As one of the most revered names in all of audio (and especially in PA), it’s an understatement to say that Electro-Voice knows a thing or two about speakers. The American brand has been there since the very beginning, with a reputation for sound and build quality that is basically unsurpassed in the space.
Boasting an eight-channel integrated digital mixer, onboard effects and remote capabilities via Electro-Voice’s QuickSmart Mobile application, the new Evolve 50M may just be one of the most flexible portable column setups out there at the moment, with an impressive 1000W of power courtesy of the advanced Class-D amplifier.
Catch up on all the latest music gear reviews here.
Portable speakers, along with providing quality sound, have to do one thing well: be portable. These Evolve 50M speakers come in at 26.25kg, which is very manageable considering the speaker array and sub are easily detachable and can be carried separately.
Each Evolve 50M unit has eight channels of input available with four XLR/TRS combo mic/line jacks, stereo RCA, 3.5mm or XLR/TRS line inputs along with a Hi-Z instrument line input and stereo Bluetooth streaming. Three combo microphone inputs and Bluetooth are always available, with the remaining input selections sharing the remaining three channels. This Bluetooth connection is an essential feature for professional performers who want to perform to backing tracks or for use as interim music between sets.
For sending audio out of the unit (to an in-house PA, for instance), there’s an XLR out, along with an aux out for foldback uses, making this a versatile speaker with plenty of use cases.
This versatility is further bolstered by its ability to provide phantom power from the balanced inputs, bringing with it a broad array of micing options, in turn making the Evolve 50M a standout for natural sounding acoustic performances, small bands and open air applications.
The upper array holds eight high quality 3.5-inch neodymium drivers, with a 12-inch Electro Voice subwoofer underneath, connected by a lightweight aluminium ‘stick’ style mount. This connection is easy to use and pretty much plug and play, with no extra cables needed to connect sub to top box or vice versa.
The back of the unit features an LCD screen and single knob for controlling all available mixing parameters, including the four speaker presets which are Music, Live, Speech and Club, specially designed for those uses. Now, most people wouldn’t want to mix a full gig on the back of a speaker (which you could hypothetically do here if you please), but it’s nice to have a bit more nuanced control over the sound.
Through Electro-Voice’s QuickSmart app, you can change channel levels, EQ, send levels and choose from thirty studio-quality effects to add into one of their two FX channels. You can use a three band EQ on each channel and a 7-band graphic on the master, a nice touch. Not only can you have wireless control, but also wireless monitoring over the system, perfect for sound checking in quiet before the gig.
Connecting two Evolve 50Ms through their RJ45 (ethernet) ports allows for complete sharing of inputs and mixing parameters through QuickSmart Link. With just two (which is what you’d use for a stereo pair at a gig anyway), you now have enough inputs to hook up a small band which can be controlled via Electro-Voice’s QuickSmart Mobile App on both iOS and Android devices. This feature means you can run a full gig without thinking about an external mixer, controlling everything through the 50M’s DSP.
Touring and professional musicians will know that more equipment means more setup time and increased chances of equipment malfunctioning. For guitarists, you can utilise the onboard effects such as chorus and reverb to hone in your tone and maybe not even bring your pedalboard?
But what about the sound? Electro-Voice have utilised the electronics engineering team at Dynacord which are their sister company, providing high quality DSP and pro-grade preamps, resulting in a full range, quality sound. The array has a horizontal coverage of 120 degrees and vertical coverage of 40 degrees, very suitable for most live performance applications. The Evolve 50M can push out a sizable 127dB SPL which is sure to rock wherever you take it.
With its eight channel mixer, quality built in effects and ability to provide phantom power, the Evolve 50M is an absolute no-brainer for acoustic buskers and/or vocal groups who want more oomf than the 30M offers. The single-trip portability of the unit will no doubt also lend itself to the demands of itinerant DJs, travelling speakers and a whole host of other mobile performance and speaking/entertainment applications (as well as one hell of a clouty, premium bluetooth speaker to win friends and influence others).
The name Electro-Voice bares with it an assumption of premium quality drivers, rock solid finishing and incredible sound quality. The Evolve 50M more than lives up to this premise, albeit reimagined in the very modern, very ‘now’ context of lightweight portable speakers with onboard Bluetooth connectivity.
As one of the most trusted names in pro audio, the Evolve 50M bears with it all the hallmarks of a truly premium product. From the detail of its white or black finishes right through to the remarkable projection and sound quality of its output (especially given its small stature), it’s a top shelf offering from one of the most reputable names in public address. As classy and as functional as portable PAs get.
This week, Baker Boy dazzles in his debut album Gela, James Blake continues to produce incredible music on Friends That Break Your Heart and Danika shows her true colours on a raw debut EP When Love Comes.
Gela, which is Danzel Baker’s skin name (an indigenous name that indicates a persons bloodline) is his identity, which shines true on this debut album. Fresh off performing at the 2021 AFL Grand Final, Baker Boy has unleashed this album to the world in which he floats effortlessly between english and Yolngu Matha, his native tongue.
The album features catchy pop songs with collaborations from G Flip, Yirrmal, Lara Andallo, JessB, Jerome Fatah and even a spoken word verse from Uncle Jack Charles on ‘Survive’, which the accompanying music video has been released that takes cues from ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ with a one take scene behind a white backdrop to draw attention to Danzal’s raw emotion on the politically charged track.
Highlights from the record include ‘Meditjin’ which is possibly the catchiest song on the record that features a large didgeridoo presence in the verses with Baker Boy showcasing some fantastic rhymes and ‘Cool As Hell’ which leans into pop sensibilities with a funky bassline and laid back bars.
Check out the new video to single ‘Survive’ below.
James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart
James Blake is back and in fine form with an emotional and open new record Friends That Break Your Heart.His unique vocal delivery is still present on a record that features lush and rich compositions that invoke a sense of intense emotion. There’s a few features across the record including SZA, JID, SwaVay and Monica Martin with a few top producers helping out behind the scenes including Metro Boomin and Rick Nowels alongside longtime collaborator Dominic Maker.
Highlights from the new effort include ‘Funeral’ which is Blake at his most raw and approachable with a cool feature from slowthai that appears as a bonus track on the album and opener ‘Famous Last Words’ that features an interesting electronic composition with James Blake’s now inimitable falsetto vocals.
Check out the video for bonus track ‘Funeral’ below.
Danika – When Love Comes
When Love Comesis the first release from Melbourne via Northern Rivers artist Danika. After turning down a record deal at the age of 16, she migrated to Melbourne and ended up singing backing vocals for future jazz collective 30/70. The result of this was a collaboration with Nick Herrera of Hiatus Kaiyote, in which the first single, ‘Suit of Armour’ released in 2019 to praise. This record is an indie folk record that features soul and jazz components which culminate in a beautiful EP.
Across the six track EP, Danika bares all surrounded by stripped back arrangements where her voice is front and centre. Highlights from the new release include the first single ‘Suit of Armour’ that is a cool and groovy downtempo song and ‘Old Man’ which is reminiscent of Julia Jacklin if she opted for a more lo-fi production style.
Check out a live rendition of ‘If You Call My Name’ which is the first track off the EP below.
It wasn’t that long ago when modelling technology was a myth. Something that was used by niche audio professionals in specific applications that required lots of computing power for something and provided nothing anywhere close to the feel, response and natural saturation of an actual amplifier. Well, it’s now 2021 and look how far we’ve come!
Modelling technology is improved in leaps and bounds, and combined with the various innovations taking place in the VST and plugin realms have resulted in a golden age for modelling and emulation both in the software and hardware realm alike.. But, wait a second, why would you want to model something that you already physically have?
Catch up on all the latest music gear reviews here.
Well, through Impulse Response technology, it’s now possible to make your small footprint, practice sound like a more expensive, more sought after and larger amp to the point where, even the most humble of practice amps can now be loaded with enough sophisticated technology to transform them into a totally versatile tonal machine, with a voicing and character to fit practically any application—which is exactly what makes the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT such an exciting prospect.
This compact, feature-packed bass amp goes over the top with its functionality, especially considering its entry level price point. It features a 50 watt Class D power amplifier, Bluetooth audio streaming, USB connectivity, a four channel EQ, inbuilt effects, amp modelling, a footswitch for triggering loops and that’s just scratching the surface of what this thing can do.
The speaker itself is 6.5” which contributes to its small form factor, which makes it a prime candidate for miking up or running the direct out and doubling up through the board for live gigs, but for playing at home or recording, this will more than hit the spot. It’s voiced loudly enough to hold it’s own in a stripped-back rehearsal or small venue, while the quaint size of the chassis means you’ll have no issues lugging it between locations or finding a spot for it in the room. The whole thing weighs a very light 7.2kg, which is stunning if you’re planning on transporting this amp between the studio and home frequently.
Connecting to the amp via Bluetooth allows you to play along with your favourite songs, another plus for home bass players. This jack of all trades amp also features looping and drum playback functionality, through the bundled NUX NMP-2. You can record loops with one footswitch and trigger drum loops with the other, which adds another level of practicality as you could write a cool bass line and want to learn how to play it before you head to your friends place or maybe you just like experimenting with bass loops.
Utilising their free MightyAmp Mobile App is where this amp really stands out. Some music tech manufacturers tend to cop flak for their app-paired modelling amps, usually due to the app having a clunky interface or the inability to register with your gear. As such, I was pleased to see the Might Bass 50BT pair well with the MightyAmp app upon use, and the app was simple and swift in use.
Unlocking the potential of the MightyAmp app is easy. First off, you can pair just by placing your phone on the amp, and then unlock all the features this thing can do. Then, you can add a gate, then a virtual FX pedal, choose an amp simulation, then an Impulse Response, before adding Modulation, and Reverb and saving them on one of the three provided channels.
With these features, you can quickly swap between a fuzzy, over distorted funky bass tone into a clean jazz tone with the press of a button. Neat. Oh, and did I mention that each stage of audio processing has multiple sliders available to tweak to your heart’s content?
For the real audio buffs out there, how about loading in your own Impulse Response to use with this amp? That’s right, if you can track down the IR for that ultra rare vintage Fender cabinet you’ve been dreaming about all year then this thing can replicate it. Pair that with one of their three amp simulations including an Aguilar, a Fender BassMan and one titled ‘MLD’, which is their Melvin Lee Davis signature and you’re grooving now.
Regarding recording capabilities, the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT has some options for you. Firstly you can utilise the DI out to plug into your audio interface of choice or alternatively, plug the amp straight into your computer and you’ll be able to record audio directly.
You can select to send the Impulse Response output to the DI and/or the amp individually which is handy for recording a clean bass sound out of the DI with plans to reamp it later whilst hearing a crunchy tone in person. Very cool.
This might be one of the most intriguing offerings for practicing musicians as there is nothing that I’ve seen that can do so much, and be used in multiple settings while sitting at this price range. For home playing, practice and recording applications, it has all the makings of an awesome workhorse, and multi faceted, small scale bass rig.
Another potential use of this thing would be busking, as the amp, although small, punches well above its weight in terms of diver throw and dispersion. Pair that with the easily changeable tones, the convenient stand to deliver sound upwards and looping capabilities, and you have an awesome and versatile mobile solution for ad-hoc performance.
Considering everything on offer here, it’s apparent that the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT might just be one of the best practise amps on the market. It’s a seriously impressive unit that showcases the fundamentals of amp modelling brilliantly, and the fact that it’s loaded with so many useful features just helps sweeten the deal even further.
Been out of the loop with everything that’s been going on in the music industry recently? We don’t blame you. Here’s a wrap-up of all the biggest Aussie music industry news stories from the past fortnight.
The top headlines:
Music industry responds to Four Corners’ exposé on Sony.
Major brands tack on to Our Soundtrack Our Stories movement.
Push from the biz to push live music insurance through parliament.
Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.
More Major Brands Swing Support Behind Aussie Music
Commonwealth Bank, Nissan Australia and Bonds are the latest to commit support for homegrown music.
In August, after an Instagram post by Jack Rivers which has now reached 340,000 views, the music industry launched its Our Soundtrack Our Stories push for major brands to give it profile while it struggled during the pandemic.
First off were Channel 7, Qsic, 7Eleven, Coles, Channel 10, Rebel Sport and Bank Australia.
ARIA and PPCA CEO, Annabelle Herd, said: “The support from our nation’s corporate sector has been really amazing to see, even more amazing is that it shows no signs of slowing down, with plenty of announcements still to come.”
Commonwealth Bank’s new StepPay campaign features Confidence Man and Sycco, after working with Thelma Plum and Birds of Tokyo last year.
Its head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Monique Macleod related, “We know the pandemic has been a challenging time for all Australians, particularly those in the music and arts industries. We are proud to play a small role in driving more representation of Australian artists.”
After committing to 100% homegrown music in all national dealerships, Nissan Australia further moved to “a new local Spotify playlist accessible by QR code for customers, further driving the brand experience through music.
“One of the major components of Nissan Radio is that it’s heavily influenced by Australian and New Zealand artists”.
Underwear and clothing brand Bonds pledged to playlist all homegrown music in their stores across Australia.
Its Head of Marketing, Kelly McBride, commented: “At Bonds, supporting homegrown artists has long been part of our DNA. We couldn’t be more excited to get behind Our Soundtrack Our Stories with our 100% Aussie artist playlist, which will be played in Bonds stores nationally.”
Music On Seven’s 2022 Slate
Seven will offer a lot of music in 2022, the network revealed in its programming slate to advertisers.
These include The Voice (which drew 1 million viewers for each episode this year and 2.42 million for the grand final), The Voice: Generations, Australian Idol (back after a 12 year sleep-in) and Australia’s Got Talent.
Special events will be the 64th Grammys and the 94th Oscars.
Music Industry Responds To Four Corners’ Sony Exposé
The ramifications of Four Corners’ expose of the decades-long “toxic” and “bullying” culture at Sony Music Australia under its sacked CEO/chairman Denis Handlin was quick.
ARIA, where Handlin served as long time chair, rushed out a statement: “No one should feel unsafe, harassed, discriminated against, or bullied in the workplace.
“ARIA will continue to work towards safety, inclusion and equality across the music industry including through the cultural change process that was started in May this year.”
APRA AMCOS, which in 2009 presented Handlin its Outstanding Services to Australian Music called the program “distressing and disheartening viewing” and reiterated it wants to “be part of a music industry that upholds a high level of professional respect, conduct and integrity, and does not condone any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying.
“We recognise and accept there’s still much work to do in this space. ”
There were calls from some executives for Handlin to be stripped of his music honours as well as his Member of the Order of Australia (AM) medal in 2005 and Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2017.
The committee behind the medals confirmed it will not take action. But Queensland’s peak music association QMusic revoked the Honorary Award it bestowed on the Brisbane-raised Handlin at the 2020 Queensland Music Awards.
“Following ongoing reports of systemic bullying, discrimination and misconduct under Handlin’s leadership, we cannot let QMusic’s acknowledgement and celebration of his career stand,” they said.
“Toxic workplaces, be they in the office, boardroom, on stage or behind, have no future in Australian music.
“We cannot, and should not, accept nor celebrate this kind of culture. The future of music must be one that is safe, supportive and equitable for all.”
Among claims made on the TV show which drew 600,000 metro viewers—and denied by Handlin—were bullying, harassment, intimidation and abuse over decades.
A staffer who was attacked in a toilet by a naked executive left with a $80,000 pay-out while the perpetrator remained.
Staffers were followed by private detectives, and a PR exec was told to bare her breasts to radio executives as part of a promo gimmick after the ‘model’ hired to do it failed to show.
The Kid Laroi/ Tame Impala Collab?
Two un-captioned black and white photos posted on Instagram Stories by The Kid Laroi of him in a studio with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has led to speculation a collab might appear on Kid’s debut album next year.
In the meantime, his duet with Justin Bieber, ‘Stay’, topped the US charts for its sixth week. It ties with 1983’s ‘Say, Say, Say’ by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson for third longest run by two co-billed male artists.
At seven weeks is 1982’s ‘Ebony & Ivory’ by Stevie Wonder and McCartney. They have a long way to go to catch up with ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee (feat. Bieber) with 16 weeks in 2017.
KISS For Darwin?
When KISS finally tour Australia in 2022, will they also be making it to Darwin. 20 year old fan Charlie Mavros started a Change.org petition to get enough signatures for the tour promoter to consider it.
The push has the blessing of Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis who said he’d make the same effort as when he successfully got Elton John to play there.
New Home For TheMusic.com.au
TheMusic.com.au has been bought by Brisbane-based SGC Media. Its previous owner was Melbourne’s Handshake Media which set it up from the amalgamation of Drum Media (Sydney and Perth), Inpress (Melbourne) and Time Off (Brisbane).
SGC Media hasn’t indicated what changes it will make but it could do well to reboot the music industry directory which Handshake bought from Phil Tripp’s Immedia! when it was an essential contacts resource.
Bomba Gets The Drum
Multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer and songwriter Nicky Bomba has a good deal for anyone who pre-orders his October 22 album Food & Shelter. They’ll be eligible to win a Gretsch Catalina Club drum kit and UFIP cymbals with additional prizes as vinyl test pressings with personalised artwork, a limited release framed picture of Nicky’s artwork from his ‘Sunflower Sounds’ exhibition, and Nicky Bomba pencil drumsticks, t-shirts and tea towel.
Biz Pushes For Music Events Insurance
The music biz has been pushing for the Australian government to follow the lead of the UK government to work with insurers to underwrite big music events and tours which are cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
The Federal government has thrown money at the sector to get back on the road but it needs such a scheme to bring the certainty to move ahead. WA and Tasmania has introduced versions of this, but because of state border closures, the scheme has to be a national one.
She said, “The live performance sector isn’t asking for a hand-out, it is asking for a product that simply isn’t available right now so that they can plan gigs, festivals and events with confidence they won’t keep taking massive financial hits with ongoing restrictions and lockdowns.
“This situation is not unique to Australia and yet the Morrison Government sits on its hands while governments in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and other countries underwrite insurance schemes for their live music and entertainment sectors.”
On October 14 artists, promoters, artist managers and music associations spoke before a Senate committee to drive home the urgency.
Promoters Fuzzy, for instance, explained how they went in 12 months from a thriving business to one that would topple over if it had one more cancellation.
Their co-founder Adelle Robinson revealed that a sudden cancellation of the Sydney leg of the 35,000-capacity Listen Out festival would cost it $4 million.
Parliament is scheduled to vote on this in November.
Originally developed by Bose, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) has become one of the most used features in headphones and earbuds on the market currently. From small to large manufacturers, it has been a staple in recent years, ensuring that when you’re listening to music, you’re not hearing the outside world.
With the current climate of new consumer and professional products offering ANC, we’re taking a deep dive into how it works and how it’s being used across the board.
Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) uses microphones generate a phase inverted audio signal that nullifies external noise.
The technology was thought of in the 1930s and put into practise by Bose for the US military in the early 1980s.
ANC is a primary selling point for headphones in the present day and will continue to be a major factor in consumer decision making on earphones.
Read all the latest features, columns and more here.
How Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) works
ANC technology was implemented for the US military as a way to combat their US$200 million a year payments to veterans with hearing loss developed during their service. The first product Bose introduced, was used by pilots on the Voyager aircraft which was particularly noisy. The technology is similar to how modern Active Noise Cancelling products work today, by using a microphone to record external sounds and phase invert the signal within the headphones to nullify the external sound.
This works, because when a wave, and an inverse of a wave arrive at a source at the same time, the output produced is net zero. In the case of ANC, the external noise must be processed extremely quick to be able to replicate the external sound. The speed of sound is 343 meters per second at 20°C and generally the distance between a microphone and the headphone driver is only a few centimetres, if not less. At a 2cm distance, the DSP or circuitry that processes the audio must function in less than 0.000059 parts of a second (59µs) to successfully counter external noise.
Due to the way our ears function, Active Noise Cancelling targets lower frequencies more than higher frequencies. Within all headphones, there is some passive noise cancellation, done through the choice of materials that cover our ears, with higher frequencies being the easier to target due to their shorter wavelengths. The lower the frequency, the larger the wave length with 20Hz being the lowest frequency able to be heard by humans measuring at 17 metres long (!) which would be impossible to target through passive noise cancelling within headphones.
One way to imagine Active Noise Cancelling outside of the technical jargon is to imagine two people hitting a tennis ball at the same time with the same force from opposite sides. In practise the net force would be zero and instead of the ball flying across the tennis court, the ball would fall to the floor. Now this ball is representative of what we hear with one person being the external sound and the other being Active Noise Cancellation. It applies the equal and opposite force (sound wave) to the ball (our ears), cancelling out the force from having an effect on the ball.
How Active Noise Cancelling is used
In the present day, ANC is offered in basically all modern wireless headphones and earbuds. Products from Apple’s Airpods Pro to Nura’s range of earphones utilise Active Noise Cancelling to provide a clearer picture of the sound, excluding people chattering away on your train commute to work from your favourite songs.
There’s three common types of ANC—feed-forward, feed-back and hybrid. Feed-forward utilises a microphone on the outside of the headphone, feed-back uses a microphone on the inside of the unit and hybrid is a combination of the two. Apple’s wireless earphones use an external microphone (feed-forward ANC) while Bose chose both internal and external microphones to get the job done (hybrid ANC).
Modern products, mainly over ear headphones, offer a function called transparent or social mode which utilises the microphone used for ANC but doesn’t invert the phase, to allow you to have conversations and hear the outside world like you weren’t wearing headphones. Now I’m definitely in the camp of just taking off your headphones but this might be useful when you’re ordering a coffee and don’t want to stop listening to your favourite mix.
There are even some products that allow for a sliding scale of ANC, which allows you to inherently turn up the effect from doing nothing to a fully immersive audio experience.
It’s been over twenty years since Active Noise Cancelling was introduced in consumer products by Bose and if things continue the way they are, the technology will continue to play an active role in headphone design for years to come. For accurate music mixing and critical decision making, a quiet space will beat ANC every time, but for consumer products that are used everywhere from the office, to the train and the gym, they provide a step away from outside distractions, allowing you to hear your music in full.
Check out this video for more on Active Noise Cancelling.
Want to get paid for your music streaming royalties with crypto? The time is now apparently, with UnitedMasters collaborating with Coinbase to provide royalty payments in a cryptocurrency of your choosing.
What you need to know:
United Masters and Coinbase have teamed up to pay artists their streaming royalty fees with cryptocurrency.
As the artist, you can choose from a select number of cryptocurrencies to be paid in, in conjunction with FIAT currency.
As cryptocurrency fluctuates quickly and significantly, this could be very good or very bad for artists.
Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.
UnitedMasters, which is a distribution service for artists has announced it will allow their users to be paid in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Ethereum through a partnership with Coinbase.
Steve Stoute, CEO of UnitedMasters says “Working with Coinbase to give independent artists the ability to be paid in crypto is a natural next step for us, using technology to ensure that the economics of the music business favor the creators behind it. As the financial sector continues to evolve and innovate, we’re committed to putting our artists in the best position to benefit from these changes.”
The move may prove to be a good one for artists as there is generally a small barrier to entry with fees or below market exchange prices when first depositing money into a crypto exchange. This move will allow users to put all, some or none of their earnings into cryptocurrencies. Once paid in crypto, artists can spend, earn, trade or borrow through the Coinbase app.
With the market fluctuating regularly, the move could serve to be both great and not so great for artists depending on when they get paid.