New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up

8th Sep 2010 | 15:54

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Everything you need to know about this month's surprising surge of new gear

As a general rule, musical instrument manufacturers release the majority of their new gear at the beginning of the year (check out 2010’s Winter NAMM and Frankfurt Musikmesse highlights to see what we mean) with only Summer NAMM and a trickle of new products and updates carrying us through until Christmas. So when five big industry players - Fender, Roland, Korg, Vox and Novation - go head-to-head with a surge of new gear as late on as September(!), it’s pleasantly surprising.

This is a round-up of all the big releases from the last week. Very small amps are the main order of the day, while there’s definitely something ‘bright red’ in the water where finishes are concerned. First up, though, is a brand-new range of electrics: Fender Blacktop Series…

What you need to know:

No word from Fender on Blacktop RRPs (a quick look online suggests a figure around £550) but the company is touting them as "absolutely the most easily affordable humbucking pickup-equipped models Fender has ever brought you." The new range includes a Strat, Tele, Jaguar and Jazzmaster and - alongside the distinctive dual 'buckers - defining features include the skirted amp control knobs. For a closer look at each model, check out the full press release…

PRICE: around £550

MORE: Fender Blacktop Series press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Fender Mustang Series amps

What you need to know:

A scaled down version of Fender’s G-DEC 30 modelling combo but priced at a very affordable £108 and £175 for the 20-watt (I) and 40-watt (II) models respectively. The all-new Mustang Series boasts 24 presets built from eight amp models (increasable when you hook it up to a computer) and 24 effects.

PRICE: Mustang I £108; Mustang II £175

MORE: Fender Mustang amp series press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Fender Special Edition John Mayer 'Black1' Stratocaster

What you need to know:

A tribute to Mayer’s own ‘go-to’ electric (same neck shape, pickups and electronics) loaded with three Big Dipper singlecoils and gold hardware. There are only 500 of these in existence so act quickly if you want one.

PRICE: £1649

MORE: Fender John Mayer ‘Black1’ Strat press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Roland Cube-XL guitar amp

What you need to know:

A new Series and four new models have been added to Roland’s Cube family of guitar amps. The Cube-XL ‘COSM’ modelling amplifiers - 80XL, 40XL, 20XL, and 15XL - boast updated effects, onboard phrase looping and a range of sounds from "crystal clear to crushing metal".

PRICE: 15XL $123.50; 20XL $208.50; 40XL $278.50; 80XL $488.50

MORE:Roland Cube-XL press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Roland AX-Synth black sparkle

What you need to know:

Roland’s flagship keytar is now available in a black sparkle finish. As far as we can tell the colour is the only change in spec, so hit up the in-depth Roland AX-Synth review for full details.

PRICE: $1449

MORE:Roland AX-Synth black sparkle press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Roland Juno-Gi

What you need to know:

Following up last year’s Juno-Di, Roland’s latest portable synth is also an eight-track digital recorder. Spec includes 64 virtual tracks; 1300 sounds ‘optimised for live gigs’; mood, pitch bend and D-BEAM controls.

PRICE: $1199

MORE: Roland Juno-Gi press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Roland Octa-Capture audio interface

What you need to know:

Roland has quickly abandoned the idea of giving 'Cakewalk by Roland' branding to all its computer-based products, finally bringing all of its gear under one roof, so to speak. The Octa-Capture is a USB audio interface with eight preamps (hence the ‘Octa’ bit) and a very long list of ‘standard defining’ recording features.

PRICE: $699

MORE:Roland Octa-Capture press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Roland RD-700NX stage piano

What you need to know:

A new flagship stage piano completes Roland’s new product haul. Spec highlights: SuperNATURAL sound engine; PHA III Ivory Feel keyboard; large LCD screen; three onboard grand pianos and classic electric pianos.

PRICE: $2999

MORE:Roland RD-700NX press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Boss ST-2 Power Stack pedal and Boss PS-6 Harmonist pedal

What you need to know:

A couple of new Boss stompboxes join Roland’s line-up. The ST-2 Power Stack is a distortion pedal that emulates the sound and feel of playing through a cranked-up, stack-style tube amp. The PS-6 Harmonist combines four pitch-shift effects and three-voice harmony.

PRICE: ST-2 £99; PS-6 £149

MORE:Boss ST-2 Power Stack and Boss PS-6 Harmonist press releases

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Vox Lil' Night Train amp head

What you need to know:

Vox’s 15-watt Night Train was already riding high on the cool, shiny and compact amp head stakes, but the company has seen fit to trump itself by releasing an equally neat little brother. The 2-watt tube Lil’ Night Train head weighs in at under three kilograms and, initially at least, comes partnered with the V11ONT speaker cab.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Vox Lil' Night Train amp head press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Vox Valvetronix+ Series amps

What you need to know:

The popular Valvetronix range has evolved: the new Valvetronix+ amplifiers feature 99 ‘ready-to-play’ presets; 25 effects; eight user programs for saving your own custom settings; and an array of modelling settings including the AC30 and the Night Train. Available in 20, 40, 80 and 120-watt configurations.

PRICE: TBA

MORE:Valvetronix+ Series amps press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Vox Hand-Wired Series tube amps

What you need to know:

Traditional two-channel, all-valve guitar amplifiers with - as the name spells out - hand-wired circuitry updated from Vox’s last Hand-Wired collection. Feature-wise, there’s a top boost channel with Hot/Cool switch for fans of gain and a bypass switch for master volume override. Available in 30 and 15-Watt configurations.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Vox Hand-Wired Series press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Vox AC1 RhythmVOX

What you need to know:

A miniature practice amplifier featuring what Vox describes as "a wealth of features never before seen on a mini amp". They’re referring to the 66 built-in rhythm/song patterns - a pretty neat addition for bedroom jams.

PRICE: TBA

MORE:Vox AC1 RhythmVOX press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Vox Mini3 amp

What you need to know:

A portable modelling amplifier with 11 amp sims; a dedicated clean connection for keyboard/synth etc; MP3 player input for all your busking needs; and the usual array of effects.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Vox Mini3 press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Vox amPlug Joe Satriani

What you need to know:

A bright red addition to Vox’s amPlug series of headphone amps. Featuring two signature sounds; distortion tone inspired by the Satchurator; and analogue-style delay inspired by the Time Machine.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Vox amPlug Joe Satriani press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Korg microKey

What you need to know:

A new ultra-portable 37-note controller keyboard that features the same keybed as you'll find on the company's microKorg XL and microStation instruments. Befitting its tiny size, the microKey comes with mini keys, though we suspect these will be far more playable than those that featured on the nanoKey, the weak link in Korg's otherwise excellent nanoSeries range of controllers.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Korg microKey: the playable mini controller keyboard?

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Korg Wavedrum Black

What you need to know:

A black version of Korg’s silver Wavedrum. Spec-wise, they’re the same electronic instrument, but this new model does sport a Black Suede Remo head.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Korg Wavedrum Black press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Korg SP-170RD digital piano

What you need to know:

A very bright red digital piano with 10 sounds (pianos, harpsichord, organs, strings and more); ‘Natural Weighted Hammer Action’ (NH); three levels of ‘Key Touch Control’; reverb and chorus effects and a damper pedal.

PRICE: TBA

MORE: Korg SP-170RD digital piano press release

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Novation UltraNova synth

What you need to know:

Taking its lead from the venerable SuperNova and SuperNova II instruments, this is an analogue modelling synth that is notable for its Touch and Tweak features. The former makes the eight rotary encoders "receptive to finger contact" for increased modulation possibilities, while the latter enables you to group your favourite parameters to said encoders for real-time patch editing.

PRICE: £587

MORE: Novation UltraNova synth announcement and video

New gear overload! Sept 2010 product release round-up
Fishman Loudbox Mini amp

What you need to know:

Last but not least is another practice amp addition from JHS; the Fishman Loudbox Mini. So called because its relatively 'compact and lightweight frame' houses an impressive 60-watts of power. Features include digital reverb and chorus, MP3 player input and a phase switch.

PRICE: £449

MORE: Fishman Loudbox Mini amp press release

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