z Gear Stories episode 10

Gear Stories 10, The Ultimate Stoking Stuffer, & Speakers for the Stars!


Hello, my friends!  It’s time again for gear stories… that wonderful time of the month when I share with you a couple of entertaining anecdotes about some of the gear available to you here at Sweetwater!  Remember the rules… If you don’t like this e-mail coming to you every month, don’t get mad… just let me know and I’ll stop it!


Rule number two… laugh a little bit!  It’s good for your face!


Before I get into the stories, I want to let you know about a couple of things we at Sweetwater have been doing to make life better for you.


First of all, there’s a new TWO YEAR WARRANTY on every product we sell (other than Apple computers… sorry about that).  This is only available at Sweetwater!  No other music gear retailer has ever done that!  So with that, on top of our full time tech support staff, and our knowledge base to make sure you get the right stuff in the first place… you really shouldn’t buy from anyone else.  And I’m doing one more thing to make that the absolute truth!


Anyone of you that has gotten a personal e-mail or call from me recently has heard this before, but I want to drive it home one more time, so you all realize how easy I’m trying to make things for you!


(Please, imagine an orchestra playing a patriotic tune quietly under this next paragraph…)


In these dark and troubled times of relatively normal economic adjustment and UNPRECEDENTED MEDIA HYPE, I promise you that I will meet or beat ANY competitor’s reasonable quote… (and by “reasonable” I mean anything that doesn’t take me below wholesale cost… and it has to be something that you can verify with me… and you actually  have to contact me about it…. it won’t just magically appear on the web site.)  So with that policy firmly in place, as well as our lifetime service and support and full TWO YEAR WARRANTY, there is absolutely no reason to buy gear from ANYWHERE else!


And now back to our regularly scheduled program!



The Vox AmPlug… The ULTIMATE stocking stuffer!


Face it, Christmas is coming, and it’s time to think about gifts for that musician in your life… especially if that musician in your life is YOU!  So here is the ultimate Stocking stuffer… the Vox AmPlug.


I’ve got to tell you this story first, for those of you who still think size matters!  It’s TONE that matters.


One of my favorite songs I have EVER recorded was for a band named “Vandolah.”  The song is called “Hovercraft, NOW!” and has a cool, laid back Rolling Stones vibe, all nice and loose, but tight in just the right way!  Vandolah likes to try things differently to get interesting, cool tones, and at one point, the guitarist pulled a cigarette package out of his pocket and said “Let’s try to use this!”


I certainly was concerned for his health and didn’t allow smoking in the studio anyway, but then I realized that it was actually a guitar practice amp inside the wrapper of a Camel pack!  It had a two inch speaker and ran on a nine volt battery.    We quickly undid the little wires to the speaker and twisted them together with the leads from an old guitar cable that had one end broken off… (Who says I’ll NEVER use all that old junk I keep sitting around!?!)  We plugged the other end of the cable into a Marshall 4×12 cabinet, and WOW!  The coolest old vintage amp tone you have ever heard… powered by a nine volt battery in a cigarette package!


You never know until you try!


So it was with some excited anticipation that I bought my own Vox AC30 AmPlug…  What the AmPlug is is basically a small battery operated guitar amp, about one third the size of a Camel pack, with a plug sticking right out the side.


It has a mini jack for  a headphone out and another one for an auxiliary in like and iPod, so you can play along with your favorite recordings, and it cleverly is decorated to look like a classic Vox guitar amp.  (Or course, if you’ve known me long enough, you know that Vox makes my favorite guitar amps!)


I was impressed by the sound of the headphone jack, but what I was REALLY interested in was using it for recording!  I got my adaptor cable and plugged it right into my mixing console and turned it on.


What I did NOT do was pay close attention to how high the trim on that channel was turned up…  Ooops!


I took one strum and about blew the walls out of my studio!  It was unbelievable that that sound was coming out of that tiny little thing!   My wife started yelling at me from the other room that it was too loud!


I put it through it’s paces and played with the gain and the tone knobs on it, and was very pleased.  Of course, it won’t beat the sound of a REAL AC30 through a GREAT mic and a GREAT mic preamp, but it was darned good, and for less that forty bucks!  VERY COOL!


They come in several varieties, and each one has a pretty limited sound palette, but they sound like what they are supposed to sound like!  There’s the AC30, the Vintage Rock, the Metal version, the Lead guitar plug, and even one for Bass!


Check them out here…




I can’t really offer a sale on these for Christmas, since they are so inexpensive in the first place, but THAT is what makes them the ultimate stocking stuffer!  Even if you’re only a  guitar player for fun, these are a blast!




Part two:

JBL LSR Pak…. the Speakers of the stars!


Let’s face it, there are a lot of studio monitor speakers on the market out there, and different ones serve different purposes, but one set stands out to me as the Speakers of the Stars!   …At least Hip hop and Pop stars, that is!


The JBL LSR pack (there are two kinds… the LSR4328Ppak with the 8 inch woofers & LSR4326Ppak with the six inch woofers)


Check them out here on the web…





I have spent a LONG time in front of these speakers and have been thoroughly impressed.  The thing that I think is coolest about them (and the thing that makes it a “Pak” instead of just a pair) is the room analysis “DSP” package that comes with them.  This allows you to run an analysis of your control room and correct the problems in the acoustics of the room, so that you are getting a wonderfully accurate sound as you are monitoring your recording!


The reason I call them the Speakers of the Stars is that I have noticed a trend that Hip Hop and Pop producers prefer this system in their studios… (along with the accompanying subwoofer  for appropriate BUMP in the bass!)




Recently, I sold a set of these to the largest selling female rap star in the world!  (If you don’t know who that is and care to know…  just ask me who that is.)


The special thing about these speakers right NOW… is that we are offering a $100 instant rebate!  there are no forms to fill out, no complicated information to enter in anywhere… we just knocked off a hundred bucks from the price!  And as a Special offer to MY customers, if you wish to buy them with the subwoofer in the next thirty days, I will give you another hundred dollars off the whole package!  And suddenly, your studio will sound like the Stars!


So call me, and we’ll get these on their way out to you!


Until next time!