TRUETONE / VISUAL SOUND AND 1SPOT
Since its modest beginnings, Truetone has grown to become a pedal manufacturer recognised for nailing specific sounds – its unique line of products is renowned for turning the tonal dreams of guitarists into sonic reality. Since changing their name to Truetone (formerly Visual Sound) they have expanded the 1 SPOT range – now the industry standard – with two new units and new accessories, and have launched a new V3 version of their flagship Jekyll & Hyde overdrive-distortion pedal. The latter is indicative of a manufacturer that has perfected its craft. Like its predecessors, the V3 Jekyll & Hyde features a two-pedals- in-one design. However the ability of this pedal to dial in hi-gain tones and thicker distortion with an impactful low-end takes it to another level. Due to an unrelenting hunger for invention and creativity, Truetone continues to remain at the forefront of guitar effect engineering.
Bad Cat is responsible for crafting classic guitar tube amplifiers in the modern form, and the boutique manufacturer hasn’t looked back since entering the scene in 2000. With an approach that leaves no room for compromise an attention to detail is present in every line of construction and make; from the assembly process, to the finish and testing, Bad Cat is a master of the meticulous, hands-on build. It comes as no surprise then that their amps nail classic tones and layouts. Their Legacy Series, for instance, is a shining example of complexity in tone, providing both shimmering cleans and a thumping growl. There’s no questioning why Bad Cat is the amp of choice for the likes of Slipknot and Panic! At The Disco. With its rapid rise the company is now a major player within the industry, producing high performance pedals as well as tone refining amps.
California-based manufacturers and amplification pioneers Bogner have been producing products with a point of difference ever since their early beginnings. Recently the inventive company has been capturing the sound of their sought-after tube amplifiers in pedals, bringing back classic tones and tube ingenuity in affordable and intensely rewarding offerings. The Ecstasy and Uber-schall amplifiers have both been repurposed in the Ecstasy Red and Ecstasy Blue pedals, their signature tones and sonic vibrancy now the joy of the everyday guitarist. Next came the Burnley distortion, Wessex overdrive, and Harlow Boost with Bloom, each pedal fitted with an audio transformer from the legendary Rupert Neve. The result is a rich, fatty sound quality with a tonal breadth suitable for every genre. The La Grange, which is designed to emulate the legendary British ‘Plexi’ amplifier tones, is the latest installment from an innovator that continues to enter new and exciting ground.
Behind some of the most mind-blowing and technologically savvy products in today’s music industry is BluGuitar. It’s the brain-child of German guitarist and amp designer Thomas Blug, who is renowned for his past work with another well-known German guitar amplifier manufacturer in Hughes and Kettner. His playing history includes being titled the Best German Rock-Pop Guitarist in 1997 by Deutscher Rock Musik Verband, and in 2004 he won a Fender competition that was designed to find the ‘Strat King of Europe’. His line of gear is as fascinating and as his musical history. The BluGuitar AMP1 is a 100-watt guitar amplifier with a valve driven output stage that fits onto a pedalboard – it’s a pedal that effectively replaces the use of an amp. This is a forward thinking unit that still offers a sweet clean channel and interacts well with other pedals. There’s no doubt that BluGuitar is changing the way we play the guitar, one product at a time.
Lehle is a brand that truly made its mark with a single invention. The man behind the manufacturer, Burkhard Georg Lehle, built the Lehle switcher motivated by the voiced concerns of guitarists – a loss of sound and the generation of unwanted noise. Here came the first A/B- and A/B/C switchers. With the development of a Stereo Effect-Loop/Switcher featuring two separate loops and an integrated buffer amp in 2004, the company took a turn that eventually lead to great prominence within the industry. Today we have the Lehle Acoustic Junior, a compact multi-functional tool for musicians who perform onstage with electric and acoustic instruments, yet wish to use the same effects setup with both. And then there’s the Lehle Mono Volume pedal, equipped with a precise magnetic sensor enabling it to operate almost wear-free. Advancing pedal technology is part of the Lehle DNA.
VOODOO LAB / PEDAL POWER
Rugged, reliable and handmade – these are Voodoo Lab’s greatest qualities. It’s an apt description for their Pedal Power line, which ticks all the boxes when it comes to a power supply. They are the go-to for the stompbox-loving guitarist, the player who wants a potent programmable rig incorporating rack gear and digital pedals. The Voodoo Lab Pedal power MONDO sits at the top of the power supply food chain with high current capabilities that can power the largest and most diverse pedalboards. It features 12 completely isolated, filtered, and regulated output sections, keeping your pedals dead quiet and free from high-frequency noise that occurs with digital ‘switching’ power supplies. Plus there’s an internal thermometer that controls a silent fan, ensuring the unit remains cool under duress – perfect for the outdoor festival, or the packed out basement show. It’s proof that Voodoo Lab has something for everyone.
Across the board, Pedaltrain products facilitate musical exploration, a vehicle that assists in the creative process. Their renowned Pedaltrain system offers pedalboard models in 12 different sizes, each with its own particular incline, rail spacing, and number of rails. This ensures that there is a Pedaltrain out there to fit the needs of every musician. The pedaltrain brackets then allow for the mounting of your power supply, wireless unit or switching system underneath the Pedaltrain pedalboard. The Pedaltrain Pedal-Booster then gives shorter pedals that much needed boost for easy access. And lets not forget about the manufacturer’s very own power supplies: the rechargeable Volto Analog 9v, and the ever-reliable Powertrain1250. Pedaltrain have long been improving the lives of musicians with accessories that support, enable, protect and power their everyday creative endeavours.
Fuchs Audio Technology boasts an impressive collection of amps that covers the entire tonal spectrum. The manufacturer can lay claim to producing some of the finest channel switching amps available on the market. Their growing product line is characterised by clever construction and intricate circuit designs. The Overdrive Supreme has long been a favourite amp of guitarists, wielding a clean channel with a rock/jazz switch, and an overdrive channel with OD in and OD out controls. The specificity of this foundational unit speaks volumes of a company not content with simplistic tone and response, but one rather striving for a multidimensional sound. Newer products have seen Fuchs expand their range to include combos, diversifying their what they offer while staying true to their stellar tonal blueprint. The Blackjack 21 MK11 Combo Amplifier is just one example that pulls off American style tone, with new design features – it can be used as both a single channel amp, and as a traditional channel switcher amp.
Magnatone was founded in 1937 and was active until the mid ‘70s. In the decades before its initial demise Buddy Holly made the Californian manufacturer famous, developing a fondness for their uniquely wired vibrato-equipped amplifiers. In early 2013 Ted Kornblum (formerly of Ampeg) revived the manufacturer with a range of boutique amps, some of which reproduced classic Magnatone designs, and others that drew from the classic British sound. With input from ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Neil Young’s guitar tech Larry Cragg this was a venture destined to succeed. The list of Magnatone owners now includes Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Andy Summers, Jack White, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Isbell, Ry Cooder and Jeff Tweedy and many more. From the Studio Collection that produces 10 to 15 watts of belting, harmonically rich tone, to the pitch-shifting vibrato of the vintage Twilighter, Magnatone complements ne design with bold concepts.
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