Featuring 96 kHz/32-bit float recording technology, a 2.4-inch high-visibility color touch screen for easy operation, 2 XLR inputs and dual built-in microphones with switchable AB / true XY microphone patterns, plus an intuitive GUI (Graphical User Interface), the new Portacapture X6 is an ideal tool for videographers, podcast/YouTube creators, sound designers, and musicians in search of high-quality stereo mix recordings for smaller scale production projects.
As the Portacapture X6 can be used for numerous audio production tasks, it features an easy-to-useGUI tailored to the launcher screen that offers multiple recording modes for different scenarios. These recording modes include Field recording, Voice, Music, Podcast, and ASMR in addition to Manual, which allows access to all set-up parameters manually. The compact size of the unit is particularly good for dialog recording and interviews with or without a camera and high-quality stereo music recording. As a multi-track recorder, the unit provides for 6 simultaneous tracks (4 tracks plus 2 mixes) of recording with support for upwards of 96 kHz, 32-bit float recording resolution.
For such a compact unit, the Portacapture X6 is remarkably versatile. This next-generation handheld recorder is equipped with 2 XLR input terminals with support for both mic and line-level* (maximum input level: +24dBu), AUX-IN/CAMERA IN, and LINE OUT/CAMERA OUT connections. Additionally, the two XLR inputs are compatible with phantom power (24V/48V) to support recordings with multiple mic/line inputs. Equally notable, the recorder provides dual built-in microphones with switchable AB /true XY microphone patterns that offer tremendous recording flexibility on location.
The new Portacapture X6 also features onboard processing for efficient postproduction tasks. The onboard processing functions include Low cut and Noise gate for reducing background noise and frequencies, a Limiter and Compressor for signal level management, plus a 4-band EQ for defining the character and tone of the recording. This 4-band EQ also offers presets for several common scenarios in addition to a full manual setup with an intuitive GUI. To eliminate wind noise and plosives even more, TASCAM is announcing the new WS-86 Wind Screen, which is a custom form fit design made for the Portacapture X6, Portacapture X8, DR-40X, and other large-format portable audio recorders.
The Portacapture X6 also has a USB interface function without the need for any additional drivers. As a result, the unit can be used as a compact mixer with built-in microphones for live streaming via OBS(Open Broadcaster Software) or similar platforms. It also offers direct recording of narration and dialogue directly to DAW and editing software. The system can stream the total mix via the USB Type-C connector.
For those people seeking remote control functionality, the Portacapture X6 delivers. By adding the optional AK-BT1 Bluetooth adapter, users can gain this functionality by using TASCAM’s PortacaptureControl app on their phone or tablet, which is available for both iOS and Android. The app can be downloaded free of charge via the Apple store or Google Play.
The TASCAM Portacapture X6 32-bit Float Portable Audio Recorder is slated to become available in Q1, 2023.
For more information, please visit tascam.com.
When both sides are paired together, the Parallax offers the perfect end-of-pedalboard solution for Shoegaze, Ambient, and Experimental tone seekers.
The Parallax offers the delay side of the legendary Caverns paired with unique Shoegaze inspired reverbs of the Realizer in one pedalboard-friendly enclosure. On one side of the Parallax, analog-style modulated delays create a soft bed of warm repeats, while the other side builds Reverse setting-vibrato swirls (great for those who don’t have a vibrato arm on their guitar) to ambient modulations to form perfect pools of reverb reflection. When both sides are paired together, the Parallax offers the perfect end-of-pedalboard solution for Shoegaze, Ambient, and Experimental tone seekers.
Parallax Reverb Modes:
Soft Focus – A lush, surreal recreation of the popular Soft Focus patch from the Yamaha FX500multi effects processor, a late 80’s rack unit that was used to achieve many signature delay and modulation effects used in the early 90s. Adjusting the DECAY control changes both decay time of the reverb and feedback for the dual delay. DEPTH controls the depth of all 4 chorus voices.
Reverse (Reverse Reverb) – Inspired by the two most popular rack mount reverb effects of the ’80s and ’90s, the Yamaga SPX90 and the Alesis Midiverb II. DECAY switches between 8 different fixed delay times from a quick 150ms all the way up to a half second.No tremolo bar, no problem! Reverse mode also features an envelope-triggered vibrato that emulates the pitch bend from a Jazzmaster tremolo bar. Changing the DEPTH control will set how deep the ‘term bar’ is pushed. The WARMTH control in this mode is designed to work like the Jazzmaster rhythm pickup tone control.
Hall (Hall Reverb with Ascending Shimmer) – Hall reverb with an octave up. The output of the reverb is fed into an octave up which then feeds back into the input of the reverb, creating an infinitely ascending octave feedback loop. The DEPTH control will change how noticeable this pitch effect is.
The Delay side of the Parallax offers three-way switchable modulation that gives you access to even more analog textures. These carefully voiced echoes sit well in the mix whether clean or paired with your favorite drive or fuzz.
Parallax Delay Modulation Modes:
Off – No modulation, classic analog-style warm delay.
Deep – Heavy, swirling modulation added to the delay trail.
Light – Softer, gentle modulation added to the delay trail.
Use the Rate, Blend, and Repeats knobs in conjunction with the mode switch to unlock the full palette of Delay sounds in the Parallax.
Street price is $219.
For more information, please visit robertkeeley.com.
Keeley Electronics Parallax Spatial Generator Reverb and Delay Pedal - Technical Demo
PRS himself talks about learning from Ted McCarty, building guitars for the stars, elbowing the competition, his distinctive headstock design, and more.
Paul Reed Smith could be gloating. At a time when other majors have made layoffs or are coming down from the lockdown-era sales buzz, the company the luthier founded literally with his own hands in 1985 has become a $100-million business. PRS Guitars’ $849 SE Silver Sky—a 6-stringed Clydesdale—was this year’s top seller on Reverb. Recently, the Stevensville, Maryland-based operation introduced its debut pedals, plus a limited-run Robben Ford signature axe that’s a Rolls-Royce with strings. And a raft of new instruments are already in the wings for 2023.
Instead, at an early November party Smith threw at Nashville’s Soundcheck rehearsal complex during CMA week, he reflected humility. Smith addressed the roomful of players, emotionally recalling the 2015 CMA Awards, where the count of PRS instruments onstage was literally neck-and-neck with the population of Fenders and Gibsons for the first time. That ceremony was an ignition point for greater success as well as an affirmation for the guitars that bear his name.
“We don’t want to be a brand,” he told the crowd. “We want to be guitar makers. Country guitarists really helped take us to another level. I am truly grateful.”
“We didn’t have heaters and we were wearing winter coats inside, because if you opened the door for a delivery, it got to be 30 degrees in there.”
Besides his passion for pursing all aspects of what goes into creating guitars, that humility—sometimes inflicted upon him—has played a role in his success. Smith found his calling while at St. Mary’s College, at the opposite end of the state from his native Bowie, Maryland. Lacking a guitar and the cash to buy one, he persuaded a music teacher to let him build a guitar for credit. He got an A, of course. He also dropped out to play and repair guitars, opening a shop in a reputedly haunted garret in Annapolis.
“As a repairman working on every conceivable type of guitar, I became convinced that vintage instruments were desirable not because they had improved with age, but because they had been built differently from current models,” Smith relates. “The reason some of the electrics from the ’50s and early ’60s felt and sounded so good was that a great attention to detail went into the manufacturing process, and that the manufacturers had a real sense for the subtle points.”
Racked and ready: Four decks of PRS guitar necks wait for their final destinations at the company’s Stevensville, Maryland, guitar-building location.
Pondering how to reintroduce these characteristics in the instruments he wanted to build, Smith hit upon the idea of contacting Ted McCarty, who was president of Gibson from 1950 to 1966—the golden era of electric guitar making. “I would sit at the shop, and I was afraid to call him,” Smith says. “We didn’t have heaters and we were wearing winter coats inside, because if you opened the door for a delivery, it got to be 30 degrees in there. So, Clay Evans [a friend and, later, early PRS executive] and I are wearing our coats, and Clay’s saying ‘Call him! Just call him!’ And I’m like, ‘I can’t....’ But I called him and explained who I was and what I did, and he asked, ‘Would you be willing to come visit?’ So, we picked a date, and I went.
“The first time I went, he got very, very upset at the end of the interview. It was about three hours. And I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ He goes, ‘Nobody’s asked me these questions in 30 years. Nobody’s asked me how to glue the fingerboard on, what glue we used to glue the frets in…. All they want to know is how to get rich quick. ‘Where can I find a Les Paul? Where can I find a Flying V? Where can I find an Explorer?’ Nobody’s asked me these guitar-making questions, and this is how I made my living.’
“I thought it was beautiful,” Smith continues. “I just kept coming back and coming back. I was very grateful for his attention, and it ended up being a grandfather relationship. I sang to him on his deathbed, with a guitar.” And, of course, Smith also paid tribute to his historic mentor with PRS’ vintage-informed McCarty series.
Over the decades, Smith and his team have made guitars for a coterie of world-class players that includes John McLaughlin (including a 6- and 12-string doubleneck), David Grissom, Nancy Wilson, Mark Tremonti, Jimmy Herring, Mark Lettieri, and, of course, Carlos Santana.
“What Robben Ford wanted and what David Grissom wants is that every one of those models we ship is a his-caliber instrument. He doesn’t want just the couple we tweak for him and then put his name on a bunch of others.”
“The first guitar I made for Carlos Santana changed my life,” Smith offers. “At first, he didn’t see me as a guitar maker. He made me earn his respect, which I honor. He said the first instruments I gave him were ‘accidents of God.’ He thought it was like somebody wrote a hit song, but it was almost an accident—and he didn’t see me as a repetitive hit writer. He literally said, ‘Okay, it’s an act of God, can you make me another one?’ Then, after the fifth instrument, which was a doubleneck, he called me up and said, ‘Okay, you’re a guitar maker.’ That was tremendous. Every Christmas he would call and thank me about the sound coming out of his guitar. He thought of it as a big, male saxophone tone, and he adored it.”
So, what does a world-class musician demand in a guitar? “If you look at guitars in general as a line, and about four-fifths of the way along that line you draw a vertical line through it, what’s beyond that graduates from being a guitar to a musical instrument,” Smith says. “They want musical instruments. What Robben Ford wanted and what David Grissom wants is that every one of those models we ship is a his-caliber instrument.
Initial sanding happens after the overall body shape, electronics cavities, and other cuts are made.
He doesn’t want just the couple we tweak for him and then put his name on a bunch of others. Carlos Santana wants a guitar that he can take out of the factory, put in the limo, go to the gig, pull it out, and play it. And by the way, I’ve watched him do that. It’s a little scary to have him play to 15,000 people with a guitar that’s only been played about a minute-and-a-quarter its entire life. David Grissom does not take a guitar to clinics. He takes ones off the wall at the store to hold my hands to the fire. Carlos calls me constantly and has requests to make ’em better. David wants them better. He just got one that has a hollow, single f-hole in it, and he’s losing his noodles over it.”
It’s been years since Smith has built a guitar himself. “I have a bench where I repair audio gear, and I’m my wife’s furniture repair person, but that’s it,” he says. Nonetheless, he is a regular presence on the PRS factory floor, checking the progress on models in development, eyeballing the wood inventory, checking out pickups, offering suggestions, and evaluating as he formulates plans for the company’s future. “It’s almost a soothsayer job,” he offers. “It’s like having a crystal ball, but you gotta do it from experience, with your ear to the tracks.”
A high-quality instrument starts with good tonewood, and the factory keeps an abundant inventory for both necks and bodies.
Part of that is trying to rout the competition, which he obviously enjoys. At the Nashville party, Smith recounted a story about paying top dollar for a Klon Centaur, and then putting it through its paces. Pleasing at it was, he felt there were shortfalls in tone and control, so he decided to try to beat it. The result is PRS’ Horsemeat Transparent Overdrive (get it?), but his company’s engineers took it a step further, also designing the Mary Cries Optical Compressor and the Wind Through the Trees Analog Flanger, which all debuted in September. Nonetheless, Smith’s goal was not to expand into pedal making, but rather to lure players who’ve avoided PRS. “I’ve actually heard comments like, ‘I like these pedals, maybe I’ll look at their guitars again,’” he says.
Earlier last year, he took on the template, working-player’s Stratocaster with the release of the SE Silver Sky, a low-cost, high-performance version of PRS’ John Mayer signature model. When I mention the guitar, his immediate response is, “How about those pickups?” He then related that he worked with his suppliers in Indonesia, where the guitar is built, for two years on the remarkably wide-ranged pickups. “Initially, they weren’t right, and we didn’t have direct control over their creation, like we do with models we build here, but the pickups still had to lay in exactly the right place sonically. When John played ’em, he thought they were the best overseas-made single-coils he’d ever heard, and he signed off on them literally that second.”
“The first guitar I made for Carlos Santana changed my life,” Smith offers. “At first, he didn’t see me as a guitar maker. He made me earn his respect.”
Although much has changed over the decades at PRS, the company’s distinctive three-and-three headstocks have remained unchanged since the early ’80s—despite being a turn-off for some trad-minded players. Smith explains why: “The design was half practical and half reflective of the front curve of the guitar. It’s like a Dan Armstrong headstock, where the strings went straight to the tuning pegs. On a Fender, they went straight to the tuning pegs, but they were all on one side. That it goes straight to the tuning pegs is important.
“When I started putting tremolos on guitars, Carlos Santana ordered one and he goes, ‘It’s gonna stay in tune, right?’ I said, ‘Sure!’ I had no idea how I was going to do it. Turns out what makes a difference is how you cut the nut, having it as close to the tuning pegs as possible. Also, the strings need to be as straight as possible, and you have to reduce the headstock angle. It’s a combination of those three dimensions.”