These professional cordura covered padded bags are perfect for keeping congas and djembes in good shape. Coming in Quinto, Conga and Tumba sizes for the Conga model and large and medium for the Djembe, they provide all the protection that you’re ever likely to need. Both sport padded grab handles, or if you fancy giving your arms a rest, there’s a padded, detachable rucksack style harness to give you the option of carrying the drum on your back. The Conga series also features an additional upright zipper to simplify packing and unpacking of the drum. And being Meinl, they’ve included a handy accessory pocket for a tuning key etc.

The KSM9 is one of the latest vocal mics from the Shure stable, and its appearance has become one of the most talked about product launches of recent months. Attracting the attention of many high profile performers, the KSM9’s place in the history of the Shure dynasty seems already sealed. So what makes this condenser microphone so special? Put simply, the KSM9 is every jazz vocalist’s dream package. At the core of the system are the dual gold layered low mass Mylar diaphragms which provide for an exceptional frequency response that smoothes the highs, cutting out any harshness in the upper mid-range, while at the same time giving a warm and rich, focused low-end. Add to this the switchable dual cardiod/supercardioid polar patterns for maximum flexibility in all manner of performance applications, the advanced shock mount system isolating the cartridge from handling and stand noise, the premium gold plated components and a three-stage grill to reduce “pop” and breath noise and you begin to see why this package has become so sought after. I particularly liked the KSM9’s ability to handle various sound pressure levels at the same proximity, adding further flexibility to performance possibilities. Coming in black and champagne (matt silver) and in both standard and wireless formats, there is no doubt that this exceptional microphone looks set to become yet another Shure industry standard.

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the Elle C. AKG tell us that they have been out asking the chanteuses what they are looking for in a microphone, trying to build up an accurate picture of their acoustic likes and dislikes. From this, AKG engineers and designers have built up a raft of data that has been integral to the design and production of the Elle C. A condenser microphone, the silver Elle C has a slim and slender profile and features a frequency range of 60-20.000 Hz together with a premium 24-carat gold plated transducer case. In our studio test alongside two other well known branded mikes, we found that the Elle C had a presence peak in the upper register of between 1 and 8 Kh and threw out a massive 6Db more than our two marker mics – ideal if you need to cut through a mix! With a sweet, but biting sonic edge, the Elle C will doubtless find a foothold in the plethora of pop. For jazz divas though, it may be a little roar (raw!). But with some creative EQ – ing it could be the ideal foil for a big band. For info: www.akg.com

Ritter has acquired an enviable reputation in the guitar bag market, and looking at the sample of a 7000 Series bass guitar bag, it’s easy to see why. Ritter only use heavy duty nylon zips and they don’t fit straight zips where a curved zip should be fitted. Add to this the tough denier fabric shower proof cover and heavily padded quilted lining and there’s plenty of protection for you prize possession. Fitted with a mesh padded grab handle, there is also an adjustable back harness with two “phone” pockets and an airmesh panel to the base of the bag for extra comfort.

There is also an adjustable waist band to hold the bag in place. To the face of the bag there are two large zippered pockets fitted with weatherproof zips, the top one being for gizmos and leads, the bottom being for other smaller items. The bottom one also has an inside zippered hidden pocket, a pouch pocket and an exterior “muff” pocket. Fully loaded, the RG 7000 is acceptably comfortable on the back, while the harness phone pockets are extremely useful for bits and pieces and even phones.

Go to www.dgcdistribution

String manufacturer D’Addario has spent some time searching for an alternative to the standard nylon string for the classic and flamenco guitars that would increase projection and give a brighter tone, yet at the same time would respond to the touch in a similar way to the nylon model. They have found the answer in a dense monofilament material with a translucent purple hue and have recently launched the T2 Classical Guitar Treble Strings. Not only do these strings respond in a similar way to the traditional nylon product, they are undoubtedly brighter, with a defined edge and clarity of tone that will cut through cleanly in almost any format. Like all D’Addario strings, intonation characteristics are excellent and we were particularly impressed by the 3rd G string that offers an almost seamless transition between the bass and the treble strings. Available as singles in three tensions and multiple gauges, these strings may be designed for the classical player, but offer the nylon playing jazz player a new dimension and a dynamic range well beyond what has previously been possible.

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