As August’s contribution to our ongoing Vox Pops series, NZM asked around for some of your current favourite pieces of musical hardware –gadgets & gear that you couldn’t (happily) live without. Here are some of the responses:
My favourite piece of gear would have to be my Hiwatt Custom 50 guitar amp. It has a lovely warm tone with an unrivalled depth of sound. Unlike other many other British built amps, this amp has clean headroom, which means the sound doesn’t distort at high volumes. And when you put a drive pedal in front of it it really screams. This makes it super versatile for all the different sorts of gigs I do. The only drawback is its 35kg back-breaking weight; which means I often opt to use its little brother – the Custom 20. It still has the sweet Hiwatt tone but not the volume or breadth of sound, but can be carried upstairs without the ensuing physio bills…
My favourite piece of hardware at the moment is probably the Manley microphone at Kog Studios. We recorded the whole album on it (‘The Bridge’) and I really love the sound we get from it. It’s so good for achieving that top-end international quality vocal sound that we strive for. It’s definitely honest though, and you can hear every mistake ,as well as you can hear the good parts! Definitely recommended for any other pop/RnB/hip hop vocalists out there. We paired it with a Studio Electronics Pre 2 pre-amp for best results. 🙂
A Tech 21 dUg pedal… it has replaced almost my entire pedal set up.
I can’t live without my Shure SM58 mic. This is my tried and tested microphone that I go to every time. I find it suits me both for MCing and for singing vocals because it picks up all the subtle nuances and lyrics when I’m rapping, as well as being a fantastic vocal mic in general. I’m very fortunate that I am a sponsored Shure artist and I was gifted my first SM58 back in 2011. Despite trying out many other different, more expensive models over the years, I still come back to my SM58 every time.
Red Witch Violet Delay pedal on vocals with Saturnworks reamp pedal … sooo nice!
I couldn’t live without my Kawai upright piano that I got just this year-a magnificent black shiny beauty. I have a permanently marked up so I can record when I get the feeling 🙂
The Penguin Rhyming Dictionary: Purchased for $3 at an op shop here in Wellington. This has become an indispensable songwriting aid for me. I first became aware of them when my band Terror of the Deep was on tour and was staying at the Mussel Inn in Takaka, I remember reading it and thinking, “Man, one of these would be so convenient!” and just a few months later I found one and have used it ever since. I personally find this more helpful in the songwriting process than any guitar pedal or accessory.
My Rode NTK valve condenser mic – and this guy.
The Electro Harmonix Micro POG (polyphonic octave generator) pedal and Line6 Echo Park tap delay, as a combo.
I’m really attached to the Roland Juno 6 at the moment. It’s a polyphonic analog synth that doesn’t allow you to save presets. It’s not the most phenomenal sounding synth, but having no ability to save presets has been great for writing. It keeps the process alive for me and helps to put the emphasis on songwriting, as opposed to production and arrangement. I’ve been really enjoying heading into the studio just plugging the synth into an amp and working on things away from any digital interfaces or recording processes.
Ultimate Ears… they are the best to let me hear myself! Very often the sound from the room is affecting my ability to hear my own voice. These in-ears have changed my life and I can’t imagine my gigs without them!!