Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wah @ City Music sale

If you are considering a worthy wah pedal, now's a good time to check out those Vox-es. I've tried countless wahs from the traditional to the potless but I always return to my V847. I think it's the only one I'd retain & I'm not that enthusiastic when it comes to wahs but hearing some clean single coils with the wah in action is rather essential for inspiration at times. To me, the Vox is the standard to beat when it comes to the traditional wah approach. Back in my early playing days, $60 for a quality wah is non-existent.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blackstar: Fly

Finally, a worthy desktop/ pocket amp that doesn't wimp out on tone- Blackstar's Fly.

This is a simple amp that packs a punch. Many other amps of this ilk manifest questionable tone so it begs the question- quality or novelty? Well done to Blackstar for putting in some thoughts into this one. The Fly has decent cleans, it's typical small-driver serving stuff but it doesn't sound like it's on a budget. In OD mode, the Fly proves its worth, at higher volumes, the driver doesn't rattle & fuzz out the tone. This is important to me as it allows for some projection should I choose to do an impromptu lunch time performance at the office. It also means the Fly has enough projection potential to rival a small practice combo so it's a great teaching tool. My only discord for it is the fact that it requires 6 AA batteries to get going but it'll accept an adapter which is sold separately. Great price to boot.

Blackstar: Fly
Availability: Davis GMC
Price: $60

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blackstar: ID Core (Part 1)

Last weekend, I was invited to check out Blackstar's ID Core amps which are largely digital in nature. This would put off many tone purists because there is this current belief that digital existence in any tone-related implements are largely make-belief; the digital signals emulate good tones, they are not the source of good tones per se. However, such a misplaced belief is currently challenged by LINE6, Fractal & Kemper among others. These names are the standard bearers in today's digital technology. They keep the tone, well, tone-centered & are not bent on digitally re-manufacturing tone for commercial elation.

With the ID Core range, Blackstar has entered (or proven, rather) the digital domain under practical beliefs. The ID Core amps don't offer anything that's not done by the other leading names before. In fact, these amps were conceived to preserve the Blacstar identity & they did well under such a consideration.

The features in all 3 ID Core amps are identical (as seen in the pic above). The player gets to voice his/her tone according to the VOICE modules so there isn't a clean or driven channel per se; it's a single amp with many voicings. There is a 'live' set of controls manipulating GAIN, VOLUME & EQ, followed by the EFFECTS section where one gets to play with modulation, delay & reverb as tone enhancements. Unseen is the amp's internal tuner easily activated by pressing the TAP & Manual buttons simultaneously. Additional features will be covered in a subsequent appraisal. The highlight of these amps are indeed their stereo capacity. If you sit up close with any one model & have the volume up to at least the half-way mark, you'd hear it in full glory. Each amp is actually equipped with an addition smaller-sized speaker to get the fun going & you'd appreciate this having the reverb or delay effects in use. I'm leaving you with some purchase considerations especially if you are a digital heretic (like yours truly) but these amps are on introductory offer & the prices are too good to ignore (especially when one's loaded with some year-end windfall):
  • ID Core Stereo 10: $99
  • ID Core Stereo 20: $129
  • ID Core Stereo 40: $169
The big names in digital technology need not cringe in fear of the ID Cores but those brands offering budget digital amps need to re-think their standards. Let me put it bluntly- Roland's CUBE, Vox's Valvetronix & Fender's Mustang amps will be shadow considerations if the practical buyer simply stops to re-consider his/her options leveraging on tone quality & value-for-money. Happy shopping, everyone :-) 

Blackstar ID Core amps are available at Davis GMC.

VS: Route 66 V3

This isn't new, the Visual Sound Route 66 pedal had been done before & it proved to be a popular 2-in-1 offering. Instead of cascading 2 overdrive units in a single housing, the Route 66 offers a compressor-overdrive pairing. The V3 version here has some refined features notably the clean mix control there that helps to balance unaffected signal in the output section which translates into more sustain. Unlike the wedge/pentagon outline of its predecessors, the V3 returns to a more traditional rectangular design that helps separate both ON/OFF buttons so having them sitting a little further apart means you can prevent accidental activation from taking place.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ibanez: TS-808 35th

The Ibanez TS-808 35th Anniversary edition is now available at Swee Lee- you'd be surprised with how light the pedal is. For price details, please call the stores.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sale @ City Music

Maybe this is the event you've been waiting for. As for me, I look forward to it every year. Let's give it to City Music for holding the sale consistently every year. OK, so what I want is out of stock....

PIC: City Music