While almost every guitar player owns an Expression pedal, Expression controllers are a rather overlooked format in the stompbox world, and they shouldn’t be, because they have the magic power of instilling new creative life into any old pedal in a player’s arsenal equipped with an Expression or CV input.
As you can see from the picture, the TWA Side Step, (aka SS-01) doesn’t deal with audio, since it has no in/out plugs. It deals, instead, with feeding your expression input with a series of “movements” your foot couldn’t possibly recreate with an expression pedal, movements generated by a Low Frequency Oscillator.
The Side Step is exactly, that: a variable-state, tap-tempo LFO that can be used to control any pedal with an EXP/CV input. Just plug it in and tap to create unique new sounds and effects, picking from eight waveforms. The EXP thru jack allows connection of your favorite expression pedal at the same time, allowing you to mix the LFO control with the ones coming from, the pedal, for truly unique results. The SS-01 can also be hard bypassed to use the slave pedal in standard operating mode.
Here are a few examples of what the Side Step can do with various iconic stompboxes.
The Side Step™ is a variable-state, tap-tempo low-frequency oscillator (LFO) that can be used to control practically any device with an expression input and/or +5V control voltage source. Just plug it in and tap to create unique new sounds and effects.
The Side Step™ concept arose from discussions with Dweezil Zappa, who had envisioned a sample/hold function for the TWA Triskelion®. Our tech came up with an idea to slave the Triskelion® to an external LFO via its expression jack in order to generate the S/H effect without having to alter the existing circuit.
After a lot of spit-balling and trial & error, the Side Step™ was born!
The Side Step™ LFO rate can be controlled via tap tempo, onboard rate pot, or an external expression pedal. Each control type will override the others, so you could have a very high LFO rate set with the expression pedal, and then enter a much slower tempo via the tap tempo footswitch, allowing you to “toggle” between two LFO rates.
The Side Step™ offers eight different waveform options for the onboard LFO, which are selectable via rotary switch. The available waveforms are listed in the Control Descriptions section below.
The EXP jack allows connection of your favorite expression pedal to the Side Step™, while the EXP Thru switch allows for standard operation of the expression pedal with the slave pedal/device, effectively bypassing the Side Step™ without having to disconnect it.
The Side Step™ can also be hard bypassed to use the slave pedal/device in its standard operating mode.
Here’s an example – the TWA Triskelion® is a midrange gain booster with an expression pedal jack that controls the frequency of the midrange band. If you were to connect the Side Step™ to the Triskelion®, and then connect an expression pedal to the Side Step™, you could have the Triskelion® function in three different modes –
- Manual control of midrange frequency via expression pedal
- LFO control of midrange frequency via Side Step™ LFO
- Fixed midrange frequency with Triskelion® on and Side Step™ bypassed
This simple yet ingenious configuration opens up a whole new array of creative audio possibilities without dramatically altering your existing effect setup.
Turn an envelope filter into an auto wah; a ring modulator into a whammy; a standard delay pedal into a pitch shifting delay; a drive pedal into a modulating synth or add tap tempo to a manual phaser. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and the amount of exp/ctl jacks you have available in your rig.
Take your current effects setup a step beyond the ordinary with the Side Step™ from TWA®.
CTL JACK – Connect this jack to EXP jack on the pedal to be controlled (slave) using a stereo ¼” TRS cable.
DC IN – The Side Step™ runs off external 9 volt DC power only – there is no battery option. The recommended power supply is our PA-9 Power-All® – however, any 9 VDC, tip-negative, regulated power supply of 100 mA or greater should be able to power it.
EXP JACK – Connect this jack to an external expression pedal (optional) using a stereo ¼” TRS cable.
BYPASS SWITCH – Bypasses the Side Step™ so that the pedal it is attached to can function as it normally would with an expression pedal (or nothing) connected to its EXP jack. The Side Step™ features TWA’s proprietary S3™ “shortest send” switching – a form of true-bypass that uses electronic relays combined with a mechanical switch. S3™ switching guarantees the most transparent bypass tone available, and also defaults to bypass should there be a power failure.
STATUS LED – Indicates whether Side Step™ is active or bypassed. This LED will be dim when it is receiving power and bright when it is engaged.
TAP SWITCH – Allows user to program LFO rate via tapping. Use 3 consecutive taps with equal intervals in order to adjust the LFO rate via this switch. Note that tapping a rate will override any rate setting already programmed via the Tap Switch, the Rate Pot, or an external Expression pedal.
RATE POT – Controls rate of LFO. Note that adjusting this control will override any rate setting already programmed via the Tap Switch or an external Expression pedal.
WAVEFORM SWITCH – This 8-way rotary switch selects the waveform shape of the LFO. Available waveforms are –
- Reverse Sawtooth
- Reverse Peak
- Random (sample/hold)
EXP THRU SWITCH – When an external expression pedal is connected to the EXP jack (3), this switch allows the pedal to function as follows –
EXP PEDAL RATE POT TAP SWITCH ON (LEFT) ON LFO RATE LFO RATE LFO RATE OFF (RIGHT) ON N/A LFO RATE LFO RATE ON (LEFT) OFF N/A N/A N/A OFF (RIGHT) OFF EXP FUNCTION N/A N/A
RATE LED – Indicates the current cycling rate of the LFO.