Wampler Pinnacle Distortion Pedals. “Brown Sound” Anyone?

The entire range of Wampler Pedals are now available here at Scan and we are just slightly pleased to have them all here under our roof. I say slightly pleased……..as a pedal freak I’m ecstatic that these pedals are here as they are fantastic and I get to sneak off and have a play through them whenever I have some spare time!

I get asked about distortion pedals all the time and often the customer has a particular sound or style in mind. This narrows the search beautifully as a player looking to nail that SRV tone is not looking to buy a high gain pedal and vice versa the high gain lovers are not looking to buy a mild overdrive pedal. This is all well and good but what do you do when you fancy a light crunch for lunch and a high gain thump for dinner? Buy different pedals is one answer and many do for specific tones that they can switch between instantly but if this is not a requirement then a wide ranging drive pedal is probably ideal for your needs. Which after all this rambling brings me to this beauty……

In a nutshell the Pinnacle gives you mild overdrive AND extreme gain all rolled into one beautifully built pedal and its party piece is one of the most convincing “Brown Sounds” in a pedal you will hear. In fact, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tech Zeke Clark played through this pedal and said….

“I’ve played tons of pedals that promised that “Brown Sound”… this pedal NAILS it better than anything I’ve ever heard or played.”

Trust me when I say if you are considering a drive pedal this has to be at the top of your list of must tries and if you love the tone but need extra versatility Wampler has got you covered on this score as well with the V2 pedal below. Full three band E.Q and a boost as well!

Did I mention it does that ”Brown Sound”…grab a PAF and enjoy !!

Wampler Pedals @ Scan

Bandlab – A Cloud-Based Music Recording & Collaboration Tool

Bandlab aims to take online music collaboration to the next level with its social music creation platform. It combines social features such as video sharing, messaging and discovery with a cross-platform DAW. In their own words: “BandLab’s mission is to break down the technical, geographic and creative barriers between creators, collaborators and community by providing a completely FREE and unlimited service”

Bandlab utilises HTML 5, Web Audio and Web MIDI so there’s no need for any other software to be installed. The browser based DAW seems to be simple to use, easy to understand and the layout is similar to what we’re all used to. It comes with an array of instruments and loops to get you started. You can try out some of the sounds here. You can even play the instruments with your QWERTY keyboard if you don’t have a MIDI controller. Mobile apps are available providing access to your projects whilst on the go. There’s also a desktop assistant in beta stage which updates you on on any collaborations you’re involved with as well as providing some common shortcuts.

The first thing that always comes to mind with something like this is audio quality and the potential for latency issues seeing as everything is done online through your browser. However, the general consensus is that it functions pretty well. It’s also free to sign-up so go see for yourself!

 

Multi Effects or Dedicated Pedal Board?

Multi Effects or Dedicated Pedal Board?

It’s an age old question, in these days of super modelling, Ultra High DSP and Super compact sizes, why would anyone ever bother with a Big Lunky Pedalboard?

Well, the first thing to say I guess is Horses for Courses….

If you’re playing at home or just jamming with friends, or even in a local ‘covers’ band down the local pub every Saturday, the quality of sound from the new generation of Multi FX boxes like the Zoom or Korg or Boss really is very accurate, and indeed if you’re looking to emulate the exact delay of a U2 track or the chorusy swirl of a Stone Roses cover, you’ll probably find that someone has done the hard work for you, and the sounds are VERY close indeed, but for those seeking the Holy Grail of real guitar tone from a real amplifier with real dedicated Stompboxes, the Pedalboard will always be the way forward.

There’s just something about the ‘physicality’ of the guitar, where you have to physically ‘make’ the notes using both hands, (as opposed to say a Piano player who just pushes a key and the sound is there) that sits so well with a dedicated pedal.

Let’s try and explain…

For me the one thing that will always be missing from the Multi Effects brigade is the movement of air by the speaker cone, and the way that sound evolves over the course of a show, as the room warms up and the tubes in the amp warm up and how a pedal fit’s right in to that mix, as another thing to be controlled.

Indeed, I usually recommend to anyone playing a Multi effects box live, to run it straight into the PA and let the sound guy give you your sound back through the Monitor. Especially if the unit has the ability to model or emulate a speaker cab. (What’s the point of a great speaker cab emulation which then gets run through your existing amp and consequently takes on the character therein, hence doing away with the Cab sim completely…)

In these circumstances as I said before, especially in a small Pub or club, these units can sound absolutely accurate for classic tracks, and the sound man will love you forever as you entrust your levels to him, but for the true guitar Tone Meister, only the real thing will do.

One of the problems of the Old Fashioned Pedal board, was the perpetual ‘Tap Dancing’ to be seen on stage, as the hapless guitarist tried to switch pedals in and out for different parts of a song, but nowadays, there are some pretty sophisticated switching systems that lie on your board alongside the pedals , and are capable not only of switching between various pedals, but also switching patches within the pedal or Patches via MIDI.

Also, in the same way that a real amp moves air in a different way depending on the venue, a real pedal can be reached down to and tweaked on the night, mid song, as the room eq becomes more apparent, in a way that a multi-effects unit can’t ( most of them being editable via a series of LCD or LED windows ).

However, it must also be said that in the studio, where you have the time to tweak the unit and add extra e.q.’s and tone shaping, there are some Multi-effects boxes that work a treat, and in truth, you’d be hard pushed to know the difference between them and the real thing in the depths of a mix.

Also, there’s portability…. My current board is not dissimilar to carrying a Mini Clubman under your arm, and the resulting benefits in tone, are completely offset by the lack of ability to play properly after carrying it in from the car… So… what’s the answer.

The answer is obviously, you have to have both.

In my studio at home I have all manner of Guitar FX units, each capable of creating sounds that fit wonderfully inside a mix, ( I have a Korg A1 unit from 1991 that does one sound I cannot re-create anywhere else…), and I’m seriously tempted by the latest little Zoom units,

but ultimately, for me to play live, I still rely on my board,

after all,

he who has the most toys wins, right? J

Steinberg Releases Cubase 9.0.10 Update

So it’s been a few months since Steinberg released Cubase 9. A maintenance update has since been released which includes many bug fixes and improvements. The 143MB update (510MB for Mac users) is available for free to all existing Cubase 9 users.

Here’s a list of what’s included in the update:

Chord Track:

  • Fixed an issue where dragging Chord Event across a Divided Track List resulted in a misaligned event.
  • Fixed an issue where “Follow Chord Track” was not working correctly.
  • Fixed an issue regarding wrong note colors when using “Chord Track” for event colors.

Editing:

  • Fixed an issue where the Quantize Panel did not correctly display the Crossfade section for multi-track usage (via Folder Group Editing).

Input Transformer:

  • Fixed an issue where certain setups of the Input Transformer could crash the application.

Inspector:

  • Fixed an issue where pinned Inspector sections were all closed after loading a project.

Logical Editor:

  • Fixed a potential crash issue.
  • Fixed an issue where Filter Target “Note is equal to” was stuck on “C”.

MediaBay:

  • Fixed an issue where using the Search field on the MediaBay could crash the application.

MIDI Editors:

  • Fixed an issue where Show/Hide Controller Lanes did not work when Lanes were removed manually beforehand.
  • Fixed an issue where resizing the Controller Lane area within the Inplace Editor could crash the application.
  • Fixed an issue where note names where displayed with inconsistent enharmonics (e.g. Bb instead of A#).

MIDI Plug-ins:

  • Fixed an issue where MicroTuner settings were not applied after reloading a project.

MusicXML Export:

  • Improved the compatibility of the number attribute for slurs (for import into Dorico).
  • Improved the compatibility in regard to the encoding of tuplets (for import into Dorico).

Performance:

  • Fixed a performance issue when “Auto Select under Cursor” options was activated.

Plug-ins:

  • Fixed an issue where VST 3 plug-ins with special characters could not be used.
  • Fixed an issue where StudioEQ presets were missing in Cubase Elements.
  • Fixed an issue where panning could be wrong with REVerence.
  • Fixed an issue where side split LP/HP bands did not properly change type in Frequency.
  • Fixed an issue where the Maximizer output level was not consistent with the readings from the MixConsole metering.

Project Window:

  • Fixed an issue where “Open in separate Window” in MIDI Editors was not possible after working in the Controller Lane area.
  • Fixed an issue where the Overview Line was missing in Cubase LE, AI and Elements.
  • Fixed an issue where new recorded MIDI Parts were not displayed in open Editor tab in the Lower Zone.

Remotes:

  • Fixed an issue where remote control devices (e.g. NI Komplete Kontrol) could not follow the parameter mapping correctly while navigating through the track list.

Sampler Track:

  • Fixed an issue where Sample Start/End markers were not correctly set after dragging a resized audio event into the Sampler Control tab.
  • Fixed an issue where re-opening the Sampler Control tab showed no content.
  • Fixed an issue where the root key color indication on the keyboard display was incorrect.
  • Fixed an issue where “Remove unused Media” in the Pool was not working correctly for audio files referenced by the Sampler Track.
  • Fixed and issue where no content was displayed in a Sampler Control tab after re-opening the Lower Zone.
  • Fixed an issue where creating a sampler track from an MP3 file in the MediaBay crashed the application.

Steinberg Hardware:

  • Fixed an issue where closing the Audio Hardware Setup window (e.g. for UR hardware) could lead to an application which could be no longer operated.

Steinberg Help:

  • Fixed an issue where the F1 key did not open the Cubase Help referring to steinberg.help.

System Link:

  • Fixed an issue where the cursor position was not synchronized while scrubbing with the mouse.
  • Fixed an synchronization issue using a jog wheel followed by Fast Rewind / Fast Forward commands.

TrackVersions:

  • Fixed an issue where TrackVersions on Signature Tracks could crash the application.

Transport:

  • Fixed an issue that stops the recording when changing the Metronome volume.
  • Fixed an issue where no values for all sorts of Transport control related items could be entered by key command if both Transport Panel and Transport Zone were closed.

The Cubase 9 Pro update is available here. Updates are available across the entire Cubase 9 range so download sizes may vary slightly from what’s mentioned above.

Steinberg products @ Scan

Fret Zeppelin – An LED based guitar tuition system

Providing a unique approach to learning how to play guitar, Fret Zeppelin by Edge Tech Labs aims to make the process easier for beginners. The system uses low-profile LED technology to display where to place your fingers on the fretboard. It fits to any regular guitar neck and aims to simplify learning chords, scales and even full songs.

The free smartphone app that goes with it will be released in beta versions before the official release so any special features/requests can be considered. It’s also being developed with an easy to use open API so other apps can be written to communicate with the hardware.

This crowd funded project has already superseded its target on Kickstarter. An initial pledge of $199 dollars will get you a Fret Zeppelin system and they aim to be ready to ship in October this year. There’s also talk of a system being made to cater for bass guitars as well as 7 and 8 string guitars!

Head on over to their Kickstarter page for more info.

Back To Black – Antelope Bring Out A New Addition To The ORION Family, The ORION32 HD

Bulgaria seems to be a bit of a busy place for Pro Audio at the moment with Antelope pushing out some absolutely fantastic gear and progressing on the software side of things at a staggering pace. The Balkan Mountains truly are alive with the sound of music…courtesy of Antelope’s pristine AD/DA conversion and supreme clocking!

Truth be told, it’s a pain (in a good way) keeping the content updated for their products, the guys and girls over at Antelope are like a machine, churning out updates to their FPGA based ecosystem of interfaces – giving their customers extra functionality and making additions to the free FPGA FX packages.

Enter the new addition to the family – the stunning looking ORION32 HD was announced at NAMM and I imagine Pro Tools HD users are pretty happy. It’s compatible with any DAW on the market via a HDX port or USB 3.0. This means no matter what you choose to use in the studio you can benefit from 64 channel 192kHz audio I/O, Zero Latency Monitoring, industry-leading AFC clocking and as you’d expect, flawless conversion. Throw in the usual plethora of connectivity such as ADAT, MADI, S/PDIF, Wordclock and mastering-grade Monitor outs and you have a beast of an interface. Now if you have a Pro Tools HD setup and a customer comes in with a laptop project made on Cubase, Logic or Presonus etc then you can simply use the USB port to integrate their project directly into your existing setup – no extra interfaces needed!

Coming back to the free FPGA FX package, if you’re not aware of it – Antelope have integrated a fine selection of free hardware-based vintage FX. The ever growing library includes hardware-based vintage EQ’s, compressors and Auraverb. The exquisite collections of Vintage EQ’s include authentic models of Lang PEQ-1, BAE 1073, 1084, 1023, UK-69 and many other classic British and German vintage units. If vintage compressors are more to your favour, how about a life-like model of the FET76 aka the legendary UREI 1176LN?

One more thing to note is the impressive software control. The routing matrix is pretty neat and even that has had some little tweaks over the last few software revisions to make it even easier to use. The control panel can be run on any machine on the network allowing for remote access to all the important stuff and as a side bonus, the control panel can be resized at will – its the little things that can make a huge difference in the right circumstances!

The ORION32 HD is available for pre-order at Scan Pro Audio, go take a look!

The Providence SDR-4 Has Returned For a Limited Run

It’s not coming soon it’s here NOW and it’s limited to 50 pedals worldwide of which we have secured 2 pedals currently in stock.

Based on the original and highly praised SDR-4, they have retained the original circuit while using updated parts. To say this pedal gives you a full sound that cuts through the band environment is an understatement.

The SDR-4 has a fast attack and an edge to its’ sound that helps create a punchy tone with a thick low mid-range.

That Fat switch is an added bonus. When engaged it raises the gain in the low frequency range which is what gives that fat, aforementioned thick tone. This is really prominent on a single coil pickup and thickens and adds power beautifully to your bridge position.

I love a drive pedal that gives you “snap” and this pedal does it. Use a pick or use your fingers or preferably use both as hybrid picking rocks!

SDR-4 @ Scan

Windows 10 – Gaming The System

The next big Windows update will be towards the end of Q.1 this year and news about some of the impending features have been cropping up for a few months now.

Last nights confirmation of the forthcoming “Game Mode ” potentially offers up a surprising number of possible advantages for the audio system user.

Essentially the game mode is designed to cushion a running program against the calls and demands of the rest of the OS. The mode looks to restrict background tasks and process calls, claims are there that it can secure threads and cores and assign them exclusively to a running program. The hope is that it can intercept all the demands of Windows and allocate them a dedicated thread or two, in order to stop them causing problems for more important software running in the foreground. For the average audio software user this could smooth the user experience further we’re all hoping it will help to eak out even more performance out of Windows 10.

With the ability to assign the game mode to specific programs so that it may change and optimize the system settings on the fly whenever you open certain .exe’s, it sounds like this might be a boon for audio system users. Comments have also been made about further development and refinement of this mode going forward which is great to hear.

The announcement this week has obviously concerned itself with pushing the features from a gaming point of view, so news with audio software in mind is currently a bit sparse. The insiders update is due to go live today however and if your signed up to the program already might be of interest to check out.

Otherwise we can expect to see this roll out in the next major W10 update which will be content creators update in Spring.

 

IsoAcoustic ISO-Pucks At Namm

IsoAcoustics decoupling stands have been a popular option with the team at Scan for quite a few years now, and with the launch of NAMM this year they have expanded their range further with an announcement of the new ISO-Puck model. Designed to isolate and support your speaker much like the larger stands, the Pucks have a far lower profile, with a height of only 1.18 inches (3cm/30mm) and compresses to just under an inch (2.5cm/25mm) when in use. At only 2.3 inches (6cm/60mm) in diameter, the ISO-PUCK’s round shape makes it flexible enough to be ideally positioned on any surface, including the narrow spaces atop a meter bridge where other stands may prove too over-sized.

For larger devices you can scale your use of the ISO-PUCK system as they are designed to be used in multiples, allowing you to match the weight of each speaker or amplifier. With each Puck capable of bearing up to 20lbs you can combine 3 or 4 of them to support the weight of the particular bulky product requiring isolation.

Much like the larger ISOAcoustic stands, the multi-part construction design of the ISO-PUCK allows it to flex and move which helps to isolate and manage the energy generated by the driver in the speaker. The ISO-PUCK features a flange suction cup on the top which adheres to the speaker or top surface, as well as a bottom suction cup flange which adheres to the supporting surface. The energy is transferred to the core of the multi-part isolator in between which is met with resistence of lateral movement giving a dampening effect to any vibration moving through the stand. Despite the changes to the form factor this still works in a similar fashion to the larger stands already available, so it should continue to offer us the markedly improved clarity along with wider and more detailed sound staging that we’ve come to expect from the IsoAcoustic range over the years.

Take a look at the IsoAcoustic range @ Scan

Audio Plug-in Subscriptions – Are they worth it?

Over recent years we’ve seen subscription models from the likes of Adobe and Autodesk in the digital media world.  Avid and Cakewalk joined the trend by introducing subscription services for their DAW software. We’re now seeing this with audio plugins as well. With software companies struggling more and more in the fight against piracy, it seems natural for them to look into more financially viable methods of selling their products. We take a look at what’s currently available in the subscription based plug-in market.

Eventide Ensemble Bundle

Includes every Eventide plug-in to date. You can put your subscription on hold at anytime and resume as and when you want. There’s also some additional benefits for those who already own any Eventide plugins. For every plugin you already own, you get a month free on your subscription. There’s a cap at 6 months but still, not bad!

It goes without saying that committing to a 12 month plan saves you money in the long run. This you’ll find this to be a common amongst these subscription models.

Pricing

Month To Month – $29.99

Annual Paid Upfront – $299.99

Go here for more info.

 

Softube Volume One

Containing 16 plug-ins valued at over $2000, Softube’s Volume 1 offers all the essential tools needed for modern-day music production,

Pricing

Month To Month – $19.99

Annual Paid Upfront – $199.99

Go here for more info.

 

Xfer Records Serum

A massively powerful wavetable Synthesizer for $9.99 a month. The great thing about this is that once you’ve paid all the installments to make up the cost of buying the plugin out-right, you own the plugin! Another great benefit is you can pause your subscription at any time and resume it again when ever you like giving you greater flexibility.

Pricing

Month To Month – $9.99 (Rent-to-own)

Go here for more info.

 

EastWest/SoundsOnline Composer Cloud

This one is obviously aimed at being an all-in-one solution for composers. Having been on the scene since the the early days of high end orchestral sample libraries I guess it makes sense that they were one of the first to offer a subscription model.

The Composer Cloud provides a vast arsenal of tools and currently offers 53 products which includes over 10,000 virtual instruments. The standard plan includes all Gold editions of their instruments. The next plan up, The Composer Cloud X plan then gives you extra mic positions for all the orchestral/choir/piano libraries. Further to this, the Composer Cloud Plus plan includes all Diamond/Platinum editions of their instruments and gives you access to the SSL/EW FX Global Suite.

There is however a cheaper option which caters for students and teachers. This is limited to 7 products of your choice. You do however have the option of upgrading to the complete plan should you want to.

Pricing

Student Plan – Month To Month – $14.99

Student Plan – Annual Paid Upfront – $161.89

Composer Cloud Monthly Plan – $29.99

Composer Cloud X – Annual Plan, Paid Monthly – $29.99

Composer Cloud X – Annual Paid Upfront – $323.89

Composer Cloud Plus – Annual Plan, Paid Monthly – $49.99

Composer Cloud Plus – Annual Paid Upfront – $599.00

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s also the option to purchase CC X and CC Plus annual licenses as a gift.

Go here for more info.

 

Waves Mercury/Silver

Waves are renowned for their vast array of plugins. The Waves Silver plan gives you 16 essential plugins and is intended primarily for home studio use. Opting for the Mercury plan will hook you up with over 150 plugins and also includes some from their Signature Series.

Pricing

Silver – Month To Month – $9.99

Silver – Annual Paid Upfront – $99.00

Mercury – Month To Month – $149.00

Mercury – Annual Paid Upfront – $1499

Go here for more info.

 

Exponential Audio Stereo Reverb/Super Reverb Bundle

Two bundles available, the second providing surround versions of their reverb plugins.

Pricing

Stereo Reverb Bundle + Excalibur – Month To Month – $29.99

Stereo Reverb Bundle + Excalibur – Annual Paid Upfront – $299.99

Super Reverb Bundle + Excalibur – Month To Month – $49.99

Super Reverb Bundle + Excalibur – Annual Paid Upfront – $499.99

Go here for more info.

 

Slate Digital’s Everything Bundle Pro

Known for their authentic analogue modeling, Slate Digital’s Everything Bundle gives you access to every plugin currently available and all futures releases.

Pricing

Annual Paid Monthly – $14.99

Month To Month – $24.99

Annual Paid Upfront – $179.88

Go here for more info.

 

Nugen Audio Producer Pack/Post Pack

Nugen Audio are offering two bundles, the Producer Pack and the Post Pack. Like with Eventide’s Ensemble Bundle, for every plugin you already own, you get a month free on your subscription. Again, there’s a cap at 6 months.

Pricing

Producer Pack – Month To Month – $29.99

Producer Pack – Annual Paid Upfront – $329.00

Post Pack – Month To Month – $59.99

Post Pack – Annual Paid Upfront – $599.00

Go here for more info.

 

OG Kush Complete

Kush already have a reputation for their unique sounding hardware. The OG Kush Complete package gives you access to every plugin currently available and all futures releases.

Pricing

Month To Month – $19.99

Annual Paid Upfront – $199.99

Go here for more info.

 

McDSP All Access

Plenty of useful EQ plug-ins in this pack. Provides access to all V6 plugins and comes in two formats – Native and HD.

Pricing

All Access Native – Month To Month – $29.99

All Access Native – Annual Paid Upfront – $329.00

All Access HD – Month To Month – $59.99

All Access HD – Annual Paid Upfront – $599.00

Go here for more info.

 

 

Le Sound Bundle

Aimed more at sound designers, the Le Sound Bundle provides access to a innovative and creative plugin suite perfectly suited for use in cinema, television and video games.

Pricing

Month To Month – €76,00

3 Month Plan – €114,00

Annual Plan – €228,00

Go here for more info.

 

Pakotec PluginPlay

Something else that’s just cropped up on the radar is Pakotec’s PluginPlay. Providing access to plugins from the likes of d16 Group, Beatskillz, Kilohearts and Soundradix with the likelihood of more being added in the future, the service allows you to work with any of these plugins for up to 10 hours per month before committing yourself to the rental platform. The service isn’t live yet but be sure to sign up for more info.

 

So, to sum up… Going down the subscription route may appeal more to people who only require the use of a particular plug-in for a given period of time. However it may not sit well with others who use these tools day in day out as it may not make sense financially. I suppose it depends on the individual’s needs. For example, if there’s a plug-in you wish to utilize for a particular project and you don’t want to fork out a shed load of money for it when you’ll only be using it a few times, the subscription route could be the way to go. You’d just use it for however long you need then end your subscription. However, if you plan to be using that particular plug-in in most projects, I can see why purchasing a perpetual license out-right might make more sense.

There are pros and cons on both sides. For hobbyists the thought of a low monthly subscription as opposed to forking out a load of cash in one go may seem more appealing. Equally it could work the other way. If you can afford to buy the software outright then why commit yourself to a monthly payment? One advantage of a subscription is the fact that you’ll always have access to the most recent updates and as stated above, some companies also include all future releases at no extra cost. On the other hand, you could argue that most professionals wouldn’t be updating through concern of things breaking. As we know, professionals tend to stick with what works!

Ultimately you’d have to decide what works best for you. As I’ve described, there are arguments both for and against subscription models. It does however seem that this is the way things are going and I’m sure most companies in the industry will be following suit.