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PreSonus Notion 6 Review

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Notion 6 from PreSonus is the next revelation in music notation software.

Yes, there are other offerings of music notation software, but none that can do what PreSonus’s Notion 6 can do and at a price that others cannot beat.

If you are already familiar with using music notation software, then Notion 6 should be a breeze.

If you are not, I strongly suggest viewing the tutorials from PreSonus. Within a few minutes of looking around in Notion 6, I was off and running to see how quickly and easily I could create an orchestral string piece. Within a matter of just a couple hours, I created a short twenty bar piece for violin, viola, cello, and bass. It was an assignment for a class I was doing, which was to create a piece, based off of only 4 or 5 notes for a motif type theme:

Of course, more notes are used in the lesson, but the motif itself cannot consist of more than 4 to 5 notes based on the lead instrument, which in this case is the violin.

Next you may be wondering, “Why is music notation software being reviewed for a bass magazine?”

Well, first, as bassists, we like to expand and explore our creativity, as I know many that do. Second, I know quite a few bassists that actually write notation for themselves and different instruments that may be used for studio recordings or live performance.

While writing in Notion 6 may seem familiar with other notation software where you have note and rest lengths, time signatures, lyrics, articulations, variations such as whammy bar, slides, tuning adjustments, vibrato, string bends and releases that work for all instruments, and adding bars, repeats and coda’s… there is more. Notion 6 can be used as a standalone piece of software composing traditional notation, tab, chord symbols, and lead sheets, while being able to connect to any DAW with midi and audio streaming or being able to connect with Studio One for even better productivity, even over the network. Connectivity is done with ReWire.

Composing to picture is another great feature, where many different formats are supported.

While Notion 6 is available for MAC and Windows, it is also available for IOS, however the feature set is different for IOS.

Notion 6 has handwriting built in for Windows with support for Surface pen on Surface, but will also work on all Windows tablets and touchscreens. On MAC, you can use the mouse or if you have an iPad or iPhone you can use Duet to turn them into an external display with Duet. The handwriting feature is spot on for MAC. I installed Duet on my iPad and iMac and was able to enter notation on the iPad using a bamboo pen and my finger and it worked really well. The same is for the piano keyboard or guitar fretboard, where you can use both to enter notes. You can enter single or multiple notes as the same time. Speaking of entering notes, when you are on any specific instrument, you can write what you like without limitation, however if it falls outside the normal range of the instrument, you won’t hear it.

Drums can be entered in the following genres including funk, jazz, rock and world, and these genres include different fills and loops, as well as being able to create your own. Templates are included for creating your score for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, string orchestra, SATB (vocals and piano), big band, jazz combo, lead sheet, string quartet, wind quintet, brass quintet, or you can create your own and add the instruments you want.

The mixer is really handy, allowing you to adjust volume, mute and solo each instrument, use the buses to control effects, eq’s and compression, and also allowing you to add external VST’s with the plug-in manager, including effects and instruments.

 

For instance, I was able to add Amplitude 3 as an effect into the mixer, and I was able to add Absynth into the VST instruments, so the combination of effects and instruments you can have with Notion 6 is endless! When I added Absynth to the Rock Band template, it added it to the score and it was named properly.

I suppose you are wondering about the sounds of the instruments…

I have to tell you, the included instruments samples are nothing short of amazing. Samples from the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, guitars by Neil Zaza, Bass by Victor Wooten, Drum Kit by Roy Wooten, Olympus Micro Choir and Lakeside Pipe Organ by SoundIron, VST support, and PreSonus effects. In addition to all of that, there are four VST presets that are provided by Sample Logic. The orchestral samples are woodwinds, strings, percussion, and brass, and all samples are included with the purchase of Notion 6.

Instruments can be added to your score at anytime, so if you get halfway through, nothing to worry about… just add the instrument you need and it will be added to the score, ready for you to add to your composition already in motion.

If you are in need of additional sounds, the Notion Expansion all-pack is available from PreSonus.

There is so much in Notion 6 from PreSonus; it gives you everything you need for composition, orchestration, and film scoring. I’ve used quite a few other pieces of notation software, and I have not seen one yet that compares to Notion 6. Now that I have mentioned other notation software, but not by name, I should let you know that you can export between the different notation software using .xml files.

Also included with Notion 6 is the Notion Score Library.

This is great for teachers and students alike, as it is a great teaching and learning tool when it comes to orchestration and compositions. Some of the scores included are Handel’s Messiah, works from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and many more. You can also use them for accompaniment.

Check out Notion 6 from PreSonus for all your composition and orchestration needs!

Visit online at presonus.com

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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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

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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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

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

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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

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Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

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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

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Bass Videos

Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

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Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

CrystalBright Rombo Picks

PR Sample

Playing bass with a pick is still a touchy subject in our community. I believe you should be able to use whatever you need to get your sound. Even though I mostly play with my fingers, I like to check out innovative new picks that might have something new to offer, sonically speaking.

Judith and Carlos from Rombo recently contacted me about a new material called CrystalBright that they have been researching for the last 12 months and offered to send some prototype picks. After trying them out, I put together this video with my findings.

For more info check out @rombopicks

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