Holiday Stocking Stuffers You Need To Carry
By Dan Ferrisi
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn’t it? Sure, you might say, Labor Day was only two weeks ago and there isn’t even yet a chill in the air. But the music products retailing community knows all too well that the all-important holiday selling season requires many weeks of preparation, including considerable lead time in deciding which products will earn valuable shelf space during peak shopping times and which will not (thus ensuring that Santa and his elves still have a sufficient workload to keep them employed). Bearing in mind that retailers have to know which products are this year’s must-stocks, we present our annual Holiday Sales Guide, showcasing some of the hottest instruments, accessories and goodies that will be available come holiday time.
Please note that manufacturer response to our editorial solicitation was truly overwhelming, to the degree that we could only include a sampling of the product innovations about which we were informed. This month and in months upcoming, we will be sharing more great items in our Product Buzz section and, perhaps, in our Under The Hood in-depth product profiles. Enjoy!
Zildjian’s Gen16 Acoustic Electronic Cymbal System
Gen16, Zildjian’s new cymbal system, includes low-volume, acoustic metal cymbals; a pickup that utilizes a dual-head mini microphone design; and a Digital Cymbal Processor that produces customizable cymbal sounds. Now, drummers can control audio levels, shape sounds with up to 99 presets per cymbal and experience dynamics without the latency or audio compression associated with digital sounds. Drummers globally are integrating Gen16 into their touring drum and percussion setups, including Adrian Young (No Doubt), Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe), Russ Miller (American Idol), Paul Kodish (DJ Fresh Project) and Brittany Brooks (Kelis). MSRP is from $1,099. Visit gen-16.com for more information or contact Zildjian Customer Service at 800.229.1623.
DJ Tech’s DJ For All
From DJ Tech, the DJ for All is an iPad-compatible DJ package consisting of a DJ control surface, soundcard and headphones. The package also ships with the Deckadance LE performance DJ software for PC and Mac. Mix and scratch your music, including your iTunes music libraries, using two large performance platters and a central mixer section with a crossfader, buttons and knobs. Use the drummable rubber pads to launch samples (more than 1,000 samples are included in Deckadance), trigger hot cues or autoloop your tracks. The DJ for All can be used to control the Deckadance LE software for PC or Mac. The unit is also compatible with the iPad version of Deckadance. The MSRP is $249. For more information, call 732.388.5000 or go to www.djtechprousa.com.
On-Stage Stands’ GS6000 Mighty UKE Stand
The GS6000 Mighty UKE stand from On-Stage Stands is for small stringed instruments like ukulele, mandolin, fiddle and dulcimer. At 8.5″x3.5″ when folded, the GS6000B easily fits into backpacks and gig bags and, weighing only .25lb., it preserves the portability of these instruments. The GS6000’s adjustable yoke accommodates various instruments, ensuring a snug fit no matter what you play. Silicone padding at all the contact points protects finishes and provides a slip-free cradle. Rigid plastic construction keeps weight down, while an A-frame design ensures stability. The GS6000 lists at $29.99, carries a MAP price of $17.95 and is slated to ship to dealers this November. You can reach the company by calling 800.289.8889 or visiting www.onstagestands.com.
Dean Markley’s Helix Strings
Dean Markley Helix strings are a major development in string technology. Made with a new hyper-elliptical winding technique, the Helix strings have a tighter wrap and more mass, which seals the strings without the need for coating. The string series includes the Helix Acoustic, Helix Acoustic Phos and the Helix Electric for guitar, as well as the Helix NPS and Helix SS for Bass. The hyper-elliptical winding process results in an increased number of wraps along the length of the string. This increases the mass of the string, without changing its diameter or material. More mass makes a fuller tone; more windings give a smoother feel. MSRPs: Helix Acoustic: $13.95; Helix Acoustic Phos: $13.95; Helix Electric: $12.95; Helix NPS: $49.95; and Helix SS: $49.95. For more information, go to www.deanmarkley.com or call 800.800.1008.
Fishman’s Loudbox Performer
Fishman’s most powerful amp, the Loudbox Performer, features 180 watts of clear, bi-amplified acoustic sound and two flexible mic/instrument input channels that accept both ¼-inch and XLR sources. Each channel includes Fishman three-band EQ (shelving bass and treble with resonant-style midrange), feedback-fighting Phase switch and Notch filter controls, and a dual digital effects section with Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, Delay, Echo and Slap Echo. The Performer’s three-way design delivers clear, full sound with additional low end to balance the premium neodymium tweeter and dedicated midrange driver. The lightweight cabinet design features a built-in 10° tilt with an improved, integrated kickstand design that allows the amp be tilted back 50° for optimal sound projection. For additional information, call 978.988.9199 or visit www.fishman.com.
Korg Kronos X Music Workstation
Korg’s Kronos family has expanded with the Kronos X Music Workstation, which features hardware technology enhancements, including a boost in the internal memory capacity and the size of its SSD, plus enhanced sampler functionality. The Kronos X doubles the PCM RAM capacity to approximately 2GB and the SSD capacity to 62GB, enabling musicians to take advantage of all the Kronos Sound Libraries. In addition, Kronos X contains Korg’s EXs 10-13 expansion sample series of Kronos Sound Libraries pre-installed in its demo mode. Users can obtain full versions, plus additional Sound Libraries, by purchasing a license key. U.S. street price: 61-key: $3,199; 73-key: $3,699; 88-key: $3,999. U.S. MSRP: 61-key: $4,000; 73-key: $4,600; 88-key: $5,000. For additional information, go to www.korg.com/kronosx.
Morley’s “Gas Station” Multi Power Supply
Morley’s new “Gas Station” multi power supply powers up to eight 9V effects up to 250 mA per outlet. Handy fault LEDs on each outlet show when there is power short or overload, while remaining outlets keep working. Comes with eight two-foot connector cables and main power adapter. At 4.75″ L x 2.75″ W x 1.25″ H, it is suitable for pedal boards. It boasts a cold rolled steel housing and two-year warranty. The retail price is $155 (street price: $89). For more information, call 800.284.5172 ext. 12 or visit www.morleypedals.com.
HSA’s Rolltop Desks
With dozens of beautiful rolltop desk designs, HSA presents the opportunity for “add-on” purchases this holiday season. With the company’s rolltop desks starting at $2,079 retail, an HSA rolltop is an investment to organize and protect audio/video systems for your church, school and studio customers. Take the opportunity to contact all your existing pro sound, music production and audio/video customers and present them with the benefits of upgrading their system with an HSA rolltop desk and rack workcenter. And with plenty of rack space options, an HSA desk is ready to house all their other holiday purchases and upgrades, as well. HSA’s products are made on an order-by-order basis in Mishawaka IN. For more information, call 574.255.6100 or visit www.hsarolltops.com.
Novation’s Impulse is a range of professional USB-MIDI controllers. They each have a precision keyboard and a full control surface powered by a new version of Novation’s Automap control software- Automap 4: the original, most powerful and easiest-to-use control software. Impulse has a precision “players” keyboard. It is semi-weighted with assignable aftertouch and has been designed to feel like an instrument rather than a computer peripheral. In addition to feeling good, it is accurate. This means it can translate musical expression (how you play the keyboard) effectively. So, your performance is reflected exactly by the synth or software instrument you are triggering. MSRPs: 25-key: $329.99; 49-key: $449.99; 61-key: $499.99. For additional information, call 310.322.5500 or go to www.novationmusic.com.
QSC’s K for Musicians
The best instrument amplifier in your store might not be an instrument amp at all. The QSC K Family of active loudspeakers is achieving popularity among keyboardists, guitarists and electronic drummers as the new go-to amplifier line. With the ability to mix multiple inputs (including a microphone), the K Family complements any solo musician’s rig, as well as any player seeking studio-quality fidelity, high output (1,000 watts), portability and reliability. QSC has also developed a new Web site, www.kformusicians.com, where your customers can learn more about why a K Family loudspeaker may be the right choice for them. There, they will also find interviews with K for Musicians artists, describing why they made the switch from instrument amp to the K Family. MSRP: starting at $823. For more information, call 800.854.4079 or visit www.qsc.com.
Yamaha’s THR Amplifiers
Yamaha’s THR amplifiers represent a new category of guitar amp. The first hi-fi stereo units to feature realistic guitar multi-effects and classic amp modeling, they also function as a guitar recording interface. Though compact, they pack a lot of power when plugging in an electric guitar, acoustic guitar or bass. Most guitarists have a stage rig and a smaller practice amp, but the THR amps provide a third alternative: an amp with a multitude of capabilities that fits on a coffee table or desk and provides quality sound for the times when a guitarist isn’t on stage. Fully portable, the battery-powered THR amps feature Yamaha’s Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) effects, including professional-sounding reverb and realistic tube-like amp response. For additional information, go to http://4wrd.it/thrpage.
Imua’s Solid Koa Ukuleles
Imua Ukulele Inc. marks its first holiday season with its new line of premier solid koa ukuleles. Each Imua is handcrafted individually in Ka Ka’a’ko HI and made out of koa grown in Hawaii. Imua ukuleles feature hand-bended sides, gently curved back and a classic nitro gloss finish. Overseen by Master Luthier Shinji Takahashi from Japan in conjunction with koa wood supplier Jorma Winkler, Imua utilizes high quality woods to produce quality sounds. The focus at Imua is acoustics and, according to the company, because of Shinji’s design and Hawaii’s beautiful koa, the company’s products capture the deep, rich sound of Hawaii. For additional information, visit www.imua-ukulele.com.
Numark’s iDJ Pro DJ Controller
Party with the power of your iPad. iDJ Pro from Numark is a professional DJ controller that expands your iPad’s touch interface, seamlessly integrating with Algoriddim’s djay for iPad app to form a new DJ experience. iDJ Pro features a sleek, brushed aluminum casing and is equipped with all the professional controls you’d expect, plus some cool design features and capabilities. You get access to your iPad’s touchscreen alongside an expanded layout of physical controls: touch-sensitive platters, large die-cast aluminum volume knobs, a dedicated music-library scroll knob, plus hot cues, looping, pitch and effect controls. Once your iPad is docked, a latching door provides total, seamless integration. For additional information, call 401.658.3131 or visit www.numark.com.
PreSonus’ ADL 700 Channel Strip
PreSonus’ ADL 700 channel strip combines a high-end Class A tube preamplifier with a fully variable, FET-based compressor and a four-band semi-parametric equalizer. The channel strip provides separate balanced XLR mic, balanced XLR line, and ¼-inch TS instrument inputs and a single balanced XLR output. The ADL 700 incorporates a single-channel version of the PreSonus ADL 600 two-channel tube preamplifier. It incorporates one 12AT7 and two 6922 vacuum tubes per channel, operating with ±300V power rails for maximum headroom and good tone. The dual-transformer design ensures low-noise operation, with maximum common-mode rejection. It is expected to ship in 4Q/2012 with an expected MAP of $1,999. For more information, call 225.216.7887 or go to www.presonus.com.
Rane’s Sixty-Two Z Mixer
From Rane, Z-Trip’s Limited Edition Sixty-Two Z Mixer is a plug-and-play package supporting two computers, two-deck digital vinyl simulation, sample player, effects from both software and hardware, and all the record and playback channels you need. Software controls for library, loops, cues and samples are laid out for fast and intuitive access. The Sixty-Two Z Mixer supports both analog and Digital Vinyl Simulation (DVS) playback. The mixer is bundled with Serato Scratch Live and includes a fully integrated MIDI controller for software controls. Shepard Fairey designed Z-Trip’s Limited Edition Sixty-Two Z face plate with purple and yellow accents. The product’s suggested retail price is $2,649. For more information, call 425.355.6000 or go to www.rane.com.
Electro-Harmonix’s Crying Tone Wah Wah Pedal
Electro-Harmonix’s Crying Tone wah wah pedal is part of a new series dubbed The Next Step. Currently, there are four other pedals designed and poised for production: An Expression Pedal, Pan Pedal, Talking Pedal (vocal formant wah with fuzz) and Volume Pedal. All feature the design that makes The Next Step Effects unique. Every aspect of the Crying Tone pedal’s design, from its shape to its circuitry, is the result of almost three years of design and development by an international team of engineers and musicians. The Crying Tone Wah Wah pedal comes with a nine-volt battery and accepts an optional 9.6DC-200 power supply. It carries a U.S. list price of $116. For additional information, call 718.937.8300 or visit www.ehx.com.
Alfred’s Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust
Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is the memoir of Grammy-nominated producer/engineer Ken Scott, one of the five main engineers to have worked with The Beatles and who is credited for shaping the sounds loved by generations. The book, from Alfred, chronicles his career of working with The Fab Four and many other iconic recording artists, including David Bowie, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck and more. Seminal albums Scott has collaborated on include Magical Mystery Tour and The White Album by The Beatles, and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and many other releases. Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is peppered with provocative and humorous anecdotes, and studio shoptalk. MSRP: $24.99. For more information, call 818.781.5999 or visit www.alfred.com.
Rotosound’s Fuzz Pedal
Rotosound has re-issued its Vintage Fuzz Pedal, using the same circuit configuration as the 1960’s original design, combined with modern resistors and capacitors. The re-issue circuit, just like the original, uses a Darlington Pair for high gain input, which drives a temperature-compensated “fuzz” transistor. The Fuzz Control governs changes in the amount of drive from a soft crunch to a gruff growl. The Treble Control varies the ratio of bass to treble, allowing a good range from muddy to crisp. The Volume Control alters the output level and to maintain cleanliness of sound. The pedal is encased in a pressed steel box finished in a gloss silver hammer powder coating. The MRSP is $379. For more information, call 800.675.2501 or visit www.rotosound.com.
Chauvet’s SlimPACK 56, MiN Lasers
Chauvet’s SlimPACK 56 suits any mobile DJ or musician just starting out or looking to add to an existing rig. This complete mobile lighting setup includes four SlimPAR 56 wash lights, an Obey 3 DMX controller and four 10-foot DMX cables, all nestled in a CHS-SP4 VIP soft-sided transport bag. Additionally, MiN plug-and-play lasers are available in three different styles and include two mounting stands, easy clamp-mounting ability and an infrared remote control for simple setup and control. MiN Laser FX 2.0 projects different red and green laser and motion effects, MiN Laser RBX projects different blue and red effects. MiN Laser RGX 2.0 projects different red and green laser effects. For additional information, call 954.577.4455 or visit www.chauvetlighting.com.
Sonor’s Perfect Balance Bass Drum Pedal
Jojo Mayer and Sonor present The Perfect Balance Bass Drum Pedal. The philosophy behind this pedal is to achieve good harmony and interplay between the pedal’s moving parts and the drummer’s foot. Due to careful design and balanced linear action, any non-vital adjustments are obsolete and omitted. Other than the pedal’s unique folding and mounting mechanism, all adjustments, such as spring tension, footboard height and beater angle, reflect classic industry standards. According to Mayer, “The Perfect Balance Pedal is a carefully calibrated system that optimizes the linear translation of your foot movements and makes many adjustments expendable. It was designed with a principle in mind that reflects ultimate sophistication to me: simplicity.” For more information, go to www.sonorusa.com.
Orange Micro Terror And Cab
Orange Amplification has launched the Micro Terror, the company’s smallest Terror ever, delivering a classic Orange sound way bigger than it looks. The Micro Terror MT20 (MSRP: $149) has a single 12AX7 pre-amp tube with 20 watts RMS of solid-state output. It is powered via a 15-volt DC supplier (international PSU included), features auxiliary input for MP3 player or CD, and can be plugged into any speaker cabinet with 4 ohm or greater impedance (even a 4 x 12). With a high tensile steel case, it is built to the same specifications as the other members of the Terror family; it’s also compact and highly portable. It features vintage British character, clean crunch and full-on overdrive sounds. For additional information, call 404.303.8196 or visit www.orangeamps.com.
Tech 21’s Four New Effects
Tech 21 has added four new effects to its Boost Series line of pedals: Boost Distortion, Boost Overdrive, Boost Fuzz and Bass Boost Fuzz. Utilizing individually selected, hand-biased discreet components, each unit offers optimized performance with studio-quiet operation. The powerful boost function provides up to 21dB of clean boost, which can be used independently from the effect. The Boost Distortion delivers fast punchy tone; its SAG control adds an expressive, tube-like response to every pick stroke. The Boost Overdrive pumps up the midrange and adds sustain; the SPARKLE control adds upper harmonics for an open, snappy sound. The Boost Fuzz celebrates germanium fuzz sounds. The Bass Boost Fuzz pays homage to the fat, gritty sounds of ’60s fuzz bass. MSRP: $195 each. For details, call 973.777.6996 or visit www.tech21nyc.com.
Veritas Instrument Rental Program
If you’re looking for a way to increase sales, service, profits and your customer base, then Veritas Instrument Rental might have an answer. Within as little as one week, the company can custom-build (or rebuild) a highly competitive rental program for your business, complete with full-color brochures, inventory and the forms, documentation and training necessary to get rolling. There is no inventory investment, franchise fee, startup cost or advance market research required to participate. Veritas brings you name-brand products and years of administrative and marketing experience at no cost to you. Each month, you’ll receive a detailed activity statement as well as a high-percentage commission and per-contract bonus. For additional information, call 877.727.2798 or visit www.veritas-online.com.
Jammin Pro’s StudioPack 702
Jammin Pro’s StudioPack 702 is a bundled package that includes a seven-channel mixer with integrated USB player/recorder, dynamic microphone and high-performance studio headphones. The bundle features the Studiomix 702, which is a compact studio mixer that provides multiple connection options, USB playback and recording. The Studiomix 702 includes an integrated USB port to allow for direct playback or recording of MP3s. The StudioPack 702 also comes bundled with Audacity and Audio Cleaning Lab SE for audio editing. Whether it be for podcasts, recording lectures or rehearsals, the StudioPack 702 suits those who need a compact, feature-rich recording and monitoring solution for their home studio. The MSRP is $299. For additional information, call 732.388.5000 or go to www.jamminprousa.com.
Amptweaker’s TightFuzz Pedal
The TightFuzz was requested by Amptweaker players, and it will add some vintage tone to their arsenal. Whereas most vintage fuzz boxes have few controls, the TightFuzz includes a Tone control and Dark switch to tame the fuzzy edges and the Tight control. The Tight control, a mainstay of Amptweaker pedals, varies the pick attack from smooth and thick to tight and aggressive. This is helpful for tweaking a fuzz tone, since many are too flubby on the low end. With requested Boost and Germanium/Silicon switches, this pedal also can get lower gain tones easily, with an Auto Bias that adjusts appropriately with the Fuzz control, to get the cleanest and nastiest distortions possible with one control. For more information, visit www.amptweaker.com.
Gretsch’s Electromatic Series
Gretsch is in the holiday spirit with the Electromatic Series. The G5422TDC Electromatic Hollow Body and G5422TDCG Electromatic Hollow Body are bound double-cutaway hollow body guitars that feature sound-post bracing and elegant bound F holes. In addition, they feature “Black Top” Filter’Tron pickups, based on a select found set of Baldwin-era Filter’Tron pickups. Other features include a maple neck, bound rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and hump-black pearloid inlays, silver plexi pickguard (gold plexi pickguard on the G5422TDCG), three-position pickup switch, classic “G” arrow control knobs, rosewood-based Adjusto-Matic bridge and Bigsby-licensed B60 vibrato tailpiece (B60G on the G5422TDCG), vintage-style open-back tuners and chrome-plated hardware (gold-plated on the G5422TDCG). For additional information, call 480.596.9690 or visit www.gretschguitars.com.
Reunion Blues’ Aero Series Cases
Reunion Blues is offering striking aerodynamic guitar and bass cases that provide quality protection. The company’s Aero Series of electric guitar and bass cases offers the durability and quality of Reunion Blues in a dynamic slim design. Utilizing a Shock-absorbing Flexoskeleton protection system with reinforced EVA impact panels, combined with a rugged ballistic exterior, these cases deliver good impact resistance, while still suiting travel and the on-the-go musician. All Aero series cases are lined with Reunion Blues’ signature quilted velvet lining in vibrant red, and include a padded neck-brace with a locking security strap for instrument protection. The Aero cases also feature a contoured “Zero G” handle. The MSRP is $179.95. For details, call 800.950.1095 or visit www.reunionblues.com.
Casio’s Privia PX-350
Casio’s Privia PX-350 is part of the continuing evolution of the Privia digital piano line. A combination of a new keyboard action and a new sound engine elevate detail, nuance and expression for an improved grand piano experience in a lightweight and stylish design. The grand piano sound in Privia has been improved. The PX-350 utilizes more than three times the memory of the previous generation for a more natural piano tone. In addition, Casio’s proprietary sound source, “AiR” (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator), ensures realism and detail. This engine provides seamless dynamics for an expressive and powerful performance. A Damper Resonance simulator delivers the rich sound of the strings when the sustain pedal is used. The MSRP is $1,099.99. For details, call 973.361.5400 or visit www.casio.com.
Seymour Duncan’s SH-16 ’59 Custom/Hybrid
Seymour Duncan offers the SH-16 ’59 Custom/Hybrid. This bridge hybrid humbucker pairs the lush vintage warmth of the ’59 model with the hotter crunch of the company’s Custom series humbuckers. It combines the best qualities of both pickups because it is both pickups. Expect crisp, clear highs, ample lows and aggressive midrange growl in humbucking mode. Splitting the coils yields the strong, full sound of Custom coil with its 7.1k dc resistance. The dynamics are high quality: The ’59/Custom Hybrid snarls when you dig in, but cleans up when you lighten up. This powerful, versatile, expressive pickup is particularly suited to lead guitar work. The MSRP is $129. For more information, call 805.964.9610 or visit www.seymourduncan.com.
Hercules’ TabGrab Tablet Holder (HA300)
Hercules offers an extra hand on stage to hold your tablet. Easy to use and fun, the Hercules “TabGrab” Tablet Holder holds various tablets from 8.9 inches to 10.1 inches, including iPad, iPad2, the new iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad and others. The TabGrab can pivot a full 360° without any tools, and the modern clamp design fits quickly and securely onto many kinds of stands. The TabGrab can also be used on tabletops or any flat surface, allowing you to enjoy using your tablet everywhere: on stage, in the studio or relaxing at home. A separate table support is included for desktop use. The tablet holder works in both landscape and portrait modes. The MSRP is $59.99. For details,