The annual Audio Engineering Society Convention is typically an event for recording professionals and studio gear, but at the 141st AES gathering in Hollywood on September 19, 2016, Keyboard editor Gino Robair managed to find two cool guitar products.
BAE Audio—which makes high-end preamps, EQs, direct boxes, and compressors—debuted its first-ever stompbox, the Hot Fuzz ($225 street). It seems BAE’s CEO Mark Loughman is a guitarist, and he had been looking for a ’70s-style fuzz that could slice through a mix for years. He finally decided to have BAE do the job. Loughman used Ernie Isley’s solo tone on the Isley Brothers’ “Summer Breeze” as a reference, and he also added a Rangemaster-inspired treble boost for kicking things into super-overdrive. baeaudio.com.
Another high-end manufacturer, Cloud Microphones, announced the Cloudlifter Zi ($399 street)—a high-impedance processor that works with phantom power (via a mixer, preamp, or audio interface) to improve frequency response and add up to 12dB of clean headroom to your electric or acoustic guitar signal. An onboard high-pass filter tames any unwanted low-end mud. cloudmicrophones.com.