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16 of the best Guitar Synth Pedals - 2019 Edition

Alexander PedalsBanana EffectsDeath By AudioDedalo FXDigiTechEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixGuitar Synth and SequencerKeeley EngineeringMeris EffectsModulationParasit StudioPigtronixRed Witch EffectsSubdecay Effects+-
2019GPX16BestGuitarSynthPedals700-min.jpg

There have been a smattering of new Guitar Synth pedals recently - including at the January NAMM show, so I thought it would be opportune to do a round-up of some of my preferred choices - the significant new ones, and some older favourites.

 

I’ve deliberately left out a few of the larger usual suspects here - including the Boss SY-300, Glou Glou Moutarde and Hologram Infinite Jets Resynthesizer - all of which I’ve featured before. Instead I’ve focused more on the ...

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24 of the Best Compact High Gain and Metal Style Distortion Pedals - 2019 Edition

Abasi ConceptsAleks K ProductionAmptweakerAMT ElectronicsAnarchy AudioBossDistortionDOD EffectsDunn EffectsEngl AmplificationFriedman EffectsKeeley EngineeringKHDKLone Wolf AudioMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionREVV AmplificationVS AudioWamplerWeehboXIX Tech FX+-
2019GPX24CompactMetalDistortions700-min.jpg

So last year I did a sort of 15 Metal Pedal overview - but I’ve come across a few more since - and there have been some new launches - so I thought it opportune to do a more extensive round-up. This is actually the first of a series of 4 articles featuring my favourite High Gain, Distortion, Fuzz and Overdrive - pedals - one feature per category - with 24 pedals in each overview. I have been doing these for the last couple of years and this is the 2019 series as such.

 

These are ...

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The Best New Pedals In and Around Winter NAMM 2019 Show

Alexander PedalsAutomatoneBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDelayDemon PedalsDigital DelayDistortionDriveDumble Style OverdriveDunlop EffectsEventideExpressionFlangerFoxpedalFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayIbanezJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperLoop-SwitcherMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveNeunaberOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingRainger FXRed Panda LabRed Witch EffectsREVV AmplificationRotary SpeakerSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsStrymonSuper-Fuzz StyleTape DelayTC ElectronicThopyFXTremoloTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveTWA EffectsUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVemuramWamplerWren and Cuff+-
2019GPXNAMMPedalHighlights700-min.jpg

This year’s show has seen a bumper crop of interesting new pedals. In fact I was so dazzled by all the various cool pedals that I did not take note of much else - actually not entirely as there were a few synths weirdly that I liked the look of - including the new Teenage Engineering Modular Series in particular. There were very few guitars or amps though that properly piqued my interest.

 

Special thanks to Delicious Audio / Stombox Exhibit / 60 Cycle Hum and Premier Guitar in ...

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20 Favourite Boutique Style Mini Drive and Distortion Pedals

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDecibelicsDistortionDriveEWS EffectsF-PedalsIbanezKeeley EngineeringKHDKKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveMXROverdrivePigtronixSuhrTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionWamplerXotic EffectsXvive Audio+-
2018GPX20FavouriteMiniDrives700-min.jpg

So I’ve covered off a large variety of mini Drive and Distortion pedals in these last few features - starting with the 4-Size key enclosure type articles, then Mooer Micro PreAmps, then the older Mooer Minis, and most recently - the OneControl offerings in that area. This article is essentially a collection of the remaining mini drive and distortion pedals I rate from a variety of pedal-builders. They are not all strictly ’Boutique’ but I felt they fit best within that ...

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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large High Gain / Metal Style Distortion Pedals

DistortionEmpress EffectsKeeley EngineeringMetal DistortionMooerRockfabrik Effects+-
2018GPX4SizeHighGain700-min.jpg

I will preface this article by stating that I’ve split the High Gain Distortion into two categories - High Gain and Extreme High Gain - where the latter has a more pronounced and slightly tighter punchy mid-range gain structure typically. With these pedals though and their many settings you can largely get the same degree and type of distortion within both groups - so it really does depend very much on how you dial things in - as an example the Rock Fabrik’s Mind Abuse has 3 ...

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15 of the Best Compact High Gain and Metal style Distortion Pedals

Aleks K ProductionAmptweakerAnarchy AudioBossBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDOD EffectsEngl AmplificationFriedman EffectsKeeley EngineeringKHDKMarshall Style DistortionMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionREVV AmplificationVS AudioWamplerXIX Tech FX+-
2018GPX15MetalPedals700-min.jpg

This article was prompted by my earlier piece on the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal / Alternatives, as well as a reader request to review the KHDK Dark Blood. As always though I never review anything in isolation - I try to take the pulse on the larger category and see what pedals are competing in that category and are worthy of consideration.

 

Even metal pedals as such have varying degrees of distortion, but I’ve tried to focus on those here that are intended as principally high ...

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12 of the Best Compact Bluesbreaker-style Pedals

Analog.ManBoost and OverdriveChicago StompworkscmatmodsGoudie FXJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringMojo Hand FXOverdriveRockBoxSnouse Electric CompanyVFE PedalsVick AudioWampler+-
2018GPX12BluesbreakerStylePedals700-min.jpg

This is essentially the last piece I will do in a while on the Wampler Pantheon - which I am so enchanted by currently. I honestly feel it’s Brian’s best pedal to date, and I was a huge fan of both the versions of Tumnus and Euphoria. The Pantheon comes into a pretty crowded arena where there are already a number of stellar pedals present.

 

There’s a lot of debate about whether a pedal is a clone of a certain circuit which I always find kind of overly academic - and I ...

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9 of the Best Compact Combined Delay and Reverb Pedals

Alexander PedalsBossDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbKeeley EngineeringMr Black PedalsMuza EffectsReverbShift LineShift Line A+WamplerZCAT Pedals+-
2018GPX9CompactEchoverbPedals700-min.jpg

This article was triggered by a question on the most recent episode of ’Know Your Gear’ (Phillip McKnight) where someone asked about a compact pedal which combined both Delay and Reverb. The ones that immediately came to my mind were the Alexander Ski Fi, Wampler Ethereal and EarthQuaker Dispatch Master But I also thought of the larger EarthQuaker Avalanche Run, GFI System Specular Tempus and the now medium enclosure Keeley Caverns V2 which are all too large for inclusion.

  ...

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Keeley Engineering getting busy with Limited Edition Runs

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveCompressorDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbDr ScientistEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveModulation WorkstationOverdriveReverbRotary SpeakerSpaceman EffectsUni-Vibe and VibeUtility+-
2018GPXKeeleyLimited700-min.jpg

Keeley announced 3 new limited colourway pedal editions today - as far as I can see these are not differentiated / updated / upgraded products - along the lines of the recent 250 units Germanium Retro Super. They are simply existing pedals which have been redecorated as such with limited run graphics / liveries. Two of this trio are ’artist inspired’ models which recognise the artists that use them - so the peppermint green Memphis Sun Lo-Fi Reverb is dedicated to Johnny Hiland, and...

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9 of the Best Compact Enclosure Compressors

Bondi EffectsCompressorFoxpedalGreer AmpsJackson AudioKeeley EngineeringMXROhmless PedalsOrigin EffectsThorpyFXUtilityWampler+-
2018GPX9CompactCompressors700-min.jpg

So up until now I’ve been through 3 compressors - all Minis, and I have to add that I’m very happy with all of them, and especially my current Wampler Mini Ego Compressor. I started off with an Xotic Mini SP Compressor, and then a Modified Alchemy Audio version of that, before taking up the Mini Ego - which has served me really well for the longest while. I’ve considered the two Mini Pigtronix compressors also as hot-swappable alternatives, and at one stage I thought I might ...

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News Navigation

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