It’s been quite a while since I updated this site, hasn’t it? Well, rest assured behind the scenes coolness is afoot—another EP is well underway with our first single already finished, a web refresh, etc. But part of the ramp up to cool stuff is to get back in the habit of letting you know what we’re up to, so here we are.
And speaking of cool stuff we were up to, another Winter NAMM show has come and gone, and with it hundreds of vendors displaying a plethora of new shiny designed to catch our attention and (they hope) our dollars. As ever, I’m not going to give you a complete rundown of everything new at NAMM, nor will I give complete reviews. Instead, I’m going to focus on just a few things that as an artist I saw that caught my eye.
Orange Dual Dark
I have been getting the most delicious tones out of my Orange TH30 (you’ll hear them on the forthcoming single). It’s dirty channel is from the Dark Terror amp, but amped up (pun intended) with double the wattage. Chanel B of the Dual Dark is the same as the Dark Terror/TH30 but with a bit more gain still. And Channel A, rather than the familiar non-master clean channel found on many Orange amps, has a brand new channel with a three band EQ and as much gain as Channel B. It can still do classic Orange, but it can also be a dual channel gain machine. There will be 100 and 50 watt versions. Unlike the Dark Terror and TH30/TH100, this amp will be built in the UK. I think that this may very well be the Orange amp for me…
Moog Sub 37 Tribute
Moog is calling this a “paraphonic” synthesizer because it’s two oscillators can each be pitch controlled separately, allowing you to in effect “play” two oscillators simultaneously. I guess this is slightly different then duophonic as you don’t truly have two voices, both oscillators are going through the same filter/modulators/amp. Nevertheless, it sounds huge and was a ton of fun to play with. This is a limited edition, and won’t be cheap, but if I had this sort of money to spend on a synth I’d be all over it.
Keith McMillen Instruments StrongArm 6-string sustainer
Guitar sustainer systems have been around for a while—they’re like internal E-Bows. And if you’re not familiar with E-Bows, they set up magnetic fields that don’t drop off in volume like a normal guitar note will fade, letting you create endless notes (listen to the the Ember After song Change for an example of an E-Bow). I’ve had a sustainer system installed in a guitar, and I’ve got one sitting in a box right now, waiting for an install into something. These systems are all compromises—you lose a pickup slot, they only sustain one string at a time, etc. This system uses bridge saddles, not a pickup slot, and can sustain all 6 strings. It sounded great when I got a demo of it at NAMM, and I’m looking forward to its release this summer—I’m definitely interested.
Wow does this look and sound good! Way back in the day, when techno artist BT put out a sample library of breaks, I bought them. Now he’s designed his second plug-in with iZotope, and it looks absolutely amazing. I’m definitely going to be trying this out and seeing how I can layer these sounds with live drums!
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 Module
Speaking of absolutely amazing synthesizer modules, the P12 is truly an “everything box” with it’s amazing digital oscillators and analog signal path and nearly unmatchably flexible design. The keyboard is amazing, the real deal, but what if you want more than 12 voices? Or can’t afford the keyboard? Well, now it’s available as a module. To call it “affordable” might be a stretch (it’s still over $2k) but the price is far less steep, and you can stack them if you want a huge rig with crazy numbers of voices. I love nearly everything DSI does, and this is no exception.
Koll Guitars Starwood Troubadour
I’ve currently got two Koll Guitars custom shop lefties in Ember Studios, and another one on the way. I love these guitars! For those who can’t afford the custom shop, there are some standard models of Koll Guitars made by the Premier Builder’s Guild, and one such model is the Troubadour above. New for this year is a more strat-like three pickup model with custom wound TV Jones single coils. I’ve never been much of a strat guy, but I have to admit, this one really has me going. These aren’t inexpensive instruments—you’re buying USA guitars made with premium parts in a small workshop in the USA—but definitely worth what you pay. I’m not sure what the price for this will be, but I’d imagine around the $2k you’d pay for a premium strat.
There were tons more things that were cool and noteworthy, of course. But this is just a list of things that I could imagine in Ember Studios. I hope it was interesting to you, and if you’d like to help support Ember After purchase any of these things, please tell your friends to buy any of our music!