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Miscellaneous Gear Alert: February 2022

Do you play bass, drums, or keyboards? Are you DJ, singer, or sound engineer, or a studio aficionado? Then every third Monday of the month is "your day" here on Insounder—with a quick overview of gear, new releases that will be on the market in the current or upcoming period and that you shouldn't miss. A similarly conceived article is dedicated to technical equipment for guitarists on every first Monday of the month. Some of the products introduced in this overview will be discussed in more detail in later posts here in the News section.

Bass guitar

G&L Kiloton Fretless—a fretless version of the classic model from the brand founded by Leo Fender—it shares with the original a poplar body, carrying a top made of swamp ash. The maple neck with Medium-C profile is fitted with a rosewood fingerboard with marked positions for easier orientation. The four-string bass offers a traditional 34-inch scale, a solid Leo Fender designed bridge, and a single G&L MFD Magnetic Field Design humbucker. The model is available in a transparent Three-Tone Sunburst shade for a price of about $1,500.

Tao HR Superleggera—five-string signature model of the Belgian boutique brand Tao Guitars, designed for bassist Hansford Rowe (Mike Oldfield, Allan Holdsworth, Mick Taylor, Steve Winwood, etc.). It features a futuristic body made of lightweight swamp ash, a neck-through with titanium bracing KTS made up of Bosnian maple and wenge wood, which was also used to build the 14-inch fingerboard radius, fitted with 26 jumbo frets and aluminium position markers.

The instrument, whose design refers to the famous Lamborghini supercar, has been equipped with a 34.5-inch scale, modified Hipshot lightweight tuners, a special aircraft-grade aluminium bridge with 17mm string spacing and custom pickups from Benedetti. Those interested in acquiring this luxury signature, sprayed in Lamborghini Oro Elios gold lacquer, will have to dig deep into their pockets—the price has been set at €14,000.

Phil Jones Bass PE-5—a reissue of the preamp, DI box and signal booster in pedal form features a carefully calibrated active five-band EQ. Volume and gain are tied to a unique input section with switchable impedance optimized for magnetic or piezo pickups, so the preamp can be used with electric bass and double bass. The integrated boost also compensates for the signal of weaker pickups, and the line output has enough headroom to be used with a variety of power amplifiers.

The DI output offers, in the words of the manufacturer, superior sound quality, comparable to even the best mixing consoles in professional recording studios. Naturally, it includes a Pre/Post function, extremely high signal-to-noise ratio, a Ground/Lift switch for the XLR out, etc. Power supply is handled by a 9V/1A adapter or built-in lithium battery rechargeable via USB-C port. The rugged die-cast aluminium alloy chassis is fitted with a pair of footswitches (On/Off, Mute) and the equalizer can be bypassed with a sliding switch located on the front.


Roland Fantom v3.0Fantom workstation owners have the opportunity to upgrade their instrument with a major v3.0 update supporting the brand new synth engine EXM007 n/zyne Model Expansion, which combines wavetable oscillator layers, phase and shape modulation, resonant filters, and two insanely powerful step LFOs.

The update adds another six new synthesis elements: Step Modulator, Wavetable, Wave Drawing, Shape-Mod, Phase-Mod and Motional Function. Using n/zyme, the futuristic oscillators can be combined with eight types of filters, it offers 90 effects, the dual-layer Wavetable oscillator permits mixing or blending of waveforms, the Step Modulator allows you to route rhythmic modulations to almost any parameter, and so on.

Firmware upgrades are free for Roland Fantom users, but to download the n/zyme Model Expansion, you must have a RolandCloud Pro or Ultimate subscription or a lifetime key, which can be purchased for $149.


DW Ultralight Edge Collector’s Series—a deluxe 14 x 5.5 inch snare drum with a carbon fibre body made from a high quality composite used in the aerospace industry. Manufactured in the California Custom Shop, the model is fitted with an Edge system consisting of solid aluminium rings on both sides of the body, giving the final sound a punchier response.

The 3mm thick steel rims Tru Hoops are complemented by typical round lugs, DW True Pitch 50 tuning screws, a proven True-Tone snare wires with 20 springs and MAG Throw-Off / 5P Butt Plate mechanics. The snare DW Ultralight Edge Collector's Series DRVF5514SEC is available in chrome, nickel, gold, nickel black and satin chrome finish for a price of approximately $1,900.

EFNOTE 7 E-Drumset—The new flagship from the Japanese manufacturer specializing in professional electronic kits includes a four-piece set with three cymbals and a module with high-quality, minimally processed samples mastered with Tru-Aco technology. The intelligent pickup system ELISE ensures fast and accurate response to the manner of playing, the birch shells are covered with double layered mesh heads, the bass drum is fitted with wooden rims, the individual drums have TRS outputs and the snare has a pair of TRS connectors for separate Head/Rim, Side-Rim channels.

Basic specifications of the standard EFNOTE 7
Kick EFD-K2015—20 x 15", Head connector, beater segment
Snare EFD-S1455—14 x 5.5", Head/Rim & Side-Rim connectors
Tom EFD-T1180—14 x 5.5", Head/Rim connector
Floor Tom EFD-T1515 —15 x 15", Head/Rim connector
Hi-Hat EFD-H14—14", 6-pin connector
Crash EFD-C16—16", 2 x TRS connector
Ride EFD-C20—20", 2 x TRS connector

Official European price is around €4500.

Drum N Base Vegan Cow a Woven Back in Black—Drum N Base, a company dedicated to the development and production of drum accessories, has included a trio of new drum kit carpets. The Vegan Cow mats, which are made from synthetic materials, resemble cowhide both in design and shape. You can choose between the Vegan Cow Betsy in red and brown and the Vegan Cow Clara in black and white. The underside of the 185 x 160 cm carpets is made of a 1.5 mm thick non-slip Flex-Grip layer and the 4 mm thick upper part is made of water and UV-resistant polyamide velour.

More conventionally styled models are represented by the rectangular dark grey Woven Back in Black rug with identical dimensions, a 2.5mm thick Flex-Grip underside and the same robust, easy-care surface as the Vegan Cow mats. The high-quality rugs, which also significantly reduce vibration, can be cleaned with a soap solution, and the brand has given the top a special treatment that doesn't trap fine sawdust or wood mallet chips. The pads are manufactured in Belgium, with prices consistently around €130.


JBL EON700 series—a new generation of popular active PA monitors includes models EON710, EON712, EON715 and a subwoofer EON718S. All of them feature 2414H compression tweeters equipped with neodymium magnets, an upgraded sound duct, woofers with increased efficiency and Class-D end units with 1300 or 1500 W (650 / 750 W RMS). With the exception of the subwoofer, the boxes can be set up in a horizontal position and the cabinets are made of high-quality birch plywood glued from 15 layers.

The woofer diameter is indicated in the name of each version, and the crossover frequencies are as follows: EON710 / EON712—2 kHz, EON715—1.9 kHz; in the case of the subwoofer EON718S, the frequency is selectable—80, 100 or 120 Hz. It is fitted with a wireless Bluetooth module, a colour LCD display, safety functions and a DSP circuit containing delay, limiters, equaliser, ducking, automatic dbx feedback suppression, etc. The monitors can be edited using the JBL Pro Connect app.


Sennheiser HD 400 Pro—professional studio headphones with an open circumaural design, which envelops the entire ear, have a frequency range of 6 Hz to 38 kHz, a maximum SPL of 110 dB and a THD distortion of < 0.05% / 1 kHz / 90 dB SPL. Users can appreciate the excellent stereo separation, accurate and neutral reproduction and, last but not least, the ergonomic design, ensuring superior comfort even during prolonged listening.

The European price of the HD 400 Pro with 120 ohm impedance is around €250. The headphones weigh 240 g, they come with a 1.8 m long straight cable, a 3 m long spiral cable (both with 3.5 mm jacks) and a 6.3 mm adapter. They are also compatible with the dearVR MIX plug-in, which can edit surround sound to create different listening environments when mixing or mastering.

Rupert Neve Designs 5025 Dual Shelford Mic Pre—a dual microphone preamplifier from the American company producing analogue sound processors of the highest quality under the supervision of legendary designer Rupert Neve. It’s especially suited for professional studios or installations with demanding sound requirements. Based on the popular Shelford Channel, the model combines a warm vintage sound with modern technologies such as the Silk Red & Blue modes with texture control, features first-class transformers, and houses the electronics in a 1U rack.

The output custom transformers can be used in two levels of Main Out / -6 dB Out (+26 dBu / +20 dBu), affecting the character of the resulting sound, which is enhanced by carefully designed Class A discrete circuits and a special power supply with twice the value of the original 80 series. The preamp, measuring 48.3 x 4.4 x 23.4 cm and weighing 3.2 kg, will appear on the market in a limited edition of 300 pieces, the price is around €3600.

sE Electronics DynaCaster—a flexible dynamic microphone that will serve its purpose not only in podcasting or gaming, but also in the studio with a preamp, especially when picking up vocal parts. What sets the DynaCaster apart from conventional versions of this type of microphone is the integrated Dynamite active preamplifier (48V phantom power), which is capable of boosting the signal level by a massive +30dB if required.

DynaCaster offers low-pass and high-pass band filters or an integrated three-layer pop filter and contains a DMC8 capsule with cardioid characteristic, aluminium coil and neodymium magnet. The frequency range is 20 Hz—19 kHz, the sensitivity equals 2.0 / 60 mV/Pa (-54 / -24 dBV). The microphone has a built-in stand mount, a robust all-metal body measuring 62 x 220 mm and weighing 732 g, and is supplied with an external windscreen.

Tagy gear alert G&L Tao Guitars Phil Jones Bass Lollar Mojo Hand FX Roland DW Efnote Drum N Base JBL Sennheiser Rupert Neve Designs sE Electronics

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For Insounder, I am mainly responsible for the news section and articles covering the gear of well-known musicians. I have been playing guitar in various bands for years and I also teach this beautiful instrument.