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Make Better Music Expert Reviews - 2018 Year In Review

To review a review...trust us, it's a good thing...

 

by Team HC

 

 

 

Our Expert Reviews are designed to help you make informed buying decisions, take away the fear that can accompany technology, and learn how to integrate the piece of gear into your playing.  Our editors have been at this a long time and have become reliable and trusted sources for unbiased "tell it like it is" reporting on gear.  Here are our 2018 Expert Reviews ... for your review:

 

 

January 10, 2018     

Earthquaker Devices Westwood Drive

You're guitar's gonna love this wood!

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2018    

Robert Keeley Caverns V2 Delay and Reverb Pedal

Hello, hello, ... hello!

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2018    

Hartke HD500 2x10 Bass Combo Amplifier
Ultralight bass heavyweight

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2018   

Roger Linn Design LinnStrument 128

This may be the droid you're looking for...

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2018   

Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano
Both beginners and pros will find something to like in this recital

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2018    

Robert Keeley D&M Drive

Sometimes it's best to shut up and drive ...

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2018  

Lava Cable Blue Demon, Clear Connect, Ultramafic, and Van Den Hul Instrument Cables

When  geothermal energy is flowing...

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2018   

Electro Harmonix Hot Wax Dual Overdrive
One pedal, two classic EHX overdrives, and an invitation to color outside the lines

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2018 

Dean Markley Blackhawk Coated Guitar Strings
Are these new coated strings all they're wrapped up to be?

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2018   

 APEX "Hyper-Ellipticals" Series Electric Guitar Strings

Tightwire to the top!

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2018    

Tech 21 Acoustic Fly Rig
Is this the perfect travel companion for your acoustic-electric instrument?

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2018   

Yamaha LJ16BC Billy Corgan Acoustic Guitar

An acoustic that's simply smashing!

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2018  

Kenton MIDI Merge 8
Got the urge to merge? This versatile box can do it in two ways

 

 

 

 

March 1, 2018 

Sabian FRX Frequency Reduced Cymbals
What do these cymbals and a 20W guitar amp have in common?

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2018  

Graph Tech Dry N Glide Musician Talc

For hands dry as gin ...

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2018   

Yamaha BBP35 5-String Electric Bass

When you need to get slap-happy!

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2018    

Robert Keeley Compressor Plus

A compressor that's not a depressor ...

 

 

 

 

March 26, 2018 

TASCAM TM-AM3 Heavy-Duty Microphone Stand
Sometimes, not just any mic stand will do...

 

 

 

 

March 26, 2018   

Robert Keeley Loomer Wall of Fuzz Reverb Pedal

For reverb that looms and looms ...

 

 

 

 

March 26, 2018   

Arturia KeyStep Controller & Sequencer

Small keyboard, big features, and impressive connectivity

 

 

 

 

March 26, 2018  

DPA d:vote 4099G and d:vote 4099D Instrument Microphones
One microphone design to capture the world?

 

 

 

 

April 9, 2018   

Mackie Thump Boosted Series - Thump15BST - 15" Powered Loudspeaker

Thump's got bump!

 

 

 

 

April 9, 2018 

Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter Zi Instrument DI and Mic Activator
A variable impedance Mic Activator to DI for...

 

 

 

 

April 9, 2018 

Yamaha Pacifica 611VFMX
Impressive playability meets sonic versatility

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2018  

MOD Kits DIY Contortionist II High Octane Fuzz

Remember...never wear boxers while you solder...

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2018 

Samson G-Track Pro USB Microphone and Audio Interface
A USB mic with a little something extra for musicians

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2018  

JHS Lucky Cat Digital Delay with Modulation

Here kitty, kitty, kitty ...

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2018  

Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

A '50s era American original makes (another) comeback

 

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2018   

Ernie Ball Expression Tremolo Pedal

When you just need to express yourself ...

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2018    

DPA d:vice MMA-A Digital Audio Interface

Taking the tiny audio interface to a whole new level

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2018    

EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids Flanger

Flanging the sands of time...

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2018   

Spire Mobile Studio Recording System

Remember when 'mobile studio' meant a van?

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2018 

ESI Audio U168 XT USB Audio Interface
Is orange the new black?

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2018    

JHS Pedals - The @ Andy Timmons Signature Dual Drive

Seeing red @ a different level...

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2018  

ROLI Seaboard Block, Lightpad M Block, and Touch Block

EVERYTHING ... you wanted to know about ROLI!

 

 

 

 

June 4, 2018    

JHS Pedals Unicorn V2 Tap-Tempo Vibe

Believe in Unicorns?

 

 

 

 

June 4, 2018    

Mackie MP-120, MP-220 and MP-240 In-Ear Monitors

Isn't it about time you made the switch to IEMs?

 

 

 

 

June 4, 2018  

Heavy Leather NYC Vegan Guitar Straps

Get your vegan on with leather!

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2018  

T. P. Dodd Inc. Pedal-Lock

It's time to stop your pedals from getting away from you

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2018   

Stylophone GEN X-1 Analog Synthesizer

This is definitely not your grandfather's Stylophone

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2018    

TC Electronics 3rd Dimension Chorus

A pedal from the Twilight Zone?

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2018   

Fender Limited Edition American Elite HSS Telecaster

A Tele fit for a king...

 

 

 

 

July 2, 2018

Ampeg Opto Comp Analog Optical Compressor

Whether you play guitar or bass, Ampeg wants to be your main squeeze 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2, 2018

Blue Audio Blue Cat's Axiom Multieffect

While the cat's here...the mouse will cheer...

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2018

IK Multimedia iRig Stomp I/O

Get a foothold on performance technology!

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2018

Focal Listen Professional Headphones

Often when something says "professional" in its name, it isn't - are these cans an exception?

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2018

Ernie Ball StingRay 5-String Electric Bass

Give all 5 fingers equal time ...

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2018

Electro Harmonix Superego+ Synth Engine / Multi-Effect

Believe it or not, more 'ego may be exactly what you need!

 

 

 

 

July 30, 2018

JHS Emperor Chorus V2

 Does this stompbox give others the big freeze?

 

 

 

 

July 30, 2018

One Control Honey Bee Overdrive

Is this pedal sweet enough for your rig?

 

 

 

 

July 30, 2018

Electro-Harmonix 95000 Performance Loop Laboratory

Will this pedal leave you loopy?

 

 

 

 

July 30, 2018

Warm Audio WA-47 Multipattern Tube Condenser Mic

Is this new mic destined to become the volksmikrophon of the project studio universe?

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2018

BandLab Link Analog Version 1 Audio Interface for Mobile

Now you can be creative inside the box!

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2018

Electro-Harmonix Ocean's 11 Reverb

Sand, sunburn, and salt spray not included...

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2018

Fender Player Stratocaster Floyd Rose HSS

A new standard for players looking for their first Fender?

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2018

Fender Effects Part 1

In part one of this two part review we look at the Pugilist Distortion, Marine Layer Reverb and Level Set Buffer

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2018

Ampeg Liquifier Analog Chorus

Bassists: Don't let your guitar and keyboard-playing friends try it…

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2018

JHS Panther Cub V2 Analog Delay

Could it be their most intriguing pedal to date?

 

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2018

Electro-Harmonix Op Amp Big Muff Pi

What could be any better than a big muff pi?

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2018

Fender Effects Pedals Part 2

In part two of this three-part review, we check out The Bends Compressor, Santa Ana Overdrive and Mirror Image Delay

 

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2018

Roland FA-06 61-Key Music Workstation and Synthesizer

Could this be the ultimate all-in-one workstation?

 

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2018

Earthquaker Devices Aqueduct Vibrato

Can this vibrato pedal quench your thirst?

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2018

Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Pitch Shifting Analog Delay

Seriously, what could be better than chasing bliss?

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2018

Gothic Instruments DRONAR Master Edition

The wait is over!

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2018

Dusky Electronics Hypatia Fuzz Overdrive Distortion Pedal

Could this pedal have roots to a Greek philosopher renowned for her intellect?

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2018

CEntrance MixerFace R4 Mobile Recording Interface

Part audio mixer, part recording interface, and uncommonly mobile-friendly

 

 

 

 

October 8, 2018

Keeley Aria Overdrive and Compressor

This aria isn't an operatic solo!

 

 

 

 

October 8, 2018

Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water Analog Modulation

Sometimes...you just need to wade in the water...

 

 

 

 

October 8, 2018

IK Multimedia UNO Synth

Just how good can a $200 analog synth really be? 

 

 

 

 

October 8, 2018

Yamaha Tour Custom Maple Drumset

Like a familiar pair of blue jeans...

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2018

Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly Modulated Delay

Does this pedal deviate from what's standard, normal, or expected?

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2018

Cort CJ Retro

Does this acoustic-electric's value match its jumbo size and cool vintage vibe? 

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2018

RPS Warp Drive Analog Delay

To boldly go...

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2018

Govee Smart Hygrometer/Thermometer

Humidity and high temps can cause more than a bad hair day-just ask your instrument…

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2018

Frantone Cream Puff Fuzz Pedal

One sweet pedal...

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2018

Animals Pedal Tioga Road Cycling Distortion

A bear on a bike? I smell a rat... 

 

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2018

Fender Effects Pedals Part 3

In the third (and final?) part of this three-part review, we check out The Pelt Fuzz, Engager Boost and Full Moon Distortion

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2018

Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi Reissue

Who doesn't like reheated Pi...?

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2018

JAM Pedals RetroVibe MKII

For flower power jammin' ...

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2018

Chase Bliss Audio Condor EQ Overdrive Filter Pedal

With a sound as large as an Andean wingspan...

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2018

Bose T8S/T4S ToneMatch Mixers

ToneMatch takes tiny on stage...

 

 

 

 

November 15, 2018

TASCAM Model 24

24 Channel Multitrack Recorder with Integrated USB Audio Interface and Analog Mixer

 

 

 

 

November 19, 2018

RPS Tremulus Maximus Optical Tremolo

Tremulus maximus for the carnivourus vulgaris guitarist...

 

 

 

November 19, 2018

One Control Micro Distro

Pint-sized powerhouse

 

 

 

 

November 19, 2018

JHS Kodiak Tremolo

Pedal sound so big it's un-bear-able!

 

 

 

 

November 19, 2018

Singular Sound Beat Buddy Mini 2

And the beat goes on ...

 

 

 

 

November 19. 2018

Matthew Effects The Astronomer V2 Celestial Reverb

This pedal would make Carl Sagan smile...

 

 

 

December 3, 2018

Matthew Effects The Chemist Atomic Modulator

Chorus/Vibrato/Phaser/Octave. Who could ask for anything more...

 

 

 

 

December 3, 2018

Yamaha TRBX 600 Series Electric Bass

4 string seismic thunder ...

 

 

 

 

 

December 3, 2018

Fender Redondo Classic

An eye-catching acoustic with electric overtones

 

 

 

 

December 3, 2018

Cusack Music Resound Digital Reverb

Resoundingly retro cool ...

 

 

 

December 3, 2018

JHS Bonsai Overdrive

A nine position tubescreamer that goes to eleven!

 

 

 

We look forward to bringing you many more in 2019! -HC-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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