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Miscellaneous Gear Alert: October 2021

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

Music Man StingRay Tim Commerford series 

Four four-string models played by the bassist of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage. The collection consists of versions with passive or active electronics with short or standard gauges of 30 and 34 inches respectively. The body is made of ash, "baked" maple was chosen for the neck construction, and depending on the type of instrument you can choose between rosewood, maple, and ebony fingerboards.

The StingRays use a bridge humbucker with neodymium magnets, the passive variants feature a volume with push/pull boost, an potentiometer and a switch to toggle serial, parallel, or single mode. Active basses feature volume and three-band equalization. The instruments are part of limited editions of 50 of each model.

Gibson Non-Reverse Thunderbird 2021

A bass guitar with a stylish retro design matched by a mahogany body with the lines of a slightly scaled-down Thunderbird and a neck with a rounder vintage profile, as well as two Thunderbird Rhythm/Lead humbuckers with a powerful output, tone pot, and independent volume controls.

The standard-issue headstock carries Hipshot's Ultralite quality lightweight tuning machines, the strings sit in a top-load headstock and there's a choice of Inverness Green, Faded Pelham Blue, or Sparkling Burgundy finishes. The Non-Reverse Thunderbird 2021 comes in at around $1,800 including the hard case.

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Medium Scale Bass Strings

A beloved classic, based on a proven nickel-wound construction with a steel core, but this time optimized for basses with a medium-length scale length up to about 32.5 inches in length, as well as for models with even shorter scale length but with the strings anchored through the body, such as the Fender Mustang.  A four-string set is offered with product number 2856 and gauges 45/65/85/105.

MXR Stealth Series instrument cables

Cables with low capacitancr of approx. 80 pF / 1 m and integrated automatic "silent" switch eliminating unpleasant noise when plugging and unplugging the instrument. The manufacturer promises a clean and dynamic signal and recommends the cables be used when recording to a DAW or connecting directly to an amplifier.

Relatively thick conductors (20 AWG) of oxygen-free copper have been used, the outer nylon braiding contributes to durability, and the inner parts of the sturdy solid-steel straight jacks are insulated with a heated plastic sleeve. For now, the company is advertising DCIR10/DCIR20 models in 10- and 20-foot lengths (about 3/6 m) at prices around $46 and $60, respectively.


Snare Gretsch BNS 5x14" 

The Gretsch 5x14" Black Nickel over Steel S1-0514-BNS is part of the Full Range series. The 1.2 mm thick walls of the body are sprayed with a special layer of black nickel with a final mirror finish and fitted with triple-bent 2.3 mm thick Imperial rims, throw-off mechanics, and 20-spring stringing.

Andrew Shreve, Gretsch brand manager, commented on the snare's features, saying: “This is such a versatile drum, perfect for live or studio playing with a crisp, bright tone which will complement a range of drumming styles and genres.”

Ride Meinl 22“ Byzance Big Apple Dark 

Two hand-hammered models in the Traditional B22BADTR and Light B22BADTLR versions, combining the finish and style of the Byzance Big Apple Dark Ride edition with the profile and curvature of the Byzance Jazz Tradition Ride series cymbals. Prices for both pro rides were set identically around $520.

Keys, sequencers, etc.

Sampler Roland SP404MKII 

The successor to the popular SP-404, SP-404SX, and SP-404A models features 32-voice polyphony, 16 GB of memory, a library of 144 samples and patterns, an effects section, a sequencer with patterns up to 64 bars long, Skip Back Sampling (20 seconds), and storage for 2560 samples and an equal number of patterns (16 samples/patterns x 10 banks x 16 projects).

There is an SD/SDHC card slot, stereo inputs and outputs, USB-C, MIDI, microphone/guitar input, etc. The SP-404MKIIAPP editing application (Mac and PC) is also capable of running projects created on older versions of the SP-404SX and SP-404A, with a maximum sampling time limit of 16 minutes and 176 MB reserved for a single sample. The mobile device can be powered by an adapter, 6 pencil batteries, or via USB port, including the use of smartphone power.

Synth software Korg Collection 3

The successor to the Collection 2 package, which adds the miniKORG 700S, Prophecy, and Triton Extreme models to the Wavestation, M1, Polysix, Triton, MS-20, and ARP Odyssey virtual synths. The package can be used as a standalone application or as AU, VST, AAX plug-ins (64-bit) on both Mac and Windows platforms. A total of 11 synthesizers are available in the full version priced at $399, with standalone module price tags ranging from about $50 to $250.


Audio-Technica AT2040

Dynamic podcasting microphone with classic XLR connector and a sound closely resembling that of condenser models. The frequency response ranges from 80 Hz to 16 kHz, a large-diaphragm capsule with hypercadioid directional characteristic and very low noise was used, and protection consists of an internal shock mount along with a multi-stage foam mesh windscreen.

Boss RC-505mkII

A desktop looper offering five simultaneous tracks and Input FX/Track FX sections, each with four simultaneous effects and an equal number of quickly accessible preset banks. A new Mark Back button has been installed, bringing greater flexibility to the undo/redo functions, and of course compatibility with the company's Boss Tone Studio and RC Rhythm Converter software. It provides storage for 99 presets, over 200 built-in rhythm patterns, and 16 drum kits.

KRK KNS 6402 and KNS 8402 

Flexible studio headphones that accommodate listening at all stages of the recording process. Both dynamic models with a closed design use a circumaural system and boast a high level of ANI (Ambient Noise Isolation), which is 26 dBA for the KNS 6402 and even 30 dBA for the KNS 8402. The headphones are fitted with 40 mm diameter neodymium drivers and 36 ohms impedance, with maximum SPL levels of 122 dB (6402) and 124 dB (8402) respectively.

Tagy gear alert boss Roland KRK Audio-Technica Gibson Ernie Ball Music Man korg meinl Gretsch MXR

If you have found an error or typo in the article, please let us know by e-mail

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.