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Boost and Overdrive

Source Audio Announces Limited Run for its Brand New Ultrawave Multiband Processor

Bitcrushing and Lo-FiBoost and OverdriveDistortionDriveDrive WorkstationFuzzModulationMulti-DriveRing ModulationSource AudioTremolo+-
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Final details are still somewhat scant at the moment - while it seems to be clear that the Ultrawave is some sort of revival and update of the old Soundblox 2 Multiwave Distortion. Where the signal is split into several different frequency bands which are individually processed, clipped, gained up and modulated - and then combined to spectacular effect.


How you can manipulate these different bands is really quite extensive and yields elaborate variants of Tremolo, LFO Wave Shaper and Ring Modulation. Much is also made of its Foldback Distortion capability - which manipulates the clipping in a somewhat unusual manner. More details can be found on the Ultra Wave Work In Progress Page - which includes a few recent clips, snippets and sound samples for things to come.


This is very obviously a highly versatile digital noise / gain box as such which yields a whole plethora of sounds - including uniquely voiced distortions, fuzzes and synths - and some very elaborate modulations.


My only issue with all of this is always how much functionality Source Audio offloads / relegate to their Neuro App. The pedal - instead of being a wholly stand-alone device - really needs the app for you to get the best out of it.

Admittedly the older format is a little clunky - but the entire control topology is very clearly and elegantly surfaced. I’m a huge fan of Source Audio’s mid size boxes - Nemesis, Ventris and Collider - where most of what you need is directly available through dedicated surface controls.


While the compact Source Audio pedals really do offload whole chunks of functionality to the Neuro App - and on the pedal surface you end up with a lot of slightly clunky secondary functions on the 4 knobs.


For a long time I have felt that Source Audio could have taken more of a steer from Chase Bliss Audio and Jackson Audio per say - with more overall controls on the pedal surface - and dual-footswitches for clever live-playback manipulation.


I don’t doubt you can get some amazing sounds out of the Ultrawave - but I feel the process of getting there is still unecessarily clunky - and to do well with these particular kinds of Source Audio pedals - you generally have to be invested in Source Audio’s way of doing things - which means high fluency in the Neuro App too.


I think the feature set and achievable output is great - but the fact that you don’t have a number of onboard footswitchable presets and direct controls for on-the-fly tweaking always produces something of a disincentive for me.


There are some brief video clips on Source Audio’s Instagram Page too - while we’ve yet to see anything on YouTube.


For the purpose of this article therefore I will reference a classic Mike Hermans demo of the older Multiwave Distortion.


I would assume pricing would be around the same level as before for this line of pedals - which should mean somewhere in the region of $249. In terms of what this pedal delivers in output - then this is exactly my kind of thing - while I really don’t understand why Source Audio have yet to adopt a few more controls and dual-footswitches? I feel that until Source Audio tackles those challenges - these kinds of pedals will always be rather ’nice-to-have’ than bona fide essentials for me.


What say all of you?

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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