May 2003

Gigbag: May 2003

AKG Studio Headphones

They both sound wonderful. Each has a 10-foot leash and a comfy around-the-ears design. And both are as professional as they get. But which pair of AKG studio headphones should we choose? The K171s have a frequency range from 18 to 26,000 Hz, and list for $159. The K271s have a wider range, 16 to 28,000 Hz, plus a neat little switch that mutes the output when they're removed from your ears, but they retail for 40 bucks more. We could get the K171s and use the savings for a couple of Verve reissues, but, lucky us, we get those free. K271s it is. www.akgusa.com

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AKG Studio Headphones
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MiniMusic Handheld Software
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HQ Percussion RealFeel Buddy Rich Practice Pads
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Shaker Microphones Dyno Harmonica Microphone
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Nord Electro 2 Synthesizer

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MiniMusic Handheld Software

If you own a handheld computer, get your hands on some MiniMusic software titles. The company's notation, sight-reading and ear-training programs are a great way to kill time on the subway or during office meetings. Mess around with the pattern-based drum machine and sequencer programs for a minute and you'll be hooked, inspired even. The software runs on most handhelds, and by hooking up to a sound module or MIDI interface, your MiniMusic work can leave the pocket and enter the studio. www.minimusic.com

Syntrillium Lounge & Reggae Sample Library

Perhaps you're a musician who doesn't buy into Stanley Crouch's contention that jazz cannot be made using electronic beats, sampled loops and instruments invented after the Johnson administration-that's Andrew Johnson, 1865-'69. Syntrillium's "Lounge & Reggae" CD, containing 3,500-plus loops may come in handy when crafting your next jazztronica masterpiece. The library's name belies its contents: loops of bebop, swing Latin and other jazz styles are included amid the rocksteady and cocktail grooves. www.syntrillium.com

RealFeel Buddy Rich Practice Pads

Please bang the $!@# out of HQ Percussion's RealFeel Buddy Rich practice pads, two different gum-rubber slabs emblazoned with Buddy's famous crest and officially licensed from the House of Rich. The fancy, crest-shaped model has a nonslip rubber bottom bearing the crest itself but lacks an insert for cymbal-stand mounting. The octagonal model can be mounted and, with the BR crest beaming at you from its playing surface, will inspire you into a percussive $!@# fit. www.hqpercussion.com

Shaker Mics Dyno Harmonica Microphone

Jazz harmonica players are as rare as people who can pronounce Toots Thielemans' name correctly. If you happen to be one, you might have found out that a truly good harp microphone is equally hard to come by. Shakey Joe is a harmonica player who designs harp mikes and fine-tunes them in the bars, playing with bands. His company, Shaker Mics, makes the Dyno, a dynamic mike with a thick, hot sound and excellent feedback rejection that can be used with high- or low-impedance inputs. It'll help you in an onstage volume war, but don't forget that a microphone is a microphone-the Dyno could also be used on other instruments to complement a recording with a unique color here and there. www.shakermicrophone.com

Nord Electro 2 Synthesizer

In 1834, about 10 years before Steinway & Sons set up shop in New York City, a factory in Gothenburg, Sweden, began building first-rate pianos under the moniker Malmsjö. Rare as they have become, Malmsjös are well known for their beautiful, round tone. When Clavia decided to update their Nord Electro synth (reviewed in JT, 9/02) with a grand piano patch, they sampled a Malmsjö, capturing its tone at a number of velocity levels with the mikes placed tight for maximum presence. Now the called the Electro 2, the keyboard also boasts a B3 patch with fantastic grit and grease, plus other synthesized sweetness. If you own the previous Electro, Clavia has the Malmsjö patch available for download at its Web site, free. www.clavia.se

Originally published in May 2003
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