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About Karma1

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    San Francisco Bay area
  1. Really interesting article. I've always loved the sound of controlled feedback since the late 60's. I use it a lot in my own music and generate it with either my Sustainiac-equipped guitar, an Ebow, and/or the Feedbacker effect in my Roland VG-99. But “modeling†it with samplers as you described sounds intriguing. I'll be sure check that out for another tool in my sound effects box. Thanks Craig.
  2. Karma1

    Avatar Hellatone 30

    I've been playing guitar for over 30 years and have owned many amps and done a number of speaker swaps. But I've never been so impressed with a speaker before. I found this one at a music swap meet where it was new and I bought it for $60. I hadn't heard of the company before, but the fact that it was based on one of the better Celestions was a selling point. Definitely the best $60 I've spent.
  3. Karma1

    Ibanez 2350 Black Beauty

    As I mentioned above, I've been playing guitar for over 30 years and own a lot of other equipment - Gibson Les Paul, Fender Strat and Tele, and more. I originally bought this at a guitar show (actually I got it in trade for a Fernandes Sustainer guitar and a couple pedals - but the price tag on it was $350). My plan was to use it as a secondary or backup guitar (a "beater"). However, it sounds so damn great, after the pickup swap, that I use it lot more than I had planned. It's definitely comparable, and in some ways, superior to my Gibson Les Paul. I don't like guitars that weigh a ton, and this one is slightly heavier than I would like, but still within an acceptable range - nothing like the Les Paul Custom I had a few years ago that felt like it weighed 15 pounds. Since then I've wanted another black Les Paul Custom- style guitar, and when I saw this at the guitar show I thought this would be cool to have in my collection as a second line guitar. But it has totally exceeded my expectations and I am really enjoying playing this guitar.
  4. I am very happy with these monitors and would definitely buy them again if I needed to. There wasn't a lot out on the market to compare them to when I was shopping around. The only other one's I saw were a new model by Alesis - I forget the model name. The Alesis had more power - 50 watts, I believe, which was attractive, but not nearly as many inputs. They also didn't seem as durable or road-worthy. I can't think of any other features I'd like to see on these (except maybe being a little less expensive). Perhaps maybe more power or a larger speaker, but then they'd be bigger and heavier. I really like the portability of these monitors. All in all, excellent sound, great features, and a breeze to carry around - a very impressive package. I've written a lot of gear reviews here on Harmony Central and am usually hesitant to give out "10's", but I think these deserve it.
  5. Karma1

    Focusrite Platinum Penta

    I'm very impressed with the performance and features of the Penta. Some people may not like the fact that the compressor has presets, but that was one of the things I liked about it. Before this, I was using a Presonus Blue Max and Blue Tube. The Penta is a definite step up in quality. The only thing I wish it had is dual (two channel) pre-amps. My music is ambient electronic/new age and is mostly synth-based with electric guitar overdubs. So far it's been great for that. I haven't tried it for vocals, but am looking forward to checking that out when I get a project that calls for that. All in all, I'm very happy with the Penta and find that it works great as a front end for computer recording. I haven't tried using it for mixdowns yet, but from what I've read from other users, I don't have very high expectations. But that's not what I bought it for. I generally do my composing and tracking at my home studio then take the ProTools tracks to a commercial studio for mixing and mastering. So, for my needs, it's a winner.
  6. As I mentioned, I've been playing for over 30 years and have owned lots of guitars,including pre-CBS Fenders. I'd rate this guitar very highly especially in the bang for the buck department. It's incredibly versatile, as all the reviewers are saying, and is a great playing and sounding guitar with a fantastic look. For the price, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal. As far as whether I'd buy another one if it were lost or stolen - I've actually considered buying another one and just keeping it sealed in the box in case that happened. These are limited edition models and when they are gone, that's it, as far as I know. It's very rare to find a Tele with features such as carved top, body and neck bindings, and contoured back at any price, let alone $399 - and especially in a gold-top. Maybe Fender will come out with other models in the future with similar features, but I haven't seen much that compares with everything this guitar has to offer. It's definitely not ¿your father's Tele¿, and won't appeal to purists or people looking for that traditional Telecaster sound. It's also not a heavy metal guitar, although Tele's never were, even though its¿ humbuckers have plenty of crunch for hard rock. The only thing I wish it had was a vibrato bar, which is also not traditional Tele. Although, I do have the option of installing a Bigsby tremelo at some point. Also, separate volume and tone knobs for each pickup would be nice, instead of one set for both. As far as ratings, I don't hand out 10's very easily, as something has to reach a very high standard (in it's class) to merit it. But,in my humble opinion, certain aspects of this guitar rate a 10. It's definitely a Telecaster of a different color, so to speak, but for those who want something different than the traditional Telecaster with the ability to cover Strat and Gibson sounds as well, I recommend it highly.
  7. This is an awesome collection that is as diverse as it is huge. There are 50 banks of sounds, containing up to 100 sounds in each bank. It covers a very wide range of sounds from a variety of sources. Some banks are labeled by type such as Acoustic Piano, Film Score, Sonic Worlds, Textures, Vibes/Marimbas, etc. And some are labeled by the synths they are sampled from. Since this came out in 1998, the synths are mostly some of the great ones of the 90's such as Korg Wavestation (lot's of those), 01/W, M3R, Roland JD800/990, JV series, Proteus, Alesis QS8, etc. I spent about four days in a row auditioning these sounds and was extremely impressed with the quality and variety of this disk. I haven't gotten into all the banks yet, because I got it primarily for use in ambient music, so the sounds I'm looking for are more of the atmospheric evolving pads and filmscore-type, rather than "realistic" sounds like piano, brass, etc. For my kind of music, this collection is a gold mine. There are an unusually high number of these kinds of sounds, compared to some collections where they are a small percentage of the overall total. The sound quality is excellent and I got the feeling that the folks at Pyramid Sound Productions really put a lot of attention to detail into making this collection. They also have a number of other interesting collections available at their website. With a list price in the $200 range, it's pricey, but with thousands of incredible sounds it's well worth it. I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to breath some new life into their K2000/2500.
  8. Karma1

    roland GR-33

    I've been playing electric guitar for over 30 years and synths for about 15. Before the GR-33 I had a GR-30, and before that a GR-50. Pretty much, whenever Roland makes a significant up-grade, it's time for a trade-in. The GR-33 is the best guitar-synth Roland has produced yet. There's not much on the market that compares, especially at that price. Unless there was something better that came out at the time, I would definitely buy this again. Using the GR-33, a guitar-synth, with a keyboard controller is obviously not the most common application for it, but it's a great option. It's relatively small, compact, and easy to travel with. Also, having the unit on the floor under the keyboard, allows some good real-time control with the expression pedal and 4 foot switches, especially when using it layered with other synths. Playing it with a keyboard after using it for a long time with guitar, opened up a whole new collection of sounds because of the difference in the way they sound played by guitar and keyboard. Also, I'm editing some patches differently for keyboard use. This is one of many synths in my rig, including Korg Karma, Triton Rack, Wavestation SR, Kurzweil K2000R, Roland JD-800 & JD-990, Kawai K5000R, and others. But I find that I'm starting to use this a lot as a secondary tone layer with keyboards, especially for live playing. What's especially cool is that in a live setup, I can have the GR-33 ready to be triggered by both guitar and keyboard since they have separate inputs. The GR-33 triggered by guitar can also send a midi out back to the keyboard which opens up a whole other combination of sounds. So, all in all, it's a pretty versatile module, especially if you think outside the box a bit beyond it's intended usage. I highly recommended it in my previous review for guitarists. Now I would just as highly recommend it for keyboardists as well, especially for it's studio-standard sounds, real-time control options and expression abilities in an integrated, portable package. It's definitely become an essential part of my rig first as a guitarist and now as a synthesist. I don't give out 10's a lot, but for me, this one deserves it.
  9. Either, other guitarists are more tolerant of noise than I am, or maybe the unit I bought had some problems - although it seemed to work fine electronically. The Fender clean tone was excellent, but the Marshall and Mesa Boogie tones had too much noise and hiss, even at moderate levels. I also didn't find much to like in the clean settings of those two as well. I really spent a lot of time in the 6 months that I had it, trying to tweak some useable sounds, but in the end I gave up and traded it in. I have no doubt that all the people who have rated it so highly have found some great sounds that work for them, so no disrespect, but this box definitely didn't work for my use, especially for lead tones - which for me lean towards soaring melodic Santana/David Gilmour sounds. The actual tones were decent, but, as I said, too much noise. I even had a conversation with someone at Tech 21 about it, and I just couldn't dial it in for the right tone without the noise. I've been playing guitar for over 30 years and have owned a lot of equipment. I was very impressed with Tech 21 as a company and would have no hesitation trying out some of their other products. I'd also be curious to try some other GT2's to see if they are any better than the one I owned. So, based on my experience, I can't recommend this box very highly, but with so many other guitarists raving about it, I'd advise someone to check it out and see if it's right for them.
  10. Although I've played guitar (rock, jazz, etc) for over 30 years, my current focus is synth-based ambient electronic music. As a keyboard mixer, the 2004A has been doing a fine job for me. But for recording, it wouldn't be my first choice. In general, I like Behringer equipment and have been impressed over the years with their bang for the buck value. I also have a Behringer Ultra-Curve EQ and an Ultramizer Pro, both of which are fine products (especially the Ultra-Curve). Their gear is ususally well designed, functional, good features, decent manuals, etc. As I said, depending on your needs and usage, this could either be a good choice or not. If I had written this review before my recent experience with it, I would have rated it much higher. But based on the quality of the pre-amps for recording, I have to knock some points off.I got a really good deal on mine and I'm happy with it for specific uses. If I were in the market again, with so much available, I'd definitely be shopping around.
  11. I'm in my mid 50's and have been playing guitar for over 30 years. I've owned a lot of great equipment, including pre-CBS Fenders (which I wish I still had). I won't say that this is the best guitar I've ever had, but I would rate it highly and say that I am very happy with it. It's an excellent moderately priced guitar that responds well to upgrades and is the best sounding guitar I currently own, after the mods. I'm comparing to my other guitars which have also been upgraded, so it's a fair comparison, in spite of the fact that the Santana SE was a less expensive Korean-made guitar. Like I said, I bought this particular guitar to work on, but I could have been happy with it in stock condition also. I have been a huge fan of Carlos Santana since the 60's and he has been a major influence on my playing, so having his name on the headstock was kind of like the cherry on the top. I know that the SE has little in common with the American-made PRS Santana, but it also doesn't cost $3000 or more. I also checked out the PRS Tremonti SE and liked it, but not as much. All in all, this a well made, reasonably priced guitar that covers a lot of bases, and one that I would highly recommend.
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