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Warm Audio’s dead-on homage to the Moog Moogerfooger MF-102 ring modulator is a source of everything from rich tremolo pulses to haunted bell tones and alien voices.

Very accurate reproductions of MF-102 tones and functionality. Deep and colorful modulation textures. Satisfying to use intuitively. Invites unusual playing techniques.

Finding precisely the same tone twice can be tricky.


Warm Audio RingerBringer


When Moog released the Moogerfooger pedal line around the turn of the century, there were few musical devices I lusted after more. They were beautiful objects, built in the spirit and aesthetic of Moog’s legendary, lovely wood-clad Minimoog and other synthesizers in the company’s line. They also made amazing sounds and were, in every way, instruments in their own right. But they were pretty expensive for a young person minding their pennies, and since their discontinuation, prices for secondhand specimens climbed to ever more stratospheric heights. That exclusivity made the Moogerfoogers logical targets for Warm Audio, who excel at authentically replicating vintage circuits as well as the physical, tactile experience of working with them. And the new RingerBringer, Warm’s take on the Moog MF-102 ring modulator, is an experience indeed.

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Bohlinger Builds a Gig-Ready “Broadway” Pedalboard
Bohlinger Builds the Ultimate Broadway Pedalboard for Gigging in Downtown Nashville

JB gets a little help from his pedal friends and puts together the ideal stomp station for performing in Music City's SoBro district.

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A direct-recording tool that’s 50 percent load box, 50 percent modeler, and 100 percent awesome.

Universal Audio’s OX Amp Top Box captures real tube amp tones via a direct signal. It’s a speaker load box/power attenuator paired with microphone/cabinet/room modeling software, plus a few modeled effects. Some of OX’s functions are entirely new. Some have appeared in other UA products. Here, they have been combined in an ingenious, user-friendly, rugged, and superb-sounding package.

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Need to swap your mic on the fly? Here’s an option designed for guitarists.

It can be easy to overlook one of the most important parts of the signal chain in both live and studio settings: the microphone on your amp’s speaker. MXL’s new DX-2 was designed specifically for those who need more than a one-trick pony. The secret is that there are two mics in the DX-2—a supercardioid and a cardioid. A single knob lets you blend between the two capsules on the fly, which is an incredibly handy feature.

The supercardioid offered a response more typical of the sound of a close-miked cab, with increased response in the low-mids and bass frequencies. With my Fender ML 212, I usually kept the knob turned all the way to the left, which only engages the supercardioid capsule. Naturally, my Tele was on the bright side, so I usually only blended in a hair of the cardioid capsule. As you can hear in the included sound clips, the addition of the cardioid added extra air and brightness. If you have a “set and forget” approach to miking your cab, the DX-2 will offer some much-needed flexibility and an easy way to dial-out any unwanted frequencies.

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Get the meaty deets on an interface whose latency is so absurdly low that it feels like playing through hardware.

Like Cerberus of myth, Universal Audio is a three-headed beast. The company manufactures pro audio hardware, often inspired by the vintage designs of Bill Putnam—founder of the original Universal Audio company and father of the new UA’s leaders, James and Bill Jr. UA also concocts superb digital versions of classic and modern analog gear. Then there’s Apollo, a line of audio interfaces that double as plug-in hosts. These range from the flagship Apollo 16 to the small-footprint Apollo Twin, recently updated to the MkII reviewed here. (Apollo hardware/software runs on Mac OS and Windows.)

UA’s “heads” are often intertwined. UA plug-ins only run on UA hardware. And the Twin MkII’s bundled plug-in suite includes great-sounding models of the Universal Audio LA-2A and UREI 1176 compressors, and the UA 610-B preamp—which are all, to some degree, Bill Putnam Sr. designs. The MkII also comes with a Fairchild limiter model and additional long-in-the-tooth legacy plug-ins.

You don’t need to purchase additional plug-ins to make good use of Apollo. You might simply use its gorgeous mic preamps and A/D/A convertors to route audio to and from your DAW, relying on plug-ins you already own. Still, most Apollo users wind up purchasing additional software. I certainly did! I seldom fumble through a mix without my two favorites: Ampex ATR-102, a 2-track mastering deck simulation that makes everything bigger and warmer, and EMT 140, a drop-dead replica of the sweetest plate reverb ever. In a touch of old-school marketing savvy, UA also makes fully functional, two-week trial versions of all 89 UA plug-ins free.

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