The Sonos Beam makes your TV sound a dream and is out now

Sonos are expanding your TV experience with their most affordable soundbar yet giving you a powerful, quality sound for all your entertainment needs at a cost you’ll be willing to part with.

The Sonos Beam is the second TV soundbar from the beloved, connected speaker makers and their third accompaniment for your entertainment setup. The Beam offers their cheapest option yet but by no means loses the quality that we’ve come to expect from Sonos.

Whilst the Beam comes in at £300/$300 cheaper than their previous Playbar and Playbase speakers at just £300/$300, Sonos claim this is their “most advanced soundbar”. The Beam is small enough to fit under most modern TVs but it’s excellent design means that no matter how large or small the space your room is filled with a crisp and powerful sound that enhances your viewing experience.

Being a Sonos speaker the Beam is totally connected and you can link it up to any other Sonos speakers you have for a surround sound experience or take it to multiple rooms around your house. Listening to a great documentary but want to carry on listening whilst you prepare a meal? Link it up to a Sonos speaker in your kitchen – the networked Beam provides hundreds of opportunities for a new multimedia experience.

The new soundbar is built with less amplifiers than the Playbar which features 9 and the Playbase which features 10 but it’s full-range woofers and tweeters provide the same level of quality audio. It also comes with enhancements for an even greater experience such as Night Sound which allows you to listen clearly without waking your house and Speech Enhancement which makes dialogue crisper.

With the recent addition of Amazon Alexa voice control to newer Sonos speakers you can control your sound by speaking to the Beam. You can of course also control it with the traditional option of using your phone, AirPlay or your choice of music service’s app.

Find out more and get a Beam for yourself from the Sonos website here: www.sonos.com/Sonos/Beam

Top 5 Electro-Acoustic Guitars under £1000

With a huge range of brands and styles it can be hard to choose the perfect electro-acoustic so we have put together this comprehensive guide to the best 5 electro-acoustic guitars you can buy for under £1000.

Martin 000X1AE (£650)

This stunning Martin has been a go to for beginner guitarist’s looking to spend some money on a really great guitar for years. With a price range starting at around £650, this martin is an absolute bargain for what you receive. The 000X1AE is part of Martin’s entry level X Series sitting around the middle of the price bracket for the series.

I’ve personally owned this guitar for a couple of years, I use it for every gig I do and every recording session. It’s reliable, sounds amazing both acoustic and plugged in and is generally strong and usable in all areas. I couldn’t recommend any guitar more than this one. The sound resonates perfectly in every setting and the guitar itself is easy to play and very comfortable.

This guitars features include;

  • Built in Fishman pick-up
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Small Body Design
  • Modified Low Oval Neck Shape

 

Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium (£800)

This guitar is an excellent example of what money can buy with an astonishingly great sound, a beautiful style and look. The 114ce comes in on price around £800 and is a prominent seller amongst the electo-acoustic market. This guitar is the cut away edition of the highly reviewed Taylor 100 Series and with a very fair price, you would be mad not to consider it as a big competitor.

Bryn, a fellow Routenote employee and proud owner of the Taylor 114ce said “The action and play-ability is just as good as the hype you hear about Taylor’s. It’s a very comfortable and addictive guitar to play. As someone that loves the sound of an acoustic, usually pick ups on acoustic’s sound like nails scratching a chalkboard to me, however Taylor’s pickup sounds really good.”

This guitars features include;

  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Walnut Back and Sides
  • Tropical Mahogany Neck
  • Taylor Expression System 2 Pick-ups

 

PRS SE 2018 Angelus A50E Cut Away (£800)

Now, PRS aren’t the first name you would think of when it comes to acoustic guitars, they are well known for eye catching electrics and a rock star status, but they have filled my wildest dreams with this brand new acoustic. The pure crisp sound this guitar makes mixed with the full body resonance creates a sound worthy of any folk artists guitar collection.

Having been lucky enough to trial this guitar out within the first week of its release, I can honestly say that it sits in the same league as any Martin or Taylor and with a price of just under £800, I would highly recommend this to anyone considering entering the folk or country scene.

This guitars features include;

  • Maple Body and Sides
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Spruce Top
  • Fishman GTI Pick-up

Martin 000RS1 Road Series (£830)

Another Martin makes it’s way on to my Top 5 with the Road Series 000RS1, what amazes me most about this guitar is how well built and designed it is. Every inch of this guitar has been perfectly made for the best sound quality Martin can achieve for under £1000. This guitar is priced around £830 which is incredible for what you get with it.

This solid sapele guitars looks are so pleasing on the eye and that’s what makes this guitar so appealing within the entry to mid level market. Having played one of these a few years back, I remember the neck shape and fret placement being perfect for fast past folk/country style picking with a really smooth and easy feel to it.

This guitars features include;

  • Solid Sapele Back and Sides
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Fishman Sonitone Pick-up
  • Satin Finish

Takamine EF261S-AN (£920)

This beautiful deep cutaway Takamine has stormed it’s way on to my list with dashing looks and an incredible sound. Despite being the most expensive of the 5 guitars, priced at £920, this guitar really is worth every penny with a head turning dark cedar wood top and antique satin finish. The EF261S-AN is very well priced amongst the prestigious Takamine brand and despite being under £1000 it lives up to everything you hear about Takamine’s.

I was lucky enough to borrow one of these this year for a recording session with a few other folk guitarist’s and everyone just wanted one of there own, its definitely a guitar to be proud of, a guitar collection isn’t complete without a Takamine and this is the one for mine.

This guitars features include;

  • Solid Cedar Top
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Takamine CTB4-II Pick Up
  • Deep Cutaway Deisgn

Ernie Ball’s ‘Special’ new StingRay basses re-invent the classic

Any self-respecting bass player knows how special Ernie Ball StingRays are and their new Special models bring that innovation into the 21st century.

Ernie Ball are back with a brand new rap for a veteran rapper, announcing the StingRay Special in 4 and 5 strings. The re-invented classic has been rebuilt from the ground up to be optimised for modern playing and gear whilst retaining the innovative and sleek design that made the Ernie Ball Stingray special.

The StingRay bass guitar was first released by Ernie Ball in 1976 and quickly became one of the most iconic basses in the world thanks to it’s beautiful design and absolute quality build for the price. For the first time in 30 years they are re-imagining the StingRay with a new build, contouring and guts.

Ernie Ball say the new contouring prioritises “comfort and playability” with a more spherical body making it more comfortable to rest your forearm in. They also introduce a new 5-bolt neck joint, providing uninhibited access to all 22 stainless steel frets on the Special’s gorgeous roasted maple necks. The resins in the wood are hardened for stability and also gives the neck a gorgeous colour.

The new and improved StingRay Special bass pickups feature powerful neodymium magnets for higher output which creates a dynamic range while preserving the StingRay sound. This new bass also offers a redesigned 18-volt preamp for maximized headroom without clipping which ultimately gives you more power. The 3-bands allow ultimate control over the high end, which is not so harsh, the mid range is reset, and the bass is focused on the most utilised frequencies.

Both the 4 and 5 string versions of the new StingRay Special basses come with two options for pickups. You can choose to go for a single or a dual humbucking setup with their new neodymium magnets offering a higher output and the iconic sound of the beloved StingRay bass.

Nab yourself a brand new, modernised and re-sexified Ernie Ball StingRay starting at $1,999 from retailers. Find out more from Ernie Ball’s website.

Shinola give studio quality treatment to their Bookshelf Speakers

Shinola’s gorgeous Bookshelf Speakers are getting the studio treatment with the second generation going for true audiophile appeal.

Shinola have just launched the updated versions of their Bookshelf Speakers launched last year. With the help of American studio monitor makers Barefoot Sound, Shinola have created beautifully crisp, studio-quality speakers made for the home – if you have $1,500 to spare for a pair.

The newly launched Bookshelf Speakers are enhanced from Shinola’s first pair of in-house speakers launched last year. The new Barefoot-powered woofers have increased to 6.5 inches in size from 5 inches in the original pair. The new-and-improved Bookshelfs boost the power from 60 watts RMS to almost double with 100 watts RMS per channel for a powerful total of 300 watts.

The studio enhanced refresh also brings new ways to listen to your music with the options to connect via Bluetooth, S/PDIF, and USB-C inputs. Last year’s models only featured 3.5mm aux and RCA connectivity so the ability to stream your music wirelessly is a big addition. The Bluetooth connectivity is reportedly strong and doesn’t infringe on the audio quality much at all. The speaker system is powered itself and doesn’t need an amp so you can connect to them straight up.

In the Verge’s hands-on review of the speakers they listened to master recordings on Tidal for an optimum 24-bit/96 kHz quality. The reviewer said that “in most cases, it sounds exquisite” however noted that some super-low frequencies struggled to reach their optimum power but said “that was a rare experience”.

The speakers aren’t cheap coming in at $1,500 however for the quality of sound and connectivity it may well be worth it if you’re looking for some top-end speakers for home-use. Barefoot Sound’s studio monitors all cost $4,000 so technically you’re getting Barefoot’s prestige quality of sound in a cheaper package.

Shinola’s 2nd generation Bookshelf Speakers are available on their website right now: www.shinola.com/book-shelf-speakers-natural.html

Fender reveal their sexy new Player series of guitars

Timeless designs, iconic sound and style. Built on the foundation of legends, the Player Series makes it easy to start your musical legacy with authentic Fender tone and feel.

Fender have revealed their new Player series of guitars featuring 21 new guitars and basses which Fender promise have been updated for new generations. Their new made-in-Mexico series will replace their current Standard Series also made in Mexico.

The new series will feature Alnico pickups which provide the authentic Fender tone with a futuristic edge in each single-coil, split-coil and humbucking pickup. Satin-finished C”-shaped maple necks ensure smooth playing whilst the body is designed with each model’s original specifications.

Here are all the new models coming out of Fender’s new player series:

stratocaster Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch

ARTICULATE WITH A TIMELESS VOICE

THE PLAYER STRATOCASTER®

• Three Player Series pickups
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard
• Dedicated bridge pickup tone control

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch telecaster

THE ONE THAT STARTED IT ALL

THE PLAYER TELECASTER®

• Two Player Series pickups
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard
• String-through-body bridge with bent-steel saddles

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch jazzmaster

REFINED YET WILD

THE PLAYER JAZZMASTER®

• Two Player Series humbucking pickups
• Push/pull pot to coil-split humbucking bridge pickup
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch Jaguar

SWEET JANGLY NOTES WITH A BITE

THE PLAYER JAGUAR®

• Player Series humbucking bridge pickup and one single-coil Jaguar neck pickup
• Slide switch to coil-split humbucking bridge pickup
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch Precision P bass

THE SOUND THAT DEFINED THE ELECTRIC BASS

THE PLAYER PRECISION BASS®

• One Player Series split-coil Precision Bass® middle pickup
• Master volume and tone controls
• 20-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch jazz bass

THICK AND SMOOTH WITH THUNDEROUS PUNCH

THE PLAYER JAZZ BASS®

• Two Player Series single-coil Jazz Bass pickups
• Two volume controls, master tone control
• 20-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch Jaguar bass

A ONE-TWO PUNCH OF HYBRID TONE

THE PLAYER JAGUAR BASS®

• One Player Series single-coil J Bass® bridge pickup; one Player Series split-coil P Bass® middle pickup
• Two volume controls; master tone control
• 20-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard


Check out the series which starts at £559.00/$674.99 from the Fender website: shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-series/player

Forget wires tangling up your pedal setup with Boss taking you wireless

Boss are breaking the chains of your pedal board setup with their new wireless receivers providing a tidy, cable-free setup as you stomp and play.

Boss have revealed 3 new wireless transmitters which could be the best in the market yet with lightning fast connections and the best stability yet. The series gives a solution to pedal boards packed with stompboxes tangled together by wires and making a mess of your ability to perform and record live. They aren’t the first wireless solutions but they seem to offer a better package than most that have come before.

Their new WL series features 3 wireless systems of varying difference: Boss WL-20, Boss WL-20L, and Boss WL-50.

Boss WL-20/WL-20L

Boss wireless receivers pedal board connect music instruments

Have you always dreamed about going wireless with your instrument, but were put off by the complicated setup, tone loss, and bulky adds-ons? If so, the WL-20 series is for you! Driven by new lightning-fast BOSS tech, these ultra-compact music tools deliver premium sound and plug-and-play operation that completely eliminates all the hassles normally associated with wireless systems.

  • Plug-and-play wireless systems for guitar, bass, and other electronic instruments
  • No complicated setup required—simply dock the transmitter and receiver together for about 10 seconds to set the optimum wireless connection
  • Newly developed BOSS technology delivers premium audio performance with rock-solid stability, ultra-low latency (2.3 ms), and 50-foot/15-meter range (line-of-sight propagation)*
  • Built-in rechargeable batteries provide up to 12 hours of continuous playing time**
  • Simple charging with a standard USB adaptor (5 V/500 mA or greater)
  • Cable tone simulation reproduces the natural capacitive effect of a 10-foot/3-meter guitar cable (WL-20 model only)
  • Spare WL-T Transmitter available separately

    * The transmission range may vary due to local conditions.
    ** A full charge provides 12 hours of time for the transmitter and 10 hours for the receiver.

Boss WL-50

Boss wireless receivers pedal board connect music instruments

With the WL-50, it’s never been easier to bring wireless freedom to your pedalboard. Driven by new BOSS technology, the WL-50 delivers premium sound and a plug-and-play experience that eliminates all the hassles normally associated with wireless systems. The stompbox-sized receiver fits right alongside your other pedals, and includes a docking port for charging the transmitter and automatically setting the best wireless connection. There’s even a handy DC output, allowing you to distribute power to multiple pedals on your board.

  • Plug-and-play wireless system in a stompbox-size format for pedalboards
  • Optimum wireless connection set automatically, with no complicated setup required
  • Newly developed BOSS technology delivers premium audio performance with rock-solid stability, ultra-low latency (2.3 ms), and 65-foot/20-meter range (line-of-sight propagation)*
  • Built-in rechargeable battery in transmitter provides up to 12 hours of continuous playing time
  • Plug the transmitter into the receiver’s docking port for charging and automatic wireless setup**
  • Selectable cable tone simulation options: short, long, and bypass
  • Receiver powered by optional PSA-S adaptor or two AA batteries
  • With PSA-S adaptor power, the receiver’s DC output can distribute power to one or more pedals using an optional PCS-20A daisy-chain cable
  • Spare WL-T Transmitter available separately

    * The transmission range may vary due to local conditions.
    ** To charge the transmitter, the receiver must be powered via a BOSS PSA-S adaptor. It’s also possible to directly charge the transmitter with a standard USB adaptor (5 V/500 mA or higher).


Boss’ new WL series is available now WL-50 ($199/£179), WL-20/L ($179/£159), and the additional/replacement transmitter WL-T ($99/£85). Find out more from their website: www.boss.info/us/categories/featured_products

This iOS synth is the largest open source synth in history – and FREE

The world’s first completely open-source, full featured professional iOS synthesizer app that can be downloaded at no charge can now be yours.

The AudioKit Synth One is a special mobile app that takes a synth in your pocket to whole new realms. The instrument has been created by volunteers and is completely open source so you can rewrite it and customise it to your hearts content or even build your own synth from it.

The app has been created with sound design and consultancy from a number of esteemed synth techs and engineers who have worked with top artists and makers around the world. The app features MIDI support allowing it to be played on MIDI keyboards and controllers and features a sequencer, vintage-inspired analog filters, expressive arpeggiators, warm analog delays, and over 200 presets to play with.

The AudioKit Synth features:
  • Hybrid Analog/FM Poly Synthesizer
  • Over 200+ Presets crafted by famous sound designers
  • Audiobus 3 & Inter-app Audio (IAA)
  • Five Oscillators (2 DCO, FM, Sub, Noise)
  • 2 Assignable LFOs with dozens of routing possibilities
  • 100+ Alternative Scales & Tunings
  • Vintage-Style 16-Step Sequencer
  • Classic poly arpeggiator
  • MIDI in (Control with a MIDI Keyboard or DAW)
  • Touchable ADSR Envelopes for Amp & Filter
  • FM Oscillator w/ Mod
  • Dedicated Sine/Square -12/24 Sub Osc
  • 4-Pole Vintage Low-Pass Filter
  • High-Pass/Band Pass Filters
  • Mono portamento & legato
  • Beautiful Sean Costello Reverb
  • Multi-tap (ping-pong) delay
  • TouchPads
  • Preset Import/Export & More…
  • Compact app size (under 25mb)
  • MIDI Learn on all knobs, MIDI Bank/Patch & Sustain Pedal support
  • Full Source code included

The creators will soon also be adding Ableton Link support, AUv3 plugin support for using in an iOS host, and MPE MIDI support for expressive control with the Roli Seaboard and other similarly expressive devices.

You can get the AudioKit Synth One on your iOS device free when it comes out by entering your email at audiokitpro.com/synth.

Play multi-room music on different speakers with Apple’s AirPlay 2

Apple have updated their AirPlay system for connecting to devices and speakers with some great additions for listening around the house.

With the launch of iOS 11.4 Apple have also released the new version of their AirPlay music streaming software. Originally called AirTunes, the software uses WiFi to stream music from one device to another and has grown to include video streaming, device screen sharing and photo sharing since it’s inception.

AirPlay 2 brings a bunch of new features sure to tantalise Apple device owners. The most exciting new feature of AirPlay 2 is multi-room support with multiple devices which means you can stream to multiple speakers at the same time, but they don’t need to be the same brand. This means you could connect a Sonos speaker to a Bang & Olufsen speaker to both play simultaneously.

Unfortunately the list of speakers that are compatible with AirPlay 2 isn’t that big and most of the speakers come at a premium price. As The Verge note, the cheapest available speaker that will work with AirPlay 2 is the Sonos One which itself costs $199.99. But this will be music to the ears of anyone who owns two different branded speakers with wireless capabilities, as finally there’s a way to use them both.

Apple have increased the buffer size when streaming on AirPlay meaning that if there’s a connection issue the track can keep playing for longer before it stops or reconnects, resulting in less interruptions in your listening experience. Apple have also optimised clock syncing between devices and added multi-room playability from their HomePod and iOS devices, whereas before you could only stream multi-room from a Mac.

AirPlay 2 fixes an issue in which the music would stop playing if you took a call, played a video, played games or anything else which took over the sound. With the HomePod you can now use Siri to move your music streaming from one place to another just by telling Apple’s AI assistant to move the music to whichever speaker you like.

AirPlay unfortunately retains it’s system of streaming music through the phone and wirelessly playing that through the connected sound-system. The issue with this is, if you’re listening to Apple Music for example and your phone dies then the music will stop whereas other connected systems like Google Cast connect with your account on the speaker and play it directly through it’s output. Only playing via Apple’s Homepod speaker eliminates this issue.

The list of speaker makers currently working with AirPlay 2: Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer, and Sonos.

What DAWs do the world’s top DJs and producers use?

All music software is slightly different and every producer has their favourite that works for them when they’re mixing up a plate of fresh sounds – these are the favourites for the world’s top producers.

Whilst each producer is unique and works in a different way there’s only so many tools out there to bring your ideas to life. We think it’s best to explore and try as many as you can to find the one that works for you, when you know you know, but you can take inspiration from what your favourite artists are using.

The worlds biggest producers and DJs are still working on the same select few programs that most of the world are using. Although many of them will use multiple programs, here are there main ones that they come to for inspiration and creating banging new beats.

Here’s a list of what the biggest producer’s in the world right now are using to create their hits:

Flume

Flume producer DJ music software DAW production program

When it comes to creating wonky electronic beats Flume is the man at the helm of weird and wonderful EDM with a pop-appeal. Flume has always touted Ableton as his top choice of DAW, saying: “For me I like to work really quickly. Ableton Live, yeah, I’ve been using it for quite some time now.”

Beyond Ableton Flume users Native Instruments Komplete and Kontakt instrument plugins as well as their Guitar Rig software. Flume says: “I like NI Guitar Rig as an effect on things like vocals… I do that quite regularly. It’s great running things through the amps, and even if I’m not using much distortion you can get some really cool, different sounds.”

Disclosure

Disclosure production producers EDM mixing software production music DAW program

Electronic duo Disclosure have been influencing EDM music since their debut album Settle sent shockwaves to parties around the globe. The English brothers use Apple Logic Pro X as their main program for creating music but say about playing gigs: “For live we use Ableton on one laptop to run stuff we can’t play, but we try to play as much as we can.”

When it comes to gear the boys love Akai Professional using a range of their launch pads, keyboards, and controllers. They say: “We run everything through Ableton and control it with the APC stuff Akai makes which is great. We also use bass guitar, a couple of drum machines, MPC for vocal samples, a synth and percussion at [the] moment.”

Martin Garrix

Martin Garrix producer production music EDM mixing creation DAWS software

When it comes to Dutch producer extraordinaire Martin Garrix he prefers Image Line’s FL Studio as a canvas for his creations. Garrix has said that he uses multiple versions of FL Studio because he hasn’t put all of his synths and samples into one version – producer problems.

Garrix says that he also uses “a bit of [Apple] Logic sometimes”. In a tweet Garrix listed some of the Plugins he’s bought now he can afford official music software including: Nexus, Sylenth1, Massive and Gross Beat.

Find out what software your favourite producers and DJs are using as well as in-depth looks at their gear and equipment on EquipBoard: equipboard.com