Hallo und guten tag! Oh, sorry that’s German. Oh well, good luck translating that sentence… I try to keep up on the happenings of the pedal world so I can then report to you, the pedal enthusiast. This year has seen some really unique and innovative designs – so many that I could make this a big long list. But because I know you have the attention span of Honey Boo Boo in a butter factory, I’ve narrowed the list down to three pedals. I want to bring your attention to a couple of boxes that are worth a percentage of your hard earned dollars from whatever it is that you do for money (you dirty person). Get out your notebook, take some notes, and go buy these pedals.
MXR Phase 99
MXR has some cool pedals in their line, but they often get overlooked for other more boutique brands. A lot of their designs are simple, standard effects – offering only a few knobs for tweaking, but they sound good as evidenced by the many recordings in which you can hear them by the many artists who endorse them such as Beats Antique and Dweezil Zappa. But lately, it seems like the engineers over there have decided they wanted to do something a little different. The MXR Phase 99 basically takes two Phase 90 circuits, joins them at the hip, and adds some nice tweakable features that I was surprised to see on a pedal from them. A series/parallel switch? Sweet. A vintage switch? Sexy. A sync switch to synchronize the rates of both circuits? I like. I’ll elaborate under tweakables.
Speed 1 & 2 – controls the phase shift speed on both circuits. You can set one fast, one slow, or however the hell you want to get unique phase tones.
Series/Parallel switch – run the circuits in series (circuit 1 into circuit 2 to create a more intense effect with exaggerated frequency cuts and peaks) or parallel (circuit 1 & 2 stay separated).
Vintage switch – engage a vintage voicing for the phasing.
Sync switch – like I said above, synchronizes both circuits to speed 1 rate.
Do you want to have classic phase tones, but with added flexibility and tweaking options? Check this one out!
Check out www.jimdunlop.com for more info
This pedal was just announced, and as soon as I read about it/listened to it, I knew I would more than likely own it someday. The Deco (I assume it’s named after the popular art of the time of tape reels) is all about emulating old tape effects that engineers used in the early days of recording. Offering a slew of effects like tape saturation for warmth/compression and overdrive, doubletracking for slapback, tape flanging, tape echo, and chorus, and with bypass switches for the saturation and doubletracker, it all feels too much like a wet dream…(what, you don’t dream about pedals?)
Saturation – smooths out the sound with compression and fattens it up with a transparent overdrive.
Blend – mix between the tape saturation and doubletracker controls.
Lag Time – sets the delay offset like you were controlling a ‘lag deck’ and ‘reference deck’. This is what gives you the doubletracking, slapback, flange, chorus effects, and tape echo (up to 500ms delay) effects. Such a big and powerful knob…
Volume – duh, controls the output volume, stupid!
Wobble – adds random modulation from subtle to extreme just like tape would.
Type switch –
– sum: the ‘tape decks’ are in phase
– invert: ‘lag deck’ is phase inverted
– bounce: right channel of the ‘lag deck’ is phase-inverted and bounced to the left channel input for ping-pong stereo effects, or a double-repeat effect when running in mono.
One pedal that can provide such a bounty of effects is surely worth a spot on your pedalboard.
Check out www.strymon.net for more info
Earthquaker Devices Afterneath
If you haven’t heard of Earthquaker Devices at this point I’ll assume you’ve been living under a rock or you have just arrived to this planet from a distant solar system. Welcome to Earth, watch out for humans – they suck. But they build these things we call pedals, so I guess the ones who make them don’t completely suck, and Earthquaker Devices is on top of the pile of not-sucking. Just released at Summer NAMM, the Afterneath is yet another unique EQD take on the boring old reverb effect. The Afterneath is all about transporting you to another world that isn’t above or underneath ours – it is after…neath (another angle would be a future world). This one uses a ‘swarm of short delays to create wild and cavernous reverbs and scattered, short rhythmic delays with bizarre characteristics.’ It can self-oscillate, be bright or warm, and generally offers an abnormal and unconventionally open and ambient playground for the reverb lover.
Length – Controls the decay length of the reverb.
Diffuse – Adjusts the spread of the reverb. Sharper with more attack counter clockwise, more ambient and washy as you turn it clockwise.
Dampen – Clockwise for brighter tones, counter clockwise for darker tones.
Drag – This digital reverb is made up of a bunch of short delays, this separates the delay lines creating a stuttering, pingy effect. This is the coolest control on the Afterneath, we highly advise slowly turning this while you let notes ring out for a cool warped speed effect. More delay as you turn it counter clockwise, more reverb as you turn it clockwise.
Reflect – Controls the regeneration of the reverb, turn clockwise for more wash and echos, counterclockwise for less. This will self oscillate if turned up high.
Mix – Blends the wet signal into the dry. Though it does not actually go full wet, it will gradually lower the clean level as you turn it clockwise and give the appearance of full wet. This makes me ‘full wet’ just reading about it…
If you’re tired of all those reverb pedals that are so straight-forward, perhaps you should look into this one.
Check out www.earthquakerdevices.com for more info
So there you have it! Three pedals that are new, exciting, and worth your time. Feel free to let me know what you think, or what you consider to be sweet new pedals.
Thanks for reading.
The Pedal File