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As chronicled in my amp search, I went with a Tech 21 Power Engine 60 extension cabinet. Today I had a chance to play with it for an hour and I’m really, really happy with it.

The big drawback of using a regular guitar amplifier with an amp simulator is that regular amps are specifically made to “color” the sound coming out of your guitar. That’s what makes guitars sound awesome. But layering the amp sound on top of your amp simulator results in random muddy crap. You have to constantly be compensating for the sound of your amp when designing your patches on the amp simulator.

The Tech 21 PW60 Power Engine however is more faithful — it puts out what goes into it with minimal coloration. When I switch between headphones and the PW60, the patch sounds are nearly identical (the PW60 has more “air” which seems unavoidable due to physics.)

It’ll be a week before I can try it at rehearsal — which is good because I’ve got some patch programming to do — but I can easily get the PW60 up to volumes I’m sure my neighbors can hear without even putting the gain at 50%.

It’s slim on features, which I like as opposed to Behringer’s habit of throwing shitty digital effects processors in anywhere they can. Three EQ tone controls, gain control, handy XLR in and out and of course 1/4″ in. Mine didn’t come with an AC power cable but I’m not sure if that’s Tech 21’s fault or the music store. I have lots around so it was no big deal.

It’s lightweight (33 pounds) and nice looking. It’s smaller than my Delta Blues 210 so I guess I’m less of a man now.

All in all, I’m very happy with it, five thumbs up.

Posted on - August 29, 2007 [at] 9:54 am by Brad
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Delta-Blues-210BT I’ve wanted to ditch my Peavey Delta Blues 210 for a while but what to replace it with has been an issue. The 210 is a great amp but running my digital amp sim into its tubey goodness is basically dumb (and a huge hassle in patch-tuning).

Ideally I’d like to not lug an amp around with me and go straight to the PA but the few sound guys I asked about this seemed terrified by the idea. They said they’d probably run my amp sim into a monitor and mic that just to be safe. So I guess I should still have an amp that I can control.

Looking around the forums lead me in the direction of keyboard amplifiers like the Roland KC-350 and Behringer K3000FX. Keyboard amps of any decent power and quality are expensive (the KC-350 is $600+ here) and they get quite heavy.

tech21Somewhere I stumbled across the Tech 21 Power Engine PW60 extension cab

The Tech 21 Power Engine 60 is an open-backed 1×12, 60W powered extension cab designed to be used with the Trademark 60. It is not a standalone piece; however, it can be combined with any discrete bass preamp. You don’t have to tweak your usual settings or presets. Just plug into the Power Engine and go. It has a level control, 3-band active tone control, 1/4″ input, and balanced XLR input and output. You can daisy-chain any number of Power Engine 60s together for the really big gigs.

Regardless of what it’s intended for, it’s been embraced by amp sim users. The Harmony Central reviews are glowing. “Clear”, “clean”, “flat”, “loud”, all very promising. Also it only costs $380 Canadian, weighs in at a svelte 33 pounds and if I decide to go for stereo I could grab another one without too much hassle.

I’ve ordered one and it should be here tonight, I’m hoping I should be able to make that cash back selling the Peavey if it’s all good.

Posted on - August 28, 2007 [at] 12:03 pm by Brad
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gt8I broke down and bought a Boss GT-8. I had run up against tweaking limitations with the GT-6 and finally decided to go for it. Immediate knee-jerk review is that it sounds great, a substantial improvement over the GT-6. Other things:

  • The GT-8 does two amp models at a time, giving you a nice big stereo sound.
  • The patches sound more full and natural.
  • The synth patches (wave, sitar, etc) are actually responsive and playable. (On the GT-6 you could make noise with them but they frequently missed notes if you played at anything above a really slow speed.)
  • It’s black and looks sexier.
  • The effects chaining makes more sense, particularly that it has a standalone compressor/limiter outside of the effects chains. It always pissed me off on the GT-6 that in order to use the compressor or limiter you had to give up an effect slot.

The bad:

  • The acoustic guitar sim presets still sound like tinny crap. Maybe I’ll be able to tweak it into usability but I’m not optimistic.
  • The Output defaulted to JC-120 instead of Line/Headphones so I had a little “uhh why does this sound like total garbage?” moment, which I assume would be way worse for someone new to amp sims.

I’m very happy with it though I’ll need some real time programming it to know the full score.

Posted on - August 28, 2007 [at] 11:40 am by Brad
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My pal Scott Andrew’s taking pre-orders for his new record. His album site is super awesome and fills me with seething jealousy… of friendship. Go check it out!

Posted on - August 28, 2007 [at] 10:29 am by Brad
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Hey awesome, CD Baby has redesigned and is now offering direct MP3 downloads for albums. The design is a little sparse to the max but it’s cool I guess. I’m glad they’re offering MP3 downloads now.

Posted on - August 28, 2007 [at] 10:22 am by Brad
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I’m back from Maine. Turns out there was no beard shortage at the American Folk Festival after all.

Posted on - August 28, 2007 [at] 10:18 am by Brad
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I’m at the American Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine right now. I’m not performing (as I am all rock dude), merely sweating my balls off in the searing humidity. Anyway they confiscated our apples at the American border, so you can all sleep safe (for now).

Posted on - August 25, 2007 [at] 9:15 pm by Brad
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Not sure even Jimi Hendrix would have looked cool in these things. Maybe Devo could have pulled it off fashionably. (via Music Thing)

Posted on - August 21, 2007 [at] 7:32 am by Brad
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It’s allergy season so I am a stoned zombie wandering around walking into things and sleeping for twelve hours a night. I sat here staring at the computer today and I think maybe I did absolutely nothing.

Work continues on the album however. There are some great potential album covers in the forum thread with some other sweet ones on the way. I’m trying to think of a way to use the album covers I don’t pick for “the one”.

Did I mention I’m having recurring nightmares of putting the album out and then nobody buys it and then I get chased by bees? Uhh…

k3000Thinking about selling my guitar amp and switching to running my Boss GT-6 into a keyboard amp (or two). Right now the Behringer K3000FX or the Roland KC350 are the  leading contenders. Sorta leaning towards the Roland because a) I don’t know why I’d need 300 watts of guitar and b) I know Behringer stuff will eventually turn to dust in my hands.

Posted on - August 15, 2007 [at] 9:56 pm by Brad
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I went to IKEA today thinking I might pick up a few things to improve my office:

hannesHANNES – I wanted this as a side-table/keyboard stand so I could put my 50 key MIDI keyboard on the pull-out shelf and my little Axiom 25 on the top with room for junk on the side. In person the HANNES was flimsy and ugly and too deep. I would have had to modify it a lot to work for me and the particleboard was so thin I think it’d disintegrate if I took a saw to it. Pass.

daveDAVE – On the website this looked like a good general use laptop/side-work table. In person it’s real wobbly so I didn’t get it. I may go back for it, I think the equivalent non-wobbly version from somewhere else would cost at least three times the price. Pass.

bradaBRÄDA – This was pretty much exactly as advertised. Cheap little laptop lap table. Hard on top, cushiony underneath. Also I enjoy the name. Bought.

Also I forgot to look around for a FARTYG.

Posted on - August 12, 2007 [at] 5:44 pm by Brad
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