Mixdown's Pedal Special: Multi-Effects, Compressors & Preamps

Here at Mixdown we wholeheartedly believe that there’s a pedal out there for every guitarist. A stompbox soul mate, if you will. That’s why we have fought tooth and nail – day in and day out – to put to together the most comprehensive, toe-tingling and tone rich pedal effects special for this month’s issue. From pummeling distortion that leaves you gasping for air, to the purest of sweet delays, our writers have sourced the cream of the crop. So go forth, find your perfect match, and head down to your local distributor.

T-Rex Soulmate

Effect: Multi-effect | Expect to Pay: $999 | Distributor: Amber Technology

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Anyone that wants the convenience of having everything you need to plug in and instantly have a full sets worth of sounds right there at your feet, and to not cost you a buttload in excess baggage fees at the airport.

 

VERSATILITY:

Each effect sounds great on its own - T-Rex doesn’t mess around - but there are some great little tricks hidden in the feature set, such as the blend knob on the overdrive effect, which lets you add some clean signal for additional detail.

 

USABILITY:

The included effects are based on T-Rex’s Møller overdrive, Mudhoney distortion, Replica and Reptile delays (including the modulation of the latter) and Room Mate reverb, plus a boost with up to 14dB of additional gain.

 

CONSTRUCITON:

The unit has mono inputs, stereo outputs, an effect loop send and return and a boost level control for bringing your level up for solos.

 

OVERALL:

Some players might prefer a dedicated modulation effect with selectable flanger, chorus, phaser and tremolo, and it would be great to have an expression pedal input for controlling selectable parameters, but this is still an extremely handy, portable unit with lots of uses for a huge range of genres.

 

By Peter Hodgson

 

Origin Effects Compact Series Compressor Cali 76

Effect: Compressor | Expect To Pay: $575 | Distributor: Gladesville Guitar Factory

 

RECOMMENDED:

Those after the legendary quality of an Origin Effects unit squeezed into a small package. If you’re keen to make an investment in one of the finest compressors on the market, this is well worth a look.

 

VERSATILITY:

A great compressor should be almost invisible - you feel it more than you hear it. That’s what makes the Cali-76 so enticing. Highs become crispy, lows become tighter and your overall signal more balanced and punchy.

 

USABILITY:

Separate controls for attack, release and ratio let you dial in the precise amount of compression to best suit your setup, making this a valuable addition to any rig. What truly sets this pedal apart from the pack however is the ability to blend your dry signal back in with your compressed tone for true parallel compression.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

The Cali 76 is built like a tank. Weighty, solid and dependable — it’s exactly what you’d expect from a pedal at this price point. The jewel lamp provides a visual way to measure your signal and dial in the right tone on the fly.

 

OVERALL:

This is the king of compressors. Of course, you’re going to have to shell out some coin for this type of quality — whether that’s worth it is up to your own individual needs. If you’re after a pedal you’ll have forever and a day, this is for you.

 

By James Di Fabrizio

 

 

EarthQuaker Devices Data Corrupter

Effect: Bit Crusher | Expect to Pay: $349 | Distributor: Global Vintage

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Anyone looking for what people in the past thought music would sound like in the future.

 

VERSATILITY:

Within the heady realm of pedals designed to Moog-ify a guitar’s natural voicing, this is by far the most far-reaching single item on the market. Between the three different types of frequency analytics at play, the varying adjustments to warped output, and the sheer, mind-boggling audacity of the thing, to use the word ‘versatile’ is a vast understatement.

 

USABILITY:

The Data Corrupter is a pretty wild beast. Any and every note is not simply affected, but quite literally put through a digital wringer. When engaged, it is well and truly all systems go, so you have to be ready for what it can do by the time your foot goes anywhere near the switch.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

EQD have made a name for themselves as one of the wildest hive-minds in stomp box design, but also keep a keen eye on build quality. Good switches, heavy-duty chassis, and no end to the fun you’ll have.

 

OVERALL:

This pedal is as close as you’ll get to the full modular synth experience without succumbing entirely to Hal 9000’s every whim.

 

By Luke Shields

 

Mooer Red Truck Combined Effects Pedal

Effect: Multi Effects | Expect to Pay: $499 | Distributor: Jade Australia

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Beginner/intermediate guitarists looking for a high quality, all-in-one effects solution.

 

VERSATILITY:

The reverb and delay modes offer a huge range of sonic versatility, as does the pure boost/drive section of the pedal, providing a juicy bump to single coil pickups to cut through the mix for lead passages.

 

USABILITY:

While it may be poised as a pedalboard replacement, Mooer includes the option of an effects loop, allowing players to link other pedals into their signal if necessary. The Red Truck can be configured to both live and preset modes, with the latter allowing users to save their favourite effects for later use, as well as an inbuilt tuner and tap-tempo functionality for the reverb, delay and modulation modules.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

The Red Truck manages to squeeze all of its features into a well-constructed unit not much longer than a standard ruler. While the micro-sized knobs on the pedal might be a pain to adjust when playing live, the overall design and layout of the Red Truck proves to be a delight to play.

 

OVERALL:

While the modulation feature is a bit of a letdown, the ergonomic design, expansive effects modules, and versatile tone-shaping potential of the pedal make the Red Truck a formidable player in the multi effects market. If you’ve got one of these bad boys in your rig, you might not need much else.

 

By Will Brewster

 

Eden Glowplug

Effect: Preamp | Expect To Pay: $289 | Distributor: Electric Factory

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Rock, blues, funk, studio work.

 

VERSATILITY:

Versatile in a sense that you can realistically use the Glowplug in any situation that needs some extra warmth or tube tone on your bass sound. Vintage tone chasers come to mind, but also recording setups that want to add something to their direct sound.   

 

USABILITY:

Simple to operate with an on/off stomp and controls for warmth, crossover, mix and volume. Gigs and studio use would both be fine. Extra points for an included power supply, too.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

Eden gear is typically rock solid, and the Glowplug looks to be in the same mould. The tough casing is built for plenty of use and with Eden amps, cabs and pedals used the world over, there shouldn’t be any problems with reliability.

 

OVERALL:

Quite specific in its application, the Glowplug is a cool concept as plenty of players and engineers are after the warmth and harmonic content of tubes. Easy to incorporate to your rig thanks to the pedal format, I could see the GP being an easy go-to pedal for adding character to your tone. The crossover and mix controls are great for targeting specific frequencies and blending with your fundamental sound, too.

 

By Nick Brown

 

Ashdown Acoustic Preamp Pedal

Effect: Preamp | Expect to Pay:  $199.95 | Distributor: Pro Music Australia

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Acoustic work, fingerstyle, pop, rock, country.

 

VERSATILITY:

As a tone shaper, preamp or DI, the AAP has controls for both input and output levels which lets you balance a signal and add some hair if you desire. High and low EQ add to your tonal sculpting whilst the notch filter is quite handy and often a staple on acoustic aimed pedals and EQs. Guitar is probably your first choice with this little fellow, but don’t discount using it with other acoustic instruments (including bass in some situations).   

 

USABILITY:

There are a couple of uses for this pedal. Firstly, as an always-on preamp/tone shaper – great for DI work or as a standalone pre in front of a power amp or powered speaker. Alternatively, it’s great when used as a boost/tone change pedal by setting the pedal sound boosted or differently, and then just stomping the pedal in and out when needed. Lastly, with the notch filter also foot switchable, you can set it to target nasty frequencies and leave on without affecting your EQ settings.       

 

CONSTRUCTION:

Weighty and chunky, the Ashdown Acoustic Preamp looks and feels solid. The slightly angled footswitches and steel casing are tough, and the whole unit seems like it’s built for plenty of gigging.

 

OVERALL:

A handy pedal to keep in your gig bag for use as a preamp or as an always-on EQ pedal for acoustic instruments.  

 

By Nick Brown

 

Meris Ottobit Jr

Effect: Bit Crusher | Expect to Pay: $459 | Distributor: Studio Connections

 

 

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.

 

By Nicholas Simonsen

 

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