Posts tagged ‘C3000’

08/11/2017

Rockway + Kitarablogi – Ukulelekatsaus on ilmestynyt!

Suuri sopraanoukulelekatsaus on ilmestynyt Rockwayn blogissa.

Katso TÄSTÄ ja TÄSTÄ.

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01/11/2017

Ukulele Strings – Nylgut or Fluorocarbon?

Where there’s a forum, there’s a fight – or at least that’s what it looks like.

Electric guitarists like to argue for ages about valve amplifiers and digital amp modellers, and which one is ”better”.

Uke players, for their part, get all hot under the collar when it comes to ukulele strings. There are two main camps – Nylgut-fans and fluorocarbon-connoisseurs. Although the uke is classified as an nylon-string instrument, very few instruments are strung with straight nylon anymore.

Nylgut and Supernylgut strings have been developed in Italy. A string company named Aquila came up with a patented way of manufacturing plastic strings, whose sound and feel is as close as possible to traditional gut strings. Gut strings have always been somewhat problematic, because it is hard to produce a string of uniform quality, when the basic material is of animal origin. Additionally, gut strings react far stronger to changes in humidity and temperature (resulting in pitch fluctuations), compared to plastics like nylon.

Aquila Nylguts have become a de facto industry standard, especially for affordable and mid-price ukuleles.

Nylguts are easy to spot thanks to their milky look and silky surface. First-generation Nylgut strings tended to have a coarser surface, which made them susceptible to a bit of handling noise (faint squeaks), but current versions have managed to do away with this problem (almost) completely.

Aquila Nylguts tend to produce a crisp, bright and open sound, which is why they can be a good choice for darker sounding ukuleles (like many plywood-bodied instruments). Some players, though, dislike the soft bendiness of Nylgut strings.

Fluorocarbon strings are a quite recent addition, too, despite the fact that the material has already been in use for fishing lines for quite some time. Fluorocarbon is a sturdy and dense material that makes it possible to make slightly smaller gauge strings than Nylgut. Fluorocarbons also tend to feel a bit stiffer.

C.F. Martin’s ukuleles come strung with fluorocarbons as standard, and many high-end makers have started to follow Martin’s lead. Fluorocarbon strings are also quite popular with progressive players and many vintage ukulele owners.

Most fluorocarbon strings are clear, even though you can also buy coloured versions of this string type, too. In Finland Martin-strings are the most widely available, but many other manufacturers, like D’Addario, GHS or Worth, make their own quality fluorocarbons.

A seldomly mentioned advantage of fluorocarbon strings is that – because of their slightly smaller diameter – they can sometimes solve intonation problems, if a uke pitches slightly sharp with a set of Nylguts.

Fluorocarbon strings tend to sound meatier and punchier compared to Nylgut strings.

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The audio clips have been played on a pair of Martin Style 2-type sopranos – a Sigma SUM-2S (Supernylgut) and an Ohana SK-38 (fluorocarbon).

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Read Kitarablogi’s Ukulele Round-up 2017 HERE.Save

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31/10/2017

Ukulelekielet – Nylgut vai fluorocarbon?

Missä nettifoorumi siinä ilmiriita – tai siitä ainakin näyttää.

Sähkökitaristit kinastelevat siitä, onko putkivahvistin parempi kuin digitaalinen vastine.

Ukulelesoittajat taas riitelevät kielistä. On olemassa kaksi pääleiriä – Nylgut-fanit ja fluorocarbon-ystävät.

Nylgut- ja Supernylgut-kielet on keksitty Italiassa. Aquila-niminen kieltenvalmistaja keksi tavan valmistaa muovisia kieliä, joiden soundi ja soittotuntuma on mahdollisimman lähellä laadukkaita suolikieliä. Suolikielten huonot puolet ovat – eläinperäisyyden lisäksi – tasalaatuisuuden saavuttamisen hankaluus, sekä se että kielet elävät tuntuvasti sään mukaan (niiden vire muuttuu).

Aquila Nylgut -kielistä on tullut edullisien ja keskihintaisten ukulelejen keskuudessa tietynlainen laatustandardi.

Nylgutit tunnistaa yleensä kielten maitomaisesta värityksestä ja silkkisestä pinnasta. Vanhoissa Nylgut-kielissä niiden karheammasta pinnasta syntyi joskus kummallisia sivuäänejä (vikinä) soittaessaan, mutta nykyisissä versioissa ongelma on saatu (lähes) sataprosenttisesti halttuun.

Aquila Nylgut -kielten sointi on suhteellisen kirkas ja hyvin avoin, minkä ansiosta ne ovatkin hyvä valinta tummasti soivalle soittimelle (esim. vanerikoppainen ukulele). Jotkut soittajat eivät kuitenkaan tykkää Nylgut-kielten taipuisuudesta.

Fluorocarbon-kielet ovat myös melko uusi keksintö, vaikka materiaalia tunnetaan jo pidemmän ajan kalastussiimoista. Fluorocarbon on hyvin kestävä materiaali, josta saa valmistettua Nylgutia (tai nylonia) ohuempia kieliä, joilla on kuitenkin jäykempi tatsi.

C.F. Martinin ukulelet toimitetaan tehtaasta fluorocarbon-kielillä, ja niiden suosio vintage-ukulelejen omistajien ja progressivisten soittajien keskuudessa on yhä kasvussa.

Fluorocarbon-kielet ovat usein täysin läpinäkyviä, vaikka värillisiä vaihtoehtojakin on olemassa. Yleisimmät fluorocarbon-kielet Suomessa ovat varmasti Martin-kielet.

Yksi etu fluorocarboneissa – josta ei puhuta niin usein – on, että kielet voivat joskus, pienemmän läpimittansa ansiosta, parantaa hieman ylivireisesti soivan ukulelen intonaatiota.

Fluorocarbon-kielet soivat tavallisesti hieman isommalla keskialueella ja volyymillä kuin Nylgut-satsi.

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Esimerkkipätkät on soitettu kahdella Martin Style 2 -tyylisillä sopraanoukuleleilla – Sigma SUM-2S (Supernylgut) ja Ohana SK-38 (fluorocarbon).

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Kitarablogin suuri ukulelekatsaus 2017 löytyy TÄÄLTÄ.

Rockwayn sopraanoukulele-katsaus ilmestyy marraskuun alussa: blog.rockway.fi/

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20/10/2017

Rockway + Kitarablogi – Sopraanoukulelet

Demobiisi on coverversio Yellen/Ager-biisistä ”Ain’t She Sweet”.
Ukulelet äänitettiin kahdella AKG C3000 -studiomikrofoneilla.
Tämä Rockway-katsaus ilmestyy marraskuun alussa: blog.rockway.fi/

02/05/2017

Testipenkissä: Mayson Guitars M3/OCE

Monille Mayson Guitars ei ole tuttu nimi.

Olen melko varma, että tilanne tulee muuttumaan lähitulevaisuudessa. Mayson on kiinalainen kitarabrändi, joka pyrkii kehittämään omat ratkaisunsa designin ja valmistusmenetelmien suhteen, pelkän kopionnin sijasta. Maysonin pääsuunnittelija on Alex Wang, jonka käsialaa ovat firman monet rakenteelliset ja tuotantoteknilliset parannukset. Tavoitteena on rakentaa laadukkaita teräskielisiä kitaroita muusikkoystävälliseen hintaan.

Mayson Guitarsin merkittävimmät innovaatiot koskevat firman patentoitua kaulan ruuviliitosta, kansien rimoituksia, sekä hieman syvempien kaikukoppien käyttämistä lämpimämmän soundin tuottamiseksi.

(photo: Mayson Guitars)

Kitarablogi sai Maysonin suomalaiselta maahantuojalta, NordSoundilta, Mayson M3/OCE -kitaran testiin.

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Mayson M3/OCE (558 €; topattu pussi kuuluu hintaan) kuuluu valmistajan Luthier-sarjaan. Kyseisessä mallissa on Mayson Marquis -kokoinen koppa (vastaa Grand Auditorium -mallia) soololovella, sekä aktiivinen mikkijärjestelmä.

M3/OCE on hyvin tyylikäs ja näyttävä soitin, jossa on kokopuinen ovangkol -kansi, sekä vaneripohja ja -rimat samasta kauniista puusta. Ovangkol on ruusupuun kaukainen sukulainen (ei uhanalainen) Afrikasta.

Maysonin kaula on veistetty mahongista, ja sen otelautaan on käytetty intialaista palisanteria. Nauhojen profiili on perinteisen kapea.

Mayson kayttää kitaroissaan omavalmisteisia, avoimia viritinkoneistoja.

Virittimet on upotettu lavan puuhun, mikä estää hyvin tehokkaasti kaiken ei-toivotun liikkumisen sivusuunnassa.

Sekä satulaan, että kompensoituun tallaluuhun on M3/OCE:ssa käytetty aitoa naudanluuta.

Testisoittimeen on asennettu Maysonin oma MPC-6 Purecoustics mikrofonijärjestelmä.

Järjestelmän etuaste tarjoaa kolme säädintä – volume, basso ja diskantti.

Testikitaran ainoa pieni pistevähennys tulee sen irrallisesta paristopussista. Pussia paikallaan pitävä tarranauha oli irronnut kaulablokin vierestä, minkä vuoksi paristo roikkui ainoastaan johtimien varassa kitaran kopassa.

M3/OCE:ssä on tyylikäs rosetti ja puusta tehty reunalistoitus.

Laadukas kirkas viimeistely tuo ovangkolin kauniit syykuviot esiin.

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Kyllä, kyllä, myönnän sen avoimesti:

Olen kauniiden puiden suuri ystävä, eikä Mayson M3 jätä tässä suhteessa todellakaan toivomisen varaa.

Kaunis ulkonäkö on M3/OCE:ssä kuitenkin vain osa erittäin toimivaa kokonaisuutta. Kitaran soitettavuus on erinomaisella tasolla, mistä on kiittäminen laadukasta nauhatyötä ja kaulan mukavaa D-profiilia.

Parasta tässä Maysonissa on mielestäni kuitenkin kitaran soundi. Testikitara soi täyteläisesti, mutta tarkasti, ja se tarjoaa aimon annoksen tuoreutta ja helinää diskantissa. M3/OCE:n sointia voisi kuvailla jopa flyygelimäiseksi.

Maysonin piezomikitys ja sen MPC-6 Purecoustics -etuaste toimivat moiteettomasti. Helppokäyttöisestä järjestelmästä saa hyvinkin käyttökelpoisen piezotulkinnan kitaran akustisesta soundista.

Tässä lyhyt näppäilypätkä, jonka äänitin AKG C3000 -mikrofonilla:

…ja sama näyte kitaran omalla mikrofonijärjestelmällä taltioituna:

Hieman plektrasoittoa AKG:lla nauhoitettuna:

…ja sama pätkä Purecoustics-järjestelmän kautta:

Demobiisi koostuu kolmesta stereoraidasta, joiden taltiointiin on käytetty kahta C3000-mikrofonia:

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Minun mielestäni Mayson M3/OCE on todella hieno teräskielinen akustinen toimivalla piezoelektroniikalla, hyvinkin reiluun hintaan. Ovangkol -kopan ansiosta kitara näyttää yhtä kauniilta kuin se soi.

Se on siis kaikin puolin kokeilemisen arvoinen peli.

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Mayson M3/OCE

558 € (topattu pussi kuuluu hintaan)

Maahantuoja: NordSound

Plussat:

+ erittäin kaunis ovangkol-koppa

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ akustinen soundi

+ mikitetty soundi

Miinukset:

– pariston vaihtaminen hieman työlästä

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17/03/2017

Review: Mayson Guitars M3/OCE

Most of you will not have heard of Mayson Guitars, yet.

I’d guess this will change soon, because this ambitious Chinese acoustic guitar maker is not content with simply copying other people’s designs and building techniques. Mayson’s chief designer Alex Wang has come up with many structural improvements and updated manufacturing methods to make a better steel-string guitar.

Key changes include Mayson’s patented bolt-on neck joint, their own special top bracing pattern, and deeper bodies for a richer sound.

(photo: Mayson Guitars)

Mayson Guitars’ Finnish distributor NordSound kindly supplied us with a Mayson M3/OCE for this review.

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The Mayson M3/OCE (price in Finland: 558 €; incl. gig bag) comes from the company’s Luthier Series and is a Mayson Marquis-sized (Grand Auditorium) cutaway model with a built-in pickup and preamp system.

The M3/OCE is an extremely beautiful steel-string with a richly grained solid ovangkol top, and laminated ovangkol sides and back. Ovangkol is a non-endangered African relative of rosewood.

The Mayson’s neck is crafted from mahogany and topped with an Indian rosewood fingerboard sporting narrow frets.

Mayson uses its own special style of open gear machine heads.

The tuners are sunk into the back of the headstock to prevent any sideways movement of the machine heads.

The M3/OCE comes with a top nut and a compensated bridge saddle both made from genuine bone.

Our review instrument comes with Mayson’s own MPC-6 Purecoustics pickup system.

The preamp offers you three unobtrusive knobs to adjust your sound – volume, bass and treble.

The only point deduction comes in the guise of a freewheeling battery pouch. The sticky tape holding the velcro supposed to hold the battery pouch in place (next to the neck block) has become unstuck somewhere down the line, leaving the battery hanging from the preamp by its connecting cables.

The M3/OCE comes adorned in tasteful wood binding.

The guitar has received a flawless natural gloss finish.

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I must admit to it:

I’m a real sucker for beautiful woods, so the Mayson M3 got me on its side straight away, thanks to its stunning ovangkol soundbox.

But the M3/OCE isn’t only looks! This guitar plays great, not least thanks to its comfortable D-profile neck, and a very decent fret job.

In my view, the best thing about this Mayson is the way it sounds, though. The sound is rich, well-defined, and offers plenty of zing and sparkle. This is a huge sound with fantastic definition, which reminds me of a grand piano.

Mayson’s MPC-6 Purecoustics pickup system also ticks all the right boxes in my opinion, giving you a very decent piezo version of the M3/OCE’s acoustic voice.

Here’s a short clip played fingerstyle and recorded with a single AKG C3000 microphone:

…and the same clip recorded using the guitar’s pickup system:

Here I’ve used a plectrum and the AKG mic:

…and here’s the same piece recorded with the Purecoustics system:

The demo track consists of three different stereo guitar tracks, all recorded with a pair of C3000s:

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The Mayson M3/OCE is a fine acoustic guitar with a very decent pickup system at a very fair price. The ovangkol soundbox makes this guitar a real thing of beauty.

I can only recommend you try one out for yourself.

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Mayson M3/OCE

558 € (includes gig bag)

Finnish distributor: NordSound

Pros:

+ gorgeous ovangkol body

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ acoustic sound

+ pickup sound

Cons:

– no quick-access battery compartment

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16/03/2017

Mayson Guitars M3/OCE – The Kitarablogi-video

Contact: NordSound

15/03/2017

Guitar Porn: Mayson Guitars M3/OCE

Contact: NordSound

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14/03/2017

First View: Mayson Guitars M3/OCE

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Contact: NordSound

09/11/2016

Review: Bluetone Shadows Reverb

For many guitarists the Vox AC30 is the greatest guitar amp ever made – bar none.

The combo was originally designed for the instrumental group The Shadows, but it became known worldwide as ”The Beatles Amp”. Over the decades, many other guitarists have favoured Vox’ best known design. Users include people like Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher and U2’s The Edge. Many Finnish Shadows-/Ventures-style bands (”rautalankka”) also favour the AC30.

Despite their legendary status, vintage Vox AC30s also do have their issues:

This large 2 x 12″ combo weighs quite a lot, making it a little hard to carry alone. Old Voxes also are non-master volume amps, which means that attaining natural distortion comes at the cost of serious sound pressure levels – often too much for small clubs and function gigs. Old AC30s also have all their valves – yes, also the power amp tubes – placed inside an almost completely closed metal chassis. This has led to vintage-Voxes getting an infamous reputation as relatively prone to catching fire.

vox-chassis-studiofreak-photobucket

(photo: Studiofreak/Photobucket)

Boutique amp makers Bluetone (from Helsinki, Finland) have recently come up with their special take on the beloved classic combo. Their new amp is called Bluetone Shadows Reverb, and it comes with a whole number of welcome improvements and modern features.

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bluetone-shadows-reverb-front-angle

Bluetone’s Shadows Reverb (reviewed version: 1,950 €) is a single-channel all-valve amp loaded with a genuine spring reverb. The combo represents the company’s view of what constitutes a perfect Top Boost-channel tone, all presented in a much more compact format.

The Shadows Reverb is a class AB amp, and it offers between 15 and 30 Watts of output power, depending on the setting of its built-in Variac.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-back-angle

The combo’s cabinet is made from high-grade plywood. The Shadows Reverb is a good deal smaller and less deep than its classic forebear from the 1960s.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-speakers

This reduction in heft is due mostly to the use of 10-inch Celestion Alnico Gold speakers in place of the AC30’s 12-inch speaker pair.

The speakers in the Shadows Reverb combo have been ”played in” for a number of hours (using an oscillator) to get rid of the typical tightness of brand-new Alnico Golds.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-power-amp-valves

This Bluetone-combo uses three 12AX7-tubes, and a single 12AT7 in its preamp section.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-premp-valves-transformers

The power amp runs on a quartet of EL84 valves. The Shadows Reverb is a cathode-biased valve amp, which means that replacing the power amp tubes doesn’t usually necessitate any rebiasing.

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bluetone-shadows-reverb-front-panel

Yes, the Bluetone Shadows Reverb is ”just” a single-channel combo, but it is far from a single sound guitar amplifier. In large part this is thanks to the brilliant modern features Bluetone has incorporated into this homage.

The Shadows Reverb offers you two guitar inputs – High and Low – for use with single coil- and humbucker-equipped instruments.

The preamp features a two-band Baxandall EQ-section – with typically interactive controls for Bass and Treble – as well as a three-stage Bass Cut rotary switch, which offers you two fatter alternatives to the famously bright and wiry Vox Top Boost sound.

The onboard spring reverb sounds fantastic and is a real treat to work with, giving you everything from completely dry tones to Surf Music antics.

The power amp section comes with three controls:

Cut allows you to make overall adjustments to the combo’s treble output.

Bluetone’s Master Volume-control is placed after the phase inverter, right at the end of the signal chain. This allows you to get juicy power amp distortion at low volume levels, and with only minimal changes in the amp’s tone.

As mentioned before, the Shadows Reverb comes with a built-in Variac circuit. Although the Variac also has a bearing on the combo’s output level, it works in a completely different way to the master volume, namely by dropping the voltage the power amp runs on. Turning the Variac down will result in a good deal less clean headroom and more power amp sag.

Due to large public interest, I had to return the Shadows Reverb much earlier than anticipated, but I still managed to record two different demo tracks with the Bluetone amp.

The first (clean) track features rhythm guitar tracks played on a Fender Telecaster (left channel) and a 1970s Japanese copy of a Gibson ES-335 (Kasuga; right channel). The lead guitar part was played on a Fender Stratocaster. All guitar tracks have been recorded with an AKG C3000 microphone placed approximately 80 cm from the combo’s front:

The second track (overdriven) has been recorded with a Stratocaster. The distortion comes from the Shadows Reverb (no pedals used), and all tracks have been close-miked with a pair of Shure SM57s:

bluetone-shadows-reverb-master-section

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Bluetone’s Shadows Reverb is an outstanding boutique amp take on the Vox AC30 motif. Like all other Bluetone amps, the Shadows Reverb is carefully handmade in Finland to the company’s strict quality standards. This results in reliable top-drawer tools for the musician, with extremely low levels of hiss and negligible AC hum.

I had a great time test driving this combo. The Bluetone Shadows Reverb simply delivers all it promises with style and panache. The combo weighs approximately half of the original classic (AC30s usually weigh between 31 to 36 kg, depending on their specific vintage and the speakers they come loaded with). The reduced size means you won’t be having any problems lifting this beauty into the boot of a small car, such as a Ford Fiesta.

Thanks to the additional features of this Bluetone combo – like the Bass Cut and the Variac – you will be able to enjoy the great sound of the Shadows Reverb anywhere you want, be it at home or on stage.

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Bluetone Shadows Reverb

Prices starting at approx. 1,700 € (reviewed version: 1,950 €)

Manufacturer: Bluetone Amps

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Pros:

+ handmade in Finland

+ size

+ weight

+ valve-powered spring reverb

+ Variac- and Master Volume-controls

+ sound

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