As home recording—and the space constraints most home recordists have to deal with—becomes more common, an amp that can do as much as possible is worth a lot.

Whether you’re a fan of tube amps or modeling amps, we can all agree that having the right amp for the right job is essential, and that one amp can rarely do it all. But as home recording—and the space constraints most home recordists have to deal with—becomes more common, an amp that can do as much as possible is worth a lot.

In the form of the THR10, Yamaha’s guitar team created an amp that is optimized for the home studio. It’s a compact 10-watt tube-amp emulator based on Yamaha’s Virtual Circuit Modeling that puts five different amp simulations at your disposal. It also comes bundled with Cubase and a wealth of amp simulations and effects that are designed to provide everything you would need in a recording situation. And while it can’t deliver the sound and feel of the much bigger amps it attempts to emulate, the THR10 accomplishes the cool feat of sounding a lot like those amps as you’d hear them through monitors in a studio environment, making this a pretty perfect tool for the home-studio maven.

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In the weird world of overdrive pedals, the terms “classic” and “vintage” are used pretty loosely. What is classic overdrive, anyway—the sound of an ’80s Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer?

In the weird world of overdrive pedals, the terms “classic” and “vintage” are used pretty loosely. What is classic overdrive, anyway—the sound of an ’80s Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer? A ’50s amp whose power tubes are clipping? Opinions no doubt vary quite widely. But the beauty of the Providence Silky Drive is not which classic overdrive flavor it nails, but that it sounds good enough to make the argument irrelevant.

No Need to Think
The Silky Drive’s design is ideal for guitarists who would rather play than twiddle knobs. It won’t take up much space on your pedalboard, and it’s easy to use. The volume, drive, and tone knobs are familiar to anyone who’s used, say, a Tube Screamer, but there’s also a gain boost button for piling on some dirt.

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Despite the fact that the sounds of the ’80s are everywhere again, the chorus pedal remains a rather unfairly maligned member of stompbox society. But that doesn’t mean chorus

Despite the fact that the sounds of the ’80s are everywhere again, the chorus pedal remains a rather unfairly maligned member of stompbox society. But that doesn’t mean chorus isn’t capable of doing cool things in the right hands. And you could probably blame a lot of the misunderstanding about chorus pedals on user error and a lack of understanding about the musical contexts in which they work best. Mad Professor seems to understand that truth. And with the Electric Blue Chorus, they set out to design a chorus for guitarists who suffer from ’80s post-traumatic stress.

In the process, Mad Professor created a chorus that can have a profound but subtle effect on your tone in ways you might not even expect. What’s doubly cool is that for all the understated tone-fattening potential of the Electric Blue Chorus, you won’t sacrifice the capacity to get into the realm of classic chorus tones.

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Steve Vai The Story of Light Favored Nations Entertainment Steve Vai continues the convoluted narratives found on 2005’s Real Illusions: Reflection with his new concept album, The Story of Light—

Steve Vai
The Story of Light
Favored Nations Entertainment


Steve Vai continues the convoluted narratives found on 2005’s Real Illusions: Reflection with his new concept album, The Story of Light— the second installment of a trilogy displaying Vai’s interest in New Age spirituality.

As expected, this mostly instrumental album is filled with dense production, soaring multi-layered guitar tones, and tight harmonies. It does offer some nice surprises. Vai covers Blind Willie Johnson’s “John the Revelator” with a gospel choir and Beverly McClellan (a finalist on The Voice). He also duets with singer-songwriter Aimee Mann on “No More Amsterdam” to great effect. And Vai gets in his share of familiar arena-rock workouts like “Velorum” and “Gravity Storm,” and mellower compositions such as “Creamsickle Sunset.”

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