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Topics - Hinfrance

Just a quick heads up that BIAS FX and other BIAS software is currently on sale, 50% off with an extra 10% or 20% if you tag a friend (depending on the amount of the purchase). There is no mention of how long the sale lasts for, just says ending soon - classic marketing trick.

Note for UK and EU shoppers, Positive Grid do not charge VAT on software sales (at least they didn't charge me).

Electric Guitar / Harley Benton Victory Plus BK Vintage
November 21, 2019, 11:12:19 AM
Greetings all, after a longish absence.

Harley Benton Victory Plus BK Vintage

I have just invested in a B stock example of one of the above. At the exchange rate when I bought it it cost me just over £120 shipped. What's not to like about that price? And, once again Thomann have exceeded expectations. To be honest I bought it because I thought I could use it as a photography prop if nothing else, as it is very pretty and shiny.

Imagine my surprise then when it arrive looking not only amazingly blingy, but also with only the slightest traces of any previous handling. There is a very small, and I mean pinhead sized, indent on the edge of the headstock behind the D string machine head, and the same headstock edge is slightly less glossy that the rest of the guitar which has a black mirror finish. The only other defect I have found is a manufacturing one affect two of the bridge block pieces - on one side there is no gold plating, but again a minute flaw and only noticeable if one does a forensic examination.

The next surprise was the neck. Having been the unlucky recipient of a few earlier HB guitars with C necks I was expecting a mega chunky plank, but no, it's actually quite slim, and being C shaped to boot is very comfortable to play, even for a begintermediary like myself. The frets could do with dressing, but this is not unusual in cheap guitars and there is no fret buzz anywhere even after I lowered the action quite a lot. The neck is bound, and so very smooth an no sharp fret ends. The intonation was perfect out of the box. The neck inlays are well set.

Then there are the Roswell pickups. This is the truly amazing surprise. Roswell are a relatively new pickup supplier for Thomann, my Fusion Pro has a pair too (those are perfectly OK ceramic humbuckers, nothing mind blowing about them). The Alnico humbuckers fitted to this V copy are astonishing IMO. Their output is huge and the dynamic range exceeds that of any of my other guitars, even the Gibson loaded Epi Prophesy.

There is, of course, the fact that this is a V copy and V is not the most accommodating of guitar body shapes. That said the balance on a strap is good, no nose diving despite the lightweight body, and it is comfortable to play seated as the notch of the V sits very well on (in my case) my right thigh.

So all in all, what a serendipitous purchase. I'm feeling quite pleased with myself  :tup:

Next, when I have time, I shall give a brief opinion on the Fender Champion 100 I bought at the same time, also B stock. Spoiler alert - it's an amp I wish I had bought years ago . . .

Your Recordings / Worfstock 2017 - Dakota
September 17, 2018, 12:30:37 PM
Finally found the time to finish Dakota. Alas the high def cameras had packed up for this song, so I added a few arguably over the top effects to make it visually less dull. I am very happy with the mix though: Cubase Pro 9.5 and Wavelab Elements 9.5. Video done with Power Director 16

General Discussion / Gibson Enters Chapter 11
May 03, 2018, 06:47:25 AM
Message on Farcebook today:

Dear Friends:

Yesterday, we made a significant announcement that marks the next phase of Gibson's long and storied history. We are re-focusing the Company on the manufacturing of world-class, iconic musical instruments and the continued development of the global Gibson brand, by reorganizing around its core businesses in the Musical Instruments segment. Gibson has reached a Restructuring Support Agreement with its majority stakeholders that clears the way for the continued financing and operations of the musical instruments business.

To implement the agreement, the Company filed today to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in Wilmington, Delaware. This will allow our Company to continue to design, build, sell and manufacture Gibson's legendary guitars and instruments without interruption.

We are making every precaution to ensure normal operations for our valued customers. You will very likely not notice any change at all. There will be no change to inventory, pricing or quality of our guitars, musical instruments and Pro Audio. We intend to focus the same amount of time, money and energy in designing and building the best guitars, instruments and Pro Audio equipment that Gibson is known for.

As the Company moves through this process, which we will work to conclude as quickly as possible, there are several important facts you should know and understand about the Chapter 11 process:

• Gibson Brands is not going out of business. The legal process is being used to implement a reorganization of the Musical Instruments division, not liquidation.
• The filings do not change pricing, inventory, ordering or delivery timing of our guitars, musical instruments and Pro Audio equipment.
• There will be no change to the quality of service and support our customers have come to expect from us.
• There will be no changes to our warranty and customer service policies.

While we believe we have put all the right pieces in place to support normal business operations, this announcement may raise questions for you. Please be assured that our commitment to quality products, warranties and customer-service policies are not changing.


Henry Juszkiewicz
Chairman and CEO of Gibson Brands
Effects Pedals & Pedalboards / Boss GT-6
March 15, 2018, 01:40:02 PM
Feeling quite pleased with myself - look what I picked up from the second hand shop for £60 this morning:

Just reading the manual. Hours of potential fun methinks  :tup:
Your Recordings / Worfstock 2017
March 01, 2018, 02:06:23 PM
I have finally managed to finish off the first track from my birthday party gig last July. Cover of All The Small Things. Mixed in Reaper 5 and 'mastered' with Wavelab Elements (jeez, have you seen how much they want for the full version of that?!?!).

It was a fun evening, even if our guest singer did lose his voice: after three days solid of rehearsals he'd overdone it rather.

Anyway, FWIW:

Acoustic Guitar / Harley Benton D-120CE NT - Astounding
September 29, 2017, 01:37:57 PM
Astounding - quite a word but well deserved in this case.

I recently sold my Yamaha APX 700 because I simply didn't like it. It didn't seem to matter what strings I put on it, how much I adjusted the neck or the bridge, it just didn't work for me.

Because I wanted a replacement acoustic I decided to take a punt on this own brand Harley Benton from Thomann. It's got loads of glowing reviews, but I am always a little sceptical of gushing praise.

It arrived this morning and I am, well, astounded. It looks amazing (although the 'inlay' around the sound hole is obviously a decal but so excellently applied you can't tell until right up close), sounds good even with the factory 10s, the electro-acoustic installation looks very good quality, and like the rest of the guitar the fit and finish are top grade. The machine heads are smooth and highly geared - astounding (there's that word again). The icing on the cake is a very good action with perfect intonation. It is much more comfortable to play than the APX and I am in love with it already.

All for â,¬75 or £65.

OK, I am not primarily a guitar player, my instrument is bass, but seriously if you want a beginner or second acoustic as a spare, or even if you are just on a tight budget you'd be mad not to take a look at one of these.

Time for a nice cup of tea.
Amplifiers / Boss Katana series
January 28, 2017, 01:44:20 PM
Well, it's like this. I'm selling an old camera and am thinking of investing in a new amplifier. I've got my eye on the Katana 100 2X12, but if I buy that I can't afford the 4 button footswitch. A bit less is the Mustang IV 2x12 which comes with a footswitch and all of the reports about it are really positive. It has the added benefits of being stereo and having balanced DI outs with ground lift. So I'm in a bit of a quandary.

So if it was your purchase decision and you had to choose, which one would you go for?
Not sure how long the offer will last, but currently Air Xpand2 is available for $1, definitely from HERE  I splashed out through Audio Deluxe . .

On the Audio Deluxe site select the + by ON SALE, choose Air from the drop down list, and you should see the software there.
DAWs / Amplitube 4 pedals
April 25, 2016, 09:50:41 AM
I'm wondering if anyone else is having the same kind of issues with APT4 effects?

I have been mucking about trying to get a sound similar to Mike Kerr (Royal Blood) using multiple tracks to split and pitch shift my bass in my DAW. I have found that the pitch shifter and Harmonator pedals in APT4 are extremely ineffective. The pitch shifter is of the infinitely variable kind, so it is in the first instance very difficult to choose a precise interval. Having done that the tone produced is not that attractive and it is very difficult (I have found it impossible) to mix the source and output effectively. The Harmonator is just lame. Or maybe I'm really using it badly.

The only VST pitch shifter I have found that works is Pitchproof, a freebie from Aegean Music. Has a bit of trouble tracking the lower bass notes, but generally very good. Seems to use a lot of resource in Cubase, but hardly anything at all in Reaper.

Meanwhile, back to the drawing board, got to add some lower octave to the bass . . .
General Discussion / Woof!
March 10, 2016, 08:50:13 AM
 . . or rather whoomph.

Yesterday morning I was having a bit of muck around with Amplitube 4, testing the Engl Powerball head and 4x12 cab combination (which I am going to get - what an awesome amplifier), when there was a sudden farting noise from my JBL Control monitors.

Completely and spectacularly blown - never seen speakers detonate so thoroughly. One of the woofers has lost its foam surround for more than a third of its circumference. The monitors are supposed to be good for 100w continuous, and I was driving them with a Yamaha class A amp rated at 60w per channel. They were barely 25 years old.

Oh bugg*r.

Looking at replacement options I am thinking of getting some Tannoy Reveal 402s - there seem to be very few passive near field monitors on offer these days.
Those of you who are IK Multimedia product owners will already have had an email (in my case two :) ) detailing the freebies for Amplitube, Sample Tank and T-Rack product users - well worth having - and advising of selected discounts throughout the site.

So pop on over to and take a look.
Bass Guitar / Oops I did it again . .
January 29, 2016, 11:03:29 AM
As you may have known, and probably had forgotten, I bought a Thomann 5 string bass some time ago for a spare. Well I never really liked it, although it was pressed irregularly into service from time to time. The neck was just too wide (almost standard 4 string spacing on a 5 string) and I couldn't get it to sound how I wanted it to.

So I put the sh*tty strings it came with back on it and sold it.

Then I bought an Ibanez SR375 BBS from Andertons - they were cheaper than Thomann (more than 10% less) and gave away a gig bag with it. The other thing is that delivery from Andertons is always less than 48 hours to France. I bought their last one: there is a new model out with different finish, pickups and electronics. But I don't care.

I went for the SR375 because of the maple body. In my experience the body wood used on a bass makes a big difference. Mahogany gives a rounded but in my opinion rather dull sound, basswood like mahogany but less full (this was what the Harley Benton 550 was made from), agathis is just the pits. But maple, ah, clear high brights and full deep lows. This means that there is a very wide range of tonal possibilities, even if I will mainly use just the one.

The SR375 does not disappoint. Not only is the sound just what I wanted, although not to everyone's taste I admit, it growls nicely through my existing rigs. The neck is slim and the string spacing is the same as it is on my Hohner B Bass, making swapping between them instinctively easy. It's a fast neck and a joy to play.

Unlike just about all my other recent purchases the set up was bang on perfect for me. This is the first Ibanez of any sort I have ever owned. I'm very impressed by the quality and the condition of the instrument on delivery. First rate.

Really it's just lovely. All it needs is a thumb rest, which is coming from a probably very nice man in China in return for £1, and it'll be just the way I like it.

I've had to promise SWMBO that I won't buy any more guitars for a while. I can stick with that - I now have 4 excellent basses, and a number of 6 strings that are better than my ham fisted playing deserves, the star of that collection being my Epiphone Prophesy GX. And I still haven't completely figured out how the Novation Impulse I bought at the end of last year works. Plenty to keep me away from the shops for several months. Hopefully  ;)
General Discussion / Thomann and Gibson/Epiphone
January 10, 2016, 12:16:47 PM
I couldn't help noticing that the range of guitars from both Gibson and Epiphone available on Thomann's site has become extremely limited. Only one Epi single cut,  only high priced Gibson Les Pauls, and no SG models from either of them. Only a handful of the most expensive acoustics too.

I wonder if they have had a bit of a disagreement?
DAWs / iLOK - a few observations
January 08, 2016, 08:13:48 AM
For those of you who don't know, iLok is a two stranded software licencing regime. And I didn't know . .

On the one hand there is the software version, which until a week or so ago, and despite the hardware overhead which my machine can just about bear, was what I had had to install to run plugins and loop libraries from UVI and Softube.

Over the Christmas break I took advantage of a special offer to acquire the Lexicon LXP bundle, which said it needed iLok V2 to run. As I already had V2.6 on my PC I was of the opinion that I was OK.


As it transpires iLok V2 refers to a piece of hardware.

Here is the review of the iLok V2 USB dongle I am about to post on Thomann's website, but don't hold you breath for it to be published:

"5 stars for Thomann as usual. Excellent service.

'Portable and Convenient' it says on the packet. Well, it IS portable . . . The key itself looks fragile, and has a detachable connector cover that will be easily lost. The best I can say about it is that it is plug and play and it works. It will probably never be moved from the USB port on my PC that it has invaded. It might be of some use to a professional AVID user who has more than one workstation, but that's it.

But if I could I would give this device (and its ilk) minus infinity. I'll explain. I use a number of iLok secured plugins, but, and this is the key factor, they are secured with release V2.6 of the software version. So when I bought a Lexicon plugin that said it needed iLok V2 I thought 'that's OK, I have V2.6 . . ' Wrong. So in order to use my new mid priced plugin I am forced to pay for a piece of USB port blocking hardware that has no other use whatsoever, increasing the cost of the plugin by more than 30% before it can be run. At the very least software companies mandating its use should be obliged to provide a physical iLok. It's like buying a car, only to be told you can't use it unless you pay out another few thousand to get the keys. Although my PC has 8 USB ports I also had to buy a hub to add more. Before iLok there was the Cubase eLicencer (another unnecessary and irritating loss of a valuable USB port, and criticisms of the iLok apply equally to this waste of space and computer resources, but at least Steinberg supply it), my graphics pad, keyboard, mouse, MPC, Novation controller, audio interface, and external hard drive.

Of course software needs to be properly protected, but the compulsory use of this kind of outdated, proprietary, expensive and computer clogging hardware is definitely not how to do it. iLok hardware could potentially be an optional purchase for people who need portability, where there is then a clear added value proposition, and for no other reason. Had I known Lexicon's requirements I would never have parted with my money. I certainly won't be buying anything else from them, or indeed any one else who supports iLok hardware, as I regard the requirement to use a physical iLok as showing complete contempt for their customers and nothing short of blackmail as well as at a stroke hamstringing computer connectivity. If products using this scam are boycotted maybe it will die the death it so richly deserves.

Once again, as a legitimate software user I am forced to wonder why software companies make it so time consuming and difficult to use products I have paid for. It's like they hate their customers. I'm starting to hate them back."
General Discussion / 60th Birthday Fun
August 23, 2015, 09:20:35 AM
I recently celebrated my 60th, in part through performing an hour long set with two friends - in the car port. Guitar player and singer had never met before: we had less than two days to rehearse, so it went really quite acceptably well. The amplification is two Fender Mustang 3s for the guitars (only one used in the following clip), bass was the amazing Harley Benton 300 combo with a Celestion loaded extension cab. The PA is the one we used in the 90s. Guitars are a Gibson LP, Epiphone GX (not used on this song), and my bass is a Hohner B Bass 5 string.

Alas the only recording was done on an old Samsung tablet (with interruptions from the 'director's' 5 year old's requests for toilet breaks), so the quality of this opening number is a bit pants. But here it is for what it's worth:
Hi again everyone.

I have just installed a couple of Goldo Backbox tremolo stabilisers in my Squier Strat and my DZ Tagliare. It was simple to do, and in the case of the Squier very successful instantly. The installation in the Tagliare needs a bit of fiddling with as the tuning is still wandering a little - probably down to the really heavy springs that are fitted.

I have done a quick video on how I went about the install:

Hi all,

Here is my Youtube review of the ergonomics of the Whammy 5 Guitar pedal. There are loads of videos about how good they sound, but for me the issue is that it and its bass cousin are floor pedals that can't easiy be used on the floor, either in the studio (read bedroom) or live.
Today, after a two day struggle with Steinberg and their payments system trying to upgrade my Cubase Elements to the Artist version, I gave up.

Wanting a DAW with more functionality I decided to revisit Presonus (I already had the free version of Studio One installed).

On their site I found a special offer for the Artist version (their equivalent of Cubase Elements, albeit less specified in some areas) for £15 or thereabouts. I bought it. Then this afternoon I upgraded through their Crossgrade/Upgrade page from the Artist to the Producer version for around £80 - total cost, from scratch, of the Producer version less than £100, the discounted price on Thomann being around £130.

That I reckon is a very good deal indeed :)
I recently took the decision to 'upgrade' my Squier Affinity Strat, albeit already customised with completely new electronics including Wilkinson hot single coils. So I took a punt on going for one of the special offers at Thomann for a Dean Zelinsky Tagliare. I chose the Tagliare Standard in classic sunburst with a maple neck and fretboard - going for a traditional Strat sound. Pictures HERE

I've had it for a couple of days now, and I have not yet gone for a full set up as the instrument is still acclimatising.

So here is my review so far:

When suitably set up, and this will take some time (*see the addendum below), this is very good value for money at Thomann's price. I would have been furious if I had paid Dean Zelinsky the retail price for this, the state of the instrument on delivery (inside it's factory packaging) was appalling. In conclusion, it looks wonderful, plays OK after full set up. I am keeping it despite all the downsides it is a reasonable instrument at heart.

This guitar has a good quality classic 2 post Stratocaster style tremolo, which was set up as a floating bridge on delivery. At the moment it doesn't hold tune when the vibrato is used, but there is more setting up to do when the guitar has acclimatised. There are also locking tuners of reasonable quality, although they were not all smooth to begin with. The pickups make the right noises and the potentiometers are smooth and progressive.

Exactly as one would expect from a maple necked strat type of guitar with three single coils. Have a listen to the test noises. These are only a small range of possible noises it can make - there is a huge tonal sweep available. The first unprocessed sounds are running through all five pickup selections - the heavy noises are just from the bridge and neck pickups each on their own.

And yes, I know I can't play . .   :o

This is the fly in the ointment. Yes it has some good quality components, but the quality control appears to be non existent. Upon opening the packaging I was presented with a beautiful looking instrument, wonderful glossy finish and beautiful colours. That, unfortunately, was the highlight of the day. It was not possible to tune the guitar because the factory supplied strings had not locked into the tuners so that attempting to bring any of the strings up to pitch resulted in the strings simply pulling from the capstans. So the first task was to restring it completely. The supplied set of Allen keys were slightly rusty, and the tremolo arm which was in the same packet had to be cleaned of a light rust dust. The tremolo mechanism is fitted with three springs, no additional springs were provided. The tremolo mechanism back plate appears to have been poorly cut by hand with the string access opening being uneven with some rough edges. There were a few very small scuffs on the back of the body. The neck has needs adjustment. The chromed bridge needed to be polished to remove a slight tarnish.

I will update when I have set it up properly. The upshot is, as I said at the beginning of this post, that it sounds good, is quite capable of being properly set up, and at Thomann's price it is good value despite the effort that will have to be made to get it in decent shape.

Pictures can be found HERE

Addendum post set-up:
Set it up now.

I knew it was a good guitar underneath all the niggles.  ;D

The locking tuners should only have a tiny bit of a turn on them apparently, so they must have simply come a bit loose in transit  ::)

Anyway, the biggest issue was the neck adjustment - the neck needed quite a few turns of 'lefty loosey' anti-clockwise turns to get the requisite back bow into it. Having done that the rest was relatively easy. I adjusted the action to my taste and added a tad of curvature, checked the intonation. Only the D and G strings required any adjustment, and very little at that.

A few judicious dabs of silicone lubricant on the nut and saddles made the tremolo hold tune significantly better - and that's enough for today. I probably won't even bother with a full tremolo set up for now.

So, after being a bit hacked off at the state Dean Zelinsky's little helpers had let it leave the factory in, all is well in Tagliare Standard land. Frankly I couldn't give a monkey's about the slightly jagged edges on the tremolo backplate.  8)

Now all I have to do is learn how to play it.