Mixdown's Pedal Special: Distortion
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.
Reviewed: Mad Professor Amplification Bluebird Overdrive Pedal
There are several words all too often employed by guitar players in order to describe the tone of their dreams. Words like ‘transparent’ and ‘saturated’ get bandied about liberally by people who don’t necessarily know what they mean in general, let alone in relation to the search. One that gets less of a look in but that is equally mercurial is the word ‘sensitive.’ How can the sound of a tube amp being pushed to its very limits be described as anything other than flat out? It seems counterintuitive to anyone who hasn’t tried the Bluebird Overdrive from Mad Professor Amplification.
Reviewed: Cusack Music Tap-A-Delay Pedal
Cusack Music have been building pedals and amps out of Michigan since 2002. Many of you might have seen/tried/heard the Tap-A-Whirl tap tempo Tremolo which has graced more than few pedal boards around the globe. Following the Tap tempo path (and Tap name), the Tap-A-Delay offers up to 750ms of delay with a range of features for some old school analogue sounding goodness. ‘This isn’t your clean studio quality digital delay with perfect repeats,’ reads the Cusack spiel.
REVIEWED: API AUDIO TRANSZFORMER GT GUITAR PEDAL
Many of you will know of API Audio. It’s a name that turns up in the best studio racks all round the world and a brand that has taken 500 Series modules to new realms with their Lunchbox portable rack casing. But when you think of API it’s usually studio preamps, compressors and even classic large format mixing consoles that come to mind. So naturally when I was handed a compact box this month I assumed we would be looking at a new 500 series rack module, which got me a little excited. When I opened the box, I got very excited to see that what was on offer was something very different indeed, yet still maintained so much of the design and class of an API tool. This month I got to use API directly between a guitar and an amplifier in the new TranZformer GT guitar pedal that is going to get a lot of attention from anyone seeking classic studio tone in an almost compact pedal.
REVIEWED: MAD PROFESSOR AMPLIFICATION TWIMBLE OVERDRIVE PEDAL
Of all the guitar amps in history, one goes down as the most elusive of them all. Lauded across the world for its rarity and exclusivity, an original Dumble amp will set you back tens of thousands of dollars. But if you’re playing the same gigs I am, chances are you don’t have that kind of coin to drop on a car — let alone an amp. Luckily for us working musicians, you don’t need to aim that high. Mad Professor’s Twimble — a smart pedal that combines two ODs in one — calls to mind this exact tone.
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.