Lovepedal Amp 50 Overdrive Review

lovepedal_amp50_002

Luckily for us, there are plenty of distortion, overdrive, boost, and fuzz pedals to choose from these days. In fact, there are so many that it can become challenging to go out there and choose the best one for your own needs.

Entering a guitar store can sometimes give you weird feelings – there are so many effects and pedals in existence, with so many different features, that it becomes impossible for you to try them all out.

Just imagine: there are pedals that you won’t be able to try in your lifetime!

However, despite all this, a considerable portion of the guitar-playing population still loves to keep it simple. Whatever are the amps, pedals, or other gear – some of them just like to use equipment with simplified and straightforward controls and features.

Now, this doesn’t mean that these products are not good enough. It means they have a very narrow use. In this article, we will be exploring one of these simple pedals, which you can find in the rigs of guys like Mike McCready and ex-Guns N’ Roses’ DJ Ashba.

Made by a small company called Love Pedal, it’s called AMP 50 Overdrive.

lovepedal-amp-50-overdrive-1644033

About the company

Before we get into it, we’d like to share a thing or two about Love Pedal as they’re not exactly one of the famous mainstream pedal producers.

Started by a guy named Sean Michael, they’re focused on making quality boutique pedals. The main twist here is simplicity, led by the idea that “less is more.” Pretty much all of the products are straightforward.

But Sean took it to a whole new level in 2009 when the company introduced their “Mini Line” featuring some minimalistic and really compact pedals.

One of those is the Amp 50 Overdrive, but the series also includes Pickle Vibe Vibrato, Echo Baby Delay, as well as the Baby Face Trem.

The AMP 50 is currently not produced by the company, but they still have some other great products at the moment.

Features

And like we said ñ Love Pedal AMP 50 Overdrive is straightforward. It’s a compact little dirt box with just an input jack, output jack, one control knob, a footswitch, and a LED light indicator. That’s it! Straight to the point without any flashy additions.

The pedal is essentially based on Church of Tone 50 model, just gives a smaller and simplified version of it. And what’s more, the control is unlabeled. But it’s referred to as “bias/gain” by the builders.

The idea behind it is to be more than a boost and a little less than a distortion. Well, technically, it is a distortion effect since it adds some saturation and clipping to the tone. But it’s so nuanced that at lower settings it brings just a regular boost without almost any distortion. But we’ll get to that later.

What also needs to be mentioned is that the pedal features true bypass. Now, there have been countless discussions over the years, debating whether true bypass or buffered are the way to go. In case you’re up for buffered stuff, you need only one buffered pedal in your signal chain to get this sorted out.

Just like most of the pedals out there, it’s powered either by a standard 9-volt AC adapter or a regular 9-volt battery.

Design

Like we already mentioned, the whole idea behind this pedal is to be as simple as possible. This is also the case with its overall design.

So let us start with its size. We could compare it to those mini pedals by TC Electronic or by any other manufacturer with similar small-sized and compact units.

This comes as a great advantage if you’re having troubles fitting a new pedal in your signal chain, but you really need an additional overdrive in there. Or in case you need just one pedal in front of a tube amp and just want to keep it as simple as possible.

The color of the pedal is white, the knob is the classic one you’d find on vintage-type pedals, and the only thing breaking the monotony is the name of the pedal written on the front panel. That and the blue LED light (which could be better if it was red but let us not be so picky).

Its aluminum casing is pretty sturdy and the overall build quality is impressive. There won’t be any worries with taking this little bad boy on tour with you.

Performance

Talking about the tone and the performance, the main intention behind such a pedal is to have something to just a little bit of boost and coloration to clean or overdriven channels of your tube amps.

Although we would argue that it works best in pair with those vintage or vintage-inspired clean tube amps. It adds just enough of overdrive to have solid and dynamically responsive performance.

Setting the knob lower will give more of a boost with just a dash of that sparkling crunch. As you move it up, you’ll get more saturation in there, and at highest settings, you might get into some solid mid-range soft clipping natural overdrives. Tones are a bit brighter than compared to a Tube Screamer.

But plugging it in front of a solid-state amp, you won’t get much of a tone there. Not that it’s terrible, but it’s surprisingly disappointing compared to tube amplifiers. The sound won’t be as thick, and there won’t be so much dynamic response in there.

Conclusion

A pedal like the Love Pedal AMP 50 Overdrive generally has a narrow scope of use. It’s a very specific unit aimed at those who prefer old bluesy tones and just some boosts and colorations to their tube amps.

Obviously, it’s not that versatile, but it can act bost as a boost and as an overdrive. Additional volume control would have been great, but we generally get the idea why there was just one gain knob on it.

If you’re looking for anything for these purposes, AMP 50 is definitely a great choice to consider. In case you manage to find one of these somewhere.


Recommended Viewing

TC Electronic TC1210 Spatial Expander & Stereo Chorus + Flanger Review

TC 1210 spatial expander

Whatever is the instrument that you play, it’s always a good idea to have some additional effects to enhance your tone. Not too much, but just something that will help you in not sounding so dry all the time.

Of course, there are plenty of pedals out there that will help you get all the tones that you need. But what if you want to take it to a whole new level and get yourself a rack-mounted multi-effects unit? After all, this is something professional musicians have been doing for their entire lives, so it must be a good thing, right?

With this in mind, we decided to look more into one of the discontinued pieces by the legendary TC Electronic.

Generally speaking, it’s a unit that’s often used by instrumentalists, even for live shows. We’ve seen some of the biggest names in the world of the guitar using it, including Eric Clapton, Larry Carlton, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, and even Dream Theater’s John Petrucci.

TC 1210

This unit is featured on our John Petrucci Rig Rundown here

Without further ado, here’s some exciting info about TC 1210 Spatial Expander & Stereo Chorus + Flanger.

Features

First off, the TC 1210 is a rack-mounted product featuring a few onboard different effects. It is based on the company’s famous SCF Stereo Chorus/Flanger pedal but with a bit more features.

The whole idea behind the TC 1210 was to have a suitable effect for creating a solid spatial stereo image of one’s tone. In addition, there are some other effects that we will discuss here.

It is an entirely analog unit relying on the old bucket brigade device technology that people are still crazy about these days. There are seven different presets and effects to choose from: spatial expander, two choruses, two flangers, a doubler, and a stereo delay.

The 1210’s greatest superpower comes with its stereo features. Each of the effects can be used either in stereo or mono modes. In addition to this, you’re able to use two separate inputs as two independent channels and process them individually.

There are plenty of controls on there for separating these channels, using the same or different effects on them, and even using each of the dedicated outputs individually or as one whole audio image. All of the features and controls just wouldn’t fit into one brief review.

Inputs and outputs are located on the rear panel. There are two inputs and outputs for regular 1/4-inch jacks and additional XLR inputs and outputs.

Aside from that, there’s an input for bypass footswitch control and the “speed” footswitch jack that lets you choose from five different effect speed modes. There is also a “direct mute” switch that completely mutes the signal coming out of the unit.

Overall, 1210 provides a surprising amount of controls for such an old piece. The combinations are almost endless, and they’re all designed to provide you with some really spacious choruses, flangers, delays, doublers, and expanders.

Design

Although not many will go to the lengths of looking into your rig, we could say that the TC 1210 seems pretty neat. Nothing too fancy, but it clearly shows somewhat of a vintage-ish ’80s and ’90s feel.

The writing on it is a bit too small, but when you get used to setting it up, you won’t have any trouble knowing where each control is. At the end of the day, not many will care about the looks of your rack pieces so there’s nothing to worry about here, really.

Performance

Just like its name would suggest, there is a lot of “spaciousness” feel to all the effects on it. But the TC 1210 is best known for its 3D stereo chorus.

Most of the guitar players who have used it over the years were able to create some really spacious feeling stereo tones through it. At some points, it could feel as if there are actually two instruments playing.

But whatever is the effect that you want to use on it, it provides a very 3D feel to it. In some cases, even when the sound coming from the left speaker is louder, you’ll get the impression that the tone is coming from the right speaker.

The illusion is created by delaying the signal to the left output. It is just one of the examples of how complex and detailed this piece actually is.

The analog feel is definitely noticeable with TC 1210 and it won’t sound like any of the standard sterile digital products you can find today. However, the whole operation is a bit outdated.

These days, you can get some pretty convincing (at least in our opinion) digital replicas of analog effects that would be a lot more easier to set up.

1210 will also provide stable operation for any kind of setup, whether you want to use it in front of an amp, FX loop, or in the standard rack configuration.

You can also send the signal to two amps or to separate it and go into an amp and a mixer. The options are endless, but it would take some time getting used to TC 1210.

Conclusion

One thing you need to know is that these are not exactly easy to find. TC 1210 has been really popular throughout the 1990s and these days you can find a used one for well over $1,000.

It’s an entirely professional vintage analog device that will provide some really “spacious” tones.

The TC 1210 is succeeded by some of the modern pieces, all of which are based on this old rack unit. For instance, there’s the TC 1210-DT Desktop Controller, which has a similar spatial expander effect on it.

But to conclude this review, this multi-effects piece is something those vintage seekers are crazy about these days. Aside from the guitar, it can be used for processing vocals or any miked-up acoustic instruments.

But if you’re a beginner and an average enthusiast, you’ll probably want to skip this one and go with something a little more simple and practical.


Featured Video

Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone Vintage Distortion Pedal Review

maestro_fz-1-sn4628_001

If we were to, somehow, go back to the earliest days of rock ‘n’ roll, we would stumble upon numerous guitar players having a hard time achieving a distorted tone.

After years of pushing their tube amps over the limits and using faulty equipment, some even resorted to damaging their amplifiers.

This was the case with The Kinks guitarist Dave Davies who even slashed a speaker cone on his tube amp to achieve that recognizable rugged fuzzy tone in “You Really Got Me” in 1964.

Who remembers this clip?

Well, anyway, that’s too bad since the Gibson subsidiary company called Maestro already came out with an actual fuzz pedal in 1962, the first-ever commercially produced fuzz effect – the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone pedal.

maestro_fz-1a-lincolnwood_001

Up until then, the only actual distortion devices were custom made and you would have a hard time finding an engineer who would know how to make them.

We won’t blame Dave for damaging his amp since the pedal was only widely accepted after The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards recorded “(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” through it.

From then on, the guitar world was changed forever and the trend of distortion pedal was initiated.

Background

But before we get into this old piece, we’ll have to share some sort of background on the whole thing. In the old days, the distortion was looked down upon by engineers as an undesirable effect.

When distortion finally found its place in rock ‘n’ roll, Gibson, under the Maestro brand, decided to release this new device.

However, it was not originally marketed as a distortion device but more like a “multi-effects” unit for bass guitarists. It was even able to emulate horn sections and other tones with its simple controls.

After trying to break into the guitar player market, they still didn’t see any success until Keith Richards finally ended up using it. Gibson kept making them until the early 1970s with the last model being FZ-1S Super-Fuzz.

maestro_fz1s_004

These days, it’s remembered as an important part of rock music history as it opened up the doors for the creation of new distortion pedals.

Features

Looking at such a device these days, FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone was a pretty simple pedal.

There was one output jack on the top side, two knobs for volume and attack, and an integrated cable that takes the signal from the instrument.

Although “attack” would not be the best way to describe the control, it was essentially like a gain knob on you see on regular fuzz or distortion pedals these days.

The original versions of the Fuzz-Tone came with three germanium transistors in the circuit and were powered by two 1.5-volt batteries.

There were some changes to the circuit made with the later versions, but the overall features remained the same.

More significant changes came with the FZ-1S Super-Fuzz version with additional controls and the design. Overall, it was a pretty simple and straightforward piece.

Speaking of the design, you can clearly see that this is an old piece made in the 1960s. Wedge-shaped and dark, it’s not really an eye-pleaser.

However, no one really cared about its design but rather what tones it could make.

Performance

Despite the lack of more controls, FZ-1 is a surprisingly versatile pedal. It was a very unusual type of fuzz, unlike most of the stuff you find today.

When used on basses, you could achieve tones resembling horn sections. Used on the guitar, the fuzz is usually pretty thin. On some tube amps, you could get enough of a push to get that natural drive going along with the fuzz.

But if you were to put them directly into solid-state amps, you wouldn’t get much of a thick tone. Not that it’s bad or anything, but it’s unlike any modern fuzz pedals we’re used to.

In addition, germanium transistors were never really practical. Yes, their tone is great and you might even get some smoothness to it despite being a solid-state piece.

However, germanium transistors tend to heat up during longer playing sessions, which clearly makes an impact on the tone. It doesn’t sound bad, but it just makes your tone inconsistent. This is why later versions of FZ-1 were made with silicon transistors.

To put it simply ñ it is a very specific piece and it’s preferred by those who like vintage tones and tube amps. Don’t expect anything tight-sounding.

Other versions

After the initially produced pieces were all sold out in 1965, Gibson began producing the FZ-1a version. It ran on one 1.5-volt battery and it saw some circuitry changes.

A few years later, they launched the FZ-1B version which implemented two or four silicone transistors and ran on 9-volt batteries. It also came without the integrated cable but rather regular input and output jacks.

The final version was the FZ-1S Super-Fuzz which saw a complete redesign and some new features. It was basically a completely new pedal with different tones.

Gibson reissued the old FZ-1a versions for a brief period in the ’90s. Some other smaller manufacturers paid tribute to the pedal by releasing products that replicate its sound. However, the original early 1960s versions are still valued the most among collectors.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to get your hands on the original version from the 1960s, be ready to have anywhere between $200 and $500 with you. They’re pretty rare to find and have a very narrow specific use.

It’s definitely not something a modern tone lover would like. It’s far from tight. In fact, it’s really fuzzy and vintage sounding. The germanium versions might be a bit warmer, but it’s still a better idea to play them through tube amps.

Fuzz-Tone is an important piece of history and it marked the beginning of the distortion pedal era, something that lasts even to this day.

However, it’s not for everyone’s taste and you really need to know what you’re looking for if you want to get your hands on one of these.

The Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone is featured in the Billy Gibbons Rig Rundown

Featured Video

Dunlop JHOC1 Octavio Pedal Review

hendrix-octavio-3

Even after all these years and countless technological achievements we saw, people still enjoy the good old vintage stuff.

Of course, we’re talking about guitar players who sometimes really love to dig deep in search of a great tone. While doing so, they sometimes end up finding the rarest of the rare, some of the most unusual vintage pedals by some long-defunct manufacturers.

Aside from the tube amp stuff, there are plenty of other fun little gadgets from the old times that are worth checking out. For instance, those fuzz octave pedals that were capable of creating some really thick tones.

Despite replicating old and broken amplifiers, they managed to captivate many of the guitar players with specific tastes over the years. But since these old original fuzz pedals might get too expensive, there’s something from Dunlop that might be worthwhile if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Called JHOC1 Jimi Hendrix Octavio, it will definitely help you get those vintage-ish psychedelic bluesy tones.

Jimi Hendrix Octavio

Since there seems to be a great trend of the 1960s and 1970s throwback in rock and other genres, we’ve figured we could take a closer look at this pedal and see what it’s capable of. Now, let us dig in.

Features

All the fans of the vintage stuff usually like their amps and pedals and other effects straightforward. Just look at any fuzz, overdrive, and distortion pedal from the old days or most of the amps from the ’60s and the ’70s. It’s not that rare to find an amp or a pedal with just two knobs.

Well, such is the case with JHOC1 pedal. What you get is input, output, control for volume level, control for fuzz, on and off switch, and… Well, that’s it! It is intended to be as simple and as straightforward as possible.

The idea was developed by engineers from Dunlop to replicate some of the old tones Jimi Hendrix had back in the day.

This particular pedal is a complete copy of the very old legendary “Octavia” made by technician Roger Mayer for Hendrix. The one that’s inside the museum in Seattle, Washington.

The old Octavia was based on the idea that distorted tone should have a really rich harmonic content. Maybe too rich for today’s standards.

In fact, many of the guitar players today, playing modern-oriented stuff would not find use for such a pedal. Nonetheless, Dunlop developed this one as a great throwback for the ’60s and ’70s psychedelic music.

Aside from adding fuzz (a lots of it, in fact), Octavia added lower and higher octave in the mix. This unusual blend created a weirdly pleasant mushy fuzz chaos that Jimi Hendrix exploited so well. And Dunlop’s version of it is intended to do the same.

Design

We don’t really know what to think of this pedal’s design. It’s as if the original builder was told to come up with something that’s both ugly and beautiful at the same time. But all the jokes aside, just like its features, operation, and its tone, the pedal’s design was taken from the old Octavia made by Roger Mayer.

roger mayer

It’s pretty minimalistic, which is certainly something that brings back the old vibes. Unlike modern pedals we have today, with inputs and outputs on the left and right side and the pots on the front panel, the JHOC1 has input and output on the top side and the two knobs for volume and gain right above them. The front panel is completely blank, except for the “Octavio” sign written on the very top and the one switch on it.

Placing it on your pedalboard with all the other modern pedals, it will look like some sort of a time traveler from the 1960s.

Performance

As we already mentioned, it has a really rich harmonic content with one higher and one lower octave added. Of course, these octaves are blended in an unusual way. The upper octave is somewhat more pronounced, but it goes in so well. In a way, it sounds like there are added harmonics to your regular signal.

The fuzz itself is pretty solid, reflecting on those classic tones from the 1960s. What’s really interesting is that it can be paired with overdrives as well if you want to add a different flavor to it.

But in our opinion, it works the best with the clean channels of classic tube amps, especially old Fenders or anything that replicates that vintage American vibe with 6L6 tubes in the power amp. On the other hand, it might sound a bit dull plugged into solid-state amps.

Conclusion

Look, it’s a pedal that definitely gives you that little piece of Jimi Hendrix. However, it’s not for everyone. There have been some negative reviews about JHOC1 online, but we believe this is due to people buying the wrong kind of pedals for themselves.

Yes, that happens, especially with young and enthusiastic beginner players who are automatically drawn to the Jimi Hendrix’s name on it. The secret, however, lies in how you implement it and how you combine it with other pedals and amps you have.

Hating on fuzz pedals is not unheard of. It’s especially the case with ones that have such high gain operation and really rich harmonic content, in addition to the higher and lower octave.

As we already mentioned, it’s the best option if you’re into those vintage psychedelic rock tones and already have a vintage or a vintage-style tube amp. Otherwise, there’s no point in getting your hands on the JHCO1.

On the other hand, it is a bit expensive for such a simple and straightforward pedal. Not to be too negative, but it seems to us that this was Dunlop’s attempt to cash in on Hendrix’s name.

Since this particular model is not in production anymore, you can find it used for around $100 up to $130, depending on its condition. Just don’t hold your expectations too high thinking this is for tight heavy riffing and power chords.


Featured Video

What do you think of this guitar pedal?  Comment below!

Orange Bax Bangeetar Pre-EQ Review

BaxBangeetarB-large

There are so many different ways for you to get quality distortion these days. Some love their tube amps and the “organic” smooth overdriven tone that they get when they push the volume way up high on the clean channel.

Some others may prefer those scorched distortion tones of classic pedals like Boss DS-1, and some might be into digital modeling amps and all the replications of both classic and modern tones.

Be that as it may, the technology of guitar pedals has advanced and we have some of the most colorful and harmonically rich distortions at our disposal.

The one that we would like to take a closer look at is made by the legendary Orange Amplification, who are known for their amps with very specific dark and “fuzzy” tones.

The pedal in question is called Bax Bangeetar Guitar Pre-EQ and is one pretty interesting and exciting piece.

Bax Bangeetar

It’s actually more than just a regular distortion pedal. But not to spoil anything in these first paragraphs, here is the review below.

Features

What’s easily noticeable at a first look is that Bax Bangeetar pedal is pretty well-built. Whatever your ambitions are, it seems like this one can be taken on a tour without any fears of it getting smashed easily.

But going over to the standard properties of a guitar pedal, the Bangeetar has a lot of exciting features. The first one we would like to point out is the speaker cabinet simulated output.

The pedal has its own cab simulator circuit ñ appropriately named “CabSim” ñ that allows you to plug it directly into a mixer. This way, it turns it into somewhat of a preamp pedal.

According to the company, the cabinet they replicated here is their 40th Anniversary PPC412, the one that is loaded with four 12-inch Celestion G12H 30-watt speakers.

Aside from the standard on and off footswitch, the Bax Bangeetar has an additional switch that adds more boost when the distortion is engaged. This is not a classic “more gain” boost but just adds 6 more dB to it.

Kind of like those classic clean boosters, only it’s integrated into the pedal. This can come in handy for some tube amps if you want to use more of their natural tube drive.

Going over to controls, Bangeetar has an interesting feature in this regard as well. Aside from the obvious volume and gain controls, there is a 3-band EQ with sweepable mids.

In fact, there are three separate knobs just for mids. One regulates the level, one is for frequency tweaking, and the third one adjusts the frequency range. This way, you can select a specific section of the mid spectrum and either boost it or cut it.

As for the power, it runs on standard 9-volt batteries or classic AC adapters.

Design

It doesn’t take more than one glance to realize that this pedal is made by Orange Amplification. All of the knobs are labeled with classic symbols you see on Orange amps.

These might be a bit confusing, maybe even annoying, to those who don’t know much about them. But still, you’ll also find regular labels for each parameter.

The metal handle below the controls is kind of unusual but it looks nice and doesn’t interfere with its operation. The whole thing is rounded up with black finish and pots with a recognizable shade of orange.

Of course, there are some other versions, featuring white finish, white knobs, and black labels.

The colors of the LED indicators could have been different though, as blue and green might not be the best option for darker venues. But not to be nitpicky, it’s overall a great looking pedal.

Performance

To put it simply ñ this pedal is all Orange. Just like classic Orange amps, it’s heavy on the mid to high-end spectrum of the tone. It also brings the very well-known “fuzziness” into the tone, while still managing to keep it tight in the low end.

We would say that this pedal’s greatest strength lies in its equalizer. All the guitar players who use distortion all the time know that mid-range control is of essential importance for a great tone.

And this pedal allows very detailed control over this part of the tonal spectrum. Whatever you want to do with mids, cut them or boost them, the Bax Bangeetar will give you control over that.

The pedal’s unique tone is achieved without back-to-back diode clipping which you usually find in standard distortion devices. This way, the tone resembles those classic Orange amps.

Now, there would be some discussions about whether true bypass or buffered bypass is better.

Whatever your thoughts are, Orange Amplification argues that buffered is the way to go, and such is the case with Bangeetar. This way, they keep all the clarity and the high ends in the tone.

Not to bore you with all the technical details, but Orange has done some magic with this pedal and the internal voltage is doubled. So you have 18-volts with a 9-volt power source.

This way, as they claim, you get a better dynamic response. And we could say that this is true. Despite not being a tube-driven pedal, it brings some solid dynamic response to it.

The cab simulator works pretty well too. We’re not sure if it fully replicates the exact cab that they said, but it does give that natural cabinet feel if you plug it into a mixer or an audio interface.

Along with its dynamic response, it’s pretty useful for studio recordings in case you don’t want to bother with miking up your amp.

At the end of the day, it’s one very versatile little pedal. It delivers anything from the smooth bluesy crunch, up to some pretty heavy djent stuff.

Conclusion

Released in 2015, Bax Bangeetar comes as the company’s first pedal since the 1960s. We can say that it’s definitely a great comeback. The only downside here would be the price.

But although a bit overpriced, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad pedal. In fact, it’s one of the best distortion pedals that you can get these days.


Video Demo

Peterson Stomp Classic Strobe Tuner Review

Peterson Stomp Classic Strobe Tuner review

This goes for guitarists and instrumentalists of all the genres – you NEED to stay in tune. 

Look at what happened to poor Slash here!  Playing “School’s Out” on a out of tune electric guitar.  Fire that tech!

Even if you’re playing obscure microtonal music, there are still rules to follow, and failing to keep your tuning and intonation in order will have disastrous results.

And we really take the technology for granted today. We have some pretty cheap tuners in various different forms, either as pedals, clip-ons, and classic pocket tuners.

But back in the old days, not many guitarists had access to precise tuners. In case they didn’t have a decent piano at their disposal, they had to find creative ways to what to tune their instruments up to.

During the 1960s, so-called strobe tuners became popular among professional rock musicians. The same concept is also being used to this day, mostly because it provides the most precise tuning.

However, there are some digital tuners that use the same principle, only applied to digital technology and LCD displays. One of those is the Stomp Classic by a company called Peterson Strobe Tuners.

Peterson Stomp Classic Strobe Tuner

It’s a very interesting professional-grade device that offers really precise tunings. One of these can also be found in the signal chain of the legend himself, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

Well, if he thinks it’s good, then it must be good. Right? Let’s find out more about it.


Strobe tubers

To those who are not familiar, strobe tuners have a black and white disk spinning over a strobe light. The flickering of the strobe light corresponds to the frequency of the note being played.

These black and white discs have a very specific color pattern: Each one is divided into rings with black and white blocks.

Going from the center, each ring has double the blocks than the previous one, and all the blocks are half of the width from the previous ring.

These discs rotate at a different speed, depending on what note you want to tune up to. The strobe light that we mentioned essentially takes a “snapshot” of the disc in the given position.

When the frequency of the open string matches the desired one, you get this optical illusion as if the disc has stopped. It’s a very old method, developed way back in the 1930s, but it’s proven to be the most precise one.


Features

While Peterson’s Stomp Classic is a digital tuner with an LCD display, it relies on this particular method. Instead of the physical disc, it does the same thing on its high-definition display.

First off, it’s enclosed in a vintage-styled and very robust casing that fits on any pedalboard. It basically operates like most of the pedal-based tuners – you just step on it, it mutes the signal, and it shows the name of the note that you’re playing on a separate display, while the main screen shows the “spinning disc.”

Next up, it’s a true bypass pedal, which is somewhat of a surprise for a tuner. In addition, there is a switch that lets you control the signal level in case you have a higher output instrument. There is also a ground lift toggle that can help you deal with unwanted hums.

But aside from being a tuner, Stomp Classic can act as a classic DI box. There is a mode switch with three settings – monitor, true bypass, and the DI. This surely opens up a lot of possibilities both for studio work and live performances.


Performance

The main display has a very smooth operation and high-definition quality. It’s kind of like looking at 60fps videos. The display is designed to be visible both in dark and in direct sunlight. This is also thanks to its fairly high contrast.

About the pedal’s construction, it’s pretty safe to say that Stomp Classic is one of the most durable pedals out there. The casing is made from a very thick metal, plastic is of top quality, and all the internal mechanical switching components are pretty sturdy as well.

Overall, when you get a hang of it, it’s a pretty simple unit to use. It also ensures some insanely precise tunings, with the full precision of +/-0.1 cents, which is basically like 1000th of a fret.

The additional features are more than just fluff as this one can also be used for controlling your signal with different modes. The DI box mode is a very useful thing here.

A bit of a downside would be that the small display showing notes is not always useful to some. It’s fairly difficult to see whether the display is showing a flat or a sharp tone.

The contrast and visibility are all great, but the symbols a really small. With all these great features, sturdy vintage-like design, and clear operation, it is definitely a letdown.


Conclusion

Sure, it may not be like the old strobe tuners, but Stomp Classic is way more precise than any other “conventional” digital tuner these days.

You may think of an average tuner as a fairly simple little device, but this one takes it to a whole new level. Testing it out against a few other standard tuner pedals will show you exactly why Stomp Classic is superior to anything else.

However, you should always remember that this is a fairly expensive (about $200) professional-grade piece of equipment.

To be fully honest, you don’t really need it unless you’re a touring pro musician who often performs at broad daylight, has an extremely busy schedule, and doesn’t really have time or patience to deal with unreliable tuners with some minor annoying issues.

Well, it has one issue that we mentioned, the surprisingly small display for sharp and flat symbols. But still, it’s something you can get used to and have a fully functioning piece that can also work as a DI box.

Now, what you want to make of it is up to you. Some may argue that it’s crazy to give $200 for a simple tuner. Others, however, can’t stand even the slightest error in the pitch.


Video Review

TC Electronic M3000 Reverb and Multi-Effects Processor Review

There’s just never enough of pedals in your signal chain. Whatever is the genre that you play, there’s a high chance you’ll be up for having one of those elaborate floor boards with a whole bunch of useful devices on it (some of them which you probably won’t ever use in a song).

But the thing is, if you’re going into professional waters, there’ll most definitely be a few rack-mounted units involved in your rig.

And, as the technology has progressed over the past years, some of these digital rack-mounted multi effects units became capable of all sorts of different stuff, making some really natural tones and effects with “organic” feel to them.

A great example is TC Electronic’s M3000 rack-mounted reverb and a multi effects processor.

tc electronic m3000 reverb processor

This piece of gear has been used by some of the well-respected guitar champions over the years, including none other than the almighty Dream Theater’s axeman John Petrucci.

Well, if a musician of such caliber preferred using it, then there must be something good about it, right? Let us take some time then to explore the M3000 in this review and find out what makes it so special.


Features

Essentially, TC Electronic’s M3000 is a multi-fx unit with the main accent on reverberation. After years of experience, research, and advancement, the company came up with this one, bringing their new technologies into one well-built rack-mounted device.

Of course, the M3000 features dynamic, modulation, and atmospheric effects – stuff like compression, chorus, delay, and reverb, as well as the elaborate dynamic EQs.

So this is not the typical toy-like low to medium-end processor with distortion, amp, and cabinet simulator, but a very specific professional-grade piece.

First off, the M3000 is known for its 24-bit processing, giving some high-quality clear tones. What’s also important to note is that it features two output channels, making it a stereo processor.

Another great feature here is the so-called VSS 3 technology, which is essentially the company’s own original software that gives a wide variety of parameter tweaking.

It enables some extremely realistic and crystal clear effects, especially with the elaborate reverb presets. What’s more, the M3000’s dual-engine processing allows you to use two effects at the same time, even two of the effects from the same category.

The full list of effects included is the following: compressor, noise gate (expander), panner, de-esser, chorus, phaser, flanger, pitch shifter, delay, and reverb.

The M3000 also has a total of 600 factory presets, 300 of which are dedicated to instruments and music production and the other half for post-production and film sound design.

All of these presets are specially tweaked by the company’s professionals and can be used as they are out of the box, or can be edited and tweaked according to users’ needs.

For an additional 300 user presets, there’s an option for connecting a PCMCIA card to it. However, this one is sold separately and does not come with the product.

The M3000 features two analog XLR inputs and analog XLR outputs. In addition, it also has digital inputs and outputs as well MIDI connectivity. There’s also the ADAT and optical input option which is useful for controlling it in studio settings.


Performance

Despite the abundance of features, the M3000 is pretty simple to use. Of course, it requires some practicing and experience if you’re not completely familiar with such units, but it’s really nothing that will cause you a headache. The front panel might seem a bit confusing at first, but all the controls are well defined and allow normal use.

Aside from the ease of use, this unit is pretty fast and won’t cause you to wait for any presets to load or save. It’s surprisingly great for a product packed with so many high definition effects, all of which are tweaked using quite a few parameters and all saved up in hundreds of presets.

Here’s a quick demo of the unit.

There just aren’t enough words to describe how clear and realistic all the effects sound. Yes, the accent is on reverberation here, with so many different parameters to control, all packed into 600 factory presets.

It would be nice though if there were some additional user presets included, especially for a rack-mounted effects unit of this caliber. Buying a PCMCIA card feels sort of like going back to 1990s. Of course, this is not exactly a deal-breaker for such a refined piece, but would still be a good feature to include. Therefore, we can’t really complain much about it.


Conclusion

Of course, it’s needless to say that this is a professional-grade piece of equipment, so it’s something that you most likely wouldn’t be buying if you’re an amateur musician playing and making music for your own enjoyment.

But if you’re building up a serious rig, or an elaborate professional-tier home studio, then the M3000 is definitely something you should be checking out.

Yes, being around $1,500 new these days, it’s not the cheapest thing out there, but the abundance of effects and their overall quality definitely justify the price.

It’s interesting how one rack-based studio piece of gear can also find its way into a live rig of guitar giants, including John Petrucci of Dream Theater. You don’t often see the same thing used by a metal guitar master and a film sound producer.

Overall, the M3000 is a very versatile and detailed processor made by TC Electronic, designed for professional use (not like you’d expect anything less from them).

Sure, if you have the funds to spend, you can get one of these for your own satisfaction. But despite its ease of use, this is not a toy for an average bedroom guitarist, but a full-blown professional unit that shows its true potential combined with other quality and expensive gear.

So it’s best to think twice before draining your bank account and getting your hands on one of these.


Video Reviews

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion Review

The development of guitar distortion was one of the biggest things that happened to modern music. However, it actually took a while for it to evolve after years of guitar players pushing their tube amps to their limits and sometimes even damaging them to achieve this growling tone.

It was in the ’60s and the ’70s that compact distortion pedals came into the spotlight. The one that stands out and that is still being produced to this day is the legendary DS-1 by Boss.

Boss, however, began making an improved version of it, called DS-2.

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion review

Released in the late 1980s, it’s one of the company’s most popular products and is used by some famous guitar heroes as well, including Dave Navarro, Satchel of Steel Panther, Steve Vai, and many others.

Since this is a pedal worthy of praise, we decided to take a closer look at it and check out some of its basic features. After all, the popularity of DS-1 is not unjustified and a pedal that’s basically its successor is definitely worth reviewing.


Features

Most of the guitar players out there are familiar with the classic DS-1 and its features. Being a regular distortion pedal, it has the level, drive, and tone pots. Its tone was something that made it so special, as well as its ease of use.

Back in the ’70s when it came out, it was certainly one of the most practical distortion devices out there, especially due to its compact size and durability.

But Boss decided to try out something new with this classic pedal back in the late 1980s, so they came up with a solution to add some more features to it. First off, the type of distortion itself is different.

The idea was to have a different type of clipping and something that would add more aggressiveness to the tone without becoming too blurry or fuzzy like those old distortion devices of the 1960s.

Looking back at that era of music now, it was only obvious a big company would decide to make such a product.

In addition, they added another switch that changes the color of distortion, making it significantly more versatile compared to many other distortion pedals. The switch has two modes, labeled as “I” and “II.”

But what is also really exciting is that they squeezed in another feature here. There’s an additional jack for an external footswitch. With this option, players are able to switch between the mode I and II by just one press of the button.

However, this also means that you need to buy that separate footswitch and find room for it on your pedalboard.


Design

There’s not much to say about the design if you’re familiar with Boss pedals. The casing is the same old one that you see with most of Boss’ products even to this day.

The DS-2 has the same design as all the other Boss pedals with 4 knobs. The shade of orange color is different compared to the DS-1 but it still reminds us that it’s a successor of the old classic pedal.

In any case, it’s a great looking and a very durable distortion unit. Not like you would expect anything less from Boss.


Performance

Now, the pedal clearly is an advancement compared to the company’s older stuff. The first obvious thing in its performance is the different tone. We don’t want to say an “improved” version as both pedals sound great. They’re just different.

Although it relies on the classic DS-1, the tone is a bit harsher and the whole idea here is to replicate the sounds of some classic British amps and stacks.

Although it clearly is a bit stronger, the clipping doesn’t go down the road of the classic fuzz effects and remains compact enough for both heavy riffing and soloing.

Things get fun with the second mode where the pedal adds a different flavor to the tone and give even more aggressiveness to it. This is what you would want to switch to for some lead sections in heavy metal songs.

However, practically speaking, the mode is only useful if you get an external footswitch. If you’re doing a live show, kneeling down to switch the knob for this other part of the song would be a chore.

But while getting a footswitch is a good idea, it also comes as an additional expense and you’ll definitely spend some time squeezing it all in on a regular pedalboard.

If you’re up to it, it’s a good solution for lead guitars and the tone you’ll get from both modes will be more than decent. Just bear in mind that there’ll be some more investments involved here.


Conclusion

While DS-1 is still pretty much one of the most popular guitar pedals of all time, its successor DS-2 should not be overlooked. With the price between 60 and 80 dollars, it’s certainly not expensive compared to other stuff these days.

Besides, the tones that you can get with it are pretty good, and with the two modes, you’ll get more sonic options. Add an external footswitch, and it definitely comes in handy for live shows.

As for the tone, the Boss DS-2 is something you’d want to use for metal or grunge music. At the same time, guitar players like Dave Navarro and even John Frusciante have used it over the years for some of their lead parts.

Overall, it’s a good bang for the buck and you won’t regret getting one for your pedalboard. But if you’re looking for a versatile dirt box, there are some pedals out there these days with the two-stage distortion in case you’re willing to pay double the price.

If you’re looking something for blues-rock or classic rock, then the DS-1 or a classic overdrive would be a better choice. Either way, it’s a specific pedal and we recommend that you try it out yourself. Maybe you’ll find a completely different use for it.


Video Reviews

Park Wah Swell Pedal Review

Both listeners of rock music and guitar players have been fascinated with wah pedals for a very long time now.

Of course, it is required to know how to apply it well in your music, but it’s still one of the most important effects that you’ll find in one guitar player’s signal chain.

That sweet voice-imitating effect allows you to express yourself in more ways and bring a new flavor to your tone.

While we’re at it, the obsession with those old vintage pedals never seems to stop, despite countless gear manufacturers coming up with and producing various different pedals, amp modellers, or multi-effects processors.

It’s as if nothing can really beat the good old stuff from the ’60s, the ’70s, and the ’80s. There’s one vintage pedal – a very rare pedal actually – that we will be discussing today.

The piece in question is a Wah Swell pedal by Park that’s been produced sometime in the early 1970s.

Let’s get into this gem.


Background

But before we start, there should be a word or two about the company that produced it. Park Amplification was launched by Marshall as their separate brand.

This smaller company used to produce guitar amps as well as keyboard tube amps (which was pretty bizarre) and different guitar effects. Park worked from early 1965 all the way to 1982 when it got closed.

The time between ’65 and ’74 is often referred to as the company’s “golden period” among the vintage guitar enthusiasts and collectors.

The pedal we’re talking about here, the Wah Swell, is one of the effects you’ll find in Billy Gibbons’ signal chain, to name one player who digs the sound.


Features and performance

The main concept here was to have a wah and a volume pedal in one product. While the concept would now be pretty weird, back then, the manufacturers tried to combine more things into one, as the ’60s and the ’70s were very experimental times in the world of guitar. Either way, the pedal resembled an average wah of the times.

While it may seem that the operation is the same as with any other wah pedal we’re all used to, it’s not exactly the case with the Park Wah Swell. Yes, it’s turned on the way most of the wah pedals are – there’s the standard “toe click” action you’ll find on an average Dunlop Cry Baby or a Vox wah.

However, the treble and bass sweep is reversed. This means that when you push the pedal down, you go to the “closed” position with the low-register sound.

And when the pedal is up, the so-called “open” position, you get the treble end of the spectrum. Pretty unusual, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

When the pedal is switched off (when it’s in the bypass mode), it acts as a standard volume pedal. As this is essentially a wah pedal, it is supposed to be placed at the beginning of your signal chain, so in the bypass mode, it works like a high impedance volume pedal.

Sweeping it up and down, you get the “swell” effect, just like you would by sweeping your guitar’s volume pot. If your distortion pedal is turned on, it would resemble adjusting the gain knob of the pedal up and down.

If the pedal is placed at the very end of the signal chain, or near the end, then it would lower the volume of the entire signal, with keeping all the gain and other effects. But this is usually done with a low impedance volume pedal.

As for powering this pedal, it works with a standard 9-volt battery you use for most of the other stompboxes out there.

However, despite this being an old pedal, the wah sounds are pretty wild. Actually, they’re crazier than most of the stuff you’ll find today.

The closest thing that you can compare it with are those classic Jimi Hendrix wah tones from back in the day.

At the same time, it does somewhat resemble the old Tycobrahe wah, another extremely rare pedal that Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath has been using over the decades.

While the pedal itself is not that bad, the reverse action is really somewhat of a weird feature. Not sure what the idea was here, but this definitely takes some getting used to and might feel very weird for some.

Other than that, it’s actually a pretty decent sounding wah pedal.


Design

The pedal is cased in a metal enclosure, although the casing is not as thick as we might be seeing with some more modern pedals today.

It also looks a bit weird compared to some other standard wah pedals, featuring the rectangular shape of the casing and the rocking part of the pedal, with the rounded edges.

The base part of the pedal is colored blue, although it’s always hard to tell what the original shade was since this is an old pedal. The rocking part is silver with the standard rubber on top of it to prevent slipping.

If you were to have one in your signal chain, it would definitely stand out both visually and sonically. Unless your other effects are old as well.


Conclusion

The pedal itself is not that bad really. There are some peculiar and weird tones that you’ll be able to achieve with it.

But at the same time, this being an old effect, there’s hardly any chance you’ll stumble upon one of these anywhere. If you do, they’re really expensive. At the same time, it’s even harder to find one in mint condition.

If you’re really into the old vintage stuff and stumble upon one, then sure, go ahead and get one as it will be a rare piece of history in your collection. But other than that, there’s really no rational reason for getting a Park Wah Swell.


Related Videos

Tube Works Real Tube Overdrive Pedal Review

Out of all things guitar related that we like to spend our money on, we probably pay the most attention to distortion and overdrive pedals. After all, they are used more often compared to other effects, and it’s just something that shapes your tone the most.

And the variety to choose from is endless so you can easily spend days, weeks, even months, going through different distortion and overdrive pedals until you find the one that suits the style of music that you’re playing.

However, most of the standard overdrive and distortion pedals out there lack the warmth, organic sound, and the dynamic response of tube amps. If you’re not satisfied with that, then there are plenty of tube equipped pedals out there to choose from.

Like the Tube Works Real Tube Overdrive which we will be examining in this review.

The pedal was designed back in the 1980s and it was one of the first (if not THE first) examples of pedals that actually have a tube inside it.


Features

Ruggedly built Real Tube Overdrive features the simple basic configuration – input and output jacks, foot switch, and five control knobs. These knobs are output (as in output volume), drive, hi, mid, and lo.

The controls on the 3-band EQ have exact frequencies that they’re controlling. The low knob adjusts frequencies around 150 Hz, the mid knob works within the 800 Hz to 1.5 kHz territory, while the high knob adjusts everything from 2.5 kHz and up.

As already mentioned, and as the product’s name suggests, this overdrive pedal runs with one tube. We’re speaking of a standard preamp valve, the 12AX7 which you can find in most of the amps out there. It can also work with other compatible tubes like the 12AT7, ECC83, and others.

With frequent and regular use, the tube inside will last somewhere between 2 and 4 years, after which you’ll need to replace it if you want to keep the tone fresh and consistent.

In order to run it, you need a standard 9-volt power supply, either an AC adapter or a pedalboard based power unit. This being a tube unit that requires some power, it cannot run on a battery.


Design

Looking at the Real Tube Overdrive, you’ll easily see that it’s well-built as it is placed in a rugged metal casing.

The knobs, the main footswitch, and all the other parts are also quality built so you most likely won’t have any issues with broken components even after frequent use and rougher handling.

The overall design gives out those old vintage 1980s vibes. When it comes to the looks, we could describe it as somewhat of a more handsome brother of the legendary ProCo Rat pedal.

It’s completely black with yellow writings and other labels on it. Although somewhat small, the letters are neat and easy to read as there are no quirky and unusual fonts.

The Real Tube Overdrive has two LED light indicators on it. On the left side, next to the output knob, there is a green light indicating that that the pedal is in the bypass mode.

On the right side, right next to the drive knob, there is a red LED that lights up when the distortion is on. This makes it pretty easy to handle in darker settings when you really need to know if the overdrive is turned on or off during a gig.

Even after long use and some “battle scars”, the Real Tube Overdrive will still look great. What’s more, some signs of use might even make it look cooler.


Performance

There are some divisive opinions online when it comes to the pedal’s tone, with guitar players comparing it to standard solid state units. In our own experience, this is not really true, as we’ve heard the warmth and the overall quality of this piece.

It is a bit fuzzy, which some guitar players might find off-putting, but it still doesn’t “spill” the tone all over the place. But if you’re into ZZ Top and Billy Gibbons’ tone ñ or anything similar ñ you’re gonna love the Real Tube Overdrive.

Although it adds some dirt, it still doesn’t completely suffocate your guitar’s distinctive voice, unless you decide to push the drive and volume knobs to the max.

The single coils will still have that pleasant sparkling tone with some fuzziness on top of it. But in our experience, it works the best with humbuckers.

Sporting a tube inside, you’ll be able to make even cheaper solid state amps to sound good with this one. It’s as if you’re turning a solid state amp into a hybrid with one tube in its preamp section.

At the same time, it also works well with standard tube amps and can really push the tone on clean channels.

While it’s designed to be the main overdrive in your signal chain, it can come in handy for boosting other distortions or even high gain lead channels on tube amps. This way, you can create distinctive tones and additionally shape your already distorted sound.


Conclusion

Although you won’t find one that often, the Real Tube can definitely be a good purchase if you’re into classic vintage and slightly fuzzy drives. In case you want something a little bit cleaner, then you can go with the classic option of Ibanez Tube Screamer or any of its clones instead.

Being simple to use, this can be a good option for anyone wanting to get into the world of tube-based guitar distortion pedals. Yes, the tube replacement might be somewhat of a chore and the manual does not recommend that you do it on your own, but it’s not an impossible task.

Either way, the Real Tube Overdrive is a quality piece of gear and you’ll be satisfied with it if you’re looking for the aforementioned tones that we described above.


Video Review