COOL GEAR ALERT: Two Notes Torpoedo C.A.B.

CAB thumbnailAah! This is perfect! A lot of us are huge fans of cabinet impulses in the studio but there hasn’t really been a practical way of using them live. You could take your laptop to a gig, but then what if someone runs off with it and finds your porn stash? Well the Torpedo C.A.B. will help you to retain your tone and your dignity by providing cabinet impulses in stompbox form. It’s not a loadbox (so don’t expect to be able to silently record your amp head), but it does include all the other features of the Torpedo Live (which is a loadbox), together with an input stage specifically tailored to accept pedal-level signals.  Read More …

REVIEW: You Rock MIDI Guitar

The first MIDI-capable guitars were giant clunkers with poor tracking and complicated setups. More recent technology is much better, but super-expensive and depending on what route you go down you could find yourself doing irreversible mods to your guitar. Not everyone wants a super tricked-out MIDI guitar for stage use, but it’d be very handy to have something in the studio that would make it easy to lay down keyboard parts without having to actually play keyboards. Enter the You Rock MIDI Guitar.

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IK Multimedia upgrades SampleTank for iOS

SampleTank Makes Performing on iPhone/iPod touch/iPad Even Easier

The first pro-quality sound and groove workstation for iOS adds MIDI Control and Program Change + free instruments in every category

July 2012, Modena, Italy – IK Multimedia is proud to announce the 1.2 update to SampleTank® for iOS, the universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, through the iTunes App store. The update, for both regular and free versions, is available as a free download to existing users that adds support for MIDI Program Change and Controller editing of all edit strip knobs for enhanced expression and performance in any environment from the studio to the stage. The 1.2 update also now provides free instruments in every category so users can create instantly anytime and everywhere.

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REVIEW: Digitech Whammy WH4 Pedal

The DigiTech Whammy Pedal first arrived on the scene in the early 1990s (I remember first seeing it in an ad in the British magazine Guitar way back then), and was quickly adopted by the big wigs of the shred movement, such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, for high pitched sonic freakout squeals and other tricks. The pedal was originally designed and marketed as a way of copying whammy bar effects on fixed bridge guitars such as Les Pauls and Telecasters, right around the time that dive bombs and racing car effects started to go out of fashion. However, players soon realised that the ‘pitch up’ settings were of more musical use than ‘pitch down,’ and a sonic revolution ensued.

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NAMM 2009: IK Multimedia StealthPedal

Here’s a neat little idea from IK Multimedia. They’ve combined an audio interface with an expression pedal for control of wah, volume and pitch effects, or any other MIDI-controllable parameter. I use IK’s Amplitube program quite a lot and I’ve often wished I had the ability to control various effects with an expression pedal – like making a phaser speed up, or blending between two amp models.

Here’s the press release.

IK Multimedia Announces StealthPedal

IK Multimedia presents the StealthPedal, the first guitar audio interface/software controller in a compact wah-style pedal, allowing users to record, play and control the included “Powered By AmpliTube” software, or any other MIDI controllable software, with the same feel and ease of use as a traditional guitar pedal.

StealthPedal is an affordable USB-powered audio interface that also works as a software floor controller, allowing anyone to record guitar or bass with Mac/PC at the highest possible quality, with 24-bit A/D and D/A conversion and 44.1/48 kHz operation. Two separate inputs are provided for Hi-Z or line level instruments as well as two separate outputs, plus a convenient headphone output.

The built-in expression pedal and switch can be associated with any parameter of “Powered By AmpliTube” software, or any other amp and FX modeling software with MIDI control capabilities. The StealthPedal controls can also be expanded with an additional expression pedal and two extra switches for building a mini-pedalboard rig with preset and single effects control capabilities for full live/recording usage.
Users are not limited to controlling amp-simulator software with StealthPedal, as it can control any effects plug-in, virtual instrument or DAW with MIDI control capabilities.

StealthPedal sports a rugged, classic-wah style, compact enclosure with a volume
knob and three LED indicators that operate as a status display, tuner or level indicator when used with any “Powered by AmpliTube” software. StealthPedal’s circuit design has been derived from IK’s StompIO high-end stage controller, ensuring the highest fidelity in the recording of for your guitar and bass with software configurable input gain level, 109dBA low noise input stage and optimal audio quality throughout.

StealthPedal also comes with a must-have assortment of software including AmpliTube 2 Live guitar and bass amp and fx modeling software, standalone and plug-in, AmpliTube X-GEAR for further expandability with all “Powered by AmpliTube” software and Sonoma Riffworks™ T4 for immediate recording/composing/online sharing with your Mac or PC. The StealthPedal and the included plug-in is also compatible with all popular DAW software supporting ASIO and Core Audio drivers on PC and Mac.

Additionally when used with the “Powered by AmpliTube” software the system can be expanded to nearly 200 gear models including the all-time classic, exclusive sounds of Ampeg®, Jimi Hendrix™ and the just announced Fender® edition.
All of this makes the StealthPedal the most convenient, complete and expandable solution on the market, for playing/recording guitar and bass with the computer.

USB powered audio interface and pedal controller
2 balanced / unbalanced audio inputs (hi-Z or line level)
24 bit A/D and D/A conversion
44.1/48 kHz operation
2 balanced audio outputs
Headphones output
Volume control
Built-in expression pedal and MIDI foot-switch
Multiple LEDs can operate as Tuner or Level indicators with AmpliTube
External double switch and expression pedal inputs
Classic, rugged metal Wah-style construction
High-quality, low-noise input stage (109dBA /104dB RMS S/N ratio)
Control all “Powered by AmpliTube” software/plug-ins
Control any MIDI controllable software/plug-ins
Includes AmpliTube 2 Live standalone and plug-in, AmpliTube X-GEAR and Sonoma Riffworks™ T4
Compatible with all the most popular DAW software supporting ASIO and Core Audio drivers on PC and Mac.
Endless software expandability with AmpliTube modules

Price & Availability
StealthPedal will have an MSRP of €199.99 / $269.99 (excluding taxes) and will be available for shipping by the end of April 2009.

For more information, visit their web site at

CLICK HERE to see IK Multimedia products on eBay.

FEATURE: Festival Survival Guide

Whether you’re playing a Battle of the Bands with your dad as your roadie, or playing the Big Day Out with a pro tech at your side, there are certain similarities to the kind of gear you need. The key to playing on any multi-band bill is foresight. What songs are you going to play? What tunings are they in? What effects do you need? What’s going to happen while you’re changing guitars? What happens if you bust a string?

The first thing you need to do is decide on a set list. Especially in the case of travelling festivals, you need to travel light, sometimes purely for the sake of practicality, sometimes due to the high cost of lugging gear around, so if you’re not going to use that toolbox-sized vintage Echoplex or the Leslie rotating speaker cabinet for the songs you’re going to play, it’s a good idea to rationalise your amp needs. This also applies to those guys who take a full rack and twin speaker cabinets along to a pub gig.

The same goes for stomp boxes. Think about what you really need. Is the audience really going to need to hear 5 flavours of distortion if you can’t tell the difference between 3 of them when a band is playing? Can you make things run a little more smoothly if you construct a mini-me version of your pedal board?

A good solution for this problem is, of course, a multi effects unit. When I’m not in a stompbox frame of mind, my preference is the Boss GT-8, because you can use a feature called the “4 cable method” which allows you to place your amp’s preamp anywhere in the GT-8’s signal chain. This means you can still use your amp’s own distortion, while placing gain effects like wah wah and overdrive before your preamp, and time-based effects like delay and reverb after it. The GT-8 also allows you to change your amp’s channels from within effects patches. If your set list is set in stone, you can program each song as a separate patch in chronological order, and name each patch after the song you need it for. As an added bonus you don’t need to do an elaborate tap-dance before each song. Just cue up the next patch and all your effects are ready to go, along with the appropriate amp channel and delay time.

In the late 90s David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels used a Parker Fly guitar direct into a Roland VG-8 modelling system via a MIDI pickup. This allowed him to model everything from amps and pedals to guitars and pickup selections all at the touch of a button. It also meant he didn’t have to take speaker cabinets on tour at all, cutting down on haulage costs. The VG-8 even allowed him to change tunings within the unit with the tap of a foot, and it could be plugged directly into the front of house desk for a perfect reading of the programmed sounds. One final bonus of this system was that he could just copy his sounds and plug them into another VG-8 anywhere in the world if his broke down.

I find it’s best to group songs according to guitar tuning, just to reduce the amount of time spent messing around on stage swapping guitars. Make sure you have a backup for each tuning if you can, or, if that’s not possible, a non-tremolo guitar with medium gauge strings that can easily and quickly be retuned in an emergency.

One thing to remember in a festival environment is that even though you’re playing for a huge number of people, you don’t need to hit every pair of ears with your amp. A small combo with a microphone in front of it may get lost in the din, but even a 2X12 combo can be enough to fill a stadium. As with any gig situation, concentrate on getting your sound, and leave it up to the engineers to get it to the crowd via the PA system. Once again, make sure you have a backup if you can. Many players like to keep a multi effects pedal ready to go with rough approximations of their sounds programmed in, even if they regularly use a valve amp stack, so they can still play even if the worst happens and an amp explodes in a hail of sparks.
Finally, if you’re playing on a festival bill, don’t be a diva. If it’s a small gig and the back line is already provided, don’t hassle the soundman about using your own amp. One tantrum could throw the changeover time right out of whack and a lot of people will get their knickers in a knot, and besides, if you anger the person who has control of your stage and/or monitor volume, you’re probably not going to have a very good gig, either from your own or the audience’s perspective.