HiFiMan HE1000se Headphones
A $3,500 set of headphones? Really? Well, if that sort of thing is in your price range, you’ll want to give the HE1000se a listen. Designed with hi-res audio in mind, it uses compact neodymium magnets that increase the speaker drivers’ efficiency. The arched headband provides stability and durability, and you’ve gotta admit these ’phones look striking, with a “window shade” open-back design (which, we’re told, also minimizes audio distortion) and matte finish with ebony wood trim.
Roland SRX KEYBOARDS Software Synthesizer
Fans of Roland’s early-2000s SRX expansion board, which added a whole library of sounds to the company’s standard hardware synthesizers, may like to know that those same patches are now available in plug-in form for Roland Cloud online service members. SRX KEYBOARDS boasts more than 1,700 original waveforms, 86 effects, and 393 presets—including both recreations of acoustic and electric instruments and more distinctive synth tones—all of them eminently tweakable. Requires a Roland Cloud account ($19.95/month, $215.40/year, free 30-day trial).
New Orleans Trumpet
Subtitled “A Down Home Conservatory Method,” Jim Thornton’s book presents music theory concepts for trumpeters in a Big Easy-centric style. Chord charts for essential trad jazz songs (meant to be used with the iReal Pro play-along app) are provided. Thornton also offers a local’s perspective on New Orleans history and culture, and how they relate to playing jazz.
Sabian Center Hammered Triangles
Spare a thought for the lowly triangle. It doesn’t get a lot of use in jazz, but when it does, you want it to project. Sabian’s new center-hammered triangles, manufactured from phosphor bronze, can help make that happen. The dense center-hammering—check out that rougher texture in the middle—produces a rich timbre with overtones, better for projection. And when you want a single penetrating tone, just hit it in the corners.
Making Poor Man’s Guitars
Shane Speal is the undisputed king of cigar box guitars, having built about 2,000 of them. Now he’s got a book on the subject, which tells plenty of stories about the makers and players of these uniquely American axes, including folks like Blind Willie Johnson and Scrapper Blackwell. And if you happen to have some spare wood, steel wire, and an empty cigar box handy, Speal will show you how to build one of your own.