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Boost and Overdrive

2017 New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Alexander PedalsAmptweakerBeat MachineBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoost and OverdriveBossBuild Your Own CloneBYOCChase Bliss AudioDelayDelay WorkstationDiezelDigital DelayDigital ReverbDigiTechDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbEmpress EffectsFriedman EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemGlitchGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerHologram ElectronicsJ RockettJRADKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOscillating FuzzOverdrivePigtronixPitchPitch-ShiftingReverbReverb WorkstationSource AudioStrymonTC ElectronicUtilityWampler+-
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For me this has been a pretty bumper year for new pedals. Some of the much hyped ones are only fairly recently in distribution - like the much delayed Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb, while we’re still waiting for the Pigtronix Mothership 2 to reach these shores. There were also many surprises throughout the year - like Boss’s resurgence and the dramatic increase in dual-effect and dual-footswitch pedals. We had the dual serendipitous launches of two very functionally similar pedals - in the Dual-Drive category for Chase Bliss’s Brothers and Strymon’s Sunset, as well as in Dual-Reverb - courtesy of the Boss RV-500 and Source Audio Ventris. Yet there were some entirely unique ones too like DigiTech’s FreqOut.


I already have a number of these pedals, and all my top 25 here are on my wishlist - which should translate that likely the major part of these will hit home eventually - it will probably take a while, as there are always new and unexpected delights just over the horizon, and what you think you might want today, may be second fiddle by tomorrow. But by any objective criteria the top 25 is is a great representation of the width and scope of the current state of pedal-making, with representative from most of the key categories.


So I started this exercise with a fairly exhaustive, but still nowhere near fully comprehensive longlist of circa 300+ pedals. I reckon in real terms - that the total number of new Guitar Effects Pedals introduced each year is well in excess of 1,000 - so this is less than one third of that.


Several pedal-makers did really well this year - TC Electronic released a boatfull of new pedals, only some of which I’ve longlisted - also Alexander, EHX, JHS, Keeley, KMA. Mooer and Mr Black all had an extremely productive 2017. Although it’s rarely about the quantity of pedals rather the quality - and one extraordinary / successful pedal / line can support the whole range for a brand - like Keeley’s Compressors, and TC Electronic’s Loopers and Tuners.


Boss scores 3 placements in the top 25, as does TC Electronic, with DigiTech and Keeley each placing twice also. I’m sure not everyone will agree with all my choices, but I feel there would be signficiant overlap for a large number of these, and as I’ve said, I would be more than happy to accommodate them all within my pedal chain - there are already category slots for them all.


It wasn’t hard for me to pick my top 25 - or the top 3 for that matter - all these pretty much suggested themselves:

Pedal of the Year : GOLD : Empress EchoSystem Dual Delay


This is the pedal I've had the most fun with this year - 36 different algorithms that you can stack in series, parallel and stereo split - with all-analogue controls - all surface-based and instantly tweakable, and 35 LED-colour-coded presets. The pedal sounds amazing, is intuitive and is a genuine inspiration machine. The only downside is that you need constant access to the little manual - to remind you what the Thing 1 and Thing 2 dials do for each algorithm. And it really is such a joy to use - a constant delight. There is no other delay pedal anywhere near this level at the moment - that's why it takes GOLD.

Pedal of the Year : SILVER : Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analogue Synth


This really is an award to the engineers at Pigtronix - who took the original large-enclosure Mothership and shrunk it down by 2/3rds into a standard compact enclosure - it's just a wonder of engineering. You have twin toggles and no less than 10 dials, arranged in 5 dual-concentric stacks - and it's all stereo! If you look at the comparable synth offering from EHX this year, you have to commend Pigtronix for its superior product design. I already have and love a DigiTech Dirty Robot - which is an engineering marvel also, but the Mothership 2 raises the stakes significantly over that.

Pedal of the Year : BRONZE : Boss RV-500 Dual Reverb


So this was the year that Boss completed its assault on the Strymon 'Stryfecta' of Mobius, TimeLine and BigSky. Truth is that the DD-500 | TimeLine competitor really wasn't quite right at launch, and Boss seems to have learned very quickly from that - because its 500 series Modulation and Reverb pedals are genuinely world-beating. Also taking advantage of Source Audio's significant delays to its own Ventris Dual Reverb, Boss launched a dual sneak attack on both Source Audio and Strymon - and really caught everyone off guard. Not only does the RV-500 have some exceptional algorithms - like the Space Echo, it allows you to play back 2 Reverbs simultaneously - in series / parallel / stereo A/B split - and to apply a dedicated modulated delay also to each of those reverbs - so in fact 2 Reverbs + 2 Delays simultaneously all in the one pedal - this somewhat pulled the rug from under the Source Audio Ventris, even though that one does benefit from a significantly smaller form factor, and a significantly better Spring algorithm - if those things are important to you - the RV-500 pretty much wins the head-to-head on most everything else - do note though that with al those settings, and even with intuitive and easy-to-see-and-use menus, the RV-500 can be extremely complex in setup - particularly as regards configuring the 3rd / CTRL footswitch!

The Rest of the Top 25 (alphabetical)

A great mix of modulation, overdrive, fuzz, distortion and utility:

  • Alexander Pedals Syntax Error - 80's Computer Glitch Effect Pedal
  • AmpTweaker TightFuzz Jr - 2-Way Germanium + Silicon Fuzz
  • Boss JB-2 Angry Driver - Stacked Dual Drive : Boss Blues Driver + JHS Angry Charlie
  • Boss MD-500 Modulation - Dual Effect Modulation Workstation
  • BYOC Crown Jewel - Analogue Overdrive and Distortion Modelling Pedal
  • Chase Bliss Brothers Analog Drive Stage - 2 x 3-voice, 2 Channel, Dual Drive
  • Diezel VH4-2 Distortion - 2 Channel High Gain Distortion
  • DigiTech FreqOut - Instant Natural Feedback Generator
  • DigiTech SDRUM - Strummable Drum Beats Beat Box
  • EarthQuaker Devices Data Corrupter - Monophonic Analogue Harmonizing/Oscillating Phase Locked Loop with Modulation!
  • Friedman Dirty Shirley - Marshall-esque Distoriton with enhanced mid-frequency control
  • GFI System Specular Tempus - The lushest of Delay+Reverb algorithms, only some of which are dual-effect
  • Hologram Electronics Infinte Jets - A digital phrase sampler / sequencer / synthesizer
  • J Rockett Rockaway Archer - Klon-clone with 6-band EQ Sliders
  • Keeley D&M Drive - Classic serial Dual Drive
  • Keeley Filaments - Versatile Distortion Pedal with extended tone-stack and switches
  • Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb - Medium-enclosure Dual-Effect Reverb
  • Strymon Sunset Dual Drive - 2 x 3-voice, 2 Channel, Dual Drive
  • TC Electronic Flashback 2 - Updated Compact Delay Workstation with improved TonePrints and new MASH footswitch functionality
  • TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 - Updated Compact Reverb Workstation with improved TonePrints and new MASH footswitch functionality
  • TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer - Compact Monophonic Smart Harmonizer with improved TonePrints and new MASH footswitch functioanlity
  • Wampler Tumnus Deluxe - Klon clone - updated to Compact format with 3-band EQ and higher 'Hot' gain toggle switch

The Longlist

300+ : alphabetical

  • Adventure Audio Power Couple
  • Adventure Audio Whateverb V2
  • Alexander Pedals Clang Championship Edition Overdrive
  • Alexander Pedals F-13 Neo Flanger
  • Alexander Pedals Radiacmeter Dist-O-Drive
  • Alexander Pedals Radical Delay II+
  • Alexander Pedals Sky-fi Reverb & Delay
  • Alexander Pedals Syntax Error
  • Analog.Man BLOCK letter Envelope Filter
  • Amptweaker BluesFuzz Jr
  • Amptweaker PressuRizer Compressor
  • AmpTweaker TightFuzz Jr
  • Atomic Ampli-Firebox
  • Billionaire (by Danelectro) Battery Billionaire -Vintage Battery 9 Volt Supply
  • Billionaire (by Danelectro) Big Spender Rotary Speaker
  • Billionaire (by Danelectro) Billion Dollar Boost
  • Billionaire (by Danelectro) Filthy Rich Tremolo
  • Billionaire (by Danelectro) Pride Of Texas Overdrive
  • Bondi Effects Breakers Overdrive
  • Boss 40th Anniversary Box Set - Boss OD-1 OverDrive, Boss PH-1 Phaser, Boss SP-1 Spectrum
  • Boss JB-2 Angry Driver
  • Boss DS-1 Black 40th Anniversary Distortion
  • Boss EV-30 Expression Pedal
  • Boss MD-500 Modulation
  • Boss RV-500 Reverb
  • Buffalo FX Carrera Overdrive
  • Buffalo FX Stiletto Fuzz
  • BYOC Crown Jewel
  • Caroline Guitar Company Ambulance Rescue Buffer
  • Caroline Guitar Company Parabola Solid State Tremolo
  • Caline Music CP-41 Ghost Train Reverb/Delay
  • Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe
  • Catalinbread Epoch Pre Preamp/Buffer
  • Catalinbread Formula No. 55 (Fender Tweed Deluxe)
  • Chase Bliss Audio Brothers Analog Drive Stage
  • Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall Red Knob Mod
  • Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl HiFi
  • Coopersonic Clean Valve Boost
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Deranged Envelope Filter
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Echotopia 4-Head Tape Echo
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Space Charged - Tube Overdrive / Distortion
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Splash MK3 Stereo Reverb
  • Crazy Tube Circuits White Whale Reverb & Tremolo
  • Daredevil Cocked & Fearless Fixed Wah / Distortion
  • Death By Audio Echo Master - Lo-Fi Echo with Effects Loop
  • Death By Audio Evil Filter
  • Death By Audio Exit Index Analog Warped Tremolo & Distortion
  • Death By Audio Micro Dream
  • Diamond f-Octave
  • Diamond Reverb
  • Diezel VH4-2 Distortion
  • DigiTech CabDryVR Cab Simulator
  • DigiTech FreqOut Natural Feedback Creator
  • DigiTech SDRUM Strummable Drum Pedal
  • DOD Mini Expression
  • DOD Mini Volume
  • DOD Rubberneck Analog Delay
  • Dogmatek Arctic Wolf Twin Modulator
  • Dunlop Cry Baby Geezer Butler Signature Wah
  • Dunlop Geezer Butler Cry Baby Wah
  • Dwarfcraft Devices Super Wizard
  • Dwarfcraft Devices The Curse Tap Tempo Delay with CV
  • Dwarfcraft Devices The Grazer Granular Repeater & Glitch Machine
  • EarthQuaker Devices Data Corrupter Modulated Monophonic PLL Harmonizer
  • EarthQuaker Devices Erupter Perfect Fuzz
  • EarthQuaker Devices Space Spiral
  • Emma Electronic DiscumBOBulator II Enevelop Filter
  • Emerson Pomeroy Multi-Drive
  • EHX 22500 Dual Stereo Looper
  • EHX Blurst
  • EHX Canyon
  • EHX Cock Fight Plus
  • EHX Dual Expression Pedal
  • EHX Expression
  • EHX Cock Fight Cocked Talking Wah
  • EHX Green Russian Big Muff Pi
  • EHX HotWax (Hot Tubes + Crayon)
  • EHX Lester G Deluxe Rotary Speaker
  • EHX Platform Stereo Compressor/Limiter
  • EHX Operation Overlord Stereo Overdrive/Distortion
  • EHX Slammi Plus Polyphonic Pitch Shifter
  • EHX Superego+ Synth
  • EHX Synth9
  • EHX Switch Blade Pro Switcher
  • EHX Tone Corset Compressor
  • Empress Effects EchoSystem
  • Empress Effects Tremolo 2 - 10th Anniversary Edition
  • F-Pedals NIKAOS Distortion
  • F-Pedals PUNQMONK Envelope Filter
  • F-Pedals SYNTHFONIA Fuzz + Envelope Filter
  • Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water K-Field Modulator
  • Foxpedal Kingdom Combo V2
  • Foxpedal Magnifica Reverb Deluxe
  • Foxpedal The City V2 Drive + Boost
  • Free The Tone FT-2Y Flight Time Digital Delay
  • Friedman Buxom Boost
  • Friedman Dirty Shirley
  • Friedman Fuzz Fiend
  • Friedman Motor City Drive
  • Fulltone Mas Malo Distortion/Fuzz
  • Function f(x) Accufunkture
  • Function f(x) Clusterfuzz Jr
  • Function f(x) The Cannon
  • Fuzzrocious Blast Furnace Gated Fuzz
  • Fuzzrocious Cat King Distortion
  • Fuzzrocious LunaReclipse Utility Clipping Platform Pedal
  • GFI System Specular Tempus
  • Glou-Glou Deja-Vu Multi-Modulation Phaser & Filter
  • Glou-Glou Avant-Garde Multi-Modulation Phaser & Filter
  • Greer Amps Lamplighter Optical Compressor
  • Greer Amps Moonshot AC-128 Class-A Germanium Treble and Mid Pre
  • Gurus Amps Sexy Drive MkII
  • Gurus Amps Sinusoid Optical Tremolo & Spring Reverb
  • Henretta Engineering H-Bomb Trembrato Tremolo/Vibrato
  • Hologram Electronics Infinte Jets
  • Ibanez Mini 850 Fuzz
  • Ibanez Mini Big Mini Chromatic Tuner
  • JHS Calhoun Dual Overdrive
  • JHS Double Barrel V4 2-in-1 Dual Overdrive Pedal
  • JHS Haunting Mids
  • JHS Milkman
  • JHS Moonshine V2 Overdrive Pedal
  • JHS Pink Panther Tape/Digital Delay Pedal
  • JHS Ryan Adams + Pax Am Signature VCR (Volume|Chorus|Reverb)
  • JHS Spring Tank Reverb
  • JHS Sweet Tea V3 2-in-1 Dual Overdrive Pedal
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM5 Fuzz Face
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM6 Octavio Fuzz
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM7 Univibe
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM8 Gypsy Fuzz
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM9 Mini Cry Baby Wah-Wah
  • J Rockett IQ Compressor
  • J.Rockett Majestic Overdrive
  • J Rockett Rockaway Archer
  • Keeley Electronics Awful Waffle Slime Blaster Treble Booster
  • Keeley Electronics Caverns II Delay/Reverb
  • Keeley Electronics Compressor Pro
  • Keeley Electronics D&M Drive
  • Keeley Electronics Echoes Multi-Head Tap Delay
  • Keeley Electronics Filaments
  • Keeley Electronics Hot Fuzz
  • Keeley Electronics Luna Overdrive II
  • Keeley Electronics Mesmer Astral Delay/Reverb
  • Keeley Electronics Neutrino Deluxe Envelope Filter
  • Keeley Electronics Omni Reverb
  • Keeley Electronics Rotten Apple Fuzz
  • Keeley Electronics Super Phat Mod Dynamic OD
  • Keeley Electronics Tesla MK III Soviet Fuzz Bender
  • KMA Audio Machines Belfry Buffer
  • KMA Audio Machines Minos Germanium Fuzz
  • KMA Audio Machines Moai Maea
  • KMA Audio Machines SAM Supply Aid Machine
  • KMA Audio Machines Strokkur Treble Boost
  • KMA Audio Machines Sweet Sinner Limited Germanium Treble Booster
  • KMA Audio Machines Tyler Frequency Splitter
  • KMA Audio Machines Wurm Distortion
  • Laney Amplification Black Country Customs Tony Iommi Signature Treble Booster
  • LunaStone TOD-2 TrueOverDrive 2
  • Mad Professor Dual Blue Delay
  • Mad Professor Simble Twimble
  • Matthews Effects The Alchemist Transmutation Box
  • Matthews Effects The Aviator MOSFET Boost
  • Matthews Effects The Conductor v2 Optical Tremolo
  • Matthews Effects The Klone OD
  • Meris Mercury 7 Reverb
  • Meris Ottobit Jr Bitcrusher / Sequencer
  • Meris Polymoon Super-Modulated Delay
  • Mooer Baby Bomb 30W Digital Micro Power AMP
  • Mooer Free Step Wah Volume Pedal
  • Mooer GE200 Multi Effects Processor
  • Mooer Jet Engine Digital Flanger
  • Mooer Ocean Machine Dual Delay + Reverb
  • Mooer Micro PreAmps (x10 : 001 - 010)
  • Mooer Mod Factory Pro
  • Mooer Pitch Step
  • Mooer RADAR Speaker Simulator
  • Mooer Red Truck Multi FX
  • Mooer Tender Octaver MKII
  • Mooer Triangolo Digital Tap Tremolo
  • Mojo Hand FX 1979 Fuzz
  • Mr Black BB-74x OD
  • Mr Black Barbeque Fuzz
  • Mr Black Beerwiser - King of Vibratos
  • Mr Black Boost Drive One-Hundred
  • Mr Black Deluxe Deluxe Plys Reverb + Tremolo
  • Mr Black DR-54 Custom
  • Mr Black Drunken Monkey Enevelope Vibrato
  • Mr Black Electronic Instrument Pre-Amp
  • Mr Black Jalapeño Overdrive
  • Mr Black JD-800 Lead
  • Mr Black JDD-3000+ Digital Delay
  • Mr Black Nacho Cheese Compressor
  • Mr Black Salt & Vinegar Spring Reverb & Tremolo
  • Mr Black Sour Cream & Onion Overdrive
  • Mr Black SS-850 Solid State Echo Chamber
  • Mr Black SuperMoon Eclipse - Stereo Reverberator
  • Mr Black Tapex 2 Stereophonic Tape Echo
  • Mr Black Vintage Ensemble
  • MXR 6 Band EQ Silver
  • MXR 10 Band EQ Silver
  • MXR Booster Mini
  • MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe Analog Delay
  • MXR Custom Shop Il Diavolo Overdrive
  • MXR Custom Shop CSP-030 Cry Baby Q-Zone Fixed Wah
  • MXR DynaComp Mini
  • Mythos Pedals Chupacabra Overdrive/Fuzz
  • Mythos Pedals Daedalus Overdrive
  • Mythos Pedals Erlking Overdrive
  • Mythos Pedals Golden Fleece Fuzz
  • Mythos Pedals Herculean Overdrive
  • Mythos Pedals Mjolnir Overdrive
  • Neunaber Iconoclast Speaker Emulator
  • Neunaber Inspire Tri-Chorus Plus
  • Okko FX Diablo GH - Gregor Hilden signature Overdrive & Boost
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavours The Excess
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavors Fault Overdrive / Distortion
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavors Whitecap Tap Tempo Tremolo
  • OneControl Cranberry Overdrive
  • OneControl Dimension Blue Monher
  • OneControl Golden Acorn Overdrive Special
  • OneControl Honey Bee Overdrive
  • OneControl Lingonberry Overdrive
  • OneControl Raspberry Booster
  • OneControl Rebel Red Distortion
  • Orange Getaway Driver
  • Orange Fur Coat
  • Orange Kongpressor
  • Pigtronix Class A Boost Micro
  • Pigtronix Disnortion Micro
  • Pigtronix Gatekeeper Micro
  • Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analogue Synth
  • Pigtronix Octava Micro
  • Plus Pedal
  • Positive Grid BIAS Delay
  • Positive Grid BIAS Delay Twin
  • Positive Grid BIAS Distortion Twin
  • Positive Grid BIAS Modulation
  • Positive Grid BIAS Modulation Twin
  • Rabbit Hole FX A ‘Merkin' Fuzz
  • Radial Tonebone Texas Pro
  • Rainger FX Deep Space Pulsar
  • Red Panda Tensor Real-time reverse/tape stop effect
  • Rockfabrik Effects Aqua Lung
  • Rockfabrik Effects Buffy Coat
  • Seymour Duncan Andromeda Dynamic Delay
  • Seymour Duncan La Super Rica Silicon Fuzz
  • Shift Line A+ Astronaut v2 - Multiverb Space Unit
  • Side Effects Bug Elektrik
  • Side Effects Il Mostro
  • Side Effects Mocking Bird delay
  • Side Effects Oscillator Fuzz
  • Skreddy Pedals 1979 - Vintage Amp-like Muffy Distortion
  • Subdecay Vector Analog Preamp Multi-Drive
  • Suhr Alexa Chorus/Vibrato
  • Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb
  • Spaceman Effects Explorer Deluxe 6 Stage Optical Phaser
  • Spaceman Effects Sputnik II Deluxe Germanium Fuzz
  • Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive
  • SviSound RetroZoid SF - Silicon Fuzz
  • SviSound Techno-FA Optical Phaser
  • TC Electronic Flashback 2
  • TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
  • TC Electronic Mini HyperGravity Compressor
  • TC Electronic Mini Mimiq Doubler
  • TC Electronic Mini Sub 'N' Up Octaver
  • TC Electronic Pipeline Tap Tremolo
  • TC Electronic PolyTune 3
  • TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer
  • TC Electronic Tube Pilot 12AX7 Tube Overdrive
  • Thorpy FX The Chain Home Tremolo
  • Thorpy FX The Veteran Si - Fuzz + Boost
  • T-Rex Effects 8 Ball - T-Rex 20th Anniversary
  • T-Rex Effects Binson Echorec
  • T-Rex Effects Honey Drop - T-Rex 20th Anniversary
  • T-Rex Effects Image Looper - T-Rex 20th Anniversary
  • T-Rex Effects Replicator Junior Tape Echo
  • T-Rex Effects Space Master - T-Rex 20th Anniversary
  • VFE Pedals Red Wolf Vintage Distortion
  • Walrus Audio ARP-87 Multi-Function Delay
  • Walrus Audio Fathom - Reverb
  • Walrus Audio Iron Horse V2
  • Walrus Audio Jupiter Fuzz V2
  • Walrus Audio Monument Harmonic Tremolo
  • Walrus Audio Red Hi-Gain Distortion
  • Walrus Audio Warhorn
  • Wampler Dracarys
  • Wampler Ethereal
  • Wampler Paisley Drive Deluxe
  • Wampler The Doctor Lo-Fi Delay
  • Wampler Tumnus Deluxe
  • Way Huge Conquistator
  • Way Huge Doubleland Special
  • Way Huge Mister Box OD
  • Way Huge Red Llama 25th Anniversary
  • Way Huge Russian Pickle
  • Wilson Effects Lusus Naturae Overdrive/Boost
  • WMD Geiger Counter Pro
  • Xotic AC/RC-OZ Oz Noy Signature
  • Xotic Soul Driven Overdrive
  • Xvive Mini E1 Echoman Analog Delay
  • Zvex Jonny Overload
  • Zvex '59 Sound / Vexter Tweed Amp Simulator
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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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