Gizmos & Gadgets - September


4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for September...

RecorderZoom H4n Handheld 4 Track Digital Recorder
Price: £296.99 (Inc VAT)

There was a time when all you needed to be able to record a brass band was the entire outside broadcasting unit of the BBC.

Miniaturisation means you can now get the same end high quality result with something the size of a mobile phone.

And the H4n by Zoom is just the boy - a handheld recorder with integral X/Y stereo condenser microphones, a digitally controlled mic pre-amp and the ability to use both internal and external microphones simultaneously for 4-channel recording.

For the geeks – here comes the science bit:

Built-in X/Y stereo mics record at either 90 or 120 degrees
Broadcast Wave Format compatible time stamp and track marker
Auto-recorder and pre-record feature
Built-in reference speaker
Variable speed playback for "phrase training"
Onboard mid-side matrix decoder
"Stamina" mode enables 11 hours of battery life
Four channel simultaneous recording using built-in and external mics
1.9-inch LCD screen
Rubberized body
Built-in mounting joint for tripod and mic stand
USB 2.0 port for faster file transfer
1 GB SD card
mic clip adapter
AC adapter
USB cable
protective case and Cubase LE recording software.

All it doesn’t do is broadcast the next Royal Coronation, whilst it shouldn’t be confused with Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver.  

Find out more:

Music bagMapac Music Holder
Price: £9.76 (Inc VAT)

The ideal bit of equipment for your child weighed down with books, bags, PE kit and musical instrument on their return to school this term.

What they need is something that is practical and sturdy, can be used for its specific purpose or for self defence in the school playground.

The Mapac meets all requirements – great for holding all the music needed for home and school practice (just big enough for an Arban Tutor too) and sturdy enough to administer a well aimed swipe at the playground bully.

Comes in variety of trendy colours and looks pretty good too when worn with shoulder strap off the shoulder.

Not to be used by parents to carry fruit and veg from Morrisons on a Saturday morning though…

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CornetBesson 928-2-0 Sovereign Cornet in silverplate
Price: £1,405.00 (Inc VAT)

As cornets go, the Sovereign has been a top notch bit of kit for nearly as long as Good Queen Liz herself.

Unlike HRH this Sovereign has been subject to the odd bit of nip and tuck work over the years to keep her looks and make sure it stays just one step ahead of any pretenders to the throne, but the lineage to its forbearers is very clear.

The BE928 produces a full, well rounded sound and it built to last. It is also flexible enough to be used by top line as well as improving players.

Still does the biz and can now be picked up at a very competitive price too from Band Supplies.

Should last until Prince Charles makes it to the top too.  

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American TaleAn American Tale – Dan Price
Price: £34.95 (Inc VAT)

The piece that brought Brass in Concert success to Cory in 2008, and has since proved to be a highly effective entertainment and concert finisher all around the world.

A musical tribute to the American Civil War, Dan Price’s work includes all those good old Yankee/Confederate songs that were sung to the rafters as our friends across the pond blew the living daylights out of each other.
Each of the tunes is scored in a pseudo-compositional style of famous American composers including John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and Leonard Bernstein, and coupled with an inventive bit of multi media presentation (a slide show to you and me) it becomes a brilliant finisher.

It does take a bit of playing – it was written to showcase Cory’s stable of talents, but with a bit of hard work and inventive visual thinking it’s a winner and will keep any American friends in the audience very happy (unless they hail from Dukes of Hazzard country).

Not to be confused with any British Civil War version, which is a bit more dated…  

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ShakerMeinl SH4BK Luis Conte Artist Series Live Shaker
Price: £11.95 (Inc VAT) 

Percussion players always like to look trendy – especially when they can pull out something weird and wonderful to shake, rattle or roll to their heart’s content.

These little beauties are just the ticket: They look like those mini weights that stonking looking women in tight leotards use provocatively in gyms to keep ‘toned’, whilst according to master percussionist and inventor Luis Conte, “My shakers sound is as smooth as silk.”

What more can you ask for – looks and sounds – a bit like having Kylie Minogue on tap in your percussion section. 

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