Pedal Feature – Catalinbread’s Echorec

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Howdy pardners!  I was moseying down a dusty internet trail looking at delay pedals when one caught my eye that I think is worth sharing.  So everyone knows analog delays sound really good and most of them are at least loosely based on the sound of an Echoplex (fun and coincidental fact [for me at least]: In 1962, the Echoplex patent was bought by a company called Market Electronics based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Yay Ohio!).  Don’t get me wrong, they sound amazing, but I’m becoming a little desensitized to all the delay pedals that sound like another tape delay.

The silly Portlandia-dwelling hipsters at Catalinbread took a look at recreating another popular, but perhaps less well-known echo unit, the Binson Echorec.  The Binson Echorec is mostly known for being a big part of Pink Floyd‘s sound, as well as being used by other famous musician types in the 60’s.  The major difference of the Echorec was it’s use of an analog magnetic drum recorder instead of a tape loop.  It incorporated 4 playback heads and a spinning magnetic drum as its recording mechanism.  According to Catalinbread, ‘The Binson…has long captivated musicians for both its rhythmic and ambient characteristics. We managed to include all the features of the original (and then some) while still keeping it in a small standard pedal sized enclosure.’  Way to go!

Check out the video by Pro Guitar Shop.

Other tweakables include:
• The Swell knob controls the number of repeats regenerated – from a single repeat of each playback head to infinite repeats.

• The Tone control tilts the EQ of the repeats from dark and fat to bright and thin. Dark settings makes the repeats sit in the background. Bright settings emphasizes the attack, great for playing off the syncopated rhythms of the multi-head arrangement.  Makes me think of The Edge.

• The original Echorec had a maximum delay time of 300ms. The delay time on the Catalinbread Echorec goes from about 40ms -1000ms. And the cool thing is you can twist the Delay Time knob in real-time to get speeding-up / slowing-down, spaceship warp landing sounds!  Those are cool 🙂

• Mix knob goes from full dry to full wet giving a lot of flexibility to use the Echorec in a variety of situations, even wet/dry rigs by setting the Mix full wet.  I like being fully wet.

• The original Echorec had a 12 position switch which controlled the various playback head configurations. Since the original was mechanical with the disc only able to go one speed, not all combinations were available for use. The Catalinbread Echorec changes all that. With the ability to vary the delay time on the single playback head, we were able to include all combinations, which include rhythmic patterns not available before.  Sounds like a sweet idea.

I have to admit I might end up with this on my board.  What do you think about this pedal?  Do you have a favorite delay pedal?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File

Pedal Feature – Sweet New Pedals of 2014

If you’re like me and obsessed, you keep up with all the news and products of the pedal world by reading blogs, checking manufacturers’ websites, and scouring the latest trade show news.  Wait, you don’t??  It’s just me?  Whatever, I can quit any time I want!  …Ahem, sorry…  Allow me to compose myself by telling you about some of the cool new effects that I’ve come across over the first month or so of 2014.

Blackout Effectors –
Cadavernous Pandimensional Reverb

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I noticed that as soon as I started getting more into reverb, every company has now been making super cool reverb pedals.  I never thought you could need more than one, but the differences regarding features and tones make the need (perhaps want is a better word?) quite apparent.

The Cadavernous Pandimensional Reverb looks enticing with unique controls usually seen on delay pedals such as swell and regeneration.  Using these controls in combination can create self-oscillation.  Cool!  I can imagine all sorts of thick atmospheres being summoned with these controls.  Also via an internal switch you are free to choose if you want to engage or disengage the swell effect while holding down the swell button for creative dynamics in your songs and solos. The dampen knob is a low pass filter for darkening or brightening tone while the reflections knob adjusts the ‘room size’ or reverb time. Another great feature of this pedal is the dry mix knob.  I love me a dry mix knob so much I think every pedal should have one.  This allows you to mix in your clean signal to create dimension and keep your clean signal as intact as you like. By adjusting the reverb knob in conjunction with the dry mix, I’m sure you can make a staggering amount of ambient and dreamy tones.  More info can be found at: Blackout Effectors

Walrus Audio –
Descent Reverb

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The Descent is an interesting take on reverb that tackles the usual sounds, but gets weird with ‘reverse’ and ‘shimmer modes’. Reverse reverb builds up before you strike a note, like a little ambient cloud hanging around your attack.  Shimmer of course is for when you wish to sound like a crystal wind chime on Jesus’ porch.

Other weird features include a dry mix as well as a dry signal knob.  Dry mix is that knob I love so much to add your clean signal to taste.  The dry signal knob is a separate control where you have the ability to mix your dry signal with an octave up and/or octave down for really cool ethereal effects more akin to the organ sounds EHX HOG/POG and Earthquaker Devices Organizer.  I’m not certain, but the tweak knob is probably a tone control for darker or brighter reverberation.  More info at:  Walrus Audio

MAK Crazy Sound Technology –
Space Reverb

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I mentioned MAK in my previous post and am excited to actually get to try out this pedal and post a demo soon (I bought it on Ebay, no one sends me pedals to demo by the way).   This made-in-Ukraine reverb caught my attention because it also has three modes: ‘plate’, ‘ambience’, and ‘shimmer’.  I’m a big fan of plate reverb, which emulates the sound of an audio signal reflecting off a metal plate (hence the name).  The Beach Boys, Beatles, and My Morning Jacket have all used plate reverb to create very nice reverb washes in their music.  ‘Ambience’ reverb is described by MAK as ‘deep reverberation with NO ATTACK’.  To me this sounds sort of like a reverse reverb.  Lastly, ‘shimmer’ mode seems to differ from others by the way the company describes it, as a ‘unique technology named Dark Krystal [that] will grant your guitar [tones] from space-atmospheric-cosmic to otherworldy – underground sounding.’  That’s deep.  Check back soon for a more in-depth article about this one.  More info at:  MAK Crazy Sound Technology

Mojo Hand FX –
Speakeasy Preamp

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Note: the Speakeasy demo comes in around 2:00 mins

I’m not that into preamps/boosts because they’re usually kinda boring.  Shaping and crafting tone is a relevant art and a skill, but ‘tone-shaping pedals’ are pretty straightforward.  This new preamp by Mojo Hand FX caught my eye because it’s based on the Echoplex preamp circuit.  I’ve seen other Echoplex preamp pedals out there, which seem like great tools for adding warmth, depth, and character to your signal.  The idea came about this one time when some guitarists realized that simply running a signal through an Echoplex with very short or no delay time made shit sound better – like an aurally administered analog beef injection.  The only problem is that an Echoplex is easily like $700 used and who has the money to justify that?  Well now you can afford to have better tone with this preamp, especially if you use a solid state amp and are lacking in tube warmth/compression.  The Speakeasy boasts an added tone control for tweaking your high end.  Good idea.  The toggle acts as a boost selection, from clean to fat and gritty.  More info at:  Mojo Hand FX

Wampler –
Deluxe Tremolo Prototype

Note: The Tremolo demo starts around 3:30, after the ‘Thirty Something’ (also a cool pedal).

I’m a big fan of Wampler pedals.  They’re sturdy and sound great, and they have enough distortion/overdrive/fuzz pedals to keep me occupied for a long time or at least a few weeks.  Wampler hasn’t strayed too far into the realm of modulation (their line only has one chorus, reverb, and delay pedal – all are worth checking out) so of course I’m intrigued by a new modulation offering from them.  The video is all I have to go by, so it’s hard to talk about the tweakables without making guesses.  I can see controls for speed (to set the rate), space (if it’s anything like the Tremulus Lune, for adjusting the loud/quiet balance of the waveshape… or maybe it adjusts the size of the wave from the highest-lowest points?), depth (controls the amount of effect), wave form (all the classic wave forms – sine, sawtooth, square, etc.), attack (probably to make it go ‘chop’ or be on the smooth, pulsating side), volume (duh), and also a time division indicator of some kind.  I have to say this pedal excites me, which means I’ll probably post an update once it’s officially released.  More info at: Wampler Pedals

Pigtronix –
Rototron Rotary Speaker Emulator

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I’m a fan of Pigtronix. They definitely have come a long way over the last few years, releasing innovative idea after idea.  Their line includes everything from a one-knob boost pedal to an amazing synth pedal to envelope filters and distortions.  This latest pedal is an expansion to their modulation line, the most recent of which, the Quantum Time Modulator, made big waves in the pedal community for conjuring chorus, vibe, and flange tones reminiscent of the great Frank Zappa’s DynaFlanger.  I’m a sucker for chorus, and the Rototron seems like it can do some really tasty leslie-style chorus/vibe effects.  Nice.

Tweakables include stereo ins/outs, ramp, depth, slow, and fast knobs.  The ramp knob allows you to speed up and/or slow down the ‘rotation’.  By setting the fast and slow knobs you can change or ‘ramp’ between the two speeds by stomping on the Slow/Fast button.  Depth of course changes the amount of effect.  These features come together to make a simple, yet great and versatile effect.  More info at:  Pigtronix

That should be enough to keep you pedal junkies calm for a little while.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File

Pedal Feature – MAK Crazy Sound Technology

Hey, good to see you again.

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For today’s post I’d like to talk about an obscure company making some impressive pedals – MAK Crazy Sound Technology (extra point for having a great name).  I recently stumbled upon this Ukraine-based company while watching Dennis Kayzer’s ‘Best Guitar Effects of 2013’ compilation and was really impressed with the sound quality and versatility of their pedals.  Finding out info about MAK and their products is difficult though because their website is in Russian or something, but check out their Facebook or Youtube page for sounds and more info.

Currently they offer three pedals, each with multiple modes and a leaning toward great synth tones:  the Octronix — an octave, shimmer, reverb, & something they call ‘synthaver’ pedal that sounds similar to the EHX POG or EQD Organizer, the Temporal Time Machine — a very trippy ambient delay, and the Space Reverb — a totally spaced-out reverb.  I think it’s awesome they take the time to pack so many tone features into one pedal when they could easily split them into separate pedals.  Aside from great sound quality, I’m a big sucker for tonal versatility.

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After listening and doing a little research I was convinced I had to try one, so I ordered the Space Reverb from MAK on Ebay.  I’m anxiously awaiting it’s arrival (how long does it take to ship a package from the Ukraine to Ohio??) and will post a demo as soon as it comes.  In the meantime, check out their pedals and get one for yourself before everyone else does.

It’s great to see that anyone anywhere in the world can make a wave in the pedal community with an original and good-sounding design.  Good luck to MAK, can’t wait to play one and spread the word!

Check out the Dennis Kayzer video below and stay tuned for my own demo of the Space Reverb.  Please comment and let me know what you think about these crazy pedals in the meantime.

Thanks for reading,

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File