Reviewed: TC Electronic Ditto Jam X2 Looper
Following on from the success of the original Ditto Looper, TC Electronic has expanded the line with an X4 model and a number of X2 versions, with the Ditto X2 Jam arriving as the latest of the lot. Offering streamlined looping control, the Jam has a live use focus, and not just for solo work. The live looper idea has been incorporated by many players into more involved setups and lineups, but often the drawback is the inability to lock in with a full band for groove based sounds. Ambient textures and random lines and effects are great, but it’s still pretty hard to record a riff or chord progression with a rhythm section. Even small fluctuations in tempo can put everything out as of course the looper isn’t going to change tempo with you – until now.
Reviewed: Positive Grid BIAS Distortion Pro Pedal
Starting with software-based apps, Positive Grid has gone onto now producing amplifiers (both heads and rack mounted), pedals and software with a serious knack for innovation and expanding their tech work. Whilst their modeling and virtual rigs have gained huge momentum, their slightly more traditional pedals have proven popular to boot. Looking reasonably traditional at first glance, I’m sure the Distortion Pro pedal has a little something extra in store. Let’s take a look.
Reviewed: TC Electronic Gauss Tape Echo
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If this is so then the air above the battle field of pedal manufacturing must whistle with compliments flung ad nauseam between gangs of soldering iron wielding engineers, each with eyes on beating the next to the hearts, wallets and ultimately pedalboards of riff warriors everywhere.
Reviewed: Fender Level Set Buffer Pedal
Let me tell you a little story, dear reader. Once upon a time in the land of rock and roll, there were hundreds of happy little elves wailing away on twelve-bars in garages to their hearts’ content. They were perfectly happy with the volume they got out of their tweed covered amps and when those tubes started to warm and break up, you could hear their excited squeals ring out across the land. These were simpler times. Then, one day, an evil genius decided to throw a spanner in the works. He had invented a number of small devices designed to situate between the guitar and its electrical destination, changing the sound in many and varied ways. This opened up a Pandora’s box of questions, options and problems for the happy little elves, and not all of them were so easy to resolve.
Reviewed: Fender The Bends Compressor Pedal
When you think about glass, you think about clarity. You think about windows that shield you from the wind and rain, but also reveal the subtle and resplendent beauty of the landscape you surround yourself with. In the process of doing their job, one side will invariably catch all the dirt and degradation that comes with exposure to the elements, but the best glass will clean up with little more than a once over with a squeegee.
Reviewed: Morley DJ Ashba Skeleton Wah
DJ Ashba is perhaps best known for his work with Guns N’ Roses and Sixx:A.M. (alongside ex Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx). A bluesy rock based player, the Skeleton Wah is a common go-to for his solos and fills – and playing guitar based rock and metal there are no doubt plenty of chances to put it on display. Morley has more than a little experience in the world of effects pedals so I’m sure they have extended this know-how into the Ashba Skeleton Wah.
Reviewed: Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe Tape Echo Pedal
According to Wikipedia, the historical Belle Époque, French for “Beautiful Era”, is “characterised by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity… and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations.” It was the age before the beauty dropped out of modernity. Where there were narcotics in every medicinal remedy, the Moulin Rouge was the most popular spot in the world and we hadn’t yet seen the constant and full-scale destruction of everything as a result of the most devastating wars and political misdemeanours known to mankind. Harking back to this golden age in the name of one of their flagship designs was a fitting choice by the brains behind Catalinbread’s intoxicating and lush delay machine, aptly referred to as the Belle Epoch.
Reviewed: Xotic Effects Soul Driven Overdrive
Stompboxes are, by design, implements of very occasional joy. Sure, some stay on longer than others, but you’d be hard pressed to find a player in the world who relies on flanger, for example, as the bedrock of their sound. For the vast majority, the first step on the path to tonal glory is an amp, tube driven or otherwise, that has all the spunk and moxie that they feel satisfied deeming the bare minimum. True as this may be, there have emerged over the last few years an increasing number of pedals that promise to enhance that foundation tone in one way or another.