Tech Blog

Boss Pedals Reviewed: BD-2w, OD-1X and TE-2

by Blogger on ‎03-25-2015 11:40 AM - last edited on ‎03-25-2015 03:41 PM by Blog Editor in Chief

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The Japanese company Boss has created the most historically significant collection of compact (“stompbox”) guitar pedals and continues to build quality electronic products for modern musicians. Starting in 1977 with the iconic (and orange-colored) DS-1 distortion pedal, Boss has created and released over a hundred pedal models. See that “wall of pedals”? That picture was taken by yours truly at the NAMM 2014 conference.  Lots of them are still sold worldwide and can be heard on recordings by famous artists. I had the privilege of trying three of the most recent innovative guitar pedals by Boss in the course of the last few weeks. Two gain-based pedals, and an echo (or reverb) model. What a treat!

 

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Fender Stratocaster American Standard Review

by Blogger on ‎01-13-2015 05:58 PM - last edited on ‎01-23-2015 02:19 PM by Blog Editor in Chief

 

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Here’s the American Standard Stratocaster electric guitar by Fender. This beauty had the privilege of spending some time in my studio for a little routine check. And what a ride it was! For some rock chords, blues riffs, funky rhythms and lots of modern jazz, this Strat is a versatile, high-end guitar. The American Standard I personally tried is equipped with three single coil pickups, features a black body finish with a classic white pickguard. The sexy curves of this solid body (it has contours that fit the musician’s arms) makes this guitar a gem of modern electric instrument manufacturing. The Stratocaster model, with its two asymmetrical horns continues to be the most imitated guitar body amongst all lesser brands of electric guitars. Thousands of timeless albums feature the tones of this american musical giant. Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie (and many more) used the Strat as their main instrument. We shouldn’t take this lightly!

 

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Fender DG-60 Acoustic Guitar Review

by Blogger on ‎01-13-2015 12:22 PM - last edited on ‎01-22-2015 09:03 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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The Fender DG-60 will soon be available at Future Shop. It’s a Dreadnought with a large body, for a full round sound. This guitar is well built, inexpensive and it has been extensively tested by the author of this article. Towards the end of the 2014 - 2015 holiday season, the DG-60 has been used in several musical contexts by yours truly: playing chords with a pick to accompany the family singing christmas tunes, playing some riff-based blues, teaching on Skype to students on three continents (that’s right!), improvising on jazz standards in chord-melody style without accompaniment and lastly learning from a few fingerstyle guitar lessons online. Let’s see how the Fender DG-60 did with this little benchmark test!

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Getting music from your phone or your computer to your Hi-Fi audio system can be accomplished in a number of ways; some cheap, some expensive. The experience isn’t uniform–some are great, some are less than great. Mass Fidelity’s Relay has been on the market for some time, and as one of the premium solutions available from Future Shop it has raised the question “is it worth the price difference over commodity competitors on the market?”. Let’s take a look together. 

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Comparing the top music streaming services

by Blogger on ‎12-18-2014 04:25 PM - last edited on ‎12-18-2014 04:42 PM by Blog Editor in Chief

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It was only 10 years ago that the concept of downloading single songs became the method of choice in enjoying music on portable devices. Now, an entire catalog of millions of tracks can be streamed for a monthly fee. Music streaming services have gone mainstream, and the various providers bear many similarities to each other, making it a little challenging to choose between them. Here’s a look at who’s currently playing in Canada, including what sets them apart from each other.

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Review: Spotify now streaming in Canada

by Blogger on ‎09-30-2014 11:12 PM - last edited on ‎10-01-2014 08:30 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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If you’re not familiar with Spotify, you’re probably already familiar with the type of service it offers. One of the most popular music streaming platforms in the world has finally come to Canada, five years after the company originally said it was considering doing so. There is no shortage of competitors, so what is it about Spotify that has made it so sought after? I streamed tunes from it for over a month to find out.

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Review: Monster iSport Strive, iSport Intensity, iSport Victory and iSport Freedom headphones

by Blogger on ‎07-09-2014 10:14 AM - last edited on ‎07-10-2014 11:44 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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Friends, gather ‘round. We’re gonna talk headphones here in what is essentially two different reviews. First up: we’re going to talk about Monster’s iSport earbuds - I’ve got three models to cover: the Strive, the Intensity, and the Victory, all with varying levels of noise isolation. Second on the docket is Monster’s iSport Freedom, a very different beast indeed. All four models are made for listeners who are engaging in a more active lifestyle… and as someone who has developed a passionate hatred for headphones and earphones while working out, I’m bringing a skeptical eye to the table. 

 

I’m ready, Monster. Come at me, bro.

 

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Review: Denon's AH-D600 Music Maniac On-Ear Headphones

by Blogger on ‎06-29-2014 12:57 PM - last edited on ‎06-30-2014 09:50 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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Shopping for premium headphones in-store is an interesting experience: there are definitely tiers of hardware out there. You see the entry level stuff in plastic packs, with the higher quality gear showing up in more and more elaborate packages. The Music Maniac AH-D600 Over-Ear Headphones from Denon bill themselves as “audiophile grade” cans and they’ve got packaging that matches. Are they any good when you crack them open? Read on, true believers.

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How to create your own free ringtones with iTunes

by Blogger on ‎06-01-2014 12:04 PM - last edited on ‎06-02-2014 04:11 PM by Blog Editor in Chief

iTunes logo.jpgRingtones aren’t new, but they’re easy to distinguish anytime you hear them. That catchy hook or cool opening part of a song can be the best way to move away from the standard ringtones available on the iPhone and give your contacts some personality. You can do this pretty easily by creating your own ringtones for free using the music you already have. All you need is a Windows PC or Mac, plus iTunes and your iPhone, and you’re ready to make it happen.

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Listen, learn or create: fill your life with the music you love

by Blogger on ‎05-01-2014 08:28 AM - last edited on ‎05-01-2014 11:43 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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There are so many ways to enjoy, appreciate and fall in love with music. The variety of sounds we hear and create can create life-long passions, successful careers, and many memorable nights by the campfire. Regardless of if you get your music fix through listening, learning or playing, there are plenty of gadgets out there designed to enhance every experience. Here are a few of my favourites that any music-junkie would enjoy. 

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There is a world of accessories that can enhance a musician's playing - from pedals to amps and everything in between, students and teachers of every discipline can reap the endless benefits these add-ons can provide. Below is a list of my personal must-haves, and, while mostly for the guitarist and bassist, I included some items that would be a welcome addition to any musician’s toolbox.

 

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Review of Gibson's Les Paul 70s Tribute Guitar

by Blogger on ‎11-27-2013 03:46 PM - last edited on ‎12-24-2013 10:55 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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What do Stairway to Heaven, Smoke on the Water and Hotel California all have in common? They’re all classic hits from same decade, the 1970s – one of the most thrilling and experimental times in music history. And, not surprisingly, a handful of these all-time favourites were written, recorded and performed on a select few guitars. 

 

One favourite was Gibson’s Les Paul. To pay homage to the feel and tone of the instrument that made some of the most unforgettable tunes during a decade when rock was king, Gibson introduced their Les Paul Studio '70s Tribute earlier this year. As someone who has always appreciated the Gibson brand of guitars, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to put this newly minted instrument to the test.  Here’s a quick breakdown of how I thought it measured up.

 

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How to choose the right speakers for your home

by Blogger ‎11-26-2013 03:27 PM - edited ‎01-11-2014 12:08 PM

Home-icon.jpgShopping for speakers can be a surprisingly overwhelming task. Unless you’re a hardcore audiophile and gearhead, it can be a challenge navigating the sea of complex terminology, numbers, and seemingly conflicting advice you’ll run across. As with anything you’ll want to get the speakers that provide the most bang for your buck, and know that your purchase is well suited to your home.

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Give music on your iPhone the live concert treatment

by Blogger ‎10-15-2013 03:21 PM - edited ‎10-15-2013 03:22 PM

LiveTunes main.jpgIf you have a lot of music on your iPhone, and you tend to like how a live concert sounds, there’s an app that puts the two together in a unique way. LiveTunes is an iOS app that simulates the sound effects of a live concert for tracks you already have stored on your device. Imagine how a song recorded in a studio would sound if it had all the elements of a venue, audience and acoustics. That’s what LiveTunes delivers with particular coolness.

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Review: Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones

by Blogger on ‎08-31-2013 12:06 PM - last edited on ‎01-14-2014 11:39 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

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Sennheiser already scored a winner with the over-ear Momentum headphones, but now, they’ve slimmed down the profile and slightly changed the design materials to create an on-ear version that are considerably more portable. These won’t have the noise isolation of the bigger model, but the components inside are virtually identical, all but ensuring music will sound great on these.

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