Radial Engineering Tonebone Mix Blender And JDX Direct Drive
Not being an engineer myself, I guess it’s not my place to guess, but I don’t imagine that when most people first pick up a soldering iron they say to themselves “I’m gonna make something that no one will ever know is there!” Looking at the extensive Radial Engineering catalogue, it seems they really excel at being the silent partner in the business of sounding good. You would have seen the logo, which I found out is a dissection of a piece of quad-core cable, on their ever-popular JDI passive DI box. This unassuming, indispensable, industry standard little green box is easily one of the most trusted conduits available and as a result the Radial name has become synonymous with precision and unflinching transparency.
Lovepedal Purple Plexi
Minimising controls and maximising tone, that’s the mantra of Lovepedal stompboxes. The boutique pedal manufacturer is responsible for making the one-knob pedal not only a viable option, but also a vehicle for distinct settings and a myriad of tonal options. Next to pedals of greater stature, excessive functionality and overcomplicated controls, Lovepedal units hold their own with skilfully sculpted tone. The ‘less is more’ approach is one that they take very seriously, perfectly embodied by their updated Purple Plexi. Now with three control knobs instead of four, this new redesign aims to tap into decades of Marshall Plexi tone.
Keeley Electronics Silver Bullet Fuzz Pedal
Robert Keeley has been building, modding and refining pedals for many moons. A lot of his creations have become staples on pedalboards around the world, from uber rock stars to studio cats to bedroom bashers and those just beginning their foray into tonal exploration. A respected engineer, his enthusiasm for tone has never seemed to wane, and the recent revamp of the Keeley look, website and a tonne of new designs shows that he’s working as hard as ever.
Hammond Leslie Cream Pedal
The names Hammond and Leslie have been around in music for longer than most of us can remember. But one usually thinks of big organs and killer rotary speaker cabinets when these names are mentioned. The last thing I would have thought about was a guitar pedal, until this landed on my desk this month! Now, Hammond have delivered a pedal that captures the behaviour of Don Leslie’s original cabinet designs, with four separate cabinets modelled in the one pedal. For keyboards and guitars, this offers a whole lot of life and character in one pedal.
Sherlock Amplifiers V3 Distortion Pedal
Personally, I’m a longtime fan of Dale Sherlock’s amps. The Fat Head, the Angry Ant and the Grid 30 are particular favourites, but pretty much anything Dale Sherlock turns his considerable talents to is going to turn out great. Enter the V3. It’s a two-channel distortion pedal, which takes the high gain circuitry of the Fat Head and shrinks it down to pedal form.
Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Echo
Catalinbread are masters at infusing classic sounds and unique parameters into newly produced stompboxes. Their entire pedal range is characterised by an appreciation for subtlety and control – an approach hinged upon authenticity and attention to detail. The Belle Epoch Tape Echo – their latest vintage throwback to pass through Mixdown’s doors – is a prime example of this very philosophy. This pedal is a recreation of Maestro’s highly influential Echoplex EP-3 tape delay effect. In offering echo, sound-on-sound functionality and the superb colouration of a quality preamp, it garnered use from the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Page. This is why Catalinbread have gone to such great lengths to recreate its distinctive set of controls and sonic configuration in a modern unit.
TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver
TC Electronic boast a formidable pedal range, with the Danish masters of sound alteration currently at the height of their powers. So when the audio equipment manufacturer teased earlier in the year the forthcoming release of a new pedal, the industry buzz was palpable. Following widespread speculation about the pedal’s identity, we were finally introduced to the newest member of their heralded pedal effect family – the Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver. In true TC Electronic fashion, this is a high performance octaver, modernised and reinvented, yet undeniably authentic. As the new face of pitch altering, it looks the part and plays like a well-oiled machine.
Vox V860 Volume Pedal
There are some pedals that continue to show up on guitarists’ pedalboards no matter what they play and how they use effects. One such unit is the volume pedal, an indispensable tool that can transform the way you control your dynamics and change the way both your guitar and amplifier interact together. But, there aren’t that many good volume pedals readily available, so it is nice to see Vox adding the V860 to their product line-up this year.