The Yamaha FG720S dreadnaught style acoustic guitar and the APX500III electric acoustic feel, play, and sound like guitars well above their price points. In this blog I look at and play both of these guitars that prove cheap pricing doesn't mean cheap craftsmanship or cheap sound.
bychckn8r10-08-201504:14 PM - edited 10-09-201511:01 AM
Shure is a foundation brand in the microphone and pro-audio realm. Their foray into USB and now iOS compatible microphones was inevitable and they've come up with a new line that sets a very high standard. I'm going to be sad to see this microphone go back once this post is published. It's a small little device, but surprises you with its features, capabilities and above all, sound quality.
on 10-08-201504:12 PM - last edited on 10-08-201504:49 PM by BBYMartin
Yamaha has evolved their near-field monitor line through the years—beginning with the "industry standard" NS10's back in the 1980's and arriving at the latest HS series today. The HS5's are small, but they pack a lot of performance and value into their diminutive size. I had the chance to put them through their paces in my studio for a few days and found them to be a small dark horse that defied my expectations.
Boss answers the boutique pedal manufacturers by releasing 2 new (old) pedals under their WAZA Craft branding that retain their original analogue warmth while adding some nifty new features. The Boss DM-2W Delay and the Boss SD-1W Super Overdrive are re-imagined for the modern guitarist. In this blog I will talk about their hallowed predecessors, compare them to this new iteration, and put them through their paces to see how kind time has been.
Almost all major guitar manufacturers now carry at least two brands of guitar under their umbrella. You have the one “name” brand that is the premiere flagship brand and then a less expensive brand that makes more affordable versions of the classics. Gibson Guitars has the Epiphone brand, ESP has LTD, and Fender has Squier. And while these guitars are more affordable than their famous brothers, that doesn’t mean that they don’t play and sound great, especially considering their price points. This blog will look at two Squier Stratocasters and discuss playability, sound, and value.
As technology advances it often makes the things we want to do easier, quicker, and more efficient. It can also make things significantly more confusing. As we continue to add peripheral devices in our music making lives, you may notice as I did, that similar looking cords and cables are not always created for the same tasks. TS vs. TRS or Balanced vs. Unbalanced are just two of the differences we encounter when we look to buy or upgrade our music related cables. In this blog I will do my best to try and explain, as I understand, some of these differences so that getting the connections you need is less of a chore than it need be and you can get it right the first time.
The Alesis Transactive Wireless speaker functions as a wired speaker, a Bluetooth speaker, a USB charger for your mobile devices, an amplifier for guitar, keyboards, or electronic drums, and a small Personal Address (P.A.) system. It is portable, can run on AC power or with the built in rechargeable battery, and can even be pole mounted. This hard working unit can do it all and not empty the bank account.
On the faceplate for the BOSS GT-001 it reads, “Guitar Effects Processor”, but that is really selling itself short. The GT-001 is so much more than “just” a guitar processor. While it does contain the legendary BOSS guitar effects that will give you the sound to play vitually any style of music from metal to blues to indie, it also includes effects for acoustic guitar and voice as well as being a desktop audio interface that allows you to connect to your computer for practising or recording. And there’s more!
on 07-26-201507:38 AM - last edited on 09-14-201509:22 AM by BBYMartin
With the live videogame streaming scene growing at an unprecedented rate, more and more people want to start broadcasting their own gameplay streams. It doesn’t take too much to get started but if you really want to rise above the pack with a quality stream there are a few tips for your streaming setup that you’ll want to heed. If you make use of the right equipment you can quickly find yourself creating content that really shines and draws in the viewers.
Music festivals and summer ... what could be sweeter? Perhaps winning tickets to a summer music festival? Best Buy will be giving away 2 sets of passes to the Osheaga Music festival for 3 life altering memorable days filled with music, dancing and fun. If you will be in the Montreal area from July 31st until August 2, then read on to learn how to enter.
I have a confession to make. The first time I went camping as an adult was two summers ago. Before that, I was seven and my parents shipped me off for the weekend with my Brownie troupe to learn all sorts of life skills and earn all sorts of badges. I cried the whole time. But when one of my closest friends convinced me to join her annual camping trip—which meant no electricity, no WiFi, and no plumbing—I decided to put my tiara away for a few days and suck it up; and as it turns out, it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.
When it comes to playing blues guitar, the Fender brand is almost synonymous with the genre. From the Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Stratocaster to Muddy Water’s Telecaster, the Fender guitar is as a part of the sound of modern blues as the techniques currently employed by Fender players like John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and Bonnie Raitt . The guitar isn’t alone either as Fender amplifiers have long been a part of this history. The Fender Champ, Twin, Bassman, Super Reverb, and Deluxe reverb are all in the Pantheon of blues amplification and are saving a spot for the all tube Fender Blues Junior which will be looked at in this blog.
With a plethora of guitar effects pedal manufacturers producing an increasing number of beautiful looking and sounding pedals, the average pedal board has little real estate to accommodate all that you may want. Hotone Audio has responded with some very aesthetically appealing and fun sounding pedals that are priced friendly and take up about 1/3 of the space that your average stompbox requires. This blog will look at the EKO (delay), Grass (overdrive), and OCTA (Octave effect) from the company’s Skyline product line.
on 05-25-201504:22 PM - last edited on 07-15-201512:03 PM by BBYMartin
The price-performance ratio is hard to beat on this piano—you really can’t go wrong. It is a solid product with a good feature set that will enable the beginner or intermediate player to really enjoy the instrument. If you’ve been wanting to take up piano or you’ve been looking for a reason to buy a piano and cost has been a factor, check out the CDP-130CS at Best Buy Canada.
The Fender FA-300CE Acoustic-Electric guitar package bundles together everything that you need to produce a great acoustic tone in a live setting and in a recorded format. The FA-300CE is a solid acoustic guitar with great tone and playability for those wanting to learn the guitar, just starting to learn, and also for those intermediate players wanting to take the next step. The included Slide interface and accompanying software makes it incredibly easy to learn thanks to the Rock Prodigy software and to record and edit your music via the AmpliTtube software.
on 05-07-201501:58 PM - last edited on 06-23-201512:18 PM by BBYMartin
The Yeti is a rich sounding, flexible USB microphone that sonically stands on its own against some heavy hitters in the microphone world, but its large size makes it inconvenient for portable applications.
2015 is a very exciting year in the guitar geek and gear-head musical community: Fender announced at NAMM 2015 that it will be releasing extremely limited editions of unique-looking and unique-sounding electric guitars. And the "best" news? Best Buy will carry some of those beauties! Let’s take a closer look.
The Fender Mustang 1 V.2 is more than just a 20 watt practice amp with an 8” speaker and a load of tones and flexibility, it is also a guitarist’s entrance into the online world of social connectivity. The Fender Mustang 1 V.2 is a potent little amplifier that offers you a myriad of sounds and the ability to tweak to your heart's content, but it also connects to your computer, connects you with other musicians, and connects you with your inner music producer.
IK Multimedia has taken already compact and portable recording technologies and made them even more compact and more portable. All of this without significantly restricting what or how you can record and what you can ultimately produce. In this blog I am going to look at two different IK Multimedia products. First is the iRig Pro, which was released in late 2013. I will then look at the brand new iRig2 and explain what each can do for you so that you might have a better idea which unit will meet your needs.
on 04-21-201510:16 PM - last edited on 04-21-201510:30 PM by BBYMartin
The M-Audio Producer USB was one of the first USB microphones to hit the market a few years ago - ushering in an era of minimalistic mobile recording solutions. You no longer needed a host of middleware hardware to deliver decent audio into your computer or mobile device. USB microphones allow you to plug directly into your computers USB port and start recording. As a solid, professional-looking microphone that’s simple to setup and use, the M-Audio Producer USB is a decent choice in this category of microphones.
Here’s the American Standard Stratocaster electric guitar by Fender. This beauty had the privilege of spending some time in my studio for a little routine check. And what a ride it was! For some rock chords, blues riffs, funky rhythms and lots of modern jazz, this Strat is a versatile, high-end guitar. The American Standard I personally tried is equipped with three single coil pickups, features a black body finish with a classic white pickguard. The sexy curves of this solid body (it has contours that fit the musician’s arms) makes this guitar a gem of modern electric instrument manufacturing. The Stratocaster model, with its two asymmetrical horns continues to be the most imitated guitar body amongst all lesser brands of electric guitars. Thousands of timeless albums feature the tones of this american musical giant. Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie (and many more) used the Strat as their main instrument. We shouldn’t take this lightly!
When it comes to guitar effects pedals, or “stomp boxes” as they are often referred, the Boss brand pedals are certainly among the most ubiquitous on a guitarist’s pedal board. The BOSS OD-1X—BOSS’ newest Overdrive offering—The BOSS BD-2w Blues driver, and the BOSS TE-2 Tera Echo are among the newest effect pedal offering from the revered company. The 3 pedals on review here all have their own little nuances and tones to offer and it ultimately will depend on what you are looking for in your pedal that will determine which you will want to purchase and add to your pedal board.
The Roland CUBE GX20 is a compact 20 watt guitar amplifier with an 8” speaker and an attitude that aggressively snarls in your face metal. It features independent Clean, Lead, and Solo channels as well as modelling for 6 different amp types. This ensures that whether you’re sitting in your room shredding or running a line out from your GX20 to do some home recording, your needs are met with this lightweight, solidly constructed, and versatile bad boy.
The age old adage that "bigger is better!" can finally be put to rest once and for all. Roland's mighty might of an acoustic guitar—and more—amplifier, the AC-40 is versatile enough to fill many different needs and wishes.
You've got your guitar, and a tune in your head. But you also imagine a particular tone you'd like your skull crushing rock epic to sound like. Your guitar is certainly a part of that overall sound, and your playing styles and techniques will certainly contribute. Ultimately, though, your amplifier is what will define your tone. The number of amplifier options and technologies involved seem endless, and can be confusing. How do you even begin looking? I'll try to help you find the amp that will deliver the sound you want.
on 02-05-201511:58 AM - last edited on 02-05-201501:27 PM by BBYMartin
When my children were younger, I remember my wife and I contemplating questions like: when is my child ready for music? and How can I make sure they’ll like it? Even though we’re both classically trained pianists and I write and produce music for a living, we STILL grappled with these questions! Well I'm going to try to give all parents some answers. In addition to my own perspective on this subject, I bounced a few ideas off Jennifer Gasoi (2014 Grammy Award Winner- Best Children’s Album). She obviously has some fantastic insights and tips. You’ll see her perspective liberally peppered throughout this post.
on 01-25-201503:30 PM - last edited on 01-26-201511:52 AM by BBYMartin
Another NAMM show has come to a close and while all the exhibitors contemplate packing up their booths, I'm reflecting on all that I've seen over the past few days. There weren't any show-stopping standout announcements this year, but there was a lot to see!
on 01-25-201501:41 PM - last edited on 01-26-201511:58 AM by BBYMartin
Like most of you in the home and project studio game, I like to read the trade magazines and gear review sites frequently. I'm a firm believer in the "it's-not-about-the-gear" mantra, but hey, if money weren't an object...
on 01-25-201512:00 PM - last edited on 01-26-201512:03 PM by BBYMartin
Akai terms their Advance line of controllers as "unprecedented" plug-in control. The 49-note version that I played with came pretty close to the mark. I can see its potential as a studio and live situation controller that, once you adjust your workflow, will help you organize, recall and control all of your software synths and effects.
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