Wednesday, May 11, 2022

REVIEW WHAT IS WEIGHT TANK VARI-MU COMPRESSOR BY LOCOMOTIVE AUDIO?

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The internet has provided an alternative path for smaller boutique gear manufacturers to deliver their wares directly to the discriminating buyer, years ago we called this “Factory Direct”. 


I was totally unfamiliar with “Locomotive Audio” who manufactures the “Weight Tank” vari-mu tube compressor, but a fortuitous click on a banner ad took me to the Locomotive web site where I started reading about this unique processor. Everything I read about the WT-COMP made me want it, finally I could stand it no more, I ordered it. Was it worth the wait?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

REVIEW JLM VUPPM STEREO METER COMPACT, WORLDS BEST VU METER

Compare level on JLM meter to level on the Neve VU meters. Both are from same source.

I have previously covered the JLM PPM500 meter and you can find that review here

In this review we're taking a look at the other way JLM packages their fantastic Peak and Program Meter technology, in a stand alone enclosure.

Friday, April 29, 2022

CHEAP STUDIO SOLUTIONS, BROTHER HOME AND HOBBY LABEL MAKER

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Use an inexpensive label maker to label cables and tags. There are many to choose from but the one series that has delivered the best value for me is the Brother models that use M Tape cartridges.

You can apply these labels to almost any clean surface. I can print neatly by hand but printing with a label maker makes labels that are easier to read and more consistent in appearance. Can you really buy a good label maker for under $25?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

REVIEW JLM PPM500 PROGRAM LEVEL METERS, BEST VU METERS, NOW IN 500 SERIES SIZE

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 I've always loved good metering when I'm mixing. My ears are highly developed but they can fool me depending on how I feel. Good meters are indifferent to feelings, they just report the connected signal level.

JLM Audio is located in Australia. It's the brainchild of designer Joe Malone. They make a number of interesting DIY products, kits and boutique audio items which serve recording and pro sound industries. I used JLM kits to rebuild some analog VU meters and you can read about them here on High on Technology.

In this review we're going to take a close look at the JLM PPM500 stereo level meters which are packaged for use in 500 series racks like the API VPR500. These meters display peak and average levels simultaneously. They are totally unique and indispensable. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

REVIEW JHS 3 SERIES SCREAMER, DISTORTION BOOSTER TUBE SCREAMER™ REPLACEMENT, JUST BUY IT!

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A few months ago I picked up a new Ibanez™ Tube Screamer™ pedal to compare to some of my other  TS style overdrive and distortion pedals. It was a fun experiment that I will now need to repeat because there's a new player and challenger, the JHS 3 Series "Screamer". How does it sound?

Sunday, April 3, 2022

CHEAP STUDIO SOLUTIONS, FAST, EASY, FLEXIBLE CABLE LABELS

WHAT'S EASY, CHEAP, FAST, FLEXIBLE, AND TIME SAVING?

Recording studios are notorious places for having A LOT of connecting cables back behind the gear. The patchbay network of wires on my recording console is nuts and difficult to trouble-shoot because there are so many cables coming together in such a compact area. 

Back in my Design and Installation days I used expensive cable labeling machines to print out custom labels for tagging wires at roughly 25-cents per label (material cost, $25/100). Today the last thing I need is another expensive device sitting around and besides, this article is called "Cheap". Don't fret out, the cheap solution is here.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

CHEAP STUDIO SOLUTIONS, REUSABLE CABLE AND WIRE TIES, PRECISION FLUSH-CUTTING WIRE CUTTERS

This issue of "Cheap Studio Solutions" is a two-for, an introduction to wire/cable ties and the cutters you need to make the most of them.
Top = Single-use wire tie, Bottom = Removable wire tie (note the release lever on lower tie)

Friday, April 1, 2022

CHEAP STUDIO SOLUTIONS, IMPROVE YOUR ELECTRICAL CONTACTS

 I have been using Caig Laboratories electronic cleaners since 1985 when one of my repair techs (who also worked at the local NBC Television affiliate) left a can in our repair shop. 

DeoxIT is not like other electronic spray cleaners, it contains magic (my own terminology, not theirs :-).

Seriously, I've had DeoxIT bring brand new cables to life. 

The places where cables are made are typically not what you'd call "Clean Room" environments, they're kind of dirty by nature. There is smoke from soldering and there are lots of "lubricants" in use which keep connectors from sticking together when they're stored in big plastic tubs or job boxes. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

CHEAP STUDIO SOLUTIONS, BARGAINS THAT MAKE YOUR RECORDING LIFE EASIER

 OLYMPIC BARBELL (MIC STAND ) WEIGHT

For playing live I like tripod-base mic stands but in a crowded studio situation the three legs often take up too much floor real estate. A round-base mic stand takes up a LOT less physical space but they are often too unstable to support a boom arm and a heavy cluster of microphones.

Friday, March 18, 2022

REVIEW LATCH LAKE XTRA BOOM MIC STAND ACCESSORIES, WORLDS FINEST MIC STAND PRODUCTS

 

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Latch Lake Music Products makes innovative and extremely heavy duty microphone stands, booms and accessories. The Latch Lake Xtra Boom provides a unique add-on boom arm that works with virtually any existing mic stand (you don’t need an expensive Latch Lake stand).

Friday, February 25, 2022

REVIEW EX™ GUITAR EFFECTS LOOP SWITCHER PEDAL PASSIVE SWITCHER BOX

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When I first saw the features offered by this box online for under $37 I immediately ordered two of them. They arrived with each packed in a rather plain black box, inside was a soft fuzzy cloth bag filled with the pedal. Does it work right? Does it sound good?

Monday, February 14, 2022

REVIEW MAKA FLAT PATCH CABLES

Recently I wrote a review for stompbox patch cables by EBS. I went to check prices on buying more and found these Maka cables, so I bought some to test.

They’re half the price of the EBS but are they as good? Lets compare them.

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Sunday, January 30, 2022

EBS 3.94-INCH FLAT PATCH CABLES FOR CONNECTING STOMPBOXES AND EFFECT PEDALS, CABLE SHOOTOUT

EBS patch cables are flexible and allow pedals to pack in close together.
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Why are EBS patch cables so vastly superior in performance? Are they really worth $8 each?

Sunday, January 23, 2022

REVIEW MOOER CLEAR FOOTSWITCH TOPPER

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I have a lot of pedals and I like playing in my barefeet when I’m in the studio. Typical stompbox footswitches can be hard to push and mean to your feet. 

Barefoot Buttons™ makes solid metal footswitch toppers which block viewing the LEDs on  stompboxes from many angles. The other problem is the price, Barefoot Buttons™ are almost $10 EACH. I refuse to pay $10 per button because it would literally cost me over $1,000 to outfit all my footswitches with Barefoot Buttons™. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

REVIEW EARTHQUAKER DEVICES DISPATCH MASTER REVERB AND ECHO PEDAL FOR GUITAR

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The Earthquaker Devices “Dispatch Master” is an easy to operate reverb and echo combined into a single stompbox enclosure. This one pedal creates two of my favorite ambient effects and puts them in the footprint of a regular size Phase 90 stompbox. All that would be pretty cool by itself but the Dispatch Master adds wonderful sonics and long delay times that make this pedal sound gorgeous whether you’re using it inline with your guitar or in the effects loop of an amp. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

REVIEW MARSHALL MG15R GUITAR AMPLIFIER

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I’ve been using the Marshall MG15R amplifier for a little over a year. It has continued to climb upwards in price since I bought mine new for $129. I refer to this as my kitchen amplifier because that is where it usually resides, right next to me under the kitchen window. I never thought I’d say a little solid state amp made in Viet Nam was one of my favorite amplifiers but it is. Lets see why.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

REVIEW BBE SONIC STOMP GUITAR PEDAL, MINI AND MIGHTY

 

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Way back in 1986 I owned a music store and we sold BBE Sonic Maximizer processors. They were quite popular. If you have high quality audio content (like an audio CD) and a high quality playback system the BBE Sonic Maximizer process can provide clarity and improved sonics in a unique way. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

REVIEW GALAXY AUDIO JIB/S JACKS IN A BOX, UTILITY ACCESSORY

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The JIB 4-way splitter by Galaxy Audio is one of those simple devices that makes life for musicians easier. This steel enclosure has five TRS 1/4” jacks connected in parallel and it provides a myriad of solutions in the studio and live performance situations.

Monday, January 17, 2022

REVIEW KLARK TEKNIK CM-1 MIC BOOSTER INLINE PREAMP FOR RIBBON AND DYNAMIC MICROPHONES

 

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If you like ribbon microphones or low output dynamic types such as the Shure SM-7 you’re going to love the Klark Teknik CM-1 Mic Booster. This product is simple to use, delivers a lot of performance and it’s low in cost.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

REVIEW AMAZON 3-PIN XLR MICROPHONE CABLES

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I love cheap cables as long as they work right. Unfortunately too many imported cables are substandard and bad for your fragile audio signals. Lets take a quick look at what makes a cable good, how much you should expect to spend on it and where you can buy it?

Saturday, January 15, 2022

REVIEW J ROCKETT AUDIO DESIGNS IMMORTAL ECHO GUITAR PEDAL

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I have always loved echo and reverb effects. When I saw this compact, American made echo pedal on sale, brand new, for around $59 I just pushed the BUY button (as it turns out it was on sale for half off the $119 suggested list price). This is my first pedal by J Rockett Audio Designs and it does not disappoint.

Friday, January 14, 2022

REVIEW BOSS SD-1 SUPER OVERDRIVE DISTORTION PEDAL FOR GUITAR

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 At only $49.99 the Boss Super Overdrive SD-1 is a lot of distortion pedal for a very fair price. The enclosure is typical Boss design and function while the knob layout is almost identical to the classic Ibanez Tube Screamer™. On the back side the pedal is labeled “Roland Corporation” and “Made in Malaysia”.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

REVIEW IBANEZ TUBE SCREAMER™ DISTORTION PEDAL FOR GUITAR, 2022 MODEL

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The green Ibanez Tube Screamer™ distortion pedal has been around for quite a while and there are many variations of it which have varying sonic footprints depending on which opamp is used inside and how the circuit is wired. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

REVIEW sE X1R RIBBON MICROPHONE, THE BEST MIC FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR

 

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I’ve owned a dozen ribbon microphones over the last 20 years and I never really cared for any of them. Even the famed Royer 121 sounded dark to me (and yes I tried both sides, even the bright side sounded dark and uneven). In my last Reverb sales event I sold off all my ribbon mic’s and pretty much gave up on the genre.

Friday, December 10, 2021

REVIEW JHS 3 SERIES HALL REVERB

 A HUGE REVERB FOR A SMALL PRICE

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The pedal on review here is one of three new pedals JHS introduced recently and it’s the missing link from the 3 Series. The original 3 Series reverb is more of a spring reverb simulator which it accomplishes brilliantly but it won’t do the vast spatial reverbs I crave for my ambient musical creations. The new Hall Reverb pedal delivers big reverb sounds and I do mean BIG!

REVIEW JHS 3 SERIES PHASER

 A NEW BENCHMARK FOR TONE AND PRICE

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When I first spotted the JHS 3 Series Phaser pedal on sale I immediately ordered one. I’ve bought every one of the JHS 3 Series pedals because I know Josh Scott cares about tone and these pedals represent an important market segment for his company.

REVIEW JHS 3 SERIES FLANGER

 GREAT FLANGER, INCREDIBLE PRICE

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JHS takes us back to the good ole days when under a hundred bucks would get you a killer sounding flanger pedal. This one is not only priced right but it's got a huge variety of swirly and lush flange effects while keeping noise and nasty stuff out of your life. I own all the Three Series effect pedals and this one is an instant favorite. The three knobs provide quick access to a wide variety of effects, ranging from gentle and subtle to spacey and weird, all the way to electronic and robotic, this pedal covers the gamut of core flanging effects.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

FUN WITH AUDIO TRANSFORMERS FROM EDCOR, BALANCE UNBALANCED MIXER INSERT

 TRANSFORMER EXPLORATION

LAST BATCH OF LAYERED AUDIO TRANSFORMERS

My infatuation with audio-transformers grew drastically in the 1970’s. I hand wound a lot of prototypes along the way. When I first started making my own transformers I relied on my eyes to tell me when there was enough copper piled on to the core of my experiment. That is not a good way to design transformers. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

DIRECT RECORDING GUIDE

Welcome to the H.o.T. Direct Recording Guide/Index to all the parts of this special Direct Recording series of articles.

This is a multi-part, deep-dive into Direct Boxes, Impulse Responses, and How to Record Direct. If you play and record electric guitar or bass in an apartment or somewhere it’s not cool to make loud rock electric guitar tones, you’re going to find new perspective and options here. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

PART 1 - WHAT ARE DIRECT BOXES? USE FOR DIRECT RECORDING

PASSIVE AND ACTIVE DIRECT BOXES EXPLAINED

At its core every direct box has one job, to accept an audio-input and transform it into something that looks and acts like the output of a low-impedance balanced microphone, for input into a sound or recording system. It sounds simple enough but there are many ways to construct a direct box and different designs deliver different sounding results. 

PART 2 - WHAT IS DIRECT RECORDING? HOW TO RECORD DIRECT

 PART 2 - WHAT IS DIRECT RECORDING?

When you connect a keyboard, electric bass or guitar directly to your DAW microphone input using a D.I. box you are recording direct. No microphone, speaker or studio space was used because you did it direct-connected, electrically. Depending on your DAW hardware you may also have an instrument-level input which can be used instead of a direct box to record directly with no microphone or instrument amplifier involved.

PART 3 - DIRECT RECORDING - WHAT ARE REACTIVE LOADS AND IMPULSE RESPONSES?

 PART 3 - REACTIVE LOADS AND IMPULSE RESPONSES

Do you need a $1500 tube amp head with a $10 impulse-response loaded into a $600 reactive load box to record directly without waking the family? Maybe, but maybe not. 

REVIEW PYLE PDC21 DIRECT BOX WITH INTERNAL PASSIVE AUDIO TRANSFORMER COUPLING

 PYLE® PDC21 DIRECT BOX

Ever since the late 1970’s I’ve built dozens of direct boxes using Jensen, Crimson or my own handwound audio transformers. The key to a decent sounding direct box is having a decent transformer inside. 

REVIEW RNDI DIRECT INTERFACE, DELUXE DIRECT BOX 2021

I’ve been using this direct box since it first came out. I’ve used it with piezo guitar pickups, electric guitar pickups, it’s my goto for electric bass guitar, this D.I. box never sounds bad. 

INPUT SIDE

REVIEW WARM AUDIO ACTIVE DIRECT BOX WITH ATTENUATOR

With so many companies making direct boxes I was surprised to see Warm Audio enter this space with not one but two new direct boxes. In this review we’ll be taking a look at the Warm Audio Active direct box.

Friday, September 10, 2021

REVIEW KLARK TEKNIK DN 200 STEREO ACTIVE DIRECT BOX

 Klark Teknik DN200 Stereo Direct Box

I discovered the Klark Teknik DN200 stereo direct box over three years ago when I was looking for a lower priced option to the stereo RNDI. The KT does not disappoint in any area. It uses proprietary transformer technology and features excellent electronics to deliver your sound. The build quality is excellent and I’ve gone on to acquire six of these for my studio. They’ve been wonderful tools for connecting my stereo instruments to the mixer inputs in the studio.

REVIEW UNIVERSAL AUDIO UA OX AMP TOP BOX IMPULSE RESPONSE REACTIVE LOAD BOX

 UNIVERSAL AUDIO OX AMP TOP BOX     $1299 street price

Universal Audio is a popular brand of DAW technology so when they came out with the OX I wondered what it was like. The OX is physically one of the largest impulse response technology devices reviewed here. It is also one of the most technically sophisticated with the most included integrated options for shaping your sound.

REVIEW MESA CABCLONE™ IR 16Ω REACTIVE LOAD IMPULSE RESPONSE BOX

 MESA CABCLONE™ IR 16-ohm,     $599 street price

There are two models of Mesa CabClone IR. In this review we’ll be examining the $599 model which does not have speaker attenuation included. It does include a reactive load capable of disapating 150 watts of Mesa tube amp power plus impulse response technology. 

REVIEW SUHR REACTIVE LOAD / I.R., IMPULSE RESPONSE TUBE AMP LOAD BOX

 SUHR REACTIVE LOAD / IR $599 street price

This box features a reactive load but the impedance is not adjustable, it comes in one impedance, 8-ohms. The Suhr Reactive Load / IR feels like a very solid and sturdily constructed piece of hardware. 

REVIEW RADIAL ENGINEERING JDX DIRECT-DRIVE AMP SIMULATOR AND DIRECT BOX

 RADIAL JDX DIRECT-DRIVE, Amp Simulator and Direct Box, Street price: $199

The JDX is marketed as an amp simulator and direct box. With this as the last box in your pedalboard signal path you can effectively perform without an amplifier (provided you have some way of hearing yourself, with in-ear monitors, headphones, powered cab, etc.).

Thursday, September 9, 2021

REVIEW DSM HUMBOLDT SIMPLIFIER DLX ZERO WATT DUAL CHANNEL AMPLIFIER

MEET THE "SIMPLIFIER"

The Simplifier DLX built by DSM Electronics in Santiago, Chile, is a dual channel guitar amp with zero watts of output. The name says “Simplifier” but it might better be described as the “Complicator”. The number of knobs and switches combined with all the input and output options makes this one powerful guitar preamp. 

REVIEW JOYO TC-2 TONE CHAIN DISTORTION AND ECHO PEDAL FOR DIRECT RECORDING

 JOYO TONE CHAIN, DIRECT RECORDING GUITAR PREAMP

The Joyo Tone Chain pedal puts three very useful and useable effects into a single housing. You get an Overdrive which feeds into a Distortion, which feeds to the effects loop-send. The effects loop-return feeds into the delay section. The delay time can be set manually via a knob or you can use the tap-tempo button to set the delay time.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

REVIEW BEHRINGER ADI21, BDI21, GDI21, DELUXE BARGAIN DIRECT BOXES

BEHRINGER DI21 SERIES, DELUXE DIRECT BOXES

Behringer makes three similar looking active direct boxes, each is optimized for a specific instrument. Each has modeling circuitry specific for the intended instrument application. Each pedal has an XLR output for direct feed to a mixing console as well as 1/4” input and output jacks. These pedals can be powered with internal 9-volt transister radio batteries or standard 9-volt pedal board power via an external power inlet jack.

REVIEW JOYO CAB BOX, SPEAKER CABINET SIMULATOR, IR LOADER, AMP AND MIC SIMULATOR

JOYO CAB BOX, SPEAKER CABINET SIMULATOR, IR LOADER

The Cab Box is my latest Impulse Response speaker and amp simulator. This is a more expensive product offering from a company that is known for budget priced pedals. The technology in the Cab Box is quite impressive and so is the performance. 

REVEIW DIGITECH CABDRYVR SPEAKER SIMULATER

The Digitech CabDryVR Dual Cabinet Simulator pedal features 14 guitar and bass cabinet impulse responses. Processing the output of your pedal board through this pedal yields high quality cabinet emulations without the need for a real cabinet or mic or amp for that matter.

REVIEW MOOER RADAR IMPULSE RESPONSE SPEAKER SIMULATOR

 The Mooer “Radar” is a digital impulse response, cabinet simulator with some options to simulate amplifiers.

Radar features 30 memory locations for impulse responses. You can replace existing response files by connecting the pedal to a computer via USB. 

If you don’t like the included impulse responses you’re going to need to connect to a computer to replace them. 

REVIEW, TWO NOTES AUDIO ENGINEERING CAB M+ SPEAKER SIMULATOR

 TWO NOTES AUDIO ENGINEERING, TORPEDO C.A.B. M+, Street Price: $299

This pedal size box of audio-dynamite takes every feature of the Radial JDX Direct-Drive and adds a bunch of DSP horsepower to increase your options and add excitement to your sound. The CAB M+ has features to allow it to be inserted into the amp-to-speaker connection on almost any guitar amplfier. You can also use the CAB M+ as an effect pedal to add cabinet or IR simulations to any pedal-board. This pedal comes with an external power supply to power all the hungry digital circuitry contained inside.

CAB M+ USED FOR DIRECT RECORDING TUBE AMP WITHOUT MICROPHONE

Sunday, July 11, 2021

WHAT IS DISCRETE CLASS A? WHAT DOES DISCRETE CLASS A MEAN?

 What is Discrete Class-A? 

As you peruse the web looking at gear you’ll often see this as a major bit of marketing.

“Discrete, Class-A”

It has nothing to do with keeping your mouth shut or your social position.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

NEVE 1073SPX COMPARED TO WARM AUDIO WA-73EQ REVIEW

Neve 1073 SPX vs Warm Audio WA-73EQ Technical Review and Comparison

In this review I’m comparing a single channel Warm Audio WA-73EQ to a new AMS Neve 1073SPX. For clarity I truncated the model names in the review. Warm Audio produces another model called WA-73 which does not have tone controls, that is NOT what is being reviewed. Whenever I mention the WA-73 I’m referring to the WA-73EQ and when I talk about the 1073 it is the 1073SPX.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

REVIEW AMS NEVE 1073SPX. WHAT IS THE AMS NEVE 1073 SPX?

NEVE 1073 SPX

When it comes to microphone preamplifiers the Neve 1073 is up at the top with legendary status for it’s classic sound and tone. Original 1073 console preamps can sell for $10,000 or more in todays vintage-equipment market. 

BRICASTI DESIGN M7 REVERB REVIEW. DO I NEED THE MOST EXPENSIVE HARDWARE REVERB?

 WHAT IS THE BRICASTI REVERB?

If there is an heir apparent to the legacy of the great Lexicon reverb processors it is the Bricasti Design M7. The designers of this reverb have utilized modern components to reduce the physical size to just a single rack space package, but the sound quality is equal to or better than the physically larger classic units such as the 224, 480 and 960 by Lexicon.

DO YOU OWN THE REVERB FOUNDRY BRICASTI M7 PLUGIN? YOU SHOULD!

 REVERB FOUNDRY BRICAST M7 LINK PLUGIN SOFTWARE

STOP, BEFORE YOU BUY THIS!

Reverb Foundry recommends that you download the free demo from their web site and confirm that your midi interface and software are compatible BEFORE you purchase the program. Why not? It’s free!

REVIEW EHX HUM DEBUGGER, HOW TO GET RID OF HUM BY ELECTRO-HARMONIX?

 WHO HERE HATES HUM?

One of my favorite guitars in the world is equipped with three single coil pickups. When I get this guitar too close to amplifiers or electrical wiring the guitar picks up hum and noise which gets magnifyed by my ampifier system. It is an age-old battle, great sound vs hum.