Vocal Effects You Can Stand
Stompboxes may be fine for guitarists and bassists, but there's something about squatting down to change settings that seems to diminish a singer's stage presence. BOSS's new VE-5 is a compact processor and looper for vocalists that can sit on a table or-even better-clip to a mic stand. The VE-5 ($382.50) inherits some of its effects-like reverb, delay, double/harmony, and dynamics processing-from the BOSS VE-20 Vocal Performer pedal, and features real-time pitch correction, special effects, and XLR ins and outs for connecting to your mic and PA system. You can use the built-in phrase sampler to record and loop vocals with effects; there's even an onboard mic for capturing ideas. bossus.com
Will We Need to Go to Key-Hab?
XLN Audio is best known for its high quality Addictive Drums library, but the company recently ventured into the harmonic realm with Addictive Keys (Price TK), a virtual instrument that uses a similar combination of high quality samples and intuitive editing tools (including the ability to move virtual mics). The initial release includes three instruments: grand, upright, and electric piano, with expansion packs to follow, and there's an onboard recorder for capturing ideas if you're not in your DAW. Especially cool: MyCloud compatibility allows users to store, access, and share presets from anywhere. xlnaudio.com
Cutting the Cost of Cutting the Cord
Sony's new 2.4 DWZ family of wireless systems includes handheld and headset microphones, bodypack transmitters for instruments, and rack-mountable receivers, all designed to offer professional features at affordable prices starting at $499. While there's some variation among different models, key features include 24-bit linear PCM digital audio transmission, two modes of 2.4GHz frequency selection, built-in digital EQ, and balanced and unbalanced audio outputs. Plus, you can interchange the system's handheld mic's standard capsule for other Sony or third-party capsules. pro.sony.com
The Rock Generation
YouRock Guitar's Gen2 ($399) model evolves the company's beginner-friendly guitar synthesizer with upgraded hardware and firmware for better playability and more accurate tracking. Some highlights: The Gen2 offers more than 30 sampled instrument sounds onboard, as well as practicealong loops; more advanced MIDI features for better integration with computers, tablets, and specific software applications; pre-programmed open tunings; and a number of general improvements to playing feel. yourockguitar.com