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  • EAV Classics - 002

    EAV Classics - 002.

    Every year there are huge waves of new equipment for musicians. Each new product and idea claiming to change the way that we will make music, the way we interact with music or the way it sounds. Every now and then a product will fulfil those promises and genuinely change things but sometimes no matter how many times an idea is jazzed up and rebranded there could still be a product from decades ago that just does it better.

    In this series of blogs we’re looking at a few innovations that we believe have achieved that classic status and maybe even gone on to become landmarks of design in their field. Designs that have been imitated and copied but never surpassed.

    Let’s take a moment to look at a product that not only become a classic but actually spawned new genres and changed the path of music forever, it continues to do so 36 years after its initial release. This product is genesis for modern electronic music. An instrument that has been on more hit records than another of its kind.

    Upon its release it was something of a failure and was ridiculed in the music production community. But this product had the last laugh and is possibly the underdog of the century. Ladies and gentlemen… the world heavy weight champion, the immovable TR808:



    To you maybe this machine requires no introduction. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it. But there’s absolutely no doubt that you will have heard it. Its impact is etched on the fabric of modern music itself.

    The TR808 was released in 1980 by Roland. It was the first of a new way of thinking in drum machines. Before this drum machines were mainly produced for organ players, they had some simple beats stored and the player could have some basic rhythmic accompaniment while they played. The 808 was the start of a range of drum machines that let you program the beats yourself and not just be stuck with the basic ‘Rumba’, ‘Waltz’ and ‘Disco’ beats.

    While samplers as we know them now were beginning to take shape in the 80’s, the 808 differed because the 808 didn’t really sound like a real drum kit. This is probably because getting the sound of real drums on 1980s technology was quite hard, if not impossible. But the 808 didn’t even seem to try and sound real and for that reason it was something of an outcast. They were produced for only 3 years and an estimate of about 12000 units were produced in that time. Although there’s believed to only be around half as many working units left ‘in the wild’.


    It was quickly replaced by the TR909, which was very similar but tried a lot harder to sound like a more authentic drum kit. The 909 lead a similar life to the 808. For that reason in this blog the two will be mentioned side by side as they’re extremely similar machines with subtle differences. The 909 maybe more what we think as 80’s looking than its brother?

    Towards the end of the 80’s there were many of these units collecting dust on the shelves of used electrical stores and sitting unloved in basements. They were cheap and had relatively limited use. They could very easily have been forgotten about and become a tiny part of Roland’s history.

    As Akai were starting to produce their MPC series of samplers and Roger Linn was also making waves with his samplers there seemed to be no real need for analogue drum machines like the 808.

    The 808 wasn’t a sampler, so it didn’t play a pre-recorded sound. It used synthesis to create the sound so you could change its characteristics and timbre. But you were ultimately stuck with those few sounds.

    The bass drum sound of the 808 is basically just a low sine wave. Probably responsible for blowing more speakers than any other drum machine too. Either by accident or by genius the bass drum doesn’t sound anything special at home but play it through a nightclub rig and you’ll understand. This is of course an idea that we’re all completely used to these days. Processed and synthesized drum sounds are very common in music today but naturally that wasn’t always so.

    Hip-Hop was probably the first genre to adopt the 808. Hip-Hop was in its infancy and the sound of the genre was still quite malleable and not set in stone. Afrika Bambaattaa and the Beastie Boys had embraced the 808 whole heartedly and it helped to solidify the sound of a newly forming genre.

    Hip-Hop had quickly claimed the 808 as its own. They were cheap so budding hip hop artists could afford them, they were easy and simple to use and they were fairly easy to get hold of. Certainly not easy to get hold of anymore, an 808 in good condition will set you back upwards of £3000!

    Your young bedroom producer can’t afford to get a drum kit, all the microphones and recording equipment. But they could afford an 808 or a 909 and have it making drum beats straight out of the box.

    Egyptian Love 808

    L.A. based producer ,Greg Broussard, calling himself  ‘The Egyptian Lover’, first got his hands on an 808 in a music store: "It blew me away.” Broussard recalls; “Everything sounded a bit toy-like, but at the same time it made you want to dance. I bought it right there on the spot." He aired it the next day with Uncle Jamm's Army DJ crew. "I didn't have any other instruments – the beat was moving the whole crowd. Thousands of people were dancing to this one little drum machine."

    The plucky little 808 had made its mark and become a staple of Hip Hop. But it was yet to forge its own genre. To create sound that may never have existed without it.


    Enter the 90’s.

    Jeff Mills Rave culture was exploding into Europe and America, no one saw it coming but its sound defined the early 90s. What’s the sound of rave music? Our trusty 808 and 909. The 909 seemed to take the centre stage here. Its sounds were more aggressive and harsh than the 808’s and artists like Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin helped seal the 909’s legacy as Techno poured out of Detroit, Berlin and London and the 909 had created its first genre. There’s no real way to tell if Techno would have happened without the 909. Maybe it would but in a different form or maybe you wish it had never happened with its repetitive tones and thumpy beat, Each to their own yeah?

    These two machines still have a strange lure to them all these years later. They’re incredibly limited in what they can do, yes there’s many machines that can do more and have flashier lights and pads but if you sit at an 808 there’s still so much music to get out of it. Their sounds are now filled with history and legacy and yet there seems to be no end to the possibilities.

    Each of their sounds has been recorded and sampled and re-sampled and distorted and changed and altered so many thousands of times that it’s easy to forget where they came from. Anyone who’s tried to record a good hand-clap in the studio will know how hard it is to get it to sound right, yet the 909 clap just sounds right; yet it’s almost all white noise with some clever envelopes and filtering.

    It’s their simplicity and their limitations that have allowed these machines to open the creativity of thousands of musicians across the globe since the 80s. They have inspired hundreds of new drum machines that have taken various ideas from the 808 and 909 but the two beasts still stand triumphant and we think they will continue to do so for many years to come.

    Which is why we chose to write number 2 in our classics blog about the Roland TR808 and TR909.



  • Sennheiser 4-Way XSW Racked Up Wireless System is Ready

    The Sennheiser XSW 4-Way Racked and Ready wireless microphone system is the latest racked up system to be added to the EAV site. EAV Pro Audio have been supplying you with great Racked & Ready deals for some time now and with the exception of the Trantec systems, we have been building them ourselves, testing them and delivering them ready to use.

    The XSW range of wireless systems are Sennheisers new entry level system. The beauty of this gear is that it offers quality at a decent price. The problem most people have had with Sennheiser wireless systems in the past was simply the price. The EW100 series are close to £500 a system whereas the new XSW wireless systems are prices from around £299 per system.

    Our XSW 4-way racked system offers you the choice of the 5 transmitters, a choice of which frequency nad to buy on and also a choice of whether you want the kits racked up with the GAM2 rack kit (includes splitters) or simply with the GAM3 rack kit. Basically, this wireless microphone rack is fully customisable as we built it to order.

    It usually takes between 4-10 working days to deliver any of the racks we build. If you want to discuss your wireless microphone need. Just give us a call.

  • Allen & Heath ICE-16 Recorder & USB Firewire Interface

    It's not often a new product comes out that really excited me however, The ICE-16 from Allen and Heath has made my ears prick up a little. . . OK, a lot. There is no doubt about it, the new Allen & Heath ICE-16 looks set to change the world of multitrack recording for your average pro audio man whose pockets are not bottomless. Essentially for well under £800 you get a 16 track multi-track standalone recorder that can captures up to 6 hours of high quality audio on a 32gb USB stick. It can also double as a USB or Firewire audio interface.

    Allen & Heath ICE16

    To see the full specs of the unit, check out our Allen & Heath ICE-16 page. You can download the brochure there which has loads of great info on it. The video below offers you a brief insight in to the unit also


      According to Allen and Heath, the ICE16 makes multitrack recording easy because it’s a stand alone unit. There's no longer a need to have dedicated songcards. The ICE-16 lets you record 16 tracks of quality audio direct to a USB stick or a hard drive. This is perfect for a band wanting to record a live gig or even a studio session. They simply use the ICE-16 and a hard drive to capture the gig and then dump the audio tracks on to a computer and mix it in their favourite DAWS software.

    Allen and Heath ICE16

    Without a USB stick or hard drive attached, the Allen and Heath ICE16 becomes a USB / Firewire interface for your PC or Mac. It is compatible with all the leading DAWS such as Cubase, Pro Tools and Logic.

    Again, for a full product spec and the download of the brochure, visit our Allen & Heath ICE-16 page now. The recorder looks set to ship at the end of Sept 2012 / mid Oct 2012, EAV Pro Audio are taking pre orders now for anyone wanting one off the first UK shipment. We expect the demand for this to be very high and suggest you get an order in now to avoid disappointment.

  • Update on Aerobics and Fitness Wireless Microphones

    We did a small blog a few weeks ago that spoke about wireless microphones for aerobics and sports use. Since that blog, we have tested two new radio mic systems that are designed specifically for this area. We touched on the Samson Airline 77 aerobics wireless system previously however since then, the fitness centre we tested these in have really taken a shine to them and there are talks of supplying all their stores with these systems. The difference between the Airline 77 and other wireless headset systems is that the 77 has not bodypack, which takes away the need for the cable which links the headset to the bodypack. This is usually the place where a wireless microphone system will start to fail. The 77 system has the transmitter built into the headset. The unit was tested in spinning classes, dance classes and standard aerobics classes and they loved them. The second system is also by Samson and is called the Airline Micro. It incorporates the same idea of having the transmitter in built-in to the actual headset but this time the headset is actually a mini-ear piece. Think Bluetooth headset and you will not be far wrong. It really is a mini system and you will be amazed at its size. The Fitness center found that these systems were great for spinning and active (in terms of head moving) but did prefer the safety of the 77 system. That being said, we tested the headset at our offices and jumped around, ran around and generally acted like crazy fools and the headset never fell off our ears. We have just made a dedicated page for fitness pro audio. Take a look at our recommendations. Otherwise, our standard wireless microphone page is as jam packed as always with cracking deals.

  • Pro Audio Christmas Gift Ideas

    Whether you are looking for a great gift for a music enthusiast or are looking to treat yourself this Christmas, EAV Pro Audio have some great ideas for you. All items are ready to ship and available NOW.

    1) Tascam DR-05 & DR-07 MKII Portable Handheld Recorders

    EAV Pro Audio has recently dropped our prices on these amazing portable recorders. The DR-05 & its big brother the DR-07 MKII are great for capturing on the fly recordings, band practices and basic field recordings. Both feature on-board condenser microphones and record on to SD (SD micro for the DR-05). What’s more, they come with a 2GB card. TASCAM DR07 MKII

    2) Yamaha MG102C Mixer

    The Yamaha MG102C is a great small format mixer that gives you four mic channels and two stereo channels. The first two mic channels also feature Yamaha’s one knob compression system which is great for live work. Whether you need a compact main mixer, or a secondary utility mixer for a larger setup the Yamaha MG102C is the perfect mixer MG102C

    3) AKG D5 Vocal Microphone

    The AKG D5 is a great lead vocal mic at a price that is affordable. The mic is designed to be pushed further than most dynamic vocal mics before any feedback occurs. The AKG D5 has crisp sound that cuts through every mix. EAV also provide this mic with a FREE 6m XLR cable AKG D5I

    4) Rode NT1A Studio Pack

    When you think of studio microphones then Rode always come to mind first. The NT1A studio pack is the perfect choice for those needing a quality studio condenser mic at an affordable price. This pack comes with the NT1 microphone, a pop shield and a shock mount. A truly amazing deal at less than £150 Rode NT1A

    5) Audio Technica M30/M40/M20 Headphones

    Audio Technica have a great range of studio headphones that are perfect for home studios and professional ones. We stock all the AT headphones and are ready to ship on demand. AT HeadphonesI

    6) Presonus Audiobox Studio Package

    Do you want to turn your PC/MAC or laptop into a full professional recording studio? If you like the sound of that and want to do it for less than £200 then the Audiobox is for you. Consisting of a 2 channel USB and MIDI interface, a studio grade condenser microphone, headphones and Presonus’ own Studio One recording software. An amazing bundle of products to make your computer a pro studio. Presonus Audiobox

  • The future of microphones is retro….apparently

    Well, this very short blog is just a little fun really. I personally have just got hooked on the futuristic TV series ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (the new one, not the 70’s show) and was amazed to see that the microphone of choice for presidential board meeting in the future will be the retro style vocal mics. They may have been the Shure 55SH mics to be exact but I couldn’t quite make out a logo or model number. I am also pretty sure I saw a microphone that very much resembled the Electro Voice Raven retro style microphone also in another scene. Now I know what you are thinking “how sad is this man to notice makes and models of Microphones when watching an entertainment program” – I must admit, I agree :)

  • Sennheiser Channel 38 EW Wireless Systems Now Available

    Sennheiser are now shipping their EW100 and EW300 series wireless microphones as Standard or in the Channel 38 frequency band. Take alook below Sennheiser EW112 G3 Lapel Wireless System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW172 G3 Guitar Wireless System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW152 G3 Headset Wireless System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW122 G3 Presenter Wireless System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW365 G3 Wireless Vocal system - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW165 G3 Vocal Wireless System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW345 G3 Wireless Vocal system - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW335 G3 Wireless Vocal System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW145 G3 Vocal Wireless Microphone System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW352 G3 Wireless Headset System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW135 G3 Vocal Wireless System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW322 G3 Wireless Lapel System - Channel 38 System Sennheiser EW312 G3 Wireless lapel system - Channel 38 System All the above are now shipping in the UK

  • More dB Technologies Arena Pro System Online

    EAV Have extended their range of dB Technologies Arena Pro PA Systems with the adding of the dB Arena Pro 15-218
    dB Arena Pro 12-215
    dB Arena Pro 12-18
    These products are a new addition to their already extensive dB Technologies range of Pro Audio PA Speakers.

  • Phonic PAA6 ready and waiting

    EAV have added the Phonic PAA6 audio analyzer to their ever growing list of products available to you. The PAA6 does not replace the very popular PAA3 analyser but rather adds onto it. Take a look at the specs online

  • Reductions on Wharfedale Neo Range

    EAV Have slashed their prices on the Wharfedale NEO range - Wharfedale EVP15 SUB NEO Passive Sub Speaker Wharfedale EVP18 SUB NEO Passive Sub Speaker Wharfedale EVP215 NEO Passive PA Speaker inc Delivery Wharedale EVP15 NEO Passive PA Speaker inc Delivery Wharfedale EVP12 NEO Passive PA Speaker inc Delivery Wharfedale EVP15M NEO Passive Stage Monitor inc Delivery Wharfedale EVP12M NEO Passive Monitor inc Delivery Most of the range now comes with FREE UK delivery.

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