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NEW GEAR 20/24: IKM ToneX One, Spector Bass, Blackstar HT MK III and Solar X1.6KW

Schecter launches a trio of modern-concept PT Black Ops Series Telecasters, Solar adds guitarist Kirk Windstein's signature ToneX One to its lineup, IK Multimedia boasts a compact ToneX One modelling pedal, Walrus upgrades its Monumental optical tremolo, amp guru Dave Friedman unveils another IR Series tube preamp and the UK's Blackstar announces the third generation of its HT Series tube machines. Spector continues its Woodstock Custom collection with a second Volume II bass and drummers looking for a quality, flexible ride can check out the Sabian 22" HHX BFM World Ride. Elektron will soon start distributing the new Digitakt II groovebox/sampler and not only studio geeks can enjoy Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO X Limited Edition headphones. Welcome to our regular round-up of new gear and interesting facts from the world of music.

Solar X1.6KW Kirk Windstein Signature Mardi Gras Purple Metallic

Built for the guitarist of Crowbar and Down, the neck-through model X1.6KW in Mardi Gras Purple metallic features a Type X-style alder body, a three-piece maple neck with a comfortable C-profile and an ebony fingerboard carrying 22 stainless steel super jumbo frets. In addition to the position marker dots, the octave position features the emblem of New Orleans, the city where Windstein is from. The sound is carried by a pair of EMG 81/85 active humbuckers, the strings head to 18:1 Solar locking tuners via a solid tune-o-matic bridge with string-thru. A hard case and service keys are included.

Schecter PT Black Ops: Telecasters on stereoids

For guitarists who prefer more edgy genres, Schecter has prepared a trio of instruments from the new PT Black Ops collection, consisting of six-, seven- and eight-string models whose mahogany body with Satin Black Open Pore finish is inspired by the Telecaster. Other common features include mahogany necks with carbon bracing and Thin-C profile and ebony fingerboards bearing 24 X-Jumbo stainless steel frets, side luminescent markers and Graph Tech XL Black Tusq nut. The hardware consists of locking machines and a Hipshot hardtail bridge, and there's a Fishman Fluence Open Core Modern active bridge humbucker connected to the volume and a three-position switch selecting voicing modes. Prices: PT Black Ops approx. 1500 euros, PT-7 MS Black Ops approx. 1600 euros and PT-8 MS Black Ops approx. 1660 euros. The PT-7 and PT-8 versions have a dual scale.

Harmonic tremolo stereo Walrus Audio Monumental

Boutique brand Walrus has decided to upgrade its Monumental tremolo for the second time, this time equipping it with stereo inputs and outputs while maintaining a harmonic mode whose pulsation takes place between two sets of frequencies. In addition to this mode, the S-B-H parameter can also be used to achieve the sound of a standard tremolo. Compared to previous versions, a Tap Division parameter has been added to determine the division of the modulation wave and the complexity of the effect is completed by the Ramp function, activated when the right footswitch is pressed down, which also activates the Tap Tempo. The analogue optical tremolo also has an input for an external expression pedal, and the bank can hold three presets, so there are four different settings in total.

Modelling mini pedal IKM ToneX One

IK Multimedia expands the ToneX pedal edition with the small preamp/multi-effect pedal ToneX One offering AI Machine modelling of amps, cabinets and pedals, including IR loader and quick access to EQ, noise gate, compressor, reverb (5x) and tuner. The Bass, Mid, Treble and Gain + Volume controls have an Alt button for the dual function of each potentiometer (these change colour depending on the selected Tone Model). The Footswitch can switch between two Tone Models in A/B mode, or function as a classic effect (On/Off). Up to 20 presets can be stored in the system, there is a flexible stereo TRS output, a USB-C port with integrated sound card and compatibility with editing applications.

Tube preamp Friedman IR-D

After the IR-X preamp, Dave Friedman came up with another version bearing the IR-D designation, which brings the sound of the company's Dirty Shirley and Twin Sister amps, based on Marshall JTM 45 amplifier circuits. Fitted with a pair of 12AX7 tubes operating at high voltage, the model features IR slots, each channel has its own three-band EQ, gain, volume, boost and Structure plus Bright functions. A switchable IR section allows the use of third-party samples, and you can also disconnect the preamp circuit entirely and use IR only. It is equipped with an effects loop, USB-B port, MIDI connector, etc. 

Amps and cabinets Blackstar HT Series MK III

After 20 years since its founding, Blackstar returns to its introductory HT (High Tension) series with an updated collection of HT MK III combos, amps and cabinets, building on the history and success of its predecessors and taking their sound quality and function to the next level. The compact tube two-channel units feature four voicing modes ranging from transparent cleans to high-gain, and the manufacturer has not forgotten the Infinite Shape parameter and equipped the 5 and 20-W heads with a power limiter. All versions received a digital reverb as well as the latest CabRig IR simulator, allowing access to hundreds of microphone and cabinet combinations via the app. The following models will soon be on the market: HT-1RH/5RH/20RH MK III amplifiers, HT-1R/5R/20R MK III combos and HT-112OC/212VOC MK III cabinets.

Spector Woodstock Custom Collection Volume II

Following the success of the first edition of the Woodstock Custom Collection basses, Spector is expanding the line with the Volume II series, featuring a total of 12 unique NS-2, NS-5 and 4X models, handmade in the company's Custom ShopEach of these instruments represents the unique vision of Spector's guitar builders, including the choice of materials, electronics, hardware, unusual finishes or design details. "With Volume II, we’re expanding on everything we learned from the first collection, as well as pushing our design and Custom Shop team even further," says John Stippell, head of Korg Bass, the division under which Stuart Spector's brand belongs.

Signature Sabian 22" HHX BFM World Ride

Developed in collaboration with drummer Brian Frasier-Moore (Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson), this medium-weight B20 bronze alloy cymbal features a large bell and patented HHX Tone Control pattern creating large, deep hammer marks. It features a slightly flattened edge Sound Control, lowering the cymbal's profile and giving it a brighter tone with faster attack, needed punch and great mallet definition. The official price of the flexible ride, which can also serve as a crash, has been set at under 600 dollars.

Groovebox / sampler Elektron Digitakt II

The updated module, whose current version is called Digitakt II, shares the basic concept with its predecessor, including compatibility with external MIDI instruments, but features a number of improvements. In the second generation of the sampler, the Swedish manufacturer increased the number of tracks to 16 freely assignable tracks (audio/MIDI), each of which is capable of playing both mono and stereo samples, the number of steps per pattern has increased to 128, sample storage offers 400 MB and internal memory is limited to 20 GB. The enhanced filter section offers 5 items, there is a sample slicing Grid, three LFOs per track and a new chorus and the controls have been slightly changed. Price: approx. 970 euros.

Anniversary Headphones Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO X Limited Edition

The renowned German professional audio manufacturer is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and as part of the anniversary has launched the DT 770 PRO X LTD limited edition headphones, bringing the features of the popular DT 770 PRO and the flexibility of the dynamic transducer system STELLAR.45 with a detachable 3 m cable fitted with a Mini-XLR connector. The base consists of drivers with a total impedance of 48 Ohms, the frequency response is 5 Hz – 40 kHz and the closed-back design combines metal, high-quality ABS and replaceable velour earcups, which together with the soft memory foam used on the headband provide a supremely comfortable listening experience. Price: approx. 200 euros.

Tagy Schecter IKM Friedman Amplification blackstar Spector Elektron Beyerdynamic sabian Walrus Audio Solar Guitars

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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.