Equipboard Product Review & Gear Testing Guidelines
Equipboard was founded by Michael Pierce and Giulio Chiarenza, who merged their passions of music, technology, and gear to create this site. As multi-instrumentalists with experience in both performance and production, Michael and Giulio are the chief gear testers and product reviewers at Equipboard. When needed, Equipboard employs the talents of experienced musicians, writers and editors to help find the best music gear for your life. You can learn about the editorial staff here.
Our mission is to help fellow musicians make great gear choices. It's a great time to make music, and the gear required to get started playing or to chase a certain sound is more within reach than it has ever been. Because of that, there's also never been a more overwhelming time to be a musician (trust us, we go to NAMM). No matter the product category, there are dozens - if not hundreds - of choices at your fingertips. We are privileged to use the Equipboard platform and resources at our disposal to help you sort through all the options, and highlight the best gear for the job. We want to streamline the research process and help you find the perfect gear for your needs, so you can get back to playing and making music!
Why You Should Trust Us
The gear recommendations from Equipboard are purely editorial. We do not get paid or receive free gear in exchange for any product placement on the site. If we happen to be sent something for free and we feel it deserves a spot on a buying guide, we'll disclose the information within that guide. The gear we recommend we bring into our office and our homes to test personally (more on our test rig below). In rare cases we test gear at a musical instrument shop, but we make sure to disclose that where applicable. Make sure to read our Affiliate Disclosure.
How We Test Our Products
We realize there's not any one right way to test music equipment, so we try to recreate as many scenarios as we can when we put music gear through its paces. Our guitar testing rig includes acoustic guitars, semi-hollow and hollow-body electric guitars with single coil pickups, soapbar pickups, humbuckers, and mini humbuckers. Our amplifier setup includes both tube and solid state amps, as well as a headphone guitar amplifier.
Detailed rundown of our testing rig:
- Squier Affinity Series Tele - Our office workhorse. Amazing quality for such a low cost instrument, and often the first one we reach for when new pedals or amps arrive at the office.
- Taylor 700 Series Acoustic/Electric Guitar - Our go-to for all things acoustic guitar related.
- Fender California Series Stratocaster - Who doesn't love a great Strat?
- Gibson Les Paul Custom - Iconic guitar for when things need to get heavy - both sonically, and weight-wise.
- Gibson Bill Kelliher Golden Axe Explorer - Beautifully appointed Explorer with Nitro Hemi humbuckers.
- 1970s Gibson ES-325 - Covers our bases for a semi-hollow, with great sounding mini humbuckers.
- 1960s Fender Jazzmaster - Super mellowed-out vintage tones from this beauty.
- Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Tube Amp - A classic with Fender sparkling cleans, this tube amp lets us get LOUD.
- Fender Blues Junior IV Tube Amp - Renowned workhorse from Fender.
- Fender Bassbreaker 15 Tube Amp - A modern classic, much better distortion than what you would expect from Fender, takes pedals extremely well.
- Orange CR30R Combo Practice Amp - Solid state workhorse with a very nice clean channel that takes pedals very well, and has a headphone output.
- VOX AP2-AC Headphone Amp - Versatile little amp modeling device that allows us to have a testing rig anywhere we go.
- Yamaha THR10 Modeling Combo Amp - Perfect tabletop amp for the Equipboard office.
Pro Audio Gear:
- RME Fireface 800 Audio Interface - Full-featured interface for all our I/O needs.
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-80 Headphones - Great isolation, comfort, accuracy and pristine sound for all our headphone gear testing needs.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones - Very detailed headphones, and a great complement to our Beyerdynamics.
- JBL 305P MKII Studio Monitors - Reliable & accurate monitors when testing synths and plugins.