YOUR ONE-CLICK INDEX OF LAST WEEK’S REVIEWS
And there’s still more to read! Click the link to read the rest of this DV247 Blog weekly round-up for exclusive reviews, breaking news and the best in expert opinion!
THE BEST OF THE BLOG
Sample Logic Morphestra review
On Monday and Tuesday of last week Paul Dakeyne took an in-depth look at Sample Logic’s huge Morphestra sample library, boasting 27GB of samples and packing a 160GB glyph drive. After two days of immersing himself in the library, Paul spent part one of his review exploring how Morphestra works, while in part two he concentrated on the samples themselves. His verdict? “Morphestra is no one trick pony,” he wrote. “It’ll take decades to become a dead-horse due a good flogging, if it ever does at all.”
Lexicon PCM Native Reverb plug-in review
Wednesday and Thursday of last week saw DV247 bring you an early review of the Lexicon PCM Native Reverb plug-in, with Paul Dakeyne once again pulling on his producer’s hat to explore a software release with the potential to replace “some of the most amazing hardware reverbs used in modern music recording history”. In part one of his review, Paul explained the options offered by the software, while part two saw him test the reverbs themselves. Read the review to find out whether the plug-in lives up to the hype.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Rob Sandall reviewed the Moog E1-M guitar, noting that the latest version of the six-string includes a Hex output, allowing communication “directly with the all the latest MIDI converters and virtual guitar systems (Roland, Axon et al)”. Alongside speculating that the redesign could put Muse’s Matt Bellamy out of a job, Rob decided that “it won’t be long before space rock rules the airwaves if the Moog E1-M is anything to go by”.
Marc Noel Johnson sat down with the Bogner Alchemist 112 amplifier, designed by “German amp guru Reinhold Bogner”. MNJ decided that the 40-Watt amp, hailing from a super-exclusive range – deserved a lot more attention, concluding “there’s no reason why the Bogner Alchemist 112 shouldn’t be on a few more guitarists’ ‘must try’ lists”.
Tuesday saw Marc Noel Johnson introduce the Digitech Vocalist Live 3 pedal, which was introduced at the 2010 NAMM show, aimed at solo singer/guitarists in need of backing vocals. Marc noted that the specifications promised by Digitech were striking to say the least, concluding that “if it does what it says on the tin, it’s one of the most impressive products to be launched at NAMM”.
On Tuesday, with the announcement of Apple’s iPad still hours away, Rob Sandall speculated on the possible uses for a Mac tablet computer in the hands of a musician, including virtual faders and virtual versions of touchscreen hardware. Sadly, the iPad didn’t quite meet Rob’s expectations…
Marc Noel Johnson gave the Epiphone Roy Orbison 1962 Bard Acoustic 12 string a thorough review on Wednesday, explaining how and why the guitar is based on the instrument that Orbison used to write some of his most popular hits. While the sunglass-wearing singer may not be remembered for his guitar-skills, noted MNJ, anyone picking up this guitar up could only hope to feel as inspired as the man whose name it bears.
Having made high-pitched, excited noises when news of the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Boy arrived on his desk, Rob Sandall took a close look at the new pedal, which was released at the NAMM show earlier this month. His verdict was a no-nonsense recommendation. “I believe that there’s enough here to justify the extra expense,” he wrote.
Avowed Les Paul fanatic Marc Noel Johnson discovered something a little different in the Gibson Les Paul Studio Swamp Ash, when he reviewed the guitar on Thursday. Describing it as “a no frills, stripped down to the basics Les Paul constructed not from the usual mahogany and maple, but swamp ash”, MNJ decided that guitar “takes the Les Paul in yet another direction”.
On Thursday Barney Jameson explored the professional construction lying behind the Allen & Heath Zed-10 and Zed-10FX USB mixers. Though small in design and stripped back in features, Barney decided that Allen & Heath’s reputation as a user-friendly manufacturer had once again been proven.
After two producing huge reviews over the course of the week, Paul Dakeyne returned to the blog on Friday with an enthusiastic article on Native Instruments’ Abbey Road 60s Drums sample library. Paul pointed his readers towards a YouTube video made during the recording of the samples, and declared that he would “guess with confidence that by adding the Abbey Road 60s Drums to your percussion armoury, you’d not go too far wrong”.
Back with guitars, Rob Sandall fell in the love with the Gibson ES-335 Dot Plain Wood semi-hollow body, having sat down to review it before admitting that “Gibson might have shot itself in the foot here, because I actually prefer this plain model to its flamed big brother”.
Released at NAMM to much anticipation, the American Special Stratocaster came under Marc Noel Johnson’s spotlight on Friday, when he reviewed the mid-price model. Deciding that little was unusual about the guitar, MNJ did complain about the string gauge: “The only beef I have is that the guitar comes fitted with 9-42 guage strings and this, coupled with the comparatively skinny neck, left this reviewer no option than to play it with a very light touch”.
Having reviewed the American Special Strat, Marc Noel Johnson explored the playability of its equivalent Telecaster model, happily confessing that “this reviewer enjoyed a few minutes in twangy Nashville mode, bending everything in sight”.
Finally, Paul Dakeyne brought news to the blog of the Sonivox Hip Hop strings virtual instrument, first asking what made the strings in question particularly hip-hop, then deftly answering the question himself.
THE WRITER’S BLOCK: OUR OPINIONS, YOUR COMMENTS
Last week’s collection of Writer’s Block opinion pieces from regular DV247 writers covered a wide-range of subjects.
Having rediscovered the joy of Balearic dance music thanks to an upcoming gig booking, Paul reminisced on his history of visiting Ibiza, and what modern dance music could learn from the White Isle.
MNJ explained why professional songwriter Diane Warren has long been an inspiration to him, having written such international hits as If I Could Turn Back Time and Rhythm of the Night with simple yet ingenious chord structures.
Having excitedly discussed the forthcoming Apple tablet computer earlier in the week, Rob lamented the release of the Apple iPad by recounting his mounting horror and amusement upon watching the product launch with a friend.
After weeks of heavy NAMM coverage on the DV247 blog, editor Barney Jameson described just how important and exciting the forthcoming Musikmesse 2010 exhibition will be for musicians, and how DV247 will cover it.