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January 2011

Jazzed Magazine • GearcheckJanuary 2011 • January 16, 2011

Korg’s microKEY

Korg’s microKEY USB Powered Keyboard and MIDI Controller offers a way to create a compact and customized MIDI command center. The microKEY features a built-in two-port hub to connect other controllers, computer peripherals or Korg nanoSERIES controllers for added flexibility and control of all the users software. Free editing software and a number of included software bundle licenses and discount coupons are also offered.

The microKEY features 37 velocity-sensing mini keys, using the same Natural Touch keybed found on the Korg microKORG XL and microSTATION. This keybed has been designed with attention to the touch and feel: the proportions of the black keys and white waterfall keys have been adjusted for optimal playability, and the key touch makes it easy to play chords, glissandos and rapid-fire phrases.

The Octave Shift buttons extend the range of the microKEY by four octaves in either direction up or down. The Key Transpose function allows users to play in any key instantly. Used together, these two features provide access to the entire MIDI note range. For adding expression to performance, the microKEY is also equipped with both a Pitch Bend wheel and a Modulation wheel.

The microKEY serves double-duty as a USB hub. The two USB ports (Type A) allow users to expand their custom control center by adding on a Korg nanoPAD or nanoKONTROL, or any other USB device. The microKEY is compatible with Mac OSX 10.4 or later, along with Windows XP SP3 (32-bit), Windows Vista SP2 (32-bit, 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit).

Users can download the free Korg KONTROL Editor software, available from the Korg Web site, and customize the microKEY for their production or performance system. With the editor software, users can set the keyboard to respond to one of eight distinct velocity curves, or set a fixed velocity value. In addition, the range of the modulation wheel can be customized by setting minimum and maximum control change values. Weighing only 2.21 lbs, measuring (W x D x H): 22.24″ x 5.47″ x 2.13″ and running on USB power, the microKEY is well suited for the laptop musician as well.

Anthem’s Step-up Trumpets

Anthem Musical Instruments’ A-5000 and A-7000 intermediate level trumpets feature: a 460″ bore and a 4 7/8″ one-piece, hand-hammered bell, reverse lead pipe, hex shaped caps, and hand-lapped stainless steel pistons. Both models have a silver plate finish and come with the Anthem Deja-Blue backpack style case. The A-7000 model further features a sterling silver reverse lead pipe, with gold plated trim and abalone pearls.

Vic Firth Russ Miller “Hi-Def” Stick

Vic Firth’s Russ Miller “Hi-Def” signature stick is made with a thin hickory shaft and a “half acorn” wood tip. The oval logo at the nodal point allows for cross-stick tone.

The Russ Miller stick is 16″ in length and .535″ in diameter. The retail price is $16.

Gemini DJ’s Portable Sound Systems

Gemini DJ’s MS-POD and MS-USB Portable Sound Systems can be used for speeches, small gigs, fitness studios, backyard parties, schools, and houses of worship. They’re lightweight, have built-in wheels, and a telescoping handle for easy transport, and run on rechargeable battery or AC. Both can accommodate a wide variety of sound sources, including mic input, musical instrument, output from a CD or cassette player, and have dedicated docks for digital media. A handheld wired mic is included with both units.

The MS-POD is an amplified, one-piece sound system with a two-way speaker system and 50W of power that can project up to 150 feet of sound. It has a built-in iPod dock, plus two inputs for mic/instrument/other audio sources (accommodating 1/4″, XLR, and RCA AUX), and a front panel mixer section allowing for control over the volume levels of the individual sources. Its built-in rechargeable battery lasts over 12 hours, or it can be run on AC power.

The MS-USB has inputs for a USB key drive or device, as well as an SD card slot, to play music off those sources directly. The large backlit LCD display provides control over the music on the sources, and a top panel gives you control over Track/Folder Search, FF, REW, Cue, Loop/Reloop, Pitch (slider or buttons), Reverse Playback, Repeat, and Track ID and Time display. Its speaker system, power rating, and mixer section are the same as the MS-POD. Both MS Portable Sound Systems carry a retail price of $299.95.

King System Blue Brass Mouthpiece

System Blue and Conn-Selmer have introduced the King System Blue Brass Mouthpiece line. The King System Blue line includes mouthpieces for trumpet, mellophone, baritone, euphonium, and tuba. The mouthpieces have a heavy feel and medium cup depth for darker tone and air stability at louder volumes. System Blue Mouthpieces also feature a medium sharp bite that allow performers to slot pitches and enunciate articulations while not losing the ability to play smooth.

Mapex Lite Snare

The Mapex Lite Snare was designed with the young drummer in mind; the package features a lighter weight kit with a fuller sounding snare drum than the previous MK14DL model. Mapex achieved this by replacing the previously used 14″ x 3.5″ steel snare drum with the lighter 12″ x 3.5″ wood shell snare drum sporting a Silver Diamond Dazzle finish. The MK12DL comes with a comfortable, ergonomic backpack for the student to carry the kit. Inside the backpack includes a snare stand practice pad and drumsticks.

Noteworthy’s Horn Flush

Noteworthy Music Products has re-released their Horn Flush the professional do-it-yourself cleaning system. After a few small hardware improvements, Horn Flush still uses the same formula. Components include Horn Flush Concentrate, available in multiple refill sizes and the exclusive Horn Blaster, the multiple directional high pressure sprayer used to blast away dirt and grime featuring five independent jets. Horn Flush system retail price is $49.99. Refills start at $19.99. Horn Flush also offers complete Tune-Up Kits featuring genuine manufacturer parts for popular name brand brass instruments. The retail price starts at $21.99.

RS Berkeley’s Stan Getz Legend Series Mouthpiece

RS Berkeley and Drake Mouthpieces have collaborated on the Stan Getz Legend Series Mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is an exact reproduction of the one Stan played exclusively. While it is an exact replica of Stan’s original vintage mouthpiece, right down to the teeth marks, the dynamics of the mouthpiece have been improved throughout. The Legend Series Mouthpieces are handmade in the USA by Drake and combine state of the art technology with hand finishing tradition.

DigiTech’s Live 5 Vocal Harmony and Effects Processor

DigiTech has introduced the newest addition to the Vocalist product line, the Live 5 processor. The Live 5 combines studio-quality audio performance, state-of-the-art vocal processing, and an easy-to-use control interface to add up to four independent voices of harmony to a lead vocal to create a full five-part omers, intermediate, and advanced players.

Some of the topics covered include: three-note “shell” voicings and special derived comp voicings; compete triad review including all close and open inversions on all strings; a section on developing “walking” guitar voicings; sections on triad applications such as “slash” chords, upper structures, hexatonic triad-pairs, and special “hybrid” voicings; and a complete method to develop a realistic simulation of Shearing-style block-chord voicings on guitar. The list price is $28.

Essential Grooves for Writing, Performing, and Producing Contemporary Music by Berklee College professors Dan Moretti, Matthew Nicholl, and Oscar Stagnaro, presents 41 different grooves covering all the important styles that have influenced contemporary music, each performed by live players soul, Motown, funk, rock, hip hop, jazz, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban styles, reggae and more. The book provides historical background, and license-free audio examples can be used to create custom play-alongs and original music. The list price is $24.

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