There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the Elle C. AKG tell us that they have been out asking the chanteuses what they are looking for in a microphone, trying to build up an accurate picture of their acoustic likes and dislikes. From this, AKG engineers and designers have built up a raft of data that has been integral to the design and production of the Elle C. A condenser microphone, the silver Elle C has a slim and slender profile and features a frequency range of 60-20.000 Hz together with a premium 24-carat gold plated transducer case. In our studio test alongside two other well known branded mikes, we found that the Elle C had a presence peak in the upper register of between 1 and 8 Kh and threw out a massive 6Db more than our two marker mics – ideal if you need to cut through a mix! With a sweet, but biting sonic edge, the Elle C will doubtless find a foothold in the plethora of pop. For jazz divas though, it may be a little roar (raw!). But with some creative EQ – ing it could be the ideal foil for a big band. For info:

Ritter has acquired an enviable reputation in the guitar bag market, and looking at the sample of a 7000 Series bass guitar bag, it’s easy to see why. Ritter only use heavy duty nylon zips and they don’t fit straight zips where a curved zip should be fitted. Add to this the tough denier fabric shower proof cover and heavily padded quilted lining and there’s plenty of protection for you prize possession. Fitted with a mesh padded grab handle, there is also an adjustable back harness with two “phone” pockets and an airmesh panel to the base of the bag for extra comfort.

There is also an adjustable waist band to hold the bag in place. To the face of the bag there are two large zippered pockets fitted with weatherproof zips, the top one being for gizmos and leads, the bottom being for other smaller items. The bottom one also has an inside zippered hidden pocket, a pouch pocket and an exterior “muff” pocket. Fully loaded, the RG 7000 is acceptably comfortable on the back, while the harness phone pockets are extremely useful for bits and pieces and even phones.

Go to www.dgcdistribution

String manufacturer D’Addario has spent some time searching for an alternative to the standard nylon string for the classic and flamenco guitars that would increase projection and give a brighter tone, yet at the same time would respond to the touch in a similar way to the nylon model. They have found the answer in a dense monofilament material with a translucent purple hue and have recently launched the T2 Classical Guitar Treble Strings. Not only do these strings respond in a similar way to the traditional nylon product, they are undoubtedly brighter, with a defined edge and clarity of tone that will cut through cleanly in almost any format. Like all D’Addario strings, intonation characteristics are excellent and we were particularly impressed by the 3rd G string that offers an almost seamless transition between the bass and the treble strings. Available as singles in three tensions and multiple gauges, these strings may be designed for the classical player, but offer the nylon playing jazz player a new dimension and a dynamic range well beyond what has previously been possible.

Mutes are of course an integral part of colouring brass sound and although this market is well catered for, there’s always room for a new kid on the block – particularly if they’re bringing some innovative ideas to the table. Wallace Brass is one such company. We tested three of their aluminium range and were impressed with the build quality, design (particularly the rubber end base) and general finish as well as being amazed at just how light they were. First up to the bell was the ‘Aluminium Straight’. These sort of mutes can often produce a harsh sound, but the Wallace model managed to temper this with a softer, richer delivery, although still having plenty of presence and intensity to the sound. It was also very consistent across the full range. Second up was the ‘Aluminium ‘5’ Straight’. This mute offered a more mellow and smoother sound than the ‘Straight’. However, it was less ‘muted’ than the ‘Straight’ with more of the instrument coming through. Last up was the ‘Adjustable Cup’ combination. The ‘V’ shape has a clear, sharp tonal colour and there is a lot of resistance. The ‘Bowl’ shape on the other hand, although still having a high resistance, is very mellow when placed right into the bell. Even though these mutes are machined from lightweight aluminium, the ‘Adjustable Cup’ combination made our test horn feel very bell heavy. It’s a shame that Wallace don’t yet produce a single ‘Fixed Bowl Shaped Cup’ model as we feel that this would not only be considerably lighter than the ‘Combination’, but would also deliver a very satisfying mellow tone. For more go to

There is a plethora of backpack based instrument cases around at the moment and the almost comically named Tom and Will is one of the forerunners in the field. The designers have clearly been taking apart the outdoor industry’s Daysacks and rejigging the layout with a few extra additions – some good, some not so. We took a look at the trumpet case from the Standard range and the alto saxophone case from the slightly higher spec’d Academy range. Both ranges are made up in strong abrasive resistant nylon denier and come with detachable padded backpack style harnesses. The Standard Trumpet case featues a protective heavy duty, ribbed nylon pad to the bell end of the case and has a half length customised nylon zip that is backed by a strong, fixed baffle to protect the instrument from water penetration through the zip. The baffle is backed by heavy velour covered padding which also runs around the rest of the interior of the case with an added removeable circular pad to the bell end and a separate padded velour covered pouch for mouthpieces. To the exterior is a large zippered pocket running the full length of the case and a lightweight velcroed grab handle. There is also another lightweight nylon grab handle to the top rear of the case. What is not quite so clear is the reasoning behind the detachable, lightweight, zippered and padded brief bag that rides piggyback on the inside face behind the harness. It might be deemed “safe” in that position, but I found having four heavy press studs from the strap and buckle attachment against your back rather uncomfortable. Used as a separate entity the brief bag is fine, but I wouldn’t want to carry it in its attached position. The Academy case is much the same as the Standard, except that it is covered with a higher grade of nylon denier with green piping, is double zipped – but oddly missing the baffles and has leatherette covered grab handles. The ballistic, ribbed, bass protection is there, however, there is no zippered side pocket. The zippered padded brief bag sits piggyback in the same position as on the Standard model, but is now clean faced with buckle attachments to the rear. Both cases come with reusable, leatherette address tags. For more go to

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