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.