Posts tagged ‘uutuus’

11/06/2018

Testipenkissä: Shadow JMS-52-E-NS

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Shadow JMS-52 ei ole ehkä maailman raflaavin mallitunnus, mutta tämän nimen takana piilee todella kiinnostava soitin. JMS-52 on nimittäin kokonaan lämpökäsitellyistä puista tehty akustinen kitara piezomikrofonilla, vaikka sen hinta pysyy reilusti alle 500 euron.

Shadow on monille varmasti tuttu saksalaisena soitinmikrofonien ja etuvahvistimien valmistajana. Firman päällikkö, Joe Marinic, halusi kuitenkin ottaa seuraavan askeleen ja laajentaa toimintaansa akustisien kitaroiden valmistukseen. Hän perusti Kiinaan huippumodernin kitaratehtaan, jossa lähes kaikki työvaiheet on automatisoitu, myös mm. soittimien viimeistely ja kiillotus. Marinic pyysi Shadow-kitaroiden suunnittelijaksi mukaan vanhan Gibson Montana (ja Guild) -legendan Ren Fergusonin, jolla on vankka tietotaito sekä perinteisestä kitararakentamisesta että nykyaikaisista tuotantoprosesseista.

Tässä on Shadowin tuottama video kiinalaisen tehtaan toiminnasta:

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Shadow JMS-52-E-NS (458 euroa) on soitin, jossa testaajan katse menee aluksi epäuskoisena ominaisuuksista hintalappuun ja takaisin. Miten Shadow pystyy tarjoamaan tällaisen soittimen näin edullisesti?

Kuten mainitsin jo alussa, Shadow JMS-52:n kaikkukoppa on tehty kokonaan lämpökäsitellyistä puista. Oikeaoppisesti tehty lämpökäsittely muuttaa puun rakennetta solutasolla niin, että se vastaa lähes täydellisesti vuosikymmeniä kuivattua puuta.

Tämän cutaway dreadnought -mallin kokopuinen kansi on kuusta.

JMS-52:n kokopuiset sivut ja pohja on veistetty mahongista, samoin kuin kitaran kaula.

Kitara on viimeistelty hyvin ohuella mattalakkauksella.

Otelauta tehdään ”blackwoodista”. Oletan että tässä on kyse malaisialaisesta puulajista (diospyros ebonasea), joka on eebenpuun ei-uhanalainen sukulainen.

Otelautaan on siististi asennettu 20 keskikokoista nauhaa. Shadowin satula on aitoa naudanluuta.

Virittiminä toimivat laadukkaat kopiot 1930-luvun Grovereista.

Myös JMS:n Martin-tyylinen talla on tehty blackwoodista. Kompensoitu tallaluu on aitoa luuta.

JMS-52-E:hen on asennettu helppokäyttöinen mikrofonijärjestelmä, jonka volume- ja tone-säätimet löytyvät kätevästi kaikuaukon yläreunan alta.

Mikkijärjestelmän paristolokero ja sen lähtöjakki on sijoitettu samaan yksilöön hihnatapin viereen.

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Shadow JMS-52:n työnjälkeä voi kuivailla sanoilla erittäin siisti ja hyvin laadukas. Testiyksilö on mainio soitin – eikä vain ”hintaansa nähden” – vaan ylipäänsä. Soundi on inspiroiva ja soittotuntuma todella mukava.

Shadowin kaulaprofiilissa näkyy – tai paremmin tuntuu – selvästi Ren Fergusonin käsiala. Tässä ei ole kyse sellaisesta puolivillaisesta, matalasta profiilista, jolla on tarkoitus palvella myös oletettuja ”sähkökitaristien tarpeita”, vaan ihan oikeasta teräskielisen kitaran profiilista. Tätä profiilia kutsuisin pyöreäksi C:ksi, joka on Shadowin tapauksessa tarpeeksi tukeva pitkiä sessioita varten, mutta ei liian paksu toimivaksi yleisratkaisuksi.

En tiedä johtuuko asia kokonaan lämpökäsitellystä puusta vai johtuuko tämä myös hyvästä designista, mutta Shadow JMS-52 -malli soi heti kättelyssä hyvin ”aikuisella” äänellä. Monia uusia teräskielisiä täytyy ensin soittaa muutama viikko sisään, ennen kuin taipumus yli-innokkaaseen trebleen ja kireään dynamiikkatoistoon häviää. Tämä Shadow taas tuntuu jo valmiiksi sisäänsoitetulta.

Dreadnought-soundista ei varmasti tarvitse paljon puhua, kun me kaikki tiedämme miltä sellainen teräskielinen kuulostaa. Shadow JMS-52:lla on ainakin soundi ja soitettavuus kohdillaan, ja myös sen mikrofonijärjestelmä toimii niin kuin pitää:

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Tämän testin perusteella sanoisin, että Shadow-kitaroilla on edessä loistava tulevaisuus.

Tässä tarjotaan laatua isolla L:llä uskomattoman edullisesti.

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Shadow JMS-52-E-NS

458 €

Maahantuoja: Musiikki Silfverberg

Kiitos Vantaan Musiikille testikitaran lainaamisesta!

Plussat:

+ kokopuinen

+ lämpökäsiteltyjä puita

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundiSave

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23/05/2018

Shadow JMS 52-E-NS – the Kitarablogi-video

22/05/2018

Now on SoundCloud: Shadow JMS 52E-NS

Shadow JMS-52E-NS

• all solid cutaway dreadnought
• thermo-treated woods
• solid German spruce top
• solid African mahogany rims and back
• mahogany neck
• blackwood fretboard
• genuine bone nut and bridge saddle
• built-in Shadow pickup system with master volume and tone

Rhythm guitars recorded with an AKG C3000. Lead guitar recorded direct off the Shadow pickup and preamp.

Contact: Musiikki Silfverberg

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11/05/2018

Testi tulossa ::: Review coming soon::: Shadow JMS 52-E-NS

Contact: Musiikki Silfverberg

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09/05/2018

Review: Bluetone Load Box

Finnish boutique amp company Bluetone has released a Swiss Army Knife-style lifesaver for valve amp users on stage and in the studio.

The Bluetone Load Box (370 €; incl. 1.5 metre speaker cable) is a professional quality dummy load (100 W/8 Ω) in a very compact format (only slightly larger than a big paperback) that doubles as a DI-box for guitar amps.

As any valve amp user should know, using an amplifier with a valve-driven power amp without a speaker (cabinet) connected – unless expressly allowed by the manufacturer – is a surefire path to disaster. The results of driving an amp without a speaker load can range from the output transformer catching fire to larger-scale component meltdown inside the amp, depending on the volume levels the amplifier is played at, and how quickly the fuses react.

This is where load boxes – also called dummy loads – come in. A load box allows you to run a valve amp safely without any speaker connected, while usually also offering signal attenuation and/or line level outputs. As a result, you are able to direct inject any amp into a PA system or recording equipment, as well as running the amp at full tilt without blasting everybody off the stage.

Doing away with the speaker (cabinet) isn’t as straightforward as you might think, because the impedance stated on a speaker is only nominal. The speaker, being an electromechanical transducer, behaves in a frequency- and signal level-dependent way, which results in dynamically shifting impedance values.

This means that a dummy load is a much more involved design than just a few resistors thrown together. Dummy coils, and a heap of capacitors and resistors are needed to simulate realistically the behaviour of a speaker, to attenuate the speaker signal (by dissipating part of it as heat), and to produce a quality DI-signal.

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Bluetone’s Load Box has a very clear and logical layout:

The left side carries all speaker-related connectors, offering an input, as well as both an attenuated output (Speaker Out) and a straight speaker output (Speaker Through). Why would anyone need two speaker outputs? The answer is simple: If you want to run an isolated cabinet backstage at full speaker output for the FOH engineer, and an attenuated speaker signal for the backline to keep onstage volume levels manageable.

The right side sports two output jacks – one is carrying a headphone signal, while the other one is the balanced output for connection to a mixing console or a soundcard.

The controls and switches are self-explanatory:

Top left is a four-way rotary switch for speaker attenuation, with ”Off” muting the Speaker Out signal completely. I should also mention that you can use the Bluetone Load Box without any speakers connected, regardless of the selector setting.

The middle knob is the headphone level control. Because the Load Box is a completely passive design – meaning there’s no need for any sort of power supply – the output level of the headphone output is directly dependent on the signal level (and wattage) of the connected amplifier. On the early production model used for this review the headphone signal can be a tiny bit on the quiet side, when using a low-wattage amp and power hungry headphones. This is a known issue, and Bluetone will increase the signal level in future.

The line level output offers a healthy output levels. If you need an XLR connector for the Load Box’ balanced output, Bluetone offers a handy adapter for 20 €.

A three-way mini toggle gives you two different types of cabinet simulation – 1 x 12″ and 4 x 12″ – while its two-way counterpart makes it possible to bypass speaker simulation for the Line Out signal.

The Bluetone Load Box’ dummy load and attenuator work really well in dropping volume levels while keeping virtually all of your amp’s tone intact. Now you can run your non-master volume valve amp at pub-friendly levels, without sacrificing your sound.

Bluetone’s DI-output captures your amp’s tone without the need for a speaker cabinet and microphones, which is great news for home recordists and small project studios. The Load Box’ analogue speaker modelling offers a fine solution for capturing your sound with the least amount of fuss.

Here’s what my Fender Strat sounds like played through a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo on clean settings, and recorded with a Shure SM57:

Here’s the same clean example direct recorded with the Load Box set to 1 x 12″:

Here’s a distorted clip with the sound of the Shadows Jr. recorded with the SM57:

And the same clip recorded through the Load Box:

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In my opinion the Bluetone Load Box offers great value for money. Bluetone’s compact Load Box is a product every owner of a valve amp that doesn’t come with output attenuation built in should at least consider adding to his/her equipment.

The clever bit is how Bluetone has managed to fit the different functions into a lightweight, easy-to-carry, handcrafted piece of equipment. The Load Box is a sturdy device that will get the job done with the minimum amount of fuss, and it comes at a fair price.

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Bluetone Load Box

370 € (including a 1.5 metre speaker cable)

Contact: Bluetone Amps

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Pros:

+ handcrafted in Finland

+ lightweight and compact

+ features

+ sound

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07/05/2018

Now on SoundCloud: Bluetone Load Box

Bluetone Load Box

• 100 W/8 Ohm passive, reactive load box
• Four-stage speaker attenuation
• Line level out with analogue speaker emulation
• Headphone output

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Audio clips recorded with a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo (1 x 10″ WGS Green Beret speaker), and the Bluetone Load Box set to 1 x 12″ speaker emulation.

12/02/2018

Bluetone introduces the Load Box

Bluetone’s brand-new Load Box is a 8 ohm/100 watts multi-purpose reactive and passive attenuator for live use and recording.

It comes with the following features:

  • Scalable 100 W dummy load with -12 dB, -15 dB and -20 dB and Off  steps for output level attenuation, even up to total silence.
  • Speaker Through jack, which is parallel with the Speaker In jack. This also works with a 4 ohm speaker output from the amplifier.
  • Speaker Out jack carrying the attenuated guitar signal.
  • Analogue cabinet simulator with 1×12″, 4×12″, and off (bypass) settings.
  • Balanced adjustable Line Out with a jack connector.
  • Dry–PA/Rec switch for the line level signal.
  • Adjustable Headphones Out for use with headphones.

The Load Box is completely passive, which means it doesn’t require a power supply to function.

Find out more on Bluetone’s website.

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29/01/2018

Review: Bluetone Shadows Jr.

Following in the wake of their very popular Shadows Reverb combo, Finnish boutique makers Bluetone Amps have recently introduced a smaller sibling, called the Shadows Jr.

The Bluetone Shadows Jr. (combo starting at around 1,300 €) is a hand-built, all-valve guitar combo, whose sound is based on the classic Vox AC15. Instead of being a straight, slavish copy, though, the Shadows Jr. incorporates many of the up-to-date features that have made Bluetone such a well-regarded boutique maker.

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The Shadows Jr. has the clean and business-like looks that active players truly appreciate. You don’t want to be slowed down on stage by a control panel that’s hard to decipher. The Bluetone is clarity itself.

This is a single-channel all-valve combo running in Class AB mode giving you maximum output power at just over 10 watts.

The Shadows Jr. is designed around a trio of 12AX7 preamp tubes and a pair of EL84s powering the speaker. The combo’s power valves are cathode-biased, which means that swapping tubes won’t necessitate a trip to your friendly amp technician.

Bluetone is one of the very few amp makers who use torroidal power transformers. These doughnut-shaped devices (the black thing in the upper left corner) are lighter and more dependable than traditional transformer designs, and they offer more exact tolerances. As a valve amp is highly dependable on a stable and electronically quiet power supply for superior tone, Bluetone decided on using torroidal transformers early on, and they’ve never looked back.

The Warehouse Guitar Speakers Green Beret is an excellent choice for a strongly Brit-flavoured combo. Bluetone break in all of the speakers they use with low-frequency sine waves.

Despite being a compact single-channel combo amp (weighing only around 10 kg), the Bluetone Shadows Jr. offers an amazing amount of different clean and gain tones, thanks in no small part to the amp’s PPIMV master volume and the three-step OPC-switch.

PPIMV stands for ”post-power inverter master volume”, which is the preferred way of master volume design at Bluetone Amps, because it eats up the least amount of an amplifier’s tone, when in use. And if you turn the master volume knob all the way up, a PPIMV design makes the master volume ”disappear” electronically, making it completely transparent.

OPC, on the other hand, stands for ”output power control”. On the Shadows Jr. you have a choice of three settings, giving you 0.2, two or the full 10 watts of power, respectively. The magic of the OPC circuit is that it will turn volume levels down very noticeably without changing the tonal character of your settings, while also leaving almost all of the dynamics intact. Many lesser output power designs will turn a clean setting into an overdriven sound when you select a lower output level. The Shadows Jr. will sound almost the same on ten, two or 0.2 watts – the small tonal differences are the result of the speaker being driven differently. With the OPC at the lowest setting you will get approximately 95 percent of the full ”Shadows Jr. experience” at bedroom/apartment block volume levels. That’s fantastic!

The back panel gives you a choice of using the internal speaker or an external 4- or 8-ohm cabinet.

Bluetone have also included their tasty buffered, switchable effects loop with a dedicated volume control. When the loop is not in use, the circuit can also serve as a handy lead boost.

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Are you looking for a cool little tone machine with a strong Vox-y flavour, and no-compromise build quality? You should do yourself a favour and try the Bluetone Shadows Jr.

The Shadows Jr. ticks all the right boxes:

You get that classic clean tone with that sweet mid-range ”attitude”. A clean tone that is lively, but never glassy or brittle.

With the front-end volume near the other extreme you’ll get overdrive and distortion that is more gritty and dynamic – think later era Beatles, windmilling Townshend, or multilayered May – than creamy and compressed.

But don’t forget to check out the wide scope of break-up Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll sounds to be had between 11 and 2 o’clock on the volume (gain) control (depending on the guitar used). You’re in for hours of wailing soloing and chunky rhythms without ever needing an overdrive stompbox.

Here’s a Gibson Les Paul Junior on its own:

Demo track number one features two rhythm guitar tracks – a Fender Stratocaster (stereo left) and a Gibson Les Paul Junior (right) – as well as a Hamer USA Studio Custom on lead duty:

The second demo track features a Gibson Les Paul Junior (rhythm left), an Epiphone Casino (rhythm right), and a Fender Telecaster (lead guitar):

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The Bluetone Shadows Jr. is a fantastic little tone machine for the Vox-inclined player, who likes warm clean tones, dynamic break-up sounds, and gritty late-Sixties/early-Seventies dirt.

The build quality is miles ahead of any mass-produced guitar amplifier – this is a handcrafted boutique-grade valve amp. Modern additions like the PPIMV master volume, the OPC circuit, and the switchable effects loop, also raise this amp above any vintage-style copies.

For many the crucial question with low-wattage amps is volume. How loud is the Bluetone Shadows Jr?

Let’s just say that if you’ve only ever tried 10-watt tranny combos before you’re in for quite a surprise! These are ten (-plus) watts of British-style valve amp majesty, with every last ounce of loudness wrung out of the power amp and speaker.

With the OPC and the master on full, this little chap will easily get you into trouble with your neighbours in your block of flats on clean tones alone. If you don’t need 100 percent clean tones, the Shadows Jr. will easily get you through many rehearsals and gigs in small venues. And there’s always the option to stick a mic in front of the speaker.

So, don’t expect a Heavy Metal-type volume onslaught, but be prepared for some serious business.

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Bluetone Amps Shadows Jr.

Prices starting from 1,300 €

Contact: Bluetone Amps

Pros:

+ Handmade in Finland

+ Master volume

+ OPC

+ Effects loop

+ Sound

+ Value-for-money*****Save

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25/01/2018

Bluetone Shadows Jr – The Kitarablogi video

Bluetone Shadows Jr.

• Handmade in Finland
• All-valve Class AB single-channel combo
• 10 W, 2 W or 0.2 W of output power (OPC)
• Diode recitified
• Two-band EQ
• PPIMV Master Volume
• Built-in buffered FX loop/booster
• 3 x ECC83 (12AX7) & 2 x EL84
• One 10-inch WGS Green Beret speaker (25 Watts/8 Ohms)

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Demo Track

All guitars recorded with the Bluetone Shadows Jr. (no pedal effects used). Delay and reverb added during mixdown.

• Rhythm guitars: Fender Stratocaster (left channel) & Gibson Les Paul Junior (right channel)
• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom

Recorded with a Shure SM57.

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08/01/2018

Testi tulossa === Review coming soon === Bluetone Shadows Jr

Contact: Bluetone Amps