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Saturday, January 25, 2014

REVIEW: LTD MH-417


Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are reviewing an 7 string guitar: the Ltd Mh-417.
This is a mid-priced guitar of the Mh serie that comes with a nice black satin finish; the construction is neck-through-body and the fingerboard is 24 frets, made of rosewood with binding.



On the hardware side, the guitar features a Tune o'Matic bridge, Grover tuners and 2 Emg active pickups (81-7 and 707); this setup is amost a standard nowadays, especially for the high end, fixed bridges metal guitars.
The weight is not excessive but not even light, the body is in mahogany and the neck has a contour that is not as thin as an Ibanez, but neither as thick as a Jackson or a Gibson.
All in all I consider today Ltd guitars to be one of the best bang for the buck, since Ibanez, which also has always had a good quality to price ratio, tends to create very cheap guitars with a decent quality on one side and very high end, expensive guitars on the other, but lately lacks of very good instruments in the 700-to-1000$ range.
Schecter and Ltd guitars are aiming mostly on that price range, and if that is your budget, I would aim for one of these 2 manufacturers.




Tech Specs taken from the ESP website:

Construction             Neck-thru-body
Scale                         25.5"
Body                         Mahogany
Neck                         Maple
Fingerboard              Rosewood
Neck Contour           Thin U
Frets/Type                24 XJ
Tuners                       Grover
Bridge                        TOM Bridge
Neck PU                    EMG 707
Bridge PU                  EMG 81-7
Electronics Layout   Vol/Tone/Toggle Switch

Saturday, January 18, 2014

HOW TO USE SUPERIOR DRUMMER OR SLATE DRUMS SAMPLES IN OUR ACOUSTIC DRUM TRACK!



Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to talk about Drumagog, the drum replacing software we've already analyzed some month ago, and we're going to explain how to combine it with Superior Drummer, Slate Drums or any other Vst Instrument, to make it replace the original sound (midi or audio) with the samples of the chosen Vst Instrument.

For this tutorial I'm going to use the standard Cubase/Nuendo interface, Drumagog and Superior Drummer, but the method should be the same for any drum replacer, daw and Vst Instrument.

First off let's assume that we have a project with 8 tracks, one for each drum part of an acoustic drumset we have recorded (it could be also Midi drums, but let's assume for this example we have an acoustic one), and we are not satisfied with the sound we have obtained with the microphones, so we decide to blend the acoustic kick and the snare tracks with some sample.
Let's also assume that the samples we have are not satisfying and we want to use the samples of Toontrack Superior Drummer.

We must load Drumagog in the insert slot of our drum track we want to replace (e.g. the snare track), and from the "Plugin" menu of Drumagog we choose "Superior Drummer", or any other Drum Vsti we have.
This will open an instance of Superior Drummer, and I really suggest you, after you have chosen the kit to use, to disable all the drum parts that will not be used and leave only the snare on, since we will need to run an instance of this virtual instrument for each drum part that we want to replace, therefore we'll need to save all the Ram we can.
In the Superior Drummer main window we can see (and if needed, modify), the Midi Note (or Midi Key) assigned to each drum part, and by default in S.D. the snare is assigned to the note D1 and the kick to the C1.
We need then to match this note with the one in the "Plugin" menu of Drumagog: if we want to replace the snare, and the snare in S.D. is in the D1 note, we will need to choose D1 in the "Midi Note" menu of the "Plugins" section in Drumagog.
Once we have matched the note, if we play the song, whenever the snare track plays, Drumagog should trigger the snare of S.D., and we can choose with the "Mix" fader in the "Plugins" section of Drumagog the amount of sample to blend with the original sound. If the Mix control is at 100%, the sound will be completely replaced.


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Saturday, January 11, 2014

REVIEW: JACKSON SLATFXQMG 3-8


Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to talk about a guitar I had the chance to play in the last few weeks, the Jackson Soloist SLAT FX QMG 3-8.
The guitar is an 8 string one and this sets it on a quite narrow niche, since the eight string (a low F#) is used today only in certain genres of metal (especially Djent metal), and by some avantgarde jazz and classical guitarist.
The 24 fret neck is obviously wider than a seven string guitar one, but it is quite easy to play once you've accustomed to it; 
the rosewood fingerboard is very smooth and pleasant to touch, and there is a binding around it. 
The inlays are Piranha tooth (small shark fin), and the scale is obviously baritone (26,5") with a radius of 16", therefore very flat.




The body is a rather light mahogany with arched quilted top, in a beautiful green transparent finish; the bridge is a Jackson one "hipshot style", and the pickups are two Emg 808, which are very similar to an Emg 85. 
The sound is very fat, full of lows (due also to the thick string gauge required), and there is the need to brighten the sound with boosters and equalizers, but once you find the right compromise to make the sound more clear the guitar becomes very playable, and after a while you don't even notice the particularity of having 8 strings.


Tech Specs taken from the Jackson website:

Body: Mahogany with Arched Quilt Maple Top
Neck Shape: 3rd Fret: 0.790", 12th Fret: 0.850"
Number of Frets: 24
Fret Size: Jumbo
Position Inlays: Piranha Tooth (Small Shark Fin)
Fretboard Radius: 16" (406.4 mm)
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: 3-Piece Maple Neck-Through-Body with Graphite Reinforcement
Nut Width: 2.12" (53.85 mm)
Scale Length: 26.5" (673 mm)
Pickup Configuration: HH
Bridge Pickup: EMG® 808 Humbucking
Neck Pickup: EMG® 808 Humbucking
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
Bridge: Jackson® HT8 8-String Hardtail with Strings-Through-Body


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Saturday, January 4, 2014

January Update, new sample and downloadable patch!

Hello and Happy new Year!
Today I have updated our "Battle of the Pods" article with the latest model, and I also made a new sample video for the Pod Hd (the previous one was just awful) and made the patch freely downloadable!

To check it out CLICK HERE!

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