Connect with us

Gear Reviews

Gear Impressions and Luthier Spotlight With Jake Wolf: Keith McMillen Batt-O-Meter

Published

on

Review by Jake Wolf
Email Jake | Read More Reviews

So it’s a battery tester…..What’s so special about a battery tester, they’ve been around for ages right?  Not like the Batt-0-Meter, which is specifically designed for the needs of musicians.   This clever little device is way cooler than a typical batter tester for at least one good reason.  Its integrated ¼” plug allows you to test the voltage and remaining percentage of battery life without ever having to remove the battery in your bass or stompbox.  It’s pretty cool if your 9v battery is hiding behind a handful of tiny machine screws, and not in a quick change harness.  If you’re a lazy like me, you might just take the chance that your current battery is going to make it through that three set gig tonight, but in the back of your mind, you’re hoping to god there’s enough juice to keep your active electronics or chorus pedal going from dying mid-song.  The Batt-O-Meter provides no-hassle piece of mind and tells you exactly where your battery life is at, both voltage-wise, and in terms of hours remaining, as well as overall percentage remaining.  Those of you saying “big deal” have probably never had their basses’ electronics go dead in the middle of a song, no?

The Batt-O-Meter is sturdily constructed, and worked flawlessly during my testing.  Its clear readout and highly visible text make it a snap to use, even on a dimly lit stage.  Plugging the gold plated ¼” probe into my active bass, and holding down the test button displays the data:  AL (for alkaline battery), Vol (for voltage remaining i.e. 8.4 for a 9 volt batter), and Hr (hours of life remaining).  According to Mcmillen’s website, the Batt-O-Meter uses a microprocessor to determine the load and power consumption of the device being tested to calculate the remaining hours of life, pretty cool.  A switch on the side allows you to calibrate the device for testing alkaline, rechargeable, and carbon zinc batteries. The unit allows for a self test, so you can see how much life the Batt-O-Meter itself has left in it, and it also allows you to test your battery individually, without the ¼” plug, using the built in tester terminals on the side of the box.

I had no snags of any kind when testing the Batt-O-Meter and it hasn’t left my gig bag since it arrived.  For about $35, it seems like a no brainer accessory.  I have a handful of basses and stompboxes and this allows me to check all the batteries in a fraction of the time it would normally take.  Not that I’m giving up on the white knuckle excitement of battery gambling, but it sure is nice to take at least one variable out of that last minute pick up gig.  Don’t we musicians have enough to think about already?

Technical Note – Since this review came out, it was brought to my attention by several users that this unit does accurately determine voltages for 18 volt systems, only 9 volt. At the time of the review, I didn’t have an 18v bass in house, so this unfortunately went un-noticed. thanks to our readers for pointing this out.

For more info on the Batt-O-Meter, visit Keith McMillen online at www.keithmcmillen.com/products/batt-o-meter

Jake Wolf welcomes your comments and questions… drop him a line

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Joyo Double Thruster – Modern Bass Distortion Redefined

Published

on

Gear Review- Joyo Double Thruster - Modern Bass Distortion Redefined

Review of the Joyo Double Thruster…

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinions or the content of our reviews. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

Introduction: When it comes to bass distortion, finding a pedal that delivers a wide spectrum of tones while maintaining the essential low end can be challenging. The Joyo Double Thruster, a modern bass distortion pedal designed to cater to the diverse needs of bassists was a pleasant surprise that we had the opportunity to review. From subtle overdrive to full-on fuzz, the Double Thruster delivers with versatility and affordability.

Specs: The Joyo Double Thruster is compact yet robust, making it ideal for both stage and studio use. Here are its key specifications:

Dimensions: 109 * 72 * 48 mm

Weight: 250g

Working Voltage: DC 9V

Controls: The Double Thruster features a comprehensive control set that allows for precise tonal sculpting:

Tone: Adjusts the overall tonal character of the distortion.

Blend: Critical for bassists, this control blends the dry signal with the distorted signal, ensuring the low end remains intact.

Volume: Sets the output level of the pedal.

Gain: Controls the amount of distortion, from mild overdrive to full fuzz.

Gain Boost Switch: Provides a noticeable boost, especially at lower gain settings, enhancing the low end and adding depth to the tone.

Mid Boost Switch: Boosts mid frequencies, helping the sound cut through the mix with greater clarity and definition.

LED Light Control: Customizes the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance: The Joyo Double Thruster excels in delivering a range of distortion tones while retaining the essential low end that bassists need. The blend control is particularly useful, allowing users to mix the clean and distorted signals to maintain clarity and punch. The gain boost switch adds a pleasing depth to the low end, especially noticeable at lower gain settings, while also compensating for low end loss at higher gain levels. The mid-boost switch enhances the pedal’s ability to cut through complex mixes, making it ideal for intricate playing.

In terms of versatility, the Double Thruster can emulate a variety of distortion sounds, from subtle warmth to high-mid, djenty grind. This makes it an excellent tool for bassists exploring different genres and styles.

Pros:

  • Blend Control: Essential for retaining the low end in a distorted signal.
  • Size and Weight: Compact and sturdy design.
  • Rugged Construction: Durable build quality.
  • Gain and Mid Boosts: Adds versatility and clarity to the tone.
  • Affordable Price: Offers excellent value for money.

Cons:

  • Plastic Knobs: May feel less premium compared to metal controls.
  • Comparison to High-End Pedals: While close, it may not fully match the tone of more expensive pedals like the Darkglass B3K, and that’s ok. The Double Thruster is a great pedal on its own!

Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Double Thruster stands out as a versatile and affordable option for bassists seeking a wide range of distortion tones. Its thoughtful design and comprehensive controls make it a great tool for achieving everything from mild overdrive to full fuzz, all while maintaining the crucial low end. For bassists looking to expand their tonal palette without breaking the bank, the Joyo Double Thruster is a must-have addition to their pedalboard.

Visit online at joyoaudio.com

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Published

on

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Published

on

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.com

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Published

on

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Joyo Scylla Compressor: When Quality meets Budget-Friendly

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the diverse landscape of effects pedals for bass guitar, finding a compressor that strikes the balance between performance, versatility, and affordability can often feel like a daunting task. 

However, amidst the sea of options, one pedal stood out as a true diamond in the rough – the Joyo Scylla compressor. Despite its wallet-friendly price tag, the Scylla boasts a great array of features and controls typically reserved for pedals with much higher costs. Let’s take a closer look at why the Joyo Scylla is turning heads and earning praise among bassists on a budget.

Specs: The Joyo Scylla compressor measures in at 109 * 72 * 48 mm and weighs a mere 234g, making it both compact and lightweight – perfect for gigs or studio sessions where space is at a premium. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Scylla is efficient and versatile, compatible with a wide range of pedalboard setups.

Controls: What sets the Scylla apart from its direct competitors is its comprehensive control set, offering bassists a good amount of flexibility in shaping their sound. With six knobs, the Scylla allows for a very precise adjustment of key parameters:

  • Input Gain: Adjusts the amount of signal being fed into the compressor.
  • Output Volume: Controls the makeup gain after compression, ensuring consistent output levels.
  • Compression Ratio: Unlike traditional compressor pedals with preset ratio options, the Scylla features a continuous knob, allowing for seamless adjustment from subtle compression to limiter-like effects.
  • Attack and Release: Determine how quickly the compression engages and releases, offering a range of tonal possibilities from punchy and aggressive to smooth and subtle.
  • Output Tone Control: A unique feature not commonly found in compressor pedals, the tone knob adjusts the coloration of the compressed signal, adding warmth or brightness to your bass tone.
  • LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal, adding a touch of visual flair to their setup.
  • Performance: In practice, the Joyo Scylla delivers where it matters most – in sound quality and performance. Whether you’re aiming for a tight, punchy bass sound or smooth, sustained notes, the Scylla excels in providing transparent compression that enhances your playing without sacrificing dynamics. The granular control offered by its knobs allows for precise tailoring of compression settings to suit a wide range of playing styles and musical genres.
  • Pros: The Scylla’s strengths lie in its granular control, versatility, and compact design. Its sturdy build quality and diminutive size make it a welcome addition to any pedalboard, occupying minimal real estate without compromising on functionality. However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Scylla is its price point. Despite offering professional-grade features, the Scylla remains accessible to bassists of all budgets.
  • Cons: While the Joyo Scylla excels in many areas, it’s not without its drawbacks. One notable omission is the lack of metering, which may pose a challenge for users seeking visual feedback on compression levels. Additionally, the plastic knobs, while functional, may feel somewhat less premium compared to other pedals. 
  • Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Scylla compressor emerges as a great option in the world of budget-friendly effects pedals for bass guitar. Its comprehensive control set, transparent compression, and compact design make it a compelling choice for bassists seeking professional-grade performance without breaking the bank. From its intuitive interface to its thoughtful touches like the tone knob and customizable LED lighting, the Scylla delivers a level of versatility and functionality that belies its modest price tag. For bassists looking to elevate their tone without compromising on quality or affordability, the Joyo Scylla compressor is a clear standout.

For more information, visit online at joyoaudio.com/product/265.html

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

Published

on

String Instrument Humidifiers

String Instrument Humidifiers

After living in some very humid parts of the country for decades, we moved to a dryer, much sunnier location. As a result, I started noticing some fret sprout on my string instruments and recently did a video on fret sprout correction.

It occurred to me that I should take a more preventative approach to string instrument humidification. Of course, I turned to my instrument maintenance experts, Music Nomad Equipment Care, for a solution and they suggested their Humitar series. (Note: They sent two press samples and I purchased the remainder online.)

Join me as I look at these useful tools for keeping my string instruments in tip-top condition.

The Humitar series is available online at Music Nomad Equipment Care, as well as Amazon.com

Continue Reading