Ho ho ho - where did the year go!? All of a sudden, the festive season has snuck up onto us once again, and if you're anything like us here at Mixdown, there's a good chance that you're probably incredibly disorganised. To prevent you from having to endure the agony of Michael Bublé churning out another frostbitten rendition of a Christmas carol down the aisles of your local department store, we've put together a comprehensive guide of all the hottest musical gifts to keep your eyes peeled for this festive season. If you're into effects pedals, power supplies and wireless systems, read on.
Meris Enzo Multi Voice Synth
Distributed By: Studio Connections | Expect To Pay: $495
Recommended For: Anyone who’s ever wanted to make their Telecaster sound like Aphex Twin.
Sound/Versatility: The Meris Enzo is undeniably the king of all guitar synth pedals, letting you dial in lush ‘80s style polysynth pads, funky Moog leads and even icy arpeggios that sound they’re plucked straight from a vintage Buchla. There’s plenty of controls to shape your patches with, and you can even bypass the synth engine and utilise the Enzo as a powerful pitch-shifting device.
Usability: The Enzo is obviously a lot more advanced than your average stompbox and bears a bit of a learning curve, but once you wrap your head around the basics, your curiosity will guide you the rest of the way. Tweaking the ADSR and filters opens up the magic inside of this unit, and plugging in an expression pedal really lets you get weird and whacky.
Construction: Like all Meris devices, the Enzo is supremely crafted. I really dug the sleek edges and multiple knob functions, and the vibrant gold finish looks killer - the tap-tempo knob is a neat touch for the arpeggiator function as well.
Overall: As a keyboard fiend, it’s refreshing to play a synth pedal that actually feels like a synth. The Enzo mightn’t replace any synthesiser in your studio, but if you’ve got the spend, it’s an incredibly huge flex for your pedalboard.
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 VLPP2+
Distributed by: EGM Distribution | Expect to pay: $385
Recommended For: Standard-size pedal board users who want the most out of their pedals. The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 VLPP2+ is designed to provide the best possible power for different pedals, so that the pedals themselves can perform at their peak.
Sound/Versatility: The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 VLPP2+ features eight outputs for multiple configurations when powering your pedals. Four of the outputs are standard 9V that can be toggled to 12V when needed, two of the 9V outputs feature Battery Sag Control so pedals with transistor-based distortion or harmonic effects can work as they were designed to.
Usability: The layout and design of the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 VLPP2+ make it great option for powering your pedal board with confidence. The eight outputs are linkable, offering anything from 9V up to 24V.
Construction: The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 VLPP2+ is well laid out, constructed from a solid metal chassis and designed to be used and abused. The black powder coat won’t distract you on a dark stage, and the outputs are clearly labeled for correct usage.
Overall: Voodoo Labs overall are very well known in the pedal power world, and for good reason. The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 VLPP2+ is just another feather in their hat.
1 Spot 1SPOTPRO7 Power Supply
Distributed by: EGM Distribution | Expect to pay: $269
Recommended For: Guitar, bass and keys players who are graduating beyond their 1Spot and need something with a bit more grunt.
Sound/Versatility: The 1 Spot 1SPOTPRO7 Power Supply provides seven outputs for powering pedals, all ranging between 100mA and 500mA, and toggle-able between 9V and 12V, with a dedicated 18V out without multiple cables.
Usability: The options provided and the switchable voltages make for a very usable pedal, that is simple to set-up and customise to your own needs.
Construction: Constructed from solid metal and designed to fit into a pedal board practically, the 1 Spot 1SPOTPRO7 Power Supply is also engineered to provide plenty of power no matter which pedals you’ve got chained together. The 1 Spot 1SPOTPRO7 Power Supply offers up to 1900mA of draw.
Overall: Many pedal users start their journey with a 1Spot from Truetone, and for good reason: they’e simple and well made. When it’s time to upgrade, moving to another Truetone products makes sense. The 1 Spot 1SPOTPRO7 Power Supply provides everything you need, plus a little more, just to make sure you’re powering your pedals so they can perform at their best and you can focus on music.
Line 6 Relay G10
Distributed by: Yamaha Music Australia | Expect to pay: $499.99
Recommended For: Guitarists and bassists who like to strut their stuff onstage. I mean, we all know that the guitarists will, but if you play bass and get one of these things, who knows what may happen.
Sound/Versatility: With a frequency response of 10Hz – 20kHz and a total transmission range of 50 feet, the Line 6 Relay G10 wireless unit ensures that you’ll experience no signal loss or drop in audio quality, even when you’re perched atop of the drum riser tapping out a blistering solo.
Usability: Given that it operates on a 2.4GHz frequency band, the Line 6 Relay G10 can be used anywhere in the world without picking up any rogue radio interference. Using the unit is as simple as plugging in and turning on, and a total battery life of eight hours (200 in standby mode) means that you’ll be safe to use this bad boy frequently without a hassle.
Construction: Built from a combination of metal and hard plastic, the Relay G10’s transmitter and receiver are constructed to withstand the stresses of touring, and their slight dimensions means that they’ll squeeze easily onto your pedalboard or into your pocket for storage and safekeeping.
Overall: Join the wireless revolution! The NBN might be a bit rubbish, but the Relay G10 definitely isn’t: a viable and cost-effective solution for touring musicians of all kinds.
T-Rex Fuel Tank Chameleon
Distributed by: Amber Technology | Expect to pay: $299
Recommended For: Guitarists who use a variety of pedals without the hassle of using a variety of different power adaptors.
Sound/Versatility: The T-Rex is quiet as a a mouse, as you’d expect from a power supply, with four different voltage options to accommodate pedals made by different companies with varying power requirements. Good. Clean. Power.
Usability: The choice of four voltage options makes it easy to assemble a board containing pedals that require voltages without resorting to custom made power supplies. Some times the power supplies can take up more space than the actual pedals and cause hums, spikes and power problems that can under or over power pedals which can really ruin your day.
Construction: If it’s anything like other T-Rex products, it’ll be built like a (pardon the pun) tank. The IEC power input gives it an even tougher construction. It’s also surprisingly small and discreet, depending on the board construction you could even place it under the board.
Overall: The design department at T-Rex have really come up with something special with the Chameleon. T Rex have an enviable reputation for making products that sound great with a build quality that is second to none and the Fuel Tank Chameleon continues this legacy.
Fender Downtown Express Bass Multi-Effect Pedal
Distributed by: Fender Music Australia | RRP: $449
Recommended For: Bassists who would like a studio quality preamp as well as the most popular effects for electric bass
Sound/Versatility: Your one -stop shop for bass tone shaping. Compressor, three-band EQ and overdrive - each switchable or on its own, or you can use the mute switch for silent tuning.
Usability: One great asset of the Downtown Express is that you don’t need to program it. You can change sounds on the fly with a turn of the knob. It can be used as a pedal between your bass and amp, or as a studio quality DI for both recording and live. With the growing popularity of playing direct in live situations, this is practically a Swiss Army Knife of bass tone shaping.You can even reorder the compressor and overdrive circuits depending on your signal chain preference.
Construction: It’s a pedal, so it’s built to be stepped on. Solid and made to last.
Overall: Whether live on stage, in a studio or at home using a DAW, the Fender Downtown Express Pedal is bound to become an essential part of any bass players rig.
TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster
Distributed by: Amber Technology | Expect To Pay: $109
Recommended For: Guitarists who need a clean boost pedal without the alteration of tone that comes with a drive pedal.
Sound/Versatility: Like all TC products, the sound is superb.You can’t go wrong with this pedal - it has an on/off switch and a boost control of up to 20 dB It does one thing, but does it very well.
Usability: The Spark Mini is a great pedal to have in your effects chain. If you’re using multiple guitars you can go fro a humbucker equipped guitar to a single coil and by engaging the spark you can change tones without losing volume. You can also go change dynamics on your instrument without getting lost in the mix. Wanna take a clean solo but still be heard? The TC Spark Mini has got you covered. It’s a great addition to any signal chain. Clean boost pedals can be addictive. Some players turn them on and leave them on to fatten up a signal.
Construction: Solidly built - steel casing and steel on/off switch. Built to be stomped on for years.
Overall: The TC Spark Mini is perfect for that clean boost without being an overdrive pedal or colouring your tone. A real bonus is that it takes up little valuable pedalboard real estate.
Fender Smolder Acoustic Overdrive Pedal
Distributed by: Fender Music Australia | RRP: $299
Recommended For: Acoustic guitarists who want to expand their sonic palate into rock territory.
Sound/Versatility: It’s tough to add overdrive to acoustic guitars - not only can it sound un-musical, it can also cause tone-destroying feedback. Designed specifically for use with acoustic instruments, the all-analogue Smolder Acoustic Overdrive elegantly solves these issues with Fender know-how. To soften the bright attack of a piezo pickup there's an included a Pickup Compensation control that smooths out the highs.
Usability: The Drive knob controls the amount of distortion, while three-band EQ and Filter controls let you shape your sound to taste. There's also cabinet simulation to add some flavor when plugged into a full-range acoustic amp or PA.
Construction: The Smolder Acoustic Overdrive is an all-original Fender circuit. The chassis is crafted from lightweight, durable anodized aluminum, and the Amp Jewel LED gives your pedalboard the classic Fender look. The switchable LED-backlit knobs show your control settings on a dark stage at a glance.
Overall: It can be tough doing a three hour gig with just an acoustic guitar and little else. The Smolder takes the humble acoustic guitar to new places and opens the possibilities of sound right up with the stomp of a foot.
TC Electronic Brainwaves Pitch Shifter
Distributed by: Amber Technology | Expect to pay: $229
Recommended For: Tom Morello wannabes. Also, it works pretty well as a chorus effect, and you can pull some pretty sick layered POG sounds out of it too.
Sounds/Versatility: Pitch shifting is one of those effects that can be a bit jarring when overused, but TC Electronic have tried to make things as versatile as possible with the Brainwaves. Using the momentary switch provides that classic Whammy sound, but the three customisable TonePrints let you experiment with an array of modulated, detuned and layered sounds too.
Usability: Very, very intuitive once you spend an hour or two with it. The momentary MASH footswitch is super fun once you get the hang of it, and you can even set it up as an easy option to change tonal presets on the fly.
Construction: Pink is my favourite colour. I play a pink guitar, and this pedal is pink. Enough said – do they make pink amplifiers? I want one. Anyway, it’s incredibly sturdy, and the footswitch feels like it will withstand some tough use if you’re that kind of player.
Overall: I really dig the TC Electronic Brainwaves. It’s a quirky pedal for the quirky player, but if you’re keen on getting Whammy-esque tones from a regular-sized stompbox, it’s definitely worth checking out.
PedalTrain Nano+ Pedalboard W/Soft Case
Distributed by: EGM Distribution | RRP: $129
Recommended For: Rock Dogs, guitarists, Touring artists
Sound/Versatility: The Nano+ is the perfect foundation for any rig, big or small.. Ultra-compact and portable, the Nano+ is the perfect space saving solution for artists on the go. It’s dual rail design means even the smallest pedals grab hold of Nano+ and hold on for dear life. The Nano+ includes 36” of Pedaltrain’s professional grade hook-and-loop pedal fastene. It also comes with a soft case (featuring a heavy-duty metal zipper and reinforced stress points).
Usability: The perfect foundation for your pedal rig, the Nano+ gives you all the perks we’ve come to expect from PedalTrain, but in a cute small scale option, allowing for plug-in and play optimization for touring artists and gigging shred-lords.
Construction: Made to be stepped on!
Overall: If you don’t have a pedalboard already, the Nano+ will come as a revelation. It makes set-up so simple that you will be hitting yourself, for not getting one sooner.