Posted On 13 Jun 2013 by Music Junkie
Over the past 10 years many companies have tried to create a great multi fx that is small, useable, cost effective and above all great sounding which suits all levels of player on a relatively small budget. Usually you get a unit that is 3 out of 4 that suffers either from poor sound and loads of features or great sounds from a unit that cracks when stomped on because of a less than suitable chassis. It always seemed obvious where the savings had been made when they were working to a budget.
Along comes Vox, a name almost as famous as those who have used their fabled amps ie The Beatles, Queen, The stones, Foo Fighters… OK, you get the point right, and what those clever souls did at Vox did was to make the Vox Stomplab 1G, a budget multi fx that ticks all the boxes:
1. 103 built in fx
2. Chromatic tuner
3. Metal chassis
4. Vox legendary vt amp modelling giving great sounds
The presets are grouped into genres such as ballad, blues, hard rock and metal so its easy to find the right sound you need. One of the real beauties of this unit is that although you can use up to 103 different fx you really would never need to and you can be as adventurous or cautious with you own sounds as you feel which are very simple to find. So basically this compact mutli fx is at home on a big stage as well as home or studio because of its rugged build and great (useable) presets.
Vox Stomplab 2G - With added Expression!
The main (and only) difference between the two models is the Stomplab 2 has an added expression pedal for wah wah sound and for subtly bring fx such as delay into your sound or to create volume swells. This unit is probably more suited to the live player because of this feature but it goes without saying that in the studio the expression pedal gives you more flexibility to mould your own interesting sounds that perhaps would be lost in a live situation.
Now the really good bit…the prices.
Vox Stomplab 1G £54.98
Vox Stomplab 2G £69.99
I don’t suppose I need to tell you how amazing those prices are! As always there is a well know saying about puddings and proof I believe. We have them in stock in our flagship guitar store in Leicester ready for some full-on effects action. Come on down and check them out for yourself!
Posted On 12 Jun 2013 by Music Junkie
Historically, choosing a wireless system for your guitar was quite a chore, UHF or VHF, single or dual diversity, how many available channels and how much of your precious tone can you afford to sacrifice just to have stage freedom. The latter was a real thorn in my side, although I loved the freedom my sound always seemed to suffer and lack the warmth in tone that my trusted cable gave. Also there was (now and again) that awful Spinal Tap moment when you hear Russian radio or “taxi for Jones picking up from anstey me duck” blaring through your amp because your chosen frequency clashed with the local taxi rank.
So what could you do?…well….spend copious amounts of cash on the very top of the range system which as expected improved things dramatically but still left your tone at about 80% of full tonal greatness. This is how it was for many frustrating years as a guitarist until Line 6 introduced us to the revolutionary Relay systems which no longer work on a radio frequency but instead use 2.4 ghz of wifi. Digital instead of analogue. The claim was that you could get the same sound from a wireless as plugging a lead straight into your amp…oh yes, that all say that don’t they!! We've looked at the Line 6 Relay Wireless Systems before, but never reviewed them.
Being the inquisitive gear head that I am I was I really needed to check one of these systems out and opted to try the rack mount version which is the g90 relay. Within 10 seconds I was utterly convinced, no tone loss, no hiss, no taxis and everything I asked of a wireless system it did and did very very well. It has just the right amount of usable features you would need from a guitar wireless system which is multi channel (in case another band member is using the same system) a battery indicator and level indicator. It also features something called cable tone which replicates the tone you get from a longer lead giving either a darker or brighter response….clever….very clever. So not only do you get the same response as a lead, you can actually improve our overall sound.
The other impressive feature is the fact that you get no drop out in sound until you go over 250ft from the receiver so that’s err ..any stage in the world. Perfect. It takes 2 AA batteries which if they are of a decent make ie Duracell you get around 8 hours of play time or 4 great gigs to put it another way.
There are 3 versions of the Guitar relay system which are the G30, G50 and G90. The differences are that the G30 has 6 channels and the 50/90 have 12, the G30 has the TBP6 transmitter which works by jack to jack and the G50/90 transmitters have a digital readout and have a tiny 3pin connection to jack to ensure full tonal clarity. The G90 as mentioned before is a rackmount receiver for those who are of the rack persuasion.
The Line 6 Relay G30 are £255
The Line 6 Relay G50 are £385
The Line 6 Relay G90 are £555
Needless to say I purchased the Relay system without hesitation and sold my old wireless set to the highest bidder. Work it out for yourself but one originally cost me over £1800 to be replaced and bettered by a unit costing £1250 less. Its that good. Come in and try for yourself at our flagship music technology store in Leicester and take the wireless challenge, I challenge you not to love it.
Posted On 6 Jun 2013 by Music Junkie
Posted In Events, Sales and Competitions, Keyboards
Tagged Keyboards, Korg Kronos, Korg Krome, King Korg
Okay guys, real talk. Korg make amazing keyboards - we know that, you know that, and they know that. Now, we've got some amazing examples in the shop - for example, we've got the Korg King Korg Synthesizer and the Korg Krome 88-Key Workstation Synth sitting pretty in the store right now. But you know what? That's not enough.
So, here's the thing: We're having a Korg Keyboard day! Come on down to Music Junkie on Wednesday 12th June and meet with Korg's product expert Luke Edwards as he puts them all through their paces. Not only that, but he'll be bringing with him one of the incredible flagship keyboards from Korg, the Korg Kronos Workstation Synthesizer!
We're very excited about this - the Kronos is the peak of Korg's keyboard technology right now, and getting to sit down and have a play on one isn't something that happens every day! We won't even tell you off for playing Fur Elise or Jump.
This is just one of the fantastic events we've got planned at our flagship music store in Leicester this summer - beginning with the Novation Summer Tour on Friday June 7th, watch this space for more information!
Posted On 4 Jun 2013 by Music Junkie
When the Marshall Vintage Modern Guitar Amplifier first hit the stores a few years ago I have to admit I was as confused and unaware as the next Marshall owner, having spent many years with the familiar sight of JCMs (either JCM800 or JCM2000 DSL HEADS) which were pretty straight forward ie Gain, Bass, Mid, treble, master.
When the Vintage modern arrived it posed a different challenge, the idea being that you could shape your own preamp destiny by combining 2 sections of a pre amp in this case body and detail. The body knob gave you the warm bottom end and the detail gave you the top end sparkle with the notion that you can blend the two to match your taste and more importantly your guitar.
When demoing this amp it was important to truly go through the features otherwise the customer generally left after 5 mins of trying it to go for something (in their mind) simpler.
If the truth be known, I was one of those people that didn’t get the genius behind the vintage modern and dismissed it as just another quirky idea from an amp company. How wrong can you be??
It wasn’t until I saw the likes of Paul Gilbert (shredder extraordinaire) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake) that I started to pay attention and actually look into what these amps were capable of, after all the sounds they were getting from the amps bore no relation to what id heard from the confused masses trying them out in store.
Basically it’s a single channel amp that you can add varying degrees of gain to by either turning the pre amp (both knobs) up past ¾ to give a classic rock AC/DC type sound or doing the same and pressing the dynamic range switch to give full bore hard rock like Zakk Wylde. It really works and works well, I wouldnt say that the Metal Masses would be turned on to this amp but for everybody from the blueiest, and Jazziest through to the Stonesiest or Angus freaks all the way to Ozzy and Whitesnake aficionados, this amp delivers on every level.
The amp also features a mid boost button for quess what? that’s right boosting the mid for solos or just to add extra cut to the onstage mix especially if you are in a band with two guitar players and are both fighting for the same frequency range.
The Vintage Modern also has a really nice digital plate reverb which reacts perfectly with whatever gain stage you are at without swamping or rattling over your tone so you can have as little or as much as you desire with fear of a tonal disaster.
Finally on the front panel you have the regular bass, mid and treble but instead of drastically changing your sound they are really just minor room improvement aids, by that I mean you will already have you tone shaped with the body and detail knobs so think of the b,m and t as a salt or pepper and add to taste!!
On the rear panel it's very very simple, you have the now standard fx loop for your delays and chorus pedals , a footswitch socket for errrr!! And an external speaker output to add another speaker cabinet if desired.
As with any amp review its impossible to describe sound and feel with words so come in to our flagship Marshall dealership in Leicester and try it for yourself and like me be amazed and a little embarrassed that you didn’t discover this amp earlier.
Posted On 3 Jun 2013 by Music Junkie
The Gibson ES-339 is one of the most popular guitars we've ever sold here at Music Junkie, thanks to its great tone and unique styling. Ever interested in innovation, Gibson have taken the ES-339 and stripped it right back to its roots to create a serious rock machine.
Introducing the Gibson ES-339 Studio - a sleek, single pickup monster with class and tone in abundance. The Studio features the same style that you'd find in any of Gibson's ES series - the double cut and curves - but in the smaller, more comfortable ES-339 proportions. It's still semi-hollow, but lacks the F-Holes - this makes it more resistant to feedback.
Being more resistant to feedback is a good idea when you put a pickup like this in a guitar - the ES-339 Studio features a Gibson Dirty Fingers Plus humbucker, one of Gibson's hottest pickups. That makes the Studio a full-on rock machine - but it also cleans up very nicely if you roll off the volume, too.
So how does it feel? Well, the 339 body shape is one of my personal favourites. I love the ES shape, and the Gibson ES-335 is one of my favourite guitars of all time - but the more compact dimensions of the 339 make it infinitely more comfortable and easier to play. It also stops someone of my proportions being dwarfed by the body of the guitar!
The Studio features a backed maple fingerboard atop a solid maple neck - this gives the guitar a little more of a bright tone compared to the mahogany/rosewood combination of most Gibsons, which works to balance the increased low end given from the semi-hollow body beautifully. The result is a cleanly rounded tone with plenty of beef and clarity.
The best part about the Studio, for me, is just how great it feels - it's a lot lighter than it looks, and it plays incredibly well. It's a really smooth guitar to play, made only more playable by the baked maple neck which makes bending super smooth. The single volume and tone controls are perfectly placed for easy access without being in the way, and the stripped-down nature of the guitar makes it a joy to play.
This really is one of those guitars that you must experience for yourself to get the full idea - so come on down to our flagship Gibson dealership in Leicester and try it out for yourself. It could be the best decision you ever make.
Posted On 28 May 2013 by Music Junkie
Even as recent as 30 years ago when shopping at your local music shop for a bass you were asked “precision or jazz sir?” as if they were the only options that have ever existed. To be honest, until bass playing really broke through in the late 70s with funk and disco and early eighties with the likes of Mark King and Nick Beggs slapping the heck out of the neck bassists were given very little choice.
Thankfully these days the bass player is on an even keel with his fellow band mates and not the one who has the least space on the stage after the singer, drummer, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, keyboard player, backing singer, backing singers mate, bongo player, harmonica and kazoo player…. And they want to make a statement, with their sound, their playing and of course their instrument.
Step in the Fender Pawn Shop Mustang Bass… a bass so cool you may require thermals to play it.
Small bodied for ease of play and less weight for those long gigs, single humbucker pickup giving a huge uncompromising thunderous bass sound, thumb rest for those moments where quite frankly after all that slapping the thumb needs a rest.
The Mustang also has 1 volume and 1 tone pot, considering the bass has only one pickup why would you need any more so endless twiddling of parametric eqs and tone balances will not be needed here.
The bass is built in Mexico which means no mortgage required to purchase and also that the quality is still top notch..here follows some spec on the bass…
30" (762 mm)
9.5" (241 mm)
Number of Frets:
1.5" (38.1 mm)
Truss Rod Nut:
3/16" Hex Adjustment
Master Volume, Master Tone
4-Saddle Mustang® Bass Strings-Through-Body
4-Ply White Pearloid
Vintage Style Black Plastic Jazz Bass®
Deluxe Gig Bag
Fender® USA Super Bass 5250XL Short-Scale NPS, (.040-.095 Gauges)
Phew…so after all that and if you are still reading, the bottom line is this is the Fonzie of basses, the Ice Planet Hoth of basses, the North pole of basses, in fact its cooler than any of those things.
And the best thing…
Its only £629.
So, come in to our flagship Fender dealership in Leicester and try it, you really have no excuse not to.
Posted On 27 May 2013 by Music Junkie
One of the questions we always get asked is, “have you got a practice amp that I can play a range of sounds on and that doesn’t sound like an angry wasp in a jam jar”. Also “I don’t want to spend a fortune” which is uttered within the same sentence.
Until recently this request was followed by the sight of a frantic salesman trying different amps with the customer saying “I like the clean sound on this one but the dirty channel isn’t for me” and vice versa, so more often than not we were left with an almost impossible task to fulfil the players request.
The idea behind the amp was to recreate the sound of the 10 most popular amp ranges starting with the typical Roland cleans and working up to Mesa Boogie or Peavey 5150 style gain monsters while also modelling the most popular front end and back end fx to compliment your chosen amp (front end means effects that you would put into the front input of your amp like wah, overdrive, compression etc and back end are effect that usually run in an amps fx loop like delay, chorus and phasers etx), these are on 2 separate blocks on the amp Vox VT control panel so its really easy to shape your own sound.
What this gives you is the ultimate freedom to either recreate accurately the sound of your favourite players be they Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wylde or Hank Marvin!! or to give you enough scope to truly create your own signature sound.
One of the best features on this amp is the power reduction knob which is perfect if you have to keep the volume down to a minimum without losing the famous tone of your precious preset sounds. It also features a headphone socket, aux in which means you can plug an mp3 player or similar into the amp and play along with your favourite bands or backing tracks and a footswitch socket (footswitch sold separately) so you can change channels remotely.
Each of the 10 amp models has 3 different sounds available so essentially what you have is a whopping 33 amp models to choose from which for any modelling amp is mighty impressive.
Its hard to describe sound to you through the medium of a simple blog review but its satisfying beyond belief and not a wasp in sight.
Come in to our flagship guitar store in Leicester and try it, love it, and buy it.
Posted On 24 May 2013 by Music Junkie
Posted In Music Technology
If you're like me - and let's face it, who wouldn't want to be - you love spending a little bit of time to ensure that your tracks sound absolutely the best they can be. That means that you've got to have a few tools at your disposal - good monitors, such as the cool new Yamaha HS7 Active Monitor Speakers, a quality interface such as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (or the Focusrite Forte for the utmost quality), and finally an amazing array of virtual instruments and effects such as the ones that can be found in Native Instruments Komplete 9 and Komplete 9 Ultimate.
"But Dan," I hear you cry, "I've already got Komplete 8/Maschine/Reaktor 5 (delete as applicable)! Why should I get Komplete 9?" A perfectly sensible question, and there are plenty of good reasons. I'll talk you through them in a nice easy fashion!
1. You Don't Need To Break The Bank
If you already have Komplete 8, you can get all of the wonderful features of 9 simply by purchasing the Komplete 9 Update, available in store for a limited time. This gives you the seven new products included in Komplete 9 at an amazing price - well worth it. If you have Maschine, Reaktor 2-5, Kontakt 1-5 or Guitar Rig Kontrol, you can get the equally bargainous Komplete 9 Crossgrade, also available for a limited time.
2. Yes, I Just Said Seven New Products
As if there wasn't enough in Komplete before, Komplete 9 now features seven new products:
- Monark, a modelled version of the king of monophonic synths
- Battery 4, an upgrade to Native Instruments beast of a drum rack sampler
- Solid EQ, Solid Bus Compressor, Solid Dynamics; an amazing studio FX suite
- The Giant, a new software instrument based on the world's biggest upright piano
- Session Strings, and incredibly accurate and dynamic string ensemble
3. Nine Is One Better
It's a good enough reason for Spinal Tap's amps to go to eleven.
We've got both the update and the crossgrade available in our flagship music technology store in Leicester - come on down and grab them while you can!
Posted On 23 May 2013 by Music Junkie
If you want a professional quality recording, then there are several things that you need. Firstly you need to take your time - no well-produced track was ever rushed. You also need to practice your mixing and mastering. The most important thing to remember, however, is that your recording can only come out as good as it goes in. That means you need a decent audio interface to get the best possible sound.
Focusrite have a range of fantastic interfaces - whether you're after quick, easy and portable like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Interface or big, beefy and studio-level like the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 Firewire Interface, you're guaranteed to get a good sound if you're using a Focusrite.
Greatness Is My Forte
But what if you want better than good? You want great. You want the most professional sound you can possibly get. But you're not made of money - after all, who is? Well, Focusrite have come to your aid with the incredible Focusrite Forte USB Interface. The Forte is named after the original recording console featuring Rupert Neve mic pres and compressors that helped Focusrite make their name in the studio world - a big name for a little box, so what's so special about it?
On the surface, the Forte is a sleek, space-efficient interface with a simple one-dial control system and colour OLED display offering high quality level readouts and more. Rather than be a boxy unit with combination jacks like the Scarlett or Saffire series, the Forte is slim and compact with the inputs located on a locking breakout cable for easy access. The main advantage to this is that you can leave your XLR and line connections plugged in without having to switch between the two.
Sounds Like A Classic To Me
So, it looks great and it's practical - but what makes it worthy of the name Forte? Look under the surface and it becomes quickly obvious that this isn't just a gorgeous piece of design but also a serious interface with incredible audio quality. The Forte features two mic preamps taken from the flagship Focusrite Rednet series, meaning that the preamps are amongst the highest quality Focusrite offer. Add to that a 24-bit/192kHz resolution A/D conversion and class-leading dynamic range and noise floor, and you've got yourself the answer to all of your input quality woes.
Finally, we come to the bundled software, and you're looking at a treat here - not only do you get the Forte Control software that gives you the ability to control DAW functions from the unit itself, but also the Focusrite Midnight plugin suite, which accurately models both the classic ISA110 EQ module and ISA130 compressor, both found in the original Forté recording console.
We've got the Forte available in our flagship music technology store in Leicester right now, so why not come down and check it out for yourself? Your recordings - and your wallet - will thank you.
Posted On 22 May 2013 by Music Junkie
Today our Ibanez JEM70V-SFG Electric Guitar (Sea foam green) Steve Vai signature priced at £879 arrived and I was keen to find out if in any way the guitar which is made in Indonesia (as opposed to the Japanese prestige model 7V rrp £2199) could match the sound, playability and all round sexiness of it prestigious sibling.
Having owned Jems and Universe guitars for many years I approached the guitar with a “come on then, impress me” attitude as I didn’t want to believe that my precious Prestige Japanese jems could have cost me a lot less for the same.
First off the techy boring bit…the spec.
Ibanez JEM70SFG £879
Ibanez JEM7VWH RRP £2199
Neck Type Wizard 5pc Maple/Walnut neck w/KTS™ TITANIUM rods JEM 5pc Maple/Walnut neck Body American Basswood body Alder body Fretboard Rosewood fretboard w/Floral pattern vine inlay Rosewood fretboard w/Pearl/Abalone vine inlay Frets Jumbo frets w/Premium fret edge treatment W/6105 frets w/Prestige fret edge treatment Bridge Edge bridge Edge bridge Neck Pick Up DiMarzio® Evolution® (H) DiMarzio® Evolution® (H) Middle Pick Up DiMarzio® Evolution® (S) DiMarzio® Evolution® (S) Bridge Pick Up DiMarzio® Evolution® (H) DiMarzio® Evolution® (H) Hardware Colour Chrome Gold
So just by looking at the spec above I think this could be rather painful.
Here we go…
I pick up the guitar by the signature monkey grip handle that is a feature on mostly all Steve Vai's 6 strings and is in fact rather handy and, yes it feels like a Jem... good start. After a quick tune up (remembering, this guitar is straight out of the box without any extra pro setup) I plug it into a fairly high gain amp - in this case the Line 6 DT50 that can replicate the same sort of sound that Vai gets and yes, it sounds like a Jem, well, why wouldn’t it with the same Dimarzio Evolution pickups that feature in the Jap 7V? They are a fairly hot pickup without sounding too gainy that they would clip most clean amps into submission.
I am trying desperately to find the £1000 plus difference here and I cant so I decide to give the trem some serious whammy damage with Eddie Van Halen type dive bombs and motorbike style intros (think Motley Crue's Kickstart my heart) with the theory that being a new guitar and a more cost effective one at that the tuning could go all over the place. Well, not as much as a wobble in the tuning so I do the opposite of the dive bomb which involves a harmonic and the trem pulled up until the strings hit the fretboard commonly known as the string buster. Again, no change in the tuning.
I have to admit by now I have to concede defeat and accept that Ibanez have built a guitar that not only keeps up but at least equals its Japanese counterpart at half the price.
Bottom line is, if you don’t care where the Jem is made (Indonesia as opposed to Japan) its what's called a bit of a no brainer.
Of course, if you don’t believe me, feel free to try it for yourself in our flagship music store in Leicester and you wont be disappointed… unless you’ve just spent £2199 on the Prestige just because!