The Ross Returns!!
(For a general commentary on electronic practice chanters and pipes see this page.)
We are pleased to again recommend and offer the Ross electronic bagpipe/practice chanter. We supplied quite a few of the original Ross e-pipes and heard nothing but good reports from satisfied customers. The original model was eventually replaced by one with new circuitry that included several interesting "bells & whistles" (including emulations of some non-bagpipe instruments). Unfortunately, that new model also suffered from problems with sound quality - some sort of internal interference that was especially noticeable when using the instrument with good earphones and with the drones shut down. We hoped for a time that there would be an easy fix, but that didn't happen and so we reluctantly withdrew the Ross from our catalog.
After quite some time, late in 2003, we were told by our Canadian associates that the maker had decided to abandon the new design and to again issue the original, with several carefully applied enhancements. After evaluating a prototype we have now returned the Ross, in this new incarnation, to our line and are happy to report that it is again a solid performer.
The new model Ross has a more powerful speaker than the original, which is nice when needed. It has the capability of playing in various keys, and of course can be played with or without the drones. Finger spacing remains at standard Great Highland Bagpipe intervals and finger pad sensitivity is very high. A nice effect is available by switching on a "harmony feature," which makes the instrument sound like a pair of pipes playing in unison. There is of course a standard earphone jack. The Ross remembers its last volume setting when it's switched on, which is a handy time-saver. The mute button of the original is retained. The toggle switches of the original, which were prone to snagging on things, are replaced by button switches.
With its drones, speaker, key-changing capability and "harmony feature" the Ross is a lot of fun, both for the player and (hopefully) listeners. With the drones switched off and earphones employed, it serves as a serious and silent (to the world) practice chanter. It's also a great tool to hand back and forth between teacher and student, or between piping friends working out a tune or setting. If you don't need the ultra-portability (or the professional level sound quality) of either of the Fagerstroms, and if cost is a concern, then the Ross is a good choice.
A Report From A Beginning Piper
I think I have been using the chanter long enough to give you a report.... Succinctly, it is a great tool. The headphones let me practice in circumstances that were impossible before. Another benefit is that it allows me to work on new fingering and movements
repeatedly without gasping for breath. The fingering is very responsive
with any cross over noises being easily detectable ... I was like a kid on Christmas day and had the chanter on
most of the day. Obviously it won't replace a regular practice chanter because it is a little
too forgiving on finger placement and you will never develop any wind on
this machine, but it is definitely worth the money for anyone who wants to
seriously increase their practice time. (Jim F., Kansas)
(Note: We include these comments in the descriptions of both of the e-chanters we offer - they apply equally to both, and to all other e-chanters as well.)
Another Letter: An Experience With An Amplified Ross
I wanted the full effect so I purchased a set of mini Bose speakers to hook into the [Ross Electronic Bagpipe]. I was serious about taking charge of my neighbourhood!!! My anticipation turned to frustration and disappointment on the first day with the electronic pipes and speakers. I couldn't get this thumping interference out of the system. I connected, disconnected, connected again, cursed, vowed to go and live in a non-tech Amish colony, and put them away for supper. I decided after supper to methodically try to work through the problem, initially by playing very slowly. Well, I became a very humbled "piper" that evening because I came to the realization that the "interference" on the electronic pipes was my crossovers and slurring on finger movements. The effect was there on the electronic pipes alone but it was lost on me at first because I thought it was just the product of (the built-in) small monaural speaker. I now know better.
As soon as I started to clean up my playing the notes sounded as clear as a bell. So, I would say that anyone who is serious about his or her piping, and is into quality control and ongoing self-evaluation, get access to these pipes and presumably any speaker system. The pipes are great for more than just practising. I now go back to them on a regular basis just to check how "clean" my piping is. It is easy in the heat of playing a tune to miss the quality of our piping at the micro level. The pipes and speakers don't lie. If there is a "thump" it means I didn't play cleanly. My fingering and quality of play has improved in just the short time I have had these Ross pipes and Bose speakers. (Norm L., Calgary)
Price: Ross Technologies Electronic Bagpipe: US $255.00
Shipping Costs: $10.00 via Insured Priority Mail (Domestic U.S.)
NO LONGER AVAILABLE FROM US: SEE BOX AT TOP OF PAGE
See the Fagerstrom Technochanter electronic practice chanter
See the new Fagerstrom Technopipe , a full e-pipe
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