Peavey Electronics and Muse Research have partnered to develop the MuseBox, a rather nifty software-powered, digital sound module, vocal processor, guitar processor and effects processor all-in-one. The half-rack-sized unit features a mind-boggling number of presets, comes supplied with a software package valued at over US$900 and benefits from two pro-grade guitar/mic inputs at the front of the unit with phantom power, stereo, 24-bit, 48 kHz 0.25-inch rear-panel inputs and outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, full-size 5-pin DIN MIDI and four USB 2.0 ports.

MuseBox runs virtual digital instruments and effects in a similar fashion to the AmpliTube suite I enjoyed messing around with while reviewing the OPC musician's computer for Gizmag, albeit in a slightly more portable format and without relying on Microsoft Windows. The unit's SoundFinder feature is said to allow users to quickly browse through thousands of presets by category, as well as create and save new sounds for recall later, all via the buttons and dials on the front of the unit.

Musicians wanting to expand on the view available via the two-line LCD panel on the front of the MuseBox can connect a VGA monitor, mouse and keyboard to the unit and explore the preset library through the Duo Host VST plug-in host environment running on Linux. The unit comes pre-loaded with an impressive array of software, including Universons MusePlayer, Wave Arts MasterVerb 4 and TrackPlug 4, ForeFront TruePianos Amber Lite, Camel Audio Camel Phatt and Camel Space, and MuVoice from MuTech.

Peavey's ReValver amp modeling software is also included, giving guitarists access to various amp emulations to flavor the instrument's tone, in tandem with numerous sounds and effects from the 4GB library. Vocalists can enhance a performance with real-time reverb, compression, de-essing and harmonization. Keyboard players are treated to low-latency sampled, modeled, and synthesized sounds to control via MIDI, and even virtual drummers can get in on the action by diving into the unit's collection of acoustic, electronic and exotic hand percussion and pitched percussion sounds.

MuseBox is powered by an Intel Dual-Core processor supported by 2GB of DDR2 RAM and 8GB of internal solid state memory. The unit runs on the UVI Engine which makes use of 32-bit floating point processing throughout its architecture for improved sound quality, and there's a passive mix mode which caters for the connection of a CD or MP3 player, or a digital percussion unit. It's also been given a Compact Flash expansion slot on the back to allow users to introduce new sounds to the device as they become available from Muse Research, or for the transport/storage of new creations.

The 8.37 x 3 x 10.5-inch (212.59 x 76.2 x 266.7-mm) all-in-one's steel and aluminum construction makes it a good fit for road use, as does its weight of under 6 pounds (2.55 kg).

The MuseBox is now available in the U.S. for a recommended retail price of US$1,399.99.

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