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New Year's resolution: Music gear for the new year

New Year's resolution: Getting the band back together (Photo: Gibson, Line 6, Endorphines, Austrian Audio, Catalinbread, Roland,KRK System)
New Year's resolution: Getting the band back together (Photo: Gibson, Line 6, Endorphines, Austrian Audio, Catalinbread, Roland,KRK System)
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Over the past couple of years, I’ve included musical instruments and gadgets in the Music section of my annual Holiday Gift Guide. This year there just wasn’t time this year to do it properly.

My resolution for 2024 is to finish the projects I’ve started. I’m starting here, with an expanded look at what was originally intended for the 2023 guide. You’ll find a collection of gear culled from my email inbox and a few trips down the internet rabbit hole. I’ve included manufacturers' descriptions and additional commentary by me. Will 2024 be the year where I release a song or two? I hope so.

Les Paul Standard 60s Plain Top
Manufacturer Description: The new Les Paul Standard 60s Plain Top returns to the classic design that made it relevant, played, and loved – shaping sound across generations and genres of music. It pays tribute to Gibson's Golden Era of Innovation and brings authenticity back to life. The Les Paul Standard 60s Plain Top has a solid mahogany body with a plain maple top.

Why I'm Interested: Mick Ronson. Ronson was David Bowie’s guitarist during the Ziggy Stardust era. I have very little in common with Ronson’s style, but maybe that’s only because I’ve yet to try and channel it properly. The 1968 Les Paul Custom Reissue is closer to what Ronson actually played, but the cost puts it out of reach at this point in my life.

Gibson 1959 ES-335
Manufacturer Description: The Historic Reissue ES-335 is back and better than ever, thanks to a year of studying, scanning, and listening to original examples. This 1959 Reissue model features rounded cutaways, a Medium C-shape neck profile scanned from originals, dot inlays, vintage-replica parts, and an attractive Crimson Burst finish

Why I'm Interested: Something magical happens in the hollow space of the ES-335. Distortion and reverb just rattle and growl. It's beautiful and potentially vicious at the same time. The price is a bit beyond me, but we're just daydreaming.

Kirk Hammett "Greeny” Les Paul Standard Reissue
Manufacturer Description: Greeny is one of the most iconic original Les Paul™ Standards ever made, with a unique sound as recognizable as the guitar itself. Its distinctive sound is partly from the out-of-phase middle switch position due to the neck pickup’s reversed magnetic polarity.

Why I'm Interested: The history of the "Greeny" is almost a folktale. Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green originally owned it, Thin Lizzy's Gary Moore tried it on for a decade or two, and then it made its way to Metallica's Kirk Hammett. I don't know if we were made for each other. I think we’re going in opposite directions. I've included it more a curioso that I know a lot of people would be interested in.

1960 Hummingbird Heritage Cherry Sunburst Light Aged
Manufacturer Description:
Built with a thermally aged Sitka spruce top, the 1960 Hummingbird reflects the appearance and performance of those early icons. It features Light Aging by the skilled artisans of the Murphy Lab. The Murphy Lab Light Aged finish treatment, paired with lightly aged hardware, simulates decades of light play wear, giving it the unique character, vibe, and feel of an original example from the Gibson Golden Era.

Why I'm Interested: This one is for the Swifties who’ll recognize this acoustic guitar from her Eras tour. I imagine that Taylor Swift could play almost any guitar on the planet if she wanted to. She chose this. There’s probably a custom element to hers, but if you want to strum along to “Betty” this would be the guitar to do it with.

Epiphone Jack Casady Bass
Manufacturer Description: The Jack Casady Signature Bass was designed by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend Jack Casady and is the culmination of years of experimentation by the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna bassist to find an instrument with superior electric tone and the response of an acoustic bass. Featuring the Casady-designed JCB low-impedance pickup and a three-position rotary impedance control for a wide range of tonal versatility.

Why I'm Interested: Because it would look good sitting next to the Gibson 1959 ES-335. Isn’t that enough? I have a friend who has one of these in his arsenal. I’m partial to the semi-hollow body, the thinness of the neck, and the warm fuzz that it makes when paired with a good distortion pedal.

Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar
Manufacturer Description: Johnny Marr is best known as the strikingly dynamic guitarist-arranger-songwriter behind the Smiths, who redefined and ruled U.K. pop in the 1980s. The maple neck is based on Marr's 1965 Jaguar, with a custom profile. vintage-style heel truss rod adjustment, and 7.25"-radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 vintage-style frets.

Why I'm Interested: A lot of fantastic sounds from the 1980s came from Fender guitars, But the Gibson guitars were cooler looking. Teenage me went for looks because he didn’t know better. Teenage me also had a Johnny Marr T-shirt. Everyone else was wearing Morrissey. I spent an hour with Marr twentysomething years ago. He gave me a great bit of advice about guitar playing, "You don't have to use the whole alphabet. Use the letters you know."

Schecter Robert Smith UltraCure VI
Why I'm Interested: I can’t find anything resembling an official description. So, I’ll do all the heavy lifting. In the 1960s and up through the mid-1970s Fender made a six-string guitar that is tuned an octave lower than a traditional guitar. Fender stopped making the VI in 1975. They’ve come and gone out of production by Fender starting in 1995. Robert Smith, vocalist and guitarist of The Cure who uses it extensively, did a redesign of the VI for Schecter Guitars. Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division fame has also been known to play a VI. It has a distinctive sound. Maybe too distinctive for some.

Reverend Reeves Gabrels Spacehawk
Manufacturer Description: The second signature Reverend from The Cure’s guitarist Reeves Gabrels (formerly with David Bowie, Tin Machine) takes semi-hollow design to another level. The highly resonant body, coupled with a set of revolutionary Railhammer Reeves Gabrels Signature pickups, make for a versatile and uniquely responsive guitar that handles everything from woody clean to high gain mean. Unique features include forearm contour, a sealed body for controlled feedback, an on-off toggle switch, a custom soft-touch tremolo spring, and a push-pull phase switch (in the tone control) to push the sonic boundaries. Finally, an innovative semi-hollow for cutting-edge players!

Why I'm Interested: I loved David Bowie’s foray into industrial music with the Outside, the IDM experiments of Earthling, and the haunted acoustics of Hours. The connective tissue of the three albums is Reeves Gabrels on guitar. He’d joined The Cure in 2012. His signature guitar, a semi-hallow electric called the Spacehawk, is gorgeous. Particularly the Black Sparkle model. I doubt that I could ever get it to scream like Gabrels does. I certainly would like to try.

Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi
Manufacturer Description: For over 40 years, the Big Muff Pi has helped define the sound of rock guitar. Three flexible yet powerful controls let you dial in the perfect sound. Crank the Volume to bring on the distortion while the Tone knob focuses on sonic color and the Sustain control unleashes a powerful, silky, singing tone. The Nano Big Muff Pi works and sounds identical in every way to the classic NYC Big Muff Pi. Electro Harmonix took the Big Muff circuit and simply shrunk it without changing its rich sustain and legendary sound.

Why I'm Interested: The Big Muff is one of the more infamous fuzz pedals with a rich history of noise-making since 1969. Some guy named It isn’t the be-all or end-all but I’d love to have the nano version as an option. I’d take the Mogwai Big Muff if anyone wanted to part with one.

Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man
Manufacturer Description: The Nano Deluxe Memory Man delivers EHX’s signature analog delay, chorus and vibrato plus some updates we’ve added including both Rate and Depth knobs for enhanced modulation control. It features a maximum delay time of 550mS, an internal user-accessible switch to turn delay tails on or off, true bypass switching when the tails feature is off and it comes equipped with a standard 9Volt power supply. For over 44 years the Deluxe Memory Man has been the gold standard for analog delay and modulation. Now it’s available in an ultra-compact package!

Why I'm Interested: Once upon a time, the Memory Man was U2's The Edge's pedal of choice. It might still be. If I'm going to be layering sounds, this is a great place to start.

Line 6 Helix Floor
Manufacturer Description: The Helix Floor amp and effect processor leverages HX modeling to deliver the authentic sound and feel of modern and vintage amps, cabs, and effects—while its player-friendly interface sets the standard for ease of use. Whether onstage, in the studio, or anyplace else—Helix Floor delivers outstanding performance.

Why I'm Interested: I’m trying to move away from racks for a more hands-on experience, but I love the Line 6 pedals that I’ve used. I’d give this a serious look before I write off multi-effect processors altogether.

Line 6 DL4 MkII
Manufacturer Description:
The DL4™ MkII includes all the sounds and functionality of the original DL4, along with 15 new MkII delays drawn from our HX family of effects processors (30 delays total), two loopers, an XLR microphone input, MIDI capabilities, heavy-duty footswitches, three bypass types, and microSD memory expansion—plus it's smaller and lighter than the DL4.

Why I'm Interested: The DL4 is iconic. I love mine. I get nervous about “upgrades” and new bells and whistles when the classic model is already fantastic. Still, there’s no harm in giving it a try. It’s not like I have to surrender one to have the other.

Alesis Nitro Max
Manufacturer Description:
The Alesis Nitro Max is an electronic drum kit featuring highly responsive mesh drumhead technology. Alesis mesh drumheads lead the way for natural, responsive electronic drum performance that enables accurate playing while maintaining a quiet environment, suitable for home use. It features a 10” dual-zone snare drum for dynamic play, (3) 8” toms, (3) 10” cymbals, A kick drum tower, as well as kick and hi-hat pedals, plus the necessary cabling, a rock solid rack stand, sticks and drum key.

Why I'm Interested: I live in a 100-year-old building. I don’t hear my neighbors, but I hear enough to know that no one wants to listen to an unskilled drummer pounding out rhythms. I work mostly with drum machines, but there’s something cathartic and unique about playing drums that you don’t get from punching buttons or swinging at a guitar. Technology has advanced in a way that allows electronic drums to display a certain amount of nuance and finesse that was missing before.

Moog Minimoog Model D
Manufacturer Description:
The three-oscillator, monophonic, analog synthesizer is securely housed in a locally sourced Appalachian cherry cabinet and hand-finished aluminum chassis. Sounding as vibrant and deep as ever, its legendary low-pass ladder filter, powerful oscillators, and rich saturating mixer retain the exact component placement and through-hole design of a 1970s-era Minimoog Model D.

Why I'm Interested: I’m a tactile person. I like pushing buttons, twisting knobs, and while I’m perfectly happy with my Moog Mother-32 and DFAM, the addition of keys is something I’d like to play with somewhere down the line.

Moog Sound Studio: Mother-32 & DFAM & Subharmonicon
Manufacturer Description: Moog Sound Studio: Mother-32 & DFAM & Subharmonicon is a new offering of semi-modular synthesizers and accessories created to provide users with all the equipment, cables, accessories, and educational tools needed to enter the world of analog synthesis for the first time or to continue to explore sound in an immersive new way. All you need is your own headphones or personal speaker and you’re ready to get started!

The development of this complete sonic exploration station that is Moog Sound Studio is a direct response to years of feedback from the growing synthesizer community. The all-in-one solution for beginning or continuing a journey in professional sound design includes everything the creator needs for an immersive, self-guided experience from any home or studio.

Why I'm Interested: As someone who primarily writes on his own, I’ve found that the Mother-32 and DFAM are a great way to kickstart the creative process. This set also includes a Subharmonicon would add an additional layer of sounds. But the best thing about the Moog Studio series is that it comes with a wealth of information and activities that will help you better understand how it all works.

Moog Mavis
Manufacturer Description:
As a stand-alone instrument, Mavis is a straightforward analog synthesizer with patchable modular utilities and unmistakable Moog sound and quality. Easily remove Mavis from its case and it becomes a 24-point CV controllable module (44hp) ready to be installed into your Eurorack system or alongside Moog’s other semi-modular instruments.

Why I'm Interested: Though I haven’t played with it, this looks to be the perfect entry-level Moog. Compact and packed with possibilities. The price is also attractive. Yes, there is some assembly required but I think that is actually part of the appeal.

KRK GoAux 3
Manufacturer Description: The KRK GoAux 3 portable nearfield monitors are designed to provide great sound anywhere you go. The perfect monitors for traveling musicians and engineers, they deliver renowned KRK sound quality in a mobile-friendly size.

Why I'm Interested: Due to the size of my place, there is nothing permanent about my setup.I tend to knock things about. Which is to say I’m rather clumsy. I need something a bit more rugged than a traditional, more expensive studio monitor. I’ll sacrifice a little sound quality for the practicality.

KRK Classic 5 Pack
Manufacturer Description: The CLASSIC 5 is an active (self-powered) two-way studio monitor that utilizes a 1" textile soft dome tweeter paired with a 5" glass aramid woofer. The built-in power amplifiers provide a total of 50 watts of power, with a 30-watt amp driving the woofer, and a 20-watt amp for the tweeter.

Why I'm Interested: If I was building something a little more permanent, this is where I’d start.

Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS12
Manufacturer Description: The Truetone CS12 1 SPOT Pro power supply is a 12-output isolated power supply perfect for powering a wide range of effects pedals and rack equipment. With 12 high-current, individually isolated outputs offering a variety of voltages and amps, the CS12 can handle powering an entire pedalboard or rack system. It features a universal input that works with any standard AC power cable and voltage from 100 to 240 VAC, 50/60Hz, making it ideal for use around the world. The CS12's rugged yet lightweight aluminum chassis occupies minimal space on a pedalboard or on a rack shelf.

Why I'm Interested: I need to declutter my life as much as possible and part of that process would be to get rid of the power strips I use for my guitar pedals and replace them with a single power supply. This move would also eliminate the buzz that often comes with pedals and power cables.

Pedaltrain Classic 1 with Tour Case
Manufacturer Description: Based on the original PT-1, the model that started it all, the Classic 1 features Pedaltrain’s original four-rail design and traditional rail spacing. However, the Classic 1 has been updated with an open front design (portholes are history) making power supply mounting more flexible and convenient.

Why I'm Interested: If I’m going to have a fancy power supply, I should pair it with a case that will keep all my pedals organized. If I did any live performances, a pedal board would be an absolute must.

Maestro Pedals
Manufacturer Description: When Gibson originally brought Maestro into the world 60 years ago, no one could have predicted its trailblazing success. After decades, Gibson has revived the brand with the debut of the Maestro Original Collection line of pedals. Introducing five new pedals, the Agena Envelope Filter, Arcas Compressor Sustainer, Mariner Tremolo, Orbit Phaser, and Titan Boost--designed and styled for musicians looking to create a unique sound.

Why I'm Interested: When I started playing guitar, I thought having a rackmount guitar processor was the coolest thing in the world. Rather than collecting pedals I just had to plug in and pick a preset. You can tweak the presets, but I’ve always felt like I didn’t have the control or quick-time flexibility that I wanted. I love layering sounds and with the processor, I felt like I was hitting a glass ceiling. I started adding pedals and greatly prefer them to my rackmounts. Gibson re-launched the Maestro brand last year and I’ve been intending to find time to see what unique sonic variations they create.

Boss DD-3Tand Boss DC-2W Dimension C
Manufacturer Description: BOSS’s iconic DD-3 Digital Delay has been a pedalboard staple since 1986, loved everywhere for its great sound and simple operation. With the DD-3T, we’ve updated the classic stomp with enhanced functionality while fully retaining the original’s sound and control layout. It’s now possible to tap in delay tempos using the onboard switch or an external one, with your choice of three beat subdivisions. The direct output jack has been moved next to the main output, providing easier connectivity for wet/dry setups.

Manufacturer Description: Highly sought-after by musicians and audio engineers, the Dimension’s unique spatial processing magically enhances the width and depth of any sound, from electric and acoustic guitars to keyboards, vocals, and other sources. Built from the original circuit designs and updated with modern refinements, the DC-2W is the only pedal available that delivers the classic Dimension experience with complete sonic authenticity.

Why I'm Interested: For nostalgia. As a super-sized fan of The Cure the chorus and delay of Boss pedals is like reuniting with an old friend. Essential if you intend to inject a bit of post-punk into your sound.

SOMA Laboratory: COSMOS
Manufacturer Description: COSMOS is a drifting memory station designed to work with meditative states through music. The design of the controls, functions and generated soundscapes are intended to evoke, in both performer and listener, states and experiences inherent in meditation, such as limitless space, fluidity, spontaneous development, presence, the ability to hear, tranquility, the experience of subtle harmony and happiness enveloping the whole world. From a functional point of view, COSMOS is a large array of sound memory, in which recorded sounds undergo constant recombinations, spontaneously generating an ever-changing soundscape.

Why I'm interested: The idea of an infinite and shifting soundscape genuinely intrigues me. I love the concept of music as a ritual ceremony and the COSMOS feels like the sort of sculpting tool that an avant-garde musician like Coil would use to deconstruct and transform sound in both the studio and a live setting. I’d be interested to see how COSMOS handles harsh, discordant sounds. Golden Master Pedal
Manufacturer Description: Based on our Golden Master eurorack module and our experience in electronic live music performances, we developed Golden Master – a multiband processor pedal with a surprisingly wide application palette: from guitarists (and especially bass guitarists) to pedalboards’ or entire electronic mix end-of-chain processor to deliver high-pressure audio for live concerts and venues: sound loud and punchy without overloading the master limiter.

Why I'm interested: Considering I have no current intention of performing live a compressor might seem a bit superfluous. If I’m going to be doing the bulk of the heavy lifting on my own, I’d like to have something tactile that I can use on the fly to help pull back or push up the racket that I intend on making. Ghost Pedal
Manufacturer Description: Immerse yourself and go beyond the boundaries of what is possible with a conventional guitar or synth pedal. Ghost Pedal brings you new possibilities of tone shaping with its state-of-the-art flexible audio routing chain, allowing you to jump between dimensions with a single press of a button.

From earth-shaking subharmonics and distorted drones to angelic shimmer reverbs and anything in between, Ghost is a Pedal for the adventurous sound designers and the most demanding guitar and synth players. Intuitive UI coupled with hands-on control and preset storage allows you to stay in the now and focus on your performance.

Why I'm interested: I would like to buy a drink for whoever wrote the second paragraph. “Shanking harmonics,” “distorted drones” and “angelic shimmer” is precisely what I want to do. If were to make a Milky Way pedal, I’d probably want to play with that too.

Alto Professional Busker
Manufacturer Description: The Alto Professional Busker is the battery-operated PA for active on-the-go musical performers who demand top-tier sound in a portable solution that will be at home on any stage. With its optimized woofer and tweeter pairing for 200 watts of output, Busker delivers clear, focused sound that makes your music shine in any environment. Connect your mics and line-level instruments or devices with the integrated 3-channel mixer with easily accessible control knobs to dial-in volume without stopping the music.

Why I'm interested: I keep saying I have no intention to perform live. I was including the Alto Professional Busker because of the functionality and portability of the PA. But the idea of setting up in various back alleyways with a guitar, a pedal or two, and an EBow is appealing. It might actually be a solid alternative to studio monitors. Or I could grab a mic and do some Kylie Minogue karaoke.

Austrian Audio MiCreator Studio
Manufacturer Description: The Austrian Audio MiCreator is a new type of creative tool. Equal parts high-quality condenser microphone and simple audio interface with USB-C connectivity, MiCreator gives you the flexibility to create what you want—how you want. Just plug in and start recording in top-notch audio quality instantly. Or expand your setup using MiCreator’s additional input to achieve stereo recordings, record an additional sound source, and more. And whether you’re recording at home or on the go, you can create with confidence thanks to MiCreator’s ultra-durable metal housing. So, whether you’re looking for a capable plug-and-play microphone or a multifaceted production tool, MiCreator simplifies your creative process and delivers no-compromise results.

Why I'm interested: I don’t have a bottomless budget. Quite the opposite. So, if I am going to invest in something I need it to be incredibly versatile. Austrian Audio’s MiCreator Studio is something of a Swiss Army Knife in that it could be used for podcasting and recording vocals and or instruments. The in/out connection allows for an additional Satellite unit for interviews and multi-channel recording.

I’ve had a chance to play with this. Initially, I thought that I would use this primarily for collecting “found sounds” that I could sample and work into songs (like the pots and pans falling down the stairs in Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours” or the background soundscape that exists behind their ballad “Somebody”). Considering what the MiCreator Studio is capable of, that’s the equivalent of renting a Ferrari to drive a block to get groceries.

Austrian Audio OD505 Active Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Manufacturer Description:
The OD505 Active Dynamic Vocal Microphone is designed primarily for the stage, though it is also a very capable microphone for studio application. Uncompromisingly robust, it combines all the advantages of a dynamic microphone with the tonal finesse of a condenser microphone.

The OD505 is the perfect choice for singers, podcasters and radio broadcasters. Its amazingly natural sound makes it very easy to shape and highlight a vocalist’s strengths.

Why I'm interested: With a tight budget in mind, I wanted a microphone that would be capable of working in a studio or a live setting. The MiCreator System might cover all of my studio needs. I’d want something a bit more traditional should I ever be talked into performing. I’m too clumsy and would move around too much to be completely comfortable with just the MiCreator System.

Catalinbread Bell Epoch Deluxe
Manufacturer Description:
Exact EP-3 circuitry, from the 22-volt power rail, to the JFET preamp (later spec), to the mixer stage, to the high gain silicon transistor-based record and playback amplifiers, to the feedback loop. All circuitry is faithfully reproduced and fine-tuned from the original EP-3 specifications. The only thing missing is the record and playback heads, with a 24-bit high-fidelity digital delay line taking the place of the tape.

Catalinbread Soft Focus Reverb
Manufacturer Description: The Soft Focus patch on the Yamaha FX500 was widely used in the ‘90s by early shoegaze bands, most notably Slowdive on Souvlaki. With its roots in that patch, the Catalinbread Soft Focus is intended to be an instant shoegaze button, while addressing the most glaring issues of the original unit: no mix control, a sub-par preamp, and a ghastly tone-sucking bypass signal. At its heart, the Soft Focus is a heavily modified plate reverb with adjustable time, which is subsequently split into three paths. One path contains a multi-voiced chorus modulator, another features a well-appointed octave-up mixed in with the reverb, and the third path leaves the reverb untouched. The Mod knob controls the rate of the chorus on path one, and the Symphony knob controls the level of the octave on path two. All controls are "coupled" to the tone of the reverb to give users an expansive playing field of sounds to discover and fine-tune.

Fuzzrite Germanium
Manufacturer Description: Why I'm Interested: From the years of 1966 to 1968, Mosrite produced two distinct fuzz circuits---one outfitted with silicon transistors, the other with germanium parts. Of the two, the Germanium version is by far the most rare, with original designer and Mosrite employee Ed Sanner estimating that around 250 ever made it out the door. In that final year of production, Mosrite shifted exclusively to silicon parts, making germanium components a thing of the past. However, by 1968 the public was hungry for fuzz, having heard it on a handful of recordings, most notably "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly and "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock. These two buzzy, sinewy fuzz tones were part of a wave of psychedelic rock gaining traction in the mainstream, and both were recorded before the introduction of the silicon Fuzzrite. Other purported users of this early Fuzzrite circuit include Ron Asheton of the Stooges, Norman Greenbaum on "Spirit in the Sky", Henry Vestine of Canned Heat, and many others. We at Catalinbread happen to have a Germanium version at our disposal, and we've used it as a benchmark to create an extremely faithful version with a modern twist. Just like the original, the Catalinbread Fuzzrite Germanium includes two NOS PNP germanium semiconductors with a polarity inverter IC so it plays nice with all forms of power. Unlike the original, we've added a toggle switch to shift into modern mode, significantly beefing up the low-end content to suit more contemporary rigs.

Why I'm Interested: I know that I am incredibly late to the Catalinbread party. I lost focus for gear just as Catalinbread was hitting its stride. While doing some reasearch for this article I found myself wandering my way through YouTube exploring what I’d missed in the last 15 years. Inevitably I’d end up on videos raving about Catalinbread. I’ve yet to give them a try. The BELLE EPOCH DELUXE, Soft Focus Reverb, and Fuzzrite Germanium are the most eye-catching from a sonic point of view.

Manufacturer Description:
Equipped with the same ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC Technology found in audio interfaces costing thousands, the M4 delivers an astonishing 120 dB Dynamic Range on its main outputs. ESS converters also drive the headphone output, which rivals dedicated headphone amplifiers costing hundreds. Ultra-clean preamp circuits produce a measured -129 dBu EIN on the mic inputs. Capture and monitor your audio with pristine clarity.

Why I'm Interested: Around 2005, in what proved to be something of a last hurrah for me musically, I was fortunate enough to get some gear tips from one of my favorite keyboardists. We’ve lost touch but was nothing but happy with the MUTU I bought nearly 20 years ago. I’ve yet to tinker with a new setup. When the day comes that I need to upgrade, I’ll look at the M4 first.

Komplete Kontrol A49
Manufacturer Description:
Get hands-on with all of your instruments and effects from a smart, streamlined keyboard at an affordable price. Find, tweak, and capture your sounds, perform on a best-in-class keybed, and express yourself with the included collection of pro-grade instruments.

Why I'm Interested: I've made some terrible keyboard decisions in my life. Not because the gear itself was terrible. I just didn't have the patience or skill set to utilize their strengths. The A49 looks to be exactly what I’d want. It is simple without being completely hamstrung.

Roland TR-6S Compact Drum Machine
Manufacturer Description:
With the TR-6S, you get six tracks of advanced drum sequencing and the most iconic rhythm sounds in music history—all in a battery-powered box that fits just about anywhere. And like other Roland drum machines, it’s fun and inspiring. With the familiar step sequencer plus dedicated faders and knobs, it’s easy to craft custom beats with visceral, hands-on control.

Why I'm Interested: Earlier in this article I talked about my curiosity about electronic drum kits. Maybe it’s the goth in me, I love drum machines. I always have. So, I look forward to adding something Roland to accompany my Moog DFM. I’m sure I’ll go down a few rabbit holes with new technology at some point, but having the classic Roland sounds to work with will be more than enough to build a foundation.

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