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Gigbag: January/February 2004

Mackie Spike

The jump into computer-based recording shan’t be such a daunting endeavor any longer thanks to Spike, Mackie’s new USB recording system. Made up of a nominally sized, two-input hardware interface plus multitracking software and a host of plug-in effects, Spike can turn a computer into a studio right away. It’s MIDI-equipped and the onboard mike preamps are in line with Mackie’s high standards, but we admire its ease of use most of all. Operating a 4-track is more work than this.

Planet Waves Swivel XLR Cables

For the true techies: These microphone cables swivel at the cuff, from an in-line position to a right angle-in two directions. Sounds like a silly feature, but think about how many times your life was saved by a flexi-straw. Spaces behind consoles, rack-mount recording gear and within a drum setup are often mighty tight and unaccommodating for the average, in-line XLR cable. The Swivels come in 10- and 25-foot lengths.

Zoom PS-04

People will believe you are just another all-business drone pecking away at a handheld computer, but in reality you are recording their conversations for future blackmail projects. Or maybe you’ll use Zoom’s tiny PS-04 Palmtop Recording Studio for music making. How virtuous of you. Belying its pocketsize, the digital 4-track includes a rack-full of effects, programmable drum and bass machines, a built-in condenser mike plus 1/4 and 1/8-inch jacks for input-and it runs on four AA batteries. Fantastic. And there’s an optional belt-clip attachment available for showoffs.

Connolly Rosin

The jazz violinists are a neglected lot, but we know you’re out there-with your horsehair and your cramped necks. So we’ll hip you to Connolly & Co.’s new Dominant Rosin, a blend of fine natural resins and a wax described as “exotic,” made for use only with synthetic core strings. It’s soft and tacky, which, for a rosin, is a good thing.

Audio Technica Headphones

The cheapest way to score a pair of headphones is to book a flight on the company dime and swipe the ones they supply for the in-flight flick. But those are going to sound as bad as the movie they were made for. For those who demand higher quality sound, but who remain too hesitant to blow next month’s rent on a set of cans, Audio Technica’s ATH-M20s are for you. These modestly priced phones put out a balanced spectrum of sound, from deep bass to shining highs, that should suit most folks’ needs-as well as the needs of project-studio engineers-just fine. And their padded headband rests on the dome more comfortably than any sucka-airline set ever will.

Tascam CD-GT-1

If you’re a little slow on the uptake when it comes to learning the licks of the masters, this one’s for you. Tascam’s CD-GT-1 is a phrase-trainers capable of slowing down a CD to as much as half its regular speed without lowering the music’s pitch. You can cop lines at a snail’s pace. A phono input lets you plug in order to play along and listen to your progress on headphones, but the input can also accommodate a microphone, a keyboard or anything else that terminates in a 1/4-inch plug. Tascam makes one especially for bass players, too.

Originally Published