Category Archives: Equipment & Instruments

IK Multimedia iRig PRE – The universal microphone interface for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

iRig PRE

NAMM this year saw IK Multimedia continued expanding it’s range of portable solutions by introducing  it’s new iRig PRE

The iRig PRE is a solution designed for connecting via its XLR socket any type of microphone  to any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad providing access to the widest range of recording applications. This makes the iRig PRE the first high-quality microphone preamp designed specifically for iOS devices that allows musicians to use their favorite high-quality stage or studio mics with their iOS device and it’s adjustable thumbwheel gain control allows the user to easily make precise level settings.

Like the rest of the iRig accessorie range, IK Multimedia iRig PRE is highly portable thanks to its pocket-sized form factor for recording anywhere and the onboard 9V battery will provide the necessary voltage for phantom-powered studio condenser microphones for at least for 15 hours of continuous use.

The iRig Pre’s  lightweight housing design sports a convenient cable for iOS device connection and also includes a Velcro strip slot for easy mounting on a mic stand or other stage locations, and for monitoring whilst recording the is a 3.5mm (1/8”) standard stereo headphone output.

IK Multimedia iRig PRE Key Features:

    • 40 cm (15.75”) TRRS cable to connect to any iOS device headset jack
    • XLR input connector for microphones
    • Gain control
    • +48 V phantom power
    • Headphone output
    • On/Off switch
    • Power/Phantom Power provided by 9V battery
    • Battery life is approximately 40 hours with dynamic microphones and 15 hours with phantom powered condenser studio microphones
    • Includes 2 free apps: iRig Recorder, an easy-to-use voice recording/editing app, and VocaLive, a multi-effects processing app for singers.
    • Compatible with iPhone/iPod touch/iPad.

The IK Multimedia iRig PRE Homepage

Electronic Drums

Nowadays electronic drums are more sophisticated than ever, and can prove to be an invaluable tool in the studio. Essentially, they are a controller, sending data about which pad has been struck and how hard, to a ‘brain’ which then triggers a sample. However, the really cool thing about them, is that the data in question can be stored as MIDI data, and recorded into your DAW, allowing you to capture the drummers performance, which can then be edited and applied to different sample sets later, at your leisure.

Drum Kit Thumbnail

But aside from all that, the main advantage is that you can whack the living daylights out of them, and disturb no-one! In your headphones it can sound like the wrath of God, but outside all that will be heard is the clickety clack of your sticks on the pad surface.

Jam Hub

Jam Hub is designed to be a simple solution to a the problem facing many bands of finding a rehearsal space unlikely to disturb those around them. A Jam Hub module along with a complete set of headphones will allow you to rehearse anywhere without the worry of noise bleed annoying your neighbors.

The problem has always been that gathering musicians and instruments together for a rehearsal or jam, is the noise level. Things usually start off ok, but once people get into their music, they tend to turn up a bit, and before long a simple rehearsal at home ends up at full concert volume.

Jam Hub allows a group of musicians to rehearse together in relative silence.

All you need to do is pick which colour section you want, plug your instrument in, put on your headphones and get playing.

Each musician has control over the volume of the other instruments in his/her particular mix, and therefore you do away with the volume wars.

Playing music with other people is one of the greatest things about being a musician, and Jam Hub gives you the freedom to do it in rooms where noise would otherwise be a problem.

Jam Hub Homepage

The Breedlove Difference

Each Atlas Series Instrument has been designed and engineered by Kim Breedlove. With a strong art background and refined design sense, Kim Breedlove acquired the tools, the training and a keen interest in building guitars, mandolins, banjos and other fine instruments in 1974. At a very young age he entered the elite level of producing legendary quality instruments and has dedicated his life to this masterful artistic endeavor.

Atlas guitars feature many of the design principles from Breedlove’s custom shop including Breedlove scalloped bracing, pinless bridge and JLD Bridge Truss System.

 

 

The body shapes are similar to the custom shop offerings for deep body styles with non cutaways and soft cutaways. The bridge, fingerboard and peghead overlay on each model are made from Indian Rosewood.

The playability has been changed to a slightly narrower nut width 1-11/16 in., but each has the same low string height for fast comfortable playing. D’Addario EXP11 light gauge coated strings are comfortable, last a long time and have a full sound.

Fishman Classic IV Pickups are on all cutaway models. These are easy to use, reliable and sound great. Each Atlas Series instrument has passed the strict quality assurance process in Bend, Oregon, USA. Breedlove has reached these amazing prices by creating a high quality system to produce these exact models and specifications.

The Breedlove Difference

The Breedlove tone is an outcome of the way they brace their tops. All of their guitars have tops voiced both before and after the braces are applied. They utilize a modern bridge truss device (patented by J.L.D. Guitar Research) that counterbalances the string tension on the top of the guitar. Does this mean Breedlove guitars lose the ability to vibrate well? Just the opposite. In the past, building a guitar top has required trade-offs between sturdiness for longevity, and lightness for resonance. Due to the increased structural integrity of the bridge truss, Breedlove is able to brace their tops for optimal vibration and sound quality. This creates what they call a relaxed top. You will also notice the back of their guitars vibrate more than other guitars. The result is a responsive guitar with rich bass, balanced mids, sweet highs, and a remarkable balance of sound when playing notes up the fingerboard.

A guitar where the strings pass over the nut and then angles sharply towards the tuner posts has added dampening, which causes loss in sustain. So Breedlove designed their peghead so the strings between the tuners and the nut are parallel to the rest of the string. Then they have the Breedlove Pinless Bridge. Why drill 6 holes through a part of the guitar that needs stability?

And so finally, all these little innovations and variations become the Breedlove difference. Do yourself a big favour and check one out today.

 

 

Breedlove guitars are available from our ProAudio shop.

Breedlove Hompage

Microphone Diaphragm Sizes

Microphone diaphragm sizes

Large Diaphragm
Any microphone with a diaphragm larger than (and potentially including) 3/4″ is considered to be a Large Diaphragm microphone. In general, Large Diaphragm microphones tend to have a “big” sound that engineers find especially pleasing where a little more character might be advantageous, such as is the case with most vocals. Large diaphragms are generally more sensitive than small diaphragm or medium diaphragm mics because of the increased surface area. A common myth is that large diaphragm mics capture more low frequencies than small diaphragm mics. Sometimes their colouration may make it sound like this is the case, but a properly designed small diaphragm mic is more likely to be accurate throughout a wide range of frequencies, whereas the coloration of a large diaphragm mic can tend to enhance certain desirable characteristics in a sound, which sometimes amounts to more apparent bass or low end.

Medium Diaphragm
The definition of Medium Diaphragm is a potentially controversial subject. Historically there have been large diaphragm and small diaphragm mics, but more recently the medium size has begun carving out its own category, though not everyone agrees on the precise upper and lower limits. Most professionals and manufacturers agree that any microphone with a diaphragm near 5/8″ to 3/4″ can be characterized as a Medium Diaphragm microphone. Generally speaking, Medium Diaphragm microphones tend to do a good job of accurately catching transients and high frequency content (as a small diaphragm would) while delivering a slightly fuller, round and potentially warmer sound (as a large diaphragm might).

Small Diaphragm
While there are no final standards regarding a diaphragm size that defines Small Diaphragm, most professionals and manufacturers agree that any diaphragm smaller than 5/8″ would be considered a Small Diaphragm. Generally speaking, Small Diaphragm microphones tend to do a good job of capturing high frequency content and transients. They will tend to have a bit more “air” to their sound and often have less coloration than medium or large diaphragm microphones. Most of this is due to the reduced mass of the smaller diaphragm, which allows it to more closely follow any air disturbances it is subjected to.

SCAN guide to MIDI controllers

SCAN GUIDE TO MIDI CONTROLLERS:

WHAT IS A MIDI CONTROLLER KEYBOARD?
Basically a MIDI Controller Keyboard is way of communicating with a Synth or a sampler or a Computer running a VST instrument or other software based Sound generator.
It is possible to play music via a computer by simply entering data into the DAW via the QWERTY key board, but it’s not very musical.
Keyboard controllers are usually based on a standard piano keyboard. Pressing down a key allows a Note On/Note Off message to be sent to a receiving device, a sampler maybe, telling it exactly which note to sound. At the same time a velocity message is transmitted, showing  how hard the key was struck.
Compared to a real piano, most keyboard controllers have small keys and provide a playing range of just a few octaves.
They usually have no internal sounds of their own. Many units also come with various sliders, knobs and pads which can be assigned to control other MIDI functions linked to filters and Oscillators.
The Controller usually connects to the computer via a USB port, doing away with the need for a MIDI interface. Most software can recognise the USB as a MIDI Device.

OTHER MIDI CONTROLLERS…….
As well as devices based on a Piano keyboard, there are many controllers available which are based around a series of pads, or sliders and knobs, as well as dedicated controllers for software packages like Ableton Live.
They basically all work the same way, sending MIDI controller data to the computer or synth, and allowing the user to manipulate the sound in a much more tangible and intuitive way.

PERCUSSION MIDI CONTROLLERS:
These are specialised ‘Drum Kits’ or individual drum like elements that allow the user to play sampled or computer generated percussion sounds in an authentic way.

Types of Microphones

Types of microphones

* What’s a USB Microphone?
A USB mic contains all the elements of a traditional microphone: capsule, diaphragm, etc. Where it differs from other microphones is its inclusion of two additional circuits: an onboard preamp and an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter. The preamp makes it unnecessary for the USB mic to be connected to a mixer or external mic preamp. The A/D converter changes the mic’s output from analog (voltage) to digital (data), so it can be plugged directly into a computer and read by recording software. Plug in your mic, launch your DAW and start recording.
* Condenser Microphone
The condenser microphone is a very simple mechanical system, with almost no moving parts compared with other microphone designs. It is also one of the oldest microphone types, dating back to the early 1900’s. It is simply a thin stretched conductive diaphragm held close to a metal disk called a backplate. This arrangement basically produces a capacitor, and is given its electric charge by an external voltage source. This source is often phantom power, but in many cases condenser mics have dedicated power supply units. When sound pressure acts on the diaphragm it vibrates slightly in response to the waveform. This causes the capacitance to vary in a like manner, which causes a variance in its output voltage. This voltage variation is the signal output of the microphone. There are many different types of condenser microphones, but they are all based on these basic principles.
* Dynamic Microphone
A dynamic mic is one in which audio signal is generated by the motion of a conductor within a magnetic field. In most dynamic mics, a very thin, light, diaphragm moves in response to sound pressure. The diaphragm’s motion causes a voice coil that is suspended in a magnetic field to move, generating a small electric current. Generally less expensive than condenser mics (although very high quality dynamics can be quite expensive), dynamics feature quite robust construction, can often handle very high SPLs (Sound Pressure Levels), and do not require an external power source to operate. Because of the mechanical nature of their operation, dynamic mics are commonly less sensitive to transients, and may not reproduce quite the high frequency “detail” other types of mics can produce. Dynamic mics are very common in live applications. In the studio, dynamics are often used to record electric guitars, drums and more.
* Ribbon Microphone
A type of velocity microphone. A velocity microphone responds to the velocity of air molecules passing it rather than the Sound Pressure Level, which is what most other microphones respond to. In many cases this functional difference isn’t important, but it can certainly be an issue on a windy day. Very old ribbon mics could be destroyed from the air velocity created just by carrying them across a room; today’s ribbon mics can handle the rigors of daily studio use. A ribbon mic works by loosely suspending a small element (usually a corrugated strip of metal) in a strong magnetic field. This “ribbon” is moved by the action of air molecules and when it moves it cuts across the magnetic lines of flux causing a signal to be generated. Naturally ribbon mics have a figure 8 pick up pattern. You can think of it like a window blind; it is easily moved by wind blowing at it, but usually doesn’t move when wind blows across it from left to right. Ribbon mics were the first commercially successful directional microphones.