Introducing The Dark Blood Distortion Guitar Pedal by KHDK

The Dark Blood is the new pedal from KHDK. The partnership between a certain Kirk Hammett and his business partner David Karon.

Combining solid state and mosfet technology this pedal delivers an amp like sound with plenty of gain and a powerful mid heavy tone.

I tried this pedal through a speaker simulator straight to the desk and through the clean channel of my old 6L6 loaded 120 watt valve amps clean channel and it performed exceptionally well in both circumstances.

You can trust me when I tell you there is plenty of gain on tap. Keep the gain low and the Doom counter clockwise and its tight. Perfect for those heavy riffs. Increase the gain (use the gate to keep the background noise in check) and the clarity remains which is not something that can be said of all pedals of this type. Turning the Doom clockwise increases the bass and gives you a spongy amp like feel under your fingers, perfect for those blazing fast lead runs and long sustaining notes.

The treble control is a passive low pass filter and is wide ranging enough to let you tailor the top end from bright and cutting to a more mellow smooth tone.

The HI/LO toggle switch offers two types of gain. LO is geared more towards rhythm while the HI mode adds compression giving sustain to your lead tone.

The aforementioned gate is an excellent addition and careful use keeps the background noise to a minimum without impacting on your tone.

Yes this pedal can do metal standing on its head but its crunch and lead tones really are wide ranging enough to cover many tones outside of this genre. There are plenty of tonal options from the wide range of controls on this pedal. If you are looking for a distortion pedal this is definitely worth adding to your list of must tries.

The one thing I have to say about the KHDK range of pedals is that they are well designed and perfectly executed. You don’t have to be a Kirk Hammett fan to want one of these pedals you just have to be into good tone……

KHDK Products @ Scan

Steinberg Release Cubase 9

So the rumours were true…. Steinberg bring us the latest edition of their flagship production suite – Cubase 9. Following the same trend as previous revisions it comes in 3 forms – Pro, Artist and Elements.

Steinberg conducted a survey earlier on in the year to see what new features we’d like to see in the next version. It seems the people spoke and Steinberg listened as many of the features we asked for have been implemented. Here’s a quick glance at some of those key features:

The Lower Zone

Intended to enhance workflow, the Lower Zone incorporates the mix window into the main project window and it can be dynamically resized. The MIDI and audio editors are also accessible from here. This will prove to be extremely beneficial for anyone working on a single screen!

Mix Console History

This will surely be massively useful! Gives you undo/redo functions and allows you to recall different stages of a mix.

Multiple Marker Tracks

The ability to structure your projects neatly and efficiently with up to 10 marker tracks.

Audio-Ins

You now have the option of being able to side-chain into VST3 Instruments that support it.

Sample Track

A basic sampler was on this list of requests. Well now we’ve got one! It allows you to drag audio straight out of a project and play it back chromatically on your MIDI keyboard. It also lets you transfer samples into other Steinberg instruments.

8-Band Frequency EQ

Offers M/S and Linear Phase support, Auto Listen, Spectrum Display and a musical keyboard to assist in finding the right tone. It also allows you to completely customize the look of the EQ spectrum.

Other features include better plugin management, updated plugin interfaces, revamped Production Grooves as well as improved services for cloud collaboration.

Here’s a breakdown of the key features of each version:

Cubase Pro 9

  • Award-winning 32-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine with up to 192 kHz, 5.1 surround, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
  • Unlimited audio, instrument and MIDI tracks and up to 256 physical inputs and outputs
  • MixConsole for pro mixing desk experience and integrated high-end channel strip, VCA faders, Loudness Meter, Wave Meters
  • Complete suite of over 90 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processors, including Quadrafuzz v2, VST Amp Rack and VST Bass Amp guitar and bass tone suites, REVerence convolution reverb, Frequency four-band EQ and many more
  • VariAudio for MIDI-style note editing of monophonic audio tracks, automatic voicing harmonization and auto-tuning effects
  • Intelligent compositional tools like Chord Track, Chord Pads and the advanced Chord Assistant for creative and playful composing of harmonic progressions and advanced voicings
  • Comprehensive set of 8 outstanding instruments with over 3,400 sounds, including HALion Sonic SE 2, Groove Agent SE 4, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2
  • Full VST Expression 2 with Note Expression, VST Dynamics and Expression Maps for fully integrated workflows with musical articulations, dynamics and controller values
  • Perfect integration of external hardware effect devices and instruments, such as synthesizers or signal processors, into the sequencer signal flow.
  • VST Connect SE and VST Transit cloud collaboration services

Cubase Artist 9

  • Award-winning 32-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine with up to 192 kHz, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
  • Simultaneous playback of 64 audio tracks, 128 MIDI tracks and up to 32 physical inputs and outputs
  • MixConsole for pro mixing desk experience and integrated high-end channel strip with dynamics and EQ
  • Comprehensive set of 8 outstanding instruments with over 3,000 sounds, including HALion Sonic SE 2, Groove Agent SE 4, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2
  • Suite of over 70 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processors, including Pitch Correct for vocal editing, VST Amp Rack and VST Bass Amp guitar and bass tone suites, Quadrafuzz v2 and many more!
  • Intelligent compositional tools like Chord Track and Chord Pads for creative and playful composing of harmonic progressions and advanced voicings
  • Thousands of MIDI construction kits, audio loops and samples as building blocks to create sketches, play-alongs or even full songs with just a few clicks
  • Lightning-fast multi-take comping with the dedicated lane tracks and the click-and-drag comp tool for conjuring the perfect recording
  • Track Versions for playlists-like editing and render-in-place for easily bouncing MIDI and audio parts
  • Streamlined music notation and score editing feature set

Cubase Elements 9

  • Award-winning 32-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
  • Simultaneous playback of 48 audio tracks, 64 MIDI tracks and up to 24 physical inputs and outputs
  • MixConsole for pro mixing desk experience and integrated high-end channel strip with dynamics and EQ
  • Three outstanding virtual instruments comprising the HALion Sonic SE workstation, Groove Agent SE drum machine and Prologue synthesizer
  • Over 40 audio effect processors, including high-end VST Dynamics, Pitch Correct for vocal intonation correction and the VST Amp Rack guitar tone suite
  • Powerful sample editor covering all common editing tasks and providing creative freedom while editing audio
  • Chord Track and Chord Pads for playfully and creatively composing with chords
  • Comprehensive content library with thousands of instrument sounds, MIDI construction loops and audio samples
  • Basic score editing features for music notation and composition
  • Full upward compatibility with Cubase Pro and Cubase Artist for

There’s certainly some interesting features in there and I expect many users will justify the upgrade based on what we’ve seen. For a more in-depth look at what Cubase 9 offers, head on over to the Cubase YouTube channel. There’s plenty of videos on there demonstrating all these new features.

Steinberg Cubase @ Scan