Magnatone Giveawya

August Issue
more... GearGear Award 2012Gear Porn

2012 Premier Gear Awards

A A
2012 Premier Gear Awards

T-Rex Tap Tone
October 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

With fantastic delays like the Reptile and Replica already in the company’s product line (and with famous players like Carlos Santana, John Mayer, and Pete Townshend endorsing other T-Rex offerings), you might be justified in wondering why T-Rex would bother with adding another delay to the mix. The answer, of course, is the taptempo function that’s the backbone of this pedal. But that’s just part of the story behind this well-built, super-functional box. There’s a bite control that can shift the voice from crystal clear to dirty, warbling, and tape-like, in addition to an essentially warm analog glow that you can hear in just about every setting. Still, it’s the flexibility of its namesake function that’s the real bonus. It enables you to seamlessly and radically shift speeds on the fly, and that gives this T-Rex so much musical potential to walk away with a Premier Gear award. t-rex-effects.com


Blackout Effectors Crystal Dagger
October 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

We love pedal builders that dabble in the unexpected, the unusual, and the perverse. That impulse—the drive to mess with sound—is what’s made a lot of the greatest pedal builders legendary. And it clearly compelled Blackout Effectors to build the Crystal Dagger—an unlikely combination of octave fuzz and ring-modulation that can be both nastily focused and chaotic. Reviewer Jordan Wagner discovered that the octave fuzz is uncommonly “clean and tight, with smooth lows and mids and a not-too-piercing high end,” with output that “is detailed across the entire tone spectrum [and] makes Hendrix-style leads above the 12th fret sound especially fat.” The ring-modulation function, meanwhile, added everything from ricocheting phase tones and metallic undercurrents to “fantastic beating pulses” at the point where octave and modulation effects begin to blur. In short, the Crystal Dagger is a ticket on a fast train to some very awesome sonic radicalism that gives you the power to unleash a positively deadly octave fuzz tone when you need your solos and riffs to be focused and to-the-point. This is one sharp dagger indeed. blackouteffectors.com


HAO Bass Liner
October 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

Reviewer Dave Abdo called the EQ on the HAO Bass Liner preamp “secret spice,” and indeed, this is the kind of box that can help transform your bass tones from the stuff of a greasy spoon’s line chef to complex flavors concocted by a schooled saucier. HAO enlisted the help of bass-amplification guru Phil Jones to hone the Bass Liner, and the fruit of the collaboration is a tool of exceptional quality and formidable tone-shaping power that reviewer Abdo found intuitive and easy-to-use. Chalk it up to that secret spice—an excellent and effective 6-band EQ that enabled him to dial in everything from midrange presence to top-end bite and fat, thumping, dubby low end. Abdo also appreciated the HAO’s capacity to add active pickup-like sensitivity and liveliness to narrow-voiced instruments. For those of us who value the feel and vibe of our most treasured 4-string but need a little extra versatility, the Bass Liner is a potent ally. godlyke.com


Tortuga Manhattan
October 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

You’d be forgiven for being a little frustrated if you were trying to navigate the Tortuga Manhattan for the first time without a manual. Tortuga mastermind Matt Johnson has a playful design sense that leads to controls named “bourbon” instead of “feedback,” for instance. But the fact is that the Manhattan sounds so good in so many ways, it almost doesn’t matter what knobs you twist—or how. And the intuitive approach to tone shaping that this pedal inspires is nothing short of, well … inspiring! That doesn’t mean the Tortuga Manhattan isn’t a completely practical tone-shaping tool. On the contrary—reviewer James Rotondi found it capable of everything from lush and convincing Leslie tones to deep, swooshing flanging and atmospheric chorus tones that proved beautifully musical. Rotondi was moved to remark that the Manhattan was capable of generating “lovely swaths of sound” and remarked on its “smoothness, complexity, and depth.” Sounds worth toasting to us. tortugaeffects.com


Source Audio Soundblox 2 Multiwave Bass Distortion
October 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

Source Audio has always been great at taking the extended and nontraditional potential of the bass guitar very seriously. With the Soundblox 2, they seem hell-bent on a mission to give bass thumpers a piece of the distortion action that guitarists get to enjoy in so many thousands of flavors. And as the 22 distortion settings on this pedal suggest, they’ve delivered in a big way. The big surprises are the multiband settings, which split your signal apart and distort them individually before reassembling your signal into a multi-dimensional whole. You can tap into filter-like tones and synth-y textures and further sculpt your distortion voices using the 3-stage noise gate, the effective tone shape knob, and the simple 4-knob control set for managing signal mix, tone, and drive levels. With the additional benefit of programmable presets, it’s a pedal that can crack your basstone vocabulary wide open. sourceaudio.net


TV Jones Spectra Sonic C Melody
November 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

All puns aside, a baritone can extend your guitar technique in more ways than one. But when a guitar can expand your playing vocabulary with this much style, you can bet we’re gonna take notice. Twang (and style) maven Brian Setzer helped inspire TV Jones to make the Spectra Sonic C Melody (the first of which was a prototype for Setzer) a production reality. And the version we received was a flatout blast. Editor in chief Shawn Hammond exclaimed that the “tones won’t let you down whether you’re plucking spy-movie themes, Travis-picking rockabilly lamentations, power-chording indie-rock craziness, or fingering big, complex inversions that use open notes to crisscross the fretboard and the frequency spectrum.” All of which says a lot about how deep he went with this guitar, but also how much fun it is to take the trip. The Spectra Sonic C Melody is one of those instruments that reminds us playing guitar is an adventure, and this is one great-looking hot rod for the ride. tvjones.com


Fender Select Precision Bass
November 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

The Precision bass, like so many Fenders from the ’50s, is the very essence of functional elegance. So the notion of a fancy take on the form can fire skepticism among loyalists, but it would take a pretty grumpy purist to not acknowledge the arresting beauty of the Select Precision. Luxurious without resorting to flashy, the Select Precision features a maple top tastefully finished to highlight the cool flame without ruining the fluid perfection of the Precision’s lines. But the luxury runs more than skin deep on the Select P: Reviewer Steve Cook noted that it was equally at home with metal or country moods—little surprise there—but noted that the “church quiet” pickups packed a little more midrange punch that enhanced the basically vintage flavor. What’s best though, is that this Precision felt and sounded like a bass you’ll want to play every day. fender.com


Jetter Red Square
November 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

Jetter isn’t even close to the first amp or pedal maker to go after the Holy Grail idea of an all-in-one stompbox that serves up classic British- and American-amp overdrive. In the case of the Red Square, Jetter makes few actual claims of Brit-American tone bliss, but whether Jetter is being coy or just modest, the Red Square goes a long way toward packing both flavors in a single box. The pedal’s Helium circuit is a sweet ticket to blackface-Fender-style overdrive—thickening tone and adding a dose of extra pick sensitivity. The Red Shift side is all Jimmy Page sizzle and searing near-clean tones with a burlier overdrive voice. We found the Red Square as adept at rhythm and lead settings, and the overall harmonic richness was a joy in just about every context. Plus, it’s cheaper than a transatlantic flight and a whole heck of a lot more fun. jettergear.com


Snark SN-10S Tuner
November 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

Anyone who has used a Snark headstock tuner knows the thrill of experiencing the speed, accuracy, and value packed into one of those colorful little clip-ons. So when we got our hands on the company’s new pedal tuner and saw the $50 price tag, we were prepared to be thrilled. And the SN-10S did little to let us down. For many, the one complaint against the original Snark was that it felt a little less than rock-solid in construction, but Snark addressed the issue by concealing the SN-10S in a die-cast steel enclosure that’s tough as a brick. But the best part is that the SN-10S actually felt more sensitive than its already-impressive clip-on cousin. Is it wrong to be this excited over a tuner? At just 50 bucks, we’ll settle for cheap thrills. snarktuners.com


Orange Micro Terror
November 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

Most traditional Orange amp owners would probably be less than appreciative if you called their rig adorable, but we couldn’t think of a better adjective to describe the new Micro Terror. And after we plugged it in, we weren’t thinking all that much about how it looked anyway. The Micro Terror delivered Goliath tones from a David-ona- crash-diet-sized head. And at 20 watts, the amp proved capable of much, much more than cool practice-amp tones. It’s rich sounding when running at saturation, and brimming with characterful midrange content when you dial it in right. And while you won’t get cathedral-scale headroom out of this little brick, even the clean tones had us doing double takes. At the price of a stompbox, the Micro Terror is inarguably a deal—and one that pays both unlikely and surprising dividends. orangeamps.com


Brunetti Singleman
November 2012
READ THE FULL REVIEW

The little blackface Fenders of old—the Champ, Princeton, and Deluxe—were such beautiful blank slates for guitar players. Part of that agreeable, adaptable, sweet-toned nature was the elegant simplicity of the circuits. And amp-builders were understandably thrilled to find that building a reasonable facsimile of one of these classics was an attainable goal. But that same simplicity has often led us to wonder where else can such a fundamentally sound template take you? The Brunetti Singleman answers that question with style—using a 16-watt, 6V6-powered foundation as a platform for a circuit that includes truly useful tweed, fat, and smooth voicing switches, a mids boost, power-attenuation functions, and a beautifully versatile EQ that enable you to move beyond obvious tweed and blackface tone zones and into territory you can carve out as your own. It’s one handsome-looking amp too, which will make you one stylish guitar slinger on the sonic and fashion fronts. brunetti.it

A A