Time was when lugging several huge Real Books to every jam session or pick up gig was par for the course – a necessary evil in packing essentials for the night of on-the-fly music making ahead. However the iReal Book emerged two years ago as a logical pocket-sized alternative, packed with hundreds of popular standards all accessible through a scrolling A-Z. Yet thanks to copyright laws finally catching up the app’s developers the current incarnation of the app no longer comes pre-loaded with such jam session favourites as ‘Stella By Starlight’ or ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’.

Now renamed the iReal b the functionality has improved exponentially enabling you to transpose any existing chord charts – that can either be generated via the iReal b online editor (see www. irealb.com/editor/) or downloaded free from the same site’s forums (see www.irealb.com/forums/) – to any key, magically changing every chord in the chart before your eyes, the app now also offers a very handy, and surprisingly good quality, built in ‘jazz trio’ play-along facility too. The clever bit here is not only will it play the song to your desired number of choruses, but you can also export the song as a WAV or AAC audio file for use on desktop computer or iPod.

Also allowing easy editing to change incorrect or add alternative chords and with the added bonus of being able to export the charts as printable PDFs, as well as write a set list of charts, this really is the ultimate gigging musicians jazz app, and all at the astonishingly low price of £4.99 from the iTunes App Store. For more go to www.irealb.com

The whole point of the TC Helicon Voice Tone range is to bring vocal effects that were once solely the preserve of the studio to the live stage in as simple and in as straightforward a way as possible. We tested the Doubling & Detune D1, one of seven Voice Tone effects boxes available, each of which can be run in a chain if you really want to move your sound around. Solidly built with a die-cast metal case and a non-slip rubber base, each of the Voice Tones carries a clean, quiet mic preamp that rivals high end touring mixers and studio quality analog to digital conversion. Apart from the ‘power in’, ‘mic in’ and ‘mic out’ and

Antigua Pro Alto Pro 1 saxophone the sensibly recessed ‘mic gain’ control, there is also a USB port for computer connection so that the user can register and get the latest version and tips from the TC -Helicon Voice Support site. Placed on the studio floor, the non-slip rubber base certainly kept the unit stable, but we preferred to work with the Voice Tone to hand, allowing any adjustments to be made easily and swiftly.

The click-stop knurled rubber effects dial is located on the top left face of the box and offers eight different effects, that include ‘Group’, ‘Loose’, ‘Thick’, ‘Oct Up’ and ‘Oct Down’. We found these to be the most useful and also the most effective, although ‘Thick’ and ‘Group’ provided a very similar take on a mix of sound, albeit with slightly more depth and colouring, provided by one of the Chorus/Reverb options on the house Shireking 60 Acoustic amp.

 Located just to the right of the effects dial is a similarly knurled rubber dial that offers a mix of Dry to Wet, while centered below is a red LED ‘in use’ indicator, positioned just above the solid ‘foot stomp’ style on-off switch. We’re sure that vocalists will want to try out this amazing little box with it’s footswitch and dials that can certainly do wonders for your vocal arrangements and will effectively ‘thicken’ your voice with extraordinarily realistic doubling emulations... and who knows what might be possible in combination with its six cousins. For more go to www.tc-helicon.com

With Apple shifting an enviable 1 billion apps for its ubiquitous iPhone and iPad tablet computer it should be no surprise that there are now hordes of music applications with practical uses, as well as being highly entertaining. Among the more serious minded of these is Music Theory Pro, developed by USC music professor Dr Joel Clifft and selling for the princely sum of 59p. Aimed at beginner or intermediate level musicians it’s the perfect on-the-move way to study key signatures, intervals and chords through some clearly laid out screens, and slick functionality that combines piano keys, notational staff and sound samples. This also extends to ear training in tempos, intervals, scales and chords. Having tried some of the more clunky music theory and sight reading apps available, Music Theory Pro beats them with ease thanks to its comprehensive content, easy to use navigation, and sheer value for money. It’s also better than those other ‘brain training’ games as through daily practice with this you might actually learn something useful! (MF)

For more go to musictheorypro.com

Made from neoprene with velcro anchor points (there are different models for different instruments), these wrap around sleeves keep the bell of your horn warm. This is a great idea for those who regularly play outdoors as intonation is always a problem at low temperatures and fitting a Warmahorn will certainly help to keep your horn in tune. Cheaper instruments also benefit from the pleasures of the Warmahorn, as it also mellows the tone with no appreciable loss of presence or volume. Fitted to a Taylor trumpet with a heavier gauge metal, the Warmahorn gave the instrument a cleaner and sweeter sound, although in this instance there was a clear loss in volume. Not content with plain colours, the company have produced a number of models with added “bling”. There is also a Warmahorn ‘Buddy’… to wrap around your pistons.

For more go to warmahorn.com

For vocalists looking to have the freedom of a hands-free microphone, the 4088 is a pre-polarised first order, pressure gradient transducer mike hidden in a small and lightweight housing that has been fitted to a unique headband. All but invisible to an audience, the band sits over the ears and closely loops around the nape of the neck. The open, natural sound quality is typically DPA and very impressive, as the 4088 is able to faithfully reproduce all the characteristics of the human voice without in any way tainting the sound and stamping an identifiable mike sound on the performance.

It is just as capable when it comes to eliminating background noise and feedback. The 4099P model has been developed using the highly successful 4099 series and solves the perennial problem of successfully miking-up grand pianos for live performance. The system makes it easy to achieve a high level of isolation on stage, while at the same time providing clean and transparent stereo sound quality with realistic dynamics. The 4099P includes a pair of sensitivity matched 4099 microphones on goosenecks with magnetic mounts; two DAD6001 3-pin XLR adapters; and an integrated windscreen and shock mount system. The versatile magnet mount and flexible gooseneck means that the microphones can be positioned easily at different angles on the piano frame.

For more go to www.dpamicrophones.com

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