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2021 February Pedal-Chain Update - Episode II - A Typical Transitional Lull

Big Ear PedalsBoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoCryBabyCustom Audio ArtDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDunlop EffectsElectro-HarmonixFlangerFuzzGated and Velcro FuzzKlirrton ManufakturMetal DistortionModulationOverdrivePettyjohn ElectronicsPhaserPitchSilicon FuzzWah and Fixed Wah+-
2021GPXSKPedalChainUpdateFeb700V3.jpg

I would like to start by apologising to those builders who didn’t get a pedal featured in Wednesday’s final 32 Key Guitar Effects Pedal Types article. Know that I hold you all in the highest of esteem - and that said overview is/was simply a somewhat temporary and fleeting snapshot of my current preferences on that day - with a particular emphasis towards versatility and variety delivered by a single pedal. So some pedals are typically more narrowly focused and specialist, while ...

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Cooper FX Arcades Modular Multi-FX Workstation : Card Spotlight Series #7 : Grains

Cooper FXDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbGlitchGranular Delay+-
2021GPXCooperFXArcadesGrainsCard700.jpg

I’ve always loved granular delays - those disjointed skittery delay taps - since my very first encounter with the Montreal Assembly Count to Five. However I’ve oft times struggled to dial in the right balance of texture and effect to ensure that it fully delivers its character - without unduly interrupting or overly colouring the flow of music.

 

It can be quite tricky at times to dial such effects in fully musically - and some patience is definitely required for the process ...

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32 Key Guitar Effects Pedal Types - Preferred Compact Pedal per Type

Acoustic SimulatorAmbient EffectsAmp and Cab IR SimAnalog DelayBeat MachineBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCrazy Tube CircuitsCryBabyDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDrive WorkstationDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveDunlop EffectsEchoverbElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerJackson AudioJAM PedalsJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMaestro Style FuzzMarshall Style DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMulti-FXNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzODR Style OverdriveOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePeterson TunersPhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzReverbReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSource AudioSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleTape DelayTC ElectronicTimmyTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTunersTweed Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVolumeVox Style DistortionVS AudioWah and Fixed WahWalrus Audio+-
2021AfBlg32CompactPedalType700.jpg

It was only natural that the Compact Format Preferred Versions feature should follow the Mini examples. Again largely inspired by the recent ’12 Degrees’ projects.

 

Once more I’ve had a change of mind on some of the candidates and the preferred examples are slightly different to those previous references. Obviously new pedals have arisen, and priorities and preferences can shift fairly regularly based on prevailing mood.

 

That said, most of these are long-term...

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28 Key Guitar Effects Pedal Types - Preferred Mini Pedal per Type

Acoustic SimulatorAmp and Cab IR SimBanana EffectsBecos FXBitcrushing and Lo-FiBoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoCompressorDecibelicsDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDriveDSM NoisemakerEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQFeaturedFlangerFunction F(X)FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGlitchGuitar Synth and SequencerHotone EffectsIbanezKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperModulationMooerMr Black PedalsMXRNoise GateOctaverOneControlOverdrivePhaserPigtronixPitchReverbSilicon FuzzTC ElectronicTremoloTunersUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVolumeWah and Fixed Wah+-
2021GPX28MiniPedalType700.jpg

This article is in part inspired by my features on ’Mini Pedals State of the Art’, and those various ’12 Degrees’ posts I did at the tail-end of last year. Moreover I have had quite a few readers recently asking me for my preferred recommended mini pedals on various pedal-chain slots.

 

I last did this sort of exercise 4 years ago - where TC Electronic was kind of the dominant player - covering 8 of those 20 recommendations, with Mooer fairly close with 6 entries...

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Universal Audio Enters the Pedal Game with Three Compelling UAFX Studio-Style Effects Units - Astra Modulation Machine, Starlight Echo Station and Golden Reverberator

DelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbModulationModulation WorkstationReverbReverb WorkstationUniversal Audio+-
2021GPXUniversalAudioThreeFX700.jpg

I think it’s clear now what Tore Mogensen has been up to since leaving TC Electronic. Harnessing all those great plugin algorithms already used in Universal Audio’s various Audio Interfaces. I must say I’m quite taken with the elegant styling of those recessed milled aluminium enclosures. I know the jury has been somewhat mixed - but generally I feel those look pretty classy and distinct.

 

My immediate takeaway is that these very much seem to be targeting prime Strymon...

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EarthQuaker Devices Releases the Divine Astral Destiny Octal Octave Reverberation Unit

Ambient EffectsDigital ReverbEarthQuaker DevicesReverbShimmer ReverbSpacey Reverb+-
2020GPXEQDAstralDestinyOctalOctaveReverb700.jpg

Upon first seeing this pedal it calls to mind both the Strymon NightSky and Walrus Audio Slö to a degree - both of which offer somewhat similar Octave and Shimmery Reverb delights. The Astral Destiny is very obviously very much dedicated towards adding in floaty textures above and below the baseline. It’s actually a pretty straightforward and elegant reverb by and large - and extremely successful in delivering those floaty cosmic / ambient tones.

 

The Control Topology could ...

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Walrus Audio Delivers Beautifully Calibrated Mako Series R1 High-Fidelity Stereo Reverb to Match its D1 Delay

Ambient EffectsDigital ReverbPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbWalrus Audio+-
2021GPXWalrusAudioMakoR1Reverb700V3.jpg

There’s no question about it - Walrus Audio has delivered a killer reverb in every which way - and which properly challenges the bigger reverb workstations. This is a darn fine bit of engineering to get all this magic to fit within a compact enclosure. I dare say this is even more impressive than the Mako D1 Delay - certainly for my tastes.

 

I’m almost instantly smitten after having viewed just a couple of demos. My current thinking is that this could be a great rotational ...

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End of Year Pedal-Chain Update - Final Formation - Class of 2020

Acoustic SimulatorAmbient EffectsAnasoundsBeat MachineBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCooper FXCrazy Tube CircuitsDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerJackson AudioKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveKMA AudioLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMidValleyFXModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXTimmyToneczarTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTweed Style OverdriveUtilityVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMEndOfYear700.jpg

And so here is the culmination of everything that happened to the pedal-chain in 2020.

 

There were quite a few more displacements than I had expected - all told 22 slots changed over this year - including 19 Brand New Pedals for 2020, then 3 slightly older pedals, and some incidentals.

 

The most significant shift, and the one that caused the most disruption was the arrival of Boss GT-1000 CORE in October. This is often the case when you bring in a big new pedal - and you need to...

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2020 Best of the Best New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsBig Ear PedalsBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXCoppersoundDelayDemedash EffectsDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahExpresso FXFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHologram ElectronicsHot Cake Style OverdriveJackson AudioJAM PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveNeural DSPNordland ElectronicsOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball FuzzOddball ModulationODR Style OverdriveOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRed Witch EffectsRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTimmyTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTweed Style OverdriveUtilityVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXBestOveralOfTheYear700.jpg

So I’ve now completed 5 preliminary shortlists type articles featuring between 9 and 30 or so of the best pedals released in 2020 - in each of the following categories :

I sincerely apologise if I’ve overlooked any here, while I’m not sure they would have necessarily ...

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2020 Best of New Delay and Reverb Pedals for the Year (Exc. Reverb Workstations)

Alexander PedalsAmbient EffectsAnalog DelayCrazy Tube CircuitsDanelectroDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbFlamma InnovationGranular DelayHorizon DevicesJAM PedalsKeeley EngineeringLo-Fi DelayMooerOddball DelayOld Blood Noise EndeavorsPladask ElektriskPlate ReverbPLBR EffectsRack Style ReverbReverbReverb WorkstationShift LineShift Line A+Shimmer ReverbSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbTape DelayTone CityWalrus Audio+-
2020GPXBestNewDelayReverb700.jpg

The third in my 2020 roundup series covers interesting and innovative Delay and Reverb Pedals released during the year, while it excludes the bigger Reverb Workstation Pedals - which I already featured back on November 30th. In that article I declared 2020 to be the ’Year of Reverb’ - as there have been so many quality releases in that genre.

 

Here we deal mostly with compact and medium variants with slightly fewer modes and parameters, but not necessarily entirely. The one ...

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