Category Archives: Reviews

Access Virus Synths: Why these Vintage Synths Are Still Relevant and A Guide to Their Range

Amongst vintage synths, the Access Virus line is a real gem. These are highly versatile, with a varied cultural legacy. In fact, they have been used by Tool, Butch Vig, and Garbage, as well as Richard Barbieri of Porcupine Tree. Yet they have also graced the tracks of Neptunes and Mary J Blige, Stevie Wonder, Fatboy Slim, and Nsync. Even Hans Zimmer has used them. Read on to find out what makes these synths so appealing to musicians of all stripes.

What Synths Are Included in the Access Virus Line?

  • Virus TI: Desktop, Polar, Snow, and Keyboard

Perhaps the most publicised part of the TI series, these were released in 2005. Snow and Desktop are small enough to keep by your computer. Polar is larger with 37 keys and Keyboard is the largest of all with a lush 61 keys. They also have:

  • Two independent multi mode filters with an analogue filter modelled after the Minimoog
  • 3 LFOs with 68 Waveforms
  • Knob quantising which syncs to the Virus clock
  • 192 Parallel effects
  • 512 RAM patches
  • Virus A, B, and C series

These were early editions of the Access Virus line when customers first discovered its fantastic features. Unlike the TI series, these do not feature wavetable synthesis. However, Access Virus A, for example, features 12-note polyphony and all basic analogue waveforms. Yet, its gritty, analogue sound is what really makes it a favourite.

  • Virus TI2

Released in 2009, the T12 features faster DSP controllers and additional polyphony. Like all in the line, it is a virtual analogue synthesiser. Otherwise, it is roughly similar to the TI series.

  • General traits of the range

As a general pattern, the filters and oscillators of these synths help them hit a sweet spot between genres. Their high-quality german manufacturing means they can cope with many different oscillators and effects. All models use a mix of techniques from FM synthesis, phase distortion, and subtractive synthesis. This design on the part of inventor Christoph Kemper unifies customers through love for quality as opposed to genre. Indeed, it also allows for new, cross-genre experimentation and super creative composition all on the same machine.

The Virus family of synths are widely available as second hand purchases on You can check the current prices by clicking here.

What Else Makes Access Virus Synths so Great?

  • Combination of sounds

Another way Access manages to encompass different facets of music is through its VSTs. These allow you to connect your hardware synth to your DAW and store data directly on the sound files there. It’s a revolutionary way of working, meaning Access keeps what’s great about analogue yet also keeps pace with DAW-based production.

These synths are capable of creating a level of depth and variety as good as the options on any DAW. It’s super impressive in its ruggedness and processing power and some models in the line have up to ten different oscillators. Filters and FX such as wah and fuzz add layers of sound without exhausting your synth. These are really, really high-quality synths which Access has done its best to keep compatible with modern musicians’ habits. 

  • Keeps the pace with modern technology

Access Virus first hit the market in the 90s during the boom in DPU chip usage. This allowed for greater processing power and ambitious sets of sounds which were bigger and bolder. However, this DPU processing can easily keep pace with the average CPU needed on a DAW-created project. As a result, they are super relevant even today. In fact, when rigged up to a VST on your DAW, the Access Virus synths can save processing power. How? They actually do a lot of the work at the hardware end. This condenses the sound so when it reaches your master bus there isn’t too much data to handle. 

  • Complex and creative sounds

The raw material the musician is given with these synths allows for exciting and complex sound. To achieve this, Virus’s virtual VCOs range from sine to square waves, with 63 synthetic, spectral waveforms, a programmable filter section, and matrix modulation. Its legendary processing power also supports (on the TI):

  • between 20-90 voices on it’s dual DSP system
  • 6 balanced outputs
  • 26 banks of 128 ROM patches
  • A unique business model

The last major bonus of the Access Virus line is that they occupy a unique market niche. They are the only line of synths on the market which offer total system updates. These upgrades, overhauls, and other innovations actually come completely for free. Here, you can buy a product made 20 years ago and get entirely new sets of filters charge-free. Access is only able to do this because they are upfront about the fact that they are a premium product. They don’t hesitate to price their synths high. Nevertheless, for those who are willing to make the investment once, this pays off with future rewards. 

The Virus family of synths are widely available as second hand purchases on You can check the current prices by clicking here.

Are There Any Downsides?

Perhaps the only complaint against Access Virus is they are a risky investment. Some fans have found that little support from the developers leaves them adrift. Others have discovered that there is no support at all for the VSTs. This isn’t necessarily a huge surprise. Access also focuses on other products such as guitars and is also the mind behind Kemper, so they’re pretty busy. It does mean, however, if you’re about to shell out for one of these synths it’s best to be certain about it. At prices of about 1200 plus USD – it’s really worth having a bit of experience behind you and a working studio setup beforehand. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. This vintage product shows how relatively recently the approach to music tech and sound design was very different. In some ways, Acces Virus shows synths used to be made of deeper stuff. Although financially accessible synths like the Korg Minilogue still had great hardware, the Access Virus opens sound designers’ eyes. These synths create a whole new world of musical layering. This really is from-scratch sound design on a totally different level. Even if they’re not in your price bracket, these synths are worth investigating for inspiration alone.

Enjoyed this article? Read more about synths in our hardware section here.

Best Mics for Recording Electric Guitar 2023: A Market Rundown

The best mics for electric guitar of 2023 show some studio classics which can turbocharge your recording. Though there are lots of options out there, sometimes the choice can be overwhelming. When recording guitar, it’s especially important to use the right mic to ensure sound translates the way you want it to – and electric guitar needs very different recording techniques to steel or acoustic. However, if electric is your instrument, read on for a rundown of what’s out there.

Best Mics for Electric Guitar – Beginners: Shure SM57

This mic regularly makes the top ten or top five lists and for good reason. The SM57 is a classic which is durable and easy to learn. Many pro studio engineers recommend it for beginners, both for its intuitive capacity and the fact it’s under 100 pounds. As a result, it’s easy to replace if broken – however, it’s also unlikely to do so in the first place. It’s robust and its one drawback is sometimes it can pick up unwanted noise, but its quality is actually very high for a mic of its price. 

Many beginners pick up a Shure SM57 not knowing much about mics only to find it’s one of the most trusty bits of gear in their studio. It’s also proven to be great on tour, able to withstand the knocks and stresses of the road.

Price and availability: Check by clicking here.

Specifications: 40-15,000 Hz cardioid microphone

Best Overall Mic: Sennheiser e906

This is a great mic which works for drums and other instruments as well. Its versatility is good if you need to record multiple instruments and can’t afford a specialised mic for each one. Sennheiser created a unique shape designed for guitar amps, presenting a broad and flat surface which means you can use it without a stand. In addition, its presence filter helps you adjust the amount of presence – great if you have instruments which are sounding a little dull or lifeless. In fact, this mic is great at breathing life into just about anything. It’s extremely flexible and responsive as well, meaning fast it can withstand fast punchy riffs or jolts of sound.

The Sennheiser e906 is actually a super-cardioid mic, meaning it is hyper-sensitive to sound coming from the direction in which it is pointing. This means it can get crystal clear tones from this spot alone, filtering out unwanted noise from other areas. This precision makes it absolutely amazing in the studio.

Price and availability: Check by clicking here.

Specifications: 40 – 18,000 Hz super-cardioid mic

Best Mics for Electric Guitar – Heavy: Royer 121 / Peluso R14

The biggest challenge of recording heavy guitars is the fact mics can easily blow out. The full force of sound coming from a Marshall stack is often too much for many mics especially if placed too close. Hard rock and metal lovers recommend both the Royer and the Peluso for their durability and reliability, ensuring many tours and recording sessions without any problems. Both are on the expensive side, yet have very similar properties. As a result, if you can’t track one down, you might be able to substitute the other without too much change in the end result.

Price and availability: Check for a Royer by clicking here, and for Peluso click here.

Specifications: 30 – 15,000 Hz figure 8 ribbon mic (Royer 121), 30 – 16,000 Hz figure 8 ribbon mic (Peluso R14)

Best for Soft/Vintage Guitar: AKG C451 

This mic normally has a reputation as being a drummer’s mic and is especially good for recording cymbals, however, many musicians have begun to use it for acoustic as well as gentle, softer electric guitar. Why is it so versatile and how does it work so well? This is a mic which focuses on the high-end. It’s great at bringing colour to dull sounds. And as a result, it means that you can capture vintage or more low-key guitars in all their glory. The AKG C451 adds sparkle to this kind of guitar when undertones and overtones get lost in warmth and fuzz. 

Price and availability: Check by clicking here.

Specifications: 20 – 20,000 Hz cardioid mic

Best Overall Ribbon Mic: Beyerdynamic M160 

This is a ribbon mic with a difference. Instead of being a figure eight cardioid mic, it’s a hyper-cardioid. For those who are not familiar, your average cardioid mic pics up sound in a figure eight pattern. This means that you get lots of natural reverb but can also get some unwanted room noise if there isn’t good enough soundproofing. Supercardioid mics like the e906 focus the pickup of sound on one area, but hyper-cardioid mics are a type of super-cardioid which focus these even more tightly, meaning with the M160 it’s really easy to direct and point this mic to get the exact sounds you want.

This mic was actually the one which recorded the legendary drums on Led Zeppelin’s When The Levee Breaks and has been around since 1957 but it is also a favourite for recording engineers to use on guitar amps.

Price and availability: Check by clicking here.

Specifications: 40 – 18,000 Hz, hyper-cardioid ribbon mic.

Final Thoughts 

Ultimately these mics give good variety in terms of what you use them for. Although not all of them are specifically from 2023, they’re all highly relevant and useful bits of gear which will serve you well. You can use the Shure, Sennheiser, and Beyerdynamic for multiple instruments and styles whilst the other two are also adaptable based on your playing flexibility. One thing’s for sure – these bits of gear will be useful for years to come. 

Liked this article? We have more about hardware for recording here.

Amp by Ableton Live: An Honest Look at What it Has to Offer

Amp by Ableton Live is a divisive topic. Some fans have in fact been extremely disappointed with it. However, what exactly are its good and bad points? Read on for a balanced breakdown of what this plugin does.

What is Good About Amp by Ableton Live?

Ableton’s Amp has gained a bit of notoriety on the internet. However, most critics have tended to be seasoned guitarists. For others, Amp provides good variety, and it’s intuitive and easy to use. The cabinet feature, while possibly unnecessary, is actually quite a nice way to fine-tune your sound. But what else about it is good? 

  • Amp is a great plugin for those who wish to make the transition from synthesis to guitar. And, in light of the overwhelming amount of choice out there, something familiar for an Ableton user is very welcome. For example, a time-pressed musician who wants to use guitar in otherwise electronic tracks might make good use of it. And Amp contains 8 models apart from its cabinet feature – Clean, Boost, Blues, Rock, Lead, Heavy, and Bass. Together, they provide a varied foundation of sounds to play with. 
  • Taken as it is, Ableton’s amp plugin is an easy way to get guitar into otherwise synthesis heavy songs. It could work for modern electropop work, and it’s also useful for those who don’t want to go to the trouble of figuring out new software.
  •  Don’t expect it to have thought of all the features you might need as a proper guitarist. However, if you’re unwilling to switch from Live, Amp could cover you. This might be until you’ve figured out your preferences in terms of other gear on the market. Ableton’s Amp can in this way work like a training ground – but at 69 GBP, many musicians are wondering if it’s worth it.

What is Bad About Amp by Ableton Live?

There is a strong case that Amp is a bit more trouble than it’s worth. Some of the complaints aimed at Ableton’s built-in Amp are to do with its functionality. It’s not a complete plugin like the ones Logic provides. 

Instead, it is made up of both the Amp and the Cabinet plugin which follows it – which, while potentially appealing, also complicates it. Together, these two plugins aim to faithfully recreate the sound of an analog tube amplifier – but this is where Amp really falls short. 


This is currently a great time for amp sims. Not only has Guitar Rig 6 seen the FIRST update in three years, with Guitar Rig 7, but Amplitube 5 now has integrated TONEX technology. 

In shrot, this lends a lot of weight to the argument that Ableton Live’s Amp is more trouble than it’s worth. There are some GREAT alternatives out there and some of them are COMPLETELY FREE. So, what might you look into instead? 

  • Amplitube Custom Shop
  • Guitar Rig 7 Player 

Some more expensive (but worth it!) options: 

  • Guitar Rig 7 Pro 
  • Helix Native 
  • Positive grid Bias FX 2
  • Neural DSP 

We can’t compare Amp to all of these here, but we have reviews in our software section, which we have linked to at the bottom of this article

So, if Amp doesn’t live up to its claims, then maybe its marketing is misleading. Some fans have criticised it for not accurately representing the models it is based off. Its clear tones are undeniably bright and cheerful. It also creates some cool sounds when Live Effects are added. 

However, its emphasis on rich, analog tones seems more like false advertising than reality. Most of the models are decisively thin and tinny. As a result, Amp isn’t even that useful as a cheap and cheerful tool to start off with. In fact, one disgruntled YouTuber billed it as ‘The Worst Amp Ever’.

An Honest Look at the Pros and Cons of Amp by Ableton Live

Was Amp a leap too great for Ableton? Ableton has previously focussed on synthesis and the tools needed for electronic music and beatmaking. It’s come from a totally different mindset and when you examine it, it shows. Resultantly, Amp is a sort of bold attempt at paying homage to something beyond Ableton’s speciality. 

Perhaps it was trying to please everyone – catering to electronic musicians and beatmakers, but also hoping to snag new fans. It’s an indicator that they didn’t really do enough investigation into their target market. 

The overall conclusion is that Amp isn’t really worth it. It’s not very well designed, and somewhat clunkily built without the preferences of guitarists in mind. To some extent this is inevitable. Ableton never originally intended Live as a form of software for guitarists – instead they aimed it more at looping and synthesis. 

Yet, the claims Amp makes about its sound and tonality are only believable if you’re coming from a background in synthesis and electronic music alone, without any experience with guitar.

Is There Anything Unique About Amp?

So, Amp is billed on Ableton’s website as “a physically modeled audio effect that emulates the models of seven classic amps”. One unique feature could be the amp/cabinet split, but as mentioned above, this has both its pros and cons. 

Amp’s minimalist interface is another point that stands out, but in comparison with its sound quality, it’s not really unique enough to make it a redeeming feature. The way Amp is advertised makes it sound like a multi-effects rack. Nevertheless, many users would prefer one model that works very well as opposed to seven imperfect ones.

In fact, these amps seem to have served as launchpads for SoftTube to take inspiration from. Ableton claims they have focussed on ‘the essentials’ – tone, vibe, and character’. 

This is clearly a plugin that has been designed as a homage to the golden age of analog gear. The fact that the separate cabinet effect is available shows the creators at SoftTube had this in mind. In a way, it’s like they tried to bring to life the recording process of an analog studio. However, there is an air of style over substance, and Amp doesn’t quite have the sparkle needed for those who are familiar with the reality of analog sound. 


However, there’s an extent to which this analog focus is more of a gimmick. It seems like the designers went for what they THINK musicians want, as opposed to how most users actually work. 

With the recent updates to MUCH better amp sims fresh in everyone’s minds, this becomes more and more apparent. Amplitube Custom Shop, for example, attempts to emulate classic tones in a similar way but does it far better. 

Ultimately where Amp by Ableton falls short is it doesn’t have any unique feature that makes it worth it. This is in contrast to features like Amplitube’s VIR technology and TONEX integration, or Guitar Rig’s ICM (Intelligent Circuit Modelling) which emulates the system components of classic cabs, amps, and FX pedals down to the individual parts and their internal wiring. In fact, you can read our reviews of Guitar Rig and Amplitube to see why they blow it out of the water. If it did, this might compensate for the lack of quality. Likewise, it leans too much on the idea of analog as a marketing tactic but doesn’t offer the variety and scope of its competitors to appeal to musicians working in many different genres and subgenres.

Final Thoughts:

Ultimately, Ableton Live’s Amp feature isn’t popular. It goes for design, but even in terms of this, there are some obvious errors. To the keen ear, Ableton Live’s amp feature isn’t really worth the time. In addition, there are many other plugins that do the exact same thing. However, if you are a die-heard Ableton Live fan, and don’t have the time to find options – it is usable. Nevertheless, it works best in genres that don’t focus on guitar. In this way, musicians can make it work despite its flaws.

Amp is available from Ableton’s website at 69 GBP or 84 USD at the time of writing.

Liked this article? Find other articles on music software. plugins, and amp simulators in our software category.

The Best Software for Jazz Guitar: What Options are on the Market?

Finding the best software for jazz guitar is often difficult. Due to the genre’s distinctive characteristics, mainstream software doesn’t always suit the tone jazz guitarists are going for. However, these five picks, which range from amps to bass VSTs, are all carefully chosen. By picking out the best software for jazz, your sound design process can flow much more smoothly. Read on to find out more. 

Top Accompanying Drum Plugin for Jazz Guitar – Toontrack Jazz EZX

Why do you need a drum plugin when you’re a jazz guitarist? Every genre has a unique set of sounds which makes it special. Jazz is no exception. Indeed, the best software for jazz guitar goes with the style of your playing. Therefore, why settle for built-in drums which might not necessarily be geared for your playing? 

This is where Jazz EZX comes in. At only 80 EUR, it’s actually extremely worth it for what it is. Like all gear by Toontrack – and especially as part of the EZ series – it has a very real-life interface. Jazz EZX actually shows a full kit. You can then click on each drum for parameters to really design your tone. These drums were recorded in the real-life Blackbird studios, Nashville. In addition, Jazz EZX includes brushes, a feature not found on many drum plugins which aren’t geared especially for jazz. As a result, Jazz EZX is definitely worth including in your list of gear.

Requirements: A previous installation of EZ Drummer (minimum v. 1.4) If serious about jazz, Jazz EZX is a worthwhile upgrade. Otherwise, Mac 10.2.8 or higher for EZ Drummer, or Windows XP. Available in AU and VST formats.

Price: 80.24 USD/80 EUR, check our their official website by clicking here.

Best Software for Jazz Guitar Jamming and Improvisation – iReal Pro

What is iReal Pro? This nifty bit of software bills itself as ‘the world’s most versatile virtual band’. What this means is you can create fantastic backing tracks to jam along to. Although it includes options for other instruments such as piano, this app is really one jazz guitarists shouldn’t miss. Musicians applaud its online community for helping find lesser-known jazz songs. Its chord library, which can be used to create backing tracks, is truly extensive. It features, sevenths, inversions, and augmented chords, as well as even more complex ones ideal for playing jazz.

This app is also essential for practising techniques for jamming in real time. It is endorsed worldwide by institutions as different as America’s Tufts University and the University of Hokkaido to help with these musical skills.

Requirements: MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra) upwards although legacy versions are available for 10.12 or before. Also available for iPhone and iPad as well as Android. Not available for Windows, but can be run on Windows with a third-party Android Emulator.

Price: 14.99 USD, you can access their official website by clicking here.

Amps for Jazz Guitar 1 – Bias Amp 2 Pro

The Bias Amp 2 Pro has a few features which make it really special for jazz guitarists. The first of these is how great its clean tones are. Bias Amp 2 Pro is modelled on real tube amplifiers. As a result, there is richness and depth even with the most basic settings. Its ToneCloud feature allows artists to connect online to get custom tones and amps from real recording studios worldwide.   

What is especially good for Jazz guitarists is the dynamic tone engine feature. This is built so that the Bias Amp 2 can respond exactly to the musician’s playing. However, it is features like this which make the Bias Amp 2 worth it. In addition, 9 reverbs allow for maximum control over tone so you can sculpt your sound to your heart’s content.   

Requirements: Windows 7-10 or MacOS 10.12 – 11.6.1

Price: 199 USD, but also available in standard (cheaper) and elite (pricier) versions. You can buy it from Pluginboutique by clicking here (and you will be supporting this website by using this link as we will get a small kickback upon purchase).

Top Bass Simulator for Jazz Guitar – VSL Synchron Upright Bass

Along with a good jazz drum plugin, any jazz guitarist also needs a bass. There are a variety on the market, but none apart from the Synchron Upright bass has such attention to detail. It is marketed with Jazz Articulations from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and this bass VST really is a dream come true. It’s largely based around plucked notes and played by Austrian jazz bassist Bernd Konzett. As a result, it contains slides, tremolos, and many more delicate articulations often forgotten.

What really makes the VSL Synchron Upright bass stand out is the fact it’s fun. It contains snaps and ghost notes and you can easily change tempo. For guitarists who aren’t necessarily bassists themselves, this plugin faithfully recreates everything great jazz bass can do. It’s not just a basic product – it has options for creative playing without requiring too much programming. Instead, it’s practically ready-made. 

Requirements: Windows minimum 8.1-10 64-bit with 10-11 recommended, MacOS minimum 10.13 with 11 recommended

Price: Comes as part of the Synchron Plucked Instruments package. 214 USD/220 EUR. Official website can be accessed by clicking here.

Kuassa Amplifikation Vermillion – Another Fantastic Amp

To finish up this list is another amp- finding your tone is a huge part of choosing the best software for jazz guitar. The Kuassa Amplifikation vermillion is billed on its website specifically as the best amp for more rootsy guitarists. However, these qualities make it fantastic for jazz guitar as well. 

This plugin is a nostalgic piece which looks back to vintage amps for inspiration. On top of this, it offers tremolo spring reverb to complete the retro tone. This amp doesn’t go all out for crazy amounts of features, but it certainly recreates what it seeks to. For jazz guitarists, the problem all too often is finding software which fits the atmosphere you are creating. However, the Kuassa Amplifikation Vermillion is a rare one of these. 

Requirements: really flexible plugin which supports AU, AAX, VST/VST3 and rack extensions, and functions on over 11 DAWs. Windows Vista (64-bit) or later, macOS 10.11 (64-bit) or later.

Price: 39 USD plus VAT – a real hidden gem. You can check the price on Pluginboutique by clicking here (and if you buy following this link, you are supporting the channel)

Final Thoughts:

So there you have it – the best software for jazz guitar in multiple categories. While jazz guitarists aren’t often catered for as much, the products which do exists out there are often carefully made. Additionally, there are plenty of hidden gems amongst more mainstream plugins which just happen to work brilliantly for jazz. If you liked this article, check out our article here on 8 Effective Hacks That Will Help You Learn Jazz.

Best Hardware Guitar Pedals of 2023: A Guide to What’s on the Market

What are the best hardware guitar pedals of this year? Although it’s hard to choose, the greatest tend to hit a sweet spot. Great pedals balance staple sounds with creative circuitry. 2023 is no different and though some of these are on the pricier side, here are the best picks on the market. 

Best Hardware Guitar Pedals – Best for Blues: Boss BD-2 Blues Driver

The classic Blues Driver pedal from Boss has been updated for 2022 and is one not to miss. It has real versatility and it can be incorporated into many more genres than blues. The Blues Driver BD-2’s sound is kept fresh and modern. It can easily fit both favourite blues songs – as well as indie, hard rock, ballads, and alternative rock. But what about it makes it such an enduring pedal? 

The valve amps this pedal is modelled on add warmth and resonance to more genres than just blues. It also provides a sought-after sound associated with old amps, yet makes this accessible to the average musician. It has three simple knobs – tone, level, and gain, and that’s it. The ability to switch between standard and custom mode means you can either keep its original circuitry (standard) or add a richer, more modern overdrive with increased sustain (custom). All in all, the Boss BD-2 is everything you want in an easily available format, making elusive tones mainstream and resulting in its cult status.

You can check the Boss BD-2 price on Reverb (and if you buy via this link, you are supporting this website as we get a small kickback)

Best for Wah: Boss PW3 Wah Pedal 

One challenge of keeping pedals up to date is how musician preferences can constantly change. Wah is a classic effect, yet this pedal keeps to the cutting edge – Boss have really added something new. The Boss PW3 specialises in its ‘rich’ mode, which means that it retains low to medium frequencies. These are responsible for much of the tone and are actually lost in typical wah effects.

As a result, the sound is much fuller and has more depth. In fact, to do this, Boss had to alter the circuitry. This addition works especially well if you’re not after typical vintage sounds yet still want to experiment with wah. The setup is simple with one switch to toggle between rich and vintage, and the physical pedal to add either a tiny bit of wah or rev on full. Used to more current sounds but want to investigate this classic effect? The Boss PW3 is perfect.

You can check the Boss PW3 price on Reverb (and if you buy via this link, you are supporting this website as we get a small kickback)

Best for Overdrive: JHS Double Barrel

The JHS Double Barrel is on the chunkier-looking side. However, it is a combination of two classic pedals, the Moonshine V2 on the left and the Morning Glory on the right. The first of these provides a well-crafted overdrive with a difference. However, when combined with the Morning Glory, this pedal really comes into its own. 

The Double Barrel contains a toggle to switch the order of the two pedals in your circuit. There are three knobs (volume, drive, and tone) and a gain switch for the Moonshine; the Morning Glory has knobs for volume, drive, tone, and clean, plus a high gain toggle which works with the JHS pedals Red Remote. From this, the guitarist has a multitude of deep, rich noises to choose from. If something sounds a little tinny or top-heavy, all you need to do is tweak what lies underneath. With the sheer amount of combinations, there are plenty of options until your tone is as you like it. 

You can check the JHS Double Barrel price on Reverb (and if you buy via this link, you are supporting this website as we get a small kickback)

Best for Distortion/Crunch: Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808 

The Tube Screamer is a fantastic classic pedal which does so much more with less. How come it makes the list? Tube Screamer diversifies itself by keeping things simple but refined. In fact, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808 is made in Japan and the well-known quality of Japanese craftsmanship definitely shows. It has three knobs (overdrive, tone, level) is very intuitive, and adds thick, warm overdrive to your signal chain.

Popularised by Stevie Ray Vaugh, it has been described as the ‘holy grail of tube screamer plugins’ and prioritises rich, full sounds. Since its inception, its analogue circuitry has remained largely unchanged. As a result, it is absolutely perfect at balancing out the top-end which often comes with shredding and guitar solos. Instead of just a wall of distortion, all the emotions and melody of your playing remain. Just be careful of knock-offs – there are lots of copies out there.

You can check the Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808 price on Reverb (and if you buy via this link, you are supporting this website as we get a small kickback)

Best Hardware Guitar Pedals – Fuzz: EarthQuaker Hoof Reaper 

EarthQuaker launched the fantastic Palisades V2 in 2014 but it is unfortunately discontinued. However, EarthQuaker is still a really creative plugin manufacturer and the Hoof Reaper Double Fuzz goes to show this. This pedal was originally a limited edition but was so popular it was kept on the market. It features EarthQuaker’s Hoof Fuzz pedal and the Tone Reaper pedal as a two-in-one. However, what you also get is an octave-up switch. In this way, not only do you get great characterful fuzz, but you also have huge amounts of creative control over the sound’s overtones.

There are buttons to select either or both pedals and one for the octave. The Tone Reaper has three knobs for level, fuzz, and tone, whilst the Hoof Fuzz has four. These are level, fuzz, and tone, but also shift, which allows you to sculpt the mid frequencies. With this amount of freedom, you can find the perfect sound to express your musical ideas.

You can check the EarthQuaker Hoof Reaper price on Reverb (and if you buy via this link, you are supporting this website as we get a small kickback)

Final Thoughts

Whilst some of these pedals have been on the market before, all of them are making waves in 2023. This is due to either their repurposing, as well as the fact they continue to come out on top. That indescribable quality they add to your guitar playing has all helped earn their inclusion on this list. They also all include great craftsmanship and creativity in terms of really adding something new to your tone. Whichever you might choose, they will all present new creative possibilities and give you ample room to explore. 

Enjoyed this article? Check out more in our section for music hardware here.

Audiomovers ListenTo: An Honest Review of this Musical Collaboration Software

ListenTo by Audiomovers was immediately intriguing, although when setting out to review I didn’t know what to expect. ListenTo is billed as a collaboration tool to allow musicians around the globe to listen in on a single session. However, its simple formula also allows it to solve so many more problems. Read on for an honest take on ListenTo and what makes it so great.

Audiomovers ListenTo: The Basics

The ListenTo plugin allows you to stream high-quality audio to collaborators around the world. You can easily download it from the Audiomovers website, and it’s simple to install. It works on a variety of DAWs, including Logic, Cubase, Ableton Live, Protools, and even Reaper.

The plugin is priced at 8.33 USD for a standard yearly subscription or 16.67 USD for the Standard Plus Yearly (recommended). Both can also be billed annually. It’s available in VST, AU, and AAX formats. Those listening receive audio by app, via the plugin, or even on a free internet link which requires no downloads. Listeners can even record this audio for future reference.

I was impressed by the fact that Audiomovers have clearly left no stone unturned. It’s as if someone examined every step of a typical co-working process and seriously considered how to streamline it. This is also without any compromises on quality – ListenTo offers streaming quality up to 32-bit or 96 kHz.

Best Things About Audiomovers ListenTo

So to break it down, ListenTo stands out because it fills two niches, both of which aren’t really served by any other software. Firstly, its quality and efficiency are second to none. I found it extremely impressive in this regard, especially in terms of options to fine-tune audio quality (more on this later). Secondly, ListenTo works with how projects develop in reality.

Simplifies the process of collaboration

The way ListenTo keeps things simple works in line with the production process. It’s easiest to stream by putting the plugin on the mix or master bus of your track. In this way, it shares huge amounts of musical data quickly and easily. However, it can be applied to any channel strip – for example, if you wanted to work only on drums.

Built for real workflow

So, Audiomovers achieves this connection via a centralised format where one producer with a link can share large numbers of tracks with relatively large numbers of people across the globe. This smooths things over for both producers and their coworkers. Resultantly, this frees up real creative flow, uninterrupted.

Privacy, Accessibility, and Pricing

ListenTo’s built with the industry in mind – it even has the option for password/pin-protected sessions. Audiomovers site says it is used on over 85% of sessions at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios. When using it, I actually became more aware of every aspect of the track.

Its low subscription cost also stands out. By making this kind of industry-standard technology affordable to average musicians, ListenTo facilitates grassroots projects. This allows greater channels for collaboration for bedroom producers and independent artists.

Options at the time of writing this review

Additional Things That Stand Out About Audiomovers ListenTo

Really built for musicians

Similar to how LIstenTo simplifies things, what it does include is indispensable. Aside from increasing efficiency, every single feature is chosen carefully to slot in with the average producer’s workflow. This was extremely refreshing. Many bits of software come with unnecessary details, while simultaneously leaving out the small additions which make the process easier. ListenTo, on the other hand, avoids all this.

Does one thing very well

ListenTo is great at what it’s intended for and doesn’t try to be anything more. Users can freely set audio quality and can adjust latency to as low as 0.1s. ListenTo also keeps count of connected clients. By prioritising features like these, Audiomovers have created a really efficient little plugin. This lets musicians focus on getting high-quality, crystal-clear audio to large numbers of collaborators worldwide.

Is There Anything Bad About Audiomovers ListenTo?

In all honesty, there really isn’t much I would change about ListenTo. For moments when you’re in the groove, the fact that it’s audio-only has unexpected side effects. With its capacity for streamlining, ListenTo makes the production process easy on the eye and eliminates any potential distractions. I also found it made me focus more purely on the music.

If you’re looking for social networking, this isn’t it, but it doesn’t pretend to be. Its great strength lies in simplifying complexity in general. It’s equally useful for a one-on-one project with a large number of tracks on the go. The sheer audio quality and the fact this is such an efficient plugin mean that even if you don’t think you need it, you might want it.

The Only Product of it’s Kind? What Makes ListenTo Stand Out

So, is ListenTo worthy of the hype? I would have to say the answer is a resounding yes. ListenTo really does fill a real gap in the market. There is plenty of co-working software out there and plenty of options for high-quality audio streaming. However, there really isn’t anything which combines them so seamlessly – nor which can handle large numbers of tracks in one go with such clarity.

Additionally, users can send and receive audio both ways means those on the receiving end can record additions in real time. I haven’t come across anything else which does all this combined whilst simultaneously being so intuitive and unobtrusive. You might want to check their website for more information by clicking here.

Final Thoughts

ListenTo enables real creative flow without distraction. Audiomovers have designed a central hub around which musicians can work and an easy way for them to access it. As a result, this is a plugin which works like musicians do. It manages to solve many problems with very little effort. I feel I haven’t even begun to discover all its possibilities – without a doubt, it will remain with me in future.

ListenTo is compatible with MacOs 10.15 – 11 and Windows 10 (64-bit only) and 11.

Love gear reviews? We have a whole category of them, which you can check out here.

Easy Granular Synthesis: Portal’s New Granular Synth

Previously on, we covered granular synthesis with the Lemondrop mini synth. You can read that review here. This synth has introduced many musicians to the concept and made it intuitive, easy to use, and attractive. There aren’t actually that many granular synths on the market, but another of these is the portal granular synth. This synth is very different from the Lemondrop. Instead, it is a digital VST which works on DAWs such as logic. However, the makers have designed it similarly intuitively to the folks at 1010 music. This is because they know that fewer people know of granular synthesis than some of its counterparts. As a result, they realised it was important to translate this type of synthesis. This led to a smooth, clean, and easy-to-use synth so that it is accessible to every kind of musician. 

What Does Granular Synthesis Involve?

Ultimately, granular synthesis is a kind of synthesis which involves samples. Granular synthesis chops up samples of real-life sounds and mixes and matches them at very small sizes, known as granules. Each granule makes up part of the soundwave. By manipulating these granules you can sculpt and shape them to create a sound of the desired timbre, tone, and texture. It is so precise, this can be anything you may want.

Granular synthesis is very different from the classic forms of synthesis which arose in the 80-s and 70s. Instead, it is perfect for creating space age, alien, or otherwise more underground and unusual sounds. This is really a type of synthesis for audiophiles who enjoy constantly seeking the best kinds of new sounds. It also suits artists who are looking for something really special 

Granular synthesis allows the artist an unprecedented amount of control over the shape of the sound. It offers an entirely new way of looking at soundwaves. Instead of the wave as a whole, fluid thing, granular synthesis breaks it down to its absolute building blocks. This means you can get to grips with exactly how to create sound. Ultimately, it can show you fractal patterns and meta arrangements of new sounds. These help you really get to see what makes a sound harsh or soft, light or dark, etc. 

What Does the Interface of the Portal Granular Synth Look Like?

The interface focuses mainly on a circle which allows you to actually map out the different grains of sound. This way you can see how they interact with each other to create the sounds you are making. There’s a drop-down menu on the left-hand side, which offers you many presets that appeal to adventurous artists. This includes really weird, glitchy, and otherwise unpo[pular or unusual sounds. These can add just that little extra something to your new track.

With a simple drag of the mouse, you can affect the amount of granulation. It also lets you turn knobs and dials for the more conventional effects such as tape delay. In this way it is like you would find on any other synth. Not only can you use it as an instrument in itself, but it can also combine it creatively with vocals. This further allows you to alter sounds in a really unusual way. 

You can check the price and buy the Portal Granular Synth + some cool presets over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

How Does Portal create Such Easy Granular Synthesis?

Luckily, the designers at Portal know that most of their customers will be new to granular synthesis. Therefore, they have made it easy for you. It has over 250 presets, all of which are seriously good in themselves. The portal granular synth is interesting based on those alone. However, it really excels at tempo-based granulation. The designers of this synth made it with the knowledge that timbre and tone do not exist in isolation. Portal wants all your tracks to really hook together and get into the groove. A value readout panel also helps you get to grips with controls. Luckily, due to the way it breaks everything down, this is a perfect synth for learning transferrable skills. You can then use these on other granular synths.

A time manipulation control really shows you how your sound waves interact with tempo. Furthermore, an XY-based control lets you plot sound systematically against these axes so you can actually visualise it. Seven built-in FX, a master compressor, and scale-based pitch modulation also add to it. All in all, this makes a super slick machine which can take you on a whirlwind tour of granular synthesis. With this, there is no doubt it will then become your trusty companion. 

Requirements to Use the Portal Granular Synth:

AAX, AU, VST and VST3 versions included

Mac OS X 10.9 or higher
Windows 7 or higher
32 and 64-bit compatible (PC)
4GB of RAM required, 8GB recommended
At least 300 MB of free drive space

And at 131 GBP (156.59 USD) it’s actually a really affordable synth. This is mostly due to the fact it is relatively unrelated and that the market hasn’t given it much publicity yet. In terms of innovation, granular synths tend to be high end. Therefore, along with the Lemondrop from 1010 music this is one of the best and most affordable out there. In fact, it provides not just an introduction ot granular synthesis but also lets you explore it further.

Final Thoughts on the Portal Granular Synth

This synth doesn’t boast any historical credentials. It isn’t modelled off a classic piece of gear. The design team also doens’t include any particularly notable minds. However, it doesn’t need it, and for what it is, it works really well within itself. It does what it needs to do, yet excells at it. Furthermore, it takes on a little known part of synthesis and makes it accessible. This is no easy feat.

Sometimes analogue or analogue modelled synths are subject to high standards. They tend to have a lot of history to live up to. However, musicians often overlook what can be doen with just a DAW in mind. This is a powerful example of a really good digital example of a synth that can hold so much possibility. The designers also haven’t felt the need to include huge amounts of complicated features. They are instead safe in the knowledge that the style of their product really is enough to turn heads. In the end, actually doesn’t need anything more. The portal granular synth is available from the portal website for download. 

You can check the price and buy the Portal Granular Synth + some cool presets over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

1010 Music Nanobox Lemondrop Review – All About this Portable Polyphonic Granular Synthesizer

What is 1010 Music Nanobox Lemondrop mini synth?

The Lemondrop is one in a series of nanobox synths released by 1010 Music where the company has combined awesome colours in a compact little box which really is unbelievable in terms of both its intuitive nature and it’s portability.

With the other synth in their series being the Fireball, it really doesn’t have much difference except for one thing – the fact it is a granular as opposed to wavetable  – but what a difference this makes. For those unfamiliar with granular synthesis, this little synth allows you to take almost any sample you like – whether running water, a snatch of music from your favourite song, or something else entirely – and it’s efficient processing will chop your sound up into tiny pieces, each of which is called a grain. When these grains are put together, it creates an otherworldly sound which is perfect for soundtracks or even for more experimental music projects, where it’s lushness can create atmosphere and add some depth to other elements of a track.

What features does the 1010 Music Nanobox Lemondrop mini synth have?

By using such a unique type of synthesis you could assume that the designers at 1010 music have already done all their work, but no – they’ve ensured that the Lemondrop has all the features which are available with the fireball as well.

In keeping with the way it is designed for musicians on the go, the Lemondrop has an extremely intuitive interface which involves a touchscreen which allows the user to shape the waveform directly giving the ultimate amount of flexibility and control over the shape of the wave and the way it interacts with other features such as distortion, compression, and so on. The only thing which has been noted by users is the fact that with the Lemondrop’s small size there can come a significant amount of menu diving which means that if you are not an organised musician or producer finding the things you need and the pre-sets you have created can sometimes come with some difficulty and annoyance. However, it is a small price to pay for such a portable synth which otherwise has an incredibly wide range of effects which are easily accessible and extremely creative.

The Lemondrop includes:

  • 153 presets and 311 wave files
  • 16 grains per oscillator for a total of 128
  • Sample memory per oscillator 30 seconds
  • 24-bit DAC and ADC resolution and 32-bit internal resolution
  • A 49kHz sample rate
  • Included USB-C connection
  • 3.5mm audio input and output
  • MIDI support for the following – note on/off, mod wheel, sustain, pitch bend, mono & poly aftertouch, assignable CCs, and clock

How does the 1010 Music Nanobox Lemondrop mini synth compare to others on the market?

What really stands out about the Lemondrop mini synth is the way 1010 music have taken a relatively uncommon type of synthesis – granular synthesis – and completely streamlined it. One of the ways they have done this is by taking into account that the target audience for granular may be slightly wider than for classic wavetable synthesis such as with the fireball – instead attracting artists and sound designers who are looking for something different to experiment with but as a result may not be fully versed in all the basics of using synths. As a result, it is the small size and simplicity of user interface which works so well with granular synthesis. This is how the Lemondrop – in comparison to the Fireball – provides something completely different as a result of the same smart hardware design – with the Lemondrop really making an unusual type of synthesis accessible and opening the learning possibilities for sound designers due to its hands on nature and the fact a visual waveform can be manipulated by touch.

If, to get the best of its granular capabilities, you want to involve as many of your own samples, the menu diving could become cumbersome. However, it isn’t much of a price to pay for a synth which can be easily slung into a back pocket. As an introduction to granular synthesis and at a much lower price than the rare few other granular specific synths on the market, it can’t be beaten. And with this encouragement to sample, the Lemondrop could easily become part of a portable kit bag which also includes a sampler for a sound designer who is looking for something to complete a fluid, on the go workflow.

Pricing and availability

Like the Fireball, the Lemondrop is a mid-range synth at 399 USD although if bought together the two end up coming to a pricier 798 dollars. It’s generally always available from the 1010 music website, although as a high quality and relatively specialised synth it isn’t produced in bulk.

Should you buy the two alongside each other? The 1010 music website demonstrates how they can work alongside each other as tabletop synthesizers. The Lemondrop’s sister synth the Fireball provides a wavetable synthesiser which, due to being more common, is potentially better at slotting into a roll with the rest of your equipment and established sound. Nevertheless, the uncommon nature of granular synthesis really gives the Lemondrop an edge on many other synths on the market. You can see the current price on the website by clicking here.

Final thoughts

Overall, the Lemondrop mini synth is really one of a kind. As a granular synthesizer, it doesn’t have many other competitors anyway, and as a mini, pocket sized, technologically smart and extremely efficient and compact little synth, it really steals the show in terms of the way it’s been designed for the needs of the creative. With portability as one of its greatest assets, it combines the rarity of finding it’s unique granular engine with the technology which helps it fit into the lifestyle of today’s modern music producer or sound designer – very often a digital nomad, one who goes from gig to gig or studio to studio and needs a compact synth to take with them. In this way, 1010’s Lemondrop is truly something special.

And if Music Production hardware is your thing, we have a full category for you, click here!

1010 Music Nanobox Fireball Review – All About this Portable Polyphonic Wavetable Synthesizer

What is the 1010 Music Nanobox Fireball?

The 1010 Music Nanobox Fireball is one of two Nanobox synths designed by the team at 1010 audio and as a result, it follows much the same outline as its sister synth the Lemondrop, bar a few key differences and the fact that it is red instead of yellow. The trend for small, portable synths has been a relatively small but significant part of the synth market since the launch of the Volca by Korg in 2013. Nevertheless, with the Lemondrop and Fireball, what 1010 music has done so well is taken every feature you would want in a smaller piece of kit and streamlined them into an updated, cutting edge little polyphonic synth which grabs both the ear and the eye.  

How does the 1010 Music Nanobox Fireball differ from other synths on the market?

One of the most stand-out features of the Fireball’s design is an overall pattern as opposed to a single piece of kit or specification. 1010 music have gone out of their way to create a synth which takes all the features needed to craft fantastic sound and executed their assembly with outstanding efficiency. The result is a synth which is really geared towards the modern musician in the sense that it is easy to learn from, portable, but also follows the natural process of sound designers in the way it facilitates ease and flow of work. Are there any cons?

The Fireball is not as stand out as its sister synth simply due to the fact it is competing against a much larger market due to wavetable synthesis being generally more common than granular. Therefore, if you already have a solid synth collection there may not be as much incentive to buy the Fireball; however, there is something to be said for its portability which sets it apart from other wavetable synths.

Specs and features

For all intents and purposes, the Fireball is much the same as the Lemondrop . The team behind 1010 music does actually market the two synths together, especially in the tutorial videos they have on their website. What’s more, the synths have the same interface and features – right down to details such as the number of inputs and outputs, compatibility, design, and layout of software. Off course, another thing they share is the extremely useful and intuitive touchscreen which allows users to mold the waveform to their liking, enabling them to get hands on experimenting with sound so as to control the custom synth patches they create.

However, there is one very big difference between the Fireball and the Lemondrop, which is that the fireball is a wavetable synthesizer in comparison to the Lemondrop, which is a granular synthesizer. This means they are capable of creating extremely different sounds and as a result it can be helpful to buy them alongside each other. You might not be getting two for the price of one, but the transferrable skills which are gained from learning the ins and outs of one mean that you can easily double the amount of creative possibilities open to you.

What is it like when getting your hands on the Fireball? One thing this synth does very well – like it’s companion – is using simplicity to get a lot of results. With two dials which control multiple parameters it is easy on the eyes and doesn’t require a lot of complicated hardware to create great sound. By simplifying things it leaves a lot more up to the musician’s own capabilities as opposed to spelling out every single possible way that sound can be shifted and altered. Nevertheless, it does have a good selection of default patches all of which share a characteristically creative way of looking at wavetable synthesis from the minds behind 1010 music. And for wavetable as opposed to granular synthesis like the Lemondrop, this means you are taking a type of synth which is more frequently seen on the market and with its bright hardware, easy to use software, and most of all the extreme control which can be had over the waveform, it gives any user a new spin on a form of synthesis which is more frequently seen. The combination of polyphony and visualisation of the wave in particular means that musicians are shaken out of their normal working patterns – this is really a synth which facilitates creativity.

The 1010 Music Nanobox Fireball has:

  • 123 presets and 103 wavetables
  • A USB-C cable and 3.5mm audio input and output
  • 24-bit DAC and ADC resolution and 32 bit internal resolution
  • A 96kHz oscillator sample rate
  • MIDI support for all the following: note on/off, modulation wheel, sustain, pitch bend, mono & poly aftertouch, assignable CCs, and clock

Price and availability

At 399 USD, the Fireball is a mid-range wavetable synth and due to its high quality it isn’t necessarily made in bulk, though nevertheless is generally always available from the 1010 music website. Check out for a price update.

Final thoughts

Overall, the Fireball is essentially the wavetable edition of 1010’s attractive little nanobox synth series and because of this that it really depends on your priorities as a musician. Whilst wavetable synths are much more common than granular synths such as the Lemondrop and therefore the fireball is up against some stiffer competition, if your priority is portability, design, aesthetics, and simplicity – whilst all the while being an intuitive synth – then the Fireball is as worthy a synth for your collection as the Lemondrop despite having more features in common with other products. In fact, perhaps due to it doing similar things but more simply and cleanly than other synths on the market, it is a synth to really push you to use your maximum possible creativity.

And if you have an affinity for Music Hardware, we have a full category waiting for you, just click here!

Teenage Engineering TX-6 – Portable Audio Interface, Tabletop Mixer, and Synthesizer

What is the Teenage Engineering TX-6?

The TX-6 is marketed primarily as a tabletop mixer and audio interface, but also includes a synthesizer and drum machine, and it is it’s clever design and portability which make it so appealing to the musician on the go. The technologists at Teenage Engineering have left nothing unthought of when it comes to making a product which both suits the needs of musicians who may need to travel – as well as one which is technically well put together and doesn’t sacrifice it’s software or hardware just for being easy to manage. If anything, the TX-6 has so many features that its size and design is deceptive, this could, at first, be slightly overwhelming to a beginner sound designer and thus it may not necessarily be an ideal first mixer; then again, the ability to hook it up to your iOS device does make it an extremely attractive prospect for those who have not yet built a full studio of gear.

Ultimately the Teenage Engineering TX-6 is incredibly useful to have as a well-balanced middle ground between audio and digital. It’s unobtrusive enough that you can continue working mostly with your DAW if so desired – but the fact that it is a fully functional mixer as well as including the synthesizer and drum machine elements means that it is in some ways a stepping stone to the lush, hands on world of an analogue studio. In keeping with this happy medium between different ways of working, it’s design and aesthetics sit somewhere between modern and retro, with a pixelated LED display and sleek yet incredibly durable shell.

How does the Teenage Engineering TX-6 compare to other tabletop mixers?

Is there really anything comparable to the TX-6 on the market? It doesn’t fall cleanly into any particular category of gear as in addition to being a mixer, it also acts as a synthesizer with its own low frequency oscillator and envelope. How does this work? The TX-6 may be a little counter intuitive to work at first due to having to dig through it’s different parts to discover all that it can do, and this is one of the few cons of it as a piece of hardware. It takes a bit of getting into before you can really figure out all its features, plus how they interact with each other – and as a result it holds hidden surprises for you as you go along. That being said, this also means that after purchasing one you may not be able to fully predict how it will fit into your pre-existing workflow. Ultimately the TX-6 is part of a trend of synthesizers and tabletop mixers which are all about packing the best possible options into a small space – not necessarily from the perspective that more is more but instead, this is a synth which has really been designed to bring freedom and give you the most creative possibilities.

Features and specs

One thing which sets the Teenage Engineering TX-6 apart is what it is capable of when hooked up to an iOS device. It allows you to mix multiple tracks onscreen using GarageBand or the DAW of your choice, which works perfectly in keeping with the portability which is a huge selling point – Teenage Engineering have really taken into account the increasing number of high quality apps such as samplers or other pieces of music gear which musicians now carry with them on their phones – and despite the TX-6 being a high quality and pricy bit of hardware, the designers have chosen to work with these trends as opposed to against them. In this way, they have carved themselves a niche in the market which allows them to sit in a comfortable place at the crossroads of some sort of new evolution of music technology. In fact, the tech behind this synth means that it is actually – as boasted by the website – the smallest of its kind, and the kind of craftsmanship which has gone into creating it is evident in the fact that it is high quality and by all accounts hard waring. In some ways, the TX-6 is unprecedented in the combination of effects it has – one of the things Teenage Engineering has really thought about is usability.

The Teenage Engineering TX-6 has:

  • An included USB-C cable so it can be used as a classic 12 channel audio interface, as well as MFi which allow you to attach it to any iOS device.
  • An 8 hour rechargeable battery, user-sensitive display and customisable LED.
  • 4 oscillator waveforms, 4 drum sounds, and tempo sync mode to stay on the beat.
  • 8 built in FX – reverb, filter, delay, freeze, tape, distortion, and chorus
  • Wireless connectivity as well as specialist made slimline cables and a field bag so you can take the TX-6 wherever you go
  • In addition, the innovative DJ mode means that the TX-6 can be turned on its side with three of the 12 channels able to be used to crossfade.
  • 6 3.5mm audio inputs

Price and availability

With all of this, the TX-6 really does not come cheap. But is it worth it? This is a truly unique piece of kit, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else on the internet- and one which certainly hasn’t really been seen before in the evolution of synthesis. However, at 1199 USD, it is on the pricier end. Nevertheless, it can be bought directly from Teenage Engineering’s website.


Final thoughts on the Teenage Engineering TX-6

Does the TX six have too many things in one small machine? When reading it’s list of specifications, it could be easy to conclude that there is simply too much going on. However, the real test is whether a musician needs anything else. It is not necessarily the amount but how the features of the TX-6 fit into a musician’s lifestyle – instead, they have judiciously chosen features that offer the most based on what they are, and combined these into a small package to fit with the flow of a wide variety of kinds of sound designers. Therefore while it may take some investigation to discover everything that the TX-6 has to offer, it nevertheless is an extremely useful piece of kit and well worth the investment for those who want a more flexible way of working with sound design – or those who are really looking for something bold and parameter changing for a turning point in their work.

If you are interested in Music production hardware, we have a full category right here!