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2010 Premier Gear Awards

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2010 Premier Gear Awards

L.R. Baggs Anthem Tru-Mic Pickup System
Reviewer Gayla Drake Paul calls this dual-source acoustic system “a truly giant leap forward” for those who want their great-sounding acoustics to sound amazing even at ungodly stage volumes. Find out what sets it apart in this month’s full review.
Street $299
lrbaggs.com


PRS Ted McCarty DC 245 Limited Run

It’s probably not a stunner to see a PRS McCarty among our Premier Gear award winners. After all, it’s a guitar that a gazillion players have lusted after since the model debuted in 1994. In its DC 245 Limited Run incarnation, however, the McCarty is outfitted with the company’s much-lauded 57/08 pickups, vintage-inspired aesthetic touches (like brushed-nickel pickup covers and an understated, slightly aged-looking smokeburst finish), and fancy touches (like bird inlays) that Smith incorporated as a special tribute to Ted McCarty, the former Gibson president and design pioneer. Reviewer Jordan Wagner couldn’t find enough ways to praise the 57/08 pickups, calling them “utterly fantastic.” Over the course of evaluating the McCarty (April 2010 web exclusive), Wagner found that “midrange response from the pickups is very soft, but each frequency is audible and discernable, making them rather difficult to muddy up. Combined with tight, blooming lows and a very unique, singing high end, the whole package is just extraordinary.” And in the end, Wagner called the McCarty DC245 Limited an “extraordinary tribute from one visionary to another.”
Street $3395
prsguitars.com


Real McCoy Custom RMC8-Guitar Eqwahlyzer
Brad Plunkett’s mid-’60s design for the Italian Vox Clyde McCoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest wah circuits. And for many pedal makers, building a fair emulation of that iconic stomper would have been a major accomplishment. But Geoffrey Teese, the man behind Real McCoy Custom wahs, has always had the will and wizardry to constructively tinker with classic wah sounds. And the RMC8-Guitar Eqwahlyzer (November 2010) does a beautiful job of delivering the much-loved Plunkett/Clyde McCoy flavor, with equalization capabilities that enable you to customize the voice to your rig and style. The versatility doesn’t stop there, either. A toggle switch allows you to switch the sweep contour between a NOS Icar-taper pot and an expanded-range taper that’s reminiscent of an aged Icar-taper ROC-POT 5.2 wah pot. Reviewer Steve Ouimette loved the way the controls enabled him to modify the wah’s tone to better suit humbuckers, P-90s, and single-coils. And he remarked, “no matter what combination of guitars and amps I used, the RMC8 delivered in spades. The tone was always lush, the sweep was smooth and free of scratchiness, and the sonic flexibility was nearly unlimited. It can be easy to grow weary of a wah when it’s a one-trick pony. But there’s almost no end to what the RMC8 can deliver.”
Street $269
realmccoycustom.com


Ultimate Ears 4 Pro Series Custom Monitors
Few performing musicians—even seasoned pros—warm up to in-ear monitors right off the bat. No matter how muddy a stage mix is, the same in-ear-monitor mix will usually sound—and feel—weirder. But as our reviewer John Bohlinger found, Ultimate Ears 4 Pro in-ear monitors (January 2010) are, how shall we put it . . . unnaturally natural. Bohlinger performed with the Ultimate Ears 4 Pro in settings including an open-air festival, an intermediate-sized club, and a recording studio, and he found them superior to wedge monitors or headphones in every instance. According to Bohlinger, had he “started with the UE 4 Pros, I would’ve stopped right there and saved myself lots of money and aggravation.” With everyone from the Rolling Stones to Van Halen in agreement, maybe we’ll have to start imagining a world without wedges.
Street $399
ultimateears.com
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