland SuperNatural piano products, Softube plug-ins, Taylor
GS Mini, VoiceLive Touch, R24, Q3HD, H1, and more. Check them all out at sweetwater.com/SN2010!
Recently, a close friend of mine was
diagnosed with cancer, and I’ve had other friends and family members face tough health issues in the last
year. More than ever, I’m thankful for my health and the health of my wife and kids. I sometimes take for
granted the fact that I can pick up my guitar and play any time I want. What a blessing.
I’m humbled and feel very blessed to be part of a company that has invested the time, effort, and resources
to provide exceptional service throughout a down economy. I’m even more humbled and blessed that, as a
company, we have had the opportunity to work with so many great clients — clients who have supported
our efforts and “voted” with their dollars to support our business model during this challenging time. There’s
Hands On
As I mentioned, we place a lot of stock in relationships here at Sweetwater, both with our customers and
with our vendors. In the last year, we’ve developed relationships with great new partners, including ADJ,
Gallien-Krueger, Godin, Gen16, Hohner (harmonicas), KALA, Pacific, Schoeps, Miktek, Pioneer DJ, joe meek,
Lehle, Lakland, LR Baggs, Orange, RJM Music, sE Electronics, and Traveler Guitar!
I’m sure I’m missing some brands and products, but you certainly get the gist — it’s an exciting time to be a
musician! Here’s to a wonderful holiday season. Hopefully, Santa has some of the goodies listed above in his
bag for you!
Rock and Roll!
Jeff Radke
Vice President of Sales
Hands On
Gen16 Digital Vault Z-Pack
Orange TH30
By Mitch Gallagher
By Mitch Gallagher
Orange Amplifiers has really been
on a roll for the past couple of years.
They’ve come out with a number of
innovative and successful amplifier
models, and signed up an impressive
roster of endorsing artists, making big
headway into a gear arena that has
traditionally been dominated by just
a few brands. Now the company has
released the TH30, which is available
as both a head and a compact combo.
Orange sent me a 1 x 12" combo amp
for this evaluation.
The folks at Zildjian cymbals had
a brilliant thought: if you were
going to create the ultimate
cymbal library wouldn’t it make
sense to go to the source, work
with experts who really know
what cymbals sound like, and get
it right from the start? Of course
it would! And that’s why Zildjian
launched the Gen16 Digital
Vault Z-Pack, a collection of
high-resolution samples based
on the company’s “master
reference” cymbals. Drum
recording specialist John Emrich
was tapped to create the samples
using FXpansion’s BFD Eco as the
playback engine (Z-Pack also works in BFD2.)
The TH30 is an all-tube amp featuring
dual ECC83 preamp tubes and four
EL84 power tubes. The power output
can be switched from 30 watts to 15 watts to 7 watts, so you can easily
adjust your volume level for practice, rehearsal, or live performance. The
amp has two channels, switchable via front-panel switch or footswitch. The Clean channel has volume, bass,
and treble controls. The Dirty channel has gain, “Shape,” and master volume controls. The Dirty channel’s
Shape control is very interesting; turning it changes the tonality from midrange-focused to thick and round to
mid-scooped. And this control is highly effective, as moving the knob just a small amount results in an audible
tonal change. A tube-driven effects loop (using an ECC81 tube) rounds out the features.
The result is a library containing 14 masterfully
recorded and programmed cymbals — from hi-hats to
splash cymbal, rides to crashes. These cymbals are not
available anywhere else — just in this virtual library.
The sonics and the playability of the cymbals are stellar.
So often, cymbals are the weak link in a virtual drum
instrument. While the drums may be convincing in a
mix, many people can pick out sampled cymbals. Not
anymore! These samples give you realistic cymbals,
recorded with pristine quality. Just drop them into your
mix in place of your regular virtual cymbals, and you’ll
immediately hear the quality jump up. They’re that good!
> > Gen16 Digital Vault Z-Pack
Sweetwater Price $179.99
www.sweetwater.com/ZPack
The TH30 is extremely flexible. It can go from a round, warm, clean tone to a screaming, super-gainy lead
tone. And despite the compact cabinet, the combo delivers a big sound with plenty of bottom end and punch.
No matter what guitar I plugged in, the sound was rich and dynamic. I was able to dial in nice jazz and country
tones, but make no mistake: this amp wants to rock!
> > Orange TH 30 Combo
Offering everything from crunch to super-heavy tones, at
whatever volume you want, the TH30 delivers!
Sweetwater Price $1349.00
www.sweetwater.com/TH30Combo
Moving? Moved? Want more than one copy? Call, fax, or e-mail us your new address and don’t miss an issue of SweetNotes!
New Page 14.indd 14
11/11/10 11:37:13 AM
SWEETNOTES | HOLIDAY 2010 | PAGE 15
Hands On
Which One?
Line 6 POD HD500
The HD family of PODs also includes the HD300
and the HD400. If you don’t need the over-the-top
power of the HD500, one of these siblings may be
perfect for you! Here’s the comparison:
By Mitch Gallagher
Guitar players are picky, picky people — at least as far as their tone goes! Believe
it or not, they’re also a fairly conservative bunch. They like their traditional guitars,
amps, and effects. (I know, I know, there’s also that bunch of guitar players who
always want to be on the cutting edge, but run with me here...) In years past, this
made it something of a challenge for manufacturers who were developing digitally
modeled amp simulators and effects to get the recognition they deserved.
Fortunately, the last few years have seen modeling improve to the point where even
the most critical guitarists have to admit that they can get really good tones out of a
modeler. That’s certainly the case with the POD HD500, a new pedalboard-style amp/
effects modeler utilizing Line 6’s latest HD (High Definition) software and hardware.
The HD500 offers easy usability. There are 12 footswitches and an expression pedal
that can be used for parameter, wah-wah, or volume pedal duty. Also onboard are
dedicated Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Volume, and Master knobs for easy
sound-tweaking access. The LCD display is large and easy to read, with its own set of
multifunction “soft” knobs. The back panel features an array of I/O options: XLR, 1/4",
S/PDIF digital, and MIDI. Plus, there are jacks for inserting an external pedal or rack
effect into the signal path. There are even proprietary jacks for Line 6’s DT amps and
Variax guitars. (See sidebar, “DT and Variax.”) Whether you’re onstage or in the studio,
with a simple rig or a high-tech
command center, the HD500 will plug
right in and feel right at home.
> > Line 6 POD HD500
Sweetwater Price $499.99
www.sweetwater.com/podhd500
Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give the HD500 is that the amp and effects
models (the effects come from the much-lauded Line 6 M13 processor) sound right;
that is, they sound real. But more than that, playing through the HD500 feels right.
The guitar’s controls respond as expected, as do the amps and the effects. There’s
so much sound-shaping power in this box that the POD HD500 can deliver exactly
what you want. There’s virtually every style of amp and cabinet as well as a huge list
of effects of every type — from vintage to modern, glassy clean to super saturated,
crunchy to smooth. The presets provide a great place to start, but it’s no problem
to dial up your own custom sounds, whether from the front panel or via the free
included editor/librarian software.
Line 6 has really been on a roll recently, producing the M13 and the M9, the DT amps,
the new James Tyler Variax models, and more. The POD HD500 (and its siblings, see
sidebar) only cranks that successful roll to an even higher level. Even the pickiest of
guitarists are going to find a lot to like in the HD500!
DT and Variax
D
LLine 6 also has a new line of guitar amplifiers, the DT series, designed in collaboration with Reinhold Bogner. These amps employ tube
be
power
amps that can automatically configure themselves for Class A or Class AB operation, depending on the preamp model selected.
po
d. It’s
amazing
how much difference this makes when you go from, say, a Vox model to a Marshall model. But everything gets even cooler when
am
you
yo use a POD HD500 as the front end for a DT. The POD can control all the functions of the DT, provide the front-end preamp models,
s, or
even
ev provide power-amp simulation. Want to go even further? Plug in more DT amps for stereo or wet/dry/wet operation. The POD HD500
D50
5000
will
ill sound
soundd excellent
excellllent in front the DTs, and it will also give you the benefit of all its extra processing and modeling power — especially when used with the
he
configurable tube power amp of the DT. What a sweet combination for stage use! You get instant access to virtually any sound you want!
For the ultimate in flexibility, add one of the new Line 6 Variax models, designed and built in collaboration with boutique luthier James Tyler. Now, not only do youu
have nearly any preamp, effect, or power amp you might want, but you also have a wide assortment of guitars to choose from. I had a chance to play the Tylerdesigned Variaxes, and these are definitely serious instruments — just as guitars, let alone when you add in all the flexibility of the Variax circuitry.
$
329.99
HD300 — Six
H
footswitches, an
fo
eexpression pedal, 16
aamp/cabinet models,
80 effects, 24-second
looper, up to four simultaneous effects, 128 user
and 256 factory presets, a built-in tuner, 1/4" and
XLR outputs, USB, an L6 LINK jack for connecting
to Line 6 DT amps, free editor/librarian software.
$
399.99
$
499.99
HD400 — Nine
footswitches, an
expression pedal,
16 amp/cabinet
models, 90 effects,
24-second looper, up to four simultaneous effects,
128 user and 256 factory presets, a built-in tuner,
1/4" and XLR outputs, USB, an L6 LINK jack for
connecting to Line 6 DT amps, an external effects
conne
loop,
loop
lo
op, ffree editor/librarian software.
HD500 — Twelve
HD50
ffootswitches,
ootsw
t
expression
an exp
pedal, 16 amp/
cabinet models, 100+ effects, 48-second looper,
cabine
up to eeight simultaneous effects, 128 user and
factory presets, a built-in tuner, 1/4" and
256 fa
XLR
XLR outputs, S/PDIF digital output, USB, an L6
LINK jack for connecting to Line 6 DT amps, an
external
exter effects loop, a Variax VDI jack, free editor/
librarian
software.
libr
TrentThompson
Favorite music-related website(s): Gearslutz.com, YouTube
How would your boss describe you? A hard worker and a valued asset
to the company.
Instruments you play: Guitar, some piano, drums, and bass
How would your best friend describe you? Loyal
Gear you own: Focal monitors; Dangerous Music D-Box; Neumann TLM49;
Chandler Limited TG channels, Germanium Preamp, Germanium Compressor, and LTD1; Apogee Rosetta; a short list of vintage microphones and
preamps; Avid Pro Tools; Orange Rocker 30
What did you dream about doing for a living when you were
growing up? Being a rock star
Technical strengths: Engineering, soldering, troubleshooting
Name: Trent Thompson
Family: I have a wonderful wife, Stephanie, and we have an adorable
6-month old son, Levi.
Position at Sweetwater: Sales Engineer
Start date: November 2007
Other stuff we should know about you: I love fishing, camping, grilling,
and pretty much anything to do with being outdoors.
Hired as: Sales Engineer
Education: Degree in recording arts (valedictorian)
Where are you from originally? DeeeLand, Florida (That’s how we say it)
Personal motto: “Do it right the first time, and you won’t have to do it
twice.”
What was your occupation before coming to Sweetwater? Recording
and mix engineer
Favorite magazine: Sound on Sound
Why did you first apply for a job at Sweetwater? It was time for a
change, and Sweetwater had always been great to do business with.
Guilty pleasure of choice: Starbucks
Real-life hero: Jesus
Describe the most dramatic situation in which you provided the
“Sweetwater Difference” for a customer, or the most unusual/
creative solution to a customer’s problem: To be honest, as a company
we make so many impossible things happen every day that naming just one
would be impossible.
What in your life best prepared you for the work you do here at
Sweetwater? All the years spent in studios.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Sweetwater team?
Getting to talk about awesome gear all day.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Sweetwater?
I’ve learned how to really understand and help people. Also, I’ve learned a
lot about how a business should be run.
Discover the Sweetwater Difference — (800) 222–4700 or www.sweetwater.com.
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SweetNotes
®
Inside This Issue:
SWEETWATER
SOUND
5501 U.S. Hwy 30 W
Fort Wayne, IN 46818
(800) 222–4700
Sweetwater.com
Change Service Requested
Putting Together a Writing
Room
“Hands-On” Reviews
Great Gift Ideas
...and More
9
NEW!
LS
PRO TOO
HE RE !
IS
GO TO PG. 2
Sweet
weetNotes
®
(800) 222–4700 | www.sweetwater.com
Look Inside for
Amazing Holiday Deals
Inside This Issue:
Line 6 POD HD500
Putting Together a Writing Room
A Cool Dozen “Hands-On” Reviews
Tons of Great Gift Ideas
...and More
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