May 26, 2015

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We were recently introduced to Hotone, the winners of “Best in Show” at NAMM 2015.

Reminding me much of the now-discontinued Guyatone mini series (I still treasure my lil’ green compressor!)  Hotone’s Skyline pedal series is a great collection of tiny pedals with a unique look. Eschewing the “double-pack of bubble gum” form factor of some of the newer class of non-9V pedals, they’ve got style unto their own.

Yes, these pedals are REALLY small–but they have every feature one might need at this price point. (And they’re kind of adorable, really). I particularly like the Electro-Harmonix-style bar across the top (to avoid sudden pedal knob shifts) and the Gibson-style speed knob on the leading edge, which in many cases controls the overall effect, and could theoretically be turned by a toe-nudge from your Chuck Taylors. The pedal inputs are also staggered, which will save space on a board. The pedal series comes in many flavors; everything from fuzz/OD to comp to time-based effects are covered, all in the same form factor.

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Nano Legacy British Invasion Mini-Amp

The other Hotone product that caught our eyes were their Nano Legacy series of true tube 5W mini-amps. These lil’ cuties come in various flavors as well, from Jimi-esque Plexi tones to chiming AC-30 clones…and the best part is that each has a wonderful array of inputs and outs…a 1/8″ out for phones, powered speakers or direct, an aux in (I love running my phonograph through 5 watt amps!), an effects loop, and a multi-ohm speaker output. It’s the perfect bedroom amp, and they also make a cabinet to go with it, but you can plug it into almost anything.

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Hotone Xtomp

But certainly the most interesting product is their Xtomp pedal–a programmable ultra thin multi-effect modeling pedal, which as of press time is capable of almost 300 proprietary algorithms based on Hotone’s years of research…it’s intended to realize the dynamic interaction of those classic analog circuits with player and amp, controllable with EUMLab software and programmable through a USB connection, and through Bluetooth with  iOS and Android.

The form factor of the Xtomp is gorgeous  — a brushed metal finish with “LED halos” surrounding each knob. It’s super-futuristic and we can’t wait to test one out thoroughly in our studios. – Mya Byrne

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