Category Archives: Equipment & Instruments

Boost That Mid Ladies and Gentlemen

Guitar players as a rule have lots of friends, that’s a fact. It comes with playing the coolest instrument on the planet. Another fact is that we guitar players all have one friend in common……….MID.

Mid is where we live, mid is where the components of our treasured and hard sought out tone come from and most importantly, mid is where we can always be heard.

There are many so called mid boost pedals on the market  but the Purple Humper from One Control really is like no other mid boost pedal I have tried.

Originally the pedal was developed as a request to match the mid-boost circuit fitted inside a stratocaster in a pedal form that could then be used with all guitars. It then developed from there into the pedal that is available today which I have to say is is one of the most versatile single knob pedals I have ever tried.

This pedal is neither an overdrive nor one of those half cocked wah wah sound creators (as a side note, if you want that sound use a wah wah!!)  One Control themselves state that the pedal sounds “British” and I have to agree wholeheartedly. I have tried this pedal into everything from a basic transistor amp to a rather expensive and tasty valve amp and found the pedal to work in all situations which as we know is not a common experience.

It took that hard edge off  the transistor amp and gave me a usable tone straight away. Through my cranked JCM 800 I could achieve a fantastic smooth lead tone that after I added a little delay to the tone was just fantastic. Through that same Marshall a twist of the knob gave me that 80’s metal lead tone.

So no matter what amp or guitar I tried the pedal gave me usable tones and was a consistently useful pedal that just didn’t sound bad at all.

Last test…………….did it play nicely with other pedals?

No it doesn’t just like it’s own company as the picture could suggest! This pedal worked incredibly well with every pedal I tried it with from a Friedman Dirty Shirley to a Bogner Blue and an old DOD Chorus. Any where in the signal chain gives you different but   ALWAYS usable results.

Single coils to humbuckers, solid state to valve, clean to crunch to all out mayhem, this pedal never fails to deliver to add that extra something to your tone. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAMM 2018 – Launch of the PRS Mark Tremonti MT 15 Lunchbox Amp and Cab

Lunchbox Hero

“We knew we wanted a low-wattage amp. The challenge was getting a lot of tone and features in a little box. We’re all blown away with how it turned out. It’s going to be great for someone to take it out of the box, set everything to noon, and have it sound great.”

– Mark Tremonti

The rumors it appears are true! NAMM 2018 see’s the launch of Mark Tremonti’s first ever signature amp.

With 6L6 power tubes under the bonnet (or hood if you are in the land of Namm), this is probably the biggest sounding 15 Watt amp you will ever hear.  All the gain you will ever need on the lead channel combined with a bright clean channel  that has a  beautiful chime. Top this off with a host of features including separate eq on both the clean and lead channels,  a master presence control, global effects loop, half power switch, external bias jacks, the list goes on and on………The aforementioned clean channel also has a boost to take you into classic crunch. This amp it would seem has you covered no matter what tone you are chasing.

It also changes colour (or color) when you change channels……..what more could you possibly ask for!?

Mark Tremonti is well known for creating some incredible and iconic lead and rhythm tones. Listen to the most recent Alter Bridge album “The Last Hero” and not only will you hear these iconic tones that I mentioned but you will also hear the prototype of this amplifier because a large portion of those tones on that album were recorded with the MT 15.

A matching 1×12 cab constructed from birch is available to go with the MT 15. Loaded with the revered Celestion Vintage 30, its open back design sounds huge and matches the head perfectly.

 

 

More from PRS below…….

The MT 15 is a commanding two channel amp with balanced aggression and articulation. Powered by 6L6 tubes, the MT 15 has a large, bold sound, so you can dig in heavy with rhythms but also get singing lead tones out of one amp. Whether recording, practicing, writing, or playing a small room, this amp has everything you need.

The MT 15’s design started with heavier players in mind, but in the end, it has a lot to o er players of all genres.
Like the PRS Archon amplifier, the MT 15 features five gain stages before the Master for full, lush distortion. The gain channel gets big, chunky tone with massive, tight low end, never losing its articulate note definition or great lead tone. The clean channel is bright and chimey, good with chords and finger style playing – whether with a pick or not. The clean channel also features a push/pull boost control that adds a little overdrive for old school crunch. No matter what tone you dial in, the MT 15 stays balanced across the spectrum with a sweet, smooth tone that won’t bite your head off

Additional features include an effects loop and bias adjusters that are accessible from the back panel for ease of servicing. Despite its 15 watts, the MT 15 sounds more like 50, so a half power switch that takes the MT to 7 watts is a welcome edition. Bottom line, the amount of features, the hugeness of the sound, and the raw horsepower of the circuit make the MT 15 an impressive lunchbox hero.

The MT 15 is Mark Tremonti’s first signature amplifier.

NAMM 18 – Presonus Expansions For The StudioLive Range

Presonus this year seem focused on building upon their popular range of studio live desks, with a number of new I/O expansion options to help flesh out your setup.

Presonus NSB 8.8
The Presonus NSB 8.8
Presonus NSB 16
Presonus NSB 16.8

Designed to work seamlessly with the Presonus StudioLive Series 3 mixers, these two stage boxes allow for easy routing of your audio over standard cat5 or cat6 cable, allowing for less signal degradation over long runs and eliminating large heavy snake runs around the venue. 

When setup alongside a Series 3 console, the stage boxes also allow you to remote control them straight from the desk or even from the dedicated touch control app. Featuring locking combo mic/line inputs, XMAX preamps and a pair of AVB connections to allow you daisy chain more units as required, meaning these boxes offer you the flexibility to route and patch your stage to accommodate pretty much any show.

StudioLive 24R Front
StudioLive 24R Front
StudioLive 24R Rear
StudioLive 24R Rear

Taking it up a level, the 24R and 32R are more stage box offerings that also function as sub-mixers as well, making ideal for doing secondary monitoring mixes on stage too. Once again you have the full remote mixing capability when hooked up to a series 3 studio live desk allowing you to fully control and customize your scenes and making it just as suitable for long-term shows and installs, as it is for going on tour.

Presonus Earmix
Presonus Earmix 16M

Lastly, we have the EarMix 16M which does away with the stage box functions, making it a hands-on and easy to control 16-way headphone submixer and amplifier. 

Each EarMix 16M accepts 16 mono channels of input via AVB networking and can network multiple units with a StudioLive Series III mixer. This allows you to setup up your own custom onstage mix in the headphones, and the line out options also allows you to feed this through to your foldback setup, for a fully custom monitoring arrangement.

Presonus EarMix 16M Rear
Presonus EarMix 16M Rear

Take a look at the whole Presonus range @ Scan

NAMM 18 – UA let the Arrow fly.

UA’s big announcement came a week before NAMM this year and is small, possibly one of their smallest yet perhaps, but all the better for it.

UA Arrow Top Down

The Arrow is a Thunderbolt 3 ready audio interface with an included core for handling UA plugins onboard. Fitted out with a conversion section derived from UA’s flagship Apollo interface range, as well as a headphone amp with a clean punchy output, makes this diminutive audio interface an astounding portable recording solution to go alongside any laptop.

UA Arrow Front

For the I/O we see an instrument input and headphone output on the front of the interface along with 2 more inputs and the main outputs around the rear.

UA Arrow Rear

The interface ships with the UA “Realtime Analog Classics” bundle, which offers a number of classic EQ’s, Compressors and guitar amp models and because the plugins are run on the UA, this allows for near-zero latency tracking through the interface with the effects applied and makes it just as ideal for live performances as it does for capturing your session. 

This looks to be the cheapest entry point into the UA ecosystem so far and the perfect device for leveraging your plugs when out of !the studio and on the road. If you’re already a user of those plugins and want to take them on a mobile adventure or perhaps just want to dip your knee into the pool, this could be the interface for you.

The UA Arrow – Available Now

UA Hardware @ Scan

NAMM 18 – The new T-Series speakers from ADAM Audio

With the surprise discontinuation of the ever popular Adam entry level “F-Series” late in 2017, we’ve heard the questions regarding what’s next a number of times now. Well, NAMM this year gives us the answer and simply put, it’s cheaper and better!

Pre-launch discussion has seen talk of these arriving at an even more accessible price point than their predecessors, whilst still offering the same legendary ribbon tweeter design in the form of the implemented U-ART solution. On top of that, its advised that also included is a newly designed polypropylene symmetrical-excursion woofer that extends bass to lower frequencies with less distortion than normally found in products around the price point.

Multiple technical innovations designed for ADAM’s flagship S Series and iconic AX Series have been included in this new lower-priced monitor range, including ADAM’s High-Frequency Propagation System (HPSTM) designed to offer a consistent horizontal and vertical dispersion across the frequency spectrum and promised DSP innovations for the crossover system.

Adam t7 front

Offering a 5″ woofer on the T5 model, along with a 7″ woofer on the T7  edition and offering a low-end extension of 45Hz and 39Hz, as well as the frequency response reaching up to 25kHz on both models, the specs on the page make them look like a solid upgrade when considered against the older F series specs.

Adam T7 Rear

Couple this with their almost stealth fighter black finish and angles to match on the front panel, they certainly also look the part with their classic Adam design features.

All that said, if they can hit the price points that they are seeking to meet, then we may see an unexpected shake-up at the low end of the speaker market this year, and these should certainly be the listening short list for anyone considering their first set of studio speakers.

Check out the full ADAM Audio range @ Scan

The Scan Pro Audio Picks Of The Year 2017

At this time of year, there is one thing that is as inevitable as the papers proclaiming that an incoming weather front is going to cause the end of the world (again) and that is, of course, the annual end of year retrospective lists.

Not to be left out, we have here five bits of kit that stood out for us over the course of the year and more importantly, just why that might have been. In fact, some of this kit proved to be slow burning in earning the teams support and admiration so that in itself lets us take a slightly longer-term view of the gear in hand.

Presonus Quantum

Presonus over the last few years have managed to elevate their brand through the highly praised Studio One software continuing to grow in popularity as many users sequencer of choice. Their audio interfaces, however, have been a mixed bag and up until now, with little to help them stand out from the crowd.

That was until their entry into the Thunderbolt foray brought us this little gem.

Presonus Quantum Front Panel

Goalposts were moved and expectations were raised as Presonus brought us this absolute winner. Extremely low latency times that challenge the very best out there, plenty of I/O, great conversion and a respectable signal path throughout the interface means that this is frankly a great all-around package.

Hedd 05

From Klaus Heinz, the original designer behind the ADAM speaker range comes the company HEDD (Heinz Electrodynamic Designs) and their own range of studio speakers. Built around the same crystal clear AMT-based tweeters that Klaus has always favoured in the past, but with refinements to the sound that clearly illustrate that these are certainly their own thing.

Whilst they have the larger HEDD 20’s & 30’s in the range, it’s the entry-level 05’s that we’ve picked here. They have superb balance and depth to them, and frankly for the size an astounding bass representation. The 05’s themselves stand up well against speakers many times their price and the slightly larger 07’s do little more than add a bit more depth to the sound with a few more notes at the bottom end of the scale but still retain the first rate tonal balance found on the smaller edition.

We’ve been so blown away by these a few of us have even taken sets home as secondary pairs for our own studios, so they’ve certainly left a lasting impression.

Friedman Sir Compre

Friedman is best known for creating high-end rock amps with a Vintage Classic Rock tone inspired by British tube amps from the 60’s and 70’s, and similarly, their pedal range is also shaped by this legacy. In this instance, the Sir Compre isn’t a pedal that sets out to emulate and given amplifier, rather a compressor with a very subtle overdrive circuit built in, adding body a little bit of grit to your sound.

With a bit of tweaking it’s very easy to get a wide selection of classic rock tones and as our team noted if you want to nail that classic 70’s rock sound, it’s extremely easy to do so with this pedal and we’ve already found it perfect for recreating the tones found on the classic “Rock Steady” by Bad Company.

Novation Peak

Novation is a company with a bit of a history of producing great, affordable synths and this one is certainly a quality all-rounder.

A digital subtractive synth at its heart with added wavetable and FM synthesis possibilities all being fed into an analogue filter. Now add in a couple of LFO’s along with a matrix modulation table offering 16 routable slots and a CV gate for the more adventurous and we have one very well featured synth and it’s easy to see why Tom enjoyed himself so much when he finally got his hands on one.

Check out the video below to see Tom getting to grips with it.

Audeze MX4

Quite possibly on the best studio oriented headphones currently available, they simply need to be heard to be believed.

Based upon Audeze’s planar magnetic driver design, the MX4’s continue to improve on the previous flagship LCD-4’s by offering a new durable magnesium housing along with a carbon fibre headband design that makes them 30% lighter overall, helping to ensure comfort during those longer studio sessions.

A premium product with a premium price tag, but capable of delivering a level of sonic quality that rivals speakers 2 or 3 times its price, making them the ultimate secret weapon for many a mastering engineer.

Audeze MX 4

It’s that time of year again!! (XMAS GIFTS FOR THE GUITARIST IN YOUR LIFE..)

Ho Ho Ho! And a bottle of Rum!      It’s a Santa Pirate!

If this is the extent of your cracker jokes on the big day, then let us suggest a few items as presents that may go a long way to cheering your Guitar player all the way into New Year….

LN65710: AKG K702 Headphones.

Industry standard headphones at a knock-down price!

These are technically ‘B’ grade, which means there is something stopping AKG selling them as pristine, BUT, that something can be as simple as a tiny rip in the packaging or a slight mark on the inside of a pad.

Our team has graded each one of these units individually and they have been found to be in “excellent condition”, so at our price you’re securing a professional set of ‘phones for much less than you would normally pay….

 

LN81096:  One Control Strawberry Red Overdrive pedal.

An overdrive pedal that has all the sound attributes needed to sound like a high end guitar amp with a wide palette of distortion tones from clean to filthy… and at over a Third off the full retail price.

This is one present your Guitar player will thank you for again and again. The One Control Strawberry Red is a cracking little pedal with a palette to suit all tastes, no matter what style you’re playing. It can respond to the subtlest of touches or fight through a barrage of Rhythm chops, whatever you throw at it, it responds.

 

LN83019:  Right On! Guitar Strap (Dragons in Teal).

Fact: most Guitar players won’t spend a lot of money on a strap, believing erroneously, that the money could be spent on much more important things, But I’ve witnessed 1st hand, the carnage at the scene where a strap has broken, and a guitar has fallen on its neck or Headstock, and believe me, a good strap always seems like a good idea at those times….

These are from Right On! A Spanish leather manufacturer of straps, and the quality is excellent.

This example is in a cool Teal colour with some cool carved Dragons and the strap looks exquisite.

It has a special way of locking using some small screws, so it’s a very individual strap that can’t be easily changed to fit in an instant. All the better to stop people trying to borrow it!!

LN75850:   Guitar String Wipes (50pcs) by Big Bends

There’s nothing to beat the feel of a fresh pair of strings, but most non –pro musicians don’t have the luxury of changing their strings everyday. However, if you take a moment to wipe down the strings after each time you play, you can extend the life of your current strings by a long way.

If however, you use a cloth with water, you run the risk of the water seeping into the minute cracks and fissures ion the string surface and causing rust within a couple of days that completely deadens the string.

Big Bends Wipes are an alcohol based sanitizing cleaner that leaves no residue. Treated cotton pads with which you can wipe away the sweat and grime and then rest easy as the Alcohol just evaporates away, leaving the string clean and dry for next time.

And it’s exactly the sort of product they’d never buy for themselves….

LN75853:  Axe Sack by Big Bends.

And finally, from the same people who brought you the string wipes comes the bigger brother of cleaning kits., the Axe SACK. Everything you need to care for your Guitar or Bass.

  • AXE Sack – Sack.
    • 25 ct String Wipe – String Cleaner.
    • AXS Wipe – Microfiber Wipe.
    • Stay in Tune Sticker.
    • Gloss Sauce – Polish.
    • Fret Board Juice – Fretboard Conditioner.
    • Lil Luber – Nut Sauce Applicator.

With this kit you will: keep guitars in tune; stop string breakage; extend string life; extend life of nut, bridge and tuners; moisturize and clean fretboard; and make guitar shine like – or better than – new.

Audeze Reveal : Free mix room simulation software

To co-incide with the launch of the new studio flagship LCD-MX headphones, owners of Audeze headphones now have “Reveal”, a free plugin that helps you emulate a world class mix room.

This provides the listener with an experience similar to what you would hear from high quality studio reference monitors in an acoustically treated room.
The presets are not meant to fix any issues, but are designed to make mixing on headphones more natural compared to doing it on speakers. 

Some users will prefer their headphones without any DSP presets, while others will prefer the “room sound” calibration provided by these Reveal plugin presets.

The Plugin is available in VST, AU, AAX formats and should be inserted as the last plugin on either last on your monitor or master bus, just don’t forget to turn it off when you bounce the project down! 

Just select your Audeze headphone and select how much of the emulated tone to mix in. 

Here at Scan, we’re specifically loving this with the iSINE’s & LCD-i4 (suggest 50-60% mix), The SINE and closed back EL-8 headphones (100% mix).
The LCD-X and LCD-MX4 already sounds remarkably similar to an amazing mix room, so the difference isn’t as obvious, but it’s great to have a reference.

Download Now :  https://www.audeze.com/audeze-reveal-plugin#

Audeze at Scan : https://www.scan.co.uk/shop-by-brand/audeze

Budget Signature Model Guitars. Should They Really Be Called Budget?

Budget Signature Model Guitars

To me the term budget suggests a compromise in quality and design, however the SE range from PRS is as far removed from “budget” as the term would suggest.

We are all used to seeing our favourite guitar players with their signature model guitars. Custom tailored to their playing style and tonal requirements and in some cases decidedly dodgy colour schemes………… Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Zakk Wylde, Mark Tremonti, the list goes on and on.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have played many of these signature models and their less expensive counterparts. One thing I can say for sure is that while there is still and always will be a difference (let’s be honest,  a £4000 PRS and one costing £800 will always differ) between the “real thing” and the less expensive accessible to all models;  the difference is certainly becoming less apparent.

Here are a few prime examples of the signature instruments which I speak of………………….

The above PRS SE Tremonti Signature guitars are not only fantastic instruments in their own right, they are also Limited Edition Models, making them an attractive purchase and that little bit more exclusive.

The advantage to you, the customer, is that these signature models are no longer just an ego boost of musicians using their name on an inferior product that they themselves would not play. These guitars are more than capable of getting their “signature” guitar player from the beginning to the end of their gig. Body thickness is not compromised. The neck shape is what they spec and use themselves. Hardware and electronics, although not always what the more expensive model would have fitted, are more than capable of creating the tone they chase and lasting many years of hard gigging.

Below is an image of a Limited Edition PRS SE Bernie Marsden guitar which is exactly what the legendary musician uses during his live performances. No changes to the electrics, no fancy, outrageously expensive quilt top, just the instrument you can buy for under £1000. What more of a validation do you need for purchasing a PRS SE Signature Model………….a so called “BUDGET” signature guitar!

 

 

 

Universal Audio Return With More Fantastic Q4 Promotions (Part 2) – Apollo Twin Rack + Free Satellite

Following on from the last post regarding Universal Audio’s epic Q4 promotions we have an offer that is sure to tempt plenty of people into the UAD fold.

If you buy any Apollo rackmount interface you get yourself a free UAD Satellite QUAD or OCTO. Yes, you read that right – buy any Apollo rack unit and turbo charge your DSP processing power with a free Satellite. How good is that?! All you have to do is register the product and fill out the prompted shipping information, Universal Audio will deal with the rest and ship your Satellite in 6-8 weeks.

Depending which unit you buy will determine which freebie you get:

Apollo 16 or 8P – UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt OCTO worth £1081

Apollo 8 DUO or QUAD – UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt QUAD worth £756

Apollo Firewire – UAD-2 Satellite Firewire QUAD worth £756

We think this really is an amazing promotion offer and if you’re interested you can find all our Apollo rackmount’s here.