Reviewed: HeadRush Pedalboard
The market for floorboard-style digital processors is becoming pretty crowded right now. This has always been a competitive field at the lower end, where I’m sure many of us first encountered multi-effects, but in interviewing bands for magazines like Mixdown I hear time and time again that pro players are ditching their amps and running with a pro-level processor instead. There are lots of reasons for this—practicality, low cost of transport compared to a full amp and effects rig, tonal flexibility. While a lot of players are still reticent to do away with physical amps in the recording studio, they’re faced with more and more choices for how to take those tones on the road.
REVIEWED: BLUGUITAR BLUBOX SPEAKER EMULATOR PEDAL
I have used a speaker emulated output device between heads and cabinets for more than a decade now, having previously chosen a certain red coloured box that came from a German stalwart of valve amplifier design. That said, a lot has changed in ten years and as people move around and form different companies, new ideas develop and greater concepts are created. Without going into it too much, I do know a lot of people have been using the same certain red coloured box as myself with adequate results, as it served a purpose. The ability to get into your powered signal, after the power amp tubes have added to your amp’s tone and take a direct signal for recording or running to the PA in a live environment, is very handy indeed. So it is with great excitement this month that I got to look at this concept with a whole new colour to my eyes. I am of course talking about the BluBOX from BluGuitar. And you guessed it; this is a little blue coloured box that is so much more than just a guitar amp DI.
REVIEWED: LOVEPEDAL ETERNITY KANJI BUILD OVERDRIVE PEDAL
Pedal designer Sean Michael’s Eternity Kanji is indicative of the Lovepedal boutique builds. A less-is-more approach is one way to frame these basic looking stomp boxes, but no bullshit is a little closer to the mark. Judge not its simple aesthetic and minimalist functions, for its versatility is deceiving.
REVIEWED: MAD PROFESSOR AMPLIFICATION 1 DISTORTION/REVERB PEDAL
Distortion and reverb – it's a tried and tested combination that's as old as rock itself. For most guitarists, it's the bread and butter starting point for any strong tone. Mad Professor's 1 pedal offers up an easy way to get close to Van Halen's legendary 'Brown Sound' the was born from a modified '60s-era Marshall stack that became a hallmark of the group's sound. Brash, full of mid-range grunt and power; it's undeniably one of the most iconic sounds of the classic rock era. However, unless you're keen on carting around a 100-watt head and cab to your next gig – logistics might get in the way of you coming close to a full-throttle Halen sound. And even if you did, how on Earth are you going to get your amp loud enough to start hitting the sweet spot? That, my friends, is where the 1 pedal comes in. Inspired by the group’s legendary first album, you’ll be shredding up a storm in no time.
Reviewed: Zoom AC-2 Acoustic Creator
Acoustic guitar can be a tricky one to handle in both live and studio situations. Capturing the intricacies of an acoustic instrument together with having a constant reliable level, whilst still sounding how you want can be harder than it seems. And what’s the answer - Mics? DI? Pedals? Effects? There is no one real solution but Zoom’s latest offering, the AC-2, aims to help with your choices a little.
REVIEWED: TC-HELICON TALBOX SYNTH PEDAL
Of all the tools in the modern guitarist's arsenal – and as we all know, we've got heaps – no one has quite cracked the ability to transfer synth tones to our six-stringed instrument of choice. However, TC-Helicon's Talkbox Synth Pedal gives it a solid effort, and for the most part succeeds.
REVIEWED: CATALINBREAD SFT VER. 2 AMPEG FOUNDATION OVERDRIVE PEDAL
The SFT is one of Catalinbread’s many Foundation Overdrive series effects pedals. These pedals are designed to emulate the circuitry, dynamics and tone of history’s greatest tube amplifiers. Based off Ampeg amplifiers, the go-to brand of for guitar heroes B.B. King, Keith Richards and Josh Homme, amongst others. Unassuming in its blue and white housing, this two-in-one pedal houses some monstrous tones and a wide range of dynamic nuances.
Reviewed: Line 6 Helix LT Guitar Multi-Effects Processor
Once upon a time there were only two truly limitless things: time and space formed the X and Y-axis of all experience. More and more I think we’re starting to reach a point where ‘options on digital modeling units’ could be added as a third Z-axis. We’ve come a long way from early multi-effects units, which were basically individual pedals sutured together like some cult horror film. The digital age has propelled an exponential expansion not only in the way we think about what’s on our chains, but the scope of their capability. Line 6 was one of the first companies to harness some of the power of possibility and they’ve distilled everything they’ve discovered so far into the new Helix LT.