Tag: Fender

“Made Right Here” Sweepstakes and Limited Edition Westone In-Ear Headphones Review

All Limited Edition In-Ear Headphones Include Case and Interchangeable Tips

Just ahead of Independence day celebrations, Westone announced on June 1st, 2012, the opening of their much anticipated “Made Right Here” sweepstakes. Winners of the sweepstakes will receive anything from Westone apparel to a Grand Prize including round-trip airfare and accommodations to visit the Westone headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado and a list of stuff too long to list here (click on any of the links in this paragraph for more info).  While no purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes, each Westone has released special edition red, white, and blue versions of their popular UM1, UM2, and UM3x each with the chance to win.

Proudly crafted in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Westone in-ear headphones are among the finest in audio reproduction. With all the excitement surrounding the sweepstakes aside, this is a great opportunity to evaluate exactly what sets the UM1, UM2, and UM3x apart.

Westone UM1 Review

UM1 in Blue

the Limited Edition UM1 is available in the complete array of patriotic colors and featured in red, white, and blue. The construction of these headphones is lightweight and the package includes enough ear-tips to give users a wide selection as well as the possibility of finding the best fit. Part of the reason these in-ear monitors are so light is because they utilize a micro balanced armature driver.

In terms of sound signature, the Westone UM1 are well balanced and neutral making it an ideal in-ear headphone for critical listeners or for use as a reference headphone. As the entry level model, the UM1 is quite impressive. While the transparency of the UM1 is certain to be regarded as a highly desirable quality from audio purists and recording artists, it is likely to leave mainstream users accustomed to heavy coloration, particularly in the lower frequencies, craving a little more drama. Nonetheless, whether you are a recording artist, an analytical listener, or  just venturing into high-end audio, the UM1 is a great in-ear monitor on a budget.

Westone UM2 Review

UM2 in Red with Attached Cord

The Limited Edition UM2 is offered with a removable cord in White and Blue or with the attached cable in Red and White.  Like just about every Westone In-Ear model, the UM2 are extremely comfortable and include a broad selection of eartips. The UM2 are also extremely light weight and are physically non-fatiguing making them ideal for long listening sessions.

In terms of hardware, the UM2 feature two micro balanced armature drivers with passive crossover that separates high and low frequencies, sending them to the corresponding driver. Having high and low frequencies played by dedicated drivers gives the UM2 the its famed sound stage. Unlike many in-ear headphones, the UM2 feature a convincing sound stage with accurate vertical and horizontal placement as well as perceivable depth.

The sound signature of the UM2 benefits greatly from the separation of high and low frequencies. The UM2 delivers bass that is accurate and noticeably separate from the higher frequencies. As a result, bass and treble coexist in pleasant harmony without muddying each other or robbing one another of texture and nuance. Overall, the UM2 is a remarkable and thoroughly enjoyable in-ear headphone

Westone UM3x Review

UM3x with Attached Cord

The UM3x is available in either White or Blue with a removable cord or in Red and White with the attached cord. The UM3x is a supercharged version of the UM2. By integrating a third micro balanced armature driver, the UM3x features a passive crossover network that effectively separates the incoming signal and directs it to the high, mid, and woofer drivers. This results in greater articulation of specific frequencies. The UM3x offers a broad sound stage in which high, mids, and bass are each separately detailed and delivered with utmost clarity. Do not expect to find even a hint of muddling with this in-ear monitor. For the ultimate experience, there are very few in-ear monitors that deliver such an immersive experience as the UM3x.

Overall

The “Made Right Here” series of special edition in-ear headphones offers a model for every level. Whether you are just launching into new aural adventures or are an experienced and seasoned musician with high demands, Westone offers something patriotic and efficient. Make sure not to miss out on the excellent prizes and give-aways by entering the “Made Right Here” sweepstakes.

Click Here for Sweepstakes Entry Form and Details, Contest Ends July 31st, 2012

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Roland G5 V-Guitar Review: Fender Stratocaster with Built-In Modeling

Two giants of music have teamed up to create what could be one of the most innovative electric guitar creations: the G-5 V-Guitar. In one hand, Roland takes its legendary COSM guitar modeling technology and integrates it into a traditional Fender Stratocaster. Signaling the on-board VG engine through a separate pickup, the the G-5 can instantly go from a sounding like a 12-string electric guitar to an exotic sitar or even a Telecaster all with the flip or turn of a knob. Nonetheless, two good things combined don’t always yield an equally good or greater result and it is this logic that often leaves consumers wondering  whether the mash-up is worth the trouble or the price. In an attempt to clarify some of the questions and skepticism surrounding the Roland G5 V-Guitar, we will review and evaluate its various features and characteristics.

What Makes it Different?

Conceptually, the idea is alluring: What could be better for a modern musician than stuffing an array of effects directly into a guitar all while making toggling through various options simple and even intuitive. While the idea for an effects laden guitar has surely been a fantasy of many musicians for years, it takes an advanced degree of technical sophistication to successfully materialize such a dream. Although the Fender/Roland mash up hasn’t been the first attempt at integrating a variety of effects into a single guitar, it is one of the best executed.

The Separate Roland Pickup and Controls

The greatest distinction between the G5 and other electric guitars with on-board effects, is the superior build quality of the instrument itself and the approach of the on-board processors. The G5 is a comfortable, full quality Fender Stratocaster and gives players everything they have come to expect from the manufacturer. Moreover, the technology behind the G-5 is impressively well developed and features Roland’s revered COSM technology. The divided pickup individually signals each string to the VG engine while allowing the 3 single-coil pickups to work their magic.

Unlike other guitars with on-board processors that attempt to give musicians an array of effects such as various distortions, reverbs, and phasing. Instead of focusing on effects, the G-5 gives users different instruments making this particular guitar far more musical. The G-5 won’t give you all of the flashy effects, but it will give you what essentially amounts to at least 6 different guitars including a Standard Stratocaster, a Modeled Stratocaster, a Telecaster, Humbucking Pickups, Steel String Acoustic, Twelve-String Guitar, Nylon String Guitar and a Sitar (an anachronism I’m still trying to make sense of).

The benefit of modeling different guitars and instruments is that the tones can then be run through individual effects pedals or boards than individuals can tailor to their own liking. This option allows musicians to explore different tones rather than being stuck with a single guitar that may not sound great but has a ton of preset effects. Essentially, the G-5 is like buying a house with multiple rooms, each of which can be used and decorated differently, over buying a single bedroom apartment decorated with different wallpapers chosen by your landlord.

Are Two Heads Really Better than One?

The V-Guitar G-5is an instrument that will spark the desire of some and ignite repugnance in others. Those predisposed to feel the latter sentiment are likely to be guitar purists. Their argument will often claim that no amount of modeling will ever capture the true sound of a Telecaster or a 12-string. To their credit, it is true that modeling can only hope to approximate the sound of a dedicated Telecaster or 12-string but to compare an

approximation to the real thing is an unfair comparison at the onset. Viewed on its own terms and compared to other on-board modeling devices, the Roland COSM engine does (for the most part) convincingly well. Overall I could imagine the Roland G-5 V-Guitar as the ideal studio guitarist on a budget. With its broad range of tones and instant tuning options, this will prove to be a versatile, useful, and entertaining instrument.

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Favorite Boss Effects Pedals

Few other musical instruments have the allure and mystique of the electric guitar. Since its electrification and early use in the late 40’s by innovators like T-Bone Walker and Les Paul, the electric guitar, with its broad range of tonal and stylistic possibilities, has defined the careers of hundreds of musicians and the distinct sound of generations. For modern guitarists, the legendary sounds of the past are made available at the stomp of a box. Among my personal favorite Boss effects pedals are the Boss 63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver, and the RC-3 Loop Station. Whether used in combination, individually, or with other effects pedals, these three are sure to allow your creativity to explore new territories.

’63 Fender Reverb

My foremost favorite of these pedals is the ’63 Fender Reverbwhich accurately and convincingly captures the legendary tone of a vintage Fender spring reverb amp. Whether you are trying to go for a vintage country twang, classic surf-style riffs, or a warm and nuanced tone, the ’63 Fender Reverb offers an authentically reproduced tube amp sound.

Classic Fender Tube Amp Reverb

For those daring to push the boundaries, the ’63 Fender Reverb is open to experimentation and works well with other pedals for a completely personalized sound. My favorite way to use this pedal is by adding a little overdrive, rolling the tone about 75% and then kicking the Mixer and Dwell settings back to less than 50%. With your guitar at its neck pickup with the volume all the way up, this setting gives the guitar a bright and ringing character with a plenty of bite and attitude. Overall, this pedal delivers a great blend of vintage tones with the versatility to be used with other effects and styles for broad experimentation. For a pedal offering overdrive with the a similar tube amp sound signature, the solution may be none other than the famous Boss Blues Driver

A Boss Classic: The Blues Driver

You don’t have to have the blues to enjoy the range and tube-like overdrive of this reliable and tested pedal.  While the Blues Driverwill certainly deliver the traditional blues tones reminiscent of players like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy, this effects pedal can also deliver rich and refined warm tones. Perhaps most notably, the Blues Driver can deliver a tone that is full of mellow warmth with enough gain to remain punchy and full of attitude. Like the ’63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver is versatile enough for experimentation and will fit well with just about any genre or musical vision. My personal favorite way to use this pedal is in trying to emulate the mellow and over-driven style of B.B. King that can go from sounding clean to biting in seconds.

RC-3 Loop Station

Lastly, the RC-3 Loop Station offers perhaps the most versatility and the best use as a device for experimentation. With 99 separate on-board memory banks, the Loop Station has enough capacity to store tons of riffs and jam tracks. Moreover, the Loop Station affords users up to 3 hours of recording time for even the most intense and epic jam or recording sessions. Aside from its immense capacity, the Loop Station can be used to layer different recorded tracks allowing you to build harmonically rich tracks. While I use the RC-3 for practice and for layer tracks as mentioned earlier, the RC-3 can be used for just about any musical idea you may have. Plenty of artists use the RC-3 to create thick and complex atmospheres using various other effects.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Each of these pedals offer you a little piece of music history and allows you to mix and combine them into something totally new and personal: the ’63 Fender Reverb can take you back to the early days of rock-n-roll, or drive you to new and hypnotic sounds; the Blues Drivers will let you tap into raw energy or smooth things out, while the Loop Station can take you just about anywhere. Whatever your musical tastes or ideals, these stomp boxes can do it all.

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The Benifits of a Wireless Guitar System

Untangle your life and experience the freedom of a wireless guitar system.    Wireless guitar systems are such as the Audio Technica ATW-701/G is a super convenient way for the performing guitarists out there to explore the stage and share and experience with their audience.    By untethering yourself from your pedals and amps you will be free to really get into a performance, Inexpensive VHF systems such as the  Audio Technica ATW251g are perfect for the weekend rockstars and the garage band heroes.

Wireless guitar systems consist of two basic components.   The transmitter with is attached directly to your guitar via the supplied cable.   The transmitter is encased in a bodypack style enclosure about the size of a deck of playing cards.   They are easily clipped onto your belt or guitar strap and transmit wirelessly to the receiver

The receiver is typically a small box that can be mounted on an amp or by your pedalboard.   Depending on the design, the wireless receivers can be field selectable meaning they can operate on many different frequencies.

Wireless guitar systems give an added level of safety to your performance by eliminating the need for  the snaring cables under your feet you can be confident you won’t be accidentally stage diving as a result of tripping over a guitar cable.

Set up and tear down are also a breeze as a result of wireless systems especially if you’re are performing at a festival or venue where you either follow or open for another act as that’s atleast one less cable you will have to track down, untangle and wrap.

You are also free to keep the sounds coming as you eliminate the possibility of stepping on a cable, pulling it out of your guitar, and blowing fire out of your amp as the result of a hot line flopping about the stage while you play air guitar for a few seconds.

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GoGo Tuners TT1


The GoGo Tuners TT1 is a the handiest of the handy when it comes to guitar tuners.    The  TT1 clips right to the headstock of any guitar so its a hands free way to make sure you’re always in tune.

The TT1 checks your tuning in two unique ways.   The first is using a highly sensitive internal microphone designed to be used with acoustic and hollowbody instruments.   The second is the piezo pickup found in the clip of the tuner.   The extremely sensitive clip “feels” the vibrations of the strings though the guitar rather than picking them up through the mic.    This is a wonderful advantage when trying to tune during a noisy rehearsal session because unlike other tuners the TT1 doesn’t require a quiet environment to work.   The pickup can simply feel if your guitar is in tune or not.

Another awesome feature of the TT1 is the color indication.    The entire backlit screen of the tuner will light up green for in tune,  and red for out of tune.     This is great if you often play in dimly lit rooms unlike other tuners with simple lCD displays.  The body of the TT1 is a smokin’ blaze orange as well so if you happen to set your tuner down on your amp or by your pedal board while playing in that dimly light room your eye is easily drown right back to it.   This thing is hard to lose!

The GoGo Tuners TT1 features three 360 degree points of swivel so no matter where you place the tuner on youre instrument its easy to adjust for a clear line of sight to the screen.

There are several operation modes to choose from including chromatic mode, guitar, bass, violin, and viola.    So no matter what your instrument this is the tuner for you.

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