Gearhead: The Latest Instruments and Accessories

New from Gretsch, Line 6 and more

Audix D6 Microphone
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Gretsch Broadkaster Drum Kit
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BeatBuddy Drum Machine
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Line 6 Sonic Port VX
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Line 6 Sonic Port VX

Many great songwriting and composing tools exist today, but few boast the convenience and inclusiveness of Line 6’s new Sonic Port VX Mobile Audio Interface. The lightweight unit features top-notch microphone preamps and three pro-quality built-in mics-one mono and two stereo. Among the other features are a guitar/bass input with 120db of dynamic range, a stereo input for recording other instruments, two stereo outputs, 1/8-inch auxiliary and headphone jacks, and a Lightning cable connection to facilitate use with programs like GarageBand and the free Line 6 Mobile POD app, with its gigantic store of guitar presets and tweakable components. The VX is compatible with Mac, PC and iOS, and ships with a desk stand. $199 online. line6.com

Audix D6 Microphone

When miking a jazz kit, many wise old drummers will philosophize

that less is more: A couple of high-quality cardioids overhead should give you the old-school, on-the-gig vibe you’re going for without too much interference. But if you need a little more punch and definition in the kick drum-or if your jazz also flaunts a decent amount of funk and rock-check out the Audix D6,

a light, easy-to place cardioid mic with a Very Low Mass diaphragm.

Because it’s tuned specifically for bass frequencies, the D6 can be used for bass amps, floor toms and other low-end situations, not just kick drums, and aims to sound good regardless of placement-“sweet spots” be damned. $199 online. audixusa.com

BeatBuddy Drum Machine

Conventional drum machines have always come with a catch: You want them to allow you to function like a one-man-band, but you can’t program them while playing your instrument. BeatBuddy helps correct that conundrum by packing lifelike kit rhythms from a wide range of genres-jazz too-into a stompbox. A press release directs the BeatBuddy toward the guitar, electric bass and keyboard markets, but vocalists and horn players with minimal electronics savvy can surely benefit from it. The BeatBuddy also features stereo sound, a clever, readable metronomic display, tempo control via a knob or tapping the pedal, MIDI sync, a headphone input, an SD card slot and a Mini-USB port. $349 online. mybeatbuddy.com

Gretsch Broadkaster Drum Kit

Vintage-drum fanatics in particular will want to check out Gretsch’s new-old Broadkaster kit-an updated take on the groundbreaking drums that helped define midcentury swing. Manufactured in Brooklyn back in the day, production of the Broadkasters will remain Stateside, at Gretsch’s Ridgeland, S.C., factory, and the kits are slated for release at the end of the year. Manufactured using contemporary techniques but based on studies of kits from the 1940s and ’50s, these new drums will retain Broadkaster trademarks including the three-ply maple/poplar/maple shell construction-no reinforcement hoops-and the “reverse roundover” bearing edge. The kit will ship in five shell-pack formats, with and without snare drums, with Remo heads and two hardware options: Standard and Vintage, the latter based on ’50s Broadkasters. Four finishes, two in Nitrocellulose lacquer and two in Nitron, will be available. gretschdrums.com