New Year New Gear: Boss releases the boutique-style Nextone amp, Eventide enters deep space with the Blackhole pedal and Singular Sound offers extreme flexibility with the Aeros Loop Studio

We may be just a month into 2021, but the year has already provided us with plenty of great new products from the MI world. 

But have no fear – Guitar World's Paul Riario and Alan Chaput are here to help you find exactly what you need to bring your playing to the next level. They've waded through tons of new equipment so you don't have to (and also because they really, really love it). 

With that in mind, check out these new items – Boss’ Nextone Special amp, Eventide’s Blackhole Reverb pedal and Singular Sound’s Aeros Loop Studio – that have grabbed Paul and Alan's attention in this installment of New Year New Gear. 

New Year New Gear

(Image credit: Boss)

Boss first announced its “premier” Nextone Special 1x12 combo amp late last year, and now the new boutique-style unit is officially here.

The 80-watt amp, like others in the Nextone line, utilizes Boss’s Tube Logic to replicate the dynamic response of classic tube guitar amps, bolstered by switchable power amps, including a choice of EL84, EL34, 6V6 and 6L6 class AB circuits.

The Special  also adds in two fully independent channels, accessed via the front panel, as well as “enhanced reactive drive circuitry” to refine the interaction between power section and speaker.

That speaker is an all-new Boss Waza B12W 12-inch design, which promises to capture the sound of ’60s ‘blue bell’ models, offering rich lows, mellow mids and clear highs, all with modern power handling capacity.

Other features include a choice of British or American tone stacks, an Extra Headroom switch on the clean channel and the ability to set switchable solo levels on both channels.

The Nextone Special is available for $899 at ProAudioStar.

New Year New Gear

(Image credit: Eventide)

Looking to head into reverb-y, echo-y space…and beyond? Look no further than Eventide’s new Blackhole, a reverb pedal based around the same Blackhole algorithm featured in the company’s H9000 hardware processor.

The new offering allows users to choose from five presets or to create their own, and Blackhole can load as many as 127 presets via MIDI, which are also accessible in the preset list on the Eventide Device Manager. Additionally, five presets can be loaded at a player’s feet from a latching/momentary dual-action active footswitch.

What’s more, two types of infinite reverb are accessible via the “Freeze” footswitch, with “Infinite mode” continuously layering new sound on top of a suspended reverb and “Freeze mode” holding the effect in stasis, allowing musicians to play over the reverb tail.

Modulation is built into the reverb structure itself, and can be used for tone shaping or smoothing out rough edges on extreme settings, while a PreDelay can “offset the onset of the reverb.” Any combination of parameters can also be mapped to an expression pedal.

Other features include “catch-up” mode, Lo, Hi and Q (resonance) controls and a Gravity control for customizing the reverb tail in two realms – normal or inverse decay.

There’s also a rear-panel Guitar/Line Level switch that allows impedance matching with guitars, synths, FX loops or DAW interfaces, a single Aux switch that can be deployed to Tap Tempo and a triple Aux switch for easy preset changing (up/down/load).

The pedal offers buffered, relay, DSP+FX and kill dry bypass options, and MIDI capability is available over TRS or USB.

The Blackhole Reverb/Echo is available for $279 at ProAudioStar.

Singular Sound Aeros Loop Studio

(Image credit: Singular Sound)

Singular Sound’s Aeros Loop Studio came on the scene in 2019, making an immediate splash with its ability to craft up to an amazing 36 unique loops per song, and with unlimited overdubs.

The looper also boasts a built-in mixer and flexible I/O for onboard mixing of multiple instruments or audio sources, as well as four built-in footswitches, a built-in scroll wheel for hands-free mixing, a touch-enabled screen, color coded cues and waveforms, 48 hours of recording time, MIDI functionality to sync with your other gear and much, much more.

Now the Loop Studio has been bolstered with a series of updates that add new features, improve existing functionality and increase stability.

The new version 3.3.0 update brings with it the first of many planned improvements to the built-in mixer. Additionally, Firmware 3.2 adds the ability to “lock” up to five tracks. Locked tracks continuously play in all song parts, enabling musicians to add a drum track as “loop 1” and have it play during the entire song, using other loops to build verse, chorus and bridge song parts.

Other recent updates offer expanded MIDI functionality, new settings to tailor the pedal to each musician’s unique looping style, and more.

The Aeros Loop Studio is available for $599 at Singular Sound.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.