NEW GEAR 51/23: Boss Amp & Cabinet IR-2, Jimmy Page's Super Dragon and Behringer Synth
Those who are ready are not caught off guard. Welcome to our next weekly roundup of new gear and trivia from the music world, where we try to sum up everything essential that's currently hitting the market that we should know about. Boss has launched the younger and smaller sibling of the IR-200 amp simulator, Bad Cat expands its line-up with a Jet Black guitar head and combo amp, Jimmy Page's vintage Marshall has a Replica in the form of the Super Dragon series, Fender's Japanese division has presented Telecasters from the Limited Sparkle series, and the Tone City brand offers three price-friendly effects. We can also recommend the superstrats Mooer from the M800 edition, the Volume Commander from Morley, the clone of the analogue synth Oberheim from the Behringer workshops, the bronze snare DW MFG and the bass cabinets Bergantino.
Mooer M800: superstrats from the hybrid edition GTRS
Two years ago, Mooer introduced the Stratocaster-style GTRS HSS guitars, followed by the P and W (headless) models, equipped with a digital system containing 11 amp emulations, 128 effects, metronome, looper and 40 rhythm patterns, a Bluetooth module, rechargeable battery via USB-C port and support for the wireless footswitch GWF4. This collection now expands to include the M800 series, which differs from previous models with a design that evokes the popular Ibanez RG superstrats, with an alder body, a fingerboard carrying 24 jumbo frets and a hardtail bridge. It features a pair of HMT-1B/1N humbuckers and the so-called "Super-Knob", used to control the GTRS circuits. Detailed editing is handled by the mobile app (iOS/Android).
Fender Limited Sparkle Telecaster: Japanese series with Filter'Tron pickups
The Limited Sparkle Telecaster collection, manufactured by Fender's Japanese subsidiary, combines traditional Telecaster design with modern features and exclusive-looking top finishes in shimmering Silver, Black, Orange and Blue Sparkle polyester lacquers. The authors used time-tested materials (alder body with milled back, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets), a white three-ply pickguard and standard Volume and Tone controls plus a three-position switch. There are some differences in the hardware, where the vintage bridge has been replaced by a shortened hardtail version and the tuners have received a locking system, as well as in the electronics with a pair of Black Top Filter'Tron pickups, often used on Gretsch guitars.
Multifunction Switcher Morley Volume Commander
The new pedal from the traditional American brand basically replaces the functions of the guitar's Volume and Tone potentiometers, used to correct the volume, gain and colour of the resulting tone. The Volume Commander not only simplifies players' work but also expands the sound palette of the overdrive or preamp before which this model is placed. The box has two channels that can be used separately or together. Each one is equipped with a volume control, a Low-Cut switch with three modes (None, Fine, Deep) and a voicing Tone switch with Bright or Warm options. Two Vol 1/2 footswitches are wired in true bypass mode. Thanks to the "1/2/1+2" solution, there are four options with different volumes and equalisation available together with the original setting of the selected effect or preamplifier.
Head and combo amp Bad Cat Jet Black
The Californian brand's amps, which have already found their way into the gear of Tosin Abasi from Animals As Leaders, offer a redesigned 38W power amp (4x EL84) and a two-channel preamp with separate gains and masters, a shared three-band EQ, reverb and bias tremolo. The 1x12 combo is equipped with the time-tested Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. According to the manufacturer, the Jet Black series was designed to bring the signature sound of Black Cat amps to players who need a more potent power amp, resulting in a more massive and sensitive dynamic response. Abasi himself said of the sonic qualities of the new line of amps that he hadn't "heard such clarity and definition before."
A trio of affordable effects from Tone City
The Asian brand, whose effects have gained popularity not only thanks to their great price/performance ratio, has added a trio of pedals to its Deluxe collection, consisting of the Big Rumble overdrive/boost, Holy Aura distortion/boost and Heavenly Lake delay/reverb. They share the same chassis dimensions, a pair of footswitches wired in true bypass mode, and a 9-volt power supply with an average current draw of 25 mA. The overdrive offers a sound in the style of boutique Dumble amps and the distortion features modern high-gain distortion with the character of American amps, while the independent boost on both models provides 20dB high gain. The Heavenly Lake reverb features a modified reverb circuit taken from the Tiny Spring pedal, and the 1200ms long delay that emulates tape echo has a modulation module.
Boss IR-2: amplifier emulation and Celestion impulse responses
The IR-2 pedal, a smaller sibling of the IR-200 version, is expected to hit the European market in late January or early February. It features a rotary switch in the classic Boss format with a total of 11 virtual amps and the same number of cabinet impulse responses created by the Celestion Digital division team. The main panel carries three dual potentiometers for controlling gain, volume, ambience and three-band EQ. In addition to the input and stereo outputs, there is an effects loop, a connector for an external footswitch selecting between a pair of channels, a mini-jack headphone jack and a USB-C port allowing direct recording thanks to the integrated card, and uploading your own IR samples using a dedicated app (macOS/Windows). The Amp and Cabinet sections can also be used separately.
Super Dragon: a replica of Jimmy Page's Marshall
Sundragon Amps has introduced an amplifier designed for connoisseurs of classic British vintage sound. The new Super Dragon model is a replica of the modified 1968 Marshall Super Bass favoured by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. To achieve the same characteristics as Jimmy's original, the limited edition is fitted with custom transformers, GE 6550 NOS tubes, Iskra and Allen Bradley resistors and Phillips "mustard" capacitors. The extra-voluminous tone of the boutique, hand-assembled amplifier with its sensitive dynamics and massive projection is also supported by 4x12 cabinets with specially designed speakers.
Bergantino cabinets from the special NXTSE series
The NXTSE Series from Bergantino Audio Systems consists of the NXTSE 112, 210 and 212 bass cabinets with 400, 500 and 800 watts RMS, equipped with Neo-Extreme woofers, tweeter and custom-designed phase-coherent crossovers. The precisely tuned cabinets, built with select Italian poplar and Baltic birch used for the baffle, are covered in durable Oyster Tweed tolex, the front part with the triangular bass reflexes is covered in textured Ox-Blood fabric and the design is completed with black hardware. The cabinets deliver a harmonically rich tone across the frequency spectrum, with consistent musical presentation even in the critical midrange.
Limited edition DW MFG True-Cast Bronze drum
The Drum Workshop division, based at DW's California headquarters, has launched a cutting-edge 5x14-inch snare developed in collaboration with drummer and educator Dave Elitch. The solid bronze body is sand-cast and the inner sides of the shells are milled to a concave shape (3mm centre, 5mm edges), enhancing the sound characteristics of this snare drum with a voluminous tone with a darker character and strong attack. The limited edition from the company's Custom Shop received brass hardware, True-Tone snare wire and Remo Ambassador heads, and the body edges are sanded at a 45-degree angle. The Snare comes in a luxurious hard case from Calzone.
Synthesiser Behringer UB-Xa: analogue in Oberheim style
For six long years, fans had to wait for the final form of the Behringer UB-Xa synth, a clone of the classic Oberheim OB-Xa analogue, from which the manufacturer took not only the VCO and VCF units but also all the factory presets. Besides emulating the popular 1980s template used on albums by Prince, Van Halen, The Police and Rush, among others, Behringer adds extensive MIDI support, a 512-position bank, and a modern keyboard with 61 keys, aftertouch and velocity functions and the option to split it into two zones. Featuring 16-voice polyphony (bi-timbral), the instrument also has an eight-channel modulation section, arpeggiator, sequencer, filter plus envelope module, etc.
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