The EDB-1 has been getting some really hot press recently, so we thought it was time we checked it out to see what all the fuss is about. And yes, this is a seriously amazing piece of kit and it’s built like a tank. Power comes from a DC 18-volt in with a regulated supply, or two 9-volt batteries. The well insulated battery compartment has been really well thought out, with substantial connectors and overspec’d cables and the locking screw which has a very useful coin nut. The 18volt power supply gives a tremendous amount of power; in a small hall I didn’t need to push the Master beyond a quarter. Also reassuring was the strength of the EQ knobs, which noticeably clicked on to zero. The ‘Range’ switch was also very useful, in that it is already tuned and on the bass setting cut off at 47kh, while also cutting off the top end that you don’t need. Channel 1 has three settings with Channel 2 set for passive pickups and stereo or XLR mike with phanthom power. But perhaps most useful of all was the Notch Filter that allows you to find and cut out any noise that you hear on your instrument that you don’t like, in my case, plenty. A low battery light and recessed threaded stand mount to the back plate come as standard. But what is surprising is the amount of detail and user information that appears in the manual. Not only is the EDB-1 a remarkable all-in-one pre-amp and equaliser and direct injection box, but Headway could even deserve a plain English award. (DG) For more go to

Compared with Thomastik rope core Belcantos run on an old 1860s German model, the Honeys are much stiffer at the top end of the string and I had to be careful not to kink or twist the string, which made it a little difficult when locating them in the box. The bottom end of the string has a brass bar rather than the usual ball/nut and it is essential that this should be in line when holding the tension and wind up as if it’s not, the string will pop out. Strung up, it is clear that the Honeys come to pitch at a slightly higher tension than the Belcantos, which is great for those players who pull hard, as it all but eliminates any rattle on the low E. Response on the A and E strings is certainly greater than on our Belcantos and the Honeys are certainly louder with good sustain. Tonally these are warm strings and there is a definite soft, nylon sound, particularly on the D and G. The D and G are also mellower than the bottom two strings and it almost sounds as though they have reverb at the top. If you’re looking for a rich, warm bottom end or if your bass is lacking down at the bottom, these Honeys will definitely help. If you’re into swing, try a set. You won’t be disappointed. (DG) For more go to

The Danish company DPA has been at the forefront of microphone technology for some time, refining its studio range for the optimum response levels to capture every nuance of the acoustic environment. This advanced technology has now been incorporated into their range of mini “clip-on” pre-polarised condenser microphones that feature supercardioid polar patterns for superior gain before feedback. The mounting system has been designed to give the best possible audio reinforcement and stability in live performance.

Jazzwise road tested both the STC and GC 4099s and they are both featherweight and remarkably easy to handle. The fully adjustable goose neck is sturdy enough to stand up to plenty of repositioning and the whole system fits securely to either the bell of the sax or the rim of the guitar. Microphone direction and distance is paramount and we found that a change of position could alter the sonic characteristics quite dramatically. But the quality of the microphone is nothing short of exceptional, capturing the instrument’s full range and all of the subtle inflections of sound.

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The Reserve Classic reeds have been developed using revolutionary 3-D reed-modelling software using a special cane treatment process to help dramatically reduce reed warping. They differ from the original Reserve reeds in that they feature an increased warmth of sound and a lightened articulation by way of a newly designed tip radius. Players can therefore fine tune their exact strength, with specially measured hard to find strengths including 3.5 plus and 4.0 plus. Each reed is precisely cut on the company’s state-of-the-art reed manufacturing machines while special diamond cutters ensure unparalleled precision and consistency from reed to reed. The Reserve Classics are made exclusively from lower-internode cane, a technique pioneered by Rico.

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There seems to be a glut of instrument bags on the market at the moment and the Fusion brand certainly stands out from the rest of the pack, due very possibly to the fact that one of the company’s directors spent many years designing various products for the outdoor industry. With Fusion bags you can attach add-ons to the main unit as required and the add-ons themselves can also be used as separate smaller packing units. The trumpet case/rucksack looks as though it could have been built for a trek in the Himalayas, it’s that tough. Made from strong weatherproof nylon denier, it comes with three staggered, zippered face pockets, the front and rear pockets having hidden inner zippered pouch and pen pockets. The main zippered compartment is extremely well padded and lined in velvetine having a velcroed restraining strap holding the separate padded, velvetine lined zippered trumpet pouch. To the rear of the rucksack is a Flow-System mesh and lumbar pads together with an adjustable padded harness incorporating a zippered phone pocket. There is also an adjustable waist band with a quick release buckle and padded fins and two heavy duty rubberised handles to the top and side. The second smaller Fusion sack with its two zippered face pockets and padded main compartment rides pillion by means of nylon composite eyes and heavy, plasticised velcro straps. A very well designed product.

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