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Gigbag: September 2003

Alesis ION

Building off the advances it made in analog modeling with its Andromeda synthesizer, Alesis’ new ION offers breakthrough processing power, if less polyphony. The ION holds 512 patches, which can be reprogrammed if you want to tweak either its high-resolution recreations of classic synth sounds or the fresh sonorities Alesis made special for this board. Sixteen filtering options are on board, as well as a pair of LFOs, an argpeggiator and a sample and hold feature-all MIDI clock sync-able.

Remo Paulo Mattioli Djembe

To take a bit of the hassle out of drum tuning Remo created the In-Line Tuning System. Implemented into the newly designed Remo Paulo Mattioli djembe, the system has a larger tuning ratio than an average drum and allows for faster and more precise tuning. The djembe itself is built from the lightweight Advanced Acousticon material and finished in a metallic bronze. Capped with a new type of head, the Nuskyn Vintage Wrap, the Paulo Mattioli may be Remo’s most innovative drum yet.

Vandoren ZZ Reeds

When Vandoren began making its ZZ reeds, saxophonists in all of jazz’s subgenres were excited by their colorful tone. But until very recently, baritone and soprano artists were left out. The new Vandoren baritone and soprano ZZ reeds have the same quick response as the tenor and alto ZZs and have the same thick-tip design that makes them last longer than other reeds.


Limited Edition MD 421

One for the collectors, Sennheiser’s Limited Edition MD 421 updates the beloved dynamic microphone with gold-plated hardware, a velour-lined wood jeweler’s box and a desk stand to hold it in place. Why the fancy redux? It’s the 90th birthday year of Fritz Sennheiser, the company’s founder. Only 990 of the microphones exist and each handles the high SPLs and delivers the same rich vocal sound as the original. They’re super on a drum kit, too.

M-Audio Ozone

M-Audio seems hell bent on proving it can continue to cram more and more function into less and less space. No complaints here as that results in handy gizmos like the Ozone, an all-in-one keyboard, MIDI controller, mike preamp, USB audio interface and USB MIDI interface. In other words, it aids in recording high-quality audio to a computer, programming and composing and can make a few sounds on its own. The microphone input even supplies phantom power. It’s also less bulky and weighs less than a lot of laptops.

Pearl Practice Conga

Portable congas drums are the new thing, and Pearl’s version appears to be the prettiest out there. With its nylon leg strap and surprisingly resonant sound, the Pearl PPC-120 is perfect for the pick-up drum circle as well as the woodshed and in a pinch, can accent a live club performance too. If you’re a novice and just think the drum looks cool, take note that Pearl includes an instructional video hosted by master conguero Glen Caruba with each one sold.

Originally Published