Hello again. I know it’s only been a day, but I thought about you all night long. I had to let you know about mooooore pedals. As you may know, the 2015 NAMM show just ended and many young supple pedals have just been released into the world. While there are far too many to list, I picked my five favorites and compiled a list for you to eye-fondle. Read on, these are in no particular order. Just don’t get your computer keys sticky…
Source Audio – You might already know the Soundblox line of highly tweakable and progammable effects as well as the amazing Hot Hand Controller to control these pedals with a hand sensor. Pretty cool stuff already. This year they brought more stuff to NAMM than I can talk about in one post. The REFLEX expression pedal really stood out for me and is the coolest expression pedal I’ve seen. You can send three simultaneous standard expression (or CV) signals, MIDI continuous controller messages, as well as six LFO wave shapes. With the control panel you can program which outputs are active, the depth and direction of the expression signal, and the curve of the tapers (not sure what they mean, but my guess is the shape of the waveform as it goes down to ‘zero’). You can also assign one of its six LFO wave shapes with expression control over the LFO speed. Plus, the Reflex can save up to 128 pedal configurations, recallable via the onboard controls or external MIDI program change messages. There is so much you can do to your other innocent pedals with that…Just try to tell me that’s not titillating. These guys have been busy!
For more info: www.sourceaudio.net
DOD (Digitech) – DOD is smart because they realize they need to compete with all these silly boutique pedal companies abound. They’ve released a few new pedals that show they’re paying attention to the market by adding cooler and more colorful graphics as well as going beyond totally cookie-cutter tones. The pedal that stands out to me is the new Boneshaker, whose circuitry was designed in collaboration with Black Tone Artworks (again showing their awareness of the rise of boutique). This looks like a standard DOD-sized enclosure, but with a lot of tweaky features for maximum phalangeal stimulation . The bonecrusher was designed with drop-tuned or extended-scale guitars, baritone guitar, and bass in mind, so the 3 band parametric EQ gives you a lot of low-end versatility with independent low level, low frequency, mid level, mid frequency, high level and high frequency controls. The most interesting feature is the depth control. A depth on a distortion pedal? I know it sounds weird, but it adds low frequency growl. Do you want your bass to be mean? Turn that shit up. I’m sure it can make even your puny little normal scale guitar sound pretty ripping too. Check out this demo by Pro Guitar Shop.
For more info: www.dod.com
Moog – Everytime I hear about a new Moog product I feel like Jeffrey Dahmer in a morgue cafeteria. Man how I love flange…I previously stated on this very blog that flangers would make a comeback. Lo and behold, there were more than a few flangers being shown at NAMM this year. The new MF Flange offers two types of flange – vocal comb filter and a more traditional flange as well as control over depth, time, feedback, and rate. You can also control the time knob with an expression pedal. If you’ve never invested in a Moog product, now is the time. Their pedals are top quality both in sound (all analog, bucket brigade chips) and design (sturdy like your fat momma), and the Minifooger line offers an affordable Moog tier for even the most deadbeat of poor-ass musicians. I’ve owned a Moogerfooger for about 12 years. It’s one of the tweakiest pedals I own and it works just like the day I got it.
For more info: www.moogmusic.com
Catalinbread – These guys hopefully are on your radar by now because they’ve already made some great stuff. I’ve talked about their delay pedals, but today I’m talking about the new Antichthon Fuzz Tremolo pedal. This pedal is pretty nuts, being billed as a dynamic fuzz tremolo, a tone-generator that can be controlled with your guitar’s volume knob, and a harmonic fuzz drive. With controls for volume, gravity, time, and space I can tell you I honestly have no freaking clue what the latter three controls do. But I think that is the point. The Antichthon is designed to be that new sound you’ve been searching for. This pedal is made to be different every time you play, to surprise and inspire you and take you somewhere else outside our normal realm of existence. That’s pretty out there, like the guy demoing their stuff in the video. It reminds me a bit of the Fuzz Factory or Fat Fuzz Factory with all it’s gnarly tones, oscillations, and robot alien noises. Just watch the video to get a better idea.
For more info: www.catalinbread.com
EQD – Is there any introduction needed for Earthquaker Devices? If you have any hopes of being cool you should at least smile and nod when someone mentions their name. Their coolness goes beyond any mere trend or gimmick, however. Their pedals are totally unique and can play as nice or as bad as you want, making rabid fans out of schooled shredders and know-nothing noisemakers alike. The most eye-catching pedal for me is their Fuzz Master General. This is based on the Ace Tone Fuzz Master FM-2 Professional fuzz, but of course with EQD’s mods and in their words ‘re-imagineering’, the Fuzz Master General goes well above and beyond what it’s vintage predecessor can do. You get a full spectrum of dirt from nearly clean to full-on post-Chipotle fart explosions. A voicing switch allows you to select germanium or silicon clipping for open fuzz or tight fuzz respectively, or an open transistor drive for ring mod octave up type stuff. That covers more fuzz territory than yo momma in a wet suit. Oh snap!
For more info: www.earthquakerdevices.com
That’s all for now. I hope you feel like you’re keeping your head above the ever-rising waters of the pedal world after this article. More reviews to come!
Thanks for reading.
The Pedal File