What: Technologically advanced guitar system for studio/stage
including “Robot” (automatic) tuning, Chameleon Tone Technology,
FireWire interface that can break out piezo/magnetic/individual
string outputs for recording, low-impedance balanced out
or standard out, 13-pin output compatible with Roland/Axon
guitar synth systems, and cross-platform software suite (Ableton
Live 8 Gibson Studio Edition, Guitar Rig 4, Echo Audio Console
for interface, Chameleon Editor).
The lit button is the Master Control
Knob, which is the user interface to
the guitar’s functionality.
Why: Delivers a supremely flexible instrument for guitarists who
want to go beyond the standard electric guitar paradigm, yet
still want a familiar look, feel, and playability.
Installation: Having software and a FireWire interface requires
installation, but no more or less than other FireWire
Learning curve: Compared to its predecessor, Dark Fire, the
guitar’s “operating system” and clickstream are considerably
simplified. However, you’ll still need the documentation to find
out how to access the 11 banks of 8 presets, program alternate
tunings, and the like.
Best bits: Robot tuning technology is not a gimmick—no human
can tune six strings simultaneously, or jump to alternate tunings
in seconds. Feed the individual string outputs into a computer,
and you can achieve mind-boggling sounds—it’s like the guitar
equivalent of a keyboard’s split/layer options. Then augment the
individual strings by mixing in the standard magnetic and piezo
outs, and if you can’t get huge, rich sounds, consider a different
career. The Chameleon Tone technology provides the equivalent
of “analog modeling,” as it achieves different iconic guitar
sounds via pickup switching, coil tapping, and EQ—all of which
are editable with the Chameleon Editor software, which also
makes it easy to share presets with other Dusk Tiger owners. The
pickup toggle rotates to give a blend of piezo and magnetic
sounds, even without a computer; this is way cool. The guitar
itself is very playable and benefits from the PLEK setup. Unlike
Dark Fire, the battery is non-proprietary and instantly swappable.
Limitations: Unfortunately, the price will be out of reach for
most guitarists. Also, compared to the dignified Dark Fire, some
are horrified by Dusk Tiger’s look, while others love it (but
reserve judgment until you’ve seen it under stage lighting, where
it can look spectacular). I initially didn’t know what to make of it,
but have grown to love its daring vibe.
Bottom line: I’ve played many great electric guitars, but Dusk
Tiger is an electronic guitar that explores totally new territories.
It has changed the way I play, record, perform, and write in profound
and significant ways, while still feeling like a warm, familiar
guitar rather than some technological freak show. Now that I’ve
experienced it, I can’t live without out it.
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