Guitar Effect Shopping Guides – Delicious Audio – The Stompbox Exhibit's official blog about Guitar Pedals and Effects http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com A blog and video aggregator about the best stompboxes and effect guitar pedals Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:53:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Best Binson Echorec Inspired Stompboxes in 2017 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-binson-echorec-style-pedals-in-2017/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-binson-echorec-style-pedals-in-2017/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:31:10 +0000 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/?p=28918
Best Binson Echorec Inspired Stompboxes in 2017
When it was released in the '50s, the Binson Echorec was pretty much a game changer in the still young, tape-dominated world of echo effects. Thanks to its innovative design featuring multiple reading heads, it introduced the concept of "multi-tap" delay - something tape can't do - and also of modulated repeats. the 2nd version also introduced the concept of a Multi-Mode effect, thanks to the "Selector" knob, which delivered three different effects: Echo (slap back delay), Repeat (regular delay mode) and Swell (delays with overlaps)
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Best Binson Echorec Inspired Stompboxes in 2017

When it was released in the ’50s, the Binson Echorec was pretty much a game changer in the still young, tape-dominated world of echo effects. Thanks to its innovative design featuring multiple reading heads, it introduced the concept of “multi-tap” delay – something tape can’t do – and also of modulated repeats. the 2nd version also introduced the concept of a Multi-Mode effect, thanks to the “Selector” knob, which delivered three different effects: Echo (slap back delay), Repeat (regular delay mode) and Swell (delays with overlaps)

Here’s a quick history from the Volume 4, Number 3 issue of Gearphoria:

The Binson Echorec is an old echo device produced in the 1950s in Milan (Italy) by Binson Amplifier Hi Fi company. It’s based on a magnetic drum system (called “memory disc”) that was more durable and stable than the magnetic tape used in the same era in other delay/echo units.

This is the original unit:

And this is version 2:

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many players and bands, like The Shadows, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, used it to obtain that typical sound from outer space that this magic machine can create with his innovative magnetic drum system (small heads with variable positions around a rotating disc with a thin steel band/drum on it), supported by a tube circuit (six 12AX7 tubes) with an electric motor that produces the echo effect by a thin steel recording drum around the disc with the heads system arranged on the edge of that drum when the disc is rotating. One head is used to record and other four heads for playback. The Binson Echorec has three input and three output channels (with a jack or Geloso socket), and a channel selector on the front panel.

Obviously, the 60s-era Binson Echorec is now an old, big and noisy machine. It has a maximum delay time about 300-330 ms and maintenance can be difficult due to hard to find replacement parts and spares.


The most popular version of the effect was probably the second one, released in 1960, which added a few new controls to the front panel, including a 12-way “Switch” knob (far right in the picture below) that could recall 12 configuration presets for the magnetic heads: each selection produced different single and multi-tap delays.


FAITHFUL RECREATIONS USING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

Although the fascination with this vintage machine is still intact, not very many pedal manufacturers have attempted to encapsulate this effect’s sound in a compact stompbox enclosure.

Here’s a gallery of the most popular (and, as far as we can tell, also the only) Binson Echorec emulations in stompbox format:

Catalinbread Echorec

A digital recreation of the first Binson Echorec that takes the delay time up to 1k milliseconds, it includes all 12 combinations of the original unit’s “Switch” knob and adds a “Tone” control like in version 2, renouncing though the magnetic head on/off “Channel Selector.” An internal trim pot controls the intensity and randomness of the modulation.

Dawner Prince Boonar Echo ($349.95)

A digital pedal, the Boonar faithfully recreates the character and functions of the Echorec 2, sharing the same analog signal path as the original but with high voltage driven FETs as tube emulators and a DSP unit recreating the magnetic memory drum based effect. Uniquely, it allows you to switch from Repeats to Swells through a second footswitch. With a delay time increased to 1k milliseconds, it replaces the 12 positions of the “Switch” knob with an increased 16 combinations allowed by the four Playback Heads buttons. The small Drum Age knob on the back of the pedal adds or removes the character displayed by older, worn out units (mostly loss of volume and high frequency and a more random modulation).

Gurus Amps Echosex 2 ($409)

A more stylized, but great sounding, emulation of the Echorec 2, it recreates its signal path with one comprised of tube preamp > digital head simulation > analog filters, using an actual 12AX7 tube in it. It also features an “Age of Damage” knob that blends in the sound of older, worn out units. It ups the delay time to 660 ms and improves compatibility with active pickups and other instruments through dip switches on the side panel that allow to fine tune in/out levels. Lacks the selectable tape heads and Echo/Repeats/Swell function, focusing on the original unit’s most popular effect, the Swell.


ANALOG RECREATIONS IN STOMPBOX FORMAT

T-Rex Binson Echorec

T-Rex showed this incredible prototype at NAMM 2017, but it’s not out yet as the time of writing. Most of you won’t be able to afford it anyway!


OTHER PEDALS THAT CAN DELIVER THAT SOUND

If you all you need is an effect that kinda sounds like an Echorec, these pedals might deliver it well enough, together with other sounds that are not in the Echorec’s repertoire.

STRYMON EL CAPISTAN

According to the Tone Report, the Echorec clearly influenced this pedal’s design, although it can’t be called a faithful recreation.

TC ELECTRONIC FLASHBACK

Is there anything you can’t do with TC’s Tone Print technology? Of course, somebody came up with an Echorec setting, check it out!

SOURCE AUDIO NEMESIS DELAY

The Source Audio Nemesis programmable delay also features settings inspired by the Echorec.

LINE 6 PROGRAMMABLE PEDALS

The Line 6 M5 and M9 – and other similar programmable pedals by the same manufacturer – has an Echorec emulation called “Echo Platter.


VIDEOS: SHOOTOUTS ETC.

Here are a few more fun and relevant videos we found on YouTube:

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Best Overdrive Pedals with Boost in 2017 (Under $200) – Compare Prices and Tone http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-overdrive-pedals-with-boost-in-2017-under-200-compare-prices-and-tone/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-overdrive-pedals-with-boost-in-2017-under-200-compare-prices-and-tone/#comments Wed, 11 Oct 2017 21:09:12 +0000 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/?p=28067
Best Overdrive Pedals with Boost in 2017 (Under $200) – Compare Prices and Tone
We recently posted this comprehensive list of High End Overdrive pedals with Boost (and also this one of similar Amp-In-A-Box pedals). This below is the guide to the more affordable OD/Boost stompboxes that retail for under $200.
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Best Overdrive Pedals with Boost in 2017 (Under $200) – Compare Prices and Tone

We recently posted this comprehensive list of High End Overdrive pedals with Boost (and also this one of similar Amp-In-A-Box pedals). This below is the guide to the more affordable OD/Boost stompboxes that retail for under $200.

We are reposting the intro from the high end article – please skip it if you read it already!

THE IMPORTANCE OF DYNAMICS

Dynamics have become very important in contemporary rock and pop music. Instrument levels and roles can change throughout a song several times, and the educated guitarist, knowing that, sets up her or his pmeedalboard in a way that facilitates volume and tone variations at the touch of a footswitch (or three…).

That is the main reason why overdrive and distortion pedals with an incorporated boost circuit triggered by a second footswitch have become quite popular over the past few years: the (normally clean) boost circuit placed before or after the OD/Distortion allows for an extra push in volume during solos or loud choruses without losing the guitar’s original tone.

Also, having the two effects embedded in one pedal allows for optimized stacking of the two gain stages, or extra creative routing pre/post options just a switch away.

PICK YOUR OD FLAVOR

Of course, every guitarist has different tastes when it comes to overdrive, but there are so many great options out there that no matter what sound you’re going for, in all likelihood you will be able to find a pedal that can come close to the sound in your head (and if you don’t, maybe you should look into building your own pedals, that’s how boutique manufacturers are born!).

This list is a comprehensive overview of the affordable overdrive/distortion pedals with an extra boost footswitch currently available on the market – with description and a video link to convey what kind of sounds they can get you. It doesn’t include “Amp-in-a-Box” style pedals (i.e. stompboxes that attempt to emulate a specific amp) – you can find that list here, and the list of high-end ones here.

If some models are missing, please use the comment section on this page (not on Facebook!!!) to bring it to our attention.

As usual, the pedals in each gallery are organized according to perceived popularity, and clicking on the thumbnails will open a demo video!

MID PRICED OVERDRIVES UNDER $200 WITH EXTRA BOOST

While not offering features sets quite so advanced as the options in the high end categories, the stompboxes listed here offer solid tone at a plausible price point. Some do feature more advanced controls and routing options.

Fulltone Fulldrive III ($159)
An upgrade from the super popular Fulldrive II, using a JFET design to achieve an even more tube-like sound. The beauty is in the Clipping toggle switch, where you can select from a solid range of overdrive sounds. The 90’s setting is a fat midrange via symmetrical clipping, Comp-Cut is total opamp overdrive that is heavy, loud, and really cuts through. The Wide Asym setting embellishes the highs and lows.

The Dynamics knob is a really cool idea. It’s a limiter designed to change the response of the pedal, letting you dial in the perfect feel for any amp. It also features independent channels, an upgrade over the previous model.

 

Tech 21 OMG ($189)
Richie Kotzen’s all analog signature overdrive, designed to get the sound of a Class A tube amp. 28dB of preamp gain is on tap to give you days of sustain and controlled feedback. The Girth knob is an interesting active midrange control. The boost channel is a single pot and can be used independently.

CMATMODS – Super Signa Drive ($169)
This is one of the more responsive and tonally versatile pedals on the list. The Super Signa Drive is a great sounding all-around low to mid-gain overdrive. The toggle switch on the Drive channel alters the EQ response of the tone knobs while keeping the overdrive sound intact. Even though there isn’t a whole lot of gain to be had, both channels are independent and stack well.

Egnater – Goldsmith ($199.99)
A 100% analog overdrive that can handle anything from classic rock to punk. It’s got the mid-range presence of a Marshall, and the top end of a Fender-style amp.

Controls are just like the Silversmith. The Tight switches manipulate the bottom end, and are available on both channels. Patch jacks add increased routing options, as they effectively split the pedal into 2 (overdrive and boost).

Egnater – Silversmith ($199.99)
100% analog, mid-high gain distortion/boost pedal. Boost can be run before or after the distortion by using the Path switch to select the order of the effects. Tight switches on both channels roll off some of the bottom end, and there is a switch that selects the frequency of the Contour control.

The Patch jacks are really unique, allowing you to effectively split the pedal into 2, and routing however you’d like. Definitely one of the higher-gain selections here, with a great feature set.

Radial Engineering – Texas-Pro ($169.99)
The Texas Pro is a versatile Tubescreamer-style overdrive with a Class A booster. The Range switch offers 3 tonal options – a mid-focused Tubescreamer style, a chunky medium gain, and a high-gain, aggressive sound. The boost channel is based on a Class A design, and both channels are independent and can be stacked. Send/Return jacks allow for more complex routing options.

Coppersound Pedals – Foxcatcher ($199)
A really well-made low-gain boutique overdrive that gets into tube amp territory. It can sound a little thin by itself (depending on your setup), but really shines pushing an amp. The overdrive sounds are glassy and punchy, without a lot of bottom end. The boost section sports a single knob, and you can run it before or after the overdrive. The Foxcatcher can be run at 18v for increased headroom.

Radial Engineering – Regency ($169.99)
The Regency was designed with a unique purpose – to pre-emphasize the gain stage of high gain amps. 2 independent circuits add punch, sustain, and harmonics to your signal. A 3-way Low-Mid switch selects between different EQ curves, tailoring the Regency to your rig. Rounding out the feature set is a built-in effects loop, which is activated when the Boost channel is engaged.

Radial Engineering – North Star Overdrive ($169.99)
A clean, transparent overdrive that definitely has some amp-like qualities. This is definitely a midrange type of overdrive, perfect for rock, country, and blues. The boost channel can get up to 24dB of clean gain with its Class A design. The North Star sports its own effects loop, just like the other Radial products on this list.

AFFORDABLE OVERDRIVES (UNDER $150) WITH EXTRA BOOST

If you’re looking for options that won’t break the bank, but still offer pretty solid tone, then these are for you. A few of these do offer some cool features (for the price point) but most are fairly basic.

Fulltone – Fulldrive II ($139)
The Fulldrive II is a FET-based design, which has a more natural feel and response – more like an amplifier. Unlike many pedals on this list, the boost channel is meant for higher-gain – not just higher-volume – sounds.

MXR Custom Audio Electronics – MC402 ($140)
This Boost/Overdrive is a collaboration between MXR and pedalboard ace Bob Bradshaw. It’s a no-frills, 3 knob overdrive with a boost channel capable of adding up to 20dB of gain. The channels are independent.

Build Your Own Clone – Overdrive 2 ($102.99)
While discontinued, the Overdrive 2 from BYOC is still worth a look. Based on a Tubescreamer design, it crams an overdrive channel and boost channel into a standard pedal enclosure.

It’s got the normal Gain, Volume, and Tone controls as well as switches to select different flavors of overdrive and different EQ curves. While some might find the enclosure too small, it’s a DIY pedal so you can really do with it what you’d like.

Electro-Harmonix Operation Overlord – ($147.80)
The Overlord is an interesting take on overdrive. The boost is before the drive section in this pedal, and it features a single Boost knob for volume. The drive circuit is based around an FET design to give more of an amp-like feel.
The 3-band EQ is active, and a toggle switch selects different input levels, as the Overlord works with a variety of instruments like guitar, bass, and keyboards.

The coolest feature on the Overlord is the Dry knob, which blends your wet and dry signals. You can use the pedal as a full-on overdrive, or ride it to get a more “transparent” thing going like you would get from a Klon or Timmy. You can also run it in stereo if you like, a feature not usually seen in gain pedals.

The tone is solid, but you can’t get very much gain out of it, even with the boost engaged. But with the Dry knob, active EQ, stereo outs, and affordable price this is a fully featured tone shaper.

Jet City Amplification – Afterburner ($89.99)
The Afterburner is one of the lowest price point selections on this list, and for good reason. It’s a simple 3 knob overdrive with a 1 knob boost. The channels are not independent, and the boost does not have a lot of gain on tap. The sweet spot seems to be in the tone knob. More-so than most pedals on this list, your guitar/amp selection really affects how this pedal sounds.

Build Your Own Clone – Crown Jewel ($129.99+)
The Crown Jewel sports an insane amount of tonal options. This is not a clone of any pedal in particular, as the idea for this stompbox comes from marrying many different design ideas from various overdrives. EQ comes in 3 bands, with a parametric (with 3 way Q-switch) mid-range allowing you to zero in on the frequencies that are most complimentary to your setup.

Hard and Soft clipping switches give you access to 9 different types of drive, making the Crown Jewel a real “swiss army knife” kind of pedal. There is also a switch to run the pedal at 18v for more output and headroom, or 9v for a more classic overdrive sound.

The boost side is totally independent from the other channel, and one of the coolest features is that it is modular. There are a variety of different boost modules, and BYOC is constantly adding more. You can also select the order of the channels via toggle switch.

The Crown Jewel is appropriately named, and with the level of detail you can get with the advanced EQ and different flavors of drive it can literally fit into any style or setup.

Tech 21 – Boost Overdrive ($149)
The Boost Overdrive is an all analog design. It’s a standard 3 knob overdrive with an additional Sparkle switch that adds upper harmonics. The boost channel is 1 knob and can give up to 21dB of clean gain. The channels can be used independently, but the boost is post-overdrive.

– by Brandon Stoner and Paolo De Gregorio

P.S. Looking for high-end or amp-in-a-box style pedals with a separate boost footswitch? We have those list too: High End Overdrive pedals with Boost – Amp-In-A-Box pedals with boost.

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Best Amp in a Box pedals with extra Boost in 2017 – Compare prices and tone http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-amp-in-a-box-pedals-with-extra-boost-in-2017-compare-prices-and-tone/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-amp-in-a-box-pedals-with-extra-boost-in-2017-compare-prices-and-tone/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:53:41 +0000 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/?p=28156
Best Amp in a Box pedals with extra Boost in 2017 – Compare prices and tone
We recently posted an all-encompassing article focused on high end, Dual Gain Stages Overdrive Pedals with a Boost Footswitch. Even though they belong to that category, we decided to keep the "Amp-in-a-Box" style stompboxes for a separate post, because they are not quite the same...
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Best Amp in a Box pedals with extra Boost in 2017 – Compare prices and tone

We recently posted an all-encompassing article focused on high end, Dual Gain Stages Overdrive Pedals with a Boost Footswitch. Even though they belong to that category, we decided to keep the “Amp-in-a-Box” style stompboxes for a separate post, because they are not quite the same… here we go then!

AMP-IN-A-BOX PEDALS WITH BOOST FOOTSWITCH

Some players don’t have access to the amplifiers they want, but can still have access to those tones. These options are designed to nail the tone of some legendary amplifiers – in stompbox format. They offer extensive control over pretty much every parameter.

Also, don’t forget that clicking on the gallery’s thumbnails opens a YouTube Video and that the pedals are organized in order of “perceived popularity.”

ZVEX Box of Rock (Vexter Series $219, Hand Painted $349)
The Box of Rock was designed to nail the sound of a dimed Marshall JTM45 – and does so pretty convincingly. The controls couldn’t be simpler – Drive, Tone, Volume, and a single volume knob for boost (which can boost up to 50x from unity gain, that’s A LOT of boost!).
The mojo in this pedal is really in the interaction between the Drive knob and your guitar’s volume control – just like old Marshalls. Even when maxed, the ‘Distorton’ (their words!) never seems to get smeary or harsh.

Bogner – Ecstasy Blue ($299.99)
You can tell how much love Bogner put into truly making these pedals echo their amplifier counterpart. All Class A design lends a true amp-like feel and response to the Ecstasy Blue. It’s got a warmer overdrive sound, with a nice emphasis in the mid-range.

A variety of tone shaping features are available like Mode, which selects between the Blue or a Plexi-like gain structure, Variac can introduce more gain and compression, PreEQ works like a presence switch, and Structure lets your choose between different EQ curves and gain structures from different models of the Ecstasy amplifier.

Carl Martin PlexiTone ($266)

Yet another offering from Carl Martin packing the sound of a legendary British amp into a stompbox. The Plexitone serves up medium-high gain sounds via 2 footswitchable channels and a 3rd channel offering up to 20dB of clean boost.

There is a single gain knob for the crunch and high-gain channels, and they share tone and output volume controls. The boost is a single volume knob, just like the AC-Tone. Its power supply runs at 9V changed via a DC/DC converter to (+-12V)  dual supply, which allows extra headroom.
Bogner – Uberschall Pedal ($249)
A really high-gain pedal from Bogner, based on their infamous amplifier of the same name. While it kills at metal and heavier styles, that’s about all it can do. No pedal can truly emulate an amp, but this one gets really close. It uses only Class A circuitry, and definitely goes to 11.

Bogner – Ecstasy Red ($299.99)
The Ecstasy Red channel in a stompbox format designed with Class A circuitry to give a truer, more amp-like response. It slays at mid-gain stuff (it emulates the same amp as the Ecstasy blue, but has more gain), it’s great for hard rock and metal.

A variety of tone shaping features are available like Mode, which selects the type of EQ curve, Variac can introduce compression, PreEQ works like a presence switch, and Structure lets you choose between different EQ curves and gain structures from different models of the Ecstasy amplifier.

Xotic AC Plus Boost/Overdrive ($196)
Another AC-30-in-a-box with a detailed control scheme to let you dial in exactly the tone you want. Channel A has fairly simple controls – with gain, tone, and volume. A switch lets you toggle between more of a clean boost sound than an overdrive.
Channel B is a bit more elaborate with a 3-band EQ and gain and volume knobs. The ‘Comp’ switch selects between hard or soft clipping, letting you dial in your preferred flavor of overdrive. There is also a switch to select the order of the tone stack, making the pedal able to work with pretty much any setup.

Bogner – La Grange ($249.99)
One of the top Plexi-style pedals available, the La Grange features a ton of tone shaping options. Channel A is a standard 3 knob overdrive (Distortion, Level, Tone), and the Boost function is a single control. Toggle switches take it a step further with options for Distortion, Presence, Variac, and Structure change the dynamics and response of the pedal.

An expression pedal can be used to control gain settings in real-time. Channel blend simulates jumping the channels of old Plexis, and the Variac and Headroom switches change the headroom and response.

Carl Martin AC-Tone  ($266)
The AC-tone is designed to get the chimey, low to medium gain overdrive everyone has come to know and love from beloved Vox amps. There are 2 channels as well as the boost, giving you 3 total channels.
The controls are dead simple – gain for both channels, a shared output volume and tone via the Cut knob, and a boost volume. 20 dBs of clean boost are on tap to send your sound into the stratosphere.Its power supply runs at 9V changed via a DC/DC converter to (+-12V)  dual supply, which allows extra headroom.

J. Rockett Pedals – Tim Pierce Signature OD/Boost ($259)
Designed by master session guitarist Tim Pierce, this solid little pedal from J. Rockett Audio Designs emulates one of Pierce’s favorite amps – the little known Naylor SD60. The warm, smooth overdrive sounds produced are versatile enough to stand alone, or make any amp sound better.

It’s got a lot of gain available without being too over the top, and features a ton of headroom so you can really push the level. The most unique feature is the “Power Amp” control, which adds a tonal element akin to cranking the master volume on an amplifier.

Mad Professor – Twimble ($229.95)
A stompbox take on one of the most mythical amp of all time, the Twimble is an upgraded version of Mad Professor’s Simble, with a boost channel. Both channels can be stacked or run independently.

Unique controls give you extra tonal options. Sensitivity acts like a gain control, also effecting the compression of the clipping. Accent adjusts for brightness and pick attack, and Contour acts as an EQ. The Hot/Cool control adds +10dB or +6dB of gain, respectively.

J Rockett – Led Boots ($259)
Another J Rockett signature overdrive, the Led Boots recreates Phil Brown’s signature Marshall sound. The Led Boots is really warm, and pairs well with single coil pickups and mini humbuckers. It takes a bit more tweaking with standard humbuckers, but it can get there. The channels are independent and can be stacked.

Aspen Pittman – Duo Tonic ($349 approx. used)
The Duo Tonic is a hybrid tube-solid state pedal. Due to this design, it offers a genuinely transparent overdrive that plays well with whatever guitar/amp setup you rock.

The marriage of tube and solid-state technology is a great hybrid. It might sound bland to some, but this is one of the most interesting options on this list due to its circuit design. The main channel features controls for drive, tone, and volume and the boost channel is quite versatile. It runs at 12v for a little more headroom, and though the solid-state section comes first, you can really push the tubes and get Channel 2 cooking. While the boost has no footswitch, it blends well when engaged.

– by Brandon Stoner
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Best Overdrive Pedals with Boost Footswitch in 2017 (above $200) – Compare prices and tone http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-high-end-overdrive-boost-pedals-in-2017-compare-prices-and-tone/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-high-end-overdrive-boost-pedals-in-2017-compare-prices-and-tone/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:38:01 +0000 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/?p=28061
Best Overdrive Pedals with Boost Footswitch in 2017 (above $200) – Compare prices and tone
Dynamics have become very important in contemporary rock and pop music. Instrument levels and roles can change throughout a song several times, and the educated guitarist, knowing that, sets up her or his pedalboard in a way that facilitates volume and tone variations at the touch of a footswitch (or three...).
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Best Overdrive Pedals with Boost Footswitch in 2017 (above $200) – Compare prices and tone

This article is a three-part series about overdrive pedals with an embedded boost footswitch. These are the other two articles: OD + Boost Under $200 – Amp-In-A-Box with extra Boost.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DYNAMICS

Dynamics have become very important in contemporary rock and pop music. Instrument levels and roles can change throughout a song several times, and the educated guitarist, knowing that, sets up her or his pedalboard in a way that facilitates volume and tone variations at the touch of a footswitch (or three…).

That is the main reason why overdrive and distortion pedals with an incorporated boost circuit triggered by a second footswitch have become quite popular over the past few years: the (normally clean) boost circuit placed before or after the OD/Distortion allows for an extra push in volume during solos or loud choruses without losing the guitar’s original tone.

Also, having the two effects embedded in one pedal allows for optimized stacking of the two gain stages, or extra creative routing pre/post options just a switch away.

PICK YOUR OD FLAVOR

Of course, every guitarist has different tastes when it comes to overdrive, but there are so many great options out there that no matter what sound you’re going for, in all likelihood you will be able to find a pedal that can come close to the sound in your head (and if you don’t, maybe you should look into building your own pedals, that’s how boutique manufacturers are born!).

This list is a comprehensive overview of the high-end overdrive/distortion pedals with an extra boost footswitch currently available on the market – with description and a video link to convey what kind of sounds they can get you. It doesn’t include “Amp-in-a-Box” style pedals (i.e. stompboxes that attempt to emulate a specific amp) – you can find that list here, and the list of affordable ones here.

If some models are missing, please use the comment section on this page (not on Facebook!!!) to bring it to our attention.

As usual, the pedals in each gallery are organized according to perceived popularity, and clicking on the thumbnails will open a demo video!

CLASSIC, HIGH-END OVERDRIVE + BOOST PEDALS

All of these stompboxes feature top-notch design, tone, and build quality. While they deliver what you expect, they have a simple circuit with few tonal option and no more than one toggle switch, normally for extra brightness or routing.

Paul Cochrane – Tim ($300+)
Tim is the stuff of pedal legend. It is a truly transparent overdrive with a versatile boost feature. Subtractive designed tone controls help it play nicely with pretty much any guitar/amp setup, and the bass control is pre-distortion – which keeps the bottom end intact at lower settings. The Boost section has controls for gain and tone, and internal DIP switches control the type of clipping.

Besides the clear, glassy overdrive sound, the coolest feature of the Tim is the effects loop, as pedals sent through it will only engage when the Tim is on. This opens up all sorts of routing options. Tim is a terrific-sounding, versatile pedal.

Ibanez – TS808DX ($249.99)
THE most infamous overdrive of all time (with a boost channel), the TS808DX sports a lot of desirable features. It integrates the same JRC4558 chip that makes vintage TS808’s so sought-after. A toggle switch allows you to choose the placement of the overdrive (before or after the boost). The boost channel has only a single volume knob, but it’s this simplicity of design that makes the Tubescreamer so great in the first place.

Blackstone Appliances – Mosfet Overdrive 2S ($225)
One of the most peculiar pedals on this list. Based on a mosfet design, it achieves its overdrive sound via 4 gain stages that each introduce a small amount of soft clipping. This produces a musical overdrive much like that of an amplifier. It also features a unique input, requiring a pure, unbuffered guitar signal for maximum effect. Another cool feature is that the controls are set in the pedal, perfect for crowded stages and rowdy performances.

This is a really cool pedal that might be a bit tricky to find but offers a unique take on overdrive.

Keeley – D&M Drive ($229)
This overdrive was designed in collaboration with Keeley and the hosts of Youtube’s That Pedal Show. Both channels feature Level, Gain, and Tone controls, and a toggle switch lets you choose the order. Keeley used their popular Katana boost as a starting point for that side of the circuit, but the boost channel can go all the way into overdrive territory if you like. The drive section features extra headroom.

JHS – Ruby Red ($249)
Legendary producer/musician Butch Walker designed this beauty with JHS. It’s a combination of the Superbolt pedal (Supro amp style) and a 2-stage booster. The boost can be used before or after the overdrive.

While the Ruby Red is touted as an overdrive, it really lives on the line between overdrive and fuzz. It’s rude sounding and great for many styles.

T-Rex – Moller 2 ($279)
This dual drive from TREX is an update on the original Moller, with an added Bass Boost toggle switch to fatten the bottom end. The boost is a simple one knob channel, but the unique Mix control is what sets the Moller 2 apart. It is a clean/dry signal blend, giving you a variable parallel distortion. Very cool.

Oddfellow – Caveman V2 ($249.99)
The Caveman is one of the smallest pedals on the list, fitting into a standard 1590B enclosure turned sideways. Much more than the run-of-the-mill overdrive, the Caveman has lots of bottom end and thick gain tones. A single knob controls the boost level, which is independent from the other channel, and a pre-post boost switch selects the overdrive-boost order.

Wilson Ultimate Overdrive ($200)
The Ultimate Overdrive is a simple 3-knob overdrive with a boost channel, featuring a 6-position selector switch that toggles through various types of clipping.

The channels are independent, and there are a fine variety of overdrive sounds in this pedal. Everything from British crunch to fuzz to swampy Dumble-style overdrive is available.

Cast Engineering – Peace Drive ($279.99)

The brainchild of guitarist Mike Zito, the overdrive side of the Peace Drive is a standard 3 knob setup, while the boost offers Gain and Level controls. There is also a switch in the center to select the overdrive/boost order.

With the gain control for the boost, this is pretty much a 2 channel overdrive. The sounds are rich, and it has a good amount of gain but never gets super dirty. Both channels together get a solid British vibe great for a variety of styles.

HIGH END OVERDRIVE + BOOST PEDALS WITH EXTRA FEATURES

These are also top notch pedals, but they sport advanced feature sets like ways to select the type of clipping, additional EQ and tone-shaping options, and original designs.

Earthquaker Devices – Palisades ($249.95)
One of the most versatile takes on a TS808 design. It sports 6 different clipping voices, 5 bandwidth settings, and 2 channels, with a B option for channel 1. Bandwidth acts as a mode selector, ranging from thinner, lower gain sounds to fatter, higher-gain tones.Voice selects between clipping diode configurations, offering a range of drive options. A selectable buffer and normal/bright modes round out the tonal options.

This pedal is basically every type of Tubescreamer in one, with a boost. No matter what style you play or what gear you use, you’ll find a use for the Palisades.

Seymour Duncan – Palladium Gain Stage ($299)

The Palladium was designed specifically to capture the dynamics and response of a real tube amp. The circuit features 3 individual gain stages. The first controls saturation, the second handles low and low-mid frequencies, and the third is a boost stage (which is pre-overdrive when engaged). Due to this architecture, the Palladium can handle anything from sutble, bluesy overdrive to high-gain distortion. A solid 4-band EQ with bass, sweepable mid, high, and presence controls help this pedal assimilate into any rig. You can also run it at 18v for increased headroom.

Amptweaker Tight Drive Pro ($319)
The TightDrive Pro is a full-featured preamp, overdrive, and boost stompbox that can be used as a regular pedal in your chain, or as a separate preamp routed through your amp’s effect return. The pedal can be run on 1 or 2 9v batteries, essentially giving you the difference between a 50w or 100w amplifier.

A full-featured, top-mounted control scheme lets you dial in your sound. Two boost knobs allow you to boost both gain and volume, a feature missing on almost all other pedals on this list.

One of the coolest elements of the TightDrive Pro are the 3 effects loops. You can set it up so that one chain is only engaged when clean, pretty much any routing design you can think of. Also included is a noise gate so you can use as much gain as you like without using a separate pedal.

Wilson Dual Lotus Drive ($220)
The Dual Lotus offers 2 channels of thick, spanky Dumble-style overdrive. Gain and Volume set the level of each channel, and a 3-band EQ of Tone, Presence, and Low Pass dial in your sound. Each channel also offers a Clipping switch for increased gain.

Perhaps the coolest feature of this pedal is that each channel has its own input and output, opening up a world of routing options.

Emerson Custom – Pomeroy ($299.99)
2 independent, fully-analog channels of overdrive, distortion, and 24dBs of boost are at your feet with the Pomeroy from Emerson Custom. The channels can be used independently or together, but when they are stacked the boost comes after the gain section.

A 3-band active EQ shapes your tone, while a rotary switch selects between 6 different clipping options. There is a Clean knob to balance the parallel clean signal as well, and an effects loop to help further develop your sound.

The Pomeroy runs only on AC power, but it’s versatility makes it one of the must-try pedals on this list.

JHV3 – Ghost Drive ($225)
The Ghost Drive is a very smooth-sounding low-medium gain drive. While not considered an “amp-in-a-box” design, it provides an articulate overdrive – not unlike that from an amp.

The drive channel features a clipping toggle switch for a tight or loose sound, much like an amplifier. The boost channel offers 25dB of clean volume, with an internal trimpot to tailor the gain. 3 internal level adjustments set the gain for the boost channel, and there is a good range to the drive knob, as it never seems to get smeary or too fizzy.

By far the coolest feature is the clean blend, with an internal trimpot that controls the presence. The boost can be set before or after the overdrive, adding versatility.

Foxpedal The City V2 – ($229)
A handwired tubescreamer clone with extra clean boost and tons of flexibility, including two clipping options (LED and Mosfet), tone knob, and body and presence switches. The clean circuit is independent and based on the company’s Ebenezer pedal.

OVERDRIVE + BOOST PEDALS WITH TUBES

Tubes still possess a charm all of their own over distortion lovers. Here is the list of boost + overdrive pedals that use them in their circuits.

MAXON RTD800 Real Tube Overdrive ($349)
Maxon has been a favorite flavor of overdrive for many players for a long time, and perhaps their most versatile overdrive offering is the RTD800, a combo overdrive/distortion with boost based around a vacuum tube.

The tube comes after the overdrive/distortion circuit, lending an even more amp-like feel to the pedal. There is a standard 3 band EQ, as well as a built-in noise gate to keep your signal in check.

While not great for heavier styles (by itself anyway), the RTD800 sounds great with pretty much any other style. The overdrive/distortion sounds it produces are round and warm, almost fuzzy.

Kingsley Jester Overdrive / Boost ($375)
The Jester is a hand-wired, tube-powered overdrive that runs off of 2 12ax7 vacuum tubes. There is a 3 band EQ for the overdrive side, as well as gain and volume controls. A 3-way voicing switch changes the amount of gain, so the pedal can do everything from slight breakup to heavy metal tones.

The boost side of the Jester features a level knob and 3-way switch that selects between boosting the bottom end, the mids, or the high end. It can be used separately or stacked with the overdrive side. This pedal sounds good with pretty much any rig. It’s an “amp-in-a-box” style pedals.

Aspen Pittman – Duo Tonic ($349 approx. used)
The Duo Tonic is a hybrid tube-solid state pedal. Due to this design, it offers a genuinely transparent overdrive that plays well with whatever guitar/amp setup you rock.

The marriage of tube and solid-state technology is a great hybrid. It might sound bland to some, but this is one of the most interesting options on this list due to its circuit design. The main channel features controls for drive, tone, and volume and the boost channel is quite versatile. It runs at 12v for a little more headroom, and though the solid-state section comes first, you can really push the tubes and get Channel 2 cooking. While the boost has no footswitch, it blends well when engaged.

Bad Pixel Fuck Fuck Overdrive-Boost ($350)
A low-medium gain overdrive based on a dual 12au7 tube design, the Fuck Fuck is part fuzz, part overdrive, and all vibe. It features point-to-point wiring, and a fine attention to detail in the build quality – especially the quality of the components used.

The overdrive sounds it gets are definitely a little more squared, which may turn off some players. At lower gain settings it’s more of an overdrive, it’s when you crank it that it begins to get really fuzzy.

BOOST + OVERDRIVE & MORE!

The Chase Bliss Audio Brothers and Strymon Sunset are two more high-end pedals that can deliver a Boost + Overdrive combination (and a lot more than that, since they feature several gain circuits). The legendary Analogman King Of Tone also belongs to this category thanks to internal dip switches that allow each circuit to act as clean boost, overdrive or distortion.


– by Brandon Stoner and Paolo De Gregorio

Look out for another shopping guide for affordable Overdrive + Boosts  in the next few days!
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Best Mini Compressor Pedals of 2017 – Compare prices and tone! http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-mini-compressors-pedals-of-2017/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-mini-compressors-pedals-of-2017/#comments Tue, 20 Jun 2017 20:07:07 +0000 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/?p=25670
Best Mini Compressor Pedals of 2017 – Compare prices and tone!
Compression could be described as the balancing act between the loudest and quietest you want your guitar to sound: if you abuse it, you'll lose sensitivity, if you bypass it, you may hear uneven notes and unwanted spikes.
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Best Mini Compressor Pedals of 2017 – Compare prices and tone!

One of the most vital studio tools in history, the compressor does the job of “keeping in check” the louder spikes of a signal, allowing for a more consistent overall volume: by attenuating the louder sections of the signal, the compressor will make the quieter sections sound closer in volume.

Compression could be described as the balancing act between the loudest and quietest you want your guitar to sound: if you abuse it, you’ll lose sensitivity, if you bypass it, you may hear uneven notes and unwanted spikes.

HOW COMPRESSION WORKS

For the uninitiated, this is how compressors work: set a volume Threshold (in decibels), and any peak above that level will be “squeezed” according to the selected “Ratio,” which is normally a value between 2:1 and 8:1. A ratio of 2:1 squeezes those peaks by 50% of their “above the threshold” volume, while 4:1 squeezes them by 75% etc. Any section of your signal that stays under the threshold is unaffected.

Other popular functions in compressors are”Attack” and “Release” (often called “Sustain“) which delay, respectively, the effect’s initial and final reaction times: for example, a longer attack would let the guitar’s initial “hard” pick sound come through uncompressed, while a long release will prolong the squeezing for a few seconds after the level withdraws under the threshold, for a more natural sounding return to the uncompressed signal.

A ratio of 2:1 squeezes those peaks by 50% of their “above the threshold” volume, while 4:1 squeezes them by 75% etc.

Blend” (or “Mix“) is also a popular feature in the pedal compression realm, allowing the player to mix back in a little bit of the uncompressed guitar signal for more sensitivity (this is also done in studio consoles using a trick called “parallel compression”).

Finally, since compression works by reducing the level of the signal, another useful feature is the “Volume” (or “Level“) knob, placed after the compression, which allows to bring the volume to its original, pre-compression level (or above it, working as a clean boost).

FROM STUDIO TO STOMPBOX

While compressors have been in use in recording (and radio) technology to achieve a more consistent signal since the early days, only in the past few decades have they been incorporated into stompbox format for use with guitar, bass, and keyboards.

Admittedly, a compressor is not a particularly creative pedal, but it can make a huge difference in your tone. It can be used in a “set and forget” kind of  way (in particular if you play rhythmic guitar or bass, which require steady levels), or be activated when you need more “body,” as you would do with a clean boost. In sparse music, it can be used to prolong your notes’ sustain. However, in most situations, compressors don’t need to be tweaked from song to song – which is why a lot of players are opting for the mini pedal format. Hence this guide focused on mini-compressors!

VARIATIONS IN TONE: TRANSPARENCY

Compressors can affect your tone depending on the technology used and (if not tweakable) on the hard wired attack and release settings. But generally speaking, a quality compressor shouldn’t change the tonal quality of your signal (i.e. its EQ), and this is why you’ll find that most pedal companies advertise the transparency of their compressors. Cheaper compressors tend to muddy up your signal or make it a little thinner. There are better pedals out there to tackle color and EQ… 

a quality compressor shouldn’t change the tonal quality of your signal (i.e. its EQ).

But the bottom line, as usual, is that there is no right and wrong in tone: it’s up to your ear to decide what sounds better and what sounds worse!

And after that absolute truth of relativism, it’s now time to get going with the list of mini-compressors on the market!

We organized them mostly by price range, but also grouped ones that have particularly useful options like the “Blend/Mix” and the “Level/Output” knob, or use a different technology (optical compressors).

The pedals in each gallery are organized by “perceived” popularity – most popular first.

And, as usual… Clicking on the thumbnails will open a demo video!



HIGH END MINI COMPRESSOR PEDALS

These options offer top notch compression, a transparent sound and amazing build quality. Many have additional controls for extra fine tuning of the signal. They all offer a post-compression volume, which might tell you something…

Xotic SP Compressor – $132
Really transparent, offering the high-quality design Xotic is known for. A 3-way switch lets you choose between compression modes of hi, mid, and lo to dial in your perfect compressor ratio (i.e. the amount of squish). Useful blend knob allows you to mix back in the uncompressed signal for a more natural result.

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro – $119
An optical compressor design featuring 4 controls. The specially-tailored EQ control is focused around 2kHz, which is a frequency area that can make or break guitar tone. Internal power rails boost the effect to 18V, providing maximum clean headroom no matter what kind of rig you run. I features a “Blend” knob.

Henretta Engineering Orange Whip – $125
A unique pedal inspired to the Orange Squeezer casting an incredibly small footprint and internal trimmers for subtle controls. Great for super-squishy, funky tones. Even when dialing in subtle settings, it’s a fairly obvious sound.

Wampler Mini Ego – $179.95
The most versatile mini compressor. 5 controls let you sculpt your sound, including wet/dry Blend, Sustain, and Volume. Tone switch lets you alter between dark or bright sounds, and Attack switch sets slow or fast compression.

One Control Lemon Yellow – $167
Very musical, with controls for compression ratio, amount of compression, and level. A switch on the side allows for increased release time (more sustain), and a small footprint and solid construction round out the feature set.



MID-PRICED MINI COMPRESSOR PEDALS

You don’t have to spend more than $100 to find a rock solid mini compressor pedal. The options in this category offer a great combination of performance and price, but the lower tag implies either lack in versatility (less knobs) or a cheaper build, which could cause a lack of transparency and durability.

The exception here is the TC Electronic Hypergravity Mini, which is more affordable because based on a digital design, which actually preserves the transparency of the tone and allows for extra versatility. However, the downside in this case is that not everybody likes the word “digital,” when applied to compression.

Mooer Yellow Comp – $58.49
A smoother, slower-attack compressor based on an optical design. Controls for amount of compression, EQ, and volume make this perfect for adding just a touch of dynamic balance. It doesn’t really color your sound, but that’s the point.

TC Electronic Hypergravity Mini – $99.99
The only digital mini-compressor on the market, it offers almost limitless tonal possibilities. A vintage mode gives you the flavor of classic (more colored) compressors, and Tone Print feature lets you to take control over virtually every parameter of sound to dial in exactly what you want.

Hotone Skyline Komp – $79.99
Another take on optical compression for guitar, based on the venerable LA2A studio compressor. Very transparent, almost not even there, perfect for subtle compression on rhythm and acoustic guitars.

MXR Dynacomp Mini – $99.99
A legendary compressor pedal rehoused in a smaller enclosure, with additional switch (the standard size is just 2 controls) to choose between fast and slow attack times.

Malekko Omicron Compressor – $99
A standard 2-knob compressor from a mini-pedal pioneer, with controls for Sensitivity (amount of compression) and Level. Built with the same components found in legendary vintage Ross compressor pedals (NOS ca3080 IC, anybody?).

Fender Micro Compressor – $79.99
A middle of the road (tonally) compressor that’s a bit subtler than the average. While many compressors sound the best on a clean signal, the Fender works surprisingly well on heavy, distorted sounds.

Mosky Mini Dyna Compressor – $65
A single knob compressor that stands up surprisingly well to others. It has fixed attack and release times while offering a unique approach to guitar squeeze, but lack of output control somewhat limits the amount of compression you can use, without losing a lot of volume.

Joyo Pipebomb JF-312 – $65
Great for single-coils, a little muddy (non transparent) with humbuckers. The coveted mix control lets you dial in parallel compression as a dry/wet blend. Built with a handy control cover, it also features a “Level” knob to bring back up the signal.



BUDGET MINI COMPRESSOR PEDALS

You don’t have to break the bank to find a compressor that works for you. These budget models offer a variety of options at incredible value. If they work for you, (and if you are a “delicate stomper”) they might be all you need.

Donner Ultimate Comp – $37
A surprisingly subtle, great sounding compressor. Best for a spanky sound, not so much for sustain. Works well for country, blues, funk, and jazz rhythm tones.

Kokko FCP-2 – $24.50
One of the lowest-end options, it delivers a surprisingly sufficient sound. It fattens things up a bit, and tames harsh peaks. They obviously skipped on the construction, but for the price point it’s worth a shot.

Valeton Comprince – $49.99
A solid, affordable 4 knob compressor. There are controls for attack and release of the signal, when usually guitar compressor pedals feature one or the other. Tone and Volume controls are also welcome extra, in particular at this price point.

Monoprice Compressor – $44.96
Similar to the Mooer Yellow Comp, with controls for amount of compression, EQ, and output volume. Small, and well-built for a budget model. Equally at home for rhythms or leads.



MINI COMPRESSORS WITH “BLEND/MIX” KNOB

We decided to create a separate category for the pedals featuring the “Blend/Mix” knob, because they really work in a different way compared to your regular compression (maybe that’s why this kind of compression has its own name: parallel compression). By allowing you to blend your clean, uncompressed signal with the compressed one, these pedals create a more natural sounding effect, where the natural dynamics of your style aren’t entirely lost.



OPTICAL MINI COMPRESSOR PEDALS

Optical compressors are based on a technology that just sounds different from your regular design, normally based on a Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA) or a Field Effect Transistor (FET). They can be very transparent and feature a slower attack and release.

By Brandon Stoner and Paolo De Gregorio

 

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Best Uni-Vibe clones and Vibe inspired Pedals of 2017 – Compare Prices and Tone! http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-uni-vibe-clones-and-vibe-inspired-pedals-of-2017-compare-prices-and-tone-2/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-uni-vibe-clones-and-vibe-inspired-pedals-of-2017-compare-prices-and-tone-2/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:17:07 +0000 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/?p=24339
Best Uni-Vibe clones and Vibe inspired Pedals of 2017 – Compare Prices and Tone!
Sometimes (more often than not?) life sends people and things on unexpected trajectories. The intriguingly named effect Uni-Vibe has a story to tell in this regard.
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Best Uni-Vibe clones and Vibe inspired Pedals of 2017 – Compare Prices and Tone!

Sometimes (more often than not?) life sends people and things on unexpected trajectories. The intriguingly named effect Uni-Vibe has a story to tell in this regard.

THE ORIGINAL: THE SHIN-EI UNI-VIBE (also sold as a Univox product)

Originally manufactured as a stand alone effect (i.e. no foot switch) by legendary Japanese manufacturer Shin-ei, the Uni-Vibe was conceived in the ’60s as a portable Leslie speaker emulator (i.e. a small, “pluggable” version of this giant). Not a terrible idea if you ask us… however, the product bombed rather badly among keyboard players. Except, towards the end of the decade, some guy named Jimi Hendrix, and then some other guy named David Gilmour grew fond of it, and started using it live and on what came to be a few immortal records (notably, you can hear it in Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” and in the arpeggio-ed guitar in Pink Floyd’s “Breathe“ – go to 1′.13″ in the video).

Here’s a demo of an original Uni-Vibe from 1969 – Playing, in the following video begins at 3′:40″

BUT WHAT IS A UNI-VIBE, ANYWAY?

The Uni-Vibe is a phase-based modulation effect similar to a chorus, but whose undulating and watery oscillations are obtained through different means. The guys at ProGuitarShop (who shot videos of a majority of the effects featured in this page) describe the technology as “the use of an incandescent lamp-and-photocell arrangement with proper transistor selection and biasing phasing filters,” while Wikipedia more simply refers to “a staggered series of phasing filters” in place of “usually aligned filters of a normal phasing effect.”

VIBE EFFECTS VS. ROTARY RECREATIONS

We need to stress that this guide doesn’t take into account pedals that aim at recreating a more faithful rotary/Leslie effect. As mentioned in the intro, the original Uni-Vibe was inspired by Leslie speakers, but the approximation of its emulation transformed it into something entirely new. We, therefore, consider modern rotary emulation as a separate category not covered here.

We also excluded from this list pedals that tackle several modulation effects in one box.

So, if you’d like to take home the original Uni-Vibe unit from the ’60s, you better start looking around (they are extremely rare) and have $3k or so to burn. But, if you are a shredder with a limited budget like us, here are some more affordable options for ya!



HIGH END VIBES TRUE TO THE ORIGINAL

We begin, as usual, with a list of high-end pedals on the market designed to faithfully reproduce the original Uni-Vibe. Some of these are authentic re-creation—employing the same exact components as the Shin-ei unit—while others attempt to improve on the original circuit without necessarily taking it to new places.

The pedals in the following interactive galleries are organized in order of “perceived popularity.” To hear/see the video demo of the effect, click on the images.

MJM – Sixties Vibe – $275
A classic take on the design with accurate photocells and controls. Capable of great low end “throb”, just like the originals.

Sweet Sound – Ultravibe – $380
A very popular Uni-Vibe clone, the Ultravibe sports custom photocells and a control to adjust the bias of the bulb.

Black Cat Vibe – $325
A popular recreation of the original classic with slight improvements to increase reliability and stereo output. Also available in half-rack format.

Castlendine Supra Vibe – $335.54
A faithful recreation of the original Uni-Vibe, with updates to the power supply for a lower noise floor.

Shin-ei Vibe-bro – $699
An attempt by the original manufacturer of the Uni-Vibe to recreate the past as closely as possible, with a series of custom features available.

Jim Klacik – Uniquevibe – $900?
An exact copy of the original Univbe, this unit will set you back quite a bit. But if you are looking to nail that Uni-Vibe sound, nothing but an original even comes close.

Ox Fuzz – Oxvibe – $300
A no frills, stripped down Uni-Vibe-inspired modulator made with components faithful to the original circuit.



UNI-VIBE EVOLUTIONS

Humans are never happy with what they’ve got, and engineering is all about challenging perfection in the pursuit of newer, better standards. The following pedals aim at refining the Uni-Vibe’s original design through a myriad of different techniques like innovations in tubes, sliders, or extra control options.

Effectrode – Tube-Vibe – $469
The only tube unit on the list, the Tube-Vibe conjures up some of the thickest, swampiest tones in classic rock.

Sweet Sound – Ultra Vibe – $325
A classic recreation, the Ultravibe sports custom photocells and a control to adjust the bias of the bulb.

Jam Retro Vibe  – $319
Featuring correct NOS components, the Retro Vibe sports an internal trim pot that adjusts the sound and feel of the pedal.

Korg – Nuvibe – $500
A faithful development of the Univibe created under the original engineer Fumio Mieda’s supervision, with added wave sliders that allow the creation of original waveforms.

DryBell Vibe Machine – $298
One of the most versatile Vibes around, with controls for depth of modulation, tone, input impedance (for using different guitars), and output volume.

Electronic Orange MoonVibe – $280
Classic quadruple photocell design with an innovative Symmetry control to shape the waveform.

Dawner Prince – Viberator – $299
An interestingly named Uni-Vibe evolution featuring stereo output, Vintage/Modern switch & Bright trimmer for amp matching, and the unique Shape knob that modifies the waveform that drives the internal light bulb

McCaffrey Audio Run Rabbit Run
It emulates all of the classic sounds of the vintage Uni-Vibe TM pedal, adding a new and wide palette of sounds. CRAZY (doubles the rate of the modulation) footswitch to go between normal operations to ring mod/octave/synth features. THUMP (three-way switch) allows you to add low end response when turning down the DEPTH knob.

Retroman – UberVibe – $285
What sets this pedal apart is the detail of filtering. It features 4 filter knobs to fine tune the sound, a selectable buffer, envelope shaping and stereo output.



TREADLE BASED VIBES

The original Uni-Vibe came with a separate pedal to control the modulation speed. Dunlop—likely inspired by their own Cry-Baby Wah—introduced a model called “Rotovibe” that embedded the entire effect in a treadle based pedal. Others followed…

Dunlop – Rotovibe – $219.99
Embedding the treadle within the effect pedal designed to create the infamous rotating speaker effect.

Fulltone – MDV-3 – $224
Running at 18v, this offering from Fulltone features a treadle for real-time effect manipulation.

Classic Amplification Vibe Baby – $260
Boasting many components true to the original Uni-Vibe design, the Vibe Baby is a treadle-based effect that’s very pedalboard friendly.



MIDDLE OF THE ROAD VIBES ($150-$260)

Mid range priced effects are the most popular among pro players. Here’s what’s out there in this range:

Fulltone Mini Deja-Vibe CS-MDV-1 – $191-350
A popular, 18 volt, re-engineered, smaller version of the original, now out of production Deja-Vibe, which started the Uni-Vibe clone trend. Mini-toggle switches between original Uni-Vibe warmth and “Modern” option (louder, brighter). Also available in Stereo.

Earthquaker Devices – The Depths – $195
One of the more versatile Uni-Vibe designs, controls aren’t the only thing that set this apart. It is designed for guitar, bass, and keyboard and plays well with any type of pickup. ‘Voice’ lets you dial in the perfect midrange, and ‘Throb’ blends in some low-end pulse to the modulation. Lacks expression pedal option.

Sweet Sound – Mojo Vibe – $325
A smaller footprint of the Ultra Vibe, this unit is a slimmed down version. While it doesn’t have quite as many features, it stays true to the tone.

JHS – Unicorn – $249
Classic sounds with modern control. What really sets the Unicorn apart from the herd is tap tempo functionality and a speed knob for dialing in precise rhythms. A “Tap/Exp” in lets you plug in a TRS expression pedal or any momentary tap control.

Mojo Hand – Villanova Vibe – $229
Huge depth range allows access to a wide variety of modulation sounds. Tone knob tailors EQ to any rig. No input for expression pedal.

Foxrox Aquavibe – $299
All analog, classic circuitry, with an interesting “Center” control for altering the balance of the sweep. Standard expression pedal input.

Wilson Effects – Haze – $165
A simple stompbox clone with a vintage sound and multiple external controls. Standard expression pedal input.



AFFORDABLE VIBES (Between $100 and $150)

Hey let’s be clear: cheaper doesn’t mean worse. If you find what you need in a more affordable pedal, and it sounds good through your gear (and your ear!), everyone wins. Here’s the selection of more affordable Uni-Vibe emulations. These are mostly not hand-built units, and few feature an expression pedal input.

MXR – M68/Dunlop JHM3 – $129.99
Simple 3 knob stompbox with vibe switch and small footprint, the one with Jimi Hendrix’s Picture is a 70th anniversary limited edition pedal. No expression pedal input.

Digitech – Ventura Vibe – $149.95
A vibe that can conjure tones past and present, it features stacked tone and drive knobs, adding versatility. A toggle switch allows for 3 effect varietieswith independend controls. It has expression pedal input.

TC Electronic – Viscous Vibe – $109.95
A stereo, digital recreation of the famous analog original, this one is a little darker than many of the others. Tone Print enabled, but no expression control.

Voodoo Lab – Micro Vibe – $149.99
A small-footprint unit sporting some of the same design features as the original Uni-Vibe, like the sinewave oscillator, bulb, and photocells. No expression pedal input.

Electro-Harmonix – Good Vibes – $137.40
While not a full replication of the 1960s classic, the Good Vibes does sport some of the same distinct features – like utilizing photocells to achieve modulation. An added feature is increased headroom, so this pedal can fit right into virtually any rig. Optional expression pedal (assignable to Speed or Intensity) adds even more control.

BBE – Soulvibe – $129.99
A simple 2 knob pedal, perfect for funky 70’s sounds, no expression input.



DIRTY CHEAP VIBES (Under $110)

There’s beauty in great deals (and mini-pedals…). Check out these super affordable Uni-Vibe inspired pedals, you may find something that works for you. None of these feature an expression pedal input.

Hotone Roto – $89.99
Tiny enclosure with all the controls you need, including chorus/vibe switch.

Hot Box Pedals – HB-VB5 – $113.90
A surprisingly fine sounding chorus, vibrato, and vibe effect pedal.

Moen – Shaky Jimi – $48
Incredible value at less than $50 for this pedal that has quite a lot of fans.

Kokko FUV2 Mini Pedal Vibe – $56.88
Rather generic mini-pedal from an obscure Chinese manufacturer – super affordable though!



VINTAGE AND OUT OF PRODUCTION

Some gem can be found in the used market among the defunct Vibes… 

Roger Mayer – Voodoo Vibe – $450 (used)
By the mastermind behind the original unit, it features controls over virtually every sound parameter, a lower noise floor, and sturdier construction than the originals.

Dunlop – UV-1 – $200 (used approx.)
An industry standard for a long time, featuring a darker analog tone and buffered bypass.

Lovepedals – Pickle Vibe – $135 (used)
While not strictly a Vibe unit, the Pickle Vibe can pull off some very convincing sounds. Internal trimpots are tedious to change, but offer a variety of tonal options.

Hughes and Kettner – Rotosphere – $300 (used)
A solid tube-based unit featuring 2 speeds. Stereo mode is vibe heaven.

Dano Cool Cat Vibe – $50 (used)
Coming in at a very reasonable price point, the Cool Cat Vibe provides fine sounding vibe tones in a small footprint. Metal enclosure

KR Mega Vibe – $400 (used)
Faithful recreation of the original, it exists in two version, a bigger one (pictured) and a smaller one roughly half the size.

Prescription Electronics Vibe Unit – $500+ (used)
An early design by Bob Sweet of Sweet Sound. Faithful recreation, but no expression pedal input.

Heavens Vibe – $400  (Used)
Reputable, hand made Japanese clone

God Vibe – $400+ (used)
Compact version of the Heavens Vibe.

Chicken Salad Vibe – $60 (used)
Not a true Uni-Vibe, per se, this unit is for anyone looking to jump into the world of vibes, for fun. Extremely small and sturdy.



FUZZ’N’ VIBES

The Uni-Vibe sound has surged to popularity because of Jimi Hendrix, and the psychedelic guitarist used it almost exclusively combined with a fuzz. Some manufacturers thought it made sense to provide a pedal featuring both effects, in order to deliver optimized integration between them. Here they are:

Keeley – Monterey – $299
A combo vibe/fuzz designed to conjure the lush sounds of classic rock. It also features auto wah, and octave up AND down.

Carl Martin Purple Moon – $148
An all analog, dual speed Vibe with Fuzz.

DVK Goldtop – $250 (used)
Now out of production, this Fuzz’n’Vibe features a a toggle switch that lets you change the stacking order of these effects. The fuzz is  loosely based on a ‘Big M’ type.

Make Sounds Loudly Pedals – Jimi Fuzz Face/UniVibe – $200
Instant Jimi. A combined silicon Fuzz Face and UniVibe.



STEREO VIBES

What’s better than a great vibe tone, you ask? Two channels of it, in stereo!



VIBE CLONES SHOOTOUT VIDEOS! (Click for video)

Vibe Shootout! Voodoo Lab, Sweet Sound, Fulltone

Lovetone Doppel Ganger, Fulltone Deja Vibe, Voodoo Labs Micro Vibe and Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe

Fulltone Deja Vibe x Mg Monovibe

Dunlop Uni-Vibe vs. Danelectro Chicken Salad

Mojo Vibe – Deja Vibe – Deja 2

Uni-Vibe shootout : Dunlop Uni-Vibe vs. Danelectro Cool Cat Vibe

Uni-Vibe vs Deja Vibe 2 shootout #1 – Uni-Vibe vs Deja Vibe 2 shootout #2

– by Brandon Stoner and Paolo De Gregorio

Did we forget something or posted incorrect information? Please post a comment and we’ll look into it!

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Best Klones & Klon inspired pedals in 2017 – Compare prices and tone! http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-klonesklon-inspired-pedals-in-2017-compare-prices-and/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-klonesklon-inspired-pedals-in-2017-compare-prices-and/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:50:58 +0000 http://audio.thedelimagazine.com/?p=22044
Best Klones & Klon inspired pedals in 2017 – Compare prices and tone!
klon3 Perhaps the most legendary (and expensive…) guitar pedal of all times, the Klon Centaur was one of the first boutique stompboxes, and proved that an overdrive could be much more than just distortion. Created by Bostonian Bill Finnegan in 1994, the pedal and its innovative circuit (which uses a use of an IC MAX1044 voltage converter and two germanium diodes) changed how overdrives interacted with a player’s rig, and how they are perceived overall.
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Best Klones & Klon inspired pedals in 2017 – Compare prices and tone!

Perhaps the most legendary (and expensive…) guitar pedal of all times, the Klon Centaur was one of the first boutique stompboxes, and proved that an overdrive could be much more than just distortion. Created by Bostonian Bill Finnegan in 1994, the pedal and its innovative circuit (which uses an IC MAX1044 voltage converter and two germanium diodes) changed how overdrives interact with a player’s rig, and how they are perceived overall.

A quick online search for an original unit today (January 2017) gives us prices ranging from $2,500 to $3k+!

No wonder many manufacturers have been trying to recreate that sound at a lower cost! If you are in the market for a Klon or a faithful recreation, this is your definitive guide.

THE ORIGINAL: THE KLON CENTAUR

With an initial price tag of $225 (hefty for 1994), The Centaur provided transparent, glassy mojo, while adding pleasing harmonic content to whatever signal chain was lucky enough to go through it. It could be used as a supplement, or as the focal point of a rig, and many famous players loved it as a clean boost and many others as an “amp-in-a-box.” The point being, it excelled at everything.

Within a few years, the pedal gained legendary status, also because of Klon’s dedication to customer service, and to hand-wiring every unit that left their shop. Finnegan stopped building the original model in 2009 – at that point he had hand wired 5,400 of them. (You can find a more comprehensive history of the Klon here.)

Clicking on the thumbnails will open a demo video!


THE UPDATED KLON: KLON KTR

Klon KTR – $269, click image for video demo.

Klon KTR

The original Centaur took up a beastly amount of pedalboard space, and the KTR (manufactured by Klon’s inventor Bill Finnegan himself, but contracted out to make it compatible with mass production) features a smaller footprint. A toggle was added to switch between true or buffered bypass. Some say it doesn’t compare to the original, but considering it was built by Finnegan himself, the KTR is the closer to the Centaur a pedal can get, according to its creator, who – by the way – thinks it sounds exactly the same.

HIGH END  “KLONES” ABOVE $150

While an original Centaur can fetch a king’s ransom on the used market, there are a variety of much more affordable options that try to stay true to the original design.

This list, in a perfect but less playful world, would be named “Clones of the Klon Centaur.” Needless to say, we aren’t the first ones to exploit this play on words linked to the manufacturer name’s similarity with the word “clone.”

ARC Effects Klone

This is the pedal that coined the term “Klone” (as in “clone of the Klon,” get it?). The Arc Effects’ stompbox is a recreation that replicates all components from the original design, at around… 10% of the cost or so!

J Rockett Archer

J Rockett went to painstaking lengths to design their take on the Centaur, appropriately named the Archer. One of the few recreations that includes the Klon “secret sauce”, the Archer uses the same NOS germanium diodes that Finnegan used in the original.

JHS Klon 

A point-for-point rendition, but extremely hard to find and very sought after. Used only, and good luck snatching one. They fetch upwards of $600 on the used market. The good news is that JHS offers an EHX Soul Food mod that is readily available and widely praised.

Rimrock Effects Mythical Overdrive

One of the designs that most closely resembles the original Centaur, this unit uses only the highest-quality components.

Wampler Tumnus

The smallest Klone around. A faithful re-imagining of the original design in miniature shape – which makes it unique, at about 1/4th the size of the original!

Ceriatone CENTURA 

A well received Klon emulation that is also sold as an unassembled kit (for $25 less).

Piedmont Effects Aluminum Falcon
A faithful, quite affordable reproduction of the classic Klon Centaur circuit with a very similar look as well.

RYRA The Klone

“An exact, part for part, meticulously crafted replica of the infamous “transparent” overdrive pedal.”

Stigtronics – Tone Vitamin

Quite affordable and small, the Tone Vitamin is hand built and can be personalized in color. Stigtronics doesn’t get much press but their klone gets flattering reviews on musicians’ forums.

MORE AFFORDABLE “KLONES” WITH CHEAPER COMPONENTS (Under $150)

For those who are not too obsessive about components and circuit recreation, there’s no need to break the bank to get “a” Klon” sound.

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

The Soul Food is the epitome of the “Klone revolution.” Great-sounding, waaay under $100, and readily-available, it is pound-for-pound one of the most popular Centaur-style pedals. A switchable buffer/true-bypass feature solidifies it as a contender against the others. The overall sound is said to be a little thinner, but it works well stacked with other overdrives.

Pedal Monsters – Klone

This offering is a solid affordable choice, hand built by a Washington DC, passionate company that presents itself as the “Robin Hood of the pedal world.”

Tone Bakery – Creme Brulee

One of the more affordable options on this list, the Crème Brulee isn’t a point-for-point recreation, but it comes damn close, and gets great reviews at our Stompbox Exhibits!

Chellee Ponyboy Overdrive

Klon Centaur based overdrive offering both a buffered clean boost with plenty of chime and a rich transparent overdrive for pushing your edge of breakup tones into singing lead. The voicing switch shifts the frequency range of the Treble control

IdiotBox Han-Taun Overdrive

An affordable emulation featuring – in the words of the maker – ” a bit more beef and tighter high end.”

KLON EVOLUTIONS (AND SOME PRETENDERS)

Of course, perfection doesn’t exist in the realm of audio engineering, and even a successful circuit like the one of the Klon has been the object of reinterpretation and attempted improvements. A couple of manufacturers, ironically and mischievously, even used its popularity to promote completely different circuits!

Bondi Effects Sick As Overdrive

Inspired by the Klon, this pedal features a toggle switch that controls the amount of headroom and character of the drive, and an extra Bass knob for added versatility. Both EQ knobs allow 15dB of boost or cut.

Keeley Ox Blood

Here’s a description coming directly from Robert Keeley in this page’s comment section, after we mistakenly listed this pedal in the Klones category: “The Oxblood is not a Klone or a mod of one. We designed it on Instagram over a three day period where you can see our schematic and circuit develop. The design goal was to use a voltage doubler, a clean blend path, a different style clipping, offer much more gain, and more EQ possibilities. I did however want it to be confused as a Klone, so I’ve always marketed it as Not A Klon.”

J Rockett Rockaway Archer

$249 – A version of the popular Archer with six graphic EQ sliders instead of tone knob, developed by guitarist Steve Stevens. Each sliders controls 18dB of cut or boost at 6 different frequencies.

Foxpedal Kingdom V2

$229 – A Klone that attempts to enhance the original with higher voltage spread for more headroom, and two switches affecting the signal’s clipping.

Matthews Effects The Architect

An evolution of the Klon that adds flexibility with a three-way clipping toggle and a full 3-band active EQ.

Rawkworks Light OD.

An evolution of the Klon circuit featuring a clean bass control and clipping toggle switch

MojoHandFX Sacred Cow

A Klone with two twists: an ironic one (the legendary Centaur image is replaced by the culinary icon of a cow), and a tonal one, thanks to the added flexibility of the appropriately named “Fatty/Lean” Toggle, with the former adding a touch of extra girth, very useful for quieter pickups. Like the original, it convert the signal internally to 18v.

Soulsonic FX – Illuminated Overdrive

Not liking to be considered a “Klone,” the Illuminated Overdrive includes a nice added features: a 3 way toggle switch lets you select the type of clipping.

Pelican Noiseworks Pelitaur

Perfectly camouflaged as a Klone, this is actually a double fuzz. Don’t miss the manufacturer’s criptic introduction to the pedal, aimed at confusing and then surprising the Klone seeker.

Greenchild K818

Dual overdrive preamp with a Klon and Tube Screamer circuit in parallel.

Anasound Savage MkII

Inspired by the Klon Centaur, this pedal features a mahogany enclosure and several trimpots inside the case to control tone, OD bass, EQ and clipping.

LoneWolf FX Minotaur

A pedal inspired by the Klon but with some mods (more about it here).

OBSCURE KLONES 

The world of “Kloners” is ripe with more or less successful attempts and experiments by emerging manufacturers. Here’s a list of some of the less popular or discontinued models.

Tone Monk – Phoenix

A highly sought-after Klone that has been off of the market for quite a while.

Dan Zink – Minotaur

A Klon emulation but in a smaller enclosure. 9v DC, buffered output just like the original.

Ham Fist –  Fancy Lad 

Hard to find, but reputable Klone.

Yellowcake Pedals – Blackbox

The Blackbox’s unique features are the knobs on the top side of the enclosure.

Matthews Effects Klone

True to the original except for being true bypass, now discontinued.

Monsterpiece Fuzz Stud Overdrive – $199

It looks like a generic pedal, but some expert say it’s one of the closest “Klones” out there.


SHOOTOUT VIDEOS AND OTHER LINKS

If the pedal demos we linked to in the galleries above weren’t enough to sway you one way or another, there are a series of videos where the various Klon inspired pedals get compared directly through shootouts: we’ve embedded here some of them to better inform your choice.

And if you are wondering how different the Klon sounds compared to another legendarily influential pedal, the Ibanez Tube Screamer, you may want to check this video out:

There are dozens of  musicians’ forums about Klones, rather than pasting them all here we’ll just defer to Google… they are pretty good at it!

P.S. Did we forget something or posted incorrect information? Please post a comment and we’ll look into it!

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Best Marshall Plexi Distortion Pedals (and Mini Pedals) under $300 http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-marshall-plexi-distortion-pedals-and-mini-pedals-under-300/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/best-marshall-plexi-distortion-pedals-and-mini-pedals-under-300/#comments Thu, 05 Jan 2017 23:37:40 +0000 http://audio.thedelimagazine.com/?p=21878
Best Marshall Plexi Distortion Pedals (and Mini Pedals) under $300
plexi (Almost) everyone familiar with the electric guitar loves the sound of a cranked Marshall Plexi.  From Eric Clapton and Angus Young to Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads, Plexis have been used by many guitar players over the years and have defined the sound of iconic rock albums.
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Best Marshall Plexi Distortion Pedals (and Mini Pedals) under $300

(Almost) everyone familiar with the electric guitar loves the sound of a cranked Marshall Plexi.  From Eric Clapton and Angus Young to Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads, Plexis have been used by many guitar players over the years and have defined the sound of iconic rock albums.

If you are on the market for that sound, but in the more portable stompbox format, this is your ultimate guide to get the pedal that’s just right for you. We’ll take a look at the best 26 guitar effects on the market that give you the Plexi sound at a fraction of the price (and at more manageable volumes).

This interactive page sums up all the options you have; to navigate it, follow these guidelines:

– Hover on the images for indicative street prices and notes;
Clicking on the thumbnails will open a demo video!
– In the galleries, pedals are presented in order of their “perceived” popularity (number of YouTube plays). We know this is an imperfect indicator, but it still gives you an idea of how much interest there is around the pedal.

BOUTIQUE / VERSATILE PLEXI PEDALS ($249-$299)

The Two Notes Le Crunch is a great pedal if you need a very versatile drive that can get you from Hendrix like Plexi cleans (yes the Plexi can do clean tones marvelously as well as rocking your socks off with filthy saturation) to… well, Hendrix-like drive.  It also features great extras like a cab sim and a great sounding XLR-out, as well as a Headphone out, that way you can practice at night without waking the wife or neighbor, or plug straight into the console in the studio or live.

The XTS Atomic Drive has a bit of a saggy distortion that really nails the Turned Up To 11 Marshall sound.  The Mid Selector really helps define how present the guitar is in the mix and can get you from 70’s crunch a la’ Free or Led Zeppelin to Metallica or Megadeth scooped mid metal!

Look to the Bogner La Grange if you want a slightly hotter bit of grit – that’s what Bogner likes to do. The variac switch might appeal to Van Halen fans as as it lets you recreate the effect of starving a Plexi of some power to make it scream at lower volumes.  The channel blend allows you to mix in two different decades of Plexi amps together and can give you access to an incredibly diverse world of sounds.

The Fire Custom Shop Carpe Diem Overdrive Pedal is a truly fantastic playing experience as the Classic mode gets you girthy full low end and does a good job of making your 1×12 speaker feel like a 4×12.  The Lead mode foot switch adds a lot of gain but keeps it sounding like a nice old vintage tube amp.

Radial’s Tonebone Plexitube 2-Channel Tube Distortion actually has a 12AX7 tube inside of it to give you the real deal kind of distortion.  This pedal sounds really rich and beefy with a lot of range for you to play with in the mids department.  The tonal shaping options can be a bit excessive at first but with this remarkable unit you can really go from boomy to scooped mid distortion and anything in between.

Wampler’s Plexi Drive Deluxe is based off of their standard Plexi Drive (see below) but offers an additional footswitch for additional gain. This extra bit of saturation and volume can make your solos stand out and sound even fatter and thicker.

MID PRICED PLEXI PEDALS ($100-$200)

The Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi is a great amp in a box pedal that can get you Plexi crunch through practically any amp.

Calling the Wampler Plexi-Drive an amazing pedal is still an understatement.  The Plexi Drive is fat and warm with a nice vintage sounding low end that’s not really tight, but still has definition.

The Xotic SL Drive is a high gain Marshall-voiced pedal that actually excels at giving you the sound of a JCM 800.  On a lower gain setting, it does sound like a Plexi, but it sounds like a really bright modern Plexi amplifier which is great for cutting through a heavy mix or a band with a lot of different instrumentation.

The LovePedal’s Purple Plexi is visually stunning and offers a lot of warm gain for early 70’s Marshall sounds.

JHS Pedals Charlie Brown Overdrive v4 – This lower gain overdrive sounds much smoother than the other Plexi pedals on this list, maybe because it’s an overdrive pedal not a distortion one.  It can still be an aggressive effect depending on how you have the gain set, but it cleans up very well and responds beautifully to picking dynamics.

Rothwell Hellbender Overdrive Pedal – This overdrive pedal utilizes a multistage distortion circuit that helps it feel and sound like a real tube amp.  It is handmade in England and has true bypass for extra signal clarity in your rig.

The Carl Martin PlexiTone Single Channel is a vintage-voiced Marshall distortion pedal that sounds organic and not too colored in a way where you can engage it and feel like you’re just using the 2nd channel of your amp.

Tech 21 Sansamp Character Series British V2 – this pedal is very similar to the Hot Rod Plexi listed above, but it includes a speaker sim so you can plug it into a DI box and record your guitar direct into a recording console or audio interface.  It is a great backup option if your amp happens to break at a show or if you want a dual amp setup live but don’t want to lug around your Friedman Brown Eye 100 to your next bar gig.

Analog Alien Bucket Seat – Analog Alien makes some truly inspiring pedals and their Bucket Seat overdrive really nails the squishy compressed sound of a great late 60’s Plexi.

Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret MK III – All the sizzle and spice and everything you love about Plexis in a cool looking pedal.  The Preamp and Master gain on the Dirty Little Secret act like they would on your favorite old British amp and give you a lot of different options for gain staging.  This is also Andy from ProGuitarShop’s favorite Plexi-in-a-Pedal stompbox and considering all the plexi pedals he’s tried, that means a lot.

Greer Amp/Elliott Guitars Little Samson – A full but natural sounding high gain pedal with smooth high end and tight low end. Delivers hunky drive at lower gain settings and singing lead tones.

Ramble Fx Marvel Drive – The first thing you’ll probably notice about this pedal is the really cool Marshall knobs and red indicator light stolen from a Marshall.  This pedal sounds great and reminds me of the sound of early AC/DC records.

STANDOUT BUDGET PLEXI PEDALS (Under $140)

Boss ST-2 Power Stack
Even though it’s not presented as a “Plexi” pedal, the Boss ST-2’s golden/black color code betrays a Marshall inspired circuit. As often true with Boss, this pedal delivers exactly what’s promised without frills. However, the “Sound” knob has an interesting spin: it blends gain amount and sound character.

Marshall’s Guv’Nor pedal is arguably the first “amp in a box” pedal ever created and many of the pedals on this list wouldn’t be here today without it.  The late 80’s stompbox found popularity after it was discontinued in the early 90’s and is still the “go to” dirt box for many players who want to add some British-tuned distortion to their rigs.

Electro-Harmonix OD Glove Overdrive/Distortion – the Glove is a remarkable pedal that is often mistaken for a metal distortion pedal because of its appearance.  In reality, think more Spinal Tap as the name implies.  This dirt pedal has a really unique internal switch to change the feel from a more spongy vintage distortion to a more clear and articulate type of drive.

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion – it’s a great dirt box that takes a clean amp and turns it into a hi-gain modded Marshall.  Do note that it was designed to be used with a clean amp and will not sound its best when plugged into an already distorted amp.

MINI/AFFORDABLE PLEXI PEDALS (Under $80)

Biyang DS-10 Max Distortion – This Chinese stompbox sounds like a dying Marshall that is turned up all the way with tubes that are fighting to produce a blissful dirty tone.  It captures the essence of playing through a cranked amp.

Tone City Golden Plexi – This is a very responsive Plexi-sounding pedal that has tons of gain on tap but still fairs equally well on low gain settings and high gain settings.  At the price, you could buy two and still have plenty of space on your pedalboard.

Movall Audio MM-07 PlexiTroll – This is a truly inspiring pedal.  You can turn up the big Fury knob to add a lot of gain or back it down and use the Tone knob to shape a really chimey or warm clean sound.

The One Control Plexifier might be mini, but, at $149, it’s not exactly affordable. That’s actually the company’s angle: raising the standards of the mini format.

Mooer Blues Crab – Based off a Marshall Bluesbreaker, this mini pedal offers lower gain Marshall drive in a tidy enclosure.

Talent PlexiTron – Cheap and easy to operate thanks to just three knobs and one switch.  Lots of fun for the price.

The Joyo JF-32 Hot Plexi pedal responds well with a clean amp and gives you a classic distortion sound at a low price.

The Outlaw FX Deputy Marchall packs all the features you need in a mini enclosure, including tone knob and bright/normal toggle.

by Matthew Wang

Here are a few useful forum threads about the Plexi-style distortions:

Marshall
Gear Page
Harmony Central

Related Post:  Amp in a Box Overdrives with a Boost Footswitch.

P.S. Did we forget something or posted incorrect information? Please post a comment and we’ll look into it!

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Best Mini Delay & Echo Pedals of 2017: Compare Price and Features http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/compare-the-best-analog-mini-delay-pedals/ http://pedals.thedelimagazine.com/compare-the-best-analog-mini-delay-pedals/#respond Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:38:53 +0000 http://audio.thedelimagazine.com/?p=21372
Best Mini Delay & Echo Pedals of 2017: Compare Price and Features
minidelays So the budget is tight, the space on your board is little, and you desperately need a delay pedal. Here's an interactive page that sums up all the options you have; to navigate it, follow these guidelines:
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    Best Mini Delay & Echo Pedals of 2017: Compare Price and Features


    So the budget is tight, the space on your board is little, and you desperately need a delay pedal.

    Here’s an interactive page that sums up all the options you have; to navigate it, follow these guidelines:

    – Hover on the images for indicative street prices and notes;
     Clicking on the images will open the pedal’s YouTube video; 
    – Oh and… “TUS” means “Thumbs Up Score,” i.e. the Thumbs-Up-to-Views ratio the stompbox’s link video got.

    MOST POPULAR MINI DELAY AND ECHO STOMPBOXES ($100)

    The TC Electronic Flashback Mini is a simple digital delay with a powerful, under the hood potential, thanks to the proprietary TonePrint technology, which allows you to choose from several delay types like tape, analog, the classic 2290 sound and dynamic delay. The Ibanez Delay MINI is a miniature emulation of the classic Ibanez AD9 analog delay pedal – if you are looking for a great sounding, no frills option, you can’t go wrong with it.


    MINI DELAYS WITH ONLY KNOBS (OR NO KNOBS)

    The classic analog delay stompbox has three or four knobs (normally time, repeats, wet/dry mix, and sometimes tone) and no extra features like toggle switches or other buttons. Here are the pedals that adhere to that original concept.


    UNUSUAL MINI DELAY AND ECHO STOMPBOXES

    For those who like to try new things, here are a few more options that don’t really have much in common with each other, but stand out for an “out of the box” approach: from the uber creative (and digital) Rainger FX Echo-X to the F-Pedal Analog Echo Bandit and its Binson Style Tape Emulator.  We put in this category also the squarely shaped Mooer Spark and the Henretta Engineering Red Brick (no knobs, but internal trimmers for time, repeats, level, and tone).


    MINI EFFECTS WITH MULTIPLE DELAY & ECHO TYPE OPTION

    If you are looking for flexibility at the tip of your fingers, this section is for you: all the pedals in this category allow to choose different delay or echo types through a switch button or toggle. They are organized according to their “Thumbs Up” YouTube Score (TUS).


    MINI DELAY & ECHO EFFECTS BETWEEN $60 AND $99

    Here’s a list of middle of the road (in terms of price) mini pedals, organized according to their “Thumbs Up” YouTube Score. Some of these have no YouTube reviews (or, at least, we couldn’t find them).


    MINI DELAY & ECHO PEDALS UNDER $60

    And this is the list for the players with budget related issues! Some of these have no YouTube reviews.

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