Mixdown's Christmas Gift Guide: Pedals

Perfect Pedal Presents

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and we couldn't be happier about it. But between listening to Christmas songs on repeat and trying to perfect our festive decorations, it's not always easy to make time to find a gift for the musicians in our lives. For those who don't want to see their Christmas cheer ruined searching for the perfect present in a crowd of shoppers on Christmas Eve, we've got you covered. Our Christmas Gift Guide is bursting with gear that we're sure your music mates will love, and this page is especially for anyone in need of a pedal.

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

DISTRIBUTED BY: Amber Technology

EXPECT TO PAY: $229

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Anyone from the loopiest learner to the most earnest Ed Sheeran emulator.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

Of all the units on the market that offer a similar record and playback functionality, the Ditto has made a name for itself for two things. All at once it is a) the simplest one-tap variation on the theme and b) the most honest replication of your tone repeat after repeat after repeat.

USABILITY:

As above, one knob and one button combine to do everything you need for instantaneous duplication of the self. Set and forget your playback volume and use the silent switch in a number of different combinations to record, play, stop, go back one step and/or clear the slate. Simple.

CONSTRUCTION:

The unit is low profile in both height and width so it won’t take up too much real estate and all of that flexibility is housed in one of the toughest chassis’ on the market.

OVERALL:

The least complicated avenue into one of the trickiest playing styles in the pantheon of modern playing.

 

Valeton AD-10 Analogue Delay

DISTRIBUTED BY: Global Vintage

EXPECT TO PAY: $119

RECOMMENDED FOR:

The psychedelic sound surfer looking for one of the most sought-after sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The dawn of the analogue delay stompbox has to be one of the defining moments in effects history. Pedals like the Carbon Copy and DM2 (upon which the AD-10 is cloned) negated the need to lug around complex and touchy tape echo machines meaning that everyone who wanted to sound like Pink Floyd could. That sound sparked a million ideas and now the AD-10 is bound to spark a million more.

USABILITY:

As uncomplicated as a pedal can be - dial in the rate of repeats, the length of time between them and how much you can hear them in effect in order to zero in on all the vintage echo tone your trippy little heart desires.

CONSTRUCTION:

The rugged yet stylish, zinc alloy housing is smaller than your average stompbox but just as ready to wail.

OVERALL:

A modern take on a classic tone with everything you’ve been looking for in that Holy Grail pedal except the price tag.

 

Moog MF Delay Pedal

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Innovative Music Australia

EXPECT TO PAY: $329

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Live or in the studio over a range of styles – country, rock, pop, and experimental.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

Short slap back and almost reverb-type tones through to longer repeats and big solo sounds. Alongside these great analogue sounding repeats the added usefulness of an expression pedal lets you control swells and the amount of ambience as needed. Spinning the time dial gives you crazy oscillating sounds and the drive control adds some grit and oomph.

USABILITY:

Mix, drive, feedback and time controls make it easy to get cracking…cracking…cracking….Which is great as a fattener (quick delay time with minimal repeats and mix) or for actual rhythmical delay tones. The Moog MF sounds warm and would be right at home in a range of styles.

CONSTRUCTION:

Tough and robust, the MF is a mix of the classic old school Moog stylings and some strong black, white and silver aesthetics. True bypass, 100% analogue and designed to hold up to plenty of gigging.

OVERALL:

Typically known for their synths and keyboards, Moog expanded their effects line a number of years back with the Minifoogers (MF) continuing the Moog design and tonal properties into standalone effects pedals.

 

Valeton Coral Verb Pedal

DISTRIBUTED BY: Global Vintage

EXPECT TO PAY: $99

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Guitar, rock, pop, country, experimental.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The Coral Verb offers 11 modes of reverb – room, studio, hall, stage, church, spring, plate, mod, lofi, gate and reverse. This means you’ve got quite a palette to work with from subtle ambient tones through to massive reverberant effects.

USABILITY:

Plug in, select a reverb mode and you’re away. Control-wise you can tweak mix for the blend of dry and affected tone, decay for the length of the verb and tone to control the brightness – all pretty easy.

CONSTRUCTION:

The ‘mini’ design can free up precious pedalboard real estate while being clearly laid out so that you can change things up on the fly and add effects quickly as needed.

OVERALL:

The Valeton Coral Verb can be a great - even when used subtly - enhancer for adding some air to a dry sounding amp or room and doesn’t always have to be used as a full on ‘effect’. Not as ritzy and feature laden as bigger, pricier reverb pedals but with plenty of modes and tones in a nice priced package, there's plenty to like here.

 

Emerson Custom Pomeroy Overdrive/Boost/Distortion

DISTRIBUTED BY: Gladesville Guitar Factory

EXPECT TO PAY: $499

RECOMMENDED FOR:

The dirt farmer looking to taste all the flavours of the filthy rainbow.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

While the humble overdrive might be the simplest sound to create, for many it’s the white whale of their tonal journey. Emerson’s design has a number of more control functions on its face plate than most. On top of a three-stage EQ and in/output conditioning you are also in charge of six different clipping stages, a clean blend, hi/lo pass filter and master volume control.

USABILITY:

With a veritable smorgasbord of knobs across the face of such a modest footprint there is a very real danger of overcrowding. Not so with the Pomeroy. There is enough room between each potentiometer for you to change your settings with the pointy end of a cowboy boot.

CONSTRUCTION:

Folded, high grade steel houses the incredibly subtle combination of digital and analogue innards.

OVERALL:

This is a connoisseur’s dirt pedal. With so much hubbub surrounding Klons and TS808s, this unit might just be the one stompbox to rule them all.

 

Lovepedal Kalamazoo Overdrive

DISTRIBUTED BY: Gladesville Guitar Factory

EXPECT TO PAY: $329

RECOMMENDED FOR:

The discerning sonic explorer looking for an original voice amid the din.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

En masse the overdrive corner of the market is one populated by leaders and followers. While there are any number of Klon Klones claiming to be more transparent than the next, it’s rare to find a pedal with a little more to offer than a variation on a theme. Kalamazoo’s ace up its sleeve is the Glass knob that you can use to add a level of presence and sheen to the crystalline, bluesy breakup that Lovepedal have heaped into their unit.

USABILITY:

The functions are as simple as any other four-knob overdrive. The level knob reaches unison at about 75% and offers a generous dollop of boosted signal beyond there. The tone knob allows you to treat it like either a booming roll-off or a shimmering treble boost.

CONSTRUCTION:

Solid as a rock in its cast aluminium box, the power stage can be run at either 9V or 18V if you’re brave enough to drive your amp into that juicy a territory.

OVERALL:

The Kalamazoo is a truly unique and enjoyable pedal to listen to, purely and simply.

 

Catalinbread Zero Point Flanger

DISTRIBUTED BY: Gladesville Guitar Factory

EXPECT TO PAY: $299

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Authentic, Hendrix-style flanging that became a hallmark of analogue studio recording.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

If you want to use a flanger on every track you use, by all means, be my guest. However, you're most likely going to use this for specific moments of your live set. And when you do, prepare to watch the audience's jaw drop. This is the best sounding flanger on the market today.

USABILITY:

What makes the Zero Point such an interesting effect is its capability to alter sound in real time, as opposed to other similar products. It's a very simple pedal to operate, capturing the essence of tape modulation in a contemporary way.

CONSTRUCTION:

atalinbread pedals look as great as they sound. As for the overall build quality, the Zero Point is nothing but quality inside and out. A single stomp switch and an LED light are all you need for authentic tape flanging sounds every time.

OVERALL:

Any guitarist would be lucky to score one of these under the tree this Christmas. With such a unique tone, the pedal is just the start of the gift. The endless creativity that'll flow in the years following? That's really what this pedal is about.

 

JHS Moonshine Overdrive

 

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Gladesville Guitar Factory

EXPECT TO PAY: $339

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Those looking for a Tubescreamer-style overdrive, while still wanting something that'll stand out from the crowd.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

There's no ifs or buts about it. This is one of the most iconic overdrive sounds of all times. You've heard it on countless records, and numerous hall-of-fame guitar solos. Every guitarist needs a mid-range focused OD in their life. This will have you covered for a huge gamut of classic tones, and sound fantastic in the process.

USABILITY:

Simplicity is key. There's no need to overthink a TS-style pedal. Volume, tone, drive and a responsive feel to pick attack will have you covered from everything from a light boost, to a pedal that will help carve out your middle section for a scooped metal sound.

CONSTRUCTION:

JHS make some of the best boutique pedals on the market. These are made to play for years to come. Heavy to hold and designed with years of stomping and touring in mind. Plus, you're far less likely to have any technical problems with a new incarnation of a classic pedal than going down the vintage route.

OVERALL:

For the guitarist in your life who is all about those classic tones, this is a stocking-stuffer that'll have them smiling well into the new year.

 

Xotic Soul Driven Boost Overdrive

DISTRIBUTED BY: Gladesville Guitar Factory

EXPECT TO PAY: $265

RECOMMENDED FOR:

You're after thick, lush overdrive with sustain and girth for days? This is the pedal for you.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

There's much to be said about an overdrive pedal that focuses on fattening your signal. Whether you need to beef up a single-coil sound or want to add some teeth to a humbucking guitar to cut through a live mix mid-solo, the Xotic will have you sorted. Plus, there's some serious hair on this overdrive when cranked – crossing nicely into distortion territory.

USABILITY:

The gain and volume knobs work exceptionally well in tandem to drive your amp into the coveted 'sweet spot' that alludes to guitarists operating at lower volume levels. The tone knob can tame your highs or add a welcome level of bite depending on what you're after. However, the mid boost control is where this pedal really shines – perfect for singing leads no matter what guitar you're playing.

CONSTRUCTION:

True bypass switching is a welcome addition for those out to conserve their tone. At 270gs, you're not going to break this pedal in a hurry either. Use, abuse and enjoy.

OVERALL:

If the ultimate overdrive tone is still escaping you, the Xotic will have you dialled in perfectly every time without unnecessary dial tweaking.

 

Mooer PE-100 Portable Guitar Effects

DISTRIBUTED BY: Jade Australia

EXPECT TO PAY: $150

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Studio, live, recording, gigs, portable rigs, a range of styles and those needing multi-effects without wanting to drop a massive bundle of cash.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

Heaps of tones are available in the PE-100. Amp models, effects, drum machine, and a metronome are all onboard allowing you to go from practicing at home to full live tones. In a portable casing it’s great to throw in a gig bag, sit on your desk or take to practice.

USABILITY:

It’s as easy as selecting one of the 99 factory presets or creating up to 99 user presets. The dedicated Tap Tempo button is handy for time and modulation based effects and the display is clear and well lit.

CONSTRUCTION:

The size of the PE-100 adds to the unit’s appeal – small enough to fit in your gig bag/backpack/jacket pocket but tough and sturdy enough to not just feel like a toy. The ability to run on a power supply or batteries gives a real sense of portability too.

OVERALL:

Mooer have been pumping out the mini effects pedals of late and it’s nice to see a multi-effects unit with a twist. The ‘desktop’ operation style is cool and takes a different approach to the usual footpedal type board.

 

Meris Polymoon Delay Pedal

DISTRIBUTED BY: Studio Connections

EXPECT TO PAY: $459

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Dreamy delay nerds.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:  

In a market filled to the brim with delay and modulation pedals, the Polymoon really shines through with something quite different. It does everything from the simplest of delays through to super modulated and pitch shifting soundscapes with ease. The 1200ms of delay gives you a tonne of sonic real estate to play with.

USABILITY:

The pedal has controls for time, feedback, mix, multiply, dimension and dynamics, as well as a tap tempo switch alongside the bypass switch. Easy to tweak to the desired sound without jumping through a tonne of hoops.

CONSTRUCTION:

I’ve said it before, but Meris make some of the highest quality pedals on the market that also look stunning. The white coated casing is tasteful and built like a bank vault.

OVERALL:

Meris continue to hit it out of the ballpark with their effects pedals. The Polymoon is a welcome addition to a saturated market and provides a unique and fun experience for all of you delay nerds.

 

Positive Grid BIAS Distortion Pro

DISTRIBUTED BY: Link Audio

EXPECT TO PAY:  $705

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Rock, metal, blues, pop, studio and live. 
 

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

You can use the Distortion Pro as a standalone dirt pedal with the ability to store up to 20 presets. You also get a boost function providing extra control, which can be placed before or after the distortion. Dedicated apps and online connection then open up the world of tone matching, deep editing, sharing presets and more.  
 

USABILITY:

It has on/off switches for each preset and the boost function has controls for low, mid, high, gain, level, blend and boost. Positive Grid have included some starting points too, such as tube, boost, fuzz, screamer and overdrive – all handy and easy to use. If you want to get further involved, jump into the app and really start tweaking.
 

CONSTRUCTION:

Looks hip, feels tough, and jams a heap of control and functionality into a reasonable sized pedal.
 

OVERALL:

Great tones, MIDI/USB/online connectivity, control over plenty of parameters, tone matching of your favourite pedals, and so much more. Plus it’s portable, meaning you can take it anywhere and record direct or plug into an amp. 

 

Meris Ottobit Jr

DISTRIBUTED BY: Studio Connections

RRP: $349

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Players who want their guitar to sound like a video game arcade.

VERSATILITY:

With so many brands in the current market striving for higher sample rates and crystal clean effects, it seems that Meris are taking it in the opposite direction and trying to reduce sample rates down to almost nothing.

USABILITY:

The different knobs give you a heap of control on the level of crushing/decimation to your signal. From more subtle effects through to absolute bit crushing chaos, the Ottobit Jr is a ridiculously fun pedal for emulating the sounds of your favourite Atari games.

CONSTRUCTION:

The glossy black chassis with an ever so subtle flake makes for a tasteful looking pedal. Coupled with extremely well built parts and a not so overbearing size, the pedal is a welcome addition to your board without taking up too much space.

OVERALL:

Look, it’s not the kind of pedal that is applicable for everything, and it’s certainly not for every player. That said, the Ottobit Jr is well crafted and bucketloads of fun.

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