Tag Archives: ibanez

I’m an “audiophile”… and no one needs ultra HD displays

I play music for a hobby; I am a musician part time. As of now I have about 270 guitar/piano videos on my Youtube (which you can check on the media page on the side). So yeah, I care about audio alot and audio tone. The irony is that I care about audio more than I care about video. Mainstream consumers are the opposite. They love their 4K super high resolution displays and stuff, but for me, video quality has always been secondary to audio quality.

I remember when HD first came out (720p / 1080p) I couldn’t see much of a difference between that and 480p DVD quality videos. But maybe my eyes are just used to 240p/480p VHS/VCD/DVDs. All my computer resolutions have been 720p (that is, 1366×768) and lower, until this year. That’s right! It took me until 2015 to get a computer with a full HD resolution! so yeah no 4K for me for a while. I also don’t like 4K because I would have to redownload all my movies and tv shows and anime in 4K which takes up a ton of space. I would prefer just a FHD OLED display instead.

Now we have smartphones rocking 4K resolution. Which is absolutely ridiculous because 4K is questionable even on a flat screen TV. At the distance we sit from the TV I doubt many people notice the difference in resolution. Having super high resolution also impacts another big factor in battery life. I like my stuff with good battery life thats why I chose a regular 720p laptop which gets me 20 hours of battery life (thanks to the dual batteries in the Thinkpad X240!) and a regular 720p phone as well, the Sony Xperia Z3C which gets me 2 days of battery life. For my 17 inch gaming laptop I “only” have a full HD resolution. Having Ultra HD 3200×1800 resolution on a laptop will both kill the battery life and alot of windows apps don’t scale well beyond FHD anyways.

Anyways for me audio quality has always been more important, thats why I own tube amps and a record player and 180gram vinyl LPs. I listen to FLACs (lossless) whenever possible (My Sony Xperia Z3C has a built in walkman and support for high res and lossless audio), and have owned countless pairs of headphones and earphones. The irony is the average consumer doesn’t really care about audio that much. They are happy listening to their lossy MP3s, listening on their Mac or PC with a terrible built in DAC, or using cheap quality iPod or Beats headphones.

Let me take a head count here. How many of you have heard of these audio companies: Bose, Sennheiser, Fender, Marshall, IK Multimedia, Apogee, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Shure, Etymotic, Ultimate Ears, JBL, Altec Lansing, Cambridge Audio, Boston Acoustics, Polk Audio, Klipsch, Onkyo, Dynaudio, Denon, Pioneer, Philips, Creative Labs, Monster, Beats, Hifiman, Woo Audio, Linn Audio, Meridian Audio, Apple, Audioquest, Focusrite, M-Audio, SRS Labs, Jays, Dolby, DTS, Audyssey, Wave Audio, Grado Labs, Audeze, THX, Grain Audio, Audioengine, Master & Dynamic, Audio Technica, Skullcandy, Sony, Samsung, LG, Harmon Kardon, Bowers and Wilkins, Bang and Olufsen, Infinity, Sol Republic, Yamaha.

I even know most of the various amp, effects, and guitar pickup makers: Fender, ESP, Gibson, Jackson, Ibanez, Dean Martin, Epiphone, G&L, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Kramer, Vox, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Dr Z, Two Rock, Victoria Amps, Tone King, Line 6, Digitech, Orange, Crate, Boss, Behringer, BBE, Korg, Roland, Maxon, Dunlop, MXR, Way Huge, Xotic, Lovepedals, Keeley, Dimarzio, Seymour Duncan, Lace, Lindy Fralin, Bill Lawrence, TV Jones, Fishman, Electro Harmonix, Visual Sound, Teese, Fulltone, Analog Man, I could go on and on….

That’s a wide range of audio companies, from mainstream to boutique, from headphone makers to DSP and effects makers. But anyways you get my point; I know all these companies because I care alot about audio. I even made an article about the best portable bluetooth speakers, and the Best over ear headphones.

Here’s the audio gear I currently use:

Guitar equipment:
Swart Atomic Jr (Tube Amp)
Fender 60s Strat relic w/ handwound Alnico III/V single coil pickups
Martin OMJM acoustic guitar
Boho Moonshine guitar
Boss Looper
Digitech Trio
Lovepedals Dover drive
RambleFX Plexi Drive
Xotic compressor
Xotic booster
Maxon TBO9
Seymour Duncan 805
Keeley magnetic echo
Keeley Oxblood
BBE Wah

Audio recording equipment:
Shure MV88 iphone mic
Shure MV51 computer mic
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface
IK Multimedia iRig 2
MXL 770 Condenser Mic
Shure SM58 Dynamic mic
Behringer XENYX502 Mixer

Listening equipment:
Philips Fidelio X2 open back headphones/monitors
Sennheiser Momentum closed back headphones
Master & Dynamic ME03 Earphones
Bose Quietcomfort 25 Noise-cancelling headphones
Creative Soundblaster E5 USB DAC/Amp
Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 bluetooth speaker
Audio Technica LP60 Turntable
Creative T4W Speakers (for connecting to anything including record players)
Klipsch R10B Soundbar

Not a bad setup. Unlike some people, I don’t have particular brand devotion to anything. Some people like to have all their equipment the same brand, but I actually embrace diversity of brands. I like experiencing difference. My TV is Panasonic. My phone is Sony and Apple. My tablet is Apple and Nvidia. My computer is Asus and Lenovo. My keyboard is Aorus. My mouse is Logitech. My microphones are Shure. My speakers are Creative and Klipsch. My headphones are Sennheiser, Philips, and Bose. My camera is Nikon and Canon. So yeah I am not a ‘fanboy’ of anything although you could say the closest I come to that is Sony. I have a Sony phone, Sony camera, Sony UMPC, Sony PS4 and Sony PS Vita. But even then.. I like to diversify.

Best Overdrive Guitar pedals

A while ago, I made a post about the best small handwired tube amplifiers, and what better to follow that up than with the best overdrive guitar pedals, both mainstream and boutique kinds. I’m going to look at ‘traditional’ overdrives, and not the crazy wacky ones with a million different settings. Let’s take a look.

Best overdrive guitar pedals

Boss SD-1W Super Overdrive

Boss SD-1W

Boss SD-1W

Amazon price: $149.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaLh_IfBbbw

Digitech Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive

Digitech Hardwire CM2

Digitech Hardwire CM2

Musicians friends price: $99.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83hmC9T-gPk

Vox Straight 6 Overdrive

Vox Straight 6 Overdrive

Vox Straight 6 Overdrive

Musicians friends price: $159.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCgD3IXsYmc

Electro Harmonix East River Drive

Electro Harmonix East River drive

Electro Harmonix East River drive

Musicians friends price: $99.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfevZ44_TWo

Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive

Seymour Duncan 805

Seymour Duncan 805

Sweetwater price: $149.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFewAWtxGh4

Keeley White Sands Luxe Drive

Keeley White Sands Luxe Drive

Keeley White Sands Luxe Drive

Musicians Friends price: $199.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfHc9l4RLTw

Maxon OD9 Plus Overdrive

Maxon OD9 Plus

Maxon OD9 Plus

Musicians Friends price: $199.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu22N450I5U

Wampler Pedals Clarksdale

Wampler Pedals Clarksdale

Wampler Pedals Clarksdale

Sweetwater price: $199.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCIDFJp-B2w

T-rex Diva Drive

T-rex diva drive

T-rex diva drive

Musicians friend price: $199.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z-dUadeKfM

Way Huge Green Rhino

Way Huge Green Rhino

Way Huge Green Rhino

Musicians friend price: $129.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka4GKposIjA

BBE Green Screamer

BBE Green-Screamer

BBE Green-Screamer

Musicians friend price: $129.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06qoTD43Zs0

Fulltone OCD

Fulltone OCD

Fulltone OCD

Musicians friend price: $129.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4diQzCr87qA

MXR GT OD

MXR GTOD

MXR GTOD

Musicians friend price: $129.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZsS9SAeWwM

Ibanez TS808HW Tubescreamer

Ibanez TS808HW Tubescreamer

Ibanez TS808HW Tubescreamer

Musicians Friends price: $349.99

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aInEQG-c1Mc

So.. the options range from the relatively inexpensive EHX East River Drive to the $350 Hand wired TS808 Tubescreamer. I personally own the Seymour Duncan 805 and Maxon TBO-9 pedals, and they are great overdrives. Would love to hear some feedback about this list.

Achieving the Stevie Ray Vaughan sound

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a very influential electric blues guitarist who was considered by many to be one of the greatest before he tragically perishes in a 1990 helicopter crash. While it is impossible to duplicate Stevie’s tone (as you would need his hands), the following guide can help.

The Sound

Stevie Ray Vaughan used one guitar mainly and this article deals with his Number One guitar. It was a 1962 worn down sunburst Stratocaster that had 1959 pickups in it. This would give him a very unique tone. His pickups were stock 1959 pickups, not overwound as mistakenly believed, the late 1950s single coil tone is often achieved with low resistance, mostly in the 5.8k-6.8k range, Alnico V magnets, and 42 gauge formvar wire.

Stevie played with Fenders, and he overdrives the amp quite hard, which is what produces his Texas tone. He also uses very thick guitar strings; he played with string gauge 13, and hit them hard. Like Hendrix, he tuned down a half step to Eb for most of his songs.

The Effects

SRV‘s most famous effect is the Tubescreamer, and he often used two in live settings. He also used a Vox wah and occasionally, a Leslie rotating speaker. The most important part of SRV’s tone is the way he plays rather than the effects.

Playing Like SRV

While it is hard to duplicate SRV‘s playing, he often utilizes he pentatonic blues scale, and has alot of certain licks he frequently uses in many positions. The opening to Pride and Joy shows the normal blues shuffle in E that he uses frequently. This same shuffle is used double time in Rude Mood, which is a hard song to master rhythm wise. The Rhythm has to be properly understood to get closer to his sound. He also displays lots of use of Hendrix style barre chords and double stops for his softer tunes like Lenny and Riviera Paradise. Perhaps his ultimate blues piece is Texas Flood, a slow blues piece in G in which SRV pulls out all the stops. Note the following video in which he plays this piece, he goes from slow to almost-shredding speeds quickly, and also does this move where he turns around and simultaneously undoes his guitar strap and reattaches it behind him so that he plays behind his back. It takes several tries to do this well but it’s a good show-piece.

Equipment Links

Fender ’59 Bassman
Fender ’65 Twin Reverb
Fender 1959 Stratocaster Relic
Fender SRV Signature Stratocaster
Fender 57/62 Pickups
Ibanez TS808 Tubescreamer
Maxon OD9 Overdrive
Vox V847 Wah