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Variax 700 Acoustic
Acoustic modeling guitar

When Line 6 – guitar and amp tone modelers par excellence – announced an Acoustic version of its Variax guitar line, our curiosity was piqued in the extreme. How will that work? What will it sound like? Can we sell all our other acoustics? After a couple of weeks spent strumming, fingering, plucking, rocking, line-dancing and serenading with the Variax Acoustic, we can officially tell you that the answers are very well, great and no. The Line 6 boffins spent hundreds of hours painstakingly studying the sounds produced by some of the finest acoustic guitars ever made (bet that was fun, though), narrowing the choice down to the classic models with the best tone, just so you can stand onstage and call up a near-perfect emulation of a vintage Martin D-21. Or a Gibson J-45. Or a Guild F412. Or a banjo, a Japanese shamisen or a sitar (no, really – if you want to break into a sitar solo, it’s there for you).
As with most Line 6 products, the Variax Acoustic goes beyond simple modelling. There’s also a Microphone control, which colours the sound the way moving a mic closer or further away from the strings does with a real acoustic, and a Compressor slider.

You can read more from this review, and others, in this months TotalMusic


M-Audio Nova condenser microphone
Entry-level condenser mic

So you’re starting to take your music seriously; you’re writing good songs; the band is excited about taking the next step. You want to get your songs down on tape. You might buy a four-track or one of those fancy-ass digital multitrackers. Either way, you’re going to need a decent mic. The good news is that in the last couple of years microphones have dramatically improved in terms of sound quality, whilst simultaneously tumbling in price. Result! Just a few years back, pretty much everyone’s first mic was some kind of cheap dynamic thing, fine for recording basic demos or screaming through at rehearsals and gigs, but not that brilliant at capturing your subtle nuances. And we all know how important nuances are in music, right?
Condenser mics are the thing for nuances, frankly. They love ’em. A condenser’s inherent sensitivity might make it largely unsuitable for high sound pressure level (SPL) environments such as gigs, but get them in a studio situation, stick them in front of an acoustic guitar or a bass amp, hang them over the drum kit or shove one under your singer’s nose and they’ll reward you with a much more detailed recording than most dynamics ever could.

You can read more from this review, and others, in this month's

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