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1970s: The Age of Great Rock Tone

Thursday, January 22, 2015 2:39:28 AM America/Los_Angeles

Many Baroni Lab effects pedals are designed not with certain effects in mind, but with certain famous tones in mind.  There are a lot of clone pedals out there, which focus on recreating the exact sound of a famous stomp box, but we take a different angle and try to develop effects which capture the tone and style of certain eras and genres of music over the years.

One of the most popular eras for rock guitar – and one which we have focused on quite a bit – is the 1970s.  In many ways, the 70s is a golden era of sorts for music, musicianship, creativity and good tone.  Some of the most renowned bands and artists came into the spotlight during this time, and groups which had made names for themselves during the 60s just got better and better during this period.

Particularly in the UK, bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd were making great albums and taking the world by storm.  Artists did not just have good songwriting and performance skills, but they also cared a lot about the details of tone and realized the importance of good sound.  Players like David Gilmour and Jimmy Page were at the forefront of guitar culture, and used their equipment in new and groundbreaking ways, to bring a certain character to the music.  Gilmour in particular is famous for his tone, and used a variety of distortion pedals, compressors and modulation effects to create a huge, overwhelming ambient sound in his guitar solos.  Long, soulful bends and perfectly timed, tastefully chosen notes are abundant in every solo, and many players even to this day look for ways to get these kinds of famous guitar player tones without having to spend a fortune on old pro amplifiers and stomp boxes.

This is why Baroni Lab vintage amplifiers are made with great attention to detail and care for the overall tone of the finished gear.  We want every single tube amp and effects pedal to be the best we can make, and to faithfully recreate those classic huge tones that everybody knows and loves from the golden eras of music.

Posted By Baroni Lab

Pink Floyd's New Album: The Endless River

Friday, January 9, 2015 12:18:09 AM America/Los_Angeles

Pink Floyd, like many well-known and long lived bands; have gone through a lot of changes since their humble beginnings as a four piece student band in the 1960s. From gaining David Gilmour and losing Syd Barrett in the early days, to disagreements between Waters and the band in the 80s and finally the passing of Wright and Barrett in the 2000s, the story of Pink Floyd is an interesting one. Their development and experiences as a huge touring band is reflected in their music, with albums like The Wall dealing with huge issues such as emotional repression, loss of family, madness and the unstable relationship between band and audience. The Endless River – the band's fifteenth and apparently final album – is no exception.

While the whole album is instrumental, with the exception of the final song 'Louder than Words', it is clear from the production, album artwork and recently released music video that it is intended at least partially as a tribute to late keyboard player Rick Wright. The tracks were taken from a 20 hour jam session held by the band while they were recording material for the album which later became The Division Bell, and contain some great work from Wright on keys.

Perhaps the most prominent theme of the Division Bell recording is the concept of communication breakdown. Tracks like 'Keep Talking', 'Lost for Words' and 'Poles Apart' clearly deal with the notion of words, and how they can be used as a tool to develop personal and creative relationships, but can also lead to complications when they don't quite succeed in conveying the speaker's intended meaning. This theme is continued, prominently, in the latest album. Tracks like 'The Lost Art of Conversation', 'Talkin' Hawkin' and 'Louder than Words' are very clear examples of the theme. The very fact that seventeen of the eighteen tracks are instrumental, with only the final song containing any real lyrics, also ties in nicely with the concept of the ultimate futility of words.

'Louder than Words' is the culmination of the point of the album, that despite arguments, disagreements and general bickering, when all of the parts join together to work as one, they create something much more meaningful and beautiful than words could ever describe.

The Endless River is definitely not for those who enjoy upbeat standard pop music; many tracks are experimental in nature, and they retain the raw feeling of a jam session with great musicians in the zone. For fans of the Floyd, and those who enjoy spacing out to ambient, progressive music, it is definitely a must buy. Fantastic drum beats which recall early Floyd songs like 'Set the Controls' are present in tracks like 'Eyes to Pearls', which is one of many examples of just how well this band were able to create a rich and interesting soundscape for listeners to get lost in.

Posted By Baroni Lab

Baroni Lab at the Shanghai Music Exhibition 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014 3:25:14 AM America/Los_Angeles

It was a busy few weeks for us recently at Baroni Lab. We were working around the clock so that we could bring as many of our pedals and amps to the Shanghai Music Exhibition, and really get some good feedback from some great musicians, sound professionals and distribution companies.

As the band knocked out some covers of classic sounds and songs, people were welcome to come in and try out some of our products first hand, and the BL40D and Dave’s Comp compressor pedal were the stars of the show, getting a lot of attention from everyone who visited.

It was a big event for us, as we took it as the perfect opportunity to unveil our series of pre amp pedals for the first time. Years in the making, the Twin, Hi Tube, MesMark1 and VoxTone30 are unique in our pedal line up. Each is designed after a specific, famous sound from the history of rock music, and is intended to work as a pre amp. Running on just a 12 volt power supply, these pedals contain a special DCDC converter which steps up the power to around 300 volts. With tubes included in each pedal, as well as volume, gain and EQ controls, this means that these pedals are not just emulations of famous amp sounds, but they work at exactly the same level as a real amplifier pre amp.

This gives you the opportunity to carry a selection of amplifiers with you easily to any show or recording studio, and all you need to do is connect your rig with the pre amp directly into the end stage of a tube amplifier for great results. The Power Amp 40 and Power Amp 100 are designed to work perfectly with these pedals, and provide the raw energy of a power amplifier in two completely independent stereo channels.

Posted By Baroni Lab

British and American Rock

Sunday, September 14, 2014 7:00:43 PM America/Los_Angeles

Most people will agree that rock music as we know it today spent its most important formative years in the UK and the USA.  Thanks to the influx of so many different people into the cultural melting pot that is America, rock music was allowed to thrive, developing from the simplistic rhythms and styles of the early blues players, experiencing dramatic change with the invention of the electric guitar and becoming what it is today, in all of its glory.

While American rock enjoyed the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Guns N Roses and a whole load more, British rock developed in a slightly different way.  British rock artists of note include Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Iron Maiden among others.  Clearly, if you take two famous rock bands, one from each side of the pond, there are very obvious differences between the sounds and style of rock they play.

Say, for example, we have Iron Maiden and Guns N Roses in the late 80s.  Guns' best selling debut album Appetite for Destruction was released by Geffen Records in 1987.  At around the same time Iron Maiden released two of their more famous experimental albums, Somewhere In Time (1986) and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988).  Slash's playing differed greatly from that of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray.  One notable exception is that of their use of distortion effects.  Slash's distortion is a little more American sounding; that thick, harmonic distortion coupled with a wah pedal made his bluesy lead guitar famous.  Murray and Smith on the other hand, had a much more crunchy kind of distortion; not so heavy, not so distorted, but rather more mildly clipped to produce that harsh yet 'cleaner than you'd expect' British sound.

Baroni Lab is dedicated to providing that vintage tone regardless of geography, and so out of our current line-up of twenty boutique effects pedals, no matter which side of the fence your own personal taste falls, we have it covered.  On the American side of things, we have four boutique Big Muffs, all with different tonal aspects.  For fans of the British side of rock music, we have our tube overdrive pedals, as well as our DG Island distortion pedal, which covers a little of both sounds.  Our amplifiers also use EL34s in the power amp stage.  How much more British can you get than an amp where the power comes from a tube invented by Mullard?

Posted By Baroni Lab

Five of the Best Flanger Songs Ever Written

Thursday, August 28, 2014 3:22:51 AM America/Los_Angeles

The flanger is truly a wonderful effect, and one which is often under-used and under-rated in this day and age! Baroni Lab’s Miss Flanger is a great boutique flanger. It is fully analogue and provides that great sweeping effect heard on so many amazing records from the 60s up to the present day. Rate, range and colour are all changeable thanks to three easy to control pots on the pedal itself, and it also includes a built in filter matrix mode switch, allowing you to get rid of the LFO automatic sweep and use the pedal as a cool filter effect for some more experimentsl tones!

Rate goes all of the way from super slow to crazy fast, and the range can make the sweep go deep enough to swim in. To introduce this great effect a little better, I’ve compiled a list of five famous flange songs that sound great with our Miss Flanger!

1, First up is a riff that everyone immediately recognizes within the first few seconds of listening; Van Halen’s introduction/main riff on Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love. This well-known A minor-based riff had millions of teens riffing along to Van Halen’s debut self-titled album in their bedrooms during the late 70s and 80s, and one of the things which makes this riff stand out in particular is the cool sweeping effect which is most clearly heard on the last three notes (C-B-C) of the riff.

2, Next comes a great song from the 80s, and one for the prog rock fans out there: Rush’s epic The Spirit of Radio. Some great flange moments can be heard right from the start of this epic (as usual) song from Rush. The main riff is a fantastic example of using flange to spice up your playing.

3, Sticking with the prog rock theme, number three comes from Pink Floyd’s iconic musical masterpiece The Wall. Gilmour’s tone made use of a lot of effects and many songs included a little flange. Though it’s hard to choose one specifically, I’ll go for the guitar sound from Run Like Hell for this list. This is a great example of what can be achieved with two delays, flange and a good tube amp head.

4, Next up is something from the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’, and this song is one of the big hits from this band’s hugely impressive repertoire: the title track from Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast. This song has great rhythm guitars and two immense solos, but it’s the introduction rhythm guitar that we’re interested in right now. A slow, deep flange sweep gave that brilliant lick a certain tonal characteristic which made it something else.

5, Last but not least, a nod to the 2000s with the Foo Fighters’ hit Breakout. Dave Grohl’s tasteful use of flange in the songs guitar parts – yet again most easily heard during the song’s introduction before the rest of the band come in – made the world stand up and realize that flange is still going strong.

There are many more great examples of this kind of effect in music, and far more than one blog post could ever hope to cover, although this short list is certainly enough to whet anyone’s appetite for modulation! Feel free to check out Miss Flanger here, and see what this great effect can do for your own tone.

Posted By Baroni Lab

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