BOSS adds to the DD delay pedal line with some real doozies

BOSS’s DD series of compact digital delay pedals have long been the standard in easy-to-use, great-sounding delays, but over the years they’ve added more and more advanced features without sacrificing the ease of use. Two new DD series pedals take two different approaches; the DD-3T is an update of the venerable DD-3, this time featuring tap tempo and some other fancy features. And the DD-8 takes over from the DD-7 as the most advanced delay in the compact series with all sorts of wild tricks up its sleeve. Here’s the press release.

New Digital Delay Models in the Iconic Compact Series Bring Players Expanded Features and Increased Versatility

Los Angeles, CA, September 26, 2019 — BOSS announces the DD-3T and DD-8, two new digital delay pedals added to the famous compact series lineup. The DD-3T replaces the long-running DD-3, updating the classic pedal with tap tempo and other modern features. The DD-8 takes over from the previous-generation DD-7 as the most advanced delay in the compact series, enhanced with numerous sound modes and features that make it the most full-featured delay pedal in its class.

In continuous production for over three decades, the DD-3 has been the go-to delay stomp for countless players, revered for its warm, round delay tone and simple controls that make it easy to dial in sounds fast. The DD-3T retains the same sound circuitry and controls as the DD-3 while adding useful functions for today’s guitarists.

A key addition the DD-3T brings is tap tempo, an essential feature for creating the rhythmic delay effects at the heart of many styles. The onboard pedal switch can be used to input tempos, and it’s also possible to connect an external footswitch for instant-access control. The DD-3T also features a dedicated direct output like the DD-3, which allows users to send effect-only and dry sounds to separate destinations. On the DD-3T, this output has been moved next to the main output jack to make pedalboard connections easier.

Equipped with a diverse selection of delays, the DD-8 packs impressive sonic range into one small pedal. Clean digital delays, vintage analog and tape types, and modulation echo are available, plus specialty delays like shimmer and reverse. There’s a new Warm type for softer echo tones, and a +RV type that blends delay and reverb together. Warp is perfect for dynamic ambient textures, while the new GLT type provides glitchy rhythmic effects. A Looper mode is even included, with up to 40 seconds of recording time and unlimited overdub capability.

The DD-8 features full stereo I/O support with three different output modes. Independent mode provides linked parallel delays on the left and right channels, maintaining the true balance of stereo input sources in the effect sound. There’s also a panning mode for ping-pong delay effects, and a wide stereo mode for enhanced spatial depth. And with the Carryover switch, users can set whether delay trails continue or stop when the effect is bypassed.

With the DD-8’s extensive real-time control options, players can easily bring their music to life. It’s possible to tap in tempos with the onboard pedal switch and control the Warp and GLT modes for unique expressive effects. Adding one or two footswitches unlocks more creative possibilities, like on-demand tap tempo, extended looper control, and a unique Twist effect. Alternately, an expression pedal can be used for continuous control of level, feedback, or delay time—or all of them at once.

To learn more about the DD-3T and DD-8, visit www.boss.info

Neil Finn’s Fleetwood Mac guitar rig tour with Marcus Catanzaro

Photo: Justin Wysong

Last week I had the immense pleasure of seeing Fleetwood Mac at Rod Laver Arena here in Melbourne. As you no doubt know, the 2019 incarnation of the Mac features Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (I’ll be bringing you a podcast episode with Mike when his new record comes out next year). Neil used plenty of gorgeous guitars during the show and his tones were impeccable. The man responsible for wrangling this stable of axes is Marcus Catanzaro, and he graciously lent his time to talk us through what’s what.

What are Neil’s main guitars on the Fleetwood Mac tour? He seems to mainly go between a red Gretsch and a Les Paul Goldtop.

Neil has about 17 guitars out on this Fleetwood run right now. Ten of them are Gretsch Duo Jets in some form. We tend to always default back to his 1958 Firebird Duo Jet as a reference for ideal tone and gain structures. Actually, whilst we were in Los Angeles rehearsing last year, I had the privilege of spending a bunch of time with Mike Taft and Gretsch Master builder Stephen Stern. We spent hours taking detail from Neil’s 58’ Firebird, and Stephen, along with help from Tom at TV JONES pickups, managed to create a custom shop replica that looks and sounds mind-blowing. We also have a 1956 red Firebird, a 1964 black Duojet and then a whole bunch of brand new factory reissues. These newer models sound and feel incredible, but more importantly, are so much more rock solid than the vintage ones they followed (a hugely important factor on the road and in extreme climates). 

Photo: Jason Paul

Tell me about the Maton acoustic and how come it sounds so damn nice!

Neil plays the 808 classic body Matons. They are significantly smaller-bodied than most other Matons which means they don’t need as much of a heavy hand to really push sound, and they can put out a seriously balanced and controlled tone. I believe Neil worked closely with Maton to develop this particular model a decade or so ago, he found that the guitar performed well across all stage sizes and between multiple playing styles. We have about six of these in total on the road, each varying slightly in timbers. The AP5 pickup system that sits inside each of these is stupidly stable, so much so that we never use feedback busters on stage! Thats a big win for tone! 

Photo: Justin Wysong

What’s the deal with that Maton 12-string electric? It’s beautiful!

It’s the ultimate 12-string tone….. I will never divulge the secrets! 

What’s on the pedalboard? What amps? 

Right now on Fleetwood Mac we have a new system that we built in rehearsals last year. The extensive setlist meant covering new tones and sounds that Neil wouldn’t normally look for, whilst trying to maintain Neil’s iconic sound in there. Neil and I went through about 30 vintage amp combinations, wet/dry/wet rigs, stereo rigs etc etc etc. We finally settled with an offstage and on stage rig to balance volume, feel and tone. Offstage you will find two isolation cabinets next to me. Cabinet 1 holds two vintage 1968 VOX AC30s (main and spare) and Cabinet 2 holds two (main and spare) Fender Bassman 69 reissues from the team at Fender. These both run mono (so both get all sounds and effects evenly). The concept is that the Vox is allowed to run loud and a little harsh (as Voxes do best) and then the Bassman can come in with a lower-end frequency and balance out that tone.

On stage, Neil has a 60’s Fender Princeton Reverb and a 1950 Gibson GA50. Same again; both amps get all signal, the Princeton is the bulk of the tone and the GA50 helps round out the bottom end and smooth it all over. Neil’s pedalboard is pretty simple and features two vintage Electro-Harmonix Memory Man delays, the famous kiwidesigned HOT CAKE, a Bondi Effects SICK AS over drive, a Boss DD-3 delay, an Electro Harmonix Freeze pedal and then two of amazing new Echo Fix Australia analogue tape delay machines, which can be controlled by pedals at Neil’s feet. 

Photo: Jason Paul

Tell us about your background and some of your tech adventures! What do you like to play for fun?

Well, I grew up in Western Sydney and from the age of 13, played in or worked for almost every punk, hardcore or rock band ever (it felt like anyway!). Later down the line I was a guitar player on the X Factor and for Sony Music’s artist roster, then went back to teching around the world for a whole bunch of excellent Australians bands. I was introduced to Neil a few years back by another one of his techs, Rowan ‘Digga’ Johnston and I’ve been lucky enough to keep working for him ever since. It’s been a wild ride on tour with Fleetwood Mac, the lessons have been totally invaluable and the caliber of crew out here is mindblowing. I’ll either know how to do everything ever or be able to write a killer ’behind’ rock and roll book by the end of this! Haha. 

Thanks to Heath Blows and Fender Music Australia.

Photo: Justin Wysong

Photo: Jason Paul

BluGuitar introduces the AMP1 IRIDIUM EDITION! Grrrarrr!!!

You know the BluGuitar AMP1 MERCURY EDITION, right? Amp-on-the-floor designed by Thomas Blug, formerly of Hughes & Kettner? Great guitarist in his own right with a Vintage signature guitar line? Well BluGuitar has just announced a new entry to the amp series: the AMP1 IRIDIUM EDITION, voiced specifically for metal players. Check it out:

It has three three independent, discrete overdrive channels (Modern, Classic and Vintage), along with a Clean channel. Here’s how the press release describes them: 

MODERN – With its extremely high gain reserves, this channel delivers crystal-clear string separation through a massive low-cut, and the Custom Control TONE knob lets you dial from a “cut thru the mix” solo sound to the typical “maximum brutality” mid scoop.

CLASSIC – Due to the hard distortion characteristics and the specially tuned bass filter, this channel is percussive and significantly wider and harder in the mid-range than VINTAGE. The mid-range can be shaped by the Custom Control TONE from “Hot Rodded British High Gain” to “Teutonic wall of sound“.

VINTAGE – Tight and mid-emphasized woody sounds that are transmitted tightly especially using extreme low tunings while delivering creamy midrange distortion.

CLEAN – Massive headroom thanks to the 100 watt power amp and treble reserves, which give even mid-emphasized humbuckers a transparent, sparkling clean sound. The optimal platform for pedals like shimmer reverb, modulation or delay.

I super-like that it has a) a boost; b) a noise gate and c) reverb. There’s also a series/parallel effects loop and a recording out, and it’ll power the hell out of your speaker cabinets with 16 ohm and 8 ohm outputs.

AMP1 IRIDIUM EDITION will be at the Guitar Summit 2019 (www.guitarsummit.de) from Sept.27th – September 29th 2019 in Mannheim, Germany. The amp can be played and listened at multiple testing stations and at the BluGuitar booth # 223

A dedicated AMP1™ IRIDIUM EDITION workshop is scheduled for Saturday September 28th from 17:15 – 18:00 at the Recording Stage.

AMP1 IRIDIUM EDITION will be available after November 1, 2019 from dealers worldwide for USD 849, Euro 799, and GBP 810.

 

Y’know what’s great? Fender Alternate Reality Electric XII!

From the Fender website:

“Originally released in 1965, the Electric XII was designed from the ground up for performance and authentic Fender tone. Featuring dual split-coil pickups, a special 12-string hardtail bridge and a 3-position pickup selector, this jangly offset will definitely get attention onstage.

The split-coil Electric XII pickups were designed specifically for this guitar, and they have the sound that made Fender famous—crisp, clear and balanced. The 3-position switch lets you activate either pickup on its own or in tandem. The fully adjustable hardtail bridge sports 12 individual saddles, ensuring spot-on intonation, which is the key to successfully wrangling twice the usual number of strings. The maple neck’s “Modern C”-shaped profile works well for almost any playing style and sports a comfortable 9.5”-radius fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and a distinctive ’65 12-string headstock.

With its unique sound and cool aesthetics, the Electric XII is a sterling example of our tradition of purposeful innovation. It’s just the thing for adding a uniquely creative touch to your music. Includes deluxe gig bag.”

REVIEW: Devin Townsend at the Thornbury Theatre, September 8

If you’ve seen Devin Townsend with the Devin Townsend Project, well, that’s not the same as seeing him back in the Strapping Young Lad days. And it’s very not the same thing as seeing him in solo acoustic mode. In Strapping, Devin was all about power and aggression and metaaaaaaal. In the Devin Townsend Project, you were dealing with a Devin operating within the confines of some pretty strict arrangements and backing tracks; he was able to roam a little bit but not a lot. 

Acoustic Devin is Devin unfiltered. Aside from an acoustic guitar and his incredibly expressive voice – one minute angelic, the next demonic – the sound is filled out by all sorts of interesting modulated echo effects applied to Devin’s signature Prestige guitar. So what you’re getting is Devin’s voice, his guitar and the room he’s performing in. And here’s the thing: that room makes all the difference, from the acoustics on its stage to the audience members populating the seats. And so on this first night of Devin’s Australian tour we were treated to Devy in a great mood in a great-sounding room with an appreciative audience who were willing to trust Devy with their ears for about three hours of musical intensity. We got tracks from the new Empath. We got tracks from Ziltoid The Omniscient. Ocean Machine. We even got ‘Love’ from Strapping Young Lad’s Alien. Fuck, we even got a track from Les Mis! 

We also got a Q&A session where Devin riffed on matters philosophical (drugs – yay or nay? What’s parenting like for you?), emotional (how you doin’ these days?), aspirational (who would you like to work with? What are you doing next?). Honestly, it would be worth attending one of these shows for the talky bits alone, and although he probably wouldn’t agree, Devin could nail standup comedy if he wanted to. Oh and if you’re wondering, that Prestige acoustic sounds beautiful – very clear and detailed and rich. Beautiful stuff. 

This is a unique moment in the Empath touring cycle, before the next phase which will involve a full live band with no backing tracks and lots of scope for in-the-moment musical creation. Although nothing is ever concrete in Devin’s world, this is probably the last chance to see him in this format for quite a while. 

Roland Introduces MC-07 and MC-101 GROOVEBOXES

Roland Introduces MC-07 and MC-101 GROOVEBOXES

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Powerful, Self-Contained Production Platforms for Modern Electronic Music Creators 

Los Angeles, CA, September 5, 2019 — Roland, a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments and professional video products, unveils the MC-707 and MC-101 GROOVEBOXES, two self-contained production tools designed for today’s electronic music creators. These powerful products reintroduce Roland’s iconic GROOVEBOX concept to a new generation of musicians, updated with the very latest sounds and a wide range of customization options. With the versatile MC-707 and MC-101, users can create complete, polished productions with no external gear or easily integrate with modern computer-based music environments. The MC-707 and MC-101 will be available in the U.S. in September 2019 for $999.99 and $499.99 respectively.  

In 1996, Roland launched the original MC-303 GROOVEBOX to great acclaim, and the popular series evolved with many additional MC models over the next decade. Building on workflows introduced with genre-defining Roland instruments like the TR-808, TR-909, and TB-303, the GROOVEBOX series allowed people without musical training—but with keen musical sensibilities—to create songs quickly and easily, and in some cases, these individuals gave rise to entirely new musical genres and styles. The MC-707 and MC-101 fuse this landmark concept with today’s advanced technologies, giving electronic-focused musicians more creative power than ever before. 

The MC-707 GROOVEBOX offers everything needed to create a song or perform a live set without a computer. Users can immerse themselves in eight-track recording, sequencing, sampling, synthesizers, and studio-grade effects, plus a curated palette of sounds, loops, and phrases. Audio and MIDI can be recorded with deep control over timing, while hands-on faders and knobs inspire in-the-moment creativity.

Equipped with Roland’s latest sound engine, the MC-707 has all the sounds of legendary Roland rhythm machines and synthesizers, but also looks forward with modern digital and hybrid sounds. The eight-track sequencer is optimized for fluid production of today’s electronic-focused music styles, with 16 ultra-sensitive pads for playing or sequencing drum parts, melodic basslines, or polyphonic chord progressions. There’s also a TR-REC step sequencer inherited from Roland’s classic drum machines, perfect for building rhythm parts quickly. 

With its advanced USB audio interface capabilities, the MC-707 easily flows in and out of any computer production setup. Users can record all eight parts to individual DAW tracks and finish a song there, or sample sounds from a DAW to capture backing tracks, stems, and more for live shows.

The MC-101 GROOVEBOX has all the high-quality sounds, sequencing, and effects of the MC-707, but in a more compact four-track version that’s go-everywhere portable. This professional production tool features a solid-yet-light design and runs for up to five hours on four AA batteries, allowing users to craft sounds, create drum patterns, and compose musical phrases just about anywhere. 

To learn more about the MC-707 and MC-101 GROOVEBOXES, visit Roland.com.

For hi-res MC-707 and MC-101 GROOVEBOX images, please click here.

MC-101 product video available here: https://youtu.be/pdHcFceLdNE 

MC-707 product video available here: https://youtu.be/dadV-S42gHQ 

Roland Debuts All-New JUPITER-X Synthesizer Lineup

Roland Debuts All-New JUPITER-X Synthesizer Lineup

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Roland’s Premier Synthesizer Series Evolves with a Powerful New Sound Engine and Advanced Creative Features  

Los Angeles, CA, September 5, 2019 — Roland, a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments and professional video products, introduces JUPITER-X, a new series of premium synthesizers that feature a diverse selection of sounds and advanced composition and performance features. Starting with the release of the JUPITER-4 in 1978, the JUPITER name has represented the pinnacle of innovation and quality in Roland synthesizers. JUPITER-X continues this tradition, combining classic Roland design and exceptional build quality with an all-new synth engine and the finest keyboard actions to date. The compact JUPITER-Xm is equipped with a 37-note slim keyboard and will be available in September 2019 for $1,499.99. The flagship JUPITER-X features a full-size 61-note keyboard and will be available in the U.S. in April 2020 for $2,499.99.  

Flexible and deep, JUPITER-X’s next-generation sound engine lets users tap into Roland’s long history of genre-defining sounds and morph them together to explore unmapped sonic territory. Sought-after analog classics like the JUPITER-8, JUNO-106, SH-101, and more are authentically reproduced, as well as digital machines like the vintage XV-5080 and modern RD pianos. Also available are Roland drum machine sounds that form the foundation of electronic and dance music, including the TR-808, TR-909, TR-707, CR-78, and others.

JUPITER-X’s cutting-edge I-Arpeggio feature uses artificial intelligence to accompany user performances and inspire new musical ideas. I-Arpeggio takes player-created notes, rhythms, and phrases and uses them to develop complementary drum parts, basslines, chords, and arpeggiated lines in real time. It works on each of JUPITER-X’s five parts simultaneously, and generated patterns can be customized and even exported to a DAW.

Built for on-the-spot music creation, JUPITER-X features an informative display and an array of large, comfortable knobs, sliders, and buttons. And with the dedicated effects section and quick switching between synth layers, the user can immediately take control of any aspect of a sound. This kind of natural, hands-on control gives players the feeling of reaching in, touching the sound, and instantly shaping it to suit the moment.

JUPITER-X’s sound structure includes five parts: four for synths and one for drums. Its engine can power multiple authentic Roland classics like the JX-8P or JUPITER-8 with enough polyphony to create thick layers and complex backing parts. With so much polyphony on hand, users can freely create layered sounds, splits, and backing parts without limiting complex chords or musical ideas.

JUPITER-X is available in two formats to fit different lifestyles and creative flows. The flagship JUPITER-X model features a spacious, full-size control layout and a 61-note keyboard with supreme playability. Compact yet extremely powerful, the JUPITER-Xm model is a complete electronic production and performance environment with a 37-note slim keyboard and support for battery-powered operation.

To learn more about the JUPITER-X series, visit Roland.com.

For hi-res images of the JUPITER-X series, please click here. 

JUPITER-X series product video available here: https://youtu.be/unM9orpHVkU 

Roland Revamps the Iconic Sound and Function of ‘80s-era JUNO Synths in the New Roland Boutique JU-06A Synthesizer

Roland Revamps the Iconic Sound and Function of ‘80s-era JUNO Synths in the New Roland Boutique JU-06A Synthesizer

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JU-06A combines the best of the JUNO-60 and JUNO-106 in a modern and compact, battery-powered instrument that’s convenient to play anywhere 

Los Angeles, CA, September 5, 2019 — Roland, a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments and professional video products, announces the debut of the Roland Boutique JU-06A Synthesizer, a compact, accessible instrument that combines the best of vintage sounds and function from Roland’s legendary JUNO 6, 60 and 106. Musicians can seamlessly access the high-pass filter of the 106 and the envelope-controllable pulse-width-modulation of the 60 directly from the JU-06A’s front panel. The JU-06A is a nostalgic homage to Roland’s famed synths of the 1980s, complete with the iconic, swirling chorus, and builds upon its Roland Boutique JU-06 predecessor with improved sequencer, interface, trigger in, arpeggiator and more. The JU-06A will be available in the U.S. in September 2019, delivering the classic JUNO sound at an affordable $399.99.

Roland’s attention to detail extends to the JU-06A’s design, appealing to the aesthetics of its predecessors, complete with authentic vintage styling along with tough metal panels and shafts built to withstand any performance or tour. Small, but powerful, the JU-06A blends classic and modern features, including chord memory, an onboard sequencer, and the JUNO-60’s arpeggio, into an instrument compact enough to fit inside a backpack. The JU-06A is designed for creative music makers who want the vintage JUNO sound at an accessible price, who want to find inspiration from a fun-to-use piece of hardware, and who want the convenience of using gear that works equally as well during a live performance or in the studio. 

Beyond design, the JU-06A is a master of versatility, incorporating both USB audio/MIDI and full-sized MIDI jacks, giving performers the ability to play and synchronize with nearly any other piece of gear in their set-up. The 1/8” jack and USB connection lends to a clean setup with no clutter while the JU-06A’s compact size fits into multiple music setups and can easily connect to a master keyboard, DAW, K-25m Keyboard Unit, and DK-01 Boutique Dock. As the newest addition to the Roland Boutique family, the JU-06A maintains the brand’s timeless sound and industry-best technology while moving musicians towards the future of creation.  

To learn more about the JU-06A, please visit Roland.com.

For high-res JU-06A images, please click here.

JU-06A product video available here: https://youtu.be/i98JsUAD7lk