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Tech Gear: Right Gear Makes A Big Difference

On

the road, in the practice room, or in the studio, your

gear needs to arrive intact, and  to sound top-notch when you

get there. That means having quality travel products, especially when travel includes baggage

handlers who get their rocks off using your luggage to punt, pass and kick. Let’s take a look at some new gear from a couple of

cool companies and see how it stands up to the test.

    

 

Since

1976, TC Electronic

(www.tcelectronic.com) has been manufacturing first-class products designed for

audio professionals and musicians. From TC Helicon comes Voice Life 2, a

user-friendly, powerful floor processor that offers an array of effects. NaturalPlayTM

gives you up to eight harmony voices controlled from a guitar, MIDI keyboard or

MP3 player—ideal for vocalists who don’t play an instrument. Via stompbox or

preset foot switch, you can layer reverb, tap tempo delay, natural doubling,

T-Pain-like pitch shifting, distortion and megaphone effects and select from

over 250 presets. One-touch Tone controls compression, EQ and de-essing, and

the digitally controlled mic preamp allows singers to set mic gain while

standing. The bright, widescreen LCD makes it possible to view the screen from

that standing position. It’s also easily portable. VoiceLive 2 ships in May for

$995.

    

For

bass players, TC Electronic presents the RebelHead amp rig: RebelHead450 bass

head ($1395), RebelStack cabinets (210 – $695 and 212 – $845) and RebelControl

($195). TC calls this “a bass rig designed without compromise,” made for

rehearsals, studio and road. 

    

The

450, with on-board tuner, has traditional tone controls, emulates all of the

characteristics of a traditional tube circuit, and offers the highest-quality

compression. The 450 features three on-board user memories, auto-sensing PSU

for safe plug-and-play in any country, an input socket for audio source

plug-in, and an output digital connection.

    

The

RebelHead450 is available as a standalone unit or combined with the RebelStack

cabinets. The RebelStack system was designed to optimize live performance

without compromising pitch or low end. The vertical four-driver stacking system

gives you both, along with easy portability.

    

As

another option, add the RebelControl remote control system, a floor controller

for RebelHead450, with a tuner indicator, three preset foot buttons to change

the three user memories, and a mute button. RebelControl is conveniently

powered from the amp and is a great addition to the system.

    

The

G-Major 2 is TC Electronics’ multi-effects processor for guitar ($695). G-Major

2 houses effects such as delays, reverbs and modulation, with all-new takes on

Tri-chorus, through-zero-flanger, modulated delays and Univibe. Controls

include Noise Gate, EQ and Compression blocks, as well as the all-new

filter/wah block, intelligent pitch shifting and reverse delay.

    

G-Major

2 allows users to change patches and presets through MIDI, or to use its stomp

box mode, enabling on/off switching of individual effects. The relay switching

option lets you switch amp channels directly, and in Serial Routing all blocks

are lined as a straight line of pedals. In Semi-Parallel, delay and reverb are placed in parallel, and in Parallel all

blocks except Compression and filter MOD blocks are placed in serial. G-Major 2

offers users easy and convenient editing and storing of patches and pre-sets

through a PC/Mac editor available at www.tcelectronic.com/G-major2.

    

If you’re going to haul all that gear around, you need a name you

can trust. Ultimate Support (www.ultimatesupport.com) has been in business for over 30

years. They bill themselves as “the Strength of Innovation,” and when you’re up

close and hands on with their products, it’s easy to see why. Ultimate Support

manufactures a very impressive selection of benches, stands, bags and cases so

rugged that they can probably even withstand baggage handlers. Perhaps it’s

time I start checking my essentials in an Ultimate Support case. These durable products look good and feel good, and best of all,

they’re surprisingly affordable. The X-Style JS-500 keyboard stand is $59.99,

the new double-braced X-Style JS-502D is $79.99, the JS-AS100 amp stand is

$89.99, the Z-Style JS-ZS100 keyboard stand is $119.99, and the new

multi-purpose JS-MPS1 mixer/keyboard stand is $129.99.

    

Me? I’m thinking that one of their kick-ass Hybrid Series cases

might be my next investment. Suitcases and duffels be damned; let’s see you

pummel this piece of checked luggage, Delta Airlines!

 

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