"...must be funny...in a midget's woooorld". It's probably what ABBA would've sung if they had started their career in 2013. Indeed, this year has seen the appearance of a good number of bonsai-sized and more-or-less useful pedals. read more…
TC Electronic just started production of a series of seven "simple" stompboxes! It's a sacrilege if you know a bit about this company, which specializes in rack and programmable stompboxes, but it's also good news considering the success of the Nova series. This new range provides all the elements of a standard pedalboard: distortion, overdrive, chorus, flanger, reverb, delay, and even vibrato. read more…
Music is universal — even people in New Zealand, who live down under, play music. They even make guitar stompboxes. And of course, that's what interests us more here at AudioFanzine. Focus on four analog stompboxes... read more…
User reviews on Delay or reverb pedal products
Cold, Shimmering and Haunting best describes this Reverb (JPTR FX - Kaleidoscope)
By MGR/Brian Johnston, 07/05/2019
JPTR FX’s Kaleidoscope is glassy, cold and haunting. There is something very distinct about this reverb that I have not heard in other reverbs, and so if you prefer a warm reverb the Kaleidoscope is not for you.
However, if you want a reverb that allows you to see your frosty breath as you play then consider the Kaleidoscope. The demo video accompanying this review makes the Kaleidoscope’s sound obvious, but another good descriptor is that the reverb sound is icy and somewhat industrial – yet not harsh or shrill. There are some nice ‘tone’ features with this pedal, besides its frigid sound, including Feedback, which gives a resonating effect that can be a slight shimmer to a nasty reverberation that is suitable for an outer-space horror movie. The degree of this feature is relative to the Reverb knob (how deep you want the reverb) – the more Reverb the more prominent the Feedback. The Swell knob determines how quickly the Reverb reaches full bloom. The Gain & Compression knob increases both aspects as you turn it up, to the point that you get some white noise-type distortion mixed into the Reverb (besides increasing volume and modest compression). And if you want nothing but Reverb, for a volume pedal or synth-type effect, just click on the Kill switch and you get nothing but wet… and if you want to disengage the Kaleidoscope then the Bypass switch will do the trick.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: At 199 Euro the Kaleidoscope is pricey enough, but it stands out as a very unique contribution to strange and ambient music. The Kaleidoscope has a beautiful eeriness to its tone – cold, icy and industrial. The Feedback produces modest to intense shimmering and modulation that can sound subtle when turned low to robust in how it builds tension in what you play, or as JPTR FX suggests “in a liquid swirl of overtones.” The Gain/Compressor works very well in adding both volume and boldness in the tone, but also creates white-noise fuzz that adds a unique character to the Reverb without touching your guitar’s tone (it needs to be turned up quite a bit for this to occur). Its hardcore look, built one at a time in Germany, is something reminiscent of a 1950s mad scientist laboratory control box and while being ideal for many instruments – guitar, drums, synth and even vocals. Combined with an acoustic guitar you can produce some of the loneliest sounding music, as though sitting and playing in a large abandoned factory. The sounds from the Kaleidoscope become even more ambient and ethereal when Killing the dry signal – tones that seem to float in the air. The Kaleidoscope truly is a ‘Time Reflector Unit.’
GENERAL USE: Some coordination of the controls is required since once aspect can affect another. The Master Volume obviously controls how loud the signal is, but as you increase the Gain/Compression you will need to adjust the Master Volume. Likewise, a little Feedback goes a long way when the Reverb is very high (sounding very cavernous), whereas you can increase the Feedback as the Reverb reduces (down to ‘room’ level type reverb). The Feedback produces a shimmer to the Reverb sound, but it’s not like a typical shimmer you hear with reverb pedals (e.g., a crystal shimmer)… it can be subtle, but when turned up it produces more of a throbbing or pulsating shimmer modulation that becomes very dramatic in the background (and even overpowering if preferred and dialed in as such). The Swell knob is the most subtle of the bunch and it controls how quickly or slowly the Reverb blossoms toward its ultimate conclusion. There are three switches and since they are close together it may be prudent to add a Barefoot Button Tall Boy to the middle switch, which is a control that Holds or freezes the reverb – a fantastic feature if you enjoy drone-like background tones while playing overtop. The two outside switches including Kill, which removes the dry signal so that you have nothing but wet reverb, whereas the other footswitch Bypasses the Kaleidoscope so there is no reverb. Both Kill and Bypass have their own LED lights to indicate on and off.
OTHER DETAILS: A medium sized pedal made of heavy duty, lightweight aluminum with a very industrial looking graphics and knobs, the Kaleidoscope may be considered an ‘Ugly Sound Device,’ at least according to JPTR FX, but I think it looks both unique and modern hardcore. Measuring 140 mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 40mm (H – excluding knobs) (5.5 x 4.7 x 1.57 inches), there are three footswitches. The Kill and Bypass switches are hard switches that produce a solid click when pressed. The middle footswitch (Hold) is a soft-switch, which means it does not ‘click’ when engaged or disengaged. The five knobs may be plastic, but they could very well be aluminum based on the feel and looks (they remind me of the old television sets from the 1970s). All five knobs have good quality pots (smooth and solid when turned). The cable input, cable output and power input are located in the back, which saves pedalboard space, but also prevents accidental stepping and damage when stomping. The two LEDs (that indicate when the Kill or Bypass switches are initiated) have bevels around them, both located at the top of the pedal. The Kaleidoscope does not work on batteries and requires a standard 9VDC (center -) power supply, while consuming 100mA of power.
From Simple Reverbs to Amazing and Unique Soundscapes (Dr. Scientist - The Atmosphere)
By MGR/Brian Johnston, 03/06/2019
Sound-wise, there are two aspects to consider. First, the quality and clarity of sound of The Atmosphere is superb (24 Bit A/D converters at 33.2kHz sample rate); and second, the effects produced are amazing and unique.
If we consider something traditional and basic, the Plate reverb sounds like any other plate reverb in some respects (if kept subdued), but as you tweak the controls to affect pre-delay, bass, resolution, tone and decay, it no longer sounds like a plate reverb. It may have plate characteristics, but it morphs into something on a grand scale. Couple in the fact that you can ‘freeze’ the reverb into a drone (as you continue to play, or not) and you would be hard pressed to think of it as a simple plate reverb. The latter aspect is what makes The Atmosphere so usable, as you can have a hint of reverb to fill out your sound (even the crazy ones sound apropos when low in the mix), but can create enormous and flowering sweeps that go far beyond the typical canyon and space reverbs currently on the market. Some of the bizarre and utterly fascinating sound-scapes on The Atmosphere include Smear, Swell, Filter Mod FX, React, Aether and Alias (at least those stood out for me as being more unusual and original, but hats off to all the algorithms… not a stinker in the bunch). And to make these sounds even more dynamic is being able to include an Expression Pedal so that you can affect the reverb’s volume, mix, decay, etc., as well as the two elements controlled by the Ctrl knobs (e.g., controlling the low-pass and high-pass filters with the Filter algorithm). As stated, although The Atmosphere’s Multi footswitch can be assigned to do several things, you would be hard-pressed not to assign the ‘freeze’ function – nothing like a mesmerizing spaced-out drone to play a melody over.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: The Atmosphere is not a budget pedal at $399 USD, but the tones, sounds, and flexibility (besides many of the original algorithms and MIDI capability) make The Atmosphere a must have. The best way to think of The Atmosphere is not as a traditional pedal, but a computerized multi-effects unit (this may be a ‘reverb’ unit, but there are modulations, delays and other effect elements involved). There are some basic industry standards here, including Spring, Hall, Room and Plate reverb, but even then there are some unique features that turn those basics into massive and spacey reverberations. And then you have some unique ‘atmospheres,’ including Alias, React, Swell and Smear. In total you have access to 16 fantastic algorithms, each being a Preset that you can edit and save (if so desired); as well, you can take an algorithm/preset and manipulate any of the elements on the fly to produce sweeping sounds, glitches and anything between. Two of the more entertaining functions include using the Multi footswitch as a Freeze button, so that you can create a drone that you can play over, and adding an Expression Pedal to produce unusual life into compositions. This is such a high-end effects unit (producing awesome sounds) that the only thing lacking is a stereo out. Nonetheless, the uniqueness of reverbs and soundscapes will make The Atmosphere a much desired addition for any ethereal artist.
GENERAL USE: When turning on The Atmosphere, it picks up where you left off (when it was turned off last). There are 16 Presets that you scroll through, each being a different algorithm or ‘atmosphere’ (scrolling can be done via the Preset knob or the Multi footswitch). For instance, the first preset is Spring (spring reverb), and you can be in preset mode (as created by the factory) or you can tweak any of the elements (e.g., mix, decay, etc.), which takes you automatically in default/editing mode. And you see all this information live and on the LED screen (it takes mere minutes to learn how to use The Atmosphere effectively). You can save your changes as a new preset of that algorithm if desired (and there’s also a function to restore the pedal to factory default). With any of the reverbs you can adjust the resolution (slower, longer and grainer reverb vs. smooth and refined), the overall mix (wet/dry), the volume, tone (more bass vs. treble), decay (how long the reverb lasts) and then two other elements. Those other elements are set by the Ctrl knobs, and the two elements differ from one preset/algorithm to the next. For example, and with the Hall reverb, Ctrl 1 affects the amount of pre-delay, whereas Ctrl 2 affects the amount of bass. With the Smear reverb Ctrl 1 affects the diffusion, whereas Ctrl 2 affects delay time. Any of these can be manipulated to produce real-time changes and effects, done either by hand or via Expression Pedal (you can assign things like mix, decay, resolution, volume and the elements associated with the two Ctrl knobs). The Multi footswitch also can take on different roles, whether you assign it to select different presets, used as a ‘freeze’ switch, a tap tempo, etc. Two roles can be assigned to the Multi, whether you hold the footswitch or click it once.
OTHER DETAILS: A standard sized pedal, The Atmosphere measures about 120 mm (L) x 65mm (W) x 65mm (H) with knobs (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches). The heavy-duty metal chassis has powder coated and textured blue that blends/shades from dark to light. You can feel the paint texture of the graphics, indicating a good paint thickness. The eight knobs (Res, Mix, Vol, Tone, Decay, Ctrl1, Ctrl2 and Patch) feel of heavy plastic and will withstand normal use and abuse (they are far removed from the two footswitches). All knobs have good quality pots (smooth and very solid when turned without any static or noise, although the Patch knob has a ‘click’ factor when turned and when choosing patches). The two soft footswitches (Multi and Bypass) are solid in feel with a good spring to them. The LED screen is near the footswitches, which is inconsequential since the switches sit well above the screen. The cable input/output and power supply are located in the back, keeping any small cable inserts away from a stomping foot. The MIDI output is located near the front end on the left side, which may eat up a bit of pedalboard space (no way of having it in the back due to the pedal’s size). The Atmosphere does not run on batteries and requires a 9VDC 300mA power supply, which is included.
Unique and Awesome Sounding Modulated Delays (Eventide - Rose)
By MGR/Brian Johnston, 04/07/2019
FYI… if you’re not into watching/listening to the entire demo, I encourage you to put on headphones and tune in around 10:15 for a sample composition with various Rose settings that was recorded with the Hooke Verse 3D audio headphones… listen as the binaural sounds swirl around your head!
Eventide is known for its digital effects, but this time the company has integrate analog with digital, thus resulting in a warmer and more organic sound (as opposed to its crystal clear digital fare). The dry path is analog, as is the Mix, Filter and Feedback components of this delay/modulation pedal.
The sounds produced range significantly. You can create very short delays in slap-back territory, but add in some modulation and the Rose becomes a chorus pedal. As with any delay there is a Feedback (repeat) knob, but also a low-pass Filter knob so that the effect can have a higher or lower pitch, great if you want the effect to jump out in the mix (more treble) or remain dark and mysterious in the background (more bass). Modulation shape can vary with a Sine, Square, Envelope or Random wave while affecting the Rate (pulse) and, of course, the overall Mix. One of my favorite features is the Infinite Repeat, which is like a freeze button (however, if you play over the freeze you do not hear the pedal’s effect – only a dry signal). To add to the diversity of the sound, there is a Reverse button, and also a Delay Multiply button, so that you can produce a 2x, 3x, 4x and 5x repeat for some very spacey time effects. Eventide did not stop there. You can save five presets, but each has an A/B option (which means two patches per preset). What makes this cool is that although you can switch between A and B with the Hotswitch footswitch, you also can morph the two with an Expression Pedal, thus producing some ultra-unique sounds limited only by your imagination.
A combination of analog with digital, the dry path, mix, filter and feedback are analog, whereas the delay and modulation are digital. You can create utterly unique and fabulous sounds with delays that range from 10ms to 10 seconds, and even adding a reverse delay or inverting (flip phase) the delayed signal; and add a delay multiply (2x to 5x) for delays that last up to 50 seconds. Although you can achieve a lot of different delay ranges and results, when combined with the modulation component delays can range from subtle (chorus-like) to freaky spacey. Modulation includes sine, square, envelope and random waves that sweep from ½ to 2x the standard delay time, simultaneously modulating pitch across a full octave +/- (while controlling the depth and rate of the modulation). Both delay and modulation are controlled further with the Mix knob, but also the low-pass Filter knob (so that the wet signal ranges from a lot of treble vs. a lot of bass… clear or subdued). You can save 5 presets, although each has an A/B switching option (moreover, if using an expression pedal you can morph between the A and B settings). The Hotswitch footswitch can be assigned to different operations, including tap tempo, infinite repeat, LFO hold, LFO reset and A/B switching (in case you don’t have an expression pedal and want to flip between settings). Some additional features of the Rose include USB (for MIDI, software updates and to be used as a preset manager), a TRS input (for expression, auxiliary switch or MIDI), a selectable bypass (relay, buffered or input kill), and finally an input level select switch (line/instrument). At $349 USD the Rose brings with it a hefty price-tag, but compared to other high-end delays (with modulation and all the features of the Rose) you get a lot of bang for the buck and some very unique sounds.
GENERAL USE: It will take a day of discovery to learn all the ins-and-outs, but a little bit of patience will make it all worth the effort as you can produce some utterly unique modulated delay effects. I won’t cover everything, but will go through some general guidelines. The delay knob allows you to select a ‘range’ by pushing down then turning the knob (the ‘range’ places you in a general area, e.g., 500ms delay); you then adjust the knob (without pushing) to fine-tune the milliseconds. Once you have a delay time you like (keep in mind you can tap tempo) you then can add a Reverse to the delay, besides adjust the Feedback (repeats) and even add a Delay Multiply (so that you hear your delay 2x to 5x). The amount of delay also is significant, ranging from 10ms to 10 seconds – add in a Delay Multiply the delay continues for nearly a minute even after you stop playing. Assign the Infinite Repeat to the Hotswitch and the signal will repeat forever (until you press the Hotswitch a second time, thus allowing the effect to trail off). Speaking of Hotswitch, you can assign many things to this footswitch besides an Infinite Repeat – you can use it as a tap tempo, use it to hold the modulation effect or reset the modulation (turn it on/off), and also use it to switch from a Preset’s A and B settings. In regard to the last assignment, if you have an expression pedal you can switch from A and B settings of a preset (heel down vs. toe down), but also morph the two into some fantastic sound-scapes (as you play and rock the treadle). The Modulation aspect of the Rose allows you to add various shapes to the delay tone, including a Sine, Square, Envelope or Random wave. You can adjust the depth of that shape, as well as its Rate (for a very slow wave to a fast pulse, as indicated by the Rose LED flashing to the set pulse or rhythm). Both the Delay and Modulation aspects can have a higher treble or bass response, whether you want it to be prominent and cut through the mix or remain dark and warm. And, of course, you can adjust the overall Mix so that even a complex sounding modulated delay remains nothing more than a hint in your tone.
OTHER DETAILS: The Rose is a medium sized stomp-box, measuring 115 mm (W) x 120 mm (D) x 60mm (H) or (4.5 x 4.7 x 2.37 inches). The input impedance is 600K ohms (mono) and its output 470 ohms (mono). The heavy duty chassis has purple/pink top with a dark grey base. The six editing buttons are of heavy plastic and would withstand normal use and abuse. The two footswitches (Active and Hotswitch) are soft switches, viz., no click when engaged or disengaged – there is no popping or significant signal noise when switching. All inputs (cable inputs/outputs, expression pedal, USB, MIDI and power input) are located in the back of the Rose to save on pedalboard space and to prevent possible damage from regular stomping use. Any LED lights are low profile and are safe from damage from regular use. The Rose requires a 9VDC power supply while consuming 500mA of power – however, this pedal also comes with its own power supply.