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9 of the Best Lo-fi Modulation Pedals

Bitcrushing and Lo-FiCaroline Guitar CompanyChampion LeccyChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoEarthQuaker DevicesFairfield CircuitryHungry Robot EffectsModulationParadox EffectsRaygun FXZvex+-
2019GPX9BestLoFiModulators700-min.jpg

This article was inspired by the recent launch of the Caroline Guitar Co. Somersault Lo-fi Modulator which is really a sort of Chorus - which all these others are indeed near enough all too at least to a degree. In fact Josh Scott of JHS fame kind of beat me to the punch on this with his last Thursday’s YouTube video - which I share in Final Thoughts below. Yet I had already drawn up my own shortlist of 9 in advance of that and Josh and I only overlap on 4 - the Somersault obviously, ...

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Best of Australian and New Zealander Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

Ambient EffectsAnalog DelayAnarchy AudioBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBondi EffectsBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoCompressorCrowther AudioDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDriveDual-DriveEchoverbEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahExpressionFlux EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzKlone and Transparent OverdriveLastgasp Art LaboratoriesLightning Wave EffectsLo-Fi DelayLoop-SwitcherMarshall Style DistortionMC SystemsMetal DistortionMI EffectsMidnight AmplificationModulationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePepers' PedalsPhaserPitchPoly EffectsRed Witch EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationSelah EffectsShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSplitter and Frequency SplitterTape DelayTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTube OverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVolumeWah and Fixed Wah+-
2019GPXAustraliaNewZealandPedals700-min.jpg

Australia and New Zealand together have a fair few brands of international repute, and I for one certainly have a number of pedals of Australian origin in my collection. Foremost amongst those is Michael Ibrahim’s eponymous MI Audio / MI Effects - from which range past and present - I have 7 to date - with a couple more on the ’nice-to-have’ wishlist. Of the ones I have 2 are permanent features in my pedal-chain - the Super Crunch Box V2 (my Brown Sound pedal of choice) and ...

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Best of Central and South American Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

Beetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoCompressorCopilot FXDarkglass ElectronicsDedalo FXDeep Trip FXDistortionDriveDSM NoisemakerDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFire Custom ShopFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGuitar Synth and SequencerKlone and Transparent OverdriveLoop-SwitcherMaestro Style FuzzMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationMonstro EffectsMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdriveParadox EffectsPedalPalFXPhaserRat Style FuzzRetrohead FXSabbadius Custom EffectsSilicon FuzzSplitter and Frequency SplitterStomp Audio LabsSuper-Fuzz StyleTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTube OverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPXBestCentralSouthAmericanBuilders700-min.jpg

This is the 11th in the Pedal Builders Country Series as such, although I’ve had to cast the net slightly wider as I currently don’t consider there to be enough top-tier / International-level builders in a single country here to satisfy the usual criteria. Brazil and Argentina come fairly close - with Brazil having significantly the most concentrated volume of builders of any Country in that part of the world. Generally Brazil, Argentina and Chile are particularly well represented. ...

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Early Summer Pedal-Chain State of the Union - the Final Formation?

12 Degrees of SaturationAmbient EffectsAnasoundsBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferBuild Your Own CloneBYOCChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar AccessoriesGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioJHS PedalsKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMeris EffectsMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRed Panda EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicToneQuestTremoloTrue North PedalsTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWampler+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainMKV700-min.jpg

This is one of those moments that I feel that my celebrated Pedal-Chain has reached another milestone of ’peak performance’. There are a number of new releases here - and probably all the big ones I was expecting this year - bar the Chase Bliss Audio / Benson Amps Automatone MKII PreAmp - which is due in the Autumn now - and still pending final pricing, but will probably take up the top spot on Slot #14 eventually. Also - my long-awaited Beetronics Swarm Harmonizing PLL Style Fuzz ...

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Drolo Molecular Disruptor V3 - Killer Glitch/Multi-FX Pedal : Overview with some Key Patches, Settings and Notes

Ambient EffectsBitcrushing and Lo-FiDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbEnvelope Filter and Auto WahGlitchGranular DelayLooperModulationOctaverOddball DelayOddball ModulationPitchPitch-ShiftingReverbSlicer and StutterUtility+-
2019GPXDroloMolecularDisruptorV4700.jpg

So some of you know that I declared 2019 would be my ’Year of Glitch’ following on from last year’s ’Year of Fuzz’. I had a longlist of 16 of the Best Glitch Effects Pedals - and indicated which of those were my preferred options. I very soon had 4 of those pedals in my collection - in order of arrival - King of Gear Mini Glitch, Montreal Assembly Count to Five, Drolo Molecular Disruptor V3, and the gold-face Pladask Elektrisk Fabrikat. There are a few missing off ...

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PLBR Effects Releases Innovative Pizzacrusher Bitcrusher Glitch Fuzz

Bitcrushing and Lo-FiFuzzGlitchModulationOddball FuzzPLBR Effects+-
2019GPXPLBRPizzacrusher700V2-min.jpg

Just a couple of weeks ago PLBR Effects launched without fanfare a really elegant confection of bitcrusher and fuzz pedal with a further glitchy ’Pizza’ modulation stage on top which processes the bitcrushed ’Crush’ signal in three ways - as indicated by the 3 Modes in my visual above. My pedal arrived this last Monday and I’ve been having fun with it since. The pedal brings to mind another of my well-loved and more leftfield fuzz-type pedals - Dr Scientist’s...

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2018 New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsAnalog DelayBeetronics FXBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBondi EffectsBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveDryBell EffectsDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEQFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGamechanger AudioGated and Velcro FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHorizon DevicesJackson AudioJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionModulationMulti-DriveOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOrigin EffectsOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRed Panda LabReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationShimmer ReverbSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStone Deaf EffectsSubdecay EffectsTape DelayThorpyFXTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWamplerWMD DevicesZvex+-
2018GPXPedalsOfTheYear700-min.jpg

2018 has been a really surprising year for pedals - there have been quite a few unexpected innovations along the way with also some of the usual production delays and holdups. As I write this I am still waiting for my long-overdue Jackson Audio Bloom to arrive - but I expect it will be worth the delay. I would have liked to have seen the Empress Zoia despatched this year too, as sort of predicted though - I feel that it will be pushed into next year - to coincide with Winter NAMM possibly - in ...

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Pedal-Chain State of the Union Autumn Harvest & End of Year Upheavals

Abracadabra AudioAmbient EffectsBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCustom TonesDecibelicsDelayDelay WorkstationDiezel AmplificationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctaverOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbPower SuppliesRat Style FuzzReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTC ElectronicTech 21 NYCToneQuestTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPXSKSignalChainMkVII700-min.jpg

UPDATE 1 - It’s often the case that just after you publish, something big happens which forces a change of stance. On this occasion it was the release of the truly amazing Wampler Pantheon Overdrive which has immediately found its way into Slot #10 of the chain. In fact I have sort of swapped slots #10 and #12 around - relegating the Spaceman Aphelion to a supporting role for now.

 

UPDATE 2 - Still no word from Jackson Audio on the delayed Bloom Compressor etc. - which means the ...

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Best of German Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

AmpsAnalog DelayBitcrushing and Lo-FiBluGuitarBoostBoost and OverdriveDelayDiezel AmplificationDistortionEffects Pedal MakersGigging AmpHexe EffectsHome-Play AmpJPTR FXKMA AudioLehleMetal DistortionModulationNeo InstrumentsNobelsOKKO FXOverdrivePhaserRotary SpeakerTube AmpTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtility+-
2018GPXBestOfGermanPedals-min.jpg

After the Best of French roundup, the German leg of the European tour turned out to be quite arduous. Germany have easily as many pedal builders as he UK but with a little more strength in depth. There’s a mix of everything from Germany - both vintage and innovation, and they’re of course very strong in the area of overdrive and distortion as backed up by their many superb high-gain amp builders.

 

Overall, I felt that there were a few more brands here that I was familiar ...

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Meris round off their Quartet / Quadfecta with probably their most appealing pedal to date - the Enzo Multi-Voice Synthesizer

Ambient EffectsBitcrushing and Lo-FiDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahGuitar Synth and SequencerMeris EffectsModulationPlate ReverbReverbRing ModulationShimmer ReverbSpacey Reverb+-
2018GPXMerisQuadfecta700-min.jpg

I have to start this piece by reiterating that the fantastic Meris is really just 3 people - Terry Burton, Jinna Kim and Angelo Mazzocco - with the last mentioned the main sound engineer. They were initially known for making 500 series rack format effects but have since made more of a name for themselves by releasing their signature effects in medium enclosure stompbox pedals - not that different in format from Strymon’s mid-sized boxes.

 

2017 was a bumper year for them as they ...

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