The Christmas break is always good for getting me to wire up and fire up the home recording studio, and the end of 2021 was no exception. It was a good reminder of just how much I enjoy making music (rather than just noodling around).
So, this year, I want to at least try and have a bit more purpose when I choose which new (to me) gear to try:
- Things that will help me record music.
- Things that will help me perform music.
- Bucket list items.
- Things that will help me learn about the gear I already have.
Last year, we had one month when there were no new arrivals to write about. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have several more this year. But not this month 🙂
Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK3
Drumming. It’s probably the one thing that I don’t have an adequate approach to atm. I don’t have the space for an electronic kit, and last year I realised that the Roland SPD-SX doesn’t suit me. So I’m going down in size yet again, and find out if finger drumming is the answer I’m looking for.
I don’t need a standalone drum machine or sequencer. All I need is a reliable MIDI controller that comes with a good set of pads. From the reading around that I’ve done, the Maschine Mikro MK3 fits the bill perfectly – and all for the price of a second-hand boutique pedal.
Well … not quite. It turned out that, as a MIDI controller, the Maschine Mikro MK3 has one major design flaw, and my recording setup falls foul of it. I did eventually get it working with Universal Audio’s LUNA, after a whole week of effort. Full details are in my First Impressions.
Synergy IICP Preamp Module
Metallica’s classic albums (Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets) were the two albums that got me into playing guitar back in the 80s. One made with Marshall amps, the other made with Mesa Boogies. And while I don’t play metal any more, owning a Mesa Boogie amp has been on my bucket list ever since.
So when Synergy announced that they’d basically created a Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ module for their modular amp system … hell, yes!
Now that it’s here, though, it surprised the heck out of me. This might just be the best-sounding tweed tone amp that I’ve got atm. More details are in my First Impressions.
Mad Professor Amber Overdrive With Midas Touch Mod
That didn’t take long; this one doesn’t fall into any of the four categories that I listed at the top of this blog post!
On and off, I’ve had various examples of the original Amber Overdrive pedal almost as long as I’ve had any pedal in my collection. I bought it because of the stellar demo tones, and then kept it because I wanted to figure out why I can’t get those tones myself.
But maybe – just maybe – it isn’t me. Maybe it’s the pedal itself, and what I really needed was a factory-modded version that made it much easier for a home hobbyist & hack like myself to get those tones? Here are my First Impressions.