The name Denis Wick has long been associated with the production of top quality mutes and mouthpieces for brass instruments. Recently, no doubt due to requests from touring musicians concerned with the potential for scratched or dented mouthpieces and mutes while out on the road, the Denis Wick company has come up with a series of high quality pouches and bags in full-grain leather and tough nylon denier to meet their demands.

All the pouches are lined with a non-scratch, hard wearing, velvetine cord material and are very cleanly finished. The single trumpet mouthpiece pouch in nylon denier comes with nylon cord edge piping and velcro pad security, while its leather counterpart uses a magnetic stud to secure the top cover to the pouch’s front face. There are also two, three and four mouthpiece pouches, each with rear belt loops and a zippered, gusseted (for ease of access) pocket to the front face [steady, on, ed]. The nylon denier model uses a strip of velcro attached to the base to close the pouch leaving the sides open, whereas the leather version comes with an all round 3/4 zip.

The zippered mute bags come in various shapes and sizes to suit their respective instruments, with each covered in the same tough nylon denier and lined with the same nonscratch velvetine material. Those for the larger mutes are top loaded with lid handles, while those for the smaller mutes not only have side zips, but also come with a carabiner type clasp to the top rear of the bag – I’m not quite sure why! Highly recommended for the hardworking horn player. For more go to www.deniswick.com

Fusion F3-26 K 13 B keyboard cases Although there are a few specialist cases on the market produced by manufacturers such as Roland for their own specific instruments, there are very few general keyboard cases, and these tend to be either poorly padded or weak on design. Fusion has addressed both these issues and come up with a range of 16 different bag sizes that cover almost every model on the market.

The heavily padded F3s are a move away from the traditional keyboard bag with its shoulder strap and grab handles, also incorporating a pair of case style wheels and some very nifty hidden handles. The F3-26 K 13 B has a two-tone, tough denier nylon skin and is heavily padded with solid walls. The keyboard compartment is accessed by a 3/4 weatherproof “reversed zip”, and features two lightly padded interior retaining wings with quick release buckles and eight velcro attached padded cubes for extra protection should your particular keyboard be either slightly narrower or shorter. To the front face there are two pockets – one large – one small, again with reversed zips. The base of the bag is covered with a strip of heavy duty ballistic nylon, while the wheeled end also has a heavy duty composite section that incorporates two feet and a grab handle, with all the bottom corners being reinforced once again with ballistic nylon. The top end of the bag hides the highly unusual but very effective hidden lip, which acts as a grab handle and is set into the skin of the bag. It also has the usual double grab handle with a padded sleeve for finger comfort, which conveniently folds away behind a double velcroed flap while not in use. Fusion deserve some design awards for this one, but the glittering prizes might have to wait until they produce a model with recessed wheels. For more go to www.fusion-bags.com

The W24 is about as small and compact as it gets for a highly sophisticated “on the hoof” mini recording device with high fidelity X-Y stereo mikes, that will download your recorded files on to either Windows media player or iTunes. Yes, there are 32 pages of exhaustive illustrated text on how to get the most out of the unit with every button accounted for and every option clearly and comprehensively explained, but once you’ve found what works for you, the whole system is reasonably simple and straightforward to use.

Powered by a single AA/LR6 battery, the W24 comes with a sizeable 2GB internal memory, along with an option to ‘add on’ a micro SD card. It also has a very useful 1/4-inch screw thread on the back of the unit for mounting on either a tripod or mic stand and a remote control that has an operating distance of up to seven metres – although you have to make sure that you have the unit set at the right angle so that the remote can pick up the sensor. The W24 also includes a voice-activated system, so that if left in the recording pause mode the unit will start to record as soon as it detects audio.

The main screen is bright and clear with an orange ground against which the graphics are clearly displayed. Recording controls (record/stop/play) are also on the front face, with a menu button together with fast forward/return and plus/minus for the various function and file options. The unit comes with some useful extras such as a wind screen, a tuner and a metronome. Nothing else is required to edit and mix your recorded files as Cubase A1 DAW software is included in the package.

What isn’t however, is a small padded pouch/bag to store the system, as you won’t be wanting to hold on to the original packaging – it’s too awkward and too clever by half.


For more go to www.yamahasynth.com

“Put down that plastic pick and take a look at these wooden ones”, said a friend of mine. He knew they had to be good, otherwise my response might have been unprintable. He was right too, these Timber Tones are something else. Made from various specialised woods, each of the picks we tested had its own individual character and allowed something of the sound of your fingers to come through. I started with the newly popularised Cocobolo, a highly figured hard wood from the mahogany family that is not on the endangered species list. The sound as might have been expected was bright and clear with a definite nasal edge which we thought would be fine for rock ’n’ roll – but probably not jazz. Next I picked up the Zebrawood, which immediately felt more at home between the fingers and altogether softer to the touch. After a quick lick, the warm, sweet tone was in complete contrast to the Cocobolo – I loved it. Moving on to the African Ebony, we were back to the harder sounds but this was really hard. It almost made me want to become aggressive with the instrument and to attack the strings. The Lignum Vitae was also very harsh, but if you’re looking to achieve absolute clarity, then this has got to be your choice. Our fifth and final pick was the Santos Rosewood. A very positive item that delivers a very predictable sound and doesn’t mess up voicing in chords – clarity again is key. There is slightly more attack than that offered by the Zebrawood and definitely more focus and as an all round jazz pick… yes, you’ve guessed it. I’m holding on to the Santos Rosewood.

For more go to www.wildchilddistribution.
com

The W24 is about as small and compact as it gets for a highly sophisticated “on the hoof” mini recording device with high fidelity X-Y stereo mikes, that will download your recorded files on to either Windows media player or iTunes. Yes, there are 32 pages of exhaustive illustrated text on how to get the most out of the unit with every button accounted for and every option clearly and comprehensively explained, but once you’ve found what works for you, the whole system is reasonably simple and straightforward to use.

Powered by a single AA/LR6 battery, the W24 comes with a sizeable 2GB internal memory, along with an option to ‘add on’ a micro SD card. It also has a very useful 1/4-inch screw thread on the back of the unit for mounting on either a tripod or mic stand and a remote control that has an operating distance of up to seven metres – although you have to make sure that you have the unit set at the right angle so that the remote can pick up the sensor. The W24 also includes a voice-activated system, so that if left in the recording pause mode the unit will start to record as soon as it detects audio.

The main screen is bright and clear with an orange ground against which the graphics are clearly displayed. Recording controls (record/stop/play) are also on the front face, with a menu button together with fast forward/return and plus/minus for the various function and file options. The unit comes with some useful extras such as a wind screen, a tuner and a metronome. Nothing else is required to edit and mix your recorded files as Cubase A1 DAW software is included in the package.

What isn’t however, is a small padded pouch/bag to store the system, as you won’t be wanting to hold on to the original packaging – it’s too awkward and too clever by half. (DG) For more go to www.yamahasynth.com

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