It’s time for the latest MusicTech Buyer’s Guide, where we round up some of the best products recently reviewed at MusicTech. This time, we look at some of the best hardware emulations of classic gear we’ve tested…
Best Synth Range – The Boomstar Range
The Boomstar range of synths from Studio Electronics has been with us for some time, but a limited production has kept it fairly low in profile. But those in the know – us included, naturally – rave about it, as it comprises some of the best ‘new’ analogue synths on the market – the fact that each model emulates an iconic classic synth makes it even more desirable.
Reviewer Andy Jones said: “The bottom line is that Boomstar is a masterclass in analogue synthesis: unpredictable, rarely off the money, and often incredible. The Boomstar range has true analogue, classic sounds, combined with an uncompromising nod to the past, and it is all the better for it.”
Price P49: £1,499, P28: £720
Contact KMR 0208 445 2446
Best Mics – Peluso P28 & P49 Mics
The Peluso P range takes inspiration from a few classic mics. The P49 was created for people who wanted a mic with the characteristics of a Neumann M49, while the P28 was designed with elements of the Neumann KM54 and the AKG C28.
On the former, reviewer Huw Price said: “It gives you all the vintage Neumann flavours you could want, with less need to ‘finesse’ the tone with equalisation.” On the P28, he said: “It always sounds good, and we found it impressive for clear and breathy vocals as well as general instrument recording.” Overall, he concluded: “Two more vintage boxes have been ticked.
Somebody has to meet the demand for microphones that the original companies are no longer willing to manufacture, and the Peluso P49 and P28 more than fit the bill.”
Best Beatles – Chandler REDD.47
The original REDD.47 preamps were used in the EMI desks made famous for their use in legendary recordings by The Beatles at Abbey Road. Reviewer John Pickford said of this Chandler version: “From a purely sonic point of view, the REDD.47 has the authentic EMI sound that has been unavailable for almost half a century. The REDD.47 is an accurate-sounding recreation. For anyone wanting to Get Back to that classic 1960s sound, this is truly a fab (four) product.”
Contact Nova – 020 3589 2530
Best Dance Classics – Roland AIRA
The ‘secrecy’ and consequent hype that surrounded the launch of Roland’s AIRA range could never really be matched by the quality of the resulting products – emulations of Roland’s classic dance hardware.
But the TR-8 and TB-3, emulations of the TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bassline respectively, are certainly up there with the best emulations of that hardware, and certainly the best emulations that Roland has ever released of its own products. Reviewer Andy Jones said: “The TB-3 and TR-8 are both innovative and important. They look extremely cool and they sound just, well, damn close.
But their importance is that they are priced in exactly the right way to get the next generation of producers off their sorry sofas and actually performing again. The TR-8 is a great-sounding and great-looking drum machine and the TB-3 sound is on the money, and the extra sounds make this a great buy.”
Price TR-8 £359 TB-3 £215
Contact +44(0)1792 702701
Best EQ – Warm Audio EQP-WA
With the EQP-WA, Warm Audio has turned its attention to emulating what is arguably the most iconic equaliser of all time: the Pultec EQP-1A. Reviewer John Pickford said: “Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the low price of the EQP-WA equates with low quality. This can hold its own in comparison with any Pultec-styled EQ. It is a superb product that punches way above its weight. As a creative, musical sonic shaper, it’s second to none.”
Contact Nova 020 3589 2530
Best Classic Synth – Korg/ARP Odyssey
This is so close to the original that it almost fits in the ‘remake’ category, but as it’s a smaller version and not (truly) built by the original company, we’ll settle for one of the best emulations of one of the best classic analogue synths out there.
Andy Jones said: “We’d certainly recommend it to those after the original experience on a budget, and to those who want to audition one of the greatest synths on a smaller scale. The new ARP Odyssey has the character of the original, and matches it on many levels. It has extra sonics, comes in a handy case and is a great buy for classic lovers. But it is ‘just’ an analogue, so preset hunters beware…”
Contact Korg via website